Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Engagement Cake

My mom hosted a dinner for her recently engaged friend and asked me to make a cake for the party. Luckily, I had the day before off from work, so I drove down to Virginia Beach to help out.

It's just a simple vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, chosen by the bride-to-be. I've been testing out some new recipes, trying to find a favorite for this combo, but I'm not sure this is it. I'm getting closer with the frosting, but this cake was a little dry.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cake Truffles for a Tasting

I'm catering a baby shower in June, so a few weeks ago we had a tasting to finalize the menu.

These were the sample petit fours and cake truffles I made, using the baby girl's initials as a monogram.

They were a big hit, but for the shower I'll be doing them in a pink, white, and grey color scheme, which I love. It's feminine but still modern.

A shot of some of the savory selections: hot spinach dip, three different kinds of tea sandwiches, roasted shrimp orzo pasta, and artichoke crostini.

Thankfully, everyone loved all the food, and now I can't wait for the big event in June!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Sorry for the slight delay in posting. The past two weeks have been a little hectic, but look! Cake!

I made this for Dan's mother's birthday, which was yesterday. I of course, volunteered to make the cake.

And by volunteer, I mean made the decision completely unilaterally and only let everyone else know the day before to ensure there would be no duplicate cakes to embarrass compete with.

I really loved the way it turned out. I think it sort of looks like a flower basket with the little royal icing flowers on top. To get the look, I just piped dots of icing in a straight line down the side of the cake using a medium plain round tip. Then I used a small offset spatula to gently spread or drag each dot out to the side slightly. You work piping one row at a time, slightly overlapping the next row of dots over the tail you've just created with the spatula, until you've gone all the way around the cake.

I made the little flowers about a week ago with some leftover royal icing I needed to use up. Once they dry, you can store them in an airtight container for weeks and just pull them out whenever you need them. They're a little hard, but certainly edible.

I didn't get any pictures of the inside since I wasn't going to cut into it before the birthday girl could, but it was just chocolate cake with more chocolate icing as filling. Actually, the challenge with this cake was less the decorating and more the actual cake. Dan's mom is lactose intolerant and also recently gave up gluten, so I needed a gluten and dairy-free cake. There are definitely no shortage of gluten free vegan cake recipes out there, but I really didn't need to leave out the butter or eggs, just any milk or sour cream.

I'm (only slightly) ashamed to admit I actually used a cake mix. I was working on a bit of a time crunch and just didn't have the time to experiment with all the different gluten-free flours until I got the right flavor and texture combination I wanted. So instead, I used a King Arthur Flour gluten-free chocolate cake mix that I got at Whole Foods (and no, I am not at all being perked to mention either company. I can assure you, they have no idea I exist). It was really easy to mix up and came out really well- very moist, with a deep chocolate flavor and a nice fluffy texture. Honestly, no one would ever know it was gluten-free OR from a box.

The icing I did make myself, using this as a starting point since I needed to use cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate. But instead of the milk, I added additional melted butter as well as shortening. Unfortunately, I just kept adding until it looked right and wasn't really paying attention to the measurements (I am just so helpful today, huh?), but I'd say I added about an additional 4 Tbsp of melted butter and probably half of a cup of shortening, half of which was solid, and half I melted.

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