September 28, 2009

Easy Bake cOven - Soft Pretzels

This months recipe was Soft Pretzels. I have had two recipes I wanted to try for quite some time now and decided to make them the September challenge. I have a recipe for a copycat Auntie Annie Pretzel and a recipe from Alton Brown. I chose the Auntie Annie recipe - mostly to see how close it taste to the real thing. I'll leave Alton's for another day....
Pretzel making was very simple. Starts like any basic bread dough and the only difference is in the shaping. I always envied the little workers behind the glass at Auntie Annie's at the mall and finally tried my hand at pretzel twisting. Let me tell you it is much harder than it looks. You have to get the right amount of velocity for a full twist before the dough falls to the counter (very difficult) and then pinch it together and hope the lopsided pretzel will taste just as good as the perfectly shaped factory style pretzels do. I had grand intentions of making some interesting flavors but I had a slight bit of food poisoning which left me feeling like the original pretzel was just fine. (I also made ice cream and dinner this day too so there was a lot going on in the kitchen).
The Annie pretzel has no fat in the dough - you are supposed to brush them with butter after taking them out of the oven, then apply toppings as liberally as you wish. I decided to make some with salt and some with cinnamon and sugar. The latter was my favorite at the mall when I was little. This method turns out a deliciously greasy pretzel.
The finished product taste a lot like the real deal pretzel - and much better than one from a street vendor (though that strange cheese dip is hard to beat). I'd like to make these again, maybe minis with different toppings. Fun food.
Soft Pretzels
Adapted from Auntie Annie's Pretzel Recipe
1 1/2 C warm water
1 1/8 tsp yeast
1 1/8 tsp salt
2 T brown sugar
1 C bread flour
3 C all purpose flour (plus more for kneading)
2 C warm water
3 T baking soda
Dissolve yeast in water in a large bowl. Let proof 5 minutes (water will get foamy as yeast activates). Stir in sugar salt and flour with a fork until well combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic - 5-10 minutes. Oil a large bowl, add dough - coating the surface with oil, cover with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm area until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Prepare the dipping water by whisking 2 C water with baking soda until dissolved - a shallow pan works best. Lightly oil a work-surface and cut off little chunks of dough. Roll dough into a 1/2 rope about 24" long. Shape into a pretzel and dip into the baking soda water. Place on a greased baking sheet. Once you have formed all the dough, let the pretzels rise again for 20 minutes or so. Bake for 10 minutes in a 450˚ oven or until they are golden brown. Brush with melted butter (2-4 T) and sprinkle with pretzel salt (or kosher salt) or dip in butter and dip in a cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Thanks to all who participated - be sure to check out the links below or go straight to the Easy Bake cOven to see the rest.

September 26, 2009

Daring Bakers - Vols-al-Vent

Do you speak french? Well I don't, it seems to be the hardest language for me to mimic. I've got Italian and Spanish down but not French. I need a little work. Vols au Vent is a noun that means something like "puff paste shell with a savory meat mixture". As much as I love savory meat ragouts I didn't want to stick to the literal translation. Instead I decided to go with a version of the suggested translation, "After one Bite I could die and go to heaven," and devise a sweet creation that seemed to fit "heavenly dessert." I also decided to try a savory puff though it has nothing to do with meat.

The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was

hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Puff Pastry.

After I ran away screaming I thought it best to come back prepared to tackle this dreaded delicacy. Most home chefs will not make this for themselves - it takes too much time and is quite finicky. I am one of those chefs (or bakers in my case) and I actually dreaded making this pastry for the month of September. I decided to save Saturday the 26th for Pastry day since the recipe suggests that it might just take 5 hours to make. If I had a cold marble slab (as my Aunt Joy suggested at dinner the other night) I might have been able to cut out the chilling time... I didn't do so bad though. From start to finish I managed to only need 3.5 hours total! Including the time I needed to make the fillings.

I kept the filling simple. Roasted Figs with Honey and Mascarpone Cheese, and my savory treat was Roasted Tomatoes with Caramelized Onion, Feta, Goat Cheese and Thyme. I have had some figs frozen from my produce box before my Hawaii trip. I decided this was the perfect occasion. And although I would have enjoyed making these with fresh figs, roasting them with honey made them delicious and it was quick and simple.

I actually ended up loving the savory pastry much more than the figs. Not that the fig was bad, but the tomato dish had much more depth of flavor. The caramelized onions were a must. If I make this again I will definitely just do the savory filling instead of dessert filling. For the construction of the pastries I used two base layers and two wall layers. I don't have a biscuit cutter (I know crazy... I should probably just buy one) so I made them square. I think the sides would have risen better if I had a sharper knife as well but they did just fine with my sharp pizza cutter. It was fun and not as scary as I thought to make this puff pastry. It took more time than skill - even though I was nervous about rolling a rectangle perfectly. Puff pastry is filled with so much butter that the taste is good too. All those layers of fat trapped in the dough making pockets of puffed air. Delicious. I might make it easier on myself next time and just make a long rectangle and add fillings to cut in squares later, but the little tarts were beautiful. If you are not into making your own pastry, I hope you try the savory filling with store bought pastry, it was so good!

Roasted Figs with Honey and Mascarpone Cheese

1 fig per tart halved

1 T honey (per 3 figs)

Preheat oven to 350˚. Toss figs with honey to coat. Roast in the oven 8 minutes stirring half way through. Allow to cool. Place on top of finished puff pastry and add a dollop of mascarpone cheese. Drizzle some honey on top.

Roasted Tomato and Cheese Tarts

Goat Cheese

Tomato slices 1/4" thick

1/3 C onion sliced thin and separated - caramelize over low heat with a tiny bit of butter


Feta Cheese

Roast the tomato slices in a 400˚ oven until edges start to brown (about 20 minutes). Smear some goat cheese on top of the finished puff pastry. Stack two layers of tomato for each tart (I used yellow tomatoes and red tomatoes). Then add about a tablespoon of caramelized onion on top. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and fresh thyme.

Both were best warmed before serving (just try not to melt your mascarpone cheese or it becomes difficult to eat!)

Puff Pastry

from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan Yield: 2-1/2 pounds dough Steph’s note: This recipe makes more than you will need for the quantity of vols-au-vent. While I encourage you to make the full recipe of puff pastry, as extra dough freezes well, you can halve it successfully if you’d rather not have much leftover.

Prep Times: -about 4-5 hours to prepare the puff pastry dough (much of this time is inactive, while you wait for the dough to chill between turns…it can be stretched out over an even longer period of time if that better suits your schedule) -about 1.5 hours to shape, chill and bake the vols-au-vent after your puff pastry dough is complete

Equipment: -food processor (will make mixing dough easy, but I imagine this can be done by hand as well) -rolling pin -pastry brush -metal bench scraper (optional, but recommended) -plastic wrap -baking sheet -parchment paper -silicone baking mat (optional, but recommended) -set of round cutters (optional, but recommended) -sharp chef’s knife -fork -oven -cooling rack

Ingredients: 2-1/2 cups (12.2 oz/ 354 g) unbleached all-purpose flour 1-1/4 cups (5.0 oz/ 142 g) cake flour 1 tbsp. salt (you can cut this by half for a less salty dough or for sweet preparations) 1-1/4 cups (10 fl oz/ 300 ml) ice water 1 pound (16 oz/ 454 g) very cold unsalted butter

plus extra flour for dusting work surface

Mixing the Dough:

Check the capacity of your food processor before you start. If it cannot hold the full quantity of ingredients, make the dough into two batches and combine them.

Put the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse a couple of times just to mix. Add the water all at once, pulsing until the dough forms a ball on the blade. The dough will be very moist and pliable and will hold together when squeezed between your fingers. (Actually, it will feel like Play-Doh.)

Remove the dough from the machine, form it into a ball, with a small sharp knife, slash the top in a tic-tac-toe pattern. Wrap the dough in a damp towel and refrigerate for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the butter between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and beat it with a rolling pin until it flattens into a square that's about 1" thick. Take care that the butter remains cool and firm: if it has softened or become oily, chill it before continuing.

Incorporating the Butter:

Unwrap the dough and place it on a work surface dusted with all-purpose flour (A cool piece of marble is the ideal surface for puff pastry) with your rolling pin (preferably a French rolling pin without handles), press on the dough to flatten it and then roll it into a 10" square. Keep the top and bottom of the dough well floured to prevent sticking and lift the dough and move it around frequently. Starting from the center of the square, roll out over each corner to create a thick center pad with "ears," or flaps.

Place the cold butter in the middle of the dough and fold the ears over the butter, stretching them as needed so that they overlap slightly and encase the butter completely. (If you have to stretch the dough, stretch it from all over; don't just pull the ends) you should now have a package that is 8" square.

To make great puff pastry, it is important to keep the dough cold at all times. There are specified times for chilling the dough, but if your room is warm, or you work slowly, or you find that for no particular reason the butter starts to ooze out of the pastry, cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it . You can stop at any point in the process and continue at your convenience or when the dough is properly chilled.

Making the Turns:

Gently but firmly press the rolling pin against the top and bottom edges of the square (this will help keep it square). Then, keeping the work surface and the top of the dough well floured to prevent sticking, roll the dough into a rectangle that is three times as long as the square you started with, about 24" (don't worry about the width of the rectangle: if you get the 24", everything else will work itself out.) With this first roll, it is particularly important that the butter be rolled evenly along the length and width of the rectangle; check when you start rolling that the butter is moving along well, and roll a bit harder or more evenly, if necessary, to get a smooth, even dough-butter sandwich (use your arm-strength!).

With a pastry brush, brush off the excess flour from the top of the dough, and fold the rectangle up from the bottom and down from the top in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off the excess flour. You have completed one turn.

Rotate the dough so that the closed fold is to your left, like the spine of a book. Repeat the rolling and folding process, rolling the dough to a length of 24" and then folding it in thirds. This is the second turn.

Chilling the Dough:

If the dough is still cool and no butter is oozing out, you can give the dough another two turns now. If the condition of the dough is iffy, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. Each time you refrigerate the dough, mark the number of turns you've completed by indenting the dough with your fingertips. It is best to refrigerate the dough for 30 to 60 minutes between each set of two turns.

The total number of turns needed is six. If you prefer, you can give the dough just four turns now, chill it overnight, and do the last two turns the next day. Puff pastry is extremely flexible in this regard. However, no matter how you arrange your schedule, you should plan to chill the dough for at least an hour before cutting or shaping it.

Forming and Baking the Vols-au-Vent

Yield: 1/3 of the puff pastry recipe below will yield about 8-10 1.5” vols-au-vent or 4 4” vols-au-vent

In addition to the equipment listed above, you will need: -well-chilled puff pastry dough (recipe below) -egg wash (1 egg or yolk beaten with a small amount of water) -your filling of choice

Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

Using a knife or metal bench scraper, divided your chilled puff pastry dough into three equal pieces. Work with one piece of the dough, and leave the rest wrapped and chilled. (If you are looking to make more vols-au-vent than the yield stated above, you can roll and cut the remaining two pieces of dough as well…if not, then leave refrigerated for the time being or prepare it for longer-term freezer storage. See the “Tips” section below for more storage info.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8 to 1/4-inch (3-6 mm) thick. Transfer it to the baking sheet and refrigerate for about 10 minutes before proceeding with the cutting. (This assumes you will be using round cutters, but if you do not have them, it is possible to cut square vols-au-vents using a sharp chef’s knife.) For smaller, hors d'oeuvre sized vols-au-vent, use a 1.5” round cutter to cut out 8-10 circles. For larger sized vols-au-vent, fit for a main course or dessert, use a 4” cutter to cut out about 4 circles. Make clean, sharp cuts and try not to twist your cutters back and forth or drag your knife through the dough. Half of these rounds will be for the bases, and the other half will be for the sides. (Save any scrap by stacking—not wadding up—the pieces…they can be re-rolled and used if you need extra dough. If you do need to re-roll scrap to get enough disks, be sure to use any rounds cut from it for the bases, not the ring-shaped sides.)

Using a ¾-inch cutter for small vols-au-vent, or a 2- to 2.5-inch round cutter for large, cut centers from half of the rounds to make rings. These rings will become the sides of the vols-au-vent, while the solid disks will be the bottoms. You can either save the center cut-outs to bake off as little “caps” for you vols-au-vent, or put them in the scrap pile.

Dock the solid bottom rounds with a fork (prick them lightly, making sure not to go all the way through the pastry) and lightly brush them with egg wash. Place the rings directly on top of the bottom rounds and very lightly press them to adhere. Brush the top rings lightly with egg wash, trying not to drip any down the sides (which may inhibit rise). If you are using the little “caps,” dock and egg wash them as well.

Refrigerate the assembled vols-au-vent on the lined baking sheet while you pre-heat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). (You could also cover and refrigerate them for a few hours at this point.)

Once the oven is heated, remove the sheet from the refrigerator and place a silicon baking mat (preferred because of its weight) or another sheet of parchment over top of the shells. This will help them rise evenly. Bake the shells until they have risen and begin to brown, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (180ºC), and remove the silicon mat or parchment sheet from the top of the vols-au-vent. If the centers have risen up inside the vols-au-vent, you can gently press them down. Continue baking (with no sheet on top) until the layers are golden, about 15-20 minutes more. (If you are baking the center “caps” they will likely be finished well ahead of the shells, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven when browned.)

Remove to a rack to cool. Cool to room temperature for cold fillings or to warm for hot fillings.

Fill and serve.

*For additional rise on the larger-sized vols-au-vents, you can stack one or two additional ring layers on top of each other (using egg wash to "glue"). This will give higher sides to larger vols-au-vents, but is not advisable for the smaller ones, whose bases may not be large enough to support the extra weight.

*Although they are at their best filled and eaten soon after baking, baked vols-au-vent shells can be stored airtight for a day.

*Shaped, unbaked vols-au-vent can be wrapped and frozen for up to a month (bake from frozen, egg-washing them first).

September 22, 2009

A Different Kind of Smore

We spent a weekend in Tahoe a short while ago. Michael's Aunt and Uncle have a cabin on lakefront property and we try and visit once a year. It is always nice to escape the city, be still and sit in silence. Sometimes I think we all fill our heads with too much - tv iPods radio traffic office buzz - that we don't spend enough time in silence. I try to practice silence but it usually comes to an abrupt end when the guy in the apartment above ours begins his Accordion practice. yes, this is true. We had a nice time hiking, sitting around doing nothing, and eating. I think we had enough food for at least 8 people that weekend - twice as much as needed.
We started our weekend off with a giant serving of lasagna with some magnificent french style bread. Then we had brownies for dessert with some rocky road ice cream we were asked to help finish. Saturday morning we had french toast with strawberries and breakfast sausage, lunch was summer squash soup with grilled cheese on tomato bread, dinner turkey burgers and roasted potatoes. Good thing we went hiking in the midst of all of this. Unfortunately we couldn't increase our bounty of food with a fish. There didn't seem to be any fish in this lake... at least none that like our bait.
Michael and Jay burned some energy painting with light while Emily and I did the exact opposite and sat around the fire and drank wine. Somewhere in here someone mentioned making smores with the leftover brownies. I decided to try the first. It was quite delicious and completely overfilling. I will most likely stick to the original with chocolate if I make them again but it was a fun experiment with leftovers.
Our brownie-smores weren't the only thing that increased our waist line that weekend, Emily made some killer chocolate cookies that were irresistible and we had another great feast Sunday. It was a great weekend. Thanks again Joy & Ed for letting us use the cabin! Pinkies Up!

September 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip (Banana) Bread

I love bananas. I know they are not local food, and sometimes not fair trade... but I can't break the banana love. I recently inherited some mushy bananas ready for bread making and decided to try this recipe for a change. It comes from a recipe book I really like - though I think this recipe should be moved from breakfast quick breads to a light desserts category.
The bread should be called CHOCOLATE bread with a hint of banana. Michael prefers banana bread with chocolate chips and I prefer it plain and simple. It just seemed a little strange to be eating a slab of chocolate for breakfast. I am pretty sure you could eliminate the bananas all together and possibly add more buttermilk and it taste exactly the same. It is not that the taste was bad at all (it was really good) but I would prefer if something is called Banana bread for it to taste like them. The structure of the bread is really nice. I probably should have tried making some bananas foster and topping a slice of bread with it for dessert... maybe I will with the leftovers. Better luck next time I guess.

September 15, 2009

Mini Cupcakes

I made these a while ago - actually the week I also made the wedding cake - and just now got around to posting them. I realized that I haven't posted anything of substance for a while and thought before you all forgot about the Lady Baker I must post these fast!
Like I mentioned before, I made these during the wedding cake week - which was a bad idea - but they turned out wonderful. They were also for a paying customer, so I wasn't just being silly in the kitchen during one of the most stressful weeks of my baking career. I actually turned down part of the order (good idea) because the request was for french macarons. I have not tried making them yet, but I swoon over them each time I see them. There is a special bakery in San Francisco which sells only french macarons. They are super expensive but gorgeous. Definitely worth it if you are looking to impress some guests. Sometime in the near future I will attempt pistachio macarons. I decided to try and make it easier on myself limiting the order to 2 flavors. They chose Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, and Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting and Cookie Dough Frosting.
I used my favorite carrot cake recipe and subbed currants for raisins since they were mini cupcakes. Also used my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe and used my new star tip to frost these cuties. I decided at the last minute to change the chocolate cupcake recipe so I didn't use up the buttermilk I needed for the wedding cake. I thought the cakes were just ok. I don't think I would use the same recipe again (which is why I am not sharing it) because they were just too sweet. I like sugar, but these were overly sugary. Perfect for a girly bachelorette party though. (At least I think that is what I made them for). I was most excited about the new frosting recipe I stumbled across a while ago. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting. Fantastic. No eggs, just cookie dough mixed with buttercream frosting to get the right consistency. I added some mini chocolate chips in the batter and decorated the tops with them too. Cute and simple. You can't really go wrong with something so small... like babies or puppies....
Here are my favorite recipes for you to try, a few of them I really like come from the cookbook written especially for cake:
Carrot Cake
(Full Recipe for 3 - 9" Layers)
1 C dark raisins
1 lb carrots (about 4 C shredded - you can leave skins on)
2 C minus 2 T flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 T cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 C sugar
1 C dark brown sugar
1 1/4 C oil
1 1/2 C walnuts - roughly chopped
divide oven into thirds. Preheat to 350˚, butter and line 3 9" pans with parchment. dust with flour. steam the raisins covered 10 mins (alternately add some water to a heat proof bowl and microwave covered for 30 seconds or so to plump). Drain and reserve.
Sift dry ingredients. In a large bowl, beat eggs, then beat in vanilla, sugars, and oil. Mix in dry ingredients until just incorporated, then stir in the carrots, raisins, and nuts.
Divide among pans. Bake about 35 minutes - until the cakes start to pull away from the edges of the pans. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks for 3 minutes. Turn onto a rack right side up. Once completely cool, wrap and freeze for one hour. (Overnight works great). Frost using Cream Cheese Frosting recipe! This cakes serves a crowd. It is really dense and tall so you can get a lot of slices from one cake. If you half the recipe you can make 3 6" cakes, or 18 regular cupcakes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz cream cheese (full fat)
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
Beat butter and cream cheese (room temp please!) for a few minutes until fluffy. Add vanilla and sugar. Continue beating on high speed until smooth, scraping sides of bowl. Makes enough to frost 3 layers of cake plus sides.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting

Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes

1-3/4 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

Eggless cookie dough (recipe below)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, unsalted butter, salt, and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.

Add milk and continue mixing until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary. With the mixer running, slowly add remaining 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, mix until well combined.

At this point you can mix in the eggless cookie dough. Mix in enough cookie dough to suit your taste. Any cookie dough leftover you can gladly eat! There are no eggs in it so it is safe. Yum!

Eggless Cookie Dough

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

2 teaspoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Cream the butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add water and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and salt and stir to combine. Stir in mini chocolate chips (optional).

Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

September 9, 2009

Easy Bake cOven

Hi All. If you are interested in participating in this months' cOven recipe, we are making Soft Pretzels! Check out the cOven blog for the recipe.

September 6, 2009

Wedding Cake Part 3: Delivery

Finished! Thankfully. Making a wedding cake is quite a bit of work! I was pretty exhausted Saturday night once we got home from the wedding. The cake turned out well, though not without a few little mishaps in transit....
I must not have been working fast enough because I was about 30 minutes behind on my frosting. The more I frosted, the more I began to despise Shannon's great Aunt Lou. This frosting may be suitable for a small birthday cake, but it just doesn't hold up well, or cover well, or smooth well enough for a wedding cake. I manipulated some of the frosting with powdered sugar to attempt to give more structure for the final coat, but it wasn't completely worth it. It may have helped a little, but time was running out. I got the cake to a certain point and Michael suggested I do finishing touches at the site. We got in the car and not half a block down the cake started to slide on its base! I guess I should have secured it to the board better! oops. Needless to say I ended up with a death grip on the bottom tier while Michael drove as gingerly as possible. Thankfully we didn't encounter much traffic or we might have been really late. We got there in enough time to make my ugly duckling cake into a true swan. Disaster averted (if you don't count sticky fingers).
I hurriedly patched the frosting and evened out corners whilst my dearest assistant kept my nerves down and helped me finish the decorations. The florist as planned had left some curly willow and orchids for me to finish the cake and decorate the table. I had brown, green and white cymbidium and dendrobium orchids and might I say that decorations do wonders for a boring old cake. My chocolate branches turned out well and tied into the table decorations too. I don't think I stopped shaking until I stepped away and took the supplies back to the car. Yes, I was really nervous, and I wasn't normal again until I had a bite of cake later that night.
Shannon (bride) and Ali (groom) both loved it and that made me really happy. She said it was so pretty she wanted to cry - which we both laughed at but was really sweet to say. Lots of people told me how beautiful it was and that was a real treat. It makes me happy that my first attempt was not a failure. I thought it was going to be in the car the whole way there... but constant prayers for 3 days of work not to be ruined in one short stop worked wonders. I'm pretty sure I would do another cake - but definitely with more say in the frosting choice! I might also consider a better method of travel and stick the cake to the board with super glue (or some hard-drying frosting like Royal Icing).
I found this experience very challenging and fulfilling. I spent a lot of time researching the "how to's" of cake construction (while missing the piece on attaching it to the board). I enjoyed baking the largest cake of my life - the 14" square cake - which holds about 13.5 cups of batter. I was also pleased with the proportions of the layers, the largest being chocolate and the top tiers lemon poppy seed. The baking part of this challenge was by far the easiest even though it took the most time. Luckily I had Friday off as well to finish everything else. There is definitely a method to this cake business and I may have learned it the hard way.
There are likely to more photos in the near future, but for your viewing pleasure now... here are some amazing pics taken by my lovely photographer, best friend, support system, decorating assistant, stress reducer, and husband. Thanks love for all your help.

September 5, 2009

Wedding Cake Part 2: D-Day

My intention was to update you periodically between may last post and today (which is the day) but I've been too busy. I'm not sure why order madness happens all at the same time, but I decided it would be good business to say "yes" to a 3 doz mini cupcake order needed Thursday morning. I may have caused extra stress but it was worth it. The cupcakes turned out well, and I was finally able to try Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting for the chocolate cupcakes.
I have only been mildly freaking out this week. Initiated by the delivery of the wrong size pan Monday (luckily corrected by Thursday) I have had some stressful days and headaches. Thankfully, everything is ready for construction today. The wedding is at 5pm and I have most of the day to put the cake together. This is not something I have worried about - it is actually the part I am most looking forward to. My idea is that this is very much like building an architectural model - which I have had way too much practice doing - but using a different medium. I still get to use sticks for structure, and the frosting is the glue.... I hope it all comes together well.
Last night I was a little stumped with my modeling chocolate. I thought maybe I had burned it since it wasn't coming together, but after some internet research I realized that you just have to work little pieces at a time. My chocolate branches turned out well and I am sure the cake will look lovely with the addition of brown and green orchids.
As long as the cake makes it there in the car I'll be happy. That is one thing I can't completely control but am praying for a good outcome. I'll be sure to show you the final product as soon as possible! Wish me luck!

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