Archive for July, 2006

strawberry clouds shrouded in chocolate

Monday, July 24th, 2006
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This was a birthday cake inspired by and created for my brother, who has always loved strawberries. It was very moist chocolate cake, filled and frosted with strawberry grand marnier buttercream. I piped a star pattern throughout the top layer and arranged strawberry halves around the edge. To further enhance the strawberry flavor, I spread strawberry preserves in the middle layer.

The chocolate band was a challenge and not advisable in this hot and humid July northeast weather. I spread melted chocolate onto aluminum foil, waited a bit for it to set, traced a freeform wavy design on the top, and wrapped it around the cake. I did this in two stages, half a band at a time, allowing the chocolate to set in the refrigerator before peeling off the foil.

Despite the difficulties I had working with chocolate, the cake drew oohs and aahs at the party. The taste was a hit, as well. Not terribly sweet and well balanced, according to the host and chef. Pretty and tasty!

pistachio cake experiment

Sunday, July 9th, 2006
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I wanted to create a cake using some pistachio nut paste I had purchased. The resulting cake was more dense than I would have liked, so I’ll have to experiment some more. The layer in the middle is the actual paste itself. Perhaps it was the brand I used, or the fact that I incorporated too much paste into the batter itself that resulted in the dense-ness. I’m thinking next time I will incorporate the pistachio flavor into the frosting itself, and/or try a pistachio mousse filling and a more basic chiffon recipe for the cake.

easy as tart

Sunday, July 9th, 2006
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This is a super simple tart I whipped up for a weekend breakfast using fruits I had on hand. It’s a recipe adapted from Sara Moulton’s French Apple Tart recipe on FoodNetwork. When I don’t want to make a crust from scratch, I use puff pastry dough (as shown) or even more better, flatbread. I peeled and cored (using a melon baller) an apple cut in half, sliced the apple thinly, and arranged the slices in a circular pattern along the edge. I then cut some apricots in half and arranged those. I dotted the fruit with butter and sprinkled some sugar over it, and then heated the tart the oven for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, I heated some apricot jam with water for a glaze. After taking the tart out of the oven, I placed fresh strawberries in the center. All the fruit was then brushed with the apricot jam for a glazed finish that makes it look like you bought it from a bakery.

mocha frangelica cake

Sunday, July 2nd, 2006

I made this chocolate cake with mocha frangelica buttercream frosting for a party this weekend. The mocha and hazelnut liqueur worked well together. I coated the sides with sliced almonds, to further highlight the nuttiness of this cake. The top is garnished with shaved chocolate and powered espresso, to hint at the contents of the cake.

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