Sunday, April 29, 2012

Turning the big 1-0!

Happy Sunday!  I made this week's cake for a little girl I used to teach....well she might not want to me to refer to her as a "little girl"...she just turned 10 years old!  

The birthday girl asked for a pony cake, a pink pony cake to be precise.  Her mom sent me a picture of her pony, Timmy, 

so I thought I'd decorate the sides of the cake with ponies made out of white chocolate modeling chocolate, and write with pink buttercream.

I started with a simple, but delicious vanilla cake. 

While the cake baked, I shaped the ponies out of white chocolate.  

Then I trimmed the cake in pink buttercream, and added the white chocolate ponies to the sides of the cake. 


Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Wedding: Jenna and Daniel

Happy Sunday!  It’s a beautiful day here!  I'm sitting in my office with all the windows open…the warm breeze and sunshine pouring in feel wonderful! 

Today's post features one of the sweetest couples I've worked with!  I got to cater Jenna and Daniel's rehearsal dinner and wedding reception back in March.  From the first time I met with them to their wedding day, they were so much fun.  I thoroughly enjoyed being part of their wedding celebrations!

For the rehearsal dinner, Jenna and Daniel choose and Italian theme:
Penne with Roasted Chicken and Alfredo Sauce
Garlic Roasted Broccoli, Carrots, and Cauliflower
Bread with Garlic Herb Butter
and Salad

All of their friends must be healthy eaters, because this is the first meal I’ve catered where the broccoli and salad were gone way before the pasta!

For the wedding reception, Daniel and Jenna wanted heavy hors d'oeuvres.  After doing a tasting last fall, they selected:

Homemade Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip with Tortilla Chips

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

Stuffed Mushrooms

and Shrimp Cocktail

Jenna was not a fan of mushrooms, but Daniel LOVED them!  He said the stuffed mushrooms were the best he’s ever had! 

I don’t always get a chance to meet the other vendors at events, but this time, I had a chance to chat with the photographer for a little while.  You should check out her blog of Daniel and Jenna’s wedding.  She took a couple of fabulous shots of the food that are much better than mine. :)  She even had slideshow of pre-wedding pics running at the reception so guests could see that too!

I’m blessed to be a part of helping make so many couples’ day special.  Congrats to Jenna and Daniel!

Happy Eating!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Coconut Cake with Sour Cream Buttercream

Happy Sunday!  Many of you may remember the Rubik's Cube cake I made for my sister's birthday last year.  Well this year, she requested a coconut cake.  A quick Google search revealed a gazillion coconut cake recipes, but most were made with cake mix and coconut cream..... neither of which was a I very keen on using. 

So I did some more searching to find from-scratch recipe that didn't use sweetened coconut cream.  Finally I stumbled upon this recipe on Tender Crumb and it didn't disappoint!  I made a few adjustments and frosted it with a sour cream buttercream instead.

I also really liked this recipe because it was easier to mix up than a traditional cake made by creaming the butter and sugar together.

You start by combining the dry ingrediants.  Then add the butter in chunks.

Mix on low speed.....

.... until the butter is almost blended in.  There should still be a few small bits of butter, no larger than a small pea.

Then, with the mixer running, adde part of the coconut milk...

And beat until fluffy.

Then slowly add in the egg white and coconut milk mixture....

Evenly divide it between two 9" cake pans.  

On a side note: I absolutely LOVE Pam Baking Spray!  Obviously I bake a lot of cakes, and it works better than greasing and flouring, lining with parchment paper, or traditional Pam.  I have never had a cake stick to a pan using Pam Baking Spray.

After the cakes were baked and cooled, I frosted them with Sour Cream Buttercream.  The great thing about a coconut cake is that the frosting doesn't have to be smooth at all.

because it's just going to get toasted coconut pressed on the outside, so there's no need to worry about it.

I hope you can see the amazing texture of the cake.  It was soft and moist with a fine crumb, but it held together beautifully.  The sour cream buttercream added a slightly tangy element that really complemented the toasted coconut and it kept the frosting from tasting too sweet.

Coconut Cake
5 egg whites
½ cup of coconut milk (unsweetened)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract
3 cups of cake flour
2 1/3 cup sugar
4 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
2 ½ cups of sweetened flaked coconut, for pressing on the outside of the cake

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans.

Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the ½ cup of coconut milk, vanilla, and coconut extract and whisk thoroughly; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the butter and mix on low speed until crumbly.  The mixture should look sandy with a tiny flecks of butter. 

With the mixer on low, slowly add the 1 cup coconut milk.  Increase speed to medium and beat until fluffy. 

Add the egg white mixture in 2 or 3 additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Divide the batter among the pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake taster inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then turn the cakes out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake plate. Cover this layer with about 1 cup of frosting. Then sprinkle about ½ cup of coconut on top. Add the second cake layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.

Place the remaining 1 ½ cups shredded coconut on a large baking tray. Pick up the cake and hold it on the palm of one hand over the tray. Using the other hand scoop up the coconut and press it to the sides of the cake. Continue with this process until the sides and top of the cake are covered. 

Happy Baking!