October
27
Filed Under (Cakes, Recipes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 27-10-2010

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I’m always amazed at little ones!  How in the world did my then 4yo daughter decide she wanted to learn to play the violin?  While being exposed to lots of music I certainly hadn’t suggested she learn to play an instrument let alone a classical one.  No worries we got her started and away she went with gusto…  Well this post isn’t about music but recently I was asked by my friends to make their 3yo daughter a birthday cake. Apparently she had requested “a raspberry on the inside” birthday cake.  I’d never made one before but love a challenge so this is how I did it.

WARNING – Heavy text as some dummy (me) forgot to take progress photos… but it turned out great so bear with me folks.

First off I thought I’d start with a white cake recipe and add my raspberry goodness to it.

White cake mix or this from scratch recipe…

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk

Then To make it Raspberry Flavoured…

Ok.. great but it had to be raspberry flavoured…  I could not for the life of me find fresh raspberries that day that weren’t growing fur, so my next best option was a heaping tablespoon of raspberry jam (jelly) with the seeds for authenticity AND I added a 1/3 of a sachet of Raspberry Jello Crystals dissolved into a half cup of water.

Raspberry cake by Cake Artisan

Cake Crumb

I figured it wouldn’t throw off the balance of the cake since it thickens as it sets up.  My theory proved right and the cake was relatively dense (with a fine crumb texture like a Madeira or pound cake) but still light and very flavourful.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two eight inch round pans or line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth, the jello crystals and the raspberry jam. Pour or spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven.  For cupcakes 20-25 mins.
Raspberry Cake by Cake Artisan

Raspberry Jam (Jelly)

For this little lady’s cake I made two 6 inch and two 8 inch round cakes to stack.

In between each matching pair I spread a fine layer of raspberry jam (jelly) and then added raspberry cream cheese frosting (my original recipe with some raspberry jello crystals and a small amount of jam added to it).

I placed wooden dowels inside of McDonalds straws into the 8 inch stacked cakes and then placed the 6 inch stacked pair on top.

Raspberry Cake by Cake Artisan

Dowels

All of the cakes were covered in my crusting cream cheese frosting prior to stacking as they wanted it smoothed to look like fondant.  I then cut out about one hundred or so purple and one hundred or so pink fondant flowers for decoration.  This cake was to compliment a Tinkerbell cake topper.

The glitter is edible sparkle glitter.  The cake was a lot of work but my friends loved it.  Hubby enjoyed the crumbs I had cut off the top so much I made him his very own raspberry cake the next day.  It was pretty much gone in an instant.  Don’t forget to email me if you have any questions.  Happy Baking!

Tinkerbell Raspberry Cake by Cake Artisan

Raspberry Cake

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May
05
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 05-05-2010

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This is the cake I made for my daughter Megan’s baby shower this past weekend.  The cake on the bottom was yellow cake filled with white cream cheese frosting and then covered with the same frosting coloured blue.  I added balls of chocolate fondant to the sides and for the circles.

Teddy Bear Baby Shower cake made for my daughter Megan's baby shower on May 1st 2010.

Baby Shower Cake

The top cake was made using the good old Wilton Teddy Bear pan.  I made this for her first birthday some 20+ years ago so thought it would be a nice touch for this cake.  The cake is chocolate cake and is iced with a chocolate flavoured cream cheese frosting.  The diaper is thinly rolled white fondant made using Carrie Biggers’ recipe.  Sorry but I can’t give that to you here because Carrie sells it on her website as one of her product range.  It’s a great recipe and tastes so much better than commercially produced fondant.  I am always horrified when I see the fondant being torn off of wedding cakes by folks that have only had the shop bought kind.  The home made stuff is so much nicer and very edible.

Vanilla and Chocolate baby shower cakeOk, so I have to “fess up.”  Even experienced bakers and decorators make mistakes.  Stupid mistakes actually.  That bear on the top took three attempts before I got it right.  I can’t believe it since I’ve made it many times before but the first time around I didn’t add enough batter to the pan so when bear came out he had NO LEGS!  Um no.  That bear became chocolate cake balls that I put into the party favour boxes for our guests to take home with them, so not a total waste.

With my second attempt I totally forgot to insert the cone into the center of the pan which ensures even cooking.  Not realizing my mistake I took the “perfect” bear from the pan and then wondered why his head was caving in.  After a crack formed I could see that the batter inside was still liquid and not even close to being cooked.  This poor bear met his demise down the garbage disposal.. sorry bear number 2.

So finally at 11:30pm on Friday night (the party was the next day) I baked off bear number 3.  You might think this one worked out perfectly.  Well not exactly.  Probably due to the fact that it had been one heck of a busy week I did remember to insert the heat cone this time BUT forgot to spray it with cooking spray.  As I pulled it out a crack formed across poor bear’s face.  Thank goodness for buttercream which I used to patch him up with.

So next time you make a mistake or forget something, don’t worry too much, we all do it!

Happy baking!

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December
22
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 22-12-2009

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Here’s a thought that crossed my spoiled mind this evening. What if, say, like my family in Australia, I can’t just run to the store and grab a box of red velvet cake mix off the shelf. I’ve obviously forgotten that it wasn’t that many years ago that I didn’t even know what a red velvet cake was! Imagine that.

This week I received an email from a fellow cake maker who asked me to share my favourite red velvet cake recipe since she wasn’t able to buy a box mix. Fellow bakers give me mixed reactions when I openly admit to using (insert scary music here)…. red velvet cake out of a box!! Well, I do and I’m not afraid to say it. Why not? It’s bad enough getting covered in red cake mix, which I usually do, without having to mess with red food colouring when measuring it out for a “from scratch” recipe.

Actually, there is a little history to my dread of red…  I used to own a small bakery in Australia and had left some decorating items out on the dining table in my brand new dining room, in my brand new home.  To cut a long story short, my youngest daughter was a climber and the result was red food colouring all over her and the brand new carpet!  We bleached it out and then had to dye the carpet back lovingly with teabags.  So you might now understand my dislike of red food colouring, even if red is my favourite color!

Ok, back to the cake at hand.  I tend to look at box cake mixes as a starting point, and usually tweak them by changing out the oil with apple sauce for instance, and adding my own flavourings, add-ins etc. I’m sure the good people at Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury didn’t just whip them together in five minutes. It is my understanding that they have spent years perfecting their mixes for our convenience. And very often that is the time I have no compunction in reaching for one.

Sure there is nothing quite like a delicately created sponge or genoise but there are times when I just need to get out two dozen cupcakes in a hurry and trust me, 5 year olds very rarely call me out on using a box cake mix over a scratch baked cake. Their beaming little faces covered in frosting are all the proof I need that sometimes, it’s ok.

So let’s get this red velvet cake made!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup dutch processed (dark) cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons red gel food coloring
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter ( softened)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2  1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 325°. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together cocoa powder, food coloring, and hot water. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down bowl and add sugar. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir buttermilk and vanilla into the cooled cocoa mixture. Sift cake flour and salt together into another bowl. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture (in 3 parts) and the cocoa mixture (in 2 parts) to the egg mixture. Beat until incorporated.  Combine vinegar and baking soda and stir until baking soda dissolves; the mixture will fizz. Add to batter and stir until just combined.

Fill cupcake pans 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan, and let cool completely.

___________

So, of course I ended up with red food coloring up one arm and on the kitchen rug.  Still not sure how that happened!  These cakes are very light and fluffy due to the sifted cake flour. I topped and filled mine with my favourite crusting cream cheese buttercream and some decorator sugar and toppings I had on hand. I love the color with this recipe. I have made them in the past where they weren’t red enough but it helps to use the dutch processed cocoa powder because it’s darker than regular cocoa.

Don’t forget to try this recipe out making the Red Velvet & Cream Cheese Cake Balls, they’re delicious! Ok, so now I’m off to make a cuppa and maybe sneak one of these! ~ Colleen

Just in case I get busy in the next day or so!Merry Christmas from Cake Artisan


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February
20
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 20-02-2009

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Dobos Cake (/’doboʃ/, Hungarian: dobostorta) is a famous Hungarian cake, invented by and named after a well-known Hungarian confectioner, József C. Dobos (1847-1924) in 1884. It is a five-layer sponge cake, layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with thin caramel slices. The sides of the cake are sometimes coated with ground hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts or almonds but the original cake is without coat, since it was a slice of a big cake. Dobos’s aim was to make a cake that would last longer than other pastries, in an age when cooling techniques were limited. The caramel topping helps keep the cake from drying out. The cake is also often called ‘Dobos-torta’ or ‘Dobostorta’.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is my Dobos Torte…  We made ours rectangular and topped it with a poured caramel that set hard but before it did I scored it with a knife into portioned pieces.

I will get the recipe entered tomorrow (Saturday 2/21)

The guys that work with my Husband really enjoyed this treat!

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January
25
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 25-01-2009

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The Italian phrase tirami su literally translates into “pick me up” which makes sense once you hear that this espresso laden treat was served to Venetian courtesans between romantic conquests to provide them with an energy boost!  Ooh la la! (no that’s French)

Actually, I haven’t been able to find evidence to support this and it appears this dessert is of  more recent times.  Who cares!  Is what I have to say!  This dessert is too good to worry about who made it first and when…

Tiramisu - pick me up, and espresso laden dessert torte by Cake ArtisanAnyway, I have always loved this dessert and have a recipe for it that is quite easy to prepare and then enjoy!

My version has light sponge lady fingers around the edge with layers of the same cake soaked with espresso flavoured simple syrup.  Then there is a filling made with mascarpone and cream with a few other ingredients thrown in for good measure.  I’m salivating just thinking about it so I will get the recipe typed up as quickly as possible for you!  PLEASE don’t be deterred by how long this recipe looks… I have just spelled it all out step by step which makes it look a lot longer!  It’s absolutely worth the effort!

Components

2 lb. 12 oz. Ladyfinger batter
9 fluid ounces Simple Syrup
2 fluid ounces Coffee or almond liqueur
1/2 fluid ounce Coffee extract
1/2 fluid ounce Vanilla extract
3 pounds Mascarpone Cream Mousse
Chocolate Ganache for decorating
Chocolate decorations, as needed

Ladyfingers

Ladyfingers are made from a spongecake batter that is piped into finger-length strips. After baking, these soft cakes may be eaten plain as a cookie or petit four. They are equally good when dried out in the oven, like biscotti. These versatile cakes are used to line the mold for a Bavarian dessert. For convenience, the batter may be piped close together to form a strip after baking and used to line a mold or torte ring.

Ingredients

3 ounces Cornstarch
4 ounces Bread flour
6 Egg yolks
6 ounces Granulated sugar
6 Egg whites
1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice

Method

1.    Sift the cornstarch and flour together.

2.    Whip the egg yolks with 2 ounces (60 grams) of the sugar until thick and creamy.

3.    Whip the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 2 ounces (60 grams) of the sugar and the lemon juice. Continue whipping to soft peaks, then add the remaining sugar gradually and whip to stiff peaks.

4.    Fold approximately one-quarter of the egg whites into the whipped yolks to lighten them, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Fold in the flour mixture.

5.    Place the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe 4-inch- (10-centimeter) long cookies onto paper-lined sheet pans.

6.    Bake immediately at 425°F (220°C) until lightly browned, approximately 8 minutes.

Simple Syrup (Cake Syrup)

Ratio: 2:1

Ingredients

16 oz Sugar

8 oz Water

Method

Place water and sugar into saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding flavourings.

Mascarpone Cream Filling
Yield: 3lbs

Ingredients

1 lb. 5 oz. Mascarpone , warmed to 105°F (40°C)
9 Egg yolks
8 ounces Granulated sugar
5 fluid ounces Water
1/2 ounce Sheet gelatin, softened
1 pint Heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

Method

1.    Place the warmed mascarpone in a large bowl.

2.    Make a bombe batter by whipping the egg yolks in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip. Cook the sugar and water in a saucepan until the syrup reaches the soft ball stage 240°F (115°C).

3.    Pour the sugar syrup into the yolks, with the mixer running at high speed. Pour in a steady stream between the side of the bowl and the beater. Once all the sugar is incorporated, whip one more minute at high speed then reduce to medium speed and whip until the bombe mixture cools to approximately 110°F (49°C).

4.    Add the softened sheet gelatin to the warm bombe batter. Stir until the gelatin dissolves completely.

5.    Fold the bombe batter into the mascarpone cream.

Ganache
Yield: 2lbs

Ingredients

1 pound Bittersweet chocolate
1 pint Heavy cream
1 fluid ounce Almond or coffee liqueur

Method

1.    Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large metal bowl.

2.    Bring the cream just to a boil, then immediately pour it over the chocolate, stirring with a rubber spatula to blend. Stir gently until all the chocolate has melted.

3.    Stir in the liqueur.

4.    Allow to cool, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula until the desired consistency is achieved.

Assembly of Tiramisu

1.    Butter and flour two paper-lined full-size sheet pans. Using a plain medium tip, pipe half of the Ladyfinger batter into 4 disks measuring 7 inches (17.5 centimeters) in diameter.

2.    To make the strips of ladyfingers to line the ring mold, pipe the remaining batter into ladyfingers 4 inches (10 centimeters) long placed close together so they join at the sides and form a strip the entire length of the sheet pan. Bake as directed.

3.    Lightly oil and sugar 4, 7-inch (17.5 centimeter) torte rings. Place them on a paper-lined sheet pan.

4.    Cut the strip of ladyfingers in half lengthwise. Trim the strips of ladyfingers on each long edge to fit evenly inside the ring molds.

5.    Position the ladyfinger strips inside the rings, cut to size to make a tight fit. Place a ladyfinger disk on the bottom of each ring.

6.    Combine the simple syrup, liqueur, coffee extract and vanilla extract. Moisten the cake with half of this syrup.

7.    Divide half of the Mascarpone Cream Mousse between each mold.

8.    Place the second ladyfinger disk in the rings and moisten with the remaining coffee syrup.

9.    Fill with the remaining Mascarpone Cream, leveling it to the rim.

10.    Refrigerate or freeze the tortes for 2 hours.

11.    Remove from freezer and cover the top surface with a thin layer of  chocolate ganache, or sprinkle lightly with cocoa powder to garnish. Remove the rings then decorate the tortes with chocolate decorations of your choice (I made roses from chocolate modeling fondant).

_____________________________

Notes:

I made this fancy tear shaped cake by placing cardboard and heavy plastic strips in a large 14 inch round pan to achieve the shape I wanted.  LOTS of tape and smaller plastic molds were used to get the shape right.

Original recipe source:  OnBaking – Labensky 2005

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January
24
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 24-01-2009

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50th birthday cake travels 500 miles to surprise party in Omaha Nebraska.  Chocolate-yellow marble cake with mocha filling and chocolate ganache frosting.My friend Curt turned the big 50 recently. His wife Kristi and family threw him a party in Omaha’s Old Market area. I offered to make the cake and also wanted to surprise him by just showing up at the party.

I made him a four layer chocolate/yellow marble cake with a mild coffee flavoured ganache as filling. I also covered the cake in a ganache frosting and made chocolate tombstones as decoration. The board was also covered in a swirl of different coloured chocolate. My husband and I packed the cake in a heavy duty box surrounded by ice packs to make the long 500 mile journey from Oklahoma City to Omaha Nebraska and set off about 4:30am on the Saturday morning of the party.

The trip was going well until we were about 20 minutes south of Wichita Kansas. It had been raining heavily during the week and we totally disregarded the Turnpike truck with the big arrow on one of the side exit ramps. It wasn’t flashing or out in the middle of the interstate so all must be ok. Not two minutes later the traffic came to a halt.

So we sat on Interstate 35 North for an hour before a nice police officer came to tell us that there was impassable water over the road just ahead of us and we could drive up the inside of the trucks and turn through the 4ft high median where there was a break. Long story short… We arrived in Omaha about two hours late but they all got to enjoy the cake and Curt was really surprised. The restaurant Chef said he and the staff thought it was one of the best cakes they had tasted in a long time! Yay! Happy Birthday Curt xx.

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