Savoriesnsweets’ Blog

Archive for March 2010

The past few weeks have been very hectic.  I’ve been getting over a cold and my mother has also been quite ill.  Unfortunately, I was unable to complete my daring baker’s challenge because I was just not feeling well at all and I’ve been trying to help my mom since she’s been ill too.  But I did manage to still complete my Wilton Course 3 cakes.  Since I haven’t done too much fondant work, I also made some other cakes using the techniques I learned in the class so that I can improve my skills and really familiarize myself with fondant.  I also tried a few different recipes since I had most of the ingredients around the house.  I have to say that while I do love working with fondant since it just creates such a sophisticated look, I still think that cakes are not really complete without some kind of piping work.  I was glad we got to learn more piped flowers in this class, but of course, I wish we were able to practice more.  I’m really looking forward to the next course which focuses on fondant and gumpaste! Here’s some shots of my most recent cakes from wilton 3.

This is a peanut butter and jelly cake filled with strawberry jelly and iced with cream cheese buttercream. This was the first fondant cake from my wilton 3 class.

This is an almond walnut pound cake filled and iced with french vanilla buttercream. I used the royal icing flowers from a previous wilton class.

This is the finale cake for my wilton 3 class. It's a vanilla bean chiffon cake with a lime curd and a coconut rum buttercream. The cake is covered in fondant and the boarder is done in buttercream shells. The roses and leaves used to top the cake at the end are made from a mixture of fondant and gumtex. The flowers and leaves were attached using royal icing.

Since I had leftover batter from my finale cake, I made these peep cupcakes. I didn't have enough peeps for all 12 so I used royal icing flowers from a previous wilton class.

So lately, I’m obsessed with cake.  Not eating it–making it, decorating it, reading about it, talking about it and any other things I can do that have to do with cake.  I pay way too many visits to the cake decorating supply store.  And I’ve been spending a lot of time trying out different recipes, practicing techniques, and rolling out fondant.  My Wilton courses have really opened my eyes since I’ve finally been exposed to the variety of styles and decorations out there.  But really I owe my real cake educational development to courses I’ve staged and attended at ICE.  I also credit a lot of my recent development to reading different books.  Reading the Ace of Cakes book, as well as books by Colette Peters and Toba Garrett have both inspired and challenged me to try new techniques and mediums.  As inspired as I am, I know it all has to start with good fundamentals, so I’m spending this rainy weekend baking cakes and decorating them for spring and St. Patrick’s Day.  I’ll be giving away these cakes, so I want to be sure they’ll taste good, but most of all  want them to be beautiful and lovely cakes!

My St. Patrick’s Day cake is a homemade funfetti cake.  Basically, I used a white cake recipe I got from school and just added some colorful sprinkles.  I figured the colors would be fun for the holiday.

Funfetti cake for St Patrick's Day

The other two cakes were made from recipes from Toba Garrett’s book, The Well Decorated Cake.  That’s a great book with wonderful techniques and most importantly, delicious recipes.  I made her chocolate fudge recipe which was delicious!!  And I filled it with a banana filling and iced it with mocha buttercream. The bananas made the cake have kind of a caramel taste and kept it really moist.  And it was really simple to make!  This can be considered kind of a spin off a bananas foster. If you’d like to try it, here’s my recipe for the banana filling.

Banana Filling

Yield:  just under 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 bananas, diced (I used bananas that were just ripe enough to eat, but I suspect using underripe bananas would be fine too.)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup good brandy or cognac (I used some Remy Martin I already had around.)
  1. In a heated medium sized pan, melt the butter.
  2. Add the sugar and stir to combine thoroughly.
  3. Add the bananas and cook until very soft, stirring occasionally about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg and stir to combine.
  5. Add the cognac and tilt your pan to ignite.  IMMEDIATELY REMOVE FROM THE HEAT! This part is very cool, and VERY DANGEROUS, so BE CAREFUL and DO NOT return pan to the heat until the flames have died. Be sure to have a lid or other pan at the ready to cover this pan if the flames get out of hand.  THIS PART IS NOT REQUIRED!!!  Just be sure to incorporate everything very well and cook off the alcohol.
  6. Allow to cool before using to fill your cake.

Chocolate Fudge cake with banana filling

Royal Icing Daisies

Time for a slice!

In case you’re wondering, everything was made from scratch!  I made the cakes, fillings, frosting and even the fondant!  The last cake I made was the peanut butter & jelly cake from the same publication as the chocolate fudge cake.  I didn’t decorate it this weekend though as I’m saving it for my cake decorating class later this week.

Last week I finished my second Wilton Cake decorating course!  I have to say this time I really did learn a lot!  The focus of this course is more piping work along with piping in royal icing and we made flowers in royal icing.  I’ve never made flowers other than the buttercream roses so this was a challenge to try to keep straight how to make all the different petals for the different flowers and remember their different parts.  Since I’m not too into flowers to being with it was just a challenge remembering what they all looked like.  Of course with a lot of practice, I did eventually get some lovely flowers.  And I’m sure with a LOT more practice I’ll have even nicer flowers! I do have to say that I think piping with royal icing is almost easier since you can get nice edges and peaks where you want them.

We learned how to pipe violets, violet leaves, mums, daisies, pansies, apple blossoms, and I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting.  We also learned how to make reverse shells, rope borders and how to do a basketweave.  The basketweave was by far the most difficult piping I’ve had to do yet!  However, I do really think it’s a nice look for a cake.  Combining the basketweave with flowers, marzipan fruits or maybe some other Easter/Spring imagery I think the basketweave can make any cake look very sweet and still polished.  My finale cake had a decent basket weave in green.  I chose green because I then added flowers all over the cake and I wanted the green to stand in for any foliage that would be under the flowers.  The cake was an almond paste cake with french vanilla buttercream.

And since the student kit came with 2 pans, I was able to make 2 cakes.  The next cake was also an almond cake with french vanilla buttercream but I decorated it with royal icing flowers and marzipan fruits.  I’m now onto course 3 and the wonderful world of fondant!

Here’s some shots of my cakes! 🙂

My Wilton course 2 finale cake

A sweet spring cake