Saturday, April 30, 2011

9/99: Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

The Chocolate Tomato Cake has become one of my favorite cakes in the book because it is so incredibly easy to make, easy to impress, and because it creates excellent dinner conversation as everyone tries to guess the mystery ingredient.

Tonight was one of my good friend's birthdays so I brought this cake along to the party and the group spent minimum  of15-20 minutes trying to figure out what was in it.

Rum? Vodka? Citrus flavored liquor? Mayonnaise? Mustard? Cumin? Tarragon? Roasted Red Peppers? Paprika? Cream Cheese? It drove them crazy.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

8/99: Catalan pinch cake: The day the tornado hit

Yesterday morning I was woken up with my housemates jumping in the bed with me.  I'm lucky because not only do I have a queen sized bed, but it's in the basement of the house.  While the rest of the world was crouched in closets because of the twister that was in our area, we got to go back to bed.

Sadly this continued to be the theme all day long. Go in the basement, come out, go back in the basement, run to make dinner, run back to the basement, and thus the trend continues from about 3:30 to 11:30 pm.

Thankfully we didn't loose power until about 9 last night.  The tornadoes were flying through but our little house held it's own.  The bad news is that I got too optimistic around 7:45 and decided to make the next cake.

Meet the Catalan pinch cake:

Sunday, April 24, 2011

7/99 Apple Caramel Charlotte

The Apple Caramel Charlotte is a cake that I've been looking forward to making for quite awhile.  It's a really pretty cake in the end with the stacked cake crust and the apple rose in the middle.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ingredient chaos

As I'm home for Easter, I have decided to attempt the Apple Caramel Charlotte for our Easter cake.  Here's what Rose says about it: "When this European inspired cake is made with a Bavarian filling, it is one of the most complex and elegant desserts the finest restaurants and confiseries can offer. In this version ethreal slices of layered biscuit encase a caramelized billowy crème anglaise-based filling that blends perfectly with the apples."  Stay tuned for tomorrow's post for that one.

But in the mean time, I have had a horrible time trying to find what I need for this cake. Problem ingredients: vanilla beans and castor's sugar (superfine sugar).

Why can't I use regular sugar and vanilla extract you ask?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

6/99: Southern (Manhattan) Coconut Cake with Silk Meringue Buttercream

Dear coconut lovers,

I believe that I have just discovered your cake. Not only does this cake have a ton of coconut in it (Coconut flakes, ground coconut, coconut milk, coconut extract), but it also has a bit of my beverage of choice: Malibu Rum.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

5/99: Saint-Honoré Trifle

I think this may be one of my favorite cakes that Rose makes. It consists of a genoisé cake with a Grand Marnier syrup and a Chiboust Cream.  In between the layers, it is filled with strawberries and preserves.  Finally it is topped with a whipped cream topping, strawberries, and spun sugar.

Spinning Sugar

Tomorrow I am hosting a shower for Liz and therefore I reserved a fun cake to make for it!

For the shower I'm making the Saint-Honoré Trifle. It is beautiful trifle and I am so excited to use my new trifle dish.

What I am most excited about this dish though  is the spun sugar topping.  Tomorrow you will hear about how the trifle turned out but right now you get to hear about how cool this spun sugar is. I think I've developed a new passion.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Note about the Chocolate génoise with peanut butter and raspberry

Oh my word.

I tried the cake this morning. I was going to give it to someone but I don't have that much self control.

Oh my word.

4/99: Chocolate Génoise with Peanut Butter Whipped Ganache


Sometimes it's just time to start over.

Tonight was one of those nights where it was definitely time to start over.  I started baking around 11 when I finally had some time.  But sometimes life happens when you don't expect it and it just throws everything off.  I don't mind my emotions getting a little out of wack but when it affects my baking then that is just not acceptable.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

3/99: Designer Chocolate Baby Grands

Rose's Designer Chocolate Baby Grands look absolutely amazing in her book.  They look smoother than Reeses cups and she comments that they are great for dinner parties.  I added a little chocolate flair to the top of mine and they turned out ok:

So a good rule to go by: If you are making something that is supposed to turn out beautiful, don't be an absent minded chef.

2/99: German Chocolate Ice Cream Cake with Coffee Ice Cream

This cake was made for Hope's Kitchen shower.  One of her favorite things in the world is ice cream so it seemed appropriate to make her the ice cream cake.  I chose a coffee ice cream filling as coffee is her flavor of choice =). It has a "chocolate snowball fudge sauce" that was so delicious on top of the cake. 

I ran into a few issues while making the cake but it ended up great. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

1/99: Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake

"It tastes like apple crisp... but it's better than apple crisp!" -Elizabeth Cain

"I could seriously eat the whole cake in one sitting." - Jessica Weston

 "I'm the one who said I could eat the whole thing. I seriously could. hehehe." -Hope McKinney

Well cake number one was definitely a success. I think I am going to be gaining a lot of weight this year but that's totally ok with me if everything tastes as good as this cake does.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Challenge

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement.  I have decided to embark on a baking challenge following the example of Julia Powell.

The challenge: 99 cakes from the book Rose's Heavenly Cakes. 

I am excluding the 6 wedding cake recipes from the challenge unless someone asks me to make a wedding cake as that's a TON of cake to do.

Time: 1 year. That schedules out to about 2 cakes a week (give or take a few).
  • Begin date: Friday, April 8, 2011
  • End date: Sunday, April 8, 2012
The contender: Jane Travis, student and sales associate by day, crazy cake lady by night.

The project will continue assuming that I have the funds to allow it to and enough mouths of people that are willing to gain a few pounds and indulge in some cake.

Let the baking begin!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Velvet Butter

This is Rose's Velvet Butter cake. Yum. 

I was suddenly struck this afternoon with a strong desire to make a cake. Life didn't matter anymore- the only thing that mattered was the cake. So I flipped open the pantry and figured out what I could make with what I have.

It's really not a challenging cake and it turned out nicely with a beautiful golden crust.

here's the cake sans glaze:

In theme of tonight, I decided to make a glaze with a little Malibu Rum. I used a basic glaze recipe- stick of butter, melted, 4 cups of conf. sugar, vanilla, hot water, and of course Malibu.

Garnish with a few chocolate shavings and voila! Bon appetit!


I recently found a website called  I'm addicted to it.  You can pick any category that you like and it takes you to different websites within that category that you might find interesting.  A couple weeks ago, i found the recipe for a fraisier. A fraisier is a light cake (usually a genoise) that originated in France. They turn out to be beautiful cakes if you do it right.  This was my first time and I definitely have some learning to do.

Where I went wrong with the cake is that I didn't make enough filling and as a result, the strawberries were so full inside of the cake that it tasted more of strawberry than of anything else.  You can see that the top is peaked because of the strawberries inside (oops).

I want to try it again because after making a few adjustments and decorating it a bit more, I think i can make a beautiful cake. Here's take one but stay tuned for take two!

Sugar and Flour: what you need to know

1. Sugar
So many recipes in baking call for superfine sugar rather than the every day sugar that every good American woman has in her pantry. Does it matter?

I've made many cakes that turned out great without the superfine sugar so if you're not looking to be an overachiever in cake baking, then no, it doesn't really matter that much. Regular sugar will work.

But we're not interested in things that simply work now are we? No, we are interested in making the perfect cake... and that's when superfine sugar comes in to play. When you look at the chemistry of baking, sugar is important because it "facilitates the incorporation of air into the fat" (Rose Beranbaum). So since superfine sugar has room for many more sugar crystals, it allows even more air to be incorporated into the fat so that the cake has much better texture.

So basically, think of a cake that you tried one time that completely melted in your mouth and you had absolutely no idea how one could ever achieve that type of cake deliciousness. Superfine sugar can take some of that credit.

2. Flour
This is another basic ingredient of a cake that can confuse people sometimes. There's all purpose flour and self rising flour and cake flour, etc. Does it really matter that much?

YES! Cake flour has a lower acidity than the other flours do and therefore it helps the flavor of the cake to be sweeter and it also does a lot for the texture. The cake will have, as Rose calls it, a "more velvety crumb" (yum!) and allows the cake to support more sugar and other things that you might want to add to your cake- fillings, chocolate, nuts, etc.

All purpose flour can be used sometimes as a sub if you add some corn starch but really, it won't have the same effect.

And if you're thinking about using self-rising flour, put it back in the pantry immediately. It has baking powder in it which will give you a course cake with weak support. It will also make the center fall and you really don't want that.

So to my baker friends out there, make sure to get the right sugar and flour for your cake. You may not think it matters that much but it will be worth it in the end.

Cupcakes for Liz

I recently hosted a bridal shower for my best friend, Elizabeth. She likes cute little wedding things and is obsessed with monograms so i decided to have some fun with cupcakes.  Her fiancee's name is Josh so i thought it would be a nice touch to personalize their cupcakes.

They are pretty basic cupcakes. I made chocolate cupcakes with a marshmallow buttercream icing.  To add a little bit of flair, I draped ribbon around the side of the bases. It turned out kind of cute!

Jane Bradley's Topsy Turvy Cake

 Before you look at it, know that it is supposed to be lopsided. that's the point of a topsy turvy cake. Think Dr. Seuss.

This is my first ever attempt at a Topsy Turvy Cake.  Here's what goes down: Each tier of the cake consists of three layers.  The strawberry flavored layer turned out to be more than three because the layers weren't thick enough and because I used a brownie layer in the middle for support. You place the first two layers like normal (with icing in between of course) then you cut the third layer in half diagonally.  You flip the second half of the third layer to where the thick side matches up with the thick side of the other half- that's your top layer.

Once you get all of your tiers assembled and iced, then you have to shave the base to where the top is wider than the bottom.  Then you cut around the cardboard base and measure the new bottom.   Once you have the bottom measured, you cut the size out of the top of the tier that it will sit on so that it will sit flat on top of the second layer- you don't want any tiers falling off the cake now do you!

Here are my layers before cut the circles out of the tops of them:

And here is the final product sans lollipops:

It was a cute cake- fit for a 4 year old.  What i didn't do properly is give the cake enough support on the outsides- big mistake- as I didn't angle the cuts in the third layers.  I cut straight into them.  As a result, the slanted tiers pushed out the third layer, making the cake much less stable.

Jane Bradley's First Birthday!

What a fun cake to make! Jane Bradley had a rubber ducky themed party for her first birthday.  As a result, lacey wanted a giant rubber ducky birthday cake for her.  Thick cake turned out to be great for the occasion.  It was a pool party and there were rubber duckys hanging everywhere in decoration!

I also made a second cake without the base (just the rubber ducky) for Jane Bradley to dig into.  It looked basically the same but was a bit smaller. What birthday girl doesn't deserve her own cake?

Mary's Wedding Cake

This was the first wedding cake that I had ever been asked to do and it turned out i think better than expected though definitely at an amateur level.  

If I were to re-do the cake now, I would definitely make each tier about twice the size.  They are two thin for my liking which makes the cake look too brittle. 

Overall though I was proud! How many teenage girls get to make a wedding cake?

Laura's Baby Shower

Kimberly's birthday cake

This is the cake I made way back in highchool for one of my friend's birthday.  I believe it was her sweet sixteen. The first attempt was a chocolate cake (which you can see next to the complete version in the second picture).  Since this was at the beginning of my cake exploration, I hadn't quite figured out how to use support in the cake. It flopped and so my friends and I ate it with a spoon.  I'm quite glad that it did though because in my opinion take two turned out much better than take one ever would have.