Friday, October 29, 2010

Bzzz Bee Cake

The bzzzz bees on spot!

Hi guys, how are you? Yesterday was the final class for the flower course from Wilton. Again we had to make a cake iced with buttercream and use the techniques that we learned during the course.
I made a carrot cake with raisins frosted and filled with "real" white chocolate buttercream that my dear friend Layla taught me.  To decorate I made fondant flowers in three shades, some leaves and three little cute Bees (that I did using the tutorial on the blog: I also used the classic Wilton technique: the "basketweave". I twas pleased with the result..., what do you think?
One important detail: I used this amazing real buttercream (no crisco on it) and it is real light and fluffy but the fondant flowers got a little heavy for the buttercream so they weighed too much and pushed down all the buttercream ... Luckily, I managed to take pictures of the entire cake before going all down! …lol… live and learn right people?
The cake... I guess you guys can see that is starting to collapse here... :( 
The flowers..
Next week begins the Fondant Course! Woohoo! Finally! :)

Happy Baking!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Cupcakes

My Halloween Cupcakes with my Pumpkin for the Jack-o-Lantern

BOOO! Halloween is on Sunday! My son already has his costume for the kids party at the Kids club in the building. To celebrate Halloween I baked diet chocolate cupcakes with diet frosting as well. It was good, but guys to be really honest with you I gotta say: there's no way to replace sugar huh? :P
The witch hat, your legs and shoes I did with modeling fondant. The shoes I made using the idea of this blog: I'm in love with this blog! There's a lot of tutorials on it! 
My witchy hat! 
Poor witchy... she got "eaten" by the cupcake... the details on the shoes... inspired by the Wizard of Oz
Happy Halloween!!! 

Happy Baking!!

Le Cordon Bleu Cookie Recipes

Hi guys! You asked and I will post three recipes that you requested me!

- 2 commercial puff pastry sheets 
-1 cup sugar 

How to make
1. Thaw the puff pastry dough in the refrigerator for 1/2 an hour.
2. Sprinkle sugar on your workbench and the in the dough.
3. Place on sheet on top of another and sprinkle a little bit of sugar between them.
4. Fold 1 inch of the edge of the dough on both sides of the sheet.Add more sugar on top. Continue to fold 1 inch up each time until the center is reached.
5. Freeze dough for 5 minutes
6. Remove from freezer and cut the cookies with a knife (about 1/2 inch).
7. Dip cookies in sugar and place on a baking sheet. Leave enough space between the cookies because they will grow.
8. Bake at 375F for about 15 minutes. When cookies brown on bottom, turn them over to brown on the other side. Cookies should be very crispy and dry.

Christmas Tree Bark (especially for my dear friend Layla)
- 1 pound white chocolate, chopped 
- 1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
- 8 red and white peppermint sticks, crushed

How to make
1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (or plastic wrap).
2. Crush the peppermint sticks with a rolling pin (or a hammer) or even with the food processor.
3. Melt chocolates separately in a water bath (yes you can use the microwave)
4. Spread the dark chocolate on one half of baking sheet and place the white chocolate in the other half. Throw crushed candy on top and place in freezer.
5. When the chocolate is hard just break it the way that you want.

NOTE: In my class I did not do half and half. I just mixed the two of them to give the effect of mixed chocolate :D

Rugelach (Especially for Paula Cinini of The Cookie Shop)
-1 1/2 stick butter
- 6 oz cream cheese
-1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup jam (I used raspberry)
- 1/2 cup pecan, chopped 
- Egg Wash (egg mixture with water for brushing the dough)

How to make
1. Make a cream with butter and cream cheese in mixer.
2. Add sugar and salt.
3. Add flour.
4. Rest the dough in the fridge for half an hour.
5. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each piece out individually to a circle about 10 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Cut each circle into 8 equal wedges (like a pizza). Spread the jam in a thin layer over the cut circle. Sprinkle nuts over the jam. Roll each of the triangles up like a croissant and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill for 15 minutes.
6. Egg wash cookies before baking at 325F for about 10 minutes. Be sure not to have a puddle of eggs around base of rugelach.

NOTE: Always chill the dough in the fridge to cool for about 15 minutes if you feel that the dough is softening or sticking in your hand.

If you have any question, just ask!!

Happy Baking!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Le Cordon Bleu + Cookies + Confections

Hi guys, sorry for my absence! I am doing a thousand things at once and I'm with a lot of new ideas to bring to you! 
But this post is about my second class at Le Cordon Bleu! : D On a super cold morning, and waiting for the train, I went to my class ...

The class was about cookies and confections. I really don't need to say I had a blast and I loved, right? I just need to apologize for the poor quality of the photos. When I got there I realized that I had forgotten my camera at home so I had to use my cell phone .... sorry...
What was in the menu? 

.Rugelach: Delicious, we make the dough with cream cheese and it's filled with jam. My I fill mine with raspberry jam. So yummy!!!

.Christmas Tree Bark: Oh, that is to die for! It is a super simple cookie to do, just melt semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate, place in baking sheet and sprinkle over that sow crushed peppermint candy. Then just leave in the freezer and break it with your hand...

.Palmier: I love it and my mother love it too! Hmmm ... delicious!

.Reindeer tracks: this is a cookie that takes oats, brown sugar, white chocolate and dried cherry .. need to say anything else? 

.Finally I also made the classic Sugar Cookies, but that I didn't took a picture of it...:(

Did you like it?? Now I want you to know which recipe you prefer me to post! I'll be waiting! :)

Happy Baking!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Go Bananas!!

I need to start this post telling you a secret: I hate bananas! I even hate the banana smell. But I learned to make a banana cupcake that I really liked it! So now I decided to share this recipe with you and this post goes especially for a dear friend of mine which I don't know personally but who has won a piece in my heart, Michele Pazo from Michele Pazo Cake. You guys should visited her blog! She's very talented and she a sweetheart! To visit her blog just click here.

Banana Peanut Cupcake with Milk Chocolate Buttercream (The Chopping Block)
3 large bananas 
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup milk 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup natural peanut butter 
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar 
2 large eggs
1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

How to make
1. Pre-heat the oven temperature at 350F and prepare cupcake liners in a muffin pan.
2. Mash the bananas well. Add the lemon juice, milk and vanilla. Set aside.
3. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda with a spatula or a whisk.
4. In mixer, beat butter and peanut butter with the sugars until mixture is smooth and light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add alternately dry ingredients and liquids to the butter and peanuts cream. Start by placing the dry ingredients and finish with the dry as well.
6. Fold in 1/2 cup of the chopped peanuts. Reserve left over to decorate cupcakes - if you want, of course ... :)
7. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes. let cool completely to decorate.

Milk Chocolate Buttercream  (The Chopping Block)
4 1/2 ounces milk chocolate 
3/4 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons water
5 egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

How to make
1. Melt chocolate in double boiler. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. In a small saucepan combine sugar and water. Boil without stirring (!!!) until temperature reaches 240F (yes, you will need a candy thermometer) on a candy thermometer.
3. Meanwhile, in an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until very foamy.
4. Once the sugar is ready, reduce speed and add the hot syrup into the egg whites. Increase speed and beat until it reaches room temperature. This process should take 10-15 minutes.
5. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time and then add the melted chocolate, vanilla and salt. Beat until all ingredients are well incorporated and fluffy.

I hope you enjoy!!

Happy Baking!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Ah, the Fall....

I simply love Autumn ... Autumn has a different smell, smell of wood, falling leaves, the cold  weather with beautiful blue sky… and I fall in love every day of autumn. Here in Chicago is getting so pretty ... the trees are getting yellow(ish) and some of it are getting red ... love it! And to celebrate the beginning of this wonderful season I made some cupcakes that are (very humble…) WONDERFUL! :) I baked some chocolate cupcakes and made a bittersweet for the frosting. I also decorated my cupcakes with orange fondant butterflies and red fondant tiny leaves (in some of then). I hope you like it!

Happy Baking!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

To my gradma, with love

My beloved grandmother left so many wonderful memories to me but unfortunately she passed away almost 3 years ago. She was and still is very present and important in my life. She was very talented in everything she did. My gradma used to make some caramelized candies that are very elegant and chic, for her grandchildren she used to bake  and decorate 3D cakes also she would bake tarts, pies, cookies… a lot of yummy treats!  And she always would give spatula for me to taste what she was doing.. hmmm ... and I loved! And today I'm here, trying to follow her steps (I still lack many ....) and trying to honor someone so special in my life.

I said all this to tell you that I finished the first module of my Wilton Method course. Next week I'll start the flowers course and in November the fondant one. For our final cake we had to to use the techniques we learned during this module (which was the basic one).

We had to decorate with buttercream and do any kind of cake but my cake came out as a disaster ... hahahaha ... I tried to make the cake type "checkerboard". This cake my grandmother used to make for my grandpa and I thought it was a good way to honor her but unfortunately I failed. The vanilla batter disappeared completely and got very hard, the chocolate batter was great but when mixed with vanilla got terrible ... hahaha ... anyway, at least I tried but I'm not a quitter and I'm going to do once more!! I kinda like my final cake and I hope you like it too...

Happy Baking!!