Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Birthday Cake Season: Incredible Pooh

Over six months ago I made a rookie parent error. And yes I have three kids. I decided to go cold turkey with Gabriel and sold his cloth diapers. All of them. And since then, for over six months, we have done a lot of laundry. The first week Jason had him while I traveled - he said that he was doing great. He just dried quickly : ). Next week he seemed to be making progress and then one day he just turned it off and our washing machine is paying the price. (Yes I did buy diapers but it kills me to do it)

Fast forward to the b-day cake decision. Gabriel said he wanted Incredibles, but at the same time I fell in love with the new Winnie the Pooh Movie. I loved the humor that even adults will get. Maybe I am just simple minded. Then the last scene with the Backson had me rolling on the floor. See, when Jason and I were first married all we had on TV was PBS and almost daily we were treated to Hewell Howser on California's Gold. At first, you don't get the guy, but his enthusiasm for just about everything including manure (google youtube Howser best ever) and the Zamboni is amazingly comedic. If you haven't seen the Winnie the Pooh movie - do so.

I wanted to make a Pooh cake and Gabriel wanted an Incredible cake and Jason's stroke of genius sealed the deal... Incredible Pooh - which pretty much sums up our last 6+ months...

 For those that care, the cake was an almond brown butter (some layers worked better than others, due to our lovely amazingly uneven heating oven), filled with scrumptious milk chocolate hazelnut mousse, sides iced in Italian Buttercream and top iced in White Chocolate Cream Cheese. Mmmm... Yes all edible - as demonstrated by the demise of Pooh below...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Fete 2012
Reflecting Christ

Sous vide egg custard, with cream and maple syrup
“O ye people… who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.” 

Arugula, mango, strawberries, feta
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit – and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink.” – D&C 19:16, 18.

Asparagus tart
“And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty shall have not power to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built.” –Helaman 5:12.

Lamb, apricot chutney, grilled herb bread
“For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son.”

“Ambrosia” Parfait
“Behold, he sendeth an invitation unto all men, for the arms of mercy are extended towards them, and he saith: Repent, and I will receive you. Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely.” -Alma 5:33-34

Raspberry sweet rolls with lavender glaze
“He was wounded for our transgression, he was bruised for our iniquities:…and with his stripes we are healed.” - Isaiah

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Carrot Creamhorns

Today I bring a super cute and super easy Easter treat. Please forgive the ipad photo...

To make this you need:

1. Puff pastry, crescent roll dough or rough puff pastry dough. The picture uses crescent roll dough.
2. 1 egg + 2 TB milk whisked with a good amount of orange gel food color (about 1/2 t)
3. Filling of your choice - these are filled with a basic chocolate mousse.
4. Green bunny peeps.
5. Cream horn molds (available online or at well stocked cooking stores)

To assemble.

1. Cut your dough into 1/4 inch strips (more or less, don't need to be exact). Start at the bottom and wrap your dough around the cream horn mold. Pull as you wrap so it is fairly thin. If using puff pastry you will want to roll it thin to start with as it is less stretchy.
2. Brush generously with orange colored egg wash.
3. Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes until just starting to brown.
4. Cool slightly and remove from cream horn molds. Cool completely on racks
5. Fill with your favorite filling (see recipe below).
6. Cut the head off of green bunny peeps and cut in half lengthwise (so they are half as thick). You can skip the second step if you want, but i liked the thinner peep and the fact it allowed me to use less of them.
7. Stick in filling and voila.

I got about 12 creamhorns per crescent roll package. The package says it makes 8 rolls.

For the filling I used an easy chocolate mousse. For this you should fill right  before serving.

12 oz. chocolate chips
1/2 plus 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
vanilla extract

Place chocolate chips in heat proof bowl. Heat 1/2 cup of cream until scalding. Pour over chocolate chips and stir until melted and well combined. If need be you can warm a bit in the microwave in 15 second spurts or over a double boiler to help it along. Set aside. Whip remaining cream. Mix in about a half cup of whipped cream, then fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Use immediately.

You can also fill with strawberries and cream, mango mousse, carrot cheesecake filling, ice cream. Use your imagination.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Birthday cake Season: Superheroes and Lego

Isaiah never does anything small. His excitement is contagious and he thinks everything is wonderful. It is wonderful to have a child that runs to his own beat and everyone respects him for it. He wanted not only superheroes on his cake, but the villians too. But which to decide...and what about Legos?

Here is his creation...bottom tier...Superman/Lex Luthor. This is chocolate with vanilla buttercream filling. Middle tier, vanilla cake with milk chocolate mousse filling. Top tier, Two Face Lego head made of - of course swirl cake covered in fondant, and dusted with cocoa on one side.  I didn't get a picture, but he put on a repelling Lego Wonderwoman and a bunch of other Lego Superheros. Absolutely adorable.

For those that care....

I used my usual go to Chocolate Cake (based off of black magic cake) for the chocolate layer. The vanilla cake was based off of King Arthur's gluten free vanilla cake, with the brown rice blend rather than their proprietary blend. It was very very dry - but good once soaked in simple syrup.

I used Fondarific fondant, which tastes very good IMO - better than Satin Ice and certainly better than Duff. However, it is very soft and hard to work with when covering a large cake. Satin Ice remains my personal favorite. I didn't cover the second layer in fondant, but just frosted it, for those less excited about it. For what it is worth though the kids loved loved loved the Fondarific fondant and  kept picking it off the cake.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Christmas dinner

Better late than never...

Every Christmas we have Mexican food. I think it started with a love affair with Rick Bayless on PBS and Christmas Eve Tamales back before we even had kids. But  now, our kids wouldn't have it any other way. This year Jason was on call on Christmas Eve, which meant he would theoretically  be home the afternoon. Luckily, I planned on a meal I could pull off on my own, because sure enough at 1:30 PM I get the call - there is an emergency and he needs to go do a procedure. By now this doesn't rattle me, but it sure rattled my little guys who had been waiting all day to open presents. They were convinced those gifts were going to stay unwrapped forever (not to mention the fact I was too lazy to open the many Amazon boxes so they didn't even know who they were for!). But Jason did come home, we enjoyed our meal and we had a very merry Christmas. 

Chiles en Nogada
Roasted Poblano Chile stuffed with black bean, squash, pepitas and dried fruit. Walnut crema sauce and pomegranates. 

Galavanting through the city and a Christmas dinner - yes in February...

A few years ago when my husband’s job moved up to the city we were planning on moving up there. In the end the school and my job logistics squelched that move, but I still have a romanticized dreams of urban living. If nothing else, for the wealth of good food in the city. Since Jason was working over Christmas this year we decided to modify our typical Christmas even plans and move the celebration to the city. We hiked up Nob Hill to see the gingerbread house at the Fairmont, and down to Union Square to see the very impressive sugar castle at the Westin. We returned on New Years (observed) for another day on the town. So here is a run-down of some gluten free dining with kids in the city – much of which is walkable around Union Square.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Birthday Cake Season! Garage Band Cake.

It's birthday cake season, which always means busy times but also a lot of fun. Aaron is fickle...

We designed an awesome "grown up" spiderman cake, but then he decided he was less into Marvel and more into DC comics (I think I have that right)... but then he decided that he wasn't into comics anymore. Instead he was into Angry Birds - so I went and got a grass piping tip. Then he wasn't into Angry Birds and so this went on, over the course of 2 weeks everyday it was something different....until he landed on Garage Band. This could very well be the case of dumb luck, since he landed on Garage Band the day of my deadline for his cake. Guitar cakes are relatively easy so I couldn't be happier! Chocolate, with chocolate mint frosting and truffle filling. The underlying fondant is orange, then I brushed on copper around the edge, topped with black piping gel. I covered the black fondant pieces in clear piping gel, which made a shiny finish like an electric guitar.