Buy yourself some vanilla beans. You won't be sorry. The flavour that comes out of these is so intense and they are useful in many ways. I scrape out the seeds and use them for my buttercream, or make vanilla sugar, and with the rest of the bean you can make extract.
Slice the vanilla bean down the middle and use your knife to scrape out all the seeds. Mix them into a jar with sugar and seal. Let it sit for a couple weeks before use to let the vanilla infuse the sugar.
Never buy artificial extract. Good quality vanilla extract is easy to make, and affordable. Vanilla beans can be stored in a sealed bag in the freezer to preserve them if you don't have enough beans ready to make your extract.
~ 3-4 vanilla beans
~ 1 cup vodka
~ Jar with lid
Vodka is used because of its high alcohol content. Put the beans in the jar with the vodka and make sure it is sealed tight. Shake daily and store in a cool place.
didyouknow? Try adding vanilla extract to your egg batter when your making french toast. Makes a huge difference in the taste.
My friend just recently celebrated her first year of marriage. She got married in Aruba, a beautiful beach wedding. Most people keep a piece of their wedding cake to eat on their first anniversary - and then there are others who can't, or like me who would rather bake one fresh and make a cute mini replica. Here is the mini replica I made for her. Congrats and love to Melissa and Mike!
My husband has a really cool salt water fish tank. I thought it would be fun to photograph the cake next to the tank. Can you find Nemo?
Pretty cakes need pretty displays. And not-so-pretty cakes need them even more. Here are three of my favourite cake and cupcake stands:
Lace cake plates
from vesselsandwares, pottery by Jeanette Zeis on Etsy.http://www.etsy.com/shop/vesselsandwares?ref=seller_info
Romero Britto 2 Tier Plate stand
. I love Britto's pop art. I saw these in a store window at a Tea Shop on Bloor Street (toronto), I am sure they are sold at many little shops.http://www.popartmiami.com/romero-britto/britto-table-top/romero-britto-2-tier-plate-stand-heart-shape.htmA little shameless plug: I used to create my own unique cake/cupcake stands, view them here at the shop
. Something I hope to do more of this year. A display on a cute custom stand is the extra icing on your cake. They are also a nice design element on your kitchen shelves.
Dulce De Leche, the Nutella of the caramel world. It's a popular spread in latin america. You could spread it on toast and pancakes. I made a turtle cake and used Dulce De Leche for the caramel filling, this spread is sweet and smooth and has just the right thickness. The buttercream is also Dulce De Leche flavoured.
Eggs are an essential part of a cake. Eggs are the glue that holds everything together. They provide flavour and texture. Once I started learning more tips and tricks for baking I learned that eggs must always be at room temperature before adding them to a recipe. If you forget to leave them out to get to room temperature, put them in a bowl of warm water to speed up the process. It is also recommended that they are room temperature when you make scrambled eggs or omelets. Try it out.
There are substitutes for eggs however, they are: 2 tbsp cornstarch or potato starch, 1 banana, 1 tbsp flax seed and 3 tbsp water.
didyouknow: if you crack eggs on a flat surface you will be more successful in keeping it whole and not breaking the yolk.
This post was brought to you by the Dairy Farmers.
Puggle is a crossbread dog with a Beagle parent and a Pug. This puggle's name is George. The dog's head is entirely edible. It was a sculpture cake that was part of a bigger cake - a vinyl record with sunflowers. This was my first time making a dog's head, but I love challenges and I love unique ideas for cake so it was a lot of fun to make. The ear's and eyes are made out of fondant. Speaking of fondant, you know how it never really tastes good, well this cake is made with chocolate fondant. It's like a giant tootsie roll. Don't get too excited, the taste is not quite like a tootsie roll, but close.
In case your wondering, yes that is a cupcake in the middle of the sunflowers.
Another sculpture cake, can you guess what it will turn out to be? The answer and photo will be posted tomorrow (saturday). There is a teaser hint if you scroll to the bottom of the post...
Do you watch Cake Boss
? Here it is "dirty iced"...
Hint: It's an animal. Did I give it away? Because I know what it is I don't know how difficult this game actually is. Did you guess it?
Bomboloni (bombolone is singular) are a Tuscan fried dough pastry with filling. They are similar to other filled doughnuts (Berliner, krafne, etc.) and are eaten as a snack food and dessert. The pastry's name is anonymous with bomboloni (large bombs), and features in an Italian pop song playing on the double meaning of the spoken word.
Also referred to as Bombe.
Bombe are the Italian version of doughnuts. I'm Italian if I haven't mentioned that before, and this was my first attempt at making these delicious balls of fried dough. They didn't come out as they should, my dough didn't rise properly and therefore they were too dense. I filled them with Nutella (of course) but you could fill them with lemon, fruit, jam, anything really. I am in search for the ultimate bombe recipe, but I could never conquer them like the people who move to Italy just to learn the art of making these babies. Maybe I should move to Italy. Ciao.
It's my chocolate fix when I don't have chocolate in the house. But you know what tops it off? Toasted marshmallows. Put your marshmallows on a baking sheet in your toaster oven or stove and set to broil until they are the perfect amount of toastiness. The marshmallows soak in your hot chocolate at one end and retain their crispness on the other. Yum.