Miniature Dessert Cupcake Toppers

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My dear friend Kathy recently celebrated her 30th birthday for the third time (you can do the math).  A small group of us went out to celebrate with AYCE sushi brunch at Sushi Sugoi, which was a great time.  Since it was a small gathering, I didn’t want to make a huge cake with lots of leftovers, so I decided to make a small batch of cupcakes and prettify them with some cute toppers.

I always wanted to have a go at making miniature foods to dress up cupcakes or other things.  I LOVE food and I’m typically a fan of food when it comes in humongous quantities, however there’s something adorable about seeing tiny, small scale pastries or bowls of ramen made out of fondant (or polymer clay for those that make them as charms or display) that you can balance on your finger.  Can we say “kawaii”?

I decided to keep with the dessert theme and do a few different types of sweet edibles, like a macaron, cake slices, a chocolate swiss roll, and neopolitan ice cream sandwiches (which were really something I came up with on the fly since I had fondant scraps leftover).

I started with the macarons.  I knew I wanted to include macaron fondant toppers since me and my friend had a mad obsession trying to perfect the macaron last Christmas.  I rolled some fondant that I tinted with pink food gel to just a little more than 1/8″ thickness, using my Wilton 9″ rolling pin with the slide on thickness guide rings.

Once rolled I used the mini circle cutter to cut out two discs.

I then used a sharp toothpick (or anything that’s needle point shaped) and poked a bunch of holes at the bottom half of each disc to mimic the macaron feet.

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Then, I rolled out some white fondant to a 1/16″ thickness and used the same circle cutter to cut out what

would be the macaron filling, and then simply assembled them together.

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Mini macaron!  I made several of these, I think 4.

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I then decided to use the rest of my pink fondant to make an ombre layer cake, which kind of reminds me of the pink ombre cake I made for Kathy a few birthdays ago.

I rolled out even balls of fondant, graduating each ball a slightly lighter pink than the one before.

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and then I rolled out the four pink balls each to just over a 1/16″ inch thickness, and stacked them alternating them with the white fondant rolled out slightly thinner to represent the icing layers.

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I then rolled another disc of white fondant for the top of the cake, and then cut out a rectangular shape of fondant that was the diameter and height of the mini cake.  I didn’t care too much about the seam becuase I would be covering the top.

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I then put the remaining bit of pink fondant left into my extruder and piped out a roper border which I coiled and put on top of the cake to be like the icing.

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Once the cake was done and I made sure all the layers were adhering to each other, I had the joy of using my blade to cut into my cake to see all the layers inside.

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Next, I decided to do a chocolate swiss roll.  I rolled a sheet of white fondant and brown tinted fondant each to a 1/16″ thickness and cut them to the same sized rectangle, and stacked them on top of each other.

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And then rolled it up!  I trimmed off the two ends to get rid of the uneven bits.

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Lastly, with my leftover brown, white, and pink fondant, I thought I’d make up some simple neapolitan ice cream sandwiches.  Again rolling out the brown, white, and pink fondant to the same thickness and stacking them on top of each other like I did with the swiss roll, I cut them to small rectangles.  I then used a pointed fondant tool to make the holes on the cookie.

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To dress up the miniature foods I had just made, I figured they would look better on some mini plates, so I rolled some fondant to 1/16″ thickness and used the wide end of a large piping tip to cut out circles.  I used a fondant baller tool to form the inner recessed circle of the plate, and used another fondant tool to pinch the edges all around the plate.

I jazzed up the cake slices a bit by mixing up a stiff royal icing and using the wide end of a flat toothpick, spread the icing on the exterior of the cake slices to make the outside of the cake look like it was covered in buttercream.

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With the swiss roll, I cut off a couple slices of the swiss roll and plated them in various ways of the log.  I used the same stiff royal icing at the top to give the appearance of whipped cream and added a few balls of pink fondant poked with holes to resemble strawberries (or any other kind of pink fruit I guess).

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The macarons were simply placed on a plate, stacked on top of each other.  I took one of the neopolitan ice cream sandwiches and placed it with the 4th macaron, and you can see at that point how out of scale my macarons were relative to the other treats :)  Or we can just say it ‘s a giant macaron cake.

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The rest of the ice cream sandwiches were stacked on top of each other.  With all of these treats and plating, I used stiff royal icing as the “glue” and they held up very well.

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I think these look so adorable together.

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I put these toppers on some taro flavored cupcakes I had made, some of them with taro icing, some of them with chocolate icing.  The one with the 3-2 was her official birthday cupcake, and was so delighted with the mini macarons on them.

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Enjoy, and good luck trying these out!

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Jungle Themed First Birthday Cake

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After making her daughter’s fishy cupcakes for her 3rd birthday, my friend Becca was so kind to give me an encore to make her son’s 1st birthday cake :).  She requested a strawberry cake with blue and green colors incorporated.

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Cake toppers for inspiration.

She sent me a picture of a few jungle animal toppers that she wanted to incorporate.  With that, I thought a great way to get the colors in was to do a blue buttercream all around the cake, with green detailed in the shape of grass!

So I baked up two strawberry cakes, 8″ round.

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Then leveled and cut each cake in half, and started layering them in the same fashion I always do.

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I decided this cake was as good as any to try playing with modeling chocolate.  With a mixture of white chocolate, corn syrup, and food coloring, I rolled out some green modeling chocolate to 1/16″ thickness, on a sheet of was paper greased with shortening.

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Then I used a sharp scalpel and cut out the silhouette of the grass.

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And carefully pulled off the excess chocolate.

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And brushed a layer of sugar syrup on top.

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I then pressed the grass around the cake bottom using a fondant smoother.

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Then I slowly peeled off the parchment paper and used my finger to smooth away any of the shortening residue that was on it.

I have to credit Jessica Harris for her awesome technique on using this wax paper transfer method to transfer modeling chocolate/fondant details onto a cake without worrying about guidelines and placement!  Using this method made it really easy to line up the grass without worrying about ripping or stretching my modeling chocolate.

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I then made some yellow modeling chocolate, rolled it out, and imprinted a chevron pattern into it.
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I then used my scalpel and cut out some letters to spell out the birthday boys’ name, Ace!

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Because I wanted them to firm up before applying them onto the cake, I covered part of my 8″ round tin with wax paper, and placed the letters on there (with some shortening on the back so they would stick to the paper) to let them firm up, while still maintaining the curvature needed to apply them to the cake.

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While those firmed up, I used my scalpel to cut out a number 1, to go on top of the cake.

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And to bring in some of the brown found in the features of the animal toppers, I to used an extruder to make a border around the 1, as well as around the bottom of the cake.  I made a long strip of it and cut it to the appropriate length and applied each strip individually.

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And then the bottom of the cake.

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Once the letters hardened, I applied some sugar syrup to the backs and gently placed them along the side of the cake.

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And the finished cake to bring to Becca (pre cake toppers).

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And a quick picture of the adorable birthday boy, looking a little confused at what was going on :).  However I think they enjoyed the cake all the same.photo

Happy 1st birthday, Ace, this is just one of many great birthdays to come!!

Tres Leche Cake

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A few years ago, I made the smart (but uncommon) decision to order a dessert AFTER an all you can eat meat buffet fest at Bolero in Calgary.  I was so glad that I did, and continued to repeat this pattern of glutenous behavior in subsequent visits there.

Why?  Because of their Tres Leche Cake (translated to be literally “three milk cake”) which is exactly that: a sponge cake soaked in condensed milk, whipping cream and evaporated milk.  

There is nothing wrong in that sentence at all.

Attempting to make a tres leche cake was something I had in the back of my mind for a while now, and I finally decided to give it a try to bring to a farewell party for some dear friends of ours that were moving away.

(I have a tendency to try new recipes when the pressure’s on.  I dunno why I do these things to myself.)

You can find the detailed recipe that I used here.  It’s pretty straight forward enough.

Anyways, separate the egg yolks and whites from each other.

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Whip up the egg yolks and sugar till they are a nice pale yellow.  Then add in the milk, and once combined, stir it into the flour mixture (not shown).

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Whip up the egg whites and sugar until stiff peaks form.

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now GENTLY fold the egg whites into your egg yolk/flour mixture.  You don’t want to deflate the air too much, otherwise it won’t soak up all the milky goodness you’ll be pouring in later.

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And then once incorporated,  spread it into a greased pan.  The recipe said to use a 9×13″ pan.  I however opted for an 8×11″ pan.  I wanted my cake to rise a bit taller.

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And bake it at 350 degrees F for 35-45 mins, or until your toothpick comes out dry.

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While it’s cooling, you can prepare the milks.  Combine the cream, a can of evaporated, and a can of condensed milk into a pitcher.  Stir them well together.

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Once the cake cools, pierce it all over with a fork to make it easier for the milk to soak in.

So… this is my ugly cake, flipped upside down into my 9×11″ pan.  A part of the bottom of the cake got stuck to the pan so I had to place it back on like a toupee.  But no worries, we’ll be covering that up soon pretty quick here.

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Start drizzling the milk mixture all over the cake, paying attention to the sides and corners, you don’t want to leave any dry cake areas.  Try to get every part of the cake nice to absorb the milk.  I even went as far as to lift up the undersides and corners of the cake with a spatula and tilted the pan to let the excess milk run underneath to help with absorption.

You should be left with approximately 1 cup of unused milk in your pitcher when it’s all done.

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Let the cake soak for about 30 minutes until all the milks are soaked in, and then whip up the heavy cream with sugar to make a nice fresh whipped cream to cover the cake with.

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For the purposes of what I was making the cake for, instead of topping the cake with cherries like the recipe suggested, I decided to pipe out some letters with melted chocolate onto parchment paper, let it harden in the fridge, and placed them on the cake.

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I was a bit apprehensive when it was time to serve the cake, worried that my cake might have totally disintegrated and became a soggy, pudding-y mess and wouldn’t hold it shape when I cut into it.  I was so relieved to see that I was wrong!  The cake was very moist, rich, creamy, but still held it’s shape.  I can’t get over how something so simple can taste so decadent.

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This recipe is definitely going to my “must keep pile,” and I think the next time I make it, I’ll try serving it with a drizzle of fruit puree on the side, just like Bolero.

With that being said, the cake was devoured, well wishes were made to our dear friends, and a pathetic attempt of a going away song was sung to the tune of “happy birthday to you.”

But that’s another story for another time.

 

Great Eats and Sweets in Montreal!

If you’re wondering what’s up with my foodie flashbacks, I had a bit of a realization that I had been so wrapped up in sharing about fun things I baked, that I stopped sharing about great things I ate.  So here’s me making up for some lost time, sharing some of my food highlights from me and J’s Montreal honeymoon!

Schwartz’s

We hit up Schwartz’s as soon as we landed in Montreal.  I really don’t know what to say other than “GO.”  It was probably one of my favorite places during our time there, and I absolutely loved the vibe of the place: super casual, noisy, and me and Justin eating along the counter watching the cooks serving up the food and them tossing things our way whenever we asked.

Just, go.

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The best window display *I’ve* ever seen.

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No shortage of food: a plate of smoked meat, a smoked meat sandwich, a stack of bread, which seems to be standard with every order. We also dug into some coleslaw and house made fries (not shown). Sigh.

 Juliette & Chocolat

Nearby Schwartz was a place I googled that was suppose to have some good desserts, so we walked off some of our meat sweats, and headed to Juliette & Chocolat for some delectable desserts.  The vibe was perfect, cozy, chill, a different but welcoming vibe from Schwartz’s.  I was really into their various drinking chocolates and made sure to order one!

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A snapshot of their delightful display of treats.

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My dark drinking chocolate. Mmm…

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Passionfruit pot du creme

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Strawberry and banana crepe

Fairmount Bagel

Again, after another googled search, we hit up Fairmount Bagel for breakfast on our way to the Jean-Talon market.  Located in a quiet area within a residential setting, it’s very very small inside; the place where you pick up bagels to go.  They do however, have a small menu of different cream cheeses and smoked salmon which they can prepare for you.  So we did that and ate on the bench outside with the company of some pigeons looking to pick up any fallen bagel crumbs.  44415_10151142840176560_876845510_n

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One of our fresh toasted bagels with salmon and cream cheese.

La Banquise

After a great afternoon at the farmers market we decided to stop at La Banquise for a “light” mid afternoon snack of poutine.  We ordered two two share: the La Galvaude, which was chicken and green peas (we thought it’d be different), and the La T-Rex, which had ground beef, pepperoni, bacon & hot-dog sausages.  YUM!

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 Maison du Macaron (now called A La Folie Patisserie)

And just a little ways down from La Banquise was the Maison du Macaron, a bright white, simple, and clean cheery cafe with a huge assortment of macaron flavors.  We decided to get 6 to share, as well as a giant iced macaron, filled with house made raspberry sorbet!

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Our 6 assorted macarons.

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Our fancy ice cream sandwich macaron with raspberry sorbet

 

Au Pied de Cochon

We had a 9:30 pm reservation to Au Pied de Cochon that night, it was the only time we could get in (but that’s okay, we wandered some nearby shops and I found two dresses for a steal of a deal.)  Believe me, this food was worth the wait, and the vibe is super hip.  It was a warm night, and they had their garage style doors wide open for neighborhood passerbys to look (and smell) what was going on in the restaurant.
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Baked mushroom tartlet with a bunch of different mushrooms.

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Fois Gras on top of a baked apple slices. So rich and decadent. The apple/fois gras combo was so good!

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Duck covered in this amazing broth of various types of mushrooms.

 Olive + Gourmando

Olive + Gourmando was one of those walk by places that looked so happenin’ that we had to go inside.  We were staying at the Hotel Nelligan in Old Montreal and this place was nearby.  We popped in for some great pastries and a mid afternoon coffee.  With their assortment, it really was hard to just pick a couple.

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Check out that spread!!

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Le Gros Jambon

Another little diner close to our hotel, we popped in for breakfast also at the recommendation of Google.  I’ll be honest, I thought my breakfast was just alright, but what kept me coming back literally every morning after that (no jokes), was their ridiculous delicious chocolate chunk cookies by their front window.

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Sweet counter.

They were so good that I bought 3 right before we flew back home so I could have a little something to enjoy back home.  I swear there’s something in them, they were so addicting!!

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Yummmmmmmm!!

Cacao 70

Being a big fan (and also being deprived) of chocolate focused cafes, I knew I had to squeeze in another chocolate stop in Montreal.  That takes us to Cacao 70, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a coco fix!  The inside is fun to see, with their wide display of various chocolate nibs and chips from all over the world.

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My frozen hot chocolate. I loved how it was hot on the bottom and was cold on top.

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J’s drink (unfortunately I can’t remember what it was, but it was really good too).

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We went for the sharing assorted platter for 2: 1/4 of their triple chocolate pizza, a banana split waffle, chocolate covered ice cream, and warm chocolate sauce, and chocolate fondue with various treats and fruit for dipping in, as well as a grill to roast our marshmallows. HOHHHH.

 Beavertails Pastry

The perfect way to end off our last night of our trip was wandering the port of Montreal, and stopping in for some beavertails.  (Think elephant ear, but longer, and better cause there’s toppings!)  This place was buzzing with a long line up of people awaiting their beavertails and beverages, but me and Justin were able to nab a table in the corner to finish off our trip in Montreal.

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We loved our low maintenance honeymoon trip of feeling like we were going someplace far away, without having to bother with passports, currency exchange, and a long plane ride.  It was perfect for what we wanted, and we just had a ball eating our way through the city as a newlyweds!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Oat Bars

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I was bored.

I had quick oats in my pantry from my days of eating healthy *snort*.

I opened allrecipes.com

I entered in “quick oats” as an ingredient to use.

And I found this recipe. Seriously, a much better use of quick oats than the flax-seed-no-sugar-applesauce-don’t-pretend-you’re-a-cookie cookies I originally bought them for.

Melt the butter and brown sugar.

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Stir in the oats.20140423-231457.jpg

Then pack half of it down into a pan.20140423-231504.jpg

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I love this.  Melt the peanut butter and chocolate.20140423-231510.jpg

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And pour it on top of the bottom layer of oats.20140423-231534.jpg

And because I love coconut and happened to have some on hand, I didn’t think it’d be a bad idea to toss some of those in a bit.   The more the merrier, right?20140423-231541.jpg

Top the chocolate with the second half of the buttery oat mixture and oat it down. And like the recipe suggests, you just chill these until they firm up where you can cut them into squares.  20140423-231547.jpg

Nice.  Give these bars a try, be happy you saved a bit of electricity for not turning on your oven, and enjoy!

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Great Eats and Sweets in Vegas!

Better late than never, right?  And for the fact that I just plain forgot.

We went to Vegas in September 2013 for my bestie’s wedding (wut wut) and had such a great time celebrating her marriage, me and J’s first wedding anniversary, catching some great shows, and EATING.  Yes.  Eating.  I love taking pictures of my food, and I love looking at other people’s food pictures.  So here were some of my highlights.

Bacchanal Buffet @ Caesar’s Palace

This was our first food stop right when we landed.  We had heard great things about the buffet, and absolutely loved it.  The cherry on our pie?  We went there right when the service switched from lunch to dinner, expecting a big line up, but it was so dead that we were able to go in at the lunch price and pretty much eat for dinner.  SCORE!

The buffet selection extends forever, even far back to a corner that I’m pretty sure I would’ve missed if I hadn’t followed the line of food all the way around the restaurant.  We sat right by the dessert island, which was probably my favorite part of the whole place (surprise, surprise).

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Assorted cold seafood, crab legs, mussels, shrimp, oysters, etc

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Don’t order a beverage! Lots included in the buffet!

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Chinese station. Impressed that they had some authentic dim sum items.

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Assorted sushi/rolls

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This guy was my bff, the cuts of meat available were SO GOOD. The rack of lamb was awesome!

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Also ramen and pho noodle stations for your liking.

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Made to order crepe station, with a bunch of different toppings and fillings

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Mochi ice cream! Impressed.

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Some of my choices: coconut ice cream, chocolate creme brulee, chocolate macaron, and chocolate lava cake…one of these things is not like the other.

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My chocolate crepe. I threw in some berries for health.

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Made to order banana and chocolate souffles!

Cronut at the New York Hotel

I learned about the cronut from my dear friend in NYC doing her grad school in there (who stood in line for hours for one), so when I happened to come across one in the New York Hotel, I just had to give it a try.  I knew it probably wouldn’t be the same as the original in NYC, but what the heck?  It was pretty good, though probably not as melt in your mouth as the NYC one but it gave me a good idea of the flakyness and layers of pastries through the donut.

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Gordon Ramsay Steak @ Paris Hotel

Me and J treated ourselves to a fantastic meal at Gordon Ramsay Steak for our 1 year annivesary, followed by a late show of “Le Reve” at the Wynn.  By far the most expensive meal we had, but SO worth it (in our opinion, anyways).  We didn’t get to see any of the famous chefs we were hoping to see, but the great food made up for all that anyways :P

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Smoked Beef Tartare: lemon zest, red onion, capers, white anchovy aïoli, cured egg yolks, yukon gold herb chips (not shown in the picture)

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We each had the 24oz Bone-in Rib Eye, along with 3 sides: Demi Roasted Bone Marrow, Spinach gratinéed with Parmesan cream, and fingerling potatoes with truffle and Parmesan.  All finished.

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After dinner french press coffee, with 3 chocolate spoons (white, milk, dark), each filled with different liqueurs you can stir into your coffee. I stirred in all three. No shame.

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Sticky Toffee Pudding: sweet pudding cake, brown sugar toffee, brown butter ice cream.  No exaggeration when I say I wish I could go back in time and eat that all over again.  It was so moist and rich!

Bouchon @ The Venetian

Me and J stayed at the Venetian, as it was close to the Wynn where the wedding was to be held, and also where my bride friend was staying.   On the morning of her wedding, we joined her and her family for breakfast at the Bouchon Bistro.  I was excited for it as I’ve only experienced delightful offerings from Bouchon bakery, but never the restaurant.  Although my french toast looked small, it really filled me up (must be all them sugar and carbs), and I loved it.  I’m a sweets person for breakfast (and any other meal), so this really hit the spot.

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My choice: Bouchon French Toast: bread pudding style with warm layers of brioche, custard & apples served with maple syrup

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J’s choice: Corned Beef Hash: corned beef hash served with two eggs over easy.

 

 Maggiano’s @ Fashion Show Mall

One of the best things about having a small wedding (like my friend did), is that you can have it in delicious restuarants with a few tables of your family and guests.  That’s exactly what she did, and the wedding dinner was held in Maggiano’s Little Italy in the Fashion Show Mall, in one of their private rooms.  My only complaint for that meal was that my dress wasn’t stretchy to accompany my stretching stomach wanting to harbor all the food.  The meal was so good from beginning to end and the desserts was GREAT.  I believe they ordered one of the family style dinner feasts where you pick a certain number of appetizers, entrees, and desserts, and this is what they picked (good choices, guys):

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appetizers

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main courses

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DESSERT!!!!

 Max Brenner @ Forum Shops

After an entire day at the outlets, we met up with our newly wed friends and some newly made friends at Max Brenner in the Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops.  I tried to hit up Max Brenner when I was in NYC a few years back but didn’t make it, so I was determined to make it that time around.  Their menu is my dream, with a ridiculous offering of chocolatey desserts, treats, and beverages.  Chocolate is the key ingredient here, and I’m totally fine with that.

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Such fun, vibrant menus!

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My beverage, the Choco-pop: hot chocolate topped with crunchy chocolate wafer balls.  Loved it, and loved the “hug mug” that it comes in.  Loved it so much I bought a mug and saucer for myself to take home.

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My O.M.G Chocolate Chunk Cookie: house baked dark chocolate chunk cookie. served with whipped cream, red berries, & pure melted chocolate.

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The Fantastic I-Scream Bar Fondue: vanilla ice cream popsicle, pure melted chocolate, Choco-pops and candied hazelnut crunchy bits.

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Banana Hazelnut Crêpe: chocolate hazelnut spread, sliced bananas, chocolate chunks and chopped hazelnuts. served with milk chocolate ganache, Choco-pops and dulce de leche ice cream.

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Caramel, milk, and white chocolate fondue, with their own fire to roast their marshmallows, and a smorgasbord of things to fondue, including cookies, marshmallows, strawberries, bananas.

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What the receipt came in (how sweet)

All in all, a great trip, and I would highly recommend checking out any of these places, if you’re looking for a good food spot (or treat).  Cheers!

 

Surprise Rainbow Heart Cake

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I have been a big follower of Amanda Rettke’s blog i am baker, and was really excited when she came out with her book “Surprise Inside Cakes”  Inside she has a slew of cake recipes and techniques to create fun cake interiors for various occasions, and also at various difficulty levels.

Of course, my favorite was the cake on the cover of the book, the rainbow heart.  It was also I believe the most difficult one to make in her book.

So I, never having made a surprise inside cake ever in my life, decided to try that out for my first go around.

The final result wasn’t too bad, though of course I can’t compete with what was on the cover.

NOTE: I actually used a box of Betty Crocker french vanilla cake mix for this to try to cut down on some of the time since I only had an afternoon to do it.  As such, I had to tweak some of the proportions from the recipe in the book.  I needed one box cake mix to do everything I needed.  So I made a mini surprise heart cake.  This walkthrough shows the mild modifications I had to do to accommodate for a cake my size, as well as summarizing the instructions noted in the book, but please refer to Amanda’s book for a much more comprehensive guide.

The base of my cake would be a 6″ round (vs the 8″ cake in her recipe), and my various colored cake layers would be baked in my 4″ round pan.

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I poured the cake batter about 3/4 up the 6″ pan, and put it in the oven.  While it was baking, I divided out my batter to make sure that I had enough for the 6 colors, and for another 6″ round cake.

I got out 6 bowls and spooned about 4 spoonfuls (and I mean like actual eating spoons) into each bowl and tinted them all the colors.  I used my 4″ pan and baked each one of those colored batters individually (the downside of only having one pan of that size)….Though in retrospect I think some of my larger ramekins might’ve worked?

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Once my first 6″ round cake was done, I baked up the second 6″ round cake.  Once they were cooled I levelled them into 4 equal layers.

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I then followed the instructions and put a thin layer of buttercream icing and placed on another layer.  I repeated that with the 3rd and 4th layer so that I had two cakes, each one being two layers.

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I then used my 3″ round cookie cutter and pressed it into each of the two cakes slightly, which would serve as the guide to carving out the heart shape.  (I probably over whipped my batter, hence all the holes (bleh)

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At this point a bit of math had to come into play.  To see what the final height of my cake would be, I loosely placed the 1st two-layer cake onto the 2nd two layer cake and measured it.  For me, my cake came up to being 3″ tall.  That meant I knew that my heart couldn’t be higher than that.  I decided to make my heart stand about 2.5″ high so there was some vanilla cake buffering the tops and bottoms.

Now the cutting, I decided to do the bottom of the heart first since it was just a cone shape I had to cut out.  As per the book, we treated the mid point of the cake as the mid point of the heart.  That meant that I needed to carve the bottom of the heart (the cone shape) to go 1.25″ deep.  Amanda advised using a toothpick marking the depth of the cake and using that as a measuring stick for how deep your cone went down.

Following the circle cut made into the cake, I made my dome that shape.

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Now for the top half, again I knew that the top curvature of the heart had to stop at 1.25″ deep.  As instructed, I dug out a channel with a “cake island” in the middle which would serve as the indentation in the middle of the top of the heart.

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So I (eventually) baked up all the colored layers, and let them cool.

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I stacked my layers on top of each other and measured the height.  It didn’t take much for me to realize that the layers were too thick for my heart that had to stand 2.5″ tall.

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With 6 colors, I knew that each colored layer needed to be about .4″ thick for me to get a total heart height of 2.5′”.  I slowly shaved them down with a bread knife until I had each cake leveled.

I started with the bottom of the heart (the cone).  I used my circle cutters and cut out a small circle of a cake and used a small paring knife to whittle it into a cone shape reminiscent of the cone shape at the bottom of the cone.

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I brushed some sugar syrup on top, and did the next layer, cutting out a disk of blue.  Another brush of sugar syrup.  We then topped this cake with the final layer, using the 3″ cutter to cut out the green an placed it at the top.

I pressed each other quite firmly into the cake to try to prevent any air gaps from happening.

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I repeated with the other half of the cake.  First the red, I cut out a ring of cake, cutting out the interior so it just fit the island in the middle.

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Then the orange (below), and then the yellow on top (not pictured) which again should cover the top completely like the green layer did on the other cake half.

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I then stacked the two halves together (hoping) to match the two circle cut outs.

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I did a quick crumb coat.

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And then did some messy buttercream icing to finish it off.  I opted for a more unassuming exterior to contrast the fun interior.

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I was super nervous when I finally cut into it, however, surprise!

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Looking back, I think I might try using a more dense cake in the future because my cake was very crumbly, and therefore more challenging to carve out.  Perhaps my cake also wasn’t hard enough in the freezer, as Amanda instructs us to make sure our cakes are chilled firm (not frozen) to ease the carving process.  Either way I was very happy with the way the cake turned out as a first try, and will definitely be trying some of her other techniques!

Grab her book and start making your own surprise cake!