That’s been a recurring theme for me over the past few years when failures, disappointments or losses have come to pass — even as I haven’t been keeping up this site, I’ve thought this! I must keep pressing on! It’s been true in the area of cake and cookie baking and decorating. When I’ve made a cake that’s less than I’d hoped or doesn’t look as elegant as I intended, I have to remind myself to press on, to keep pressing on!
I hope to add some photographs to show you some of the things I’ve been working on, but alas, I cannot seem to get the site to upload photos. I’ll continue trying, though, because there are so many fun things to share with you. So, happy baking and, remember: keep pressing on!
Posted 3 months ago at 4:18 pm. Add a comment
And we surely do give thanks this year — as we do every year — for the great and lavish goodness and love of the Lord! How merciful He has been with us this year! How gracious He has been! How present and abiding! How tender and kind He is and has been! For all of these things and more, We give thanks unto the Lord of Lords for His mercy endures forever.
As you have noticed, I’ve not been able to spend time writing entries and haven’t been able post photos of the cakes and other desserts I’ve made over the last several months. I’m not sure why the photo-uploading software is not working properly — but when I figure this out, I have some sweet new photos to share… and when I have time for a cup of tea with you, I’ll share some of this year’s baking highlights.
God bless you and your home… more and more. Happiest Thanksgiving!
with love, ♥ pamela
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 12:58 pm. Add a comment
I’m so happy to have gotten this new cupcake pan — it’s not for single serve cupcakes, it’s a cupcake that serves a dozen or more! Isn’t this fun?!?
So… my first attempt was fine – but I should have just stayed with the original plan — instead of continuing to play in the frosting to see what different styles look like. You know, I find that that’s often my problem — especially with frosting, swirls or flowers. It’s like: one more, one more, just one more… ooops, too much! So that’s how this cake was. I should have stopped with the giant piped swirl. But I didn’t. ♥
Posted 2 years, 1 month ago at 8:21 pm. Add a comment
A recipe called for blanched almonds. I had raw. So, instead of going to the store to buy blanched almonds, I explored how to process the almonds myself. So now, I’ve discovered that when it comes to blanching almonds: there is nothing to it! You simply boil some water in a saucepan and then drop the raw almonds into the water, boil (blanch) for a minute and then pour off the water and place the almonds on a clean kitchen towel. Then just slip the skins by sort of ‘pinching’ the almond between your fingers – the skin just slides right off. Easy!
Later, I will share with you the recipe that called for blanched almonds.
Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 10:44 pm. Add a comment
This one’s from The Cake Bible, p. 46-47. I wanted to make a special cake for a couple of girlfriends who have birthdays this time of year. I wanted it to be light, not too sweet and not too strong in flavour. So… browsing TCB I remembered a cake I’d made a couple of times before — but not for this cake journey — so that’s the one I chose — the White Velvet Butter Cake.
I think it’s a bit dry – very light and tender, but a bit dry. It’s a white cake – except for the insignificant colouring from the butter and vanilla. I think I’d add a tad more butter next time. But I think it baked up beautifully — and when I asked my daughters how they liked it, they thought it tasted good. Still… ISO… the perfect cake.
To frost it, I knew I needed something that wouldn’t be too overpowering for the simple cake – so I decided to make the Mousseline Buttercream (TCB p. 244-245).
I’m pretty sure Mousseline Buttercream could be just the right thing for anything… as a spread for muffins, toast, crackers or fingers. It’s smooth as silk, buttery and soft. And yet! I used it to pipe the edges and base and to make the little dots after I used it to frost the Raspberry filled cake. I don’t know if I like it as much as the other buttercreams, but it’s very nice!
The funniest part of making buttercream is the almost suspenseful process! You make the syrup and add it to the stiffly beaten lightly sugared egg whites and then when it’s cooled, by continually beating, you add butter by the pound tablespoonful. You continue to add butter — even though you might feel just certain the process is failing and you’re wasting a pound of butter. It’s not until you get three fourths of the way through that you finally see some marvelous progress! At this point, it really does seem as Rose says… (even though my heart is beating faster at the suspenseful process) the frosting is finally a “luxurious cream.”
It was delightful to stack the cake (filled with raspberry filling) and frost it with this marvelous dreamy frosting – piped the edges and added flowers. I decided not to pipe the roses, but to make them from fondant — which I love doing!
Posted 2 years, 5 months ago at 1:19 am. Add a comment
The cakes have just come out of the oven as I begin typing up this post. I penciled in my notes on pp 58-60 in RHC… noting that I forgot to add two whole eggs to the egg yolk mixture — I noticed them in the little dish beside the mixer after the two cakes were baking in the oven — ooops. And I noted the special order of cake preparation — as a reminder to myself that this cake is prepare in three parts – the almond cream filling, the sliced pears and the cake batter.
I often wonder if it’s wise to make double recipes for cakes I’m trying — unless the recipe is terribly decadent – read: expensive! In that case, I’ll likely just make a single recipe and serve smaller portions to our family. Though most are quite average, some of the recipes in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes are quite expensive when the cost of the ingredients is added up. I have been buying ingredients along the way with money I’ve recieved from the baking of other cakes – wedding cakes, mostly. I’ve sort of become discouraged by the strict state regulations for baking and catering businesses. So… I just bake for friends and by referral on a donation basis. I know this isn’t the wisest method to build a business or isn’t a very profitable business plan, but if we’ve learned nothing else in this life, my husband and I sure know it’s the Lord who provides for us — for our every need and has never failed us. Ever.
But I digress. Here’s the Swedish Pear and Almond Cream Cake…
So, I went to Top Foods and bought a can of almond paste… turns out I only needed one half of the can (good thing!), so I will search another recipe in the book that will require almond paste and I’ll use it for the cake I make on Monday. If I don’t find a recipe, I’ll resort to baking an almond bread braid (our family will not object ~wink~).
I weighed the amount of almond paste called for in the recipe. That’s one of the greatest assets of the RHC cookbook — not only are the recipe ingredients listed in measuring units, but also the required weight or volume is listed for each ingredient. This makes for much more accurate measuring and baking. I should have weighed the eggs, for example, for the Chocolate Butter cake. I will next time.
I made the Almond Cream Filling and set it aside; I thinly sliced the pears and drizzled lemon juice over each slice and also set them aside. I mixed the dry ingredients and added the sugar and the butter and sour cream — it was quite thick — but the slowly added egg mixture made the batter very smooth. Rose recommended scraping the sides at 30 second intervals – I did it sooner than that.
After dividing the batter into the two pans (remember, I had doubled the whole recipe), I smoothed it out and made the shallow well or depression in the center of the batter all the way around the pan. This allowed for the Almond Cream filling to have a definite place in the batter so that it wouldn’t touch the pan sides. Then I arranged the thinly sliced pears evenly around the top of the batter/filling and then repeated another thin layer of pears all around. I baked them for 55 minutes. It was the perfect time / half way between the 50-60 minute suggested baking time.
I suspect missing two of the whole eggs had something to do with the more flat appearance of the cake — but after it had cooled and was served, everyone had a slice and thought it tasted delicious. The pears were enveloped into the middle of the batter as the cake bake and stayed ‘sliced’ looking even after baking. I hope you’ll try this recipe. I definitely will bake this one again — I will use a smaller tube pan and I might raise the heat by ten degrees.
Posted 2 years, 6 months ago at 1:04 am. Add a comment
So yesterday I thought I’d bake up some cupcakes — maybe even attempt to sell a few at our book-sale. Yes, we have an ongoing book sale in the yard this week as (oldest son) Daniel acquired several thousand used books from a guy who apparently buys old library cast off”s.
I decided to bake the Chocolate Butter Cupcakes (RHC pp 296-297) and I frosted them with Chocolate-Egg White Buttercream (p 302). Actually, I made one recipe of the Buttercream with dark chocolate and one with semisweet chocolate and since the cupcakes were particularly chocolaty, we decided that the second frosting was a better pairing as the cupcakes needed a tad bit of sweetness to bring out the delicious chocolate flavour.
I need to bake this recipe again a few times — the cupcakes weren’t ‘domed’ and didn’t have a perfect texture. I need to measure eggs by volume — I realized too late that I used the number of eggs the recipe called for, but I didn’t *measure* the volume of eggs. I had extra large eggs. And, though I used pastry flour, I wish I’d used cake flour. And unsalted butter.
Here are a few photos of the process.
I placed a small square of dark chocolate on the top of each buttercream frosting swirl. I smiled as I looked at the photo after I snapped the final picture… I hadn’t noticed that someone had eaten one of the cupcakes.
I knew I needed to continue the quest to bake the perfect cake when someone asked if this was cake-mix cake. I think today I’m going to make up a batch of cookies… for the book sale… I’m not ready to sell cupcakes just yet.
Cookies I’m sure about — I know how to bake great cookies — cakes… still elude me.
Posted 2 years, 6 months ago at 4:03 pm. Add a comment
Here’s the finished cake…
The White Velvet Cake with Lemon Curd filling and Neoclassic Buttercream
I used fondant to cut out the flowers of three sizes to randomly place all over the cake and buttercream to fill the centers, dots and border around the base of the cake. My goal was a sunny-cheerful birthday cake…
Posted 2 years, 7 months ago at 1:18 am. Add a comment
I knew there’d be posts like this. I just hoped they wouldn’t happen often. Or this soon. I’d gotten the kitchen all cleaned up from the cake debacle and I was content with the now cool cake and so it was time to proceed with preparing the frosting.
I”d decided to make the Golden NeoClassic Buttercream p. 299
Note to self:
Do not overcook the golden syrup/sugar/lemon juice in the saucepan. It will become hardcrack candy impossible to use. And you will have to soak the pot, the spatula, the whisk and anything else that came in contact with the would-have-been syrup.
But if you do overcook the syrup, fret not thyself! You’ll sigh a sigh of relief that you hadn’t used (and wasted) the $3. a pound block of butter. And, if you’re enthusiastic, as I am, you will just say, as I did: Ooops.
I was sure happy to simply start the first part again — the part where I was to bring to a rolling boil. Note to self: Bring to a rolling boil. Bring to… not keep boiling…
1/2 Cup plus 2 T. superfine sugar
1/2 Cup Golden Syrup
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
I then added the syrup (properly done, this time) to the yolks. Since I have made French and Italian buttercream before, I knew that I needed to carefully pour a thin stream of the hot syrup into the mixer — taking extreme care to not hit the mixer-whip and fling the syrup to the side of the mixing bowl.
After that cooled, I mixed in tablespoon by tablespoon, the butter until the Neoclassic Buttercream was perfect: Heavenly. Well, at least that’s what I think Rose might have said.
Posted 2 years, 7 months ago at 1:07 am. Add a comment
I decided to make the White Velvet Cake – page 17 – but with Lemon Curd filling instead of milk-chocolate Ganache. Seems better to me for the birthday cake today.
The recipe is straightforward – a butter cake – I’ve made it before for wedding cakes. Simple. Glad it’s in this book. So I decided to use my 9″ pans. That would prove to be a mistake. I would learn that my pans weren’t deep enough. Ooops.
I was asking my family — who was watching the woodstove? I sensed the fire was a bit too hot — I mean, it just smelled too hot. When the timer went off for the least amount of suggested baking time I opened the oven to have a look at the beautiful cakes ——– what?!?!?! Smoke??!!??!!?!
What to do? What to do? Well… I got the large barbecue spatula and removed the bit of barbecued cake I could remove and then… I just decided to let the cakes finish baking and I’d assess the situation in ten minutes. And when the timer rang and I removed the cakes from the oven over to the cooling racks, I decided they were salvageable… so there they stayed to cool.
A bit later I removed the pans and the parchment paper stuck to the bottom of each layer and proceeded to fill and frost the cake. With the heavenly lemon curd and the Neoclassic Buttercream that was going to go on that cake. — I knew it wouldn’t matter at all what happened along the way…
Posted 2 years, 7 months ago at 12:59 am. Add a comment