Friday, June 18, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

The first official day of summer isn't until next week, but to me, the start of summer is always Memorial Day Weekend. I went home to the Jersey Shore for MDW and did a lot of baking. I had a couple free days, a few barbeques, and a lot of new recipes I wanted to try out.

First on my agenda was a fondant-covered cake. I've struggled with fondant for a long time now and felt this was a good opportunity to practice being as I had a birthday party barbeque to go to. The cake was a yellow cake (not a good enough recipe to repeat, so I won't include it here) with a chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream (my new favorite type of icing). I used a new fondant sold at Michaels by Duff of Ace of Cakes fame. I LOVE how Michael's is really beefing up their cake decorating aisle. Every time I go in there, there's more and more stuff I want to buy. Anyway, this new fondant tastes a lot better than the usual brand I use, but it's so much more expensive. $20 for 2 lbs whereas I usually pay about $15 for 5 lbs.

I made the bow loops out of sugar paste on floral wire. I'm slowly getting better at working with fondant, but have a longgggg way to go still, and not enough time to practice.

The cheating/bonus tart

I also made a strawberry cream cheese tart. The dough for the tart was a shortbread, which made it very difficult to work with. The recipe makes it sound like you can just roll it out and move it to the tart ring, but as soon as you picked it up, it broke. I found it worked best by pressing it into the tart mold. Once the shell was blind baked and cooled, it was filled with a cream cheese custard. If I made this again, I'd add a little bit of gelatin to the custard to give it a bit more stability. The strawberry compote was pretty straight forward. The recipe makes way more than 1 tart's worth of custard and compote, so my mom had a pre made (store-bought) Oreo pie shell that I just threw the extra custard and compote in that. Not my preferred method, but better than wasting the extra ingredients.

Original Tart

I also made an orange glow chiffon cake. I love chiffon cakes. They sound so retro to me, but they're so moist and delicious. This one was a huge pain in the butt because it stuck in my bundt pan (lessons learned - I should have listened to my mom and sprayed the pan), but well-worth the effort being as I ate it for breakfast for the next 3 days. The recipe didn't have an icing, but I mixed up a really simple glaze with just orange juice and powdered sugar and poured it over the top of the cake. The glaze was pretty thin so you can't really see it in the picture.

I had planned on also making a key lime coconut cheesecake, but as usual, I didn't budget my time very well and being as I also wanted to sleep over that weekend, the cheesecake had to be nixed.


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