Posts Tagged 'piping'

Pipe Dream #127: To Survive Recital – Vanilla Mango Cake

I think probably over 50 percent of American kids take music lessons. Completely made up statistic, but when you live with a piano teacher, you get skewed perceptions of the musical world. Anyway, I’ve found that a common experience among kids my age is “The Recital,” a dreaded cacophony of sweaty children who may or may not have been practicing the minimum amount so that they would scrape by with their gold star. That is, I they practiced enough to earn a candy bar every month, but not quite enough to approach The Recital with complete confidence that they wouldn’t freeze halfway through their piece.

As the scheduled start time approaches, the chosen sanctuary/gymnasium/Dunn Bros (yes, I once witnessed a guitar teacher’s 15 kids give a group recital in a crowded coffee shop–not pretty) fills with anxious eyes and Easter Sunday outfits. The crowd is hushed, tense with anticipation. The only sound to be heard is the careful flip, flip, flip of sweat-stained sheet music (unless you’re at my mom’s recital, in which case, you can hear me and my friends giggling and scraping away at some Haydn quartet from the front).

Once the music begins, however, the tension eases somewhat. Cameras start clicking; toddlers start fidgeting; the coffee beans start grinding. Besides the dreadful silence as the kid who completely biffs it all walks off the stage, there is a general feeling of resigned-ness. Like, “Well, at least I wasn’t as bad as that guy,” or “I survived. Until next year then.”

This was the basic idea of this cake. The after-party is always the best part of any recital. People are overly happy because their worst nightmares have been nullified in about 60 minutes. My mum usually gets a cake from a local store, but I thought I could make a cheaper/better one. I used a fabulous vanilla cake recipe topped with a no fail swiss buttercream. What you haven’t seen before is the mango curd I used to fill the cake. I had some random frozen mango puree to use up, so I put it to task. I found the curd itself to be a little runny. Heaven knows why, though. Probably curd is supposed to be that consistency and/or I just messed it up somehow. :] Ah well. It tasted like nectar.

Relishing the discord,

L

Mango Curd
Adapted from smitten kitchen

Makes 1 to 1.5 cups

1 15-ounce ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (I used key lime juice, expired)
Pinch of salt
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor, scraping down sides of work bowl occasionally. Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer. Strain through sieve set over large metal bowl, pressing on solids with back of spatula to release as much puree as possible. Discard solids in sieve.

Set metal bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water); whisk puree until thickened and thermometer registers 170°F., about 10 minutes. Remove from over water. Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Advertisements

Pipe Dream #98: To Be Before My Time – Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

I think cream cheese was invented in America. I might have read that somewhere. Anyway, I can’t imagine Europeans inventing it. They like real cheese too much. Cream cheese feels like a processed cheese product of the American 50s.

Sometimes I wish I were born in a different era. I feel like I would fit in better in 1850 than I do now. Clothing from the 1950s makes me wish I were born then. Processed cheese products do not.

Please forgive me for the extremely pedantic explanation that is about to follow. I can imagine myself saying this in a really obnoxious encyclopedia voice:

Regardless of its humble beginnings, cream cheese has become a staple item in everything from dips to desserts. Most notably, perhaps, is its use as a frosting.

There are many frostings in this world, but none is so decadent as the cream cheese frosting. It is rich and flavorful and totally caloric. So, of course, everyone loves it. Especially birthday girls. I decided to try a giant cupcake again. Same problems as last time. Ah well. I can live my life without giant cupcakes.

The bonus of this frosting is that it is super easy to whip up, especially if you live in North America. It’s just two parts cream cheese to one part butter and powdered sugar enough to make it stiff. Snap.

I’m out,

L

Classic Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, softened

1 stick (113 grams) butter, softened

5 cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on the consistency you want)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend softened cream cheese and butter with a mixer. When the fats are well mixed, blend in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the frosting is as stiff as you would like it.

Pipe Dream #78: To Make Manly Treats – Heart Sugar Cookies

The unicorn sugar cookies (click here for the recipe!) were such a smashing success that I was eager to try them again. I hadn’t meant to make them so girly, but the colors didn’t turn out, basically because I wasn’t willing to really commit and use a lot of food coloring. My bad. Plus, once I discovered that I could make hearts, I just couldn’t stop. They were too for cute.

It was so fun. Every cookie was different. Pardon the edges; I know they don’t look awesome. If I had really been professional, I would have used a piping tip or a squeeze bottle to pipe the royal icing. Anyway, I wasn’t being professional, so I snipped off the end of a piping bag. Hence the untidy squiggles. It was an experiment.

Here are some more pictures. Stay tuned for the flood icing tutorial coming up!

Heart,

L

How To Tier A Cake

In our previous tutorial, I demonstrated how to layer a cake. I figured I’d give you a couple weeks to sort that all out. So now you should be pros at layering, yes? Excellent. Let’s begin.

Step One: We’ll start where we left off with icing your cake. Please do that. It looks pretty.

Step Two: When you have your cake iced how you want it, stick some sticks in it. They’re technically called dowel rods, I think. Break or cut them off so they are perfectly level with the top of the icing of your tier. Then, stick them in to the cake, making sure to keep them within the bounds of the next tier so they don’t show. You can use three or four, but five is way out (name that movie). I used three because I went to jr. high shop class and learned that a triangle is the sturdiest shape. Holler.

Step Three: Being very careful not to mess up your frosting, center the second tier over the first and let it rest. To hide the cardboard layer, you can wrap a ribbon around the cake or place flowers artistically or just pipe dots or swirls.

Voila! A tiered cake. It sounds simple because it is. Have fun!

L

How To Layer A Cake

Layering cakes has become a pretty big part of my life. I mean, considering that I had never layered a cake before two years ago, they’ve pretty much taken over. I’ve layered so many cakes I should be re-named. Lauren the Layerer. Sounds sort of medieval, don’t you think? Like Franz the Ferrier or something. Ok. Moving on.

I made a two-tier cake for my friend Amber’s wedding this summer. Each tier had four layers. Please excuse me while I give myself a pat on the back for making a cake with four layers. I’ve never done it before, and splitting cake layers is a particular baking fear of mine.

Here’s how I layered it. Never mind my excessively messy hands. Please try and forget that I am not, in fact, a professional, and focus instead on my gloriously tan arms, courtesy of summer camp. Man, I’m falling more and more in love with myself as this post goes on. I feel a humbling situation coming soon.

Step One: Cut out a piece of cardboard fitted to the bottom layer of your cake. If you are doing the bottom tier of a cake, the cardboard can be a little bigger than the cake, but I tried to cut this one really close because it was a second tier. It will make your cake easier to frost later on.

Step Two: Bake individual layers to stack, or depending on what your recipe calls for, slice your baked layers in halves or thirds. That’s what I did on the cake above and it worked pretty well. There are plenty of tutorials on how to slice cakes if you cared to know.

Step Three: Pipe a big line of buttercream along the very edge of the cake tier. Make the frosting as thick as you want your filling to be else it’ll spill over, and that is no fun for anyone. Except perhaps sweet ants, who seem to have invaded the kitchen counter due to the high volume of weddings this summer. And by high volume, I mean three.

Step 4: Pick your poison. In this case, a luscious raspberry curd. Jist don’t let it spill over your frosting line.

Step 5: Add your cake layer and press down lightly to seal the filling inside. In this instance, I would have preferred a bit more filling (see how low it is?). But I was working with what I had. Improvising.

Step 6: Give your finished tier a good dirty ice and frost as desired.

This is how the final product will look. Pretty ok, eh? Layered cakes add such a delicate touch to any celebration. Go forth! You can do it!

Bye now, sweetums,

L

Pipe Dream #50: To Pipe Creatively

So I made this perfect frosting right? Which coincided nearly perfectly with the reception my new piping tips. And I figured that it would be baked injustice served on a platter if I didn’t try out some pretty piping.

The classic cupcake swirl, just fine on its own, or a pretty foundation for the quins, the pearls, the dragees.

The “bouquet.” I made this one up, but I like it. I felt like I was giving myself flowers. Edible flowers (bonus!)

And finally, the rose with optional mini flower. This one is probably my favorite. It is so elegant.

Try these on your own! It is a really forgiving technique and they look fabulous. Another neato thing–I used Wilton’s 1M tip for all of them. The versatility! Let me know if you come up with more creative swirls; I would love to see them.

Happy piping,

L

P.S. I didn’t even know I could dream 50 things in my life.

Pipe Dream #6: To Make The Perfect Snickerdoodle, Revisited – Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I once posted about Snickerdoodle Muffins as a non-cookie substitute for the real thing. But I forgot! that I had already made a snickerdoodly thing. It was this last autumn. With my old camera(…). And I piped them pretty ok.

My dad liked ’em a lot. He actually requested them a second time. How nice of him, don’t you think? My dad loves me. I know because he tells me. Plus, he eats my baked goods and tells me when I have grammatical errors on my blog. I can take the criticism. Usually.

The cake in this recipe is really springy and happy–it requires cake flour, but I don’t know how much of a difference it would make if you used all-purpose flour. The frosting is really good for piping and slides down the hatch real easy. Like how a watermelon would slip out of your hands if it was greased and you were playing with it in the water.

(I know that that was a really irrelevant and weird analogy. In an attempt to jazz up my writing and use descriptive language, I am attempting to use more analogy. I realize this may not be very successful, but I’m willing to give it a go. Like the slimy politician who makes ridiculous promises because his poll ratings are on their last legs. Ok, Lauren, you can quit now).

I hope you like cinnamon because I write about it a lot,

L

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

For the cupcakes:

1-½ cups cake flour
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-¾ cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 whole eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-¼ cups milk (whole is best)

For the cinnamon buttercream:

½ cups unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
⅛ teaspoons salt
1 pound powdered sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line  a muffin tin with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt, and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.

Divide batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To make the buttercream, cream the butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt together. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk until creamy. You may need to add in some more milk or sugar until you get the right consistency, the consistency of awesome hatch flow. Then pipe on the icing or glop it on with a spoon or whatever.

To finish, combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a fine sieve (or a spoon like yours truly), dust peaks with cinnamon-sugar.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,948 other followers

Lane Cake

Chocolate Clementine Marquise

Spicy Chai Biscotti

Red Wine Pear Trifles

Coconut Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peach Cobbler

Clementine Ginger Tequila Sunrise

S’mores Cake with Malted PB Frosting

Lemon Mousse Crepe Cake

Strawberry Shortcake

Nectarine Brown Butter Upside Down Cake

Raspberry Espresso Fudge Cake

Cherry Clafoutis

Fluffy Buttermilk Biscuits

Banoffee Pie

Blueberry Bourbon Bread Pudding

Pink Sprinkle Cupcakes

Grapefruit Yogurt Loaf

No-Bake Nests

Butter Pecan Shortbread

Black Garlic Herb Bread

Pumpkin Chiffon Torte

Maple Pecan Brown Butter Cupcakes

Advertisements