“it’s a nice day for a white wedding”

peach buttercream roses, polka dotted pink pearls & a pink peony on top of a chocolate, gluten-free wedding cake

There have been a whole load of cakes lately on our feed over here at Whatever’s Left… this cake stands out from the rest though since it is the only wedding cake out of the bunch.

I’m so happy to report that this is also the very first wedding cake done in Syros!!! Looks like I may just end up making all my dreams come true after all! Yes, it’s true, someone made a comment once about how I was insane if I thought I was going to have a career on an island as a gluten-free cake designer & how I needed to lower my expectations. Goes to show that I’m persistent!

….because not only did I make the cake, I also made sure that 250+ guests were satisfied with each having a slice of cake. Oh yeah baby, 27kg of rich, moist quinoa chocolate cake later & I can finally say I made it through to the other side of that ordeal alive.

peach buttercream roses, polka dotted pink pearls & a pink peony on top of a chocolate, gluten-free wedding cake

I can’t take all the credit though. I have to thank Ntanos for lending me 12 large baking trays & the use of his truly awesome oven that nearly overwhelmed me with it’s sheer greatness.

I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Eirini P. once again. She kept me focused, inspired, & really helped in an amazing way. She keeps calm & she has solutions. I’m lucky to have someone as passionate as baking & cake design as I am by my side.

 Alright, a little about the cake before I end this banter…

On top we have a beautiful baby pink peony made out of sugarpaste. Next up, it the pink pearl polka dots on the white fondant…. & last but not least is a layer of peach buttercream roses. All on top of my triple chocolate threat cake from earlier last week. Not bad for a weeks worth of work if I do say so myself!

Right, on that note, I am well & truly exhausted…. xxx

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triple threat chocolate attack

tripple threat chocolate cake... chocolate ganache. rich, moist chocolate cake made with quinoa. chocolate & vanilla bean cream filling! Entirely gluten-free

Sometimes I cheat….

What I mean by that is, if I have to make a cake for a tasting (as I’m doing today), I wont make a whole cake.

…I like to do what I call the “half-a-cake“. What I mean by that is, I divide the whole recipe in half, bake only one layer of cake, cut that cake in half & stack it on top of itself. Then decorate as intended.

It’s cheating without cheating.

Truth is, if I made the entire cake, I’d eat anything that wasn’t being given as a sample.

…And then I’d be huge.

Todays cake was made as a half (although the recipe given is for the full shebang). It was a special request from a couple who are about to renew their vows & want something a little special to mark the occasion.

My orders were, that they wanted it chocolate, chocolate & more chocolate….. & that it had to be moist! Well, ok, I can do that.

What I have here is a rich, moist, bitter chocolate cake. That has then been filled with a light chocolate & vanilla bean cream filling. & that whole thing has been covered entirely with a chocolate ganache that is neither dark chocolate nor milk chocolate but rather somewhere in-between.

Message received!

They’ve also asked me to make BINGO cookies as their giveaways for the occasion. Turns out they are quite avid BINGO players who frequent ballsupbingo more often than not. Hey, we each have our quirks. Turns out the game can be quite fun (yes, I may or may not have wandered over & played a few games).

Any way, I’ve not done the cookies yet, but the cake tasting went quite well… looks like I’ll be making about 30Kg of it!

I’d also like to share that I used quinoa as the selling point for the cake. I mean, besides the fact that it is completely gluten-free & the cake was absolutely delicious, quinoa is incredibly healthy for you. Since people are always trying to be more health conscious, I thought I’d throw that little tidbit in there.

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chocolaty cake for the sports lovers

basketball & soccerball cake with the NIKE logo & "JUST  DO IT" slogan.... with a chocolate cake in side & a mascarpone filling... gluten-free

I think the thing I like most about making cakes, is the reactions of the people receiving them!

This girl who ordered this, wanted to give the cake as a gift to two of her friends who had their nameday on Monday. One friend was heavily into basketball, the other was a lover of all things NIKE. You can’t see it in this picture, but the side of the cake had a football (soccerball for you Americans) pattern on it!

Eleni, the girl who ordered it loved it so much, she ran up to me & hugged me!

That’s the kind of reaction that always makes me endlessly happy.

Any way, there’s a rich chocolaty cake in the middle of all that decoration, & a mascarpone filling to it….. It’s a little sweeter than my usual cake, but that’s also because I was making it for teenagers… and you can never have enough sugar when you’re a teenager!

gluten-free designed cake

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Vango turns 40!

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Haaaaaaaave you met Vango?

No?

Vangelis happens to be the Co-Head of the happy little catering company known as Chili Catering. The very same company I’ve been working for, for the last 2+ weeks. With him, I also work with Eirini, you know, that wonderful girl I made the strawberry & mint macarons with & also did a series of trials before arriving at the idea of a roulade with.

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

It’s a fabulous team. There’s also Costas, he can come across as a little grumpy & be hard to know, but once you crack through, he’s pretty fantastic too.

Back to Vangelis….

Did you know he’s turning 40 today? That’s quite impressive if you ask me. He’s been persistent that he wants nothing to do with a birthday cake…

Eirini & I don’t care one little bit what he wants. We’re going against his wishes & whipping him up one any way. Why should he get to deny us the joy of making a cake just because he’s said so?

chocolate & hazelnut layer cake with a delicious purple basil whipped cream filling & decorated with crystalized purple basil leaves.... entirely gluten free

Since he’s quite the Chef & very imaginative with flavors, I’ve decided to do a cake that will be layered…. • hazelnut • hazelnut & milk chocolate • hazelnut & dark chocolate •
Then, in between each of these delicious layers, there will be a wonderfully light, basil whipped cream.

layers of hazelnut & chocolate sponge cake filled with a purple basil whipped cream... gluten free

It’s heaven.

Even more heavenly, the design.

More often than not, I finish a cake & I’m sorely disappointed with it. Not that it isn’t good, it’s just, I always tell myself “I can do so much better”. Not to brag or anything, but I am so ridiculously pleased with myself over this cake that there is no bringing me down. Not today. Can’t wait to show him what Eirini & I did!!!

Did I mention that I lovingly crystalized each & every basil leaf myself? From purple basil plants growing in my garden which I actually grew all by myself from seed?!?! Oh yea, every single part of the process.

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beurre noisette & sea salt brownies

beurre noisette (browned butter) & sea salt brownies - gluten-free

I’m a creature of habit. I find something that works & then I find a way to incorporate that success every which way possible.

Case in point, I recently discovered the power of browned butter (or beurre noisette in French) when I made a batch of browned butter cornbread. I was so impressed with the rich, nutty, yet subtle flavor of the butter that I had to use it again (and probably there will be an again, again later on).

Here I stand before you. Repeating the addition of beurre noisette in a batch of extra dark chocolate & sea salt, gluten-free brownies.

beurre noisette (browned butter) & sea salt brownies - gluten-free

I screwed them up the first time. I’m not ashamed to say it. My butter separated right out of them whilst they were baking & laid in a lake on top of them. It eventually absorbed back in during the baking process, but I knew I couldn’t live with that.

I’m not saying they weren’t delicious… after all, between Mel, myself, Naz & her mother, we practically ate the lot. Ok fine, Mel & I ate the lot… the other two only had a piece each. Still, I couldn’t possibly put them down as a success knowing what had gone on.

Back to the drawing board I went, turns out an addition of an extra egg & a little xanthan gum to tie up the mix was all it took.

I stand before you now a proud baker.

….possibly a little heavier too than when I initially started.

If you make them, you’ll understand.

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