guilty feelings

I’ve got a red grape jam recipe that I’ve been sitting on for almost a week now.

Why haven’t I shared it yet?

Well… a cake order took precedence.

MY BLOG IS BEING OVERRUN WITH DESIGNED CAKES!

designed, gluten-free cake featuring the sea, music & a sail-boat

Not going to lie. I absolutely love having the work & the opportunity to keep creating more cakes… I feel with each one we do, Eirini & I improve constantly.

A big part of me misses the regular updates of recipes that could be created on a daily basis. Not cakes. Not overly complicated, time consuming, energy sucking monsters… but healthy, filling & satisfying recipes.

I’ll post up the Jam recipe next. I promise. For now I have just one more cake though. (one more for now).

designed, gluten-free cake featuring the sea, music & a sail-boat

A special order for a greek-american who loves Syros, the sea & singing/music. I think we managed to capture the order pretty well. As always though, I’m left looking at the cake & only seeing the flaws. The areas where “I could have done better”. This is in no way a comment on Eirini, as it’s the parts that I did where I’m left with criticisms. Still, I am very happy with the cake as a whole.

The recipe used was a modified version of the dark chocolate quinoa cake. I’ve posted the recipe again with the alterations made in order to satisfy the requirements of this order…. ENJOY!

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“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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almond & strawberry roulade

gluten-free almond & strawberry roulade

During our trials the other day, Eirini & I also tested out a recipe for a cake that the Bride & Groom (for one of the three events) had requested.

I’m not going to lie… it was completely disastrous, & nothing like what they had specified.

What they had told us they wanted was something that wasn’t actually a cake. At least not in the traditional sense. They didn’t want chocolate. In fact, they wanted it light, fruity with strawberry, not too sweet, and a layer of almond nougat somewhere in the middle.

What we ended up was this very dense layer of vanilla-caramel custard which was quite sweet, a layer of almond meringue which didn’t really stand up against the other flavors, and a very sticky layer of strawberry. It was miles off.

I assure you, we were not discouraged.

We decided to divide & conquer! Eirini undertook the task of pulling apart & reassembling the recipe to achieve exactly what they asked for. I on the other hand decided that maybe they didn’t actually know what they wanted (sometimes we have an idea, but don’t know how to visualize it). With that in mind, I decided to take the specifications & flavors that they   had outlined for us & give them a new edge.

In my mind, the roulade was the perfect way to go. Technically it’s a cake, but the majority of it is whipped egg whites & yolks which gives it this wonderfully spongy & light texture. I also did half the dry ingredients with almond flour & added a touch of bitter almond to really bring out the flavor. Not overly sweet, not too cakey, kind of perfect. Then there’s the chantilly cream filling, light, fluffy, very little sugar, perfect to add a hint of vanilla too. & lets not forget the light layer of strawberry to add some intensity to those more subtly flavors & textures.

It took me three attempts to get it exactly the way I wanted it, but overall I think I hit the nail on the head. Eirini & I will be presenting both options to them on Wednesday at the tasting along with the rest of the menu. Wish us luck!

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