Cinderella at midnight

cinderella at midnight.... a designed cake for the occasion featuring the pumpkin carriage

I can never quite convey just how magical a cake is through a photo.

It’s the curse I tell you, the more I like the cake, the worse the picture of it is.

Like this one for example….

Cinderella getting ready for the ball in the dead of night, with only the starry sky to light the magic of her pumpkin turning into a glorious carriage..

Or the face of the elated little girl who received the cake for her fifth birthday.

Or how about the fact that when you cut into it, it was a gorgeous shade of pink from all of the fresh strawberries that went into the cake?

Yea… there was magic in it alright.

Not to mention I think Eirini & I actually get high off of the sheer pleasure we both receive when making these cakes. I’ve found that I thoroughly enjoy having another enthusiastic body in my kitchen getting just as excited as I do by all the fondant & colours. See, now that’s a girl I can imagine opening a cake shop with….

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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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strawberry mint macarons

strawberry mint macarons

So far, all the people that I’ve become acquainted with on the island have all been “temporary” friends. I’m not saying this in any way to suggest that I’d like to terminate the friendship or I don’t foresee is lasting, it’s more a testament to the fact that all of them are only on the island for a very limited amount of time before they head to their new (or old) destinations.

Lucky for me though, I was introduced to a girl who wandered over this way to attend university on the island a few some years ago… and just never left! She’s here by choice because she loves it!

Nice fit huh?

Not only that, but she’s into baking. AAAAaaaaaand…. the first time I tried making macarons, it just so happened she was tucked away in her kitchen giving them a whirl for the first time too!

Talk about coincidences.

Looks like I’ve made myself a new friend.

Wait! There’s more! My new friend & I had a baking-date yesterday to see if our luck with macarons was luck, or if we’d actually figured out how to make them. We even tried a few techniques & got creative with the flavor choices.

….best macarons I’ve made so far. Maybe it’s because two heads are better than one & there was a talented woman standing next to me who had just as much enthusiasm for the small, Italian cookies as I did.

Any way, between us we came up with the wonderful combination of flavoring our macarons with strawberries & mint… & they were the chewiest, most delicious little treats. She sent me home with well over half & I’m a little ashamed to say that Mel & I have already polished off the lot.

There you have it. Friends = successful baking. All is right in the world

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champagne & strawberry cupcakes

I’m ashamed so say someone asked me to put up a recipe for strawberry & champagne cupcakes months ago….. and I’ve been procrastinating.

It would seem every time I got even close to making them, I had a craving for something else. Something different.

Then, by chance, I found a whole bunch of frozen strawberries at my local grocers & finally I found the inspiration. It first took the form of a strawberry puree, you know, the one I went on & on & on about a week ago. I don’t know why but that alone made me happy. After that, well, let’s just say I made more cupcakes than we could eat.

Let’s see, the first batch didn’t rise correctly because someone (me) forgot to put in the rising agent.

The second batch, I found mauled & decapitated by a stray cat that we’ve affectionately named Ninja… she’s decided that we belong to her on a part time basis & now insists on teasing Loki, our 2 month old German Shepherd. Yea, can’t say I was pleased when I found her on the kitchen counter with pink cake stuck to her fur & claws.

…..and then finally we made it to the third batch. The rose, I managed to save them from Ninja, and Mel didn’t manage to eat them all before I could snap a shot. Not bad huh?

They were so moist. So deliciously moist. & flavorful. I think I may need to make a cake variation. Not now though.

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chocolate, strawberries & cream cupcakes

I did something magical yesterday. Yesterday, I was allowed to play with edible glitter. Pink, edible glitter.

I swear to god, I felt like the Fairy Godmother of the baking world.

(please forgive me for the camera phone picture, I swear I had no other options!)

It all happened so randomly too. For days I had been dreaming about how I wanted to make chocolate cupcakes, top them with strawberry flavored whipped cream that was tinted baby pink, & then give the shaped cream a dark chocolate shell. I relayed this secret desire to my boss when she came into the shop & it seemed as if the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. For in her hands, she was carrying a box of magical goodies. There were glitters, shapes, flavorings, piping tips, coloured sugars, gel colouring. It was like christmas come early, not to mention perfect timing. By the time I had finished spilling my idea, she had produced a tiny little tub of light pink edible glitter. I was in heaven.

I was such a lucky girl, I got to use the glitter a whole second time. I was assigned to assemble & decorate a customers birthday cake. With the leftover melted chocolate from the cupcakes, I fit a piping bag with a lining tip & wrote out the message on parchment paper & then froze it. Prior to freezing though, I dusted the chocolate with the glitter so that the well wishes would have some *pop*. I think I’m really enjoying this.

In other good news, TM (a.k.a my boss) was so pleased with my Halloween cookies, as well as my cake decorating skills that I think she’s going to let me go a little crazy with the christmas edible decorations. I like christmas, I’m a big fan of happy holidays, but this year, this year I’m excited.

On to my strawberries & cream, chocolate cupcakes though.

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