May 4, 2019

Potato Burger Buns


After being away from home for a while the first thing I wanted to do was bake, but what to make?  Overindulging in European sweets and pastries the last few weeks had me craving something savory.  While browsing through the May/June 2019 issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine it was the recipe for Sloppy Joes that caught my eye.  But it was the idea of making Potato Burger Buns from scratch that got me excited.   Now I know that many of you may be asking, "why bother making the buns when you can easily buy them?" But to that I say, "why ever not?


If you've made bread rolls before then this recipe will be child's play for you.  If you've new to bread making I still stand by my belief that it's not as hard as you might think.  The most challenging step is to mash some boiled potatoes and that's not hard at all!


After tasting the soft and tender homemade burger buns I don't know that I'll be buying them from the store any longer, especially since they were so so simple to make.  In fact, I think I'll make another batch to keep in my freezer.  You never know when you might get a craving for a hamburger.

April 14, 2019

Hydrangea Cupcakes


Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers and sometimes I'll pick up a few bunches at Trader Joe's or Costco to decorate the house.  I love the massive blooms and vibrant colors they come in.  When I saw that you could make cupcakes to look like hydrangeas I knew I had to replicate them for myself.  The technique couldn't be simpler and the results are so beautiful.  They're the perfect addition to your spring or Easter table.


While searching YouTube I found this great video that demonstrates how to pipe the flowers using buttercream.  The key is to have the right piping tip.  Most posts I had seen recommended the Wilton 2D, a large closed star tip, so that's what I went with.   I used my favorite frosting, Swiss meringue buttercream, since it takes to colors so well. 


Are you doubting that you can create these hydrangeas for yourself?  You have nothing to worry about!  If you can squeeze a piping bag with a modicum of control then you've basically mastered the technique. Trust me when I say these flowers are the most impactful with the least amount of effort.

April 2, 2019

Swedish Princess Cake (Prinsesstårta)


I'd been looking for a cake to celebrate spring and Easter and the first thing that popped in to my head was a Swedish Princess Cake (or Prinsesstårta).  It's been on my baking bucket list for what seems like an eternity so it was finally time to have a go.  Fittingly, I think my introduction to these beautiful cakes was at IKEA many, many years ago...ha!  What could be more delicious than moist vanilla genoise sponge cake filled with layers of raspberry jam, diplomat cream a gorgeous dome of whipped cream and then covered in verdant colored marzipan?   Nothing, I tell you!


For the recipe I turned to Mary Berry, of The Great British Bake Off fame.  Princess cake was the technical challenge in the Continental Cakes episode of Series 5.  At first glance this recipe is daunting, there's a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps!, but don't be deterred. While the contestants were given just over two hours to complete their cakes I made my life easy and decided to make it over the course of a weekend.  Some of the components (pastry cream, jam, marzipan and fondant rose) were made on the first day and the sponge cake and assembly were done on the second day.   


  
I passed on the chocolate decorations from Mary's original recipe and kept it sweet and simple with a light dusting of powdered sugar.  I just think it looks so stunning in an elegant and understated way. I don't know about you, but I seriously love all the spring feels this cake is giving me.  The beautiful pastel green marzipan exterior and cream and pink interiors are just so refreshing and light.  No doubt this beauty will banish any wintertime blues you may have.  

Happy Spring!

March 24, 2019

Happy Bee-Day Cake


How cute is this Happy Bee-Day Cake?  I really love how it turned out.  The occasion was for Laura's birthday party and her mom Julia had sent over some ideas with a bee theme.  I've been making celebration cakes for Laura even before she was born so I was happy to continue the tradition and make one for her second birthday.  Here's what baby shower and first birthday cakes looked like.


The cake is comprised of Stella Parks' White Mountain Layer Cake and Swiss Buttercream in vanilla and strawberry flavors.  Stella's white cake recipe is one of my absolute favorites.  The crumb is so moist and tender.  If you haven't already bought her cookbook you need to!  The buttercream is a traditional Swiss meringue style.  I flavored half of the frosting with ground up freeze-dried strawberries which gives you an intense fruit flavor without the additional moisture.  The perfect balance of sweet and tart. 

Happy Birthday Laurita!


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