Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Week 12, April 26

This is the last pick-up for the current CSB session.  As a send-off, each member will be receiving 6 assorted cupcake-sized tartlets.  Tartlet flavors are:

~Lemon-Meringue:  Classic pastry filled with tart and tangy organic lemon curd and topped with a dollop of meringue.

~Double Chocolate Cream:  Chocolate pastry filled with handmade dark chocolate pudding and finished with a swirl of whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

~Fresh Strawberry:  Organic strawberry puree and a whole berry.

~Island Lime:  Ginger snap cookie crust, lime curd mousse (scented with hints of coconut and rum), toasted coconut and lime zest for garnish.

~Chocolate-Mint:  Classic pastry crust, filled with chocolate mint pudding, whipped cream stars.

~Velvety Chai:  Handmade pudding scented with spices and black and green tea.

These little pies must be kept refrigerated.  They are best enjoyed within a day or two.  For leftovers, wrap well or place in a sealed container, and chill.  I don't recommend freezing these.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Week 11, April 19

Without a doubt, cupcakes are the most popular item I make.  The little cakes are super trendy currently, especially in the larger cities, and they're easy to grab for a quick treat, or to enjoy as a special occasion dessert.  I am often inspired to come up with new flavors, and the opportunity to make so many different flavors is one I just cannot pass up! 

This week CSB members are receiving an assortment of 6 different cupcakes, each one completely different from anything sampled before.  Flavors are:

 ~Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry: Chocolate cake, fresh strawberry mascarpone frosting, dark chocolate ganache drizzle, fresh strawberry

~Snickerdoodle: Cinnamon-Vanilla scented cake, French buttercream, cookie decoration

~PB-Choc Swirl: Chocolate cake, peanut butter and milk chocolate swirled cream cheese icing, all-natural mini PB cups

~Italian Strawberry Shortcake: Vanilla-lemon cake, organic strawberry filling, strawberry mascarpone icing, edible dragees

~Toasted Coconut-Chocolate: Chocolate cake, coconut French buttercream filling, dark chocolate ganache, toasted coconut flakes

~Creamsicle: Vanilla-orange cake, organic homemade orange curd filling, vanilla-orange swirl buttercream, handmade candied orange slice

Please keep these cupcakes refrigerated, as many have cream cheese or mascarpone in the icing or include fillings that must be kept cold.  As with all of my cakes, however, they are best served at room temperature, so you can just remove them from the fridge half an hour before serving and they should be perfect! 

Keep the cupcakes in a sealed container up to three days.  If you'd like to freeze some for later enjoyment, remove any fresh fruit toppings (they get weepy upon defrosting) and place the cupcake in the freezer until hard.  Wrap well in plastic, then place in a zip-top baggie.  They will keep, frozen, up to one month.  To defrost, leave the cake in its "wrapper," place on the counter or in a lunch box, and it should be ready to eat in less than an hour.

Creamsicle, Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry,
 PB-Chocolate Swirl

Snickerdoodle, Italian Strawberry Shortcake,
Toasted Coconut-Chocolate

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week 10, April 12

I spent every day of last weekend baking and decorating cupcakes for various events.  While I enjoyed the full schedule, it was a little difficult to plan for today's CSB pick-up with so much on my mind!  Feeling a bit scattered Sunday evening, I finally had a chance to sit down and figure out what I should make.  Now, if you know me personally, you will know that I am a major planner...it's highly unlikely for me to leave something, anything, to the last minute. 

After looking through my personal blog and numerous cookbooks for ideas, I had settled on several types of bar cookies.  This week CSB members will each take home an assortment of delectable treats, including:

~Ancho Chile Brownies- Moist, fudgy, and studded with pepitas (pumpkin seeds), these offer a warm, tingly heat that nicely complements the rich Scharffenberger chocolate.

~Sunny Citrus Squares- Topped with a flavorful lemon-lime custard, the 100% whole grain (spelt!) crust partners nicely for a delicious springtime treat that is still somewhat healthy.

~Marshmallow-Peanut Butter Double Fudge Brownies- These are whole grain also, but are so decadent that you might not even notice!  These brownies are baked with both natural cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips for a fudgy base, then are topped with homemade vanilla marshmallow, peanut butter fudge, and chopped peanuts.

~"Twix"- A world above the store-bought candy bar, my version starts with a crunchy shortbread cookie crust.  I top it with handmade creamy caramel and smooth dark Guittard chocolate.  Make sure these bars are at room temperature when you eat them!

~Vanilla Cheesecake Bars- These are a bar cookie form of a favorite dessert.  They feature an all-natural graham cracker crust and a creamy pure vanilla cheesecake topping.  Keep these refrigerated!!

 The bar cookies will keep up to three days in a tightly sealed container.  Both types of brownies and the "Twix" should be left at room temperature.  The vanilla cheesecake bars must be kept refrigerated.  If you don't eat up all of the Sunny Citrus Squares tonight, then place them in the refrigerator as well.  Enjoy!
Marshmallow-Peanut Butter Double Fudge Brownies
Sunny Citrus Squares
Vanilla Cheesecake Bars
Ancho Chile Brownies
Homemade "Twix"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Week 9, April 5

By now it's not much of a secret that I enjoy making cakes (and cupcakes) more than just about anything else.  There's always an air of celebration around a beautiful cake, and it's so fun to be a delicious part of that!  It's also a hobby of mine to come up with different flavor combinations, often inspired by other dessert, truffle, or confection flavors that I stumble upon when I'm travelling, visiting little shops, or perusing a farmers' market.

I was asked to make a Mardi Gras themed cake a few weeks ago, and I suggested Bananas Foster as the flavor, since that's a dessert that originated in New Orleans.  Since that event, I have been itching to recreate the cake again, mostly so I would have the opportunity for a taste! 

This week, each CSB member is receiving one 6-inch two layer Bananas Foster Cake.  I started with my classic yellow cake, made with pure butter, local organic eggs, and evaporated cane juice.  Once those came out of the oven, I sliced them into layers and infused them with banana liqueur, rum, and spices.  The cakes were then filled with whipped creme fraiche, fresh banana slices, and a drizzle of my homemade salted bourbon caramel sauce.  I topped each cake off with vanilla French buttercream, a sprinkle of toasted walnuts, and another drizzle of caramel.

Each cake should serve 6 people (or 4 very generous servings).  For any pieces that might be leftover, refrigerate, wrapped well, up to three days.  You may freeze this cake, but do be aware that the fresh banana slices might get a little gooey when it defrosts.  Of course, they're in the filling, so that might not be a big issue since they're hidden.  Freeze the cake, whole or by individual slice, until solid.  Wrap well in plastic and store in the freezer up to one month.