Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cakes for Dudes

Most weekends we make beautiful wedding cakes and birthday cakes with lots of pretty colors and girly stuff. This weekend we pumped up on testosterone and created these manly man cakes. Grrr. Talk about putting hair on your chest.
The Ford GT-40 was for the special manly man in my life - David. His fascination with this vintage Ford sportscar began after he got to sit in one at his mechanic's shop. (Maybe he rode in it, too?)
The NY Giants helmet was the groom's cake for a NYC couple getting married in Austin. The shiny blue was achieved with an airbrush and metallic blue food coloring. I hope the guests didn't end up with blue teeth! The face guard is made out of gumpaste and miraculously survived the journey to the reception.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I can't believe it's not cake!

I know it's hard to believe, but I love eating all kinds of sweets EXCEPT for cake. I guess after 4 years and 100's of cakes, I've developed an aversion to eating it. Since I don't have much going on this week, I thought I'd start writing about other great desserts and sweets in Austin. I'm always on the lookout for something beyond the standards available at all the bakeries around town. We live in a city with an infatuation with cupcakes, red velvet, Italian cream cake and chocolate chip cookies. Some bakeries do a great job with these treats (we do too!), but I yearn for something more magical. Isn't that what dessert should be?
This week I was lucky enough to try two stellar desserts, one sophisticated and fancy, the other homey and simple. I happened upon the first one at the Austin Food Bloggers potluck this past Sunday. It was a perfectly sized (read finger-length) eclair from Cissi's Market. My French chef instructors at Le Cordon Bleu in London would have approved of its daintiness. The pâte á choux was the perfect cradle for the smooth, lightly sweetened Early Grey pastry cream. The cream was just firm enough to hold its shape without resorting to corn starch overload. I think I ate 3. (You can see pics on Thai Cooking with Jam)
Today my daughters and I shared a platter sized Whoopie Pie from the Cookie Lounge. (see above pic) I'd heard they starting making them recently and have been looking for an excuse to head over there and say hi to Mark. I will eat anything with chocolate and marshmallows, and this was heaven. The "cookie" part was soft and cakey, and most importantly, not too sweet. It's the fluffy marshmallow filling that carries all the sugar shock, but in a good way. I think it was gone in about 30 seconds. And they go pretty quickly, too. We got the last one and it was only 4:30pm. Considering they're open late, that's a quick turnover.
I'll plan on writing once a month about sweets and desserts around Austin. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Origami and bamboo

It's not every weekend that I have 2 cakes with bamboo as part of a cake's design. On the first cake, bamboo is the main design element. The clients' wedding not only had a "green" focus, but it was designed to be a bit retro and mod. The bamboo design fit in with the cool tiki lounge bar and Eames furniture (the house was so cool!). The cake is actually a simple straightforward round design iced in Swiss buttercream. It's the handmade sugarpaste bamboo stalks and leaves that make it unique. I also made the base look like faux wood to carry over the natural theme.(Sorry the pics are not great - the kids messed with the camera settings)

On the other cake, bamboo is just one design element in a cake inspired by origami paper designs. The bride wanted to have a cake that was a nod to the groom's Asian heritage. She also wanted to incorporate flying paper cranes since there were going to be paper cranes used as decoration throughout the reception (which was at the gorgeous One World Theater). The colors were also an important design element - they had to be just right. Fortunately, I have my old Pantone book from back in my graphic design days. I don't even know how many hours I worked on just decorating this cake, but it's one of my faves. Again, kids + camera = blurry shots. Now I know to check the settings.

Now I have to think if something yummy to bring to the Austin Food Bloggers potluck this Sunday. Hmm...maybe vanilla bean ganache cupcakes?