Devil’s Food Cake and Croissants

In Cake Decorating we baked some Devil’s Food Cake and made a coconut pecan icing. There was a little left over so we made cupcakes with the rest. Next week, we will decorate the large cake. We have been working on our piping skills the past 2 weeks, but making a lovely design isn’t as easy as it looks. I will definitely have to practice this a lot to be skillful.

In Laminated Doughs we learned how to make Croissants.

The first step is to take butter from the freezer and beat it until it is the proper size. Our chef told us to bring all of our aggression to class and really give it to the butter. Did I mention that this class should be titled Delicious Diabetes and Clogged Arteries? =)

Next it is folded and run through a sheeter. This basically acts as a huge rolling pin that you can set to the proper thickness.

After several more folds and trips through the sheeter you end up with this. You can see the butter is no longer in clumps but distributed throughout.

Rolling out a little by hand.

Ready for baking!

Flaky finished product. I should have taken a picture so you could see all the folds inside. Next time I’ll break one open. These were melt in your mouth delicious!

The most important thing I learned about this class is that everything has to be COLD. I’m talking about 32-40 at the absolute most. Between every fold, sheeter run through, or anything else the dough has to back to the fridge or freezer to set some more. This is a long process that takes quick work then waiting, but the difference in the final product is worth it all.

On a side note, this week I have been so inspired by Chef Emmanuel Ryon. He is a French Pastry Chef that blogger David Lebovitz featured. Here is a link to some of his petit fours. I literally just stared at the screen for 15 minutes when I saw them. They are amazing and I have felt so motivated to improve my craft and learn as much as I can. On that note I will leave you to enjoy and of course, Happy Baking!

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L’Operas, Petit four Glacée, and Lime Tart

How beautiful is this? I snapped some shots as I drove to school. Seriously, who could be in a bad mood after such a nice sunrise?

On the highway.

From the parking garage.

Ok, daydream is over back to the kitchen. We made petit fours called L’Opera. It was created by Gaston Lenotre (he’s a famous forefather of baking if you will) We began with a Joconde Spongecake and brushed on a combo of simple syrup, coffee extract, vanilla, and coffee liqueur. Then spread a coffee flavored French Buttercream, SO delicious! Another layer of cake covered with a chocolate ganache. Cake, more buttercream and topped with a Cocoa Galcée.

The results. Fortunately, our cake was very light and fluffy. We tried hard not to squish all the air bubbles out while spreading.  Can you see the layers I mentioned above?

Serving option. I am very proud of these. I feel as if I could serve them and feel like a professional. The tops are shiny which you can tell a little here.

These petit four, Petit Four Glacée for lack of a better name, use the same technique and spongecake except with raspberry accents instead of chocolate and coffee.


View from the top.

In Cookies, Pies, and Tarts class we began simple with a lime tart with coconut shortbread tart dough.

Decorated with Italian Meringue.

Happy Baking!


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Black Bean Burrito

This is an easy recipe Aaron introduced me to. It is a quick dinner that consistently yields great results.

  • 1.5 C water
  • 1.5 C uncooked instant brown rice
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • .5 C chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 oz an black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 tortillas 8 inches
  • 1 C salsa
  1. Cook rice in a pan as usual for instant rice.
  2. In an oiled skillet, saute the pepper, onion, and garlic until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Stir in spices until combined.
  4. Add beans and cooked rice and stir until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serve with the salsa.

Wrap and enjoy!

Of course you could add cheese, sour cream or your other favorite toppings. Excluding toppings, each burrito only contains 290 calories! (According to Taste of Home) If you try this, let me know and feel free to suggest other additions. Happy Dining!

Also check out this site for a wonderful salmon recipe.

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Reflections on Summer

Let me start by saying I know this is late…way late, sorry.  I’ll reflect class by class.

Chocolates- Loved this! Loved chocolates so much I have seriously thought about specializing in them if we end up somewhere less hot and humid. (Nightmares we fought all summer) I learned more about tempering chocolate and how to make several truffles and molds.

Plated Desserts- I learned quickly that this class is where I can use my creativity. It is a total balance between an elegant design and overdoing or overcrowding the plate. People love nostalgic flavors, but the challenge here is to use those, but do it in an inventive modern way. I learned a lot and am glad I took this course.

Healthy Baking- I learned some tricks of the trade. For instance, adding fruit, or a fruit puree to a dessert helps reduce the total fat content. Meringue can add a lot of volume and great texture. Monkfruit is a natural sweetner, but can leave a bad aftertaste in some dishes. Overall, it is a challenge to use natural wholesome ingredients to make a dish that is just as delicious as the original, but when the perfect combo comes together it is such a good feeling.

This Fall I have begun Cake Decorating 1, Petit Fours, Cookies Pies and Tarts, and Laminated Dough. (Croissants, doughnuts, etc.) Check back soon for a couple of dinner recipes and class updates.

Until then, Happy Baking!

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Turtle Birthday Cake

My brother loves turtles, maybe not like this guy, but they are his favorites. For his birthday he asked if I could make a 3D turtle carrot cake. I had never tried that before, but told him I would give it my best shot and used the carrot pineapple seen here.

The trial cake.Final product. His drawings are very light hearted so I tried to duplicate that with the cake.

He likes to draw his turtles with wings (I don’t know why), so I caramelized sugar and added those.

Side view

The big reveal

Very glad he liked it. Happy Birthday David!



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Poached Apples, Flourless Brownies, Apple Cake, Pavlovas, and Chocolate Mousse

Poached Apples filled with homemade red currant jam.

Covered with meringue and almond slices.

After baking and decorating.

Gluten Free chocolate brownies. These tasted nice and the recipe was so simple!

You can see the moistness here.

First we sliced the apples, then covered them with the batter. It was a nice light cake.

With a fruit and port wine reduction.

Pavlovas. It was originated in New Zealand for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.  It has a baked meringue base, creme chantilly (like whipped cream) filling and is typically topped with kiwis, but other fruits can be used. The baked meringue on the left was just for fun.

Chocolate mousse with a chocolate coconut macaroon-like base.

Topped with white chocolate decorations. We also made a raspberry sauce and a balsamic vinegar sauce. I thought that wouldn’t be very tasty, but it helped compliment the sweetness and was very subtle.

Until next time, Happy Baking!

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Profiteroles, Rhubarb Crepes, Fruille of Brick

These are called Profiteroles, which if you believe the old tale comes from Profit Rolls since they are relatively cheap to make. You probably have heard of cream puffs, same thing.

They are made to be broken up and filled, which is what we did here with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, pastry cream, and chocolate sauce. We decorated with some caramel. It is hard to see here, but it looked very wispy and delicate.

With the tops on.

Here is my chef’s. I can definitely learn a lot from him.

Next, we made crepes. I learned how to flip them, which made me feel very official =) They needed to be extra thin and golden brown.

Next, we whipped up some rhubarb. I had never seen or tasted it before, so here is a picture. To me it tasted similar to a granny smith apple.

We put the rhubarb in the crepes, and sprinkled some powdered sugar on the top. Here is my final product.

Flax seed bread.
Vanilla Bavarian Cream and Strawberry Puree. Our challenge was to make this using a yogurt base for our healthy baking class. Unfortunately, our puree didn’t have time to set properly so the line isn’t clean. You can tell what it was supposed to look like though.

Today we created what translates to fruit bricks. Not that appetizing of a name, but when you think of eclairs, which means lightning, you learn to appreciate the French name more. First we caramelized sugar and passion fruit to coat our apples.

Here is the unbaked version. We put the apples into extremely thin sheets, think of them as an alternative to phyllo sheets. We used melted butter to make them flexible to make the top look nice.

The final product with passion fruit beurre blanc and berries. Until next time, Happy Baking!

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