Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lemon Curd


I must admit, I have never been a fan of lemon curd. The mere name of it sounds somewhat off-putting. The first time I ever made it, I was sure I'd done something wrong. It tasted awful and was destined for the trash. I purchased a store-bought version to see what it was "supposed" to taste like. To my surprise, it tasted exactly like the lemon curd I prepared the day before. Since then, I have omitted the curd from every lemon cake recipe I have tried. 

While preparing for a wedding consultation earlier this week, I came across a lemon cake recipe that included lemon curd (of course). Sometime had passed since my fiasco with the previous lemon curd recipe, so I was willing to give it another go. I was not very optimistic, but I followed the recipe to a T and hoped for the best...

Wow ! I am proud to announce that I am definitely a fan of the curd now. The couple at the cake tasting seemed to enjoy it, as well. They chose the lemon cake (& curd) for one of their wedding cake tiers. This recipe is great on more than just cakes. Use it with toast for breakfast, blend it into some vanilla ice cream, or eat it straight out of the jar (trust me, you'll be tempted to).

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks

1. In a medium heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine butter, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and egg yolks. Cook and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until butter is melted and mixture is thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes.  Do not allow mixture to boil or the egg yolks will curdle. Remove from heat.

2. Immediately pour the hot mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the lemon zest and any pieces of egg that may have curdled. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate at least 4 hours or over night. The curd will continue to thicken as is cools.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I am constantly in search of new recipes and believe it or not, my latest find came from People Magazine. Who knew People was good for more than catching up on the latest celebrity gossip?  I made these last week for a charity event and the only complaint I received is that they were too addicting. This recipe is super easy and so yummy! 

2 (14-oz.) bags sweetened flaked coconut                                      
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 lb. (12-oz.) bittersweet chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Press dough into a soup spoon or small ice cream scoop and release onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool.
3. Dip one side of each macaroon in melted chocolate and place on a lined tray with wax paper. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

10 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Wedding Cake

1. Schedule a tasting. It is never too
soon. Make sure you have at least
 three flavors to choose from.

2.Wedding cake orders should be
 placed at least two months
before your wedding.
3. Set a budget and stick to it. Your
wedding cake should be approximately
2.5% of your total wedding budget.

4. Determine how many people will be attending. You'll be embarrassed if there
 isn't enough to go around or eating cake for a month if you over estimate.

5. Make the deposit when you have chosen
 the baker.This will ensure your order and
date are reserved. There's nothing worse
than finding your dream cake only to find
 the date of your wedding is already
booked! Also be aware of when the final
 payment is due. This is the last thing
you will have on your mind the day
 of the wedding.

6. Establish whether the reception will be in doors or out. Living in Florida means
 unpredictable weather and extreme heat or rain can surely ruin the look of the cake (especially fondant).

7. Think outside the box.
Cupcake towers are a
new trend popping up
 in weddings everywhere.

8. Don't be afraid of color. Incorporate your colors/theme into your cake.

9. Arrange ahead of time what time the
 cake needs to be delivered. You
don't want the cake designer
setting-up as guests arrive.

10. Remember this your day,
so have fun with it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Understanding Chocolate

Many of you may be thinking "What's to understand? Chocolate is chocolate and how can you go wrong with that?" Well, I'm going to clarify the differences for you. 

If you are using chocolate in your recipe, consider these factors first.
* There is a difference in both flavor 
and texture among brands. Do a 
blind taste test to determine your own 

* The percentage of chocolate mass in the chocolate does not
necessarily indicate the degree of bitterness. The higher the chocolate
mass, the more the cocoa solids
and cocoa butter (which is solid at room temperature). This will alter 
the texture or consistency of the 
recipe, as well as the flavor.

* Flavor quality comes from the variety of beans used and the method of production. Some chocolates 
with a high percentage of chocolate mass (70.5%) are more mellow than some chocolates with a lower
percentage of chocolate mass (64%). 
* By exchanging the same quantity of chocolate without considering the percentage of chocolate mass, you
may be adding either more chocolate mass and less sugar, or less chocolate mass and more sugar.

Types of Chocolate   

Pure chocolate - Pure chocolate, also known as bitter, baking or unsweetened 
chocolate, contains only chocolate liquor (cocoa solids and cocoa butter) and flavorings.  

Cocoa - Cocoa is the pure chocolate liquor with three-quarters of the cocoa butter removed. The remaining cocoa is then pulverized. Most European cocoa is Dutch-processed, which means the cocoa has been treated with a mild alkali to mellow the flavor and make it more soluble. 

Cocoa Butter - The quality of cocoa butter is related to the quality of the bean from which it came and the process of separating it from the chocolate liquor.

Bittersweet of Semisweet - Bittersweet or semisweet are pure chocolate liquor with sugar, vanilla or vanillin, and extra cocoa butter added.

Milk Chocolate - Milk chocolate contains pure chocolate liquor, milk solids, butter, vanilla or vanillin, and extra cocoa butter. 

White Chocolate - White chocolate is not considered to be "real chocolate" because it contains no cocoa solids. Better-quality white chocolates are, however, made with cocoa butter. It contains about 30% fat 30% milk solids, and 30% sugar. It also contains vanilla or vanillin and lecithin. 

Compound Chocolate - Compound chocolate is classified as chocolate "flavor" because, instead of cocoa butter, it contains vegetable shortening.

Storing & Serving Chocolate                            
Properly storing chocolate is just as important as choosing the quality of chocolate. 

Keep it well wrapped in an airtight container (chocolate is quick to absorb other odors and must not be exposed to dampness) at a temperature of 60 degrees F. to 75 degrees F. with less than 50% relative humidity.
Under these conditions, dark chocolate should keep well for at least two years. Milk chocolate keeps for a little over a year and white chocolate, one year.

Chocolate is at it's best when served at room temperature. Like cold butter, cold chocolate has less flavor and a harder, more brittle texture than chocolate served at room temperature. 

*experts taken from The Cake Bible

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wedding Cupcakes

If you never imagined serving cupcakes at your wedding, take a look at these images. They will eliminate any preconceived notions of the cupcake being solely known as a birthday dessert.
This first example is simple, yet elegant, making it the perfect choice for a small garden or spring wedding.
Peach Colored Wedding Cupcake Tower
Be sure to include color for a striking effect!
Think outside the box! Who says you need a cupcake tower or even a table to display your treats?
NBA Wedding Channing Frye Wedding

NBA Wedding Channing Frye Wedding
This is by far my favorite! What a unique way to  present your guests with their dessert.  This is sure to have everyone talking, even after the wedding is over.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unusual Cake Recipes

While on my quest for some new and exciting cake flavors, I came across these unusual finds. Can these unlikely pairings form together to actually produce something edible? Are they better off as a challenge for a Fear Factor contestant to eat? They seem so obscure that I am considering giving them a try. I will keep you posted on my findings. Now...I just need to find a guinea pig!

1. Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

2. Tomato Soup Cake

3. Maple French Toast & Bacon Cupcakes 

4. Guinness Beer Cupcakes