Saturday, June 27, 2009


The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.

I chose to make tartlettes with my homemade Raspberry Rose Jam. These are great in the morning with coffee (don't ask me how I know), they are not too sweet and would make a nice hostess gift.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Resting time: 30 minutes (minimum)
Equipment needed: bowls, box grater, cling film

225g (8oz) All Purpose Flour
30g (1oz) Sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) Salt
110g (4oz) Unsalted Butter, cold (frozen is better)
2 (2) Egg Yolks
2.5ml (½ tsp) Almond Extract (optional)
15-30ml (1-2 Tbsp) Cold Water

Sift together flour, sugar and salt. Grate butter into the flour mixture, using the large hole-side of a box grater. Using your finger tips only, and working very quickly, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Set aside.
Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract (if using) and quickly mix into the flour mixture. Keep mixing while dribbling in the water, only adding enough to form a cohesive and slightly sticky dough.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap in cling and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Equipment needed: bowls, hand mixer, rubber spatula
125g (4.5oz) Unsalted Butter, softened
125g (4.5oz) Powdered Sugar
3 (3) Eggs
2.5ml (½ tsp) Almond Extract
125g (4.5oz) Almond Flour (Trader Joes)
30g (1oz) All Purpose Flour

Cream butter and sugar together for about a minute or until the mixture is primrose in colour and very fluffy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The batter may appear to curdle. In the words of Douglas Adams: Don’t panic. Really. It’ll be fine. After all three are in, pour in the almond extract and mix for about another 30 seconds and scrape down the sides again. With the beaters on, spoon in the almond flour and the flour. Mix well. The mixture will be soft, keep its slightly curdled look (mostly from the almonds) and retain its pallid yellow color.


Place the chilled dough disc on a lightly floured surface. If it's overly cold, you will need to let it become acclimatised for about 15 minutes before you roll it out. Flour the rolling pin and roll the pastry to 5mm (1/4”) thickness, by rolling in one direction only (start from the centre and roll away from you), and turning the disc a quarter turn after each roll. When the pastry is to the desired size and thickness, cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter and place into the individual tartlette molds. Chill in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Remove tartlettes from the freezer, spread as even a layer as you can of Raspberry Rose Jam onto the pastry base. Top with frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tartlette. Smooth the top and pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Five minutes before the tart is done, the top will be poofy and brownish. Remove from oven and strew flaked almonds on top and return to the heat for the last five minutes of baking (optional).
The finished tart will have a golden crust and the frangipane will be tanned, poofy and a bit spongy-looking. Remove from the oven and cool on the counter. Serve warm, with crème fraîche, whipped cream or custard sauce if you wish.
When you slice into the tart, the almond paste will be firm, but slightly squidgy and the crust should be crisp but not tough.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Graduation Cakes

This graduation cake was made for a graduate of La Quinta High School. It was white chiffon cake with fillings of vanilla bean white chocolate mousse with fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, and vanilla buttercream. The cap was made of the same cake with a white chocolate brim. I sprayed acetate with navy blue cocoa butter then spread tempered chocolate over it and cut it to size. I covered the cake with white chocolate ganache then spray painted it with the same colored cocoa butter. The tassel was made with grey gumpaste and painted with super pearl luster dust. The diploma was just rolled up fondant.

These cupcakes were red velvet with cream cheese frosting and they were delivered to the same party as this chocolate graduation cap.

This cake was made for a Palm Desert High School graduate. It was chocolate cake with hazelnut crunch, ganache, french silk mousse, chocolate buttercream and vanilla buttercream. The brim was tempered callebeaut chocolate. The tassel was gumpaste painted with gold luster dust.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I made this cake for a clients 10 year old daughter's 1st Communion. What a lucky girl she was to receive this for her party. When I delivered it her eyes lit up and she was jumping up and down in delight.
Her parents told me later that some of the guests at the party thought it was a present and did not know it was a cake until they cut into it. Mission accomplished!!

The bottom tier was 8 layers of vanilla chiffon cake with grand marnier syrup, fillings were - raspberry rose jam, white chocolate ganache, raspberry buttercream, fresh raspberries, and vanilla buttercream. The top two tiers were chocolate cake with fillings of hazelnut crunch, ganache, chocolate buttercream & french silk mousse.

All tiers were covered in fondant and the pearls were made out of fondant and painted with pearl dust to shine them up and make them look real. The bow's on top were made out of gumpaste.

It was a fun cake to make!!