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Final Class and Birthday Bouquets

Tonight I finished Wilton Course 1. Our final project was to make a cake with the famous Wilton Rose. Its the cake you see on the cover of their text book. I baked an almond sour cream pound cake ( courtesy of Paula Deen) with coconut butter cream. The roses are hard, but I practiced. I finished rather quickly. In hindsight you always find flaws. Considering my icing smudged in the car ,the heat,etc. ,I'm pleased with my final project. When I got home I quickly set out to make cookie bouquets for a some co workers Birthdays. Vicky will get the cake and cookie bouquet. I'm sure her family will help her finish. This all gets rather fun and addictive. I think even Certain Someone was somewhat impressed with the turnout. Cant wait to go onto Course 2 next week. I face another challenge next week for an aunts birthday cake. Ive been mapping it out and getting inspiration from Colette's Birthday Cakes. It will be a sheet cake to feed 50. I will post pics.

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My Boyfriends Mamas Pork Roast

Last summer I had the pleasure of meeting Certain Someones parents in Germany, His mother is a celebrated cook in her families circle. I find it hard to live up to her reputation. He told me that she too felt intimidated by her own mother in laws skills. Now I don't speak German yet, but I watched this woman and caught on to her easy explanations. BTW , cooking is a good way to learn a language. I love trying to decipher foreign language cookbooks. Mama Certain Someone cooked many fabulous things on that trip. One of them was so simple, yet amazing. I learned she learned this recipe from her father. I don't know if its typically German, but it fits in with their heavy emphasis on meat.

1 Pork Loin

1 container of salt( approx 1 lb)

Cracked Black Pepper

Place pork in a cast iron skillet. Take the salt and pour around the meat. The pork should not sit on the salt, just be surrounded by it. Cover the surface with pepper. The irony of this is that the meat takes what it needs in terms of salt and is not salty at all. Roast uncovered for 1-1 1/2 hours( depending on the size of the cut). The first time I did this was with a pork shoulder. Today I used the actual loin. Surprisingly its moist and tender.This makes for great slicing and sandwiches. I'm serving it tonight with a baked macaroni and cheese. We like to drizzle truffle oil on it. Fattening, but good comfort food after a long hard week.

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Colorful Experiments

My good friends birthday is next week. She loves certain things I make (pate, lasagne,...).I've decided to give her a basket of things she likes , some pear flavored cognac I think she'll love from Sweden, and a cookie bouquet. Cookies are a natural extension for someone into cake decorating. I was nervous on how the cookies will turn out and decided to experiment tonight (without the lollipop sticks). I have also been reading about rolled butter cream and realized all the ingredients were right in my pantry. Rolled Butter cream is a great decoration for cookies, although I would hesitate to actually do a cake with it, only because its more fragile than fondant. But I love the taste and texture.

Rolled Butter Cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup shortening
1/2 tsp salt
2 lbs confectioners sugar
clear flavoring and coloring of your choice
Mix shortening and corn syrup together. Add flavoring.
Gradually add and knead in sifted confectioners sugar
until a ball forms and holds shape. Refrigerate in a airtight
container. You can add coloring to finished product. I divided
it into four balls and kneaded Ameri Color gels into
the butter cream.

I started worrying when I realized I was almost out of butter. All the recipes for non puffy solid cookies were similar. I had about 1/2 cup of butter and some ghee( another 1/2 cup). I had almost enough all purpose flour, but needed more. I did have white Spelt flour which I added( total 2 3/4 cups) . I decided to use a combo of butter and shortening( total 1 cup butter / ghee, 1 cup shortening), 1 egg, 1 tsp of baking powder, and 1/2 cup of corn starch.I was out of granulated sugar, so I substituted Turbinado Raw Sugar. My flavoring was Princess Cake and Cookie emulsion and some Butter extract( to compensate for the lack of) I chilled the dough. About 45 min later I rolled out the delicate dough and cut the shapes. I baked for approx 15 min at 350 degrees. Amazingly they retained their shape and baked nicely. I immediately transferred the rolled butter cream pre -cut in shapes to lay over the warm cookie coming from the oven. Baking is a always a crap shoot for me . This ingredient gamble worked. After detailing the cookies with Wilton Cookie Icing and allowing to cool some more,I tasted one. What I got a texture resembling shortbread. The rolled butter cream provided the sweet punch, as the actual cookie wasn't too sweet.. I feel confident to go ahead and make the bouquet next week.

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Buttercream and Dreams

Originally uploaded by tooknap press
My homework for class tomorrow is to bring three tubs of butter cream.I'm using the frozen leftovers from last weeks class, as it wont actually go onto a cake.I love this stuff, although when you really think about the contents of a longer shelf life butter cream it makes you queasy .Of course it tastes so much better with real butter, cream cheese, or whipped cream added.After incorporating the flavors and colors you cant help but lick a finger, the bowl, etc. I thought I'd get sick of it ,but not yet. I used a yummy pineapple flavoring with this batch . I got so hooked on that I ordered about 12 drams of other flavorings from the same company. Loranne Oils. I cant wait to use them all. Brandy, coconut,vanilla butternut,eggnog....

I signed up for this blog society Daring Bakers the other day. I get to start next month. Its a amazing group who do monthly challenges. I love their blogs index as it leads to all their members food blogs. Its a very interesting and talented group.

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Between Sweet and Savory

I've discovered a new love. I've never been much of a baker but more of a cook. I remember my Mommy was always baking cakes.She grabbed onto and experimented with any recipe she could,in search of the perfect batter. I wish she was alive today to surf the net and see all the forums and techniques out there. She would be as addicted as I am. I realized as I get older , I become more and more like her. Did she use baking as relaxation , de stressing technique? I wonder...

So I started the Wilton classes this month.I plan to take all 4 levels into next year. I love the whole concept of merging art and food in cake decorating.Check out my first few personal projects above.Certain Someone is not as enthused about my new hobby. And what to do with the practice cakes, he asks?I took the last one to work, and it was gone in no time at all.Certain Someone would rather I focus on more savory dishes for him. He returns tomorrow from Europe. As the fall chill enters the air, my thoughts run to fixing him a goulash and a apple tart later this week. Last year around this time we went to Columbus Ohio and actually went apple picking with our hosts.So I'll roll up my sleeves if time permits this week , and make Pate Brise Sucre to hold my fanned out apples. Wish me luck. I seem to have better luck with tarts than pies.

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