Cakes,tarts,sweets, and more cakes

Posts tagged “Plated Desserts

Penguin and Groundhog Wedding

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I was lucky to be able to make a cake for and attend a beautiful wedding for my friends.  She loves Penguins and he loves Groundhogs.  

The colors for the wedding were Red, Navy Blue and white.

The beautiful bride and groom settled on a lemon cake with raspberry preserves and a lemon curd, I covered the tiers in Swiss merengue butercream and fondant.  

I made two cute cake toppers for their two tiered cake.  A penguin, and a groundhog.  Made out of fondant.

The cupcakes also lemon cake, with lemon curd and raspberry preserves.  All 130 cupcakes had a Swiss Merangue  buttercream.

To display the cupcakes and cake.  I made a cupcake stand and cupcake wrappers.

This was the mock up of the cupcake stand and cake stand. The cupcake wrappers were also a mock up.  I did not like the solid red and white so I redid them, in the navy blue and red and white.  With the punch out detail.  I made all 130 wrappers as I could not find a wrapper that I liked for this wedding pre-made.  I am pretty happy with the way they came out.

Here is a picture of the cupcake wrapper manufacturing.  =)

I had a blast at the wedding, it was beautiful, and full of surprises.  I hope the best for my happily married friends.  I am putting the rest of the photos in a slide show.  But here is a picture of my beautiful children first at the wedding.  =)

Here are the other photos:

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Harry Potter, Gryffindor cake


My friend’s son had a major milestone birthday.  Her little boy was/turned 5 years old.  Yay!!!

He loves Harry Potter, specifically House Gryffindor.  My little ones and I were lucky to have lunch with him and his mamma.  Over lunch we discussed  what he likes, and what he wanted  for his birthday cake.

His request was Gryffindor, marble cake, and he wanted a strawberry cream filling.  So I ran with that.  =)

Anyhow, enough with the talking, here are the pictures.


This is the Gryffindor shield with rampant lion that I found on the interwebs.  I decided to use this one, cause it was pretty and I thought a nice shield and would translate nicely in Icing.

This is the first Rampant Lion I have ever drawn/Iced on a cake. =)  As heraldic animals go the lion is pretty nice.

She mentioned that I did not need to do anything to elaborate, however, I get excited and sometimes carried away.

I also made some fondant items.  A speedy nimbus like broom, a wand and a scarf.

I was informed that the cake was a hit, and the little man for whom it was made was excited.  =)  That right there is why I do this, I love to make people happy.  The shield was done in buttercream, the other decorations are all fondant.


(Tips: If you are going to try to drawn on a cake.  Look at the design or image in layers.  When I went to make it, I started with the background shield, then the decorations on the shield, then the lion and the Gryffindor ribbon, then the Word, and Details on the lion. )

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Baptism Daisy Cake


This client came in wanting a three tiered offset, rectangular cake.  She wanted Daisy’s with lavender, light pink, and light yellow centers.  She requested a pink ribbon, and a pink cross on the cake.

Flowers and ribbon fondant.  The cakes were iced in white butter cream.  The 1/4 sheet cake was white, the 1/8th sheet cake was chocolate, and the 1/16th sheet cake was white cake.  

Sorry the pictures came out white washed.  Use my phone at work to take the pictures. 

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Zebra on Orange

This is a cake a client came in asking for a realistic zebra on a bright orange background.

I am always a little worried when they want a realistic animal on a cake and they want me to draw it.  Working with icing is a hard medium to do that with, also I am not the best at making a realistic looking animal in any medium. Its good to know your limitations.  You can always learn more, and eventually do better, but it is good to know your limitations to keep yourself out of trouble.

The trouble with this cake is, I did not take the order, and people at my work think I can draw anything.  *grins* I take it as a compliment but it is far from the case.

Well enough babbling.  This little girl loves bright orange and zebra print, and apparently she watches Animal Planet.  So that was the colors and theme of her party.  

They asked for White and Black borders. 

Mini Apple pies and Product review


This is my first product review.  I will include the recipe I used to make the pies. 

A good close friend of mine, sent me and my family a mini pie maker from Smart Planet.  Called the Personal Pie Maker.  (note: I do not have any affiliation with said Small Planet, I am just reviewing what I think of the product and its performance.)

The product come with a instruction and recipe booklet.  I however did not use any of their recipe’s I used my tried and true recipe’s.

The recipe booklet asked for pre-made pie crust.  I made my own.

I love it.  It is cute, created pies in a very short amount of time, is perfect for my kids to help out with, and they love having their own pie to eat.  Large pies tend to take 40 to 50 minutes to bake.  This machine cut it down to 12 minutes.  Plug it in, set a timer in the kitchen and forget it.

Here is the best part.  On a night I had to go to work, where I usually make dinner, feed the kids and husband after he gets home from work, then shower and head out to work, I was able to make 4 little pies for our dessert at the same time.  I had left over dough in the fridge and left over filling.

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Those smiles are pie happiness smiles. They know somethings fun and tasty is coming.  =)

On to the tried and true recipes that I use:

For the pie dough.  (note: this is a flaky beautiful dough, if you don’t like flaky dough on your pie you may want to use another dough)

Note:  Yield -This entire recipe will make you 8 mini pies.  The pie maker makes 4 at a time.  

1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pea-size pieces
1 cup flour
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup ice water
Crust Directions:
For the crust: Combine the butter, flour, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks like Parmesan cheese. Drizzle in half the cold water and pulse until the mixture forms a rough ball, adding the remaining water if needed. Remove the dough from the food processor, form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Filling recipe: 


2 tart apples (in this recipe I used pink lady apples)

1/2 cup of sugar

2 tbl butter

pinch of salt

1/4 cup water (sub apple juice if you have it)

1 tbl cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tbl flour


Peel, core, and small dice two tart apples

In a frying pan, melt butter add apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Saute till slightly tender add flour and saute for a minute.  Add a little water/or apple juice at a time to just to make the filling slightly loose.

The filling will be tart with a note of sweetness.

Mini Key Lime Pies


I had my mignardis class and the last recipe I taught was the Mini Key Lime Pies.

I forgot to take pictures of the ginger spice cookies, and the Orange Chocolate Truffle tartlets.  But I will.

On to the Mini Pies

I decided to do another style of same recipe.  So I used a loaf pan, lined with plastic wrap.  This is a great way to make a larger plated amount that is not the traditional round/wedge style pie piece.

To created the plated dessert style pie, you do the same procedure you would for the small mini pies, however, you like the vessel you are using with plastic wrap.  It will take longer to set due to the thickness.

Here is a slide show of the rest of the pictures.

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On to the recipe:

Mini Key Lime Pies

1-2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 stick of  butter, melted

Place in freezer to set while working on other mise en place. Takes about 14 mins

1 (8 oz.) box lime jello
1 pt. vanilla ice cream
1/4 c. lime juice (about two small limes)
2 tsp. grated lime peel (about one small lime)
1 graham cracker crust
2 c. boiling water

Mix lime jello with boiling water, add ice cream, lime juice and lime peel. Stir and pour into graham cracker crust. Chill until firm. Top with Cool Whip. (for purposes of this class freeze to speed up the firming) put in freezer for about 25 minutes

To remove, use a small offset pallet knife, or a butter knife, and hot water.

Slice a lime, cut out a wedge
Pipe a rosette of whipped cream and place small wedge on rosette

It was husband, kid, and student approved.  I hope you all enjoy this yourselves.

Note: you can change this recipe up.  I thought about doing and orange cream pie.  Substituting Oranges and orange jello.  You could also change out the crust.  Have fun, and experiment.

Apple Browned Butter Tart

If you like apple pie, but find most of them super sweet and old hat now.  You will love this Apple Browned Butter Tart.  This is replacing our old apple pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I was watching Anne Barrel on Food Network Channel.

She was making a dinner and had this Tart on it.  I wanted to try it so I did.

It is fantastic.  I wish I could take credit for it, it is so good.

Here are pictures of it.

Some tips, and tricks that are not mentioned in the recipe: (note these are the things I read in subtext when I read a recipe, some recipes do not contain this information. )

1) Make double the apples, because the Browned butter filling makes two tarts. (Note: she mentions that the BB filling is twice what is needed.)  The reason she made the recipe make two, is it is far easier to mix that much in a mixer than a single tart.

2) You don’t have to bake off both tarts that day, wrap up the second one very well, I use sarran wrap and foil.  Then bake another day 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or till it is done. Brush with egg wash half way through.

3) When you want to remove a tart from a tart pan with a remove able bottom, use a can of veggies and place the tart on it centered.  The fluted ring should be easily moved down to the table while the tart stays on the the metal tart pan bottom.

4) Make your apples first, let them cool and work on the BB filling next.

On to the pictures, and recipe.

Apples we got from our local farm we got 1/2 bushel and I can make about 6 tarts from that amount.

Apples in the pan with sugar and a pinch of salt.

Browned butter filling before eggs are added.

After eggs added.

With crust and BB filling.

ready to put in the oven, with egg wash.

After baking…So delicious.

And now the recipe: 



  • 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pea-size pieces
  • 1 cup flour
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup ice water


  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • vanilla bean, split and insides scraped


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8ths
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Special Equipment: 9-inch tart pan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust: Combine the butter, flour, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture looks likeParmesan cheeseDrizzle in half the cold water and pulse until the mixture forms a rough ball, adding the remaining water if needed. Remove the dough from the food processor, form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the filling: In a small saucepanmelt the butter and cook it until it starts to brown and begins to smell like hazelnuts. Transfer the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a paddle. Add the sugar and beat together on medium speed. Gradually add the flour. Once the flour has combined, add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla bean seeds.

For the apples: In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the apples and sugar and cook until the apples start to soften, 6 to7 minutes. Pull the pan off the burner and add in the brandy. Return to the fire and flambe, if desired, or just let the alcohol burn off. Toss in the raisins.

To assemble: Remove the dough from the fridge 15 minutes before ready to use, this will allow the dough to soften and come to room temperature.

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick and lay it in the tart pan with lots of overhang on the sides. Schmear half the filling into the bottom of the tart pan and top with the apple mixture. Fold the extra dough over the top of the apples. Brush the dough with the egg wash.

Bake the tart in the oven until the top is golden brown and slightly crispy, 45 to 50 minutes.

Cook’s Note: This filling is enough for 2 tarts. It’s easier to make a larger quantity and it lasts in the fridge for a few days.


Mille-Feuille a.k.a Napoleons

You may be asking what a mille-feulle is.  In short it is what we Americans call Napoleons.

Wikipedia gives a great definition:

“The mille-feuille (French pronunciation: [mil fœj], “thousand sheets”),[1] vanilla slice, cream slice, custard slice, also known as the Napoleon, is a pastryoriginating in France.

Traditionally, a mille-feuille is made up of three layers of puff pastry (pâte feuilletée), alternating with two layers of pastry cream (crème pâtissière)”

When it was time for the puff pastry class, this was one of the many items we made with it. 

The top is decorated with icing or fondant  in alternating white (icing) and chocolate strips.

To get the pulled effect on the lines you will have to stripe your pastry with the chocolate and immediately pull a skewer or tooth pick through the lines.

These are the ones I made for class.  I made the puff pastry from scratch, the pastry cream, the poured fondant icing, and decorated it.


Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry – the key to very flaky beautiful puff pastry is the layers of butter in the détrempe dough (water and  flour dough), and working with the dough after it has rested and is very cold.

Plugra is the best butter to use when making puff pastry it is a European style butter.

The layers of butter create steam pockets and separate the very thin layers of dough.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter (225g)
  • 2/3 cup ice cold water
  1.   Mix 1/4 cup of flour with 14 tablespoons of cool butter to make a smooth paste. On a piece of plastic wrap shape into a square approximately 1/2 inch (1-1/2 cm) thick. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.  This is called a butter block.
  2.  Separately, mix the cold water, 2 tablespoons of butter, and the remaining 1-3/4 cup of flour you could add a pinch or 1/4 tsp of salt to the dough at this time. The dough should become elastic and shiny  détrempe.  Knead for about one minute.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.  Each step in this process is very important if you want the puff pastry to come out as you intended.  You have to refrigerate the dough to relax the gluten and facilitate the rolling out of the dough, this way the dough does not break.
  3.  On a lightly floured board, roll out the to about 1/2 inch. Place the butter block on the détrempe  and wrap the ends of the water-based dough to enclose the butter block in an envelope.  When you look at an envelope, you will see that three points come to the center with one point left open till you place you letter in it.  Fold the dough up the way you see a regular envelope folded.
  4. Immediately roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick then fold the dough into thirds.  Like you would fold up a letter.  (Each folding is very important if you want to create the flaky texture that everyone loves in a puff pastry.  Each fold is creating a layer of dough and butter and the more folds you have/create the more fine and delicate the puff pastry.)  refrigerate for 30 mins to relax the dough.
  5. Repeat this process 2 more times.  Remember to let it rest after every folding so that your dough will not break on you.  Do not let it get to warm as well.
  6. Bake puff pastry at 400 – 450 degrees in the oven.  The oven must be hot or your butter will melt and not steam then all of your work will have been for naught.  When you bake your puff pastry if you put it in the oven when its to low temperature you will end up with a tough non flaky pastry.
Pastry cream: has a great recipe.
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

In medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk, egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch.

Transfer remaining 1 3/4 cups milk to heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup sugar over, letting sugar sink undisturbed to bottom. Set pan over moderate heat and bring to simmer without stirring.

Whisk hot milk mixture, then gradually whisk into egg yolk mixture. Return to saucepan over moderate heat and cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream comes to a simmer and thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, discard vanilla pod, and whisk cream until smooth. Transfer to bowl and press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Pastry cream can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped well with plastic wrap on surface, up to 3 days.)

Poured fondant

6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon clear pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients together in a large and heavy saucepan. Stir constantly over low heat until the mixture reaches 110 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour evenly over your cake.

Assembly of Napoleon
Whew recipe’s done and now to the assembly.
1) Bake off layers of your puff pastry, and allow to cool
2) Allow your pastry cream to cool, then pipe onto puff pastry.  Alternate pastry and cream, till you have three layers of pastry and two layers of cream
3) Set aside and make your poured fondant.  While hot pour on top of your puff pastry cream layers
4) Melt some chocolate and streak your pastry, draw a knife of skewer through the chocolate to create designs
5) With hot water and a sharp kitchen knife, cut your Napoleons into individual servings and enjoy.

Mango Raspberry Mousse cake

This is a beautiful Mango Raspberry mousse cake I made. 

To make this cake I made a thin short bread crust, that I cut out with I cake ring.  Then you dock and bake the crust.   Let it cool and as its cooling make a mango mousse with a mango puree.  I then layered into the same cake ring the baked short bread crust.  I put a layer of raspberry preserves, then I started piping in the mango mousse.  After I had a base of mango mousse I layered in some fresh raspberries.  Making sure not to get any near the edge of the ring.  So that on un-molding the edges of the cake would not be marred by berries showing.  I place that in the refrigerator to set, I left about 1//8 th of an inch of space from the top.  When that had set, I poured in a mango gelee and let that set in the refrigerator.

Once the whole cake was set I removed the ring, garnished/decorated with fresh raspberries, and butterflies cut out of mango slices.

Using a sharp knife and hot water I cut it in to slices for serving.

Mango Mousse Recipe:


  • 1 1/4 cups mango puree
  • 1 1/4 cups mango juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Scant 1 tablespoon gelatin dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups heavy cream, whipped to medium peaks


Heat mango juice, mango puree, and sugar in a sauce pan, till sugar is disolved.

Add the gelatin to the hot juice and stir to melt and combine. Strain the liquid into a bowl and place it over an ice bath. Stir it constantly with a rubber spatula and when it just starts to set, fold in the whipped heavy cream.  Pipe into molds our cake rings, let it set in refrigerator.

Lightening McQueen Cupcakes

As I was walking into work, my coworker/boss/good friend was taking an order.  This gentleman wanted cupcakes with Lightening McQueen on them.

My boss/coworker/good friend thinks I am a magician and can do anything =).  (I appreciate the compliments, however, sometimes the orders I get make me scratch my head for a few minutes while I figure out just how to do them. )  So she agreed, and here is what I came up with. 

I made McQueen out of buttercream.  I pipped them out and using a small spatula I was able to form them into the car shape.  I decorated with buttercream.  

The difficult part was that they had to go on the standard size cupcakes.  This means not a lot of real estate.

Oh also this was due for the next day!  So here is what I came up with.  I think they could have been done better, but with my other orders I did not have a huge amount of time to mess with them. 

Again sorry images are not the best. Camera on phone was used.

Deconstructed Baklava

We are going to take a trip back into time.  Fasten your seat belts, and come with me.  I loved culinary school, and Baking and Pastry.  However, like every school there is homework, tests, and the dreaded finals.  In my plated dessert class we were asked to come up with some plated desserts of our own creation.  This is my most favorite one, out of the three I made for this final exam.

So June 30th 2006 we had our Plated Practical Final.

Ok so here was the requirements for this final:

This is the first final we have had to work with a partner on. My partner and I were given the type of restaurant that the Chef instructor wanted us to prepare for. We got the high end restaurant in an art museum. Some other categories that we could have gotten was, a B&B in Savana Georgia, an over Priced bistro in Napa, a Lodge in Tahoe, a restaurant in Arizona.

I was pretty pleased with our restaurant topic. We had to come up with a name, decor, ambiance, and description of the place and type of food. The desserts had to reflect the restaurant type.

For those of you who don’t know, Baklava is: Courtesy Wikipedia

“Baklava (pronounced /ˈbɑkləvɑ/ or /bɑkləˈvɑ/[1]), (Ottoman Turkish: باقلوا) is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and much of central and southwest Asia.”

Iran they use rose water syrup in their Baklava.

But that is neither here nor there… on to the pictures.




I brushed with butter individual layers of filo dough, layered them about 6 sheets thick, then cut and baked them off.  I made a rose petal Ice cream, that I layered in between the layers of filo, I made a honey pistachio sauce, and candied some rose petals.  (recipes to follow)

Note: my favorite dessert ever, is Baklava.  I love it.  I can only eat like 1 or two pieces as it is very sweet, but it is so good.

Can you guess what grade I got for this practical final?  Yep that is right I got an A, even though I got a good grade, you know what makes me the most happy is that my conceptual dessert came out just as good or better than I imagined.  The creaminess of the ice cream gave this dessert a different dimension, and showcased the rose very nicely.

Rose petal Ice cream


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 dash salt
  • 2 egg yolks broken up and lightly beaten
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 rose’s edible (note, make sure from your grocer, or florist that no pesticides were used for these roses)

“Roses (Rosa rugosa or R. gallica officinalis) -Flavors depend on type, color, and soil conditions. Flavor reminiscent of strawberries and green apples. Sweet, with subtle undertones ranging from fruit to mint to spice. All roses are edible, with the flavor being more pronounced in the darker varieties. In miniature varieties can garnish ice cream and desserts, or larger petals can be sprinkled on desserts or salads. Freeze them in ice cubes and float them in punches also. Petals used in syrups, jellies, perfumed butters and sweet spreads. NOTE: Be sure to remove the bitter white portion of the petals.”

  • Place milk and cream in a sauce pan, heat till it starts to bubble around the edges of the pan, you don’t want to scorch the milk. Add the salt and sugar, and washed dried petals.  Stir till sugar desolves.
  • Slowly temper in the milk/cream mixture slowly into the eggs till they come up to temp, do not pour into the egg mixture without tempering, or you will have scrambled eggs.
  • Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot and continue cooking till you get to a temperature of about 160 degrees.  The custard will start thickening, it takes about 10-12 mins.
  • Remove the whole lot, place the pan in an ice bath, or place the whole mixture in a metal bowl in an ice bath.  Do not let water from the ice bath get into the custard. Continue stirring till it comes to room temp.
  • This is the holding point.  You can refrigerate saran wrapped, for use later in the week.
  • Strain the mixture, and an use your machine per instructions.  After the ice cream is extruded gently fold in more rose petals so that they run through the ice cream.


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