13.10.13

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13.9.13

Naked Cake and New Clay Flowers



Hi my dear friends! I would like to thank you for all your support and lovely words on my flower shop on Etsy. I really appreciate that and I’m really happy and motivated to design more beautiful flowers for you. 

This week I created a flower arrangement to be used as a cake topper. I bring together peonies, dahlias and mini roses in white, ivory, peach and different shades of pink. It would be gorgeous in all types of cakes and celebrations: from tiered wedding cakes to simple birthday cakes, as the naked cake that I made for this post. 






The cake beyond its beauty turned out really good. It consist of 3 layers of  lime orange sponge cake, filled with homemade blueberry jam and whipped cream flavored with lime zest. To intensify the flavor, I made lime cream with condensed milk, cream, lime zest and lime juice to be served on top of the cake slice with fresh blueberries.





Lime Blueberry Naked Cake

Sponge Cake
(from Jamie Magazine Issue 29)

Makes 3 9-inch cake pans

500g unsalted butter, cubes and softened, plus extra to grease
500g granulated sugar
1 orange zest
1 lime
8 eggs, beaten
450g self-raising flour, sifted (I used all purpose flour)
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350F/180c degrees. Grease and line the base of 3 round 9 in cake pans. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Mix in orange and lime zest. 
Gradually mix the beaten eggs into the creamed butter and sugar. Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt with a large metal spoon until just incorporated (don't overmix).
Divide the batter between the 3 cake pans. Bake the cakes in the oven for 22-25 minutes, until golden and cooked through. (To test, insert a skewer into the middle of a cake; it's read when the skewer comes out clean.) leave to cool in the cake pans for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Blueberry Jam

2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
water

In a sauce pan over medium heat boil the blueberries in water and sugar. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon about 20 minutes or until jam consistency. Turn into a bowl and let cool before using.

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavycream, cold
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
zest of 1 lime

Chill a mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes before beginning. Place the sugar and lime zest into the mix bowl. Add cream and whisk until it reaches stiff peaks. 

Assembly: Place one cake in a serving plate; spread with half recipe blueberry jam and whipped cream. Repeat with second cake, spread the jam and cream. Place the third layer on top and dust with powdered sugar.
Serve with lime cream and fresh blueberries.

Lime Cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of heavy cream
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime

Pour the condensed milk, cream, lime zest and lime juice into a blender and blend until combined. Place it in the fridge until serving.















All the flowers on this post are available in the shop.



28.8.13

I have an Etsy Shop!




Hi my dear readers! Today I have great news for you. I opened my online shop at Etsy to sell my flowers! I will start with 3 flowers: one pink dahlia and two different white roses. They are handcrafted petal by petal using air dry polymer clay with about 5 inches in diameter each one.





I’ve been working with air dry polymer clay to make the flowers for a while. This material is not edible but is not toxic, and also much longer lasting than gum paste. 





To give you and idea about how beautiful they can decorate your cake, I used some clay flowers on my birthday cake. You can also use them as cake topper for weddings, flower centerpieces or many other occasions. 




14.7.13

It's My Birthday!


Hi my dear friends, today is my birthday!



This year I prepared chocolate cake filled with chocolate brigadeiro with mascarpone cream covered with dark chocolate ganache.  I’ve used brigadeiro in many of my recipes, but this was the first time that I tried it with mascarpone cream.  I loved the result.  The chocolate cake is an adaptation of the Double chocolate recipe from the book Miette.

Talking about the cake decoration, I used polymer clay to make the flowers. I’ve never tried this before and I really liked to work with it. The technique is quite different compared to gum paste. For example, I just used my fingers to model and shape the flower petals, differently from the gum paste, which I have to use cutters. Besides polymer clay flowers are harder to break. 




My Birthday Cake


Double Chocolate Cake

(adapted from Miette Book)



1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose flour
1¼ cups (4½ ounces) natural unsweetened cocoa
1½ teaspoons baking soda
½   teaspoon baking powder
¾  teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces 70 percent cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup butter, melted
2¼ cups (
16 ounces
) sugar

1. Liberally butter two 6-by-3-inch regular or contour cake pans and dust with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out the excess cocoa.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
4. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla. Set aside.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the butter, whisking until combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds longer.
7. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly pour in the milk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.
8. Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, preferably by hand, lifting and folding in from the bottom center. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look a little lumpy, but stop mixing.
9. Pour the batter through a medium-mesh sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl to remove any lumps. Press against the solids in the sieve with a rubber spatula to push through as much batter as possible, then discard the lumps. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
10. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. When the cakes are cooled enough to handle the pans but still a tad warm to the touch, carefully run an offset spatula around the edges of the pans to loosen them, then invert the cakes onto the racks and remove the pans. (Note: If you are making the Old-Fashioned Cake and therefore using a contour pan, just invert the pans and drop them sharply onto the racks; they should fall out cleanly. Using an offset spatula in a contour pan will mar the edges of the cake.) Let cool for about 20 minutes longer. Wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate to ensure that the interiors are completely cooled before decorating, at least 1 hour or for up to 3 days. To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic and store in the freezer up to 2 months.

Belgian Brigadeiro with Mascarpone Cream
(from Lulu's Sweet Secrets)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
7 oz Belgian milk chocolate
12 oz mascarpone cream

Place condensed milk, butter ang chocolate in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Over medium heat cook, stirring, until thickenedSet aside to cool.
In a bowl, beat the mascarpone by hand with a whisk until smooth, and then incorporate the brigadeiro. Stir to combine. 

Dark Chocolate Ganache

18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups heavy cream

Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stand until melted (5 minutes), stir until smooth and glossy. Refrigerate until firm yet still pliable (45 minutes-1 hour) then stir until smooth.

Assembly

Divide each cake in two layers. Place one chocolate cake on a serving plate. Spread 1/3 recipe chocolate brigadeiro over top.  Repeat the chocolate cake and chocolate brigadeiro twice.  Top with remaining chocolate cake. Cover with chocolate ganache.



26.6.13

Mini Raspberry Trifle





Two weeks ago, I invited my dear friends Dora and Simone to have lunch at my home. We had a wonderful time, but this occasion would be incomplete without a delicious dessert, especially for so lovely friends. So I decided to prepare something that I've never tried before: mini raspberry trifles.

Trifle basically consists of layers of spongecake, fruit, custard and whipped cream. I used the same spongecake recipe from the last post. For the custard I used condensed milk, egg yolks and mascarpone. I also used raspberries and Chantilly cream.






You may have noticed that I love teacups. I even already made one cake into a shape of teacup. But this time I use them to serve my trifles. I think it is a quite charming idea for serving desserts. And my friends loved. 

Dora e Simore, this post is for you!





Mini Raspberry Trifle

by Lulu's Sweet Secrets (makes about 8 teacups)


Sponge cake
(makes three 6-inch round cake pans)

5 whole large eggs, room temperature
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted


 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy and pale yellow in color, about 10 minutes. Fold in the flour with a rubber spoon until just incorporated (don't overmix). Divide the batter between the 3 cake pans. 
 Bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Mascarpone Custard

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks
12 oz mascarpone cream

Place condensed milk, butter ang egg yolks in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Over medium heat cook, stirring, until thickenedSet aside to cool.
In a bowl, beat the mascarpone by hand with a whisk until smooth, and then incorporate the custard. Stir to combine. 

Chantilly Cream

2 cup heavy cream, cold
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Chill a mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes before beginning. Beat heavy cream in the chilled bowl until it begins to foam and thicken up. Add sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream barely mounds. Do not overwhip. 

Assembly: Divide each cake in two layers. Use a round cookie cutter to cut circles of cake from each layer. I used a cutter with similar diameter with the teacup. Add 2 tablespoons of custard on the bottom of the teacup. Add raspberries and Chantilly cream. Place one cake circle. Repeat layers with custard, raspberries, cream and cake. Top with cream. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.




29.5.13

Pineapple and Coconut Cake






Last week I had the great pleasure of host a lunch for my lovely friends Cecilia and Silvia. We had a wonderful time listening Ella Fitzgerald , drinking sparkling pink lemonade and, of course, having good food. Enjoying moments like that with lovely friends are one of the best pleasures of life. This post is for you! 

I made strawberry salad with pink peppercorn, a delicious salmon and leek quiche, and a pineapple and coconut cake for dessert. My cake was a great success. They loved the combination of spongecake, pineapple compote and coconut cream. I think I can call this coconut cream as coconut brigadeiro too, since I used sweetened condensed milk, butter, cream and coconut milk.





Instead of whipped cream I decided to use coconut whipped cream as frosting.  This was the first time that I made coconut whipped cream and I loved! I added to it some tablespoons of sugar and vanilla bean paste. It ended up perfectly. The texture was very similar with regular whipped cream but with a light addition of coconut flavor.




Beyond the marvelous flavor of the cake, I have to tell you about the decoration, which I loved by the way! I used some coconut flakes on top of the whipped coconut cream and then I added one gum paste ranunculus, one gum paste rose, and two gum paste tulips. I was inspired by some real flowers that I bought weeks ago. The ranunculus was a bit hard-working but I loved the final result. Don't you think it looks like the real one?






Pineapple and Coconut Cake
by Lulu's Sweet Secrets

Sponge cake
(makes three 6-inch round cake pans)

5 whole large eggs, room temperature
 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted


 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment until fluffy and pale yellow in color, about 10 minutes. Fold in the flour with a rubber spoon until just incorporated (don't overmix). Divide the batter between the 3 cake pans. 
 Bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Pineapple Compote

1 ripe pineapple, top, skin and core removed, cut into cubes
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups water

Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Over low heat cook until the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency and the pineapple is soft.


Coconut Cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup coconut milk + the water leftover from the whipped coconut cream.

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Over medium heat cook, stirring, until thickened.


Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 tablespoons sugar

Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight.
Scoop all the thickened coconut cream, stop as soon as you reach the water at the bottom of the can.  Don’t use the water to make the whipped cream, you can use it in the coconut cream.
Place the coconut cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar and vanilla paste. Whip the coconut cream on high speed about 3 to 5 minutes.


Assembly: Place one layer cake on a serving plate. Spread half recipe of pineapple compote over top. Spread half recipe of coconut cream over top. Repeat to make 1 more layer of each. Top with remaining cake. Cover with coconut whipped cream.





25.5.13

Teacup Cake and Sugar Roses



I love the combination between teacups and flowers. They are such a pretty and charming pair. When I ventured to make my first sugar rose I used a teacup to photograph it. At that time I received a comment suggesting that I should try to make a teacup cake too. I loved the idea but that would be a big challenge for me. I didn’t have the knowledge and practice to conquer that.





Almost 2 years late I decide to give it a try. I was inspired by the polka blue floral design from Royal Albert Fine China. I have a passion for all the patterns, but those lovely blue teacup with white polka dots and English country roses are my favorite.

Actually, I think my main motivation was the opportunity to paint the floral theme on the teacup cake. It has been a while that I want to publish some of my paintings, and I couldn’t think a better opportunity than this one. First I covered the cake with buttercream and fondant and molded into the teacup shape. Then I used gel food-coloring diluted with water for painting the rose. 





I also used some sugar roses and mini cakes for decoration. As I was so excited with my painting, I decided to cover mini cakes with fondant and paint them too. For making the teacup cake and mini cakes I used my delicious recipe of white chocolate cake






























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