Sunday, June 17, 2012

Adventures in Cake Decorating: Green Ombre Cake

I took a Wilton basic decorating class a few months ago at Joanns and I really enjoyed it.  I may take more in the future, but for now I'll practice the basics until I get better.

If you have seen my 'cake inspiration' board on pinterest, you'll know I love ruffles, petals and ombre!  The latest pin is a Pastel Swirl Cake from Sweetapolita.  She has a great video tutorial on how to make this beautiful cake here.  I had the weekend off and decided to try and make this same cake but use an ombre effect.  It was perfect timing for father's day. My sister had to work, so I made a cake for her husband for her.

I started by baking a dark chocolate cake in two 8" rounds.  I used my favorite cake box mix.  While the cakes baked and cooled I made two batches of American Buttercream and split them into three batches.  I decided to go with the color green and used leaf green gel coloring to get the colors I wanted.

I did a quick crumb coat with the lightest color.  It looks like mint chip ice cream.  I let it sit in the fridge for about half an hour to set.  I love baking but I hate washing dishes, so during my "wait time" I'll wash dishes right after or I'll never get to them.

The cake cooled and I used the technique from the Sweetapolita video tutorial to start frosting the second layer.

I love the green pastel colors.  I did a quick thick coat and smoothed it out.  It looked great but I wanted it to have a bit more texture.  I have a cake comb and used it to add some texture to the cake.

I liked the added texture on the cake because it adds depth to the color.  My niece and I made a quick banner to put on top of the cake and she wanted to add blue sprinkles to make the green pop out.

I need to work a bit more on my frosting technique, but I'm happy with my first ombre cake!

Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thick Lemon Curd Filling

I have a pet peeve. I hate biting into a macaron and the filling oozes out, and gets all over the place. Macarons are supposed to be fancy and delicate, not like a Carl’s Jr. Burger. 

Before I made the lemon curd for the superhero lemon macarons, I scoured the Internet for weeks to find the perfect thick lemon curd filling. I made three batches of lemon curd before finding the right one.

The first recipe I made tasted great, perfect amount of lemon but it was too thin. Here is my peeve in pictures. See how it oozes out of the cookies?  Blah!

Picture taken using my blackberry phone.  
These were still eaten! I took them to work for my co-workers to enjoy. They’re not too picky and I don’t let my cookies go to waste!

The second recipe was fine. I added a tablespoon of corn starch to it to thicken it up, so the consistency was perfect, but I wanted to make another batch because I didn't like the dry aftertaste it left in my mouth. I thought the dry aftertaste/starchy taste came from the corn starch.

I redid the second recipe without the cornstarch and the consistency was super thin and it still had a dry aftertaste. What?   Why?  The dry aftertaste/starchy taste actually came from the tartness of the lemon.  I’m glad I saved that second batch!  The curd stayed in place and didn't ooze!

The sweetness from the cookie and the combination of the curd was perfect.  No dry aftertaste.  Here is the recipe I used.  I found it on a blog comment during my search for thick lemon curd filling/lemon macarons but now I cannot find the link to it.  If this is your recipe, let me know so I can credit you.

Thick Lemon Curd
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
½ Cup of Sugar
½ Cup of Lemon Juice (I used Sunkist lemons, I’ll try Meyer Lemons next time)
As much zest as I can pull off the lemons that made of ½ cup of juice
5 T of cold butter
1 T of cornstarch* (I added this and it does make the curd thicker)

Putting together the lemon curd is similar to making a Swiss Meringue butter cream. Because I love video tutorials, here is a great one on how to make lemon curd from the Joy of Baking.


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