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The princess torte has been on my bucket list for some time now so I was tickled pink (notice my non traditional color) when I found what or Baker’s Challenge this month was . Our very talent host this month is Korena, of Korena in the Kitchen, and she chose the Swedish Prinsesstårta for us. Exciting, exciting, exciting… It has lovely  layers of sponge cake, jam, pastry cream and fluffy whipped cream all covered in a layer of marzipan. Is there anything not to like about this??? Oh, I guess that it doesn’t hurt that this cake is so damn pretty look at you almost don’t want to eat it. This is traditional covered in a green colored marzipan but I thought the pink reflect so much better with my flavor choices. The sponge cake is flavored with raspberries, the jam is rhubarb-raspberry, and the whipped cream is infused with rosewater. Everything pink for a princess. It is also supposed to be topped with a marzipan rose for decoration but I love to make gumpaste flowers so I chose to do this instead. Please check out Korena’s tutorial on the marzipan rose.

The best part about this is that it is actually” kind of”  easy to put together. The real challenge here is covering the cake with marzipan. If you have never covered a cake with this or fondant it can seem scary, but that should not hold you back from trying. It just takes a little practice. I bet this would be amazing assembled as a trifle if you too afraid of trying to cover the cake – but try it at least. Once you get the hang of it you will want to cover everything you bake. Well, maybe not, but you will be glad you know how to do this and it will impress your guests. Hey did you know that the princess torte is as popular in Finland as well as Sweden – so much so that the third week in September is officially Prinsesstårta Week. Oh, the things we learn….

So, it’s best to break this cake down into components so that when you are ready to assemble everything is ready to go. First is the marzipan covering the cake. Marzipan is a sort of sweeter version of almond paste. Almond paste is made with granulated sugar and marzipan is made with confectioners sugar (a lot of it). You can buy marzipan but it is pretty expensive and it’s  easy to make your own if you have a food processor. You can make it well ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.  You could even use fondant if almond allergies are an issue. Next is the custard; again,you make it up to 2 days in advance. The sponge cake can be baked the day ahead and that really just leaves the whipped cream, which should be made at time of assembly. DSC_2585Oh wait, and the jam. Any store-bought jam can be used though traditionally it is seedless raspberry jam. BUT, since rhubarb season is in full swing here (at least in my backyard) , I made my own rhubarb-raspberry spread. This allows me to control the sugar since I like my jam on the tart side and it only takes about 30 minutes to make. You just put fruit and some sugar in a pot and let it bubble away until soft. If it is too thin I will make a slurry of cornstarch and water and add a little bit to thicken it up.

I also stabilized the whipped cream. This is done by adding some dissolved gelatin to the cream and will keep your whipped cream good and sturdy for a few days. I highly recommend doing this step but it’s your choice.

I know this seems like a lot, but challenge yourself. It will be easier than you think. Read through the entire recipe (twice) before starting.  Bake On!

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Egg-free Marzipan Recipe

(adapted from Cake Central)

4 oz (115 gm) ground almonds
8 oz (225 gm)  icing sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon (5 ml) almond extract
1 Tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice or water

Place the ground almonds and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine and break up any lumps. Add the corn syrup and almond extract and pulse again to combine. The mixture should be quite dry and crumbly still.

With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the lemon juice, stopping as soon as the mixture starts to clump together.Scrape the marzipan out onto a work surface and knead it into a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavours ripen. Makes just over 1 lb.

Vanilla Custard

1 cup (240ml) heavy cream, divided (I used 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup whole milk)
4 egg yolks from large eggs
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) cornstarch
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) granulated white sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract)

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and egg yolks. Gradually whisk in ½ cup (120 ml) of heavy cream until smooth. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining ½ cup (120 ml) of heavy cream and the scraped vanilla bean and bring just to the boiling point. Remove the vanilla bean pod, leaving behind the seeds. Slowly whisk the hot cream into the bowl with the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it becomes thick like pudding and just comes to a boil. The mixture must hit a boil for the cornstarch to properly thicken the custard, and also to cook out any starchy taste. If it starts to look curdled or lumpy, remove it from the heat and whisk vigorously until smooth, then return to the heat. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. If using vanilla extract, add it now. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the custard (to prevent a skin from forming ) and chill completely.

Sponge Cake

You will need a 9 inch springform panDSC_2579-001

Fine dry breadcrumbs for the pan (such as crushed panko) I did not have any breadcrumbs on hand so I used finely crushed rice krispies – they worked great!

4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm) (8 oz)  granulated white sugar
½ cup (120 ml) (70 gm) (2½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
½ cup (120 ml) (65 gm) (2¼ oz) potato starch (or cornstarch, which is what I used)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt

For a raspberry version:

I added 4 Tablespoons  raspberry puree and 1 tsp natural raspberry extract . To compensate for the additional liquid I added 1 Tablespoon potato flour (which is not the same as potato starch)DSC_2624

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Thoroughly butter a 9” (23 cm) round springform pan, line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper. Dust the buttered pan with enough breadcrumbs (or rice krispies!) to coat the bottom and sides, just like flouring a cake pan. Set aside. This gives the batter something to cling to as it rises during baking.

Place the eggs and granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment until the eggs are tripled in volume and very light coloured and fluffy, about 5 minutes. The mixture should fall from the beaters in thick ribbons. Don’t overbeat the eggs – once they form thick ribbons and stop growing in volume, stop beating.

Sift the all-purpose (plain) flour, potato starch (or cornstarch) , baking powder, and salt into a bowl, then sift the flour mixture over the whipped eggs. With a balloon whisk, fold the flour into the eggs until blended, keeping as much air in the batter as possible. Use large, gentle yet confident strokes, bringing batter from the bottom of the bowl to the top. Add the puree and extract, if using. Once mixed, the batter should be quite thick and smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread it out evenly, and bake in the lower third of the preheated moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 oven for about 40 minutes or until golden brown on top, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes then run a knife around the edge and remove the sides of the springform pan. Don’t worry if it sinks a bit in the middle. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. If the cake is lopsided, press gently to make it level, then allow it to cool completely before continuing. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored, well-wrapped in plastic, at a cool room temperature.

Assembly:

  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream, chilled
    2 Tablespoons rosewater (if you want rose whipped cream)
    granulated white sugar, to taste (scant 1 tablespoon is plenty)
  • Sponge Cake, cooled
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) seedless raspberry jam (or regular jam pressed through a sieve to remove seeds)
  • Vanilla Custard, chilled
  • Marzipan Covering and Rose Icing sugar, for rolling and dusting

Optional: melted chocolate, royal icing, or piping gel (for decorating)

In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar to taste (keep in mind that the rest of the cake components are sweet, so the whipped cream should be very lightly sweetened at most) and continue whipping the cream until stiff. Stabilize it with the gelatin if desired. You want it to be sturdy enough to provide structure to the cake, but not over-whipped enough to make butter. Set the whipped cream aside.

With a long serrated knife, slice the sponge cake into three even layers. This cake is very delicate, so do this as carefully as possible. Use a gentle sawing motion to move the knife through the cake instead of trying to pull it through the cake. Use a spatula to help you lift off each layer after you cut it. Set aside the middle layer – this will become the top layer of the assembled cake as it is the most flexible and therefore easiest to bend into a dome over the whipped cream.2013-05-20

Place one of remaining layers on a cake board or serving platter and spread it evenly with the jam. Spread or pipe half the chilled custard over the jam in an even layer, leaving enough room around the edges so that it doesn’t spill over the sides of the cake. Top the custard with another layer of cake. Spread or pipe the remaining custard evenly over it, again leaving some room around the edges.  Reserve ½ cup (120 ml) of the stiffly whipped cream. Pile the rest into a mound on top of the custard. Spread it into a thick layer with a thin, flexible spatula or off-set spatula, then hold the spatula at an angle to shape the whipped cream into a dome, piling it up in the middle of the cake as much as possible.  Place the final layer of sponge cake (the one cut from the middle of the cake) on top of the whipped cream. Do not press on the top of the cake – instead, gently tuck the edges of the cake layer into the whipped cream, so that they are flush with the cream. This will create a smooth, seamless dome on top of the cake. Gently spread the reserved ½ cup (120 ml) of whipped cream over the entire cake to fill in any cracks and even out the surface. If necessary, refrigerate the cake to firm it up before continuing ( I did this for an hour before moving on).

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Dust your work surface with icing sugar and press the marzipan into a 6-inch (15 cm) disc (knead it a bit to warm it up first). Coat both sides with icing sugar and roll it out into a 14” (35½ cm) diameter circle less than 1/8” (3 mm) thick. Use plenty of icing sugar to prevent it from sticking. Alternatively, you can roll the marzipan out between two wide sheets of parchment paper (still use plenty of icing sugar).
Use the rolling pin to drape the rolled-out marzipan sheet over the cake and smooth it around the cake gently with your hands.If it seems like it wants to fold or buckle around the cake, gently lift and stretch it away from the cake with one hand while smoothing it down with the other.DSC_2612

Trim the excess marzipan from the bottom of the cake with a paring knife or spatula blade. Dust the cake with icing sugar, then place the marzipan rose and leaves in the middle of the cake.
(You can also use melted chocolate, royal icing, or piping gel to pipe a design on top of the cake, if you wish.)

To serve, cut the cake into wedges with a large, sharp knife (run the blade under hot water and wipe it clean after every cut for neater slices). The cake can be served immediately but will be easier to slice after chilling in the refrigerator for at least an hour.The finished Prinsesstårta should be refrigerated until serving, and any leftovers refrigerated as well. Ideally the cake is eaten the day it is made, but will keep in the refrigerator for a day or so, after which it may lose its structural integrity and aesthetic appeal,but it will still taste good. If you stabilize your cream it will be picture perfect for at least 3 days.

Here is a cross-section diagram to illustrate the layered components of a prinsesstårta:

  • Marzipan                                 (top)
  • Sponge cake
  • Whipped cream
  • Custard/pastry cream
  • Sponge cake
  • Custard/pastry cream
  • Raspberry jam
  • Sponge cake                            (bottom)

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These videos show some prinsesstårta variations (videos are in Swedish but the visual is very informative):Finally!

  • Hallonprinsesstårta, or raspberry prinsesstårta, made with custard, whipped cream flavoured with raspberry jam, whole raspberries, and topped with pink marzipan
  • Karl-Gustav tårta, made with custard, sliced banana, a chocolate-covered meringue disc replacing the middle layer of cake, and covered with yellow marzipan
  • Williamtårta, made with custard, poached pear, whipped cream, topped with marzipan, covered with a shiny chocolate glaze, and garnished with toasted sliced almonds

Thanks Korena for such  a great challenge!!

I forget to mention how perfect this worked out for my monthly dinner club. Since I wanted to make this for when I had company over I decided to have a Swedish theme. On the menu:

Swedish meatballs (of course) , handmade egg noodles, boiled potatoes with dill, cucumber salad, and roasted beets and apples.

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This was my little girls birthday cake. My “little” baby is now 6 years old and all I can think is that they were the fastest six years of my life. I guess I should purge all of the baby clothes that are in  boxes down in the basement. I want to, I just can’t. We only wanted one child and I’m perfectly okay with that , besides, it’s too late for that now, but seriously, these past six years have been so much fun. I am a stay at home mom and way proud of it.  Every day, at some point, is a fun play date. It could be headband making (which we just finished doing) or a dance party in the living room. Sometimes it’s a fashion show or rock painting. Not that it’s all pretty, there are plenty of times when we just butt heads; a little girl can be very opinionated and downright defiant. But I am only going to discuss the good times today. Like her birthday party. Like how we had 6 six-year-old girls over for a pajama/pizza/Barbie movie party (and survived). We decided to do the home party this year since it’s too darn expensive to rent out places to go and I feel like I can’t keep up with the expectations. Gosh, when I was a kid I think I had one birthday party. Every other year it was just my parents and sisters around the kitchen table singing Happy Birthday around a small, homemade cake after dinner. Nowadays, every kid has to have a party every year. Well, from now on, it’s at the house with just a few friends. So there (I’ll be interested to see if I keep my promise over the next few years). Bake On!

This delicious cake was made using fruit puree. I wasn’t so interested in just breaking out the food coloring (not that I’m against it), but I wanted the cake to have flavor, which food coloring does not have. Only the bottom two layers have a drop of pink color added to make them pop a little. All the fruit that has been so lovingly frozen in the freezer came in very handy for this. Three fruits were the base: strawberry, raspberry and cherries.  Each fruit puree was made separately and only took about 10 minutes. Take about 2 cups frozen of your berry choice and bring to a boil on the stove with a splash of water. Cook for about 2 minutes and then whirl in a mini processor or blender until smooth. Pass through a five sieve to get out any seeds or in the case of the cherries, skin. Place the fruit puree in separate containers and cool completely.  Since raspberry was my middle color I needed more fruit so I cooked up 3 cups. Read on… Now that there are three base colors it’s time to combine them to make some more shades of pink. Take 3 tablespoons of the strawberry and mix it with 3 tablespoons of raspberry in a separate bowl, then take three tablespoons of raspberry puree and mix it with 3 tablespoons of cherry puree (again, in a separate bowl).  You now have 5 shades of pink.

the top layer is plain white cake
strawberry: shade# 1
strawberry/raspberry: shade# 2
raspberry: shade #3
raspberry/cherry: shade#4
cherry: shade #5


Now on to the cake… You will need 5 bowls besides your mixing bowl  so you can add the fruit puree’s.This is made with a 6 inch cake pan. I have two so I can bake 2 layers at a time, but if you only have one that is fine. It will just take longer to get all the layers baked.

 White Cake Base

3 cups (12 oz /247.5 g) Cake Flour
1 2/3 cups (11 3/4oz/333 g) sugar; superfine sugar is best
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (6 oz/170 g) unsalted butter, softened
4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg
1 cup (8 oz/227 g) full-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Prepare a 6 inch cake pan (s) by lightly spraying with vegetable oil (such a PAM) and lining with a round piece of parchment paper.

Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste,that’s okay.Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition . Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream  with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Measure out six ounces of plain batter into a prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Measure out 6 ounces (3/4 cup)  five more times into your separate bowls. Add 6 tablespoons of each of your various fruit purees to each six oz bowl of white cake batter; you  now have  five various shades of pink batter. At this time if you feel you would like any of them darker in color add a touch of food color.

Okay, if you are lucky enough to own more than one six-inch cake pan, than you can bake two (or more) layers at a time. If not, wait until the first layer is done, let it cool for 5 minutes and then flip it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Turn the hot cake pan upside down and run under cold water for a few seconds to quickly cool down the pan. Wipe out the inside of the pan, regrease and paper.  Repeat until all six layers are done.

This cake was frosted with swiss meringue buttercream with 1/4 cup leftover mixed puree added to it. Each layer was topped with a thin layer of buttercream then  I piped a border “dam” around the outer edge to seal in the contents. Then I spread about 2 tablespoons low sugar raspberry jam (I used Presidents Choice Blue Line from Superstore) inside the dam . Top with another layer and repeat until all the layers are done.


Even though this cake is small, it is very tall, so I inserted a wooden skewer ,cut to size, right down the middle of the cake to keep the layers from shifting. You can also use a straw. Place in the fridge for one hour to set up.

Coat the cake with a crumb coat, place back in the fridge for 1-2 hours, then finish off with a final coat of buttercream.

For the ice cream cone top:


After baking my six layers, I still had a small amount of batter which I baked, cooled, and crumbled up. It was then mixed with a little bit of buttercream and made into a paste.  This is what everyone commonly knows as a cake pop, only this was a giant cake pop. I rolled the mixture into a ball (make sure your hands are impeccably clean!!) the size of a scoop of ice cream and inserted into a sugar cone. Be sure to flatten out the bottom so it can sit evenly on the cake. Place in the fridge to get cold.

Chocolate Ganache

6 oz dark chocolate
6 oz heavy whipping cream

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Bring the cream to a boil on the stove top and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for 3 minutes then whisk until it is creamy. Set aside at room temperature to set up while the cake is chilling in the fridge.

Later on….

Take the cake and ice cream cone cake pop out of the fridge. Pour about half of the ganache onto the top of the cake, and using a small offset spatula, spread it around the entire top letting it drip down the sides. Now take the cake pop cone and dip the “ice cream” part into the balance of the ganache, coating all sides. Set it down onto the top  of the cake; the ganache is still wet so it will meld into each other. Sprinkle with confetti sprinkles if desired. You can either keep it out of the fridge at this point if you are serving it the same day or else placed the entire cake back in the fridge for up to two days.

The white cake recipe is adapted from this amazing recipe. I adjusted it based upon adding the fruit puree. Use the original recipe if you just want to bake a great white cake.

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So, twenty-seven years ago these two lovely women meet and fall in love. They decided to commit to spending their lives together regardless of what society and the law dictates. A few years back they take a trip to Canada to get married while in Vancouver. It couldn’t get better, right? Well, it did. Last July , New York State finally legalized  same sex marriage. I say finally, since NY should have gotten on board a long time ago, considering it was the Stonewall Riots back in 1969 that sparked the gay rights movement. But, that is neither here nor there for this special occasion. These two have made a life together for the past 27 years. And they are happy. Considering how many failed marriages  we have all seen over the years, this is a true testament to commitment, regardless of their sex. A happy marriage is a happy marriage. So, they did it again. this time in their own hometown.

The happy couple

Anywooo… I was privileged enough to be asked to bake their wedding cake while I was in NY and my little one was their flower girl. As luck would have it, my husband was able to join us as well, making it a real family event for all. The cake was deep, dark chocolate cake  with raspberry filling and Italian meringue buttercream. They chose not to have the cake covered with fondant, which gives the cake a fabulous smooth exterior, but wanted to go for flavor instead. I am all for that. I love the look of fondant, but do not like the taste. I don’t think anyone really does.While I make my own fondant so it does taste way better than store-bought, it still is not something that people really want to eat (for my own wedding I covered the cakes with buttercream instead of fondant). It just take a lot longer to smooth it out.
On the second tier there is a design stencilled onto it using the same color buttercream for a subtle white on white effect. To use a stencil on buttercream you must make sure that your base coat is very cold before trying to stencil on it or else you will smudge the smoothness of your frosting, then make sure the buttercream you are using to stencil with is very soft.

Finally, the cake was decorated with moth orchids made out of gumpaste. Each one was hand painted so I started them about one month before the wedding so there would be plenty of time to finish. What I love about gumpaste flowers is that you never have to worry about poisonous plants and they last forever, so they can have a special keepsake. If you are interested in me doing a tutorial on gumpaste flowers, just let me know. Have a great day!

Let them eat cake

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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No Recipes today, just wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween. Here are a few pictures of some of the cookies I have been decorating for the season. The skull in the bottom right hand corner is actually a 3D white chocolate mold filled with gumdrops. I got the mold for $1.50 (!!!) at Michaels the other day; it is made by Wilton.

I also found these super easy to use transfer sheets for $1.49. It contained 8 transfers, so I thought that was a really good deal. These were purchased at Winner’s, which is the Canadian equivalent to TJ Maxx or Marshalls. The message here? always be on the lookout !!

What I really love about these is that ANYONE can do this- no previous experience necessary. What’s better than that? Baking from Scratch couldn’t be easier when you find fun decorating tools like this. Bake on!

Now off to prepare the little one for tonight…..

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This past weekend was our dear friend Donna’s birthday so we hosted a party for her at our house. Lots of good food; itailan heros on homemade ciabetta, garden picked rosemary foccocia stuffed with gorgonzola and ham, sausage and broccoli rabe, roasted pepper salad, etc… AND great company. Since she is such a unique individual I designed a cake to suit her personality. The bottom 2 layers are “dummy” cakes, meaning the cakes are really styrofoam. This is a decorators trick so you can still have the height but you don’t need 100 people to eat the cake.! For competition you are only allowed to use dummy bases, as well. They are covered/decorated  in fondant. The zebra tier  is a red velvet cake with a cream cheese buttercream frosting. The zebra stripes are fondant. The fantasy flowers are made out of gumpaste.

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Gumpaste Flowers


While I have not been busy posting, I have been busy trying new recipes and enjoying the beautiful summer weather here in Calgary. This past Friday began with the annual parade to start the 99th season of the Calgary Stampede, the world’s largest rodeo competition and fair. The city becomes quite crazy for 10 days, with hundreds of thousands of tourists coming in from all over the world, free pancake breakfasts everywhere, all day drinking parties, and nightly fireworks. This year the parade was just that more abuzz with the special guests, Prince William and his new bride Kate.

So we made sure to avoid anywhere they might be. …Much to the dismay of our little girl.

We found a spot right at the tail end of the parade route with a great view of everything

There are SO many horses currently in the city that it is mind boggling!  We had a fun time at the parade but
I was still busy at home getting gumpaste flowers prepared for Saturday since I was demonstrating at the Stampede
Grounds in the western showcase building on behalf of the Calgary Sugarcraft Guild. I was a little behind schedule (what else is new) in being prepared, since I only began Tuesday night to think about what I would do. I decided on making a few samples of some gumpaste flowers to display and then I brought some fondant covered cupcakes and decorated them with simple flowers and designs to make decorating more approachable to the beginner. In the end there was one decorated with hydrangea blossoms, another with small rosebuds, another with simple daisy cutouts, one with small purple blossoms, etc… I wish I had taken pictures of them but I did not bring my camera since I knew I would be too busy demonstrating. At the end of the day, I saw some weary people sitting down for a cup of coffee and donated my cupcakes for them to enjoy.

I made a small banana cake and covered it with fondant to display these tulips (the cupcakes were also banana).


These were the first tulips I had ever made and am quite impressed with myself! There are so many colors of flowers  that you can just let your imagination run wild.

Some daisies….

and magnolias…

I will admit that making gumpaste flowers is not for everyone. They are time-consuming , but they can last a lifetime. When making a wedding cake or other special cake I think that sugar flowers are best since most fresh flowers are poisonous or sprayed with pesticides. When using fresh flowers it is important to make sure that there is a protective barrier between the cake and the flowers. Or play it safe and make gumpaste flowers!

p.s. thanks to everyone for all of your support during the Canadian Postal lock out. Due to back to work legislation the lock out is now ended and the postal workers are again delivering the mail.

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It’s been a very busy here baking and decorating cookies. We have had 2 Easter parties this past week and we just got home from an Easter egg hunt/brunch this afternoon.

This is a wonderful method for making sugar cookies. Instead of flouring your work surface, you roll out the dough right after mixing between 2 sheets of parchment paper, then you chill it. When you cut out your cookies they are ready to go right into the oven and since you don’t use any extra flour you can reroll the scraps as many times as you like without it toughening the cookie dough.  

SUGAR COOKIES

3 C  all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 C unsalted butter, softened
1 C granulated sugar
1 egg, large
1/2 tsp maple extract
seeds from 1 large vanilla bean (or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract)

Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the egg, extract and vanilla bean and mix well. Gradually add the flour until everything is thoroughly combined.

Divide the dough in half and pat into a disk shape. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper until it is 1/4 inch. Place the entire sheet onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator until chilled, about 30 minutes. Cut into desired shapes. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes at 350 or until they turn ever so slighty golden.Reroll the scraps between the parchment sheets.

Recipe adapted from Cookie Craft

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