Thursday, September 26, 2013

S'mores Cupcakes

In honor of the cooler weather, the return of Sunday football and campfires everywhere, I've been working on a new fall cake flavor. It's the perfect slice of heaven to brighten up your cozy evening at home on the couch, or add some flavor to your tailgate parties. The cake is a moist and delicious graham cracker pound cake that is designed to reflect the sweet and nutty flavor of Nabisco's classic grahams. It is stuffed full with a smooth and creamy dark chocolate ganache and topped with a toasted marshmallow frosting.

I went classic with the garnish and snapped off a piece of a Hershey's bar to place alongside a graham cracker. I usually prefer to 1) garnish with something either homemade or fresh and b) not use Hershey's chocolate in general but I made an exception for this one. Hershey's bars are just oh-so-s'mores-y, plus within the past year Hershey announced they are moving towards being fair trade which makes my certified chocolate loving heart very happy. 

But before I garnished, I toasted that gooey marshmallow frosting to give it an almost brǔleéd finish. 

And here's a shot of the chocolate lava center just in case you still needed convincing. I personally believe that s'mores don't taste as good unless you get them all over your face. The cupcake version is no exception!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Faves

My weekends are a little different now that I'm officially living in Virginia for the next six months while I'm completing my externship for pastry school. Yesterday  was my "Monday" and I'll continue working all weekend as the restaurant life goes. But I'm more inspired than ever so I still wanted to take a moment and share a few of my favorite pictures from this week, that you can enjoy on your hopefully relaxing Friday. It's no big secret that I love Fall and all it's flavors, textures and cooler weather. So prepare yourself for a Fall overload now that it's actually here:

Favorite Fall Cake: Subtle vs. In your face Fall

I couldn't pick so here's two. I love how earthy but romantic the first one is because that's exactly how this season makes me feel. The second one would be a fun update on my caramel apple cider cake, or even my chocolate cinnamon pear cake.

Favorite Fall Cake Stand: Planter style

What a perfect way to recycle empty pots and planters now that the weather is cooling down. These would be great for a fall baby or bridal shower.

Favorite Colors: Autumn hues, what else.

Favorite View: White Oak Canyon, Va

I went hiking this week in Virginia for the first time in years and I'm just falling in love with this state all over again. Can't get enough of those beautiful baby blue mountains!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mini Cakes

My sister is getting married! And I simply cannot wait any longer to post about her cake. I'm so excited for it that the planning process has moved ahead very rapidly and very detailed (which is good considering I'm splitting the day of duties of MOH and cake decorator...) and I just have to share some of the exciting things we've been working on. My sister Cortney and her fiance Jack are quite the nerdy pair- in all of the best ways possible of course. In fact, she's reflecting their nerd love by having "bookish" elements sprinkled throughout the wedding that you can read about over on her blog. I was definitely on board for a scrabble cake, but we decided to go a slightly different route...

Another cool thing about my sister's wedding is that she is DIY-ing the heck out of it. She has a lot of projects in the works that aren't mine to spoil, but I will say that her wedding will be full of pretty fabrics, vintage finds and lots of personal touches. The cake will be no exception:

We know a few things for sure: 'the' cake will actually be many cakes, they will be mini, and they will be naked (yep, still talking about cake here). They're getting married June 2014 in Louisa, Va at Prospect Hill Plantation Inn which has gorgeous floral backdrops all on its own. We're not planning on adding many flowers, but the cake will probably be studded with a daisies and billy balls to bring out her wedding colors of yellow, gray and blue. I'm also hoping to incorporate some of her wedding ideas by using the fabric scraps to make a bunting decoration, and scouring antique stores to find the perfect step ladder to transform into a cake stand. You may remember that I recently became obsessed with the idea of using ladders to display desserts when I happened to cross this beauty. I'm planning on creating an entire dessert table of antique plates and platters with the step ladder being the center of attention. You can follow and see more of our ideas on the Pinterest board I made for them too.

It's been so fun really diving into this one and pulling out all of the stops. Because this cake is for my sister I can really go over the top and try some new things out. We're working hard and planning far ahead so it can all pay off when her day comes. Check back here to see how the progress is going!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sundae Cake Truffles

I hate wasting anything. I've kept bottles of nail polish from 9th grade and I have to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom in order to get every last bit out. I feel even more strongly about wasting cake because, well, it's cake. The absolute worst part of culinary school is how much good food we throw away each and every day- it makes me so sad! To solve my own cake wasting problem, I save any wedding cake scraps and freeze them right away so they'll stay fresh. Then down the road I can use them for things like bread pudding, crumb garnishes or cake croutons. I've made my stance on cake pops pretty clear before, but my feelings toward these decadent and pop-able cake truffles couldn't be more opposite. 

These are made from dark chocolate cake, homemade caramel sauce, sweetened coconut, chocolate ganache and cherry liquor. So basically, an ice cream sundae in one easy bite. 

They're rolled in cocoa powder and powdered sugar for a  rustic effect, but dipping them in dark chocolate would give them a little extra fancy for a more formal affair. The center is fudge-y and slightly gooey like a regular chocolate truffle. I could put away half a dozen of these bad boys without hardly batting an eye. They make great additions to gift boxes for wedding or bridal shower parties (package way easier than cake!) or they could even sit pretty on a dessert bar.