Sunday, June 15, 2014


With a tasting and a wedding last week, plus many upcoming projects on the horizon it's been a busy wedding season so far for Morgan Phillips Cakes! I am so excited today to share a preview of the cakes I did for my sister's wedding last weekend. The professional photos are forthcoming, but for now I can't resist posting a few of the behind the scenes action.

The general consensus was cakelets > cupcakes. Stay tuned for many more details and pictures of how it all came together. Make sure to click back and check out the planning of this wedding to see these pretty little cakelets came to be.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Smith Island Cake

Before going to pastry school, I graduated from Washington College in Maryland with a four year degree in Business Management. My school is located on Maryland's Eastern shore and it is a place very near and dear to my heart - food traditions included. The Smith Island Cake is the state cake of Maryland (respect to any state that has a 'state cake') and it was historically made for the watermen to take out to sea with them as a reminder of home. It is a perilously high stacked yellow cake with anywhere from 8-15 layers and frosted with a boiled fudge icing to keep the cake from spoiling or drying out at sea. The look of a traditional Smith Island Cake is very rustic from the ooey-gooey fudge frosting.

In my latest class we had an assignment to make a "control" dessert and then re-create it following three separate dietary restrictions but preserving the taste and appearance of the dessert. For my project I did a Smith Island Cake with gluten-free, vegan and reduced calorie versions.

 To make the cake gluten free, I replaced the cake flour in the recipe with a blend of rice flours, vegetable starches and powdered egg whites. The frosting and sauce are the same recipes as the control. (**For the purposes of this class we did not prepare these specific desserts keeping cross contamination in mind, however with enough advanced notice I can offer a gluten-free cake that is safe for someone with severe Celiac's Disease to consume**).

The vegan version was a slightly more drastic departure from the traditional Smith Island Cake, but still ended up tasting surprisingly similar. The "yellow" cake actually had tofu in it to build structure instead of eggs and I replaced the dairy milk with almond milk. The traditional fudge frosting is pretty jam packed with animal fats, so for a vegan version I changed the idea entirely. This frosting is made using a ripe avocado, cocoa powder and a little vegan powdered sugar. It is still every bit as "fudge-y" but completely void of animal products and as a bonus - less than half the original calories. This one was actually my favorite cake out of all of them!

For the reduced calorie version I was able to cut out over 25% of the calories in the original cake by replacing whole eggs with egg whites, using a sugar substitute and using a combination of oil and plain yogurt to replace the fat. The cake ended up lighter and fluffier than the original and a lot of people who stopped by our presentation even liked it better.

My class prepared sample sizes of each of their desserts and set up a presentation for any students, faculty of tour groups who happened to be walking by. It was great to get feedback from an impartial audience on recipes that I had developed myself and will most definitely be using in the future. 

Any version of this yellow cake can be easily translated into a tiered or sculpted cake and is not just available in its "Smith Island" version. Contact me today for all your cake related dietary needs!