Monday, September 29, 2014

Specialty ballerina cake

This specialty cake was made for a little girl who loved ballerinas and the color blue!  Happy 7th Birthday Eva!  For more information on catering deserts please visit

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Homemade Eclairs

So I learned how to make pastry cream in my baking class and didn't have the heart to throw it away. I searched for ideas on what to do with it and there are a number of treats.  Cream puffs and trifles but then I saw eclairs.  Who doesn't love eclairs?  Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than light pastry filled with cream... and then dipped in chocolate. Pastry cream is one of the most basic techniques that every chef has a recipe for.  It can be whipped up in no time at all with ingredients you usually have on hand.

When I was younger Gale Gand's show used to come on Food Network called "Sweet Dreams".  My love for baking and appreciation for the final dessert product was encouraged by her.  It's too bad the show doesn't come on anymore because she has some really great techniques that any home cook can benefit from.  Nevertheless, her recipes can still be found on Food Network's website.

Therapeutic topic of the week: Be kind.

An act of kindness doesn’t have to be extravagant to be meaningful. The key is to bring mindful intention to these simple daily acts. You can hold a door for someone, let someone who appears rushed go ahead of you in line, write a kind note to a friend in need. These acts of kindness benefit you as much as they benefit the person you have helped.

Homemade Eclairs
Adapted from Gale Gand


2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, plus 1 extra, if needed
Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons water
Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Add vanilla. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.

Pastry: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time. Stop mixing after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining 1 egg and mix until incorporated.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe fat lengths of dough (about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog) onto the lined baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between them. You should have 8 to 10 lengths.

Egg Wash: In a bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash. Use your fingers to smooth out any bumps of points of dough that remain on the surface. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until puffed up and light golden brown, about 25 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet. Fit a medium-size plain pastry tip over your index finger and use it to make a hole in the end of each eclair (or just use your fingertip). Using a pastry bag fitted with a medium-size plain tip, gently pipe the custard into the eclairs, using only just enough to fill the inside (don't stuff them full).

Glaze: In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately turn off the heat. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm. The glaze can be made up to 48 hours in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, and rewarm in a microwave or over hot water when ready to use.

Dip the tops of the eclairs in the warm chocolate glaze and set on a sheet pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

birthday cake truffles

Red velvet cake truffles covered in chocolate and decorated in green and blue for a birthday meets baby shower event!  For more catering and specialty desserts please visit

Monday, September 8, 2014

Whoo's turning one?

Owl themed birthday cake for a one year old girl.  Please visit for more information on catering desserts at your next event.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

sweet sixteen cake

This specific rose pattern was requested for an elegant sweet sixteen birthday.
For more information please visit

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