Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's a Pumpkin Festival

Fall is absolutely my favorite time of year. I was going to write a lofty and poetic ode the Fall, but my brain is all gummed up with buttercream frosting. So rather than filling your souls with beautiful imagery of pumpkins, tumbling whirls of leaves in autumn colors and the crisp air blowing in the promise of fresh apple pie and trick-or-treaters you only get my lazy “Hey Fall, glad you’re here!”

I wanted to share a few of my latest fall creations. They are all listed for sale in my Etsy store.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My name is Heather and I'm addicted to Buttercream

After 14 weeks of pastry school the class I've been waiting for is finally here--Cakes! I'm sure after all of the buttercream frosting I've made in the past two weeks most people would be sick of it, but not me, can't get enough of the stuff. I truly am an addict. Is there a 12-step program for frosting addiction? Actually, I hope not. I'm not ready to give it up.

Black Forest Cake

Carrot Cake

I made these in class on a day when everyone was hungry. We were just making cakes & freezing them, so we didn't have any snacks. These are Chocolate cupcakes frosted with cherry buttercream frosting. The cherries had been marinating in their own juice plus Kirsch liqueur which made them extra decadent and gave the frosting an amazing flavor. I used the extra boozed up syrup to make ice cream the next day. Yum!

Traditional German Chocolate Cake

Mandarin Orange Layer Cake frosted with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream

This was the most amazing cake EVER. Seriously, this cake may be my Holy Grail, the solution to all of life's problems. It's a white layer cake with fresh strawberries. What makes it so addictive is the frosting: Cream cheese frosting with Malibu Rum, coconut extract, crushed pineapple and a pinch of all spice (the specks on the top of the cake is an additional sprinkling of all spice). This cake is to die for!

Pistachio Layer Cake

Triple Chocolate Torte: Three layers of Chocolate velvet cake, dark chocolate ganache filling and covered with chocolate buttercream

Here's a little fun with marzipan. Remember the talking veggies on The Muppet Show? Yeah, that's what I had on my brain.

Wishing you all buttercream shots!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is it Fall yet?

Hey there, did you think I dropped off the planet? Sorry for the long hiatus, I hadn't planned on being away from blogland for so long. Time just seemed to slip away from me, or more specifically August slipped away. So I thought I'd just jump right back in give you a quick rundown of my comings and goings, musings and rants for the past month.

I took an impromptu vacation. I realized at the last minute that we had a week-long semester break at the beginning of August, so I quick booked a flight to my home state of Nebraska to visit my family and best friend, Erron (Hi Erron!)

While in Omaha I just HAD to visit my very favorite restaurant in the whole country--The Bohemian Cafe. My family and most everyone I know think I'm nuts, but this truly is my favorite restaurant and favorite meal anywhere...

Who wouldn't love a place like this? It's been here in Omaha since 1924 and it's looked exactly like this at least since I was born (trust me, that's a long time). Doesn't it look like it promises good eats?

The inside has been expanded and update a few times over the years, and it's always spotless, yet the overall decor looks basically the same. Gotta love those paintings!
This is it, my favorite meal. Yes, I'm in culinary school. Yes, I love escargot, I like foie gras, I truly enjoy very high-end cuisine, but I'd pass them all up for this any day.
I know, you're saying, "What the hell is that?"
That is a heaping plate of Hungarian goulash, covering two massive yeast dumplings and a side of sweet and sour cabbage, accompanied by killer rye bread. I also always order the liver dumpling soup.
You're probably questioning all of my previous food reviews and descriptions, and I know it's not everyone's favorite (sorry Judy), but to me it's the ultimate comfort food. And it's been made the same way for nearly seventy-five years. So I guess I'm not the only one who likes it. Thank you Bohemian Cafe, I'll always love you!

On the school front, I came back to a less than exciting class: Baking Technology. Basically it's a whole class of experiments to learn how baking ingredients work, and what doesn't. Things like what happens when you substitute various fats, can you swap out honey for sugar, what do different flours do, etc. I thought this might be fun, but I was wrong. I mostly had to sample and observe a lot of really disgusting products that were intentionally baked wrong. To fill up time, we made a few things worthy of sharing.

Classic Cannoli garnished with crushed pistachios, mini chocolate chips and served with chocolate ganache for dipping.
I developed this one myself--Chocolate Napoleon: 2 Chocolate palmiers with chocolate pastry cream, raspberries, and whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate ganache and sprinkled with pistachios. This was soooo good!

We're finally done with this boring class and on to the one I've been waiting my whole culinary program for--Cakes! I guarantee I'll have tons of fun things to show you from this class. The first week was mostly banging out tons of different kinds of cakes, which we've wrapped up and stored in the freezer. Now we're finally starting the assembling and decorating. I've also been whipping up extra goodies in class as time allows (we're always hungry even though we're baking).
These are chocolate cupcakes topped with maraschino cherry buttercream frosting. The cherries had been soaking in their own juice plus Kirsch liquer, so this frosting was extra decadent and the cherries were killer!

This is a layered sponge cake, soaked in Grand Marnier syrup, Grand Marnier flavored whipped cream and Mandarin oranges in the center and on top. Very delicate flavor.

Well, that about catches us all us. I've also been crafting quite a bit, but I'll save that for it's own post. This week make a point of doing at least one thing you absolutely love!