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Everything posted by beacheschef

  1. Thank you. Yes - the butterflies have held up well. However, I didn't load the cupcakes into the boxes and place the butterflies on top until the morning of delivery. I didn't want the butterflies in the refrigerator. I will follow up with one of the recipients to see how they held up a few days later. ← I just spoke to a woman who was given one of these gifts - she placed her box in the refrigerator overnight with the butterflies on the cupcakes. The butterflies were fine, still firm and not absorbing moisture yet.
  2. Thank you. Yes - the butterflies have held up well. However, I didn't load the cupcakes into the boxes and place the butterflies on top until the morning of delivery. I didn't want the butterflies in the refrigerator. I will follow up with one of the recipients to see how they held up a few days later.
  3. A photo of the finished butterflies. I made them with pastillage rolled very thin and cut with a cookie cutter. The wings were dried over cotton balls to curl. I used luster dust mixed with a drop or two of water to paint them, then glued them together with royal icing. They were also glued to wires, so they would appear to "float" above the cupcakes. I have to admit, the "wow factor" was certainly achieved!
  4. You said it sister!! Frankly, I opt for the brutally honest method, esp. living in Florida (the land of sunshine and lawsuits!). Just didn't know if there were techniques out there that I wasn't familiar with. I'm not worried about the people that will eat the petit fours later in the evening (expanding on the 2 or 4 hour out of refrigeration rule). I'm concerned about all of the people that will leave these boxes of desserts in their car or in their hotel room on the dresser until the next day before eating. Yes, the desserts may be safe for consumption the next day, but then again, they may not be. My reputation isn't worth those odds.
  5. A customer wants a dessert table at her wedding reception filled with baked items that her guests can take home with them as the wedding favor. I'll provide the boxes and all petit fours on the table. HOWEVER - she wants mini eclairs, cannoli, cheesecakes... (refrigerated items) My first thought is that I won't make any items that are perishible - the liability that someone will become ill is huge and it's expected that the guests won't consume these desserts until at least the next day. I'm very comfortable recommending non-perishible desserts for a fantastic dessert table. The bride really wants the items I named above. Is there some way to make these fillings (pastry and cannoli cream) non-dairy or safe to leave at room temp? And, do these alternative methods taste good? Thanks!
  6. Thanks all. Figured out that the pearl dusts I'm using like to be mixed in water, a drop at a time. I stole an eyedropper from my son's chemistry kit and mix my colors in shot glasses (so that's what they're used for!) all lined up along the "bar". As with purple color in fondant, the purple dust is "funky" and looks almost gray. I may skip the premixed purple and combine my own pink and blue to see if that works better. I have a more quiet week, so I can focus on painting. Will post photos once I have something to show. Will experiment with royal icing, as I have to make it to glue the butterfly wings together on my current pastillage work.
  7. Mmmmm....that sounds wonderful! Wish it wasn't so humid here in FL - they would be beautiful! Unfortunately, caramel dissolves pretty quickly here (and this project is just NOT worth getting into isomalt) Thanks for the sweet thoughts, though.
  8. Thanks Serj! What is tylose powder? Is it like gum trag? What did you mean that he used shortening as a glaze - just brushed the shortening onto the item he'd colored with pearl dust? Does this "set" the colors? Another question: I'm coloring the pastillage with pearl dust that I purchased at a craft shop (non toxic, but not from a baking website). I tried mixing the dust with vodka, but it wouldn't mix - just floated on top. I've gotten better results dipping my brush into water, then the jar of dust to paint on the butterfly. What are you using to paint pastillage with? AND, what did you mix it with to apply to the pastillage? I have to get clever, since I don't have time to order anything from the internet... I have my craft store pearl dusts, gel-based food colors and anything else I can purchase locally.
  9. I frequently use lemon curd with my cakes and have found great success when I freeze it for short periods of time. I have to make sure that I cook it long enough for it to thicken - actually using an instant read thermometer to make sure it hits 170+ degrees. After straining and refrigerating it, I'll freeze it in a plastic container with plastic wrap laying directly on top of the curd. I've made RLB's lime curd as a filling for coconut cakes - customers like that combo, too. But, I haven't tried any other lime curd recipes. I've used her orange curd, too, and found it to be soft and sweet, but quite delicious. Mixed with white chocolate mousse, it's a fabulous cake filling! Does anyone have good recipes for orange and lime curd recipes that they'd like to share?
  10. I would love the recipe! Also, any information you learned on "...amazing finishes with his coloring..." I'm using pearlized chalk and pearl dust for coloring, but would welcome any tips. Thanks!
  11. Any reason why you'd use one medium vs. another? I've got fondant and can make gumpaste. I could look up a candy clay recipe, if needed. I'm afraid fondant will get soft sitting on the buttercream (I could wire them, though) - don't think the gumpaste would soften, though. It always works fine when I use it for flowers - not falling apart.
  12. Thanks for the info on Jan Kish. I viewed her site - WOW! Her butterfly cake was along the lines of what I had in mind - butterflies flying. Hers are FABULOUS! I've never used the rice paper butterflies - can someone tell me more about them? The idea of using white chocolate sounds good, too. Never thought of making the butterflies edible (as in something the customer would want to eat) - I was more concerned about their stability! Is there a reason that I wouldn't want to use pastillage - that's what I'm currently experimenting with. I like it because I can roll it very thin (delicate wings), it dries so fast and doesn't soak up the humidity (yet!!) I truly appreciate all of your comments and suggestions. Mary
  13. The idea is that the cake will be covered with butterflies that are "taking flight" - so these need to be made with something that will stand up on top of the cake. (the rice paper ones are beautiful, but will lay flat) I plan to paint the butterflies with luster dusts. They need to look pretty, but not fabulously realistic. The real "gift" is the beauty of the cake with these butterflies on it. The "WOW" factor is what we're going for. Thanks for your thoughts - Mary
  14. What would you recommend that I use to make butterflies that will perch on top of a cake? My first thought is to use pastillage (I'm currently experimenting with it), but don't know if there's a better medium to use. I'm in Florida, so I do have to be careful with humidity. Also - will pastillage soften and break if placed on top of buttercream? I know it won't break right away, but a couple of days later, will it?
  15. I wonder...in the contract do you also specify any concerns about allergies or dietary needs? I have none myself, but have recently been stung by giving baked goods to friends who have issues with gluten, nuts, or alcohol. And I recently read a story about a bride who spent the first night in the hospital because the chef added a little almond to the frosting... I may be a little more sensitive about this issue due to recent experiences but I'm only cooking for a handfull of friends...and not a guest list of 300. ← Great point! This is something that I always ask my clients. There's no way you can know if any of your guests might have a food allergy, you can definately ask your customer if they're aware of any and if you need to use/eliminate certain ingredients. My concern is addressing any known sensitivities that a client or their guest has. I still believe in personal responsibility - if I have a sensitivity or allergy to an ingredient - I'd make sure to request that it wasn't used in the production of my wedding cake!!
  16. Contract - YES! I have a standard contract that I use for all weddings, even when I'm making a wedding cake for a friend. The top part of the contract gets name, address and home/work/fax/cell phone /e-mail of people ordering (paying for) the cake. The next part details where and when the cake will be delivered. Include contact name and phone number for anybody at a club/resort/restaurant that you will be delivering to. After that the cake is described - flavor of cake, type of icing, color of icing, filling, include alcohol (or not), serve top layer (or not)... Written description of wedding cake - this is where I detail different flavors in different cake layers, specific requests, draw a picture of the exterior, reference a page in a book/magazine that the bride specified, etc. Pricing follows, including deposit for equipment and date final payment is due. Items that require a deposit are listed. Signature, date, check number and amount of deposit are at the bottom. Once I receive payment I also sign the contract and mail them a copy for their records. Any time we change something I amend the contract and send them a new copy. Get everything in writing!! It prevents misunderstandings and makes you appear very professional. My contract is just a document I created in Microsoft Word. Good Luck! Mary
  17. I made Italian Meringue buttercream with the agave syrup and it curdled. The meringue was fine - but as I added the room-temp butter into the cooled meringue, it curdled. I continued to whip it as I added vanilla and a drop of lemon juice, but no improvement. So, thinking that I had to do SOMETHING...I added more a bit more butter. That actually made the mess curdle into larger clumps - like cottage cheese. I refrigerated the mess, hoping I can rewarm and rewhip it tomorrow. It looks like there's too much liquid in the buttercream...? Does anyone have thoughts on how to create a buttercream with agave?
  18. The first cake was dense and rubbery - due to the additional liquid. I had followed the recipe exactly, except where I substituted the agave syrup for the sugar. I reworked the recipe to remove the boiling water that was supposed to be added to the cocoa / powdered coffee and just sifted these items into the dry ingred. The agave syrup added almost exactly the same amount of liquid to the recipe as the removed water, and I added that with the yolks / oil / vanilla. The reworked cake came out beautifully! And, due to the chocolate, I can't taste any aftertaste from the agave. I have to say that I got out my Cake Bible and played with cake percentages to truly inderstand what was going on. Tonite I'll experiment with Italian Meringue Buttercream (I want to see how the agave works when boiled) and some sort of chocolate mousse / fudge frosting that I can eliminate the sugar from. Any thoughts on a good chocolate filling for this chocolate chiffon cake - one that I can substitute agave syrup for sugar (no semisweet chocolate allowed here!) Thanks
  19. For the recipe that I'm using for a chocolate chiffon cake, there doesn't seem to be excess liquid to reduce - to compensate for the addition of the agave syrup. The liquid ingredients are yolks, oil, vanilla. Boiling water is added to the cocoa powder/coffee powder - should I reduce some of this water? Eliminate the water and replace it with the correct amount of boiling agave syrup? Any thoughts on this? The cake is in the oven right now, and I didn't decrease any liquid in my first attempt. THE batter was quite thin - will see how it baked. Thanks again.
  20. Have you baked a cake with it before? I'm going to experiment with chocolate cake tomorrow, as that's what the customer has requested. Other than reducing the amount of agave used in a recipe (3/4 agave for every unit of sugar, as in the earlier post), can you provide any tips for using it? Does it have a bit of an aftertaste? Thanks
  21. What have people been doing with agave syrup since this topic was last discussed? Has anyone baked a cake substituting agave syrup for sugar? Thanks for any info you can pass along! Mary
  22. Does anyone have experience baking with Xylitol? I have a customer with serious health issues and can only consume baked goods with xylitol (no other sugar subltitute). I've been able to convert some of my recipes to use xylitol, but my efforts are experimental, at best. Does anyone have experience with xylitol and can provide me with some info on how to substitute it in my recipes? Does anyone have GOOD recipes that use xylitol? Thanks!
  23. Did you have a problem with the layers sliding or separating? I considered putting something in the center of the layers, such as raspberry jam (with my flavor combo) or chocolate to act as a "glue".
  24. I baked the 2 cheesecakes by pre-baking the bottom layer (coconut) and pouring the top layer (key lime) over top. Some observations: I had to watch the bottom layer like a hawk since I was baking in a sheetpan, not my usual 9" pan. Once the cheesecake began to set I poured the top layer on. I noticed that the top layer poured into the bottom layer, giving the appearance that the 2 batters were mixing. That was frustrating! (I really thought the bottom layer was set, but "set" and "not moving" must be 2 different things!) I popped the pan back in the oven and baked until the top layer was done, barely. Ran my palatte knife around the edges and left it to cool, where it developed the crack from hell. I cut it into bite-sized service pieces today and noticed that the 2 batters did NOT mix, but layered beautifully. The taste is fabulous and the consistency of the 2 cheesecakes is very similar. Would the temperature difference between the 2 cheesecakes cause the crack, or do you think it's the usual culprits of overbaking and/or overmixing? Each layer is almost an inch in height - would that have anything to do with the crack? Thanks for the suggestions. Next time I need to bake a multi-layered cheesecake I'll try the freezing method.
  25. Thanks for the tips. I'll be baking today and will let you know what method I tried and how it worked.
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