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  1. Sarah, thanks for your reply... yes, I actually do think it may have been the flour I used, not because it was the wrong type but because I'm in Canada and I'd heard that Canadian AP is different then US AP flour. I have a bread machine and in the manual it gives specific differences in recipes to take into account whether it's American or Canadian AP flour. Not sure what the equivalent of US flour here would be?? But it was unbleached I used. Interesting. As far as the mixer, I used my Kitchenaid Pro which is 350W, not that much more power and I made sure not to overmix all the same. I'll be interested to see how it works out for others in the US.. maybe it's just me. It's kind of a tricky test, isn't it when people have different ingredients, different pans, different countries, etc. Perhaps I'll give it another go with different flour?? In the original Braun recipe it calls for AP flour but I substituted cake flour to achieve a nicer crumb... maybe that wouldn't be necessary in the US? Hmmm.
  2. Yesterday I made the Sarah Phillips recipe but I didn't have great results unfortunately. I'm not sure what exactly happened and I wish I had photos to show. But, the cakes came out looking beautiful, nicely domed on top and golden in colour and with a toothpick coming out clean. But, upon rising, the cakes just sort of sunk in on themselves so now they're sunken in the center and really heavy and dense in texture, yet when cut a bit on the crumbly side. In a taste test, my recipe won. That's not to say mine is the greatest recipe... it's the best I've found so far but I'm definitely still open to a better one if one exists. Wendy, I know what you mean about the butter cakes getting too firm once in the fridge. I think that is just the way it is with with butter cakes due to the fact of the butter content. I just know to serve butter cakes at room temp. and advise my clients to do the same for best flavour. And since I usually pair the butter cakes with either a ganache or a buttercream filing, they work great since the buttercream and ganache are best a room temp. also. I find after the cakes have been in the fridge and come back to room temp. they're fine again and not too firm anymore. I'd like to offer up my recipe as a challenger: This is based on Margaret Braun' butter cake but with some of my own alterations which I felt improved upon it. Vanilla Butter Cake 1 ½ lbs./ 24 oz. Cake flour 2 tsp. Baking powder 1 tsp. Baking Soda 1 tsp. Salt 2 c./1 lb. Unsalted Butter, softened 2 lbs. Sugar 6 large Eggs 2 tsp. Vanilla extract 2 c. Buttermilk Preheat oven to 350 F; Grease pans, line with parchment on the bottom of pans. Sift dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, being careful to keep the sides and bottom of the bowl scraped down. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again and stir in vanilla Add dry ingredients to mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, again making sure bowl is scraped down so that mixture is homogenous. Scrape batter into pans and bake until set and cake tester comes out clean (approx. 50 min.) NOTE: I can get two 12”x 2” cakes out of this recipe, so as a test run, you can half this recipe easily with no adverse affects and probably get two 9” cakes instead.
  3. I make my own seedless raspberry puree all the time. I used to press it though a fine sieve... what a pain that is. It takes forever and is hard on the arm in my opinion. I'd had it with that method until finally I got a hand crank food mill. What a relief... very fast and easy so that's my recommendation. Or for more money there's probably some sort of electric type but I haven't seen one where I live. If you have a really high powered food processor like one of those vitamix blenders, I think that would actually break down the seeds thoroughly rather than having to strain the seeds out but I haven't tried that either.
  4. Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said... WOW! Thanks so much for being so open in sharing your magic. I, learned so much from this post. You are an amazing cake artist! I also have a question about the modelling chocolate... is it white choc. you're using and then colouring that? And what ratio of corn syrup to chocolate are you using so it is so easy to handle? Thanks!
  5. Well, all my leftover yolks pretty much get turned into lemon curd....and then I usually freeze the lemon curd for whenever I need it. However, I've also frozen yolks, but you have to add 1 tsp. sugar for each yolk or else when you thaw the yolks they will be weird and lumpy and won't really be good for anything else. The sugar keeps the yolks liquid, but then you also have to conpensate for the extra sugar in your recipe when you do use them. As for the meringue powder being used for bc, I'd be interested to find that out myself... never tried or heard of anyone trying that. I just use the stuff for royal icing.
  6. Hmmm, not sure why the texture would change when you put on the cake. I always use SMBC for all my cakes and have always had pretty great results. I always cut and fill the cakes when the cakes are chilled, but the BC is room temp., freshly made preferably. Then I crumb coat and put the cakes in the fridge to chill, then go over again with the BC. As far as mouthfeel, I know I always advise clients to eat the cakes when they are at room temp because the taste and texture just aren't the same when they are right out of the fridge and cold... like eating hard butter which is what it is basically. Does this help at all??
  7. Where did you order it? Online? That's definitely good to know you can order smaller amounts to try. One time I bought (to try) hazelnut paste which was also really expensive, and it came in a huge bucket which I'm still trying to get through. It's really yummy though!
  8. Dee


    Hmmm, I didn't really have that problem, except maybe upon reheating the leftovers a few times. Or I guess if you just kept stirring it so much that the beef got all torn to shreds. If you just gently stir it together, it should be fine... just like any other stew with beef in it. I've never tried any restaurant's version of the dish... I'd be interested to taste the difference! Oh, and I don't know that fenugreek leaves will make or break the dish... but I'm thinking they should have them, at least the dried ones, at the Middle Eastern store. I'm looking forward to hearing how it turns out for you, and you too, TongoRad! If you have any other questions along the way, I'll try to check back often.
  9. Well, what I ended up doing was toasting and grinding up pistachio nuts in my food processor, but it didn't get to the "paste" stage as I'd hoped. So, I just tried adding the crushed nuts to the buttercream and to me it tastes pretty good and I quite like the crunchiness. However, I'm not an expert on pistachio anything, so I'm not sure what a great pistachio buttercream should taste like and is it okay to be crunchy compared to smooth. It still seems so mild to me... compared to a hazelnut or almond buttercream which would be fairly pronounced in flavour. I hope it will be okay! I'll be on the look out for the recommended pastes mentioned above. But knowing my luck, after that I'll never get a request for it again!
  10. Well, back when I was just a "cake decorator" I only knew how to use cake mixes. I just didn't seem to have luck with scratch baking. Or else I just didn't have a decent repertoire of recipes to use. But, now that I've gotten a few really good reference books on baking and some great recipes, I will never go back to mixes. Scratch cakes all the way, I'm proud to say. And I can always tell the difference too. One book that I learned a TON about baking cakes from is The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum. That and The Wedding Cake Book, where there are some really good recipes to work with IMO. There are I'm sure lots of others, but those were the ones that showed me how easy baking scratch cakes could be.
  11. Dee


    I try to keep the bunches together and chop chop chop unil I get to where it's mostly stems in my hand and throw that out. Take out as much stem as you can if possible, but I leave a fair bit in ( because I'm lazy ). Same for the cilantro except that I've been told that cilantro stems are tender and flavourful and so okay to leave in. Fenugreek leaves I've only seen as dried. I think if you can find fresh ones, great! The dried lemons as I've mentioned are the tricky part. They have to be a certain type which I've only found in Persian specialty stores. If you have a store near you where they sell such products, ask and they should know what you're talking about. They are dried whole and are about 1 1/2 "-2" in diameter and are kind of a woody brown colour. And they are rock hard dry. And when the broken up pieces simmer in the pot they soften up so you can eat them. I've bought dried "lemon peel" and tried that before but it's just not the same. I REALLY hope you find them!
  12. Dee


    Here's the recipe as taught to me... Ghormeh Sabzi First of all, brown 1-2 lbs. beef sirloin (or stewing beef), add one large chopped onion and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic, then cover with water and simmer for a couple of hours until tender. Meanwhile, wash, drain and chop finely 6 large bunches of parsely and 2 large bunches of cilantro. Put all this in a large pot. You will have heaps of parsley which may or may not fit in your pot.. but that's okay because it will cook down. Add to this 2 chopped green onions and fenugreek leaves (about a 1/2 cup or so). Note this is NOT the same as fenugreek seeds. Heat this all on medium heat until it is reduced. When the beef is finished, add the contents of that pot to the parsley mixture. Now add 4-5 dried lemons (available in persian specialty stores or stores which sell middle eastern foods). These are the hardest ingredient to find but they make a big difference in the overall flavour of the dish. You just puncture them, break them apart into pieces and try to get all the seeds out. Then throw them in the pot. Then add about a tablespoon or so of turmeric, salt and pepper to taste, and about half a can or more of red kidney beans. You can adjust this to suit your taste. Then just let this simmer for about an hour and add more salt if it needs it. Then, just serve over basmati rice. It sounds complicated but well worth the effort and a GREAT use of parsley. It makes enough to serve about 8 or more, possibly with leftovers. Good luck! Oh yeah, if you have trouble finding fenugreek leaves, they are probably easiest to find in a Persian specialty type store too.
  13. Dee


    Oh, I know, I know! Has anyone heard of Ghormeh Sabzi? It's a Persian dish using parsley as THE main ingredient... like a parsley stew sort of. It's very different but so good. It uses something like 6 large bundles of parsley plus 2 more bunches of cilantro, cooked down with onions, dried lemons and then to that is added chunks of beef and red kidney beans plus a few other spices. It's really wonderful! An Iranian friend taught it to me who had learned it from her mother and so on...
  14. Wendy, what brand of paste do you use, if you know. Is it the Hero brand that's been mentioned above? And is what you use sweetened? Because generally, the flavours of buttercream I use are made by having a basic swiss meringue buttercream as my base and adding purees, lemon curd, chocolate, etc to that. And I make my own purees and curds less sweet to compensate for the already sweet buttercream. So, the problem with the pistachio cream I mentioned is that it is already so sweet on its own that if I add enough for the pistachio flavour to come through, it's going to be way too sweet. Thanks for your help!
  15. Ok, here goes... I am filling cakes, not icing them with this pistachio buttercream and the cakes will be lemon. I've made lemon pistachio biscotti before, so that's why I figured those flavours would be good as a cake. False... however, I definitely should have charged more for the pistachio buttercream option-- since the paste is really expensive! At least the stuff I got is... imported from Italy, it's a pistachio "cream" made from organic pistachios and organic cane sugar. By the looks of my first experiment, I'm going to have to use an awful lot of this stuff to get any actual pistachio flavour so I may try the "toasting and grinding my own" method next and see how that goes. I think pistachio buttercream is: C. Expensive But, I like the idea of it and the look of it as a filling (not an outer icing) but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble... I have to do further experimentation but so far, it has such a mild flavour I'm not sure I can even notice it's pistachio flavoured or not, other than the obvious green colour.
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