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  1. I just ordered the pink Beater Blade from cheftools.com. You guys are real enablers!
  2. After doing countless hours of research on macarons, I finally decided to make some. Happy to say, I got lil' feet on my first attempt. Here's a picture. I got lazy to make the ganache and instead filled it with staight NUTELLA! I darn near needed an insulin shot! It was delicious though... only filled three with Nutella. Naked the others sit in a plastic tub until I settle upon a filling. Extra pictures are posted in a Facebook album: Macaron Monster
  3. Well, I had my FIRST macaron from Laduree in Paris. It was chocolate. This has peaked my interest in macarons and here I find an extensive thread... or two. During my online search, I came across these two sites... I'm going to try my hand at these very soon. TarteletteThis link is to a blog that has a link to an online magazine called "Desserts Magazine" where they cover French desserts... with a "Macarons 101" section complete with pictures spanning at least 8 pages! MercotteThis one is from a French chef normally written in French, but this one's in English. Check out the pics of the rest of her macarons that she includes the recipe for... although that bit is written in French... there are BLACK ones... so striking! I'm a visual learner... the latter link has so many recipes of such gorgeous macs, but she's just started putting some in English. Seeing how I'm trying to brush up on my French, I don't mind reading them....
  4. Look what I found... although their pics make the cake look a tad dry. Give WE Our Blackcake!
  5. Ooooh, my! How could I have missed this topic? Actually, my avatar is a 2", 3" & 4" mini blackcake I did celebrating one of my earlier wedding anniversaries. I am the blackcake QUEEN!!!!!! I love it and feel it's a tradition that most people (West Indian) aren't passing down to their kids. I was taught by my mother-in-law (Background: I'm of Jamaican parentage, married to a Jamaican). She made me vow not to give away her recipe, so "MUM" is the word as I promised. I tweaked it to make it my own and as my husband himself has said, "The student has surpassed the teacher." If you remember way back when, I did a wedding cake demo... the 2nd cake which isn't demo-ed was a square blackcake. My blackcakes are a labor of love and include time and the finest ingredients. People began requesting my to make this (among other cakes) and you better believe it is more expensive than my yellow cakes. Most people request my fancy fondant covered cakes as they like them for special events. Let's put it this way, my 6" starts at $80 fully decorated. People happily pay it! I have two naked 6" blackcakes sitting on my stove as we speak. I should takes pics of them sitting in the tin and post them. The fruits have been soaking for years... at least 3, I'd say. It's actually time to make a new batch! LOL! I collect recipe books, especially, Soul/Southern cooking and Caribbean/West Indian. The closest I've come to my recipe is from "The Real Jerk" by Lily & Ed Pottinger. I too use commercial browning. Here is the recipe from that book if anyone wants to give it a go. It's a great cookbook, actually. Rum Cake (I associate Rum Cake with that yellow one and call mine Blackcake) Cake: 1 cup port wine 1/4 cup white rum 1 lb butter 3/4 lb brown sugar 8 large eggs, well beaten 2 tbsp vanilla 3 tbsp browning 1 tbsp lime juice 1 1/4lb flour 2 tbsp baking powder 1 tbsp ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground allspice (optional) 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder 1 tbsp lime zest Fruits: 1 1/4lbs raisins 1/2 lb currants 1/2 lb pitted prunes 1/4 lb mixed fruits 1/2 cup white rum 3 cups port wine For fruit: In a large saucepan over low heat, combine all ingredients. Steam for 10 minutes to soften fruit. Cool. In a food processor, blend coarsely. Put into sterilized jars. Store in a cool place until ready to use. For cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Combine port and rum and set aside. In a medium bowl, using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in vanilla, browning, and lime juice, and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and lime zest. Mix half the flour mixture into the butter mixture, then add all the fruits, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Grease and line bottom of two 9" pans with was paper. Pour cake batter into tins and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool pans on a cake rack. Remove cakes. Pour port and rum mixture over each cake. Wrap cakes in plastic wrap, them foil. Keep stored in a cool place. Once again, this is not my recipe... kinda the same, then not... like Hummingbirdkiss mentioned... I would love to swap fruitcake samples with others... sounds fun, yet fattening! Next feat... get my mother's Potato Pudding recipe mastered to a science. "Them come from the school of 'nuh measure, jus' fling!'"
  6. In my opinion, whether or not one should take a class depends on what type of learner you are. I think that one could be self taught, but it may also be easier to be shown what to do in person or via pictures. Simple flowers such as cherry blossoms I think you can do on your own. Just buy a blossom cutter. You may want to tint the gumpaste first a pale color, then dust it with a darker color for dimension. I took all three Wilton courses, but when my cakes still didn't look like those I saw in Martha's magazines, I took it a step further by taking classes at ICE here in New York, as well as courses with Scott Clark Wooley. Once I mastered a few flowers, I found it easier to figure out how to do others or even follow instructions in more detailed gumpaste flower books. Here are a sample of my flowers... This is my thread that's in the demo section.... Jamerican Diva's cake link.... Hope this helps.
  7. JeanneCake, where is the bride/groom from? Is this a West Indian style fruitcake? Usually when I make mine, I pour the liquor on it as soon as it comes out of the oven. I let it cool in the pan uncovered. Once completely cool, I cover the pan with foil and leave it for 3 days before I turn it out and cover it in fondant. I know the traditional English way calls for a layer of marzipan, but I don't use that. If I were you, I wouldn't wet the day of covering it with the marzipan and fondant... maybe the day before. This allows the liquor to be well absorbed and sorta mellow out. I guess it's all in the preference, but I like my blackcakes to have a smooth taste.
  8. They are also carried here.... Stencils at Pfeil and Holing
  9. I live in NY and buy from them all the time. Their prices can't be beat 'round these parts!
  10. here's a link. I didn't buy from here, but thought you might want to see them. http://www.chefsplanet.com/bakeliner2.shtml ← Question... did you find that because the liners were darker, they caused your cake to bake or brown faster? I know when you bake in dark pans you usually have to turn down the oven temp. Was this necessary with these liners or were you able to follow recipe temp. as written?
  11. This is very good to hear!!! I shall have to try this and report back!!!!!
  12. Hi, Not sure who you were asking, but I always use the paddle to avoid excess air bubbles. ← I use the whip from start to finish...
  13. I make perfect IMBC out of frozen egg whites all the time, so I don't think the freezing is the issue -- are you buying pasturized egg whites in bulk? Maybe pasturization is the culprit? ← Sorry for any confusion, I'm not talking about shell eggs that I've separated (that's what I'm doing) but I'm referring to the commercially available egg whites such as Papetti and all of them are pasteurized. Some of the ones I've bought come frozen, others like sysco's inhouse brand are not; but no matter which brand it is, it doesn't work. It's something about these whites - whether it is the pasteurization process or the additives I don't know. I was hoping that Swiss Meringue would work using this type of commercial whites. ← I've experienced this as well with a boxed egg product that just happened to be pasteurized. After I ended up with whites that would not get stiff, I decided to read the box. It had something on there stating it was not for use with meringues and other items that required any sort of whipping and instead I should use their whipping whites.
  14. This is the primary reason I don't add the butter when it's too cool or cold -- I don't want to beat the buttercream any longer than I have to to get it to emulsify. I don't want the extra air bubbles when I'm trying to smooth the icing on the cake. Do you ever have air bubbles as an issue, or have I convinced myself of a problem that doesn't exist? ← Nope, no air bubbles. I beat it on a medium speed. I find that if I beat it too high, then there's the air bubble issue....
  15. I add the hot syrup to my meringue in a slow, steady stream. Then I add the room temp. butter (it's still is firm to the touch, but has give) half a stick at a time. Eventually the mixture will break and get soupy, but the mixing bowl is also quite warm to the touch. I then continue beating it for like 30 minutes. I set the timer and walk away, only to check on it occasionally. That works for me....
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