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Everything posted by Sugarella

  1. I use flower nails to help with even heat distribution and moisture control. I know it's probably wrong and you're supposed to just pop a cake in the oven but it works for me. Very big cakes would take forever to bake otherwise, and with the batters I've frankensteined being more liquid than typical cake batter they'd be dried out on the outside and still gooey in the middle if I didn't do it. I'm sure the professionally trained pastry chefs will find that funny, but oh well. Biggest cake was 22" so far. I've never been a fan of the heating core. I don't own any but have had cakes made with them and I always find the "plug" tastes drier than the rest of the cake. The flower nails are just coated aluminum spikes so they're the same material as most cake pans, and do a good job with heat distribution. I have quite a few, but the ones I use in the cake are just flat, and they sit flat side down in the pan and the batter gets poured in around them. After the cake is cooled and inverted you just pull them out from the bottom.
  2. Ditto what chefpeon said. I've never done the alterations either, but that's because I can't figure them out. I've always had good success anyways. Having said that, I don't use commercial mixers and I think there's a possibility that may make a difference. I also use a flower nail in any cake 12" diameter and over, 3 nails in anything 16" diameter and over, and 6 nails in cakes 20" diameter and over. The nails help an awful lot.
  3. I don't think this is correct or I am buying back alley cake supplies. "Pssst, buddy, over here. Look at these beauties...*opens his big black raincoat*.. I got some dragees and non-pareils in a dime bag, what say ya?" ← Actually, several years ago a Napa, CA lawyer named Mark Pollock filed and won a class action suit against The Silver Dragee company in France (who makes them), plus all California retailers known to have sold them. The idea was that silver can build up in the body if these dragees are eaten, or if not eaten, they'd end up in a landfill and contaminate the ground water, because we all know that a naturally occuring mineral CANNOT touch the earth. Funny thing about class action suits in the US.... you don't have to actually prove any of your claims in court, nor do you actually have to give any of the money awarded to any of the "victims", and can actually keep all the money for yourself. This same guy's currently working on a class action suit against anyone who sells fish, because of the mercury. But, to keep this post on topic about fondant.... er, uhm.... DOWN WITH FONDANT !!!
  4. I remember a very detailed description of that episode from someone else back when we were having the lustre dust debates.... they used non-foodsafe silver on that particular cake and that's why they had to peel the fondant off.
  5. I've always heard the safety window was 4 hours, not 2. And that 4 starts from the minute you stop cooking. But regardless, the time you spend assembling, decorating, delivering, and having the cake sit out on display, then having cut slices sit on someone's plate in front of them while they're off mingling or whatever will always add up to more than 4 hours. Pastry cream just doesn't work for event cakes, unless you serve a smaller (wilton serving) regular cake slice from the one that's been on display and pair that with another pastry that's been held under refridgeration. Edit: Salted butter can safely be left out for a few weeks, depending on the brand and amount of salt used. Most of us can handle eating food that's been sitting out a while; we have the digestive enzymes to handle it. But for anyone with a poor constitution, (and those same people more often than not have a compromised immune system too) that isn't the case. There's one at every party....
  6. I'm not going to chime in anymore on this one. I can't get behind the notion of fake colouring these albino muffins when you had perfectly orange, orange muffins the first go around....
  7. That's fine for a couple of weeks, provided the milk wasn't close to expiry when you used it.
  8. What kind of buttercream is it? The original ingredients will determine the shelf life. As for using it, bring back to room temp and just blend it. Don't whip; otherwise you'll whip more air into it and it won't be the spreadable consistency you're looking for.
  9. Oh goodness no, no offence taken Eileen. ....Just making a few points on the "con" side. I suppose the rented dummy idea could work if you had a handful of standards and just rented the same ones over and over. In fact there are some places that do just that. But for custom work it wouldn't fly. And you know what, when Elizabeth married Prince Philip her wedding cake was a dummy, technically. It was a decorated box shaped to look like cake tiers, with cut and wrapped cake pieces inside, ready to be served quickly. So there you go.....
  10. There's only one problem with your suggestion etalanian.... I didn't spend years learning to be a pastry chef and expert decorator to decorate a hunk of styrofoam. Oh and there's a second problem.... if it takes me a week just to make the decorations for a cake, I expect to be paid more than $75 or whatever it is people rent dummy cakes for. And then I'd also need to be paid for the next several days repairing all the damage to the dummy. It wasn't difficult for me.... patent pending. I'm a businesswoman after all.
  11. That crumb in the last photo looks just about right to me. You and I obviously had different textures in mind then. I'm not at all sure how the orange juice could have come across as sour; orange juice isn't. Did the concentrate you bought have any sort of additives? Concentrated orange juice is just partially evaporated orange juice....the flavour shouldn't be altered in any way, just more intense. As for the muffins sinking I agree it could be a mixing issue. The amount of leavening looks right and there isn't too much liquid in there. Sorry if you feel like I steered you down the wrong path......
  12. Extract has quite a strong bite to it. I think you could be more generous with the oil. Just taste it first and make sure it's not bitter; the quality of course will depend on the manufacturer. Edited to add: Rodney I think your canned mandarin slices would be better left under the sofa. They taste very little like oranges and very much like the can they're packed in.
  13. Spirited tang .... for alcoholic astronauts.
  14. Here's another lightbulb: "White" is not a flavour. There, problem solved. No more white cakes.
  15. Yes, standard american buttercream is truly sick stuff (1 pkg. crisco, 1 pkg. powdered sugar, blend. ) but there are even sicker "frostings" people out there are not only eating, but believe taste good. Those made of whipped edible oil products come to mind.... I always laugh when one of the people on the cake boards asks where they can order buckets of it. I always want to ask tem how good can something be if it comes in a bucket.... but I too have experienced the collective wrath of the cake ladies. (Some cake ladies, not ALL cake ladies.) Fondant was invented by the British as a more malleable covereing for fruitcakes, where previously rock hard royal icing over marzipan had been the norm. So they just traded rock hard sugar for soft chewy sugar. It is what it is, but fondant and royal icing (and saving the top tier of your wedding cake for a year) were meant for fruitcakes, not regular cakes. I know a lot of people who swear by marshmallow fondant as an alternative, but I've never been able to bring myself to make it because it sounds just as sick to me. You've got a lovely cake, subtly flavoured with the right buttercreams and fruit reductions and essences, then you go stick sickly sweet marshmallows all over it. I just don't get it. I do use fondant, but I make my own and there are ways to make it taste less like a mouthful of straight sugar and there are ways to make it less chewy. And there are ways to apply it thin enough that it blends into the buttercream underneath and can't really be detected, but most cake makers I think stick to the prepackaged stuff. If a cake design allows for it, I'm glad to omit it and just use buttercream. Or ganache. Or marzipan. Or anything.
  16. I personally think so, yes. I've developed a few recipes using orange and I find anything more than that amount with those proportions of ingredients does seems to dominate. But it's all a matter of personal taste of course.
  17. I have 2 suggestions: The first is to reduce the amount of orange extract to only 1/4 tsp. Combined with all that orange zest I really do think that "background pith taste" in the extract would be overpowering. The second is to use a good quality frozen concentrated orange juice, pulpless and undiluted, in place of the fresh juice, and increase that to 2/3 cup. And orange flower water would be a nice inclusion to your glaze if you used regular orange juice......
  18. Another episode down, and I soooooo take this back.......
  19. Thanks Nicole....I'll keep that in mind! (We did have a microwave when I was a kid.... I learned you can't make hard boiled eggs that way real quick!) This'll make good use of my oil mister though.... You would do this anywhere you'd normally use a fresh herb, if you're inclined. It's not necessary of course, but an awful lot of people still regard fresh herbs as garnish rather than something to be eaten with the food they're served with. So if the food, or pastry in this case, is topped with a cooked sprig of herbs people are more inclined to eat it with the pastry in one go, and that is the point of marrying flavours together. I'm really limited in what I'm able to do because I only do pastry catering for clients who have already ordered an event cake, so the client dictates how experiemntal I'm able to be. And all of the pastries I'm doing are minis, 2 bites at most. But a few things I've done so far are deep frying a mint sprig paired with a fresh raspberry to top a chocolate mini torte covered in a reduced raspberry puree, and I've done deep fried lemon verbena as an accompayment to a lemon blueberry mini cheesecake. Basil is popular as well because there are so many varieties of it and it works really well when paired with sweet things. And last fall I deep fried some zucchini flowers for an accompanyment to pumpkin cheesecake with a cinnamon birch glaze.... they didn't turn out as nice as I would have liked and didn't keep their shape well so I think I'll play around with them again this fall when they're in season. Come to think..... any edible flower would work well too, like pansies or lavendar.
  20. Thanks, and someone else just directed me to that tread too. That's what I get for not venturing into the cooking forum often enough. Sorry to bring up something that's already being discussed in depth elsewhere; I should pay more attention. Sorry Will. But.... I am so unbelievably excited right now just thinking about this stuff meeting cake tools. Ooooh the possibilities!
  21. No ill feelings, and I hope none are exhibited in this dscussion either, as I think you ask a legitimate question. I'm not up to speed with who all of the individual pastry chefs are or what they're doing, but I would highly suspect that those who posesses ALL of these skills and can do them extremely well would be very few and far between. Most people do choose to specialize. The top wedding cake designers, for example, are not working pastry chefs, but devote all of their time to this one area of pastry and have their own businesses specifically dedicated to this alone. The same is true of chocolatiers. I'm guessing here, but I think the awards are likely based on innovation and pushing the envelope in pastry and plated desserts, and so chocolatiers and cake designers aren't considered. I hope someone else in the know chimes in because I'm interested in the answer too. Is it true the award is only open to Americans?
  22. Well, ok you asked for it! Actually I am most interested in the caviar..... when you say alginated I'm assuming it's a fruit puree thickened with sodium alginate? And by the photo "making the mango caviar" posted by foodite it looks as though it's dropped into (I assume iced) water. Am I at least on the right track???
  23. Not for pastries I don't; I just submerge them briefly into the hot oil then dunk in cold water, then run through a salad spinner to dry them off. Mine stay malleable that way, and keep their colour. Some people deep fry them longer until they're crispy.....you could also batter them first for a savory dish like the last few people have suggested. Mmmmm ..... they'd be lovely with tempura batter wouldn't they?
  24. I enjoyed those photos very much; thanks for posting them foodite. I hope there will be more to come.... And thanks so much to Will for doing this. I'd have questions but wouldn't want to bore you with minutia, as I don't know the first bit about molecular gastronomy.
  25. Because they're yummy, they're easier to eat than a whole fresh leaf, and if paired correctly with other flavours in a pastry they make an excellent garnish.
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