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StephMac

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  1. Another small tip for easier ice-cream cake making: springform pan. A college roommate first did this when making a coffee ice-cream cake (fabulous, btw), and it makes it pretty simple to bake, layer, freeze in one pan, then just remove the sides to frost and serve. One of those "wow, why didn't I think of that" moments for me
  2. Pizza rolls... Totino's if possible, cheapie version in a pinch. Little cheesy-saucy packets of greasy goodness, even when the filling starts to leak out after microwaving. And alas, I have a hard time considering anything less than one box a single serving. Close runner up: cinnamon mini-donuts from Entenmann's and Little Debbie raspberry-filed angel food cakes. Although the angel food cakes seem to have disappeared from most places around here - I suppose to my benefit, but compared to other snack cake options, they were seriously low on the fat scale and had something intriguing going on texture-wise.
  3. Aw, thanks for the compliments. I'm a hobbyist/home baker myself, so it's nice to hear The stripes on the top tier and diamonds on the bottom tier are a mix of rolled buttercream for flavor and fondant for elasticity. I think it was like 75/25 in favor of the rolled buttercream. They're painted with luster dust. All of the borders, the dot patterns on the top tier, and the swirls on the middle tier are piped buttercream. Definitely check with the venue and see if they can store the cake, it's a load off your mind if you can put it in a safe place and not have to worry about it for a while (just make sure it's not next to the onions/fish/garlic/gorgonzola). If you're going to transport it stacked, though, make sure they know that it will have to have a very tall shelf available. I don't have a lot of transporting tips for stacked cakes, other than I've heard that taking the cake chilled and putting your AC on in the car helps. Other folks here may have tips for that, if you want to start a new thread. The internal support structure will be key, as I'm sure you already know. Good call on trying out the ganache recipe to find one that's stable at room temp for a while. The other option, if you can store the cake at the site, is to bring it out a little while before serving vs. having it on display all night... but that might end up with you having to cut into cold cake. Take a breath, enjoy the process as all the pieces fall into place. Trifle and such sounds lovely for cake leftovers - if there are any!
  4. I made my own wedding cake, too, so I've been there! Mine was a 12/9/6 topsy-turvy - I loved the style of cake and knew it would (rightly) cost a lot from a bakery, plus I wanted to use my mom's icing recipe and didn't want it covered in fondant. It came out OK: Cake rings should work fine, especially if you will use them for other things. Another option would be to see if there are any cake supply stores or restaurant supply houses in your area that rent out pans. My first bit of advice would be to practice - do a whole test run before the wedding to see how long it really takes you to bake, stack, ice, decorate, etc., as well as how much room you'll need to store the cakes, how you're going to set them up, etc. I did a test run a few months before my wedding and it was absolutely invaluable in working out all the little "oops" moments that you really don't want to be thinking about right before the wedding when everything else is going on. Extra cake can be given away to friends, family, community groups if necessary (my officemates made quick work of my leftovers, and one of my mom's friends actually used the practice top tier as an impromptu birthday cake I had to transport my cake up a mountainside as well, but I was lucky enough that the location allowed me to bring the cake up the day ahead and store it safely in their refrigerator. I took it up in layers and assembled on-site the day of the wedding. This made me feel a lot better about transportation/storage, although I did have to make sure I accounted for time the day-of to assemble the cake before getting dressed at the site, etc. Are you thinking about transporting the cake stacked or unstacked? It's nice of you to consider what the guests might prefer, but I agree with RWood - it is your cake. Don't come away from the day feeling like you "settled" for something that wasn't what you really wanted. After all, you're putting in the sweat and tears to make the cake, so it's clearly important to you. Plus, you mentioned that there will be other dessert options, so guests can choose to eat something else if they really don't like the cake. That said, if you've got a warm location or if the cake will be outside, ganache might hold up better than SMBC? It's not a stupid decision to make your own cake. That said, if you're also making other desserts for the wedding and hosting a brunch the next day and having guests in your house - that's a lot of stuff going on that doesn't even count the flurries of getting yourself ready for your wedding. Are there any tasks for any of these things that you can do ahead of time or "outsource" to trusted friends and family in the area? I suggest making lists... lots and lots of lists!
  5. I know you've already got the chocolate grahams, but would Newman-Os be an option? They're the Newman's Own version of Oreos, and I found this on the Newman's Own FAQ: >>> # Are Newman\'s Own Organics cookies kosher? All NOO cookies are kosher. They are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. # What does the OUD on the front of the Newman-Os and ABCs packaging stand for? Although there is no dairy in these products, the certifying rabbi assigns the OUD symbol to signify that there are dairy materials present in the production facility.
  6. I've always found that homemade potato salads tend to get better with time... but then again, I really like onion-y flavors in my potato salads! Sounds like you've probably already got storage space for everything, but I do find that storing salads in ziplock bags helps save a lot of space in the fridge compared to putting everything in plastic containers or bowls and trying to fit them all in. Do be sure not to over-fill those bags, though, or you risk an explosion when moving them around... our family still talks about the Fruit Salad Blow-Out of Summer '07
  7. Spotted Iced Animals and a few others (oatmeals, I think?) in Foster City, CA! Hoping, hoping, hoping that they bring back the "mixed bag" with the iced animals, chocolate sandwich cookies, and mini chocolate chip and sugar cookies...
  8. My mom did this when I was in elementary school - she would split bagels in half, spread each side with cream cheese, place a small square of wax paper between the two halves, and wrap in a plastic bag or wax paper. She'd probably make a dozen or so at a time, maybe more. All of the bagels then went into a larger tupperware and into the freezer. Once or twice a week, she (or we kids) would grab a bagel out of the box in the morning and put it in our lunch bag; by lunchtime, it was defrosted and ready to eat. Of course, our lunch bags were sitting in backpacks and lockers all morning, not refrigerators - I'm sure that helped the defrosting process. The wax paper in the middle kept the cream cheese from freezing to itself and pulling off the bagels. She also did the same thing with little loves of dense raisin-nut breads that we got from Costco...yum. I don't remember a lot of problems with sogginess or weird tastes, but then again, I was in 4th grade at the time and probably more concerned with the type of dessert in my lunch bag than the texture of my bagel
  9. Just spotted the news that Hershey's is closing the Scharffen Berger factory in Berkeley, CA and the Joseph Schmidt factory in San Francisco: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?...5I9DV.DTL&tsp=1 This makes me sad... even if most of the production had moved elsewhere, it was still nice to have that original, local connection. If you want to go on the (free!) Scharffen Berger factory tour, better make your reservations sooner than later!
  10. Let's see: -the giganto-sized jar of capers -pork chops, especially when I'm doing a stuffed chop recipe... the Costco ones are nice and thick for a decent price -bagged spinach - it's like $3 for a massive bag of spinach! -fresh mozzarella (for marinating when having a party) And then there are the baking supplies: -sour cream -eggs -vanilla -flour -sugar -powdered sugar (when I have a lot of cake-decorating to do) The problem with the baking supplies is that I haven't yet found a good container system to keep the dry goods in, so I end up storing the big bags. My husband says it feels like he's living in a feed store!
  11. If you're looking for basic recipes, decorating ideas, and methods, maybe take a stroll down the cake-book shelf at your local library? Just search for "cake decorating" in the catalog and it should point you to the right section... my library has a pretty good range of books, from Betty Crocker's decorating tips to cupcake books to Colette Peters and Dede Wilson, so you might find a good range of instructional books to start with. Good luck!
  12. Are you looking for recipes, or decorating ideas/instructions and construction tips? The books you mention are two good ones. In terms of basic construction techniques, you might also want to check out Wilton's books and website - at least it can get you started. Other suggestions: Toba Garrett's books have lots of techniques in them. Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes has a new book out - I paged through it at the bookstore and it had some nice designs (can't speak to the instructional/construction info, I didn't have time to read it all ). Colette Peters has several books, but those are going to have more complex construction methods (lots of decorating ideas, though). Hope that helps, and gfron is right - the wisdom of eGulleteers is an excellent resource!
  13. Nicely done! Cupcakes look good, too. And with the sudden time change, it's even more impressive - I don't think I could have handled that as well!
  14. I think a two-layer 9x13 should be fine for 25 people - especially if we're talking about a cake that will be 3-4" tall. Look at it this way - if they cut 2"x2" pieces, you'll have 24 even servings plus several 1" extras out of that 9x13 cake. And a 2"x2" piece is a large-sized serving - most "party serving" charts I've seen use a 1.5"x2" sized piece for their estimates. If you use that size to estimate your servings, you'll get 36 even pieces out of a 9x13, with a little left over. A level, flat top is definitely good What kind of decorations will you be doing?
  15. Well... it did have to serve hundreds (thousands?) of people, and it had to be transported and decorated far, far away from their "home base" in Baltimore, and it had to assembled as quickly as possible... I think that kind of limits your design a bit. Besides, the wind and shaking stage worked plenty of havoc with that "Junior High School Art Class" cake; something more "cutting edge" may have been in worse shape in those conditions. I do think they missed a prime opportunity to use some fireworks on the cake! (Probably couldn't due to the crowds, I'm guessing.) The typewriter cake, though - that was an impressive, beautiful piece of work. The round coffee-mug stains on the board were an especially nice touch, I thought.
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