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Everything posted by pastrymama

  1. It seems to me you may not have mixed you butter mixture in well enough and that it was heavier and went to the bottom and formed the dense layer. If you are worring about deflating while you try to get it incorporated try using a whisk instead of a spatula.
  2. Hi everyone, thank you all for posting the photos and information, this was such a fun post to read and look at. I know it must have been fun to attend, but those of us that couldn't attend are able to see this beautiful work as many times as we want to, thanks to you generous people.
  3. Wendy I realize you are not new to decorating, I have seen the work you have posted pictures of and it is very nice. You did say you didn't have much experience with buttercream flowers, so that is where my advice was coming from. We obviously can't tell you exactly how they do their cakes, only what it appears like to us. Unless of course we worked there or saw them working. I have been doing cakes since the 1970's and have had to change my style many times to keep up with the times, it takes a lot of practice to accomplish changing style because we get used to what we are doing. I would suggest you just keep practicing and work it into your own style. I offer my advice with an open heart and a wish to help others accomplish something they are trying to do. I hope it is taken that way and not a put-down to anyone.
  4. Hi Wendy, You are right when you say the Wilton flowers look different from the Cupcake Cafe's flowers, but they are essentially the same. I suggested the Wilton books so you could learn the process of making the flowers. The difference is how a person interprets them. The Cupcake Cafe does larger flowers probably using larger tip sizes. When I make piped roses I don't use a number 104 tip very often, only when I am making very small roses or buds I usually use a 127 and I make the center double tall to begin with so there is lots of room for many petals. Also the Cupcake Cafe pipes the petals of their roses straight up and just curves them around each other instead of piping them angeling out. Last week after I read your original post I had a cake order for a birthday with just flowers, lately I have been using fondant to make ribbon roses and other simple flowers, but I got inspired to make a cake similar to theirs. I used a recipe that is on Sarah's Baking 911 site for Italian buttercream that has some powdered sugar worked in and it worked great for the flowers, the cake sat in my area for about 4 hours before it was taken out to the party and it held up great, no drooping petals or anything. I piped the rope of icing like I described in my above post and also added some blobs in a few places to get more height. I piped on leaves, and daisies and small five petal no name flowers , some roses etc. I also made some larger roses on my nail and moved them on to the cake with my small spatula where I wanted more definition. The cake looked pretty much like theirs. You can also pipe daisies, mums and the generic five petal flowers on your nail by piping a ball of icing on the nail making the flower on top of it and moving it with your spatula to tuck into spaces, if you turn your nail carefully sideways as you set the flower on the cake you can make the flower face sideways instead of sitting facing straight up. If you know how to pipe the flowers already you just need to use your imagination and creativity to make it look like you want. You can also pipe part of a flower on your nail, move it to the cake and add more petals right on the cake to get the tucked in appearance. Hope this is some help to you. Marilyn
  5. Hi Wendy, I have done a lot of buttercream flowers over the years. Looking at the Cupcake Cafe site I didn't see any reference to real butter being used in their icing, so I'm guessing it is made with high ratio shortening (sweetex, etc). You need a pretty thick icing to get the flowers to stand up and salute. I usually use a lot of sweetex, powdered sugar and very little liquid for these type of flowers. They all appear to have been piped directly on the cakes. I used to make a lei decoration that is similar to the cakes with the flowers hanging off the sides, to get that effect I would pipe a thick rope with a large round tip around the top edge of the cake then pipe the flowers over it. Woriking around in a circle I would finish each inch before moving on. In other words I would pipe three or four flowers from the inside of the cake over the rope to the outside then move on to the next area to the right. Some people might like to go to the left, it doesn't matter. You have to angle the tips on your pastry bag to acheive the standing up of the petals, also they are probably using tips like numbers 60, 61, 79,80,81 you can see a picture of these tips on the Sugarcraft site under standard metal tips. the 60 and 61 tips are probably what they are using for the daisies, and the 79,80,81 for the mums. When I make mums I pipe a ball of icing then cover it with petals, you can start at the center and work out or from the outside and work in to the center, you need to change the angle of the tip so the petals stand away from the ones below and above. The daisy is piped similar with just one row going around the center then the stamens are piped in the center. If this isn't clear enough try to get an older Wilton catalogue or book, they used to have instructions for these flowers. Most were made on nails with wax paper pieces under and let set to dry, but you can do them directly on a cake. If you have any other questions I'll be happy to try and help, mostly the things you need are the thick icing, the correct tips and patience to practice. You can practice on overturned cake pans, then scrape off the icing and try again until it gets comfortable for you. Hope this helps, Marilyn
  6. Wendy, the shoes look fantastic, I have an old story that is pretty similar. I had made a basket and fake breads from salt dough for a buffet. The next week I went in the chef's office and saw a croissant from the display in there, I asked the chef why it was there. He was French so imagine his thick accent saying this to me. "Some old fool took it and tried to eat it, then complained that our breads were stale." That croissant must have weighed five pounds, when the chef gave it back to me it had two little teeth marks on it. It's hard to believe how silly people can be. Thanks for sharing your talent with us. I would post photos but don't have a scanner or digital, maybe soon.
  7. As long as the royal icing is completely dry it will work fine. If it isn't dry all the way you may press through unless you press very lightly
  8. I always spread my brownies to the edge of the pan and then push some of the batter at the sides back towards the center making a hump in the center. When it bakes it spreads out and after it settles they are almost perfectly flat. It works no matter what size pan I use from 8 inch to a full sheet.
  9. ohmyganache, thanks for sharing the info on the meringue and it Dentelles recipe. Great looking products and I bet they are just as delicious as they appear.
  10. [quote=ohmyganache,Apr 22 2005, 10:50 ohmyganache, I would like to know how the meringues for the floating islands were formed. They look like they were cut from a long rope. Do you use forms to shape each one then steam in the form or some other method. Thanks Marilyn
  11. could you tell us the title to the post with the planes, I can't seem to find it. thanks
  12. I saw a picture that looked like a molten chocolate cake until I closed the window several times to look back at the description, then a picture of the described dessert appeared where the chocolate cake one had been, weird!
  13. Hi Wendy, I'm really enjoying your blog. It is interesting to me that we both work in clubs, but it also so very different. I would love to see more photos of your desserts and to follow a typical work day from start to finish. Thanks for sharing.
  14. If he is using French or Swiss meringue buttercream he can replace up to half of the butter with a high ratio shortening that will help it be more stable. Adding the shortening won't change the flavor much. If he is already making a shortening based buttercream there is a powdered stabelizer that can be added. It can be bought at cake decorating supply shops and on line. Also if the cake is to be set outside, he should have a contract that specifies it has to be in a covered-shaded area or he won't be responsible for the outcome.
  15. the pans I have that I consider a regular cupcake size measure about 2 3/4" x1 1/4" they hold about 4 ounces. The jumbo's that I have are the 3 3/8"x1 1/2" and hold about 6 ounces. I also have the pan that measures 41/4x 1 1/2 it makes a small size cake shape I use it for individual birthday cakes. I think what you are looking for is the 3 3/8 x1/2. The Sugarcraft.com site has papers that will fit these they are 50 pc. $1.69.
  16. What do you consider a large cupcake size. I have pans that each cupcake or muffin is about 4 ounces and others tha some people call Texas size that are about 6 ounces. Which size are you looking for?
  17. They do hold up just as well as a genoise and can be layered thin or thick. They just don't work well with a rolled fondant icing because of it's weight. The chiffon is soft and delicate and the weight of the fondant kind of squishes the cake.
  18. Hi Wendy, the club I work at is part of a private community where milti-millionaire and billionaires have homes. Our membership is small, currently 350 but will never go over 450. The reason I mention the rich people is because they can eat at any restaurant in the world, so when they are home they tend to want more simple, homey food. The only times I get to do really fancy or unusual desserts is for winemaker dinners and some formal banquets. My best selling banquet desserts tend to be fruit based such as crisps and tarts, mini pastries and the warm chocolate cake. I make a lot of brownies and cookies in the spring and summer for buffets. We have salad plates for desserts, but we never do more than 300 seated parties, any thing larger is a stationed buffet and they use side plates for those. I work from 4-4:30 am to usually 2:00 pm Tuesday thru Saturday. I have an assistant that comes in at 12:30 pm Monday, Wednesday-Saturday. I take care of the breakfasts, lunches and make all the dinner party desserts. She takes care of dinners with help from the kitchen, or if it is a really important or extra fancy party I stay or come back for it. I also come in on Sunday if there is a large party or have a wedding cake. My assistant does all the everyday baking such as muffins, healthy snacks for the fitness center, bread, cookies and some of the buffet desserts. We also have to plate the dining room desserts.
  19. You need a stripof acetate as high or higher than your mold and long enough to fit inside the circumference of the mold and overlap a little (1") The acetate should snug itself to the mold. Place the mold on a cookie sheet or a plate. Then just place your cake circle in the bottom of the mold and pipe in the mousse as high as you want it. Place it in the freezer for several hours until it is very firm. You won't need a hair dryer to get it out, just pick up the mold a few inches from the pan or plate and it should just drop out . If you want to store it for a while put a piece of tape where the acetate overlaps and cover the top of the mousse with plastic and put it back in the freezer. If you decide to go withour the acetate liner you will need the hair dryer to warm the mold enough to release the mousse from it , and let it drop out. Good luck.
  20. I made the caramels today, they came out very nice,they are rich tasting and just the right chewiness, but to me the salt couldn't be tasted when I tried some after pouring it into the cake pan, so I sprinkled some on the top. It still seemed to disappear, but they are very good anyhow.
  21. You need to first consider the type of clientele and the type of banquets that are offered. I work at a private club and we offer many types of banquets so I have to have a menu for plated desserts for lunch and dinners. Different types for buffets, some are themed such as Italian or Mexican style, some are more upscale than others, some for working meetings etc. Here are some of the things I am doing for the winter. lunch buffets may have fruit crisps, warm pudding cakes, winter fruit tarts, cakes, cookies and brownies dinner buffets may have warm fruit crumbles, bread pudding, yule logs, chocolate tarts, passion fruit-raspberry tart, cheesecakes, and the ever popular miniature pastries plated lunch and dinner dessert choices are warm chocolate cake, individual cheesecakes, apple crumble tarts, mini angel food cake with carmelized oranges, warm ginger cakes I still have to come up with answers to special requests, and special desserts for the ladies fashion show luncheons. What I try to do is give them a choice of chocolate, fruits of the season, light for the ladies, We also have what they call a limited menu that will have 2 or 3 choices of entre and two desserts. Right now my choices for this winter are individual warm chocolate cakes and apple tortes, I always offer the chocolate cakes and change the other selection according to the season. I think if you approach it the same way you do a holiday table it will give you a good start by deciding which flavors and how many choices you want to offer. The more choices the more of a pain it will be. Talk to your chef and find out how he likes to approach it and look at his last years menu and try to get an idea of what he would like. I hope this has helped some and if you have other questions I'll be happy to try to help.
  22. I am a professional pastry chef. I usually just scrub carrots with a vege brush before shredding them, unless they are very hairy, then I will peel them. As for apples I sometimes peel them for muffins and other times I don't, sometimes I just grate them on the rough side of a grater without peeling and it kind of peels them as they shred.
  23. duckduck, thanks for posting the photos. It was fun to see Mel's place. And if you read this Mel, your shop looks great, and all the pastries etc. look fantastic. I hope business is going great. Best of luck. Marilyn
  24. Thanks for the compliments. As far as the gumpaste flowers on a buttercream covered cake, I have never had a problem with them breaking down or dissolving. I have left cakes for two days in the walk-in and they were fine. I think maybe you are thinking of royal icing, it will break down from "grease" and moisture if left for a long time (days) on a cake. I think it is so interesting to see all of the work that you are all doing, It is inspiring to be able to talk to others with the same obsessions as me. I look forward to getting to work so I can visit this site and learn something new.
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