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Your Daily Sweets (2005-2012)


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I made this for my sister's baby shower (she's having her first baby, a boy, in 3 weeks). I'm going to be an auntie :D. I got the idea for this cake from a site online, and decided to tweak it to my own preferences.

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Two basic, moist and fluffy yellow cakes - torted- the head filled with a 'nutella like' ganache filling (hazelnuts, cream and Callebaut milk chocolate), the body with a Swiss meringue buttercream loaded with coarse and finely chopped oreo cookies aka 'cookies and cream buttercream' :)

I rolled some homemade chocolate fudge into 'arm shapes' and covered them with White chocolate *which I tinted with copper and pink gel colorings, to get a flesh tone* Choco-Pan (the fondant I used).

The ears look huge because I used cherry jelly slices, and covered them in fondant. I refuse to put anything inedible in or on my cakes or food in general, and the aforementioned site used a heck of a lot of fondant covered cardboard in their version!

Except for a few lollipop sticks to stabilize the ears and little curl on top of his head....everything was edible :)

Note - I don't 'usually' like to use fondant, as I'm a purist when it comes to cake decorating, and I feel it takes away from the flavor and texture of the cake, not to mention it's so super sweet, and IMO, kind of an easy way out of frosting and decorating a cake flawlessly using buttercreams, ganaches etc.

However, in this case, I wasn't sure if I was going to make the cake or not, due to feeling a little under the weather this past weekend, SO, I didn't have enough butter for 'enough' buttercream to fill and frost both cakes 'fully', but did have several pounds of fondant for people who request it on occasion.

Edited by Lisa2k (log)

Flickr Shtuff -- I can't take a decent photo to save my life, but it all still tastes good.

My new Blog: Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

"I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur."

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's great aunt Pierette (1755-1826)

~Lisa~

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Cool cake Lisa. Sounds tasty too.

Strawberry :

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strawberry-basil sorbet and brown butter shortbread ice cream, balsamic caramel, baked chocolate-basil mousse, diced strawberries

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Brown butter shortbread...those are very brown. Are you playing with the title or did you really get your butter that dark?

I haven't been posting as much lately because I've been gearing up to sell (because now is a great time to be starting a bakery business - extreme sarcasm intended). I'm only doing small amounts and focusing on sure sales to pair with our lunch crowd.

Browned butter, chocolate chip cookies (Thanks to the CCC Bake-off)

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A chocolate apricot tart (Thanks to Amernick who always leaves me with extra dough)

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And a couple of baguettes and a boule from my juniper berry sourdough starter (Thanks Hummingbirdkiss)

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Everything has sold out every day, so that's a good sign. I'd welcome feedback on the "packaging." Its a bit much, but I wanted to up the perceived value to match my store, and in fact, I'm using higher quality ingredients than anyone in town.

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Brown butter shortbread...those are very brown.  Are you playing with the title or did you really get your butter that dark?

Fortunately the butter did not get that dark. Those aren't the shortbread, the white part of the red and white disc is. I made brown butter shortbreads then used them to make ice cream (in similar manner to the Ideas in Food folks Ritz ice cream) which I then swirled with the strawberry-basil sorbet in a mold. The dark brown chunks are the baked chocolate-basil mousse. I used it, minus the basil, with the "mint" dessert I posted as well. It's nice and crunchy but not hard.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I think the packaging looks great Rob. The contents look great so they should be dressed to match.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Brown butter shortbread...those are very brown.  Are you playing with the title or did you really get your butter that dark? 

I haven't been posting as much lately because I've been gearing up to sell (because now is a great time to be starting a bakery business - extreme sarcasm intended).  I'm only doing small amounts and focusing on sure sales to pair with our lunch crowd. 

Browned butter, chocolate chip cookies (Thanks to the CCC Bake-off)

gallery_41282_4652_31989.jpg

A chocolate apricot tart (Thanks to Amernick who always leaves me with extra dough)

gallery_41282_4652_49772.jpg

And a couple of baguettes and a boule from my juniper berry sourdough starter (Thanks Hummingbirdkiss)

gallery_41282_4652_55625.jpg

Everything has sold out every day, so that's a good sign.  I'd welcome feedback on the "packaging."  Its a bit much, but I wanted to up the perceived value to match my store, and in fact, I'm using higher quality ingredients than anyone in town.

Rob, I really want to invade your store and buy every single item you bake/create. I'm dead serious!

On another note, could someone recommend a really good digital camera that isn't OTT expensive (under $400), and gives you great detail and good zoom (you know,shine, crumb..as if the plate is right in front of you..like the photos in this thread)?

I have used every single setting on my crappy Vivitar vivicam, in every single room, flash - no flash, sunlight, outside... colored backgrounds,plates.. etc..and I've finally come to the conclusion that it's not me. Someone recommended a Sony Cybershot WC55 or some number-letter combo like that, but then again, I've heard people singing the praises of Canon. Any advice/recommendations would be awesome.

Edited by Lisa2k (log)

Flickr Shtuff -- I can't take a decent photo to save my life, but it all still tastes good.

My new Blog: Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives

"I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur."

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin's great aunt Pierette (1755-1826)

~Lisa~

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Rob,

You could sell those for four times the price in a certain little mountain hamlet a couple hundred miles north.

So, when are you moving?

:) I like making no money in my little oasis. So no move anytime soon. But isn't nice to know you can visit and get a big cheese party thrown for you if you do some sanity migrations southward! I promise quality food without the attitude.

And thanks Lisa (and everyone else too). My photos aren't spectacular but I use cheap Canon PowerShot A530...the key is that close-up feature and turn the flash off. Click.

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Well, you can come visit anytime, if only so that the tidal wave of pretension and expensive pastry inspires you to return to your neck of the woods with a renewed appreciation for it.

Now is not a good time to be a baker or pastry chef here anyway. We recently lost our beloved Cloud Cliff Bakery to the double whammy of wheat costs and the living wage ordinance.

A good friend experimented with lime bars recently. While I was trying to snap a photo, her cat hopped up on the table. As you can see, I carried the goods out of reach just in time:

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Edited by Verjuice (log)
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I'm finally done my big project for this Saturday. These were the cookies baked in the last couple days. I think I'm crazy enough to admit that those late nights and many long hours were kind of fun.

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Orange Sugar Cookies

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Orange Sesame Tuiles

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Orange Melt-in-your-mouth Shortbread

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Bite-sized Puff Pastry Sandwiches with Seville orange marmalade

4000+ cookies later (mainly with an orange theme - 9 different cookies) the only thing left is gift package assembly. Each bag will have 1 dozen cookies (yes I made extras in case of accidents, etc. We all know where broken cookies go :wink: ) I really hope that the soon to be wed couple and their reception guests like them.

Edited by Renka (log)
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Rob, I think your packaging style looks great, but it's a little big and hides the product on the bread and cookies. With a little editing or smaller font size, you could show off more of the beautiful pastry. I'm the sort who wants to look at something and decide whether it appeals to me, not read the packaging and be told why it should appeal - a cute/pretty/sexy little pastry will sell itself, won't it?

Also, I agree you could charge more for the chocolate torte. $3 in a small town, $4 if they think they're cool, $5 in the big city, $6 and up in NY or SF.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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Also, I agree you could charge more for the chocolate torte.  $3 in a small town, $4 if they think they're cool, $5 in the big city, $6 and up in NY or SF.

My thoughts exactly.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Hmmm...okay. Its funny because our cafe chef, which is a separate business, makes boxed cake selling slices that are maybe 2 inches wide in a bundt pan (so not long), and sells them for $1.50 and they fly out the door. I think people are nuts, but if they're willing to pay for it. And I will work on the packaging. I like the "band" concept, but you're right that it hides the product...except when the product needs hiding :)

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I like the "band" concept, but you're right that it hides the product...except when the product needs hiding :)

Ha! Sometimes it does need hiding.

Pricing is always so hard. I don't want to gouge people, but you also still have to price things to reflect the value of your ingredients and labor. Food cost for restaurants is usually 25 to 30%, but we all know how hard it is to succeed doing that. I think food cost on pastry can easily be lower, more like 20%. Of course it also depends on your local competition, what the market will bear, etc, but I think that people are getting more & more willing to pay for those good ingredients. And if you get your tartlette pans, individual tarts seem fancier and you can upcharge. I know you said you hate individual tart molds, but I really like my 90 cm flan rings for small tarts.

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Thanks for your comments everyone. :smile: I don't know when I'll (want to) bake another 4000 cookies again. :laugh:

In case anyone was interested, this is what the packaged products looked like in the end:

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To see images of each of the 9 cookies, follow this link or click on the name below (most of them should look very familiar :wink: ):

Pierre Hermé's Sables Florentins (has candied orange rind)

Pichet Ong's Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies (the only item that doesn't contain any orange element)

Spiced Sesame Orange Florentines with Roasted Cashews &Fleur de Sel Drizzled with 72% Chocolate

Spiced Sesame Orange Florentines with Cashews & Fleur de Sel

Orange Marmalade Filled Cookies with Orange White Chocolate Drizzle

Orange Sugar Cookies

Orange Sesame Tuiles

Orange Melt-in-your-mouth Shortbread

Bite-sized Puff Pastry Sandwiches

Just in case it isn't already apparent, the bride loves the colour orange, so the cookies followed that theme. :smile:

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Nice save Verjuice. Nice bars too!

Renka, awesome work as always!

Thai red curry ice cream idea round 1: red curry sweet potato ice cream with... nothing. This is her. Soft, smooth and naked.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Lemongrass icecream with ginger syrup sauce. Next time, I'll thicken the sauce slightly.

It was muy good. :happy dance:

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"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Our chef's son's 1st birthday was yesterday so I made his favorite banana-banana-banana! But I adulterated it for the adults. Four layers of chocolate genoise, in between each was banana pastry cream, topped with banana whipped cream, and filled with caramelized bananas. I think he liked it, but he didn't say.

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Finally something I can show to such accomplished cooks.

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Its a Stracciatella Tortoni with Expresso Fudge Sauce, recipe taken from the June 2008 Gourmet. Try it - its worth the work.

May your days be as sweet as these desserts.

Jmahl

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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