This time of year brings with it all of the sensual fruits. They seem more decadent, rich and sweet and just a little bit adult. To me they are the fruits of romance. Perhaps it is because the first time I ever ate a syrupy ripe fig was on my honeymoon in the South of France. We had a small house on a hill overlooking Saint-Tropez and a fig tree on the terrace. We’d sit under the tree, drink our morning coffee and pluck figs off to eat them while looking at the Côte d’Azur. It is hard not to associate anything in that picture with romance. But the figs were the star. Every year I look forward to eating them on our anniversary and this year I’m making them into a fig cake.Read More
This strawberry torte is simple; and by this I mean, not fancy, nearly rustic in appearance and suitable for a picnic table. I left the sides uncovered so that everyone could see all the layers that make up the cake, like a trifle without the bowl. I just had to let the dacquoise poke out because I thought it was a terrible shame to trim it into obscurity. Perhaps the piping on top is a bit fanciful, but I made it for Nana’s (my step mother, my boys call her Nana so now we all do!) birthday party and I wanted it to be fun and whimsical. Read More
I made this fresh orange scented sponge cake from my The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. It is a classic and really nothing about it needs changing. It is light and the orange gives the cake a fresh flavor that isn’t overly sweet. I combined it with a dacquoise, strawberry whipped cream and homemade jam to make a birthday torte for my stepmother. Even though there is no butter or oil in the cake I find it moist enough that I didn’t use a simple syrup soak. But you certainly could add it for flavor. Read More
The strangest thing happened on my way to ordering new chefs jackets; I discovered the most amazing honey I’ve ever eaten. You see, Jeff and I have been doing a lot of TV appearances recently to promote our book. I decided that my old worn out chocolate covered chefs jackets just weren’t going to cut it on HDTV and so I decided to splurge on some new ones. I consulted a few friends and found they were unanimous on where to go shopping; Crooked Brook.
As I placed my order, the owner of the company asked me if I’d like to try some of their honey. This isn’t just any honey, it is artisan honey. Made by bees that are so carefully watched that the producers know what flowers are in every jar. They even pack up these bees to vacation in Florida so they can create honey from orange blossoms. It is pure, organic and raw, so all of the nutrients of the honey is preserved. This is the stuff I get very excited about. This honey cake recipe was inspired by these bees and their fabulous honey. Read More
Thank you all for the lovely comments on Claudia’s cake. It was so much fun to make. Now I will show you how to make the flowers. I used rolled fondant, but you can also use pastillage/gum paste, which will dry faster and harder. They are used in exactly the same way, but the pastillage/gum paste can be rolled much thinner and will hold up better.
What you will need:Read More
My neighbors Cynthia and Trent asked me to make a cake for their mom’s birthday party. Of course I wanted to do it, but as they described the style of cake she wanted I got downright giddy about it. “Something bright, colorful and wildly whimsical” were the words they used to describe her taste. Immediately I thought fondant! It isn’t my favorite thing in the world to eat, but it allows so much creativity with color, shapes and dimensions that you can’t always get with buttercream or other icings. Not to mention they were driving this cake about an hour away and in the heat of summer fondant is a great traveler.
There are a few things to know about fondant, but it really isn’t difficult to work with. I’m going to show you step by step how I put this cake together. You may want to start with something slightly less over-the-top, but maybe not!
What you will need:Read More