Christmas Tree Cake



Since there are only ten more days until Christmas I thought it would be a good idea to post my latest cake creation. It is a Christmas tree cake made for one of my chefs at GBC. It is a carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I cut out and veined fondant leaves to make the tree look realistic. I also made gumpaste golf and construction themed items as gifts around the base of the tree (these were requested/part of the theme). ENJOY!

Chocolate Competition




I really can't believe how much God has blessed me this year! In my latest big blessing, I have won another contest at school.
A few weeks ago we had a Lindt chocolate competition at George Brown and I decided to make a festive christmas piece with snow tipped pine cones, berries, and a bow. It was a bit tricky and worrisome to complete but I was quite happy with the end result and so were the teachers and judges. My birthday was the first day of judging to pick the top three of each class, it was a wonderful present to find out that I had made it. The next day the top three from each of five classes (including two ties) were set up in the school for all to see and then they were judges by new judges. Out of the top 17 competitors the third place went to my friend Julia who made a white chocolate ball, swirled with dark chocolate and it had cute butterflies on top. The second place went to another student from my class, Sarah, who made an amazing 'surf wave' by making different layers of dark, milk, and white chocolate at different lengths to create the curve. It was Really cool! First place went to my pine cone display. We also made some small chocolates to be displayed and they were: ginger white chocolate ganache dipped in dark chocolate, dark chocolate filled with coffee chocolate caramel, lime coconut truffles in white chocolate, and turtles. ENJOY!

Pastillage Christmas Box



Last week I was able to show some of my creative decorating talents when we made pastillage boxes, filled with marzipan fruits.
I decided to give my box a fun Christmas theme by making an elevated snowflake (by using stringwork) on top of the box with holly around the sides. Pastillage is an edible sugar dough that dries hard. we made the pieces for the box then we 'glued' them together with royal icing. The fruits are hand shaped and them airbrushed and hand painted. I made a potato, beet, cabbage, pea, hot pepper, green pepper, peach, pear, walnut, and blueberries. The beautiful creation was raffled off at our church's Advent Tea. ENJOY.

More Mousse






This post should have been done two weeks ago but I thought my cute little cousin had deleted my pictures off of my phone. When I was looking the other day the pictures somehow were actually still there, so I was very happy!

The first thing we created were cream cheese mousse cakes with a delicious almond crumble topping and drizzled with a chocolate caramel sauce and also had a very tasty apple jelly on the inside. There was a close call with the caramel sauce because I forgot to take the cream out of the fridge to warm up. The result was almost a lump of hard sugar floating in cream, but it was savable and our sauce was delicious.

The other items we made were lime mousse tarts. They had a sweet dough and frangipane base, lime curd, and lime mousse on top. We decorated them by putting white chocolate gnache on top and then spraying them with green cocoa butter for extra colour. The spraying was quite a mess and rather frustrating. Then we added sugared pistachios, white chocolate gnache, and white chocolate decorations.

We were also supposed to plate our small versions of the mousses but we ran out of time so we just threw all the components on a plate and had snack time on class! It was really yummy. The components on the plate are a miniature lime mousse cake with apple jelly inside and apple chip on top, caramelized apples, chocolate caramel sauce, almond crumble, and fennel salad (soooo amazing!). ENJOY!

Cake Sculpting Contest

This is officially GBCs fall reading week but for the last two day I have been in the baking lab, by personal choice. The big long story is that our schedule was rearranged in September due to the delayed construction of our baking labs. Since we missed out on cake sculpting, due to this issue, our chef decided to have it as optional attendance over the reading week and make it into a contest. So we had the last month or so to come up with ideas on what we were going to do and plan it out. My idea came from my sister when we were leaving her work one day. They sell fun hats and hair things and she said I should do a hat with a veil for my cake. I though this was a good idea and would be a good way to show off my skills. As it turns out, I did a very good job of showing my skills, because I not only came home with a headache today but also a first place medal and prize from the contest. Hip Hip Hooray! God really has blessed me with cake skills, so all glory to Him! Here are some pictures of the prize winning cake. It is a pill box hat with veil on a mannequin head with feathers and flowers on one side and a string of pearls at the base of the cake. ENJOY!





































Tarts and Puff pastry

This week at GBC we made quite a few different items. Day one started off with puff pastry that we had prepared and frozen the week before. We ma

de Tarte Tatin which consists of apples and caramel covered with a circle of

 puff pastry and baked. It is inverted before serving so the apple fan/design is displayed. (top photo). Sadly, the pectin we used either wasn't the right kind or it wasn't enough so it didn't the caramel and we ended up having a bit of a runny but tasty mess. We also made Palmiers which are strips of puff dough rolled up to resemble a palm leaf. The dough is rolled out with sugar which caramelizes while baking and adds sweetness and extra crispness the the pastry. Last but not least we made Pithivier; two large circles of puff dough filled with almond cream (frangipane) with scalloped edges and a

scored design on top. (second photo).


Day two we were working with sweet dough. We rolled our dough out into five large tart shells and made three Chiboust tarts and two Apple Normand tarts. The Chiboust tarts were made by filling the shell with a frangipane mixture and baking. When still hot, we brushed the frangipane with a syrup for extra flavour and moisture then we cooled them in the fridge so we could put the peaches, raspberries, and the chiboust on top before the end of class. For the Apple Normand we filled the tart shell half way with frangipane and then topped it with a fan of apples. When it was partially baked we removed it from the oven and added a drizzle of Calvados and a milk mixture. We then finished baking and until the milk mixture was set.



Day three we worked with almond sweet dough and finished our Chiboust and Apple Normand Tarts. With the almond dough we made Cherry Clafoutis. These were made by lining a tart shell with almond dough, placing brandy cherries in the shell, and then filling them with a clafoutis mixture (similar to a pancake batter, but runnier) and baking. (The third picture shown is when they have just come from the oven). The finishing of the Chiboust tart was done by adding an orange mirror glaze, fresh fruit, and chocolate. The Apple Normand was 

finished with apricot glaze, almonds, fresh fruit, and chocolate. The Clafoutis were finished with a dusting of icing sugar, a whipped cream rosette, and chocolate shavings. Sadly I had to leave class early for a badminton tournament (which went really well) and forgot to take pictures of the finished products before I left, but I did get a shot of the almost finished Apple Normand  (last photo) ENJOY!!

Birthday Cake


So one of my 2nd cousins once removed (I looked this up because I was very curious) was celebrating her 26th birthday today and she asked me to make her a cake. She had a design chosen and I basically copied it but also changed it slightly so it had two tiers instead of three and I added a bow for extra height. The bottom tier was chocolate/chocolate chip with chocolate peanut butter buttercream. The top tier was vanilla with vanilla almond buttercream. The whole cake was covered with fondant and the dots and swirls are buttercream. The bow is also fondant. 
ENJOY!

Champagne Mousse Cake

This week at GBC we made mousse cakes. Each day in class was full of work, as we were also preparing items for the weeks ahead. Two types of mousse cakes were created; half the class doing champagne mousse and the other half making chocolate and cassis mousse. Kristen and I did the champagne mousse which had layers of vanilla sponge, fruit jelly, and of course champagne mousse, all wrapped in a green and yellow decorative sponge, topped with glaze, and decorated with fruit and chocolate (in picture). The chocolate and cassis mousse was made with vanilla sponge, chocolate mousse, cassis mousse, wrapped in a pink and yellow decorative sponge, topped with black currant puree and glaze, and decorated with fruit and chocolate. ENJOY!

Pumpkin spice meringues


I am currently home for the holidays! So since I knew I would be coming home for thanksgiving, and that work would inevitably end up on my weekend schedule, I decided to make a tasty treat to bring to my chums who will be working with me. As it is the harvest season and pumpkin pie is a festive favourite I decided to make ... can you guess? NO not pumpkin pie! Pumpkin spice meringues with chocolate and chopped nuts. mmmm these little guys a a personal invention (as most things I make are) and are hard to keep your hands off of. Enjoy! (I know I did! heehee!)

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
-3/4 cup egg whites
-1 1/2 cups white sugar
-1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
-orange food colour (optional)
-dark chocolate (optional)
-chopped nuts (optional)

Place egg whites and sugar in a clean dry bowl. Place over simmering water (do not let bowl touch the water) while constantly whisking. Heat until egg and sugar mixture is warm/hot to the touch. Remove bowl from simmering water and use electric mixer to whip until cool. Add pumpkin pie spice and orange food colour (if using) to meringue and mix in well.  Move oven racks to the top of oven and heat oven to 200F. 
Place a large round tip into a piping bag and fill bag with the meringue mixture. Pipe toonie sized rounds of meringue onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 2 hours. Turn off oven but leave meringues inside to continue to dry out (at least 1 hour).  
If using nuts and chocolate:
Melt chocolate over a double boiler and stir to cool until just warm. Dip bottoms of meringues in chocolate then into chopped nuts and set on parchment to dry. Enjoy!

Croquembouche


The new baking labs are awesome! Bright, colourful, and well organized. There is really one one problem; the racks under our work benches are slightly too large for the trays so you have to be careful to place them in properly. I did hear my chef mention they are fixing something, so hopefully that is what will be fixed.
One of the best features of our stations are the induction burners. It is much better having your own team burner at your station, rather than trying to squeeze all together for burner space in one part of the class room. This came in very handy when we were working with hot sugar this week. 
There is one more issue but I am the one to blame for it. The work bench I picked is right beside the scaling station, so when everyone is scaling ingredients at the beginning of class Kristen and I are very squished and bombarded with people. Not much fun. Otherwise things are great!
So this week we made rum babas which are little cakes with currants and soaked with rum syrup. These were pretty easy to do but for some reason Kristen and I didn't quite follow the directions and scooped our batter before we let it proof. Luckily we noticed right away and fixed the problem and in the end they work out beautifully. The second day we made brioche which is a rich yeast dough. We made this into a few different pastries which included cinnamon buns, sticky buns, doughnut bites, apricot pastries, and tetes. The sticky buns were delicious and had browns sugar, butter, cinnamon, and pecan spread in the bottom of the tray so when we flipped them they had a gooey sweet topping that was absolutely amazing! The other things we made just didn't compare. Our last day we made the croquembouche (see picture). These were fun and a bit stressful as we started to run out of time. I also burnt myself while cleaning out our pot which really was not very pleasant. Thankfully it was a water burn and not a sugar burn or I probably would have needed to go to the hospital. Thankfully it wasn't too bad and I was able to finish my work. Sadly the rushing at the end of class didn't allow me to make the finishing touches as nice as I would have liked, but I was happy with the final product anyways. The only problem with this class was that we had to take our croquembouches home (yes I'm sure most people think I'm crazy for not wanting to take it) which resulted in my eating about half of it that night! Sugar coated cream puffs are really quite addicting! Well that's about it for this post, get ready for next week when we do mousse cakes! ENJOY!

So I'm back at GBC and things are about to start full swing this week; we will be using the new baking labs for the first time! I really can't wait! They are now totally re-done with new ovens, blast freezers, proofers and we now have group stations where we have our own mixers, fridges, storage space, etc... YAYYYYY!

Our first three projects have been preserves, souffles, and cocoa painting. Kristen and I, in our first week, made apricot and jalapeno jelly (soooo good), raspberry jam with chambord, and strawberry pat de fruit. 

The next week the souffles we made were chocolate with pear port compote and savory with egg, spinach, and parmesan (also sooooo good, I think I had 4!) 

Week three we did cocoa painting. For my design I wanted to do something with a harvest theme, since it is the season, and I chose grapes. We went to a winery two days before for a wine tour and that was what inspired me. Here it is, Enjoy!

60 YEARS


Just a few days ago my grandparents (Noni and Nono) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary!! hooray!! Congratulations to them!

Of course my mom, being the great party hostess she is, decided to have a party for them. We invited my grandparents siblings and a few cousins and had a wonderful time talking and looking at old pictures. My mom and aunt made a nice meal with lots of tasty h'ors doeuvres. And of course she had fancy dessert of cream, custard, and strawberries in a chocolate cup, different types of cookies, and a cake made by me!

My mom asked me to do a two level cake that had 60 on it. Pretty simple, so I jazzed it up with small gumpaste flowers around the sides, cornelli lace in buttercream, and a large gumpaste flower on top. Of course everything was in blue because that is my Noni's favourite colour. It was chocolate cake with chocolate gnache filling and my moom made a raspberry coulis (coo-lee not coo-liss as my mom couldn't stop saying!) to be served with it. It was completely iced in a vanilla swiss buttercream and was yum yum yummy!

Here is the lovely couple on their anniversary (with the cake) and on their wedding day 60 years ago! ENJOY!

Big Mac Cake


My brother asked me to do a cake for a goodbye party for an artist at his school (OCAD). He also said it had to be the recreation of this artist work: a big mac dunked in whit paint! Wow! Brainstorming for this cake was a little tricky and there were a few different possibilities. I decided to go with white cake for the top and bottom buns with chocolate cake for the patty, just so it would be fun when cut into. I also had a hard time deciding what to use for the lettuce, because it needed to be white, so i ended up melting and shaping starburst chews and covering them with white icing. To finish it off I piped some sesame seeds on top to recreate the typical McDonalds bun. I was pretty happy with the finished cake and my brother said all the party attendees were very impressed and really enjoyed the cake.

Peach Puff Crumble




So it was sunday morning, the best morning for baking, and some of my family had stayed overnight and I thought it would be nice to surprise them with a yummy morning pastry. We had a delicious basket of peaches sitting on the counter which were starting to go bad so they were my first choice of ingredients. I knew we had some puff pastry in the fridge so I thought that would work well with them. I also saw some cinnamon creamed honey on the counter and decided that would be a delicious match for the peaches. So I started off by rolling out the puff pastry dough. Next I mixed the cinnamon honey with some soft cream cheese and spread it over the puff dough. Then I chopped the peaches and tossed them on top. I also made some brown sugar crumble topping with oats and butter and sprinkled that on top. Next it was in to the oven for 20 minutes and 400f. cool and ENJOY!

Mini cupcakes


These are some miniature cupcakes for a recent wedding shower we held at our house. They were orange, pineapple, coconut cake with yummy vanilla buttercream. I finished them off with cute purple gumpaste flowers. 

Blueberry Nectarine Cheesecake Blondie squares

Yesterday one of my best friends had a pot luck and of course I have offered to bring dessert. Wondering what I should make, I decided to use the best of this seasons fruit: blueberries and nectarines. This was a tasty creation and I would definitely make it again!


As I often do when experimenting with flavours, I didn't use a recipe so I can't provide one, but once I perfect the recipe I will post it!



Step one: creating the blondie base. MMMM buttery brown sugary goodness!









Step two: spread in the bottom of a pan.










Step three: add nectarines.











Step four: add cheesecake batter.








Step five: add blueberries and bake.










Step six: Remove from oven, cool, ENJOY!!





Monkey Muffins


Sunday morning after a sleepover always calls for a breakfast creation. One of my best friends had slept over and we decided to bake breakfast before we went to church. We decided on a healthy recipe from the back of a ground flax seed bag. I called them monkey muffins because of the monkey peeler who did such a good job peeling the carrots. This muffin recipe is from BOB'S Red Mill whole ground flaxseed meal and has no oil or butter. I added a dried apricot on top of each muffin.
Bran Flax Muffins
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup Oat Bran cereal
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups finely shredded apples
1/2 cups raisins (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts
3/4 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Mix together flour, Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins (if desired), and nuts. Combine milk, beaten eggs, and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. DO NOT OVER MIX. Fill muffin cups 3/4 cup full. Bake at 350f for 15-20 minutes. Yield: 15 muffins.

Blackforrest Cream Puff Tower


This was made for another friend at work who also celebrated a big birthday this July. She is German so I thought what better then a Blackforrest inspired birthday creation! I tried to do something creative and different so I made chocolate cream puffs, filled them with cherries and whipped cream. The tower was held together with dark chocolate and then drizzled with it as well. It was dusted with icing sugar to finish it off. 

Birthday cake


Happy Birthday to youuuuu!! This cake was made for a very great friend of mine who recently had a big birthday. The cake was three different flavours and about 10 layers. Orange, lemon, and lime cake with pastry cream and candied peel as the filling between layers. I decided to do citrus flavours because Lynn is British and so of course enjoys them. The best part of this cake was when it was cut into, sadly there is no picture but it was fun with the bright coloured layers. The flower was a personal creation made out of gumpaste. 

Wedding cake of butterflies


This was made for a friends friend. The wedding was at Jump bar in Toronto on July 25th. The bride asked for a vanilla cake with chocolate filling with purple buttercream and a light green boarder. The butterflies were paper in purple, green, white, and cream and the cake was inspired by a creation by Martha Stewart. This was fun and slightly stressful to make. Everything went well until delivery, there was a slight shift in the middle layer which took some fixing once I arrived for set up, but it was easily fixed and the end result was very satisfying. 

My latest creation was for a wonderful family friend who just celebrated her birthday. the cake was vanilla sponge with raspberry, peach, coconut, cream cheese filling with buttercream on the outside and pink variations of coconut macaroons all tied up with a nice ribbon. Noreen is a fan of horses and i decided it would be cute to make one with fondant and have it sit on the cake. The party was a lot of fun and the cake was pretty tasty too!!

Monkey cake

So I have been enjoying my start to summer by working, reading, relaxing, doing some baking, and of course playing tennis! Last weekend was the 3rd annual Alver-Hendo birthday bash and I figured since they were turning 25 I needed to make a super special cake to celebrate with! Knowing both Alver and Hendo are quite fun people I thought I would need to make a fun cake, and really what is more fun than a monkey? So of course this is what I set out to do, and I think it turned out pretty well. The body was made of chocolate cake and the head, arms, legs, and tail were made of chocolate ricecrispy treat.
mmmmmmmm. 

This is another cake I made for a graduation/birthday combo. It was vanilla cake with strawberries and custard filling, vanilla buttercream and the sides are covered in walnut crumbs.