Cake

Today I’m going to let you know about a cake I recently made for two of my coworkers’ birthday (they happened to have the same birth date).  I have so many tarts and pastries listed on this blog, I thought it might be good to feature a cake.  The cake I made for their birthday is a chocolate cake, frosted and filled with peanut butter cream cheese frosting, and then “doused” with a chocolate ganache over the top.  Indeed, it is rich.  I was a bit scared it would be too rich and too over-the-top for most people’s senses, but judging from the string of compliments that I received and continue to receive at random about that cake, I would say that people do like a little richness in their lives sometimes, despite their objections and mumblings about being on a “diet.”  This cake is completely satisfying, especially served with homemade coffee and caramel ice creams like I did for the birthday celebration.  I think a little of something completely satisfying, no matter how bad it is for you, is often better for you, both for your spirit and your body, then a lot of something that may be better for you, but fails to satisfy and “hit the mark.”  Do you agree?

A single slice of cake sitting daintily on a plate. Let's get closer, shall we?

Looking beautiful, regal, and elegant. Indeed, the cake was so tall that I had to buy a new cake carrier since it wouldn't fit in the one I had!

Whoah! Hello gorgeous! At this point I desperately wanted to put the camera down and exchange it for a spoon, but I held strong and managed to take one more picture for you so you could get the "full effect."

There. A scoop each of coffee and caramel ice cream. The caramel is probably my favorite ice cream I make and the coffee ice cream made a delightful, deconstructed "mocha" with the chocolate cake. Melted pools of cool cream soaking into layers of chocolate cake. . . hmm, I think it is time to go get that spoon.

 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and I apologize for not being able to pass you a slice of cake through the computer screen as I am throughly enjoying my slice! 😉

Until next time,

~Whitney

A New Tart for the Flower Shop!

Whew!  We made it through Valentine’s week and are still alive and kicking!  In fact, this weekend I whipped up 18 more tarts for Sarah’s Creation Florist.  There are three different kinds of tarts this week, six of each kind.  The first two are old familiar favorites: the Almond-Orange Tart and the Chocolate Tart with the Salted-Peanut Caramel and Chocolate Ganache.  The third kind has never made an appearance at the flower shop before, but it is the tart that I sold to Sarah, the shop’s owner, back in October for my bake sale to raise money for Stop Child Trafficking Now.  It is this tart that captivated her attention and ultimately determined her daughter’s decision to track me down and call me to see if I would like to sell professionally in their shop.  So, without further ado, here is the tart that “started it all.”

Caramel Apple Tart with Streusal Topping:

Caramel Apple Tart with Streusal Topping

These tarts are a favorite with everyone.  After all, who doesn’t like classic American apple pie?  And are not many things made better with a warm caramel sauce, whether set on top a pool of it or drizzled overhead with it?  This tart combines the classic American flavor of an apple pie with a homemade caramel sauce. The apple filling and the caramel are baked together resulting in a transformed caramel-apple filling.  It is kind of like what would happen if you added apple cider to your favorite dark caramel sauce.  The rich deepness of the caramel, that almost verges on burnt, is highlighted beautifully by the sweet-tart Granny Smith apple juices.  It is a match made in heaven with each serving the other to bring out the other’s best.  To top all this caramel-apple love off is a crisp pecan-brown sugar streusal topping.  Like I said, these tarts are a favorite with everyone.

That’s it for now folks!  Hope you are having a good week!  If you get a chance, stop by Sarah’s Creation Florist and buy a tart!  They’re good for celebrating, surprising, or just putting a smile on someone’s face. 🙂

~Whitney

Valentine’s Week!

Maple Glazed Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

I don’t have much time today in this Valentine’s madness to type pretty prose, but I thought I’d at least show you some pictures of what is being offered this week at Sarah’s Creation Florist.  Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?  While plain in color, the photo above already has me drooling just looking at it because I know what gooey, buttery-sweet goodness lurks beneath that maple-coffee glaze.  Sigh.   I wish I had kept one for myself!

Caramel Sticky Buns with Caramelized Tangerine Marmalade and Pistachios right out of the oven before the pan was flipped.

The Caramel Sticky Buns successfully flipped!

The large pans of Cinnamon Rolls and Sticky Buns are great for families or brought to the office.  Whoever you bring these to, they will thank you!

But of course I also made “individual” sized pans for you to split with your loved one. (Splitting, or sharing, is the loving thing to do–do not keep it all to yourself!)

"Individual" Sticky Buns

Almond-Orange Tarts revamped for Valentine's day with Blood Oranges arranged in a heart shape.

Croissant aux Amandes (Almond filled croissants)

Let’s get a look inside one without filling, to best see the layers, shall we?

Beautiful! Look at those tender, light, fluffy layers!

Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate filled croissant), a French patisserie staple!

Here’s a photo my Valentine’s Chocolate Tarts.  Unfortunately, my camera was on a weird setting and my lighting terrible!

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tart (with a "window" to the raspberry puree) and Chocolate Salted Peanut Caramel Tart

So let’s look at some non-Valentine’s tarts that have better lighting!

Chocolate Truffle Raspberry Tart

Chocolate Truffle Tart with Salted Peanut Caramel and Dark Chocolate Ganache

Much better, right?  Next are Frosted Sugar Cookie Pops.  This was my first time making these and I think they turned out quite well, don’t you think?

Frosted Sugar Cookie Pops

All packaged up and ready for their delivery!

While these pops are delicious, I will always and forever prefer my Grandma Edith’s sugar cookies to any other cookie out there.  Thus, I had to make these cookies too!

Grandma Edith's Frosted Sugar Cookies

A cookie "Conversation Heart"!

And finally, last, but not least, truffles!  For this Valentine’s Day favorite I made Banana’s Foster Truffles with banana, a brown sugar caramel, and rum and also Aztec Truffles with cinnamon, a hint of orange, and a dusting of cayenne pepper.

Banana's Foster and Aztec Truffles

Whew!  That’s everything!  I think I will go take a nap now or maybe I’ll just go to bed and not wake up until morning.  Waking up at 3:00AM to start my croissants rising the past two nights has tuckered me out!   Good night and Happy Valentine’s Day!

~Whitney

Two Lemon Tarts and One Fancy Chocolate Tart

Week number four already!  I can’t believe it has almost been a month since my first delivery!  I have learned a lot this month, mostly about time management skills, but I have also learned other valuable tidbits while experimenting in the kitchen.  For example, did you know that a decent amount of salt is necessary to yield sugar cookies with the most flavor?  It’s true, at least according to my sugar cookie experiments and my eager coworkers who served as taste testers.

So what did I bring this week?  I brought two different kinds of lemon tarts (Since I could not decide which one to make, I made them both!) and a fancied-up chocolate tart.

A Chocolate Truffle Tart With a Layer of White Chocolate and Raspberry

Here’s the Fancy Chocolate Tart with its layer of white chocolate and raspberry bulging rather seductively out of the bottom of the tart.  The taste of the rich, dark chocolate truffle in this tart is heightened by its contrast with the sweet white chocolate and the tart raspberry layer.  To me, this is my ideal chocolate tart.

Let’s look at it from another angle shall we?  It’s too good not to, right?

Hello Beautiful

Ok, moving on, next we have my Sunny Lemon Tart.

Sunny Lemon Tarts with White Chocolate Piping and Sugared Almonds

This lemon tart has a puckery lemon filling that is made similarly to making a lemon curd.  To balance the tang of the lemon, sweet white chocolate is piped in stripes across the tart and then sprinkled with sugared almonds for sweetness and crunch.

The second lemon tart is a whole lemon tart, meaning that it has an entire lemon in it, the only part of the lemon not included is the seeds!  If you don’t love lemon things that make you pucker, but do like sweet lemon bars, then this tart is for you.  Upon first tasting the it, it starts sweet, with a mild lemon flavor, and then it finishes with just a slight bitterness that results from using the entire lemon, peel, pith, and segments.  It is a “grown-up” lemon bar if you will.

Whole Lemon Tart

Week Three: Tarte Tatins, Chocolate Dream Cookies, and Pear and Almond Cream Tarts

It’s week three of deliveries already!  I sold more tarts last week than I did the first week and I can only hope to continue this trend.   This week I delivered three different things and all of them are new items that have not yet been sold at Sarah’s Creation Florist.

The first item is individual Tarte Tatins.

Tarte Tatin

These Tarte Tatins, I believe can rival any French patisserie or restaurant out there.  The caramelization of butter and sugar with the apples results in wonderfully sweet apples enrobed and infused with an apple-flavored caramel.  The apples are supported by a buttery pastry crust.

The next item is Chocolate Dream Cookies.

Chocolate Dream Cookies

These cookies are based off of Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies.  When my Official Taste Tester (my husband, who loves chocolate) took a bite of one of these cookies he liked them so much that he declared, “These cookies are like a dream.”

The last item for this week is Pear and Almond Cream Tarts.

Pear and Almond Cream Tarts

These tarts boast a shortbread cookie crust encasing a creamy, sweet almond cream that is covered by roasted and glazed pears.  Yum!

I hope you get a chance to stop by Sharon’s Creation Florist this week to enjoy these goodies!

Until next time,

Whitney

Week One!

Alright!  Here we go!  I’m freezing my tart dough and firing up my oven to make three delicious sweets for my debut week at Sarah’s Creation Florist in Durham.  The shop is located near the corner of HWY 55 and 54 across the street from Chick-Fil-A.  I will deliver the sweet treats before the shop opens on the morning of Monday, January 9th.  The three treats include a rich, velvet-smooth chocolate truffle tart, an almond-orange French tart (orange segments baked in a traditional almond cream), and a salty-sweet honey pie.

I will make a weekly delivery to the shop on Monday mornings so stop in and get ’em while they are the freshest!  If my treats do not sell out immediately, they can be found in the shop Monday through Wednesday.

Pictures of Week One’s sweets to come soon!

~Whitney