Monday, August 24, 2009

Coconut Quilt Cake

The week after Sam’s 5th birthday, we celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday with a gift from the entire family of a special family tree quilt. To go along with the quilt theme, I created a three tiered coconut layer cake with coconut buttercream between the layers and a thin layer of fondant on top of each tier. Once I got my fondant in place, I pressed the pattern onto the sides with a combination of cookie cutters and a rolling wheel tool to give a stitched impression. I transported the cake 3.5 hours away to WV where my grandmother lives and then painted the yellow flowers and blue diamonds with lemon extract (which is mostly alcohol–the key) and powdered food coloring. I assembled the day of the party, piped stars to connect the tiers and placed some simple flowers on top for an elegant finish. The cake recipe is from Cooks Illustrated and it is dense, moist and had the most wonderful flavor and texture a few hours after we cut it open. We all agreed that the second piece was even better than the first. Fondant is wonderful for keeping a cake fresh.

"Tractor Mower" Birthday Cake

We just celebrated Sam’s 5th birthday John Deere style and he asked for a “tractor mower” birthday cake. After a bit of looking on the internet, I was able to find a tractor pan that looked enough like a lawn tractor and went to work. The trouble with these kinds of cakes is that there is no good place to write a Happy Birthday Message on the cake. Plus, I like to incorporate the birthday year into the design instead of just using candles. So, I decided to add a utility cart off the back and write my message on the cake board. I used my tried and true Vanilla cake recipe from Williams-Sonoma and tried some new frosting recipes that I don't recommend. They were ok, but I'll stick to traditional buttercream next time and leave Wilton out of it.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blueberry Tart

I don't think this post needs any explanation other than the picture. It looks so good even I just want to take a bite out of my computer screen. This blueberry tart is so easy to make and so impressive when served. You really must make it while blueberries are still in season. Go. Now. Make it!