Sunday, November 13, 2011

Berries, bows, and chocolate, oh my!

What do bows, berries and chocolate have in common? This weekend's cake!

This weekend I took a class at Bonnie Gordon College, taught by the very talented Susan Trianos. The cake used a number of techniques, some that I was familiar with and some that I wasn't. We learned to make a gingham ribbon, which is similar to creating mosaic with sugar. We also learned to make two different styles of gumpaste bows - I love bows. I may just have to stick them on all of my cakes. One of the techniques that I was not familiar with was painting combined with royal icing brush embroidery. I definitely need to work on brush embroidery! My painted flowers looked lovely from afar but were not photo-worthy close up.

The little miniature strawberries had to be my favourite - they were so simple but so cute! 

So where does the chocolate enter the picture? For this class, we had to prepare an 8-inch cake masked in swiss meringue buttercream. I recently treated myself to a bag of Cacao Barry Extra Brute cocoa powder and Barry Callebaut bittersweet chocolate callets, so I decided to make a devils foods cake filled with chocolate swiss meringue buttercream and masked in vanilla. The cocoa powder has an amazing silky texture. I don't think I can bake with anything else now. My husband wondered if we should try making hot cocoa with it. I told him that we have to use up our other regular powder first because I am certain it will be a point of no return. The cake was beautifully dark and moist. 

For the chocolate swiss meringue buttercream I used about 60 g chocolate per cup of buttercream. I used half semisweet and half bittersweet. The results were delicious. It tasted like a smooth and creamy chocolate milkshake! 

This might be a good time to mention the status of my KitchenAid stand mixer since swiss meringue buttercream is very 'mixer-intense'. A few tightened screws and it is running beautifully! Just for good measure though, my dad is going to be replacing a few parts and refreshing the food-grade grease. The mixer shall live on!

Next up...cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes! ...and maybe a few macarons. 

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