Monday, January 29, 2007

Amaryllis by Morning...

This cake was made for the celebration of the birthdays of five Aquarian friends. Each friend had his/her name painted (in aqua and gold)on a sugar placque and attached to a side of the hexagonal, fondant covered cake with the Aquarian symbol finishing off the sixth side. A gold embossed sugarpaste border trimmed the cake. The cake was then mounted on a fondant covered foamcore hexagon which was then mounted on a silver foil covered cake round and finished with an aqua ribbon. Gold embossed sugarpaste diamonds were the decorative touches on the fondant hexagon corners.

The amaryllis plant which sat atop the cake was formed from sugar/gumpaste with the structural help of floral wires, floral tape, a wooden dowel and a styrofoam core for the bulb. The bulb, with inserted amryllis stem, was fastened to a hexagonal shaped piece of fondant covered cardboard. The board was then attached to the top of the cake with a piece of moistened fondant. There were three fully opened flowers and two buds on the sugar amaryllis. The model for the sugar version was the real-life "Scarlet Baby" miniature amaryllis. The "Spanish Moss" surrounding the bulb was made from tinted rice noodles. This very clever technique was borrowed from Maxine Boyinton whose cake using the rice noodles was featured in Kerry Vincent's very beautiful and extremely helpful book, "Romantic Wedding Cakes".

The three-tiered lemon cake was infused with a citron vodka sauce and the filling between the layers was a lemon curd. The recipe for the cake and sauce were also gleaned from Kerry's book. I loved the sauce but found the cake too dry. A good pound cake would have been preferable. The lemon curd was my own and was a tasty touch.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Goodbye, Christmas...Hello, Mardi Gras

I've been busy with a couple of major projects so have not had the time to come up with a sugar piece to celebrate this, the last day of the Christmas season. The Epiphany or Little Christmas or The Feast of the Three Kings is an important part of my Christmas traditions and I did not want it to pass without acknowledging it. To that end, I give you my first attempt at a decorated cake-a flourless chocolate torte with a ganache icing and chocolate roses dusted with cocoa powder. It was originally made for the 30th anniversary of my friends, Joanne and Ray. For today, I have resurrected it as the not-quite-traditional Galette des Rois or Kings' Cake. This one's a lot less fattening than the original so you can enjoy it without breaking your perennial New Year's resolution, which you, like myself, no doubt have made again. And, since today marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the Mardi Gras season, I am eagerly anticipating that NOLA style King Cake along with all that purple, green and gold hoopla!


Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

The very best wishes from Diva Delights to all for a prosperous and healthy 2007!

We kicked off the old year with our rowdy friends, a sumptuous dessert table, the traditional champagne toast and a Bûche de Nöel. It's a French Yule log made from a sponge cake rolled around chocolate buttercream. My version was an almond sponge with the entire log wrapped in marzipan. The ends were cut off and placed strategically to give the illusion of cut tree limb stumps. The entire log was covered with chocolate buttercream with meringue mushrooms and marzipan holly leaves and berries decorating the finished log. A marzipan banner reading "Happy New Year 2007" in gold was draped across the top. A dusting of confectioners sugar gave the look of freshly fallen snow.