Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rice Crispie Pops - Happy Birthday Chantz!

RKT Pops made using the Wilton Series of Cookie Pop Pans!         

I just had to post these! These were so SO Much fun to make! It was my little brother's birthday so I decided upon something fun and delicious as a birthday treat in the mail ;) All I did was make some rice crispy treats and using the Wilton Cookie Pop Pan (find it in my NEW OpenSky store!) pressed the hot mixture in after being thoroughly greased. I pushed the sticks in while they were cooling, and melted some yummy chocolates, colored the chocolate using oil based food colorings, had a ball with sprinkles (who doesn't like sprinkles!) and voila! He loved them so much he wouldn't eat them! He is such a little love. I love you Chantz!

You can find the standard RKT recipe on the back of any Rice Crispies cereal box =) Nothing fancy in that recipe and oh-so easy! I would imagine you might even leave these "blank" so to speak and let the kids decorate them with frosting, candies, let your imagination go wild! The hot melted chocolate might not be such a good idea for little ones, unless you REALLY like to clean! lol

Take care everyone, and wish us "Happy Travels" and we make our way to our new home overseas!

Jessie aka Jemoiselle

PS Check out my new OpenSky Store, where I will be selling the products I use to make these treats and more, products I truly use and believe in! How cool!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sweet Summertime!

I have had some minor time on my hands to play around with amidst the domestic chaos life presents me with on a daily basis, and honestly, I feel incredibly lazy today having been up all night baking. What it is with me pulling these wild baking overnighters? Something about stars and ganache I think, anyhow here are the resulting products!

 Zebra Print Toffee

This one got me into trouble with a good friend, hehe, for it was a last minute surprise I decided to make before a special dinner we were going to, and it decided to misbehave at the last minute and I had to "save" it. Toffee is such a finicky animal! I ended up being late for said dinner, being forced to rely on my culinary charms to buy me some sweet mercy and forgiveness. Did it work? She still fed me so I am thinking yes. LOL

Vanilla Babycakes with Semi-Sweet Chocolate Ganache
(Recipe Obtained From: Rose's Heavenly Cakes)

These bring an interesting story to mind. At choir practice on Thursday last week, one of our guitarists suddenly looked at me and said "I'd like some cupcakes on Sunday!" Ha! Then our percussionist said "Yeah! Yellow cake with chocolate frosting! My favorite."  It was so funny how he said it so politely and with almost childlike hope, because he had no idea I do cakes etc to begin with or that I had stopped making them recently (for others). He just acted on intuition, and got lucky!  I asked him what made him ask me, and he thought about it, then said he had no idea! It just came out before he could think and stop himelf! Talk about going with your gut instinct! Feeling God was asking me to pick up my polka dotted apron again and crank out some seriously decadent nom noms, I happily obliged. I don't think they honestly thought I would take their antics seriously, hehe, but they truly had no idea that what they had just done was medicine for my soul =P

Semi-Sweet Ganache (setting up)

Today I showed up with a pretty wooden tray of these bad boys at choir practice early in the morn, and when I felt that old familiar sense of pride and love I associate with my work, realized how much I have missed it.

Much like anything one puts their whole heart and soul into coupled with hard physical work (thinking of my larger cakes hehe) it's always a gamble for the person afraid of failing. Hoping for someone else's enjoyment, paid or unpaid, such an act can bring about the most euphoric untold joys, or on the flip side,  frustration and disappointment when things go wrong. I know it isn't any huge feat to make cupcakes from scratch blah blah blah, but for me, this was a turning point in my confidence. What a great way to begin my day! I feel rejuvenated...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Toffee! Toffee! Toffee!

Toffee! Toffee! Toffee!

This toffee absolutely hands down, was the best I have ever tasted in my entire life! The toffee itself is buttery, rich and almost smokey to the discerning palate. Upon first bite, you notice it's crisp satisfying snap, yet light texture. That sensation shortly dissolves into nothing short of heaven on Earth, as it goes through several different transformations. It starts off with that crisp snap, then gets crunchy, then chewy, then it just disappears entirely beckoning you to indulge once more. The almonds in the toffee add that familiar authenticity, while the different layers of chocolate and walnuts on top add an aire of luxury and velvety goodness to the already decadent moment of bliss. Ahhh, I love toffee!

I know, I know...I don't eat this stuff, why do I keep making it? It is so beautiful! I cannot help myself here folks, I have this obsession with old world confectioneries I simply cannot explain. There is something about watching sugar caramelize that stirs my soul, transporting me into another dimension or even another era completely! I get to escape the realities of life for a mere hour with the promise of something delightful to look forward to, and what's more, I get to share it with all the people I love the most in this world! I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon...

I know this one was kind of random, but it is what it is. This stuff is just so special to me, a product of many years of dreaming and hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of fancy confectioner's cook books I have never been brave enough to crack opened for anything more than a mid-summer's dream session. Today, I conquered the candy thermometer, and couldn't be happier! My cake making was NOT the first thing I started with, my friends...it was candy that sparked the flame!

Have a beautiful week, and if you know me and I love ya, come on over for a piece...it's waiting!


English Toffee Recipe 
(My version, adapted from the Taste of Home Cookbook)

1c. Salted butter, cut into 1" cubes
1c. Sugar / 200g
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp water
1 tsp Vanilla
1-2c Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1c white chocolate, melted
1c finely chopped Almonds
                                                      1c coarsely chopped Walnuts

1. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, and set aside

2. In a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the butter sugar water and vanilla. Heat on low flame stirring slowly until all sugar dissolves.

3. Use a wet pastry brush to wipe down sides of pan to ensure all crystals are gone or dissolved. VERY important for texture.

4. Attach candy thermometer once everything is dissolved and smooth, and take out your stirring spoon. This is where I recommend you stop stirring entirely. Ask me how I know =(

** If you keep stirring, you run the risk of it separating around 280 degrees into a nasty looking, stringy oily buttery mess. If it does do this,  it IS savable despite what you may think. Simply add tablespoons of hot water, one at a time, and stir slowly until it comes together again. Then, you resume heating per recipe.

5. Heat on low to 290 degrees, or soft crack stage. Upon hitting 290, pull from stove. GENTLY fold in chopped almonds and pour carefully into pan. Smooth with an offset spatula into an even layer at a thickness pleasing to you.

6. Sprinkle hot toffee with semi-sweet chocolate, and allow to sit until melted. Using a new offset spatula, smooth and swirl chocolate until satisfied with coverage.

7. Sprinkle walnuts onto chocolate, and finish with an artistic drizzle of white chocolate to your hearts content.

8. Don't plan on fitting into ANY outfit in the following week after making these, you just won't. They are that good! Refrigerate until firm, then use a knife and chisel the sheet into pieces.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rose's Heavenly Cakes: The Banana Refrigerator Cake featuring White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Those of you that know me well, know I am all about scratch baking. Well recently, I have been introduced to the works of a few legendary icons of the professional baking world, most impressive of whom is Rose Levy Beranbaum. She is a celebrated master baker, pastry expert and cake scientist extraordinare! After reading about her passion for pastry, life and obsession with baking science I was hooked. We quickly found ourselves the proud owners of every single major pastry, cake and bread bible she published and then some. One of her newest books (2009) Rose's Heavenly Cakes, has an almost cult like following!



In fact, there is a group online that calls themselves "The Heavenly Bakers Club" and/or "The Heavenly Cake Bake Along" who bake their way through her newest book, one cake a week, all in unison, blogging about the affair afterwards simultaneously. I am dying to become an official part of that group! But alas, they require two cakes at least a month, or else! *Insert scary doom music here* So, I have made it my goal to bake enough of her cakes, pastries and breads from these books to be confident enough in my abilities to join with a straight face. *snickers* These are not your typical cakes! They are magic. Just pure, incredible, mind blowing magic in the kitchen. You have to forget everything you thought you knew about scratch baking, and go in with a hunger for innovation and artistic desire. She is just so incredible!

Well, here I go. Here is the first official cake I have made from Rose's Heavenly Cakes, or as we on the forum like to call it, RHC. I am so proud! I am now one step closer to my goal...and oh my, this cake was beyond words. Out of this world, in fact, it is over halfway gone already. Wowza!

Until next time!
Jemoiselle aka Jessie

Monday, April 19, 2010

An Announcement...

Dear Vanilla Expressions fans and followers,

I have really enjoyed making cakes for all of you, my special friends and family.
You have been such an inspiration to me, and I have truly loved exploring my talent and expanding my skillset with you. Due to the upcoming move, I will not be taking orders for my cakes effective immediately. I will still be baking for fun at home though, so keep an eye out for new pics!

Take care and thank you for everything,

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Super Mario Birthday for a super 5 year old love!

This might not look like it, but it was the hardest cake yet to do I think. It was a 6/10, the same chocolate blow your mind recipe from the cake bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. It was filled with a simple vanilla buttercream, and covered in fondant with fondant and modeling chocolate accents. Mario was made of fondant, for those who might be wondering!

This cake took some serious skill to frost and stack, being that it is light as air bursting with moist crumbs and sticky with fudgey goodness! That being said, I cannot wait to hear about how it tasted at the party it was made for. A friend asked me to do this special cake for her son's 5th birthday. She really goes all out, and honored me with the task of making a cake with her son's favorite characters on it.

I used to play these games when I was a young gal, and really, still enjoy them whenever I get an opportunity to play (which is like, next to never) So I incorporated elements from different levels and typical challenges the game presents in a flowing "cake level" so to speak. It flows to the right, starting at the bottom tier by the row of coins. I tried my best to capture the flow with the camera, but it proved difficult.

Until next time,

The Choc-ROACH cake! Thanks Bobby =)

Ewww! Somebody get the shoe. No! Wait, it's just a chocroach. Yes, you heard me right! I was asked to do this cake for a friend in the pest control business! It will be raffled off at the end of the Clovis Home & Garden Show =)

Underneath a less than exquisite fondant exoskeleton, lies a real work of art that honestly needs no frosting or adornment at all. What I am hooting about now you ask? Why, this is THE All-American Chocolate Torte from Rose Levy Beranbaum's legendary book, The Cake Bible, in disguise. I adore this cake so much, it is now my standard chocolate cake. Her method of baking is so unique, thoughtful and lovingly prepared. The recipes are not mere recipes, they are scientific kitchen tangos! An exacting science, this cake took many tries before getting it right but of boy was the result worth it. It is so soft and fluffy, I feared the fondant would flatten the cake's lofty stories of deliciousness. But alas, I was afraid for nothing. The cake would stand and stand again, layer after layer, tier after tier, as in the last 48 hours I have had to make a whopping 5 batches each time learning something new. I am a high altitude baker, I should add. Cakes like to try to give me hassle, but my kitchen whip is stiff and my will unfailing LOL. As you might be able to tell I have been up two whole nights in a row without sleep making my grand total of unslept deliriousness about 36 hours. I am hallucinating, exhusted beyond expression, I fell asleep blow drying my hair upside down this morning, standing, and woke up after realizing I was blow dreaming! IS that a word? LOL Anyways, I am posting the fruits of my labor and going to bed, really, to BED! I mean it! This is the first time in my life I have stayed up all night twice in a row and didn't lie down for naps etc. I must be nuts.

Speaking of nuts, this cake had none, but was filled with GREEN BUTTERCREAM so it would really have that unique "this cake is the most incredible thing I have ever tasted, but, it looks so *excuse me* blaahhhhhh!!!" *snickers pleased with myself* It was terribly realistic, and gross! I meant to do the whole cake as one huge roach, but as I found, real Madagascar Hissers are too flat to be torted filled cakes of 4" or more. That is why you see the white base holding the chocroach's leggies up.

SO how did I make this? Because I just know you are dying to go make one for yourself right..now... (don't you?) I aim to please!

-I took a 10" square pan, baked a cake, cooled it, cut it in half stacking the removed half on top of the remaining half to make a big rectangle torted and filled with delicious but disgusting looking green bugger-cream. I meant, buttercream. Sorry.

-I proceeded with freezing the cake for a BRIEF period of time (about an hour) to make it stable for carving, then I got a sharp knife and cut myself a bug. It was wild watching sheets of cake fall away, something I would NEVER dare do to my normal cakes! It made me so nervous!

-I finally became happy with my bug base, so I frosted it then covered it with layers of fondant mimicing the Madagascar Hissing Roach's shell. It was fun! It started out pure white, then I hand painted it all with food colorings until it made me want to kill it. Voila!

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach was my inspi-roach-ion. I am happy with how it turned out, though in the future, should I find myself needing to make another chocroach I will be making it a one layer sheet cake so it can be made without anything underneath showing. I figured the main attraction would not be my crumbcoat, lol, and took a gamble on human nature =) I hope it grossed out many a patrons at the Home and Garden Show this year (Clovis NM) and pray that it encouraged Bobby's prospective clients to hire him so they didn't have to meet the inedible less pleasant versions of this little guy at their homes, without having the win the cake. You know what I mean?

Do you live in Clovis, NM? DO you think this cake is gross? Would you want REAL cockroaches in your home eating your cake? Or would you prefer to eat a cake that looks like them instead of having them over as guests, invited or not! If you don't like the idea of meeting a chocroach MINUS the chocolate, in your own home someday soon, you NEED to call Bobby at Affordable Pest Control! He has taken great care of my family for the entire time we've lived here, and we couldn't be more pleased. In addition to professional service, we gained a true friend.

Bobby falls into the category of being one of the world's few remaining honest and trustworthy businessmen and patriots, running a business, honoring his word, supporting the Vets all around us while charging more than a fair price for his work.

If you need pest control help, please visit his site at http://www.clovisbugguy.com and schedule a consultation to discuss how he can help you to keep your home free of roaches and other unspeakables all year long using ingredients safe for home organic gardeners etc! You'll lose the bugs and gain a friend in the process.

I have one more cake to post tonight then it is time to pass out into my keyboard like garfield in lasagna. Here we go, onward!


Monday, April 12, 2010

The Doggie Cake!

This cake was a hoot! I was so happy to make it =) The chocolate fondant, once again, gave me hassle hehe but oh it tasted so good! It was worth the issues it created, I think. I guess I am just a perfectionist! The little boy who received this looked so adorable blowing out his candles, too!

-6"/8" double layer two tier vanilla and chocolate scratch cakes with white and chocolate ganache.

-Fondant accents

-Vanilla almond buttercream

-Hand modeled doggie and bone topper

Until next time!


The Mod Baby Shower Cake

This one was my first busy busy print, it was so fun to make! We're looking at an 8", with some funky cake flavors to match the exterior style. One layer is chocolate cake with strawberries in the batter, and the other layer is a vanilla butter cake with blueberries in the batter. Tied together with a chocolate ganache, this was a very rich cake.

Everything is fondant (except for the topper which was simply piped chocolate) with a new inclusion for me this time of using chocolate based fondant for the brown base instead of vanilla fondant colored brown! It was a HUGE upgrade in the flavor department, but unfortunately hard to work as of yet texture wise. I like my fondant to be all satiny, velvety even, matte finished. The chocolate has a somewhat textured appearance, one that I will be working on for my future experiments. Stay tuned! 

Until next time!

The Medical Cake

Perhaps the smallest cake I have ever done to date, a 4x6, this one was really special. It was also, technically, lol, my first carved cake aka one that was cut to form a shape other than the pan it was baked in. It was deceptively difficult, because being so small, the cake's height was almost exceeding it's width.

Down to the nitty gritty, this one was a new scratch recipe for me, again being after the holy grail of cake recipes. Toba Garrett was my inspiration for every INGREDIENT element (not style, this is obviously mediocre in comparison hehe)
from the fondant to the butter cake itself, compliments of the book "The Well Decorated Cake". I am studying her and another hero of mine, Rose Levy Beranbaum, like tomorrow isn't coming! Anyhow, it was carved into thinner tortes than I usually do just for effect, I figured being smaller it could use some extra flair lol. It was filled with a ganache, and accented with fondant as usual.

The colors were inspired by the recipient, whom had just graduated from a medical program to become an anesthetist. The colors represent his University =) Happy Birthday to you! I hope it was well received....it was so fun to make!

Until next time,

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday to Annaliese!

This cake was so much fun, it just might be my favorite so far of all the cakes I've made! Little Annaliese is turning two, loves Elmo and girlie things...what to do?
I dreamed up this cake and got to work, and am extremely pleased with how it turned out.

-Scratch zucchini cake, 8" and 6"
-Handmade white chocolate ganache filling
-Traditional fondant and marshmallow fondant
-Vanilla Almond buttercream
-Edible opalescent finish

The Elmo was hand modeled out of fondant, as were all the accents.

A HUGE thank you goes out to little Annaliese's family for sharing this special day with me! As always, it was an honor to be a part of it.

Until next time,
Jessie aka Jemoiselle

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Special Baby Shower..

I made this cake for a good friend's baby shower, it was my gift ;) I got to play hostess for the first time ever, and it went well I think!

The cake was a 10'' and 6'' Almond Butter Cake, filled with Semi-sweet chocolate ganache and vanilla buttercream. The fondant was a new kind of fondant for me, normally I make homemade MMF (Marshmallow Fondant) but this time I got crazy and made it from scratch, using a recipe where instead of using marshmallows you use gelatin and effectively make your own. Both are "scratch" recipes compared to buying it in a store, but being the purist I am, I just had to kick it up a notch. It took two tries to get it to come out right, lol.  But, the second time was a charm and we ended up with a lovely cake that everyone enjoyed, including me! How often do I get to eat my own cakes?

Congrats again to Janelle, we're all excited to meet Mr. Dylan any day now!

Until next time,
Jemoiselle aka Jessie

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy 29th Birthday to a dear friend...

This cake I made for a dear friend's 29th birthday. She is a complete girly girl, so we thought it was fitting to do the whole thing all shimmery with luster dust after this photo was taken!

-Chocolate fudge cake (new VERY moist scratch recipe)
-Homemade semi-sweet ganache filling
-Vanilla Almond Buttercream
-Scratch vanilla butter fondant
-Modeling chocolate roses and pearls, hand formed, hand made

I learned a very useful lesson with this cake, as I got overly confident with my fondant skills and tweaked the recipe to make it easier to knead. It was easy to knead, but the added ease resulted in more kneading, which resulted in more air in the fondant. No matter what I did, it kept getting more air pockets in the finish! I had to use a pin to remove air pockets all the way until delivery...but it worked, and it looked acceptable. SO----to all you working fondant at home, it is stiff as a brick for a reason. Just take the beating on your shoulders, and delight in a smooth finish. Nothing perfect ever comes easy, eh?


Thursday, March 4, 2010

~Special Birthday and Adoption Day Cupcakes~

I was asked to make these for a friend's two beautiful children. It was a Birthday and an Adoption Day celebration! There were 40 color matching cupcakes in all, but only these two were decorated like this. It was such a HUGE honor! The cupcakes are a scratch recipe chocolate fudge cake, and the frostings are homemade semi-sweet ganache and whipped vanilla-almond buttercream.

Olivia's cupcake, the pink one, is decorated with a white chocolate rose, brushed with luster dust, and topped with a gelatin butterfly, the body of the butterfly including the antennae in their entirety is dark chocolate plastic. The pearls are made from white chocolate as well, rolled in pearl dust. Her name is rolled out of a fondant rope.

Evan's cupcake is covered in the semi-sweet ganache, with a special flag of his home Country, Guatemala. I was asked to make that the theme, celebrating his heritage! The "worry dolls" (little people) were inspired by a story his Momma told me about how they have these little dolls over there, you tell your worries to and place under your pillow to find peace. I tried to recreate those to the best of my ability, they are traditionally made with bits of string, fabric, and sticks inside for support. I used fondant for the flag, and a mix of fondant and modeling chocolate for the dolls. The bananas, a chief export, are both fondant and modeling chocolate as well.

My thanks goes out to the Momma of these two little tots, who put a lot of trust in me today =)  I am so thankful they are all happy with their treats, they could barely contain themselves!

Until next time,


Monday, March 1, 2010

A preview of the next project...

I am not going to mention what this is going to go with until after I have delivered the finished product to the lucky recipient...but I just cannot resist posting a little appetizer for you =) Or is it for me? Stay tuned, and without further distraction, enjoy my newest endeavor! Yes, it's all from scratch, and 100% edible-riffic!

Craving Birthday Cake? Chocoholics unite...

Another vacation creation (wasn't I supposed to be NOT working?) but I couldn't help myself! It was the night before I flew back home when Dad started "craving Birthday cake"! I wouldn't have been a good Daughter if I didn't oblige!

This is my always from scratch Devil's Fudge cake, drenched in semi-sweet chocolate ganache. Do I need to say that is homemade too? Didn't think so, just checking. I am so BIG on making everything from scratch, as it is a dying art. 
Truly. I digress. The chocolate on chocolate action wouldn't be complete without more chocolate, the modeling chocolate roses. I have to mention my little sister helped me make this cake and did a fabulous job! If she lived nearby, she would be my right hand gal ;)

Can you smell the chocolate yet?


Happy Valentines Day!


While I was on vacation I decided to make my family a bunch of chocolate roses for Valentines Day! It was so fun, I got to show my family a bit of what I do in person instead of through photographs on this blog, it was wonderful! I used Ghiradelli chocolate, made it into modeling chocolate and off I went. The smaller roses were wrapped in a beautiful argyle print in pink and green, tied with a ribbon, they were lovely. I love doing stuff like this! I have a feeling in the future I am going to be big into making flowers out of all sorts of edible mediums. This is truly addicting!
Happy Valentines Day!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Batman Cake!


This cake was an amazing feat for me, it is huge! By far the largest I have ever attempted. It was a 14" and a 10" double layer two tier, made with a homemade vanilla almond scratch cake, filled with a decadent semi-sweet chocolate ganache. It was covered in a thick layer of vanilla buttercream then fondant and accented with handmade semi-sweet chocolate plastic, also known as modeling chocolate. It was stacked and then covered with a shimmery dusting of edible glitter to really catch the eye.

I think this little guy is going to be one happy birthday boy! What an incredible learning experience...I feel so much more confident with larger cakes now! My heartfelt thanks goes out to family this was for, they took a big risk on me (I'm a rookie, right?) and I am SOOO glad it paid off and they are happy. She got a fabulous creation for her little love, and I got the most incredible experience I have had yet in assembling large layers and covering them with fondant. It doesn't get any sweeter than that!

Till next time,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A baby shower to remember...

This cake is the largest I have done so far, and a challenge it was! I was asked to do this for a good friend of a friend, and it was quite an honor. It was for a baby shower for a sweet little boy who ended up being born days before his shower! Amazing.  I would like to thank you (you BOTH know who you are) for this opportunity and honor. I hope this cake is exactly what you hoped it would be, and made a wonderful shower memory for all of you!

The bottom tier is a triple layered 10" homemade vanilla butter cake with scratch bavarian creme filling. The top tier is a double layered 6" devil's fudge cake with chocolate ganache filling. The cake is covered in buttercream, then fondant, and is topped with a bear I made out of homemade modeling chocolate or chocolate plastic. I used a dark chocolate plastic to make the bows, the ribbon and some of the accents on the cake.

This cake was SO fun to make, but took many days of prep to complete. Yep, I am still a newbie thus this was a multi day event hehe! Here's to hoping I get faster, and soon, before the cakes get so big they take me weeks LOL. =p

Until next time,