Life

Princess Castle Cake

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life on March 25th, 2013 by Natacha – Comments Off on Princess Castle Cake

This week I got to work on a very special cake : my own daughter’s birthday cake !

This is what she requested : princess castle, glitter, pink, purple and flowers…She wasn’t disappointed with about three hundred flowers…and a fairy tale castle. It was very fun for me because i stepped out of my comfort zone when my air brush died and had to use a lot of new techniques to make up for it, like royal icing piping,  brick impressions etc…

When I cut the cake, kids gathered around me and made requests “can i have a window?” “can I have a flower”…It was a lot of fun !

Fairy Tale Princess Castle Cake

Fairy Tale Princess Castle Cake

Ellen’s Caramel Apple Cake

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life on December 17th, 2012 by Natacha – 3 Comments

I wanted to create a cake for my mother-in-law who is a fervent supporter of mine, always leaving encouraging comments on my blog. Ellen is obsessed with caramel apples so i decided to create a cake that would replicate those flavors and feels like Fall (Ellen’s favorite season).

I started by making homemade Apple sauce, I think the trick to bring out the apple flavor is to use cider.

Ellen's Caramel Apple Cake

Ellen’s Caramel Apple Cake

Homemade  Applesauce :

  • 4 organic Fuji apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 4 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 cup of apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons of Cognac
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover the saucepan, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then blend. Chill sauce to room temperature before adding to cake batter (see recipe below).

The Apple Cake (makes 3 8-inch layers)

  • 4 cups all-purpose organic flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted organic butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 cups homemade applesauce (see recipe above)
Preheat the oven to 325-degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl. Set aside.In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.

For The Caramel Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream

In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t slosh any of it up the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color (if you don’t want to eyeball it, take the caramel to 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined.

You can save the caramel sauce, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before using it on cakes, ice creams, or quick breads.

If you want a warm topping, heat the caramel sauce in short bursts in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler.

For The Caramel Buttercream

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature 
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.Add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

Ellen's Caramel Apple Cake

Ellen’s Caramel Apple Cake

 

 

Pepper from Mega jump cake.

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life on July 6th, 2012 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I thought my level of pop culture was pretty good…until I got a request for a new cake…”Pepper” from Megajump…

Pepper

I had never heard about that game before, but like my son would say “mommy ask your friend google if you don’t know”…Here are the cake photos, it was a two layer chocolate cake filled with classic vanilla buttercream frosting. I used fondant and edible glitter since it was for a very special girl !

 

I got a very sweet email from June’s mom :

“Thank you! The cake is jaw-droppingly beautiful! The word “love” may not be sufficient to describe how June feels about her cake – we all just stood there gazing at it until it had to go in the fridge. ”

This definitely made my day ! I love making cakes that make people happy !

 

That week I also got to make subway cupcakes for some preschoolers. Each kid had the first letter of his name in fondant with subway style lettering/color. Those cupcakes were made out of buttermilk chocolate cake topped with Swiss meringue chocolate buttercream.

Baby shower Cupcakes

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life on June 10th, 2012 by Natacha – 4 Comments

It was my first time making cupcakes for a baby shower. The client’s request were “peas in a pod and 2 shades of green”.

The flavors she selected were red velvet with traditional cream cheese frosting and and “all chocolate” cupcake. I made my Swiss meringue chocolate buttercream frosting which still remains my all-time favorite. It tastes so light and fluffy despite the high content of butter.

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day !!

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life on February 14th, 2012 by Natacha – Comments Off on Happy Valentine’s Day !!

Every day should be V-day when you are in love…

Valentine's day frosted sugar cookies

New challenge : Make me a Crab Cake !

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life, Recipes, Techniques on February 11th, 2012 by Natacha – Comments Off on New challenge : Make me a Crab Cake !

I just finished a cake order that was pretty fun….I was obsessed with it for a few days…A CRAB cake for a little guy that likes to wear his mittens and pretends he’s a crab (i’m a sucker for those personal details)

The client wanted a chocolate mousse filling, but after i tested it i knew the mousse would not hold well in a 3D cake that I would have to carve (but still works well in multi layer traditional cakes). Instead I perfected a swiss meringue chocolate buttercream which was divine, and maybe even lighter than a traditionnal chocolate mousse filling.

Swiss meringue Chocolate Buttercream :

Ingredients :

  • 6 egg whites (organic)
  • 4 sticks of organic butter
  • 1 package of Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips (i liked it better than with the bitersweet chocolate for this recipe)
  • 240g of organic sugar

1. Melt the chopped chocolate over a water bath. Set aside and let cool.
2. Place egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl.
3. Set bowl over 1 inch of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently until mixture reaches 140°F/60°C  (this step is to pasteurize the eggs)
4. Remove from heat and using an electric mixer, whisk on medium speed until egg whites are cool to touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand).
5. Continue beating, gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces and continue to beat. It will first look watery or separated, but after 10-15 minutes, it will come together.
6. Once desired, pipe-able consistency has been reached, fold in cooled chocolate until well incorporated.

Fondant has been laid

The crab is finished!

View from the side

To get a quote, email me your cake/cookie/cupcake/candy bar project at  : natacha@frenchyfood.com

Subway fondant for ice-cream cake

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life, Techniques on January 24th, 2012 by Natacha – 1 Comment

I have recently helped a local mother in need with decorations for her ice cream cake. The family really wanted a specific ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins and only gave me a 48 hour notice so i just helped providing handmade fondant  decorations for their cake (she had specific expectations for the cake topper).

Here’s the result:

Icre- cream cake topper + side decorations

 

For those who are not familiar with subway signs and metrocards, here are some examples :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The client applied the decorations herself and here’s her pic :

I am always looking for a good challenge ! Email me for quotes at natacha@frenchyfood.com

What would you NOT do for your kids?

Posted in Life, Techniques on January 18th, 2012 by Natacha – 1 Comment

This is what I wondered when I happily got out of bed at 4am to decorate a princess cake this morning. Having my still jet lagged son walk into the kitchen at 5am and tell me “wow my friends are going to like this” — that was all I needed to hear to make me proud of my craziness! I was sluggish for the rest of the day, but the looks on those little girls faces were priceless. Quitting my Manhattan exec job to trade for moments like this was so worth it! Money really can’t buy you happiness after all….

But back to the cake, my first “princess cake” : strawberry cake with vanilla butter cream and fondant/royal icing decorations… some flavors that I knew little kids would enjoy! I only had 48 hours of notice to get ready and one small batch of fondant at home (that thing is better store-bought) so I had to do a one color dress. Next time I will add layers and various textures and also make it thicker so you can t see all the cake crumbs…

 

 

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

Posted in Life, Molecular Gastronomy, Recipes, Techniques on January 13th, 2012 by Natacha – Comments Off on Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

It’s been a very good year or like my husband says “the best ever”…

I ended the year with a meal at an amazing restaurant and met a very inspirational chef : Cesar Ramirez. Unlike any other 3 Michelin Star restaurant, Brooklyn Fare is a BYOB, single-menu prix-fixe, and payment is required to be pre-arranged. (You pay for your meal before you even go, which makes the whole experience easier, and let’s you forget how much you just shelled out.) My husband brought some champagne that was offered by my great-grand mother, it made the whole night even more special.

Champagne Millésimé from "mémé"

Brooklyn Fare has 18 seats disposed in a U-shape with one waitress/sommelier in the middle – although no wine list or actual wines. Cesar and his small crew cook right in front of you through 20+ small dishes and he steps out of the kitchen to talk to patrons and friends. He loved the fact that I was from Alsace and recognized that his cabbage dish (an Alsatian staple) must have taken more than 8 hours to cook. As he served us an egg dish topped by a whole slice of black truffle from Perigord, he yelled “no extra charge”. Cesar (always wearing a crisp white shirt during service, and keeping it white as my husband noted) told me he loves his craft and that the restaurant wasn’t making any money but “that’s not what matters”.

When I asked him where he trained (he used an interesting mix of advanced cooking techniques as well as traditional ones) he simply laughed at me…”I learned by working in restaurants!” I was also very pleased to have seen all the great dishware he was using. Cesar told us he has one of the most expensive collections of restaurant china in the world, which is very possibly true: some bowls that balanced on a pinpoint magnet, large plates made out of stone, Laguiole knives…

I used to love David Chang’s simplicity but Cesar took it to a whole other  level…So there you have it: the most fantastic food experience so far!  I just hope that when they get a liquor license it doesn’t take away from the charm of this little restaurant.

Thank you Cesar for one of the best food experience in my life (and my hubby for making it happen !)

Cesar Ramirez - Photo courtesy of Art Culinaire magazine

Four years ago…

Posted in Cakes/Cupcakes/cookies, Life on November 6th, 2011 by Natacha – 2 Comments

Four years ago I was watching a TV show with my husband, and my water broke. We rushed to the hospital  and about 6 hours later : Max was born eyes wide open…Ready to take over the world !

To this day this remains one of the most beautiful experience i have shared with my husband…

Max requested a baby stegosaurus cake for his birthday. Here’s the result :

Happy 4th Birthday Max !