Dessert Inspiration!

My friends over at Traveling Bites sent me these photos last night. I love these Tarts! they were homemade by Rosemarie's Boyfriend Thomas. Don't the look fantastically delicious??? Yum! I also loved how the used the cutting board I got them for Christmas as a display item in the photo as well. Maybe these photos will inspire some dessert tables/buffets for future weddings, parties and special events. Enjoy!

Baking Inspiration

My friend from Traveling Bites, was kind enough to buy me all of these baking emulsions as a gift. If you guys don't know, a emulsions is used in baking for added flavoring, it can also be used to replace the extracts in baking recipes.  It is said "bakery emulsions keep the incorporated flavors more stable while your mixture changes temperature, and they combine more easily with other emulsions (butter, sugar, egg for example) than extracts do" (read more about it here).

This makes me very excited! I can start making all of the desserts of my dreams! how tasty! Here are a few desserts I want to add to my baking calender:

Tiramisu, Source: Knives Cooks Love
Lemon Macarons, Source: Pizzazzerie
Mocha Rum Bundt Cake, Source: Tracey's Culinary Adventures
Strawberry Almond Bars, Source: Une Gamine Dans la Cuisine

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, Source: My Baking Addiction
Coconut Macaroons, Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Recipe for Tarte Tatin

Weeks ago, my sister came to town for a weekend visit from northern CA. She had recently taken a cooking/baking class at the Learning Exchange where she learned to make Tarte Tatin. Tarte Tatin is pretty much like upside down apple tart. (Think upside down pineapple cake but way better because I don't like pineapple).

Normally Tarte Tatin is made in one pan. (Did anyone see that Top Chef episode in season 5, where the chefs have to make a dish in a 1 pot wonder? This would be a great dish to make for that challenge!) Any how, we had made some changes to the recipe because I wanted to use some new Williams Somona baking pans I had recently gotten at a vintage store.

1 puff pastry sheet (the chef teaching the class said you can make the pastry dough from scratch, but its much easier to use the pre-made sheets. We say, if teachers say so, it must be okie!)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
7 to 9 Gala apples (3-4 pounds), peeled quartered lengthwise, and cored

Equipment: 10 inch skillet

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Preheat oven to 425˚F

First, prep all your ingredients (peeling and slicing all the apples). 

Roll pastry sheet into a 10 1/2 inch square on a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin. Brush off excess flour an cut out a 10-inch round with a sharp knife, using a plate as a guide. Transfer round to a baking sheet and chill.

Spread butter thickly on bottom and side of skillet and pour sugar evenly over bottom. Arrange as many apples as will fit vertically on sugar, packing them tightly in concentric circles. Apples will stick up above the skillet.

Cook apples over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until juices are deep golden and bubbling, 18-25 minutes. (Don't worry if juices color unevenly.)

 (we changed the recipe, since I wanted to use the new baking pans I just got. We ended up caramelizing the butter and sugar first, and the placing the apples on top of the sugar mixture.)

Put skillet in middle of oven over a piece of foil to catch any drips. Bake 20 minutes (apples will settle slightly), then remove from oven and lay pastry round over apples.

Bake tart until pastry is browned, 20-25 mins. Transfer skillet to a rack and cook for at least 10 minutes.

First before serving, invert a platter with a lip over skillet and using potholders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert the tart onto the platter. Replace any apples that sticks to the skillet.  (Don't worry if there are black spots; they won't affect the flavor of the tart). Spread any excess caramel from skillet over apples. Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!

Sweet Recipe: Madeleine Cookies

I just love Madeleine cookies! They are just about the most delicious cookies in the history of all cookies! hehe... Well I don't know about that for a fact, but I do think Madeleines are beloved by all. :) I love to eat these cake like cookies anywhere, especially the ones from Starbucks, and the ones from Costco! These cookies are pretty easy to make, you just need the time because although they are very fast to make! You can easily eat them as fast as you bake, so there will never be enough. :) Consider making these for a bridal shower tea party or some other special event. These would also make great party favors and will fit in nicely to a dessert buffet table.

2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
10 tablespoons of melted and slightly cooled butter
     generously butter and flour pan for large madeleines (about 3×1 1/4 inches).
powdered sugar for dusting (I didn't do this step, because I prefer it without)

Yield: 20 cookies

Preheat oven to 375°F

 Using electric mixer, beat eggs and 2/3 cup sugar in large bowl just to blend. Beat in vanilla, lemon peel and salt. Add flour; beat just until blended. Gradually add cooled melted butter in steady stream, beating just until blended.

Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each indentation in pan. (Remember to butter the baking pans!) Bake until puffed and brown, about 10-16 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Gently remove from pan. Repeat process, buttering and flouring pan before each batch. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

Dust cookies with powdered sugar. (I skipped this part)

     Recipe found on Lydia's Cozy Corner and found on

    Photo Inspiration: Cookies or Ornaments?

    Source: Your Vintage Wedding

    I found this photo online, and isn't it darling? I first thought that these would make great vintage inspired ornaments for the holiday Christmas Tree. Then I thought, how could I incorporate these ornaments for a wedding. Maybe by having guests write a message to the bride and groom and then hang the ornaments on a wishing tree? And then I realized, that these weren't ornaments, they are cookies! How cool is that? They are so adorable, that I don't think I could eat these. I'd probably still hang them on a 'cookie' tree at a dessert buffet at a wedding. What do you think?

    Happy Wedding :)

    Cupcake Gallery

    I adore cupcakes. Don't we all? I decided to gather some cupcake inspirations photographs in my attempt to persuade you in a cupcake wedding cake? Well, actually, I really just want to inspire people to eat and enjoy cupcakes! What do you think? Do these cupcakes look delicious or what?

    Source: Go Figurette
    Source: Marlein Overakker

    Source: Pin Interest

    Source: Marlein Overakker

    Source: Pin Interest

    Source: Julia Lane Photography

    Source: For All I Know, You Know

    Source: Alex Beadon Photography

    Source: Amara Dolcezza

    Source: We Heart It

    Source: So Cute Things

    Source: Unique Baby Gear Ideas

    Source: Charmed Event Planning

    Happy Wedding :)

    Post Updated: August 15, 2011

    Very Berry, Strawberry Cupcakes!

    Source: Annie's Eats
    The last time I visited home, my very talented sister and I baked some very delicious strawberry cupcakes for a nice treat for the family. Of course, I had to slow down the process by making a photo shoot out of it. I did my best to take photos of the step-by-step process, so you can see how easy it is to make these cupcakes. These strawberry cupcakes would make a lovely addition to any wedding extravaganza. (i.e Bridal Shower!) And to answer your first question: Yes, these cupcakes do taste as good as they look! I think they taste rather light, myself. Not like a cupcake, but rather a muffin. I think I can eat 4 of them in 1 seating, they are just so good. Enjoy! (This recipe is from Annie's Eats)

    Recipe yields 34 cupcakes


    For the cupcakes:
    2¼ cups all-purpose flour
    ½ cup cake flour
    1 tbsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    2¼ cups sugar
    1½ tsp. vanilla extract
    3 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
    1 cup milk
    2½ cups finely chopped fresh strawberries*

    For the frosting:
    1½ cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped*
    4 large egg whites
    1¼ cups sugar
    3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature


    For garnish:
    Additional fresh strawberries*

    *Note: I buy organic as much as possible regardless, but strawberries are one of the items where 
    I really notice a huge difference in taste and color.  I recommend using organic berries if possible for best results.

    To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt; whisk to blend. (Sift all ingredients together, into the bowl)

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated.  Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula. Don't mix! Otherwise it will make the strawberries mushy and get their juice everywhere.

    Divide the batter between the paper liners, filling each about ¾-full.  We used a ice cream scooper, its the perfect size and has a easy release button. Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-28 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the frosting, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender.  Puree until completely smooth.  Combine the egg whites and sugar salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.

    Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer** fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

    Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer - don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the strawberry puree until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

    Fill a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip with the frosting (We used a large round tip). Frost cooled cupcakes as desired, and garnish with fresh berries or berry slices. We decided not to garnish with strawberries, because they are just for family, but if these for baked for a special event, definitely do so.

    **This can theoretically be made using a hand mixer, but will require even more time and a lot of arm strength.
     Original Recipe is from Annie's Eats

    Yummy Magpies Cakes!

    Source: Magpies Cakes

    One of my favorite cake vendors is Magpies Cakes! Its easy to see why. Look all all the cakes shown above? They look deliciously beautiful, don't they? All of Magpie's Cakes are unique in its own way, their cakes have a wide range of beauty, ranging from whimsical, classic and artful. I would love all of these cakes, if I had a 2nd wedding, but my final choice is the 100 layer in lower left coner... I can eat that cake right now! Maybe at a 10 year vow renewal ceremony? Which of these cakes would you want to eat at your wedding?