Perfect Pie Dough

July 12, 2012

Keep flour for pie crust stored in the freezer.  Measure out butter and the water and chill very well in the freezer before you begin to process the dough.

10 ounces all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons sugar

8 ounces unsalted butter diced and very cold

1/2 cup ice water

It is best to use a food processor for this dough as the blade action will make short work of the effort.  Place very cold flour, salt, sugar and butter in the bowl of the processor.  Pulse for about 30 seconds until the fat is the size of peas.  Add some of the cold water and pulse.  You might not need all the water and this is where your baking skills will be needed to determine if sufficient water has been incorporated..

you can also simply cut the butter into the flour on a clean surface much like you would if you are making quick puff pastry.. Leaving small chunks of butter helps make a flakier pie crust.. Add the water in the middle of a well if you choose this method.

Either method, chill the dough in refrigeration at least 1 hour before rolling it out..

The Recipe Multiplied Ten Times by Weight

6.25  pounds all purpose flour

2.5 teaspoons salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 pounds very chilled butter

5 cups chilled ice water

Advertisements

artisancakeguild.com

June 30, 2012

http://artisancakeguild.com/

This is my new website..I am in the process of building it so be patient and enjoy the recipes here on my blog..

Thank you..

Vanilla Butter Cake

June 27, 2012

Pretty little wedding cake in pale pink with cornelli lace and sugar flowers. This is one of my earliest wedding cakes for my student, Carmen who has recently had a baby! Congratulations dear Carmen!!

Vanilla butter cake is more delicate if you substitute a portion of the unsalted butter with vegetable oil.   The crumb will be tighter and the cake will be softer.  Tweaking recipes for artisan cakes comes with practice, time and understanding the fundamentals of baking.  Buttercream decorating also takes time to learn and master.

Prepare 2 8″ cake pans and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4 ounces unsalted butter softened to room temperature

2 ounces vegetable oil

12 ounces granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 whole eggs

2 2/3 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups whole milk

Cream the butter, oil and sugar together until light and fluffy…approximately 10  minutes.  Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and alternate the incorporation of the dry ingredients with the milk in thirds.

Divide equally among the two cake pans and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until golden.  The cake should spring back when you touch it.

Cool in the pans before removing the cakes and chill well before filling.

Because butter cakes are a bit more dense than a Vanilla Chiffon cake, fillings that are on the sturdy side are good but mousses are good as well.  Just cut your layers of cake thinly..so two layers of cake would become four layers of cake with three layers of filling.

Red Velvet Cake

June 15, 2012

This cake was made by a student in a workshop several years ago. It is still a lovely cake.

The following recipe will make a cake that is the size of the top three tiers of the cake in the photo.  It is advisable always to make separate batches of cake when you get into the larger sizes of Red Velvet.

When you are making a large amount of Red Velvet cake, it is wise to sift the baking soda in with the dry ingredients and then right before pouring the batter into the cake pans, fold and stir in the white vinegar.  Vinegar and baking soda mixed together is a chemical reaction that is suppose to occur during the baking process.  If you have too much batter, you might not be able to pour the batter in the cake pans fast enough.  Your cakes may fall or never rise.

Prepare cake pans by lightly brushing and wiping unsalted butter around the walls of the cake pan and lining the cake pans with parchment paper.  Dust the cake pans with a little cocoa powder which gives a lovely dark finish to the sides of the cake.

3 – 6” square pans which will be filled with 8 ounces of batter each.

3 – 8” square pans which will be filled with 14 ounces of batter each.

3 – 10” square pans which will be filled with 1 pound  6 ounces of batter each.

Sift together:

3 pounds  plus 2 ounces cake flour

½ cup Hershey Special Dark

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons baking soda

In the bowl of the 20 quart mixer blend with the wire whip:

6 cups sugar

6 cups oil

8 eggs added a few at a time

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Measure out 4 cups of buttermilk and add 2 Tablespoons red food color to the buttermilk set aside

In a small container have ready 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of white vinegar

Process:

Alternate the dry ingredients into the oil/egg mixture with the buttermilk and blend on low until the batter appears to be smooth and scrape down the batter and blend until smooth.

Have all your pans ready for weighing at the scale.  Remove bowl from mixer and at the very last minute add the vinegar.  This process is done this way because of the amount of batter you have to weigh for the pans.  If you were to add the vinegar and baking soda in the traditional manner by mixing the two together you would have the chemical reaction take place too quickly and your cakes might collapse or crater.  You still get the nice texture from the vinegar and a slight tang but you will not run the risk of failure.

Bake time is approximately 25 – 30 minutes depending.  Always test for doneness.

Cream Cheese Filling

2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature

6 ounces unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 pounds confectioners’ sugar

Put the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of the 20 quart and blend until smooth.  Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice.  Add the confectioners’ sugar a cup at a time and taste for sweetness as you do not have to add all this sugar if you might prefer this filling to be less sweet.

Prepare three square cake pans by lining them with plastic wrap.  You can cut square cake boards out of double thick cake pads used for sheet cakes using the square cake pans as the template.  Trim each layer of cake and place one layer in each cake pan.  Brush with plain simple syrup.

Pipe a dam of Italian meringue buttercream around the edge of each layer of cake and fill with cream cheese filling.  Continue and build each tier of cake.  Wrap and chill the cakes in refrigeration for at least an hour.  Ice as you would any tier of cake.  There are tricks to icing square cakes.

One such trick is to place an inverted square cake pan onto a cake turn table.  This will allow you to extend your cake turn table enough to give you an edge to work on.

My student is icing a square cake on an inverted cake pan on the turn table. She is using a speed tip as well.

To properly use a speed tip..that really wide tip you may see cake decorators use at the supermarket, hold the tip close to the cake to get a thin line of icing with each line.  Use a spatula to move your icing around your cake tiers and then a bench scraper for the finish work.  Pull the icing into the center of a square cake from each corner to get sharp corners.  With a little practice you can learn to ice artisan wedding cakes in no time at all.

Opera Cake

June 14, 2012

Traditionally, Opera Cake is a square cake half the size of the cake you would make here.  You can make opera cake into bite sized petit fours by just cutting them in tiny rectangles and glazing them with chocolate and a dab of 24 carat gold.  I have made wedding cakes of Opera Cake and they are exceedingly rich.  The coffee syrup should soak the layers of rich almond cake well and a thin layer of chocolate glaze or thin ganache is good under each layer of coffee flavored buttercream.

Opera Cake

10 ounces unsalted butter at room temperature

10 ounces granulated sugar divided into equal 5 ounce portions

10 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

10 egg whites

6 ounces cake flour

4 ounces almond meal or ground almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Prepare two half sheet pans with spray and parchment for lining.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer cream the butter and 5 ounces of granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the yolks a few at a time and scrape down the bowl.  Add the vanilla extract.

Blend the flour and almond meal and set aside.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip the egg whites to a frothy point and add the remaining 5 ounces of granulated sugar in a thin stream and whip to soft peaks.

Carefully fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then sprinkle and gently fold in the flour and almonds.

Divide batter between the two pans equally and spread evenly and thinly.  Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes.

Cool and remove bake skin.  Use an 8” square template to cut the cake for building in the pan.

This cake was all Opera Cake. Because Opera Cake is filled with buttercream over chocolate ganache or glaze, it will firm up quite a bit in refrigeration which means it will hold up during a long reception quite well.

Process for making the Opera Cake

Bake the almond sponge cake in two sheet pans that are lined with parchment paper and sprayed with pan release or buttered.

Reduce 1 cup of strong coffee to two Tablespoons for flavoring the buttercream.

Boil 1 cup of strong coffee with 1 cup of sugar for 5 minutes and add 2 Tablespoons of coffee liquor for the soaking syrup.

Make the buttercream

Make the ganache for the filling under the coffee flavored buttercream.

Make the chocolate glaze for the top of the cake.

Using an 8” square template, cut the squares of sponge and the strips of sponge for the center pieces of the cake.  Line a 8” square cake pan with plastic wrap.  Start by placing a full square of sponge on the bottom of the cake pan.  Soak with the coffee/liquor syrup and then spread a thin layer of the chocolate ganache on top of the soaked sponge.  Chill until the ganache is set and then add the coffee buttercream on top of the ganache layer..add another square of sponge, soak with coffee simple syrup, cover with chocolate ganache and set in refrigeration before adding more coffee flavored buttercream.  Add the spliced layers of sponge and repeat..until you end with a neat square on top.  Chill and then cover the top of the cake with chocolate glaze and set in the refrigerator.  Decorate with gold leaf if desired.

Choux Paste for Eclairs

June 14, 2012

Some of you have asked for the recipes for eclairs and for puff pastry.  Here is the choux paste recipe for eclairs.  Technically called Pate a choux in French, this paste takes a bit of practice to learn to make well.  The trick is to cook the paste in the saucepan long enough to remove as much moisture from the paste as possible.  It is always advisable to cook out flour whenever it is used in something that is made in a saucepan, be it a French Vanilla Cream, choux paste or even a turkey gravy!

Choux paste for éclairs

 4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups water

2 cups whole milk

1 pound unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

16 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F  .. Prepare sheet pans with parchment paper.

Bring water and milk to a boil with the butter, sugar and the salt in it.  Add the flour all at once and cook for 2-3 minutes to make a thick panade or paste..

Put the hot paste in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer and with a paddle mix until warm/cool.

Add eggs one at a time.  The number of eggs depends on the viscosity of the paste.     If you add too many eggs the paste will be too thin and collapse and if the paste is too thick it won’t puff nicely.  It takes practice and a good eye to understand the correct viscosity or thickness of the choux paste and that takes time.  The amount of choux made from this recipe is quite large and you need at least a 6 quart mixer for this quantity.  If you have  a smaller mixer, cut the recipe in half..

Pipe the choux into 4″ long eclairs or round balls for cream puffs.

Bake at 425 until the puffs begin to rise.  After about 15 minutes in your home oven, check to see if the puffs are beginning to brown.  Turn the oven temperature down to 375 and bake in your home oven another 15 to 20 minutes.  If you remove the puffs too soon, they will collapse.  It is better to err on the side of well baked rather than under baked with choux paste.

Fill with French Vanilla Cream or Crème Parisienne and dip in chocolate glaze (see recipes).

The recipe will make two tiers of cake like this one. Remember to build your cake in a lined cake pan and chill well.

8 eggs separated

1 cup water

2/3 cups vegetable oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

12 ounces cake flour

6 ounces hazelnut meal (special order through PCC)

4 teaspoons baking powder (1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon salt

5 ounces granulated sugar for the flour/hazelnut mixture

9 ounces granulated sugar for the meringue

Using two mixers with whip attachments, place the yolks in one bowl and whites in the other mixer bowl.  Add the water, oil and vanilla to the yolks and combine all on low speed.

Sift the flour into a bowl and add the hazelnut meal with the baking powder and salt plus 5 ounces of the granulated sugar.  Whisk together so that the hazelnut meal is well incorporated into the flour.

Begin to whip the egg whites on medium high.  Add the 9 ounces of granulated sugar to the whites when they are at the soft peak stage.  Whip the whites until they are soft but completely hold their shape.

Put all of the flour/hazelnut mixture into the egg yolks and whip until well combined.  Scrape down the bowl and whip on high for about a minute.

Fold the whites into the yolk/hazelnut mixture until they are very well combined.  Remember that you have baking powder in this cake so the possibility of the cake falling is remote.

Divide into your cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes.  This is enough batter for 3 8” cake pans and 3 5”cake pans.

5 ounces of batter can go into the 5” cake pans and  12 ounces of batter an go into the 8” cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes..

Chocolate Mousse which can be flavored with

Praline Paste

8 ounces good quality dark chocolate melted and cooled

3 ounces egg yolks

3 ounces whole eggs

4 ounces granulated sugar for hot syrup

¼ cup cold water

14 ounces heavy cream whipped

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip the yolks and whole eggs until they are light and fluffy.

Moisten the granulated sugar with ¼ cup of water and boil it to a temperature of 240 degrees F.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and refrigerate until needed.

When the syrup is 240 degrees F, pour over the whipped egg mixture in the heavy duty mixer and allow to continue to whip until cool.

The melted chocolate should be no cooler than 90 degrees F. when you pour it into the cooled egg mixture.  The chocolate needs to be immediately and with some vigor folded into the eggs.

Fold in the whipped cream and thoroughly blend.  Add the vanilla and you have the most delectable chocolate mousse ever..!

Flavor with praline paste for a hazelnut mousse by putting a couple of scoops of the praline paste in with the melted chocolate before you add the chocolate to the whipped eggs.

You can ice the cakes with Italian meringue buttercream flavored with chocolate or just vanilla.  To flavor buttercream with chocolate, you need to melt a weight of chocolate that is 25% of the total weight of the buttercream you are going to flavor.

If you have 28 ounces of Italian meringue buttercream, which is a single recipe, you need to melt 7 ounces of good chocolate.

Frangelico Simple Syrup

Flavor 1 cup of simple syrup with 1/2 cup Frangelico liquor

Your simple syrup should be made by boiling 1 cup sugar in 2 cups water for 10 minutes and make sure it is cool before adding the Frangelico liquor.

Flavored syrups are good in refrigeration for a week or so but it is always best to use all your products as soon as possible.

Two tiers 8″ and 5″

Line the cake pans with plastic wrap and place a prepared layer of cake in each pan.  Brush layer of cake with Frangelico syrup and pipe a dam of Italian meringue butter cream around the rim of each cake layer.   Fill with hazelnut mousse, top with another layer of cake, brush with syrup, pipe the dam and fill with the mousse..top with the final layer of cake upside down and brush with syrup.

Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Remove from the pans and invert on cake boards right side up so that the syrup continues to move downwards.  Ice with Italian meringue buttercream and if you are going to cover your cakes with white chocolate fondant, chill them very well before hand.  Remember to always ice your cake boards so that the fondant has something to adhere to at the very bottom of the cake.  Stack as you would with support dowels in the 8″ tier.  You can glue the cakes with royal icing on the top of the 8″ cake or just assemble at your venue or at home so that there is no dowel mark showing on top.  Some people will create a hole in the bottom of the top tier of cake through the cake board and place a dowel half way up into the top tier.  It is up to you to discover what works best for you.

People are apprehensive about doweling cakes and putting stabilizing dowels in cakes.  You just have to do it enough times successfully so that you gain confidence.

Best of luck!