Goodies For Gifts – A goodies central

Li’l Puffs is proud to announce that we’re now listed on Goodies For Gifts directory of delectable goodies!

Goodies For Gifts is a site dedicated to anyone who is looking for unique edible gifts to ship anywhere in the country. Browse their website to find and learn about amazing tasty treats that you can buy, share or send as gifts to your loved ones.

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Angry Birds!

It’s been a while since I made a theme cake. There’s a reason for that. I’ve decided a year ago not to do theme cakes anymore because it takes more time to make the cake than to devour the entire cake. So I now make theme cakes only for family.

Like most edible theme cakes, most of the structures or models used on the cake are made using fondant or gum paste. I try to steer away from both as much as I can because I don’t think they taste good, but sometimes, it’s inevitable.

I have found one brand of fondant though, that tastes decent. Some had said it tastes almost like a tootsie roll. The brand is Fondarific. The fondant seems to also be more pliant and workable, and doesn’t dry up as fast as those I’ve worked with, such as Wilton.

Anyway, I digress.

I was asked to do a theme cake for my nephew’s 4th birthday. He’s crazy about Angry Birds. I mean, really crazy. He has stuffed toys of the different angry birds and knows what each bird does!

My first thought was…. someone has to already have made those things as cake toppers. I wasn’t looking forward to making them from scratch, though I will if I have to. But lucky for me, they are available! So, I just have to figure out what structure I’m going to build on the cake and where to place the birds and the pigs. Yay! Job made simple 🙂

So here are all the in-progress pictures of the cake.

First, I made a “stone” platform where I’m going to place my structure on. I made a rice krispies treats using vanilla marshmallows and cocoa puffs. I did add a drop of grey to make it look more like a wall of rocks rather than chocolate.

This is finished structure that I was going to put on the cake. The pigs and the birds are plastic but the other pieces, the eggs, ice blocks, wood planks, and the concrete blocks, are made out of fondant.

The angry birds with the fondant catapult! 

The finished cake. The cake was a marbled cake with a custard filling and whipped cream frosting.

I had some leftover cocoa rice krispies treats so I decided to make an actual angry bird model to surprise my nephew.

Here are the in-progress pictures:

And he loved it! I don’t know if he’s going to eat it though. 🙂

Cake for a Non-Cake Fan

I was asked yesterday to bake a birthday cake, but was told that the birthday boy doesn’t like cake. Well, what kind of birthday cake is a non-cake, I thought? Then I remembered my bench partner in culinary school talking about a cake, but the way she described it, it was more like a pastry than a cake. We’ve never made it in class before so this is a first time for me. I started pouring through my library of recipe books for the cake recipe. It’s called a Saint Honoré cake.

To my surprise, I couldn’t find any recipe for it in any of my cookbook so I used my friend, Google Search, to find out what the dessert is all about and how to make it. In my search, I learned that the Saint Honoré cake is named after a French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.

This dessert is composed of several components, all of which I’ve learned in school so I just had to put them all together. Yeah, I knew it was easier said than done. The bottom layer is made with puff pastry, though in my search, I came across recipes that use pâte brisĂ©e or pie dough. I personally love puff pastry so I decided to use puff dough for my creation.

I like making my own puff dough, but if you’re pressed for time and need a good puff dough, skip the Pepperidge puff dough and get the puff pastry made by DuFour Pastry Kitchen. You can find it at Whole Foods Markets.

Next, I pipe a border of pâte Ă  choux paste around the edges of the puff dough. From all the pictures I’ve seen, a Saint Honoré cake seems to be mostly round. This is going to be a rectangular cake since I don’t like wasting puff pastry :). So, since this is a rectangular cake, I decided to pipe more choux paste inside the rectangle so every cut of the cake will come with the choux pastry.

Now bake the prepared base until golden brown, like below. Sorry. It’s a bit ugly, but I figured it’s ok since I’m going to cover it up, uh I mean, decorate it later with cream puffs and caramel.

Use the remaining pâte à choux paste to make mini puffs, to be filled and used later. I like filling mine with bavarian cream.

Next, make the caramel and be careful not to touch the hot caramel. Use the caramel to attach the filled cream puffs to the edges of the baked puff / choux dough.

This next part is my improvisation. The original cake is probably filled with some other custard or cream filling. I filled mine with bavarian cream, piped whipping cream on top using a big rose piping tip, and then sprinkled some shaved chocolate. That’s it!

It’s not pretty but I think it’s going to be good eats! Can’t wait to taste it tomorrow.

 

Teatime at Satori

We’ve had over a week of scorching weather here in Northern California following a strange downpour last week, at the end of June no less! What could be better than to chill in a cool tea shop, sipping a cold glass of fresh brewed iced tea and nibbling on scrumptious little bites of sweet and savory treats.

Satori Tea Company is a little tea bar in the heart of Downtown San Jose, owned by Tori. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tori before on our first S’mores Tea Party hosted at her tea bar and am excited to collaborate with her again on our second one to be held in August.

I’ve tasted a few of her wonderful selection of teas and a couple of her tasty morsels in past dishcrawls that I’ve participated. Since it’s still scorching hot outside, my husband and I decided to take the afternoon off for a tea experience at Satori. We were rewarded with the decision. 🙂

We first started with a cold pitcher of tea, well.. two actually. I’m partial to Ceylon tea and my husband liked the citrusy iced tea that I sampled earlier so we got both. I got my pitcher of Aislaby Ceylon and he got his pitcher of Mo Tea To (Citron Vert, lime and mint).

Mo Tea To - Citron Vert, Lime, Mint

Next, we got a selection of savory sandwiches (cucumber, tuna and egg salad), savory puffs with goat cheese filling, english pasties filled with bacon and gruyere, and scones served with clotted cream, strawberry preserves, and lemon curd. So good!

Savory Puff with Goat Cheese Filling Egg Salad Sandwich English Scone Served With Clotted Cream, Strawberry Preserves And Lemon Curd

Next comes desserts! We had warm crumpets served with melting rum butter, a slice of cake filled and frosted with almond buttercream and strawberries, red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting, a linzer cookie, and french macarons! We had rose, orange blossom, and lemon macarons. What a treat!

Crumpets with Rum Butter and Cake with Almond Buttercream and Strawberries Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Linzer Cookie Rose, Orange Blossoms, and Lemon French Macarons

If you haven’t been to Satori Tea Bar, give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Don’t forget to check back for our upcoming S’mores Tea Party too! We can’t wait!

We’re planning on table service this time, with everything you need to make s’mores at your table, so no more waiting in line to make your s’mores. As before, Li’l Puffs will provide a few marshmallows flavors for the party, as well as premium chocolate and toppings to aid in your creations. We look forward to seeing you there!