Thursday, April 22

Thanks!

Thank you so much for all of your kind words! It's been so nice reading your feedback, and I am so flattered that you think I did well! You guys are fantastic!

And welcome to my new readers! I hope you find the blog entertaining, mouth watering and inspiring. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Just as a quick note - I wanted to let you know that the video of my segment is up on MarthaStewart.com. They're quick! Click here to check it out, if you'd like!

Have a great weekend!

Thanks again!

Tuesday, April 20

My Fantastic Experience on "The Martha Stewart Show" - {Strawberry Buttercream Bread}

Wandering through the city these past two days has been so fun! Mom and I didn't have any concrete plans (I'm weird about traveling. I just kind of go... Got that from Dad!), so we got a map and started circling things as we went. And I say "went," I mean WENT! Mom and I went allllllll over Manhattan. Not in a very organized manner, either. But it was so fun!

Some highlights:
  • Times Square - need I say more?
  • New York Cake and Bakery Distributors - Umm... Can I get an apartment here? Pretty please? Like, in the store?
  • The Metro - don't laugh! I think it's fun being able to navigate the city this way, even if I do love walking. It's just so convenient!
  • Billy's Bakery - they got me started on baking, after all! I had a banana cupcake and my mom had a lemon bar. Yum!
  • Dylan's Candy Bar - this place was cute! P's older sister, M, told me I might like it. She was right!
  • China town - Very cool!
  • Little Italy - It was SO pretty here at night!
  • Momofuku Milk Bar - This place is just as amazing as everyone says it is! Mom and I shared a slice of crack pie, a cup of cream cheese icing soft serve and a corn flake cookie. YUM! I might make her go back tomorrow - I want to try the carrot cake soft serve. How do they do it?!
  • Chelsea Market - can I live here, too? This place is AMAZING!
I love this city so much, but for some reason, it was nearly impossible to get my bearings! I can't figure out the difference between north, south, east and west for the life of me - which is unusual! I'm ok with the metro (I wish we had that back home!), but the streets here? Man, oh, man... Don't count on me for directions! I made my poor mom cross and recross streets so many times... I hope she'll forgive me! But lucky for us, there were a TON of people willing to help, and they did so without even being asked! Seriously - of all the big cities that I've been to, the people in New York are, by far, the most friendly and helpful!

But I'm sure what you're probably more interested in hearing about was our experience at the studio. IT WAS AMAZING! Being on The Martha Stewart show today was an absolutely incredible experience!

And P.S. - if anyone at the studio is reading this, I apologize if I'm remembering situations differently than they occurred. You were completely right; today was a total blur!


Mom and I woke up bright and early to get to the studio 7:30, and right away I could tell that it was going to be a great day! The people working in the lobby made me feel so welcome while we waited for J to take us upstairs - they made a wonderful first impression for the rest of the crew, and that first impression was spot-on! J, one of the women I have been corresponding with, was SO sweet - after walking us to the dressing room, she asked my mom and I if we wanted her to bring us anything or if I needed my outfit steamed.

She left briefly, and returned with a mug of coffee and some waters, along with an outline for the segment and a release for me to sign. While we were going through it, I was introduced to G, C (she was the first to contact me. This was the secret exciting news WAY back then), and JO, all of whom are some of the nicest people I have ever met! I'm not surprised, but I just couldn't believe how kind, helpful and patient everyone was. I really can't say that enough. J even brought Mom and I yogurt with blueberries and granola, and even though I know that's probably standard, it was very sweet of her!

After reading through the segment outline, G walked me onto the set, I was miked, and we started a quick run-through of the process. She explained everything very clearly, answered all my questions and made me feel very comfortable - she's so nice! I was particularly pleased to see that every one of the ingredient bowls were labeled with the included quantities. That was very, very, very comforting!

After running through it once, she reminded me to speak loudly, keep an eye on the cue cards and to just try to keep things natural. Oh! And I have to give a shout out to the camera and stage crew (if they're even reading), because they were amazing! I used to be part of set crew in high school, and I know it's not nearly the same caliber, but I was completely in awe of what they were doing just because I could kinda/sorta relate to it. I could not believe how calm they were... I know I bite my tongue on the blog, but if you get me backstage during a big scene change, man - you better prepare for some colorful language! I wasn't able to speak personally with much of the crew, but someone told me they liked my photos while we rehearsed, which I took as a huge compliment - he did have a huge camera on his shoulder, after all! Oh, and I think Jo, had been assigned the job of "babysitter" during the commercial breaks, but I didn't mind. He was fun to talk to - I hope he didn't mind my adrenaline-fueled giggling and babbling too much!


Anyway, G quickly lead me upstairs where I was introduced to D, who I learned would be doing my makeup. While she was working, I met Ch, who repeated G's tips and asked again if I was feeling comfortable. The two of them were incredibly sweet, and SO funny!

After makeup, I switched chairs and was introduced to N, who styled my hair. Although it was different from how I typically style it, I really liked what she did! We didn't talk a lot, but she was very polite and did an amazing job!

Hair and makeup done, I went back to my dressing room to wait for the show to begin with my mom. We waited for a little but, but she was eventually summoned to her seat in the audience, and I was alone! But not for long; C, J and G came in to watch, but we didn't pay much attention to the show at all, which was awesome, especially since we started talking about my favorite subject - food! They asked what Mom and I were going to do while we were in town, and when I told them that I didn't have any plans, they immediately offered to help make some. C and J left for a little while, and I couldn't believe it when they returned - the two of them had written a whole list of restaurants and bakeries for mom and I to visit, including addresses and cross streets! And C had something else - a copy of The Craft of Baking (by Karen DeMasco of Locando Verde, which I plan to visit tomorrow!) from her office for me to keep! Isn't that awesome? If you're reading, thank you so much for all of your kindness - you guys are awesome!

So - filming! About halfway through the show, Jo quickly led me through the hallways and onto the set, which was completely surreal - so many people wished me luck on the way there! After stepping onstage, I was quickly introduced to a smiling Ms. Stewart, offered a few last bits of advice, and then BAM! We were rolling! It was so much fun, but it went by incredibly fast, just like I had been told it would. I was really happy with how everything turned out, and after it was done, Mom and I both simply could not believe that it had happened. Working with Martha was SO COOL! I know I just said this, but I still can't believe that it was real!

I wish I had say more about the process, but everything happened so quickly that I don't know what else to mention. This whole experience was amazing, and I am so happy that I was asked to be on the show! Thank you so much to Ms. Stewart, C, Ch, D, G, J, Jo, N and the entire crew for everything you did for me, all of your kindness, all of your patience and every single one of your smiles! What you guys do is amazing, and I will never look at an episode of The Martha Stewart Show the same way EVER AGAIN!

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! And THANK YOU, dear readers, for watching! And be sure to click here to check out the segment if you missed it!

But seriously guys, we have just half of tomorrow left in the city. Mom and I are going to go to the Empire State Building, The Shake Shack and Locando Verde (the last two were suggestions from the girls at the studio!) - what else should we do?!?!


As a side note, I would like to say that although I came up with the idea for this cake on my own, I realized after I posted that I am not the first person to make it. I know I can't prove it, and I know some of you won't believe me, but it is not my intent to take credit from anyone. They knew this during the show, but the point simply didn't come up during filming. Trust me - there was a lot of stuff that was planned on being included that just didn't come up. This is the earliest I can find, it's beautiful, it's on a great blog, and you should really check it out!

Strawberry Buttercream Bread
This is the result of a TOTAL mistake on my part, but it turned out really well! I was going to use some buttercream to fill some macarons, but when I added partially dried and pureed strawberries, the buttercream broke! But, rather than throw it away, I decided to try salvaging it. Please keep in mind that this is a guide; I just kind of added things in until I felt the batter was the correct consistency. Feel free to increase/decrease the amounts of any of the following ingredients so you can create a nice, thick batter.

1 1/2 c (355 ml) buttercream (Italian, Swiss or American style)
About 3/8 c (89 ml) pureed fruit of your choice (Mine was partially dehydrated, but I am not sure that's terribly important)
About 1/2 c (118 ml) flour, add more if the batter is too loose
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C), and oil a loaf pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine the frosting and fruit puree, whipping until the frosting separates and looks curdled.

In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to the wet, whisk to combine, and pour into the loaf pan. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean or the cake springs back when light pressed. Cool ten minutes in the pan on a rack, then remove from pan and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve plain or with sweetened whipped cream.

Friday, April 16

Me? On the Martha Stewart Show? - {Chocolate, Mango and Coconut Cream Cake}

Over a red sky, the sun sets paints the cars ahead of me as muted silhouettes. The median's green trimmed grass has lost its brightness in comparison to its pavement cell walls, and the tall untamed trees beyond the shoulders have darkened under the pressure of brilliantly illuminated jet streams. Across the way, cars and trucks speed eastward, away from the sun, discernible only by pairs of shining headlights affixed to their hoods.

I love how I feel; my windows are down and my music is up. This is the life.


It takes some time, but I'm eventually able to move from the highway and onto the slower streets of the town my Grandparents live in. Only a lane wide in each direction, the main street divides the small town into two halves, allowing only a few crossroads to intersect it. Because of this, your choices are limited as you drive into the heart of the small town as the row of historic brick buildings on your right and the perfectly coiffed park on your left offer little more than a hardware and a place to relax.

I love it.

But in recent years, the town has changed. Each time my mom drives down the main street, you can see her making comparisons between what is now and what is remembered. There are stoplights now, and more grocery stores than ever before. There's even a Wendy's and Mcdonald's.

Things are different.

This isn't really a small town anymore.



But I still love it, and I will for as long as I can stand the traffic. I mean, really, even though there are two stoplights in town (WOAH!), they're spaced far enough apart that you've forgotten the first when you've reached the second. There aren't hundreds of cars on the road, blocking your way and cutting you off, and I've never once muttered profanity under my breath while making my way to my Grandparent's house. But I can't, unfortunately, say the same for driving in big cities. Don't get me wrong - I love big cities, but I'm a small town girl. I can't handle the cars. I almost cried while driving in Toronto last year, and even driving through Cincinatti scared me. Since the same can be said for mom, we've made a habit of nominating my step-dad as our chauffeur when we take road trips.

But he's not going to New York with Mom and I this weekend, which is why she and I will be taking a cab to the studios of The Martha Stewart Show on Tuesday the 20th. Why? Because I've been invited on the show to do a segment about the process of making this cake for the colors show. HOW AMAZING IS THAT? I haven't been able to concentrate in class for days!!! I never imagined that this blog would ever be more than my creative outlet... Who could have guessed that it would land me in New York? With Martha Stewart?!?!


Be sure to tune in if you want to see how the Super Epic Rainbow Cake is done!
Click here to check it out!!


Chocolate, Mango and Coconut Cream Cake from Tartelette
I wanted to make something very special to celebrate this occasion, and I knew to look no further than Helen's Archives! This cake is just as delicious as it sounds! Serves 10-12
Printable Recipe

Vanilla Genoise
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
3/4 c (150 g) of sugar
1/2 c (70 g) cake flour
1/4 c (30 g) cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 400F and set a rack in the middle. Lightly grease and line a 12x17 baking sheet. Set aside
Whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, salt and sugar together in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk gently until the mixture is just lukewarm, about 100F on a candy thermometer(or test with your finger - it should be warm to the touch).
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with the whisk attachment (or hand held beaters) and whip on medium-high speed until the egg mixture is cooled and tripled in volume. The mixture will be thick and will form a slowly dissolving ribbon falling back onto the bowl when the whisk is lifted.
Over a medium bowl or a piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour and cornstarch.
Add one-third of the flour mixture to the beaten egg mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, making sure to scrape all the way to the bottom of the bowl to prevent the flour mixture from making lumps. Repeat with another third of the flour mixture and finally with the remainder.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
Bake the genoise for about 10 to 12 minutes. Make sure the cake does not over bake and become too dry or it will not roll properly. Let cool on a rack. Remove the cake from the baking sheet and invert it on a larger piece of parchment paper. Peel of the parchment paper that was lining the baking sheet. Set the cake aside.

Chocolate Genoise
Same process but replace the amount of cornstarch with the same amount of cocoa powder and proceed with the recipe the same way.

Coconut Bavarian Cream
1 Tbls powdered gelatin
3 Tbls water
4 egg yolks
1/4 c (50 g) sugar
1 c (250 ml) coconut milk
1 c (250 ml) heavy cream, cold

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand to soften while you prepare the cream.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until very pale. In the meantime, in a medium large saucepan set over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a simmer. Slowly pour the milk over the yolks, whisking constantly to prevent them from curdling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium low heat and cook until the cream coats the back of a spoon (as if making creme anglaise). Add the softened gelatin and stir until melted completely into the cream. Let cool to room temperature.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to soft peaks on medium speed and fold it into the cooled cream base. Use within one hour.

For the mango mousse:
1 1/2 tsps powdered gelatin
1 Tbls water
4 oz (120 g) mango puree
2 Tbls (25 g) sugar
1/2 c (125 ml) heavy cream, cold

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it soften while you prepare the fruit.
In a medium saucepan, bring the mango puree and sugar to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is completely melted.
Transfer the fruit puree to a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Fold about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the fruit puree to lighten it up (do not worry about losing air at this point). Carefully fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Use within one hour.

Rum simple syrup:
1/2 c (125 ml)water
1/4 c (50 g) sugar
2 Tbls (30 g) rum

In a small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring all the ingredients to a simmer until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon glaze:
1 1/2 tsps powdered gelatin
1 Tbls water
1/4 c (62.5 ml) water
1/4 c (62.5 ml) lemon juice
2 Tbls (25 g) sugar

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it soften.
In small saucepan set over medium high heat, bring the water, lemon juice and sugar to a simmer, stirring off and on to make sure the sugar dissolves properly. Add the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature (if the mixture gels, warm up over low heat until barely melted again).

To assemble:
Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper of foil, leaving a border on the sides to make it easy to remove when set. You can also use a cake frame of the same dimensions.
Cut two 8x8 cake layers in each of the genoises. Place one layer of the chocolate genoise at the bottom of your pan and brush with some rum syrup. Pour half the coconut Bavarian on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Top with a layer of vanilla genoise, brush some rum syrup on top. Pour half the mango mousse and smooth with an offset spatula. Repeat the process with the second half of cakes and creams. Refrigerate until set. Pour the lemon glaze over the cake and let set in the fridge.
Cut through the cake with a knife dipped in hot water to prevent breaking the glaze instead of slicing through it.

Friday, April 2

Spent - {Carrot Cake]

An unfamiliar hum resonates between my ears, berating my senses as I stare questioningly over the gaming floor. The combined ringing and whirling becomes little more than a confusing cloud of noise and I find separating the components into unique entities not only impossible, but pointless. Streaming fluidly from the displays, the sounds pool thickly around my feet, edging up my calves and straining for my pockets. Dictated by flashing lights and spinning reels, a number of navigable aisles lay before me. Mom is captain for the night, so I check out and simply train my eyes on her heels as she leads through the fog.


Depositing a crisp twenty into the slot machine wasn't easy. The bill was quickly swallowed whole as if it had slipped into a vending machine, but I knew I'd receive no chips or candy in return. Still, worn buttons displaying the words "one credit," "two credits" and "max credits" lay winking below my hesitant fingers. Their show was overtly seductive, and successfully so; by the end of the night their cheap charm and alluring call would draw fifty dollars from my tightly-buttoned green clutch.

Just a few hours later, I examined the empty space in my wallet and thumbed through the remaining bills. As I considered the night's decisions, I found that I couldn't free my pockets of the guilt sewn deeply inside. With every bill I had relinquished that night, I had thought not of winning, but instead of the things I could have bought instead. And the thoughts weren't fleeting; visions of chocolates and pans and nuts and fruits and extracts danced in my mind, and on top of that was the general bad feeling I have whenever I spend money on something frivolous, because that money really should have gone toward tuition.


I had fun spending time with my mom and Grandma that evening, but I don't want to go back. I always think very seriously about spending money, so I guess that just means that the casino's not really my cup of tea! What do you think? Do you like to gamble? Ever win big and promise to give me half?

Anyway, I always make carrot cake for Easter because my Grandma (HI!) requested it once and... Well, I guess I just never quit making it. But it's tasty, you know, so no one complains! That said, for every nickel and dime that went into the slot machine, I was hoping and praying more and more that I would have all of the ingredients at home to make these! Luckily I did!


Happy Easter! I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

$50 Carrot Cake from Cooks.com
I halved this and got 16 cupcakes. They're delicious, but I had an issue with them sinking! Nearly half of them caved in. This always happens to me with oil-based cakes, the exception being these. Anyone know what's up with that? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Printable Recipe

2 c (250 g) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c (400 g) sugar
1 1/4 c (295 ml) vegetable oil
4 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp maple flavoring (I replaced this with about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup)
2 c (about two large carrots, I think) grated carrots
1 (8 1/2 oz or 250 ml) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c (55 g) chopped pecans
1/4 c (20 g) flaked coconut

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 3 cupcake pans with liners or grease and line one 9"x13" pan or three 9" pans.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well to combine and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla and maple flavoring (or syrup). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just slightly. You should still see streaks of flour. Add the remaining ingredients and fold gently to thoroughly incorporate all of the ingredients. Pour into pans and bake:

Cupcakes: 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then set on a rack to cool completely.
9 inch pans: 50-60 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched (but to me this seems a little long. Be sure to check it often). Cool on a rack for ten minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife and turn onto racks to cool.
9"x13" pan: 50-60 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched (but to me this seems a little long. Be sure to check it often). Cool on a rack until room temp.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8-oz or 226 g) package of cream cheese, room temp
1 stick (120 g) butter, room temp
2 c (312 g) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbls maple syrup

Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Sift in the powdered sugar in 1/2 c increments, beating slowly at first so the powdered sugar stays in the bowl and scraping the sides often. After all of the powdered sugar incorporated, add the vanilla and maple syrup, then beat for five minutes until lightened.

To decorate
Top cupcakes with a generous spoonful of cream cheese frosting and spread evenly. Toll edges in chopped pecans. I topped mine with some gumpaste carrots that I made yesterday evening.