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Entries in cake (10)

Friday
Jun132014

Foodstyling : chocolate + mint green + peach + I'm sorry Mum

I don't know about you but I LOVE the colour combo of mint green and peach. Maybe I've been looking at too many pins on Pinterest, but really, it goes much deeper than that.

When I was 12, my parents decided to sell the house I grew up in and build a new one. I was crushed - so much so that the night before we moved, I can remember crying in the top bunk of the bunk bed I shared with my sister - 'I don't want to go', I kept moaning through my tears.

But you see, it didn't matter what I wanted. That's a pretty hard lesson to learn but it's a good one.

Sometimes it just doesn't matter what you want.

The next day, the trucks came and our life was packed into trucks, to be driven across town, to a beautiful, brand new house that was EASILY twice the size of our old one. We had a huge backyard, a gorgeous brand new bright and airy kitchen and I GOT MY OWN ROOM. 

That last part was heavenly for me. My very own room to decorate any way I liked. And I did. I plastered my walls with headshots of New Kids On The Block, Brutus the Barber Beefcake (weird, I know) and baby animals. I rocked out at night, with the door shut, dancing along to the Top 9 at 9 on 680 CHNS. My parents pretty much left me to it because they had their own stuff on the go. My dad was constantly doing stuff around the house and my mum had discovered interior decorating

That's where the mint green and peach come in.

My Mum fell in LOVE with this colour combo. For our new house she chose carpet that was peach-toned, had custom peach curtains made, and bought lamps, table covers, furniture and cushions in various shades of peach/mint green/aqua.

I thought it was disgusting.

'Ugh, Mum, THAT IS SO UGLY!'.

Looking back, I see that my Mum was actually a pretty stylish lady with really good taste. And who was I to judge with my Joey McIntyre wallpaper?!?

So when James (www.jivephotographic.com) and I talked about doing a stylized stills shoot, I came up with the concept of 'the winning cake at a county fair' in my Mum's (still) favourite colours. I used my beautiful green jadeite cake stand as a starting point. I scouted for pretty peach fabrics, made the little flag banner in the background out of mint green cardstock (hung on clear fishing line), and chose peach carnations to accompany the cake (I love carnations! They're so ruffly and pretty, plus, they're relatively inexpensive and they last forever as long as you change the water).

I doubled the classic Hershey's Chocolate Cake recipe, which is my absolute go to. It's easy to make, is super chocolatey and stays moist for days. I used three layers for the cake and gave the fourth layer to friends topped with some extra frosting. For the frosting, I made Nanny Burke's Buttercream and added 1/4C cocoa powder. I swirled the frosting on the top of the cake into a spiral by resting my frosting spreader lightly in the middle top and spinning my revolving cake stand in one direction until the frosting spreader reached the outside perimeter. Then I used my spreader to expose the layers around the sides of the cake. I love how when I actually cut the cake, the light and dark layers of the cake alongside the slice look like a negative. James shot the cake with one continuous light, a diffuser and some white reflectors and then captured it on his digital Hasselblad. I honestly think with his skill and that Hasselblad, James could make a pile of cow turd look good.

We do a lot of work for clients but sometimes, you just need to shoot for fun, for yourself, to be creative, and to say, 'Mum, I'm sorry I made fun of you. You were right all along'.

photography : James Ingram  ---  food / prop styling : Kelly Neil

Thursday
Feb132014

Mini Valentine's Cakes : Baileys-soaked Vanilla Cake with Nanny Burke's Buttercream

I made mini Baileys-soaked Vanilla Cakes for my Valentine

Vanilla Cake recipe was Fannie Farmer's Boston Favo(u)rite Cake made as a sheet cake and then cut into small circles with a biscuit cutter.

I laid all of my cake circles out on a piece of parchment and, using a pastry brush, soaked them with Baileys, assembled them into mini two and three-tiered caked and frosted them with Nanny Burke's Buttercream. I tried to emulate Jody's amazing piping skills but I have finally accepted that I will never be great at cake decorating.

They're super cute though, and, my Valentine ate them with a smile, so that's all that matters!

xo.

Friday
Feb072014

Polenta 'Cake' with Black Olive Pesto Filling and 'Nduja Ricotta 'Frosting'

When Joana from Yummy Food Blog emailed me and asked me if I'd like to enter her Mediterranean-inspired recipe contest I was excited, however, as you may know, I don't usually do things the 'traditional' way. 

From Joana - 'I’m asking a small set of bloggers including yourself to write a blog post or recipe all about your favourite dish that’s inspired by Mediterranean style cooking. For example, I’m originally from Portugal and love seafood and veggie dishes that are packed full of fresh herbs and spices such as Chorizo & Pancetta Bake and Bacalhau Com Natas. The most creative and imaginative post will receive a Kindle Fire HD, there is also a second prize of a £25/$40 Amazon Gift Voucher.'

The recipe contest is sponsored by Spanish travel agency, Canarias -

'Canarias.com - experts for all things travel in and around Spain and the Canary Islands. What once was a car rental company with a small fleet of 40 vehicles has become a major tourism company dedicated to the areas of Spanish tourism, car rental, leisure, health and food. We do everything in our power to offer our visitors the best experience by offering the widest range of products and services - everything the client needs to make their vacation unforgettable.'

I've not had the pleasure of visiting Spain, but Sean has, and despite three separate visits to Italy, Spain is still his #1. Now that we know about Canarias.com, perhaps a trip to the Canary Islands is in order?

I came up with a fun Mediterranean-inspired appetizer that's assembled in an round cake tin. It would be neat to present the 'cake' on a beautiful stand at a dinner party!

Polenta 'Cake' with Black Olive Pesto Filling and 'Nduja Ricotta 'Frosting'

6-8-inch round cake tin - greased lightly with olive oil or butter

1/2 C pinenuts

1 C Kalamata olives, pits removed (I buy Kalamatas that are already pitted and sliced)

1 clove garlic, rough chopped

1/4 C Manchego cheese, grated

1 500g tub Ricotta

1 C 'Nduja**

2 C water

1 1/3 C milk

1 C cornmeal

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 C Grana Padano

- Toast pinenuts in a dry pan until golden - combine toasted pinenuts in a food processor with Kalamata olives, garlic clove and Manchego cheese - pulse until 50/50 chunky/smooth - mix with 250g of Ricotta and set aside

- In a small bowl, with a spoon, mix 'Nduja and remaining 250g Ricotta until smooth

- In a large microwave safe bowl, whisk water, milk, cornmeal and salt - microwave in 1-minute intervals, whisking between each minute until thick - about 6 minutes - add butter and Grana Padano - stir to combine - voila! Microwaved polenta!

- spread a thin layer of polenta in greased cake tin - top with olive pesto/Ricotta mix - top with another layer of polenta - top with 'Nduja/Ricotta Mix - top with another layer of polenta - leave yourself enough 'Nduja/Ricotta mix to 'frost' the outside of the cake

- place cake tin in fridge to cool/set one hour - flip cake onto plate and 'frost' with remaining 'Nduja/Ricotta - can be served warm or cold

***'Nduja is a SPICY spreadable salami made in Calabria, Italy. I ordered mine from Bottega Nicastro in Ottawa!