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Matcha Sablés, Chiffon Cake and Other Japanese Treats

matcha sables as seen on evan's kitchen ramblings

matcha sables as seen on evan's kitchen ramblings

I still have a craving for the fabulous matcha bakery treats I ate in Japan. One thing I like about Japanese desserts is that they are not as sweet as here. They mix traditional French patisserie with Japanese techniques and ingredients to create cakes and pastries that taste fresh and new.

Therefore, it will come to no surprise that I felt in love with the photography of Evangeline who runs the blog Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings and a bakery shop in Singapore called Patisserie dessert couture. She specializes in macarons, petits fours secs, tartlets and cookies.

I love sablés. The most memorable I ate lately were the sakura sablés and the matcha sablés we bought at a fancy bakery shop in Kyoto. Evangeline shared a Matcha sablés recipe from the Okashi treats cookbook written by Keiko Ishida. But do not search for the cookbook, it is out of print.

mini matcha chiffon cake by evan's kitchen ramblings

Another treat that brought back nice memories is the Matcha chiffon cake. Chiffon cakes are popular in Japan. I still have to publish a cool video I filmed about the making of these tasty cakes.

matcha treats :: matcha financiers and madeleines

Finally,  a Japanese version of  two French classic cakes. First, her homemade matcha financiers decorated with black and white sesame seeds. For a twist, why not bake your own matcha madeleines.

+ photography: Evangeline Teo of Evan’s Kitchen Ramblings

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Twist Lollipops and Ribbon Candies by Hammond’s Candies

twist lollipops and ribbon candies by hammond's candies

twist lollipops and ribbon candies by hammond's candies

I can’t believe that I did not introduce Hammond’s Candies earlier. This is the company that produces the adorable ribbon candies. They come in regular and mini sizes. In total, you get a choice of 12 flavors/color combinations that allow to design a superb candy table.

They also make the twist lollipops that we have seen on the hands of many brides and grooms over the last few years. And my Canadian readers will be happy to know that they will ship to Canada.

SOURCING:
+ Ribbon Candies by Hammond’s Candies $17.99 for mini ribbons (two 5 oz gift bags), $21 USD for set of 4 regular ribbons
+ Handmade Pink Lemonade Twist Lollipops, 1 oz. $18.95 for 8 or $68 for case of  34 – Four 4oz. size for $17.00
+ All Natural 1 oz. Orange Lolli Set $18.95 for 8 or $68 for case of  34
+ Strawberry Shortcake 2oz. Lolli Set $15.95 for 4

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Sämyii’s Personalized Cake Toppers | Etsy Finds

samyii custom made cake toppers for brides and grooms

samyii custom made cake toppers for brides and grooms

When I saw the personalized wedding dolls on Weddingbells.ca, I immediately thought of why not used that concept for a birthday. Sämyii, who sells them on Etsy, agrees with me.

birthday cake figurines for girls by samyii on etsy

As I dug her creations on Flickr, I noticed that she also made custom figurines that would be a nice touch on a graduation or a birthday. You can put it at the top of a birthday cake or a cupcake tower. She integrated items to create a scene. I love it. I do not know what is the price of those cute personalized figurines for girls and boys.

samyii's personalized figurines for a boy birthday cake topper

SOURCING:
+  Personalized Dolls as Cake Toppers by Samyii $40 USD at Etsy

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Milk Glass and Porcelain Cake Stands

decor bon bon by rosanna cake and friandises stands

Any beautiful sweet tooth table starts with cake stands. You need a few stands to make a statement. You aim to get 2 or 3 sizes that you can stack. The ones on the Miette’s candy table (previous post) are superb. I do not think that they sell them. A milk glass or glossyfinish porcelain adds sparkles in a classy way. Here are some suggestions, if you are on the market for cake stands.

What I like about the Decor Bon Bon series at Rosanna is the diversity of the container. It mixes bowls on pedestal with rimmed plates and the standard cake stands. That mix already created interest on your table. It also teach you that you assemble your own set using flea market finds and store bought stands. The key for a cohesive look is to restrict your options to the same color or shape. The Decor Bon Bon series was inspired by Victorian era tableware.

It’s OK to be Square

cake stands by martha stewart collection at macy\'s

The square plates can hold more food. It is something to consider since you lose space when you stack them. Martha Stewart carries a line of affordable square cake stands in three dimensions.

SOURCING:
+ Decor Bon Bon Cake Stand by Rosanna $35 USD
+ Martha Stewart Collection Whiteware Cake Stands on sale $14.99 to $29.99 at Macy’s

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

New Cakes by the Caketress

silver cuban wedding cake by the caketress

Almost one year ago, I talked about Lori Hutchinson, the super talented Canadian cake maker behind The Caketress. I went back to her site today to see what she has been to. She continues to be successful and carries on her signature style.

Wedding Cakes

silver cuban wedding cake by the caketress

She worked on two wedding cakes with an hispanic background. They each have their own character. It is hard to resist the pure elegance of her Silver Cuban wedding cake.

mexican theme wedding cake with hand painted sugar tiles by the caketress

For a Mexican-theme wedding, her approach was less formal. She put dozens of hand painted sugar tiles, all featuring a different pattern on a three-tier wedding cake. The pink flowers added the finishing touch.

Mini-Cakes

birch tree mini-cakes by the caketress

I am a fan of miniature cakes; especially the individual portion cakes. They are easier to serve and make such a lasting impression at an event. For an anniversary, you could reserve the more elaborate version to the guest(s) of honor. Then, ask your cake designer to create an harmonizing design for the mini-cakes of your guests. Another option to manage the cost is to serve a small cake per couple or group of four. Look at the birch mini cakes she created for a “Spirit of Nature” tablescape.

MORE:
+ The Caketress

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Modern Citrus Chevron Theme for a Dessert Table

amy atlas's modern citrus chevron dessert table in brides magazine

The palette could pass for a follow-up to my post about cheerful outdoor furniture. It did not strike me until I put the finishing touch on this post that I was attracted by the same color mix. Amy Atlas designed three tables for Brides magazine but the citrus theme felt more special. Ideas to steal for a kids birthday party from her Modern Citrus Chevron table are the ribbon garland and the bright citrus color palette of tangerine, lemon and lime.

You can get a peak at the behind the scenes of the photo shoot on Amy’s blog. You can also admire her Retro Aqua and Magenta dessert table and her Chocolate Spice Exotic Table.

+ photography by Andrew McCaul

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Bettina’s Schmandkuchen recipe

Schmandkuchen recipe :: german cake with a schmand filling topped with glazed fruits

Many of you asked for the recipe of the delicious Schmandkuchen that my German-born friend Bettina Forget baked at Easter. I am delighted that she is sharing her recipe with us.

This a great cake to bake in advance; furthermore, it will feed many hungry guests. Before you start, notice that you serve the cake directly from the baking pan. Make sure that you get a large, deep baking pan.

List of ingredients

For the cake batter:

  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 250 g plain white flour

For the Schmand filling :

For Canadian and US bakers, Bettina substituted the original ingredients with what’s available at your local supermarket. You will need:

  • 750 ml milk
  • 7 tablespoons vanilla custard*
  • 100 g sugar (or to taste)
  • 300 g crème fraîche*
  • 300 g Quark (fresh cheese)*
  • 2 egg yolks

If you want to bake the “German” version, you use 2 packets of Dr. Oetker vanilla pudding instead of the custard, and a mix of 400 g Schmand and 200 g sour cream instead of the crème fraîche/Quark combination.

For the topping:

  • 2 large packets of strawberries
  • 2 packets of raspberries
  • 2 packets of blackberries
  • 500 ml berry fruit juice
  • 2 packets of fruit glaze

Step by step instructions

1. Baking the cake batter

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C and start preparing the base:
Mix the soft butter with the sugar until you get a creamy consistency, then add the eggs one by one and stir vigorously until the mixture looks silky. Fold the baking powder into the flour and sift the flour into the mixture. Grease a large, deep baking pan and spread the batter evenly until the entire bottom is covered (about the thickness of a thumb). Pre-bake the base for 15 minutes.

2. Preparing the Schmand

Prepare the vanilla custard, doubling the amount of custard powder so you’ll get a pudding consistency rather than a sauce (if you’re using the Dr. Oetker pudding powder, just follow the instructions on the back of the packet). Let the pudding cool a bit. Mix the crème fraîche and the Quark (or Schmand/sour cream) and add the prepared vanilla pudding and the two egg yolks. Add sugar to taste.

3. Take the base out of the oven and let cool in the baking pan.

Leave the base in the baking pan and spread the Schmand evenly on the base.

4. Preparing the topping

Wash the fruit, you may have to cut the strawberries in half lengthwise if they are big. Cover the Schmand with the berries. Put the baking tray back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

5. Finishing

Once the cake has completely cooled, prepare the fruit glaze. Standard red fruit glaze recipes call for a mix of sugar and water, but I prefer to substitute with red berry fruit juice instead for flavour, and it’s also less sweet. Pour the fruit glaze evenly across the cake.

Once the fruit glaze is firm the cake is ready to eat. But I suggest that you put it in the fridge overnight, it tastes better chilled. Enjoy!

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Dessert Table at Twestival Montreal 2010

dessert table at twestival montreal 2010

It was not only great live entertaining at Twestival. My favorite sweet treat suppliers participate at the events. I only ate one marshmallow lollipop of Kréavie.

macarons from point g twestival montreal 2010

The macarons from Point G came with their cutest eyes. Clever Cupcakes‘ Twitter birds were superb. Next time, I will take a light dinner to leave me room for dessert.

clever cupcakes at twestival montreal 2010

SOURCING:
+ Photos by Eva Blue  – dessert table, macaronscupcakes
+ Clever Cupcakes
+ Point G

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Simple Decoration Ideas for your Easter Cupcakes

simple ideas for easter cupcake decorations

simple ideas for easter cupcake decorations

If you wish to make cupcakes this Easter, carrot cupcakes are an obvious yet delicious choices. A carrot cake is easy to make. You could topped your cream cheese frosting with grated sweet carrots. But if you look for something more stylish, I suggest sugar decorations shaped as a carrot.

Online, I found the versatile Carrot Shaped Hard Sugars. Measuring 2-inches each, you could use them to decorate your cupcakes. It also serves as sugar for tea and coffee, if you like your hot beverage sweet. Or you can opt for hand-piped carrot cake decorations.

For cupcakes without a rich frosting, opt for Easter stencils and simply sprinkle sugar icing, cacao or decorative sugars on your cupcakes. Nothing can be simpler! But it still adds panache to your cupcakes.

SOURCING:
+ Carrots Shaped Edible Hard Sugar Decorations by CakeWorks $3.95 USD for 12 pieces on Amazon.com
+ Carrot Sugar Decorations $7.95 for 32 pieces at King Arthur Flour
+ Easter Cupcake Stencils $5.95 USD at Crate & Barrel

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Stylish Easy to Bake Cookie Recipes and a Cookbook

lemon cookies :: flourless chocolate cookies as seen on style at home

lemon spritz cookies :: flourless chocolate cookies as seen on style at home

After the game console controller cookies, the latest newsletter of Style at Home gives me the occasion to introduce cookie recipes that everyone can bake. I selected two stylish classic cookies that are crowd pleasers. Do not hesitate to serve cookies for dessert at a brunch. If people are less hungry, they will enjoy more one cookie than a piece of cake.

cookbook Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone

+ Lemon spritz cookie recipe – Photography by Aran Goyoaga
+ Flourless chocolate cookie recipe – Recipe by Francois Payard and Anne E. McBride

SOURCING:
+ Chocolate Epiphany: Exceptional Cookies, Cakes, and Confections for Everyone by Francois Payard with Anne E. McBride $25.20 CAD on Amazon.ca

CAKES + desserts ENTERTAINING

Ms. Humble’s Game Controller Cookies

game controller cookies by ms humble

game controller cookies by ms humble

In light of the popularity of Super Mario’s cupcakes, I see that many of you play video games at home. This is why I think you will enjoy the Wii remote and the PS3 and Xbox controller cookies made by Ms. Humble of Not So Humble Pie.

She cut and shaped the cookies by hand. This is not for beginners. Knowledge of sugar cookie and icing is a must to realize those cookies. You need to plan ahead since the flooding takes several hours to dry.

+ photos: Not So Humble Pie