April 18, 2014

Lemon Almond Spring Cake


Spring weather in Seattle can be a bit capricious. Several sunny days will raise my hopes that summer is finally on its way - but then two weeks of grey drizzle will drown those hopes as I realize that it's still at least two months before summer is really here. My response to one such dreary day was to make this sping-y cake - even though the flowery sunny cake and the dismal rainy spring weather could not be more different.

January 27, 2014

Baumkuchen (Daring Bakers' Challenge)


I got very excited when I saw January's Daring Bakers' Challenge. So excited, in fact, that I promptly dropped the rest of my plans for the weekend, marched to the grocery store to buy almonds, and began baking. This month's challenge was baumkuchen - a traditional cake throughout Europe that has also become very popular in Japan. The name translates to "tree cake" in German. Usually, the cake is ring-shaped, so the layers look like tree rings. Unfortunately, getting this ring-shaped layering requires some specialized equipment, so my baumkuchen has horizontal layers.

The January 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Francijn of "Koken in de Brouwerij". She challenged us all to bake layered cakes in the tradition of Baumkuchen (tree cake) and Schichttorte (layered cake).

November 1, 2013

A Wedding Cake For Friends

Photo credit: About The Day.

Last year, Mr. Buttercream and I were delighted to hear that a great friend from college was getting married to his awesome girlfriend. The couple initially asked me to help them with a dessert table for their wedding reception, but then decided they really wanted a tiered wedding cake.

I was nervous! Even though I've made many, many cakes in my day, I've never tried putting one cake on top of another (or made one this big). To prepare, I spent many weekends this summer planning, researching, and practicing. Ultimately, I learned a lot, the cake turned out well, and (most importantly) my friends loved their cake!

September 27, 2013

Pastel de Tres Leches (Daring Bakers' Challenge)


Pastel de Tres Leches...this is one of those cakes that's been on my cake backlog forever even though I'd never eaten it before and I had no idea whether or not it was any good. The concept of this cake - which involves soaking sponge cake in milk - is so novel and interesting. When I saw that this was the subject of the September Daring Bakers', I was beyond excited.

Inma of la Galletika was our Sept. 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and WOW did she bring us something decadent and delicious! Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake, creamy yet airy, super moist but not soggy.. just plain delish!

September 17, 2013

Lotus Paste & Peach Candy Mooncakes



Thursday is the Mid-Autumn Festival...that means it's time to make mooncakes! Last year, I made mooncakes for the first time and filled them with an easy, pre-made red bean paste filling. This year, I was determined to make lotus seed paste for the filling. Then, because my new mooncake mold was peach-shaped, I decided to add a non-traditional twist and place a homemade peach gelée candy at the very center of my mooncake.

September 2, 2013

How to Make Gum Paste Lilies (Tutorial)



Shortly after returning from China, some good friends asked me to make a wedding cake for their August wedding. I agreed to take this on, and the rest of my summer weekends were dedicated to practicing, preparing, and practicing. I'll post more about the wedding cake later (in the rush to deliver the cake I forgot my camera, so I'm waiting on the pictures from the professionals), but in the meantime I wanted to post a tutorial on something I got pretty good at over the course of making the cake - gum paste lilies. The couple had asked for yellow "lily-ish" gum paste flowers, so I decided to make bright yellow (with a hint of pink) Asiatic Lilies.

July 10, 2013

Blueberry Pie

It's been a while, hasn't it? I have spent the better part of the last month on vacation in China! I was only able to do a small amount of baking while I was away (many people don't have ovens in their kitchens, but a relative let me use a portable one to make a cake) so I was eager to get back to baking as soon as the jet-lag wore off.

Luckily, the opportunity presented itself pretty quickly. I found myself in possession of about 8 pounds of blueberries after a morning of productive berry picking, and had no doubt about what to do with my delicious haul: blueberry pie.