of a 100 cupcakes and a wedding

19 Jul

So I’ve never been to a wedding, or made something for a wedding and I’m glad to say this last Saturday I popped my wedding cherry!

This wasn’t your traditional wedding but it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to..oh and yeah I had to make 100 cupcakes for it 🙂

The cupcakes where a hit they where White cake cupcakes with Brandy simple syrup and bavarian cream filling.

And of course I had some major troubleshooting with these cupcakes.. first of all since i have no Kitchen Aid I do it all by hand and had to divide the batter into at least three different bowls so I could handle it.

Second of all did you know that if all else fails you can actually use a blender to blend well..anything!? First time I’ve ever had to use a blender to mix some batter..sounds ridiculous but hey IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!

The batter only gave me about 87 cupcakes out of the 100 i needed…so it took me three days to actually bake, fill, store 100 cupcakes in my freezer (Mom was NOT loving this) since my freezer was full of..well..what else?! CUPCAKES that we couldn’t eat haha!

I’m more than happy that these two got married and that they requested that I baked their wedding cupcakes. The bride looked so beautiful and I wish them all my best. I nearly cried once and I’m glad that some people can actually find someone they want to share the rest of their lives with and be committed to them forever…so enough of me blabbing about this here are some pictures of the newlyweds eating the cupcakes (be warned lots of cute newlyweds pictures ahead!) The newlyweds rented a cupcake centerpiece that looked AMAZING, are you ready to see the amazingness ?!

 

 

Of Tarts, Pies, and a fever

17 Jun

It’s tart and pie week in school! Excited much? YES

This is my Chef instructor layering the fruits on top of a vanilla bean custard

Finished product:

Doesn’t this make you want to MARRY IT?! Look at the color arrangement and how clean and perfect it looks! The taste? OHMYGOD..that’s the only way to describe it.

Next! I had to make a Chocolate Cream Pie (I kind of asked for this recipe since it was the only recipe with chocolate in it and well i AM a chocoholic!)

This recipe consists of a sweet tart dough filled with a milk chocolate custard (which tasted like the most awesome chocolate pudding you’ve ever tasted) and Creme Chantilly. This pie equals AWESOME.

Next up the French Apple tart:

Today my group had to make this French Apple Tart, and just when I started peeling the apples..I started feeling like somebody had lit my body on fir and you could’ve probably fried eggs in my forehead and back, nevertheless I kept going on.

This tart consists of a sweet tart dough layered with some Almond Cream (which I admit it looked like the weirdest oatmeal…) and then layered with thinly sliced Red Delicious apples, topped with some sugar, cinnamon and apricot glaze. The picture above is the tart before baking tomorrow if i feel better you guys will see the results after being baked :))

Chocolate Peanut butter brownies for chocoholics

17 Jun

Hi my name is Adriana and I’m a chocoholic.

My boss asked me a month ago to bake something peanut butter-y and chocolate-y and as I stumbled on to recipes all over the internet I found these by Heather Christo and I fell in love. Just look at all the pretty layers and tell me you don’t feel like marrying these!

So I made these with sea salted peanuts and Puratos Carat dark chocolate pieces..and If they weren’t for my boss trust me I would’ve eaten them all!  (in one sitting). This is a pretty simple recipe, it requires patience though since you have to bake the brownie layer cool it and the freeze it, then make the peanut butter layer freeze it again, then add the ganache and let it sit for at least an hour in the freezer, nevertheless they’re worth the effort!

Here’s the recipe by Heather Christo:

Brownies, makes 12
1 ¼ cups of butter, cut into small pieces
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 TBS AP flour
1 cup lightly salted peanuts (I used sea salted peanuts)

Peanut Butter Layer
1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup peanut butter
3 Tbs milk

Ganache
2 cups dark chocolate pieces
1 cup whole milk (I used heavy cream)
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

 

1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2) Prepare an 8×8” pan with tin foil (two sheets creating an x with a 2 inch overlap of foil) and then spray the foil with cooking spray.

3) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter until no longer foaming and the butter has browned, about 5 minutes.

4) While you are waiting for the butter to brown, combine the sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a mixer.

5) Add the hot butter and scrape all of the browned bits into the bowl of the mixer and then whip to combine.

6) With the mixer on medium, add the eggs one at a time. Then add the flour to combine. Add the peanuts and briefly mix in.

7) Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth with a dampened spatula.

8) Bake 25 minutes and remove from oven. Let cool. When they have cooled enough to handle the pan, place it in the freezer at least 20 minutes.

Peanut Butter Layer:

1) Whip together with a mixer until creamy.

2) Spread the peanut butter mixture evenly over the brownies. Dampen the spatula to get a smooth finish.

3) When there is an even layer of peanut butter, put it back in the freezer, at least 20 minutes.

Ganache:

1) In a small sauce pan, heat the milk (or heavy cream) and vanilla until almost boiling.

2) Place the chocolate pieces in a medium heatproof bowl.

3) Dump the hot milk (heavy cream) over the chocolate and leave for about 5 minutes.

4) When you have let the chocolate and milk sit and they look melted, whisk vigorously with a metal whisk until thick and glossy.

5) Spread the ganache evenly over the peanut butter layer. Place in the freezer for about an hour.

6) Pull the brownies out of the pan (by the foil overlaps). Place the block of frozen brownies on a cutting board. Trim the edged and then slice with a sharp knife into bars.

And you will get something that looks like this:

I suggest you bake these NOW, trust me they are the richest, most addictive brownies I’ve ever made in my life!

 

Roulade: The stressful test of the week

10 Jun

Roulade:

1. Originates from the French word “rouler” meaning “to roll”.

2. The term roulade  also refers to a souffle-type mixture that’s spread on a jelly roll pan, baked until firm but still moist, then spread with a savory or sweet filling and rolled up in jelly-roll fashion.

Roulade, Yule log or Brazo Gitano as we call it in Puerto Rico, consists of a spongecake baked in a sheet pan for 8-12 minutes (depending on how well calibrated your oven is!) which is cooled and  filled with fruit puree/ganache/jelly/buttercream virtually anything you want then rolled up and covered with again ANYTHING YOU WANT. This was my class’s test for the week, we where separated into groups and each group got a different recipe.

My group’s recipe consisted of a Pistachio Spongecake, filled with Italian Lemon Buttercream and as for the coating a simple Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Easy you say?! NO. Here’s some facts

Number one… rolling up a pistachio spongecake is frustrating because it WILL break, no matter how well you roll this baby up it WILL BREAK!

Number two… Italian butter cream consists of a meringue (whipped egg whites cooked with hot sugar syrup) when my team took it out of the fridge and we tried softening it with a whisk the butter started separating and we ended up with what looked like a really f!@$%# up version of scrambled eggs. We panicked but then we fixed it by adding tons of powdered sugar and it was as if nothing ever happened (Phew!)

Number three… The ganache was perfection but of course when covering a broken up pistachio spongecake with it..it just looks wrong! try picture a very rustic tree trunk… How did we fix this problem? By adding tons of broken up pistachio pieces of course!

Number four… The candied lemons…oh why did we even consider this it only takes about 5 to 6 hours to make (no rush!) When we where being evaluated our Chef told us: “Well they look beautiful but they’re undercooked they needed about 4 more hours!!!” So… lesson learned?  Unless I’m planning on sleeping in my classroom for a day and a half..not going to make those.

We had a rough time to say the least fixing the cake, the buttercream, the ganache, covering up the huge cracks, making the candied lemons, everything that could possibly go wrong DID. Did i panic? YES Did I feel like crying? YES Did I ever feel like this cake was mocking us and was never going to work out? YES and YES!

The result you ask? I never got to taste it but everyone gave us compliments and the Chef took three generous bites of our roulade which means it wasn’t bad at all!

Will I make this again? Probably only that next time to avoid the “moss covered tree trunk look” I will cover it up with butter cream and THEN add the ganache..just sayin’.

Here are some nice angled pictures of our tree lookin’ roulade in all its glory:

 

 

Life inside the oven: An introduction

10 Jun

Welcome to my little corner of the internet!

My name is Adriana and I’m a Pastry Chef student from Puerto Rico and I’ve been baking for 6 years now.

Many people have asked “So… how did this baking craze start?!”, all I can say is I started experimenting on M&M cookies when I was 16 after I got sick and tired of baking the “boxed stuff” and after that all hell broke loose and I moved on to baking breads, croissants, pies, cheesecakes and whatever else I could bake that would make my mouth drool.

Eventually this turned into an addiction whilst I was on college, I started baking at 3 am in the morning (when everyone’s asleep and my kitchen is quiet and solitary), I baked numerous batches of cookies, breads, brownies only to sell them at school where I got some nice recognition and money!

Instead of studying for Art History classes I started studying and collecting copious amounts of recipes. I thought this was only going to be a hobby BUT after being in college for 4 years and feeling like it just wasn’t my thing I decided to drop out and go to culinary school in 2011.

So..this is my story, this is how it all began!

And another thing… don’t let anyone EVER tell you that baking (or cooking) is just a hobby, because it is way more than that, it’s an art form it takes patience, skills and discipline some got it and some don’t.

Do i think i have this? well there’s only one way to find out!

Stay tuned for more stories, recipes and pictures of some of my creations (: