Babies on the way are always exciting news, but this one in particular makes me so happy. Alice has been a sister to me, friend, confidante, mentor, and even once-employer. Her recent baby shower was a no-frills gathering of friends and featuring great food (Waffle Roost Food Truck), reflecting the priorities of Alice and Mark. Other than some flavor preferences, there weren’t any special requests for desserts. So left to my own whims and imagination, I made chocolate hazelnut mousse (with flourless chocolate cake and chocolate meringues), matcha green tea “napoleon” cakes and lemon curd strawberry buttercream mini cupcakes.
The chocolate mousse cups had a small circle of cake at the bottom, topped with the chocolate hazelnut mousse, and a cluster of meringue sticks inserted on top. Although baked until they dry out, the meringue absorbs a bit of moisture over time, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
The matcha green tea cakes had layers of green tea chiffon cake, green tea pastry cream and puff pastry (one of my favorite combinations these days). I topped them with buttercream and sprinkled with matcha green tea sugar and turbinado sugar and served as small slices.
It’s not every day that someone requests a princess cake, or even knows what that is! I love fun opportunities like that. A friend wanted to surprise a birthday girl with a princess cake. The only real guidelines were that she likes purple, and her nickname is “Panda”.
A princess cake (prinsesstårta in Swedish) is a traditional Swedish cake made of layers of sponge cake, pastry cream, and jam (I think typically raspberry), and shaped into a dome with whipped cream. The dome is then covered by marzipan, traditionally tinted a light green color and decorated with marzipan flowers. In this case, I tinted the marzipan purple, and topped with purple marzipan flowers.
To assemble this, I first stacked the cake, jam and pastry cream layers. Then I spread whipped cream (stiffened with a little bit of pastry cream) into a bowl. Then I placed the bowl over the cake, inverted, and let it set up in the freezer.
Once frozen, the cake wasn’t too difficult to pop out of the bowl mold. I smoothed out the whipped cream dome and then covered with marzipan. Not my smoothest cake covering job, but whipped cream is a little trickier to mold around than say buttercream.
Happy birthday to me! And my friends!
During a recent weekend getaway, I was lucky enough to celebrate my 30th birthday with some dear friends, a few of whom are also turning 30 this year, and a couple of whom share July birthdays with me. So, I made each one of us a cake.
I knew I would have very limited time to decorate, so I made a batch of Italian meringue buttercream, and brought some fondant and piping gel along to the getaway in case I was struck with inspiration. The idea of representing the growth of a long friendship over time came to mind during the drive. So here is our trio of cakes to celebrate old friends:
The first is a green tea chiffon cake with green tea pastry cream and puff pastry layers, requested after I posted about that flavor combination in a previous birthday cake project.
The second is a purple yam chiffon cake with mango Bavarian cream. This one was fluffy and light. Maybe a little too light on flavor in my rush to make it.
The third is a lemon pound cake with lemon curd pastry cream and fresh strawberries. Perfect for a hot summer day!