purple yam

Birthday | Trio of Old Friends

| Birthdays

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!

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Pastry School Recap | Unit 4 & 6 – Viennoiserie & Bread

| Uncategorized


Croissants were probably the highlight for most of us in class from our viennoiserie unit. And while there were some interesting items from the bread unit, croissants are so awesome that they were my highlight from the bread unit too.

Viennoiserie, or “things of Vienna”, are baked goods made from yeast-leavened dough that is generally enriched (i.e. has milk, butter and/or eggs added). Some key examples use laminated doughs such as croissants and danishes. Also included in this category are pain au chocolat, brioche, and viennois.

Given my love of croissants, I made some variations on them as part of my revisit to this unit. Here, I have plain croissants, almond croissants (almond cream filling and sliced almonds on top), green tea croissants (almond cream flavored with matcha green tea powder) and purple yam croissants (almond cream flavored with purple yam and black soy powder). The green tea flavor is a bit too muted, but the color was pretty and I think more matcha powder could address this. The purple yam flavor reminded me of the pastries from Asian bakeries.

This was my first attempt at making croissants (or anything yeast-leavened) at home, and I’m relieved I was able to proof and raise the dough (using Instant Yeast) without melting out too much of the laminated butter.

Some tips: to first proof the détrempe dough, microwave a cup of water for about a minute and then use the residual heat and moisture in the microwave; for final proofing of the formed croissants, heat the oven to the lowest temperature setting with a bowl of water inside before shutting off and cooling to proofing range.

Some examples of viennoiserie and breads from Unit 4/6:

Spiced Pecan Sticky Bun: ooey gooey goodness
 Viennois: shaped like a baguette
 Beehive: brioche, pastry cream, meringue, honey syrup, marzipan bees (who eats this??)
 Danishes: almond cream, raspberry jelly, cream cheese
 Harvest Grain Bread
Pullman Loaf (Pain de mie): aka white bread
Unit Exam: cornbread, brioche, pain au chocolat, croissants
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