salted caramel

Wedding | Congrats Tiffany & Jon!

| Featured, Recipe, Weddings

A very belated post, but . . . This past July, Milo’s Bonbons had the honor of appearing on my cousin’s wedding menu! It was a whirlwind of a preparation for the wedding, but such a pleasure to cater desserts for Tiffany’s and Jon’s celebration.

My cousin asked for salted caramel chocolate cupcakes and lemon bars. Believe it or not, it was my first time making lemon bars! I probably should have experimented with that a little more, as I wasn’t perfectly happy with my crust to filling ratio, but it’s hard to go wrong with the flavor. I made both lemon and and lemon-cherry swirl bars as a nod to the wedding colors.

To give the desserts a little something extra, I decided to present the cupcakes and lemon bars on a display stand. I didn’t have enough chocolate on hand to make a chocolate stand and thought nougatine would be a better vehicle for my cousins’s wedding themes of red + gold and succulents. However, in retrospect, nougatine wasn’t the best choice for an outdoor wedding. The display held up, but it sure got shiny and sticky! Next time I’m sticking with using isomalt instead of sugar, or just using something material.

Here is the making of the nougatine, from toasting the nuts, to cooking the sugar and rolling out / cutting the pieces:

Makes about a half sheet pan

  • 600g granulated sugar
  • 250g sliced almonds, lightly toasted and warm


  1. Make a dry caramel (or wet, if you don’t want too dark a nougatine) with the sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Stir in the warm, sliced almonds.
  3. Immediately pour mixture onto a nonstick silicone mat and spread as thinly as possible.
  4. Place a second map on top of the caramel and roll out as thin and even as possible. Begin this step as soon as your can handle the heat.
  5. Remove the top map, carefully life the nougatine sheet and place on cutting board or oiled parchment paper. If mat sticks, then caramel is still too hot.
  6. Using a knife or cutting mold, cut desired shape, working quickly. If nougatine is too cold to cut or shape, place back on silicone mat and into a 350 degree oven for just long enough to soften.

I was quite limited by the size of my oven at that time, which couldn’t fit a full sheet pan, and thus limited the size of my cylinders and ovals. But, I’d like to think there was something “organic” or “artistic” about the pieces I built with 🙂 I added succulent trimmings to my nougatine leaves/petals to tie everything together:

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Pastry School Recap | Unit 5/8 – Cakes

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Cakes were my main interest prior to pastry school, and probably still are the basis of what I like to present as my “craft”. The amount of time and labor that go into them sometimes make other quicker pastries more attractive. However, I will always have a respect for and fascination with cakes.

I made this salted caramel mousse cake earlier this year for my new niece Madelyn. Although the cake is not listed on the website for Extraordinary Desserts (my favorite cake shop), it is the Versailles cake featured on the cover of Karen Krasne’s Extraordinary Cakes recipe book.

The cake is made with almond joconde sponge, soaked with some rum simple syrup, and layered with drizzled salted caramel and salted caramel mousse. The outside is pressed with praline (caramelized pistachios and almonds).

Then the top is coated with a gelatinized salted caramel.

Finally, salted caramel macaron halves (homemade!) are pressed against the sides and decorated with a ribbon (not necessary to hold on the maracons, but definitely helpful for stable transportation). Et voilà!

I wasn’t thinking clearly about the occasion when I used a spiked simple syrup when assembling this cake for a newborn baby . . . but at least the adults got to enjoy.
A few of my favorite cakes from Units 5 & 8 of pastry school:
Special Occasions cake for midterm: passion fruit bavarian cream filling with fondant decorations, dedicated to my parents’ 35th anniversary
(This is what my parents consider “posing with the cake”):
Lemon Chiffon Cake:
Marzipan Peach Cake:
Fraisier Victoria: sponge cake, creme mousseline, fresh strawberries
Flourless Chocolate Cake: with chocolate hazelnut mousse and chocolate meringues
(Here’s the inside):
Chocolate mousse cake: the outside is a decorative biscuit d’amandes cake wrap
Charlotte Royale: a dome of jelly rolls with pistachio mousse filling!
Unit Exam: genoise cake with buttercream and toasted almonds
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