I always recommend Extraordinary Desserts to any dessert fans who are visiting San Diego, and I love comparing notes afterwards about each person’s decadent experience. My friend Patricia is one such dessert fan, and for her birthday earlier this month, she knew she wanted to replicate her Extraordinary Desserts experience. She has a couple favorite cakes from the restaurant, but knowing that she intended to celebrate with a Brazilian BBQ birthday dinner, she requested the fruity and light Shangri-La cake as a nice contrast to the meat-heavy meal. I’m not sure I’ve ever had this cake at Extraordinary Desserts, but when I saw the description on the restaurant’s website, I was game to give it a try.
I made this cake with a basic white cake, cut into three layers. (I think the restaurant probably uses an almond sponge cake, but I realized that after the fact.) Each layer was soaked with a Kirschwasser simple syrup, then topped with guava mousse (made with guava puree to ensure a distinctive and fresh guava flavor), chopped strawberries and white chocolate mousse.
After letting the stacked layers set in the freezer in a ring mold, I then crumb coated the layered cake with a plain Swiss meringue buttercream. For the sides of the cake, I pressed on white and pink chocolate curls, as I loved that look on the website. For the top of the cake, I piped buttercream rosettes and other patterns over sliced strawberries, and used additional chocolate curls as filler.
The individual flavors in this cake are unusual, but when paired together, they go surprisingly well together. On their own, I’m not a fan of white chocolate, or Kirshwasser, or even guava. But I’ll admit to enjoying the combination!
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Amy since elementary school, and her husband Tim since they began dating in college. I think I speak for all of their friends when I say, I can’t wait for mini-Amy to arrive in November!!
To celebrate their upcoming baby girl, I made cake pops (a first for me) and cupcakes as party favors for guests to take home.
The cake pops are a browned butter pistachio financier, made with ground pistachios, flour, egg whites, and browned butter.
I brushed the cake with raspberry simple syrup and coated with white chocolate coating chocolate. It turns out you can make the spherical shapes of cake pops either by baking in a spherical mode, or pressing cake pieces into that shape. The latter results in a fudgier texture, and I might have gone that route if I had such a pressing mold. For these, I figured the financier would have sufficient density and texture.
It’s a bit tricky to put the right amount of batter in the mold to make sure it fills the full sphere when baking but not push the molds apart. Fortunately I had enough successful pieces to meet the guest count 🙂
The cupcakes are a play off of the Beau Soleil cake I made recently.
For the cake, I made a cinnamon swirl sour cream cake, brushed with orange simple syrup, filled with peach curd, and topped with mascarpone mousse.
Then I drizzled with honey and sprinkled with some praline. Although it used many of the same ingredients as the cake, it was delicious in its own way.
Oftentimes, recipes on the back of boxes / packages can be rather mediocre, having been dumbed down to be accessible to the general public. This one, however, despite its simplicity, is a home run. It’s quick and easy, and most people seem to love the taste, even if they are not particular fans of oatmeal cookies, craisins, or white chocolate.
Adapted from Ocean Spray® Craisins® package:
- ⅔ cup butter, softened
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 oz. dried cranberries (i.e. Ocean Spray® Craisins®) – Note: I would use 1 to 1 ½ cups.
- ⅔ cup white chocolate chunks or chips – Note: I would use 1 to 1 ½ cups.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks.
- Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
- Drizzle with melted white chocolate for extra flair and flavor.
Most of the sweetness and flavor for this cookie comes from the dried cranberries and white chocolate, so be liberal with those ingredients. In addition, note that these cookies expand very little in the oven. I would flatten them slightly before baking. No need to worry about the cookies running into each other as they bake.