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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Is the sweetest wedding cake your own?

Victor and I got married on November 1st. It sounds cliche, but as one that has gone through planning a wedding already knows, it's a lot of stress but is all worth it in the end. As a person with a food blog who has taken cake decorating classes in the past, one might think I would have had very specific ideas about what type of wedding cake we should serve. Ironically, I did not. There are so many choices out there, it is a bit overwhelming: traditional multi-tiered cake vs cupcakes, fondant vs buttercream, etc. The one thing that I did know is that I did not want our guests to take one forkful of cake and then leave the rest of the slice on the plate. In other words, I wanted it to taste good. As long as the cake tasted good, the decorations were secondary.
Our wedding took place at The William Penn Inn in Gwynedd, PA. Since we were planning the wedding from Los Angeles, we looked for a venue which offered a package deal. The William Penn Inn offered an amazing package which covered literally everything including the cake. They offered a few different flavors of cakes and fillings from which we could choose. After trying a few at the tasting, we selected vanilla genoise layered with a lemon filling, finished with European buttercream. They served each slice with fresh fruit coulis garnished with a crisp almond tuile and white chocolate curls. I really wish I had gotten a photograph of individual cake slices on the plate since it was a very nice presentation...but with all of the excitment, I didn't even think of it.....Anyway, all of the food was excellent (granted, I am biased...). Guests had the choice of Capon Marsala or Baked Fillet of Salmon for dinner. The wedding cake was served for desert. The cake was simultaneoulsy moist, light and refreshing.
Major props to my parents who went and checked out venues for us and ultimately steered us towards The William Penn Inn. It was an excellent choice. If you are in the Philly area and have never eaten at the William Penn Inn, definitely check it out...and don't forget to order desert!
BTW: Obviously, neither Victor or I took these photos since we are in one. These photos were taken by Austin Gorg.

Bite size chocolate frights!

I had such good luck with Martha Stewart's Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies, that trying some of her halloween cookie recipes seemed like a no brainer. I made these cute little chocolate bites to send to my brother for Halloween. You really must check out Martha's website...she's a genius. The majority of the stuff on her site is simple to do and uses basic ingredients but turns out looking so classy. Even her decorating ideas are basic but very chic...

This recipe can be found on Martha's site .

I have also included here for reference...again, Martha's recipe, not mine.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling and cutting out dough
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
Small candies or sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg. On low speed, mix in flour mixture. Divide dough in half, and form into 2 disks, each about 3/4 inch thick. Wrap disks in plastic; chill until firm, at least 45 minutes and up to 2 days.
On a lightly floured sheet of waxed paper, using a floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/2 inch thick. (If dough becomes too soft to work with, refrigerate for a few minutes.)
Using 2- to 3-inch Halloween cookie cutters, cut out shapes, dipping cutters in flour as necessary to prevent sticking; place on a baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart.
Bake until surface is dry to the touch, 10 to 15 minutes (if decorating, press candies into dough halfway through baking). Cool cookies 1 to 2 minutes on baking sheet; transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve, or store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Sables Au Citron

I was introduced to Clotilde Dusoulier's Chocolate & Zucchini food blog by my sister. She gave me a copy of Clotilde's cookbook "Chocolate & Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen" for Christmas a year or two back. Each month this year, Clotilde has provided her readers with a downloadable desktop calendar. For the month of October, the picture was of these Lemon Butter Cookies (here's the link to the October desktop calendar. So every morning when I logged onto my laptop at work, I saw these scrumptous cookies...I had to try making them of course! As luck would have it, the recipe was in the cookbook that I already owned! If you compare the picture above to the desktop calendar, you will see that my cookies and Clotilde's cookies don't look exactly alike and I am really not sure why that is...her glaze seems clear while mine is more opaque (I may not have beaten the lemon juice and confectioner's sugar long enough)...regardless, they tasted as good as they looked. They had a sweet/salty/tart combination that was really intriguing.

Sables Au Citron (Lemon Butter Cookies) from "Chocolate and Zucchini: Daily Adventures in a Parisian Kitchen" by Clotilde Dusoulier

1 organic lemon (I don't believe I used an organic one..)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fleur de sel or kosher salt (I would not recommend substituting in regular table me, it makes a difference)
7 tablespoons of chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 large egg yolk
1 cup confectioner's sugar

Grate lemon to yeild a tablespoon of finely chopped lemon zest. Reserve the lemon for the glaze.

In large mixing bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add butter and rub it into the dry ingredients using your fingertips or use a wire pastry blender. Add egg yolk, stir with a fork until blended and knead dough until it comes together and forms a ball. If the dough is too dry, add a little ice water one teaspoon at a time and knead again. If too sticky, add flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Divide the dough into two and roll each half into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic and put in freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 35o degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one log of dough from freezer, unwrap and slice into 1/4 inch rounds with a sharp serrated knife, rotating the log by a quarter of turn after each slice so it keeps a round shape. Transfer onto baking sheet, leaving a 1/2 inch margin between them. Repeat with second log.

Bake for 12 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before glazing (about 1 hour).

Squeeze lemon to get 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Put confectioner's sugar in a bowl, add lemon juice and whisk until smooth and syrupy. Use a pastry brush or the back of a spoon to glaze the cookies. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies from the Master

Martha Stewart's a household name for a reason: the woman knows her stuff! This recipe is from her website. It was super easy to make and the cookies came out so nice looking, that my dad thought they were store bought! One thing I have noticed about molasses cookie recipes in general is that I typically tend to already have all the ingredients on hand, they are easy to put together, and pretty hard to mess up.

I have put the recipe below so I don't lose it if the above link stops working or something...but make no mistake: This is Martha's recipe! Not mine...

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a shallow bowl, place 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining cup of sugar until combined. Beat in egg and then molasses until combined. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in dry ingredients, just until a dough forms.
Pinch off and roll dough into balls, each equal to 1 tablespoon. Roll balls in reserved sugar to coat.
Arrange balls on baking sheets, about 3 inches apart. Bake, one sheet at a time, until edges of cookies are just firm, 10 to 15 minutes (cookies can be baked two sheets at a time, but they will not crackle uniformly). Cool 1 minute on baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 4 days.