Sunday, December 30, 2007

Santa was good to me this year!

Hello again, hello!  What has happened in the baking world since we last spoke?  Well, I made a chocolate ganache cake and funfetti cupcakes with orange cream frosting for my madre's birthday party...and they were a hit!  The cake was all gone, meaning people really liked it or were consuming tremendous amounts of calories to humor me.  Hmmm, you never know with the Charbonneau family...

For Christmas I received so many great presents!  I got a professional cook's jacket, a million GREAT cookbooks, more tips for cake decorating, various fondant tools, and many other great things.  Thanks to everyone for contributing to my passion!  

The first thing I made from my Baking with Julia cookbook is naan - and it turned out way too good.  

Here's a piece of the naan before it was baked.  I made the dough, let it rise for 2 hours and then after a few bread-making techniques, I formed them into rounds.  What you see here are a bunch of fork marks in the middle to make sure the naan doesn't puff up too much.  For this specific recipe, I added coarse salt, chopped green onions and a sprinkle of cumin seeds.  Here's what it looked like after baking:

Yummy!  I love Julia, because you're supposed to bake these on ceramic tiles, but she gave me an alternative: an inverted baking sheet - yipee!  I was afraid the oven was going to explode at 500 degrees, but luckily, I'm still alive.

What will be my next adventure???  I don't know, but I splurged and bought granulated Splenda yesterday - so maybe a healthy recipe to try out next?  We'll see...I'll keep you all posted!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here are a few more cakes I've experimented with.  The first is my pina colada cake; it's a white cake with a pineapple filling and a coconut cream cheese frosting.  To me it sounds gross because I don't really like any of those flavors, but it was really good!  The pineapple was subtle (thanks mom), and the frosting was really, really yummy!  As you can see, there is rippling in the fondant...this is because the base for the frosting was cream cheese...not so good for fondant cakes.  Also, I applied a layer of fondant but it was too thin and there were holes in it, so I thought a second, thicker layer would be good - not so much.  

The second cake is the same cake as was on the bottom layer of Noelle's birthday cake, everyone's favorite so far.  It's really rich, but tastes lovely with a glass of milk :)  

Oh, and what happened with those cookies I was testing out?  You don't want to know.  Just don't use canned peaches when making cookies...yuck.


Hey all!  It's been awhile!  School has been soooooo busy, but I'm on break now so I have a chance to rest and to test out recipes :)  I thought of a great idea for next term to keep the baking going - a baking club!  I was thinking everyone could get together once a week with baked goods they made depending on that weeks theme (cookies, cakes, breads, etc.) and share recipes.  THEN, for a final "project" at the end of the ten weeks (a term) we could all present a recipe we've worked on the whole time!  I already know what my recipe is going to be - a healthy chocolate chip cookie.  Can it be done???  We'll see.  

Anyways, here are some pictures of cakes I've made recently:
This is a cake that Tom and I made for Noelle's 21st birthday, and my first fondant cake!  I was really pleased at the way it turned out, except for the colors.  For some reason, I couldn't get the color red from the fondant, so I ended up with pink.  The die are made of fondant, and there is a buttercream border between the two cakes.  It was a little lopsided, but tasted great!  The bottom layer was chocolate cake with chocolate butterscotch frosting, and the top layer was yellow cake with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting.  
This is my first attempt at a fondant rose.  It turned out pretty well, but I haven't been able to recreate another successfully since. :(

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One cookie, Six ways

Hey there!

The last few days have been crazy busy, so even thinking about anything but school hasn't been possible. Anyways, a co-worker brought in a cookie recipe she made: ricotta sugar cookies! Sounds weird I know, but they were soooooooo delicious! She said that she had a bunch of ricotta cheese leftover and she wanted to use it before it went bad, so she went to and put in 'ricotta' and up popped this recipe for sugar cookies. I HATE sugar cookies (a bad experience with sugar cookie dough when I was younger), but these were great - they didn't have the usual cookie texture. They were more like a cross between a scone (a good, dense scone, not a crumbly one) and shortbread. She sprinkled some sugar on top and the added crunch was good as well...definitely going into my cookbook!

Also, on the topic of cookies - I'll be working on a cookie this weekend. I'm trying out peach oatmeal cookies, and I'm making it 6 different ways! I figure I'll just make small batches of each, and I want my friends and co-workers to try them and actually rate which ones they like best. Here are the six "factors" of my experiment:

Test 1: Peach-Oatmeal (with fresh peaches)
Test 2: Peach-Oatmeal (with frozen peaches)
Test 3: Peach-Oatmeal (with canned peaches)

After we decide which one tastes and works best (and is most cost-efficient), then I'll do the following:

Test 4: Peach-Oatmeal with raisins
Test 5: Peach-Oatmeal with white chocolate chips
Test 6: Peach-Oatmeal with raisins AND white chocolate chips

Yummy, I can't wait - I hope it works out, then I have another item for my menu! Don't worry, I'll post pics!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Hello all,

After reading many blogs (especially Baristabrat - I love her!) I've decided that now is the time to start my own. I'm in the middle of this whirlwind of discovering my passion for baking and attempting to get started applying for baking schools, begin plans for my own business, etc. and I figured a blog would be the best way to chronicle my successes (and failures of course). I haven't had much experience baking, except all the stuff I would make when I was younger at home and my year at the bakery on campus. I love my job, and that's saying something when I have to wake up at 4:30am to get there on time! Here are some of the cakes I've made so far (don't judge me - I'm a beginner):

This is my second official cake - I made it for my dad's 50th birthday. It's supposed to be three graves (the one in the middle is empty).

This is a camera cake I made for one of my co-workers birthdays. He's really into photography, so I attempted a Nikon...and I successfully made it look like a camera from 1993 lol.

I'm really excited to write about my adventures in baking! My next cake is going to be for my friend/roommate Noelle's 21st birthday...and I'm using fondant FOR THE FIRST TIME! Wish me luck! Also, since I'm broke, for Christmas I'm going to make family and friends a cookbook with all my favorite recipes (except ones I'm using in my bakery). The first recipe is going to be for this yummy mushroom lasagna I made the other night...oh my god it was so good! I love Barefoot Contessa, she makes the yummiest things. Anyways, so that's that - I'll be back!