I know that a lot of you were unable to attend the Fat Chef workshop this summer for one reason or another. I am taking this opportunity to share my latest project.
Fat Chef Sculpted Cake on video!
It is my first full length video (2 hours). It will take you through the entire process of creating the Fat Chef in full detail. You can work on it at your leisure, in the privacy of your own kitchen, at your own pace. Could it be any more perfect?
I am giving a 50% discount off the regular purchase price to the first 25 purchasers of the video.
Promo Code: 5STAR
Follow this link to take you to the Fat Chef video tutorial.
Now, I am sure your getting tired of my peach schlepping. Last one, I promise. I just have to get it all out there for you. My peach eating friends are getting their fill, let me tell you.
Preserves. They are really quite simple. Do you remember the Simple Syrup post? You were already half way to your preserves.
If you are going to save them for a later date, my suggestion is to use the formal canning method. I will add one at the end of this post for your convenience. Simple prep for me because I used mine right away. And then someone (we won’t name HIM) ate the leftovers on icecream, just ’cause “That’s how we roll”.
Ready, lets start.
3 lb peaches
1 cup sugar
sprinkle cinnamon and splash of vanilla
Peel, core and slice your peaches. Soak in a citrus bath, drain well.
Place your sliced fruit into a stew pot. Allow to sit for 1/2 hour so the initial syrup can develop around the fruit. Cover pot and simmer on low heat for another 1/2 hour. You may add vanilla and cinnamon at this point. You are well on your way to peach preserves!
Once fruit has stewed down and is fairly soft but not mushy, pour off the liquid. Reserve this SIMPLE SYRUP for later use. I use a potato masher for break the fruit up into finer chunks. If you want your peach preserves a bit more gelled, like jam, this is the point that you would add pectin. I like mine just the way it is. Any extra moisture is readily soaked into the cake and that is a great thing. Pour the fruit into freshly sterilized jars. And the seals and rings (that have been sterilized as well). Secure the rings finger tight and cool overnight. The seals should pop down on their own during the cooling process. If you have prepared your fruit in this fashion, it will have to be kept in the fridge. Here it will remain useable for about 2 weeks.
For a longer preserve time, please follow formal preserve instructions:
1) Boil jars, seals and rings to sterilize
2) Add hot preserves to clean hot jars
3) Place hot seals onto filled jars
4) Finger tighten rings over the seals
5) Place hot filled jars into a pot of boiling water, water must be 1/2 – 1 ” over the top of the jar
6) Boil the filled jars for 20 minutes plus the time frame suggested in the Altitude Guide for Canning
“Elevation has more of an impact on the processing of preserves because once water boils, it can’t get any hotter. This means that even if your canning pot is happily boiling away, it might not be as hot as you think. The way that the USDA and the National Center for Home Food Preservation has you compensate for this temperature differential is by increasing processing time.”
Here’s the Altitude Guide for making these adjustments.
1,001 to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes
3,001 to 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes
6,001 to 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes
8,001 to 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes
I hope that you have made good use of my Peach September offerings. I would like to see some of your peachy creations. Please visit my Facebook page and post something so we can all enjoy.
In my world the ultimate flavour/moisture enhancer for most of my cakes would be simple syrup or sugar syrup.
Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling it for use. It is dispensed with a spray bottle, thru a pour spout or even with a pastry brush.
The sugar to water ratio can range anywhere from 1:1 to 2:1 depending on the desired thickness or syrupiness (probably not a word but you get my point). If you were to add pectin, it does gel quite easily and this makes it perfect as a base for fruit preserves and sauces.
In cake use however, it imparts a moistness that may have been lost in the baking process. Perhaps you froze your cake sometime ahead of using it and need to add a bit of moisture lost during the freeze time.
I like to use my cakes fairly soon after baking, so for me, it is all about flavor. More flavor, more flavor, more flavor. It can take a basic cake of any flavor and turn it into something of a masterpiece for your palate.
A few variations on the simple syrup recipe might include:
Vanilla: place a fresh vanilla bean or it’s scrapings into the sugar water mix while heating.
Espresso: replace a portion or all of the water with espresso (great on chocolate cake)
Lemon: replace a portion of the water with organic lemon juice. (Less water and more lemon makes this a truly tart experience….my fav)
Caramel: switch out your white sugar with Demerara sugar or brown sugar.
You can add rose petal, lavender, cherry essence.
You might even try substituting some of the water for the liqueur of our choice, although I would not recommend serving this variation to your children.
As you may have known, I have been on a peach kick of late. It’s harvest time in the Okanagan and the peaches are heavenly. So is the region they are grown in, incidentally.
So, without further ado, please welcome my most recent addition to the simple syrup family.
Okanagan Peach Simple Syrup
3 lb peaches
1 c. white sugar
Once you have peeled, cored and sliced your fruit, wash in a citrus bath to prevent the fruit from browning.(just add a tbsp of lemon to the water). Be sure all of the fruit has been submerged, pour off the citrus water and drain well.
Place your fruit into a stewing pot and sprinkle the sugar over top. Let this sit for a half hour or so. The moisture of the fruit will melt the sugar into the beginnings of your wonderful syrup. Once this syrup has started, place the covered pot on low heat to simmer. Be sure to keep your heat low, so as not to evaporate the liquid with a high boil.
After about a half hour or so, you will note a great increase in the amount of syrup around your fruit. Pour this off and reserve for use in flavoring your already baked cakes.
The flavor that this adds to a plain vanilla cake is out of this world.
I recently had one of my students use this syrup. Her words to me were, “My husband said it was the best cake he had ever eaten!”
Now that’s saying something!
This “brewing” process can be applied to any fruit.
Try it with strawberries, blueberries, or even mango…..the list of syrups becomes endless.
I hope you enjoy. Still more to come in my Peachy September. Stay tuned and in the meantime,
I am not a photographer by any means. That would be my sister’s field. As unfortunate as it is, she doesn’t live near by and even if she did, it would be a bit much to ask of her to photograph each and every one of my projects.
She has, however, armed me with a really nice camera that I still don’t know how to use very well, so a lot of the time I find myself grabbing my iPhone and firing off a few shots.
Camera or iPhone, the importance of having a clean background in a well lit environment is essential. It is the difference between producing an eye catching photo or just one that folks will wiz by without much notice. Therefore, a backdrop for cake photography is a must.
There really is no need to go and purchase expensive backdrop material, as long as you have a clean, wrinkle free back panel of some sort. A fresh un-patterned wall, in a naturally lit area of your home will suffice if you do not have any other choice.
If you take an open area picture and ALL of your stuff is in the background,or that every so popular wrinkled sheet, it detracts from all of the hard work and laborious hours you put into creating that fabulous cake. Understandably, if it is a wedding cake that you are shooting and you are in the venue of the wedding, you may be stuck with clutter in your background.
For this reason, I love the “fuzzy background” look. But that would take camera lesson or two and I haven’t talked sissy into making us a video yet.
Ok, I’ll throw out a shameless plea. Sissy, if you are reading, we need you!
I will show you what I have devised. It makes a world of difference in the quality of photos going up on my site and facebook page.
I was fortunate enough to have a spare bake table in a fairly well lit area of my studio. Armed with a standing adjustable lamp (goodwill store $3.00) and a small ringlite (ebay 109.00), and a wall mounted Levolor blind, I am able to take a pretty decent photo. I have mounted a the blind so that it pulls down over the bake table when I am ready to use it and when I am done it rolls up and out of my way. The blinds do come in colors, but I found that with the varied cakes that I do, the plain white worked for all.
You could also use a roll of wall paper with a light background pattern. You don’t really want anything too busy or the result would be the same as clutter.
So let’s clean it up cakies! And now we wait……….for that highly anticipated video tutorial on how “SIMPLY” work your SLR camera. Yay sis!
One of the first cakes that I ever made on my own, without the help of my grandma, was a pineapple upside down cake. It was ridiculously sweet but super simple to make and a staple in our home economics class. As far as instruction was concerned, it was pretty much a no brainer for the teacher and an easy victory for the fledgling bakers.
Basic white cake with canned pineapple and a maraschino cherry topper.
Ewwwwwww! Just the thought of eating a Maraschino cherry now turns me green.
Now that I am grown, (and I use that word loosely), I have a more refined palate. Or at least my cake eating counterparts do. I have sworn off cake, for the time being anyways, so baking this and NOT eating it was a challenge.
I am a lover of fresh. I love fresh veggies, fresh fruit, fresh made just about anything. I am also just back from a small excursion to the interior of British Columbia where it’s harvest time in all of it’s glory. But one can only eat so much fresh fruit in one sitting and are therefore forced to find a way to get the most out of this short season. So, if you are into canning and preserves, you can enjoy for months to come.
I brought back with me, a load of fresh picked peaches. Hot on the heels of my newest cake experiment (an absolutely scrumptious almond cake), I decided to add a little peachiness to the mix.
As a throwback to my joyous pineapple upside down cake days, I present to you, (drumroll please)………..
Peach Upside Down Almond Cake
It’s so delectable, it requires nothing more than a fork, but a little whipped cream wouldn’t be completely out of order!
One recipe Master Cake Mix
4 oz almond paste (Marzipan)
One large peeled, cored and sliced peach
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup of brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). 325F Degrees for convection
Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan and melt to combine fully. Mixture should resemble caramel. Be careful not to burn this mix. Let it cool slightly and spread into the bottom of 7″ parchment lined cake pan. Arrange your peach slices on top of sugar mixture. Set aside.
Crumble the marzipan into the master mix and combine well. Prepare your batter according to the Master Mix recipe below.
4. Spread batter evenly over the peaches.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.
6. Cool 10 minutes in pan, remove the parchment from around edges and invert onto a serving plate.
7. Gently peel back the bottom parchment paper and Voila! Peach Heaven!
My master cake mix is the base for all of the cakes that I do. You can add a variety of ingredients to create any cake you desire. For example, a little adjustment with some spices and grated carrot and you have a luscious carrot cake. Add melted dark Belgian chocolate, a shot of espresso and you have a most decadent moist chocolate cake.
I like the convenience of making it ahead and freezing it until it’s needed. You never know when the mood to bake a cake will strike and I’m always prepared! It’s also the perfect density for carving without sacrificing that wonderful mouth feel.
Master Cake Mix (Makes eight 7”x 4” rounds)
· 8 c. all purpose flour
· 1/4 c. baking powder
· 2 c. unsalted butter (may substitute vegetable shortening)
· 6 c. powdered sugar
· 1 tbsp. salt (optional)
Mix ingredients together. Make 8 equal portions of 3 1/3 cup each.
Will store 6 weeks or will freeze for 6 months.
***If you add 2 cups of powdered milk to your master mix, you can use water instead of milk when adding wet ingredients during cake making
To make Almond Cake add:
3 1/3 cups of Master Mix
with 4 oz. Marzipan mixed into it
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
Mix ingredients until well blended. Fill parchment lined cake pan 1/2 – 3/4 full. Bake for 45-50 minutes on convection setting 325 degrees F
I really hope you are enjoying this season as much as I am. Please watch the posts in the days to come for more spoils of my harvesting. Fresh caking ideas to come!
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