Why, When and How to Undercoat a Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Bottom released for Why, When and How to Undercoat a CakeThere is no need to undercoat every cake.  But there are many than benefit from an undercoat.  Any cake that has a lot of crumbs on the outside edges has to have un undercoat so the crumbs are trapped in the undercoat and do not show through on the finished cake.

Typically, carrot cakes, banana cakes and others finished with a powdered sugar based frosting do not need an undercoat because the cakes do not crumb much and also because these types of frostings can be put on thick enough one step.  However, if  you have any question, always apply an undercoat.

While it is an extra step to undercoat, sometimes referred to as a crumb coat, the finished cake will be so much better looking.  This is particularly true for cakes finished with Italian or French buttercreams or a  ganache.  Ganache will follow the side of the cake very closely making for a rippled effect on the sides. Continue reading

A Trio of Angel Food Cakes with a Foolproof Recipe

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

trio-of-angel-food-cakes.jpegI’m not sure what’s in the air, but the beloved Angel Food Cake is turning up everywhere.  So I decided to do some research and see where the differences were.  I looked at blogs, the internet and yes, real books!  Here is the list I checked out:  davidlebovitz.com,  americastestkitchen.com,  joythebaker.com,(based on Alton Brown’s recipe),  zoebakes.com, baking bites.com,(from thebestrecipe.com)  foodnetwork.com, Alton Brown, “Bakewise”, author Shirley Cohrrier, “Professional Pastry Chef”, Bo Friberg, original “Joy of Cooking”  and General Mills professional recipes. All the ingredients were the same more or less except one.  Here is what I found.

Sifted cake flour was recommended by all ranging from 1 to 1 1/2 cups.

Sugar was almost always processed to make it finer.  We used a special fine sugar in the bakery known as bakers sugar.  Using a food processor to process the sugar accomplishes this.  Amounts ran from  1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups on average. Continue reading

Almond Macaroons

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Almond MacaroonsAlmond Macaroons are simplicity itself and one of the easiest, fastest, most delicious cookies you can make.

Be sure to use almond paste and not almond filling or almond marzipan when making these.  Each of those has other ingredients in them.  Almond paste is made of almonds, sugar and almond extract with water to hold it all together.  It is very smooth and is used to make marzipan which in turn is used in Europe to cover wedding cakes and make shaped candies or candy centers.

It is possible to make your own almond paste and several methods can be found on the internet.  At the bottom of the article several sites are given if you are so inclined. Because we made a lot of these at the bakery we used pre-made almond paste and I still do.  Several consumer brands are available in my area, the largest being Solo Pure Almond Paste and Odense Pure Almond Paste. Continue reading

Lemon Blueberry Cake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

finished-lemon-blueberry-cake.jpegThis Lemon Blueberry Cake was the result of a client at the restarurant asking for something I hadn’t  made before.  These requests gives me an opportunity to think about new desserts that I might not have thought about on my own.

The only request was a Lemon Blueberry Cake.  How I put it together was up to me.  I knew I didn’t want to make a lemon cake with whipped cream and blueberries, so I thought about it for a few days and decided that it needed to be a light cake which dictated a chiffon base.  The white chiffon cake used for Coconut Cream Cake was the perfect choice. Light and full of flavor on it’s own it can take a strong filling.

For the lemon flavor, what could be more intense than lemon curd?  Bury fresh blueberries in the curd and there you have the perfect Lemon Blueberry Cake. Continue reading

Stuffed Focaccia

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2016. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

stuffed-focaccia.jpegStuffed Focaccia takes a bread favorite one notch  higher.  I came late to “The Great British Bakeoff” and have always been sorry for that. Unlike American baking shows that seem to care only about the glitz, this is actually a baking show. Anyway, when I finally arrived I loved it to the point I purchased a book from one of the shows.

This Stuffed Focaccia is from, “The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking”. As usual I have altered it somewhat, most notably the filling. Mike absolutely loves it. Continue reading