Seems like it was just yesterday when I was scratching my head at the Suet Steamed Puddings that Daring Bakers had us cooking up for the April challenge.  Time has passed so quickly!  I'm glad to say that this month's challenge was a no-brainer for me. I love working with caramelized sugar.  Plus, I get really excited over French pastries; making them, eating them, looking at them- I love it all.  I can see why the French use this as a traditional wedding cake.  It's delicious and so elegant!

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of   Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a Piece Montée, or Croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

These little cakes have been a long time in the making.  I guess you could call them my own personal Frankenstein.  I've been searching for the perfect salted caramel cupcake recipe and although there are some good ones out there, I've never found the holy grail.  I did find pieces and parts of different recipes that I loved and wanted to use again.  I guess you could say that I stitched them all together and what you see above is the delicious result!

I experimented with the frosting until it had the perfect taste and texture.  The recipes I had tried before were either too salty or not salty enough to carry the name.  I also wanted the cake itself to have a caramel element instead of just being a mere vehicle for caramel frosting.  I used a light brown-sugar cake recipe (which adds to the caramely taste) and added a rich salted caramel sauce to the center. 

As a finishing touch, I added salted caramel rounds sprinkled with - not salt, but large crystal sugar (it just appears to be salted *wink).  The salt is added while the caramel is cooking.

For the first time in many months, strawberries taste good again!  During colder weather when fruits have to be shipped in from far away places, they are usually much too sour.  I find them inedible.  In our region, winter strawberries may be perfectly red and beautiful on the shelf, but they just don't taste ripe.  Trickery!  I don't like it.

This brightly colored dessert caught my eye while thumbing through a magazine. The layering is what sold me completely.  On top, sliced strawberries are suspended in a layer of crystal clear ginger ale gelatin.  The bottom is a solid layer of strawberry puree. With strawberries back in season, how could I not make this?

If you are looking for something yummy to make for Mom on Sunday, then this may just be the thing.  It's practically fool-proof!  There are minimal ingredients and it takes little time to put together. It's incredibly rich and decadent, and gets an A+ for being a great chocolate fix.  The honey graham crust is the perfect compliment to the rich, silky chocolate filling.

Inspiration always comes to me in peculiar ways.  I recently began a large-ish project (I will share more later) and it made me think about a cake I made years ago.  It was a dome cake built in a bowl and I decorated it with some architectural-looking pieces of chocolate.  It reminded me a little of the Sydney Opera House. 

This past week I've been sifting through some favorite recipes and uncovered notes for coffee buttercream.  This made me think of Opera Cake since coffee buttercream is a component.  I consider it a very architectural cake since it is built from the ground up in layers of delicious almond sponge cake.  I decided to revise my previous cake into a more literal form; and to be perfectly honest, I really like the play on words!

I decided to add a chocolate Sydney Harbour Bridge.  I realize it's not geographically where it should be in reference to the Opera House, so please forgive me that small inaccuracy.  Just consider this a Sydney-inspired cake. 

Privacy Policy