Stabilized Whipped Cream Tutorial

Whipped cream is a great addition to any dessert and even though I am allergic to dairy, once in a blue moon I choose to suffer the consequences just to be able to eat some. I figure the swollen eyes and headache are just temporary and since I don’t eat it all the time I can handle the temporary pain. Lol

One of the problems you will find with whipped cream is that it’s not stable. You can use it at the time you make it but it won’t stay fluffy for long. It starts melting. With Stabilized Whipped Cream you can cover a cake and use for piping on the cake or desserts.

There are a few ways to stabilize it. Some people use cornstarch for a quick fix. I am not a big fan of the taste but the others options used also run along the cornstarch idea. These other options include Powder Milk and Powder Pudding Mix. All of these contain cornstarch. Even if you use just confectioners sugar, you will find that there is cornstarch in it. For me the most stable one is the gelatin recipe, but as you know, I am all about giving you guys all the info.

Making whipped cream is not really difficult, but I do hear people that encounter problems like lumps, whipped cream that’s too runny and other issues. I’ll try to offer some tips that might help, but if you have a fail, just keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. My advice is to try again. Maybe you used the wrong ingredient, took a wrong step, or missed something. Try again! This is not a new recipe and it works for many, so don’t give up, and try to figure out what went wrong for you.

First for the gelatin, you will need unflavored gelatin. Knox Brand is the most easily found in supermarkets. Great Lakes has another one that is Kosher. A bit more difficult to find but you can always try Amazon. As an added bonus, gelatin is a good source of collagen. Great for skin, nails and hair. If you can’t eat gelatin, you can try Agar-Agar as a thickening agent. For Agar-Agar you really don’t need water. Just dissolve it in milk and make sure that it’s mixed well and then strained to avoid lumps.

Usually you want to sprinkle the gelatin evenly over water.  I don’t know about you guys, but somedays I am just not in the mood to take it slow and I just drop it too fast on the water. Unfortunately, if done improperly, it won’t soak evenly and you will get some lumps. These days I just take a fork and lightly move it to make sure it’s fully mixed. Once the gelatin blooms, it looks like hard jelly. If you want to be safe and properly melt the gelatin without burning it, you can cook it in a double boiler. Some people do it straight in a pan, but if you do this, you will need to cook it on low. You really don’t want to burn it. My favorite and fastest option is the microwave. I cook mine for 30 seconds. Just make sure that the gelatin is clear and fully melted. If you need to cook yours for a longer period, make sure to do it in 10 seconds increments. Once again you don’t want to burn the gelatin. Did I mention that enough? Lol

One of the biggest problems people encounter is adding the warm gelatin to the cold heavy cream. This is where you have to watch yourself. For making whipped cream, you need for your heavy cream to be as cold as you can. Usually it’s even preferred to chill the bowl as well as the whisk attachment. I usually don’t bother too much with that, but maybe in a hot environment it might be a good idea. When working with sugar it’s best to work in areas with air conditioner to avoid issues. If you add the warm gelatin to the cold heavy cream, guess what will happen??? It’ll start getting hard, because that’s what gelatin does when it gets cold; it hardens up. So you can’t let the gelatin cool down all the way because it will start solidifying and you can’t add it when is too hot to the heavy cream because it can get lumpy.

How do I solve this and make sure I don’t have a whipped cream full of lumps? I take some of the heavy cream and leave it at room temperature. Usually around a 1/4 cup will do.

Once I get the gelatin out of the microwave, I leave the gelatin alone and start whipping my cream. This will give the gelatin a few minutes to cool down some. Then once I get the whipped cream to the right consistency, I add the 1/4 cup of heavy cream I left at room temperature to the gelatin and combine that well. This is sure to bring the gelatin down enough so that when you add it to the cold cream, it won’t create lumps.

Another thing I do is to pass the gelatin/ heavy cream mixture through a sifter to ensure I don’t have any lumps in that mix. If you are using a stand mixer, you can slowly pour the gelatin on top of the whipped cream without stopping the mixer. If you have a hand held mixer, just make sure to sift the gelatin before you pour it because it’ll be more difficult to do, since we only have two arms. No matter what, if you watch the tutorial, you will see that I poured the gelatin/heavy cream mixture all at once. I was expecting this might create some lumps since I always use a stand mixer. I can honestly say that it didn’t have one tiny lump. All of it was super smooth. Still, I will advise to slowly pour the gelatin as you mix.

I want to clear up for those who are new to whipped cream, is that you should use a cream that has at least 35% fat in order to get the best results, especially if you want to use it for cakes. It’s confusing when you go to the stores and see all these bottles of cream and not be sure which one to use.

Here are some of the most basic ones but there are others I am not mentioning:

*Half-and-half= 15% fat. In the USA this means that it usually contains 1/2 whole milk and 1/2 cream. It’s not meant for it to be whipped, so save it for your coffee.

*Single Cream= 20% fat. This one has a low fat content. You can use in sweet and savory dishes but it won’t thicken when beaten.

*Light Cream= 18% to 30% fat. It can be used just as half and half and in the higher number of fat content it can be whipped lightly but is not stable. Some people also call this one Single Cream. The fat content will determine its uses, but it won’t ever work for cake.

*Whipping Cream= 30% to 35% Fat. This is where you have to watch for the fat. If it contains less than 30% fat, it will whip up lighter, fluffier and more airy. Great to use over pies and desserts, but the higher content of fat will mean stiffer peaks that are best for piping and covering a cake. So if you get whipping cream, make sure it’s at least 35% fat. Most whipping creams these days are pasteurized in order to extend their shelf life.

*Heavy Whipping Cream= 35% Fat I am adding this one on the list because it’s the one I use. I figure it’s a middle ground between whipping cream and heavy cream. The one I use has exactly 35% fat and works great! With that said, heavy cream is even better when it comes to stiff peaks.

*Heavy Cream= 36-38% Fat. You can also use this higher fat heavy cream for stabilized whipped cream. Higher content of fat will make the mix double in size and tends to hold stiff peaks strongly. This one is great to use for ice creams but it works great for soups and sauces as well without the risk of curdling.

Unpasteurized cream whips much easier than pasteurized. But these days you will find more of the ultra-pasteurized cream because it has a longer shelf life of 60 days before it’s opened.

Pasteurization is a process where they bring the cream to a fast heat of 167 degrees for 15 seconds then cool it down really fast. The ultra-pasteurization process brings the milk to a 280 degree heat and even though it kills bad bacteria, it can take away some of the creaminess in the flavor of the cream. Because of the ultra-pasteurized being heated to 280 degrees, there’s a cooked taste to it and less flavor in comparison to the pasteurized. Also the pasteurized holds better peaks than the ultra but that’s where flavorings and stabilizers help if you find only ultra-pasteurized.When you start working, make sure that the cream is cold as you start and as you mix. If it’s not cold enough, it doesn’t “whip,” it “churns” and we’re not making butter. I suggest to put the bowl and the whisk in the fridge so they’re cold as you mix. If you are in a hot environment, you can place a bowl of ice below your mixing bowl to keep everything chilled. And again remember that if you over mix your whipped cream, you will end up with butter, so keep an eye on it.

 

This is all basic information that is always helpful, especially for those of you who aren’t used to working with these ingredients. Another important piece of information concerns the sugar. You need to use confectioners’ sugar for this recipe. If you use granulated sugar it will give you a grainy whipped cream. I tested the recipe using Swerve Confectioners for a sugar free whipped cream and it worked really well. So for those of you who are on a keto diet or need to be on sugar-free diet, you can have your whipped cream guilt free! For those of you who don’t know what Swerve is, it’s a sugar replacement that doesn’t raise insulin levels. Usually you would use the same amount as you use for regular sugar. And if you want it sweeter, you can always add more sugar to the mix, no matter if you are using regular sugar or Swerve.

Finally you have to decide on the flavoring. You can use any extract you want for this. I prefer the Clear Vanilla Extract to avoid getting the brown color on the whipped cream, but you can use your regular Vanilla if you prefer. You can also make it chocolatey by adding cocoa or melted chocolate. The sky is the limit with this recipe but the downside to it is that it needs to be kept in the fridge. So if you don’t like cold cake you will need to wait till my next tutorial so I can talk about other options for dairy free whipped cream substitutes.

But for now I think this is plenty of information for you guys. So click here for the full recipe and video tutorial on how to make Stabilized Whipped Cream.

Click here to go watch Tutorial and see full recipe.

I hope you guys enjoy the information. I know is a lot of it but is worth the knowledge.

Until next Blog, Ta ta!
Edna

 

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Goop-Cake Release Recipe

What is Goop? Goop is a cake release mix used for pans so that the cake doesn’t stick to it. I am not sure who created this Goop Recipe but I know is old. I remember years ago working at a custom cake place. The baker had this concoction in a cake pan. She would apply it to the pan and never added flour on top like I used to do when I started baking. That was the way I was taught. You first apply a layer of butter or vegetable shortening and then add a thin layer of flour.

I never liked adding the flour because when the cake was done, I had always some of the powder on the cake and I didn’t like how it tasted. Probably I was adding more than I needed back then but we all learn as we go. I decided eventually to ask what they applied to the pan. That’s the first time I heard about Goop.

Goop has only 3 ingredients and it’s super easy to make. I get lazy sometimes and use spray on my pans but when I am making a lot of cakes, Goop is the only way to go. I always have the ingredients accessible and I can make as much or as little as I need too.

Goop will stay good in a sealed container for around 2 months. I live in a hot and humid area but I always have air conditioner on so if your house is hot, make sure to keep it in a colder area. Oil does get  rancid so keep an eye on that. If you smell something funky just throw it and make a fresh batch. If you prefer, you can save it in the fridge. You can use a pastry brush if you have one but if you don’t, use a piece of kitchen paper to spread it around the pan and it should work just fine.

Click here to watch the tutorial for Goop and to get the recipe.

I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Until next Blog.. Ta ta!

Edna

Moist White Cake Recipe

Moist White Cake Recipe

This is my favorite White Cake Recipe. This cake is moist and has a great crumb. It pairs great with anything but I love it mostly with fruit fillings. My favorite one would be Raspberry Jam which I do from scratch and I will share the recipe soon.

Here is the link to the recipe and the tutorial. Click here for, Moist White Cake Recipe.

Moist white cake recipeI made a step by step tutorial on this cake with very detailed information on how I make it. This cake will work great for stacking but I don’t suggest using it or sculpting cakes. Most white cakes tend to be delicate and crumb more than any other cakes and that is something you don’t want to deal with when you are sculpting a cake.

I will also add that this cake does shrink some and I don’t suggest to use it with cupcakes. If you live in high altitude, keep in mind that my recipes are not made in that condition so make sure to do the necessary adjustments so it works for your area.

I give a lot of extra tips in this tutorial that I use when I am baking cakes that you guys might find useful. So I do suggest to watch the video and follow the steps for making this cake. Click here to watch video and get recipe.

Remember, baking is a science and following instructions are important. I have made this cake many times and have tested different techniques and I posted the one I love the most. If you have your own way of baking and you get a successful cake, feel free to share with us in the comments! If it didn’t work, then make sure to try it my way.

Hope you enjoy the recipe! Until next time, ta ta!

Edna 😀

 

 

Mason Jar Cake Tutorial

I love Mason Jars. They are reusable, great for canning, jams and storing food. I found this website that sells caps for mason jars that I totally fell in love wMason Jars Recapith. They are called Mason Jar ReCap.

My 2 favorite ones are the one with the flip top and the one to pour liquids from, but they have so many other ones to choose from.

I made a tutorial on how to use Mason Jars for cakes. It’s a fun way to make cakes to take along or share with friends and family. And I will say that there is not one person that doesn’t smile when you share  a mason jar filled with delicious cake. Even if you have a cake shop, it’s a great way to sell cakes. They stay moist longer because they are sealed. Win win!

For this tutorial I used my Banana Cake Recipe. People are always trying to find ways to pair cakes with fillings and I am sharing one of my favorite ones.

I used sugar covered roasted pecans and caramel as part of the filling for this cake. I will be sharing the recipe for the roasted pecans soon. Basically I layered the banana cake, then added a layer of caramel then added the roasted pecans on top and finishing it with another layer of cake and buttercream.

You can use any buttercream you like for mason jars. Even soft icing will do great since the jar holds everything together. For banana cake you can use cream cheese frosting. I have a Crusting Cream Cheese Recipe but I have another recipe that is softer and has more cream cheese in it. I use it mostly as a filling but it’s great to use in jars as buttercream, (click here for the recipe) . I have made this cake using Suspiro recipe too and it’s delicious. You can also use Wilton whipped buttercream that is sold in a box if you want a fast fix on a lazy day. There are so many options, you can choose what you enjoy the most!

I have a great recipe for Salted Caramel. But if you feel lazy, you can use caramel from the store. Just keep in mind that the caramel that is sold in supermarkets tends to be too soft for cake fillings. It works great for jars because the jar holds the cake in place but in a regular cake, it might be too soft and make the layers slippery.

I sent an email to the company and got a 25% discount for you guys if you are interested on getting some of the Mason Jar Recap lids. The coupon is good until May 20, 2017. You can visit their website at: www.masonjars.com

 

Here is the tutorial posted below. It will be also posted in my website under this link: http://www.designmeacake.com/mason-jar-tutorial

 

Hope you enjoy this Blog and tutorial. Until next time..ta ta!

Edna 🙂

White Chocolate Fondant

White Chocolate FondantI finally did the tutorial for my White Chocolate Fondant. I love this recipe. The chocolate added to it makes the fondant pliable without being too soft. Since white chocolate has a light flavor, you can still add your own flavoring to this recipe plus you can make the fondant at the consistency you  like.

In the tutorial I give all the information you need to make the fondant. Without the chocolate, the recipe still gives you a basic fondant. But adding the chocolate makes it so much better. One thing I do want to make clear. Not all chocolates are the same, so having a good quality chocolate makes a big difference. I use White Chocolate Melts from Guittard. These are a compound coating but is one of the best out there. It’s really delicious and melts like a dream.  It’s important to use a good quality chocolate that is made for melting or if you use a compound coating, it should be of good quality too.

chocolate chipsI don’t recommend using chocolate chips since they are made for high temperatures and won’t start melting until they have reach 350 degrees. Plus the wax they are coated with doesn’t really make for the best melted chocolate. But I am sure some people will try them. Other good quality chocolates brands are Valrhona and Callebaut. I am sure there are other great quality chocolate companies out there that I haven’t used but I have used Guittard and love the product so I will stick to using it.

Since I  know there are followers from almost everywhere in the world, I won’t be able to test all the chocolates or melts out there to know the outcome of each of them. I did go to the supermarket and bought a few brands available there. They might not be the best out there but they are the most accessible to everyone.

Bakers

Baker’s Premium White Chocolate is a very common baking brand chocolate found easily in most supermarkets. Taste wise it’s less tasty than the Guittard melts. But I was able to use it in the recipe. I found out that for this one I had to reduce the Glycerine to 1 tablespoon, use 1 Tablespoon of Tylose instead of a teaspoon and I had to use more sugar. to get the consistency I like. Overall, it works well if you adjust the ingredients.

 

ghirardelli

 

The Ghirardelli Premium Bar for baking worked well. I did the same exchange of ingredients as Baker’s and I got a pretty good outcome. This one also used a bit more sugar too than what I normally use with Guittard. But just like Baker’s, the recipe turned out well.

My next test was Ghirardelli Candy Making for Dipping.
Ghirardelli melts

 

 

These wafers do taste really good in comparison to  the bars from Baker’s and Ghirardelli. I did stick to using less glycerine and more tylose with them and the fondant works pretty good too. From the supermarket brands, this one was my top favorite.

 

Next, I decided to test Wilton Candy Melt, these are a compound coating too ].
I did want to test them because they are easily found in crafts centers in the Wilton section. I tested these before the other chocolate brands from the supermarkets.
Wilton Candy melts 2My first try was a complete fail. The fondant felt grainy and was not elastic. I was not happy about the outcome. That’s when I decided to lower the Glycerine and add more tylose to the recipe. The second batch worked well with the changes and that’s when I decided to do the same with all the supermarket brands.

My suggestions are:
*Try to use a good quality chocolate or a good quality compound coating melt, it does make a difference. Use a scale to measure it.

*Make sure to melt the chocolate at a low heat or if you use the microwave, do it slowly. Melting the chocolate too fast can damage the chocolate, making it grainy and lumpy. If you use the stove, use a double boiler and make sure the water doesn’t get to the chocolate or it can seize. I will do another blog and talk more about this subject. Let’s go back to fondant talk!

The recipe I am giving you works great. I will add though, that athmospheric conditions might make a difference on the outcome. If you feel a grainy fondant, make the next batch with just one tablespoon of glycerine. If your fondant is too soft you can use up to 1 tablespoon of Tylose.

I know I will get a million questions about Tylose. Most of them will say, “I can’t find it Tylosewhere I live”. I haven’t tested the recipe with other products. I don’t like Gum Tex (personal opinion), and I haven’t tested it with other gum ingredients like gum tragacanth or CMC. I love my Tylose and I will honestly say, order some from the internet. It’s totally worth it! If you decide to try other gums, let me know the outcome. But remember, the recipe is made for tylose so if there’s a fail, you might have to adapt the amount you add.

Other things to watch out will be
* Don’t overheat the Corn Syrup. You want it warm, not hot.
* Make sure the gelatin blooms properly. Sprinkle the gelatin evenly
over the water.
* Don’t overheat the gelatin. You want the gelatin to dissolve and look clear.
* Make sure that when you start, you are gonna finish what you started. Fondant
won’t wait. It will dry out and be a complete mess if you leave in the middle of
making it.
* Work fast, the less air the less the fondant will dry
* Vegetable Shortening will help you with the kneading. If your fondant feels dry,
apply the shortening like it’s hand cream and continue kneading.
* If you have a fail, try again. Maybe you need to get a better ingredient or make
sure you are following the recipe. If humidity is not helping, make sure to lower the glycerine. It’s best to work in a room with air conditioner and if you have
huge humidity issues, then get yourself a dehumidifier. Sugar and heat don’t
mix so try to make your environment proper to work with sugar. You will have
a harder time with your work if it’s too hot.
* You will fail if you stop trying. So if you fail one time, try again and again.
I promise that it’s easy but you got to learn the process and what works
best in your environment.
* A scraper is great to use when you start kneading.

Bench scrapper

I did the fondant in the video manually so everyone could see how it can be done, but you can easily make this using a kitchen Aid. If you don’t like the microwave, use a double boiler. Everything is adaptable.

Once you make your fondant, make sure you seal it well in cling plastic and then place it in a ziploc bag. It will last just like any pre-bought fondant as long as it’s sealed well. If it gets hard after a few days, place it in the microwave for 10 seconds. I do that with all my fondants to soften them. It’s easier on the hands!

For the full recipe tutorial and tips for White Chocolate Fondant, click here.

 

 

I hope you enjoy the full Recipe (click here), and feel free to send anybody to my website so they can try it.
Until next blog….ta ta!

Edna 🙂

 

 

 

My Favorite Chocolate Buttercream

Chocolate Buttercream Recipe

Presione aqui para Español

Chocolate is my addiction! I just love it! I have a great recipe in my website for a Crusting Chocolate buttercream. That recipe is great for cakes that are going to be stacked and for those who need a strong buttercream due to hot weather or humidity. The high ratio in this recipe helps stabilize the buttercream.

The recipe I am posting here (click here for recipe) is a recipe that I use all the time for my personal cakes. It’s made with butter and no high ratio. It’s delicious and very easy to make. Usually I like  recipes that crust so I can smooth it almost to look like fondant. This recipe doesn’t crust the same as the recipe listed above, but it crusts enough to be lightly smooth out with Viva Paper.
If you haven’t used this technique you can click here to watchDark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
 tutorial about it.

I made a step by step Tutorial on this
recipe that is in a video on my website.
One benefit from this recipe is that you
can pipe beautiful borders with this recipe.
The cake itself can stay outside the
fridge for a few hours as long as you
leave it in a room with air conditioner.
If you live in a state that is colder than
Florida, you can probably use it on your stacked cakes. But make sure you do
a test before you use it on a cake for
a client. Just make sure to use
butter and not margarine when doing
the recipe.
chocolate

I love to use this buttercream with my dark chocolate cake recipe. If you love chocolate, this is death by chocolate. I will work on the tutorial for the cake and post it soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the recipe just as much as I do. Look below for the link to the recipe and tutorial.

Click here or on the photo to go to the tutorial and the recipe.

Chocolate Buttercream Recipw

 

Until next blog, ta ta!

Edna 🙂

 

 

Best Macadamia Nut and White Chocolate Cookies

Best Macadamia Nut & White Chocolate Cookie Recipe

Presione aqui para Español

I love macadamia nuts. My father got me into eating them and one of my
favorite cookies are the macadamia nut and white chocolate. I had some
of the ingredients and decided to make some of these amazing cookies.

Not sure who is the original creator of this recipe since it was passed to
me by a friend. But there was nothing to fix in this recipe. It’s perfect and
delicious. I am adding a few tips so you guys get a great cookie.
Click here for the recipe.

Baking Macadamia Nut & White Chocolate Cookie Recipe

There is a science to baking cookies. I read over the years people talking how
they want their cookies softer, while others like them crunchy. But the most
dreaded issue people face is, why did my cookie spread and now looks
like a flat blob?

There are so many reasons why cookies can go wrong. One of these reasons
will come from ingredients. Too much sugar can make a cookie spread.
But one factor that people don’t figure most of the time is the butter. Margarine,
for example, will spread more than butter since it is more oily and softer.

Another reason why cookies can spread is from putting the cookies in a hot
cookie sheet that just came out of the oven. The heat from the sheet will cause
the butter to melt before it has a chance to set. So avoid placing your cookies
in a hot cookie sheet or make sure to move fast if you decide to do this. Just
have the cookies pre-shaped so it’s a matter of placing them real fast and move
to the oven in a snap.

Sometimes people use too much butter or oil on the pan that can make a cookie spread too much while it’s cooking. I use the non-stick aluminum foil and it’s a fast clean up, plus I don’t have to add anything. The cookies don’t stick to it. You can also use a Silpat, (non slip baking mat), which is really good for this.

Make sure that you don’t over beat your mixture. This only creates air and that air can cause pockets that eventually just deflate. I usually tend to place my mixture in the fridge. Since the butter in the recipe is used at room temperature,
I want the butter to harden up so that my cookies stay fatter.

Best Macadamia Nut & White Chocolate Cookie Recipe

If you follow all these steps and you still get flat blobs for cookies, you can
either use half butter and half shortening. You can use all shortening too instead,
but if you are like me, you might not want to give up the buttery taste. If that is
the case, you have one more option. Lower the temperature of the oven. All
ovens are different. You would think that temperatures should be the same in
all ovens, but somehow things change between one oven to the next. So if
you have tried it all, and your cookies are just not cooperating with you, lower
the oven to 300 degrees. They will take a bit longer to bake, around 24 minutes
for chewy and 30 minutes if you like them crispier. And this time amounts are just approximations. Since each oven works different, just make sure to watch
your cookies.

There are many factors that can make a cookie recipe go wrong. This recipe
I am posting has been tested and it works great. So if you find yourself with
cookies you were not happy with, try the recipe again and follow the tips above.
I am sure you guys have your own tips so feel free to share them. In the
meantime, I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. (Click here for recipe)

Until next blog, ta ta!
Edna

Best Guava Pastries-Recipe

 

Guayaba Pastries recipe

Para Español presione aquí.

This blog is not about cake but I will talk about a delicious dessert that is loved by a lot of Latin cultures. Pastelillos de Guayaba is the Spanish for Guava Pastries. I grew up in Puerto Rico and my mother was the biggest fan of this dessert.

I was at the supermarket the other day and saw a box of these pastries.
I had not eaten one in years and I just decided to forget the diet and go for a
sugar high. lol When I got home and had some of the pastry, I was not very
satisfied with it. Seems they forgot to add the filling! I was totally disappointed.

I decided at that moment that if I wanted to eat a really good pastelillo, I would have to make it myself. I want it fast and making the dough is time-consuming. So I decided to go and buy some.
Puff Pastry from Pepperifdge farms.

I went to the supermarket and got some puff pastry. You can find it
in the freezer section.  When you
work with this product you have to make sure to keep it cold.
Once it gets too warm, it tends to stick. This happens because it’s
made of many layers of dough that has pieces of butter in between the many layers.

This dough has no yeast in it. All the leavening comes from the layers of butter.
Once you start baking it, the butter melts and the steam puffs the layers of
dough up. Making the pastries really airy, flaky and tasty.

As you can see above, it’s really easy to make these pastries. Basically,
you cut the dough in squares then add the guava paste on top. As an extra
flavor, I added some cream cheese to this recipe, but if you don’t like it,
you can dismiss it.

Another thing you can keep in mind is that you can use many other fillings
for them. Some of them can be strawberry jam, raspberry jam, Bavarian cream,
chocolate, salted caramel (click here for tutorial) with pecans, Nutella, pineapple filling (click here for tutorial), cinnamon apples, and so many others, that it will
take forever to mention them all. I grew up with the guava flavor and it’s
still my favorite.

Click on the photo below to watch the tutorial so you can learn the steps to
make these easy pastries. Below the video in the linked page you will find the recipe.

 

I hope you enjoy, until next time, ta ta!!!

Edna 😉

 

Simple Syrup

symple syrup

Where I come from we like our cakes extremely moist. I don’t know how many of you have traveled to the Caribbean and tried the well-known “Rum Cake”
from Tortuga.This cake is extremely moist, delicious and comes in many flavors
too. 

That is just an example of the kind of cakes we like in Puerto Rico; extremely
moist. Some people even use Brandy instead of rum. Personally, 
I prefer
rum better, but adding the alcohol is always an option. Cakes that 
are made
with just flavored Simple Syrup can be equally delicious.

Many of you have asked me: “What is simple syrup?” Well, this blog is for you. It’s just as simple as the name implies. It’s basically sugar and water cooked until the sugar is dissolved. You don’t want to overcook it since making the sugar too thick would be harder to get into the cake.

There are many recipes for simple syrup and all of them work. The most common one is in the ratio of 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar (225 gr) to 1 cup of water (225 gr). Some people make a stronger version by using 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water instead. You can always choose what would work best for you. I will write the full recipe in the website.
The video tutorial is at the end of this blog. Press here for recipe.

Learn how to make simple syrup for your cakes.

My recipe for simple syrup consists of 1 cup (225 gr) of sugar to
2/3 (150 gr) cup of water. I do less water in my recipe because this way
I can add flavorings to it. You can always add more water if you are not
adding anything else to the syrup. 

The next question I usually get is: “How much liquor do I add to the recipe?”

I can say 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup, but the problem is this amount will vary depending on so many factors. For example, if you use Captain Morgan Rum you probably will need less rum than if you use Bacardi rum because of the extra spices it contains. I like to use Bacardi Rum because it has a very smooth flavor that doesn’t ‘pack a punch’ as you bite in the cake. Then again, some people might want the rum flavor stronger and that is where things are going to change. Each person has his own opinions when it comes to taste, so the best way is to test it and see what you prefer to use with your own cakes. If you decide to try the simple syrup with Rum, try adding first a few tablespoons of the rum and taste it. From there, you can add more rum if you want too. Another great flavor to add is Amaretto.

Amaretto is one of those liquors that I usually add by looking at the bottle. Basically, I add the liquor until the syrup starts turning into a brown tint. Rum and Amaretto are the most loved flavors in my business. Even though it’s alcohol, by the time you cut a piece of the cake you will have the flavor but you won’t get drunk from it. It’s just a small amount of alcohol, unless your cake is soaked in it and you made the syrup too strong.

Simple syrup is mostly used in sponge cake since that particular cake tends to be on the dry side. The sponge soaks the liquor really nicely. But it can also be used with other types of cakes. Just make sure to test it. For some recipes a little goes a long way. Some people will use simple syrup when a cake didn’t turn out moist, maybe due to overcooking or a bad recipe. You can use it not only to ensure a cake is moist, but to help a cake stay moist for even longer!

If you don’t want to use alcohol in your cakes, you can always add other
flavorings. If you use extract, I usually just add another 1/4 cup of water to my
recipe or just make the basic recipe a 1:1 ratio. You can use juices too or even concentrated juice to give flavor. I have used strawberry syrup from my

‘Strawberries in syrup recipe’, and also concentrated orange juice with great success.

Coconut milk is still another option you can use. Lemon juice with simple syrup
makes a lemon cake sooo delicious. Again, there are so many options!

You can even add lavender, ginger honey and many other flavors to infuse the syrup.

Vanilla Simple Syrup

Vanilla Simple Syrup

 

Remember, you can keep your syrup simple with the addition of vanilla, but if you want to compliment the flavors of your cake just add extra flavors to the syrup. Simple syrup is not only used in cakes. Bartenders use it for drinks all the time. For those who will ask: “Can I save the leftovers?” Yes, you can. Some people will save it for up to 2 months in the fridge, but make sure that where you store it is completely clean or crystals can build up in it. I usually make it as I need it. It’s so easy to make.

You can make flavored syrups for coffee with leftovers too. For example, with vanilla, you can add it to coffee or tea. You can make syrup for ice cream or pancakes by adding simple syrup to jam. You can make some caramel or melt it, and add the syrup to make a soft caramel that you can pour over desserts or even coffee. This syrup has many uses. I have even used it to fix a jam that I overcooked were it becomes a bit too hard.

Raspberry Cake filling

Tutorial Coming Soon.

 

Another question people tend to ask: “How much syrup do I add?” You can use a pastry brush to add the syrup to your cake. It will add smaller amounts of syrup and you don’t have to worry about adding too much. Another way to safely add smaller amounts would be to use a spray bottle. If you are trying to make a very moist cake like the Caribbean version, then I suggest a squirt bottle, like the ones Wilton sells for the candy melts. With it, you can add plenty of syrup fast.

Typically, I layer my cake and add the syrup to both sides of each layer. This way I ensure there is moisture on both sides. Once I do this, I like for the cake to rest at least overnight, so the flavors come together and the syrup spreads through the cake plus, a cold cake is stronger, so you can layer it and crumb coat easily. In simple steps:

  • Bake Cake
  • Seal and place in the fridge before it completely cools down
  • Let cake rest overnight (it can stay in the fridge safely for 4 nights, SEALED WELL)
  • Layer my cake
  • Add simple syrup on both sides of each layer
  • Add filling
  • Give the cake a crumb coat,
  • Seal the cake with Saran Wrap so it doesn’t get all wet from condensation
  • Place the cake in the fridge either overnight or until it cools down enough
    to give a second coat.

Don’t leave the cake in a hot environment. A cool house will do ok if the fillings
in the cake are safe to be left out the fridge. Personally, I place my cake in
the fridge so it cools down. This way I can apply the second coat to my cake
very easily.

There is another way the simple syrup can be added to a cake. You can add the
syrup before the cake has cooled down completely and this helps the syrup
spread faster. Then you place the cake in the fridge sealed well. But you have
to keep in 
mind that It will be more difficult to layer a cake after the syrup
is in it, and layering the cake while the cake it’s warm can be a problem
since the cake is too soft.

Most of the time that I have seen people adding the syrup to the cake this way,
don’t layer the cake. The only have one layer of filling in a 4 inch tall cake.
Some people don’t like doing it this way because they feel the cake will ferment.
I have seen it done successfully but you have to take precautions if you do it
this way, especially in the hot summer days. Always do a test cake for the
area you live in to see which option works best for you. I usually work in
an area that has AC.

Vanilla flavored cake

Vanilla cake soaked in vanilla, almond, amaretto simple syrup.

It’s important to keep in mind that a cake that has been soaked or lightly sprayed
with simple syrup, will taste better by the next day. The reason for this is
because the syrup needs time to spread around. In the cake above you
can see patches 
of dry areas. That’s because the photo was taken as
soon as the simple syrup 
was added. After you let it rest, the syrup will
reach those areas.

 

Some options for chocolate cake can be dark rum, cherry syrup, Frangelico, Amaretto, Chambord,  chocolate liqueur or Kahlua.

For butter cakes you can use Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Chambord, Coconut Rum, white chocolate liqueur and so much more!

Once again, you can keep the syrup simple or you can add flavors to complement your cake.

For those who prefer a Latin style cake, I will do another blog dedicated just to that cake and I will go through how much syrup per cake you can add. In the meantime here is the tutorial.  Press here for the link to the recipe.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial.

Have fun with the recipe. Until next time, ta ta!

Edna 🙂

 

 

Best Salted Caramel Recipe Tutorial

Salted Caramel Recipe

I love the taste of caramel. When I was growing up, I loved sweets. But chewy caramel that sticks in your teeth is not something I enjoy as much now that I am an adult. So let me introduce you to the next best thing. Soft and delicious salted caramel. Here is the link to the recipe, it will be posted in my website.
Salted Caramel Recipe, click here!

This trend is already few years old, and many “food experts” might complain about how tired they are of this trend and how they think it’s overplayed. But let’s face it, why should we stop enjoying this just because people are tired of hearing about it?  If you are a true caramel lover, you will eat this, drink this and if you could find a way, bathe in it! lol

From ice cream, to coffee, drinks, cookies and all sorts of food, the salted caramel is not going anywhere. Caramel and cake is a match made in heaven. It’s great with a vanilla butter cake, but if you love turtle chocolate, then you can imagine how delicious this will be inside a chocolate cake as a filling, combined with toasted pecans. A very decadent treat for chocolate lovers.

Some people will tell you that making caramel is difficult, but I think that like anything else, all you need is a good recipe, good tips and a bit of practice. Yeah, you might fail at trying, but trust me, it’s the only way to learn. To be quite honest my first try was a complete success. It was my second try that failed. But I learned from it.

So let me see if I can make this easy for you, guys. Eventually I will try to do a video tutorial, but in the meantime, writing this blog will have to do.

For making Caramel you will first need a good metal pot. Stainless steel works well. It’s not suggested to use non-stick pans due to them being just lined with just a thin coat of the non-stick material and the experts say that the heat might break that thin coating and it can get into the caramel. I have a pan that’s made completely of a non stick material and seems to do great to make caramel, which makes me wonder if that’s okay to use because I’ve already used it! lol These days I stick with the stainless steel pot just to be safe.

Once you have your pot, you  want to make sure that you use a spatula that can withstand heat. Metal is no good because it can create crystals, and wood is not good either due to the high heat that is created by the sugar. I use a silicone spatula that I love and can take the heat. Make sure the pot you have is tall. Once sugar is hot and you add the other ingredients, the mixture will boil high and the last thing you want is sugar all over your stove, or worst, a sugar burn. Be careful, sugar is one of the worst burns ever. Have some cold water around for just in case. Oh, and a little trick, vanilla is the best medicine for a burn. It will heal it better than anything else. Promise.

First place the water in the pan. Then you can add the sugar. Some people will say that you can put the sugar alone with no water, and yes, they are right. But the water actually serves a purpose. It will make sure that the sugar will cook evenly. To avoid crystallization, you can add 1 tablespoon of clear corn syrup and 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar. But if you don’t have the cream of tartar, don’t worry, it will work without it. If you don’t have the corn syrup then you have to be extra careful so your sugar doesn’t crystallize. You want to mix all these ingredients and you want to turn your stove to high heat. Don’t ever leave it unattended. As soon  as it starts boiling you want to bring the heat down to a medium or medium high heat. This will depend on your stove. But I have pictures so you can see what you are looking for when you are working with the sugar.

Some people recommend covering the pot with a lid for 2 to 3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. The lid creates condensation that drips inside the wall of the pan making sure that no crystals are created. I do this and it works for me. But keep in mind that this is just at the very beginning. If you keep that lid all the time, it won’t let the sugar reach a higher temperature, something that it needs to do to create the caramel. Other people like to brush the sides of the pan to get rid of the crystals. If you rather use the brush, then go for it. It’s a matter of preference. Personally I place the lid until the sugar is dissolved.

I stir lightly the sugar to make sure everything is dissolved completely. But don’t do this for too long and don’t stir like crazy. All you want is to make sure that the areas where the pot gets less heat are dissolved. This brings me to another point  that I have to mention. Make sure the pot you use gets even heat from your stove.

Sugar for CaramelYou can see above the sugar is melted already and the center of the pot is boiling more than the outsides. I take my spatula and kind of push the outside ring towards the center very gently to make sure all the sugar is dissolved and the heat spread everywhere. Be very gently with the stirring. Too much will create crystals. Some people say to leave it alone but for me mixing it here and there very gently does a better job. So you might have to try to see what works for you best.

Sugar boiling for Salted CaramelIn the photo above you can see the sugar is bubbling evenly. I don’t use the thermometer  when I make this recipe, because the color of the sugar will be very obvious. But for those who prefer the reassuring presence of a thermometer, I added not one but 2 thermometers and I will explain why in a bit.

DSC_0402

You can see in the photo above that the sugar is starting to turn yellowish. We need the sugar to get to a golden amber reddish color. To get to that stage it will take a bit of time.
I suggest you don’t leave this alone at any point. You can lightly stir the mix to make sure it’s heating evenly. In here you can see the 2 thermometers.

Thermometers testing

In the next photo I place on the top right side, the reading of my digital thermometer. You can see that the sugar is turning more yellowish. Stay close because once it turns amber it can go from amber to red to burn in the blink of an eye. One thing I can say is, burnt caramel has no fix. The only one that gets to enjoy that taste is the trash can. So please, stick close to your sugar.
Now, if you look at the candy thermometer, it’s reading 220 F. But my digital one is reading 282 F. I love my digital thermometer. It’s very accurate. The other one works well but if it doesn’t reach the mixture then it won’t give an accurate reading. If you notice in the photo, it doesn’t reach the sugar properly. So this is my biggest issue with this type of thermometer. If you are making smaller amounts, it won’t reach the mix. So I usually stick with my digital one. Never fails me!

While the sugar is getting to the right stage, I make sure I have the rest of the ingredients ready to go. I put my heavy cream in a measuring cup and add the vanilla and the salt to it, mixing it well. Then I get 3 tablespoons of salted butter.

Caramel sauce, cooking the sugar.

Now we are seeing a beautiful golden color. See how beautiful this looks, bubbles heating evenly through the pan. You can lightly stir if you want. LIGHTLY!

Sugar at 320 degrees F

Here we begin to get that beautiful golden amber color. 320 degrees F. It’s almost there and will get darker in matter of seconds. Have everything ready to throw into the pot. Stir lightly to make sure the color is even.

Golden amber ReddishNow, here we go. This is the beautiful golden reddish amber that we want. It’s time to put the rest of the ingredients in. Take the pot out of the heat. Notice how much space I have between the sugar and the top rim of the pot??

Caramel, butter heavy cream mixture

Watch how high it boils after I place the butter and the heavy cream in it. You can see the line where it went to. Check the metal dot and see the distance of the mixture in this photo and compare it to the photo before. So please..use a tall pan. I don’t want people getting burned.

Once I add the butter, I use a whisk to stir the mix. And while mixing it I add the heavy cream and keep stirring. Then I place the pot back on the heat and mix it there for a minute or so more. Just make sure the ingredients are mixed and the butter is melted.Then take it out of the heat.

Hot caramel

 

Once you take the pot out of the hot stove stir a bit more and you will get to see this beautiful caramel color emerge. Don’t be fooled by how watery this mix is. Once this cools it will be a lot creamy.

Salted Caramel in Jar

I place the caramel in a Mason Jar since it’s meant for hot mixes. Be very careful pouring.
This is very hot so take precautions. The jar will get hot too. You will get around 14 oz of Caramel from this recipe. I haven’t measured the exact amount, so forgive me for that. lol

How to clean hot sugar from panSo now that you are done with the caramel and it’s cooling down, how do we clean this mess? Well, the easiest way to clean anything with hot sugar is to add water to the pan and boil the water. It will dissolve the sugar. And it’s very important to clean the sugar because any left on the pan can mess your next batch of caramel. So make sure it’s completely free of sugar.
Salted Caramel RecipeNow that you’re done and cleaned up. You can enjoy your delicious caramel. You can use this hot or just let it cool down. Store it in the fridge. Once you store it in the fridge your caramel will harden. You have many options now.
*If you want the caramel softer, you can heat it. I place mine in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds, depending how thick or thin I want it. You can heat more if you want.
*If you want it thicker, add less heavy cream.
*If you want it more like syrup, take it to the pan again and add more heavy cream to it. *For cake filling, you want it creamy, not too soft or it will be a mess in your cake. It it’s too stiff to spread you can lightly heat it so it’s more easy to spread but don’t add heavy cream or it will make it too soft.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial. Now, keep in mind that you might fail and get crystallized sugar the first time you make it. But read again all the tips and try again. Once you learn to make it, you will never forget. At the end of the day it’s just sugar!. You got to be the boss. 😉

Here is the link to the recipe. It will  be posted in my website along with my other recipes.
C
lick here for Salted Caramel Recipe.

 

Until next time..ta ta!

Edna 😉