Strawberry-Champagne Entremet

strawberry champagne entremet

Given my love for fancy, multi-component desserts, it’s not surprising that someone gifted me a silicone mold perfect for making mirror-glazed mousse cakes. What’s surprising is that the mold has been sitting in my cabinet for months without ever having been used!

With all this extra time at home lately, I decided that it was time to take the plunge. Since we’re coming up on strawberry season I figured that I could use them as my base flavor, and when I found myself with a half-drunk bottle of prosecco I knew that I had a winning combination. After that it was just a matter of browsing recipes online to find components that I thought would work well together.

So what we have here is a strawberry-champagne mousse, encasing layers of white chocolate panna cotta, strawberry gelée, and genoise cake. It’s all topped off with a mirror glaze. The panna cotta turned out a bit bland on its own, but the mousse was delicious– the champagne flavor really came through– and the gelée was nice and fruity, providing a good contrast. While I was initially dubious about the sponge cake (it was a bit tough the first day), it softened up well and I’ve come to realize that a sturdy cake is necessary to keep its shape in a moisture-heavy dessert like this.

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Chocolate-Strawberry Pocky Cake

pocky-cake-caption

So remember when I made the three-tiered Pawprint Cake for my daughter’s birthday? At the time I wasn’t sure quite how much cake I would need in each color, so I ended up with extra layers– one 6″ layer and one loaf pan’s worth of pink cake, to be exact. I wrapped them in foil, froze them, and figured I’d find some other use for them eventually. That “eventually” arrived this weekend, when after buying several multi-packs of Pocky in various flavors to use for Valentine’s Day gifts for the kindergarten class, the teacher emailed everyone asking that we not give edible items for the occasion. (sigh)

Great, what was I supposed to do with 20+ packs of Pocky? Other than eat them, of course? But then it occurred to me that I had Pocky, I had cake, and I had Valentine’s Day coming up– of course I could put them all together to make a fabulous dessert!

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Reader’s Digest(ibles): Pink Molded Salad for Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

cabbage-molded-salad

When I was a little girl I greatly enjoyed reading the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, which featured chapter after chapter of misbehaving children and their hapless mothers who turned to good old Mrs. Piggle Wiggle for help. The cures ranged from “let the kids stay up late as long as they want until they’re too tired to do anything fun, so they’ll stop complaining about bedtime,” to “I’ll let you borrow my pig with lovely table manners to act as a model/shame your child into eating politely,” to “here are some magic pills that will turn your child invisible whenever he’s showing off.” The books were hopelessly dated even back when I read them– they all involved happy housewives and mostly absent husbands, and everyone wore gloves and attended luncheons and ate ridiculous 1950’s food. Which is what brings me to this, um… masterpiece.

Because really, the 1950’s produced some seriously awful stuff, and while I think that the foods mentioned in the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books were deliberately exaggerated (prune, noodle, and sardine surprise, anyone?), this one was just too bizarre-yet-plausible to pass up.

The table was decorated with pink tulips, a pink tablecloth, pink candles, pink napkins, and pink nut dishes. The main course was a maraschino cherry, walnut, marshmallow, pineapple, strawberry, cream cheese and cabbage molded salad, accompanied by pink biscuits. There were also pink mints and pink gumdrops. And luckiest of all, Mrs. Harroway just happened to be dressed entirely in pink with even pink gloves and pink roses on her hat. All through lunch she was so happy and gay everybody said, “You look adorable, Helen dear, I wish I’d worn pink.”

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Strawberry Sprinkle Squares!

sprinkles side

So as part of a summer celebration my office held an ice cream party– Ben & Jerry’s dropped off several quarts of ice cream, with a bunch of different toppings in more quart containers… more toppings than anyone could reasonably expect to use. The question is, what to do with the leftover ice cream and sprinkles, especially when the ice cream has melted during the course of the party and re-frozen into an icy, un-scoopable block?

That’s where I come in. After a fruitless few minutes trying to chisel off a chunk of strawberry ice cream for my own consumption (sadly, the plastic spoons provided were not up to the task), I got permission to take things home and transform them into something the office could enjoy. What did I get? Over a pint of strawberry ice cream, plus almost another full quart of rainbow sprinkles… What to do?

Cake, of course. Continue reading

Colored Sugar and Dahlia Cupcakes

dahlia cupcakes

You know how some people dream of shopping sprees in high-end boutiques or shoe stores? I dream of unlimited shopping sprees in cake decorating/kitchen supply stores. In my future dream house there’ll be a special pantry just for baking supplies, and it’ll be filled with specialty cake pans, every piping tip in the catalog, and a rainbow of sparkling colored sugars.

Okay, so most of that isn’t feasible (though I do have quite a collection of cake pans), but colored sugar is actually within reach, and I don’t have to spend $5 on a bag of each color just in case I might need it someday! Continue reading