April 8, 2010

On merging food with visual arts.

Posted in Links and Re-Blogs, Misc Musings tagged , , , , , , at 4:34 pm by Dani

A friend of mine recently introduced me to toxel.com, which is a fabulous website for killing time and general miscellaneous entertainment. A few weeks ago I shared with you guys a link to weburbanist.com. This is similar, but organized in a very different way, and I love it.

Today I opened up my RSS feeder and was thrilled to see that toxel had a new post up, and it was about cake! Have you ever watched Ace of Cakes on the food network? These cakes are like those from Charm City Cakes (which, in case you didn’t know, is the bakery that Ace of Cakes showcases). Check it out:

You can see the rest of the cake post here.

If you enjoyed that, maybe you’ll also enjoy this post, which is about food art creations.

I love food when it tastes good. But you know what I love even more? When it looks good too! Next time you’re making yourself dinner and have extra time to spare, try arranging your food the way the do on food competition shows; somehow your food will taste better. Presentation is 5 points, after all.

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March 23, 2010

On future posts, and also a correction.

Posted in Baking, Celebrities, Misc Musings tagged , , , , , , at 11:32 pm by Dani

First, and most important: I’d like to retract what I said about Gerard Butler being Irish. I just saw a commercial for him appearing on The Ellen Degeneres Show and they discussed that he is SCOTTISH. My bad. Still hot though.

Also, things I’ve already made, with posts coming soon:

  • Donuts (with bacon)
  • Chocolate and Cookie Dough Truffles

Also next week is passover, which means I’m going to be posting some passover-friendly recipes that are AMAZING, and in some cases family recipes. I know I’m going to be making a passover layer cake for my mommy’s birthday, which is going to be a complete experiment since passover cakes tend to be really dense (not at all suitable for layers). We’ll see how that turns out…luckily Costco has some really nice strawberries right now, so if all else fails I’ll make her something strawberry and she’ll be happy.

So stay tuned; there are some exciting things around the corner–I plan on posting the donut shenanigans on thursday.

If you’re looking for some internet entertainment (get your head out of the gutter, I didn’t mean THAT) I suggest you peruse this website. It has nothing to do with anything I’ve talked about on this blog, but they have some cool posts about art that’s going on right now, especially guerilla art and advertising. Modern stuff.

March 21, 2010

On layer cakes and Oreo frosting.

Posted in Baking, Cake, Recipe tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:46 am by Dani

A few weeks back I was watching the Good Eats episode entitled “The Art of Darkness III” The first recipe he talks about is for Chocolate Ganache. I had never before realized just how simple ganache is! Just bring together equal parts chocolate and creme. That’s it. No really, I promise. Don’t believe me? Watch it yourself:

That is it; I was hooked. I had to make something with ganache and it had to be immediate. So I went out and bought some prepackaged cake mixes (I’m usually very anti cake mix but the need for instant gratification overpowered the distaste for shortcuts) in white cake and devil’s food cake, a box of confectioner’s sugar, a box of Oreos, Ghiradelli’s 60% Cacoa chocolate chips, and creme. This is the result:

Cake

I'm into making things pretty. I only wish the frosting went on smoother.

What you’ll need:

(2) 8 or 9 inch round springform pans

(1) Serrated knife

(1) Electric Mixer

(2-3) Heavy Duty ziplock bags

(1) Pair Scissors

(1) Knife to spread with

(4) Long skewers

(2) Cake mixes, and any ingredients called for on the boxes

(1) Package confectioner’s sugar

(Approx. 15) Oreos

(10 oz.) Chocolate

(10 oz) Whipping creme

(1/3 cup) butter, room temp

(Approx. 1/4 cup) Milk

Optional: Food Processor, small pot, mixing spoon

1. Prepare both cake mixes, baking each in one of the springform pans. Chill them in the refrigerator.

2. Combine confectioner’s sugar and butter with hand mixer on high, add milk a little at a time until the consistency feels right. I’ve talked about this process before, and you’ll see it again because I LOVE FROSTING.

3. Put 6 Oreos into a ziplock bag, and crush against the counter or with the flat side of a knife. As fun as beating up cookies can be, please refrain from being too aggressive. If the bag breaks it’s not so fun to clean this up.

4. Add Oreos into frosting and set aside. Do not refrigerate.

5. Ganache time. Chop up chocolate either with a knife or food processor. Heat the cream barely to a simmer, and pour it over the chocolate. Let this sit for 2 minutes. As Alton would say, “Just walk away.”

6. If using a food processor, pulse it 2 or 3 times, or until the creme and chocolate are combined completely. If using a spoon to mix, quickly stir until the same blend is achieved.

7. Lets return to the cakes. Use the serrated knife to even out the tops, and slice through the cakes parallel to the bottom of the pans, to create 2 thinner layers out of each cake. I used the Betty Crocker mixes, and they held together great.

8. Pile up the cakes while the ganache it is still warm and liquid-y. Pour about 1/4 of the ganache over the center of the bottom layer, and spread it around, avoiding the outer 1″. Place the second layer over this, and repeat with the 2nd layer, then again with the 3rd. Over the 4th layer also add ganache, but this time spread it all the way out, and also coat the sides of the cake.

Cake Innards

Cake Innards

9. Use the 4 skewers to stab the cake from the top all the way through, evenly spaced, to keep the layers from sliding around as the ganache sets.

10. Refrigerate for a few hours, or until ganache is stiff and cake is solid.

11. Now you can frost the entire cake with your Oreo frosting, and use the rest of the cookies to decorate. I suggest filling a plastic bag with the frosting and cutting of 1/2 inch from the corner, and using this to pipe the frosting over the cake before trying to make it smooth with a knife, and putting the leftover frosting in the last bag and cutting off a much smaller tip to decorate. This is how I decorated, but you can let your imagination run wild.

Top of cake

Stay tuned for my next layer cake: Mommy requested one for her birthday, which happens to be passover. Should be interesting.

March 14, 2010

On my choice of a name.

Posted in Celebrities, Misc Musings, Rants tagged , at 10:06 am by Dani

I considered long and hard how to name myself on this blog. I considered using a username-style alias (waytosomewhere) or something meaningful and clever (Ms. Who). I went though all my dvds and my dvr trying to find a character I identify with. I briefly considered using my real name or my middle name. In the end I settled on Riley. Why? So glad you asked! Let me tell you:

Firstly, and most simply, I just like it. I’ve always had a thing for  androgynous names. Secondly, I heart the Olsen Twins, particularly in their television series So Little Time. And I always liked Riley soooo much better than Chloe. They use these pseudonyms in some of their movies too. One of my favorite scenes from Winning London is the one where Riley is in the air duct, and says to her designated cutie, “the name’s Riley, not ‘kiddo.'” That line has always spoken to me in a cookie-cutter-tweenie-girl movie way.

So Little Time DVD cover. Riley is the on the right.

In conclusion: Androgynous names = good. Olsen Twins = my preteen idols. Riley = the better twin.

And I leave you with this, the best cinematic scene of ALL TIME: