Tag Archives: decorating

Almond Cake with Chocolate Frosting

12 Feb

This is more of a concept than a recipe, but I’ll at least post enough for you to re-create it on your own, if you were so inclined.

I’d really like to work more on my presentation skills, but I’m pretty terrible at decorating. Any time I serve up a dessert that looks like a big ole delicious mess of chocolate, I typically huff and puff and said something like, ‘It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it only matter that it tastes delicious!’ But seriously, it’s time to step it up a notch. Though I do believe that taste is more important than looks, it also doesn’t hurt to look pretty.

I got this idea from a blog whose picture I saw on Pinterest. (Oh, Pinterest. You are responsible for my craftiest of urges.) The blog is in Swedish, but you’ll get the gist.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison so you can see how good mine looks compared to the original. Considering that’s a top-notch Swedish creation, I’m pretty proud of mine. I mean, Swedish and flawlessly executed design are practically synonymous. We’re talking about a people who have brought us Ikea, Volvos, and meatballs.

Not bad, huh?

When I saw that picture, I decided I needed to try out that frosting technique. And ever since I bought some almond extract, I’ve been meaning to use it for more than just the truffles that I messed up so badly I had to throw away. Enter almond cake with chocolate frosting.

I couldn’t find a recipe for almond cake that pleased me well enough, so essentially I just made a white cake and added almond extract instead of vanilla. So here’s the recipe: Use whatever cake recipe or mix you like, add some almond extract, and taste the batter until you like it. I baked it in a springform pan so the sides would be straight.

Then I whipped up some of my Best Chocolate Frosting Ever. I spread a liberal amount onto the finished almond cake and then loaded the rest into my decorating bag. I used a #32 tip because that’s the biggest one I had, but really, you could use any large decorating tip. Betsy helped me out with this one by piping big dollops in a line around the rim of the cake while I went behind her with a spoon to flatten the drops out and spin the cake. Handy with two people, but certainly do-able on your own.

Dollop!

 

Spooning.

We left the center of the cake flat, free of dollops. I could say it was for effect, but really, we ran out of frosting. Looks good, though, huh?

Voila

I toasted some sliced almonds and pressed them into the sides, and voila – finished! (Actually, that’s not true. I burnt the first batch of almonds, toasted a second batch, and then voila.)

Yum yum

Enjoy this fancy cake served up right on fancy china.

 

Royal Icing

15 Dec

Royal icing is that icing on top of sugar cookies that hardens to where it won’t smudge at all. But it’s great because it’s not like a plastic texture — it’s still chewable and not crunchy. It’s great to use for decorating and gifting cookies because as long as you give it a day to harden, nothing will harm your decorations. You can also use it as a glue to attach decorations.

Here’s a basic recipe for you:

In a medium bowl, we added 1 large egg white (Betsy separated it for me — I ain’t got skills like that). I added 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (look for it on the spice aisle). After Betsy sifted 1 cup confectioners sugar, I added a little at a time, beating the mixture with a hand mixer until it formed soft peaks.

The icing dries quickly once it comes into contact with air, so you really should use it immediately. If you can’t, cover it with a wet cloth and leave it on the counter (not the fridge) until you’re ready to use it. It will last up to 12 hours this way.

You can add food coloring to it to make whatever color you want. If you want it to be white, I definitely suggest adding whitening cream because when it’s plain, it’s a little too grossly cream-colored to make nice cookies. Just don’t add to much or it might get too watery and drip off your cookies.

Snowflake cookie with royal icing and blue sugar pearls

Happy decorating!

P.S. If raw eggs freak you out, there are a million other royal icing recipes on the web that use meringue powder and water instead. Just Google search it and you’ll find one!