Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wedding Barnyard Buttercream Cupcakes

So, I only helped decorate these.  I just returned from a few days in Denver, where I went to my friend Debbie's wedding.  She and her husband, Jose, served up these cute farm-themed cupcakes at their wedding.  They were a big hit at the reception, and I saw one little nephew snag a cupcake when everyone else was starting on appetizers.

Cupcake Collage
The decorations were made almost entirely of buttercream.  Or, But-R-Creme, as Jose, a food scientist, informed me.  Apparently you can't legally call a product buttercream if it's made with shortening and no butter.  I only helped with the easy parts, namely the sheeps' wool, the pigs' mud, and the grass.  Debbie and Jose did the detailed work... the faces, tails, ears, etc.  Both the wool and mud were piped without a tip; you just keep piping bumps without lifting so you don't get points.  The "grass" was piped using a grass tip.  And Jose used a finer tip to make the pigs' curly tails.  The chickens got little chocolate buttercream eyes.  But the eyes for the pigs and sheep... mini chocolate chips!  The sheep are my favorite.  Tweezers would have been handy, since I felt like my fingers were melting the chips.  It was a fun, late-night, eve-of-wedding activity.

Wedding Collage
There was no stuffy, fondant-covered cake for the wedding.  It was a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, personalized with a marzipan family of figurines made by Debbie, an artist and art teacher.  The family member on the left is Pork Chop, their cat.  The marzipan was colored and then sculpted and molded around a pretzel to stick into the cake.  Debbie told me Jose was hollow, which I thought was some harsh criticism before I realized she meant marzipan Jose.  The real-life couple looked amazing on their wedding day.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tastes Like Summer: Mango Sorbet

I make this every summer.  I know summer's not quite here yet, but it sure feels like it.  Sorbets are easier to make than ice creams (no tempering!) and also usually fat free, since they lack cream.  This sorbet has only four ingredients: mangoes, sugar, water, and lime juice.  Cool off after a scorcher with this one.

Mango Sorbet
To cube a mango, run your knife along the pit to make two halves.  Then make crisscross cuts on each half, turn them inside-out, and remove the fruit.  Cut the remaining fruit along the stone as best you can.  Puree it in a food processor, and add the sugar-water and lime juice.  I love this ice cream machine.  It's big and heavy, since it's got a built-in compressor, which means no advance chilling of bowls necessary.

Mango Sorbet1
Lick the beater, anyone?  I made a double batch and put it through the machine in two runs.  The finished product is ready to eat but should go in the freezer for another two hours.  I should note to the uninitiated that ice creams and sorbets are not an instant gratification thing.  You prepare all the ingredients, and that usually requires some level of cooking to dissolve the sugar and slightly cook any eggs in the recipe.  Then the mixture must chill in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, and overnight is better.  For a quick fix, 7-Eleven is still the way to go.

And those strawberries from my last post?  I was excited to find they're blushing a slight red and will soon be ready for the pickin'.