Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bustier Cake!

This past weekend, I was charged with making a bustier cake (and a penis cake or, as I like to call it, a rocket cake) for a lingerie shower for a friend. I fretted for about two weeks, debating the best method, the right frosting, the decorating...I think I worried more about this cake than I did my last work interview.

I did a lot of research (google images) and asked for sage baking advice from Michelle at work (http://www.thelittledish.com/). The conclusion we came to was that baking the boobies in a bowl and doing a chocolate ganache frosting would be best. I lost my nerve on the ganache as I am completely inexperienced in this area and, as a last ditch effort, I went with homemade cream cheese frosting.

The first go at the frosting was lumpy and homemade-looking. Some quick thinking led me to the sink for some hot water on my finger tips. Using this method, I smoothed out the frosting to make a more professional(professional for me, anyways)-looking frosting. Eureka! It worked!

The final touch was the "lace." The design was ripped from a google image of someone else's bustier cake attempt.

All in all, a complete and total success! Angela, the bride-to-be, was a little skeptical when I told her I made it myself. I consider this the ultimate form of flattery. She thanked me for the cake, while I mentally thanked her for giving me the opportunity to bake something so fun!
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cake Balls

Welcome to my Sunday project! Have you heard of cake balls? I recently discovered these when I ran across an article on DallasNews.com about a lady in Dallas who makes these (and apparently we sell then at Neiman Marcus though I did look online and didn't find any). Since then, I've been talking to (some might say "bugging") people at work asking if they have ever had these, made these, and or had any advice to dispense before I got started. Well, I didn't get any advice at work, but I did enough research today to boost my cake-ball-making confidence.

These were pretty easy to make (though they do require a lot of chilling / freezing time), but the thing that frustrated me the most was the lack of real step-by-step instruction on how to make these so I'll be a little more detailed than usual.

Cake Balls

1 box, yellow cake mix (and the necessary ingredients to make that cake)
1 package cream cheese or neufchatel, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 12-oz bag of milk chocolate chips
Nuts or sprinkles or fleur de sel
Parchment or waxed paper

Bake the cake according to the directions on the package.
While the cake is baking, mix together the cream cheese and confectioners sugar to make cream cheese frosting.
Once the cake is done, crumble it in a large mixing bowl with the cream cheese frosting and condensed milk. You want it to have the same consistency as your cornbread dressing.
Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

After chilling, make little balls out of the cake mixture. To ensure a consistent size, you can use a tablespoon or melon baller. Place the cake balls on parchment or waxed paper.
Freeze for at least 4 hours.

In a small bowl, combine an even mix of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and microwave another 15-30 seconds. It's best to melt the chocolate in batchessince it does tend to be easier to dip the cake balls when the chocolate is warm.
Pick up a cake ball, drop it in the chocolate and, with two toothpicks, turn the cake ball to coat completely in chocolate.
Set aside on parchment or waxed paper and sprinkle with your topping before the chocolate sets.

Once you're done with dipping, let the chocolate set in the fridge or the freezer.


1. All the recipes I found called for either Almond Bark or Confectioner Wafer Coating. I think the consistency for Confectioner Wafer coating is a bit different from regular chocolate chips. You can get these wafers at the grocery store in the same section where you find chocolate chips.

If I were to guess, it would probably be more like the chocolate you get your ice cream dipped in at Dairy Queen. Next time I make these, I'll use the wafers since the chocolate chips made for a really thick coating. You can get these wafers at the grocery store in the same section where you find chocolate chips.

Additionally, if you want to do different colors, you can get the white wafers and color with oil-based candy dye.

2. You can make all sorts of flavor combinations. Check out these suggestions.
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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Whole Roasted Sea Bass

I hate to admit it, but I have no emotional ties to sea bass like some other people seem to have. From the way some people rave about it, you would think that not only did they eat that delicious sea bass, but they raised it, sent it to school, put an Honor Roll bumper sticker on the minivan for it, and walked it down the aisle. Not me. To be perfectly honest, I picked this up at these up at the store because they were on cheap (3 whole frozen sea bass for just under $5 - obviously not the fancy Chilean sea bass.) That being said, I'm glad I did.

Here's what I did with them:

Scaled & removed the fins
Seasoned with kosher salt (liberally) & freshly ground black pepper
Stuffed with flat-leaf parsley, rosemary, and slices of lemon
Drizzled with olive oil & lemon juice
Topped with scallions
Roasted at 450 degrees for 18 minutes
Served with salad & toasted french bread

Once you've cooked the fish, cut along the backbone from the head to tail to separate the flesh from the bone. You'll be able to lift the top fillet to get to the bones. You can then lift up the bones and serve the remaining fillet.

The sea bass I picked up was Ecuadorian. It's commonly used in ceviche. If you're familiar with ceviche, then you'll know that this fish is light in flavor and has the flakiness of salmon (not too flaky but not firm like tuna.)

For more flavor next time, I would probably use garlic oil instead of plain olive oil. You can make garlic oil by chopping some garlic and heating up some olive oil over medium heat, being careful not to burn the garlic. After removing the garlic, you could pour the oil over the fish just before roasting.
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