Monday, January 31, 2011

Macaroon or Macaron?

Chef Paul Kennedy - World Chocolate Masters Champion, told us when teaching us the fine art of the French Macaron, (yes it needs a capital letter!) that he divides his friends into Macaron friends and non Macaron friends.   You see, after you've had a few attempts at making this incredibly finicky biscuit, you'll understand why you will only offer them to people who know to appreciate them.  To those that think 'its only a biscuit' ....well, then they probably wouldn't really miss it.

Growing up, a macaroon was one of these things,

Sweet and moist with lots of coconut, they were consumed and savored on our way home from school in the family car.  I remember them to be large piped confections that we almost the size of my hand that I nibbled whilst wondering why my mother liked them so much....

Then whilst foodblog surfing in 2004, I discovered the French Macaron on a la cuisine (one of the first online recipes for the macaron) and then everyone seemed to be attempting them and singing its praises - well, back then, I couldn't really understand what all the fuss was about. 

The first ever attempt worked fine.... hence the incomprehension of what all the fuss was about.... the second attempt failed, as did the 3rd and 4th.  I even had my sister ferry them back from Laduree in London in order to compare them to my attempts.  Over the years though, I've been quite content to have my fill of them every time I visited Adriano Zumbo's in Sydney - (before he was THAT famous)    Still, making that perfect macaron shell was high on my list of to dos, so last year, the trip to Savour Melbourne took care of that.

This weekend I was delighted to share it with a lovely group of Macaron enthusiasts.

On arriving in the lovely home, I was greeted with a giant bowl of curious looking nuts.  (pardon me for going off track here)

I felt that closer inspection was required......

They are actually raw macadamia nuts.  I would never have known that was what they looked like growing on a tree!  And strangely, they have a texture like fresh coconut,  firm but slightly sweet and crunchy.  I learnt something new that day too!

Back on to the French Macarons.....

Demonstrating the Macaroner

Piping the shells with the help of a template

And finally assembling the biscuits.

We made Green tea, White chocolate & Raspberry and Lemon macarons.

The girls had fun and went away thinking about which friends were going to be Macaron friends.  So I told them, don't get too pretentious about French patisserie..... you probably don't need to go around correcting people of their pronunciation to the correct MAC-A-RON, as long as you know its spelled with one O, you're ok,
you can keep calling them MAC-A-ROONS.


And some more photos of the dessert table for Carol & Doug at Kings Park a couple weeks ago.

Photos courtesy of Jess who did the beautiful flowers

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Celebrate with cake

Having a public holiday in the middle of the working week feels surreal.  Wednesday all of sudden feels like Saturday and Thursday feels like Monday.....rather strange and disorienting.

Wednesday was of course, Australia Day.  A day to spend reflecting on how lucky we are to be living in Australia, good food with good friends and of course, in Perth, our once a year Australia Day skyshow.

Over on the other side of the country, the Dream Team at Planet Cake headquarters spent the week neck deep in ganache attempting the world record of reproducing a 1:50 scale version of the Opera House - in chocolate cake! 

The cake was unveiled yesterday on the steps of the opera house for sale to the public with proceeds going towards the Queensland flood appeal.

  Sunrise was on hand to capture the moment the cake was cut!

And for those of you who haven't been following the dramas of the making of this cake, here are some pics from the week of the giant opera house cake....

 Day 1 :  Here's Handi, helping and getting into the chocolate

Day 3 :  All ganached. Woohoo

 Day 4:  Go Dee!

Day 5:  The artists getting into the finer detail of things

(there is always time for a slice of cake!!)
photos courtesy of Planet Cake via facebook

Well done to all the volunteers and the team at PC!  A great achievement and all for a wonderful cause!

Last week the much anticipated Oprah's Ultimate Australian Adventure screened over 3 nights.
We were particularly excited to see the Melbourne episode as Handi was asked to provide a cake for the surprise baby shower.   In case you missed it, here it is!

Photo from Sharnel at My Life - My Loves who styled the party at Bebe

  photo courtesy of Handi's Cakes


This last week I also had the pleasure of making cupcakes to celebrate Jue's graduation.

A monkey with her graduation cap as well as Tiffany blue themed mini cupcakes


More cupcakes for Amelia, to celebrate her soon to arrive bundle of joy!

and last but not least, 

A huge chocolate cake for Josh's Australia Day 20th birthday.  Complete with his favorite pokemon characters.
Don't they look like they're poised for action??

For those of you in Australia, hope you enjoyed the mid week holiday with those you love in this great country of ours!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Outdoor Summer Celebrations

For those of you following my adventures in the pursuit of the sweet things in life - will know the dramatic lead up to this weekends orders.  But as I stepped away from the table after placing the last macaron on the plate and looked at my first dessert table, I forgot all stresses of the past week.

You may wonder, the pains and dramas of producing something beautiful only to have it devoured and gone in a matter of minutes - is it all worth it?

Well....yes, I think so.  To me, beauty is fleeting.  So for me, making a difference, no matter how fleeting, as long as it is memorable - it's enough for me.

Carol & Doug had a beautiful morning wedding at Kings Park in the Rotunda.  The bride chose macarons to match the colours of her bouquet by florist extraordinaire Jessie Anne, cake pops flavoured with tia maria and cointreau, an orange blossom cupcake tower and cranberry and white chocolate shortbread cookies.  All by the beautiful view of the Swan River on a perfect summer day!

Green - Matcha with white chocolate, Pink - Raspberry, Ivory - Lychee and Yellow - Lemon

The display from another angle!

I'm sure that Carol & Doug's big day sparkled brightly and was absolutely memorable!


Last on this week's program was Katie's bridal shower.  A private cupcake class was requested for 25 of Katie's closest friends. 

The ladies were taught how to pipe buttercream and make fondant roses and penguin figurines.
Hard at work!

The bride to be made this cupcake without taking her veil and gloves off..... impressive!!

and the other results?

and the winner of the best cupcake creation......

Glenna with her penguins in love creation!

Well done to all the lovely ladies.  Congratulations to the beautiful bride to be. Many thanks to the wonderful Amanda and Lisa for organising the tea party and Liz for opening her gorgeous home to host us all!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Patissier or Decorateur??

We're only a few days into the new year, and things have started taking off!

With some expert advice from the lovely Juliann of Sweet Petite Treats aka macaron master, I've been grinding through a mountain of almond meal (unground Australian almond meal produce inferior macarons - or so the French say.....) and trying to master the Macaroner... (the pastry technique and not the dance!)  Sigh!  I think I have to charge more for my macarons!  So, this week I am feeling more like a stressed out patissier, than stressed out cake decorateur.

I will share the photos when the morsels are finally displayed this weekend.

In the meantime, some cute monkey cuppies for those of you returning to work after Christmas break!

Ahhh....eating and sleeping.... well, that sounds pretty good to me right now!!


As you may know, Cake Love - Couture Cakes is the coming together of Glenda of Sweet Unique, Jo of Delectable and me.

We are so excited to announce a series of classes for the first half of the year at the Cooking Professor in North Perth.

We are running a series of cupcake workshops for those curious about cake decorating as an introduction to the world of cake, as well as weekend workshops producing beautiful designer cakes.

 Classic 1 Beginners - Buzzy Bees

Novelty 1 - Pillow

As well as series of themed cupcake evening workshops at The Cooking Professor and at Epicurious Subiaco (soon to be announced.)
We're also delighted to invite Handi Mulyana, one of Australia's leading cake artists to run a series of specialty courses in May.

 Handi designed this gorgeous cake especially for our classes.

Handi's classes also include

 Sugar flowers for beginners

 Piping techniques for beginners

My little fairy 

Novelty Handbag

More information and class registrations are now open through the Cooking Professor and the Cake Love websites.

Courses start 27 February 2011
Classes are filling quickly, and we would be absolutely delighted to see you there!!