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Share Your Love: Nov/Dec 14
Strawberry black pepper mousse with Fresh vanilla buttermilk cheese and Ras el Hanout peach chutney
by chef Tynisha Harris

Strawberry black pepper mousse
8 ounce white chocolate
3 leaf of gelatin
3 ounce honey
3 ounce egg yolks pasteurized
4 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon black beeper
1/2 cup dried strawberries

Bloom gelatin in Cold water. Melt chocolate. Warm honey just enough to melt the gelatin. And in the gelatin. Whipped egg whites until fluffy and yellow and then add honey mixture to egg yolks.
Whip on high until cool to the touch. Add in melted chocolate to the yolk mixture. Whip again until cool to the touch. With heavy cream until soft peaks. Add theheavy cream to the chocolate mixture folding it in gently.

Vanilla buttermilk cheese
4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients into sauce pot bring to a slight boil then allow to cool. Strain with cheesecloth overnight.

Ras el Hanout peach chutney
8 ounces fresh peaches
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup Apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Ras el Hanout spice

“Ghostly Pretzels”
by Franci Cohen

Combining sweet and savory, these clever dipped pretzels are an ideal Halloween indulgence, from certified nutritionist and exercise physiologist, Franci Cohen.

1 box salted pretzel rods

16 oz fine white baking chocolate

An edible ink black baking marker

Wax paper


1. Melt chocolate in double boiler or on the stove.

2. Dip 1 end of a pretzel rod into melted Chocolate to cover pretzel approx. 2" down

3. Lay chocolate covered pretzels on wax paper-lined tray

4. Repeat with remaining pretzels until all are covered in chocolate

5. Place baking tray in freezer for 5 minutes until chocolate hardens

6. Remove pretzel tray from freezer and using baking markers, draw scary ghostly faces on the pretzels.

Sweetheart Cupcakes
by Jen Besel, author of Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy!

Want to get the kids more involved in baking? How about Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy! by Jen Besel.

Developed specifically to appeal to tweens, teen and families, the book features more than 40 dessert ideas with step-by- step instructions and photos. Recipes include cookies, cake pops, cupcakes, tarts and more. While many of the recipes rely on mixes and pre-made components, keep in mind that the goal of engaging young bakers, is the key theme.

Sweetheart Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
Maraschino cherries
Cherry buttercream frosting

1) Spray an 8-inch square cake pan with nonstick spray. Make the white cake mix according to package directions. Pour 1 1/2c batter into the greased pan. (Save the rest of the batter for some extra cupcakes or another small cake project.)

2) Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clearm Let the cake cool completely.

3) Run a butter knife adount the edges of the cake. Lay a cutting board on top of the pan. Carefully turn the door and pan over together. Lift the pan straight up, letting cake sit on the cutting board. Then use a heart-shaped cookie cuuter to press hearts out of the cake.

4) Put cupcake liners in a muffin tin.

5) Prepare the chocolate cake mix according to the package directions. Pour 2 tbpn of chocolate batter into each liner.

6) Gently press a cake heart into the batter in each liner. The bottom of the heart should point down. Cover each heart with a bit more chocolate batter.

7) Bake the cupcakes at 350F for 24-26 minnutes. When done, let the cupcakes sit in the pan for 10 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before frosting.

8) Fill a piping bag with cherry buttercream frosting. Pipe a generous amount of frosting on top of each cupcake.

9) Put the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the chips in the microwave on hight for 30 seconds, stopping after 15 secons to stire. Gently dry the cherries then dip them into the melted chocolate. Finish each cupcake with a chocolate-covered cherry on top.


Sweet Potato Cake
by Wendy Paul, author of 101 Gourmet Cakes
Simply From Scratch

This is the latest entry in the “101 Series” from author Wendy Paul,101 Gourmet Cakes Simply from Scratch. While many of her previous books relied on box mixes as a starting point, this one, as it says in the title, eliminates the mixes and allows the true baker to shine. Recipes include a S’mores Bundt Cake, a Vanilla Cream Puff Cake and other innovative treats.

Sweet Potato Cake
with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

2 lbs. sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and pureed
1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. fresh ginger
2 tsp. vanilla extract


Combine sweet potatoes, applesauce sugar and eggs, ginger and vanilla until combined. In a separate bowl, mix together the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg. Add your dry ingredients to the wet, stirring until all ingredients are mixed well. Pour into 2- 9″ greased cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely.

Frost with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting. Garnish with candied pecans if desired. Refrigerate leftovers covered for up to 1 week.

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 lbs. powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, soft
3-4 tbsp. heavy cream

Cream together the butter and sugars, and cream until completely combined and fluffy. Frost your cooled cake.


Show Report: Sept/Oct 14
Highlights from the Summer Fancy Food Show

In the Sept/Oct issue we featured some of top picks from the show, but we just didn’t have room for everything. So here’s some of the products that didn’t necessarily fit one of our listed trends, but are still worth mentioning.

We featured coconut jam in the Sept/Oct Test Kitchen column, and while that product was out with Sylvia Wilson we discovered this product at the show. From the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Javara’s nutmeg jam is made with organically grown nutmeg by a community-based product initiative. If you love the taste of nutmeg, you’ll swoon for this. And, as with the coconut jam, the suggested uses are very basic—spread on toast or pancakes, use as a topping for ice cream, or use as you wish. But, as Sylvia demonstrates in her article, once you start working with these products, the possibilities are endless!

Superbutter is one the early entrants to the non-nut butter market. Now available in original chunky, original creamy, vanilla bean creamy and chocolate creamy, the butters are made from a combination of roasted sunflower, flax and sesame seeds.

One product that could seemingly fit with our Belly up to the Bar trend, might be these cocktail-inspired petits fours from Swiss Colony, using the Jelly Belly beans flavors and each topped with a Jelly Belly. The mini white cakes are filled with cocktail inspired buttercream and covered in “Swiss Creme” They include: strawberry with rum; margarita with tequila; piña colada with pineapple and peach bellini with peach schnapps.

Another beverage-inspired treat was another bourbon ice cream, this one from High Road.

Spreadable “cookie doughs” or cookie butters as they’re now often labeled, seemed to be a mini-theme at the show. There were options from Gooey on the Inside (birthday cake, key lime pie, s’mores) as well as The 3 Nuts cookie dough peanut butter, Bumbleberry Farms Molten Lava Spiced Chocolate Honey Cream, Nikki’s pistachio Macaroon coconut butter, Dave’s Gourmet oatmeal cookie butter and Amoretti’s graham cracker cookie spread.

Another mini-trend was "s’mores" with kits from Madyson’s Marshmallows that include chocolate chips buried inside the marshmallows, and Chuao’s Oh My S’mores milk chocolate bar. Hot Cakes and Moonstruck both showed s’mores kits and there were others as well.

Final thoughts: Look for flavored drinking vinegars, maple, honey, goat cheese and yogurt to feature more prominently in next year’s review. For example, I spotted a maple cube meant to be grated over dishes, just like parmesan. There was also maple seasoning salt, flaked maple and maple bitters. Both maple and honey are on-trend choices for those seeking natural sweeteners with a “cleaner” image than refined sugar.

The Business of Bites
New Mini-Treats from the Sweets & Snacks Show

The trend for small but sweet lives on with these recent new
product introductions from the Sweets & Snacks show.

York Minis won the Best in Show award for most innovative new product at the 2014 Sweets & Snacks Expo.

Bud’s Best Cookies come in several bite-sized flavors including “nostalgia” flavors such as Dreamsicle and PB&J.

Speaking of PB&J, Welch’s has its own line of minis, both in snack ball form and in bars.

The Mars Company has research that says consumers are “more interested than ever” in unwrapped bite-sized treats.

Peeps reaches for a year-round audience with its flavored line of minis.


Lindt has both individually wrapped chocolates under its flagship brand and …

…another line of mini-snacks including these chocolate sticks under its Hello brand.

You thought Mentos were already small? Think again!

Mrs Fields Nibblers currently come in three “fudge-dipped” flavors.

Drugstore chocolate purveyor Russell Stover turns the idea of mini-snacks upside down with its Big Bite line.



A Sweet Way of Texting
Pastry Text™ Silicone Molds

Pastry Text™ are hand-size silicone molds from the Chicago School of Mold Making that let you add a unique dimension to commonly used greetings. Made from high-quality food contact safe silicone, they can last for years.

Available in Happy Birthday, Congratulations and Happy Anniversary, they can be used with chocolate, sugar or fondant. The company is currently offering a package deal—all three molds for $50, a savings of more than 15%.

First Rise: ACD July/August 2014
Loreann Grimes’ Bacon Buttercreams & Bacon Jam

To finish her winning Amoretti challenge Cheddar Habanero Cake, as featured in the July/August issue of ACD, Loreann Grimes used two different buttercreams and a bacon jam. Thanks to all the participants in the Amoretti challenge at the NCACS show.

Bacon Habanero Cream Cheese Buttercream
1 lb butter, room temp
1462g powdered sugar
1088g cream cheese
300g Amoretti bacon extract
300g Amoretti habanero extract
1) Cream butter and powdered sugar together.
2) Add cream cheese in cubes. 
3) Add extracts and mix together.

Bacon Buttercream
480g sugar
180g water
362g egg whites
63g sugar
334g white chocolate
512g butter, room temp.
136g Sweetex (shortening)
3 tsp Amoretti bacon extract

1) Bring first amount of sugar and water to 240ºF.
2) Whip the egg whites until soft peak and add second amount of sugar.  (Usually start whipping the egg whites once your syrup hits 220ºF and the sugar at 230ºF)
3) Melt white chocolate over double boiler.
4) Once syrup hits 240ºF pour into whipping egg whites. Keep whipping until bowl is room temperature.  
5) Add in the butter chunks at a time and the Sweetex. Mix until blended. Scrape sides of the bowl.
6) Add the white chocolate and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the extract and mix until blended.

Bacon Jam
2 lb bacon, cut into pieces
2 large onions, brunoise
½ C apple cider vinegar
½ C maple syrup
¾ C black coffee
½ C brown sugar
½ tsp black pepper

1) Cook bacon until crisp. Drain off all but two tablespoons of bacon fat. 
2) Add onions and render.
3) Add vinegar and cook for a couple minutes.
4) Add syrup, sugar, coffee, and pepper and cook until thick.
5) Set aside to cool.

To Assemble:
Split the cakes and put the cream cheese butter cream down and then the bacon jam down between each layer of the cake. Frost the cake with the bacon butter cream.

First Rise: ACD July/August 2014
Juanita Holloway’s, Curry Bacon Chocolate Cake with HabaneroChocolate Frosting

Juanita took first place in the chocolate division of the Amoretti challenge at the NCACS with this recipe.

Chocolate Cake
Junita notes: I based this on a recipe from Allrecipeces but tweaked it.
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
2 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c warm water
1 c sour cream
Amoretti curry extract, to taste
Amoretti bacon extract, to taste

1) Heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 8-inch baking pans; set aside.
2) In a large mixer bowl add vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until well mixed, approximately 1 minute.
3) Add brown sugar and granulated sugar; continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed, about 1 more minute.
4) Add the melted chocolate. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
5) In small bowl stir together flour, 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to chocolate mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition.
6) Add sour cream; mix well. Then stir in the curry and bacon extracts.
7) Pour into prepared pans and bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean (about 30 to 35 minutes).
8) Remove cakes from the oven; cool 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans; cool completely.

1 c butter, softened
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
¾ c unsweetened cocoa powder
7 c confectioners’ sugar
Amoretti habanero extract, to taste
Milk – to your consistency.

1) Cream butter and melted chocolate. 
2) Add cocoa and mix.
3) Add confectioners’ sugar and mix.
4) Add milk as needed for consistency. 
5) Stir in habanero extract to taste

First Rise: ACD July/August 2014
Romona Flowers’ Apple and Cheddar Cheese Poundcake with Bacon Glaze

Romana Flowers took first place in the poundcake division of the Amorett challenge at the NCACS with this recipe.

Apple and Chedder Poundcake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 c sugar
6 large eggs
3 c flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 c heavy cream
1 ½ tbsp Amoretti cheddar cheese extract
¾ cups of chopped granny smith apple

1) Generously grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan. Do not preheat oven.
2) Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
3) Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.  Add the flour mixture and the heavy cream alternately to the butter-and-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.  Stir in Amoretti cheddar cheese extract and apple.
4) Pour batter into prepared pan. Put into a cold oven and set the temperature to 325ºF. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes without opening the oven door, until a toothpick is inserted into the center comes out dry and clean. Bake for additional 15 minutes if you think it needs it.  
5) Remove from oven and let the cake cool in pan for 15 minutes before unmolding. Once the cake is cool, turn the cake onto a cooling rack and make the glaze.

Bacon Glaze
2 tbsp butter
½ c granulated sugar
1/2 c of water
1 tsp Amoretti bacon extract

1) In a small saucepan, whisk together all ingredients over medium heat until the butter and sugar is dissolved. Stir constantly. 
2) Brush the glaze evenly over the cake. 
3) Crumble two slices of bacon and put on top of cake.

Cakes of a Different Sort
Some specialty cakes from the recent
National Capitol Area Cake Show

After putting the July/August “garden” themed issue to bed, we’re ready for a little change of pace from florals. So we’ve picked a few of the carved and novelty cakes from this year’s NCACS show to feature in this gallery, many of which were made by talented young cake designers. All photos courtesy of NCACS and copyright, Stringer Photography.

Alexis Harkley’s circus cake

Amy Recinos made some magic mushrooms.

Mya Recinos created a sweet woodland scene.

Jennifer Blanco’s bird-feeder design.

Johanna Daggett’s interpretation of the Easter Bunny’s visit.

Kaitlyn Wade crafted a lovable rescue puppy.

Karen Aigeldinger’s self-portrait in cake.

Melanie Loucks’ deceptively accurate pot pies.

Milaika Beg made a mug of hot chocolate.

Sheila Miller showcased her smocking technique on this little girl’s dress.

A Tip of the Hat
Entries from the “Head to Toe” category at the recent
National Capitol Area Cake Show

As a special theme, this year the NCACS show committee created “Head to Toe”, a open-style category where the only requirement was that the finished design incorporate both some type of headwear and footwear. The results were interesting and inventive. All photos courtesy of NCACS and copyright, Stringer Photography.

Diana Jordan made a four-seasons version with different footwear and accompanying headwear for each.

Lea Chapman’s entry was a respectful nod to the military.

Anshalica Miles designed a steampunk interpretation of the theme.

Maria Ferguson entered this sweet tiara and ballet slipper design.

We’re not sure if Norm Davis’ entry was meant for the "Head to Toe” category, but it’s just so delightfully odd we had to include it! He describe’s the purple teddy bear as a love child of Barney, a dinosaur and Winnie the Pooh.

Another crazily charming entry, which again, may or may not fit the “Head to Toe” category is Zane Beg’s “Babies Under Cover” design. Those stylish animal-print onesies count as headgear, right?

Kim Simons took the grand prize in the divisional competition with her “I am Crow” cake featuring her beautifully detailed work on the beaded moccasins, the bird’s feathers and the subject’s painted face.

Marilyn Bawol’s "The Young Entomologist" or (Firefly in a Jar) cake featured a sign with an asterisk near the title with a note that read:
“In honor of Womens’ History Month, this cake celebrates the fact that young girls can be more than just “sugar and spice.”
Marilyn harnd-carved the girl and cat, basing the girl’s face on that of her own graddaughter. Other materials and techniques include: The jar and eyes were made of poured gelatin for jar and eyes; molded gelatin for grass; rolled and pleated fondant for dress, socks, and boots; extruded fondant for shoe laces and unbreakable gel for eye lashes and cat whiskers; string work for dress top; gumpaste flowers for hat; marbelized fondant for rock; crumbled royal icing for base and airbrushing for color and detail.

We’re not sure if Mimi Hood’s “self-portrait” includes a hairnet, but we sure love her fuzzy bunny slippers.

The Next Wave
A new stream of talented cake designers
now on the market!

On May 2nd, twenty-four students celebrated their graduation from L’Art du Gâteau, the cake-exclusive program at the French Pastry School in Chicago, IL. These were from the morning and afternoon sessions of students that had started their course work in January 2014, bravingthe bone-chilling cold of an incredibly long and dreary Midwestern winter.

Nicole Williams with her wedding cake final project.

One graduate from each class was picked to address the group. Nicole Williams, a former hair stylist, represented the morning session. “For me it was a dream to bake cakes and wedding cakes,” she said, “a dream began for me 13 years ago. I knew in my 40’s I wanted to start this career. I want you to know dreams can come true and if you can envision it, it will lead you to do something about it to make it happen.”

Johanna Wyss addressed some theories regarding cake decorators in her speech: “We’re mystical artisans to some, bedazzling the public with our confections. This society. We’re mystical artisans to some, bedazzling the public with our confections. To others, however, we are mere peddlers of obesity and diabetes.”

She went on to add that despite what current trends may suggest, “the culinary arts isn’t one big competition; it’s one big community,” praising her fellow students for their positive attitudes, friendship and support and ending with the following call to action: “let’s go show the world what decorating-like-you-mean-it is all about!”

In addition to their well-deserved congratulations, all graduates also received a one-year subscription to American Cake Decorating!

Designed by Vineela Kolupoti

Designed by Kimberly Avila

Designed by Lametria Henderson

Designed by Nicole Casey

Designed by Marta Kantorowicz

Designed by Andrea Alverez

Designed by Ariel Zilist

Designed by Christopher Knoll

Designed by Elouise Del Rosario

Designed by Gabriel Aguilar

Designed by Lynn Moczynski

Designed by Vickie Mieske


From our November/December 2013 issue:

The Trendiest Treat of 2013

Chef Dominique Ansel, who spent seven years with the legendary French pastry company Fauchon and, after moving to New York, was the Executive Pastry Chef for Restaurant Daniel under chef Daniel Boulud for six years, garnered multiple awards for his work during that time. In 2011 he opened his own shop in Soho, but nothing could have prepared him for what happened this summer.

On May 10 of this year Chef Ansel introduced the Cronut®, a feat of pastry engineering that is almost as mind-boggling as the frenzy the pastry inspired. In basic terms the Cronut is made from pastry dough that has been sheeted, laminated, proofed and then
deep-fried. It is then filled with cream, a trick that’s also a bit
difficult to achieve in a pastry that has a punched out center
hole. Chef Ansel has noted that it took him many failed
experiments—10 different recipes, individual adjustments
to timing and temperatures—before he settled on a final,
proprietary process for the sheeting, lamination and frying in
grapeseed oil at one specific temperature.

Blowing Up and Backlash
The Cronuts, offered only in rose vanilla for the month of
May, sold out in 35 minutes on the first day. Within days, the
long lines for the specialty item had garnered media attention
and a limit had to be put on the number of Cronuts per
customer, as reports of Cronut scalping went viral. Soon
enough, Chef Ansel was called to task by some for creating
‘artificial shortages’ and deliberately inflating demand.
On June 4—less than month after the introduction—he was interviewed on “….people forget we’re not a Cronut shop. We are a French bakery…we have almost 100 different items on the menu. And with all the beautiful items that we have, it’s very important to me to keep our roots.” These include a highly-praised kouign-amann, fresh-from-theoven madeleines, and his home-town take on the classic Paris-Brest, dubbed a Paris-New York.

The media attention also drew commercial imitators, with ‘dossaints’, ‘frissaints’, ‘cronots’, etc. In late July Chef Ansel was interviewed by Anthony Bourdain, who took over Piers Morgan’s
TV show for the evening. Chef Ansel was once again asked about production—if people are lining up hours in advance, why not just make more? His response—that they started out making 50, then 100, and now they’re up to 300-350 a day—didn’t seem to satisfy Bourdain. “We’re not a factory. Sometimes there’s loss in the frying, sometimes in the finishing…there’s no way to predict exactly how many we’re going to be able to sell on any given day, but we are trying to keep up with demand,” Chef Ansel said later.

Building On Sucess
But to Chef Ansel the runaway success of the Cronut, while not
necessarily problematic, is incidental to his business plan. He’s
not interested in franchising and promises that his new cookbook
deal will not be a Cronut cookbook. “I love Cronuts, but I also
love to create new desserts. I don’t want my life to be managing
the production of Cronuts,” he said.

True to his word, in July—right in the midst of all the Cronut
frenzy—he introduced frozen s’mores,a vanilla ice cream based
on maras dondurma (a chewy, melt-resistant form of ice cream
native to Turkey) rolled in crispy chocolate feulletine and encased
in fresh marshmallow. These are stuck on cleaned willow sticks
and torched to order. At the same time this seasonal treat was
launched, he wrote in a food diary for
that he was working with his staff on their autumn specialties.

Chef Ansel also decided to use the power of the Cronut for good.
In August he teamed up with FoodBank NYC for The Cronut™ Project—using the hunger for Cronuts to feed hungry New Yorkers. For six days two passion fruit Cronuts, a flavor exclusive to the project, were available—one to the person who donated the most that day and the other to a random donor. The more times you donated—even at pennies per donation—the better your chances to win.

By September the Cronut frenzy seemed to have died down somewhat, as there were reports that on some days there were still Cronuts available at lunch time. In mid-September Chef Ansel worked with restaurateur Danny Meyer on a fundraiser for the New York City Police Department. At the original Shake Shack location in
Madison Square Park people started lining up at 4:00 am for a
Cronut Concrete—a one-day only treat of butter caramel frozen
custard blended with cinnamon sugar Cronut holes.

Lovers and Haters
While oddly mean-spirited coverage of the Cronut continued to
appear, Chef Ansel continued to do what he most loves, create new desserts. In early October, he gave a sneak peek via his Instagram on what to expect for his autumn/winter specials, which included an
amazing looking ‘snow-dusted’ pine cone pastry. In response to a
business writer who, during the height of the Cronut frenzy, urged
Chef Ansel to capitalize on his invention, he wrote, “This bakery
is my baby, my name is on the door and I don’t want to see it
scaled out and lose its charm…I believe a business should have
heart behind it. Customers can tell the difference. And as chef,
you want to be able to look at your fellow chefs and stand tall, not
feeling like you’ve sold out.”

So while the Cronut craze burned bright Chef Ansel wisely didn’t
let it turn his business, and his life, into something he didn’t love.
Instead he used his opportunity in the spotlight to continually
mention the range of products available at his bakery—and nab
a cookbook deal—making the power of the trend work for him,
instead of sweeping him away.

American Cake Decorating 2014 Editorial Overview

Here’s a run-down of what we include in every issue, as well as what to expect for the coming year:

Test Kitchen: We ask an experienced baker, cake designer,
chocolatier or sugar artist to try out a new piece of equipment,
tool, ingredient, etc., as they document their process to share
with our readers.

Business-Minded: Insight into the issues facing small- to mid-sized business owners including marketing, hiring, pricing and more.

Profile: An in-depth look at a key individual, with commentary
on how they built their business, what challenges they faced
and what they plan for the future.

Share Your Love:
Short interviews with two sugar arts professionals on their current inspiration.

Madeleine: A “stream of consciousness” interview with a sugar
arts professional on their taste and flavor memories.

Sweet Science: A more technical take on a specific ingredient or
process that is critical to the success of any cake, pastry or baked good.

By the Book: Similar to Test Kitchen, instead here the contributor
takes on a new release, trying out a project, method, technique
or recipe from the book to share with readers.

Work Station: Announcements of new products that have
caught our eye at shows or through press releases.

Plus: Every issue contains a showcase featuring individual design projects, a trend feature, tutorials, reports on shows or other events in the cake/pastry/sugar arts world, recipes, a Spanish translation on one tutorial and more.

NEW FOR 2014:

In My Kitchen: We talk to a cake/pastry/baking creative and ask
to take a look inside their kitchen—personal or professional—
where they can share what’s in their pantry, their refrigerator,
their tool drawer, or what’s on top of their counter, on their
bookshelf, etc.

First Rise: Short interviews with “rising stars” in the cake/pastry

Last Bite: A beautiful cake/dessert photo to close out the issue.
And: We plan to expand our international coverage, reach out
to a younger audience, renovate our website, build our social
media presence and launch a digital edition!

Showcase Themes & Deadlines for 2014:

Theme: Springtime Sweets
Editorial Close: IMMEDIATELY!

Theme: International Desserts
Editorial Close: February 28, 2014

Theme: Down the Garden Path
Editorial Close: May 2, 2014


Theme: Small Bites & Dessert Buffets
Editorial Close: July 7, 2014

Theme: Holiday Desserts
Editorial Close: August 29, 2014

Email us if you're interested in contributing!

Peach and Basil Cobbler
Makes 6 servings.  

4 large ripe peaches, pitted, and sliced into wedges (you can peel them if you like, I usually keep the skin on)
1 to 2 tablespoon fresh chopped basil
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons oat flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

2) To make the filling simply mix all the filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 

3) To make the topping, combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (this is a different bowl than the filling filling). Rub in the butter a little bit at a time with your fingers until mixture is crumbly.

4) Place filling in 8 x 8 baking pan. Cover with topping.  

5) Bake until bubbling and golden brown, 25 to 27 minutes. Let cool slightly.

*Differences from the original Martha Stewart recipe*

  • She uses sugar in the filling: I find that fresh, ripe peaches have enough natural sugar already and do not need any additional processed sugar.
  • She uses lemon zest in the filling: I personally did not like the taste that the lemon zest added to this particular recipe.
  • She uses all purpose flour for the topping: I use whole grain oat flour which is higher in protein and fiber than all purpose flour. In this recipe I also think the oat flour gives an added flavor that is delicious!
  • I also added a tiny bit more almonds because I enjoy the crunch texture!

Apple Cider Cake

This apple cider cake was featured in our recent Tidbits weekly email newsletter (sign up on the homepage, if you’re not getting it) and we got it from the website, SheKnows.

4 cups flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups applesauce
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 cans (15 ounces) solid pumpkin
1 cup apple cider
5-1/2 tablespoons condensed milk
2-1/2 cups chopped MILKY WAY® bars
12-cup Bundt cake pan

1 - Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt. Then set the mixture aside.

2 - In a mixing bowl, mix applesauce and both sugars together one at a time, add eggs and stir in the pumpkin puree mixture. The mixture should be moist and loose.

3 - Blend the flour mixture slowly into the wet mixture. Add apple cider until the mixture is smooth.

4 - Pour half of the mixture into a Bundt cake pan.

5 - Follow up with a layer of chopped MILKY WAY® bars and complete with the remainder of the pumpkin mixture.

6 - Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes and then check the consistency with a toothpick. When cake is done, place it on a wire cooling rack.Carefully loosen the cake from the pan and flip it upside down so it slides gently out of the pan.

7 - Heat the remaining MILKY WAY® bars with condensed milk in the microwave for 30 seconds and drizzle the mixture over the cooled cake. Add chopped candy pieces to top the drizzle.

Modern Art Desserts – A Beautiful Bite

The pastry chef behind the now-famous Miette bakery and the Blue Bottle Cafe at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art, Caitlin Freeman, has done many edible artistic creations, the most famous probably being her Modrian cake. If you'd like to try to recreate one of Caitlin's works of art, you're in luck. You'll find step-by-step instructions in her new cookbook, Modern Art Desserts (Ten Speed Press, 216 pages). Taking cues from works by Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Jeff Koons and Matisse, you'll find everything you need to make your own edible masterpieces. She even includes templates for several of the art-inspired desserts online.

Video Treats from Sachiko Windbiel

Sachiko’s charming fondant characters were featured in the Sept/Oct issue of ACD, where she also shared that she creates fun little stop motion videos featuring her designs. Check out her youtube channel for these, as well as her video tutorials on a range of fondant topper designs, including a timely ghost cupcake tutorial.

Food Coloring Options

In the July/August issue of American Cake Decorating the Sweet Science column by Junita Bognanni covers the emerging market for all-natural food coloring. While there are a growing number of commercial providers, if you’re willing to try “old-school” methods, Junita put together this quick list of supermarket-ready options.

Pink and Red: Beets, raspberries, pomegranate, hibiscus flowers
Orange: Carrots
Yellow: Saffron, turmeric
Green: Spinach, kale and matcha powder
Blue & Purple: Red cabbage, blueberries and blackberries

In the same issue, the Test Kitchen column examime working with natural dyes from India Tree. There are a few other natural resources you may be interested in:

Chocolate Craft Colors

Nature’s Flavors

Music as Inspiration

In the July/August issue of American Cake Decorating, chocolatier Frederic Loraschi described how he uses music to inspire him. One example he gave that we didn't include in the issue was how The Blush collection he did for Valentine’s Day was inspired by a song from Frank Wiedemann and Ry Cuming– “Howling” (Ame remix). “I thought almost everything about the song was sexy—from the title, to the beat, to some of the lyrics—and we took the title of the collection from the song’s chorus.”

Here’s a link to a youtube video for that “Howling” remix as well as links to the song’s he mentions in his ‘Share the Love’ profile:

Laurent Garnier’s “Jacques in the box” and
Loose Connection’s “Pusher”.

Cool City Chick Clutch
Refinery 29, one of our favorite fashion websites, recently ran a piece on the favorite handbags of five of their city editors. We were thrilled when we noticed that their London editor choose a DKNY clutch that is almost an exact match for the one created by Lisa Bugeja of Flour Confections in our March/April issue, just add the belted closure! Click through on the rest of the slide show to discover other handbags to use to add to your specialty cake repertoire.

Pick Your Palette
A fantastic slide show from New York magazine features key palettes from all the designers who presented last month. A great resource for putting together fashion-forward cake palettes for your clients. Click through on The Cut for additional fashion coverage from London, Paris and Milan. Just think of this as part of our ongoing fashion coverage from our own March/April fashion issue.

Your Bag and Your Body Language
The “Fashion’” theme of the March/April issue of ACD had us researching a lot of different aspects of fashion. We came across this post from
Refinery 29 about what how you hold your handbag and what it says about you. Because we have two different purse tutorials in the March/April issue, we thought we'd share this fun fashion-personality test! Image via Refinery 29. Adapted from body-laguage expert Patti Wood’s book Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma

The bitters assortment at Whisk in Brooklyn, via Robb Report.

More on artisinal bitters
The March/April issue of ACD has an article on artisinal bitters by Junita Bognanni. We didn’t have enough room to list all the many different suppliers you might want to try in your next baking experiments, so here are a few more.

The Bitter End
Brooklyn Bitters
Fee Brothers
A.B. Smeby Bitters
Urban Moonshine
Scrappy’s Bitters
The Bitter Truth

And for those of you interested in creating your own bitters, here's a recipe that attempts to recreate Abbott’s, a classic 19th c. bitter, developed by John Deragon, via Departures.

1/2 lb whole cloves
4 oz tonka beans, cracked
17 oz chopped ginger
1 1/2 oz whole cardamom
12 bay leaves
1 oz benzoin
22 tbsp ground nutmeg
2/3 oz cassia sticks
1/4 oz allspice berries
3 tsp dried gentian root
1 1/5 oz dried spearmint
1/10 oz whole star anise
1/10 oz dried lavender

Crush cardamom, allspice, and star anise. Add all ingredients to 4 1/2 cups of rye, like Rittenhouse. Seal in a Mason jar for ten days, shaking daily. Then pour through a cheesecloth to remove large solids and strain three times using a paper coffee filter, changing when clogged. Add 1 1/4 cups of water and reseal. Filter again after two days. Age the infusion for six months in a Mason jar with charred oak chips.

Photo by Amanda YC Lee, via I Am Playing With Food

Photo via Bad Joan

Multi-layered Flavors That “Pop”

Consumers are looking for bolder, gutsier flavors, according to flavoring company Comax Flavors, with a trend toward intensity and experimentation, boldness and clout. To get the impact consumers are seeking, flavors are being layered and combined in ever more intriguing ways. Following are some of their trending combinations that translate into a range of sweet options.

Peach Basil Black Tea--Check out Bad Joan's recipe for a peach and basil cobbler
Ginger Lime Chili
Cardamom Pear Berry----Check out Amanda YC Lee's recipe for a pear and cardamom bavarian cream cake.
Peppered Apple Bacon

Sweet & warm:
Butterscoth Coffee Crunch
Maple Bitters
Dulce de leche buttered rum
Flan de Neuz

Rich & smooth:
Pistachio Almond Cream
Pink Cherry Marshmallow
Black Russian Cappuccino
Dark Chocolate Bourbon Truffle


The Latest on the Paris Pastry App

Over a year ago we first reported on the Paris Pastry App, a collaboration between former Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz, who has lived in Paris since 2004, and Heather Stimmler-Hall, a U.S. travel journalist who launched secrets of Paris in 1999. The latest version has been completely updated with new maps, corrected text, and 25 new shops--all with reviews and photos by David. Available in both eBook and and iPhone app formats so you can read it on your computer desktop or any mobile device. Search by location or category to find listings, each with a full address and map link, closest Metro stop, phone number, opening hours, website link and, of course David’s review with photos. There's even a glossary of popular French pastry and baking terms so you'll never get your chausson aux pommes confused with your pain aux raisins again.

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A Pinterest recipe find: Minny's Caramel Cake

If you've read 'The Help,' or seen the movie, you know Minny could whip up a Southern meal like no other. You may want to banish Minny's Chocolate Pie to the back burner or substitute an ingredient here or there, however. Instead, bake Minny's Caramel Cake for a delectable ending to any Southern meal.

Click for recipe


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Cupcake customers bare all

Customers of a village shop and cafe in the United Kingdom have bared all for charity. Regular visitors to The Crafty Cupcake in Gamlingay decided to create their own Calendar Girls style calendar in aid of Parkinson’s UK.

Fay Boissieux, who runs the business, selected the charity because her father, Bev Keefe, suffers from the disease. She said: “Every year we try and do something for Parkinson’s. Earlier this year we arranged open gardens for the village and last year we had a burlesque. For 2013 we’ve done a calendar.

“In the calendar we are all girls – my staff that work for me and groups that come in and meet.”

These groups include a book group and the Crystal Cafe. Most of the associations that regularly stop by The Crafty Cupcake are represented.

Biggleswade photographer Darren Harbar donated his time and talent free of charge for the cause. Everyone spent an evening having their photos taken.

Fay added that although the women were a little nervous at first they were soon stripping off for the camera!

Scenes include reading naughty books, beating icing for a cake, looking into a crystal ball and using a sewing a machine.

And the models have already hit the limelight by being featured on The One Show on BBC1.

Click to read more


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Introducing the CakeOmeter

So, you don't own the correct sized tin for your recipe? Maybe you've seen a recipe but wanted to make it on a smaller or larger scale? Or even bake a novelty cake?

Problem solved!! CakeBaker, the expert in Baking Apps has come up with a brand new, nifty little App...introducing THE CAKEOMETER now available from the AppStore. Download The CakeOmeter from the AppStore Now.

All you have to do is simply enter your recipe, the existing and new tin sizes and up pops your new recipe AND new cooking time!

Converting a 5" square to a 12" round? Simple - how about an 8" round to a Hello Kitty Head? Simple! You can even store and print your recipe off!

Over 92 tins in 26 shapes
We have data for 92 tins in the CakeOmeter in the following tin shapes: Round, Square, Bear, Butterfly, Cross, Flower, Heart, Hello Kitty Body, Hello Kitty Head, Hexagon, Horseshoe, Number 1 through to 9, Rectangle, Star, T Shirt, Teardrop, Triangle. Whatever tin you have a recipe for or want to convert to - we have the answers!

We will be releasing the iPhone and iPad version of The CakeOmeter in December 2012. Click here to preregister!


retro cake

Simplify Pricing and Quoting with the new CakeUlator App

The folks at CakeBaker have been hearing from many cake bakers who were finding it a challenge to charge accurately for anything from a simple cupcake to an elaborate wedding cake. To address this, they wrote a web based pricing tool, with limited functionality, which is still widely used and receives great reviews.

They knew they needed to make enhancements by adding features –including saving recipes, multi-currency pricing and sending quotes. To achieve this, they have written a powerful iPhone app called the CakeUlator. The Android version is currently under development. Register here for 50% off the Android CakeUlator. The iPhone App is available now.


Frost by Numbers - how to make frosting colors

We found a fabulous cake icing color chart online that we thought we'd share... Now you can make frosting in amazing, contemporary colors - with just a basic box of food coloring.

Now that you're going to want to start experimenting with frosting colors, we thought we'd include some basic decorating tips for getting your frosting the right consistency and selecting the correct tip...


Submit your tips or ideas for 'tidbits' to


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