Sammy the Seal

Archive for the ‘You're a kitty!’ Category

THE final exam

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Wednesday, 7 May, 2014 at 21:47

exam gateau 1

I forgot about this, my capstone exam over four weeks ago. B+ on the practical,written bumped it up to an A- though. I was hoping for a B- on the practical, so a mildly nice surprise. Cardamom genoise, filled with lemon curd and lemon-zested italian meringue buttercream. The filigree was slightly out of temper, at least my curls were good. The ganache for the rosettes (not the pour) was slightly broken, damn it.

exam desserts 1

Ginger bavarian with lemon gêlée, ginger was weak though, boo hoo. There was supposed to be a raspberry underneath the gêlée but due to a misunderstanding, my chef didn’t have them that day. So I thought I’d use them as a garnish, but he forgot them the second day. Not blaming, just explaining why it looks so plain. The red was supposed to make it pop a little. It doesn’t look as bad as I thought, for something with color. The crème brulée had a soupçon of both ginger and cardamom. Unfortunately I had to rush to get everything done on time, so that last couple weren’t burned so well. Oh, and the lemon zest kitty tuile. Which fell over. Nice job distributing the caramel sauce, eh?

exam desserts 2

That’s better, slightly. Hide it….

exam croissants

And croissants. No cross-section, I forgot to get one. Not so thrilling to look at. Yes, that’s how they look. They were arranged more nicely, but I didn’t get to photograph before they were disassembled (for grading).

The model for the tuiles:

tuile model 1

If she were really the model, the tuiles would been fatter. But then they would’ve dwarfed the dessert. The inspiration, anyway.

tuile model 3

One last time:

exam gateau 2

Fun time, school, but exhausting. At least now I’m getting paid, rather than paying, to wake up early.


Peppermint red velvet cake

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Sunday, 22 December, 2013 at 13:09

peppermint red velvet cake 1

Red velvet cake, italian buttercream flavored with peppermint oil and pulverized candy cane bits folded in. Not surprisingly, this was for a holiday function. Despite my indifference/relative lack of enthusiasm for chocolate cake, I quite enjoyed this. However, I don’t know what the big deal of red velvet is–  it’s essentially chocolate cake with red food coloring! I think the use of the word “velvet” makes the speaker/consumer feel fancy. It’s chocolate cake, yo. Italian buttercream, however, always a good choice. It’s lighter and less sweet then American-style buttercream. (I like boiled icings, they’re fun.)

I often have trouble decorating and finishing cakes, mainly because I want something other than a standard type of border, rosette, flowers and such. Fortunately, crumb coating is easy and utilized all my extra scraps. But the rest took me a while. Thank goodness for my #96 tip. A smooth surface is nice, but I like texture. Plus, it hides any uneven parts, ha. That being said, I can’t keep replicating this, as pleased as I am with how lucky I got. I don’t want to have to resort to merely aping things I liked.

peppermint red velvet cake 4

The finishing part took a bit too. Simple worked better this time. I saved the larger bits of candy to sprinkle on at the end, but, having little icing left, I was wondering what to do to the top. Lines, flowers, rosettes? I kept changing my mind and screwing up, and the icing got soft and changed color a little from being piped over and over. It got so soft that I just decided to spread it on intentionally unevenly by pulling up at random, then sprinkled. The irony is that it had a better effect than when I was trying.  Messing up is great, eh?

peppermint red velvet cake 3

Once again, time to critique layering. It felt good, but somehow that bottom layer still got too much. But around the sides and on top, I thought I did well– not much thicker than the layers.

peppermint red velvet cake section 1

Unfortunately, the cake was still relatively cold, and I didn’t have a knife and pitcher of hot water, so this it’s kinda crumbly and ugly. I really wish I coulda sliced this when the icing was room temp.; with the exception of the bottom layer, I think it would’ve looked nice.

peppermint red velvet cake section 2

The slices look a bit classier though. With the close-up detail showing, I would once again like to thank my 96 tip.

peppermint red velvet cake slice 2

peppermint red velvet cake slice 1

peppermint red velvet cake slice 3

Unintended crumbing creates cute, photogenic touch:

peppermint red velvet cake slice 4

I think this is one of my better cakes, by far, even if the cake and icing was still a bit firm for cutting purposes. Oh well, can’t have everything.

peppermint red velvet cake 2


Oh, hello there, princess:

cute furry cat 1

cute furry cat 2

Black forest cake, more laundry

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Friday, 6 September, 2013 at 15:21

black forest cake whole 2

This one’s pretty standard, as far as traditional components go. I didn’t do anything outrageous to it. Chocolate cake, layers brushed with kirsch dessert syrup, fresh cherry halves (macerated in kirschwasser for a few hours) on each layer, filled and iced with whipped cream, coated with chocolate shavings.

black forest cake whole 1

Unfortunately, I removed all the stems up front, I bet it would’ve looked better with them sticking up. It’s just as well, though, as I wouldn’t be able to close the box.

black forest cake whole 3

Layering was fine, as far as I can tell:

black forest cake section 1

That’s whipped cream for you. I suppose if I want it even messier, I could do devil’s food. I thought about, but was missing an ingredient or two.

It’s always a good time for laundry shots:

more laundry 1


more laundry 2


more laundry 3


Olive bread + cat on the counter

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Wednesday, 1 May, 2013 at 21:20

olive bread 2

Not too many photos are being taken this quarter. Bread and rolls aren’t the most photogenic things. There’s some olive bread though, doesn’t look too bad. I commandeered production for personal reasons.

olive bread 1

Not too bad, but not too sexy either.

olive bread 3

Now that that’s done, time for some photos of kitty wandering about on the counter:

cat on the counter 1

cat on the counter 4

cat on the counter 5

cat on the counter 2

cat on the counter 3

Pineapple cheesecake + almond meringue sandwiches

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Sunday, 31 March, 2013 at 23:33

pineapple cheesecake 1

With ladyfinger border, obviously. Oops, didn’t get any photos of it sliced. Would’ve been messy anyhow. Sponge on the bottom, then pineapple, then cheese filling, then the rest of the pineapple. It was a fluffy cheesecake, not a smooth one with clean slices. I’d think that’s because of the soft peak meringue that was folded in to the mixture. (Edit: after speaking with a classmate this morning, it’s also quite likely I creamed too much air into the cheese mixture, which is why it wasn’t so smooth; it wasn’t so loose, it supported everything, but it sounds like you mix just until blended, and I remember definitely paddling it longer than that.) A little sweet, it could probably have done with only about 60% of the sugar. The ladyfingers had to be re-done, because I left them in maybe a minute too long. They were done when I checked on them the first time. Darn. But I wasn’t about to have a dark, shriveled, ugly border on the cake.

pineapple cheesecake 2

pineapple cheesecake 3

That would be an interesting appendage to have. You can snack on it, or you smash it into people, à la pie-in-the-face, at any moment, and then regenerate it.

pineapple cheesecake 4

Everything looks so different at night, like a different identity. It looks more serious.

pineapple cheesecake 5

I had extra whites from making buttercream, and extra buttercream from the cake, so for utilization’s sake, I made some almond meringue discs to hold the chocolate french buttercream. That, and I wanted to use my new mixer again, and to make one last thing before spring break ends and I have little time to tool around in the kitchen.
What’s with the dang shadows?almond meringue sandwiches 1

A bit better.

almond meringue sandwiches 2

And with that, I believe I feel a yawn coming.

yawn coming

Yes, it’s time to go.

yawn is here

Apricot chocolate sponge cake

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Friday, 29 March, 2013 at 15:43

apricot chocolate sponge 1

That’s chocolate french buttercream (fun to make, very rich and evil– good to use on your enemies), and more apricot under the little grate. The very bottom of the cake was sliced off and crumbled up so the top would have some texture instead of icing alone. That, and having more sliced surfaces instead of a crust surface.

So, another practice cake. Instead of adding most of the sugar to the egg foam and saving a little to be folded in with the dry ingredients, I did a bonehead switch-up and went vice versa. Fortunately, the volume didn’t seem to suffer, though I wonder what it would have looked like had the sugar not weighed the foam down and deflated it a bit when it was added with the flour. When the cake was cut (it wasn’t for me, of course), I didn’t have a good camera on me, and the cross-section shot was lousy, but I could’ve put more apricot jam in the middle, as well as evening it out. I could see a gap or two of empty space. Tsk. But the layers of icing on the side and top were good, fairly even and not too thick. Also, I can’t get my dang rosettes right. Basic, and still inconsistent.

apricot chocolate sponge 2

And my shell borders are still too big. Keep scaling back pressure, as light as I can go. I like to think I’ll get it.

apricot chocolate sponge 3

But, life isn’t all bad, at least not for some of us.

happy sunny cat 1

Happy sunny cat.

happy sunny cat 2

Raspberry bavarian charlotte (not mine)

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Sunday, 3 February, 2013 at 22:08

raspberry charlotte 1

This was made by a classmate, for production. I really don’t need more dessert, but I ended up buying this because, 1) it looked wonderful, and 2) it was marked down on Friday to get rid of it for the weekend. There was one other one, that didn’t have the gelee run out a little, but one of the chocolate strips fell over and raked across the whipped cream rosette. So I went with the unblemished finish. Just gorgeous. Delicious too, even though I really need to stop my stomach from sticking out even more.

The plastic ring was removed, and unfortunately some of the ladyfingers stuck to it, so it’s not as perfect as before.

raspberry charlotte 2

raspberry charlotte 3

raspberry charlotte sliced

Why stop at pretty dessert? How about some pretty cat:

The seldom-seen box cat.

The mythical box-cat.

morning lounge stare

morning lounge

Chocolate cherry cupcakes, cat condo

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Wednesday, 8 August, 2012 at 13:07

chocolate cherry cupcakes 2

A going-away occasion. Any time I make something with chocolate, you can bet it’s for someone else’s sake. I think this is right, it’s completely from memory.

1.5 c + 1-2 T cake flour
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa
1/4 t salt
1.5 t baking soda
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c applesauce (substituted for butter)
2/3 – 3/4 c milk
~1 c cherries, pitted and minced

I beat the eggs with the applesauce, then sifted together the flour, salt, cocoa, soda, and sugar, then beat the dry ingredients it in a bit at a time, alternating with the milk. I beat it for a couple of minutes before stirring in the cherry bits, then baked at 375º for 20 minutes. The batter was quite thin (I thought cake flour was supposed to absorb moisture more readily, hmm….), but it turned out fine, as you see. Due to a distraction, I actually left them in 3-5 minutes longer. I wonder what things are like when you do them the right way. I suppose I’ll find out in school.

8 oz. cream cheese
5 T butter, softened
1/2 t vanilla
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 t unsweetened cocoa

Cream cheese and butter were whipped together a minute or so, then vanilla beaten in, then powdered sugar and cocoa sifted in. If only I’d sifted powdered sugar into my icings every time I made them, maybe they would’ve turned out as smooth as this. I’m wasn’t dumb, just lazy. Now I know better. It was very silky, a revelation. Then I just piped the icing on top with the star-shaped head. Pretty. The messy ones happened because I wanted to squeeze more icing on top. The swirls were clean, but small. And I couldn’t let well enough alone. However, I was able to pipe the icing immediately, instead of chilling like I have in the past. It’s likely because I added almost no liquid to the icing (I often add a little bit of some type of juice as flavoring), and because I sifted. Normally, my cream cheese frosting starts to thin as it sits, but today, at room temperature for a few hours, it held its shape. No melting or running whatsoever after more than four hours out, not even a hint of it. It could’ve sat for longer, I bet. Hooray for stabilized frosting!

chocolate cherry cupcakes 1On another happy note: cat furniture to replace empty space. She’ll need it, it’ll be boring and lonely enough for her when school starts next month and I’m gone 16-17 hours a day. Poor thing. Poor, beautiful thing.

cat condo 1

cat condo 2

cat condo 3

cat condo 4

I like the first two the most. I love her, she’s my best friend.

Garlic pesto rolls, impatient scones, a quick night drive

In delicious, experience, You're a kitty! on Monday, 30 July, 2012 at 7:39

garlic pesto rolls

If it can be done with cinnamon, sugar, and butter, and strawberry, why not pesto and granulated garlic? I think it was a wise decision to leave the grated cheese out of it, I don’t think it would re-heat well. Maybe put it on top, but not in it. They turned out well, maybe I could’ve added a little more of each flavoring. Also, I’d bought a very small (it’s a bit pricey…) collection of sliced saucisson to put on one end of it, but completely forgot because I was rushing to prep and cut the rolls before the dough warmed up too much and got even harder to handle. However, the rolls themselves were great. Very light browning (not visible here), light, soft, and tender on the inside. That’s likely because I used the dough hooks to knead, instead of using my hands and then getting impatient and adding flour to the dough, which needs to be moist and sticky. I’m pretty sure that was the difference here. (Even the cinnamon rolls, right out of the oven, weren’t too soft.) Funny thing is, right after, I got impatient with moisture again.

When people say “I don’t/can’t bake”, I sort of roll my eyes, because it just requires good sense and attention to detail and instructions. However, I can understand the patience aspect. I still fail on that occasionally. I made scones right after the rolls, but quickly lost my patience with the wetness of the dough and its lack of shape or even a vague sense of structure. (Not to excuse, but it was more moist than I can ever recall. Somehow, as I followed everything properly.) So I dumped some flour into the dough, even though in the back of my head I knew that moisture is needed for voluminous scones. Such a shame, as I had held my ground with the rolls. The first batch gained less than ½ inch in volume, but fortunately the second I got ½ – 1 inch, though still not as puffy as I’d hoped. It seems obvious, but when you know the right thing to do/not do, stick to it, regardless of what your surface impulses say. In the kitchen and in life.

That part didn’t work out so hot, but it was nice to get out for a delivery and get some night air. Ahh… Thank goodness for the fotogenic feline, something extra that’s good to look at is never unwelcome.

night rider 1

night rider 2

night rider 3

Nectarine tart, plum tart, squirrel cat

In delicious, You're a kitty! on Tuesday, 24 July, 2012 at 12:22

nectarine tart plum tart

Like I said, I just wanted to feel like a success again, even if it was easy and I’ve done it before. I added a vanilla bean this time though. And obviously, I used nectarines and red plums. I had at least a pound of nectarines, and about 3-4 plums. I wanted to overlap the fruit because it was so sparse on the last one. I sliced it all, then placed them cut side up in a casserole dish, sprinkled some brown sugar on top, and roasted them at 350º (or was it 375º? Oops.) for 25-30 minutes. All done the day before, of course. The nectarine looks a lot nicer below, the color comes out better at this angle, especially the first one.

nectarine tart 1

nectarine tart 2

The plum one turned out a bit mushy, so it’s not as attractive. They could have been cooked separately, and probably for less time, but I’m pretty sure I did this late at night, so I wasn’t going to wait another twenty or so minutes.

plum tart

And just because she hasn’t been around much lately:

squirrel pose

The squirrel imitation. The body is going two different directions on two different surfaces because it’s more comfortable that way.

all alone

All alone.