Chocolate Layer Cake

Cherry Cheesecake Squares

Posted on: August 17th, 2011 by amanda No Comments

Cheesecake squares are such a perfect balance between casual snacking and elegant simplicity.  When I got an order for some cherry cheesecake squares, off to the market I went.  Fresh cherries are one of my absolute favorite summer treasures, so an excuse to purchase some is never passed by.  In cases like these I find it is always best to play it safe and pick up a few more than you think you’ll need.  You just never know…..

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At first I intended to take the traditional route, picking up some burgundy rouge hued cherries and brewing them into a gooey cherry topping.  But those delicate sunset hued rainier cherries blazed in my eyes.  So pretty for mid August, they were worth the extra change per pound.  Once I got back to the kitchen, I just couldn’t bring myself to cook them.  They were so utterly perfect all by themselves.  And so pretty halved atop the cheesecake squares.  Fresh  cherries make the summer’s unbearable heat worth it.

Pretty Pink Birthday Cake

Posted on: August 13th, 2011 by amanda No Comments

Just finished a pretty cake for an adorable girl’s birthday party.  Lots and lots of  pink: pink ribbons, pale pink Swiss dots, dark pink script, and scattered pink buttercream flowers.

Happy Birthday Shea!

 

Cake Pops

Posted on: July 30th, 2011 by amanda No Comments

Cake pops have sprung up at the Sweet Ruminations shop.  I was a bit hesitant at first, they seem so…..sticky sweet trendy.  But then I broke down and tried one.  Now I’m hooked.

The magic of cake pops is that due to the coating, they retain moisture so much better than a cupcake or a slice of cake.  Pure brilliance.  So gooey moist, they can be made with just about any flavor, cake, brownie, liquor, or frosting.  And the sticks make them irresistibly cute.

I understand the skepticism.  But really.  It’s not just about the cute factor.  Its the moist, gooey cake jumble inside that is priceless.

For the uber mature patrons who do not desire to nibble on anything on a stick, they come without as well.  Most of internet desserteers seem to refer to stickless cake pops as “cake balls”, but I’m not a fan of the terminology.  So….at Sweet Ruminations, Cake Pops and Cake Spheres are now available for purchase or to order.  This week the shop will have funfetti, white chocolate raspberry, and (of course) triple chocolate.

If you haven’t indulged yet.  Do it.  I promise you will be glad you caved and went food-trendy for the day.

More Fruits of Summer Cake

Posted on: July 23rd, 2011 by amanda 1 Comment

When I hear “sheet cake”, the plain supermarket variety vanilla or chocolate slabs of cake, iced with artificial white frosting come to mind.  But sheet cakes don’t have to be boring.  Available in any flavor of fresh baked cake batter, garish or boring colored writing and traditional icing roses are not the only options.

The above cake is a simple no-sugar-added vanilla shortcake, filled with finely shaved strawberry slices, and frosted with real whipped cream.  The gorgeously fresh, gem hued fruit and elegant fondant plaque transform this sheet cake from break room  birthday cake to a cake suitable for an elegant affair.

Deliciously Fruity Summer Tarts

Posted on: July 9th, 2011 by amanda No Comments

Although I tend to gravitate towards my cake roots, all of this local produce deserves a bit more recognition than morphing into a filling or cake accent.  Accordingly, this week’s offerings are showcases for the fruits of summer.

Fresh baked shortbread tart shells are filled with refreshingly light whipped citrus mousse, and then loaded with fresh local blueberries.

And then there are the absolutely gorgeous local apricots that I simply can not get enough of this year.  Slices of their tender flesh are baked with a creamy custard and finely ground almonds, in a freshly baked shortbread tart shell.  Sprinkled with powdered sugar, the perfect treat for an afternoon summer tea in the garden.

Ultra moist carrot cake cupcakes, loaded with freshly grated carrots, ground toasted walnuts, and raisins.  An orange creamcheese frosting gives a gentle, unexpected twist to this healthy cupcake.

The lightness of Meringue  seems like such a perfect choice for summer pies.  Although often saved for lemon pies, it is just as scrumptiously refreshing atop  this Key Lime pie.  The creamy custard filling, flavored with freshly squeezed lime juice and zest, is a perfect match for the lightly scorched meringue peaks.

 

 

 

Patriotic Cakes

Posted on: July 9th, 2011 by amanda No Comments

 

Okay, I’m a bit late on the whole 4 th of July post, but I’m thinking of this as a 4th of July memory post. (Am I convincing anyone?)

(The famous Sweet Ruminations Chocolate Mousse Cake takes a patriotic spin, wishing everyone a belated Happy Independence Day!)

For a recent order I made a graduation cake in red, white, and blue: a color combination to honor the graduate’s high school of yesterday and the university of tomorrow.  The celebration was held at a picturesque bed and breakfast in Bucks County, PA.   An old stone farmhouse, horses, and a patriotic themed lawn party set next to a cute little pond.  Straight out of the pages of Martha Stewart. Wish I could have taken a couple photos, but I think it seems odd when the cake girl starts snapping shots of the client’s party.

(Only half finished here, I love the simplicity just as it is.)

(The finished cake)

Congratulations Meredith!

Best of Luck in your future educational endeavors!

 

Juicy Local Fruits

Posted on: July 1st, 2011 by amanda No Comments

Run, don’t walk to Solebury Orchards.  The best raspberries and blueberries I’ve had in ages.  Absolutely Delicious!

The tender apricots look delicately sublime too, but I think I’m going to save them for an Apricot Almond Tart recipe I’ve been wanting to try.  How could it not be fabulous?  Freshly picked apricots and toasted almonds…

And I know the beets aren’t fruit, but I love their vivid flavor.  Although I would normally cook them up in a pot of magic, and toss them on my organic greens with a splash of balsamic, a drizzle of honey, and a shower of goat cheese crumbles, these beets have a more exciting adventure to embark upon.

Dessert legend has it the (way over hyped) red velvet cake, previous to manufactured red food coloring, was originally a beet cake.  Sounds weird at first, but carrot cake comes from a root veggie too.  So I’m going to rewind the clocks of pastry lore and stain the kitchen magenta on a quest to discover the real red velvet ancestry.  I’ve read reviews that the recipes many have tried taste too “earthy” but maybe they just didn’t have that certain something.

While I tinker away, I implore readers to snap up some of these local fruits while they last.  I sadly missed the cherry sign last week, which I am devastated over, but hopeful that another local orchard will have a slightly later cherry harvest.

June Wedding

Posted on: June 27th, 2011 by amanda 2 Comments

Pretty shades of blue and green adorning 4 tiers of buttercream embraced wedding cake, for a lovely June wedding.

Best Wishes to the adorable  newlyweds Erin & Travis!

 

 

Strawberry Fields

Posted on: June 19th, 2011 by amanda 1 Comment

It’s finally strawberry season!

As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved strawberries.  As a child I would secretly dip them into the sugar bowl, to get that gritty candied crust just before biting into the berry’s juicy flesh.  I usually got caught when my dad went to sweeten his iced tea with a spoonful of sugar and discovered little pink sugar pebbles inside the urn of sweetness.  Nowadays I leave the sugar bowl for my coffee and decorate my cereal with loads of fresh berries.  Although I do appreciate the fact that we live in a time when fresh summer produce is available year round, there simply is nothing like freshly picked berries, still warm from the June sun.

On a mission to sample as many local fields as possible, so far I’ve gotten to three.  I first tried stopping at None Such Farm, on York Road in Buckingham.  They have this adorable little wagon set up next to the berry farms, womanned by the quintessential definition of a sweet all-American girl.  Unfortunately, already a bit fashionably late on my route to work, I was not able to browse the fields myself.  Disappointingly, they did not have any pre-picked berries for sale.  So those fields are still on my to-do wish list for now.

Next berry stop, was Manoff Market Gardens in Solebury.  I never would have stumbled upon them if it were not for their ingenious wooden signs of a giant strawberry and an arrow.  Strawberry treasure hunts were not necessarily on the agenda, but  I couldn’t resist wandering the foreign side road, guided by giant berry signs until I reached my destination.  Just in time, their strawberry yield was in its last week.  Surprised by how large they were, I quickly grabbed some to go, passing a display of their other products.  Of course, deliciousness.  Sneaking them into the back corner of the walk-in for the duration of my workday, I was stingily wary to share the soon to be discontinued fruits from my explorations.  Feeling guilty I caved mid-day and offered my coworkers some, but secretly relieved, they all declined the offer.

The third local strawberry farm I’ve visited is Solly’s Farm Market in Ivyland.  On my way home from my weekly dairy pickup at Tanner Bros. Dairy, their beaming sign for local strawberries lured my car off the road.  Their strawberries were much more the size I had expected, and perfectly ripe.  Out of delicious convenience, this has been my repeated local strawberry fix of late.  Inside their little roadside market stand, they have a case of fresh baked doughnuts that I keep trying really, really hard to not notice.  Apparently a week or so ago they had a strawberry pancake breakfast.  Strawberry Pancakes!?!?  Devoured next to the fields in which they grew…..sounds like heaven.  So  sad I missed out.

Now, with the strawberry clock ticking, I’m dreaming up strawberry jam fillings, shortcakes, tarts….

La Vie en Rose

Posted on: June 14th, 2011 by amanda No Comments

There’s just something about a melody of pinks that quenches the dreary eye.  Even in the most colorful, lush season of the year, pinks just pop.

So when I got an order for this cake, I had an excuse to became temporarily fixated on everything pink.

The cake was for a lovely family hosting a wedding shower at Villa Barola (a delicious Italian restaurant outside Philadelphia featuring a fab wine list, delicious risotto, and a quiet corner table where I was offered my promise bling), it seemed like perfect timing to share a few of my pink photos from our Mexican luna de miel…..