All Things Foodie

Let’s Get Naked…With Our Cakes That Is

I recently came across a trend in cakes, Naked Cakes. These are beautiful layered cakes that have frosting in between the layers and very little to no frosting covering the entire cake. They are usually decorated with lovely fresh flowers and fruits and void of elaborate fondant coverings and designs.

This style of cakes has been very popular for weddings and showers lately and I must say, they are breathtaking ways to showcase a sweet confection. The minimalist, but extraordinary design of the cakes draw the focus to the colors used, and to the raw edges of where the cake meets the barely frosted layers. Many of the cakes also have a dusting of powdered sugar around the exterior of the cake, or a pretty caramel or fruit drizzle. I love the simplistic nature of these desserts and the endless possibilities for decorations. Some feel these cakes look unfinished, but I think the imperfections are the appeal of this cake. They show more personality and whimsy, which is perfect in my opinion.

I have included several of my favorite naked cakes below. Please enjoy and try to recreate them at home.

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All Things Foodie

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars are one of my favorite sweet treats. I like them to have a good amount of tartness and a sweet layer of powdered sugar on top. It is the clash of the tart and sweet all in one bite that I adore. My friend Anna makes the best lemon bars around and I was lucky enough to have them twice recently.

I have posted her recipe below and will be trying my hand at making these sweets soon.

Anna’s Lemon Bars

Ingredients:

Crust

1 c butter softened

1/2 c white sugar

2 c all-purpose flour

Filling

4 eggs

1 1/2 c white sugar

1/4 c plus 1 T all-purpose flour

2/3 c lemon juice

Topping

Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

In a mixing bowl, blend all crust ingredients together and press into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Anna used Pyrex.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour for filling until mixed. Then whisk in eggs and lemon juice until incorporated. Pour over baked crust.

Bake for an additional 20 minutes and let completely cool. The bars will firm up as they cool.

Once completely cool, dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares and serve.

Enjoy the tart, rich perfection these lemon bars provide.

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All Things Foodie

Mom’s Homemade Marshmallows

My parents recently visited me in Los Angeles and my mom brought my sister and I her homemade Toasted Coconut Marshmallows, adapted from the original recipe from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. These little perfect pillows of sweetness were so light and fluffy,and not overly sweet like the store bought kind.

Gourmet marshmallows have started to be the trend, popping up in every flavor combination you could dream of. These delicacies are usually wrapped in ribbons and fancy cellophane ready to be dropped at your neighbors door or at a place setting for a Willy Wonka-esque tablescape.

My mom graciously showed my sister and I how to make them and used freshly pureed blackberries for this batch. The results were amazing, melt-in-your mouth, fruit laced marshmallows that made me a believer in the craze. You could recreate these for party favors and gifts, even using it warm and unfinished as a marshmallow fluff topping on an ice cream sundae.

I’m looking forward to making a vanilla bean version to use for making s’mores with my friends and family around a fire.

These plush puffs are sure to please. Find the recipe below and let me know your favorite combo.

Homemade Marshmallows:
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Tools needed:

Mixer (we used Kitchen Aid), Silicone Spatula able to withstand heat, marshmallow pan with collapsible sides, candy thermometer

Food processor and a sieve-if you add fruit

Cellophane bags and ribbons if using as a gift

Homemade Marshmallows:

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly. Let cool completely overnight (about 8 hours) and cut with a marshmallow cutter.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/toasted-coconut-marshmallows-recipe2.html?oc=linkback

Chicago Metallic No-Bake Collapsible 8″ x 8″ Pan sells for $11.99 and can be purchased at

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com

Digital Candy Thermometer is $24.95 and can be purchased at  www.surlatable.com

Chef’n Switchit Spatula is $10 and can be purchased at http://www.surlatable.com

Chef’n Sift’n Sieve is $17.95 and can be purchased at http://www.surlatable.com

Chicago Marshmallow Cutter is $3.99 and can be purchased at http://www.surlatable.com

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