Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Strawberried and Multifaceted

Every now and then, I get overzealous when it comes to flavors. I find it so tempting to jam-pack a variety of flavors into a single cake, so long as they're complementary and, well, tasty! Don't get me wrong--I have no complaints when it comes to keeping it simple: rich chocolate cake filled with chocolate mousse, covered in chocolate ganache, piped with chocolate buttercream, decorated with chocolate curls, chocolate chips, and chocolate-covered chocolate... Mm, okay. So I lost the simplicity somewhere in the chocolate (looks like I got Carried away, ha!), but the point is that a cake like that--while heartstoppingly rich--is focused and truly showcases only a single featured ingredient: chocolate.

When Iris gave me the freedom to craft any cake I wanted for her manager's birthday, my imagination ran wild with the possibilities. I had a hard time choosing a single liqueur, ingredient, or flavor to highlight, so I decided to make a cake featuring my most popular flavors to date.

I call this one Little Miss Popular.
Featuring a chocolate whiskey cake made with Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey (seen here and here), a creamy Bailey's Irish Cream buttercream frosting (seen in the above two links as well as here and here), plenty of crushed pirouette cookie bits (you'll know that I'm a fan of pirouette cookies if you take a gander here and here), and loads of fresh strawberries (which you'll find in just about every other blog post here at Carrie Cakeaway) both inside the cake and sitting prettily on top of it. Don't let this cake's simple exterior fool you--it packs a lot of complex flavors from smoky whiskey to sweet strawberries to creamy Bailey's, as well as a variety of textures, from the dense dark chocolate cake layers to airy buttercream to crispy pirouette wafer bits.
True to her name, Little Miss Popular maintains a fine balancing act without spreading herself too thin (or in this case, having way too much going on in each bite). Excuse me, miss, it's time for your close-up:
And here she is again, taken under different lighting right before delivery:
Don't worry too much about ogling at and even drooling over this beauty. Little Miss Popular here is quite used to that by now.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"I Only Look Sweet and Innocent..."

should be the motto of this cake:
You know that tough, beefy biker sitting at the corner of the bar who looks all sorts of intimidating until you see a heart-shaped tattoo stamped on his tricep with three bolded letters: M-O-M? Well, consider this cake the complete opposite of someone who's tough on the outside but sugary sweet on the inside. This strawberry-topped cutie knows how to pack a wallop! If you dive in expecting cheesecake or strawberry cream, think again.
This is a rum cake. And not just any kind of rum. It's hard to the core with Captain Morgan's Tattoo--a very dark Puerto Rican rum infused with spices to give it a bold, licoricey kick. Aaron requested a birthday cake for his roommate featuring his favorite liquor and strawberries, and I was happy to oblige with what I like to call the Strawberry Tattoo--the cake that bites back.
Underneath this sweet, harmless exterior are two layers of buttery rum cake and a filling of freshly sliced strawberries and crumbled chocolate wafers. The cake is frosted with a strong rum buttercream, padded with more crushed chocolate wafers, and topped with fresh strawberry halves for that wholesome, "bakery-next-door" look.
Here it is taken with flash. Aaron, I hope your roommate had a happy birthday and that you both (and all your partygoers) enjoyed the cake!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Playing in the Mud

Ahh, who knew that the combination of dirt and water could offer so many youthful indulgences, from packing mud pies in a cozy garden corner in the summertime to running up a hill in the rain and sliding down at full speed on an old piece of cardboard? Some of us have outgrown these antics and others who are, well, imaginary like I am simply haven't had the pleasure--but one thing's certain: mud has no place in the kitchen.

Well, not unless you're thinking chocolately mud pies, marshmallowy Mississippi Mud cakes, or milkshakey, oh-so-decadent mudslide cocktails. In those cases, bring in the mud by the bucketful, please!

Linh-Chi must've shared this sentiment when she ordered a batch of Mudslide Cupcakes for an office celebration. Kahlua? Check. Bailey's? Check. Vodka? Check (and Grey Goose at that!). Mud?, but let's settle for chocolate and lots of it.
Why, hello cupcake!
What we have here is a dark chocolate cupcake infused with Grey Goose vodka and Kahlua coffee liqueur, topped with Bailey's buttercream and a pirouette cookie "straw."
Some were left unadorned, others were topped with a chocolate-covered espresso bean to really bring out the coffee flavors of the cupcakes...
and still others were drizzled with melted dark chocolate for some added oomph.
Thanks, Linh-Chi, for ordering! Happy mudsliding to you and your coworkers :)