Friday, January 29, 2010

You Can Make It: Sugar Mama's Swiss Meringue Butter Cream

I'm a self taught baker and cake designer. Everything I've learned is from books, TV, videos and trial & error...alot of error; but the things I do well I'm more than happy to share and believe me, if I can make it...
You Can Make It: Sugar Mama's Swiss Meringue Butter Cream

It's no secret that I love Swiss meringue butter cream and so do my clients. When I started using it in all my cakes a few months ago the difference was felt immediately. The cakes looked better and also tasted better. this a small sample of the yummy flavors you can create with this recipe

It's so good that our office manager, Hillary eats it with a spoon like ice cream. This recipe contains 4 lbs of butter so I wouldn't recommend it on a daily basis but once in while, stick a bowl full in the freezer and try it! It does not dissapoint.
This is my favorite butter cream to make and use in cakes; especially the 3D sculpted kind for many reasons:
  • It's smooth, creamy & delicious; so you don't have the gritty texture of butter creams made with confectioner's sugar.
  • When it sets up it makes cakes extra sturdy for sculpting and holding heavy fondant. You don't get those funky lines from your filling trying to escape from between layers of cake.
  • You can make it almost any flavor without changing it's properties in minutes... coffee, cream cheese, chocolate, strawberry....mmmmm!
  • The name sounds extra fancy, so when you tell you guests the name of the filling they'll think you were in the kitchen all day!
  • Whenever I make it, I feel like a real pastry chef although I've never set foot in a culinary school.
I tried a few different recipes and tweaked them to create the one I use. This is closest to recipes found in Martha Stewart's Wedding Cakes and Elisa Strauss' Confetti Cakes. Try it and let me know what you think!

* This recipe yields about 12 cups of frosting or enough to fill and crumb coat at least 3 8" three layered cakes.
* I like to always make a fresh batch and use it right away but you can store SMBC in the fridge for up to two weeks. I've heard you can freeze it for two months, but I've never tried it. If any of you do; let me know how it turns out.
* I have halved this recipe and gotten great results. I've even done a fourth of the recipe for tastings. The key is to keep an eye on the egg whites in the stand mixer. Don't over beat (or whip, technically)!
And now with out further ado...

Sugar Mama's Swiss Meringue Butter Cream

2 cups of water
12 large egg whites
3 cups of sugar
8 sticks of salted butter (room temperature)
8 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoon of vanilla extract (you can change the extract to whatever you want)

mixing bowls, measuring cups & spoons
knife & cutting board
Hand Whisk
Stand Mixer, Mixing Bowl & Whisk Attachment
Rubber Spatula

Place 2 cups of water in saucepan on a medium flame. While waiting for the water to boil, start separating eggs. I recommend using a egg separator; Wilton makes a good one, but if you don't have one you can rinse off the eggs prior to doing the back & forth egg shell method to reduce the risk of salmonella. Add the egg whites and sugar to the mixing bowl.

Hopefully, by this time the water is boiling. After reducing the water to simmer, set the mixing bowl over the water and continually hand whisk. Continue to do this until all of the sugar has melted but do not cook the eggs.

Attach the sugar/egg mix to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and set on med/high speed for 10-15 minutes. The sides of the bowl will be cooler and the mixture will appear white, fluffy and form stiff peaks. Be careful not to over whip. When you pull the whisk out it should form what looks like a birds beak.

While you're waiting for the white, fluffy magic to happen you can chop your 1 sticks of butter into tablespoons. That's roughly 8 pieces of butter per stick. Don't worry about mixing the salted and unsalted. It's all going to the same place. A note about warming your butter to room temperature: The longer you leave food out between the temps of 40 - 140 f. the more at risk your food is for contamination. So be careful.

Once you've gotten your birds beak, lower the speed of your mixer to med/low speed and add the butter one table spoon at a time making sure each piece is incorporated before you add the next. This can actually become a fun game. There's something oddly satisfying about tossing the butter in mix and watching it disappear. You could also try to hit the back of the bowl without getting intercepted by mixer.

When you first start adding the butter you'll see the mixture start to deflate and think you've ruined the recipe somehow. Then about half way through adding the butter it will start to thicken and actually look like butter cream. Once you've added all of the butter, stop the mixer, use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom and poke out any chunks of butter that may be stuck in the whisk attachment. Mix again on low/med speed for another minute or two to be sure all the butter is incorporated.

Ta-Da! Sugar Mama's Swiss Meringue Butter Cream!

Let's play a little if & then:
if your frosting ends up to loose or soupy, then you over whipped or you added the butter too early. Sometimes if you refrigerate the buttercream it's salvageable.
if your frosting is grainy or crunchy, then the sugar wasn't completely melted before you whipped it. There really isn't a way to fix it. Sometimes mixing the BC on low speed for a few minutes will help.
if you have big chunks of butter in your finished frosting, then your butter was too cold or the frosting wasn't finished. Keep whipping on med/low until it's smooth.
Unfortunately, these are the only mistakes I've made and know how to fix. If anyone else has tips I will gladly update them.

Well it's "bake" to work for me.
Thanks for tuning in. Until Next Time!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

WeTV's My Fair Wedding- Season 3 Casting Call!

If you've never seen My Fair Wedding, it's basically a show where "less design aesthetically inclined" & budget challenged brides get a total celebrity matrimonial makeover 3 weeks before their wedding. If this sounds like you, keep reading. Unfortunately, I'm getting married in Barbados. David, will you come to Barbados!?!

Would you like to be on WEtv’s hit series “My Fair Wedding” Celebrity Wedding Planner, David Tutera, is waiting to make your wedding the dream you’ve always envisioned. We’re casting for new brides getting married in the Tri-State area between March 13th and April 9th of 2010.

 Specifically, we want brides who have a theme that is different, creative, fun, interesting, maybe even a bit over the top. If you have a vision/ theme and you need David Tutera’s help, let us know! Include the following information in your e-mail:











Please also include a brief description and/or photos of any existing wedding plans (i.e., Dress, Venue, Decor, Etc.)

Email applications to:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Glenn Beck Show 1st Anniversary

Last Tuesday, The Glenn Beck Show on the Fox News Channel celebrated it's 1st anniversary on the air and called me to make a cake commemorating the occasion.

I didn't know much about Glenn Beck other than what I've seen on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report but the producer that ordered the cake provided me plenty of photos and details to create the perfect cake for the occasion.

The cake was to be a simple blue cake with a sugar figure of Glenn Beck holdi
ng a piece of chalk and standing in front of chalk board with the logo of his 9-12 project.

The chalkboard was a piece of food safe corrugated

cardboard covered with wood grained fondant and painted with food coloring. The logo was printed on an edible frosting sheet and affixed with royal icing. The chalk and eraser were gumpaste and was supported by two wooden food safe dowels.

The G
lenn Beck figurine was sculpted entirely of gum paste. The suit jacket with the jeans and converse were specifically requested. I used a photo to sculpt his face and I was quite happy with the results. My office manager said it was one of the best sugar people she'd seen.

The cake was a big hit, with his staff at least; I never actually met Glenn Beck. Every one I did meet loved the cake and remarked on its authenticity. His staff was a pleasure to work with and the cake was a lot of fun to make.

see how excited I was to be delivering a cake to The Glenn Beck Show on the Fox News Channel

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cake of the Week: Sassy Circus Cake!

Last Thursday I got the call every cake designer loves, not! Yup, that just happened. hello 1992.
It was a desperate husband looking for a spectacular cake for his wife's birthday...that weekend.
I would've immediately said no while staring at the wall full of clipboards listing things that had yet to be molded, sculpted or crumb-coated but this guy was a total sweetheart and convinced me that a few hours less sleep this week was definitely worth making this cake. The rush fee I tacked on didn't hurt either.

His wife wanted a Topsy-turvy cake similar to the style they had at their wedding and was celebrating her 30th birthday with a Circus themed party. How fun is that?! I was in.
The goal was to capture the colorful, whimsical spirit of the circus while creating a cake that was sophisticated enough for 30 year old.

The flavor for the top tier was Old Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Butter cream; the birthday girl's favorite, and the bottom tier was Very Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Butter cream.

To create the Topsy-turvy effect I used two Styrofoam wedges slightly smaller that the tiers they were supporting. Once the cake was together it was time to paint.

I painted the tiers of cake with patterns of warm colors and the supports with patterns of cool colors. I accented the patterns with royal icing painted with silver luster dust. For an added touch of fun I trimmed the bottom for the support tiers with gold gum paste ropes and tassels.
I finished the cake with cool colored fondant "balloons" and a silver 30!

I was having so much fun with cake and the hours flew by; when I finally delivered the cake to the venue I had moments to spare. The birthday girl, who was dressed as a ringmaster, loved the cake; as did all her guests and I, as is usually the case with my favorite cakes, was sad to see it go but was glad it found a good home.

Well it's "bake" to work for me!
Thanks for tuning in... until next time.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Karma Cakes: Doughjangles - Sweets by Aaron

In Karma Cakes, I highlight an organization or individual that uses baking to make the lives of others a little better. If you know of a bakery, organization or individual that does this please let us know.
Most everyone I know that bakes, including myself, do it because is makes people happy. Then there are those that use baking as way to reach people in other ways like...
website and logo design donated by Oddulent Global Marketing

In October 2006, Aaron Ware lost his best friend. His twin brother ,Eric (pictured below on the left with Aaron), with whom he had been inseparable since before birth; they were spotted holding hands in a sonagram; had passed away after battling brain cancer for 3 years.
Worried about her son's declining mood and behavior, Angela Ware made an appointment with her family's pediatrician, Dr. Marilyn Corder to discuss possible solutions for Aaron's depression.

Instead of referring Aaron to a psychiatrist and prescribing anti-depressants, Dr. Corder tried a different approach. She asked Aaron what he loved to do, and with a smile Angela hadn't seen since losing Eric, Aaron replied, "I love to bake."
On her prescription pad she instructed Aaron start a business and listed all the steps involved. She became his first investor with a $20 bill from her own pocket and that is how Doughjangles was formed.

It's truly brought their family together. Aaron (pictured on the right) bakes with assistance from his mom and older brother, Bryce. His dad, Eric, helps package, label and deliver the cookies.
What Aaron earns from his cookies, after purchasing supplies and paying his brother's $2 a day salary, goes to help the charities that helped his family while Eric was battling cancer and offered support after. Check out Aaron's Donation Page for a full list of the charities he's supporting with his cookies.

If this post has you in a cookie mood, you can order a batch baked by Aaron himself by visiting his website, Choose from five crave worthy flavors, including Blissful Chocolate Chip and Paula Deen's Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies for $ 12.00/dz & $ 8.00/shipping. Even those without a sweet tooth can help by sending donations to the charities listed on Aaron's Donation Page.
I myself am checking the mail every day for my Blissful Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'll keep you updated.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

From Grief, a Md. twin bakes to brotherly love


It's been 12 days since a 7.0 magnatude earthquake ravage the capitol of Haiti and neighboring towns. Aid is arriving but alot more is needed. I've compiled a list of charities you can support in under a minute by send text messages which are then added to your phone bill. I know we're in the midst of our own recession and we're all busy but everyone can take minute to donate via text.
  1. HOPE FOR HAITI text "give" to 50555 $ 10.00
  2. YELE HAITI text "yele" to 501501 $ 5.00
  3. YELE HAITI text "haiti" to 501501 $ 10.00
  4. RED CROSS text "haiti" to 90999 $ 10.00
  5. OXFAM text "oxfam" to 25383 $ 10.00
  6. UNICEF text "unicef" to 20222 $ 10.00
Mesi! ("thanks!" in Haitian Creole)

*if you find any other reputable charities that collect donations for Haiti via text, send 'em on over and I'll update them!*

Thanks for tuning in! 'til next time...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sugar Mama loves MoMA

First of all I like to wish every one a Happy New Year and welcome to the new and improved Sugar Mama NYC blog!
Lately, I've been finding myself overtired, overworked and overstressed. I love my job but I felt like I was drowning in an endless sea of Hermes Bags, Louboutin Shoes and Tiffany Boxes; which wouldn't sound so bad if I wasn't talking about cakes. I was beginning to feel stagnated and uninspired; not good for an artist.

The remedy? A truly enlightening afternoon at MoMA where an A-MAZ-ING Tim Burton retrospective is featured.

This is as much as I could capture with my camera with getting in trouble, but the exhibit itself is truly mind-blowing! It features sculptures, sketches, short films that spans his entire career.
One of my favorite pieces was "Vincent," a short stop motion film about a 7-year old boy who thinks he's Vincent Price, narrated by the man himself. I've loved this movie since I discovered it a few years ago and it was cool to see early sketches, sculptures and how in the world TB thinks of this stuff.

If you can't make it, don't worry you can visit the MoMA online store and pick up this book and other cool Tim Burton stuff like journals, tees, DVDs, Postcards, bloody hatchets... ok, no bloody hatchets; just making sure you were still with me.

For you lucky duckies that can make it to MoMA before the exhibit closes on April 26th, be sure to pre-purchase your tickets online because it usually sells out.
$20 adults/ $16 seniors /$12 students/ $0 kids ( 0-16)
** being a student of life doesn't count, I checked**

Well, being in the Museum of Modern Art, I certainly wasn't going to spend all afternoon with Jack Skellington and Frankenweenie. Here are some other highlights from my visit:

Wouldn't these make awesome wedding cakes?
** click of each painting for more info**

This is one of my favorite paintings of all time and I couldn't believe I was standing this close to it! For a split second I wondered how far I could run with it before I was tackled, tasered and knocked unconscious; and that's by the other museum patrons much less MoMA security.

Well, it's"bake" to work for me. Thanks for tuning in!
Until Next time...
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