Get sauced.

I never gave sauce much thought, other than it’s the stuff that goes on pasta. And as far as desserts go, in my home baking, it did not enter the equation. However, in this dessert plating class i just took, one of the main focuses (next to the desserts themselves) was the sauce. We must have learned how to make at least 15 sauces, and the beauty of most of them is that with one small ingredient switch, they can become any flavor you desire. A sauce is like the premier dessert accessory – the handbag of desserts, so to speak. It can make or break a dessert. But the right look, texture, and design can really take your plate to the next level. I’ve grown to appreciate sauces, in all their many colors, flavors, and viscosity, and will use them in my own desserts from hence forth.

What really got me sauced though, was when I created a sauce in class for our “final.” Basically, it was like that show “Chopped”– we were given a box of mystery ingredients, and from this box, we had to create a menu of desserts, utilizing all of the ingredients. At first, it sounded like a daunting task – but we came together as a team, and started brainstorming, and before we knew it, a menu had been strewn forth – a pretty good one, in fact. I won’t go into detail, but I will say that my main dish was a black bean gingerbread cake, which I will be making again. But I also was tasked with making a sauce – a jalapeño tabasco chocolate sauce. Being someone who does not normally eat jalapeño or tabasco sauce (I avoid spicy for the most part), I was a little wary of creating a sauce that had the perfect combination of chocolatey sweetness and “kick.” Somehow, through the grace of who knows what, I did it.

houston, we have sauce.

And not only did I do it, but when the teacher asked the class what was the best sauce, my jalapeño tabasco chocolate sauce got quite a few shout-outs.

So just like every fasionista has a signature bag, I now have a signature sauce. And just in time for graduation. I’m gonna make it after all.

the sauce in action.


Cake art.

I never fancied myself a cake artist. I mean, I made cakes with pictures and writing and stuff like that. But I never really thought that was my strength – I would describe myself as more of a baker than a cake decorator. But often the two go hand-in-hand, so I have learned a few cake decorating tips and tricks in my time.

However, I never really thought I was awesome at it. I was decent. I could decorate a cake that looked better then something an untrained or unpracticed individual could make, but I’m certainly no Cake Boss. The taste of the cake itself was always my game, with decorating coming second.

Then, one day I was forced to take a wedding cakes class. I was not pumped – in fact, I even complained to my mom that I didn’t even like wedding cakes and didn’t know why the school was making my learn this..grumble, grumble. However if I planned on graduating, I had to take the class. So, I did.

And I was wrong. The reason I didn’t like cake decorating was not because I didn’t like doing it or didn’t think it was worthwhile – it was solely based on fear – fear that I just couldn’t do it, so instead of trying I wrote it off as something not worth my time. How mature. But we all do it – fear makes us act in funny ways – ways we’d never imagine we’d act, especially as adults. I should have known better – as a kid, I loved play-doh. As a young adult, I loved polymer clay. Fondant and gum paste are so similar to those mediums, yet they’re even better because you can eat them after you sculpt them! And I had completely forgotten about my clay sculpting past.

sculpts like clay. tastes like sugar.

Secondly, I love fashion – I even took a handful of fashion design courses. How does this relate to cake decorating? Well, decorating a cake is like dressing it – choosing the right color combinations, the right placement of various accessories, how much to cover (or let show). So fashion + clay + baking = no more fear. 

I have created cake art. And it’s quite tasty. 🙂

eat your heart out, Roy Lichtenstein.



my fair ladyfingers.

So I have to say, I’m getting pretty good at making ladyfingers. Having never made them before this year, I really never gave them much of second thought. In fact, all I knew of these spongy finger-shaped biscuits was that my dad really liked them. I remember them being around the house growing up, because they were one of the few dessert-type items my sweet-toothless dad would consume (see My Dad Hates Cake). It was only once I started going to school that I learned how these fingers o’ ladies were actually made, and of their many uses in classical desserts.

this is not one of them.

So this week, in my class, we made mini desserts (Small Indulgences, people!), one of which was an individual sized tiramisu, complete with ladyfingers.

luck be a lady.

The other was made with a Joconde, which is an almond sponge cake baked in a thin sheet and cut to size, and filled with Bavarian Cream. The end result looked like this:

mango and bavarian cream, baby.

Now, of course I can only get better – that’s why I’m in school – but I have to say that these are in no uncertain terms the best dessert “plates” I’ve done thus far in my baking life. Like Eliza Doolittle, I started off as a layman – a commoner with no plating skills. It was tough at first – I got frustrated decorating plate after plate, only to wipe them clean and start anew time and time again. I too, set a few things on fire as Eliza did, during this tumultuous practice. I was about to throw in the towel on more than one occasion, assuming I’d never make a beautiful plate that looked good enough to eat.

Then one day, the rain in Spain fell mainly on the plain – or plate. Now, I’m not claiming to suddenly be a Picasso of dessert plating, I still have a long way to go. But I did it. I made restaurant caliber dessert art. Of course, I’m not out of the water yet. There is still much practice to be had before I can spend the day at the races without the fear of telling Dover to move his bloomin’ ass. But it will happen. You really can do anything you set your mind to, whether it’s becoming a high-class broad, or plating a high-class dessert.

wouldn't it be lovely?

Fashionable cupcakes.

Hi everyone! this morning, I’m doing this a little differently. You can view my post, “Cupcakes are for Girls,” on my friend Dana’s blog What the Frock? which is all about fashion, fun, and life! Dana and I have been great friends for over 10 years now (wow, i feel old!) and I was a bridesmaid in her wedding in May. I also made her wedding cupcakes. 🙂

Anyway, to check out my guest post on Dana’s blog, click here.

And here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find in my post. 😉

cupcakes and fashion: perfect together.

And check out the rest of her blog, What the Frock?, while you’re there!! 🙂