Monday, June 27, 2011

Sugar Free Apple Cake

Finally something healthy!  I had someone ask me if I made any sugar free cakes and I've not tried any recipes so I started with this apple cake.

The recipe I found used agave nectar as a sweetner.  This is a controversial issue though, various people seem to think that agave is no better than sugar, and it is very similar to high fructose corn syrup.  So I was left a little confused about whether this was going to be a useful sweetner for diabetics.  Please tell me in the comments if you know more, or have recipes with natural sweetners, I dont like to use splenda.

I do know that it is a little sweeter than sugar, so you can maybe use a little less than you would with sugar, and this cake incorporates whole wheat flour and large chunks of apples, so I think that offsets the sugar spike that you might get. 

I thought the cake looked quite nice just as is, but it could be served with a little whipped cream cheese sweetened with honey or agave, or maybe whipped cream.  I can see this being a nice afternoon snack for me, I plan to make another in a square pan and cut into squares and freeze.

Whole wheat apple cake (adapted from dinners and dreams)
Preheat oven to 350f, prepare a 9 inch pan with oil and/or parchment

4 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 1 cm pieces)
1 packed cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vietnamese cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 oz (1 stick) butter softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift flour together with baking soda and cinnamon
Beat together the agave, butter, vanilla, salt and eggs, fold in the flour and the apples and pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Taking things a step further

I know you've all been watching my little blog for a while, seeing more and more cakes pop up and less and less recipes and food, and I'm finally ready to take my business to the next level.

I've been very lucky in that I've been using some commercial space for a while now, but I recently took a step and signed a lease on a rental kitchen which I'll be sharing with others in the Clairemont area of San Diego.

So now its time to take things to the next step.  I'll be hanging up my labcoat at the beginning of August, and maybe wearing a chef coat more often (more likely a t-shirt and jeans!).
I'll be taking a trip to Australia to spend time with my brother and his family, and apparently constructing a princess castle for my niece's 3rd birthday, then I'll return and start as many classes as I can get into at Grossmont College.  I'll hopefully get my culinary degree soon.  In my spare time I'll be building my business and selling my cakes.

So this is where I need help.  I'm moving things forward to the next step, so if anyone has ideas or suggestions on where they think Jennywennycakes should be going, then I'd love to hear them.  I've got a good network of friends who I've made cakes for and I'm hoping that the word of mouth aspect will continue and propel my business so that it gives me an income to support myself.  Wish me luck!!

My main goal is to continue to use the best ingredients to make delicious treats, I'm happy to use my favorite schaner farm eggs, and I'll hopefully be able to use lots of other local produce.

As I mentioned, I'll be unavailable from August 10th-22nd, but apart from that, please consider me for your next party, wedding or shower event!  'Like' my page on facebook to keep up with whats going on in the kitchen, I'll start updating the flavors I'm baking in the kitchen, so you can swing by and get a 6 pack of cupcakes if you let me know a couple of days ahead!

Oh, and I used that wacky random number generator at to pick a number, and it came up with comment no 9, canine cologne!  Yay!  I'll be in touch to find out how to get you those guitars!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

These are sad times

These are sad times people.  I just got a frantic email from a friend who is going to a birthday party and wants a cake, and the town that the party is in has no bakeries that use actual real ingredients.  They wanted something with strawberries and whipped cream, and there was no-one that could do that for them.  All the bakeries use a synthetic product, one version is named 'pastry pride' and is a 'non-dairy whipped product'.  Ew.

I hope people realize that the cakes they are buying from the grocery stores and some bakeries are completely full of these disgusting ingredients.

I also refuse to use these.  I'm sorry that my cakes can't sit around for days at room temperature, and they will melt in the heat, but they also taste great and are made of actual real things that you and I might recognise as a food product.

Thank you, rant over!  I'll be tallying up the comments in the giveaway and choosing a winner at random.  Keep watching folks!

Oh and full disclosure, this cake was made during my internship at an unnamed bakery and it is covered with a vile hydrogenated oil, mixed with 'butter flavor' and vanilla and copious powdered sugar.  Bakers like to get hold of the old trans fat version as it apparently is easier to use.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My new online store! And my first giveaway!!

I have so much fun making little cupcake toppers, flowers and cake decorations that I thought it would be a great idea to set up an online shop to get a little bit of money coming in and to have some fun with sugar!

I started listing a few items, I'll be adding more as I get happier with my shipping methods.

As part of my launch, I thought it would be fun to couple this up with a giveaway on my blog, I've always wanted to do one, but never knew where to start!

Just make a comment on my blog and let me know what toppers you think I should be listing on my etsy page! Either check out my flickr page and tell me if you want to see a topper that I've previously made, or give me an idea of something new you'd like to see made of sugar!

I'll randomly select one commenter after noon on June 22nd, and you will receive two dozen toppers of your choice! Make sure it is easy for me to find you!

Dont forget to visit my etsy shop often to look for new items, and remember that I love doing custom orders, so give me a shout!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wedding Cupcakes at Tom Ham's

This weekend I had the pleasure of making 24 dozen cupcakes plus a 6" cutting cake for a huge wedding at Tom Ham's Lighthouse at shelter island. It was funny to be back there just a week after my bike team had been training, passing the venue 9 times as we circled the island!!

The bride and groom decided on a simple blue and white theme, and provided a beautiful topper for the cake, which really complemented it beautifully. I added a handmade sugar peony, which I was worried would look fussy, but I think it turned out well.

This was accompanied by cupcakes in four flavors, carrot with cream cheese, lemon with lemon curd filling and vanilla buttercream, chocolate with praline buttercream, and a gluten free orange almond with chocolate ganache.

It was fun coming to set up and finding all the other little details that matched the cakes, with the blue table runners, blue and white flowers all matching the theme.

I was happy to be set up and out of there before any guests arrived. I hope it was a fun party!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Neon Boneyard

One of the most fun things we did in Vegas was visit the Neon Boneyard, a museum of neon signs dating back to the beginning of the gambling scene in Las Vegas. Its a great place to visit at the moment as the signs are all stacked around the place and you can get really close.

They are slowly getting themselves organised as a museum, so my feeling is that they will have barries up so that you cant get too close to the signs and there will be plaques and signs.

For the moment, the only way you can check out these wonderful pieces of art is to book yourself a tour. I found this to be a really fun way to aquaint myself with the history of Las Vegas and learn a bit about those flashy signs. It was really interesting to learn about what goes into making the signs and designing them.

Sturdy shoes are a requirement, and you're really only allowed to bring yourself, a camera and a bottle of water. No backpacks or tripods.

Oh and dont trust google maps to get you there, it wont. Trust the directions on their website!

At the moment it appears they do tours every day from Tuesday to Saturday at 10am. Be ready for the heat and don't drink too much the night before, really not a fun time with a hangover!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nomming in Las Vegas

I thought I'd share some of the highlights of our recent trip to Vegas, starting at the end with the trip to Peggy Sue's Diner on the way home. I was so happy to find somewhere that wasnt another cookie cutter fast food restaurant, or strip mall sandwich. This diner had so much personality, with a dinosaur garden out back, and so much kitsch memorabilia, it made a really fun stop for us on the journey back to reality from our dreamy trip.

It was also a last indulgence of a burger topped with melty cheese, curly fries and coleslaw. Yummy!

We really enjoyed the food at the Wynn. Here's our giant brekkie from the more casual of the two brekkie restaurants, my favourite, eggs florentine and a delicious corned beef hash, with obligatory 'extra bacon' for the hubby.

His vacations always need to involve bacon for breakfast or it isnt much of a holiday for anyone. After he's had his bacon fix he's much more cheerful!

We also loved this little cocktail bar overlooking the pool at the Encore. I was thrilled that they made a fantastic Pimm's Cup and the dirty martini was pretty good too. Note that we chose to sit in the comfort of the air conditioning rather than outside!!

On the first morning we went to the fancy brekkie place at the Wynn and I enjoyed the signature white chocolate orange french toast. Very delicious, although I do usually regret such a sweet breakfast as I get a massive sugar low afterwards and am groggy for the rest of the day!

We also enjoyed 'Breakfast at Tiffanys' the diner on Las Vegas Boulevard, which was wonderful for people watching!

Bouchon in the Venetian did not disappoint for one dinner, and we were a little underwhelmed with the service at Cave in the Wynn.

I also snuck in a little pilgrimage to Retro Bakery, where I enjoyed a cherry cheesecake cupcake and a chocolate cupcake with salted caramel and a pretzel. After all this food, we found ourselves needing to escape and get some fresh air, Red Rock Canyon was the perfect place to unwind and digest. Its always surprising that such a beautiful place exists so close to the most synthetic place on earth!