Saturday, December 17, 2011

two-tiered holiday cheer

first birthday cake with vanilla cake and nutella buttercream
This holiday cookie-themed cake was for Xavier John who turns a year old today. The cake was for his birthday but also for a cookie baking competition and party that his mother, Erika, holds every year during the holidays.

Anthony and I decided that since this cake was for the cookie party as well as a Christmas birthday, we would make blinged out gingerbread "cookies" out of fondant and decorate them with royal icing and gold dragees. We made Christmas tree shapes, stars, snowflakes, gingerbread men, candy canes and ornaments. They looked so real I wanted to bite right into one.

Anthony created the finishing touch in the form of a few of his lovely sprigs of holly that we tucked in next to the cookies.

lemon tarts with toasted meringue
I also made lemon tarts for Chris' Christmas party at work this past week. Fifty bite-sized tarts in crispy, buttery pastry shells. I was able to get the scalloped edge on the shells by cutting out the pastry dough with a scalloped cookie cutter. Yeah buddy.

For the filling, I used a lemon cream which is lemon curd but with much, much more BUTTER in it. The trick is to cook the eggs, sugar and lemon juice first, then let the mixture cool enough so that when you add the butter, it doesn't melt but emulsifies instead. Once you chill it, the mixture come together to form a very thick, buttery cream.

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