Monday, August 25, 2014

French Macaron Wedding Favors

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of creating wedding favors for Erin and Joe's beach wedding on the Jersey Shore. Erin had contacted me a little while ago with the idea of French macarons in mind, and together we came up with the flavors, design and packaging for these trendy little treats. Her wedding colors were pink and ivory which we definitely wanted to incorporate in the favors. She and Joe chose red velvet and milk chocolate almond as flavors after taste testing a few samples I sent their way.

Very up and coming in the American food scene today, French macarons are small sandwich cookies made from almond flour and egg whites. They can be colored, flavored, and decorated in just about any way that you can imagine, which only adds to their appeal. What's more...they're gluten free without even trying (although I should mention, they were made in a kitchen with other non-gluten free items).

The pink macaron was cocoa flavored and filled with cream cheese filling. The ivory was a regular almond macaron filled with milk chocolate ganache. The flavors went together really well, and as much as I love cream cheese in just about anything, I thought the chocolate one Erin chose stole the show. Erin provided me with the adorable tags attached to the bags and I packaged them all up ready to go. I loved how the final product came together, and I thought it especially went well with their beach theme. Sitting all together in the bags, the macarons resembled sand dollars, and I hope they were an excellent addition to their big day! 

 Congratulations Erin and Joe, and also all of their wedding guests who got to go home with one of these!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Green and White Garden Wedding Cake

Last weekend this pretty cake sat center stage at Kristina's Northern Virginia nuptials at Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston. It was a beautiful venue tucked away in a wooded area with very helpful staff and event support. The reception they were setting up when I delivered the cake looked gorgeous with touches of green and white and delicate cream colored hydrangeas. The cake fit right in! 

Kristina had a very specific idea of the cake she wanted- alternating tiers of green and white with a hydrangea sugar flower detail in the middle. The border on the first and third tier is done using fondant, and all of the details are completely handmade. 

Kristina and her husband found this cake topper online and left it for me to adorn the cake with after set up. I thought it really brought the whole design together and was a great addition.

The cake itself is vanilla bean pound cake filled with raspberry mousse on the first and third tiers, and vanilla Italian buttercream on the second. Each tier has four layers of cake and three layers of filling. As a special bonus, Kristina's mom Michelle also ordered a dozen blue moon cupcakes and a separate 10" vanilla cake filled with homemade raspberry preserves. I'm a firm believer that you can never have enough cake, and I'm glad Michelle understands this too!

 Congratulations Kristina! Thanks for letting me be a part of your wedding day.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

It doesn't get any better than chocolate and peanut butter in my book. Specifically, in cake form. This four layer beauty sat center stage at my sister's bachelorette party last weekend. She's probably the only person in this world who can appreciate the delicious combo even more than me, and although I know she'd usually prefer ice cream, there weren't any arguments when it came time for dessert.

This cake is made up of four layers of dark chocolate cake sandwiched between a creamy peanut butter frosting. It is then glazed with a bitter chocolate ganache, spilling dreamily down the sides and topped with chopped peanut butter cups to seal the deal. Sinful doesn't even begin to describe it.

With this cake I particularly love the way the the rich frosting is offset by the bitterness of the chocolate ganache. The chopped peanut butter cups add good texture as a garnish as well.

You'll need a tall glass of milk to wash down this one. We at the bachelorette party also found that wine works just as well ;-) For more bachelorette party cake ideas, check out another one here.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


With a tasting and a wedding last week, plus many upcoming projects on the horizon it's been a busy wedding season so far for Morgan Phillips Cakes! I am so excited today to share a preview of the cakes I did for my sister's wedding last weekend. The professional photos are forthcoming, but for now I can't resist posting a few of the behind the scenes action.

The general consensus was cakelets > cupcakes. Stay tuned for many more details and pictures of how it all came together. Make sure to click back and check out the planning of this wedding to see these pretty little cakelets came to be.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Smith Island Cake

Before going to pastry school, I graduated from Washington College in Maryland with a four year degree in Business Management. My school is located on Maryland's Eastern shore and it is a place very near and dear to my heart - food traditions included. The Smith Island Cake is the state cake of Maryland (respect to any state that has a 'state cake') and it was historically made for the watermen to take out to sea with them as a reminder of home. It is a perilously high stacked yellow cake with anywhere from 8-15 layers and frosted with a boiled fudge icing to keep the cake from spoiling or drying out at sea. The look of a traditional Smith Island Cake is very rustic from the ooey-gooey fudge frosting.

In my latest class we had an assignment to make a "control" dessert and then re-create it following three separate dietary restrictions but preserving the taste and appearance of the dessert. For my project I did a Smith Island Cake with gluten-free, vegan and reduced calorie versions.

 To make the cake gluten free, I replaced the cake flour in the recipe with a blend of rice flours, vegetable starches and powdered egg whites. The frosting and sauce are the same recipes as the control. (**For the purposes of this class we did not prepare these specific desserts keeping cross contamination in mind, however with enough advanced notice I can offer a gluten-free cake that is safe for someone with severe Celiac's Disease to consume**).

The vegan version was a slightly more drastic departure from the traditional Smith Island Cake, but still ended up tasting surprisingly similar. The "yellow" cake actually had tofu in it to build structure instead of eggs and I replaced the dairy milk with almond milk. The traditional fudge frosting is pretty jam packed with animal fats, so for a vegan version I changed the idea entirely. This frosting is made using a ripe avocado, cocoa powder and a little vegan powdered sugar. It is still every bit as "fudge-y" but completely void of animal products and as a bonus - less than half the original calories. This one was actually my favorite cake out of all of them!

For the reduced calorie version I was able to cut out over 25% of the calories in the original cake by replacing whole eggs with egg whites, using a sugar substitute and using a combination of oil and plain yogurt to replace the fat. The cake ended up lighter and fluffier than the original and a lot of people who stopped by our presentation even liked it better.

My class prepared sample sizes of each of their desserts and set up a presentation for any students, faculty of tour groups who happened to be walking by. It was great to get feedback from an impartial audience on recipes that I had developed myself and will most definitely be using in the future. 

Any version of this yellow cake can be easily translated into a tiered or sculpted cake and is not just available in its "Smith Island" version. Contact me today for all your cake related dietary needs! 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bachelorette Book Cake

When I was first asked to make a cake for my sister's bachelorette party, I wasn't super thrilled with the resultsof my initial 'bachelorette cake ideas' google search. I know the traditions of a bachelorette party run deep, but, c'mon now, a cake should look appetizing. Enter a new idea: a bachelorette cake in the shape of one of the bride's favorite things, like a groom's cake but just for her. 

My sister is a writer and she and her fiance love books more than anyone I know. A book cake seemed like the perfect way to pay homage to their love story, and it is definitely a safe departure from the "bachelorette" norm. 

In between the pages of this book are layers of citrus chiffon cake, homemade blueberry compote and cream cheese filling. This cake is actually covered in fondant and decorated with hand made gumpaste hydrangea, stephanotis, rose buds and hyacinth.

[Embracing the photo-ready MRS. koozie]
It was a classy and elegant cake for my classy and elegant bride-sister and most importantly it was delicious too. She's cleaned up in the cake department this past year and we're getting dangerously close to her big day of cake eating ( I mean marrying...). If you missed the details of her wedding cakes or her bridal shower cake, be sure to check out those too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Limoncello Cheesecake Truffles

Debuting a light (ahem, -er) treat for you today inspired by the warmer weather and sunshine we are finally getting up here in New York (three months left!). Limoncello cheesecake truffles. Not that they need more description or convincing, but you're going to get a little bit anyway.

They're made from lemon chiffon cake that has been soaked with a healthy douse of limoncello and citrus cream cheese filling. After being formed into truffles they were dunked in a refreshing lemon glaze and dipped into toasted graham cracker crumbs. 

Irresistibly sized and flavored, cake truffles make the perfect addition to dessert bars, special occasions or snack times. [Click here to view bourbon caramel, and ice cream sundae versions]

pssst....the limoncello cake truffles in this picture are sitting a top one of my favorite cake plates that I rent for free with the purchase of a cake or gourmet dessert item- check out the entire collection here.