Monday, November 29, 2010

Ginger Persimmon Bread

I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving full of delectable foods shared with family and the important people in your life. I love this time of year because I not only get to hang out with my family, but I also get to cook with  and for them!  This year I went to Santa Barbara where our family had a potluck. I knew everyone would be so stuffed from Turkey and other coma causing dishes, so I opted to not make a cake this time.  Instead I made chocolate chip cookies and Ginger Persimmon Bread.

Last year I made a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for Thanksgiving to show off my new cake decorating skills to my family. Can you believe it's already been a year since I've gotten into this edible artform? I have definitely come a long way.  I used pineapple chunks to make a heart with some royal icing flowers I made to accent. Here's how that cake turned out...
The chocolate chip cookies I made this year were a big hit.  They were the perfect dessert treat after a heavy delicious meal.  We were able to sit around the dinner table and nibble on them while drinking some Moscato and/or tea.  They were also an ideal accompaniment to the vanilla ice cream and berries that my cousins brought.  Before the end of the night, they were all gone! Perhaps I should have made more.
Then there was the Ginger Persimmon Bread.  Who's tried Ginger Persimmon Bread before? Not me.  Some people barely even know what a persimmon is...this made me all the more anxious to try it.  I got the recipe from my new favorite blogger Joy the can find her recipe here.  I stumbled across this recipe and realized that I have all those ingredients, plus something about it screams Thanksgiving. 

First part of this recipe is the calls for both ground and fresh. Usually whenever my parents come back from Hawaii, they bring back loads of fresh Hawaiian Ginger given to us by our relatives. As you can see from this next picture, my mom recently came back from Hawaii.
Second part to this recipe is the Persimmon.  This is the part that reminds me of Thanksgiving...they're in season from October-December and are in abundance during this time.  I had plenty to work with in my kitchen.  Joy the Baker's recipe calls for ripened Hachiya Persimmons which look more like orange tomatoes from its tapered body. I had Fuyu Persimmons which are flatter and meant to be eaten like crunchy apples. Since my Fuyu Persimmons were ripened to the point of being overripe, I figure I could substitute.
This is what the persimmon pulp looked like. Isn't it just a lovely Thanksgiving color?
Next thing left to do was combine all the ingredients and pour them into my baking liners. I absolutely love the smell of freshly grated nutmeg. After all this yummy baking, my house smelled divine. 
"What does is taste like?" you ask...I'd say it tastes almost like carrot cake since they both have similar spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, but like most breads, they are not nearly as sweet as cakes.  The consistency is similar to zucchini bread. There's a hint of the ginger flavor and some persimmon flavor but not as much as I hoped for.  I think the persimmon acts more as a sweetener and keeps the bread moist. Hmm, I wonder how different it would be if I used the Hachiya. If you're interested in tasting this for yourself, I'd be happy to make one for you.  I plan to bake a bunch of holiday treats to package and sell, so let me know if you'd like to place an order.

Enjoy the rest of your November. Thanks for stopping by. 

~Abs of Cakes~

Sunday, November 21, 2010

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~Abs of Cakes~

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Surprise....Say Cheese!

Other than designing and cooking and watching Lakers games, another passion of mine has become Tahitian Dancing. For about a year and a half I've been dancing with the group Te Varua Ori (TVO).  Not only has this group taught me about the Tahitian dance form and culture, but I've also developed an extended family with the various individuals. Fellow dancer, Josh wanted to surprise his girlfriend and TVO dancer, June with a couple special birthday cakes. June's actual birthday was on a Thursday, a practice her first surprise came as a simple 8-inch round chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting per Josh's request. (Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of that cake. Sorry.)  Little did June know that Josh had another surprise planned...the invite went something like this: 
Alrighty guys and gals. so Thursday September 9th is JUNE NICHOLE's birthday! (woot!) but we're gonna surprise her 2 days later!! (shhh..)

So Saturday the 11th, June is under the impression that a few friends want to have a photo shoot at the park. Little does she know.. she is in for the picnic of her LIFE.

3 legged races, tug-of-war, volleyball, water balloon fights, egg toss and more! I just want to gather as many...of the people she loves the most together for some good clean summer fun in the sun. 
Cute right? As you might have guessed, June is a photographer [check out her work here] it was only appropriate to make her a Camera Cake! 

Originally, Josh had another idea in mind for the design of this cake...he was thinking of a regular round cake with a lens telescoping out from it. Although it was a great idea, I also thought about the transportation and delivery. The picnic was at Butterfield Park in Chino Hills, almost an hour drive. A tiered cake is a lot more prone to accidents, so I decided to go with my own idea...which he ended up liking better :) June owns a Canon, so that's what I modeled it after. Here are the images that helped me with the details. [*Note: the final product is not quite as detailed nor does it replicate a specific Canon model]  

This cake was essentially made up of rectangular and cylindrical forms, so I treated each piece separately before adding them together. The flavor was vanilla with cream cheese frosting. You will notice that the frosting is pink....I have to admit, that was a bit of a flaw.  I made pink frosting to cover June's first cake, but wasn't happy with the hue and decided to make it a turquoise color instead.  I didn't want to waste the pink frosting, so I used it on the Camera cake.
Once I had the main form prepped, I was ready to carve the camera's body.  It felt like I was in Design school again, except instead of drawing a camera in perspective, I was sculpting it out of cake.  I printed out a copy of the camera's top view to use as my template.
I added a crumb coat to the newly carved form and covered it in black fondant.  I cut out a circular shape where the "lens" would fit.  I also cut out an area on the side only to re-cover it with a textured piece of black fondant...this was to mimic the leathery material and the seams that a real camera possesses. 
A cake does NOT look like a camera until you add all the right visual needs buttons, a lens, seams, and other details that make a camera operate.
To get the shiny quality on the lens and screen areas, all I did was simply brush on some water over the fondant. This was one cake in particular that was meant to be viewed in a full 360 degrees, so I didn't forget to add details to the back.
I wanted to include a strap that would add that special touch. But what good is a strap if there are no strap holders on the camera to hook them onto, right? Lastly, I piped on the text that would personalize this cake especially for June and her surprise picnic.
This cake was ready to be part of a fun-filled SURPRISE picnic at the park! June was surprised and really admired her cake.
I stayed long enough at the park to get pictures of my favorite part...the cake cutting! Since they had no knife, they were crafty enough to use one-half of a pair of scissors to do the cutting....MacGyver would be proud.

Overall, I'd say this Surprise was a great success on a beautiful Summer Saturday in September! I'd like to thank Josh again for letting me be part of June's special day.  See you both at practice! :)

Once again, thank you for stopping by...I hope you were inspired.

~Abs of Cakes~

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