Guest Post: Erica Marsillo

This month, I'm excited to have Erica post for us. A student in ITHQ's Professional Pastry Making program, she makes some of the greatest art around: the edible kind. She has put together a photo journal for her guest post, taking us into the world of chocolate cake and creams as she prepared for a baby shower last month.

At the beginning of this sweet journey, all I had to make was the cake. Once I looked through photos and ideas, I kept getting inspired by all the cuteness and the rest is history. This was the week where my Inner Nonna came out. Every time I finished one treat I had to make more thinking nothing would ever be enough. I finally understand the pain and fear my nonna goes through every supper. I will never tell her to stop making food because it is just impossible.

I started thinking of flavours and decoration that could go with the theme, which was "Mother to bee". The inspiration came from the invitation which was a little rustic, so I wanted to make things feel homey and relaxed. 

I started the week off with the cakepops since they can be preserved the longest. The chocolate is used as a shell so that the cake doesn't become dry and dense. 

I used fondant to make the bees wings. I was thinking of using white chocolate that came in circles but they were too small.

I was really happy with how they came out and that none of them cracked! Cake pops are a hassle and sometimes very annoying. If one thing is off then everything can go wrong. For example, if your cake pop is too cold and the chocolate is too hot, it'll crack; but if your cake pop is too warm and the chocolate too cold, it'll fall off the stick. Luckily none of this happened to me! 

For the mini tarts I wanted to go with lemon honey meringue and blueberry. I looked at the Flavour Bible (it is a real and very great book) and tried to associate flavours to honey so that it would go with the theme as well, hoping to make the sweet table more than just looks. As everyone says, it's what's on the inside that counts (mostly). 

I used mini cupcake pans and a pan for moelleux cookies to make the bases of the tarts. I used a pâte brisée recipe so that they would be flakey, buttery and so so good. 

Blueberry pies ready to go into the oven!

My blueberry tartelettes didn't really come out as I wanted to. I used a different recipe for the filling than I usually do and it just did not look nice. I ended up dunking the whole thing in semisweet chocolate to hide it. Thankfully everything goes good with chocolate.

I was pretty happy with my lemon meringue tartelettes: they came out the way I wanted them to. The meringues were a little too brown. I think I got too excited with the torch. I wanted to make them look like beehives. Originally, I saw this idea on cupcakes but figured I'd make something else since there was going to be cake and cake pops.

After all this fun it was time to take a break. My least favourite part of it all, the dishes. It is always around this time where I have to repeat to myself "I love what I do, I love what I do...".  

I wanted to try something different for the sweet table so I decided to go with homemade marshmallows. I had to remake them since I messed up the gelatin part of the recipe the first time and they never set. 

I went with a marbeled pattern to mimick the yellow and black of the bees and to go with the colours. I also thought adding the chocolate would make things more interesting in terms of flavour and texture.  

They ended up looking like little omelettes, but I am still happy with the way they turned out.

They were still a little sticky and didn't set that well. They were also very humid and absorbed the icing sugar that was sprinkled around them. I don't know if it was the chocolate that changed it or if it was because I used a different gelatin from what the recipe specified. 

The three little bees: papa, mama and baby bee.

The masking of the cake. At first I wanted to pipe the lines on. I made one line at the bottom, I then realised how long this would take so I changed my mind. I masked the cake completely and put the lines in later with my spatula. 

This cake made me so happy. I found it so cute and I really loved loved loved the banner! I wrote pretty small and it came out nice, which is a miracle for me, so a once in a lifetime experience. I originally wanted to make the flavour chocolate with honey buttercream but because of lack of time and fear of not tasting good I didn't do it. Instead, I made it classic chocolate and vanilla.

This was where my inner nonna came out. I didn't have to make the mini cupcakes... but I made the mini cupcakes. Forty of them. I had extra frosting so it had to be done! 

I put little white pearls and black sugar to go with the theme. I made rosettes so that they would look like little flowers that the bumble bee cake pops could fly in.

Every time I have a couple of orders I have to figure out how to fix the shelves in the fridge. Luckily I have one downstairs that is only used for (some of) my nonna's pepper preserves. 

In the end the sweet table was a success and I was happy with how everything turned out. 

Thank you to Cassandra who asked me to be part of her blog... okay I asked her to let me write this. If you liked my creations check out my facebook page: Tastebuds by Erica Marsillo.

#guestpost #pastrychef #baking #babyshower #photojournal #artistorian

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