Petite and Cute

My esthetician, Jess, opened her own salon, and wanted to to host an open house for all her clients. She asked sydney and I if we could cater the event. Jess wanted to serve petit fours, small l’opéra cakes, and single serving cakes. Her salon colors are light pink with accents of purple and Jess wanted the pastries to stay in that color theme. The first flavor that came to my mind was strawberry; Sydney thought adding almond paste to the strawberry cake cake would be heavenly.

Opening her own salon has been a dream of hers since cosmetology school; she meticulously chose every fixture, facial chair, message tables, tools, and wax. The first time I visited the new salon Jess was elated as she gave me a tour. Sydney and I wanted her open house to reflect not only the salon personality, but Jess’ enthusiasm and pride. Both Sydney and I felt honored and blessed to be asked to cater the opening of Jess’ dream.

Almond-Strawberry Cake:

The flavor combination is heavenly

  •  283 gram/ 2 2/3-cup cake flour
  • 15 grams/ 1½ -Tablespoon strawberry powder
  • 400 grams/ 2 ¼-cup sugar
  • 200 grams/ 4 eggs
  • 12 grams/ 3 ½ -teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 180grams/ 3/4-cup milk
  • 180 grams/ ¾-cup butter
  • 114 grams/ ½-cup almond paste
  • ½ teaspoon-vanilla extract
  • 4 drops strawberry essence

Spray and flour 2 12-count muffin pans or use 2 cylinder fexipans pans. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F.

Prepare your mise en place.

Mise en place

In a measuring jug combine eggs, 180 grams/ ¾  of cup milk, strawberry essence and vanilla, set aside.

Whisk to combine

 In the bowl of a standing mixer, with the paddle attachment, sift all the dry ingredients, flour, dehydrated strawberry powder,sugar, and baking powder.

The salt doesn’t need to be sifted; add salt to the sifted dry ingredients

 Mix all the dry ingredients, with the paddle attachment of the standing mixer, on low speed just to blend.

Mix for about 45 seconds

Add the butter and almond paste, mix on low speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Once all the butter and almond paste have been added, pour 180 gram/3/4  of cup milk. Continue to mix on low speed till the dry ingredients are moistened.

Cube the butter and almond paste; add one cube at a time

Raise  the speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, reduce the speed to low and gradually add the egg mixture in thirds, beating for 20 seconds on medium after each addition. Scrape down the sides.

Use a measuring jug for accuracy

Remove the bowl from the standing mixer, fold and scrape the sides of the batter.

The almond paste-strawberry cake batter

Using a medium size ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into pans (this will insure each cake is the exact same size). Place in the middle rack of a preheated oven and bake for 18- 20 minutes, or until the cakes are a light golden brown, spring back when gently pressed in the middle, and begins slightly to pull away from side of the flexipan (muffin pans).

Allow the cakes to cool for 5 minutes in the pans, invert on a cooling and decorate once cooled completely.

If using a flexipan allow the pan to cool before inverting

Crème Pâtissière Pastry Cream:

78 grams/4 large egg yolks

100 grams/2  large egg

100 grams/3/4-cup  of pastry cream powder, or cornstarch

1-vanilla bean

256 grams/ 1 1/4-cups super fine sugar

980 grams/ 4 1/8-cups milk, whole

Prepare  your mise en place.

Mise en place

In a mixing bowl (preferably copper) place egg yolks, whole eggs, and pastry cream powder with half the sugar (128 grams). Whisk, with a hand mixer, until the ingredients are well blended and lightly colored.

Start mixing as milk heats

In a heavy saucepan place milk, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds, and the second half of the 68 grams of sugar. Place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat.

Heat the milk to a”kiss” of a boil

Take  1/3 of the hot milk mixture, in a steady stream, pour into the egg mixture (tempering the eggs), constantly whisking. Whisk the tempered mixture back into the milk pot.

 Place the mixture over medium  heat and stirring continuously with a wooden spoon return to a boil. Continue boiling the pastry crème scraping the bottom and the sides, until thick and smooth.

Stirring constantly watch as the mixture turns to Crème Pâtissière Pastry Cream

Remove the crème from the heat, move into a large bowl and allow the pastry crème to cool.

Cover the surface with the pastry cream with film, directly over the top. Set aside to cool.

Crème Mousseline:

1135 grams freshly made pastry crème

340 grams/ 1½- butter, room temperature and diced into cubes

 Prepare your mise en place.

The mise en place constants of butter and Crème Pâtissière Pastry Cream.

If the pastry crème is still very warm, place it in a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat for two minutes to cool it slightly.

With the motor running add butter cubes, beating until completely incorporated and mixture is very light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.

The crème will break slightly at first; then become silky and smooth

 Fill a large pastry bag, fitted with a large open tube, ateco 802 or 804, with the crème pastry cream. Gently push the prepared pastry bag through the center of each cake and fill.

Fill the petite cake until a little crème begins to peak out of the top of the cake

Fill all the cakes at the same time.

Leave the crème peaking from the top

Use the remaining pastry crème as the crumb coat.

Apply the crème mousseline just the same as buttercream

Cover each cake with marzipan, allow the cakes to dry at least 4 hours to overnight. Color and cover with fondant.

Left side: marzipan. right side: fondant

We decided purple gum paste roses and a royal icing border would be excellent for the open house.





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