Sunday, August 28, 2011

Belle Pastry

One of happy moments in the month of August came in a box full of treats.  My birthday fell on the second week of last month and I went to Seattle with my family for a small celebration.  In the beginning of the year I was so stoked to have it somewhere warm and sandy; but in reality having it lavishly isn't always the option.  I settled for something less but equally excellent, in fact it made me fell in love with its beauty.

Anyway, when I was in Seattle I got a chance to visit one bakery in Bellevue area which is called Belle Pastry.  It's located in the downtown area and when I visited it in mid-morning, it's already packed with people buying breads and pastries.  It sells artisan bread, fine pastries, sandwiches, chocolates, and cookies as well.  The store is delightful, the offerings are excellent.

Sadly, the only pictures I took were these two cakes, Pear Caramel Mousse and Le Pistache.  I wish I bought more!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cherry Cream Layered Cake

Yesterday I just got back from my short vacation to Eastern Oregon for five days.  I had an amazing time there, the scenery is so beautiful, it's worth driving the long miles.  Even though I'm tempted to write the story here, I usually write it down on my personal blog.  I also am taking a two-week vacation from my summer work since last week, and today I realize how good it feels not to wake up in the morning to my alarm buzz.

Last night while I was just done with dinner and starting to read last week's newspapers, my phone rang.  It was my friend, Julie, who wanted to come over and she's saying that she had something to share with me.  In less than five minutes she was at my door, bringing me  a tasty treat.  It was Rainier cherries; big in size and sweet in flavor.  We exchanged our hellos and started to talk about where to buy cherries with the best prize.  So far, she won :)  I went to pick cherries a couple weeks ago at Hood River and they're quite expensive though they're organics.  My parents and my family picked several types of cherries, including Bing, Lambert, Van, and Rainier.  We went a bit overboard with the deed, it seemed that once you picked you couldn't stop until all the buckets were full.  I don't know if that's called greedy or it's just plain uncontrollable yearning after waiting for a year for the cherry season to arrive.


Cherry Cream Layered Cake

Most of the cherries have been eaten fresh, some will be made into cherry pie filling, and a handful made it as the filling for a simple, four-layer cake. I made up my mind of what kind of cake I wanted to make, this time a vanilla chiffon cake was suffice to be the base.  Whipped cream was the frosting and fresh Rainier cherries soaked in kirsch dressed up the cake.  The result was a rustic and homey cake.  The flavor is fantastic though, if you're a fan of chiffon cake, you'll like it when it's paired with whipped cream and fresh fruits--I'm always partial to this combo anyway.

There's no definite recipe to get this cake right.  All you need is some creativity:

  • Have about 2-3 cups of fresh, pitted cherries, let them soak in a tablespoon or two of kirsch in a bowl before you start the cake.

  • Recipe for vanilla chiffon cake can be found here.  It's from my old blog and to change it into a vanilla-flavored cake, change the lime juice with water, omit lemon extract, add vanilla extract instead, and add lemon zest.

  • In this post, I made the cake in two 9-inch pans and each cake was cut into two layers.  Alternately, you could still bake it in three 8-inch pans like the original recipe.  Baking time for 9-inch pans is about 20 minutes.

  • I made whipped cream frosting from 2 cups of heavy cream and 2 tablespoon of sugar.

  • Cherry Cream Layered Cake

It didn't need to look perfect as along as it tasted delicious!  My son could eat this night after night for dessert.