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This challenge was a challenge, as I have been with out a working oven for almost 3 weeks now!  I had made my ice cream base last week and was wondering if I would ever get to process it.  Luckily my angle (the carpenter), came and installed my new oven this past Monday.  It was an ordeal to say the least, cut our old oven and base unit, move a cabinet, rewire the wall, remove and cut down counter top, reinstall and slide in new oven.  But alas it is done and I am BAKING again!  We love cake and ice cream in our house.  So much, if our Netfix arrives and we no ice cream, someone has to run out for some Ben and Jerry’s or Breyers.  I make a lot of home made ice cream now that I have the kitchen-aid ice cream attachment.  This is by far the best batch of fruit ice cream I have ever made.  Recipe to follow.  This all being said, I settled on a Zuccotto: is an Italian dessert with origins in Florence, a semi-frozen, chilled dessert made with brandy, cake and ice cream. I did however omit the brandy and replaced it with Ganache, my third favorite thing.  I made the cakes in 6″ rounds, this recipe made enough batter for two 6″ cakes.  The cake was so incredible easy to make.  Who would not love a 3 ingredient recipe?  The cake came out of the oven, and I had to shave some off just for a taste.  Ah, what bliss, like velvet chocolate on your tongue.  Marvelous.  I processed my raspberry ice cream and then pressed it into 1/2 round 6″ moulds and froze them overnight.  Lastly I made the ganache, assembled my layers and poured the cooled ganache over the cake.  I then popped it back in the “blast chiller” for a final 30 minutes before cutting.  Served with fresh raspberries, this desert was divine and will be made in my home again, very soon!  We give this 4 hearts, our highest rated Darring Bakers challenge.  Thank you to our hosts.

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

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My girls were present during my photo shot, and wanted to taste so badly.  If you can imagine me saying over and over “please stay back for just 1 more minute, this is mommies important project”, until they could stand it no more…….

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This was a fun project.  I got a call from a couple who wanted a birthday cake for their son’s first birthday, a dog cake to be exact.  They were a referral and have never met me or seen my work.  Trusting I know!  They wanted a chocolate lab in 3D; or just his head, done somewhat like a cartoon.  I thought about it and said “I do not think I am quite skilled enough to do a 3D cake, but a dog face I can do for sure”.  They agreed, and I got to work.  I found as many dog cakes as I could as well as pictures of people’s Labs online.  I pondered and drew. Then I pondered some more.  The face cakes did not cut it for me.  I had to do 3D.  After all, you only turn 1 once!

My rough draft was drawn.  Now how big do I make it?  We agreed that it would be at least the size of a 1/2 sheet cake.  I mapped out everything I would need to make, such as brown fondant for the ears and nose and white for rawhide bones.

Now for the scale; back to the drawing board with cake pans in hand.  This helps me calculate how much I would need to bake for the size dog I wanted on the board.  A little more sketching and I’m ready to start making my fondant pieces.

I made one large rawhide bone for the dog cake.  I was also making the birthday boy a small cake to eat himself, which of course would need to match the theme.  I also created twenty mini bones and a 3″ dog to hold up a #1 for his cake.  I was very happy with the dog. This was my first gum paste character.

The actual dog cake came together quite nicely although it took some time for piping.  It was about 90° on Friday and very humid.  My chocolate lab fur was melting faster than I could pipe.  In the end, with refrigeration, he stayed in tact!    Both cakes did very well in the car and were delivered in one piece!  The most tedious part of this process is the delivery!  This was by far the most creative cake I have ever made.  I thank my customer for the order and giving me an opportunity to practice and hone my skills.


As previously stated, I have been working on my Gum Paste flowers.  Two weeks ago my new niece was born and I was busy keeping her brother. My mother-in-law was busy at the hospital with her daughter and new granddaughter.  It was a perfect time to sneak in an Anniversary cake for her and her husband.  In the previous month I had sent out a number of questions about her likes: favorite color, flower, and fruit.  Papa Stan had no idea why I was asking such odd questions with everything else going on.  I got working on some yellow tulips.  I did make them a few shades darker as gum paste will fade with time.  They only took me about 2 1/2 hours total working time over about 5 days, to allow for hardening.  I did some hand painting on these with chalk dust and vodka, as well as a small amount of luster dust followed with steam to seal it all on.  The cake was a cinch, basic yellow with a milk chocolate icing colored like terra cotta.

However, the delivery was very hairy.  The cake itself was about 8″ tall.  I decided to deliver it when they were not home and leave a note.  So when they came home, the two love birds could enjoy the note and cake in each others company.  We had a tropical storm rolling through that day, August 20th.  We, Kaighty and I, made it and delivered it safely.  On the way home, a huge squall came through with a tornado warning.  It was pouring so hard that visibility was almost zero.  I was driving about 7 miles an hour in my Civic through 8″ of water.  It took us an hour to drive our normal 20 minute trip.  My knuckles were white when I finally pulled up in the driveway.  It was a close one!   Anyways, here are some shots of my handy work.  Enjoy.

My first ever.  First DB Challenge.  First Pâte à Choux.  First Pastry Cream.  I was so excited!  I took my eldest to school, went shopping for all my ingredients (I heard fresh is best for Choux dough), and put the toddler down for her afternoon nap— 3 whole hours to myself and my Eclairs.  Heaven!

Making the Choux dough was much easier than I thought it would be.  I think I was a little short on flour because I sifted first.  I have since learned it is best for this dough to sift after measuring.

The dough itself resembles goopy hair gel from the 90’s when dropped from your wooden spoon.  Loading it into the pastry bag and piping it onto the cookie sheet was also very easy.  HINT:  Do not copy my step of piping onto the cookie sheet directly, use parchment or a silpat.  I watched 2 You-Tubers do this and it worked fine for them.  Nonetheless, mine stuck to the pan.  When you remove them from the oven to poke a hole in them, it is critical that you get them right back in the oven. If they stick to the pan, like mine, they will fall before you get them back in.

I was very happy with the way my dough puffed up.  About 80% of my Eclairs were hollow in the middle and took the cream filling very well.  I will cook them an additional 3 minutes next time to ensure the exterior of the “bun” stays crisp.  The recipe for the Choux dough did not yield enough for me to make large Eclairs like I had hoped, in fact it only made enough for 18.  When finished, two Eclairs side by side were no bigger than a business card.  I love to share what I bake with family and friends. This was hardly enough to go around.  For all the effort and dishes, I will double it next time.

I decided to alter the filling.  We were allowed to alter either the filling or the glaze in this challenge.  Even though I changed the cream, I followed the amounts and instructions exactly.  The only substitute I used was white for dark chocolate and once my cream was cool, I added 1 tablespoon of Hazelnut Liquor.  I found that once I filled my Eclairs, I was only left with about 1/2 cup of cream.  That being said, I believe the recipe for the Choux and the cream are spot on.  However, I was left with more than 1/2 of the chocolate glaze.  Therefore, I will need to scale that down before my next attempt.

I sliced my Eclairs lengthwise, per the directions, and used a star tip to pipe the cream into the open Eclairs.  The cream was not quiet stiff enough to hold its shape once the top was put on.   I dipped the tops in the chocolate glaze instead of spooning it on.  This gave my Eclairs a much more finished look.

They tasted wonderful!  We ate them all in less than 24 hours and I am salivating right now wishing I had just one more to eat!   I think Pierre was right on with this recipe, and I personally can’t wait to make them again.

In conclusion, the Daring Bakers are a wonderful network of knowledgeable, sportive people who make this experience wonderful.  I am proud to now be one!  Thanks Daring Bakers for the beginning of a journey I can’t wait to travel!

Follow the MORE TAG for Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs Recipe.

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I have been working on my sugar flowers a lot lately, trying to perfect them.  I had made some sweet peas the week before school started.  I decided to surprise Kaightlyn, my 4 year old, with a cake when she got home from her first day of school.  Now you may thing this is funny, pre-k, 3 hours a day, 3 mornings a week right?  A big deal?  Worth cake?  Well, here in the south, pre-k is full time, held at a regular Elementary school from 8am-2:45pm M-F.  It’s a big deal to us!  Luckally she LOVES it!  Really LOVES it!  I am getting off track, back to my story, I had also just bought some comma pans, which I really wanted to try.  So I decided to make a chocolate chiffon cake with buttercream filling and MMF topping.  This gave me an opportunity to practice my piping skills and gave me a place to put my sweet peas.  I think it turned out quiet nice.  She thought is was “amazing”! 

I made this Care Bear cake for my daughter’s 2nd Birthday.  She personally ate all the fondant roses. Unfortunately, she is not a big fan of cake.  How is that possible?  Having a Mom that wants to open her own cake bakery and two daughters that DON’T LIKE CAKE!  They may stick their fingers in the icing, but they don’t eat CAKE!  I know, it’s crazy.  Have I failed as a Mom?  Did I forget to introduce cake?  Well anyway, back to the post….

I made Best Friend Bear in Chocolate Chiffon cake with Swiss Buttercream filling, and MM Fondant icing.  It took me almost 3 days to prepare all the ingredients, as my 1st buttercream failed as well as my first fondant.  I know better than to bake with kids around. I leave the room to break up a fight and 45 minutes later I realize my eggs and sugar in the bain-marie are fried!  The actual construction, done after bed time, took only about 3 hours.  Enjoy the pics!

My very supportive (loves to eat cake) husband, rolled the fondant for the first ever homemade fondant covered Bonobo cake.  It surprisingly only took us two tries.  A little gel coloring and we had ourselves a very pretty cake.  We ate it at a family get together and man was it delicious.  This is a Chocolate Chiffon cake with Oreo Swiss Buttercream filling and Rolled Vanilla Fondant icing.  We were both very proud!

This cake was ordered by a friend for her husband’s birthday.  It is a White Cake with Buttercream Espresso Kahlua filling and Milk Chocolate Buttercream Icing.  Go Georgia Tech!

We had been eating cake for weeks at the house, and frankly we’re a little burnt out. I took the last cake from my Wilton Class up to my husband’s work. He works with a group of men, who are always hungry, and I knew it would be a hit! It was gone in hours and this is what they had to say:

Cheryl,

On behalf of all of us at ______, many many thanks for the fabulous cake that you baked, decorated and sent to us! Not only was it beautiful, it was outstandingly delicious….an “11” on a scale of 1-10.

This is a sampling of cakes made prior to today. We will call them “test” cakes. Flavors that fail. Icings that drip and bleed. Cakes that are too dry. All the work that goes into creating a set of recipes that will be BONOBO CAKE’S future! Enjoy.

This is my Chocolate Zebra Cheesecake topped with a Chocolate Ganache

A Caramel Cake I have been testing that is a Southern tradition

Lemon cake with a Lemon Curd filling topped with Criscocream (Wilton’s training Icing)

White Cake with Raspberry Buttercream filling and Italian Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Chocolate Kahlua Zucotto Cake with Espresso Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

Milk Chocolate Cake with Ganache and Henna Art

White Cake with Basic Buttercream as Cinderella in “Lavender” for my daughter’s 4th Birthday

My first Wedding cake made for my sister-in-law, White Cake with Italian Vanilla Buttercream in lime green.

Hello reader, this Blog is a real time biography for Bonobo Cakes. BC will become an official bakery sooner than later. For now however, we are closed. With the addition of a 3rd child, life is to important to stop and spend 24 hours strait on a cake. Although we love cake, it will be a while before we get back into baking on a large scale. Enjoy the stories and photos, but please ask prior to using any of our original information on another site. Thank you and Enjoy the blog as it was!