Parisian Inspired Valentine's Day Pastries and Recipes

 

Strawberry Cake, Gâteau de Fraise

Bonjour mes amis ! Nous sommes de retour aujourd’hui avec un poteau de suivi au sujet de la nourriture merveilleusement française que nous avons servie sur notre table de dessert de Valentine.

Oh wait…we aren’t in France. Sigh. What is it about Paris that seems so magical anyway? Only everything. I have to admit, I am a tad bit envious of one very popular blog author these days. Her name is Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day, and she moved her family to Paris for an entire year. How cool is that? Alas that is not something we could conceivably do anytime soon, so we settle for dessert, with Parisian style.

We already talked about our inspiration for our Valentine Dessert Table here, but today we wanted to share with you the food details! When you think of French pastries what comes to mind for you? Croissants? Madelines? The ever popular Macaron? Us too. In fact, that is just what we included, minus the macarons. Oh sweet crispy chewy Macarons, why are you so hard to make? Because your oven is terri-bad Heather, at least that is what I keep telling myself. It couldn’t be my skill level or anything like that, no sir. Must be faulty equipment. OK sorry about that, major tangent. Anyway, we included traditional Parisian fare like the croissant and madeline, which we were able to find at our local grocery. We also wanted to have lots of little cakes and cookies as well. Just like you would find in the Pâtisserie. So we stuck to the color pink and we baked a Strawberry Cake, Rose Cupcakes and Raspberry Kiss Meringues. We also included Turkish Delight. What you say? Not a French pastry? You are right of course, but they were the right color, bite sized and rose infused, and so we thought, what the heck. Read on below for the details on where we found our store bought items and the recipes for the ones we baked ourselves.

Turkish Delight

We found a beautiful box of Turkish Delight at our local Kroger grocery. It was so pretty. It was so appealing. It was so NOT what we expected. Have you ever tasted a Turkish Delight? We hadn’t. It fit so well with what we wanted on our table though we grabbed it and put it out there, and then we tasted it. It was like biting into a stick of rose scented chap-stick, covered in powdered sugar. It wasn’t bad, it was… unusual. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it appetizing however. 

 

Croissants

Private Selection Mini Butter Croissants from Kroger grocery. These were in a 6-pack and came frozen. They must thaw and rise overnight before baking the next day. We found these croissants delicious! Flakey, buttery, soft, everything they should be, living up to their very french reputation.

Madelines

Also from Kroger grocery. These were pre-baked and available in the bakery section of our store. They were also very tasty. Madelines are traditionally a soft cake-like cookie, and we are for sure a fan of these. I just love the little shell shape. A madeline pan is now on my bake ware items to purchase list, so if you know me and there is an occasion to buy me something coming up, you know what to do!

Raspberry Kisses

Light as air meringue cookies that melt in your mouth! A super easy recipe that requires minimal preparation. The recipe uses jell-o as its main source of flavor, so if you prefer another flavor or color simply buy that kind of jell-o instead of the Raspberry. We wanted a berry flavor and the pink coloration as well.

Ingredients:
6 Tsp. Meringue Powder
6 Tbsp. Water
1/8t. salt
3 1/2 Tsp. raspberry Jell-O
3/4 c. sugar

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  2. Beat together (in a mixer on high) the meringue powder and water until combined, then add the salt and continue to beat until foaming.
  3. Add the Raspberry Jell-O and sugar gradually, and continue beating until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  4. Pipe batter into small swirls or kiss shapes on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
  5. Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes, the turn the oven off and allow them to sit for an additional 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely before taking them off of the parchment paper.

 These cookies should be stored in an air-tight container and will remain fresh for several days.

Strawberry Cake

Ingredients for Cake:
2 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 ½ Tsp. Baking Powder
¾ Tsp. Salt
1 ½ Sticks Un-Salted Butter, room temp.
1 ½ Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries

Ingredients for Buttercream:
1 Cup Fresh Strawberries Blended
2 Sticks Un-Salted Butter
3 - 5 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Directions for the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your cake pans in your preferred method.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir, then set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the sugar and continue beating until it is well combined.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the mixer bowl as necessary.
  6. Add half of the dry ingredient mixture and continue beating on low speed until blended.
  7. Add the buttermilk and continue mixing on low until smooth.
  8. Add the remaining dry ingredient mixture and continue beating on low speed until blended.
  9. Add in the fresh strawberries and mix on low speed until blended.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between your cake pans. We used three 6” pans to create a small, but tall cake.
  11. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and your cakes are slightly golden on top and spring back to the touch. Approx. 20-30 mins depending on the size of your cake pans.
  12. Allow the cakes to cool the transfer them to a wire rack until you are ready to stack your layers.

Directions for the Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla.
  4. Mix in the strawberry puree a tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired texture.
  5. Add more confectioners sugar as needed to thicken your buttercream to your liking.

Assembly:

  1. To assemble your cake, spread an even coating of the butter cream onto the top of your first cake layer.
  2. Continue with your next layer, and so on until you have all layer stacked with buttercream between each.
  3. Apply a thin coat of buttercream to the entire outside of your cake.
  4. Do not worry about crumbs at this point as this is your crumb coat. Allow this to set up until it has hardened slightly.
  5. Then apply another thicker layer of buttercream onto your entire cake. If you prefer you can pipe it on making a pattern or even use a cake comb to create an interesting design into the buttercream.
  6. Store your cake under a cake dome or wrapped until you are ready to serve.

Rose Cupcakes

These cupcakes employ rose water to keep them smelling fresh as… a rose! Rose water can be hard to find at times, but most specialty grocers will carry it. Look for it with the French cuisine along with the international foods.

Cupcake Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
2 - 3 Tbsp. Rose Water (your preference)
1 - 2 Drops Red Food Coloring

Buttercream Ingredients:
1 Cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, room temp.
6 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1/2 Cup milk
2 - 3 Tbsp. Rose Water (your preference)

Directions for Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, pipe frosting into small swirls around the outer edge of the cupcake then work your way inwards until you reach the center. Garnish with sugar pearls.

Directions for Buttercream:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and rose water. Mix until smooth.

Hard as we may try it is entirely possible that we have left out a detail or two here and there, so if you spot something please do not hesitate to speak up in our comments section and we will try to right that wrong! I was recently informed that our Hot Chocolate Stick recipe while insanely delicious, had omitted the small detail of oiling the spatula that you use to spread the marshmallow. The brave reader at home had attempted to create these hand-crafted marshmallows and said she ended up with it everywhere! Stuck to everything! After checking I did discover that while we mentioned oiling the spatulas, we had forgotten to mention the importance of covering your hands with non-stick spray to ensure that you do not end up marshmallow-ed. So we apologize for that!

 

 

 

 

Inspiration Pinterest 1.10.12

Hello everyone! It is good to be on the other side of the New Year now, and heading right smack dab into romance season! February is fast approaching and you all know what that mean right? Flowers, candy, stuffed animals, lining every available shelf in every available store. A never ending sea of stuff to buy for your loved one. I don’t know about you, but our stores quite literally started putting out Valentine’s Day the week following Christmas. Seems a bit early to me.

While we here at Hello My Sweet would love to wait until Valentine’s Day actually rolls around to show you our holiday decor, we also know that everyone likes to plan ahead. So with that in mind we have been busy bees. Our good friend Pinterest has been kind enough to squirrel away all of our inspirations until we were ready, so we thought we would give you a little sneak peek of what is to come later this week!

It has been a while since we posted a Pinterest inspiration board. The truth is it got away from me a bit. But I plan to pin harder and post harder this year and try to bring at least one board to you every week or two to show you what we have planned or just some really cool stuff we spotted on the good ole interwebs.

Do you have a Pinterest account? If so please join us by following Hello My Sweet here.

 

Sweet Parties: Southern Heirloom Dessert Table Garden Party

"Now isn't this better than sitting at a table? A girl hasn't got but two sides to her at the table." - Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With the Wind

We'd like to take you through our process of creation, step-by-step by discussing how we came up with our theme and inspiration, to what we chose to serve and how we chose to serve it, to the little detail decor that helped bring everything together. Let's get started!


Sweetly ladylike and classically southern, our Southern Heirloom theme draws inspiration from family generations and antiquities passed down. Using my great-grandmother's Noritake "Azelea Pattern" China and my grandmother's Fostoria "American Pattern" Crystal and a combination their vintage lace tablecloths, handkercheifs and antique furniture, we created an intimate garden party for true southern belles. The color palette was chosen first, drawing from the feminine pink and muted greens of the china pattern. Then we incorporated quite a bit of ivory/off-white as a neutral color because we already knew we wanted to hold this little soiree outside. It also helped to tie in the ivory color of the vintage lace tablecloths we used as well.

Decor decor, where did all that pretty stuff come from? Well we already talked about all of the heirloom pieces you see, but what we didn't talk about were the little touches. We used silk (gasp) flowers to decorate here and there throughout the display. Pretty delicate pink blooms with green/blue leaves adorn two of the cakes and are featured under a cloche purely for asthetics. We found them half off at AC Moore back in April and saved them for future use because they were just that pretty we knew we would find something to do with them eventually. The pink grosgrain ribbon was acquired from (another gasp) Dollar Tree. They had a huge box of all different shades both grosgrain and satin and we snagged several rolls for that bargain price and held on to them for the future as well. The small green and pink bottles were found at the good ole DG Store, another favorite place to spot the occasional awesome item. The little green paper flags on our smooth iced layer cake were a homemade touch using a tutorial we found at The Yuppie Lifestyle Blog. The frilly fluffy ivory garland in the background was homemade DIY Ruffle Garland crafted from crepe paper streamers.

It is so super easy to make your own ruffled crepe paper garland. Find out how to make it in our new blog section Sweet DIY Projects.

Fun Fact: The lace swag you see above was actually my grandmother's wedding veil! She kept a hope chest of all her most prized possesions, which I explored and discovered this most beautiful and delicate lace piece that had to be displayed somewhere, somehow! It found a perfect home draped casually over the side of the smaller table.


What to serve, what to serve! We chose to have several of our tall layer cakes (ruffled and smooth), whoopie pies and a little mom inspired powdered doughnut cake. (Powdered doughtnuts are one of my mother's favorite treats.) We found inspiration for our ruffle cake from the Sweet and Saucy Blog, who seems to excel at all things vintage and delicious and outdoors. You may remember a previous post featuring a powdered doughnut cake (here) which we spotted on the HGTV website a while back and promptly pinned to our Pinterest Board! We included it for several reasons, first of all it is really super cute and sweet and secondly this table was meant as a tribute to the women in my family and as I mentioned before, mom likes them. Our whoopie pies were strawberry, sweet and pink and perfect for our theme, plus it is strawberry season and we already had farm fresh strawberries ready at hand. The fluffy pink spun sugar added a touch of whimsy and was an impulse inclusion since our local grocery store had a huge display of hard to resist bags front and center. We also chose a sprakling Shirley Temple to drink because... (pause for dramatic effect) it's pink! Not really too hard to guess why on that one lol.

What did we use to display all of those pretty little cakes and doughnuts? Custom cake stands of course! Remember how we mentioned that beautiful vintage cake stands cost an arm and a leg (here)? Well we have pretty much decided that making our own is the way to go from here on out. (That is unless we ever make boat loads of money and can actually afford to collect some of those beautiful pieces. (*File it under Someday*) 

Jason was the mastermind once again for the creation of our cake stands. He used his handy-dandy woodworking skills to fashion several stands for the table that were different but also looked nice together too. He chose a three color palette for the stands to match the china as well and continue the color scheme of pink, green and ivory. Incedentaly the off-white color he chose is actually called Heirloom White and is made by Rustoleum.

Another bonus to creating your own stands is having several them to use again and again in the future for more dessert tables. All they may need is a coat of a new color paint and they are ready to use. Visit our DIY post here for more information on how to make your own cake stands.

Side note: Other companies (like Amy Atlas) are located in urban areas that have awesome places called "Prop Houses." These buildings of wonder and amazement are actually in the business of renting out vessels and serving pieces and just about anything you could ever need for a Dessert Table. This eliminates the need to create your own stuff or hunt endlessly to find super bargains here or there in order to pull off a table without breaking the bank. So it should be noted that taking this route is a commendable feat to do-it-yourself party planners that do not have access to rentals :)


We chose to place the pink spun sugar in the delicate Noritake china tea cups that belonged to my great-grandmother. At first it seemed cute and whimsical, not the average choice for styling, but then it melted. Quickly. In fact it melted so quickly we had to replace it several times before we were even able to take photos. Even then it still melted a little on the edges. Nice thing about spun sugar though, it's still sugar no matter what form its in and tastes just as sweet! 

 


We are now referring to this cake as the Ruffled Southern Belle cake. Southern belles like Scarlett always had mounds of ruffles on them somewhere and this cake follows suit. We topped it off with a beautiful delicate flower with even more pink and green.

My grandmother was a true southern hostess. Her mid-20th century Fostoria American Crystal collection was the centerpiece of her serve ware. Delicate cut crystal cake stands, goblets, punch bowl and sherbet pieces all sitting awaiting special company or a holiday. Anyone who planned to spend time at my grandmother's home for a special occasion could expect to see a perfect display of traditional party foods awaiting them on delicate serving pieces like the one above. She took great care to make everything "just so," just as we have taken great care to make this Dessert Table "just so." We hope you enjoyed this theme!

 

Southern Heirloom Sneak Peek

We just finished up a beautiful southern heirloom inspired dessert display this week and just couldn't wait to show you the outcome. More details to come on the blog this week, but for now feast your eyes on this beauty:

Come back later in the week for our DIY walk-through!