Cake and Pastry Artist Lesi Johnson

XDream Cakes and Pastries in Calgary

Lesi’s Kitchen, January 2013 Newsletter

CakeBreak   

brought to you by

Lesi’s Kitchen, School of Cake Artistry

What’s News

 

Happy New Year – New year, new you?

 

Another year is in the making.  Another year of great caking.  A couple of times a year I like to choose one worthy cake designer and honor their hard work and skills with the:

Golden Spatula, Award of Excellence
Lesi’s Kitchen

“Golden Spatula” Award of Excellence.

That award was presented to former student,  Natasha Munro.

Natasha has honed her skills and has accomplished some amazing cake works.

Here is a little bit about her and her adventure in the caking world that we all love so very much.

“I have loved baking for a long time, maybe close to 10 years now. But I first started gaining an interest in cake design about 2 years ago. My first fondant cake was the one I made for my daughter’s first birthday party. After that, I was head over heals in love.

I have always had a passion for all things crafty, and when I pair it with my love of baking… It’s heaven for me.
I have have taken a few classes with Lesi and they were awesome. So much information packed into a Saturday, and lots of fun at the same time. The rest of my information has been mostly self taught, from either books, blogs, YouTube or good-old trial and error.
I actually find a lot of inspiration through scrap-booking style and other crafty projects, and also through real life items. I also love cruising through some of the great cake blogs out there.  If I’m really stuck for an idea I can always turn to pinterest.
I plan to start up a little home business in caking, but for now I have been keeping busy with projects for my family and friends.”

Natasha Munro

 

2013 Class Schedule   is up and ready.   www.lesiskitchen.com

 

Still a few spots left available for Gumpaste Basics class January 26th.

 

Gelatin class is here.   This exciting 2 day Workshop that will take place:

Monday February 11th        6:30pm to 8:30pm

and

Wednesday February 13th    6:30pm to 8:30pm

 

Help me, Help You

I looked at your suggestions for  ideas for classes that you would like to see in Lesi’s Kitchen.  There will be several classes scheduled on weekday evenings  that span 2-3 hours.  To name just a few:

Gelatin ribbons and butterflies

Crazy cake pops

Glam MiniCakes    and many many more.

Be sure to keep  your eye on the upcoming schedule so you don’t miss out!

www.lesiskitchen.com

 

 

LIKE US on FACEBOOK      facebook.com/LesiCakes

 

 

 

 

 

A Handy Little Cake Tip

 

Take a piece of adding machine paper.  Wrap a piece around the circumference of your cake.  Cut it to match up end to end with no overlap.

Fold in half and then in half again and again to make equal segments between the fold marks.

This little piece of folded paper, now unfolded will make a perfect ruler.

Use it to  mark your cake for decorations that need perfect spacing.

ie: draping, piping drop lines, pearl placement, stripes, etc.

 

 

For more tips, recipes, and cake information

“LIKE”  us on Facebook                         facebook.com/LesiCakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something Special Just  for You

Super Moist Carrot Cake

Prep Time:    30 Min

Cook Time:  40 Min

Yield    1 – 9×13 inch cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, chopped nuts and flaked coconut. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Happy Caking

Lesi

Cake Tips

Did you know:

Egg whites consist of tightly wound but separate strands of protein.  They uncoil and link together during whipping and their structure becomes web-like, trapping and holding air.  This trapped air creates an egg white foam that becomes  a leavening agent in meringue based recipes.

FACT #1          Older,  warm egg whites whip better and faster than fresh cold ones.

The protein structure in the egg white will relax somewhat as they warm up.  That means that whipping them to a stiff peak will take less time.  You can get this same volume with egg whites directly from the fridge but it’s a longer process.

As well,  egg whites that are a few days old (2-3) will whip to a greater volume because the protein structure relaxes with a few days of aging.  When you get your egg whites from the grocery store, they are more than likely a few days old anyway,  so this rule would only apply if you were so blessed as to have access to farm fresh eggs or  you have a chicken coop in your backyard.  Let your fresh eggs sit for a few days before whipping them.

 

Happy Caking

 

Lesi

 

PS  Only two spots left for August 25th Topsy Turvy workshop.   Visit the class page to register

www.lesiskitchen.com

Decorator Cookies

I don’t profess to be a cookie decorator by any stretch of the imagination but with a little inspiration from my cakey friends and the Ultimate Cookie recipe courtesy of Sugarbelle, here I go.

 

You will need:

Decorator Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stand mixer with paddle attachment

Mixing bowl and sifting basket

 

1 cup unsalted butter

1.5 cups icing sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp almond emulsion or 2 tsp almond extract

2.5 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

 

In your mixer cream the sugar and butter until creamy.  Add the egg and emulsion and mix well.

Sift dry ingredients and add to wet mixture a small bit at a time until well incorporated.

Dough should mostly stick to the paddle, be fairly firm to the touch but not stick to your fingers.

If it is too wet, add a sprinkling of extra flour.  Be careful not to add too much,  you don’t want the dough

dry and cracking.  I let my dough stand for a short time before I roll it out.

Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick on a flour dusted surface.  Cut out whatever shapes you choose.

Bake for around 8 minutes at 400 degrees.

Let these stand for 24 hours before you decorate to give them time to “dry”

Oils on the surface may cause some issues with decorating if you don’t let them sit.

 

 

I think I will have to hide mine because they taste awesome “naked” and I have cookie lovers in my house.

Decorating to follow……stay tuned!

Sometimes in Cake Decorating, things appear more difficult than they actually are

In the cake decorating world, sometimes things appear to be more difficult than they actually are.

Never again be phased by gumpaste flowers, edible gelatin ribbons and butterflies, or  multi-tiered wedding cakes.  They look daunting at first glance, but if you have all of the steps to follow, and you follow them in the correct order, your final result will astound you.

Here in the “Kitchen” , Lesi takes each student through the steps, one by one, until the final goal is achieved.  Everything from baking the perfect cake to creating the most elaborate of wedding cakes.

Take the featured  wedding cake for example.  It appears to be a very difficult project but broken down to it’s basic components, each done step by step, even you can achieve this final result.

Come and join us for a class and discover new  potential for your cake design and cake decorating.

Glamorous wedding cake construction

Cake decorating classes wedding cakeswedding cake decorating classes

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (or cuppies)

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake (or cuppies)

You all know that I am all about making any job easier, So I was all over a homemade cake mix.  Especially one that is versatile.  Here recipe is the recipe for you to try and once you have it,   I’m going to jazz it for ya!

Basic Cake Mix

  • 8 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. baking powder
  • 2 c. unsalted butter (or shortening,  I choose butter everytime!)
  • 5 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt

 

Cut ingredients together using a pastry cutting tool.  This will make a course-grained mix.   Divide into 5 equal portions of 3 1/3 cup each. Will store 6 weeks or will freeze for 6 months.

***If you add  2 cups of powdered milk to your basic mix,  you can use water when adding wet ingredients.

 

 

Now that we have that out of the way,  it time to fancy it up.

 

Start with 3 1/3 cup of cake mix and add:

 

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

 

Use milk to thin this mixture until you reach desire thickness.  Batter should still be thick but  thinned  enough to pour easily.

 

 

For cake bake at 350? for  35 – 40  minutes or until top springs back on touch

 

For cupcakes bake at 375? for  15 – 20 minutes or until top springs back on touch

 

 

And there you have it.   Chocolate pumpkin cake batter, for layer cake or cuppies.  Excellent served naked (the cake that is) with whipped cream,  or with creamed cheese icing.

 

Yum yum

Upcoming Specialty Classes at “Lesi’s Kitchen”

March 26th, 2011 This month’s feature class has been cancelled to allow for Instructor Training Day…..I have to stay one step ahead of you all. :)

April 23rd, 2011 we are proud to be hosting our very first ever Cakin’ Kids class. Baking and decorating with the younger crowd in mind. They will leave with basic cake making knowledge, and have a lot of fun picking up some basic icing and fondant skills while creating some yummy fun of their own. This class is geared for kids age 12 – 15. Younger children can be accommodated under the supervision of an adult.

May 28th, 2011 we head into territory slightly outside the mighty cake realm. Pies, Pies, Pies will add a little variety to your caking repertoire. Easy never fail pie crust is a skill you will be able to tuck into your goodie bag. Seldom heard of pie recipes to wow even the most discerning palate. Dessert will never be the same.

June 25th, 2011 we bring to you Amazing Cupcakes and Cookies. These are not your average pretty cupcakes. They are specifically themed for any occasion. They look like you’ve spent hours but are amazingly simple and truely a treat for all. Come express yourself!

July 23rd, 2011 take flight with the Butterflies. Gelatin Bows and Butterflies is the newest technique to hit cake decorating. You will learn the secret to realistic looking butterflies to embellish your summer creations. These bows are like no other! You won’t believe they aren’t ribbon! This is truely too good to miss.

Well, that is what is shaping up in “Lesi’s Kitchen” for the next little while. I hope to see you in class. In the meantime,

Happy Caking!

Lesi

New Studio Kitchen Under Construction

I am finally realizing my dream of having a kitchen studio.

It’s all coming together but what a long road. I didn’t realize there were so many things to do in putting together a studio not to mention a lot of cheque writing.

I thought I had it easy. I had the perfect beginnings with a nice empty space to work with. Large open room with high ceilings, just had to tear out some carpet, slap some cabinets in…. bing bang boom….studio!

Sure, dream on chick!

First, I needed plumbing and because there was none in this area, a drain access had to be located, the concrete had to be jack hammered up, lines and outflow had to be put in place and then the concrete had to be repaired. Write the cheque…..

Next, the subfloor had to go down. Pretty easy but the concrete wasn’t level all the way through the space and it caused a few issues. Hubby did this job so I got to keep that cheque and it was a good thing because boy did over pay for subfloor. The guy at the home improvement outlet did not calculate properly and I got subfloor galore. Good thing they take returns. I ended up taking back enough subfloor to receive a $630.00 refund.

I had already painted the space out first, so when the cabinetry went in I didn’t have to paint around it. Now I have a lot of touch up to do but that really is just minor stuff in light of all else. Paint and supplies…write the cheque

The electrical was not in the correct place so an electrician had to be hired. The first one came in and did his assessment. Said it was a cut and dry job, no problem, easy peasy…….then he never returned to finish the job. The second one came in and did his assessment. Turns out, I did not have enough of anything (power wise) to run the equipment that would be in the studio. He had to install a new circuit box (I don’t even know if that is what it is called). Write the cheque…
He also had to dig trenches in the ceiling, which was finished, because in addition to the new box, I had to be rewired. Write a bigger cheque….

Oooooh, add ceiling repair to the list. Write a postdated cheque….

The cabinet maker came and did his measurements and booked me an appointment to see his design team to put together a plan. Well that was pleasant…..write the cheque.

He was very fast, three days….I have cabinets, shelving, laminate tops. He will have to come back after the electrical is complete, to finish with some doors, and put toekicks on, and cap off the ends….he’ll take a cheque…

The island work top will be Walnut butcher block, which I found at a local millworks….the most affordable option that was food safe and attractive as well…..another cheque….

Appliances, appliances, appliances…..you guessed it….cheque….

As my construction progresses, I will keep you posted. I have to go and reorder my cheques….

Almost Valentines….Time to make Cookies

It’s almost here and what better way to set the tone than with cookies prepared especially for those close to you. The kids will love to give these away at school !

And who says fondant is just for cakes. Pull out those cutters and get busy!

By the way, here is a great recipe for the cookies you can give at school. Always on the look out for allergy friendly recipes for the kids.

Eggless Sugar Cookie Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions

1 Preheat oven to 375°F.
2 In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, powdered sugar, oil, butter, and
vanilla extract.
3 Add flour, baking soda and cream of tartar.
4 Mix well.
5 Take teaspoonfuls of dough & roll into balls.
6 Place on cookie sheet and press to about the size of a nickel.
7 Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Happy Valentine’s Day all!

Dairy Free / Nut Free…… and still it tastes spectacular!

Best Dairy Free / Egg Free Cake Recipe Ever

by Cake Decorating Classes on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 9:32am

My granddaughter inspired me to find this recipe. She was always disappointed that she could not have cake because of her severe allergies.  I found this recipe and tried it.   I was quite amazed at how good it really is.  And it makes great cuppies too.  Give it a try and let me know how it worked out for you.

Egg and Dairy Free Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix well with a fork, then stir in oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. When dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened, pour in cold water and stir until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

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“Lesi’s Kitchen” Grand Opening Classes – Please note: These are NOT Wilton Classes!

It has been a long time in the workings, but I am now offering the next phase to  what you now know about cake decorating and  classroom instruction.

I have put together select  project classes that are  designed to take your cake decorating to the next level. Finally you will be able to take the classes specific to the techniques that you have been dying to learn.

The offerings will cover everything from amazing life- like  florals to intricate cake sculpting.    Gone are the days of  our grandma’s round, pink  flowery cakes.      Move  over granny,  there’s a new Grandma in town…..  and she’s bringing on the Ultimate in  Cake Design!

Get ready to learn more modeling  candy clay techniques, more realistic gumpaste flowers, a menagerie of animals, fairies and elves, cars, handbags, and shoes,   just to name a few.

You will gain fabulous insight into recipe how’s and why’s, as well as, get the scoop on some awesome “must know” cake and pastry secrets.

Here’s the best part. You will learn the secret of “how to cake decorate without breaking the bank!” (it’s my little pet peeve)

There is so much more to learn.

Each workshop is based on a 2 – 3 hour curriculum and is designed to meet the needs of today’s busy cake enthusiasts.

Sign up for a class today and take your baked goods to a whole new dimension.

Go to: http://xdreamcakes.com/products-page/