Thursday, March 31, 2011

Roses and Orange Peels

Tomorrow it will be April, and just a little over two weeks before the wedding cake must be done.  Although the plan has changed, work is progressing on the gum paste flowers.  I decided to ditch the daffodils.  When I have more time to work on them to get them to my satisfaction, I think they will be wonderful.  In the meantime, I'm going with roses.  They're a little more formal, anyway - a little more wedding-y.  In taking a serious look at the measurements of the cake, I've determined that 8 flowers will be needed for the bottom tier, but I'm making 12 anyway just because things happen and I want to be prepared.  They need to dry overnight and tomorrow I can add the color.

                   I really don't know why I can't make these pictures line up the way I want.

Working on flowers hasn't left me much time for baking.  But a note on the orange pound cake:  the flavor did develop overnight and it stayed moist practically forever (well, until it was all eaten) so given that I have to bake the cakes two days in advance, it will work really well.  I've also finally decided on the flavors for each tier.  The bottom tier will be half chocolate and half vanilla for those who choose to abstain from alcohol or with less adventurous palates.  The center tier will be the bourbon and brown sugar cake, and the top the orange pound cake.  At this point I'm thinking I'll use vanilla bean buttercream for all of them.  We'll see.

In other news, over the past few months I've read posts at David Lebovitz, Cupcake Project, Hitchhiking to Heaven and Calabria from Scratch about candied citron and citrus peels.  I've tried these before, but was rather underwhelmed with my results.  The candied citron will have to wait until next year with the hopes that I can once again find Buddha's Hand in Carbondale.  Until then, I've been saving my Cara Cara orange peels and Minneola tangelo peels over the past week and yesterday started the process of candied peels.  After reading all of these posts, I'm taking a little bit from each and going with my own method.  (Imagine that.)  When they're finished, I'll be using some of the candied peels in a recipe I'm conjuring up and can hardly wait to try.  Are you at all curious?  I can hardly stand the anticipation.

Briefly boiling the peels several times reduces the bitterness.
I probably should have done this a couple more times.

After the peels were boiled, I let them cool and them scraped
off most of the bitter pith.  I left a little bit for flavor contrast.

The pithed off peels ready to be doused in a pool
of sticky, sweet sugar syrup.

Drawing from the Lebovitz method, I'm going to keep
them in the sugar syrup for a few days.