Friday, August 26, 2011

Something from Pastryland

We always enjoy discovering new bakeries. As it turns out there are more of them around than we realize.  We very happily surprised to find that today's offering that was left behind by the donor came from yet another place that we hadn't heard about. This was the Pastryland Bakery in Smithfield, RI. We assume it is located in some place called Conti Plaza judging by the label on the box.  Judging by the Italy-like green boot on the logo and the color scheme we might also assume that there is an Italian slant to the products.  Decorated cakes, fancy pastries, coffee cake, cream cakes and cream pies are the offerings that make it onto their business card.  That's a pretty big selection to have on such a little space.
Thanks to Caroline!

We've never been to Pastryland before!

This does look familiar, though!

Nicely arranged fruit!

Colorful too!

Unveiled and ready to eat!

Cake base with lots of cream so you don't need anything to bind the fruit!
We would put this fruit cake into the category of one of their cream cakes. At first glance it looks like many a fruit tart or flan that we have had. Cake on the bottom, fruit on the top and some kind of cream in between.. This was very fresh and the fruit was, as usual, nicely arranged on top.  What was a little different about this one was that the cake layer was much more a cake than a crust.  Usually these tend to have the cream and the fruit on top of a thick pie crust type of base.  Here it was more of a yellow cake which tended to be lighter.  They were also much more generous with the pastry cream than is frequently the case.  It was also much easier to cut as it tended to hold together whereas a lot of these break apart when you cut them.  Good, fresh, fruity and light; it was a nice thing to try and we look forward to the next visit someone makes to Pastryland!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

They're back and this time it's a scronge (scrundge?) cake

Our two favorite youth bakers returned to cake hour today and brought with them a lemon blueberry scronge cake.  In case you can't figure it out that's a play on the word sponge cake. It was explained why it was called a scronge cake but I can't remember so you will have to let your imaginations work until I can ask again.

The scronge gang is back and packing the Ready Whip!

Showing off this years creation!
Regardless the scronge was based upon a sponge cake which everyone knows is a good classic cake that is frequently the base for other things.  That was also the situation here. Our two buddies baked a round cake, presumably in a bundt pan or springform with a hole in the middle, that looked like your typical sponge cake. From there however they sliced the cake about an inch from the bottom to create two layers. In between the two layers they added some homemade lemon curd. The cake itself was not that sweet and the tangyness of the lemon curd enhanced that.
Swirls of whipped cream surround a center of lemon curd

From above it looks a little like Hurricane Irene from space!

Once the two layers were put back together they filled the hole in the center with a pile of blueberries that had come from their garden. These were then covered with another layer of lemon curd.  The cake was  finished off with our favorite frosting/topping....whipped cream!!  These guys clearly know the audience they're playing to!

Blueberries were hiding under the lemon curd in the center!
The "official" serving!

Some people like a little more of the whipped stuff!

They said they originally wanted to just do the same cake they did last year but their mother came up with this recipe. We're glad she did because this was a hit. The cake was fresh and not too sweet and the delicious lemon curd and unsweetened blueberries continued that trend.  These three components worked well together to make a very tasty treat that did not overwhelm you with sugar.  The final touch of the whipped cream brought it all home.
Another variation that didn't hang around long!

Would you like a little cake with that whipped cream?

In the end we were going after the lemon curd!
We decided that the appropriate presentation was a piece of the cake cut and laid on its side then topped with a dollop of lemon curd, a few berries and then some whipped cream  But we were flexible and our young baker was very flexible and generous with the amounts of whipped cream that he doled out. He was pretty fast with that Ready Whip indeed. One of our attendees was so excited that she dropped her piece right onto the floor.  She still got here blast of whipped cream though!  Everything tasted so good that after the cake was gone we went after the jar of lemon curd and whatever berries were left. The whipped cream lasted until the end. Good planning!

It may be on the floor but it still gets a blast o' the whipped!

I'm so excited, I can't hold my cake!

Another success!  Can't wait for next year! Keep that whipped cream trigger finger in shape!
Although this was not part of the student cake competition these kids were easily given a five star rating meaning this could compete with any charlotte or rat cake!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We ate the cake early and ticked someone off

Today some of us had to leave a little earlier than the normal cake hour time but had spied a Gregg's cake box in the refrigerator.  Well what the heck it would not be the first time that we started a little early so we hauled that box out of the fridge and opened it to find a very nice lemon cake that we probably have had before.
Look what we found!
Looks like a lemon cake!
Swirls of butter cream for decorative effect!

As is usual with Gregg's cakes it was pretty large. The cake was multi-tiered with lemon and some other fruit jam in between the layers. The frosting was a lemon butter cream that was actually good and not as overwhelmingly sweet or fatty like so many cream frostings are.  It was a very good cake that tasted lemony but not to the extreme and represents another great offering from Gregg's. We were glad we were able to avail ourselves of some albeit a little earlier than normal but it gave us our sugar dose and made us happy.

Mulit-layered and good!

What's a few small pieces gone a little early!

One person in particular was not happy, however, that we had started early. Expecting to have a triumphant presentation of her beautiful cake she arrived to find a sliced up partially eaten remnant.  This made her very angry.   We explained that we had mentioned we would be leaving early and that 'tis indeed acceptable cake hour protocol to start early on occasion so why was she teed off. She said that everything was making her mad but this was the cherry on top...the frosting on the cake as it were.  The grudge didn't last very long and apologies were made.  We'll know better the next time but will probably still eat the cake early anyway!  C'est le cake hour!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grandma Miller is back in business

Our favorite baker was laid low by a shoulder injury.  As surgery turned out to be necessary it resulted in her being unable to continue to bake the many, many loaves of zucchini and banana bread that we had become oh so accustomed to.  But we are happy to say and see that recuperation has been successful and Grandma Miller is back in business! 

Soon I'll be baking again and those liver people will get their goodies!

One of our cackler's recent visit to Pennsylvania resulted in a bumper crop of the little loaves we love and of course her famous Shoo Fly Cake.  This is Grandma Miller's version of that American Classic Shoo Fly Pie.  Basically instead of a gooey kind of pie you get a sheet cake that has the flavors of the signature molasses, that is the main ingredient, and the sugary crumbly topping. 

It's not a's a cake!

Always baked in a special pan!

It's got the crumbly top!

The sugary coating entices us all!
Rich molasses color which is the main ingredient!

It is a nice interpretation of an American and for that matter Pennsylvania classic which is where Grandma hails from.  Even though we hadn't finished the whole cake cut it up into individual servings so we could make sure that the pan was returned.  Some things just have to be done the right way and Grandma Miller prefers this one particular pan.  You don't argue with success. The multiple pieces made for a nice photo opportunity!
It's an army of shoo fly cake pieces...

It;s a Christmas tree of shoo fly pieces!

The cake always begs the question as to where the name comes from. For further info go to:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sushi prompts a cake hour CPC

Things were looking a little dicey today.  The person who had signed up for the goodies had been out sick for the past three days and so our expectations were low. We had even started collecting some cash to go and raid the candy machine. Then we found our heretofore sick friend sitting in the coffee room with a homemade cake.  Taking his cake time obligation very seriously he rose from his sick bed to make sure fulfilled his duty. What a welcome surprise and how noble of him.
Another masterpiece from our pastry chef wannabe!
As a budding pastry chef, his spouse has taken to coming up with some good looking and good tasting treats. Today was not exception. We had a triple layer chocolate cake with a well decorated whipped cream frosting.  The chocolate cake was light and it had three layers with some strawberry puree or jam in between the layers.  The chef did not think this was too successful and that the layers were not prominent enough but we were fine with it.  As preferred the cake was not too sweet and the whipped cream is never anything we will complain about. The heap of cut strawberries on the top was the perfect finishing touch.
Well constructed sides~

Well decorated

A work of art for sure!
As mentioned today's provider had been out sick the past three days with fever and GI symptoms.  Interestingly another of our colleagues had also been out sick the week before with some similar symptoms. What did they have in common that might account for these maladies. They both had eaten sushi prior to the onset of the illness.  One of them had gone to an "All you can eat!" sushi restaurant. Some of us weren't too sure that is such a good idea but supposedly the food was fine or so we thought.
Sushi eaters beware!

Great finishing touch!

The layer's did not meed the chef's expectations but we were fine with it!
Discussions about what kind of malady struck prompted what might have been our first cake our CPC or clinical pathologic conference. Basically we heard what the symptoms were and then put the evidence together to come up with a diagnosis as to what caused him to get sick. He was admitted to the hospital mainly with a high fever and high heart rate (tachycardia)! He had an infectious disease consult and was told it was probably a viral infection of some kind but we begged to differ.  The high fever to us indicated a bacterial infection of some kind and the high heart rate frequently follows.  No antibiotics were given and after tossing a few things around we concluded he probably had salmonella.   Did you know most people have minor symptoms with salmonella and that frequently it will not  be treated with antibiotics to prevent the afflicted from becoming carriers.  Typhoid Mary step aside here comes Salmonella Sal. Since no cultures were taken, to our knowledge, we will never know definitively what he had but think our diagnosis is appropriate. Our advice to avoid similar circumstances - stay away from sushi during hot weather!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where's Manhattan and back from Belize and bingeing!

Today's offering was something simple and classic in a processed food kind of way.  We had a bag of Chips Ahoy cookies!  As cookies go you can always rely on these and though there are multiple varieties the originals are usually the best economical bet. The chunky ones are very good also but you get a lot fewer.  So we settled down to a few Chips Ahoy cookies with some of the students who are leaving at the end of their summer research program and one who just got back from Belize and went on a Chips Ahoy binge. (It's a good thing we got the package with the most.) Maybe you can't get them in Belize.

They were on sale, OK!
Stay with the original!
More for the money!  And we love the resealable packages!
We did learn that in Belize the people are very nice but think that the neighboring Guatemalans are entering Belize and taking all the jobs.  Do the Belizians (?) call them wetbacks. We learned that they speak both English and some kind of creole type language. The beaches are nice but you will notice that our tourist doesn't have much of a tan.  His explanation is that being largely Irish he has two skin tones...Casper and Lobster..i.e. ghost white and lobster red.  Rather than go over to tan his burn peels and he's back to Casper.  Interesting!
Back and binging! You don't get good junk like this in Belize!
We were regretting that our tiramisu challenger was about to finish up after giving his presentation about how beer and hot dogs are going to bring down Western Civilization through obesity and dementia.  We thought he was going to stay a little longer but he was off to New York to visit Sis. We asked if she lived in Manhattan and he didn't know where that was. Apparently the Moses Brown school did a lousy job with geography. But he was defended by our Belize visiting buddy who was from New York and maintained he knew squat about Providence either. Neither of these two should be a contestant on any game show that features the category of geography.

Manhattan? I thought I was going to New York! Ciao, bud!
Speaking of which we noticed how the geography (actually the topology but geography ties in better) of Providence has changed now that the old I-195 has been almost totally torn down.  We discussed possible uses of the land and the suggestion of having a dog run was made. From there the discussion  went to how economically successful it would be to collect dog poop for fertilizer. I should say how someone suggested it could be successful to collect dog poop for fertilizer. The topic broadened into how the poop could be collected and what kind of device could be attached onto the dog over its crapper that would capture the turds and then through a heat sensor fall off so that the poop was readily collectible. I am not kidding this is what was discussed.

It makes you wonder what was in those cookies!