As I was shopping in the local supermarket, a new item caught my eye. I am in a very challenging phase of engaging in the Pescatarian lifestyle. The challenge is I am allergic to shellfish so that limits my options of protein intake so I may have to keep poultry as a once in a blue moon option along with protein shakes. Country Crock listened to its audience and came out with plant-based butter and honey I love it. Its delicious, rich, buttery, and not salty no pun intended. This is a win-win. It was on sale so I grabbed quite a few and I should’ve gone back to the supermarket to clean house. Its dairy free, plant based, and tastes superb! It does not get any better than this ladies and gentleman. So, I decided to make some buttercream with it and the reviews were very very positive. I piped my buttercream onto my gourmet cupcakes along with fresh pineapples and strawberries. It was a hit. It gets better! I used it in my milk chocolate buttercream recipe and topped it with caramel sauce and sea salt. I took these to work for my staff and colleagues. Baby! I was getting reviews for 5 days straight.
Here’s the small downfall of this plant-based butter, caramel sauce ends up breaking down the buttercream causing it to slightly liquify as its concentrated. At the same time, I was traveling via train on a hot day however the train was cool. My suggestion is to add 1 tablespoon of Meringue powder in place of 1 teaspoon of Meringue powder if you are going to use a chocolate or caramel sauce. My staff popped those cupcakes in the refrigerator to firm up and voila it was greatness.
2 sticks of country crock plant-based butter
4 cups of organic confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon of Meringue powder
2 tablespoons of organic vanilla
5 tablespoons of water (you may need more)
Table top or hand held mixer
In your mixing bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, one stick of butter, meringue powder, and water mixing on medium. After one minute, add in the next stick of butter and vanilla mix on high. When I make my butter cream, I usually walk away leaving the mixer on high for 5-10 minutes you will end of with a very fluffy buttercream. Use a spatula to spread on your cakes or cupcakes or add to a piping bag using Wilton tip 1M to pipe beautiful rosettes.
Who doesn’t like a thick and creamy slice of cheesecake? My favorites are my own Caramel Bourbon Cheesecake, the Chocolate Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and Juniors Chocolate Devil Cheesecake. Chocolate lovers can I get an Amen or a like? (stomping my feet) Technically, we have 40 days of summer left even though the weather starts to transition to fall right after Labor Day. So, you still have time to bless your audience with an inspiring Lemon Cheesecake at the next. summer picnic, potluck, garden gathering, and/or beach day. After that, its pumpkin spice everything and Ugg’s. My very first cheesecake that I made was in 2000. I was attending Long Island University CW Post. I used a weight watchers’ cookbook to create a healthy substitute as I was trying to control my weight. I tried to add some flair by tempering chocolate and poured it on top of my cooled cheesecake. This made the cheesecake hard to cut as the chocolate became very firm. I did not know about ganache then but my intention was to mimic a ganache technique. My bestie said it came out good and the texture was perfect. When I think back, I only had a slice…hmmmm. I did not realize that everyone then in the household had enjoyed a health-conscious treat. With my share, I invite you all to try this recipe and let me know your outcomes. One side note, from my experience the brand of cream cheese that you use makes a difference. If everything was the same everything would cost the same and the world would be a boring place. Use Philadelphia or visit a Kosher shop that makes fresh cream cheese. I invite you to take your baking up a notch and luxuriate your palate.
For the crust:
150 g ground graham crackers
5 tablespoons of melted butter
For cheesecake filling:
4-8ounce cream cheese, softened
½ cup (100 g.) granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons of premium vanilla extract
½ cup of half and half
For the frosting:
1 cup (240ml) cold heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of Tahitian vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of powdered sugar (icing sugar or confectioner sugar), honey, or agave nectar
For the lemon curd
Use FRESH lemons do not use lemon juice it does not yield the same results 😊. I love Amoretti Artisan products it enhances your sweet outcomes.
4 Large FRESH lemons (I like Trader Joes)
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon of Amoretti Natural Artisan lemon flavoring (It’s SOOO good)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ stick unsalted butter
2 drops yellow food coloring
*fresh raspberries and mint for decoration
In a large bowl combine ground graham crackers and melted butter into a mixture. I like to spray my mini cheesecake trays with PAM flour for baking to prevent it from sticking. Place one tablespoon of the combined mixture in each mini cavity and press down firmly and set aside. In a large mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar first until well blended, add in eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, and zest of a lemon. Blend until smooth and fill each cavity ¾ of the way full. Preheat your oven to 340 F or 170 C and bake cheesecakes muffins for about 15-17 minutes or until set. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely and place in the refrigerator overnight.
In a medium saucepan, heat off, whisk together the granulated sugar, grated lemon zest, and egg yolks; whisk in lemon juice and salt. Add chopped butter and place pan over medium-high temperature. Whisk the mixture until the butter has melted. Your mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not boil your mixture you can over cook the egg yolks. Remove your pan from the stove and pour mixture over a kitchen sieve/strainer in a glass bowl to remove any over cooked eggs. I like to use Glad press and wrap to cover the bowl and cool for 2 hours. Once your mixture is cool pour a teaspoon over the cooled cheesecake in the cavity and return to the refrigerator for another hour to set.
Using a table top mixer or a handheld mixer, whip up the heavy whipping cream along side with vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Add a dollop or pipe the whipped cream on each cheesecake. Its optional to add fresh fruit or mint leaves.
Biscotti with hazelnuts and almonds
I had so much fun learning how to make these fun and delicious Italian cookies. Guess what? These cookies have been traced to Prato, Italy and is Latin for biscoctus meaning double baked. I asked my Facebook followers to vote should I dip it in milk, dark, or white chocolate and almost everyone said dip it in all of the chocolate flavors and so I did. I love sipping on a sugar free hot cocoa or a cup of coffee dipping my Biscotti in for that upmost comfort feeling. You know the taste of the biscotti and coffee together melting in your mouth. It’s August….but winter is coming so start practicing this delicious recipe.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (120 g) melted butter
4 eggs, room temperature
150 g. raw hazelnuts
150 g. raw almonds
zest of 1 orange or lemon
Preheat your oven to 320 F or 160 C degrees. Attach your dough hook to your table top mixer or with your hand held mixer combine all of the ingredients. Your going to mix your combined ingredients and set your mixer to medium until a very soft dough forms. Transfer the dough to a work surface dusted with flour and divide it in two parts. Form each part of the dough into the shape of a log and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet out of the oven and slice each loaf in multiple pieces and place them back in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown and dry out. If the cookies are soft place them back in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes.
Optional: I melted some chocolate wafer in a microwave safe glass bowl and dipped the cool hardened Biscotti. I added some edible goal leaves cause i’m fancy.
Who doesn’t love a good ooey gooey tasting brownie? I sure do. Well, this brownie has apples in it. You read right this recipe calls for Honeycrisp Apples. Think about it we dip apples, strawberries, and cube cheddar cheese in chocolate. At least, I have dipped Cabot sharp cheddar cheese in milk chocolate and I love it. I love cheese and Cabot is the best but let’s get back to this recipe shall we. You can’t judge me until you try it. One of the most expensive kind of apples is Honeycrisp which is what this recipe calls for. Honeycrisp apples are expensive as two kinds of apples used to grow it. Honeycrisp apple a hybrid fruit. So, now that this history lesson is over get in the kitchen and chef it up.
250 gr. butter
350 gr. semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 Honeycrisp Apple, pilled, cored and grated (17 grams of carbs and 77 calories)
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Directions: Preheat your oven to 375 Fahrenheit, or 190 Celsius degrees.
In a sauce pan over a medium heat melt the butter and chocolate together. Stir well until well incorporated and set aside to cool for about 5-10 minutes. In a large mixing bowl place in the eggs and sugar and whisk until combined and well incorporated. Add in vanilla and grated apple and stir until combined. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture in to a egg mixture and combine all the ingredients. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and salt and add them to the chocolate apple mixture. Gently stir with wire whisk until combined. Line with parchment or baking paper 13’’x13’’ inch baking pan. Bake for exactly 10 minutes and leave it to cool completely. Serve them with powdered sugar (icing sugar or confectioner sugar).
Please take note: You will end up having fudgy chocolate apple brownies if you bake this recipe for exactly 10 minutes. If you bake it for 15 minutes or more you will end up with dry brownies. Oven temperatures vary so only you know your oven best! My oven bakes cupcakes perfectly on 310 degrees in the winter but will burn cupcakes on 350 degrees given the temperature in the apartment as well.
Spring is approaching. When you wake up many days will be sunny and bright, the birds are chirping, and roses are blooming. We are all excited about the change in weather and with the change of weather comes light, flavorful, and fruitful treats. This is the perfect recipe for the upcoming Spring get togethers; brunch at home, rooftop get together, and backyard BBQs.
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk or plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit, or 175 Celsius degrees.
With a hand held or Kitchen Aid mixer combine eggs and sugar mixing until fluffy tripling in size. As the mixer is running, add in vegetable oil and milk (or yogurt). Mix well adding in the vanilla and lemon zest. In a bowl combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the dry ingredients in to the egg, milk and oil mixture in 2-3 batches. Mix gently on low until combined and transfer the mixture in to already prepared Bundt cake (oiled and dusted with flour to avoid sticking) pan. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool completely and serve with powdered sugar (icing sugar or confectioner sugar).
Optional: Lemon Icing Sugar
1lb confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons of meringue powder
2 tablespoons of warm water
Double option: 3 tablespoons of Bacardi Limon Rum (why not!)
Blend on high speed to a thin consistency
On Saturday February 16, 2019 I hosted my first Valentine’s Day Sip & Decorate for adults. It was fabulous! My lovely couples sipped mimosas and enjoyed chocolate dipped fruit as they connected learning the art of cake decorating. It was in November of 2018 that I birthed the idea of offering a unique experience to my adults that are tired from adulting in NYC in need of a super laid back event. My clients learned tricks of the trade, how to secure their cake from shifting, stacking and filling with butter cream, and obtaining a smooth look. This will be the first of many to come Sip & Decorate. Our next event will be on Sunday May 26, 2019 in Manhattan. Are you game? If so, join us for our next upcoming Sip & Decorate where our theme design is a surprise click here for more information Sip & Decorate Manhattan
Hi I’m Ami Lora, of Cakes by Ami, I’m currently in Northern NJ, in a little town called Bergenfield about 15 min. away from NYC.
Cake by Ami started as a passion, I was going thru depression and baking became my oasis. When I would bake and give it away people would be so in awe and would say “they couldn’t believe their taste buds” … that alone would make my day. I also started baking because my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes and I wanted to bake something that would be delicious but not overly sweet for her. That’s when after years of baking I decided to take it a notch up and enrolled in Pastry Arts School, boy was I in for a whirlwind! I thought I knew how to bake, but boy was I wrong! After completing an intense program during night school in the renowned (French Culinary Institute) now known as the International Culinary Center I graduated in 2010 and quickly became bombarded with orders, I decided to make it a legitimate business in 2012 after countless jobs in the industry and working alongside many talented and well know Chefs which I had the privilege to learn beside them.
In regards to challenges, I won’t “sugar coat it” not knowing if you’re going to get a next order is always nerve-racking. Especially when baking is the means of supporting your household. As a single parent juggling my kids intense sports schedule and making sure she is an Honor Student is a priority as a parent and always being her #1 cheerleader when she is playing is tough. Running a business is being on top of your hustle 24/7 I dream cake, smell cake and breath cake. Everything around me is inspiration for a cake! So, when others are celebrating I’m working sometimes 18-20 hrs. to ensure my clients get a pristine and delicious cake.
The most rewarding part about running your own business is some of the flexibility you have but above all is the joy you bring to everyone’s celebrations. You are in someone’s home, wedding, shower, anniversary, birthday any and every special event you are a part of their celebration bringing joy and that is priceless in my book.
If you’re looking to become an entrepreneur you need to be prepared to Do the Work! Success or profits don’t come overnight or instantaneously. In today’s world everyone wants instant gratification and the real world is not like that. It takes many years of perfecting a recipe, building a clientele that will gravitate to you. Patience and perseverance are very important to always have. If not, you are up for a rude awakening. I have been in the business for the past 18 years and there is always room for improvement. I am always learning and keeping up with the trends so never think just because you graduate from a Culinary School that’s it you know it all… it’s not it’s going thru the multiple failed attempts that polish you into becoming a knowledgeable person. Being humble and knowing when you need to seek out knowledge from other will also help you go far. In the end if you are passionate about something that is what you should go after. If your passion drives you, you won’t notice the countless sleepless nights you will only remember the smiles the gratitude and accolades you receive.
Running your own business has made it an entire family business. From my mom helping out with flowers to my sister helping with cupcakes and buttercream, to my daughter and my interns delivering and setting up while I’m working on a cake has become “It takes a village to build a cake”. Working long hrs. to make things work, and having time for my kid, is a constant juggle but she knows that in the end it’s all for us.
My passion to create edible art is what constantly motivates me. Ensuring I’m a role model for my daughter that hard work, dedication and perseverance does lead to success in your own little world is ok. I don’t have to be a giant super television celebrity, but in my little town many know me and come to me that right there is motivation to keep on going.
Having small goals always lead up to the end game. So, having multiple goals throughout the year helps me keep motivated as well, This year I will be expanding my teaching classes and Party Packages, and one of our biggest sought out “Cookies for Santa” are already being requested. So hopefully in the next coming months those plans are on their way and for the next couple of years I will be working on searching for a little quaint location for a small Studio/Shop to help other bakers find supplies at their fingertips and affordable! All in God’s hands.
“Eat dessert first”
I’m bringing you something savory for a change. I love guacamole who doesn’t. If you don’t we can’t be friends.:) What I love about avocados is its simpliicty that can be transformed into a gaudy light bite. Am I right or what? Its the rave! Avocado toast, crostini, bacon wrapped avocados, shrimp/avocado wraps, and cucumber avocado rolls. The list goes on! I am honoring the avocado by sharing a recipe that was given to me by a gem.
4 ripe avocados
2 ripe tomatoes
4-5 cloves of garlic
1/2 medium red onion
Juice of 1-2 limes
Salt & Pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoon cilantro (fresh)
Combine all of the above in a bowl or food processor, then pulse to incorporate, adjust seasoning with salt and lime juice.
When I started on this sweet journey my humorous instructor Tasha Young provided me with a simple modeling chocolate recipe that tastes fantastic and gets the job done.
- 1-14 ounce package of candy/chocolate melts
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
Melt candy melts according to directions on the packages (melts better if they are broken up into chips and small pieces). Mix 1/3 cup corn syrup and stir well. Pour mixture onto wax paper and let dry at room temperature. Break pieces off and begin working like pizza dough. Once all is mixed in to a large piece of flexible/workable consistency, wrap well and store at room temperature. THIS RECIPE WORKS BEST IF LEFT TO DRY OVERNIGHT.
To Tint: Use Wilton Candy or Icing Color. Knead it until well blended.
To Store: This can be store in air-tight container for weeks.