A few months ago I assisted another chef with her sugar masterpiece for the Salon Du Chocolat Fashion Show at the New York City Jacob Javits Convention Center. It smelled so good walking into the convention hall. There were chocolate cookies, chocolates, bonbons, candy melts, hot cocoa, and more everywhere. My favorite vendors were Beyond Chocolate & Mozart Chocolate Liqueur. This was a chocoholics dream come true. I was so happy to see my new found friend Ashton Pina on-site showcasing chocolate for Madecasse aka Beyond Good Chocolate. Ashton connected with me offering an opportunity to infuse our brands. I was so excited about this collaboration.
I’ve been setting you all up for the win! You will need the Dark Chocolate Ganache Recipe and the Persian Caramel recipe to bring this entire recipe together. It’s the ultimate sweet payoff!
Iran is formerly known as Persia, and the major language is known as Farsi. “Persian poetry is some of the most beautiful poetry in the world and the Persians cultivated four unique types of poetry; the “epic”, the “ghasideh” a purpose poem, the “masnavi” a narrative poem, and the “ghazal” a lyrical poem”.
Persian Desserts. The first thing that comes to my mind is a myriad of bold & alluring colors, nuts, the aromatics of saffron and rose water, honey, and pistachios. I decided to release my favorite rich dark brownie recipe infusing it with the taste of Persia. It’s so rich and nutty that it’s Beyond Good! I hope you enjoy it.
Tabletop or handheld mixer
Beyond Good Vanilla
Beyond Good Vanilla Bean
Dark Chocolate Brownie Ingredients
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups Dark Cocoa Powder
1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Beyond Good Vanilla
1 Beyond Good Vanilla Bean Pod
2 cups Beyond Good Chocolate Melts
½ tablespoon salt
In a mixing bowl or using a handheld mixer, combine salt, sugar, and eggs beat on high. You want to beat this mixture for 2-3 minutes until its light and fluffy with peaks. Add the vanilla. Using a knife cut open the vanilla bean pod and scrape with a teaspoon. You can save your pod to make your own vanilla later on.
Slowly combine the cocoa powder and all purpose flower.
Add the melted butter
Dark Chocolate ganache drizzled with my Persian Caramel Sauce
2 1/2 sticks unsalted plant-based butter room temperature (not too soft)
2 cups organic granulated sugar
3 large vegetarian fed eggs brought to room temperature (Wilcox eggs)
3 large egg yolks brought to room temperature or egg replacers
¾ cup Thai coconut milk
1 ½ cup of sweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon coconut flavored vanilla
3-9-inch cake pans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position a rack in the center of the oven. I like to use Pam flour baking spray to coat my baking pans. Line each baking pan with round paper parchment to protect the bottom of your baked cake.
In a mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla mixing on high slowly adding in each egg at a time and then all of the egg yolks. Mix on high until its light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, mix the baking powder, salt, and all-purpose flour to aerate evenly. This step will allow the baking powder to evenly distribute throughout your mixture which contributes to an evenly baked cake.
Gently add in the dry mixture to the wet ingredients mixing with a paddle attachment and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Slowly add in the coconut milk and scrap down the sides of the bowl. Also, bring the mixer to a halt and scrap the bottom of the bowl. If you have mixture at the bottom of the bowl that did not incorporate you need to adjust your mixer settings.
Gently fold the shredded coconut into your mixture using a spatula. Do not use the mixture attachment. If you over mix you don’t want all of your shredded coconut at the bottom of your cake. Pour your mixture evenly into the three pans and bake.
I have an entire line of cookbooks and magazines. I’m a huge fan of Food & Wine. I thought to myself I bet a lot of people are seeking recipes not realizing that they have everything they need on their bookshelf and in their kitchen pantry to create tantalizing joy. If you don’t have an at-home library, that’s great this blog is your new library. Welcome!
I received the idea to explore Persian culture from a dream. I saw a beautiful floral rose background with my brownie on top with the perfect amount of caramel sauce, nuts, and dates. I have brand new Cardamon pods in my kitchen cabinet sitting there inquiring when am I going to use them. I decided that the day has to come to explore this spice.
Cardamon is a tricky spice. With the right infusion, it can be citrusy, minty, spicy, and/or highly fragrant. It pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. In terms of health, Cardamom is good for digestive challenges.
Persian desserts are often topped with delicious dates, nuts, dried fruit, etc. This recipe has all of the sweet Persia in it! Have fun and enjoy the videos!
This recipe has been adapted from The Best of Food & Wine Vol. 14 with a few modifications.
In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over moderately guilty. Remove from heat and add the tea and cardamom. Let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Keep warm over very low heat.
Wipe out the medium saucepan and add the sugar, corn syrup, the vanilla bean and seeds and 3 tablespoons of water. Insert a candy thermometer and simmer the mixture over moderately high heat until it reaches 292 degrees Fahrenheit, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in the warm cream, the butter, and honey and cook over moderately low heat until the caramel reaches 220 degrees Fahrenheit, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the vanilla bean from the caramel and stir in the Rosewater. Transfer to a heat proof container and let cool slightly. I used a glass mason jar to cool and store the caramel sauce. Serve the caramel sauce over ice cream or a warm brownie.
A few years ago I tried out the Keto lifestyle with delicious results. The problem is that’s all I had delicious results no seriously I didn’t lose a pound. As a matter of fact, I gained weight and couldn’t figure it out. See, Keto is not just about no carbs there is a thing called personal macro calculator which I completely overlooked. You’re probably wondering how such a smart woman didn’t know about Macros. If you are wondering such, that’s like expecting that people with degrees have the answer to everything in life and I am here to politely educate you that we do not. Now, back to my story. I was so excited about the results that I did not pay attention to the details of the journey. Got it? So, I ended up overdoing it on soft cheeses, not counting macros and calories. I had purchased a keto recipe book and went wild on the recipes with the high cheese and cream content. It was delicious though. Some Keto recipes will have you going over your personal macros in one meal. This is not beneficial to you. The cheese is very high in fat and contributes to high cholesterol challenges. So, let’s break down some aspects of this recipe that makes it Keto and why.
A word to the wise, you should always consult with your physician and/or a Nutritionist prior to starting any health loss regimen.
It is crushed almonds with the skin removed through a process known as blanching. For example, A serving (1/4 cup or 28 grams) of almond flour has around 160 calories, 6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber. Making this (measurement) only 6 total carbs or 3 net carbs per serving.
When you’re on Keto sweeteners with a low glycemic index is important to keep your blood sugar down. Stevia has a glycemic index of zero and will not interrupt ketosis.
Regular whole milk has 12 grams of carbs per cup whereas heavy cream has 4 grams of carbs per cup.
6 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of carbs
Finally, here it is the delicious Keto Berry Muffin recipe.
1. In a large mixing bowl combine heavy cream, egg and vanilla extract and whip on high. I used my handheld mixer to keep it simple.
2. Mix and stir in the almond flour, erythritol or stevia and baking powder with salt and instant coffee powder. I added ¼ cup of warm or hot water to activate the instant coffee versus biting into coffee minerals.
3. With the help of an ice cream scoop, scoop out from the batter and bake the muffins in a preheated oven at 350 F or 180 C degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
4. Serve and enjoy. I like my muffins hot out of the oven!
Thank you to my good friend Yunmi for our friend’s date night out and thank you to your cool husband for recommending this beautiful restaurant. Thai Villa brings the culture of Thailand to you in an opulent style. When we walked into the dining area, for a moment I thought I was inside of a 24carat gold statement necklace. I love gold! Thai food is one of my favorite cuisines right next to Italian. I love it more when cultures infuse their dishes. The interior has this immensely large & beautiful gold ornament attached to the ceiling hanging above the wooden dining tables and chairs. Thai Villa creatively combined rustic and opulent, where I felt as if it wasn’t for our winter coats that I was in a restaurant dining in Thailand.
The staff is very professional, friendly, classy, and attentive. The servers were dressed in chut Thai which simply means Thai clothes. Chut Thai for women usually consists of a pha nung or a chong kraben, a blouse, and a sabai. Historically, both Thai males and females dressed in a loincloth wrap called chong kraben. Men wore their chong kraben to cover the waist to halfway down the thigh, whilst women wear their chong kraben down the waist to well below the knee.
The first dish brought out was a plate of steaming vegetable dumplings garnished with sesame seeds known as Pak Mor Puk. The dumplings were purple…fun! The aesthetics were very pleasing to my eyes and mind you I am blessed with 20/20 Vision. You want this review! Vegetable crepe dumplings. Chives, cabbage, jicama, black mushrooms, and bamboo shoots and served with roasted bell pepper-peanut vinaigrette dipping sauce.
Our entrees were eggplant basil with chicken and beef noodles with chopped asparagus referenced to as Pad See-Ew served with fragrant Jasmine rice. Jasmine rice is one of my favorite rice flavors. As a matter of fact, it’s the only type of rice that I buy. The Eggplant Basil is Thai chili, eggplant, onion, bell pepper, and basil leaves. This dish is very spicy. The Pad Se-Ew is broad noodles, Chinese broccoli, and egg with thick soy sauce and beef.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience at Thai Villa. Thai Villa is an underrated gem in the heart of E19 street in New York City.
Where has the Cake Executive Officer been? I acknowledge that I have not been consistent for the past two months. My goal is to improve the experiences of my readers as I want you to be able to see a recipe, be inspired, and jump in. Also, I want to see photos of any recipes that you have attempted so I can share it. You might just inspire someone else to jump in and try to experience cooking or baking in the kitchen possibly for the first time. I know people who are afraid of decorating cakes. They are open to baking cakes but fear holds them back from attempting to work with fondant. If you have used play-doh or made dumplings your already in the game.
What you can expect from me in 2020 are more restaurant and kitchen utensil reviews as well as healthy dessert recipe options. I want my blog to be transparent where bakers who are vegan, vegetarian, diabetic, or maybe just exploring healthier options can be inspired by what I am offering.
I’ve been up to a few great things one of those being visiting another state. Our visit to Boston started with the Staypineapple Hotel. A good friend and I decided to visit Boston, MA for the first weekend in 2020. Our intention was to start the new year off by traveling to let the universe know that we intend on traveling more throughout 2020. I’ve been to Salem, MA for a day but never got to travel throughout Massachusettes. Staypineapple Hotel made it very easy to fall in love with Boston. On Friday night we arrived at the hotel to meet a very friendly, courteous, and professional staff. They offered us pineapple sugar cookies and water infused with sliced pineapples. We went up to our room and upon entry, everything was yellow and white just like their website. Staypineapple has branding down to a science. I love it and appreciate it even more as a fellow entrepreneur. The room is equipped with a Keurig coffee pot, a large screen television mounted on the wall, fresh clean robes, and bathroom tissue shaped like a pineapple. Our room even smelled like fresh pineapples.
On Saturday morning, we went down to the main area to venture out for the day and it was raining. The front desk staff heard us and gave us each a very large Staypineapple Hotel. Marketing Geniuses! The staff told us in the summertime they give you Staypineapple bikes to ride around in the city during your stay. We were on our way to The Friendly Toast however the lines were super duper long. We decided to have breakfast at Flour Bakery. We both tried the French Toast. So, if you don’t have a hearty appetite I offer that you share the French Toast. The French Toast is sold as one toast which is really a very large slice of bread sliced into two. We realized that we could’ve shared.
We went into the hub of Boston to catch the train to visit Witching Heights in Salem, Massachusetts. The train station was bubbling with excitement as a game was about to begin in less than two hours. Boston knows how to represent their teams! We arrived in Salem where we spent the day visiting shops and museums and mini-malls.
When we arrived back at the hotel we decided to have dinner in the hotel’s restaurant, The Trophy Room. By that time, I was grumpy I needed nourishment. I ordered a bunless burger with fries and blue cheese dipping sauce on the side. God Bless Bleu Cheese! Joy was a crispy plate of fries and that sauce. I completely ignored the delicious burger, until two hours later. My friend had the fish and chips. In terms of the taste, let’s just say we’re from Brooklyn, NY and we season differently in New York. However, the fish had the perfect amount of crispy batter over it.
On Sunday morning, we sadly checked out… not before my friend ushered right back over to Flour Bakery to nab some desserts to go.
My friend and I decided to gift ourselves a weekend getaway. We officially rang in the New Year in Boston, Massachusettes. We explored the city, indulged, and then traveled to Salem, MA to get new broomsticks. This is a child’s dream come true! I have seen ice cream sugar cones, but not like these. It’s truly adorable cones dipped in an array of flavored rice Krispy treats. Grab a cone before the next Red Sox Game! This shop is located in Bay Back Train Station.
You can count on EventPlanner.com to tap into their Entrepreneurial resources to bring you fun holiday ideas and engaging events.
One of my marketing objectives for De L’or Cakery Corporation is to grow our brand organically and locally. On December 21, 2019, I will be a vendor at a Taste of the Bronx and I recently applied to be a vendor at Bronx Night Market. I am super excited to tap into the Bronx. Most of my clients are from Long Island, Queens, and Brooklyn as I use to reside in Brooklyn. For fun, I will be attending the By Faith Gala hosted by GeannasWonderCreations. Geanna is my Sugar Sister (baker friend) located in the Bronx, New York. She hosts a yearly gala that benefits a youth program in the Dominican Republic. The local cake community supports her project. She is making a significant difference in the lives of others. This is also another wonderful opportunity to connect and reconnect with other Sugar Artists.
Recently, Eventplanner interviewed me about my entrepreneurial journey. It’s really important that people in this industry and for any industry in that manner are aware of the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. Of course, I’ve had successful opportunities but I’ve also experienced hardships and challenges behind what appears to be a successful opportunity. I work very hard and sometimes a little too hard and that’s because I know of the positive outcomes that I am capable of achieving.
the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning for an event and how did
you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I had to overcome was having a planned event on February 16, 2019, after having surgery on January 31, 2019. My surgery date came as a surprise as I had expected it to be earlier in January however a call from the physician office changed that. I was hosting my first Valentine’s Day Sip & Decorate. This was a couples-only cake decorating workshop. Couples were invited to participate in learning the art of cake decorating while sipping on Champagne and enjoy chocolate-dipped strawberries. The attendees learned how to stack and decorate a Unicorn theme Valentine’s Day Cake. I did not want to cancel this event which would then disappoint my attendees. Additionally, I did not want this to affect my brand. I reached out to another baker and expressed to her that I wanted to collaborate with her. I offered that she can retain the profit of the tickets sold however she would just have to purchase supplies and prep her space for me. I would completely instruct the class. She agreed and the class was a success. I received support from her, her daughters, and a friend with re-organizing her space after the class.
are 2 trends in the catering industry that you’re excited about?
I’ve always focused on using premium
ingredients when it comes to my products and I am happy to learn that more
consumers are willing to pay more if they can understand and see the quality in
baked goods. I am also attempting to personally transition to a plant-based
lifestyle. Recently, I revamped some of my recipes to include plant-based
ingredients. I tried Country Crocks’ plant-based butter in
my buttercream recipe and the response rate was very high. I
feel that the growing awareness of food justice is going to lead us as a
community into a more sustainable environment.
is a go-to meal for a tight budget, that also leaves the attendees feeling
like they’ve just eaten a gourmet meal?
This past summer, I had a bride reach
out to me in need of a cake for her wedding in less than 30 days. When it comes
to a wedding cake or large-scale events you want to book in a timely fashion.
She was on a tight budget. I offered her a three-tier cake and three sheet
cakes to serve her guests. I shared with her that she would have her beautiful
cake on display to cut with her groom and that the hall can cut up the sheet
cakes in the back kitchen. Her three-tier cake consisted of pineapple coconut
rum and her sheet cakes were wicked Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Caramel. Tiered
cakes are labor-intensive and require more stacking, more supporting, baking,
and decorating which increases costs substantially.
you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look
I would love to host a Sweet Saturday
Fundraising Gala to fund and support De L’or Cakery Kitchen. This program is a
subsidiary apprenticeship program of De L’or Cakery supporting teenage youth in
foster care and from under-resourced communities to learn Sugar Artistry.
The goal is to influence youth interested in the Food Industry to seek out post-secondary education. There is over 25,000 youth in the New York City foster care system:
• 6% will earn a 2- or 4-year degree by the age of 24
• 59% of kids enter due to neglect • 22% of kids will age out of foster care ages 12 and older • 15% of aged out youth become homeless with little to no educational pursuits
The participants of the
apprenticeship program would study under me at no cost to them. The goal is to
partner with foster care programs and under-resourced schools to refer youth to
our program. I envision a host of Food Network, Cooking Channel, and PBS
cooking beneficiaries and attendees enjoying my desserts and supporting this
fundraiser. My dream clients Melissa Viviane Jefferson and Kim Zolciak would
definitely be in the house co-hosting with me.
important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that
you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
I treat my vendors as a member of my
team. In essence, we are connected and we need each other. They know my work
acumen and what I stand for. Recently, one of my vendors whom I’ve supported
donated products to my apprenticeship program. I’ve known the owner for over
five years and I consider her a friend. I have a vendor whom I utilize for
custom cake toppers. We know each other for years and took advanced cake
courses together. When we are collaborating, we make sure to share as much
information as possible down to every detail and maintain communication so the
end results are a very happy client.
do you handle the diverse dietary needs and requests of your clients and
what is one of the most challenging requests you’ve been presented with?
Last year, I had a client reach out to me wanting a custom diabetic cake for her mother. So, I shared with my client that I’ve never done it before but that I can execute it. So, I used a whole foods diabetic cake box mix for my foundation. I used a sugar-free cool whip as a filling and vegan buttercream to hold the filling. I placed the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes and then covered the cake in fondant. The client was aware that the cake would be covered in fondant as she requested but that fondant is not sugar-free. She understood that her mother should skip eating the exterior of the cake. It was beautifully decorated and she phoned and texted me at how happy her mother was. She ordered again for mothers’ day with matching cupcakes.
the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
One of the most exciting things on
the horizon for me is starting next week, Monday, I will be instructing my
pilot apprenticeship program at Citizens School in Harlem, New York. I
kickstarted a Facebook fundraiser where I was able to raise $1,000.00 to offset
tools. The support was overwhelmingly positive. For a year, I will be offering
this program to school for free.
On Sunday, October 27, 2019, I am
hosting a New York City Sugar Artistry Meetup. This is a networking event for
Cake Designers, Bakers, Sugar Artists, and food entrepreneurs to meet up,
connect, eat, drink, mix, and mingle. The goal is to build connections, have
fun, catch up, and learn/share techniques. I’m very excited about the two very
talented Sugar Artists offering demos.
What inspired you to launch your own company in catering? How long did it take from initially having the idea of setting up and starting to attract a client base?
I started baking at the age of 10. It
was in 2008/2009 I walked into a local Joann’s and saw that they were offering
cake decorating classes. I said what the heck I know how to bake let’s learn
how to decorate. I took all of their courses and excelled. My instructor
offered me a role in teaching cake decorating for their kids’ cohorts and I
agreed. It didn’t pay a lot but I loved doing it. The discounts were fabulous
and I received new Wilton products for free to demo. I started posting on
Facebook and an entrepreneur reached out to me and said let me show you how to
make money. She put me in touch with a graphic designer and here I am after a
few rebranding processes. I consider my early experiences as my learning stage.
My rebranding phase has resulted in my professional era.
the first event you can remember catering and how did it go?
My first fondant order was for a
local elementary school in Atlanta, GA. It was another baker that reached out
to me sharing that she was ill and she inquired if I could execute the order. I
agreed to take the order and she said to me it does not have to be perfect it’s
for kids. I recall being so nervous. I made a yellow cake with vanilla
buttercream in between each layer. I covered the cake in black fondant with a
red tassel hanging out of the side of the cake. I hand made the name of the
school lettering incorporating the words “5th-grade class” along with a
handmade apple and a pencil out of fondant. When the parent coordinators
arrived at my home to pick up the cake, they looked at each other and were
speechless. My initial thought was that they did not like the cake until she
responded, “oh my God this is way better than I had expected. Honey, you have
talent!”. Her positive response allowed me to tap into my internal power and I
started testing out new recipes after that.
are some things you wished you knew before starting your business?
Some of the things I wish I knew about was PayPal’s electronic services to invoice clients and receive payment prior to picking up. I’ve experienced hardships where clients would pay me with a personal check and have no available funds. This was lost time, labor, and materials. Recently, I decided to utilize HelloSign services to upload my contracts where clients can electronically sign for the delivery of their goods as well as pay upfront. The contracts were provided by a law firm that details what the clients are responsible for and how to go about arbitration in the event of a disagreement.
is the most unique location that you’ve had to plan around?
In the summer of 2014, I recall catering to a client’s baby shower in Queens, NY. It was 99 degrees outside and the event was in the client’s beautiful backyard. I strongly urged the client to keep the cake inside the home until they are ready to cut it. The client and her family insisted that the cake is on display under the tent.
sets you apart from other caterers?
My family is from Jamaica West Indies
and Cuba which is reflective in my cooking and baking. I specialize in exotic
flavored cupcakes such as my White Chocolate Strawberry Hibiscus cupcakes and
Sea Salt Caramel Bourbon cake pops.
kind of food are you known for and what is your favorite food?
I am known for my Wicked Dark
Chocolate Cupcakes, Wicked Dark Oreo Cake Pops, and Sea Salt Bourbon Caramel
Cupcakes. These are my high selling products. I love chocolate. I am a verified
and diagnosed chocoholic. In terms of savory dishes, I am known for my
five-cheese macaroni and cheese. I did not realize how good my recipe was until
family, friends, and church patrons would often request this dish along with my
caramel cheesecake. I’ve been told that my caramel cheesecake tastes like ice
types of events do you service?
De L’or Cakery services weddings,
birthdays, baby showers, galas, corporate gatherings, and times where you just
want to shower yourself with exotic desserts pampering your palette.
else you’d like to comment on while we, have you?
For those of you that desire to
become a professional Sugar Artist, you have to invest in yourself. This means
investing in designers that will teach you what they know as well as taking
marketing and/or business courses. Make sure that when you decide to venture in
this or any other field that you do so because you love it not because of what
you could possibly earn. Lastly, know your worth and work on your numbers.
I am a verified chocoholic. Webster’s Dictionary should place my profile picture under the word chocolate. I promise you there is no one else in this world that loves chocolate as much as I do. My love for chocolate is a dangerous syndrome. I doubt that Chocoholic Anonymous would decrease my usage. As a matter of fact, I would be that one participant that disrupts the group thrusting everyone into pure sweet absolution. It would be like a scene out of Confessions of a Shopaholic where Rebecca Bloomwood causes an uproar in her shopaholic’s counseling group. I can see us now rummaging Neuhaus and then over to Godiva. Ghirardelli would not let us in. I would screw up your treatment services.
For those of you not seeking solace away from chocolate, I invite you to try out this dark chocolate ganache. You can layer it between a torte cake, French toast, or pipe on cupcakes. For a Saturday morning breakfast treat, smear it on a slice of toast topped with fresh strawberries and bananas.
10.5 oz (300 g.) dark chocolate ½ cup (120ml.) heavy cream 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon extra-strong espresso (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of salt
Place the chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips in a large glass bowl with the butter. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat up the heavy cream until it comes almost to a boil. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and butter and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Using a wire whisk or handheld mixer whisk together slowly adding in the vanilla, coffee, and pinch of salt. Mix well until combined and let it set a minimum of 4-5 hours or overnight.