New discount codes on my Craftsy cake decorating class "Make-ahead techniques for stunning cakes" available for a few days! I've been humbled with your kind words and compliments! Thank you!!!!
Just add my class to your cart, and then enter the code at checkout: 5c05ebb6-75f7-48a2-a384-b
Please note: "Offer valid for 50% off the full price of my Craftsy class. Limit one class per customer. Not valid for The Great Courses(R). Cannot be combined with other coupons. Expires October 31, 2016."
FINE CONFECTIONS CINCINNATI: argentinian style ALFAJORES recipe
Alfajores are my favorite cookie in the world. Having been born and raised in South America, Alfajores are present in many of my childhood memories.
Almost every country in South America claims Alfajores as their own, and every variation of this recipe is simply glorious. One of the major variations that I have found is the introduction of Cornstarch to the recipe. Some recipes call for a 1:1 ratio of Flour to Cornstarch. The more cornstarch, the lighter the cookie will be and the more difficult the dough will be to work with.
Like with all butter cookies, making Alfajores may be a daunting task. The secret to success is TEMPERATURE!...Your mission is to keep the dough firm and cold at all times. For sandwiched cookies, 1/8" is the desired thickness of the the dough. Decorated cookies may be rolled to 1/4". Keep in mind that these are fragile cookies and may not be the best for mailing or traveling.
Dough scraps can be brought together and gently press into a ball for up two two times to make additional cookies.
The traditional filling for Alfajores is Dulce de Leche, but pairing them with preserves, ganache, jelly or buttercream is delicious too; sometimes dry and shredded coconut is added to the sides of the cookie.
Dulce de leche can be made by cooking condensed milk and sugar. There are wonderful brands of Dulce de leche in the market, and they vary in taste and consistency. A significant difference in the taste of Dulce de Leche is the type of milk used (Goat vs. Cow milk), just explore and chose your favorite!. For a different twist, Dulce de Leche could be substituted by thick caramel.
Regardless of the filling you choose, I personally like the look of the piped filling on the sandwiched cookie. Star tips are my preferred tips to use for this. Metal tins are the best type of container to use to preserve unfilled cookies.
I hope that you have a great time making these delicious cookies and that they become a sweet memory for you and your family as they are for mine!
All my best, Ileana.
French Meringues are my husband's favorite, and I have to confess that it took me a while to master the necessary technique to make delicious and crisps meringues....until I tumble around Rose Levy's recipe for "Crisp French Meringue".
I'm used to make Italian meringue for my Italian Buttercream, and before finding Rose's recipe, I had used the cooked sugar method for making my meringues, but this produced inconsistent results.
What I love most about this recipe is that it is pretty fool proof and SO quick to make, and to add to it, it is made of just a few ingredients, what else can we ask from a recipe?
These crisp meringue disks (above) were made to be layered between Almond Cake and Dulce de Leche, and it was a custom request from my Argentinian bride, Claudia. You can find the recipe and instruction to bake these dreamy meringues below. Give it a try...the usage of these meringue discs is unlimited, from pavlovas to cake layers, your imaginations is the limit!
It's hard to believe that we are about to kick off the Thanksgiving week!...2014 has been a wonderful year, and in this small sugar kingdom, we have many things to be thankful for. It was been a year filled with health, love and many special clients, for whom I have had the pleasure to create delicious and beautiful cakes!
It has also been filled with a couple of tough moments, like my husband's emergency shoulder surgery after falling from his bike!... and the passing of my mother, in the middle of the wedding season, and on the week that I had my largest wedding cake of the year. But regardless of those painful and stressful moments, I feel that it has been a great year. Those two incidents, have thought me, that you have to find inner strength, and be an example to your children, because life is about "solving problems" and about tackling life with your most positive energy and with the best attitude!
And now, I'm getting ready to take a pause and celebrate with my family and friends and make time to say thanks for all that I have, and included in those, are you!..who are taking the time to read these lines, and to follow my work and being part of this kingdom!
Here is the link to were I originally posted my celebrated "Peanut Butter and Chocolate Truffle Acorns"!
They have been a favorite of many and have been featured many times by bloggers and cake aficionado sites!
Hope that you too have a wonderful Thanksgiving week, because I'm sure that you too, even in the middle of hard times, will find reason to be thankful for!
All my best, Ileana.
I have it my hands!...Our first national feature, on the pretty pages of Where Women Cook!. Humbled to be on the same pages with such amazing talented women. I invite you to enjoy the beautiful pics of Gina Weathersby Photography, and read the story on how I started this small sugar kingdom:)
Two of my favorite quick and easy recipes are shared in the article!...Give them a try!
That profile pic captured by the super talented Gina Weathersby, makes me smile every time I see it:)
Smile, always smile...a big smile takes you places...and makes your life sweeter:)
Simple, paper thin sugar frills!...You could do them this way, or inverting the cake, and having gravity work for you. After the cake is covered with frills, you re invert the cake and voila!. I recommend that you only use the invert method on cakes that have been refrigerated for a few hours, and on cakes that have been layered with pure butter buttercream!
Valeria and Gabriel. The reason I was born was to be their mom:)...They were not happy about being part of the shoot!..specially Gabe, who hate pics!!!
Modeling Chocolate has become the decorating medium that stole my heart in 2013.
I can't believe that it took me so long to discover the beauty and benefits to decorating, sculpting and enrobing cakes and confections with modeling chocolate,
A few weeks ago, as I was getting ready to celebrating Thanksgiving, I wanted to make something different, and the idea of rich chocolate and peanut butter came to mind!
I'm a great planner, and very much dislike rushing and fixing last minute confections, while getting ready to host...this is the reason why I decided to make "Acorn shaped" Truffles that could be made ahead of time!
As I explored different ideas on how to top and texture my truffles top, the idea of modeling chocolate came to mind :)...and because I LOVE peanut butter...voila!, my Peanut Butter Modeling Chocolate recipe was born!!!
Today, Cake Central Magazine, THE "all cake related" online site, is sharing this recipe with their HUGE community of devoted and SUPER talented decorators and bakers around the world!!!
Scroll down to see my original "Acorn Truffles" recipe and step by step instructions,
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I (and my family) do,
Send me your questions and comments. I would love to help :)
Peanut Butter & Bittersweet Chocolate "Acorn" Truffles
To make these easy and delicious confections, you will need:
1 Recipe Cocoa Dusted Classic Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles
1 Recipe Peanut Butter Modeling Chocolate
1 Recipe Chocolate Fondant
Click on "READ MORE" to find all the recipes!
I was a preached by one of our local TV stations to do a live tv demo on decorating cookies. It was a short notice deal, and I couldn't think about anything else to bring to the demo than some of the fall themed sugar cookies that I already had at hand!
There are so many wonderful cookie artist out there; their work is surreal and they are true experts in their craft.
I have to confess, that making cales are my main business and interest, and when it comes to cookies making I'm kind of a novice!...but that don't mean that I don't enjoy making super delicious and beautiful cookies!
Below you will find basically all I know about cookie decorating!...Hope you give it a try:)
Fox19 Cincinnati, Live TV Segment
Easy & Smooth Cake Icing
SEMISWEET CHOCOLATE GANACHE
12 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate
13.5 oz. Heavy Cream
2 oz. unsalted butter, room temp.
1 oz. liquor of preference
BREAK Chocolate into pieces.
HEAT cream to boiling point.
POUR cream into chocolate, let sit for a few seconds.
STIR chocolate and cream until chocolate is completely dissolved.
ADD Butter and stir until melted
TRANSFER to a bowl and let sit to cool completely.
APPLY on cake with icing smoother
REFRIGERATE iced cake for 10 minutes, or until chocolate icing sets.
Run to the supermarket and make one yourself :). Here is how to make it:
Light corn syrup
Hazelnut, Rose flower, Raspberry, Wild Strawberry, Apricot, just to name a few!
Only one drop of them is needed to take any butter cream, pastry or confection from ordinary to extraordinary.
Like most things great, they are expensive, but you only need to use a bit.
Since I'm a small shop, I buy bottles of 2 oz, that go a long way. They are also sold in 1 Lt. bottles, and I only buy that size for my best selling flavors.
In case you are interested, these are distributed by La Cuisine from NYC. Their service is outstanding and shipping is reasonable.
Check out their web site, and take your next confection to a professional level!
Since opening in 2010 in Cincinnati, Venezuelan born Ileana Saldivia’s studio, Sugar Realm has become a preeminent wedding and celebration cake design boutique. In 2018, due to her husband's job, Ileana and her family relocated to Philadelphia, and so did her Sugar Kingdom. Sugar Realm’s cakes and confections are known for their sophisticated flavors, unique designs, artistic sugar flowers, innovative techniques, and architectural compositions. The studio’s wedding cakes are regularly featured in leading bridal, lifestyle, and cake decorating magazines. In the December 2015 issue of “Cincinnati Magazine,” Sugar Realm was named “Best of the City” and featured on the cover. Saldivia’s blog “Life in a Sugar Kingdom” is regularly visited by hundreds of cake enthusiasts and professionals.