Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A pop of green... or four - St. Paddy's Day!

Time to Wear the Green, it's St. Patrick's Day!

Hong Kong had its first St. Patrick's festival over the weekend, and it's inspired me to share the love for green - an oddly strange choice of color that actually works on desserts.

What's St. Paddy's day without some chocolate and beer?
> Guinness Chocolate Cake
> Death by Chocolate
> Chocolate Pistachio Torte
> Deep Chocolate Ganache Cake
> Darkside Chocolate Cupcake

Reds, pinks, yellows, browns and oranges are naturals with cakes, they bring cheer and brighten desserts immediately.

Blues and peaches fall into my "hmm" category. Blue has been officially named the worst color to have in foods (not my words, it's those tests out there they've carried out!) - off-putting and not quite appealing. Peach is just kinda ho-hum to me, not much personality.

Greens and blacks are in that sweet spot: done right, they'll add pizzaz. Done wrong - and they'll look radioactive or depressed.

Color your treats:
> Color me happy!
> The colorful Robin Williams
> A summer carousel

So let's hustle up some green - good for the eyes, good for nutrition - just like veggies are ;) and get our green on!

Green Tea & White Chocolate Cookies

Green tea's a natural when you're talking green in desserts. They're more predominant in Asian desserts like chiffon cakes, and I used mine in bite-sized cookie poppers. The great thing about green tea bakes is they tend not to be overly sweet because of their natural bitter edge from the tea flavors, and have so much character so you don't want to drown them in sugar.

> Get the recipe here
> More Asia-inspired treats:

Minecraft Cake

Making cakes for kids often makes me the 'hip one' because they want their cakes in all the latest game and toys characters, and I rely on them to bring me up to speed on the hottest. I can say with 'authority' (ahem!) that Minecraft is in with the kids now, and I had so much fun building this cake for an 8 year old's birthday. 

I made the mistake of using the paint technique for the mosaic tiles - making long slabs of fondant, scoring them and hand-painting each square a different shade of green. It seemed a good idea when I researched the techniques, but this only works for much, much smaller cakes when just a couple of squares are painted. It takes all day to paint a cake this big, takes ages to dry and the long fondant panels break easily. So I was really better off making each individual mosaic square in different shades greens. 

You learn, and you learn to laugh about it - about many deranged hours ;)

Cartoons, characters and toys:
> Invasion of the Minions
> Who's Henry Hugglemonster?
> Elmo cake pops
> Rilakkuma cake pops

Lime Top Cupcake

I like contrasting colors so they don't all scream for attention, and this red velvet cupcake goes just beautifully with the pale green buttercream frosting. The colors were perfect for the Christmas season when I made them, and you should get creative and experiment with different flavors for the buttercream. We eat with our eyes as much as our tongue, so go with flavors associated with green - like mint, lime, basil, green tea - and they'll match visually.

Kermit-toned Cake Pops

Cake Pops are a ton of fun, you can pretty much do anything you want with swirls and designs, and something about little desserts on sticks makes them just irresistible. My cake pop idol Bakerella does an amazing job creating the most unexpected itty bitty balls of fun perched precariously on rainbow hued straws and sticks, she's da bomb.

Cake pop fun:

Happy St. Patrick's day, remember to load up on 'em greens!