Posts Tagged ‘Cakes’

Chocolate Mousse Cake for Jackie

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

14 inch Round Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

14 inch Round Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

My friend and neighbor, Beth, is a great seamstress (www.SunnyGalStudio.com). When I was growing up, Mrs. McCool was the seamstress my mom would take us to for sewing needs that were outside of my mom’s interest or ability. I don’t think it was all that often – with seven kids and goodness knows how many versions of cheerleading/drill team/dance team and school uniforms, I suspect my mom would have loved to use her lots more . . .

Beth made two skirts and hemmed two pairs of pants for me just before our recent trip to France (and I mean JUST before). I’m pretty good about getting rid of clothes that I don’t wear for whatever reasons – like “it doesn’t fit anymore”, “never really liked it but needed something RIGHT NOW”, “what was I thinking when I got this?” – but I’m not so good at adding clothes to my collection and clothes shopping is never high on my list of ways to spend free time. It was so great to pick the material and style I wanted, and then have everything fit just like it was made for me (because it was!). Good quality clothing that I will get lots of use out of equals a great value.

So, what does this have to do with gourmet desserts made easy? Well, Beth’s mom just turned 80 and Beth and her sister, Kelly, gave her a big Hawaiian-themed party. In exchange for a beautiful new sundress that Beth made for me with great fabric I found on sale, I made the birthday cake for about 70 people.

Beth’s mom, Jackie, wanted chocolate cake with chocolate and raspberry filling, finished with whipped cream. I make a chocolate cake filled with the chocolate mousse from our Chocolate Mousse Kit, studded with raspberries. You can see the steps to make this cake here – although this version has a poured chocolate glaze on top instead of whipped cream (scroll down the page for all the details). Jackie’s cake had purple orchids flown over from Hawaii to go with the Aloha theme. I made one 14″ cake, shown above, and one 10″ cake for back up – each had 3 layers of chocolate cake and two layers of chocolate mousse stuffed with raspberries.

Whipped cream can be a little tricky when it’s 100 degrees outside in July – but the cake stayed refrigerated until it was presented and served, and it sounds like everyone loved it.

I have a new sundress that I love, and Jackie, Beth, Kelly and their friends have an evening of memories with a chocolate raspberry mousse cake on top.

Aloha,
Cathy

Fauchon in Paris

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
Cakes and Macaroons - Fauchon, Paris

Cakes and Macaroons - Fauchon, Paris

My husband and I, along with two sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law, recently returned from two weeks in France. It’s been several years since we’ve taken an honest-to-goodness two week vacation like that. The trip was planned last year before the economy got so bad; we decided we better go and enjoy ourselves since it might be another very long time before we do something like it again! So, go we did. . .

We spent one week in Paris, taking our time to re-visit the city highlights and enjoy the incredible breads and pastries at arms reach no matter where you go! For the second week, we based ourselves about 30 miles east of Paris and took day trips to places like Reims (champagne capital of the world), Chablis and the Burgundy region. We had a great dinner in Dijon – one of the distinguished cities of food in France – that was worth the three hour drive.

I thought readers of the Just Specialties Fine Food blog would be particularly interested in a store in Paris called Fauchon. It’s really two stores right next to each other at the Place de la Madeleine – right across the street from the Madeleine Church. With its neoclassic architecture, the church looks more like an imposing ancient Greek temple than a Christian church – it’s beautiful and distinctive. A street called Rue Royale runs from the Place de la Concorde right up to the front steps of the Madeleine Church. You can stand on those steps and look up Rue Royale to the Place de la Concorde, about 1/4 mile away, where Marie Antoinette lost her head in the French Revolution – but I digress. . .

The Madeleine Church sits in the center of the Place de la Madeleine, sort of like sitting in the middle of a very large roundabout, and is ringed by unique specialty shops like Maison de la Truffe (the fungus kind), Maille (specialty mustards), Caviar Kaspia and. . . Fauchon, the specialty food store to end all specialty food stores.

Everything at Fauchon is “just so” – their windows are full of incredibly artistic desserts and savory food. Their idea of “canned” food is large attractive tins of Coq au Vin and specialty duck preparations. Even their “fast food” is remarkable in both presentation and taste.

I mentioned there are two Fauchon stores right next to each other. One store is primarily geared towards foods to buy and eat right away – the French version of “take-away”, although there are seats inside and out where you can enjoy your food, along with wine (the French have a very civilized idea of “take away”) or coffee from the coffee bar. Their baguette sandwiches are in little zipper pouches – no cellophane wrap here – and the fresh salads are packed in crystal clear pyramid-shaped plastic containers. This first store also has a full bread and pastry bar, complete with all flavors of French macaroons, and deli counters with foie gras and other specialty meats, cheeses and fish.

The second Fauchon store has mostly packaged products, including gift items, chocolates, teas and coffee, tins of coq au vin and escargots, and a wine cellar below. We didn’t bring a lot of souvenirs back from France, but most of what we did bring back came from this store! The tin of escargots made the U.S. customs person a little concerned, but we made it home with them and I’m sure my husband will enjoy them at some point (when I get around to fixing them up). As with all of their goods, the products in this store are also beautifully presented. It was really enjoyable checking everything out and appreciating how well done it all was.

Below are several pictures from Fauchon and Place de la Madeleine. I felt very rusty with my camera, so these pictures aren’t the best – but I hope you enjoy them.

Best,
Cathy

Cakes - Fauchon, Paris

Cakes - Fauchon, Paris

Cakes - Fauchon, Paris

Cakes - Fauchon, Paris

Filled raspberries atop chocolate cake - Fauchon, Paris

Filled raspberries atop chocolate cake - Fauchon, Paris

Chocolate Bars - Fauchon, Paris

Chocolate Bars - Fauchon, Paris

Purses with chocolates - Fauchon, Paris

Purses with chocolates - Fauchon, Paris

Escargots - Fauchon, Paris

Escargots - Fauchon, Paris

Looking up Rue Royale to Madeleine Church at the Place de la Madeleine

Looking up Rue Royale to Madeleine Church at the Place de la Madeleine

Fauchon

Fauchon

Maison de la Truffe

Maison de la Truffe

Caviar Kaspia

Caviar Kaspia

Maille specialty mustards

Maille specialty mustards

Maille window display

Maille window display