To Decorate with Fondant or Not to Decorate with Fondant…that’s the question?

Thanks to shows like the Ace of Cake and Cake Boss, most people are familiar with the use of fondant as a way to customize and decorate cakes, cupcakes and cookies.  For those who are unfamiliar, fondant originated in Europe in the 18th century.  It is a pliable sugar paste which can be molded and sculpted to create Imageliterally whatever can be imagined.

We’ve used our fair share of fondant to decorate desserts for our clients.  Honestly, if you want something truly unique, custom and stylized, there’s nothing like it.  The dilemma has always been that fondant is unnatural.  It’s loaded with artificial flavors and colorings which don’t fit our all-natural philosophy.  In addition, it adds considerable cost to the project and most people don’t care for how it tastes, so they pick it off and discard it which we believe to be wasteful.  For those reasons, we try to steer people away from its use or at the very least we encourage them to use it sparingly. 

How do we satisfy our customers and ourselves?  There are several bakeries in our area that are very good at and interested in decorating with fondant.  Lately, we have been referring our customers who desire this kind of elaborate decoration to them.  The customer is satisfied, we’ve referred them to a local business and we remain true to what we feel is most important…at Baked Dessert Cafe, Fine Art & Wine Gallery we serve foods that are free of artificial color, flavor, preservatives and trans-fat and our customers are well served.

 

 

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The history of our Peach Dumpling…the Official Dessert of Berlin!

Before we even opened our doors in April of 2010, our friend and business partner Jill had an idea for us to develop and present to the Town Counsel the idea of an official dessert for Berlin, Maryland.

We thought this was a great idea, so brainstorming ideas for a sweet treat that would represent the history and vintage charm of this little seaside town we call home began.  Berlin has such a rich history and one that is rooted with peach orchards.  At one time, this town in Maryland was home to one of the largest orchards in the country.  Yes readers, I said Maryland and not Georgia!  Well, this sealed the deal for us…our dessert had to have the peach as an ingredient.

Next, we decided that the dessert should be somewhat “old school” in nature since the town itself is like a throw back in time.  The very first thing that popped into my mind was a dumpling…we had to create a Peach Dumpling.  Most people are familiar with apple dumplings.  Traditionally a whole or half apple is cored, sprinkled in cinnamon sugar and then wrapped in pie dough and “BAKED”.  We wanted to do something really different, so we “cranked things up a notch”, sliced our peaches and sauteed them in butter, brown sugar and some secret ingredients.  We then folded them into our all butter puff pastry.

We experimented for weeks and ate enough versions of Peach Dumplings to make ourselves and our families silly.  After taste test, after taste test and considering all of the input from our “guinea pigs”, we had the final version…beautiful peaches, local when available, sliced and sauteed in butter, brown sugar, spices and some secret ingredients folded into puff pastry, “BAKED” to perfection and topped with peach reduction and our homemade caramel sauce.

Needless to say, we presented the dessert to the Mayor and Town Counsel and our Peach Dumpling became the Official Dessert of Berlin.  The rest as they say is history!  Since we sell out most every day, I think that we must be doing the peach and the town some justice.

We’re really happy to represent our awesome town by serving it’s Official Dessert!  Every August, Berlin hosts its Annual Peach Festival on the lawn of the Taylor House Museum.  This past weekend, many locals and visitors, young an old, enjoyed some of Berlin’s rich peach history by attending this celebration.  Fresh peaches, homemade local peach ice cream, peach pies, peach breads, peach jams, our “Peach Dumplings” and much more were enjoyed by all as a salute to Berlin’s rich peach history.

We are proud to be part of and serve such a great community rich in so many things and we will happilyImage continue to “BAKE” the Official Dessert of Berlin to perfections for all to enjoy!

Marshmallow Fluff

I don’t know why Fall makes me think of Marshmallow Fluff, but it does.

This delicious confectionary concoction is simply wonderful on nut butter sandwiches, stuffed into Whoopie Pies, mixed with cream cheese for a creamy fruit dip and even all by itself by the spoonful.

Commercial Marshmallow Fluff contains all kinds

"Marshmallow Fluffiness"

Pure Deliciousness!

of artificial additives and colorings, but you don’t have to settle for such nastiness. Just make your own with this easy recipe and enjoy all natural “Fluff” within minutes. Oh, and did I mention that it’s naturally Gluten Free!

3 egg whites
2 cups light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In large bowl of electric mixer, add egg whites, corn syrup and salt. Beat on high speed until doubled in volume. On low speed, add powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Add vanilla extract and mix gently.

Your homemade Marshmallow Fluff is now ready to use. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 weeks.

Sticking to our guns, I mean our “buns”!

Our good friend and former partner Jill brought us an article from the News Journal highlighting the thoughts of Sam Calagiones’s who is the founder and president of the very successful Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and star of the Discovery Channels “Brew Masters”.

Calagione was speaking during the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business Executive Leadership Series at Salisbury University.  In the article, Calagione’s was quoted as saying, “When we weren’t profitable, it would have been very easy to discount our beer, dumb down our beer, but we didn’t.”  “We stuck to our guns and we kept brewing these exotic beers”.  In response, Bob Wood, dean of the Perdue School, stated that Calagione had shared a valuable lesson to the audience. “Money is fine, but if you’re in it for the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.” “You’ve got to have a passion for what you do.”  The article further stated that Dogfish Head doesn’t compete with other breweries, but instead offers a spirit of collaboration.

These statements and Calagione’s philosophy really resonate with us because we feel the same way.  Hand crafting all natural desserts and using high quality ingredients is more expensive and time-consuming than the alternative.  Not everyone cares or appreciates the effort, but  we are passionate about what we do and committed to providing high quality desserts, breads and beverages to our customers.   We won’t feed you anything we wouldn’t feed to our own family!

From the beginning, we consciously decided not to compete with our commercial neighbors.  We could have and it would certainly have generated additional income for us, but we didn’t and don’t.  We are very interested in the spirit of collaboration.   We believe that collaborating with other businesses will help us and others be the best that we all can be.  Particularly in the little town of Berlin, Maryland, we believe that what’s good for one of us is good for all of us!

We’ve learned a lot this past year!  We’ve had ideas that didn’t work so well and great ideas that have and we have grown from both.  We know that there are more  lessons to come and that we are going to make mistakes along the way.  We’re choosing to measure our success by remaining focused on what makes us and our customers happy.

Some business professionals suggest that you not only know your competition, but that you also model their successes. We understand why that makes sense, but also believe that whether personally or professionally, solely following that philosophy can be the distraction that discourages and prevents you from living and creating authentically.  We salute Sam Calagione for all of his success and his forward thinking business approach.  Like Mr. Calagione’s, we too are going to “stick to our buns” and continue providing superb quality, all-natural desserts, breads and beverages to the best customers on the planet!