I wrote a second cookbook and barely lived to write about it.
Just kidding. But the book was actually released nearly TWO MONTHS ago and I am just now blogging about it. Yes, I talked extensively about its release and book tour dates on my social media and you might have caught all the pre-sale details in the newsletter. But it recently occurred to me that I never officially announced the release of my second book, Icing on the Cake, here on the what started it all - my blog.
Yes, the blog has taken a major backseat this year. Technically I am still on maternity leave (women get one whole year here in Canada!), but really I’ve just been concentrating my energy on other things (ie the book tour, raising two tiny humans, trying to figure out the next big thing). The word “busy” has nearly lost all meaning (who isn’t busy?), so I’ll be the first to admit that the blog has become somewhat of a ghost town by changing up my priorities lately. Now, the blog isn’t going anywhere, and I will be still be sharing posts and recipes from time to time. BUT it will be getting a MAJOR facelift soon - another reason why I haven’t spent the time writing in the space.
I have a few more big posts that I need to get out (if only my fingers typed as fast as my brain works) before a huge overhaul of the blog. Some of the posts include the follow up How to Write a Cookbook Part 3 (see Part 1 and Part 2), How to Maintain a Thriving Instagram Page, and a few other recipes like this Orange Salted Honey Cake.
There are things that happened (or didn’t happen) with my first book, Layered, that I was eager to see repeat or change the second time around. For instance, The London Fog Cake ended up being the most popular recipe in the book, totally unpredicted by me. However, that Earl Grey buttercream is to-die for, so I guess I could have seen it coming.
It’s probably too early to call, but the Orange Salted Honey Cake from Icing on the Cake has quickly become a stand-out recipe. With its frilly, flirty buttercream and intriguing flavor combination, it’s easy to see why. Both the design AND flavors are perfect for spring/summer, so it’s no wonder that this cake has become as early favorite.
Here are some reasons why people are loving the petal decoration:
1) you don’t have to start with a perfectly smooth cake
2) each petal on its own can be far from perfect while the finished cake will still be beautiful as a whole.
3) you don’t NEED a rotating cake stand - just place the cake on a cake board or plate and then elevate onto a can or upside-down mixing bowl. Spin the whole things as needed.
4) you can really take your time. Technically, each petal can be made individually so you can really concentrate on your piping skills. Release the pressure on the piping bag between each “swag” until you get the hang of the motion - then speed up! On the contrary, keeping an even, slightly faster past might help with the rhythm of piping.
5) if you are still getting the hang of the piping, you can always scrape the cake and start again. Each petal is a change to practice!
6) each cake will be a little different than the next, but all will be beautiful in their own way and still be impressive (and tasty!!!!) no matter your piping skills!
The design is a great starting point for someone that wants to dive into to more advanced cake decorating techniques. It looks super impressive, when really it is the same technique repeated over and over. I think readers have been really drawn to this cake because of all of the frilly details the piping tips gives.
The key is to always keep the narrow end of the piping tip point to where you want the rounded, “frilled” edge to be. In this case, keep the narrow end of the piping tip facing DOWN for the sides of the cake and facing AWAY from the center of the cake for the top.
Beyond the petal finish (which can be recreated on any other cake/flavor with plain vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream), here’s what makes the cake flavors themselves so intriguing:
1) Salt. If you hadn’t already fallen in love with sweet/salty desserts by the time Salted Caramel hit the neighbourhood, then surely you fell in love with Salt after Samin Nosra’s book Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. And if not then, then maybe when you caught the show of the same name on Netflix. Regardless Salt + Sweet (salt + basically anything else, really) equals awesome. Salt balances nearly any dish, sweet or savory. It makes our chocolate even chocolatelier and in this case, rounds out those sweet, floral honey flavors in the custard and in the buttercream.
2) Honey buttercream - you KNOW how much I LOVE Swiss meringue buttercream. But did you know you could substitute part (or all) of the granulated sugar with a different sweetener? Here, I replaced half of the granulated sugar with honey. BOOM! Done. Honey buttercream. You could also try this with maple syrup….mmmmm.
3) Honey custard. The filling is essentially pastry cream., but again, I substituted some of the granulated sugar for honey and it totally works! Thick, velvety, luscious pastry cream - how i love thee! A pad of butter makes is smooth, glossy, and even more decadent. Add salt to taste, and then a little extra, just in case.
4) Orange butter cake. This is a riff on my favorite butter cake. Massaging fresh orange zest straight into the sugar releases the citrus oils and perfumes the entire cake. What goes better with all that honey than some zesty orange?
All that being said, it is no wonder why this Orange Salted Honey Cake has been the most talked about recipe from Icing on the Cake so far! I’ve also been pedalling it around at various cooking schools in North American as part of my cookbook tour. It is such a fun design to show! I love how the repetitive yet impressive nature of the piping allows me to talk to students and answer questions while creating the cake live in front of them at the same time. My next class is sold out, but I promise there will be more in the near future!
Head on over to The Cake Blog to find an exclusive recipe for this fan-favorite cake in a larger 8-inch party size!