Desserts / Learn

Decorate a Birthday Cake Like a Pastry Chef!

05.27.20

If you don’t already know, now you know…it’s Breah’s birthday!!!!!! Happy birthday Bee!!! In honor of her special day, here is a tutorial on how to decorate a cake like a professional pastry chef (or at least like my my little sister, Halle, pastry chef extraordinaire in training).

Celebrating a birthday during quarantine is a bit more challenging but with a little creativity and a DIY-attitude, you can make the birthday girl (or guy) feel special. Who knows, it could be their very favorite birthday yet!

Since no birthday celebration is complete without a cake, here is a step by step guide for making a professional looking cake while stuck at home.

Step 1: Bake your favorite cake (we won’t tell anyone if you use a cake mix but we’ll give extra points if you make it from scratch 😉 We recommend making three layers for the best looking cake. Once your cakes are cooled, place them in the freezer for three hours or overnight. This will make the cake easier to frost. See tips at the bottom for more instructions.

Step 2: Make the frosting.

Bakery style vanilla frosting with bittersweet chocolate: 

  • 2 cups of softened unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup of shortening (you can use all butter if you prefer but the shortening will help it look good for longer)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 1 package of sifted powdered sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
  • 3 squares of bitter baking chocolate 

Start by creaming the softened butter and shortening until lightened in color. Next add in the vanilla, ⅓ of the powdered sugar, and milk. Beat until well combined, and continue to add powdered sugar until you have reached the desired consistency and flavor. 

Once the vanilla buttercream is done, shave in the bitter chocolate with a microplane, and gently fold in to get nice specks of chocolate. 

Step 3: Make the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache for drip :

  • 1 cup of dark chocolate 
  • ⅓ cup of milk 
  • An additional 1 Tablespoon of milk to thin out the ganache 

Have the 1 cup of dark chocolate ready in a heat proof bowl, and bring the milk to a soft boil. Once the milk reaches a boil, immediately take it off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes before stirring. Let cool before using it on the cake. Right before you are going to drip it around the cake, add in the 1 tablespoon of milk and stir until combined. Pour the chocolate ganache into a piping bag, and cut off just the tip of the bag. You don’t want the hole to be too big or else the ganache won’t drip with the desired effect. 

Tips and tricks: 

I prefer to frost cakes while they are frozen, so, once the cakes have cooled completely after baking, wrap them up and pop them in the freezer for at least three hours, or overnight. Freezing them does not affect the flavor or texture, just makes them easier to frost, and by the time your cake is ready to ganache, they will be ready to serve! 

When frosting your cake, first do a “crumb” layer of frosting, where you cover the outside, make it nice and smooth, but still able to see some of the cake layers. Pop it in the fridge for ten minutes, let that first layer of frosting set up, then go ahead and do the second coating and you won’t have any bald spots, and a perfectly frosted cake. 

When ganaching your cake, start by doing the drips around the rim of the cake first. This is a lot easier than pouring the chocolate in the middle, and trying to spread it outwards. So instead, once you have finished the drips, move on to the middle and use your mini offset spatula to ganache the top. 

If you’re feeling real fancy, you can top your cake with rosettes and then grate chocolate over the top! But, a simple ganache drip is enough to make your dinner guests marvel at your skills. 

Check out our Instagram for detailed videos!

Now, send a picture to the friend who is celebrating their birthday so they can virtually enjoy their beautiful cake. Or even better, share your cake with your cat and plant friends while FaceTiming them! Obviously, were mostly joking! If you’re able to deliver the cake to your birthday person that would be the best option! 😉

Have you celebrated your birthday or a friend/family member’s while in quarantine? What did you do to make them feel special?

Happy cake decorating and birthday celebrating! And thank you Halle for all the great tips!

xo, Sam

Food / Sauces & Dressings / Snacks

Homemade Hummus

05.24.20

I make this delicious hummus recipe every week because it’s so quick to throw together and it is a wonderful snack option to have on hand. Traditionally, hummus is made with tahini, a condiment made from sesame seeds. Unfortunately, when I consume sesame seeds, I get a rash. So, I had to live a sad, hummus-free life until I realized that sunflower seeds make a great substitute. if you’re like me and can’t eat tahini, or if you just don’t have tahini on hand, try sunflower seeds for a delicious alternative. I promise you won’t notice a difference.

Hummus Recipe

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw or roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric

Instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  3. Serve with chips or raw veggies.

If you want to elevate your hummus, top with a mixture of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, kalamata olives, whole garbanzo beans, basil, feta and smoked paprika.

Happy snacking!

XO, Sam

Drinks / Life

Take time to stop and smell (and taste) the ROSÉ

05.11.20

#ROSEallday Why not, in our current state of quarantine and afternoon sunshine?

It’s important to find little pleasures when everyday feels like a Wednesday (or a Saturday, depending on how you look at it). I just picked the middle of the week, since 90% of my time is spent hammering away at my keyboard or on a phone (sometimes video) call – both for work and for fun (hello virtual happy hours!). In my opinion, finding moments to “disconnect” is just as important as “staying connected” in our current state of self-isolation. Plus, especially with temperatures warming up – we all need some fun activities to enjoy the summertime!

So, we stepped away and did a little blind-rosé taste testing. Check this out.. so you can try it too! You can definitely do this with any sort of wine – wines, pinks or reds! Put together a little cheese plate and voila – you’ve got yourself a fun time.  (PS. if you want some more “tasters” to join the fun, you could totally do this over Zoom or “socially distanced” with some friends or family, if you coordinate!)

First, we purchased 4 bottles of Rose wine from our local Bevmo. 

  • Bevmo’s to order to-go/pickup in advance is awesome (you can do it same-day!)
  • Ours ranged between $10-30 so we had a good range to try. (TIP: For rose, the mid-range is where it’s at – wouldn’t recommend more than $15 – we found they really aren’t worth it.

Then, we put CLEAN socks over them (or you could use brown paper bags, if you have them). We mixed them up and put numbers in front of each one.

We then started pouring, tasting, commenting about each one along the way.


If you’re replicating this, you could even use a little score-card (like this one!) for everyone to write down their thoughts throughout the process. You might end up a little wine-happy and sun-kissed.

Some easy wine tasting notes to consider:

  • Guess which bottle is which
  • Note what “flavors” you taste – florals, fruits, sweet or dry, etc.
  • Guess how much each one costs

Here’s our findings from the bunch that we chose: 

  • Price doesn’t mean quality. We actually really loved one of the least expensive ones the most (BOGO 5cents!) vs one that was double the price
  • We preferred wines that had a little bit of complexity – they didn’t taste watery or overly sweet
  • But everyone’s taste preference may differ – so our favs may not be your favs.. but that’s all part of the fun.

Our favs in order from most to least (and BEVMO prices):

  • Unruly rose – $13.95 (BOGO 5cents)
    • Light and dry, with flavors of light fruits and sunshine. Plus can’t beat the bang to your buck on this one.
  • Cote de Roses – $12.99 
    • It’s mild but flavorful – everything you’d want in a rose. It’s a no fail – we love it every time. 
    • Plus it is so similar to our name “Desrosiers” that it just seems to fit us well.
  • Lo-ca-Tour Rose – $14.95 (BOGO 5cents)
    • A bit bolder fruit-forward and a little more of a crisp/dry-finish.
  • Hampton Water – $24.95 (BOGO 5cents)
    • Very easy drinking and a bit watery. Not a lot of complexity to it… you could drink a few of these in the summer-sun, but is it worth it? Probably not.

Happy sipping! Let us know how your little wine tasting experiments turn out! Just make sure you do hydrate (with water) throughout the process!
XO Bee