I want to tell you about my friend Krystina Castella's new class, Tipsy Cakes, on Craftsy. Actually, I'll let her tell you about it. Seriously--it's such a fun class! Booze and cake, what could be wrong? Read on to learn more, directly from Krystina:
Are you a fan of creating cake flavors that have a boozy touch?
I just launched a new class Tipsy Cakes for Craftsy.com (note: you can check out the class trailer here!). The class paired with my and Terry Lee Stone’s Booze Cakes book (Quirk Books) is now the most comprehensive assemblage of technique and tested recipes on baking with alcohol out there.
I had been noticing ads for craftsy.com popping up in my browser over the past several months due to my 3yearold sons obsession with watching sewing videos. So when a food anthropologist friend of mine who currently works for the company called me and said they have launched into cakes and asked me to develop a course based on the Booze Cake book for them I jumped at the chance. I was excited to have the opportunity to give Booze Cakes book fans more and something different. So what I decided to focus on is adding the collection of already creative and tasty recipes in the book with a behind the scenes focus on technique.
Why is baking with alcohol so much fun?
There are so many uncommon and interesting flavors that you can’t get with the typical vanilla and chocolate flavorings. When I started baking with alcohol it opened up a whole new world of ingredients and flavor profiles to experiment with and a whole set of recipes.
I worked out the curriculum and tested new recipes for months to get the techniques down. In the dead of winter I left the 87degree temperature of Los Angeles for a week of the beautiful snowy streets of downtown Denver. The space where we baked and shot the class was great old cooking school. The support team from Craftsy that I was provided for the class was top notch.
Although I have written 8 cookbooks (7 on baking) and have worked as a professor teaching in front of people for over 20 years, shooting an online cooking class was something new for me. When on a photo shoot for a cookbook I am the producer the behind the scenes person and the food is in front of the camera not me and I was a bit nervous. Although after a day of practicing my jitters faded away and I got the hang of it and loved every minute of it.
My goals in Tipsy Cakes is to:
- Take the mystery out of baking with alcohol, even for a beginning baker.
- Teach how to incorporate almost any alcohol into cakes.
- Show students how much flavor can be added with alcohol and discover what flavor profiles are the best with different alcohol types.
- Offer base recipes with endless variation possibilities so students can adapt their own recipes to include their favorite booze.
In order to help student create their own recipes I created a flavor profile chart for the class. On it I mention suggestions of flavors to try out for your own recipes.
Pairing alcohol with cake: some basics
- The first place to start is to look at popular cocktails. The White Russian Cake I developed for the class is made with similar ingredients as a White Russian drink: vodka, cream and coffee liqueur.
- Alcohols paired in cocktails also make great inspiration for cakes. For instance, the B52 drink is made with Coffee liqueur, Irish cream and Triple sec; you might try to make a B52 cake with coffee liqueur cake with Irish Cream Buttercream and a Triple Sec Soak.
- One good rule of thumb when thinking about how to pair alcohols with both sweet and savory flavors is to think about what you like to eat with a favorite alcohol.
- Do you like to snack on cheddar cheese or eat other salty flavors such as salted nuts when you drink beer? Adding them to a beer cake will also taste good.
- Another place to look for inspiration are the flavor overtones in the alcohol. For example white wine have citrus, apple, plum and mango, hazelnut overtones. Therefor orange, lemon, apple, plum and mango cakes will taste great with white wine added.
Other things you'll learn in the class
The course consists of 7 classes, each focusing on what to consider when baking, soaking or adding to frostings and making garnishes. In each class students learn how to get the most flavor in their cake from specific classifications of alcohol.
In the Rum Lesson students learn how to make a soak.
In the Fruit and Nut Liqueurs Lesson students learn to add sweetened fruit and nutflavored liqueurs into fillings and frostings. In the Coffee and Cream Liqueurs lesson students learn how to retain alcohol in baking while still giving the cake enough time to bake through.
In the Hard Alcohol lesson students learn to exercise moderation, and incorporate small amounts of hard liquor to create surprisingly subtle flavors.
In the Beer Lesson I discuss different types of craft beer and explore some exciting flavor combinations that work with each.
In the Wine Lesson students learn the benefits of reduction and how to create powerful and complex flavors.
Finally in Cocktail Cakes, the most fun lesson, I pull together the techniques demonstrated throughout the class and show a collection of cakes based on favorite mixed drinks.
Along the way students learn about flambé sauces, how to make a poke cake, an ice cream cake, and edible cocktail garnishes including chocolate and strawberry shot glasses. Also on craftsy.com you can ask me any questions you have about baking with booze and post your creations. I hope to hear from and see what you make there – Happy baking and good eating.
Note: if you think Krystina is cool (she is!), you can follow her (and the class) on Facebook.