Tuesday, 27 March 2012

#MonthlyMiettes - March Round-Up - Tomboy Cake

I decided I'd wait to write about my experience making the Tomboy Cake until I posted the round-up for March. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I'm feeling a little bashful after seeing the beautiful cakes made by everyone else who participated in this challenge! Ladies - bravo!

I have to be mindful of the fact that I started this challenge to challenge myself in the baking department, fully knowing I might not have the prettiest cake or that it might not turn out every time. My goal is to come out on the other end of this book as a more accomplished baker. I was definitely quite proud of my Tomboy when I made it, however, and even more proud when I tasted it! 

I am thrilled that I'm in such fine company and among such wonderful bakers for this first month's challenge - thank you so much for participating! Readers and visitors, before you read on, please go visit their posts and prepare to swoon over their stunning recreations. Below are links to their posts, as well as a preview of what you'll find there.

Athena Plichta of Athena Plichta Photography 

Chelsea Yelland of Cook Confessions

Deborah Ryan of East of Eden Cooking

Jasmine Bradley of Cook That Book

Kelly Neil of Kelly Neil Photography 

And now it's my turn!

When I first set about to make this cake - which was actually early in January - it was right around the same time that a pastry chef I was working with befriended me. Sue Morrison, of Sue Morrison  Baking Arts (who will have a gorgeous, new website any day now - check back soon!) has been an awesome person to get to know, both as a friend and as a professional. We had thrown around the idea of having baking dates from time to time, because, being equal parts baker and teacher, Sue could help me learn more about certain aspects of pastry, or just baking in general. When I told her I was having the jitters about making my first Miette, she suggested she come over to bake alongside me and teach me a trick or two. That was an offer I simply could not refuse! It's not every day you get pick the brain of a pastry genius in your very own kitchen!

Meet Sue!

Buttercream flavoured and coloured with Pomegranate juice.

Sue showed me how to make roses from modelling chocolate, and aren't they just the loveliest? My first try is below and it was much easier to do than I expected! Check out this About.com article on how to make roses like these. 

Something that happens when Sue and I get together (and should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me) is... we talk! We both get so excited talking about food, that before we know it, several hours have passed. When Sue came over that Friday, it was certainly no exception. As a result, I was left to my own devices for the part I feared most - decorating the cake - by the time Sue had to leave.

Since we only used one, flower-shaped, 9-inch cake pan, we put the leftover batter into a ramekin and made the Tomboy's mini-me, which Sue took home to her family. 


My one, 9" cake sliced in half.

Now, let me tell you something about this cake: it is phenomenal. Luscious chocolate cake (the richest, moistest, most decadent you'll ever taste) with beautiful, pink buttercream to contrast (in both colour and flavour), this cake was one of the tastiest things ever to come out of our kitchen.

The recipe seemed over-complicated at times, as you'll see some of the other bloggers note, but many of the extra efforts were worth it once you found your own path through the recipe.  I was only brave enough to cut my cake into two pieces. As a novice cake-baker, I'll probably never use those flower-shaped pans again! The cake was challenging enough, never mind trying to decorate it with all those curves. It wound up looking pretty uneven on the outside, but absolutely gorgeous on the inside.

But isn't it the inside that counts? After all?

Want to bake along with us? April's challenge is: TARTS. Rather than choosing one specific recipe for next month, how about you choose which of the 7 Miette tarts you'd like to make? It adds an element of surprise! The Tarts section runs from pages 104 to 121 in the book.

Here are the rules for the next round of Monthly Miettes:

1) Buy Miette. It will be the prettiest, daintiest addition to your kitchen/bookshelf.
2) Bake the challenge of the month and post about it on your blog/website by the 25th. Our challenge for April is TARTS - you choose which one - due April 25th, 2012.
3) Eat a slice of your tart for breakfast (as often or as seldom as you wish, but at least once!), photograph it, and enjoy this little morning ritual to the fullest. 
4) Link back to the original post please and thanks! (And if you're tweeting about it, use #monthlymiettes.)

Leave me a comment below if you would like to participate and/or if your post is up! 

Happy baking!


  1. All the cakes look so lovely and delish! Sorry I missed this one but I am all over those tarts for April.

    1. Love it, woman! Can't wait to see which one you choose!

  2. Gorgeous, Aimee! I think you did a great job. Decorating the cake was my biggest fear, too... I need a lot of practice with leveling and piping! Your time with Sue sounds like it was a lot of fun... baking with friends is the best. All the entries were fantastic, I enjoyed seeing everyone's interpretation of the Tomboy. Off to look at the tarts section of Miette :)

    1. Aw. Thanks, Athena! By the looks of your cake, you don't need any practice at all - it looks so perfect! But glad to know I wasn't alone in my fear :) Can't wait to see your tart in April!

  3. Found you on Helene's blog and am your newest follower!

  4. Tart for breakfast is perfect :) I'm so doing it!

    1. Hooray! I thought of you when I made this theme, because I saw that you had made lemon tarts already, but still had some of the others to mark off your list :) So glad you're joining us!

    2. Hey Aimee, actually, I've already made all of the tarts before(tart is my favourite!) but I had so much fun recreating the banana cream tart for this challenge so thank you for creating Monthly Miettes!

      Here's my post - http://me-ette.tumblr.com/post/20355818635/monthly-miettes-tarts

  5. Aimee thanks so much for Monthly Miettes! I learned so much with the Tomboy, can't wait to start the tarts!

    1. Oh, most welcome! Thank *you* for joining me, Deb! :)

  6. Hey Aimee, I was sure I posted a comment here to say I was in but mmm, can't find it, where did I post it?! Anyway, my Miette book arrived this morning, courtesy of Amazon, am looking forward to this month's challenge (how did I miss the tomboy?!). Easter weekend will be the perfect time, I think! Thanks for the opportunity! Will have to do the tomboy at some point if it's as good as you say it is - we LOVE chocolate cakes! xx

    1. Hi lovely Lin - you most certainly did - but you left the comment on the original Miette post :) Can't wait to have you posting along with us! xo

  7. Wowsa lady! Look at your fabulous cake ;) Love the roses...so pretty. Such a great challenge - I'm glad you thought to start it up! Can't wait for next month :)

  8. Hiya Aimee, got my post up for April's Monthly Miettes!


    I was pretty pleased with the results and would make the fruit tarts again. So glad the challenge got me into the kitchen baking again :)

  9. Checking in with luscious Lemon Tarts for April Monthly Miettes.
    Great recipe, so glad I participated. Looking forward to this months round-up.

  10. Reporting for duty! Lime Meringue Tarts. My adventure was epic but the results were fantastic :) http://www.cookthatbook.com/2012/04/25/monthly-miettes-lime-meringue-tart/