Get ready for the most magical time of the year. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, cake and cookie shops across America prepare to engage and excite customers with their most creative and innovative products and designs. “Christmas is the time we get to play,” says talented pastry designer Simone Faure, owner of La Patisserie Chouquette in St. Louis.
And playtime has begun. New from Satin Ice, Peppermint Mocha Fondant provides a bright, clean white color and offers limitless creativity. Classic flavors of brisk peppermint and rich chocolate combine to perfectly complement your holiday sweets. This limited-edition fondant gives a nod to traditional holiday flavors, while still maintaining the integrity and Satin Ice quality. Examples of applications include party favors, hostess gifts and cookie swaps.
Chef Rubber offers new fall flavor assortment variety packs in its line of flavoring extracts and oils. There are 37 varieties available, allowing you to whip up many new possibilities.
At Eli’s Cheesecake, the company has transformed Eli’s ever popular Cheesecake Dippers (frozen cheesecake dipped in chocolate, served on a stick) into festive treats, by hand-decorating them with either green-tinted chocolate and white nonpareils mimicking Christmas trees in the snow, or with a blue colored chocolate drizzle and white nonpareils, perfect for Hanukkah.
New mini tart pans and new cake pans are available from New York Cake. The mini tart pans are perfect for creating delicious tarts, quiches and other bite-sized treats.
And don’t forget cupcakes. “Cupcakes are alive and well, and our cupcake sales keep growing,” says Diane West, aka “The Cake Lady,” owner of The Kake Korner in Laurel, Maryland. She makes dozens of cupcake flavors every day, including cookies and cream, carrot or coconut. On Tuesdays, the bakery runs a 50 percent off special, which she promotes on Facebook Live. “We sell $1,000 worth of cupcakes every Tuesday,” she adds.
West loves buttercream-based cake and cupcake designs, using fondant as accents. She is a big fan of Flavor Right, which offers the functional abilities to blend well with color, ingredients and ideas. Flavor Right’s Custom Ice ready-to-whip icing is easier to work with than traditional buttercream and you can expect more consistent results, according to Flavor Right. You’ll save time, especially on clean-up. And you’ll find Custom Ice customizes nicely with flavors, sweeteners and colors.
Gaining popularity for its amazing cakes and sweets In St. Louis, La Patisserie Chouquette is pushing the envelope for design.
“If you look at other cakes for inspiration, subconsciously you may be copying,” says Faure, who is well known for her inventive custom cakes. I find inspiration from textiles, grout, other things around me. I follow spoon makers and steel workers. It’s amazing what they create, and their movements are very similar to cake. I am trying to blend who I am, where I came from, and what I can find whimsy in.”
She devoted the entire month of October to celebrating magic. For December, she is inspired by sugar plum fairies. “We have a Letters to Santa drawing just to see the world through a child’s eye. At the end, we pull out one name and create a cake for the winner of the drawing.”
Faure is also proud of her macarons. Her signature item is what she calls “the chocolate chip cookie of France” in that it’s so ubiquitous abroad. While that hasn’t quite translated to the U.S., pastry chefs like Faure are doing their part to make it more prevalent.
“It’s a labor of love. They’re so temperamental, time-consuming, and expensive to make, which I understand why you can’t find them in a lot of places. But they’re such a blank canvas. There are a million flavor combinations for you to try. There are so many different colors and designs, and really fun things you can do with them. When you get it right, it’s wonderful,” she says.