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Marche Laflamme - Birthday Cake

How to Choose the Perfect Birthday Cake

Whether you are planning a birthday party for your child, partner or best friend, a key element of the celebration is the birthday cake!  The possibilities for birthday cakes are endless, so how do you pick what type of cake to order or make for your loved one?  While it may seem difficult, there are a few considerations that can help you choose the perfect cake. Follow these tips to ensure you give the birthday boy or girl a cake they will love:

Match the Party Theme

If the party has a theme, the birthday cake will dazzle if it fits in with the overall decor.  For your child’s safari-themed party, a cake decorated with lions, elephants and other safari animals is a perfect fit.  On the other hand, a cheese cake or cake shaped and decorated like a wine bottle are great options for your spouse’s wine and cheese birthday party.

Coordinate Colour

Picking the right colours for icing and decorations is essential to having a birthday cake that will please your guest of honour. A simple way to choose icing colours is to match them to your loved one’s favourite colours. Another option is to fit the colours into the party theme.  For example, if you are throwing a party based on your son or daughter’s favourite sports team, the colours on the birthday cake should match the team’s colours.

Consider Interests and Hobbies

A fun way to get your kid excited about their birthday cake is to decorate it with their favourite superhero or cartoon character.  And for adult interests, hobbies lend great inspiration to a birthday cake.  So if you have a husband that spends hours fixing up old cars, why not get him a car-themed cake for his birthday?  Whatever your loved one is into, a cake that incorporates their interests will make their big day even more special.

Select the Flavour

When selecting a flavour for the birthday cake, it’s important to choose one that you know the birthday girl or boy enjoys.  However, if the birthday cake is for a child’s party, make sure to select a flavour such as chocolate or vanilla that you know most kids find appealing. And don’t be afraid to get creative with the flavour and cake style. If the birthday girl loves ice cream, go ahead and buy them an ice cream cake!

So there you have it.  Choosing the perfect birthday cake becomes less difficult once you take the party theme, favourite colours, hobbies, interests and flavour into consideration.  Whether you are making it from scratch, or ordering it from your favourite bakery, follow these tips to ensure your loved one’s birthday cake is one that will thrill them on their big day!

October 16, 2014
Marche Laflamme
grilled-fruit-2

Non-Traditional BBQ Dishes To Try

When you think of BBQ you probably think of burgers, hot dogs, beer, king sized feasts and all the usual fixings. While all the usual suspects are great, if you’re looking to really wow your guests, you’ve got to think outside the burger. Try one of the unusual grilling ideas below and take advantage of the versatile power of your BBQ.

Fruit

Grilling fruit might sound strange, I know; but the truth is many fruits are actually perfect for grilling! Because most fruits are made up of mostly water and sugar the grilling process can actually enhance their flavor. The heat causes the water to reduce and the sugar to caramelize – which concentrates the flavor to create an even more delicious taste!

 Grilling Tips:

  • Fruit doesn’t take long to grill – so don’t keep it on for too long. Be especially watchful when you are using softer fruits such as peaches or plums, as prolonged heat can cause a mushy texture. If you are using a soft fruit, you can also try grilling via indirect heat, such as a grill rack.
  • To enhance the flavor even further try marinating the fruit in juices, alcohol, olive oil, water and/or spices such as sugar, cinnamon or nutmeg before grilling.
  • Grilled fruit is the tip of the BBQ dessert iceberg – cakes, pies, cookies and all your other favourite sweets can be grilled too!

Cheese

Did you know you can actually grill cheese? Now, you may be wondering, but won’t it melt? The good news is there is a selection of cheeses that have a high heat tolerance and can indeed be grilled! One of the most popular grilling cheeses is “halloumi”. Halloumi originated in Cyprus and is typically made from a mixture of cow’s and goat’s milk. Its high melting point is derivative of its creation process – where it’s poached in whey. As a result, heating halloumi creates a chewy and pliable piece, and grilling it on the BBQ makes for distinctive salty taste – similar to mozzarella and equally, if not more, delicious!

Grilling Tip:

  • For a meat free option, alternate veggies and halloumi to make a delicious grilled kabob!

Tofu

When you think of a BBQ you likely don’t think of tofu – but you should! If you’re hosting a large gathering it’s important to have vegetarian options on the menu.

Grilling Tips:

  • Tofu can stick to your BBQ, so make sure to prepare your grill with cooking spray or oil.
  • Try marinating with your favourite sauce and spices for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking to optimize flavour.

Next time you’re hosting a BBQ think outside the burgers, beer, king sized feasts and ordinary desserts; surprise your guests’ taste buds with some of these great grill alternatives!

 

September 26, 2014
Marche Laflamme
Appetizers

Hosting A Party On A Budget: Catering Platters

Parties are fun – there aren’t many people who would turn down attending a gathering with friends and food. However, if you’ve ever hosted a party yourself, you know that pulling everything together can be a hassle.

The good news is you can cut down on not only the amount of stress you, as host, might feel, but also the amount of stress on your wallet, by doing a few simple things.

One of those things is to let someone else take care of the food. You can get delicious ready-made platters from a variety of retailers, especially a Gatineau catering businesses.

If you’re on a budget, relying on a local Gatineau catering business to assemble plates of delicious appetizers and sandwiches for whatever you’re hosting – a baby shower, birthday, retirement party – is a great way to cut down on stress and cost.

Here are a few options that most Gatineau caterers will offer:

Sandwiches. Sandwiches are great party food: they’re easy to carry with one hand and they’re not messy. Plus, who doesn’t love sandwiches? Another benefit of having sandwiches is  you can have a variety of kinds to suit even the pickiest tastes, such as tuna, egg salad, ham, cheese or cold cuts. Most Gatineau caterers will do platters of assorted sandwiches or they can also do platters of a single kind if requested.

Cheese. Cheese is always a popular party food, and with dozens of varieties to choose from, you really can’t go wrong. Some Gatineau caterers will do platters with gourmet cheeses for more upscale parties, and still others will do a meat and cheese combo plate with bread or crackers for the perfect plate of appetizers.

Fruit. For a healthy finger food, a fruit platter is a great option. A mix of in-season fruits like strawberries, mango, pineapple, blueberries, oranges or a dozen other options will be artfully arranged by professional Gatineau caterers to wow your guests. Throw in a chocolate fountain and you’ve got an inexpensive dessert option as well.

Dessert. Home-baking dessert for a crowd can take days, but ordering a dessert platter from a Gatineau caterer will be ready for you to pick up the day of your party with no stress or mess. They can include things like cookies, cheesecake, brownies or chocolate-dipped fruit.

August 29, 2014
Marche Laflamme
cupcakes cake

Ditching Tradition: Having Cupcakes At Your Wedding

Having a tall, white, fondant-covered wedding cake is a long-standing tradition, and so is the cake-cutting ceremony you perform as a newly married couple. However, recently a lot of brides have been breaking tradition and incorporating a little more fun in their wedding dessert of choice: cupcakes.

These days where brides are breaking tradition in just about every way imaginable – wearing coloured dresses, getting married outside instead of in a church and even seeing the groom before the wedding (gasp!) – it makes sense many women are also choosing to go an alternative route for their wedding cake.

If you think about it, cupcakes are a great option to feed a large crowd at weddings. Here are some of the reasons why cupcakes are steadily gaining ground as the popular choice:

Cost. The cost of wedding cakes is cringe-worthy, especially since you’ll only have it for a few hours before it’s devoured. Cupcakes, on the other hand, can be a much more affordable option.

Because it takes much less skill and time to decorate buttercream cupcakes than it does to assemble a four-tier cake covered in fondant and sugar flowers, you save money on labour costs. Also, you can order exactly as many as you need, instead of guessing serving sizes and ordering an extra tier just in case.

Easily feed a crowd. Gone are the days of guests having to wait in line for a slice of cake: with cupcakes, servers can just bring the individual little cakes right to the tables, making dessert much less of a hassle. If you find you really want to keep the cake-cutting tradition, get a tiny cake for you and your groom and cut that before you serve the cupcakes.

Variety. Getting multiple flavours of cake in a traditional cake is possible, but it’ll cost you. Getting multiple flavours with cupcakes, however, is a breeze. Vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, lemon – get as many flavours as you want!

Decorating. Since cupcakes are basically individual canvases for the decorators to work with, you have a lot more leeway with what they look like. You can incorporate your wedding colours – think yellow and blue frosted cupcakes, – your theme or whatever else you’d like without it looking gaudy or over the top. Let’s face it, a four-foot cake with yellow and blue frosting and starfish all over it might be a bit of an eyesore, but with smaller cupcakes, it’ll just look cute.

August 14, 2014
Marche Laflamme
MarcheLaflamme

Become a Cheese Counter Pro

Many people like (or love!) cheese, but it can be hard to navigate your way around the cheese counter, especially if you’re not a Turophile (Cheese Connoisseur).  Many people don’t know how to approach the many choices laid out and are often afraid or unaware of how to find new cheeses they’ll like.  You can broaden your cheese horizons by knowing a few basics so next time you encounter a cheese cart or counter, you can navigate it like a pro.

Country of Origin:  This means where the cheese was first created.  In some cases, the name of the cheese is protected, meaning unless it’s produced with strict methods in a specific region of the world, it cannot bear the name, i.e Roquefort or Manchego.   Other cheeses originate from a certain area, but can be produced anywhere in the world, i.e. Gouda.  Something to remember is a cheese which has a country of origin but can be made anywhere in the world varies in taste and quality.  A cheese which is only made where it originated from will always be consistent.

Type of Milk:  The animal the milk comes from can make huge difference in the flavour.   Cow milk is the mildest.  It’s creamy, sweet taste is very subtle, so cheese made from cow’s milk, needs to be aged and ripened to bring out the flavour.  Sheep’s milk has a mild grassy flavour which becomes tangy as the cheese ages.  Goat’s milk tastes “farmy” so and cheese made from goats milk usually has a big taste.

Aging:  Many cheeses are aged for a period of time in a temperature-controlled environment.  Moisture evaporates leading to a denser paste and the longer the cheese is aged, the more intense the flavor.  Bacteria work inside the cheese which transforms from grainy and crumbly to smooth and creamy. Eventually a cheese can become grainy and crumbly again when enough moisture leaves (i.e. parmesan).  Bacteria on the exterior also enhances the flavour and helps the cheese develop a rind.

There are thousands of cheeses, but with these cheese basics, you will be ready for every cheese counter in the world.

July 21, 2014
Marche Laflamme