I learn so much watching "Cake Boss" on TLC. Chef Buddy Valastro and his crew can be loud, boisterous, and fun but you can also pick up great ideas and tips about baking and cake/cupcake decorating!
Buddy recently joined me on "Living Today" (and he's been on air before) and shared some great tips into the world of baking. First though, Buddy cleared up something about his hit TV show. Although there are loud voices and stress sometimes he says it all boils down to a lot of love in the bakery. Pleasing the customer is at the top of their list. Here are some cupcakes from his family run bakery, Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, NJ.
He advised we put away the spatula and pick up the pastry bag. Using the pastry tip of our choice, The Cake Boss suggests that we decorate the cake not by icing it but by applying a series of dots all over cake with icing squeezed from the bag. He says this is neater and looks absolutely beautiful.
The Cake Boss also tells us that baking is a science and that we need to follow instructions/recipes to the letter. Buddy even took me to task somewhat for baking bread with regular, all-purpose flour instead of the recommended bread flour which is apparently specially formulated to allow the yeast to work better.
Thanks to Buddy Valastro, the Cake Boss who posed with me in the studios. He also provided a tasty recipe for Ricotta Pie, provided below, for us to enjoy at home!)
The Cake Boss' Ricotta Pie
Makes 2 pies
3 pounds ricotta cheese
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
4 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Beat the 12 eggs, 2 cups sugar and vanilla or lemon extract together. Stir in the ricotta cheese and the chocolate chips. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two deep dish pie plates.
3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and 1 cup of the sugar together. Cut in the shortening and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in 4 of the eggs and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Divide dough into 4 balls and chill (if needed).
4. Roll out 2 of the balls to fit into the pie pans. Do not make the crust too thick as it will expand during cooking and get too thick. Do not flute the edges of the dough. Roll out the other 2 balls of dough and cut each into 8 narrow strips for the top of the crust. Alternately you can use cookie cutters and place the cutouts on the top of the pies.
5.Pour the filling evenly into the pie crusts. Top each pie with 8 narrow strips of dough or cookie cut-outs. Brush top of pie with milk for shine. Place foil on the edge of crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes then remove foil.
6. Continue to bake for another 25 or 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.