We’re Back!

Aug 5th, 2015 by GemmaAdd Comment

Did you miss us?

We’re very happy to say that this weekend (August 8th and 9th) we will be starting back at both of our regular markets. That’s the SFC Downtown Market on 4th and Guadalupe from 9am til 1pm on Saturday and HOPE Farmers Market at Plaza Saltillo on Sunday from 11am til 3pm.

We will be starting off with a reduced menu as I figure out how to balance baking and caring for Alice, but we’ll be slowly building it back up to full strength. In the meantime we look forward to seeing you at the weekend!

Share

Hurricane Alice

Jul 9th, 2015 by Gemma

IMG_20150708_164006

 

Most of you are probably aware that we’ve been baking up a new addition to the Curious family.

Well, time passes (as it is wont to do) and Hurricane Alice has blown in and changed our lives forever.

We are going to be taking a short time away from the business entirely as we adjust to the newest addition to our household. We hope to return to the markets as soon as possible, so keep an eye out on any or all of our social media pages for news of our return. I will also direct you to the newsletter sign-up on the top right hand side of this page – that’ll be a wonderful way to keep on top of our news.

We will not be taking any special orders during this time period, I’d hate to not give your cake the time and attention it deserves. We hope to be back at full capacity by the Autumn so if you’re planning an event for then please do contact us!

Thank you for your patience as we take this big new step in life, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Share

A Short Hiatus

Jun 15th, 2015 by Gemma

Back when we announced that we were expecting I had every intention of baking and being at the markets right up until the very end. While I’ve been slowing things down a little as we get close to my due date this weekend showed me that I need to practice some more self-care than I have been.
As such I’m putting Curious on a temporary hiatus and starting my maternity leave now.
I’m sorry for the abruptness, I would have loved to continue for a couple weeks longer, or at least given you a bit more notice. We do however intend to be back up and at the markets sometime in August. It will most probably be with a drastically reduced menu as we get to grips with parenthood, but we can’t leave you without your sweet treats for too long!
Thank you for your understanding during this time, we look forward to introducing you to our newest family member.

Share

Alice In Wonderland Baby Shower

May 25th, 2015 by Gemma

There’s nothing more fun than being our own clients! We usually use it as an excuse to test out new recipes and go a little overboard. Our baby shower cake was no exception. We had an Alice in Wonderland theme so finally decided on the Caterpillar atop his mushroom asking “whooo are youuu?” as the design.

The cake itself is alternate layers of strawberry and blueberry cake. Based off of our standard butter cake recipe we were trying out with using freeze dried fruit for both the flavour and the colour. The strawberry definitely won in the flavour stakes, but the blueberry kept it’s colour the best. They were layered with vanilla buttercream and covered in fondant to make the toadstool.

The caterpillar was made from modelling chocolate. We’ve covered a few cakes in this but it was the first time using it to sculpt anything and it definitely takes the sculpting well. His hookah was also modelling chocolate but we did use wire to act as the hose, the only non-edible part of the decoration.

The base was first covered in green fondant, then had royal icing piped in as the grass. We kept the writing as negative space in the grass so it was a little more subtle.

We look forward to welcoming our new arrival and spoiling her with extravagant birthday cakes as she grows!

Share

King Cakes 2015

Jan 23rd, 2015 by Gemma

King Cake

It’s crazy how time flies, we’re already almost 3 weeks into the King Cakes season for this year and it’s a tiny season, we only have just over 3 weeks left!

This will mark our fourth season providing them to Austin aficionados (to natives, NOLA ex-pats, heck… to anyone who knows and cares about yummy King Cake), and we’re looking forward to another fantastic year!

Fat Tuesday is February 17th  and we’ll be taking orders for fulfillment all through the season, but if you want yours for Mardi Gras day, you’ll need to get your order in by Saturday February 14th to receive it in time.

We offer two sizes of New Orleans-style King Cake: a small that will give 8-12 portions (depending on how polite you are), and large that serves 16-20. We have several flavors/fillings to offer as well:

Traditional (cinnamon sugar) – Small: $10, Large: $20
Cream Cheese – Small: $12, Large: $24
Lemon Curd – Small: $12, Large: $24
Apple – Small: $12, Large: $24
Pecan Praline – Small: $12, Large: $24
Chocolate Hazelnut – Small: $12, Large: $24
Voodoo King Cake – Small: $14, Large: $28
Voodoo Queen Cake – Small: $14, Large: $28

Additionally we offer King “Cup” Cakes with the traditional filling only. These are generously portioned individual mini-King Cakes that come baked as a large muffin — the same great cake in a smaller size! They are 6 for $18. We will also have these available every Saturday at the SFC Market Downtown at Republic Square Park and Sunday at our stall at HOPE Farmer’s Market, but don’t wait too late to stop by and get yours as we’ll only have a limited supply on hand every week — when they’re gone, they’re gone!

All King Cakes are made-to-order to ensure that they are fresh and tasty for you, so as a result we require that you please order at least 2-3 days in advance of need. Pickup or delivery by arrangement, or you may pick up your cake from our stall at either market.

Call 512-465-2879 or email info(at)curiousconfections.com to place an order for your King Cake.

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Share

Blues Clues

Oct 20th, 2014 by Gemma

We’re always thrilled when people return to us for more cake. That means we made them happy, and that makes up very happy indeed. That’s what we’re here for after all. This cake was a 9″ bottom tier and a 6″ top tier. The Blue on the top is modeled from rice crispy treats so he’s completely edible too, if you can bring yourself to eat him!

Share

Pickled Beets

May 21st, 2014 by Michael

 

Pickled beets are delicious!

Hey, don’t give me that look… I’m not talking about the canned variety that live out their lives in grocery store purgatory, red and flat flavored, tasting as much of the can as the beets. I’m talking about homemade pickled beets here, jarred alongside red onion and rosemary in tasty tarragon wine vinegar. They’re bright flavored, tangy, multi-dimensional, and fairly straightforward to make.

We get a weekly CSA box from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, and beets have been in abundance this year. Being a fan of pickled beets in my youth (yes, the canned ones from the store, as that was all I knew as a kid), I thought it would be nice to take our bounty of beets and convert them into a tasty treat I could enjoy long after they were out of season.

I’m also an unabashed fan of Alton Brown, and many moons ago he had an episode around pickling beets. After a quick review of the episode and hunting down the recipe on the web, I decided to give it a go. I’m including the recipe below, slightly modified to reflect my own experience and notes. I’m also making a much larger volume than the recipe calls for, but it scales well.

The first step is to start with good beets. Get the freshest you can find, preferably with the stalks still intact (it’s difficult to disguise an old beet when the stalk is wilted), and even better you should source them locally… peruse your nearest Farmer’s Market for a really nice selection. They should be relatively smooth and firm and as uniform in size as you can manage for even preparation.

Next, cast an eye toward beet variety. Red beets are fairly common and will give you the sweet earthiness and deep ruby color you would associate with any beet dish. The chioggia with its red and white concentric rings are strikingly beautiful and tasty as well. I used a mix of these two, not the least reason being that they were what was available to me.

Preheat your oven to 400° F.

You’ll need to par cook the beets before pickling, and there are several ways to accomplish that. The most obvious way is to boil them, but you’ll end up leeching flavor and color from the beets unnecessarily. An excellent alternative is to roast them, as the dry method will preserve internal moisture and color, add a level of flavor as the beets cook, and we can infuse some other flavors as well by adding a few items to the roasting pan.

Remove all but an inch of the stalk — which will become a useful handle later for slicing — and cut the root tip from the bottom. Wash and dry the beets then place them in a large bowl. Peel your shallots and place them in the bowl, along with stalks of rosemary. Drizzle olive oil over all and toss to coat… to be honest, just use your hands as they are more efficient at getting the oil over every surface.

Transfer the beets to either a tightly sealed foil pouch, or more practically an appropriately sized oven-safe pot with lid. The pot is a reusable resource, is easier to manage, and can be used as your ‘bowl’ in the step above making for one less item to wash later. Roast for 40 minutes or until the tip of a knife can pierce to the center of the beet with slight resistance. A larger volume of beets will take longer to roast, so adjust your time accordingly.

While the beets roast prepare the rest of what you’ll need. Peel and french-cut the red onion — french-cut will yield uniform slivers of onion that will stack and fit into the jars nicely, as well as portion out well when serving. If you are canning for long term storage, prepare the water bath and boil your jars and lids to sanitize. Combine the tarragon vinegar (apple cider vinegar works well if tarragon is unavailable), salt and sugar — but not the water — in a pan and set aside.

When the beets are done roasting allow them to cool slightly so they can be safely handled. You’ll need to peel the beets. One method is to take a clean dish cloth and rub the beets vigorously to abrade the skin off. When this actually works, it’s like a magic trick, but when it doesn’t it ends up being a frustration (red beets are particularly stubborn). Another method is to use the dull back-edge of a paring knife to scrape the skin off without removing much, if any of the beet itself. A peeler is ineffective once the beets are cooked, and strips too much good beet from them when they’re raw. Cooked beets are generally easier to peel at any rate.

Set the shallots and rosemary aside to add to the jars later (a shame to just throw them away at this point!). Strain out any beet juice remaining in your foil pouch/pot, and use this toward the volume of water you’ll need for the pickling liquid. Top up to the full water volume then add to the pickling liquid and begin bringing it to a slow boil.

Cut the beets into thin, uniform slices. Add the shallots and rosemary to the jars, then add the beets and red onion in alternating layers. Once the pickling liquid comes to a boil, add it to the jars, topping up as necessary to within .5″ from the top.

If you are canning, add the lids and rings to the jars and return them to the water bath then bring to a boil for 35 minutes. Remove the jars from the water bath and allow to cool, checking to ensure the lids have sealed properly once cooled, then store appropriately. If you aren’t canning, lid tightly and allow to cool, then store in the refrigerator.

Allow 3 to 7 days for the flavor and color to develop. Serve chilled as a side dish or accompaniment to any entree, or add to a salad to punch up the flavor and color — the pickling liquid is all the ‘dressing’ you’ll need.

These beets and red onion are packed with great flavor and add bulk, taste and texture to a dish for relatively few calories (~ 50 calories per 4 OZ portion). They’re also a good source of folate, manganese, and betaines.

Well… for all that, they just taste good. Give ’em a try!

 

Alton Brown’s Pickled Beets
6 medium beets (cleaned with 1-inch stem remaining)
2 large shallots (whole, peeled)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 TSP olive oil

1 large red onion (frenched)
12 OZ tarragon wine vinegar
2.25 TSP Kosher salt
.75 C sugar
12 OZ cup water

2 1-QT mason jars with new lids and rings

Temperature: 400° F

In a large bowl toss the beets, shallots and rosemary with the oil to coat well. Place into a foil pouch or lidded oven-safe pot of sufficient size and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a knife tip can pierce the beets with slight resistance.

If canning, boil jars and lids to sterilize.

Remove the skin from the Roasted Beets and slice thinly. Arrange in 1-QT jars, alternating layers with the onion… don’t forget to add the shallots from the roasting pan as well. In a small pot boil the rest of the ingredients and pour over the beets. If canning, lid the jars and return to the canning pot and boil for 35 minutes to seal. Allow to cool and store appropriately. If not canning tightly lid the jars and place in the refrigerator.

Allow 3 to 7 days for flavor to develop before serving.

Yields 2 QT.

Share

Mardi Gras 2014 Comes To A Close

Mar 4th, 2014 by Michael

Thank you all for a stellar King Cake season… it was better than last year, and here’s hoping next year is better still! We sincerely appreciate being allowed to be a part of your celebration.

Happy Mardi Gras, be wonderful to each other.

Share

Station Identification

Feb 19th, 2014 by Michael

I feel it’s good to post a reminder now and again of who we are, what we do, and where we can be found. So, here we go:

We are Curious Confections LLC, a small Cottage Bakery in Austin, TX. We are built upon the finest traditions of English and European pastry and patisserie, with a dash of Southern Louisiana sensibility, and a hint of Texas charm.

We produce a wide array of baked goods, candies, and confections of all types — while we offer a menu, it is a starting point, not the be-all end-all of our capabilities (just ask if you don’t see what you’re after!). We make everything from the simple and elegant, to the elaborate and spectacular. The majority of what we produce is made-to-order as we do not have a public storefront or maintain prepared stock, but this ensures everything is at the peak of freshness for you.

We do, however, operate a stall at HOPE Farmer’s Market on East 5th every Sunday from 11am til 3pm, where we offer a rotating selection of our wares for immediate purchase. Come by, say hello, and have a fresh baked croissant to start your Sunday off right.

We maintain an internet presence here at our site, as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we post interesting tidbits, things that amuse us, and pictures of what we’re working on. We do the occasional contest or giveaway, announce seasonal specials, and post our weekly Market menu on Saturdays. Please follow us to keep up-to-date on what’s happening at the bakery… be warned, we’re likely to make you hungry quite often.

We also have a Yelp! page, and we encourage anyone who has enjoyed what we have made to please let the world know. Making people happy is our goal, and word of mouth is our best advertising. Go ahead, don’t be shy… make the internet jealous at your good fortune.

We can be reached by phone at 512-465-2879 or email at info(at)curiousconfections.com for information, quotes, or to place an order.

Share