Monday, March 10, 2014

Toffee Magic

While Pink Champagne is perhaps the most well known of the Madonna Inn cakes, locals and family agree that Toffee Crunch is, hands down, our most delicious and unique cake. Combining delicate white cake with fluffy, real whipped cream and caramelized, crunchy toffee, this cake is simple yet decadently out-of-this-world! 

The secret to this sweet masterpiece is the fresh, handmade toffee bits. The toffee starts out with a bit of oil, a splash of coffee, lots of sugar and some corn syrup. If even a little bit of sugar starts to burn on the bottom of the pan, the whole batch will taste burnt - so it is very important to keep stirring throughout the process. When the mixture is hot enough, baking soda is added: turning the toffee from a dark caramel brown to a fluffy golden yellow. (If you're around the bakery during this stage of the process, you will hear Kyle yell out "hot sugar" as he carries the pot of toffee from the burner to the wooden counter!) From here, the boiling hot toffee is quickly poured onto sheet pans where it cools before being shattered into little golden nuggets. 

Click the link below to watch the toffee process in action!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gold to Green

In San Luis Obispo, the "changing of the colors" is not an autumnal phenomena but a vernal one. Rather than the traditional turning of the leaves from green to gold, our Spring transformation turns the dry, golden hills to a lush, vibrant green. Rain is often scarce in California, but the past few years have been especially dry - meaning every drop we get is not just welcomed, but celebrated. Although we can't be sure this year will present us another "Miracle March," which would bring our rainfall totals up to the normal average, this past storm has given the Central Coast hope that it could indeed happen. Combined rainfall amounts from this recent downpour and an earlier storm this season have totaled over four MUCH-needed inches. And while this is still far from our annual average, I and many other San Luis residents have our fingers crossed that the remainder of this month will be full of "miracles." Today, the clouds have given way to blue skies, the sun is shining bright, and as my Grandpa George used to say, "You can almost hear the grass growing."