how to make, a baked alaska

baked alaska via milissweets.comHere’s a recipe re-post from exactly two years ago. Mom always knows best, so this is yet another reason why, I always listen to her!

It’s time to take cake and ice cream to another level, and make my favorite dessert using left overs. I’m going to tell you about one of the easiest and most beautifully-awesome ways to put it together: Baked Alaska. My mom kept telling me to make Baked Alaska. I had never had it before or made it before . . . She explained that you bake ice cream on top of cake with meringue on top. I thought, ‘How could ice cream be baked onto a cake, without it melting or becoming a hot-mess?’ I’m glad I always do what my mom tells me to do. Even when I’m in-doubt, she will always be right. xox I did some research and found that there are many different takes on making this dessert. I came up with my own simplified version. This was a test and the first time I would ever make it. It’s so fun and easy, that it will not be the last!baked alaska via milissweets.comIt’s actually pretty cool. It tastes amazing, cuts as perfectly as an ice cream cake and pleases the crowd just as well. Here’s how you put it together. Give it a try and let me how it goes!  Mili’s Sweets Baked Alaska Here’s what you’ll need: Cake – You can use any cake at all. In fact, you can use different cakes. I used the extra cupcakes and slices saved from when I made Peach Cobbler. (If you’d like to make this and have some extras, please link to my recipe.) Ice Cream – I bought an organic, nut-free vanilla bean ice cream. Meringue – Please find this recipe below. If it sounds familiar, you might have seen it when I posted my Lemon Meringue Pie recipe. Tools – An oven safe edged plate or pan that holds the amount of cake you have reserved, offset spatula spoon, standing mixer, piping bag and tip, oven.baked alaska via milissweets.comHere’s what you’ll do: In an oven safe dish or pan, place your extra cake slices or cupcakes. Smash them a bit to set them down and together. Next, scoop ice cream on top. Use an offset spatula to fill it in and smooth it out. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3 hours. When you are ready to serve your dessert, it’s time to make the meringue. (It might be a day after or two weeks after you put it in the freezer.) First thing is first, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Mili’s Sweets Vanilla Meringue Recipe Here’s what you’ll need: 3 egg whites 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/4 cup granulated sugarhow to make fluffy vanilla meringue - baked alaska - via milissweets.comHere’s what you’ll do: In the bowl of your standing mixer, place three egg whites, pure vanilla extract and cream of tartar. Use your whisk attachment and gradually increase the speed to 10, or the highest speed on your mixer. After about 30 seconds, gradually add the sugar, while your whisk is spinning. Be careful. You can do it this way, or add in the sugar before you start mixing. The results are similar and up to what you prefer. When the kids make meringue, I have them place the sugar in before the machine starts. When the mixture peaks and your whisk comes up, holding the meringue, it is done. It will take about two minutes.baked alaska via milissweets.comOnce the meringue is made and the oven is at 500 degrees, you can finish putting the dessert together. Pipe the meringue onto the top of the prepared, frozen cake and ice cream. You might want to double the meringue recipe (above) so that you have plenty. Traditional Baked Alaska is topped with a large amount of dome-shaped meringue. However, with my square plate, and desire for easy serving, I went with piping one, nice and even layer, using a star tip. It’s probably an unnecessary step, but after it was piped, I placed the plate onto a baking sheet. Since I had never made this before, I wasn’t sure if ice cream or condensation was going to drip in the oven and I didn’t want to risk it. It baked clean, but I’m a nerd and will probably do it the same way next time. Bake for 3 minutes. That’s it! The meringue is perfectly golden and the ice cream is still melted.baked alaska via milissweets.comThe chef that invented this was so smart!  For a little history lesson, the name “Baked Alaska” was coined at Delmonico’s Restaurant by their chef-de-cuisine Charles Ranhofer in 1876 to honor the recently acquired American territory. Thanks Chef Ranhofer!baked alaska via milissweets.comThere are so many “best parts” of this dessert! I love that it’s super easy to cut and serve. I love that it’s absolutely beautiful and takes barely any effort or time. I love that it my left overs that would have been thrown away or given away can be used for another day, when I feel like serving something special. I especially love how much how cool my kids think it is, and therefore how cool I am for making it for them. xoxbaked alaska via milissweets.combaked alaska via milissweets.com

[…] long list of treats I’ve been making with peaches as the star ingredients, (peach cobbler, peach baked alaska, peach-brulee french toast, peach reduction/syrup, canning cooked peaches, etc.) I’d thought […]

easy breezy meringue » Mili's Sweets - May 26, 2015 - 8:25 pm

[…] Baked Alaska […]

succulents and cupcakes

succulents and cupcakes

I had the pleasure of catering, setting and styling a special baby shower dessert table, in a gorgeous home, tucked away inside the beautiful hills of Escondido.

The mother-to-be chose four different flavors of cupcakes, including Very Strawberry, Lemonade, Brownie Bliss and Churro. I created labeling to match the baby shower invitation.

We went with a clean and lovely look and feel with blue accents on the table, in the form of hand painted, tiffany-blue mason jars, filled with succulents. (These jars and arrangements were hand-finished by WKND PRJCT.)

succulents and cupcakes

I placed a set of three at each end of the dessert table.

succulents and cupcakes

At the center of the table, I placed a larger, box succulent arrangement with two smaller boxes to even out and fill the table with beautiful, living plants, also provided by WKND PRJCT.

succulents and cupcakes

I used simple, clean and modern-looking white pedestals and plating to set the cupcakes. The plates were filled with 80 all-together, on a nine foot long, dining room table.

I love that she wanted an abundance for her guests, so that they could enjoy more than one flavor at the party if they wished, or they could take cupcakes to-go, if they wished. (It’s always best to have too many than to have too few.)

succulents and cupcakes

I was fortunate to be able to set and cater and to stay as a guest with my daughter. It was such a lovely afternoon! The best part was seeing all of the reactions to the table and how much the ladies loved the way the cupcakes looked and tasted.succulents and cupcakes

succulents and cupcakes

No one can deny that one of the best parts of any baby shower, is looking forward to enjoying dessert! (I love my job.)

xox, Mili

celebrating my milestone

For months now, I’ve been preparing myself and my business to transition into a new chapter, and today it happened. I’m so happy! It feels amazing to have reached this small goal. I feel like I’ve come so far and still have a long way to go. This business and I have done a lot of growing-up over these last six years as Mili’s Sweets.

The cool thing about “growing up” is that every day, I’m still becoming who I’m suppose to be. Everything put in front of me, is an opportunity to keep going, to not compromise on myself – to enjoy being myself. And I honestly don’t want to stop growing and learning until the day I’m done living.

Part of the awesomeness of being myself is focusing on what is important to me. Focusing on my priorities and doing whatever it takes to be sure I get done, what I said I would for my family, for my faith, for myself, and even to fulfill the promises I make through my business and to my customers, all rule my daily schedule.  I care a lot about these things. They are all incredibly personal because they involve my time, love and life.

I am who I am, because I am part of my family. Here I was behind the scenes with my mom in the kitchen last weekend and today, at my free sampling event, with my daughter. There’s a lot of hard work, dedication and love going on when we are together. We laugh and talk a lot and we take little breaks for a hug and kiss. This is precious to me. I am blessed to have these wonderful people by my side and as long as they are proud of me, I’m good.

celebrating my milestone

Many of you have been friends with me and have followed me on this Mili’s Sweets journey since day one, so some of this is new and some of this is old news for what I’ve done to switch things up.

So, last night, my husband and I took down my custom bakery case from the dessert shop counter, bringing my daily-retail to an end and bringing my updated pre-order /catering/custom dessert business back to the center of what I do. It was liberating and yet another note-worthy moment for my business.

It was January 2015, when I first dove into selling exclusively at retail with my friends at MiaBella Yogurt & Desserts. It was fun, exciting and crazy-challenging. I never had employees before. I have never been so busy, trying to fulfill all of those things on my priority list and taking care of the extras that always come along (this past year has been wonderful, but has come with life-challenges, especially being by my side with my dad during treatments for his cancer).

I’m thankful for my current employees – Maria and Esperanza. They are a blessing too. I care a lot about them and consider them a very important asset to what we do each day. And of course, I can’t stop constantly thanking my dear friends, Marty and Amy Clow, for letting me into their kitchen and giving me this amazing opportunity in the first place. They are incredible on so many levels. Their MiaBella employees behind the counter and behind the scenes are great too. This is an awesome and truly loving, family-run/local business.

Today I celebrated my updated business model, by offering free samples to anyone who came into either MiaBella shop. It was so great! Here was the sampling table in Vista. I made hundreds of mini cupcakes and lots of cookies for the Vista and Escondido MiaBella shops. I had classic, vegan and gluten free options, like I always do. It was fun and I loved stopping to speak with everyone who came by.

celebrating my milestone

So now that I’ve taken the step, here is the deal for how my updated business-model will work going forward:

5 ways to enjoy Mili

Since the day I started the exclusive partnership with MiaBella, I always wanted most of my business to be pre-order since my core strength is making desserts for my customers, exactly how they like them and according to their dietary preferences, so that no one misses out on dessert. It has always been my mission since I decided to make peanut and tree-nut free desserts because of my son’s severe allergies. However, at the end of the day, I was missing the personal interaction I had with friends and customers when a majority of my time had to be focused on daily retail sales. I couldn’t give that personalized and custom aspect of my business the time that I wanted to, as there was simply not enough time in the day. I had to take the leap and work it out, so that I could do this my way and get back to my core business.

The cool thing is that now that I am all pre-order, customers can get exactly what they want, when they want it. No more disappointment when I sell out of a flavor that a customer came in for and really wants. I’m a small operation on purpose because I really love the quality control of small batches, so I don’t think I could ever do what big bakeries do. Customers can pre-order as few as 4 cupcakes, and I’ll have it waiting for them at either MiaBella counter! If they want more services, I offer delivery and full dessert table setting and styling services too.

Another cool thing is, in a way, I’m still at retail! Most every Friday, I’m offering my catering-extras at MiaBella for only $1-$2 each. It’s a crazy-awesome offer because I don’t want anything to go to waste and I do want to give my wonderful customers who just want to come in, something to look forward to most every Friday. I’m excited about it and most of all because it’s the best of both worlds for me. (To see my calendar of events, availability for catering, set pre-order menu, and when I’m offering my discounted extras, please go to milissweetstogo.com, and visit my calendars.)

Through all of this I can be proud of nothing but progress: I gained the experience of running my business at retail, I gave myself the gift of insight to stop, sit down and analyze my life and goals to do what is best for me, and I gained a lot of new and wonderful customers who have come through the two MiaBella locations over these many months to enjoy my desserts.

My friends and customers have been asking me to come back to catering, setting and styling dessert tables and so I am back to that too. Many of the new customers who have come through the doors of MiaBella for a treat, have no idea about the services I have offered and now offer, so I created a look book to be viewed in the shop and online, via my pre-order website.

Here a link: Mili’s Sweets LOOK BOOK

There you have it! This is how it has all come together. I’m beyond thrilled and now I feel like I can take a deep breath and then the next deep breath. I appreciate you, and my awesome friends and customers for being present,  allowing this dream-opportunity (for me to be able to bake for you and share with you) to be a reality.

If you have questions, comments or notes for me, please feel free to email anytime: sweetsbymili@gmail.com.

Thank you and take care, Mili

Donald Veale - May 2, 2016 - 9:23 pm

Mili, Staying true to your heart is always the best business model. You have been such a blessing to our family that we will continue to support and refer you to all our friends.

God Bless you and your family as you go forward with the vision you have for not only your business, but, for your life.

sweetsbymili@gmail.com - May 24, 2016 - 10:30 pm

Hi Donald! I’m just now seeing this. I appreciate you and your family so much! You are so kind and really get what I do. I can’t thank you enough for your support and encouragement. It really means so much to me! Take care and God bless you. Your words bring me to tears. There are very good people in this world and you are one of them! Hugs to you and your entire family!

cookies-only party

cookies-only party, dessert table via milissweets.com

My catering mission, was to bake 1,000 cookies from scratch in one day. The easy part would be styling and setting the dessert tables. It was the first and only time I have ever catered cookies as the only dessert. It was a hit!

cookies-only party, dessert table via milissweets.com

I was asked by two very generous women to treat the parishioners of St. Thomas More to a cookie-buffet, to be enjoyed after the ground-breaking ceremony of their new church-build.

cookies-only party, dessert table via milissweets.com

On the menu: Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip, Lemon Tea, Chewy Ginger and Snickerdoodle.

It was a very good thing to have my mom by my side for all of this work! I simply could not have done this without her. I was also fortunate to have scheduled the time needed in the commercial kitchen I was renting. My momma and I rolled out more than enough dough and baked 12 or so dozen at a time. It was awesome! We are a good team and made it fun.

cookies-only party, dessert table via milissweets.com

The floral arrangements made the dessert tables so lovely! The small arrangements had orange roses with ivory and green hydrangea. The larger arrangements were beautiful as well, with more greenery and lilies in both yellow star and white cala.

I loved the white plating, placed on brown and wood-toned pedestals. The set-up squeezed in nicely onto three, 6′ tables.

cookies-only party, dessert table via milissweets.com

It didn’t take long at all to plate the cookies, since I was organized and knew exactly how I wanted to lay them out beforehand. The best part was meeting the sweet parishioners and knowing how much the enjoyed the cookies.

xox

 

 

color and cupcakes

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

I have always loved to cater weddings. It’s even more wonderful when the client is a decisive bride who has a really good idea of the look and feel of her reception. I set, styled and catered this dessert table, for a wonderful bride and groom who didn’t want the every-day dessert table, but something colorful and fun surrounding their main color of peach and lots of cupcakes.

(This is a repost of a dessert table that I catered, set and styled years ago. It’s still beautiful and relevant.)

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

She handmade a “love is sweet” sign for the dessert table, with lace and ribbon streamers. She left doilies and small floral arrangements for me to include.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

At the center of the table was the cutting-cake. The bride chose ruffles in a peach-ombre pattern. I made sugar-succulents as decorations.

I rented much of the pedestal plating from a friend who no longer rents her dessert table pieces. She had a lot of beautiful items, with different colors that all worked really nicely together. On the left, I used warm tones of plating of yellows. On the right, there were cool tones of blue. In the center, I used plating in tones of green.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

I made custom labeling to match the look, feel and design of their wedding invitations.

The cupcake menu included Mexican Hot Cocoa, Gluten-Free Coconut Dream, Red Velvet, Lemonade, Vanilla Velvet and Churro.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

The outdoor reception was held at the lovely Keys Creek Lavender Farm, located in Valley Center, California.

It was an incredible event and I felt very honored to have been chosen as a vendor, but there were some challenges. First, it was 115 degrees outside. Then, there was the wedding coordinator. She was extremely rude to me and unorganized. I wasn’t thrilled about the situation, especially considering how hard I had worked before even arriving. I was on-time and confirmed to set the dessert table in a specific window of time.  She told me I had to wait, and that I could not set the table. She didn’t tell me when I could finish the job I was hired to accomplish.

After I unloaded my packed SUV, I tried to find a shady spot. There is no refrigeration or indoor-space on the premises where I was told to step aside. I was nervous for how well the cake and cupcakes would hold up in the heat. After standing and stressing in the background for 40 minutes or so, I was given the go to start setting the table.

It was a bit awkward for me to work, since I had to take all of my bulky bins of desserts and plating onto the reception area where guests had already been invited to celebrate. With all of this plating and 100 cupcakes or so, I needed a little elbow room. I didn’t have much.  With that much pressure and that much heat, I was perspiring with a full-blown audience of guests that watched me work. I worked hard and as quickly as possible.

in color and outdoor wedding dessert table via www.milissweets.com

Fortunately, the table was placed under some trees, that kept the cupcakes and cake shaded.

If it were up to me (and almost every other wedding plan I had catered in the past years) the dessert table would have been set before the guests arrived to the reception.  It’s all right. Sometimes you have to roll with whatever happens (and whomever happens) and it will get done. I was just happy that the bride and groom entered the reception to a completed dessert table, and that they were thrilled.

xox