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Sugarland Alcoholic Gelato

One of my favorite things about Sugarland is our gelato.  Everyday, I walk in and see that beautiful case filled with colorful peaks of fresh, hand-spun deliciosity.  I don’t know about you, but when they add alcohol and make one of those frozen martinis, I pretty much never want to leave.  That being said, we have been hard at work coming up with new gelato flavors that actually have alcohol frozen right into them!
Sugarland Alcoholic Gelato
Last week, our kitchen was the site of a serious brainstorming session where our gelato maestros (masterminds?) perfected the new recipes.  We spent all morning making gelato and taste-testing (You know…to make sure it’s safe.)  It was a really interesting experience for me.  I got to learn about some of what goes into the frosty treat and actually see the whole process!

For anyone not familiar with what exactly gelato is, check this out.  Gelato is, simply put, the more fun Italian cousin of American ice cream.  It’s made fresh everyday here at Sugarland. But today, we’re on a whole new gelato journey ~ gelato made entirely out of your favorite libations!

First, a little brainstorming to finesse the recipe.
Making Sugarland Gelato
Then we do some Sugarland magic (measure, mix and wait…) and Voila!

Sugarland Alcoholic GelatoWe made three new flavors and they all came out fan-freaking-tastic!  We have a strawberries and champagne, an Irish cream, and one that tastes like a glass of Blue Moon with a squeeze of orange.  Did you ever think you’d have to show your ID to buy dessert?  I’m thinking that this is fairly close to the coolest thing ever.

Edible and Delicious are NOT the Same Thing.

Well, it’s been quite a while since we’ve updated the blog.  We’ve been so busy with the new store and everything that it’s been crazy trying to find the time!  But as the summer wanes and the new school year begins, we’re renewing our efforts!

We’re getting into the part of the year when we have a lot of design meetings with brides.  One thing we come across often is the issue of things that can but should not be done with cake.  Many a bride has been frustrated because we have told her that we will not do a design that another baker told her was no problem.  The problem is this: Edible is not the same thing as delicious.

Our kitchens are full of highly qualified people, so there is very little if anything that we cannot do with cake.  There are however, things we won’t do.

dyed mouths
Remember when you were six and your tongue changed colors when you ate a blue popsicle or purple sucker?  Wasn’t it just so funny and cute?  Now imagine your whole mouth turning colors on your wedding day.  The one day that you will probably have more pictures taken of you than at any other time in your life.  Brightly colored  buttercream does just that. It will dye your lips, tongue, and even your teeth.  How cute!  Not to mention, we use natural food dyes here, so say you wanted bright red buttercream on your cake.  Our red food color is made from lycopene (tomatoes) and beets, so your beautiful bright red buttercream will have a vaguely V8-y flavor.  Yumm!
buttercream color bleed
We don’t pipe designs in dark buttercream either since our buttercream is made with real butter and cream.  This makes the moisture content of our delicious fluffy spread higher than other buttercreams so the colors will bleed into the rest of the cake.  Not cute.



Speaking of our buttercream compared to other varieties!  Did you know that many bakers use a buttercream that has neither butter nor cream in it?  This is called “crusting buttercream.” (Doesn’t that sound delicious?  Just kidding.  The only thing I like crust on is my bread!)  Crusting buttercream is made from mostly shortening, powdered sugar, and some milk.  Some people add vanilla, butter flavor, or even a little real butter.  What makes this “buttercream” crust is the massive amounts of powdered sugar.  Part of what keeps powdered sugar powdery is the corn starch in it.  This cornstarch draws out the moisture in crusting buttercream and allows it to set up hard (and super sweet- seriously, most recipes have a 1:8 fat to sugar ratio!).

When you use crusting buttercream, cakes and cupcakes can sit out longer because there is no real butter.  Our buttercream, which chocked full of real butter, would melt if left outside just like regular butter would.  This difference is also why our cupcakes in the store have to stay refrigerated.  In North Carolina, you can’t leave real dairy products out without being refrigerated.

But I digress.  This crusting buttercream can be smoothed with a paper towel after it has set up so it looks and behaves more like fondant than our buttercream.  This means that a baker can then press an impression mat into the cake like this.  We only do that kind of design with fondant (ours is actually quite good!) because our buttercream is more like whipped cream, which you can imagine does not like to be pushed around.

And here we come back to edible vs. delicious.  If our buttercream were made with shortening and roughly 88% powdered sugar by volume, it would be edible and an excellent artistic medium, but not delicious.  As it is, our delightfully fluffy buttercream simply doesn’t harden (and we aren’t sad about that, are we?).  The make up of this heavenly concoction means that we choose to use fondant for most detail work for the sake of your mouth.  It isn’t that we don’t want you to be happy.  We want you to have the cake of your dreams!  We just also want it to taste wonderful.