Abuela’s Guac By Dancing Chef Alejandra

ALE DANCING CHEF

WELL, HELLO THERE!

I’ve always had a passion for cooking salsas and dancing the salsa. I learned a lot from my family I was so lucky to have. My mother and  my aunts are all singers, our house parties always had mariachi bands or my uncle playing the guitar. Together we loved to sing to the melody of romantic Mexican  music.

Tequila was always in hand, specially  Tres Generaciones, my family’s favorite!  

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And about the dancing, well, no party passed without some dancing as well.

 

My grandmother “Cuqui,” lived until the age of 98 in the beautiful port of Acapulco. Very sadly she just passed away about a year ago,  however her legacy stayed with us.  She was an amazing cook, our favorite meals where the meals she cooked! Oh!, did I mention she had one shot of tequila every day before lunch along with a margarita with lunch? She did not miss a single day, until the day she passed away. Best part is that she looked amazing until her very last day, was it the tequila? Who knows! Ha ha

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I learned many recipes with my grandmother Cuqui. Besides spicy salsas and full on prepared Mexican meals, my favorite recipe is the Guacamole she used to make.

Ready? It is delicious!

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4         Mexican Hass avocados (the regular ones)

4         Raw Tomatillos

1/8    White Onion

1         Coriander bunch (Cilantro)

½      Squeezed Lime

1  tsp  Knorr Suiza

¼ tsp  Black pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in the food processor  (of course you can use a molcajete! But the tomatillo needs to be crushed in the food processor, and if your using it already you might just do everything there  to simplify your washing ☺).  Serve with the avocado pit inside so the Guacamole doesn’t oxidize so fast.  This dish needs to be made and served immediately. Make sure you have tortilla chips(totopos) to serve with the guacamole ☺

 

 

Spring Cleaning, My story By: Dancing Chef Melissa

Spring cleaning is a way of life for me. I get to clear my home and my head. A great time that is scheduled every year to rid of anything unwanted, taking up space or time, manage clutter that you have built up in your physical home and also in our own minds. Spring cleaning is the best time to feel the fresh air all around and happily take in new beginnings.

At times we can feel so comfortable and secure about a path we are taking, yet nonetheless, an opportunity, a change, a misfortune, good luck, whatever it is, comes along and suddenly you are forced to make a decision. The path you once thought was, is not.

For the last 7 consecutive years, I have lived in the gorgeous country of Mexico. Mexico is full of diverse landscape, vibrant culture including style, food, along with modern and traditional lifestyles combined. I never thought I would leave, yet here I am just arriving back to the sunny state of Florida. I am feeling motivated and hyped for what is to come!

It was 2011, I clearly remember walking into my favorite coffee shop and reading the job post on the bulletin board that read, “Enthusiastic, energetic, motivated, English spoken? I need to find out more, sounds perfect for me!” Shortly afterwards I became part of an wonderful team and I had a new job title: Dancing Chef.

I was immediately sent to Salsa and Salsa Los Cabos to be trained by Dancing Chef Stephanie, now a great friend of mine, so that I could learn the show from beginning to end. I was instantly hooked! I was addicted to interacting with the guests, creating beautiful memories for couples, singles, families, children, grandparents, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, everyone and anyone. It didn’t matter who they were or where they were from, my goal each show was to make sure they left smiling! Who wouldn’t enjoy a job like this?

Having the opportunity to work in all three ports: Mazatlan, Los Cabos and Cozumel, as well as coordinating with our amazing team, I have gained a lot of knowledge, experience and the best part, friendships! I believe these are the factors in why I have learned to adapt quickly and see through the unpleasant or difficult times and remember to always move forward. As I do each annually, each beautiful Spring!

The most exciting chapter in my personal experience with Salsa and Salsa is happening now! I won’t give out too many details since I don’t enjoy spoiling surprises, all I can share with you, is that new adventures are to come for Salsa and Salsa by land as well as by sea!

Look out for the Dancing Chefs! Ole’!

Valentine’s Day is here! With Love, Dancing Chef Stephanie

Valentine’s day is a very special day for most of us, it is the perfect excuse to show our feelings to our loved one. Very little of us know the origin of Valentine’s day though. It’s origin is actually a religious celebration, the Roman Catholic church designated February 14th as the day of Saint Valentine which is the protector of lovers. This is how February 14th turned into the greatest day to celebrate love.

In Mexico this day is known as “El Dia del Amor y la Amistad,” translated to: “Love and Friendship Day!” This gives us the perfect excuse to not only spend the day showing our partner our love, but also gives us the opportunity to show our friends how appreciated they are. When kids are in school they are often sent with a big bag of heart shaped lollypops or chocolates to give to hand out to their friends and teachers as a sign of appreciation.

I personally like to make treats myself for my friends and family!

If you are thinking to have a get together with your friends, I have something you may impress them with!

Strawberries and Champagne Margaritas!

strawberry-champange-margarita

Instructions:

Ingredients

1 cup Strawberries, hulled

3/4 cup Champagne

3/4 cup Tequila

1/4 cup Fresh lime juice

1/4 cup Cointreau (orange liqueur)

Pink crystallized sugar

Ice

Instructions

Blend strawberries until smooth.

Combine strawberries, champagne, tequila, lime juice, and Cointreau (orange liqueur) and stir or shake until well combined.

Rim edges of your margarita glasses with pink crystallized sugar.

Pour margaritas over glasses full of ice.

This recipe makes up to 4 margaritas so keep the bottles close so you can keep making them!

*If you want to make frozen margaritas make sure your strawberries are frozen and blend everything together including 1 ½ cups of ice.

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget” –Unknown

Embrace your life and the season with your friends and family!

Ole’! Dancing Chef Stephanie

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Meet Dancing Chef Chris “Follow your dreams and make them a reality”-Chris’s favorite Mantra

Dancing Chef Chris is a Canadian who spent over 30 years in the retail business. Three years ago she decided to move to Mazatlán, sight unseen. She brought with her 4 suitcases, her golf clubs and her dog Cooter….all the important things in life!

Three years ago when my job in the Middle East abruptly ended, I decided to follow my dream and move to Mexico. Over the past 20 years, I had travelled extensively throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America and always said I wanted to retire in Mexico.

When I returned to Canada and announced to my family that I was just passing through on my way to Mexico to live they were aghast. Everyone asked “Why Mexico?” My initial motivation for moving was the weather. I was simply tired of cold Canadian winters. Years of skiing had left my knees in bad shape and I could no longer enjoy a day on the slopes. The lure of sunny days, a warm ocean and cold “cervesas” was too much to pass up!

Another thing that was enticing was the cost of living. The Canadian dollar has remained strong against the peso and the American dollar even more so. I  live quite comfortably on about 1/3 of what I would need to live in Canada. This includes rent, utilities, groceries, miscellaneous expenses and dining out a couple of days a week. I choose not to have a car but get around on my bike or on public transit. I live in a predominantly Mexican neighborhood in Centro Historico, the old historic area of Mazatlán. My neighbors have been warm and welcoming and are tolerant of my ‘baby Spanish’. Mazatlán is the only colonial city on the water in Mexico and the architecture reminds me of some old European cities. We are fortunate to have a beautifully restored theatre and get world class entertainment for a fraction of what tickets would cost in Canada or the US.

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I have developed a great respect for the Mexicans and their family values. It’s not unusual for 3 or 4 generations of a family to be living under one roof and old people are revered. Sunday is family day and you see large family outings at the beach, in the park or at  a restaurant.

In the three years I have been here I have begun to explore the rich culture and history of Mexico. There is so much  more to Mexico than beaches. Mayan civilization dates back to 11,000BC. Mexico City is fascinating, the ruins at Chichin Itza, truly magical. I have travelled inland and visited the colonial cities of San Miguel de Allende, Dolores Hidalgo  and Guadalajara. There are so many more places I want to see!

I have found myself slowing down and adapting to the Mexican way of doing things. It is not unusual for people to be late for an appointment or dinner engagement. Manana doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow, it just means not today!

Too many people come to Mexico, expect it to be just like home and are disappointed when it’s not. I say come and visit, be open to the differences and embrace the way of life.

Time to close, the dog needs a walk and I think I’ll stop for a cold Pacifico and watch the sunset…….

My journey from cold Minnesota to the island life of Cozumel! by: Dancing Chef Brianna

My name is Brianna and I am a native born Minnesotan living in Cozumel.  Many people wonder how I ended up living here. Looking from a different perspective I can see the confusion, not many people think of living in a vacation destination as an actual option! I ended up living here after meeting my husband who is a Mexican citizen. He and I love living in Paradise together.

Even though my husband and I come from two different backgrounds and cultures we found ourselves learning and combining what we knew, which turned into a great life together. My husband’s love for cooking has expanded my palate to all sorts of different things, for example: super-spicy meals. Since I have moved to Mexico I have been able to appreciate that the authentic way of doing things, can truly add its own flare and tastes. I must also add that I have picked up the habit of adding fresh salsa and lime on top of all my meals.

I have added the love of travel to my life and have been blessed to branch into new territories. If you think about it, if I didn’t love to travel I would still be frozen in Minnesota! Just like all of you, I love to see and experience new things, try new foods, and visit beautiful places.

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What I love about Cozumel is that it has all of those things combined into one island. I’m sure you can see why I fell in love with this island with the crystal blue water and lush jungle. Cozumel is full of great music, food, and people. Sampling a little bit of everything is a must! Here Salsa dancing is an every Saturday night thing for many people. I have lots of fun learning new dance moves and recipes. I am honoured and excited to join the Salsa and Salsa Team in Cozumel as it truly is the perfect job for me, as you can imagine!

Hope to meet you soon!

Dancing Chef Brianna

Olé!

WHO DOESN’T LOVE MARGARITAS?? right?

When you are invited to a gathering, you don’t have to worry about anything but enjoying yourself but if you are hosting that’s a different story!
Don’t worry because I have the perfect drink to keep your guest more than happy, because WHO DOESN’T LOVE MARGARITAS??  right?

Let me introduce you to CRANBERRY-LIME MARGARITAS, super easy to make and there is 2 different ways to serve it to your guest, Frozen or on the rocks.
Frozen drinks are DELISH!! The only think is that you got to keep making them before serving.On the rocks you can leave the mix on a pitcher just ready to serve, or tell your guest they can help themselves. (Just have a bucket with ice ready).

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A little tip: you can use fresh cranberries and slices of limes to garnish your drink, just add them on top, definitely will add that extra flare and taste to your drink.

I really hope you enjoy this drink as much as I do!!
And well we all know you don’t have to be hosting a party to make this margaritas 😉

ENJOY!

By: Dancing Chef Karla!

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CRANBERRY-LIME MARGARITAS
Will serve 6 cups.

YOU WILL NEED:
– 3 cups of cranberry juice (try a brand that is 100% juice)
– the juice of 2 – 3 limes.
– 4 shots of tequila
– 4 shots of orange liqueur (Cointreau or triple sec)
– Ice cubes
– fresh cranberries and slices of lime (optional for garnish)

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DIRECTIONS:
FROZEN: Add all ingredients into a blender and serve.
ON THE ROCKS: stir all ingredients in a pitcher, at last add ice cubes & serve.
* Sugar or salt rimmed serving glasses recommended!

DANCING CHEF LINDA’S MEXICAN DIP! OLE’ !!

Looking for a quick easy delicious appetizer recipe everyone’s going to love?  Invited to a pot luck? Friends visiting? This Mexican Dip is great fun, even for the kids!!  Colorful & easy, perfect for inviting the kids to help make it, and as it’s best prepared the day before you serve, it’s a great time saver!   

  Simple, easy & fun !

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                                                       Mexican Tortilla Chip Dip

*Mix together 2 packages of softened cream cheese, 450g sour cream & 2 tablespoons of (Old El Paso) taco seasoning, in bowl until well blended.

*Spread on bottom of serving dish and refrigerate for an hour.

*Take out serving dish from refrigerator and spread your favorite ‘RED’ or ‘GREEN’ salsa over mixture.

*Cover with a full package of TexMex Shredded Cheese (Kraft) and 1/2 pkg of: 3 color shredded cheddar cheeses.

*Refrigerate overnight & your dish is ready for everyone to enjoy !

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Serve with your favorite Corn Tortilla Chip & your Mexican appetizer is ready!  You can always add some roasted chilies to serve along side for those who like it hot, hot, hot !! 

If you’re searching for more fun food ideas to serve with this one, try serving it along with your best guacamole recipe, some different heat level salsa’s, and of course we can never go wrong with quesadillas. For your veggie lovers, this dish is delicious served with celery, carrot, cucumber, zucchini &/or sweet bell-pepper sticks. Your friends & family will love all the colorful combo options.

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Have Fun & Olé !!

-Dancing Chef Linda of Salsa and Salsa Cozumel

‘Day of The Dead’ by Dancing Chef Daphne

To the indigenous people of Mexico, death was considered the passage to a new life. The deceased were buried with many of their personal belongings, which they would need in the afterlife. Many times even their pets were sacrificed so they would accompany their masters on their long journey.

From pre Columbian times the Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos), has been celebrated in Mexico, and other Latin countries. This is a very special ritual. Since it is the day in which the living remember their departed relatives. Sometimes, when people of other cultures hear for the first time about the celebration of the Day of the Dead, they mistakenly think it must be: gruesome, terrifying, scary, ugly and sad. That is nothing further from the truth. Day of the Dead is a beautiful ritual in which Mexicans happily and lovingly remember their loved relatives that have died. Much like when we go to a graveyard to leave some lovely flowers on a tomb of a relative.

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Honoring the Dead

On November 1st and 2nd Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead. Towards the last days of October, the entire region prepares for the great fiesta of ‘El Días de Muertos.’ The square fills with stands that offer all types of colorful figures allusive to death, the most popular made of sugar.

Markets are filled with the cempasúchil flower. This orange marigold was the flower that the Aztecs used to remember their dead by. Its color represents the tones of earth and is used to guide the souls to their homes and altars.

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Candy Sugar Skulls

Very early in October, all over the country, bakeries offer the delicious ‘Pan de Muerto’, Day of the Dead bread, made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, orange peel, anise and yeast. The bread is adorned with strips of dough simulating bones and at the top, a small round piece of dough that symbolizes teardrops. These sweet breads are placed on the altars, and are also taken to the tombs in the graveyard.

Another traditional dish prepared for the celebration is the tasty ‘Calabaza en Tacha’,  or Sweet Pumpkin, a dessert prepared with pumpkin, cinnamon, and dark sugar cones.

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Angelitos

f November 1st, the ceremony called ‘Angelitos’(‘Little Angles’ in English) takes place in the cemetery. The little angels are the children that died and that could never experience the happiness and sorrows of adulthood.

The essence of this beautiful ritual is to lovingly and happily remember the dead relatives, their life, and in this way, give meaning and continuity to human existence.

The Day of the Dead is a grand celebration of life itself!

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What’s in a guac? The Dancing Chefs’ favorite guacamole recipes

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip or salad first created by the Aztecs in Mexico. It’s so popular that it has passed beyond Mexican borders and has also become part of American cuisine as a dip or side dish. Avocado is incredibly nutritious, because it contains Vitamin B6, C and E as well as healthy fats. This makes you feel satiated without adding too many calories. Add new flavors to your kitchen: pull out the Salsa and Salsa recipe sheet or try one of these tasty recipes.

DANCING CHEF TIP: When you make a guacamole, make sure to leave the seed of the avocado in the serving bowl. This will help that the guacamole doesn’t turn brown. You can also add a couple drops of lime juice.

Classic Guacamole1

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ¼ cup diced Roma tomatoes
  • ½ tbsp. diced Serrano chili
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and lime to taste

Score the avocado all around with a knife and open. Remove the seed. Take out the pulp with a spoon and mush in molcajete. Add the tomato, chili, onion and cilantro and mush together. Add salt and a few drops of lime juice to taste.

Tropical Guacamole

2

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced in cubes
  • ¼ cup jicama or radish, peeled and diced in cubes
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced finely
  • ¼ tsp garlic, peeled and diced finely
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

In a bowl, combine the mango, jicama, onion, garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set aside. Score the avocados all around, down to the seed. Twist and open. Remove the seed and take out the avocado. Mush in a molcajete until softened and add the other ingredients. Taste and adjust the salt.

You can decorate the guacamole with pomegranate seeds and serve with tortilla chips.

 

Crunchy Guacamole

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic, finely diced
  • ½ cup guayabas (guavas), diced without seeds
  • ½ cup peach, diced without seed
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced without seeds
  • ¼ cup onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro, diced

Remove the pulp from the avocado with a spoon. Mush the avocado in the molcajete with the salt and garlic. Add the guayaba, peach, cucumber, onion and cilantro. Mix well and season to taste.

 

Poblano chili Guacamole

  • 2 Poblano chilies
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ cup onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup cilantro, diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • Lime and salt to taste

Open the avocados and place the pulp into a molcajete. Mush into a paste, add a couple drops of lime juice and set aside.

Roast the Poblano chilies over an open flame until charred. You can also roast them in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the skin and seeds and cut into small strips. Roast the tomatoes in the same way; remove skin and seeds and dice into small pieces. Add the roasted Poblano chilies, roasted tomatoes, onion and cilantro to the molcajete and incorporate with the avocado. Season to taste.

 

‘Mexicanissimo’ Guacamole

4

 

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 Guajillo chilies, seeds removed, cut in strips
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 cup Nopales (cactus leaves), cooked and diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • ½ cup cilantro, diced
  • Salt and lime to taste

 

Cut the bacon into small strips and fry until crunchy. Set aside. Heat oil in a skillet and fry the Chile Guajillo strips for 30 seconds. Set aside to cool down.

Open the avocados and place the pulp into a molcajete. Mush well and add a few drops of lime juice. Add the bacon strips, Guajillo chili, Nopales, onion and cilantro to the molcajete and mix well. You can adjust the seasoning with salt and lime.

All you need to know about a Mexican barbeque

The time is here to chill and grill. Summer is the perfect moment to spend time outside with your family and friends, firing up the barbecue. What about pulling out your Salsa and Salsa recipe sheet to make a spicy salsa roja or tangy salsa verde? Grill the ingredients and have your molcajete at hand to catch those flavors and spice up the afternoon. In Mexico a barbeque is called  ‘carne asada’, which translates as grilled meat. But it’s so much more than that. Join the party and find out how the Dancing Chefs grill.

Drinks

You can’t start the party without some proper hydration. Whether you like margaritas on-the-rocks or beer (click here for our beer cocktail recipe) make sure to have a cooler at hand. For our smaller chefs we love to prepare this double-red fruit water.

Agua de sandia con fresa2

  • 2 cups watermelon chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lime
  • Sugar to taste

Put the watermelon in a blender with 1/2 cup water. Blend well and strain out the seeds through a sieve. Place the liquid back into the blender. Add the strawberries, juice of 1 lime, water and sugar to taste. Blend again until smooth. Serve with ice cubes.

Meat

When it comes to meat, it’s all about prepping and marinating. We love to use ‘arrachera’ (beef flank steak) but you could also get a nice rib-eye instead.


2Carne asada

  • 2 pounds beef flank steak, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 Mexican beer, e.g. Corona or Sol
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Season the meat with salt and pepper and place in a non-metal bowl. Blend the pineapple until smooth and pour over the meat. Add the beer and mix well. Make sure that all the meat is coated with the pineapple-beer mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinade for 1 hour. In the meanwhile start the fire and have a drink….

Sides

There are so many options to serve as sides for a Mexican barbeque. The basics are grilled nopal leaves and spring onions, grilling together with the meat. We also love to eat seasoned bean soup (‘Frijoles charros’) while waiting for the meat. Another great option is the stuffed Poblano chili. You slit the Poblano chili open on one side, fill with Chihuahua cheese and close with a wooden toothpick. Then put it on the grill until charred on all sides. But our all-time favorite are grilled veggies on a skewer.

Alambre de verduras

Chicken or turkey kebabs

  • 1/2 cup pineapple, 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, 1-inch cubes
  • Bacon, cut in squares

Soak long wooden skewers in water. Then insert 1 piece of pineapple, onion, bell pepper and bacon onto the skewer and repeat the process until the skewer has filled up. Make sure to leave some space to hold the skewer. You could add chicken or shrimp too. Place onto the grill and turn until lightly charred on all sides.

Dessert

It takes a while to prepare but it’s worth the effort. This world-famous Mexican dessert goes back to the days of the Conquistadores, when milk and eggs were introduced by the Spanish. Custards are popular in many kitchens around the world, but Flan has a characteristic caramel cover. Put a modern twist to this basic recipe, by adding 2 tbsp instant coffee and 2 tbsp coffee liquor.

1Flan – Mexican Caramel pudding

  • 300 grams sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp cold water

Heat the oven at 180°C or 375°F. Heat half the sugar, in a sauce pan with a thick bottom, on low heat. Move the pan continuously until the sugar melts and caramelizes golden-brown. Pour the caramel in a round cake shape, holding at least 3 cups. Turn the shape around until the caramel covers the whole bottom, set aside.

Mix the remaining sugar with the milk, vanilla and salt in another sauce pan. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer for at least 10 minutes. The mixture should boil down to at least half. Cover and set aside.Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a big bowl. Mix the corn starch and water until a smooth paste and add to the eggs. Add this mixture, while stirring, to the warm milk. Strain the custard and pour into the prepared cake shape.

Cover the shape with aluminum foil and place into a bigger pan. Pour boiling water into the bigger pan, until covering half-way the cake shape. Place the 2 pans into the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes. You can check if the Flan is ready by sticking a knife into the middle and that is comes out clean.

Leave the Flan to cool down for at least 30 minutes at room temperature and preferably leave in the fridge for 1 night. Turn around on a serving dish and serve cold.

*Tip: If the caramel on the bottom of the cake shape has hardened, place the shape in a pan with hot water.

 

 

 

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