Friday, 25 March 2011

Black & White Cupcakes

I finished my black & white cupcake theme last night.  I was practising using a different method of icing where you cover the cupcake with buttercream to kind of make a flat surface and then cut a disc out of rolled fondant icing to place on top (I used scone cutters) and then you place whatever topper you like on the disc.

I have been practicing with flowers and made a few good ones (got some new cutters!)  I also bought some zebra cake boxes (Morrisons....quite cheap really) and along with the zebra cupcakes, I thought it all looked rather good!

Next week is going to be slightly hectic (again), I have 2 birthday cakes & party cupcakes to do and Mother's Day Cupcakes to make...all for at the weekend. Thats should keep me busy for a while!

Father-In-Law's Cake

What a late night last night was!  Finally finished my Father-in-Law'ss birthday cake.  He's a big Rangers fan so I hope he likes it!!!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Second Commission!

I have been asked to make some cupcakes for Mother's Day!

The next few weekends are very busy with cakes.  I have my father-in-laws birthday coming up this weekend and he is having a Rangers Football cake for the occasion.  I finished the main part of the club emblem last night, I just need to make long rolled strips to form the circles that go round the text but I will do that once I have the main body of the cake iced as picking up the icing once its been rolled into its sausage shape is a bit of a pain in the ...... as it broke on me last night when I was practicing!  It will look good when finished.....fingers crossed!

Back to Black

Last night I was working on some cake toppers using black fondant.  I have some funky cupcases which are a black & white zebra pattern and also zebra patterned cupcake boxes to match.  I thought some cakes would look good with white buttercream frosting with some black cake toppers.  I made a few to try on my mother-in-law at the weekend to see what they look like.

I have put dark glitters on the flowers (purple, blue, green, black) just to give a hint of sparkle and I was going to paint some lustre dust colours on some to see what that looks like.

Of course, the battery died on the camera and the charger was at my office so the pics are not that great....

Christening Cake Completed

Sunday was the day of the Christening.  Imogen looked lovely in her Christening gown and I received lots of compliments about the cake I had done and all those cupcakes.....  My dining room table was a production line on Saturday evening of cakes, glitter pots, hearts, butterflies, boxes etc.  It all got done in the end though and there were no hitches or glitches.

This was my first actual 'commission' and it felt very nice actually being paid to do something I enjoy, but it also felt a bit strange.  I sometimes feel a little embarrassed at asking money for the cakes as I am not a professional cake maker  and worry that people may not like what they see but just pay lip service to be nice and not hurt my feelings.  Other Half thinks I talk rot and thinks I should start charging people £5 for 12 cupcakes and £10 per cake just so my ingredient costs are covered at least.  He may have a point......

Successful 'Diet Cake'

Well, I have to say the diet tea loaf was a success!  I had two independent reviewers (well, the OH and Jess!) who both said the same would be great with custard!!  I think that might defeat the object of it being a 'diet cake' but the consensus was it was a hit.

I think it helped soaking the fruit overnight for them to gain maximum plumpness so its worth going to the extra bother.  The recipe itself couldn't be easier and there is no need for any fancy mixers etc, all very easy to do by hand....

Fat Free Tea Loaf
1 cup of cold black tea
8oz dried fruit
8oz self raising flour
2 beaten eggs
6 level tbsp of artificial sweetner
...Soak fruit in cold tea for a few hours or over night ,once soaked add all other ingredients to the fruit and tea mix well and place in a greased loaf tin cook for 40-50 mins at gas mark 4 or 180°C , leave to cool, slice into 15, 4 syns a slice

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Diet Cake.....

Is there such a thing I wonder?  Several people I know seemed all of a sudden to start dieting this week, everyone on an eternal search for low fat food and 'healthy options'.  My quest has been to find a low fat cake recipe that doesn't end up with a tasteless cake.  There seems to me very little point in eating something if it lacks any real flavour.

I have found two recipes that I am going to trial, both fall under the Slimming World banner.  One is for a fruit tea loaf and the other is for an orange sponge.  I hold out great hopes for the orange sponge as it basically just a fatless sponge cake where whisking the egg whites & yolks separately so that you get a meringue with the whites and by whisking the egg yolks for long enough it results in a mousse type mixture which has doubled in volume, literally combine the two, (folding in gently with flour), add orange zest & juice and hey presto, one fatless sponge!

I shall post the results after the testing has been done........

Cupcake Wrappers

I decided to put some of the cakes for the christening in cupcake wrappers.......How expensive are cupcake wrappers???!!!  Very is the answer!!

I decided to have a go at making my own, and to be honest, I'm pretty pleased with the results and have saved myself a fortune!!

The white ones were made by cutting out doilies and simply gluing along the edge to join and placing a few crystals on for a bit of sparkle.  The stripy ones were made out of piece of card I bought from Hobbycraft for £1.45 and I got 5 out of it.  I just drew a template shape and then cut out and then 'borrowed' some of my niece's crimping scissors to make a patterned edge along the top.  When a friend popped over for a cup of tea, she was looking at them and thought that I had bought them which was nice.  I think they look great and I shall be using them on Sunday.

Cut along where the pattern ends on the doilie
then crimp along the top edge if you want to
Stripy card bought from Hobbycraft & then crimped along the top
Add on stick on jewels for a bit of sparkle!

Big Baking Weekend Ahead

The weekend is drawing closer and I have a lot of baking to do....First off I have to make the base cake for Imogen's Christening Cake.  Lorraine Pascale's finest chocolate cake recipe will be used, then that needs icing in preparation for the cake topper.  Then Saturday will be spent making up 48 cupcakes and icing and decorating them in preparation for delivery to the venue on Sunday...phew!!

I made a 'trial run batch' at the weekend and the reviews were good!
I was also testing the cupcases, the hot pink ones are foil and the others have little hearts on them which you can still see once the cakes are baked (if using a plain sponge).  I also had some with a butterfly pattern on but once the cakes were baked, you couldn't really see the butterfly's.  All were from Squires-Kitchen.

Hope it all goes smoothly on Sunday!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pancake Day!!

I hope no-one is thinking about using some packet mix to make their pancakes today!!  Tut tut if you are....its so easier (and healthier for you...well, minus the syrup you pour on them bit) and soooooo easy.  Below is my favourite pancake recipe at the moment, it makes the thicker scotch pancake type which are just delicious with maple syrup......mmmmmm

Easy Pancake Recipe (makes the thicker Scotch style pancakes).....

150g SR Flour
2 Tablespoons caster sugar
1 egg
150 ml milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

mix all together & then drop about 2 tablespoons into a frying pan with some melted butter, fry until golden & firm to the touch on both sides.  Eat with some maple syrup or honey or golden syrup drizzled on top, few slices of banana, the list is endless.....

Yum Yum......

Monday, 7 March 2011

Busy Baking Weekend

Well Thomas' Baby Dinosaur cake was a huge success!  He ate the tongue before he left the party & declared to his Dad that he was going to be eating the head when he got home!  His Mum said that when they got home he ate a bit of the tail, a few toes & the sole of one his feet!!  The mini dinosaur cakes were also popular and given to the kids to take home.

Sunday night needed something comforting to eat and what better than nicely spiced ginger cake.  This recipe has got to be the simplest ever to takes literally 10 minutes to put the ingredients together and then 30 - 40 minutes in the oven and you have an incredibly light ginger cake.  It would work well with a nice cream cheese frosting on it as well...........

Easy Ginger Cake Recipe
2 cups SR flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 oz margarine
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 egg
1 cup boiling hot water

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then rub in the margarine until resembles breadcrumbs (I just put it in the food mixer and blast for 5 mins).  Add the egg, syrup and boiling water and mix until smooth.  Pour into a greased cake tin (I use a square tin and then cut the cake into small squares once baked).

The cake is nice and fluffy in texture (some ginger cakes can be quite dense, but not this one) and after a day you get the nice sticky texture to the top of the cake.  Delicious with a cup of tea!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Favourite Recipe Books

A few favourite recipe books (all available on Amazon)  that I go back to time and time again are:

Nigella Lawson - How To Be  A Domestic Goddess (great for all kinds of cakes, biscuits & general baking.   Her very simple but effective Madeira cake in particular is a favourite of my In-Laws and the quadruple chocolate cake always goes down well in my house, but the favourite recipe of her's must be the Snickerdoodles which my niece calls 'little pieces of cakey-loveliness').

Lorraine Pascale - Baking Made Easy (My husband bought me her book for Valentines Day after I had watched her show recently on tv and loved her recipes.  Her, "I Cant Believe You Made It" cake is lovely and I now use her chocolate cake recipe as the base for all my covered cakes if I want a chocolate sponge.  She does very good bread recipes as well which are simple to follow).

Tarek Malouf - Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (THE most delicious cupcakes!  Fail-proof recipes everytime.  The classic Red Velvet are lovely, just a hint of chocolate and that deep red sponge...yum!! The white chocolate & macadamia nut biscuits are a particular favourite of my Other Half)

Angie Dudley - Cake Pops (Bakerella) (My friend Joanne rang me one day and suggested that I have a go at making these.  The book is American and uses Candy Melts to coat the cake which comes in a variety of different colours.  At first I found it difficult to get hold of the candy melt but Hobbycraft have now started stocking it.  It just gives a wider choice of colour rather than using melted white chocolate and then adding food colouring to it.  Good for Kids parties).

Frances McNaughton - Sugar Fairies (A great little stocking filler present from my Other Half at Christmas last year.  These lovely fairies are very simple to make and the book gives step by step instructions along with pictures of how to construct the fairies which is just a bit of sugarpaste and candy sticks (which used to be the candy cigarettes before even sweets went PC!)  I based my christening baby fairy asleep on a cloud from one of these fairies).

Australian Women's Weekly - Kids Birthday Cakes (This booked is great for birthday cakes.  It uses frosting as the covering for most of the cakes but you could convert to using sugarpaste instead, it just gives some great visual ideas that you can adapt into your own design).

Debbie Brown - 50 Easy Party Cakes, Gorgeous & Gruesome Cakes for Children, Enchanted Cakes for Children (Thomas' Dinosaur cake came from the Gorgeous & Gruesome cake book  and I am planning to do some Ugly Bug cakes for another birthday in April.  The Enchanted Cakes book was bought for me by Lauren & Ben whose birthday cakes I have done in the past, they saw it and thought of me!  Lauren had already gone through the book and picked her favourite for her birthday this year....might need a little practice though as these designs really are something else!)

Thomas' Baby Dinosaur

Am very tired this morning after completing Thomas' birthday cake.....a Baby Dinosaur!!  I still have 24 cupcakes to make & ice on Saturday night but at least the main cake is done and sealed.  (Once covered in icing cakes should keep for up to a week)

I used my very expensive dome shaped silicon mould to create the balls used for the head (2 half balls sandwiched together to create a ball).  Silicon bakeware is not all its cracked up to be in my opinion, the cake is meant to come out cleanly from the mould....not in my case, it nearly always sticks!  Even with using a cake glide mixture wiped round the mould, it was still a little tricky to get the cake out, but I managed it.

I was not entirely happy with the dinosaur arms, but I didn't think it was a bad effort and five hours later this is the end result........

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sparkly Hearts for Mum

Sparkly birthday hearts for my mum!

Joyce's 83rd Birthday

Yesterday saw my aunt reach her 83rd birthday.  So a cake was made in her honour.....if truth be told, it was a trial run chocolate cake for the christening cake I am doing in a few weeks time.  The results were good!!

Flowers dusted with lustre dust