i heart cake

As well as making a cake for my birthday, i also made cupcakes. Because a girl just can’t have one or the other (and admittedly it was a backup plan incase my cake didn’t turn out!)

Coconut cupcakes

Coconut cupcakes

Coconut Cupcakes

Makes 12

  • 125 grams butter (softened)
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup milk

Method 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (160C fan forced)
  2. Line 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases
  3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
  4. Stir in the coconut, then sifted flour and milk
  5. Divide mixture among cases and smooth surfaces
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked
  7. Cool cupcakes on wire racks
  8. Decorate cupcakes however you please – I used white chocolate ganache and covered with fondant and silver cachous
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Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. TWENTY-NINE. Didn’t i just turn 21?

 

My birthday cake

My birthday cake

A couple of Saturdays ago i tottled off to my first ever cake decorating course at Planet Cake. Their cakes are one of the best in the business so i figured if i want to make cakes as outstanding as theirs, i’d better learn from the best. Their courses aren’t cheap (i’ll be the first to admit that) but they are very, very worthwhile.

Initially, i wanted to enrol into their Basics series (meaning classic shapes and designs) however i was a little too slow and the course dates i wanted had booked out. After speaking to Paris, the owner of Planet Cakes, she advised that i could enrol into the Novelty series and then pick up Basics later on. This suited me fine, it meant that i would learn different shapes and probably walk away with more skills as i was constructing harder shapes.

The first course for the novelty series was the circus tent and clown cake. When i first saw the cake i thought there was no way we were going to be finishing this cake in a day! It looked so complex and detailed, but of course, we did and looking back now i still can’t believe i actually made the cake.

We started off with a square block of cake (marble mud – yum) and had to sculpt it to a circle shape. With the extra pieces, we used that to build the pointy top. We also used chocolate ganache to stick all the bits and pieces together. It was cool, like having edible glue 🙂

 

Cake shaped like a tent

Cake shaped like a tent

The next step was to ganache the whole cake and make it as smooth as possible. Each and every lump should be removed otherwise you’ll have uneven fondant when you finally put it on.

 

Ganached till silky and smooth

Ganached till silky and smooth

After ganaching, you’ll need to let it set. We used this time to head off to lunch. After the ganache has set, it’s time to apply the fondant. Before applying the fondant, we brushed the whole cake with a syrup. This acted as a glue so the fondant would stick to the cake.

 

Decorating with fondant

Decorating with fondant

Then it was just a matter of adding decorating the tent and making the clown. It was amazing to see how with the right tools all the wonderful things you could do (and so easily).

 

Finished cake!

Finished cake!

I’m excited to say i’m booked into Novelty 102 where i’ll be making a mermaid cake. I’ll be sure to post photos once i’m done! 🙂

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Baking cakes for my work colleagues is one thing, baking cakes for a friends special event is a whole new ball game. I was given quite a few weeks notice to make my friend A’s christening cake however as i’d never covered a cake with ganache and fondant before i was very nervous.

Now that the event is over and it’s all been done i’m pleased to say it went very well. I know it’s not perfect but for my first attempt i’m pretty happy with it 🙂

 

Chocolate Mud Christening Cake

Chocolate Mud Christening Cake

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This months challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have choosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angelique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Having had such a hectic December, i missed out on the December challenge which was a French Yule Log. I must admit, the initial shock of an 18 page recipe didn’t help but i really was far too busy to complete it. Now that the silly season is over, i am finally finding some time for baking again and just in time to complete January’s challenge.

After such a heavy challenge in December (not that i would know seeing as i didn’t complete it) the lovely people at Daring Bakers decided to go for something light which was totally fine by me. I welcome anything that tastes good but doesn’t make you feel fat and bloated!

Before this challenge, i had never heard of Tuiles before. In case you’re wondering, Tuiles are thin, crisp almond cookies that are gently molded over a rolling pin or arched while they are still warm. Once set, their shape resembles the curved French roofing tiles for which they are named. 

I was going to make cones for my challenge and fill it with ice-cream (perfect for the 40 degree weather we’ve been having lately) but i decided to make fortune cookies instead in honour of Chinese New Year.

Before making them i thought they would be tricky but they were really so easy and tasted pretty much like the ones you would buy – honest!

 

Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

 

  • 1/4 cup of softened butter (not melted)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • a dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour

 

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180c

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract on low speed to a paste. Keep stirring while adding the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste (be careful not to overmix).

Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and refridgerate for 30 minutes

Line a tray with baking paper and using a 7cm round cookie cutter, place some batter to form a round, even circle. Make sure you allow enough space between each cookie

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Bake the cookies until the edges are golden (about 10-12 minutes) keeping a close eye on them. Once edges have browned, remove the cookies from the oven and flip with a spatula

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Place a fortune in the middle of the cookie and fold the cookie in half (be careful as they are hot! you kinda need to work fast and it would really help if you had abestos hands like me 😛 )

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Using a muffin tin, bend the cookie in half in the middle and keep the cookie in the tin to keep its shape

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Allow the cookies to cool before storing in an airtight container.

 

Fortune Cookies

Fortune Cookies

This months challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have choosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angelique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

A different take on the normal rocky road, this recipe features biscuits which gives it the crunch. A great and quick dessert if you don’t feel like baking.

 

Nigella's Rocky Road Crunch Bars

Nigella's Rocky Road Crunch Bars

 

 

Nigella’s Rocky Road Crunch Bars

  • 125 grams butter (softened)
  • 300 grams best quality dark chocolate (broken into pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 200 grams biscuits (i used Oreo’s)
  • 100 grams mini marshmallows
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar (for dusting)

Method

  1. Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan
  2. Scoop out about 125ml of this melted mixture and put to one side
  3. Put the biscuits into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin (you are aiming for both pieces and crumbs)
  4. Fold the biscuit pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan, and then add the marshmallows
  5. Tip onto a tray (24cm) and flatten as best as you can with a spatula
  6. Pour the reserved chocolate mixture over the marshmallow mixture and smooth the top
  7. Refridgerate for about 2 hours or overnight
  8. Cut into fingers and dust with icing sugar

This recipe was adapted from Nigella’s website

First and foremost, i would like to apologise for my lack of posts. Over the Christmas holidays i just wanted to do NOTHING which is exactly what i did. It was a great two weeks off and i’m feeling refreshed (or should i say lazy!). Only now am i just getting back into the swing of things and of course i have to start 2009 with a chocolate recipe. If you love cheesecake and brownies then you’ll love this. Easy and quick to make and so yummy.  

 

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownie

Brownie

  • 185 grams (6 1/2 oz) butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup (30 g/1 oz) cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 cup (220 g/7 3/4 oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (150 g/5 1/4 oz) plain flour (sifted)

Cheesecake

  • 285 grams (10 oz) cream cheese (softened and chopped)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 eggs

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160C (320 F)
  2. Place the butter, cocoa, sugar, eggs and flour in a bowl and mix well until smooth
  3. Spoon into a 20cm (8 in) square slice tin lined with non-stick baking paper
  4. To make the cheesecake, process the cream cheese, sugar and eggs in a food processor until smooth
  5. Place large spoonfuls of the cheesecake mixture on top of the chocolate mixture (swirl with a butter knife if you would like to make a marble effect)
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until set
  7. Cook in the tin

This chocolate cheesecake brownie is a recipe from Donna Hay’s Chocolate book. It was a Christmas gift to myself 🙂