Saturday, 17 February 2018

Teenage Make-up Birthday Cake

Thirteen is one of those birthdays that is quickly becoming one that requires a bigger celebration than it did when I turned to my teenage years. What are young ladies 'in to' in the 21st century?

For this one, it seemed easy as her mum asked for make-up and such other things, but more especially, a mobile / cell phone! Check out the work in progress for the phone here on my Insta

The cell phone here suffered a little, but it came out ok in the end.  As you can see, it was amended before being attached to the cake.

Initially, the grand topper of this cake was to have been the pair of fondant stilettos I made recently, but, alas, they were simply way too big! 

The cake consisted on a 10" vanilla cake, with a red velvet layer in the centre sandwiched together and then a 6" cake consisting of white chocolate flavoured layers with a layer of red velvet in the centre. For this I used Classokool maximum strength while chocolate flavour, which is available on Amazon as well as eBay

The centre of the two bottom layers of the smaller, top tier, were hollowed out and stuffed with chocolate M&Ms, the top layer, obviously, stayed in one piece to hide the hollow and ensure the cake looked as it should.

The top tier is a very 'grown up' plain ivory whilst the bottom tier is a wonderful marbled effect using ivory, white and fuschia pink. It was a thought I had to be symbolic of being a fun-loving new teenager, but with an element of an emerging 'adult' head.

Due to the fact that I couldn't use the shoes as a topper, I was left with a large expanse of, well, nothingness on some of the cake, so I made pearl beads from fondant, and draped them over the cake. I think I works rather well. I also added a few fuschia pink and while marbled roses on the top where there was a little tear in my fondant and to fill in some blank areas.

Topped off with a fischia pink ribbon and bow plus a sprinkling of magic, edible glitter, this cake is totally perfect for the teenager it is destined for.

Ever wondered what happens when my back is turned? My creations are destroyed and utterly enjoyed!

Sweet 16 Drip Cake

I've never made one of these, but always wanted to.  But never have I ever been able to justify making one for no reason. What better reason than a very special birthday, Sweet 16! Such a stark contrast to the cake this young lady received last year!

Pastel colours were required on this fondant-free cake.  The final coat of butter frosting was without colour, then dotted with various gentle shades and smoothed off to create a graduated effect. 

I used PME white vanilla candy melts to create the drips and also to dip some of the strawberries, the other strawberries were dipped in white and milk chocolate, then, once chilled, they were decorated the opposite colour chocolate.

Even though I added oil to the candy melts as suggested to me, I was not sure how much, so did not achieve the desired runs and drips I had hoped for. But I think I still looks awesome!

The cake itself consisted of three 6 inch sponge layers flavoured, delicately I hope, with essence of white chocolate flavouring. For this, I used Classikool maximum strength white chocolate flavour, which is available on Amazon as well as eBay.

The sponge has been kept simple to accommodate the variety of decorations.
  • French Fancies
  • Macarons
  • Sprinkles 
    • Pastel sugar strands
    • Pearled hearts, strands and beads
  • Homemade white chocolate shards
    • Melted white chocolate, spread, using a spatula, over parchment paper, dripped and drizzled over with milk chocolate, spread together a little then sprinkles were added before it cooled in the refrigerator. Once cooled, break into peaces and add to cake
  • Dipped strawberries
    • Once cooled, use the opposing colour chocolate to drizzle over the strawberry before placing in refrigerator
The 'Sweet 16' topper was purchased from a shop on eBay

This cake was so 'last minute' because it had no protection to keep in fresh, ie fondant.

I have never had so much fun decorating a cake as I did with this!
I loved every moment of the experience.

Thanks to my niece for allowing me this opportunity

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Boiled Cake

Perhaps a little misleading, after all, the whole cake isn't boiled, just the fruit with part of the ingredient list.

This recipe was left to me by an amazing octogenarian, she used to make this for 'special' occasions and always made me a small festive cake, using this recipe, and would decorate it accordingly.

If you find yourself in a situation where you want a Rich Fruit Cake or even a Bara Brith, but find you are seriously pushed for time, try this as the fruit does not need to be soaked overnight.

You will need

This recipe was found, handwritten, in the back of a decades old recipe book.  I will post it as is with a few minor changes that are italicised

  • 8oz margarine - you can also use butter
  • 1 Cup / 4oz Sugar - I find the darkest brown sugar the best for fruit cakes
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 - 3 Cups / 12oz mixed dried fruit
  • 2 - 3 Cups Flour *
  • 1 Cup Water - Hot strong tea is best
Original recipe as found

* As you can see from the image above, the type of flour was not specified. I used self raising, only because it was the first bag out of my cupboard, but other right fruit cakes have proved to work just as well with plain flour

How to:

  1. Place the margarine (butter), sugar, fruit and water (tea) in a large pan
  2. Bring to the boild
  3. Simmer for 25 minutes
  4. Allow to cool
I transferred by mix to a large mixing bowl to cool. 

Preheat oven to Gas MK3

Only when cooled, add flour and eggs and mix.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 90 minutes, but check after 70.  If the skewer / cake tester comes out clean, your cake is cooked.

Turn out onto cooling tray.

Tip: When almost, but not completely cool, wrap in cling film or plastic food bags.  This will help retain a little extra moisture, without the cake going soggy, and soften the hard top, if you have one

With fond memories of
01/01/1936 - 20/01/2018
An amazing woman and
'One Tough Cookie'
I'm going to miss you so much

Vanilla and Chocolate Cupcakes - FAIL

I'm going to share these cupcakes with you, even though I consider them a fail!

A fail because of a number of reasons:
  1. I made too much batter because I wasn't thinking and failed to reduce my favourite mix by 25%
  2. Whilst I doubled up on the buttercream and that turned out well, I was baking something else at the time and failed to chill it, so it was far too soft to hold it's shape
  3. And lastly! The most heartbreaking part ... when boxed, I dropped them, and now they're all misshapen

I've never professed to be perfect at baking, but not even I make this many errors in one bake!

It's OK to make mistakes, let's be honest, who's going to leave these go to waste? So, maybe not that much of a fail after all

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Red Velvet Cupcakes - for wedding cake tasting

Later this year, in May, I will be baking a five tier wedding cake.  These cupcakes are being used for the cake tasting session with the bride and groom, my son and future daughter-in-law.

The results of the tasting session is at the bottom of this post.

You will note from the image above that these are not the 'usual' looking cupcakes here, I made them exactly as the wedding cake would be ... cake, crumb coat and fondant.  The additional cupcakes made from the mix were frosted as standard (below)

For this cake testing, I'm looking carefully at the following areas:
  • Colour - sponge
  • Texture - sponge 
  • Flavour - sponge
  • Overall satisfaction of whole cake, including topping
The recipe that I will be using can be found here, with the exception of the buttercream. For this tasting session, I am using my standard vanilla buttercream.

You will note that the recipe states, simply, "red food colouring". I am going to assume that it means liquid colours, which I do not use. I am using Sugarflair Extra Red. Sugarflair also make Red Velvet as a colour, but my supplier suggested this.
I asked advice on the quantity and, like most UK based red velvet sponge mixes, it's all by eye. Because of the UK's stringent additives rules, we can't get the vibrant colours as our American cousins do. Therefore, when you see a wickedly amazing colour on a red velvet sponge, it can be either and America image or, well, most of the time, a packet mix.  So for this, I'm looking for a rich burgundy shade.

If you check out the recipe I've been using, here, you will see in the notes at the bottom, how much I used in each cake

When the day comes for the big cake, I will be keeping a spoonful of coloured batter in the refrigerator to compare to the next batch of batter. 

These cupcakes have been made using the sponge recipe, the buttercream and then topped off with the fondant that will be used on the cake.

On the day tasting session:

For these cupcakes, I used the medium / 9 inch cake mix here, I added 15g of Red Extra colour paste to the mix, which made 24 cupcakes. If I had scraped the bowl correctly, I could have realistically made 25, maybe even 26. I use an ice cream scoop to measure my cupcakes.

Here are the bride and groom's, as well as my own findings:
  • Colour: The are delighted with the colour, so I will adjust the weight of the colour paste accordingly for the other layers.
  • Texture: The texture was perfect for a wedding cake, far more stable than a 'standard' red velvet cake, it is transportable for the few hundred miles I will need to take it. The bride and groom felt the texture was great. The groom suggested he would prefer another tasting session, next time in cake form and using simple syrup and he would like to try the cream cheese frosting - watch this space for a link to the further cake tasting sessions. I think my son just likes cake to be honest lol
  • Flavour: No changes are required to the flavour, the recipe was perfect.
  • Overall satisfaction: Overall the bride and groom were more than happy with the tasting session but have made suggestions for an addition tasting session and changes / ideas
Overall, this was a success and a good basis for a start. 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Fondant shoes - first for me!

Oh good grief, why I test myself like this is sometimes beyond me!

If these stay in one piece, they will be used for an upcoming cake in February!

Quite unlike and far more difficult than the Chocolate Shoes from back last August and those in September.

As I had no idea how to make them, in my naivety, and with a generous dose of hindsight, maybe I should have made the sole much thicker.

I have to admit, de-moulding the stiletto heel was difficult. As you can see from the image above, a lot of cornstarch was used. This was the only way I could de-mould them with any sort of ease.

These heel moulds can be found on both Amazon and eBay

The sole was cut and placed on a drying mould and attached to the heel on this mould, once dry, it is possible to add the toe and heel straps whilst still on this mould and decorate.

The additional pieces required are:

  • The rest / mould for shaping the bottom
  • The shapes / cutters for the straps, sole and heel strap
You can purchase a full kit from eBay that will help make the whole shoe, but I will be adding templates here as soon as possible. But there is no template for the heel, see above for the mould.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year

2017 has been an absolutely manic year for me, but I managed quite well. 

My work seems to be getting better with each project.

In 2018 I have a number of significant projects:
  • My Son's wedding cake
  • My Nephew's 18th Birthday
  • My Niece's 13th Birthday
  • And my Grandson's transition to double figure age
To name only but a few.

Check out the video above of pretty much every project done this year.

Thanks to all my family and friends that allowed me to bake for them this year, I've enjoyed every bake.

Maybe next year, I will have a few less bakes and find some time for my other favourite crafts.

Good luck to your all for the coming year.
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