Friday, 31 October 2008

Guess the weight of the cake

I donated a cake for a 'Guess the weight of the cake' competition recently, and was surprised at the result. Four people (out of 40) correctly guessed the weight, measured to the nearest pound. Considering that I guessed wrong myself, I was duly impressed. No pictures unfortunatley as I forgot, but I made a fruit cake and arranged almonds in a starburst pattern on the top. I was hoping to make it more decorative, as fruit cakes, while nice to eat, don't look spectacular. I kept it undecorated as it would be more difficult to judge it by sight covered in marzipan and icing. Some people did pick it up and hold it, making me panic as it was still wrapped in the greaseproof paper (to keep it moist) and wasn't secured to the cake board. It prpably would have survived a fall, but unless there were no witnesses I couldn't pick it up and put it back on :)

The only problem with things like that are I have a nagging worry that I've put curry instead of mixed spice, or something similar, since I won't get to 'check' it myself. I haven't heard anything back, so fingers crossed!

Oh and just in case you ever need to know, a 9 in fruit cake weighs 4 lb 8 oz.

Cake Transporting

Transporting a cake recently I pondered on the skills and tactics needed to bring it safely on its journey.

It really does depend on the cake. A sturdy fruit or Madeira cake for example will happily slide around the footwell of the passenger seat without coming to much harm. This is the best place for it, as it can’t drop off the seat and come to harm, and the seats usually have a camber, so decorations may slide. I have a random paranoia that it’ll slip sideways on top of the gearstick, but that may just be me :)
Delicate decorations or layered cakes usually need a willing passengers lap. Cake boards are great, provided that you have secured your cake to it (royal icing does the trick). Trays help too, as they have a lip round the side restricting it moving too much. For important occasions spare decorations and a piping bag of icing to reattach parts should be taken.

One good solution for transporting and storing cakes is to set it on the lid of the tin and put the main body over the top. That way, when you get there you don’t have to risk dropping it getting it out of the tin again. It’s usually helpful to write ‘TOP’ on the bottom of the tin, so no-one accidentally turns it ‘right-side’ up. Roses or Quality Street tins are perfect for the most popular cake sizes. I normally lose a few throughout the year to friends, but gain more (filled with sweets!) at Christmas.

If you fancy something a bit more fancy these are good, but to all intents and purposes are cardboard boxes. They do allow you to take the sides apart and slide it off however, which is a big advantage. I'm sometimes tempted to get one of these cupcake caddys, but I'd prefer something a bit more multipurpose.

The closest to disaster I came is when I was the passenger and trying to keep a pavlova on the plate. Bouncy along on the twisty back roads trying to act as a human gyroscope was no easy feat. Unfortunately in the half-hour trip, the cream softened the meringue resulting in a mini avalanche all over my arm, which I wasn’t able to get at to clean up. Luckily the rest remained intact, and was a success when we made it to our destination.

So the next time you despair at the snail-like pace of the car in front, stop and consider that, just possibly, they may be transporting a pavlova.

Christening Cakes

These buns were for a family Christening. They took me ages, but mostly because I kept changing my mind about what went on the top. They are plain sponge buns, but I accidentaly dropped some cocoa in when I was prepping other ones, so they came out slightly darker and sweeter than normal, but it wasn't too much of a difference.

I think the fluted cutter really made a difference.
When I was in the shop buying the blue sugarpaste I saw this little cutie and couldn't resist. I'll have to think of more uses for it! If you can think of any, let me know.

This lead to the basic shapes here:

Once I added sugarpaste toppers, I decided I wanted to add some more detail to make them more complete. I made up some royal icing with an instant royal icing mix, and added a few details, which made them much better. I haven't done fine icing for ages, and you can tell the ones I did first, as the lines are a bit wobbly.

So cute, even if I do say so myself

Tardis Cake

Apologies from the delay, but I've been busy baking so I hope you can forgive me.

I bought this cake for a birthday, and thought I'd show you all. I was planning to make it myself but seen this and thought I couldn't do much better! It was from Sainsbury's and was a jam filled madeira cake. It was cut into small bits luckily, as I'm sure the blue icing wouldn't do you much good!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Parkin update

Well my update isn't as good as I had hoped. It did become a lot more treacle-y but was still dry enough to need to eat it with custard. I'm not sure what went wrong. I followed the instructions, but all the other descriptions made it sound more moist. Hmm, I think I'll chalk that one up to experience.