Friday, 11 September 2009

Blog traffic

Hello all, I have a question. I've noticed from my google analytics that i've been getting a lot of traffic from a forum It's in German though, and I can't find the right thread to translate it so not sure if it's good things or bad things lol. So can anyone help?

Also, it turns out that I was briefly featured on Cookies Cakes and Craft shop which i love and have bought stuff from before. Here's me second from the top under Louise from Cake Journal, another great site.
That's all for now, off to the kitchen for some baking...

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Lace cake

This cake was for a birthday and I wanted to use my new FMM textured lace set. It was really easy, you just use the cutter to get the edge and then push one of 3 moulds to create the pattern. I only chose the ivory icing because there was a bigger packet in the shop, but I think I prefer it, the pattern comes out stronger. It's a nice simple technique that produces a pretty result.

The inside is a chocolate madeira cake, a second attempt which worked out much better. The first was a bithday cake a few months ago. Using much higher grade chocolate of 75% cocoa solids meant a much better result.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Big French Fancy

I was actually so excited when I saw this! A huge fan of French Fancies, I recently heard that the wonderful people at Mr Kipling have gone futher to make 'The Big French Fancy'. It turns out they've been available since November. How could I have let that happen.
Ok, the covering is sugarpaste and not fondant, but I can forgive that. The only bad news is that I've no reason to buy one for weeks, and it really is too big to eat on your own (serves 10). That is of course assuming anyone finds out..

It comes in pink and yellow.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Birthday Fairy Cakes

Just a few wee fairy cakes showing how 2 cutters and 2 colours of icing can make something quite pretty.

Iron Man Cake

Hello all. I have been busy baking, but just things I've done before so no blogging. Recently though I made a birthday cake for someone who likes comics. I picked an Iron Man theme because it's one of his favourites, plus red and yellow were the 2 colours I had most of. It was meant to look like a stack of comics. I look a few pictures to show you all.

Using a standard victoria sponge recipe, I made 2 sheet cakes in a traybake tin. I cut each of these in two horizontally to make 4 thin layers, which I stacked in a haphazard way, using jam to 'stick' them together. The soft layers draped over one another.

Next I covered the top in black sugarpaste to be the background to the cover page of the top comic.

To create the plaque for the top, I printed out a picture of Iron Man from the Marvel website. Cutting round it created a stencil for rolled out red sugarpaste. Removing the yellow sections from the stencil, cutting them out of the plaque and creating insets from rolled out yellow sugar paste then meant I could add it to the top of the cake. The sugarpaste was also used to cover the flat sections representing covers in the pile below. I had intended to put more details on these, but ran out of time. I used white to represent the pages, running a knife down the side to show pages. This was really fiddly and I didn't realise how much time it would take until half way through. (It was only when I was finished that I noticed I'd forgotten to add coloured spines, and had used white all the way round but by that point didn't care!)

The final task was colouring in the plaque with my edible black marker pen. I copied this from the printout. This actually wasn't as tricky as it looked, and waiting for the icing to dry a bit and harden made a big difference, otherwise it created grooves in the surface.

I was really pleased with it in the end, though if I had to make it again I'd make a plain square cake without the misaligned layers and put more detail in. I have to say though. it was a bit awkward to cut but tasted good!

The final cake looked like this:

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

German biscuits

These have always been known as german biscuits in my house, but it seems that apart from a few others, the rest of the world knows them as empire biscuits. They hail from Scotland and remind me of home bakeries. You can get them from supermarkets but they're always too dry and when I can nab them from a proper bakey I do.

What is basically two layers of shortbread jammed together with a bit of icing is more than the sum of its parts. Yum yum. The picture unfortunately isn't mine, I shamefully didn't have any glace cherries.

The recipe is slightly adapted from a few sites and makes a great moist but not sticky dough. It makes around 6 complete biscuits or 12 rounds.

6oz plain flour
4oz butter or margarine
2oz caster sugar
Icing to decorate

1) Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs
use a food processor like I did.
2) Stir in sugar
3) Work into a dough and roll out. Use a fluted cutter around 2in/3in wide and place onto a greased baking tray.
4) Bake for around 10 minutes at 180 C

When cool, jam together with the 'bottom' of the biscuits together. I didn't put the amount of jam because that would involved getting everything sticky measuring it and because if I did you'd all think I have a problem! Add icing and a glace cheery and enjoy!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Teapot Cookies

I got a teapot cookie cutter ages ago and had yet to try it out properly. I made some gingerbread (yes again, but it's yummy) to have with what else but a nice cuppa.

I debated over how to decorate them but decided on simplicity in the end. The hearts and stars are great sprinkles, I've used them loads! I think I'll go and put the kettle on...

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Easter bunnies

I tried my hand at biscuits again this Easter, using some of my new cutters. I was a bit worried the bunny faces would work out a bit scary but I was quite pleased with the end result.

The vanilla recipe is as follows:
50 caster
75 margarine
125 plain flour
1 eggs
1) Rub butter into flour intil breadcrumb like in texture.
2) Stir in sugar
3) Add in whisked egg a little at a time (not all may be needed)
4) Form into a soft but not sticky dough
5) Roll out about 5 mm thick onto a floured work surace and cut into shapes
6) Brush tops of each shape with milk
7) Put into a 160 C oven for around 20 minutes until golden.
8) Decorate and enjoy!
I kept the decorations simple, and used cocunut to create a 'fuzzy' look. The duckling was first spread with lemon curd, then dipped in coconut. I think the jumping bunny is the cutest :)
Hope everyone had a happy Easter!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Easter Inspiration

I always seem to post things after an event, such as Christmas, cause that's when I get round to blogging, but I'll be quick off the mark this time and offer a few ideas for Easter.

I love Bakerella'a website, and her cakepops always look great. I did attempt to make some bunny ones but for whatever reason they crumbled when dipping them into the icing. my family labelled these 'suicide bunnies' but ate them all the same. I won't distress you with the pictures. Anyway, how cute are these chick cakepops?

Louise at Cakejournal has released an e-book on Easter treats. Check it out to be able to make these lovely biscuits.

For something simple, these nests are really easy and look great!

Away from the small mammels side of things, there are a few religious Easter ideas too:

I've made an Easter Simnel Cake twice before and it's worth the effort. Can't find the pictures though. You really have to like marzipan though, as it's a fruit cake with a layer of marzipan in the middle and some on top. The 11 'balls' on the top represent the disciples (without Judas). When grilling it don't put it too near the top as you'll get lines on the cake and it really only takes less than a minute.

Hot cross buns proved to be my undoing this week. For some reason they just wouldn't rise at all, and they're supposed to at least double in size before baking. I have an inkling that the sachet of yeast was too small, but try out these from the BBC food website to see if you can improve on my attempt:

Friday, 27 March 2009

Mother's Day Cake

oops, a little bit late posting this but here's the cake I made for my mum on Mother's Day last Sunday.

I used the orange madeira recipe from before, but covered it in buttercream as a change from fondant icing. The sides were originally supposed to be piped in a basketweave pattern to make it a basket of flowers, as I bought this tip a while ago and wanted to try it out. Initially it went well but the combination of a warm kitchen, warm hands and not enough icing in the buttercream meant it started to melt so I had to smooth it.. It bothers me that you can see cake in this picture.

I practised making sugarpaste flowers again and tried 'pincing' the tips of the petal shapes and really like how it makes the petals look 3D. I'll be doing it this was in the future!

I chose the colours first and then happened to see flowers that matched when I went to buy some, so they matched which was nice.

So for all of you mothers, I hope you had a lovely day on Sunday.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Hello everyone, tomorrow is St Patrick's Day and as I won't get the opportunity then I thought say it now:
Happy St Patrick's Day!

I made a few wee buns to celebrate, they feature a shamrock, a pint of Guinness and a hurley. Hope you have a good day :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Make-a-Wish Gingerbread

Hello everyone, just a quick post today. I have been busy baking tonight for a charity cake sale on Friday. It's in aid of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a charity which seeks to grant wishes to young people fighting life threatning illnesses. It's a great cause and we hope to raise some cash to contribute!

I made gingerbread in the shape of star to match the Make-A-Wish logo/banner. Unfortunatley I burnt the first batch through carelessness, but the rest turned out OK. The decoration was kept to a minimum with pink, lilac or baby blue icing, and some silver lustre dust to add a bit of sparkle!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Red Velvet Cake

Firstly a huge thank you over to Ruth at Ruth's Kitchen Experiments, for a fantastic evening doing some fun baking. We made a red velvet cake, with cream cheese frosting. I've wanted to make this cake for ages, but struggled to find a recipe which doesn't use American cups, which I don't have. I made a valiant attempt to convert them using the internet, but it proved just too awkward; then Ruth suggested a joint bake-a-thon. Her write up can be seen here.

The Red Velvet Cake is a distinctly American cake, with a bright red colour. Or should that be color? The hue originally came from the vinegar and buttermilk reacting with the cocoa, turning it reddy brown. As a more alkaline cocoa became available, this became less pronounced and artifical colouring was needed.

We used the recipe from Equal Opportunity Kitchen, with only one variant being that it makes 3 layers as shown in the pictures and not 2 as stated in the text.


1/2 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp white vinegar
3 large eggs
1 (1-ounce) bottle liquid red food colouring (tasteless variety)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk


1. Beat butter at medium speed with stand mixer (paddle attachment) or electric mixer until fluffy.
2. Gradually add sugar, vanilla and vinegar, beating well.
3. Add eggs, 1 at a time beating until blended after each addition.
4. Add food colouring, beating until combined.
5. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.
6. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round cakepans.
7. Bake at 350F for 20 - 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

Here's what the batter looked like: That's some serious e numbers.

They didn't loose this when baked either! After cooling I flipped 2 of the 3 layers upside down, and couldn't help but think they looked like 2 burgers.

Next came the cream cheese frosting, which was a bit dissapointing. The butter had been warmed to make it spreadable, perhaps a little too much because loads more icing sugar than the recipe had to be added, and it still dripped down the sides.

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar (2 cups)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (if you want your icing to stay pure white use clear vanilla extract)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy; gradually add sugar and vanilla, beating well.

Though I have to say, I think the final result looks pretty good!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Birthday Cake

It was my first attempt at a 2 tiered cake, and proved really interesting. I ended up making 4 cakes, 2 layers per tier. To fit everything in I ended up making the top tiers on Monday and freezing them; it was a good opportunity to see how this worked. They turned out fine, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

The top layers are orange madeira cake with orange buttercream, and the bottom layers are chocolate madeira with umm nutella chocolate spread! The orange cake had orange juice in it and was lovely and moist. The chocolate one I'll reserve judgement on. It used real chocolate and I think it hardened a little before I got the mix in the oven, plus it was a bit dry. I might try it again and use some more milk.

Anyway, the recipes are from 'Ultimate Cake' by Barbara Maher. It's not a bad book. The instructions are well explained and the pictures helpful, but the pictures are at the front and the recipes at the back which I found a little odd. Also, though not very important I suppose, but the colour scheme is a bit weird, pale pink and green cakes make me feel a bit quesy, but maybe that's just me. I suppose the indictor of how good I think it is, is that i've had it a year or two and only made one other cake out of it. Unfortunately I couldn't find the recipes online.

In the past my cakes tend to have a camber on the top, so I trimmed the top off them both and inverted the top one before covering in jam and fondant icing. This gave a really good flat top.

I used dowells for the first time, but they weren't exactly level, so it was lucky madeira cakes are fairly sturdy! I need more practise I think.

I went for a pink and brown theme just because I think it looked nice, and as you can probably see it was for a 50th birthday.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Baking Valentines

Not being a great fan of the merchandising event that is Valentines (bah humbug or whatever the equivalent is) I'm afraid I have no heart shaped cakes or biscuits to share. To prove I am soft on the inside (like a macaroon perhaps?) i'll offer this picture to all the romantic souls out there. Enjoy!

Cherry and Almond Cake

I've made this cake before and remember the smell above everything else. At the time I hadn't read the last line of the instructions "leave to cool in the tin" meaning that with 1 hour until I had to leave the house I ended up sitting on the bus with it wrapped in foil and a tea towel getting odd but envious looks.

The recipe is from Australian Womens Weekly Cooking Class Cakes. I'm a big fan of the WW series, the cakes are great everyday ones with notes on how to make special variations, store and serve them. The step by step pictures make it really easy to follow and there's guidance about lining a cake tin etc... The only significant drawback is that they insist on putting the calories and fat per slice on the bottom of each recipe. That's just unneccessary, especially as 'serves 12' is unlikely to stretch that far in my house!

I'd have to say that out of all my books, this is the one I use the most.

The recipe I used can be found here, with a few small variations. The main one is that the book's recipe is for a slightly smaller cake and that there's no need to add flour with each egg. It might curdle, but the mix'll sort itself out in the oven. Don't be put off by the awful picture on the website, look at mine instead lol

One thing I always do with glace cherries is washing them and drying them with a paper towel. Without the syrup they don't sink much and make the cake less soggy.

P.S. It's worth getting different coloured glace cherries to make it look more interesting, and saving some almonds to sprinkle on the top.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year

Hello everyone, Happy New year. To be honest I'm not really that fusses about new year's, but it was an excuse to use some of my Christmas presents yay!

I was lucky enough to get a total of 127 cookie cutters! This 101 cookie cutter set was from the Cookies, Cakes and Craft shop, and when it came it was huge. I now have loads of basic shapes, Halloween, Christmas, etc... as well as ones like dinosaurs.

The 25 piece Ausstechformen set was a present from friends in Germany, and had really cute winter/Christmas ones, such as a little elf and a rocking horse. The recipe box was also a gift and I look forward to writing recipe cards from other blogs to try.

Here's my favourites, including my snowman bun wrappers, and teapot cutter (also from Cakes Cookies and Craft Shop):

I did make some biscuits to christen them, but with so much food at Christmas they ended up in the freezer for another day when we'd appreciate them more. I kept a few out, enough to say:

Gingerbread house

I had wanted to do this last year, but couldn't find the time. Luckily I was off work this week, so decided to make my gingerbread house!

I found this site, gingerbread house heaven, really helpful as they provide templates and loads of advice. I based mine on the basic template, but then had to scale it down a bit, as my batch of gingerbread wasn't quite enough.

The inside of the walls was sugarpaste, to give it something to lean against, and the rest of it was put together with royal icing mix. The mix was really thick and I needed to use my hands to get it into all the gaps. I used some tins to support it overnight while it dried.

Then it was onto the fun bit: decorating!!!

I considered making it accurate, but it was more fun seeing how many sweets I could balance on it :) Chocolate buttons are great roof tiles, and I used some of the icing to make icicles. Unfortunately they just looked like the icing drips.

I bought the wee jelly figures last year, so we couldn't eat them, but I had to have Santa and a reindeer going down the chimney.

Once I made it, I had to wait a few days to enjoy it before I cut it. From being fairly sturdy assembled it came apart remarkably easily. I suspect that the thick icing was still a little wet! I used a sharp knife between the walls. I had been worried that it would have gone soggy, but the actual gingerbread was still nice. That extra spoonful of ginger really made a difference!