Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monogram cakes

Cute little monogram cakes for a couple of cute girls.

These cakes were inspired by the Cameo cakes I made. As gorgeous as they were, they were not suitable for everyday eating. Just a bit too much fondant.

.....and I do need to eat cake everyday, so this is something I can easily manage.

These cakes are ovals cut from a large slab of Whimsical Bakehouse chocolate cake.

Cover the cakes with a thin layer of Italian Butter cream as a crumb coat and refrigerate until firm. Cover with a second layer ensuring that it is as smooth as possible. An offset spatula is good to use.

Cut out a fondant oval and place on the cake.

Decorate with royal icing. Now if I am decorating something small like this I don't want to mix up a big batch of icing. So I use the powdered premix and just mix up a small quantity, you just mix it with water - so easy! You can pick it up from cake decorating supply shops and sometimes my local spotlight has it in stock.

Pop into a piping bag and decorate with small dots around the fondant oval and write the name onto the oval (eeek how awful is that writing - must practice more)

Finally I used a little Donna Hay cake bling (white dots) around the edge and finished with a black satin ribbon.

There you have it cute monogram cakes just the right size to share.

Cookies and Cream cheesecakes from Martha Stewart Cupcakes

I promised to share my triumphs and disasters here and although not quite a disaster this one has been a bit of a lesson in paying better attention to the recipe.

Ok first mistake, not writing a shopping list resulting in me buying cream instead of sour cream. Come on, the recipe is for cookies and cream it's an easy mistake to make. I decided to risk using the cream rather than return to the shop and the result was good, although I think that the original sour cream recipe would be less sweet and have a firmer texture.

Mistake number 2. Fill the cakes almost to the top the recipe states. I make a lot of cupcakes. Cupcakes need room to rise so you only fill them about 1/2 to 3/4 full. I got a bit confused.

Cheesecake cupcake reality - they do not rise - so listen to the recipe and fill them nearly to the top.

So what was the verdict with these cheesecake cupcakes...........

Yum - and yum again. Would make them again for sure making sure next time I followed the recipe a little better.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcake cake book

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
makes 30

42 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies such as Oreos or Delta Cream. 30 whole and 12 coarsely chopped.
910 g (2 pounds) cream cheese room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs room temperature lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to C (275 F). Line standard muffin tins with cupcake papers. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner.

2. With an electric mixer on medium high beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream and salt. Fold in chopped cookies by hand gently.

4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-filled cups filling each almost to the top. Bake until filling is set, approx 22 mins. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate in tins at least 4 hours (or overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I've gone Cameo Crazy - April decorated cake

I've gone Cameo crazy.

All of a sudden it seems everywhere I look there are cute cameo things just begging me to take them or make them and I can't resist.

For Christmas I got myself the gorgeous Peggy Porschen's Cake Chic "stylish cookies and cakes for all occasions" with instructions on these amazing cakes (well hers are a little bit more polished than mine). I got myself the cameo moulds required and yesterday made the cakes and covered them with fondant.

......then today I was having a quick shop at Appletree Grove in Springwood and I came across Robert Gordon's cameo spoon set. Serendipitous shopping or what.

It was a no brainer, those spoons were mine. Although I do feel a bit sorry for the set of bluebird spoons I left behind, those poor little birdies looked like they needed a nice warm home.

Anyway back to the cakes, I am trying to make at least one decorated cake a month whether I need to or not to improve my skills.

This is Whimsical Bakehouse chocolate cake recipe baked in a 30cm X 22cm rectangle tin then cut with oval cutters to make the necessary shapes.

The cutter in this pic is round. just pretend its an oval one for this tutorial

Cover the ovals in buttercream, then rolled fondant (can you believe it I made my own from scratch it actually tastes really good) and then decorate with a black oval and the cameo which is made with a mould and gumpaste.

Now I had trouble finding the moulds in Australia so I had them sent from England from the following site http://www.design-a-cake.co.uk/

Finally a bit of royal icing, some Donna Hay cake bling and a black ribbon.

Viola cameo cakes, just the thing for your next afternoon tea.

Now I just need an excuse to get those darn cute bluebird spoons.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Truffle bites - or what to do with all that leftover cake

When you decorate cakes you usually need to trim off the tops and sometimes carve out shapes which means you end up with a bit of extra cake on your hand.

So what do you do with all that extra cake. Just eat it I hear you say, Mmmmm sounds like a good idea.

But hold on a second......

Here is something a little different to try I found thanks to Bakerella. Take the offcuts and leftover frosting, mix it together until it forms a moist ball.

Ok in the pic above I have about 700g of moist chocolate cake and 1 cup of vanilla Italian Buttercream to mix together. However, you do not need this specific amount, different cakes, icings and the fact that you will have varying amounts left over from your decorating will change this recipe each time. But that just adds to its deliciousness. I usually taste test until its a texture that I find pleasing.

Shape into smaller balls or shapes the ones in the pic are around 4cm (1 1/4 inches) across. Pop them on a tray lined with grease proof/ baking paper and chill in the fridge until firm (an hour or so).

When they are firm dip them in melted chocolate and decorate. I used Cadbury dark and white melts which I melted in the microwave.

These ones are leftover vanilla cake and raspberry Italian buttercream. See you can use anything.....if you cake and frosting flavor tastes good together chances are you truffles will too.

In fact they are so delicious you might not even want to wait for leftover cake. You could bake a packed mix cake and use a tub of Betty Crocker frosting.

Wow how easy is that.

Blueberry Pancakes taste so good

Blueberries are out of season. I went to the supermarket and there were none to be found.

But my stomach does not know about seasonal foods, it will not listen or be diverted by rows of fresh plump and reasonably priced produce.

It wants blueberry pancakes. So thank goodness for frozen berries, which are a really good alternative to fresh when baking or cooking.

I love to cook blueberry pancakes. they are so easy and taste soooo good.

Blueberry Pancakes
makes about 10 pancakes depending on the size

2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
80 g (2 and 2/3 oz) butter, melted
300ml milk (1 and 1/4 US cups) milk
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen.

1 Start to heat the frying pan to a medium heat. Melt butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda (baking soda), salt and sugar into a bowl.

3. Using a whisk mix together the milk and eggs and then quickly whisk into the flour mixture. Whisk in the melted butter.

4. Gently fold in blueberries.

5. Melt a little butter in the pan and pour half a cup of batter into the pan and spread out to make a pancake. Cook until bubbles start to appear on surface and the edges start to set.

6. When ready to flip, carefully use a egg flip. Pop any blueberries that escape during the flip quickly back under the pancake before it sets.

7. Pop the finished pancakes on a plate in an oven set on low heat until the remaining batter has been used.

We serve our pancakes with maple syrup and cinnamon sugar.

If you have any little ones around, make sure to remember to cook a few mini pancakes for their special friends as well. Dolly pancakes are so delicious.

Mmmmm, blueberry pancakes they taste so good.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lollipop cookie pops

I love cookie pops.

Decorated cookies are cute, but put them on a stick and it takes the cuteness to a whole new level.

Look at these lollipop cookies I made.

I used a basic sugar cookie recipe, cut large round shapes, insert the cookie stick (these are available online or from baking specialty stores) bake as per recipe and allow to cool.

To decorate I used Marshmallow Fondant which I colored using gel paste colours (available online or from baking specialty stores). Roll each color into a longish log on a surface lightly dusted with cornflour. Twirl/ entwine the different color logs together and roll into a longer shape until it resembles the pattern you desire. You might need to carefully use a little water to stick the different colors together.

Roll the log up like a snail, gently flattening the log as your go until the fondant shape is the same size as your cookie. Adhere the fondant to the cookie using water or edible glue.

and there you have it, cookie lollipops. We used these ones for a photo shoot (photo by Terri Vandermeer photography)- way less sticky than regular lollipops and the kids loved them.

Cuteness all around.

Update - a couple of people have asked where the girls pretty skirts come from - so here is a link to Princess Ratbag maker of beautiful Pettiskirts.

Martha Stewart Peanut butter-filled chocolate brownie cupcakes

What do you get when you combine two of my great loves, Martha Stewart and cupcakes....

Well Martha Stewart's cupcakes of course - 175 inspired ideas for Everyone's favorite treat.

I have been working my way through this book and thought I might share some of my triumphs and possible disasters with you.

So, what's the verdict with these Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cupcakes. The batter was easy to make - no kitchen aid mixer needed just a whisk, a spoon and a couple of bowls.

The cakes were very delicious - mmmm peanut butter and chocolate how could you go wrong.

However I did find the process of layering Tablespoons of batter fiddly and time consuming as I have a super easy Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie recipe which is pretty comparable in taste (see pic at bottom).

Would I make them again? Maybe. But for everyday eating the Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies are probably my go to recipe CLICK HERE for brownie recipe.

For the cupcake recipe pick up a copy of Martha's cookbook :)

Now here is a tray of gooey, chocolatey Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies I prepared earlier.