Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ruffled party bags made with crepe streamers DIY

Lilli has just had her 8th birthday party a bit over a week ago and I can't wait to share all the pictures and sweet treats. In the meantime while I am waiting to get the photo's back I though I would share with you the ruffled party bags we made for the party favors.

I guess it's not a secret I love all types of ruffles whether they are on cakes, cookies or paper pom poms, so when I saw an idea on pintrest for paper crepe streamers on a box I thought the idea would translate perfectly to a party favor bag. The original idea was super nifty and they sewed the crepe paper, but I am totally craftless so I made mine up with double sided tape.

They were pretty simple to make and everything was picked up from a local craft store and pretty inexpensive.

Oh and obviously you don't need to stop at one strip. I was thinking you could leave off the lace, use lots of different colors and make fun and inexpensive ruffled rainbow bags quite easily with this technique.

We filled our party bags with a book containing a special hand written message from the birthday girl, a candy bracelet, push pop candy, fairy floss and a pink balloon (the birthday girl insisted the balloon was a deal breaker MUST).

Printable thank you tags from Polkadot Prints

Easy to make Ruffled Party Bags

Paper bags
Crepe Streamers in 2 different colors
double sided tape
hot glue gun

Step  1 Adhere the Lace

Lay the bag down flat and adhere a length of double sided tape horizontally across the paper bag, approximately halfway between the top and bottom of the bag.

Remove the protective backing from the tape and press a length of lace along the tape pressing down to secure it. Cut excess lace away.

Step 2 Adhere the first ruffle layer

Adhere another length of double sided tape horizontally across the top edge of the lace.

Remove the protective backing from the tape and attach the crepe streamer on one end securing it to the tape in the center. In the picture I have attached the streamer to the left edge working my way toward the right side. Cut excess streamer away.

Around 1.5 cm's (1/2 ") from the edge fold the streamer back to make a pleated ruffle and then press it back down and continue towards the right edge folding the streamer back at regular intervals as shown in the pictures to give a ruffled appearance.

Step 3 Adhere the final ruffle layer

Adhere another length of double sided tape horizontally across the middle of the ruffled streamer.

Take the second color streamer and using scissors cut down the middle of the streamer to make a thinner half sized streamer.

Remove the protective backing from the double sided tape and attach the half sized streamer and folding back to make a ruffled appearance using the same technique described in step 2.

Step 4 optional - secure further

You may like to use the hot glue gun to secure the lace in spots to the bag to minimise the risk of the lace falling off.

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Chocolate Hazelnut Cakes with Chocolate French Butter Cream and it's Gluten Free

Many years ago back when I worked in an office I used to pop into a little boutique store that made a delicious hazelnut chocolate cake on the premises. I used to walk half way across the city some lunchtimes in the hope that it would be on the menu.

Oh how exciting it would be if I opened the door and the delicious smell of just baked chocolate cake greeted me.

Funnily enough my work moved offices to just around the corner of the store at about the same time the store changed owners and sadly the hazelnut chocolate cake was removed from the menu.

That was a long time ago now and I have tried a few chocolate hazelnut cake recipes over the years and found them sadly lacking, mostly over moist and bordering on gluggy.

So I decided to come up with my own recipe. It's definitely not the same cake but it is delicious with a chewy just moist enough texture and lovely robust hazelnut flavor. Also it is gluten free which I know is a big plus for many of you.

and y'all know I just love to make my cakes mini at any opportunity. I received this fabulous Baker's Secret Loose Base Dessert Pan from Kitchenware Direct which I have been coveting for a while and with the ingenious pop out bottoms it was perfect for making these mini cakes. Plus dishwasher safe. I can't ever love that enough.

I paired the cakes with a french chocolate butter cream because, well, it is pretty delicious plus I always despair of the amount of egg yolks I waste and this was a perfect opportunity to use up a couple.

Then I played around with a few decorative toppings......... macarons,


then macarons plus raspberries.

They were all equally delicious :)

I had the gold mini macaron shells left over from a party we had on the weekend and I filled them with a little of the excess butter cream. If you don't  happen to have a batch of mini macarons just lying about you can use something else - I thought a lindt ball or ferrero rocher might look good. Otherwise if your looking for a recipe for macarons CLICK HERE.

If your don't feel like whipping up a batch of butter cream the cakes are actually quite nice on their own, served with a little cream or with a warm chocolate ganache.

The ones in the pictures are about 4cm high and they look lovely, but I recommend for sensible eating you should probably make them about half the size. If the smaller sized cakes are not quite enough you can always have another serve.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cakes (Gluten Free)
makes 12 cakes 2cm (0.8") high or 6 cakes 4cm (1.6") high (the ones in the pictures are 4cm high). I used large eggs.

4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
1 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened) sifted

Preheat oven to 140 C (280 F).

Lightly spray loose base dessert pan with cooking spray or oil.

In a large clean bowl whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Mix in 1/4 cup sugar and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Scrape down the sides as required and continue adding sugar approximately 1/4 cup at a time until the sugar is all added and dissolved. The mixture will appear stiff, white and smooth.

Add the hazelnut meal and the cocoa and fold in until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the 12 cups in the tray filling them just under 1/2 full and smooth the tops as much as possible with the back of a spoon.

Ooops that's a bit messy - this is what the mixture will look like before baking. 
Fill the individual cups a bit less than shown to make 12 cakes from the mixture.

Bake for 35 minutes, the tops of the cakes should be hard when gently tapped.

*If you choose to make 6 high cakes instead divide the mixture between 6 of the cups and bake for 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and using a thin blade knife gently run the knife around each cake to release from the side of the loose base dessert pan. The cake is a bit sticky so do not worry if they do not release cleanly. Be very careful with the knife so you do not scratch the baking pan.

Carefully pop each of the cakes out of the tray by putting your fingers underneath the tray and pushing the loose bottom up.

The tray will still be hot at this stage so be very careful and use a tea towel or other protection to hold it.

Pop the cake onto a plate and using the thin blade knife slide the cake off the loose base, it should release easily.

Allow to cool to room temperature and decorate with swirls or dots of chocolate french butter cream (recipe below) and decoration of choice.

Undecorated cakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Cakes decorated with butter cream can be stored in the fridge for 3 days in an airtight container, remove from fridge at least 10 minutes before serving. Cakes decorated with fruit are best served immediately.

Chocolate French Butter Cream makes enough to generously top 12 cakes. Recipe can be halved.

Heating the sugar syrup to 118C (245 F) apparently heats the eggs sufficiently to kill any potential salmonella bacteria. The butter cream recipe will still work if you just warm the water and sugar to make a syrup but you can not be assured that the eggs will have been sufficiently heated to reduce the possible health risk.

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
250 grams (8 7/8 oz) unsalted butter cut into small cubes
150 grams (5 1/4 oz)dark chocolate melted and cooled slightly

Place water and sugar in a saucepan and heat until the syrup reaches 118C (245 F), brush down the sides of the pan as necessary with a brush to stop crystallization.

Just before the syrup reaches the required temperature Place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer and using whisk attachment beat until slightly bubbly and frothy.

If you have a shield for your mixer ensure it is in place. Continue to whip the egg yolks at high speed while you carefully pour in the hot sugar syrup in a slow stream.

Keep whipping the egg yolk and sugar syrup until the mixture becomes very light and fluffy has increased in volume and cooled down. The outside of the bowl should feel comfortable to touch, around room temperature. (If the mixture is too hot you will melt the butter at the next step).

With the mixer still on high speed add the butter a few cubes at a time until it has all been incorporated. 

Add the cooled chocolate and mix until well combined.

Items decorated with french butter cream should be kept refrigerated and removed from fridge 10 - 15 minutes prior to serving. consume within 3 days.

disclosure I received the Baker's Secret pan from Kitchenware direct. No financial compensation was provided and the words and ideas used in this post are my own.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A vintage dress inspired wedding cake filled with flowing pockets of salted caramel peanut

My sister in law got married and we have finally officially welcomed her partner of many years into our family.

We always think of my brother in law as the new kid on the block, but he has been a more than welcome part of our family for almost 10 years.

Photo by Ashley Oostdyck

Not one to do things the traditional way, they eloped and got married over in Canada in a pretty low key wedding with the bride wearing a vintage dress that was previously worn by the grooms mother on her own wedding day.

It was so special and reflective of the bride and grooms personalities.

So when Mr Sweet offered up my services to make a cake for their Australian reception I felt that a traditional white wedding cake with bows and lace wouldn't capture the vision of their unique wedding day.

The groom's mother kindly sent me a picture of her own wedding day and I did my best to come up with a cake design to tie in with the color theme of the dress.

I decided to go with a streamlined layered bottom and a handpainted top tier to look like the pattern on the dress. In the end the cake matched the picture I was sent perfectly.....but over the years the photo must have faded and the color was a little lighter than the dress in real life.....and the pattern was a little different than the actual dress as it was difficult to see in the picture.

But I think we were all happy with it.

and because it was family and if it didn't work out I knew nobody would really mind, I created a recipe for a mud cake filled with chocolate ganache and pockets of flowing salted caramel with peanuts.

Yup that's right little surprise pockets with gooey sticky salty caramel and peanuts.

Dan and Michelle's Reception Party Cake

Bottom Tier - 24cm X 15cm (H) Chocolate Mud Cake with Chocolate Ganache and pockets of salted caramel with peanuts. Decorated with streamlined light aqua fondant ruffles.

Top Tier 15cm X 15cm (H) Gluten Free Almond Orange Cake with Chocolate Ganache. Covered with light aqua fondant (not gluten free) and hand painted design to match the wedding dress. I used food color mixed with rose spirits and icing sugar for texture, highlighted with edible gold luster dust.

Cake Stand - Clara Fench
Wedding Dress Photograph by Ashley Oostdyck

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Boho Chic Organic Coffee Crumble Blueberry Cupcakes

A while back I received a letter about a fun blog event paying tribute to baking trends throughout the decades called The Great Australian Bakeline....... my mission if I chose to accept it was to bake something reflective of  the 00's.

I did a quick search on food trends for the 00's and among many other things found that Cupcakes, Organic produce, Blueberries (as a flavor) and the rise of the coffee shop were big news.

Which isn't really that surprising to me, 'cause you know - we pretty much just lived it.

In fact I think those couple of things I listed are quite enduring and I am not sure why they ever went out of favor.

Take the cupcake.

I don't know how many times I have read a certain food is the new cupcake, but I've yet to see anything knock them down off their pretty little pedestals.

On the other hand I completely decided to ignore a few of the other big trends such as low or no carbs.

In truth I'm thinking the obsession with the low carb diet could probably also probably explain the extreme popularity of the cupcake. I've never tried a low carb diet, but I'm guessing that while your on one a cupcake has never looked soooo tempting.

Anyhoo back to the Bakeline......I decided to create a delicious recipe that combined the four noughties food trends I liked.

So I give you the organic coffee crumble blueberry cupcake, inspired by the noughties, delicious in any decade. As a nod towards another trend instead of fancy towering frosting I topped them with struesel that is actually made from the cupcake mixture to give them a boho chic relaxed feel.

I used Baker's Secret muffin tins ( which I actually use all the time for cupcakes), and I didn't even line or grease the muffin tin......that's right no cupcake papers I just popped the cupcake batter straight into the tin with no other preparation. Plus they're dishwasher safe - I know -nice! Y'all know with 3 kids that type of stuff is pretty important to me.

Not using the cupcake papers gave the finished cupcakes a nice rustic look so I decided to finish them off with a length of organic jute.

The finished cupcake was not overly sweet with a moist texture which made it more a cupcake than a muffin despite it's appearance. Perfect for morning tea, afternoon tea or a snack it makes a delicious treat for any occasion no matter the decade.

Coffee Crumble Blueberry Cupcake recipe makes 12 cupcakes

I used all organic produce (except the macadamia oil), however if you can not find any of the ingredients I used you can just substitute regular.

1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup strong black coffee (espresso machine or mix instant coffee with hot water)
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup macadamia oil
1 large egg
1 cup blueberries
30 grams unsalted butter softened

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Place a 12 hole non stick muffin tray on the bench ready to use.

Sift the the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. into a large bowl.

Remove 1/2 cup of the flour mixture and reserve for topping.

In another smaller bow mix together the coffee,  yogurt, oil and eggs.

Add the wet mixture to the flour and mix until just combined, gently fold in the blueberries.

Divide the mixture between 12 muffin cases.

Rub together the 30 grams butter with the reserved 1/2 cup of flour mixture until it comes together in a coarse mixture then sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of mixture over the top of each muffin. Don't worry if you have a little left over.

Bake for 18 - 20 minutes.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Puple Carrot and Blueberry cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Why does purple taste so good.

When I asked my friends on facebook to guess what flavor this cake was (mentioning that the sprinkles were a clue) I don't think there was one guess that was not delicious.

Lavender, Violet, Mulberry, Grape, Cherry, Blueberry, Purple Carrot.

Yup Purple Carrot.

Mr Sweet went grocery shopping the other day and brought home some purple carrots which I cooked up for dinner and the water turned so purple I thought it would make a fabulous cake.

However as you can see from the sliced cake, that purpleness did not translate into the cake batter.

But the experiment was not a total loss in the end......'cause carrot cake with cream cheese frosting :)

I decorated the cake using a Wilton 2C tip and CK purple sprinkles.

It was so pretty.

Sometimes I forget how simple frosted cakes can look so good.

If you would like more info about Purple Carrots check out this site

Also must mention that there is a lovely interview with ME over on the Alison Lawson Cake Blog, check it out to find out what my favorite recipe is, my all time favorite party and other mildly interesting information about me ;)

Alison Lawson Cakes is also running a marshmallow decorating competition and the prize is a copy of Sweets on a Stick so you must pop on over and make sure you enter.

Purple Carrot and Blueberry Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
I used 2 X 15cm (6") tins to bake my cake but it tastes just as lovely made in 1 large 23cm (9") tin an you will only need half as much frosting.

1 cup  self-raising flour
1 cup plain wholemeal flour (whole wheat flour)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 cup macadamia oil
1 cup brown sugar lightly packed
1/2 cup golden syrup (or dark corn syrup)
4 eggs
2 cups grated purple carrot
1/2 cup mushed blueberries

Preheat oven to 160C (315 F). Grease and line a 23 cm (9")round cake tin or 2 X 15cm (6") tins.

Sift together the flours, cinnamon and bicarbonate soda (baking soda), making sure you retain all the wholemeal husks and tip them back on top of the sifted dry ingredients.

Whisk together the oil, sugar, syrup and eggs and stir into the dry ingredients until smooth.

Stir in the carrots and blueberries and mix until just smooth.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then turn out on a rack to cool.

Once cool cover with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

If you would like your cake to look like mine use the 2 X 15cm (6") tins and then make up a double batch of frosting. Trim the tops of the cakes until they are flat and even and cover them with a crumb coat and chill. Add a generous amount of frosting to the top of one cake and place the other cake on the top, then chill.

Cover both cakes generously with frosting and then smooth sides and top.

Pipe swirls of frosting around the top and bottom using a 2C tip. Decorate with purple sprinkles.

Cream Cheese Frosting - I doubled this recipe for the highly frosted and decorated cake in the picture. If you are just making one cake layer a single batch of this frosting will be ample.

125g (4 1/2 oz) cream cheese  (not low fat or spreadable)
50g (1 3/4 oz ) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Add all ingredients to a large bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and mix for 3 - 6 minutes until very light and fluffy.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Macaron Marshmallows and a chance to win Sweets on a Stick

Yup - I'm just sticking macarons on everything now :)

While I was whipping up my macaron cake pops earlier in the week I thought that macarons on marshmallows would be just as cute.

Of course I was right......really everything looks cute on a marshmallow and even cuter when you pop it onto a stick. It's so cute you just have to smile.

Which brings me to another thing I wanted to mention.

Alison Lawson Cake's is running a competition over on her blog for decorated marshmallows, with a theme of make us smile and the prize is a copy of Sweets on a Stick.

Amazon link to Sweets on a Stick

Or Fishpond (Aus/NZ)
Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go!

So take these little macaron marshmallow pops as a bit of inspiration and whip up your own fantastic marshmallow on a stick to delight us.

and make us smile of course, well specifically me as Allison has kindly asked me to help her judge the competition.

Competition details are over at the Alison Lawson Cake's Blog HERE.

Looking forward to seeing all your fabulous marshmallowy creations, entries close Friday 20th July.

Marshmallow Macaron Pops

12 marshmallows
12 mini macarons - CLICK HERE for a macaron recipe, just pipe them a bit smaller
100g (3 1/2 oz)white chocolate melted (or wilton candy melts)* mixed with copha or paramount crystals in a shallow bowl
12 lollipop sticks

Holding one end of a lollipop stick, dip about 1cm (1/2") of the end into the melted chocolate and then push it into the center of a marshmallow (see picture for example), repeat for remaining marshmallows.

Allow to set.

Once the marshmallow pops are set, pick up the end of the lollipop stick and dip the top half of the marshmallow into the chocolate. Lift it out carefully and allow any excess chocolate to drip off before turning the whole pop upright so the marshmallow is at the top and setting the stick into a styrofoam block (or cake pop stand).

When the chocolate is nearly set pop a macaron on the top (see picture for example) and hold until is it secure. Repeat for remaining pops.

*I used nestle white chocolate melts mixed with a ratio of 10 (chocolate) to 1 (copha) and then mixed in flo-coat and violet americolor with a ratio of 5 (flo-coat) to 1 (food color). When I use Wilton candy melts I use a ratio of approx 7 (melts) to 1( copha).