Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS! May all your cakes be great x

Well Santa has been in the night and left a stocking full of goodies. The presents are under the tree and the Chicken is being prepared. I am in charge of the roast potatoes and I planning on doing the best ever. 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas xx 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mince Pie Disaster!!

To indulge my love of Christmas I spent the day baking Christmas goodies. I did of course start with the wonderful mince pie. I was lazy and used bought pastry and even used bought mince meat, it's all about the smell of them cooking not where the pastry came from. Disaster struck my lovely mince pies. They stuck to tin and sadly had to be distroyed in the process of removal (my dad was rather please with this as he then had a plate of mashed mince pies to spend the afternoon picking at) Out of the 24 only 14 survived. I made maripan stars to put on the tops to decorate them and to hide some of the more dodgy pastry. I do not think I am the master of mince pies, perhaps I should stick to buying them from the supermarket. 

I did not give up after my initial failure. I contined on to bake my Christmas cookie tree. I baked what seemed like a hundred biscuits (was probably more like 30) in all different star sizes. I then stacked them in height order, sticking them together with icing. The effect is supposed to be of a Christmas tree but it looks a little more like a pine cone. I added pink balls to the corners, icing sugar and some pink sprinkles. I am pleased with the end result even if it is a little wonky and pine cone ish. 

The last thing I baked today was cranberry cucpcakes. It was a recipe from the Primose Bakery cookbook. It was rather a strange and overly complex recipe for what is a very easy thing. Saying that I have not yet tasted the cupcakes. Once I have iced them with brandy butter frosting I will report back on the end result. 

I also wanted to show you the very over the top Mini Christmas cake I made for my family. It is basically the same as all the others only with a little more bling. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Snow Ho Ho Ho

I have been getting in to the Christmas spirit this week by making Chocolate Christmas fruit cakes. I have made 9 mini cakes (baked 1 at a time as I only have 1 4" tin) I am planning to give them to friends and family as little gifts. After a very long day of baking I covered the boards and got down to the hard stuff of covering the cakes in marzipan and sugarpaste (I find it very tricky to get them on with no creases or lumps and bumps) by the 8th one I think I was a little better at doing this. I have decorated 5 of them so far. I am keeping the decoration simple with just flat reindeers and stars. To jazz them up I have dusted them with silver disco glitter. I like what I have done so far but feel I can come up with a better design. I have a few left to do so I may change the design for these. 
I will sleep on it and see what happens in the morning.

 How much mess can one make while decorating a cake?!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ta Da!!

I am sad today as it was the last of cake decoration course last night. What will I do on Monday nights?! I am amazed at the cakes that we all produced. At the end all the cakes came together to look stunning. I have mine on the kitchen table and everytime I walk past it I am shocked at how good it is. I'm not saying that it is perfect but it is bloody good for a first attempt. In the last class we dusted flowerpaste leaves, filled our trug, added a flowerpaste butterfly, lettering and finished it off with ribbon round the edge. I'm loving the dusting! You can dust everything and there are hundreds of dust colours and glitters. I have to stop myself from buying them. 

The good news is that I have signed up for the next course but it does not start till end of Feb so I will have to fill my baking needs with Christmas cakes for family and friends and also I am thinking of doing Iron cupcake after the holidays. Will keep you updated. 
Here are photos of the final cakes. 

 My cake



Friday, December 11, 2009

20 flowers and counting

Well what a few weeks I've had!! I was horribly ill with chest and sinus infection and just as that had finally cleared up I pulled a muscle in my back. So due to my body falling apart I have not been hot on the blogging but fear not I am back (even if my shoulders are different heights). I have still been going to the cake decorating class despite the feeling of death. My cake is still not finished and still hat like. For the last few weeks we have been making the decorations for the cake. I have mad a trug (wooden open basket), 20 flowers which are now taped and half are dusted with colour. I am in the process of making the leaves for the finishing touch. I have finished the piping of the icing round the join of the cake and board and on the painted tree. I have to say that I do not love making the flowers. We were supposed to make 25 ish but I got so bored I gave up at 20. I will attempt to make some more before the last class on monday. I like dusting the colours onto the flowers and fear that I may start an expensive collection of dusting powders. 

Flowers Dusted with colour.

I have really enjoyed doing the course and have learnt so much. I am hopefully going to use all the new skills I have learnt in the making of Christmas cakes for my family and friends (final ideas and design has yet to be decided). The good news is that there is a level 2 course (or moving on from beginners as the centre calls it) which I have booked myself onto. On the course we will making a two tier modern wedding cake which sounds very exciting. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Icing is harder than you think

Update on the cake that is a hat. This week I learnt snail trail icing and painted some branches onto the cake. The icing is very hard. You have to sqeeze the bag and then remember to stop squeezing at the right time and it really hurts you hand. We all had the claw by the end. As for the painted it is rather simple. You just painted using food clouring paste and paint straight onto the cake. I painted branches onto the cake which have ended up looking like more of a reindeer head than a tree but hopefully once I have put some leaves and flowers (part of this my homework this week as my paint was too wet to add them in the class) on it will look more tree like. 

Photos coming at the weekend.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cocktail hour is here

I have been working on some new recipes for a few weeks now and I have finally done a trial batch of Cocktail Cupcakes. I was working on two to start with. This weekend I made Coffee Chocolate Flip and Cranberry Kiss. They were quite successful considering it was a first attempt. Both need more alcohol and a little tinkering but the base is at least there.

Coffee Chocolate Flip

Cranberry Kiss

I also discovered this amazing knitted cupcake in my kitchen. I have a pattern for knitted cupcakes but have never tried it. Now that it is winter and knitting weather maybe I will take a break from cooking cupcakes  and knit some instead. 

Attempting to reach perfection

I have begun down the road of perfection. I have started my cake decration class. I have had two classes so far and I am really enjoying it. I did not realise how long it took to decorate a cake. We are decorating a fruit cake (the same one every week so it should be ready for christmas). So far I have put marzipan on the cake and last week I put the sugarpaste on the cake. Oh my it takes about an hour just to get the marzipan and sugarpaste just right but not even close to perfect. I am trying but I will need to practise a few times to reach perfection. I have acquired some lovely new tools. Who know you needed so many tools just to put icing on a cake and we haven't even got to the flower making tools yet. 

The new tools in toolbox.

The cake is looking a bit like a hat at the moment but I'm hoping that once I get all the decorations on it will look good. 

I have embosed some minibeasts around the edge of the board (which is iced. It's the thing to do in the cake world.)

The cake is now bloody heavy after adding 1kg of marzipan and 1kg of sugarpaste. 

This Monday we are piping icing and doing something else but I forget. I'm sure whatever new technique it is it will only add to the cake look rather than the hat look. 
Everyone in the class is very nice and all seem to share a love of cake which can only be a good sign. There is talk of a level 2 class starting in Feburary. So I will be saving my money for that.