Latest cake pictures

11 01 2013

Hello lovely readers. I do hope you all had a fantabulous Christmas & New Year. Onwards & upwards for cakery in 2013. Yes, I’m still working in my accounts job full time but I’m being super organised with the cakes I take on and I’ve finally learnt to say no when it’s just not feasible to find time to sleep in between work & cakes! I have a few exciting cakes in the pipeline in the coming months including a geektastic wedding cake which is both exciting & terrifying at the same time.

My lovely wife not only bought me copious amounts of baking goodies for Christmas, she also made me a new Portfolio with inserts & a hand stitched funky cover. This beauty will be my go-to place for all the info on future cakes and will also have tons of pics of all my previous cakes to show off my skills.

Now, onto to the good stuff. I’ve had a few ‘1st’ cakes in the last few months, they are amongst this lovely bunch.

My very first doll cake! I was so dubious about this one as I’d never even considered how a doll cake was constructed but I was beyond pleased with how it turned out. Yes, it’s very pink & sparkly but I think I was able to try and keep it a little more classy than tacky & still please the birthday girl. A steep learning curve but very fun to create. The doll is an actual Barbie doll, the skirt is 7 layers of chocolate cake & the base cake is vanilla & raspberry.

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Next up we have another cake for the fabulous Claire at The World Of Kitsch She wanted a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse themed cake with 2D design. I love the clean lines and vibrant colours of this cake. It wasn’t as unusual as her usual requests but still a fun cake anyway. I love getting orders from Claire, she is very happy to let me be creative with her ideas.

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Another birthday boy cake. This time for a friend’s nephew. A simple request for a Fireman Sam cake and I decided to try for something a little different. I’d seen some themed party ware with the flame design so I decided to go all out and base the whole scheme on the flames. I love this look. I’ve been reading up on figure making so I’m trying to apply some of my new skills to figures. I’m still learning but I’ll get there.

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A more adult orientated cake now. I made my first version of this for my brothers 30th last summer but I had some major issues with the support structure I used (basically it wasn’t strong enough!) so when my brothers friend asked for the same cake for her boyfriend I had to rethink my base. I used a much sturdier wooden dowel and extra boards on the bottom to give the cake extra support. Unlike my brothers cake this was plain chocolate. I was pleased that I was able to keep the cake staying upright, it looks so much more effective than a bottle lying down.

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Another surprise cake here, ordered by my aunt for her neighbours. They are big fans of my chocolate cake and we thought it was high time they had a whole cake to themselves. The wife came up with the clever idea to separate the one piece marked with the husbands name from the rest of the cake & after some cake crumbling occurred I had to make that piece from rice crispie treats so the joke was even funnier when we handed the cake over.

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And finally we have another new learning experience for me! My first ever modelled horse. When I was asked to make a horse themed cake I did consider making a cartoon style horse or even having it lie down on the cake but I felt I should aim for a more realistic look. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to modelling because I’m a real stickler for realism. I know that I made it extra hard on myself but I’m unbelievably pleased with how this turned out. I know from my art college days that even drawing a horse can be difficult s I had no allusions that this would be difficult. I used wire to make an armature, covered the body and neck with foil then applied white fondant in small pieces to build up the body in layers. I must admit to using some polymer clay books as reference material for getting the proportions right. Once the white model was try I smoothed the edges & hand painted it. As I wanted the horse to be the focal point I kept the rest of the cake quite simple in its style. The birthday girl (and avid horse rider) was very pleased with the result.

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I’ll catch up with you soon for more cakery. If there’s anything you’d like to see on the blog or any questions please feel free to comment or drop me an email to the address under the contact tab.





Happy Valentine’s Day

14 02 2011

A quick picture post to show two simple sweet ideas for your Valentine (or yourself!)  I made my go-to Brownie recipe and for dessert I simply cut out hearts and paired them with vanilla ice cream.  To stop us from eating 2 trays of brownies I then crumbled the rest, rolled them into balls and dipped them in a variety of chocolates & Valentine themed sprinkles.  I have been gathering up these sweet sprinkles & sugars for quite a while and was looking for a great excuse to use them, I just popped them in silver & red metallic mini cupcake liners and they made an impressive treat.

Enjoy the day of love, however you may be spending it xo





Picture Post

3 02 2011

Well peeps, 2 blog posts in one week, I’m spoiling you 😉 After the epic length of my previous ramblings I’ve decided to let your brains rest with a nice picture post.  It is lengthy as it’s a catch up of all my endeavours for the last few months but I want to bring myself up to date.  I have a few interesting jobs coming up that I’d like to blog within at least one month of the actual cake being made, I know, don’t quote me on that.  Apologies for the lack of picture quality, my netbook is still broken and I’m having difficulty uploading pics from my camera. These were all taken with the iphone, not so great for blog posting.

The pics after the cut are in actual timeline order but I wanted to start with this bad boy.  The wife adores all things Japanese so I wanted to combine a few elements into one cake for her birthday.  Unfortunately it was while I was making 2 other cakes so I was pushed for time.  I made the mini Buddha from rice crispie treats, fondant and gold lustre dust, the cake is a simple double layer vanilla sponge with raspberry & vanilla filling and the cherry blossoms were handpainted with sugarflair paste colours.  She loved it!

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Banana pops

13 06 2010

I spend a lot of time perusing my favourite baking blogs, saving recipes, enjoying the amazing pictures and often drooling over the beautiful food.  Sometimes I save a recipe and it languishes on my computer for months.  Other times I see something and know that I just have to make it as soon as possible.  These mini banana pops from http://www.joythebaker.com/ are one such recipe.  Despite our weather being a little hit and miss these days we’ve had a few hot days when only an ice cream or ice lolly will suffice.  I convinced myself that the banana make these healthy, let’s just ignore the calorific chocolate and sprinkles involved!

I used 4 small bananas and chopped them into 3 inch chunks & skewered them individually, kept them separated and froze them overnight.

Although Joy used dark chocolate and chopped nuts I decided to use some Cadburys milk chocolate buttons and a variety of sprinkles as I was testing these on people with varying tastes.

Dip the frozen banana pops in the melted chocolate, work quickly as the chocolate hardens fast, roll each pop in sprinkles of your choice. Put them back in the freezer for half and hour to harden fully then wrap individually for a nice ice treat at any time.

As well as the usual sugar sprinkles I decided to spice things up with some popping candy!  I’ve been waiting to use some in baking for a while and I thought this was a perfect opportunity.  These are a great idea for kids, I’m not even a very big banana fan and I thought these were divine.  A perfect alternative to the usual freezer wares.

You can see Joy’s original post here:

http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2009/07/mini-chocolate-dipped-bananas/





Sacher Torte (Gluten Free)

12 06 2010

I’m often asked if I do gluten free baking and I’m embarrassed to say it’s not something I’ve ever attempted before.  As it’s becoming more common to have intolerances to certain foods or ingredients I thought it was about time I tried something that would appeal to those who usually can’t enjoy my baking.

I’ve had the Murphys Ice Cream Book of Sweet Things for months and had yet to try any of the recipes. I had a lot of eggs and almond meal and the Sachertorte immediately jumped out as being something I could try and it was gluten free.  I also appreciated that this recipe uses raspberry jam instead of the traditional apricot as I love the combination of raspberry and chocolate.

Sachertorte

200g of 70% chocolate

200g butter – cut into pieces and slightly softened

15g butter for greasing the tin

200g sugar

200g almond flour (ground almonds)

8 eggs

400g raspberry jam

Ganache:

85g unsalted butter

225g of 70% chocolate

150ml golden syrup

15ml (1 tablespoon) cognac or good rum (I omitted this)

Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas mark 4

Melt the chocolate

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch cake tin. Don’t flour or cocoa the tin if you want to keep this cake gluten free.

Mix the butter and sugar for 5 minutes.  Break and separate the eggs.  Slowly add the egg yolks and continuing mixing for 5 minutes.

Mix in the almond flour.  Add the melted chocolate.  Continue mixing at a slow speed, being careful not to over-mix.

Beat the egg whites in a cold, dry bowl until soft peaks form.  Don’t over-beat.

Gradually fold the beaten egg whites into the dough until combined.

Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 45 – 50 minutes (Mine was in a 10 inch tin and took a little under 40 minutes) Remove from the oven and immediately spread the raspberry jam over the top of the cake.

Leave in the baking pan for 1 hour.

To make the ganache, melt the chocolate.

Melt the butter over low heat in a separate pan (dont let it get too hot)

Stir in the golden syrup then the cognac or rum – stirring hard until it is smooth and glossy.

Pour the warm ganache over the cake, allowing some of it to run down the sides.

Spread it gently with a spatula until it covers the entire cake.  Allow to cool.  The ganache should set before serving.

I brought this into work for my colleagues (my regular baking guinea pigs) and it got seriously mixed reviews.  Many people couldn’t place the different flavours especially the almond and raspberry.  I had mixed feelings about it myself.  It was beautifully moist but the almond meal gave it a slightly odd texture and I wasn’t sure about the raspberry.  Although I was unsure about the flavours other people loved the combination including someone who is coeliac.

I doubt I will be making this as regularly as I make some of my other cakes but I’ll definitely try it again.





Macaroon dreams….

25 04 2010

So I’ve finally had a little time to blog my most recent baking attempt.  My hope is that this blog will take off again as soon as I get these pesky Accounts exams out of the way.  I am experiencing a self imposed baking blackout so that I don’t use it as yet another distraction from revision.  This blip was due to Easter.  As I knew we were visiting my family I wanted to bring some treats.  My original plan was to make macaroons for all the Easter bags I was putting together; well I shouldn’t have put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak.  I recently bought this fabulous book I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita which concentrates solely on Macaroons and how to perfect them.  I’ve made them once before and knew they were tough but I figured this book would help speed the process up a lot.

I started to gather the ingredients for my macaroons (Chocolate with Nutella filling/ Lemon with raspberry filling/ Raspberry with lemon filling) but even that proved difficult when I could not get ground almonds anywhere.  I paid over the odds but finally found them in my local Spar!  Take that Tesco & Marks & Spencer.  I made my first batch, concentrating very closely on the books instructions about macronnage (the method for folding the ingredients together in order to create the perfect batter) This batch was an epic fail, they overcooked, stuck to the parchment paper and were hard as rocks.  Second batch in a lower temperature oven, and hey presto, perfect (or as perfect as I can get them) little macaroon feet.  These were light, crisp and chewy in the middle.  Unfortunately by this stage I’d used a lot of eggs, made a huge mess and essentially only had about 10 macaroons.

As I needed to provide treats in 7 different bags and I was leaving the next morning I realised I’d have to change my plans.  I quickly searched for a plain cupcake recipe, added some lemon juice, made over 100 mini cupcakes, topped with lemon glace icing and a small lemon jelly slice.  To add bulk and to be able to use more nutella I made simple little fork butter cookies which I sandwiched with nutella or seedless raspberry jam.  I used the cute Easter bags the wife bought me in Lakeland with yellow and blue twist ties.  My hopes of using nice ribbon ties and tags went out the window along with my macaroon dreams.

I will attempt Macaroons again & I will try some different combinations but this time I will ensure it’s not for a deadline.  The few people that got to try them said they were delicious and I was really happy with how they turned out but they were hard work!

Keep an eye out for a few more posts where I’m going to have a look at my cookbook collection and baking equipment, including what I consider essential items in your baking repertoire.





Belated Christmas Cake Truffles

14 01 2010

With all the craziness of family, work & a new puppy to contend with over Christmas I didn’t get a chance to do much baking.  Even when I was able to bake, making a blog post seemed to be beyond my capabilities…that is why I am posting Christmas themed truffles in the middle of January!  Also, apologies for the dark photos, these were made at my parents house over Christmas so my usual system for documenting was not possible!

I’ve made these several times and find they not only are a great way to use up cake left over from carving cakes but they also allow people to test my cakes in one small bite. 

Instructions after the jump…

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