Autumn Cake Update

15 10 2012

A quick picture roundup of cakes I’ve done over the last few months. I’m just coming to the end of a self imposed cake break of a month and I’m ready to get back into the kitchen. I will also get the competition up on the blog that I promised many weeks ago! I’m such a bad blogger!

First up is a fun Adidas themed cake for a 40th birthday. A friend on twitter was asking if anyone could make a trainer cake and I put forward my information and the lovely Gill contacted me to describe the surprise she had planned for her husbands 40th birthday. She sent me some pictures of his favourite Adidas trainers and I researched to find some close up images. As these were the focal point of the whole cake I wanted to be as detailed as I could. I also knew he would be scrutinising the detail as he owns so many pairs of this brand. The shoes are fondant covered rice crispie treats, all the detail is fondant or edible paint.

The majority of my cakes are for family and friends and they are always kind with their comments. Despite believing that they wouldn’t lie to me about my abilities there’s always an edge of self doubt that they might just be saying nice things because they know me personally. I welcome all nice comments but there’s something different about someone with no obligation telling you how happy they are with their cake. I received the following email from Gill and as I’d had a hard day in the batcave this was such a wonderful end to the day:

“Just want to thank you for the cake, my husband loved it and was most impressed by your attention to detail . I have to say it also tasted as good as it looked, you did a fantastic job and when I’m next in need of a fabulous cake I will know who to call.”

Comments like this make every second of hard work covered in icing sugar late at night worthwhile!

Next we have a celebration cake for a family friend.  Her daughter picked the design and colours and I think she may have chosen every single thing I love to make a truly fun cake that totally epitomises a celebration. The stars are on florist wires inserted into a few cake picks hidden underneath rainbow sprinkles. All decoration is fondant.

Next up is a repeat customer. A friend that I used to work with wanted a cake for her Mother-In-Law’s birthday. It had to be golf themed, include a figure of the birthday girl and the name of her favourite golf course. I’m still learning when it comes to human figures but they do improve each time a try a new one. All decoration is fondant except the cocktail stick flagpole and the card glasses.

Another colleague has ordered a cake from me every year for her son’s birthday and this year was no exception. I love how each year it has been his current favourite childrens TV programme. This time it was Postman Pat. A fun character to make and I’m happy with how it turned out. All decoration is fondant (except Pat’s glasses which are florist wire)

Something a little different than cake. I have been so excited about an event that was due to come to The Odyssey Arena (aka the batcave/ my workplace) for several years: Walking With Dinosaurs. If you ever get a chance to go and see the tour please do not hesitate for one second, it is absolutely worth every penny. We aren’t ashamed to admit that we went without children and thoroughly enjoyed every second of the production. I had seen these moulds a few months ago and knew I had to try and make something Dino themed for the week that Walking with Dinosaurs was here. These chocolates are a mix of dark, milk, orange chocolate and various coloured candy melts.

And finally, a Lime & Coconut loaf that I made for my colleagues. I was itching to make something without chocolate or vanilla. Don’t get me wrong I love both those flavours but I rarely get to make a cake these days that doesn’t incorporate either or both of them. This is a refreshing change, a hint of summer as we enter the cold and dark nights of winter. The recipe can be found here on the collaborative baking blog 52 Weeks of Baking that I participate in.





Lamingtons – My first attempt

9 09 2011

While things settle down in my real life baking has taken a back seat. I’ve made the odd batch of brownies and there are a few cakes I’ve yet to blog about but regular baking has been severely lacking. So obviously inspiration had to strike while I was without all my baking kit. My dad is originally from Australia and despite being the only person in our family never to have set foot on Aussie soil I’m quite partial to some of their sweet treats. I adore chocolate covered Macadamia Nuts, I love that they are big fans of coconut and I have a multitude of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks. I decided that I must make Lamingtons and as soon as possible.

As I was without my cookbooks I googled for a simple recipe and settled on a sort of hybrid version of several recipes. I decided to use my own sponge cake recipe as I knew it was easy and didn’t require any fancy equipment. I used an 8 inch square tin but I’d say this would be best in a 9 inch tin, it’s really personal preference as to the size you’d like your lamingtons to be. I went for 16 squares from my sponge which was just enough for us as the icing is quite sweet.

Basic Sponge Cake

175g (6 oz) soft butter or margarine, plus extra for greasing

175g (6oz) caster sugar

3 eggs

175g (6oz) self-raising flour

1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ Gas Mark 4

Lightly grease and line the bottom of your square tin

Combine all the ingredients and beat well until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared tin.

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the cake is well risen, golden and springy to the touch.

Let the cake sit in the tin for 5-10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

Once the cake has cooled, cut it into squares ready for dipping.

Icing

225g (1/2 lb) icing sugar

2 & half tablespoons of good cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)

1/2 tablespoon butter

60ml (2 fl oz) milk

200g packet of dessicated coconut

Instructions:

Combine the icing sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan heat the milk & butter until the butter is melted, I kept this on low – med heat and it didn’t take very long so keep a close eye on it.

Add the warm milk to the sugar mixture and mix well to create a fluid (but not too runny) icing. It should be fluid enough to allow the cake to be dipped but not so much that none of the icing adheres itself to the cake.

Have your cake squares, icing, a fork & a cooling rack ready. Place the coconut in a shallow bowl. Use the fork to dip the cake in the icing, making sure to turn it to cover all the sides. This bit can be messy but it’s worth it! Tap the excess icing off the cake then roll it in the coconut. This is where you can check if the icing is too runny, it should be thick enough to not continue to drip from the cake once you tap off the excess.

Place the squares on the cooling rack once they’ve been rolled in the coconut. Let them harden up a little then try to resist eating every single one before you share them.