Thursday, 8 December 2011
I eat too much cake. Its a fact. And rather unavoidable given my occupation. So in the evenings, when the cake baking is done and my tastebuds and stomach are craving something savoury, I do try to cook healthy foods. When I want to be even more super duper healthy, I meander over to 101 Cookbooks or my copy of Super Natural Every Day and pick something from Heidi's collection of super whole and healthy recipes.
The problem I do have with her recipes though, is that there are some ingredients I don't even know what they are, let alone where on earth, here in Manchester, England specifically, I would be able to get hold of them. What is Tempeh? Where do I find black sesame seeds? These are questions that perusing her book has left me with. So, I do often have to improvise a little bit when cooking her recipes, and add my own ingredients or alternatives.
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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Hello world. Its been a while. How are you doing?
I am ok. Living with cake, cake and more cake. Recently I made a wedding cake that I didn't know was a wedding cake, I made 150 cupcakes in little bags, and today I have been making a marriage proposal in Venice cake. Complete with gondola, man on bended knee(s) and pretty scenery. But today's post is about the king of the chocolate cakes. German Chocolate Cake.
I attend the Clandestine Cake Club in Manchester. It is a group of ladies who all love to make, and eat cake. Every meeting there is a theme and we all make a cake in line with the theme. Then we bring the cakes to a meeting place, a different one every time, and we sit around, drink coffee, talk about cake, and most importantly, eat a lot of cake. And I mean a lot. I think this time I managed to have a teeny sliver of about 6 different cakes. I'd love to try them all, but my stomach is not up to the challenge of 15 or so cakes, unfortunately.
This months theme was family favourites. As I could not think of a particular cake that was a 'favourite' in the family, I decided to be liberal with the theme and go with a cake that is from my heritage. I have heard of German Chocolate Cake before, so this was a perfect opportunity to bake it up with my German heritage.
A far as cakes go, I make a lot of them. Most days of the week. Yesterday I made 3, and that was when I got home from my shift at the bakery, but this cake, this cake is different. Its a project cake. It consists of no less than 4 components - sponge, syrup, filling and ganache, and it takes time. But oh is it worth it. It is sublime, divine, heavenly. And all the ladies of the CCC concur.
I cannot take the credit for the recipe, it is courtesy of Mr David Liebovitz, but I can take credit for my making of it, and I take credit for the chunk of it I munched, and for the fact that there was not a single bit left. The sponge is so light and moist from the syrup it alone would be a treat, but that filling. Oh that filling. I could have munched the entire bowl with a spoon and then happily drifted off into a sugar & butter induced coma. Its good. Make it.
German Chocolate Cake
OK, the recipe looks long, I know. And I won't deny that you need a couple of hours in which to construct this beauty. You cannot whip it up on a whim. But I say again, its sooooo worth it. Every second. Every mouthful. Mmmmmm.
One big, tall 9-inch cake; about 16 servings
For the cake:
4 ounces dark chocolate chopped
6 tablespoons water
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted and finely chopped pecans
1 1/3 cups desiccated coconut, toasted
For the syrup:
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum or 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the chocolate ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 ½ ounces unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1. Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Melt the chocolate with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.
6. In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff.
7. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there's no trace of egg white visible.
8. Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake layers completely.
While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.
To make the filling:
1. Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3 ounces butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.
2. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of your spoon
3. Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. (It will thicken)
To make the syrup:
1. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum/vanilla extract.
To make the ganache:
1. Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the 1 ½ ounces of butter.
2. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.
To assemble the cake:
Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife.
Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.
Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top.
Ice the sides with the chocolate ganache, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.
Orignal From: German Chocolate Cake
Friday, 4 November 2011
This week, I have a dog. We have got a dog. Haven't bought a dog, as he was 'free to a good home', but he has been brought home, and now is a member of the household. A permanent fixture. A responsibility. It feels weird. I haven't been responsible for another living thing, well, ever. And here he is. Living, breathing, eating, farting, doing all the things that a dog does, and at this very moment, I am responsible for him. Just me. Weird. I guess this is a very watered down version of what having a baby feels like.
Its funny. You look at people picking up dog poop, and you think, yuck. Gross. How can they do that. Then you have your own dog, and its just part of the package. YOu just take it in your stride. And how he was when I came home from work today, he was overjoyed to see me. He jumped up and down and looked so excited he could barley contain himself. He then lavishes love on me in every way a dog knows how. That. That unconditional, uncontrolled love, when he's only known me 7 days, that is why I love dogs. And this one, Toby, in particular.
So, I haven't baked anything, at home at least, this week. But I have done lots of baking at the bakery, and lots of decorating too. Today - it was the castle cake. Never having made a castle out of cake before, I was not completely sure where to start. So I started at the beginning. Grey. and the rest just flowed really. I was in the 'zone'. Cake decorators will know what I mean. That place you go, that switch that flicks in your brain when you start decorating. You are focused, and everything around you goes out of focus. All you can see is the cake, and you just start. And you only stop when you are happy that you are done. That the cake is complete. Then you step back, smile, and the rest of the world comes back into focus and you move on to the next one.
I do plan to make something blog-worthy this weekend. At the moment I am torn between Salted Butter Caramels and White Chocolate and Ginger Ice Cream. What should I make??
Orignal From: A Big Responsibility, and a Castle Cake
Saturday, 29 October 2011
I'm not sure about halloween. I did not grow up with it as a tradition as South Africa, with all houses behind big walls with electric fencing and guarded by at least 3 Rottweilers, is not conducive to trick-or-treating. Now I'm in the UK, all around me is orange, black and purple, and I guess I will have to stock up on sweeties on the weekend in case any little dressed up kiddies knock on the door hoping for a treat.
(tip: sprinkle leftover pastry with cinnamon sugar and cut into strips and bake with the pastry shell for a yummy snack)
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Friday, 21 October 2011
You cannot understand it unless you have done it. Do you know how hard it is to go out for a run, on a dark, cloudy, rainy afternoon. On this day, I talked myself in and out of going out for a run at least a dozen times before my foot crossed the threshold of the door to go out. I was almost convinced that I wasn't going to do it, as I sat on the sofa looking out at the rain just 5 minutes before my self-scheduled time to go. Nobody to meet, no motivation to go except for the little voice in my head telling me that I should go, I will enjoy it. So I changed, put on my still-damp-from-the-last-run shoes, opened the front door, sighed, and stepped out into the rain.
When I got to my start point, I sat in the car for a minute, not completely convinced that I was going to actually get out of the car. Once out its just a matter of getting past the 5 minutes of uncomfortable cold-wetness, and then that fantastic internal combustion engine that is the cardio-vascular system starts sending the warm blood to cool and damp fingers and toes, and you begin to feel the glow of running.
It was quiet on the trail today. Impossibly uncommonly quiet. I did not see anyone. ANYONE. Not one single person. Normally, even on the darkest, dismalest day, there will be even one dedicated dog walker. But today, NOBODY. Alone in the world.
A run in the rain is an assault on all the senses. Maybe assault is not the right word. Its a treat for all the senses, stimulating, scintillating each one all at once. The sound of the rain on the trees above, on your head, the sound of your steps, your breathing, the sound of the wind in the trees, in your ears. The sight of the familiar landscape shrouded in cloud and fog. The colours all muted by the grey, a pointillism of raindrops. The woods have a distinct smell. They smell of leaves and wood and rain and the river. Rivers have a distinct smell too. The smell of this river takes me back to my teenage years of paddling on the Klip River. The touch, the feeling of running in the rain... the feel of the rain on your face, the and the wind on your neck. The feel of the trail under your feet, every pebble and root and puddle. The feel of your lungs burning on the hills and the feel of your thighs burning as you near the top of the steps. And taste. Taste the salt of your sweat muddled with the rainwater that runs down your face. When else do you feel so much, hear so much, and revel in every millisecond of it.
As comes with the rain, it was muddy out today. Very muddy as its been raining for a few days in true Manchester-Autumn style. So I know its nice to have dry feet, but once your feet get wet, they're wet, and once they warm up in your soggy shoes then you are free to run through the puddles, the mud and the slush with the joyous abandon of a child. When did you last run in the mud? Jump in a puddle? Its fun, and a bit of reverting to childish mentality that I cherish. When did you last run as fast as you can? Move our legs at their maximum possible speed? Even as a 'runner' I don't run as fast as I can very often. But today I did. Sprinted so fast (relatively, for me) that if I tried any harder I would actually find my face on the ground. Its exhilarating. It hurts. Its wonderful. It lasts only a short time but when I pulled up, at my car, my heart was beating its fastest and my lungs screamed for air. My legs glowed with all the blood my poor heart was pushing there, and I could not help smiling. Nobody there to smile at, but smiled at myself. Then got in the car, and that was that.
You can't 'get' it unless you have something that makes you smile, even when you are all by yourself. Something that you do to make you happy. Something you love. Something your life would emptier without.
Orignal From: On a running note
Friday, 14 October 2011
I love a good banana bread. Who doesn't? But I also like to shake things up a bit. Move away from the traditional bananas and walnuts, and throw in some more random ingredients and see what happens.
So I came across the 'Zucchini' aka Courgette Breakfast Bread on dear Joy the Baker, and I wanted to try it immediately. Coincidentally I had a huge courgette in the house, and some pumpkin in the fridge that was asking to be included. It wanted in on the bread, and I thought that was a great idea. Better than the poor pumpkin leftovers being forgotten in the back of the fridge only to be discovered a few weeks later once they have started to grow their own little mold colony to keep them company.
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Monday, 10 October 2011
No matter how old I get, there is something comforting about ice cream. Something in its cool velvety creaminess that calms my very soul. A little melodramatic you say? Well, it does. And this chocolate ice cream is the epitome of comfort food. I don't have chocolate ice cream very often. Its never the first flavour that I'll choose when faced with an ice cream parlour full of options. Normally the vanilla raspberry, the pistachio or the creme brulee flavours get the first look in. But when I came across this recipe quite accidentally while browsing online, something about it spoke to me. It said 'make me. you won't regret it'.
Apart from the completed deliciousness of the finished product, the actual making of this ice cream is a divine process. The chocolatey mixture bubbling on the stove will fill your entire house will the blissful aroma of deep, rich, chocolate. It does this to such an extent, that the nice lady coming to pick up her birthday cake, will walk in, sniff, and goo 'ooooohhhhh, what IS that gorgeous SMELL?'. Its true. It really happened.
So, being the rushed-off-my-feet self-employed mad workaholic that I am now, I neglected to take any photos of the making of the ice cream. I am sorry. Truly. Very. Please forgive me. So please settle for a few images of the finished product, and let me assure you that the making of this ice cream, is silly easy, and every sublime scoopful of it will make you smile and forget your worries for as long as it touches your tongue. I promise.
Chocolate Ice Cream
Slightly adapted from David Lebovitz
You'll notice this recipe doesn't call for eggs, which makes it suitable for people who are avoiding eggs for various dietary reasons. For best results, sift the cocoa powder to remove any lumps and use good chocolate, one in the range of 55 to 70% cocoa solids.
What you will need:
1 cup (250 ml) full cream milk
4 teaspoons cornflour
1 cup (250 ml) double cream
1 cup (250 ml) evaporated milk
2/3 cup (130 gr) sugar
1/3 cup (35 gr) good quality cocoa powder
3 ounces (85 gr) dark or milk chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 generous shot of creme de cacao (dark or light)
What to do:
1. Mix a few tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour in a small bowl, until smooth.
2. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the rest of the milk, cream, evaporated milk and sugar. When the mixture comes to a gentle boil, whisk in the cocoa powder, then let it cook at a modest boil for 4 minutes, whisking regularly.
3. After four minutes, whisk in the cornflour/milk mixture then continue to cook for one minute, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened.
4. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate and salt, stirring until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and liqueur.
5. Transfer the ice cream mixture bowl then sit that bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice and a bit of water, and let sit until cool, then refrigerate until cold.
6. Pour the mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker, then freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Orignal From: The Best Chocolate Ice Cream in the Universe
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Ok, so I've been away for a while. Not away away. I've been here. Home. But I have neglected my poor blog horribly. This has sat on my conscience as though I were neglecting a child. A good child who was sitting patiently and quietly waiting for me to remember he/she is there. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.
It may be a small consolation, but I have been busy, and not idle. I have done many many bakery hours. Iced countless cupcakes, and done my first ever wedding cake. Wedding cake, now that was an experience. I had been worried about this cake since I first got the order like 2 months ago. Thats a lot of worrying. So when the big day finally came and all the tiers sat all shiny and pearly, waiting to be assembled, I started having cold sweats. It did not help that when I had visited my local cake decorating shop that morning, the sales lady had regaled me with horror stories about pillared cakes and told me how now, even though she has like 0 years cake decorating experience, she WILL NOT make pillared cakes. Period. No negotiations will be entered into. Eiiiiiishhhh. But with the engineering/construction help from my dear other half, the cake was successfully stacked, and as nobody called me to tell me that it had fallen over, I assume that it stood proudly, all day and all night. So here's a picture. Note: I did not invent the design, it was requested ok.
What else have I been doing? Oh yes, I made 200 cupcakes on Sunday. A lovely order for Virgin Mobile, with mini mobile phones and Virgin Media logos on the cupcakes. Pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
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Sunday, 28 August 2011
Its been a busy week. I have done a lot and baked a lot and run a lot. All good :)
I have made a load of 21st birthday cupcakes in vanilla, carrot and chocolate flavours
I have made and delivered a Golden Wedding Anniversary Cake
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
I don't make pancakes for breakfast very often. Partly due to morning time restrictions, partly due to the fact that they are a 'treat' for breakfast, and should not be the norm, lest they cease to be a treat and become mundane. But I felt like pancakes, I had time, and I have been running again recently so I can justify the sweet indulgence with a run.
I came across these on Joy the Baker and they just sounded different. Unusual. Spicy and interesting. So I chose them. The only small pitfall was that I did not have any buttermilk with which to make my buttermilk based pancakes. Did I say pitfall? Sorry, I meant potential pitfall, if I did not know how to make my very own buttermilk. Its great, easy, quick, and just the thing when you want pancakes and don't have any buttermilk in the fridge. Just 1 cup of milk and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Let it sit for a few minutes. Voila. Buttermilk.
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Monday, 22 August 2011
Saturday was Sugarbird Cupcakes' debut appearance at Wilmslow Artisan Food Market market, offering our lovely cake pops to the people of Wilmslow. My very first market stall experience was a fantastic one. We arrived bright and early at 8am ready for set up, and after a little confusion managed to find out stall and start making it pretty. The table was dressed with first a white tablecloth and then a pink and white polka dotted wipe-clean tablecloth. The stand for the cake pops matched the tablecloth well, being polka dotted and checked, and all the little pops looked adorable in their stands. Somehow I managed not to forget anything, thanks to the checklist I'd made and the day ran smoothly.
I did receive wonderful feedback on the cake pops as people nibbled on the tasters, and although I think that many people still do not know what cake pops actually are, I think I have won over a few hearts and tastebuds to the world of the cake pop.
The flavours I took along were strawberry cheesecake filled, caramel apple, cappuccino and lemon and the strawberry turned out to be a firm favourite, selling out long before the other flavours. Mental note: make more strawberry next time!
One thing I loved about doing the market stall was seeing people's reactions to cake pops. They are not nearly as well known here in the UK as they are in the States, but people were very open to trying them once they realized that they were not in fact lollipops! I especially loved seeing how the children respond to tasting new things. A few little boys and their mums/dads would end up in front of the sample plate on my stall, and although I could see that they wanted to taste, they were often overcome at the last minute by bouts of extreme shyness that left them hiding behind their mum's skirts or their dad's jeans, with just one big, nervous eye peeking out, looking nervously between me and the cake. Sometimes the desire for sugar would overcome and they would reach a tentative little hand out and quickly snatch a (always the largest) piece before retreating back to the safety of their parents shadow to devour the treasured morsel.
It was a lovely day and I met many lovely people and hopefully scored one point for the cake pop on UK soil. I look forward to the next market which I have been told I am allowed to bring cupcakes to as well as the regular cupcake vendor sold out this time, so there seems to be a large market for the cupcake. Excellent! Hope to see you there.
Orignal From: Wilmslow Market - Cake Pops Debut
Monday, 15 August 2011
Wow, I can;t believe I have neglected my blog for so long. I don't know where the time has gone in the last week. Well, I do know actually. Its gone on starting my new part time job - baking and cake decorating at The Cake Gallery in Bowden. What a gorgeous place and the people there are just lovely. Can't wait to get more stuck in this week :) Time has also been spent on my first wedding cake order, hurrah! I am SO excited to have the opportunity to make a wedding cake for a lovely couple who are getting married in 6 weeks. It will be a square, 3-tier cake. Separated by pillars so its super tall, and decorated with garret frills and yellow roses. I can't wait to get going on that one. I have also been planning the design for the golden wedding anniversary cake which I am doing in 2 weeks time. I think I have settled on the design now, so just need to go and get a baking tin and I will begin next week.
So things are going well. The only slightly sore point is that I haven't received any orders from my website yet. I have done a lot more content writing this past weekend to make Google like it more, and I guess that takes time before it shows, but I am wondering if people just don't find it, or if there is something about the site that puts them off. If you are reading this and are at all curious, take a mosey on to my site and let me know what you think. Any feedback will be welcome! Thank you.
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Thursday, 4 August 2011
If any of you have a blog (if there is anyone actually reading this) you might wonder if anyone reads the humble words you type. You may contemplate whether the thoughts and words jumbled together in your mind and hopefully somewhat eloquently put down in black and white on the screen, are ever seen by any eyes but your own. I wonder that. I wonder whether even my own mother reads my blog. Maybe now I'll find out. Or not. Interesting experiment. It takes time to read someones blog. There are a few that I follow. Some daily and some weekly. Some only when I am on the hunt for specific information, and some I come across accidentally. But to have one that you read all of, all the time. Thats not so common. Especially of the blog that are a bit more wordy than others. The funny, anecdotal, short-and-sweet ones are easier reading. Mine's not like that. I'm not funny. Not funny haha at least. But I like to believe I am intelligible at least, and perhaps contrary to my mother's belief, I am reasonably clever. Or intelligent rather. I don't like the word clever. It has negative connotations for me fore some reason. I have word bias. I am a word snob.
Today I came across the word evanescent in a quote. It is a word that I have to confess I know only from the band name. I had never heard it used in a sentence before. So I looked it up. It means: vanishing, fading away, fleeting. I like it. Its a good word. The quote I discovered it in was by Julia Child, an intelligent, educated lady who was not afraid to speak her mind. She said: "Noncooks think it's silly to invest two hours' work in two minutes' enjoyment; but if cooking is evanescent, so is the ballet." I once spent 2 days making a twice cooked brisket. It was sublime, and worth every second. I once spent 3 days making tiramisu, and did not think that a single second of my life had been wasted. Is that not why people create? For the enjoyment that the result brings, to themselves and to others? From the humble home cook who makes extra effort in the evening meal, to the worlds greatest chef; from the child who finger paints a portrait of the family pet, to the next picasso; we spend our time in the creation of great things because they are worth it for the pleasure they give. Whether it be pleasure for one meal time or pleasure for a lifetime. Giving joy to others is the reward. The reason.
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Wednesday, 3 August 2011
I love lemon. Lemon cake, lemon tart, lemon cookies, lemon bars, you get the idea. I even eat lemon. Straight. Weirdo? I know. I can't help it.
So yesterday while making a bunch of low calorie cupcakes, I had some time to kill in between batches and I also had a whole load of egg yolks left over from using the egg whites in the cupcakes. As my brain was mulling over the potential uses for 8 egg yolks, my eyes fell on the big bag of lemons in the fruit bowl. Perfect! :) Lemon Curd!
My first memory of lemon curd is of my grandmother. I don't know if you can even buy lemon curd in South Africa. We certainly never had it in the house when I was growing up. But I do distinctly remember my grandma having jars of it that I am pretty certain she made herself. I remember it being used just as a topping for bread/toast, and the sweet, silky, lemony flavour has stuck with me.
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Tuesday, 2 August 2011
I am doing a market stall next month, for the very first time. I am a little nervous. And I am work hard to decide what I am going sell, so that I can plan for what I need. I initially went for a stall with a view to doing cupcakes, but the market already had a cupcake supplier so they were not interested in another one, but asked if I can do anything else. Can I do anything else? I certainly hope that I can. So now the task of deciding what I will do, and getting all the supplies I need in order to execute that plan. Nervous? Oh yes.
My initial thought was brownies. Inspired by my Fat Witch Bakery book of Brownies, Blondies and Bars. Its gorgeous and the brownies are fantastic. And who doesn't like a chocolate brownie? So I have picked a couple of types of brownie, they will be good for chopping up into little tasters to lure passers by towards my stall. Then i need something else, something different. Having been to this market a few weeks ago, to scope out the competition, I know what will be on offer, and more importantly, what won't be. So the second pretty and delicious offering is the cake ball. These little gems are terribly in fashion at the moment, and I think that they (in their cake pop on-a-stick version) will be perfect for the market. They appeal to kids as they are like lollipops, they appeal to adults as they are good looking and easy to eat as one walks around a market. They are in fashion so appeal to those 'in the know' and they are delicious, so will hopefully generate return business.
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Friday, 29 July 2011
The first two days were wedding cake style work. We made a 2 tier square cake by carving up a 16" x 14" sheet of genoese sponge (or 'Gen' as they call it in the industry. Check out my specialist knowledge, haha). We used an 8" and a 12" cake board as templates to cut out our cake which was about an inch and half deep and then stacked up 5 layers of Gen. The advantage is using sheet cake rather than cakes baked in the required size tin is that you can carve it really neatly and scrape of the crumb without losing size. Very cool. If only my oven was big enough for 16" x 14" trays...
The layers were filled with alternating layers of vanilla buttecream and raspbery jam, and then crumb coated with buttercream. Then we covered them with white sugarpaste (fondant) and sat them on the board, reinforcing the lower tier with plastic dowels. The decorating was so much fun. We were shown all sorts of techniques and as we applied them to our cakes the effectiveness of even simple royal icing piping was made evident. Although a lot of techniques need practice to refine, they are not difficult. Wonderful :)
Day three was a sat up Minnie Mouse cake. So stunning to look at but so simple in construction when you break it down step by step. The only gripe I had was that the red sugarpaste we were using started cracking even as I was rolling it out to cover the cake and make the dress, so by the time I placed my head on my Minnie, the dress had some nasty cracks. Karen said the quality of sugarpaste can really vary and the new EU colour regulations have changed a lot of recipes. Minnie's face is a little tricky, but now that I know the proper proportions, I think with some practice I should be able to replicate it in future. The end result is so effective and striking, it would be amazing for kids parties, and I hope I get a chance to make one some time soon. The same techniques can be used for Micky Mouse and other figures so the possibilities are endless :)
Day four and five were sugarpaste figures. Buzz Lightyear, Micky Mouse, a baby and a standing up woman. I loved Buzz. He is all nice block shapes and bright colours and as long as you get his pronounced chin right, he is the cartoon character in edible form. Awesome :) Micky was a sugar version of the Minnie cake but smaller and cuter. The baby was so, so simple, and so gorgeous it will be perfect for baby shower or christening cakes. I just need to practice painting for those tricky eyelashes and eyebrows. The standing up lady was great fun as we got to dress and style her as we liked, and although I was missing a nice piping nozzle for her hair, and her face is a little chubby, I like her and she is a foundation for making all sorts of figures in all sorts of poses. Also, she made it home without breaking and I am very happy she is still in one piece.
All in all a wonderful week, but now back to reality. Some work to be done, and dreams of having my own shop keep my mind occupied when I am not writing adverts or web content. Never a dull moment. But the point of a challenge is that its challenging, so bring it on :) And good news, I have been comissioned to do a golden wedding anniversary cake and dessert selection in August. That will be great, although I have to track down a Youtube video for making sugar sweet peas, but I have made sugar flowers this week so I know the basis, yay! :) I am also doing a market stall for the first time in August, so no dull moments here. Lots of planning. Little stress, but very exciting.
Orignal From: A week of Sugar and Cake