Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Birthday Cakes!

Here are some of the birthday cakes I haven't got round to putting up or what got lost in my deleted blog!
Just a few of quick ones!

The Russian doll cake I made for one of my work friends that were leaving - one day we will travel around Russia drinking vodka! I based it on my actual Russian doll and I think it came out actually really pretty!

One of my biggest cakes was for a 40th birthday, a football fan - obviously! So while they didn't want a specific football type cake I suggest the pattern in the birthday number, and it came out really great!
Girly cakes are some of my favourite ones to make! It might have something to do with all the pink icing and piping! this one was an order for a very girly girl who loved pink and sweets! 
Another week - another giant cupcake! I hadn't done a lilac one before which was great and lit looked really good against the chocolate!

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Super Mario Birthday Cake

For the last year, or even since he discovered Super Mario on the Wii, my little brother has been obsessed with Super Mario. It's all he wants to play, watch, see and eat! So the obvious choice for his 4th birthday cake was of course, Mario! He didn't have a clue so it was great to surprise him with it.

I started with a blue fondant ice cake and made my own stencil like image to put on top. This way I could get a big picture of Mario on the front. I then decorated the sides like a scene from the game which he went crazy over. With the classic eating plant coming out of a pipe, some hills, the brick etc etc. He loves catching the star at then end so I covered the top in yellow stars, very old school gaming, put some on wires for a bit of height and even added a couple of bigger ones.

Great for little boys and big! No one is ever too old for Mario...or cake for that matter.

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History Of The 7 Kinds Of Christmas Biscuits - Solved!

So regarding an older post about how we make 7 kinds of biscuits in Norway at Christmas, I mentioned how I wasn't really sure where this tradition came from and why it had to be 7, in particular. But last week I found out!

A lovely reader sent me a message after checking out the blog to explain.

"Hello, this is slightly random but I managed to click onto your blog (love the cakes btw) and happened to read about the 7 kinds of biscuits. I believe the reason for the 7 originated in the 1800's when it was the correct etiquette to serve at least 7 kinds in order to show that you were not poor (when in fact people probably were).

There's some brief info on wikipediea, although in Swedish "

So there you go! All I knew was that it wasn't proper unless you served 7 kinds, so showing off your wealth perfectly makes sense in those time. You wouldn't turn your nose up at any family that would serve you that amount, and I guess that was the desired effect. I love how society has created these baking traditions and it's always great to solve mysteries, especially as no Norwegian relative or website seemed to be able to give me an answer. So thank you very much! Pin It Now!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Baby Shower - Pregnant Belly Cake

It was one of my friends suprise baby shower last month, and one thing I of course had to make her was a cake! I wanted something a little bit different and even a lil sexy as that is what she is! So this cake was perfect, cute and looked brilliant!

All pregnant women love chocolate, fact. So this cake was made from chocolate sponge, and as she is having a little boy I filled and dirty iced it with baby blue buttercream.

I coloured fondant with Sugarflair's Baby Blue food paste. I added some white fondant to look like edging and ribbon.

To carve the belly I made to sponge cakes and let them rise fully so one had a good curve. I then put it in the freezer overnight so I could then carve the belly smoothly to get the perfect bump shape.

She loved it and we all had good fun eating her cake stomach! Pin It Now!

My favourite giant cupcakes!

Giant cupcakes have quickly become one of my favourite cakes to make. They were really difficult at first as you have to get your sponge texture picture so it doesn't fall apart, and even put it in right so it comes out clean without bits snagging.

Here's a few of my very favourite ones, I love making these ones, they're a bit of a novelty so are great for most occasions.

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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Norwegian Kringle (A Sweet Pastry)

Something I have been baking a lot of recently is something called Kringle. It's a Norwegian pastry made from sweet yeast dough and is AMAZING! You can add a lot of different fillings too to make it just how you like. I recently auditioned for The Great British Bake Off and the judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry really liked this. It is traditionally made into a pretzel or ring shape and looks beautiful when latticed for a bit of detail. It take a bit of practice but when you have it mastered you can do it with your eyes shut.

The one I have been making has what they call a 'macroonfyll' which is made up of cream, egg and hazlenuts.


1 Packet of dried yeast or 50g fresh
2 eggs
pinch of saffron or tumeric for colour
150g butter - plus extra for decorating and greasing
500ml milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
100ml sugar (yes ml, not grams, Norwegian measurements)
2 tsp ground cardamom, hard to find, so if you really want it you'll have to grind it from pods by hand
880g of flour - some recipes use less but the it ends up like goo.....
150g toasted hazelnuts, chopped.
100ml double cream
100g of your favourite chocolate, grated

Make up some glace icing at the end

Mix all of the dry ingredients  in a bowl. Warm up the milk and honey to a yeast friendly temperature and then add the yeast and mix until fairly smooth, and in a separate bowl melt the butter. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and then mix. Add the eggs to the milky honey mixture and then add this mixture to the flour and butter one. Mix until combined, cover and leave somewhere, preferably warm to rise for 30 - 60 minutes.

Mix the hazelnuts with the icing sugar and cream, whip until thick and it starts to stiffen. Leave in fridge until needed.

Tip the dough out onto a flour surface an knead until workable and elastic without being firm. Roll the pastry out into a long oblong. Know take some butter, make sure it is very soft, then spread it all the way along the dough. Make cuts down the side of the dough on both sides, but make one side half a cut above the other so it is slightly offset.  Sprinkle the chocolate along the dough down the middle and spread the cream and hazelnut mixture in the middle down the dough also.  Now take the cut finger of dough and make them meet in the middle and pinch them together so it is latticed all of the way down. Folding the ends in at the top and bottom. Shape into your chosen shape. Cover and leave to rise for another 30 min.

Paul Hollywood gave me some good advice here, and that was to a) use a chocolate that you love eating, opposed to cooking chocolate as it can taste a a bit candy like. And to not be afraid to let it go very golden in the oven.

Put little dabs of butter along the latticed parts and smother in sugar and hazelnuts. Cook in a preheated oven at 225 degrees, 215 if its a fan oven, for 20 minutes until it has a good golden colour.

When cool drizzle over a gorgeous amount of icing sugar and devour, nom! Pin It Now!

Fresh Yeast!

Where can I get fresh yeast in the UK I hear you ask? You can get it every easily abroad, but here it is not so simple let me tell you. I've tried most shops and places, until I did a little googleing and discovered that you can actually get it right from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's etc, but you wont find it on their shelves, you'll have to go direct to their own in-store bakery. I never even thought about it before but it is so obvious that of course you can get it from there! Most recipes need 50g of fresh yeast for a serving of dried yeast, and I get mine from Tesco for 30p per 100g, bargain! And what is great is that is freezes too so don't worry that you'll waste half if you don't need it all. Fresh yeast is crazy active, amazingly more so than dried, so don't freak out when it nealry overflows the bowl, it's amazing! Pin It Now!
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