So I've been very good with my baking spending recently, but I'm afraid with The Great British Bake Off showcasing some seriously sexy items I have not been able to resist.
Of course the KitchenAid mixer is something that is always catching my eye, and if I could buy their little individual kitchens they all have then I'd even put one in my bedroom believe me. But both of those things are out of reach.
Tesco has everything, of course, and I found this one there for £8.25 which I didn't think was too bad, sometimes you shouldn't always get the cheapest. It's also great because it was such a large surface area the baking possibilities will be endless!
The Craft Company, 10 for £3.12. I'll do another post when I've given them a go, I'm always after the perfect swirls.
The Cake Decorating Company.
I can't wait to give all of these a go at the weekend, I also have my eye on one of the loose bottomed pie dishes....I think I might be trying out some pastry at the weekend...and maybe some cupcakes!
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Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
here. Both that one and this year's one was for his bowling party (can you tell he likes the Wii?) And I'm not going to lie, but I do like having the best cake at the bowling alley as there usually is a couple of other parties going on. Last year my only competition was one of those caterpillar shaped cakes..this year someone too made a Mario cake....luckily (and not nastily.....maybe) they had a big fondant figure on top - but it was quite droopy looking although the birthday girl loved it. I am quite competitive and I like to have the best cakes....children's party or not - it's war!
Rather than a big Mario on top, I drafted in my brother Joe to help me, he's really good at illustration etc so I let/made him do Mario and I think he came out perfect! I did a lot of the outside decoration but again I made Joe add the finishing touches with the icing pen and help with the ideas and positioning of some of the detailing.
I aslo made the flower coming out of the pipe, a shell and one of those brown mushrooms you have to jump on in the game (I don't know the technical gaming names! sorry!) We also added a big star in the sky as these feature a lot in the game, and I had a big patch of sky to fill! I got joe to draw faces on the clouds and star like they have on the game which really made the cartoon factor stand out.
(bottom left picture is Joe, Josh and Me)
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Monday, 22 August 2011
Both actually were given to me by my brother Joe, cupcake themed of cours. This one is called Kinky Cupcakes , by Joanna Farrow from Octopus Publishing Group - and it's beautiful!
You do need a bit of time on your hands for this one, but it will all be worth it. It's a pretty sexy book and these cupcakes will be great for a party with your friends, hen nights etc.
I've taken some pictures of my favourite ones, I haven't gotten around to trying any for myself unfortunately as you need some modeling chocolate or gum paste, which isn't easy to get around here without going online. But I will try to find some cash for the starter kit in my baking wishlist so I can give these a go.
These look so great I think you could easily justify spending a whole day just on decorating, like this Maneater one(top right), they give you instructions on how to make the decoration yourself which actually makes these do-able, and not ridiculously difficult - bonus!
Some of these are quite saucy, it's easily the raciest book in my collection, just look at this Frills and thrills cupcake (left), saucy - but cute! And with the instructions again it isn't too hard to make some ruffles and a bottom, even men will like tucking in to these!
I have to say I love this Hey Suspender one (bottom right), the cut outs are really something I'm getting into at the moment, something 2D really cant make a cake stand, it also means you can use outline pen on them really easily with great effect, this one is again really simple but so effective.
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Friday, 19 August 2011
So I thought it was time to change this, it was really cold yesterday when I got in from work and it actually felt a bit wintery, so naturally I needed to bake to fill the house with heat and a yummy smell. So to break my no-fruit baking streak I went through one of my favourite recipe books 'The Great British Book of Baking' that came out with last year's series of The Great British Bake Off (which I also love! and unfortunately failed to get passed the audition stage, but if someone is going to brutally kill your bread it may as well be Paul Hollywood!) anyway, I love this book! It features many from the series and lots other British classics with stunning photography, history and great techniques. This is where I found this Somerset Apple Cider Recipe, I changed it a little for preference when it came to apples and sugar but that's about it. I loved the idea of putting cider in a cake, this helped ease the thought process of putting fruit it in too!
This cake only took me 30 minutes to make before putting it in the oven, it also recommends you bake it for an hour as I did this too, came out perfect! I also nearly never have right right size actual tins so I often end up baking them in my biscuit/cake tins!
- 175 unsalted butter, softened
- 175g light brown muscovado sugar (I used Tate & Lyle soft brown sugar- gorgeous!)
- 3 free range eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
- 250g self raising flour (I always use plain and add baking powder)
- 100ml Cider, choose a well flavoured apple one so the taste really comes through, I used Henry Westons 2010 Vintage
- 500s tart eating apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used cooking apples for the stronger flavour, and kept them in segments rather than dicing)
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar to sprinkle with (again I used the soft brown sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius/325 Fahrenheit/gas mark.
- Beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each one.
- Sift the flour on to the mixure and gently fold in with a large metal spoon, when partially mixed in add the apples and cider before fully combining.
- Spread the mixture evenly into the tin, sprinkle with the sugar and bake for an hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Eat warm for full nom!
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
So she got me my very own iron...weighing about a tenth of hers and no where near as gorgeous, but I did have to take it on the plane...and had to explain what is was at security, but I loved it all the same. So she taught me how to make them and shared her recipe with me (next pic on the right). I love it when we can do these things together, being in different countries I try to soak up as many baking tips I can when I see her, and raid her recipe file. I do realise many of you don't have these irons...so I guess this may be more aimed at my Europeans readers! I have found one you can buy in the UK but it's a little pricey, here.
So here is the best recipe in the world.
150g caster sugar
150 melted and chilled butter
150 plain flour (sifted)
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar/essence
1/2 ground cardamom
2-4 tbsp water
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Thursday, 4 August 2011
First I crumbled one Victoria Sponge - medium sized (4 egg recipe) into a bowl so it looks like bashed up biscuits. They say chocolate cake holds together better but I thought I would keep it easy and stick to the classic one. There will be a few bigger lumps, but this just gives it a bit more texture, and don't trim away the golden egde, these were originally made from cake scraps so keep some of the history in there!
You then mix buttercream into the cake crumbs. I mixed together 35g butter and 75g icing sugar, I then coloured it with Pink Sugarflair Colouring Paste to look bright against the coating. Mix all of these together and well combined. Now start adding the buttercream to the cake crumbs, don't add it all at once as you may not need all of it, and once you add the buttercream and mix it...you can't take it back, so just do it bit by bit. You want it to still be fairly crumbly, but that it can be formed into a ball and hold together.
I rolled them into balls (ping pong ball size) and stick them in to freezer for 30 minutes, some say not to as the covering will crack, mine didn't though so go for it. Using white lollipop sticks (eBay £3.20 for 50 ish) you gently twist them in about halfway, then I melted some white cake covering chocolate as it cools quick, dip them in, only once! and give them a brisk twizzle to get off the excess and swirl the pop slowly for 10 seconds or so until more set, I then placed them in a mug in the fridge to set properly.
And eat!!! Nom! Pin It Now!
Monday, 1 August 2011
I found these could have been a bit sweeter for my liking, so a light dusting of icing sugar could just do the trick I think, I wouldn't recommend adding sugar to the mix on your first go as it can completely change how the mix comes out.
Choux pastry wasn't as scary as I imagined so it's definitely worth a bash!
So lets get to it.
- 65g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 150ml water
- 50g butter
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 300ml double cream
- 150g plain chocolate
- Sift the salt and the flour.
- Place the water and the butter in a saucepan, heat gently until the butter melts then bring to a brisk boil.
- Remove from the heat and til in all of the sifted flour and salt.
- Stir briskly and firmly until the mixture form a soft ball and leaves the sides of the pan clean.
- Remove from heath again and cool slightly, ass the egg mixture until it is smooth, shiny and firm enough to stand in soft peaks when lifted with a spoon.
- Use straight away or if you have to keep it then leave in saucepan and cover with a lid so it doesn't dry out.
- Fill a piping bag that has a 1cm round nozzle with the pastry and pipe 4inch/10cm sausages on a greased baking sheet.
- Bake for ten minutes at 200 degrees (180 fan), then reduce to 180 (160 fan) and bake for a further 20-25 minutes.
- Take out eclairs, they used be lovely and golden,make a slit in each eclair and bake for a further five minutes to help dry out the middle a little.
- Leave these to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl, over a saucepan of gently boiling water.
- Cut the slits again to ensure enough room for cream.
- Whip the cream until light and fully whipped (odd sentence I know).
- Spread the chocolate onto top of eclairs.
- Chilld in the fridge until ready to eat.
- Pipe in the