Monday, 27 August 2012

Baking Buys

Recently most of my money has been going on sorting my room out, it really needs redecorating and this bank holiday weekend I eneded up at IKEA, one of my favourite shops...probably most people's favourite shop?

Most of the stuff I got was for my room and around the house, but I did manage to pick up a few bits for my ever growing baking collection. Which actually I shouldn't even be adding to as it's bursting at the seams!

Anyway onto the goods, my first find was a flour sifter. Time for a confession, I rarely sift flour....I know, I know!! So I thought if I got a nice sifter I'd probably do it more often, good thinking...maybe? Anyway it only cost £2.50 which was a total bargain in my opinion...I only have to figure out how to fix the spring into the handle as they come in two parts (might actually have to youtube it).

Next I found something I'd been looking for for quite a while, a cake stand and dome. I've seen a few but as soon as I saw it I grabbed it like a mad woman and chucked it in the trolley and ran away (actually it wasn't as dramatic as that, but you get my drift). I love the pattern on the stand, my only wish was that maybe the dome was higher but to be honest when I come to put the lid down, hopefully there's only a bit of cake left so it should fit in no problem - and at £15 it would have been crazy to put it back.

The next item might not seem to interesting, it's a baking sheet. BUT, it's a really big one! I first saw these on the Great British Bake Off last year and immediately bought one but now know that one is just not enough. I'm tired of having to struggle with only one and then fitting biscuits on small baking trays, boring I know! So when I saw this one I thought it would be a good investment for Christmas when I come to do my seven kinds. This cost £5.25 which I though was brilliant. 

And finally onto something more fun, stencils! I really love stencil and have a few now and couldn't resist picking these up for £2.25 for the pack of 5. I think I'm most excited about the polkadot stencil, this would work really well on a buttercream cake with icing sugar - keep posted for me trialing it out!

I'm sure I'll be going to IKEA again soon, I really need some new bedroom furniture to go with all the other things I've bought, and I could spend hours in their kitchen section, there's so much I think you see different things each time you go. I'm sure I'll be back with more baking buys soon!


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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Chocolate Pistachio Robots! - A Baking Buys Edition

promotional post

I haven't really done a Baking Buys post in a while, I've been trying not to add too much to my overflowing baking room at the moment, but as soon as I heard about the new silicone moulds at Sew White, I couldn't resist. I've had a few products from them already so knew I was on to a winner with my recent order.

They're silicone moulds are great and really reasonably priced too as you know I love my eBay so it's rare I actually use proper shops but in all honestly Sew White is one of my favourites, everything is so pretty! I use my button moulds all of the time and the 3D ones are super cute and regularly make an appearance in my kitchen :)

So now to the shopping, I got three lovely items - all silicone, a robots mould (£6), chocolate pots mould (£6) and a spoons mould (£3.99)

 The robots were definitely the item I was most excited about, I'm such a consumer I love the fact the mould is green! I knew these would go down a treat with various boy family member and also some work friends so I couldn't resist trying them out with the recipe in this post.

The chocolate pots mould will be really useful for dinner parties, especially around Christmas when I'm trying to show off at dessert time filling them with ice cream or even mousse, nom!

And as for the spoons mould, there are so many ideas, Sew White herself has a brilliant idea about baking gingerbread in them which would be brilliant in coffee or hot chocolate. All of the silicone bakeware can be baked in which I just think is brilliant, robot biscuits next perhaps?

So of course I just HAD to try one of these out, I couldn't wait until I actually had a reason I just wanted to use them! :D So I decided to go for the robots, I will probably use these the most for chocolates, but there's no real recipe or fun to that for this post so thought I would try something different. I found a lovely Nigella recipe for chocolate and pistachio fudge, however I don't think these actually turned out like fudge...more like solid ganache...but still yummy! They looked brilliant as robots, am now thinking most treats should have an interesting shape, shortbread spoons maybe?

Anyway Sew White is offering 10% off at the moment with the Great British Bake Off inspiring us, use the code 'gbbo' at the checkout to snap something up, valid until the end of the series!

Chocolate and Pistachio Robots



  1. Place the chopped chocolate, condensed milk, butter and salt into a heavy-based pan over a low heat and stir until melted and well combined.
  2. Place the nuts into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into some large and some small pieces.

  3. Add the nuts to the melted chocolate mixture and stir well.
  4. Pour the mixture into a the moulds or cake tin and smooth over.

  5. Let the fudge cool, then refrigerate until set.
  6. Push out the robots and cut fudge in the tin into small pieces approximately 3cm x 2cm/1¼in x ¾in.
  7. Once cut, the fudge can be kept in the freezer - there's no need to thaw, just eat straight away.

    Recipe adapted from BBC Food.
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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Has everbody heard about the bird?

Right before I completely launch into song I will actually tell you about the bird...cake!

Another co-worker's birthday means another giant cupcake, this is the last one for a while so I wanted to make it a good one. This was my third cake from last week's 'cake week' and for my friend Vicki who is an illustrator by trade so wanted to make it a bit different :) I actually got the idea for this cake from a recent copy of 'Mollie Makes' magazine in a lino printing section.

The sponge is chocolate, everyone loves chocolate cake on their birthday don't they? The bottom part is covered in white fondant and the top in pink vanilla buttercream using a 1M nozzle in the rose design. For the design I decided to with teal and purple for the main colours, teal being birds and flowers and purple for hearts. I made the birds using cookie cutters and piped the pattern on with royal icing. Plungers are my favourite tools at the moment, makes making extra decoration easier and in mass! You can never have too many flowers or hearts can you? For the final touches I added some white chocolate hearts, coloured sugar balls and a pink ribbon. What was really nice was that the cake ended up matching the card too :D I'm a sucker for celebrating, I love decorating desks, making cakes and really drawing attention to people, this one had to be no different...I'll be unbearable when the forbidden festive word comes round!

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Saturday, 18 August 2012

50th Birthday Hawaii Cake

Last week as I said was cake week, so I couldn't go too long without mentioning this one. An order for my best friend's co-worker, the brief was...Hawaii! This was to be a 50th birthday cake so it had to be special. I hadn't done a cake like this before so I was looking forward to the challenge, especially as she'd asked for a hula girl and I don't have a lot of experience in making figures but I had to give it a go, and I'm really happy with how she turned out!

The cake itself is a classic Victoria sponge mix sandwiched with vanilla buttercream. The design she'd asked for was a beach/ocean scene, hula girl, palm tree and flowers etc. The beach was easy, it just had to be crushed biscuits (malted milks to be exact), although the only problem with this is that it is of course difficult to get any kind of decoration to actually stick to biscuit so everything has to be held in place with cocktail sticks.

The ocean was made with blue vanilla buttercream and also plain buttercream for the tips of the waves. Marbleling them together leaving the white bit at the top really helped in making them look realistic.

Now for the hard bit, the hula girl. I've always used fondant before, but it takes ages to dry and if too big, sags under the weight. So this time I used Wilton gumpase, it was brilliant! I was even able to use Sugarflair food colouring paste to create all the colours I needed. I did use fondant for her hair and coconut bra but everything else was made from coloured gum paste. For an extra girly touch I added eyelashes with an icing pen. The palm tree was also gumpase, I had to leave the 'trunk overnight at an angle so that it would set in a palm tree fashion :D. The leaves were made by using a leaf cutter, I then rolled it out a bit more to make it longer and let them dry on colouring paste tubs and fixed them on the trunk with royal icing. As it was a for a 50th birthday I made a pink fondant "50" in a curly font and placed it in the middle of the ocean.

For the last bit of decoration I made what felt like a million gumpaste flowers, as they were meant to be Hawaiian flowers I made them white with pink edged (done with petal dust), blue, pink, purple and orange, all with a yellow royal icing middle. I made these with my cherry blossom mould I used on my brother's wedding cake, this meant I could do them super fast without having to worry bout sculpting each one. I laid these round the bottom of the cake and also some smaller ones on the figures for extra detail.

Stepping back I was really happy with this cake, as I said with the biscuit - it was a bit difficult to make the flowers stick to it, but I can't think of a better way of making realistic sand. Delivering it was pretty scary, she hula'd all the way there! But as she was stuck down with a cocktail stick she wasn't going anywhere! And now summer has finally come, who doesn't love a beach cake?

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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Minnie Mouse Cake Pops and Mickey & Minnie Cookies

I seem to go through waves on cake, sometimes I don't make any for a month (not many times, granted) and then suddenly I'll have three in a week - like this week. As long as I plan it right it's fine, and after a little initial panic it's all fine. So this post is about the first batch, which thrills me to say are cake pops and cookies!

I think cakes and treats for children's birthdays might just be my favourite, there's so much you can do with them it's great. These were for a surprise birthday party for a little girl who loved Minnie Mouse, so of course Minnie Mouse cake pops they just had to be! I was also asked for some cookies with Mickey and Minnie on them for the party bags.

OK the cake pops, these weren't as easy as I'd hoped. I couldn't imagine being able to actually make her face, not nicely anyway! So rice paper came to the rescue and it worked brilliantly. The cake itself is red velvet mixed with vanilla buttercream and rolled into balls, and the ears are actually chocolate buttons stuck on with some melted chocolate. This bit was quite tricky and took me forever but so worth it. Once set I then dipped them in chocolate, I did try to make it black but it just started to crumble so decided to play it safe with chocolate, must research more into how to do it without ruining the chocolate. Luckily they turned out really cute in chocolate so all was well. I always think dipped but undecorated cake pops look really sinister, anyone else?

For the faces I made up some ivory royal icing to match Minnie's face and then stuck the rice paper cut out faces on, making the icing bigger than the face so it stood out more. Once all of the icing had set I put on their gift bags and red ties and they were ready to go!

Now the cookies, I used the sugar cookie recipe from Butter Hearts Sugar (brilliant blog) it's brilliant for when you need to decorate the cookies and bakes really well. I made star cookies with 'Mickey' on and heart cookies with 'Minnie' on and then added red fondant stars and hearts. The actual lettering was piped in the Disney font too just to give it that extra bit of detail :) When set I then placed them in their own gift bags with red ribbon all ready for the party.

I definitely seem to be doing a lot of cake pops and giant cupcakes lately, and I have to say I love it!

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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Very Sexy Cupcake...

I do love birthdays in my office, there's always an excuse to make cake! This cake in particular I was very excited about...and I'm sure you can guess why :D

This giant cupcake was for a lady in my office and after some researching I soon found out what to put on it. I got very clear instructions, David Beck and Matthew McConaughey had to be the main feature....yay! I have to say trawling the internet for these half naked (tried fully luck!) men really wasn't punishing work, might have been my favourite project so far.

I decided that the rice paper route would be the best to go down for this cake, and have them literally coming out of the cake in a very 'Magic Mike' stripper fashion, you can never have too much of that on a cake right?

So the cake in question, was chocolate - who doesn't like chocolate cake for their birthday? The 'case' part was covered in ivory fondant and the middle and 'top' were covered and piped with lilac vanilla buttercream (dyed with grape violet sugarflair colouring paste). For the front of the cake I cut out her name 'KIM' in fondant and the letters in gold Dr.Oetker edible spray, I also cut out some stars for the ultimate stripper effect.

Becks and McConaughey got pride of place above her name and the whole cake got a generous dusting of gold edible cake glitter and after being tied up with a gold bow it was ready to be devoured! Luckily the birthday girl loved it and I am informed that the pair have been kept and have yet to be eaten, just oggled for now :)

And as you can see we take great delight in decorating desks...and computer desktops :)

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