Monday, 30 April 2012

I Hate Mondays Cake Pops!

Last week was a horrible week at work it was so busy we all felt physically drained by the end. So a few of us thought we'd cheer everyone else up by making cakes for Monday, have a little bake off. 
I had planned to make some cake pops and a batch of snickerdoodles, but as soon as I put a picture of my cake pops up online I soon realised that I didn't have I put the snickerdoodles back on my 'to bake list' and made another batch of cake pops instead.

Monday's are always manic at work and while cake was a great idea, I think everyone went slightly mental on the sugar so it may have to be toned down next time! In the end we had my cake pops, shortbread, a pink ombre cake which was brilliant and also a shop bought cake which didn't make it 5 minutes after tasting for us to realise we were being tricked! There's still loads another hyperactive day tomorrow perhaps?

Now for my cake pops I went for a variety, there are loads of different designs I have been wanting to try so this was a great excuse. All of the cake pops are dipped in white chocolate, in my first batch I made the standard hundreds and thousands dipped ones, then I got more adventurous with the pink leopard ones that I've been wanting to try forever and finished off with little pink owls with pink wings and yellow feet which are just too cute.

For the leopard ones I used a brush to dab on some pink petal dust and gave them a rough outline with black food colouring paste, the trick is to not outline them completely so they look more realistic. I really do love these and am tempted to invest in some other colours for more looks.
As for the owls, I coloured the chocolate pink and when they were cool I piped some pink royal icing on for ears, and writing icing to make the eyes and beak. In hindsight I wish I'd make the ears out of the cake and then dipped them in chocolate.

For the second batch I made hearts, cherry blossom and Hello Kitty cake pops. The hearts I actually used a heart cutter to make them and after dipping them in chocolate, absolutely covered them in blue sprinkles and hundreds and thousands. The cherry blossoms ones caught my eye a while ago and I'm really happy I finally got around to trying them out. They looked really oriental and exotic I love the fine piping detail. Now I have to say the Hello Kitty ones might actually be my favourite, I just hope my niece never finds out I made them and she didn't get one! This time I did make the ears from the cake before dipping them. The decoration was quite simply but effective too with black eyes and whiskers, a little yellow nose and a cute red bow, done! I'm sure my niece will be seeing some of these for her birthday they were so fun to make :).

I think I'm becoming mildly obsessed with cake pops now...anyone know any good books?

Nom! x Pin It Now!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Baking Buys!!

I feel like I've been slacking a lot with these baking buys posts, probably because I'm trying to be good with my money...or I've just been spending it all on clothes instead?

I've been wanting to put this post up earlier but wanted to wait for the last of my post to arrive so I could show you all :)

As you may know, because I've been banging on about it for AGES, I'm making my brother's wedding cake in June. It's going to be chocolate (yay), chocolate brown fondant, ganache and a huge sweep of cherry blossom running up the tiers. I love baking and decorating gadgets and I was sooo happy when I found this cutter and mold set for cherry blossoms from eBay. I even managed to do a bundle purchase and add on some petal dust to go with it, bish bash bosh! I got the whole set for £11 which is the cheapest I could find so I'm pretty happy with that and it will save me a heap of time all I need to get now is the gum paste and I can start practicing.

Also for the cake I've been hunting for a bride and groom topper, this can't just be any old topper though. My brother is slightly lacking in the hair department so the normal ones you see in shops wouldn't exactly work. I saw this cute couple in Hobby Craft for £10.99 each which I thought was quite reasonable, they're not edible so they get to keep them which is really nice too I think...I do wonder why the bride wasn't allowed a nose though? :)

My shopping spree in Hobby Craft didn't end there though. I also picked up another Wilton 1M piping nozzle...I've lost mine!! It was only £1.99 which was a complete bargain I thought so I bought anyway and I don't care if I find it tomorrow now...I'll probably lose it again anyway. I also saw this Wilton foodcolouring, I've been trying so hard to make magenta buttercream and while I don't actually know yet if this will work the sticker on the top gives me great confidence! (even if it is called 'Rose'....) Now my next purchase has actually featured in an earlier wishlist post and I finally decided to get it :D, just wish I had sooner. The Wilton Rose Candy Molds, I think little rose chocolate would look really sweet on some of my giant cupcakes or even just normal cupcakes come to think of it!

My mum bless her got me these a little while ago but have been saving them for this post. She picked them up at the garden center as a surprise, naughty mum! There's a new cake decorating range stocked 'Kitchen Craft', I've been saying for ages they need to stock more cake supplies so I don't have to keep going to far flung little towns or online so I'm really happy they've started to. My mum picked up this cake lifter (yay, been wanting one for AGES), I love the little 'Sweetly Does It' print on the handle - too cute. and these cake pop sticks which will come in very handy!

Now for one of my favourites...I know...ANOTHER tin! I literally can't help myself. Freia is Norway's equivalent to Cadbury, and recently they've started to make these chocolate chunk biscuits which I love, and on the packet is a biscuit tin in the style of their famous packaging. As soon as I saw it I said that if they ever released this tin I would just have to buy it. And they did! And it huge!! When I went looking it was all sold out - of course. But luckily one time my mum managed to find one and again I've been saving it for this post. It's so big I really have no idea how she got it in her hand luggage it must be at least 25cm high! This is a tin I will definitely not bake in!

And finally just a little last mention for these cute cupcake cases and toppers. I got them from Poundland what a bargain. I did actually see some fairly identical from Wilton in Norway...for £6 a set! I have nothing to use them for yet but I'm sure my niece and little brother will be dying to use them when they get their hands on them.

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

AlphaBakes Challenge - Bleeding Heart Cake

Another AlphaBakes entry, this month the letter is B. I'm trying to get more involved with doing challenges and I really like this one so I thought I'd enter it again. This month hosted by the ever lovely The More Than Occasional Baker. What I really love is that the letter that is picked can relate to the type of bake too rather than the official name. So 'B' can be bananas, or it can be bread! So it opens up a whole variety of options.

This time I thought I would enter probably one of my favourite cakes, the Bleeding Heart cake! I made it for my brother's 30th and it's in my top 3 of most visited posts, next to Angel Layer Cake...what does that say?! I did think about baking something from scratch rather than using an old post but it's been so crazy here I've just not had time at all, but then this is such a fun post I thought why not?

I'd seen this cake on the Lily Vanilli blog. It did tell you how to make the heart but I didn't really understand the instructions so I kind of winged it. I'd told my brother so many times that I wouldn't make this cake I knew he wouldn't suspect that this is the cake I would actually make for his birthday.

The cake itself is a two tiered vanilla sponge cake filled with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream.  I iced the the cake with plain white fondant as I wanted the heart and blood to really stand out, it almost had to look a bit clinical.

For the heart, I used a block of cake and sculpted it into the shape of a fist, as that's what they say your heart looks like. I kind of just did it until I thought it looked right as human hearts aren't something that I'm really that used to looking at (with the exception of a strange art project when I was 16). I made the red fondant with lots of Christmas Red sugarflair colouring paste and didn't mix it all in as I wanted some bits to be a bit darker in places. Beware when using this much food colouring paste, you will end up looking like you killed a clown!

I made it a lot bigger than it needed to be, laid the sponge in the middle and wrapped the fondant cup almost in a parcel type way and joined it at the top. I used the excess fondant to make three valves at the top, the folds from these in the icing then actually looked like veins too, I even added some extra colour to them to make them look naturally darker.

To make the blood I bought some strawberry golden syrup and added some extra red to make it a bit darker and realistic. I brushed this all over the heart before putting it on the top. I then drizzled it all over letting it slosh over the first tier dripping down. When it had dripped down into puddles I edged it over the next tier to make it look like it had glooped all of the way down.

We did have candles to put on it but we let him see it without first so he could see the full effect. Luckily he absolutely loved it - he's not a psycho I promise! He really hadn't expected to get it so that was a major bonus. I really think I've started something now and that there may well be a lot more gore in the future....

Nom! x

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pie (that's not really a pie)

This week I've really had the urge to just bake something, something proper, that I could eat! As much as I love my cake orders...I never get to eat them - so I really wanted to make something I could have some of. I seem to have so many cookbooks at the moment I've not really been able to try much from so I thought this was a great opportunity to dig out Cake Days (The Hummingbird Baker), I absolutely love this book so it wasn't hard to find something.....peanut butter and chocolate pie! I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter, but as it's combined with chocolate I was thinking...Snickers!

Though it's called a pie, mine definitely wasn't, I wasn't too sure about making the cookie base into a pie crust as such, so kept it more like a cheesecake base so you can see the layers, I also didn't trust it to keep it's shape enough to dish up.

I will also say that I did change the recipe (not on purpose!), I got carried away and made the middle peanut chocolate filling in one big mix, which means I didn't add cream to the left over peanut filling (as there wasn't any), so just made the cream for the topping. It's also worth saying that adding icing sugar to the cream for whipping is a revolution. I'm actually not a huge fan of cream on its own but like this...I could eat it by the spoonful! But actually I think this all worked better - I always seem to do this and it always turns out better in the end so I'm going to mark this as a win.


250g double chocolate cookies
175g butter, melted

3 tbsp cornflour
160g caster sugar
550ml whole milk
3 large eggs
180g crunchy peanut butter
80g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, chopped
250ml double cream

250ml double cream
50g icing sugar
50 unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

One 9inch springform tin

1. First line the cake tin with baking paper, then blitz the cookies to a rough crumb in a food processor (or bash them in a bag with a rolling pin like me). Pour in the melted butter and blitz again. When both ingredients have come together in a rough paste, remove from the machine and tip into the lined tin.

2. Using the back of a spoon, press the crumb mixture evenly over the base and sides (or just the base like me), to a thickness of about 5mm, the place in the fridge to cool and set for about 40 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix the cornflour with the sugar in a saucepan, then mix together the milk and egg yolks and pour this into the pan. Place over a low heat and cook until thickened, whisking continuously, then remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
4. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour over about the third of the hot peanut butter filling (or all of it like me!). Mix well until the chocolate has melted and the filling is smooth and even. Pour the chocolate filling into the chilled cookie base, then cover the pie with cling film to stop a skin from forming, and place back into the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to allow the filling to set. Cover the remaining peanut filling with cling film and set aside to cool.


5. In another bowl, whip the cream, either by hand or using a hand-held electric whisk, until it is thick and forms soft peaks. Once the remaining peanut-butter filling has completely cooled, fold in the whipped cream, ensuring it is mixed in well. Remove the pie from the fridge and top with the second part of the filling then place back into the fridge for 40-50 minutes.
6. Next make the topping. Whip the cream and the icing sugar until the cream forms soft peaks, then spoon on top of the set pie filling and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts to finish, I also added some extra bits of finely grated dark chocolate.

So in the end I'm quite happy I messed up, I think there would have been a lot of layers otherwise, has anyone made it? I am however a bit gutted, I got a bit carried away when mixing the filling and splattered the peanut filling over one of my new tops - must remember to not wear new light coloured tops when baking!! So looking for some good stain removal tips. Considering I have a ridiculous amount of aprons I should have been wearing one!

But having a big slab of this dessert cheered me up, calorie bomb it may be...but who ever made a dessert worrying about calories, odd indulgences are good for the soul. I feel so tired this week so a big sugar kick is just what I needed I think :)

Nom! x

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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Tom Hardy Heartthrob Giant Cupcake

This week was one of my best friends' birthdays, the big 21! I've known for a long time what cake to make her, it really was a no-brainer.

To say she likes Tom Hardy (from This Means War, Inception, RocknRolla) would be a serious understatement. I just had to get him on the cake, after using ricepaper for the One Direction cake I did recently I thought this would be the perfect way, and then she gets to eat him, perfect!

Finding a nice image I used Photoshop to rub out one of his tattoos and replace it with her name in a fancy script, I have to say it does actually look realistic.

The cake itself is vanilla with chocolate buttercream. The sponge is marbled with pink too for some extra girlyness. I though the only way to really do this cake was in a teen heartthrob fashion, like something you'd have in the back of your diary at school.

The 'case' is covered with pink fondant, coloured with Claret Sugarflair colouring paste, I then used the off cuts to cut out the hearts, butterflies and stars too. As I said the buttercream is chocolate, I've lost my 1M Wilton nozzle (cries!) but I have been abusing it recently so went a bit old school with a normal swirl nozzle which actually did look really nice. I like using Green & Blacks cocoa powder, the pigment is so dark is really colours up nicely and it made my car small INCREDIBLE when I drove it over (it was actually quite lucky to survive the trip - nervous driver).
I thought it would be best to literally just cut him out and place him on the top, so it looks like he's coming out of the cake. I did then pipe buttercream onto the bottom of the picture so it didn't look too Art Attacky. After placing him on the front I placed a big pink heart on top and piped 21 onto it. I then dotted the pink hearts and stars around the picture with a couple overlapping. I also added some white chocolate stars to add another girly, and it fitted nicely in to the theme.

I mirrored the decoration on the back and gave the whole cake a generous dusting of pink cake glitter.  To finish it off I tied it up with a chocolate coloured ribbon making a bow at the front. I'm glad she liked the cake, I also used the image for her birthday card from Moonpig so she can keep him forever!


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Friday, 20 April 2012

Flowers and Butterflies Giant Cupcake

It feels like a while since I did a giant cupcakes, it probably hasn't actually been that long, maybe I was just having withdrawals! So I was really happy when I was asked to make a girly giant cupcake for the weekend. My favourite brief as you all know, I love the doing girly ones I find them so easy I seem to make them without thinking which leaves me more time to clean up the kitchen I've just completely destroyed!

I think flowers look really lovely on a cake and I've done so many with hearts and stars on I thought maybe flowers would be a nice look and perfect for the girly theme. I made blue fondant rolled roses dusted with gold cake glitter Choccywoccydoodah style. I still had some rice paper butterflies left so thought these would look really nice dotted around the flowers and leaves, I did think about making fondant butterflies but these are so detailed and delicate they were much cuter.

The actual cake is vanilla as is the buttercream which is coloured with pink liquid colour and beaten within an inch of it's life! The bottom, the 'case' is covered in jam and white fondant which looks really crisp against the pink top. As the roses have gold glitter I thought a nice gold sparkly bow would match quite nicely, I didn't tie it all the way round as it's a wide ribbon it looked a bit heavy so a big bow looked perfect.

I have another cake to do over the weekend, so lookout for another post soon :)

Nom! Pin It Now!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Easter Cake Pops and Treats!

Easter is of course not Easter without a ridiculous amount of food, chocolates and sweets - well this is the case in our house anyway!

I did plan to do lots of baking this weekend but some of it got sidelined for going out and enjoying ourselves with the family :D, but more about that after, first I had another nice little cake pop order to make. I'm becoming more and more fond of these treats and it was great to be more adventurous I'm thinking of investing in some books like Pop Bakery, any suggestions are welcome. The brief? Easter! So it was pretty free really and I wanted it to be full of cuteness - and I have to say, I'm really pleased with them! After a lot of researching I soon found out that chicks were the most popular theme, simple but sickeningly cute I couldn't resist making them. The biggest colour theme running through this time of year is pastel, you see it everywhere and it seems so fitting for Easter. I also then made pastel blue cake pops with white pearl polkadots that actually had a Tiffany & Co look about them and also white chocolate drenched in hundreds and thousands.

I really wanted to make hot cross buns this year but just never got around to make them and am so jealous seeing everyone's pictures popping up of them fresh from the oven. We still bought some though, can't have Easter without hot cross buns and butter. I did however manage to make some Norwegian shortbread biscuits and even decorate some. Again I was feeling inspired by Peggy Porschen and went for the polkadot theme and dusted them off with yellow cake glitter, yum!

Now I may be 24...but that didn't stop be from making cornflake cakes! These, along with rice crisp cake might be some of my favourite little nostalgic treats to make. Topped off with mini eggs, of which we still have about 6 bags left (yay!) to complete the birds nest look. I made so many I had to bring the rest into work to share them around, who said you can have too many anyway?

As I mentioned in my last post I made my mum an Easter egg...I had a go anyway. I've seen so many eggs like this I really wanted to try to make one. Jazzles are such a cute looking sweet, perfect to use on an egg. Layer up the sweets in the mould I drizzled some melted chocolate over a few now and them while layering on more chocolate to give it some structure so they wouldn't just fall off when taken out of the mould. After painting on layers of white chocolate in-between cooling the two halves in the fridge I left it to set overnight. I should have made it thicker but it still popped out with ease. Using chocolate that was melted but almost set again I glued the two halves together and again left to set overnight. I wasn't really sure how to present the egg so I opted for the 'egg in mug' look, I was also going to cellophane and ribbon it but I run out after all the ones we did for the family. It's definitely less hassle to just buy an egg from Tesco, but sometimes it's nice to try new things and make something a bit personal now and then. What did you all make for Easter?


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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easter Weekend - Visit From The Vikings

I love Easter, who doesn't? It has to be my favourite time of year, second to Christmas of course. The daffodils are out, everything comes in yellow....and you get a few cheeky days off too which always helps. This year we had Norwegian family visiting for my cousins 16th birthday which fell on Easter Sunday, this is who I made the One Direction cake for.

I managed to get an extra day off as my mum couldn't so I could spend an extra day with them. We've done so much this weekend this is mainly going to be a photo post. On Thursday I took them around St Ives, it's a typical English town with historic features that couldn't be more 'English' and almost villagey in areas. We did some shopping, exploring the old roads by the river and even managed to fit in some lunch at the River Tea Rooms, my favourite place.

Friday and Saturday were spent in Cambridge. They'd never seen Primark before, everything in Norway is so expensive compared to here so it was no surprise that my cousin and I spent 3 hours in there..THREE! And I have to say it was great, trying on mounds of clothes and laughing at the awful ones, then comes the scary count-up at the end and trying to get the total down which at one point did hit £145! We then hit Nandos which again you can't find in Norway, and mainly because One Direction eat there, ate a stupid amount but completely worth it. 

 Saturday was a tourist day and we spent the day punting along the river Cam, walking around the old streets, seeing the Universities, the famous fudge shop, gold clock, man playing guitar in a bin (true story) and eating more food of course! In the evening we went out for Chinese and had the funniest evening ever, quite literally spent the whole evening in hysterics which was brilliant.


Easter Sunday came and I think I was more excited than the birthday girl and we didn't even let her have a lie-in! I love giving people presents and this was no exception. The family came over at various points, brothers and fiance/wife and my gorgeous niece so we could give them their eggs. Norwegian cardboard eggs filled with chocolates, my niece of course got the biggest (and pinkest). My little brother got one too which I sent down to him the week before. As not many in the house that day liked lamb we decided to have a big turkey dinner followed by the One Direction cake.

 I have to say I love my Easter 'egg', a giant chocolate cupcake!! How perfect...not eaten it all yet... My mum loved the Mozart chocolate balls (don't laugh), so I got her a load of those and even tried making her an actual egg from the moulds I got in Poundland, I think it's definitely much easier to just buy them! But it still looked cute. Keep posted for all of the Easter treats I made.

I love the cupcake headband my niece got...I got one too! Handmade by Norwegian designer Fam Irvoll. These will now be our new baking gear for whenever we're together
Hope you all had a lovely Easter!!

Nom! x

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