RSS Feed

Category Archives: Baking

Doctor Who Tardis Cake

Posted on

Hello!

Remember me? I’m that Irish girl who used to blog a lot and then abandoned it!!

No really I switched web address then my blog had a little meltdown but thanks to the lovely people behind the brain of wordpress, they got it working for me again.

Despite being really busy at work, I hope to start blogging more as I have really missed it.

Today I wanted to share with you a Tardis cake that I attempted to make.

I have never made a “standing up” cake before and let me tell you, it was every bit as hard as I imagined it to be.

For those of you who are used to decorating cakes, you will know that trying to get fondant to stand up is a difficult task. So even though this cake doesn’t really look too great or at all professional I am very happy with it because it did not fall apart as I was expecting it to.

375687_10200449924729024_70676603_n

So sure, the sides are a bit wobbly and it’s not exactly proportionate but I tried my best and the birthday girl seemed to really like it so that’s all that matters, right?!

Any questions on how I made the cake are welcome!

– Bee

 

My Great British Bake Off | Episode 3 Desserts

My oh my, let me start off my saying this week was an absolute failure!!!

Last night’s episode of The Great British Bake Off shows the contestants challenged with various desserts.

Here are the three tasks they had to perform;

  • First up was the contestants ‘signature bake’ which was a trifle (flavour, ingredients etc of their choice)
  • For the ‘technical challenge’ contestants had to recreate Mary Berry’s Floating Islands (to put it simply poached meringue in custard)
  • Then for the show stopper, they had to bake 24 petit fours; 12 biscuit based, 12 cake based.

So knowing I was challenging myself to recreate one of these dishes, I wasn’t all that pleased with what they made in the show. Trifle was knocked out as a contender immediately seeing as I don’t like trifle and not many people in the house would eat it (there was no point baking something that would go to waste!). Next was Mary Berry’s Floating Island, and if you watched the show you will have seen how difficult these are to make, and quite frankly they were a very posh dessert. Now I was actually going to attempt to make these but there was no cream in the house and I didn’t want to run down to the shop to get any, so that was out. So I was left with the petit fours. But then I thought it was a little silly spending so much time trying to get the desserts so small so I noticed a lot of the contestants made macaroons for their petit fours, and I have never tried making these before (I actually had never even seen/tried one before) so I thought, this would be my challenge.

I found this recipe on howtocookthat.net!

Macaroons Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup or 70g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups or 230g pure icing sugar
  • 1 cup or 120g almond meal
  • 2g salt (tiny pinch)
  • gel food colouring (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C
Place egg whites and cater sugar in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until stiff enough to turn the bowl upside down without it falling out, continue to whip for 1-2 more minutes.  How long this takes will depend on you mixer.  Add gel or powdered food colouring and continue to mix for a further 20seconds.

Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and salt twice, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve. Fold into the egg white mixture. It should take roughly 30-50 folds using a rubber spatula.  The mixture should be smooth and a very vicious, not runny.

Pipe onto trays lined with baking paper, rap trays on the bench firmly (this prevents cracking) and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Check if one comes off the tray fairly cleanly, if not bake for a little longer (make sure you are using NON-stick baking paper or they will stick).

Once your macaroons are cooked, pipe buttercream into the centre (or you can use ganache etc)

 

So I made two different flavour macaroons, and here is what they turned out like

Macaroons

So as you can see there is some pink and some green macaroons.

The pink ones are bubblegum flavour. Just after whipping the egg whites and sugar I mixed in some red food colour powder. I want to emphasis the importance of using powder here. If you use liquid food colour the mixture would be too runny. I found my mixture was runny enough and I used food colour powder so that’s just my recommendation.

The bubblegum flavour is actually in the buttercream in the middle. I just added some bubblegum flavouring to it (and it does taste just like bubblegum!)

The green macaroons are peppermint. Again, I added green food colour powder to the egg white mixture, and the peppermint flavour is in the buttercream.

 

Now, I have never had macaroons before, nor have I even seen them before so I’m not entirely sure what they are supposed to taste like but I know what I made isn’t right.

To me they just taste like cubes of sugar, which I don’t like, which is why I said they were a complete failure, but if you have a real sweet tooth and enjoy eating sugar, maybe you will like this recipe, who knows, but I for one did not and I can safely say I will not be making these again.

 

So desserts week was a bit of a failure, but next week is Pies and Tarts week so I’m quite looking forward to that.

– Bee

My Great British Bake Off | Episode 2 Bread

Greetings,

So I have finally got the chance to sit down and watch the first two episodes of season 4 of The Great British Bake Off.

Then I came up with an idea. Since I like baking anyways, I thought I would set myself the challenge of re-creating at least one if not two of the recipes the contestants have to create on the show. Then I thought, why not share this idea on my blog, so here we are.

Unfortunately due to the fact I was two episodes behind, and given the first episode was about cakes and I make cakes all the time, I thought I would dive straight in to episode 2, which was bread.

The only type of bread I have ever baked before is brown bread, which is quite easier to make because there is no yeast in it, so working with yeast was the challenge for this week.

So in episode 2, the contestants were set the following three challenges;

  • Baking breadsticks (flavour of their choice)
  • Baking English Muffins (not just any muffins, these were Paul Hollywood’s own recipe muffins)
  • Baking a loaf of bread (again flavour, shape, etc. of their choice)

So for my challenge this week, I chose to attempt to make my own English muffins, and attempt to make my first ever loaf of bread.

Here is the end result…

Bread 3

And here’s how I did it…

English Muffins

Keeping in theme with the show, I followed Paul Hollywood’s English Muffin recipe as follows:

Ingredients

  • 300g/10½ oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 6g fast-action yeast
  • 6g salt
  • 15g/½oz sugar
  • 15g/½oz softened butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 medium free-range egg (about 22g/¾oz), lightly beaten
  • 170ml/6fl oz milk (should make a soft dough – you can add up to about 30ml/1floz extra if needed)
  • oil, for greasing
  • 15g/½oz semolina or polenta

 

Method

  • Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on one side of the flour and the salt into the other side of the flour. Add the sugar, butter, egg and milk, then mix all the ingredients together to form a soft dough.
  • Turn the mixture out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until soft, smooth and stretchy.
  • Lightly grease a large bowl with oil. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove for at least one hour to double in size.
  • Tip the dough out onto the work surface and roll out to about 1.5cm/¾in thick. Leave to stand on the work surface for 15 minutes, to prevent the muffins from shrinking.
  • Dust two baking trays with half of the semolina or polenta.
  • Using a 9cm/3½oz straight-sided cutter, cut out eight muffins. Place four muffins, evenly spaced apart on each of the dusted baking trays. Dust the remaining semolina or polenta over the top of the muffins.
  • Leave to prove for another 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the hot plate or a heavy-based frying pan on the hob to a very low heat. Griddle the muffins for approximately 5-6 minutes, then flip over and griddle for another 5-6 minutes on the other side.

Overall I found this a good and easy recipe to follow. I was worried about my muffins not being cooked in the inside but thankfully they were, and they actually tasted quite nice, just like the ones you would buy in a shop! One thing I will say though is I probably cooked mine for longer than 5-6 minutes on either side, just to ensure they were cooked through.

If anyone is attempting these and worried about what heat to cook them at (this is something I did fret over) here is how I cooked mine.

I let a small amount of margarine (or unsalted butter) melt in a frying pan (yes a frying pan will work perfectly for this recipe, no need to spend money on an expensive hot plate!) My stove ranges from 1-10 in heat so I started off cooking them at 4, I did however bring it down to 2/3 at some stages, it really depends on your stove and what works best for you.

This is the end result of my muffins…

Bread 2

I’m quite pleased with the result considering this was my first time making them. One thing I will say though is that it is a very long and slow process, you need to have a lot of spare time to allow your dough to rise (I think about an hour and a half in total). But it is a really nice recipe so I would recommend trying it out if you are looking for a baking challenge. If you follow the recipe above (and use a 9cm round cutter) it will make 8 English muffins.

Bread Loaf

So in the episode the contestants had to make a showstopper loaf of bread. Now quite frankly, I had no-one to impress so I did not attempt making a Paul the psychic octopus tribute loaf, or a peacock loaf, or even a yin and yang loaf. I kept it simple seeing as it was my first attempt at making bread.

One thing I picked up from the show though was some of the contestants chose to plait their bread. I thought this was interesting, and gave a nice rustic look to the bread so I did try this out.

I made a simple plain white loaf using a standard recipe (which I can’t find at the moment but if I do I will include it later)

Once the dough had risen, I began to plait the bread, and to spice it up a bit I first covered it in a little olive oil, then I sprinkled a little bit of grated cheddar cheese on it, some oregano, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, and more oregano (I love cooking with oregano!)

Here is what it looked like out of the oven…

Bread

For my first ever loaf of bread, I’m quite pleased with it. Again it was just a simple plain white loaf, but I used it later for my dinner to make some garlic bread and it was quite nice!

So that was my episode 2 Bread challenge. Sorry this is on a Monday (oh, it’s almost 1am, I guess it’s now Tuesday)

The Great British Bake Off airs on a Tuesday night, therefore  I will be doing my challenges on Wednesday.

So this Wednesday there will be another challenge (I believe it’s deserts of some kind) and then I will be on a schedule of uploading these every Wednesday.

Hope you have enjoyed,

Bee

iMade A Cake

Posted on

It is the end of a crazy week which means I finally have time to sit down and blog.

Today was my wonderful mother’s birthday and to celebrate I made her an iCake.

She is quite the apple nerd, and loves her ipad so I thought it would only be appropriate to replicate an ipad into cake form.

Well…at least I attempted to…

ipad

It’s not the best cake I have ever made but then again it was thrown together quite quickly when I got home from work yesterday.

However my mam loved it and that is the most important part!

 

This is the first time I have ever tried full on painting on the cake as you can see in the iPad background. The trick to make edible paint is to mix colour powder with vodka to get a paint consistency. the paint on the fondant as if it were a canvas. The vodka will evaporate and you are just left with the colour so don’t worry, your cake will not taste like vodka (sorry if this disappoints some of you!), I am happy with the technique even though it didn’t turn out too great on my cake, but in fairness ocean waves are hard to paint with actual paint, never mind will sugar paint on a cake!

The cake itself is actually a chocolate cake (since that is what my mam requested!) and, not to sound all high and mighty, is the best homemade chocolate cake recipe I have tasted. I have tried quite a few different recipes of chocolate cake, but since finding this one, I have stuck with it. (If anyone is interested in the actual recipe let me know and I will post it!)

So there you have it short and sweet…very sweet…there is a lot of fondant on that cake 😉

– Bee

Minnie Mouse Cake

Posted on

Perhaps it is my love of everything and anything disney-related or perhaps it was who I was making it for, but this Minnie Mouse cake was definitely one of my favourite cakes to make.

photo

Not including baking time, it took around 3-4 hours to decorate this cake.

Top Layer – Minnie Mouse Head

I began the night before by make the top layer, or the Minnie Mouse head if you will.

For this, I didn’t actually have a cake tin in a sphere shape so I actually took a regular bowl, greased it with margarine, and lined it with baking (grease-proof) paper. Then I made Rice Krispie treats (the recipe of which I found on the Rice Krispie website if anyone is interested). Then came the difficult task of getting the Rice Krispie treats into the bowl without getting myself covered with the sticky mess left by the marshmallows.

Tip: Use a piece of baking paper to press down the Rice Krispie treats into the bowl. This will save your hands for getting sticky and is easier to work with.

You really have to press down on the Rice Krispie treats if you want a good spherical shape. Once this was done, I left it in the fridge overnight to set.

The next morning, I melted some regular cooking chocolate, let it cool for a minute or two, then using a brush, poured it over the Rice Krispie treats (obviously removing the baking paper first). The purpose of this was to smooth the surface so all the lumps and bumps wouldn’t appear through the fondant.

Next I rolled out some black fondant and covered my Minnie Mouse head with it. Then I cut two circles out for the ears, mixing tylo powder into the black fondant (this ensures the fondant to become tougher and will stand up by itself). Once these circles dried out a bit, I stuck a toothpick into each ear, then stuck them into the fondant covered Rice Krispie treats. Once again the toothpicks were just to ensure the ears would stand up and not fall over.

Last component of this layer was Minnie Mouse’s bow. I found out while making this cake that making bows is quite a difficult task. After playing around with a few different techniques I finally found a way that worked. Once the bow was finished I glued it to the ears and my top layer was complete.

Pink and White Tiers

The pink-polka dotted layer, and the white Minnie Mouse heads layer you can see in the photo are both tiers of cake. These layers were quite simple to make, especially the pink polka dots. All I did was rolled out pink fondant, covered the cake, then cut out white circles and glued them on.

Same principle for the white layer, rolled out white fondant, covered the cake then stuck on some Minnie Mouse heads and the lettering for the name. People kept asking me did I have bow cutters for the bows on all the Minnie Mouse heads on this layer but no, that was all hand cut with nothing but a knife, so it took quite some time. You can though purchase some bow moulds/cutters which will save you a lot of time if you don’t have the patience!

To add a little extra fun to the cake I actually covered the Minnie Mouse heads with glitter and it came out really nice and was a simple yet really nice extra touch to the cake.

Finally to finish off the edges of the cake, I made a pearl-beading effect out of a mould I have. Again it was quite simple but gave a really nice finishing touch to the cake.

So that is how I made this cake. The cake itself went down really well, especially with the little girls who loved picking the Minnie Mouse heads of the white tier and eating them!

Hope this was somewhat helpful if any of you have a Minnie Mouse cake to make in the future!

– Bee