Give me cake or give me death cookies.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Birthday Cupcakes: Gilded Fashion Cupcakes

It's my colleague's youngest daughter's birthday today- happy birthday!

These are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream, and white chocolate toppers. I have to admit I cheated a bit this time on the decorations: the handbags and shoes were pre-bought. However, I did take the time to gild them them with edible gold lustre, just to make them stand out a bit more.

Again, my camera doesn't pick up the sparkle of the edible glitter or the metallic tone of the gold lustre, but in real life these are a little more more... bling. =D

Remember I made my colleague's son the gluten free football cake? I also made her eldest daughter a batch of pearly rose cupcakes for her birthday recently. All gluten free, so the whole family can enjoy.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Mango Mousse Cake

My parents came back from a holiday visiting family in Malaysia, today. I've been wanting to try making a mango mousse cake for ages, and I reckoned a sunny tropical-y cake would help fight that post-holiday feeling.

I'm pretty proud of this one. I finally cracked tempering chocolate- something that's been on my to-do list for a while- to make the chocolate garnishes. In person they're all lovely and glossy.

I made this cake based on my strawberry mousse cake recipe, but with mangoes instead of strawberries (but you've already figured that out), and finished with a shiny mango mirror glaze using 1tsp kosher gelatine, 100g puréed mangoes, 1tbsp caster sugar and 2tbsp water.

I did make some changes though in order to make the presentation right: I scaled the Genoise sponge recipe down to a 2-egg recipe and used a smaller springform tin, and trimmed the cake around the edges so that the mousse would show all around the sides. As for the mousse, I kept the original quantities largely the same (I needed enough mousse to fill the middle AND cover the sides and top), but cut the cream from 300ml to 200 ml for a slightly firmer mousse.

Also, in terms of presentation and getting the cake out, I did two things differently: instead of lining the tin with foil, since the tin was already deep and I made a smaller cake, I simply greased the sides with oil. I cut out a disc of sturdy cardboard big enough to fit snugly inside the tin, lined it with foil and, once the cake was baked, placed it at the bottom of the clean tin before re-assembling the cake. I think I'll do this from now on when making this sort of chilled cake- it definitely takes a lot of stress out of transferring the cake later.

For the smoothest edge, I chilled the mango mousse cake in the fridge for three hours, chilled it for a further two after pouring over the mirror glaze, and transferred it to the freezer for one hour. Then I ran a hot knife around the edge to loosen the sides before unclipping the springform and lifing the cake on its foiled cardboard base onto a plate. I re-heated the knife by dipping it in hot water and wiping it dry, and swiped it around the side of the cake for the most perfect smooth edge.

Lastly, this time I made it in time to bother letting it stay in the fridge overnight before serving. It really makes a difference in terms of letting the gelatine settle.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Gingerbread IT Man/ My Week Off

Although I did bake this week, it still counts as my week off because because I neither a) experimented nor b) did any serious baking or decorating.

Still, it was the first time ever I've made gingerbread men. I've made gingerbread plenty of times before yes- but never in the form of little edible effigies. I only made six with a small amount of dough, and I gave each a profession with a tiny bit of icing (well, more or less- I ended up with an IT man, office manageress, footballer, farmer lady, student, and finally a crazy drunkard wearing just a pair of pants). My personal favourite was the IT man.

Isn't he just darling? He's the only one left now, and I can't bring myself to eat him. I know, I'm sad.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Catalogue Cake- Grandma's 90th Birthday

Remember I made an enormous suitcase cake for my grandfather's 90th in December? Today was my grandma's 90th birthday party, and this time it was requested I make a cake in the shape of a catalogue (because Grandma loves ordering shoes and tops to try on at home).

I was quite happy with it- I think I'm starting to really get the hang of fondant-covered cakes (buttercream being my preferred medium). The end result wasn't too far off my 'blueprints' either:

This cake was still really big, but a little bit smaller than the suitcase cake- using 8 eggs instead of 10- as there were a few less guests (and there was plenty left over last time, too). Again it took over the span of a couple of days to make as I prepared the cake and fondant decorations in evenings after work, finally putting everything together this morning before the party. Creating the cake took just over six hours, collectively.

This morning, I sandwiched the two layers of cake I'd previously baked together with strawberry jam and fresh cream:

Sliced the very edges off to straighten them, carved a mock fold in the centre (so that the finish cake would look like an open book), and gave the whole thing a thin coating of buttercream:

Then I rolled out a load of white fondant icing, covered the cake and smoothed everything out:

Scoring the pages in with a knife took surprisingly long, it's a shame the camera doesn't pick it up so well:

Finally, I piped on some leaves with pre-made icing (I was making this cake round my aunt's house and couldn't use my own piping equipment for Kosher reasons), painted in some details with food colouring pens and stuck on the fondant roses and fashion thumbnails I'd made on a previous evening:

Et voilà! A catalogue cake. Stick some candles in...

Slice it up ceremoniously...

And the best part of all: eat.

Have a very happy birthday, Grandma!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Birthday Pavlova for Mum: Mango Passion Fruit Pavlova

This year has certainly been a year for unconventional birthday cakes in my family! My mum requested a mango passion fruit pavlova for her birthday, so I created a two-tier layered pavlova.

For the meringue part I used the same recipe as my red berry pavlova, only with four egg whites and everything else scaled down accordingly (except for the cream and fruit, which largely stayed the same to have enough for two layers). Crispy on the outside, marshmallowy on the inside, sweet offset with creamy and tangy. Yum.

Happy birthday, mum!