Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Strawberry and vanilla cupcakes.

I whipped these up for our german visitors and placed the cakes (once cooked and frosted) in the tea cup cases my brother had given me for my birthday.

Vanilla sponge (makes about 15 cupcakes)
125g butter
125g sugar
125g self-raising flour
2 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Cream the butter, then add the sugar until it is also creamed.
Add half the flour and one of the eggs. Mix thoroughly. Repeat with the rest of the flour and the other egg. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and mix. Divide between paper cases and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean of when the top of the sponge is pressed with a fingertip it bounces back.

Strawberry frosting (frosts about 12)
80g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp of milk
1-3 tsp of strawberry flavouring

Cream the butter and then add the icing sugar. Combine the strawberry flavouring with the milk and while mixing, add in a tsp of the milk/strawberry mixture at a time. Icing should be thick enough to stick to the back of the spoon. Keep tasting the icing to see if more strawberry flavouring is needed.

I used a piping back with a large star nozzle for mine. Added some pink glitter sprinkles as well which I thought was cute!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

White Chocolate Cheesecake

We had a dinner party last night and we had two desserts. One family friend brought an Apple and Blackberry Crumble which was delicious and I hope to get the recipe for and the other dessert was White Chocolate Cheesecake which is intensely rich and definately not good for the waistline.

I'm not entirely sure where the recipe comes from as we have a photocopy so if anyone happens to know, please tell me!

Bill Granger's White Chocolate Cheesecake (for a 20cm pan)
100g plain digestive biscuits
50g butter, melted
250g cream cheese, at room temperature, cubed
125g caster sugar
125ml thin cream
250g mascarpone, chilled
500g good-quality white chocolate, choppped.

The amount of digestive biscuits can be varied depending on how thick you like your crust. I did an extra 50g as our dish was quite large and we enjoy a decent crust. Crush your desired amount of digestive biscuits, I usually put mine a large bowl and bash with the end of a rolling pin.

Once crushed, melt the butter in a pan, take off the heat and then mix with the digestive crumbs. Once thoroughly mix, line the base of your pan or dish with the digestive crumbs and spoon over with a knife. Place in fridge to set for about 30 minutes while you make the filling.

This contraption in the picture above is a glass dish with a sillicone rim, once the cheesecake has set you gently pull away the rim. Sortof like a spring form pan but a little different!

Next, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth in a large bowl. Then beat in the cream. And then finally beat in the mascarpone until just combined.

Next break up your white chocolate into squares in a bowl. I've only used 450g of white chocolate here due to the bars being sold in packets of 150g, it doesn't do the recipe any harm.

Melt the chocolate in the bowl over a pan of simmering water.

After the chocolate is melted, mix into the cream mixture and then spread over the digestive crumb base with a knife until smooth.

Then place the cheesecake into the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight to set. I reccommend doing it the day before as although it is sturdy enough to serve after the 3 hours, you'll really see if a difference if you leave it overnight. As I was doing this for a dinner party that night, mine had been in the fridge for about 5 hours.

I sprinkled some chocolate curls over mine just before putting it in the fridge.

There's also a recipe for a chocolate sauce to be served along with the cheesecake, but I find the cheesecake rich enough! If anyone's adventurous enough to try, here's the recipe.

Dark Chocolate Sauce
310ml thin cream
125g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

Melt the dark chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool for 15-20 minutes before spooning over slices of cheesecake.

Though, in the words of Bill Granger, "If you the chocolate sauce a bit rich, try serving it with fresh fruit - mango, passionfruit and berries all work well".

Anyone want some cheesecake?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Birthday haul!

I was truly spoiled by my friends and family on my birthday and I received many lovely gifts - many which were baking related! So hopefully you'll begin to see some of my new belongings appear in use in posts!

I received this lovely cupcake stand from my brother and his fiance. I can't wait to make some cupcakes and display them.

I also received some animal cutters from them, though I keep mistaking the snail for a whale!

My other brother gave me a lovely cake book called "All Cakes Considered" which is proving to be a good read.

He also gave me these lovely sillicone tea cup cake holders that come with saucers. We are hosting German visitors at the moment and where I showed them the cases they were delighted at the novelty so I'm sure they'll be making an appearance soon.

Another cake book I was given is called "Eat Me", I've had a good browse and I'm sure their recipes will be making an appearance here soon.

My friend also gave me a couple of springform pans that'll come in handy when I'm baking all this cake! Have you recieved/treated yourself to any bakewear lately?

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

20th Birthday Cake!

It was my 20th on Friday so I decided to make my own cake. I chose to do a two layer cake sandwiched together with vanilla frosting and covered the cake in fondant to try and make it look like a parcel. I also bought some blue food dye to dye some fondant in the hopes of doing polkadots and a bow.

I had to make the cake on Wednesday due to other commitments and baked two 8 inch plain sponge cakes and allowed them to cool before sandwiching together with the vanilla frosting. I then rolled out some fondant. I used Dr. Oetker's Ready to Roll fondant as there was no way that I was going to attempt to make fondant, let alone at 9 at night. (Side note : ready made fondant was really difficult to find in my local area, my brother ended up finding a couple of boxes at Morrisons, thank goodness!)

I covered the counter in icing sugar and rolled out the fondant until I thought it would cover all sides of the cake. I then put the fondant over my frosted cake. Uh, well I would've if the fondant hadn't stuck to the counter and ripped everywhere. Do over! I covered the counter in MORE icing sugar and tried again. Success! I smoothed the fondant over the cake and then cut off the extra bits which I would use to dye blue.

I've heard food paste is better to use to dye fondant with so I ordered a bottle from the website called Cakes, Cookies and Crafts The food paste I used was called Sugarflair which is suitable for vegetarians. They suggest using a tiny amount on a cocktail stick and then knead into the fondant. I did this a couple of times adding some more paste until I was happy with the colour. I then rolled out the fondant and cut out circle shapes using an egg cup. I then 'glued' the blue circles onto the white fondant using some more frosting.

By this time it had gone about half past 10 at night and I was beat. I decided it looked pretty good as it is and bypassed the bow. Maybe next year! Here it is!

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post, I didn't have my camera to hand when I was making it. My brother's requested a Chocolate Orange cake for his upcoming birthday so I'll make sure to take some more photos of that.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Black Magic Cake!

I'm a regular visitor to a forum called The Student Room. A couple of other users there are keen bakers and we have decided to start a little society where we pick a recipe each month and try it out. The first was was called "Black Magic Cake" and the recipe can be found here : Black Magic Cake

I didn't acquire cup measurements until quite recently so I had to do a lot of the measurements simply on guesswork and googling. I followed the recipe and after what I thought was thorough greasing of my cake pans, divided the mixture into two pans and placed in the oven for around 30-40 minutes.

After doing a skewer test and the finger print test (touching the top of the cake with a fingertip, if the indentation stays then it needs to remain in longer, if the sponge bounces back up it's cooked) I took the pans out of the oven and allowed them to cool slightly.

When I came to take the cake out of the pans disaster struck. They wouldn't budge. At all. After some dodgy knife work, this is what I had to work with.

After some minor reconstructive surgery, I whipped up some Hummingbird vanilla frosting and sandwiched it together despite the cake falling apart.

It's really not the prettiest cake I've ever made but I thought it tasted okay. It was a little hit and miss with the family though. I think I'll have to try it again on my uni friends and grease and paper my pans a little more thoroughly!

Links to the other blogs : The White Cat Baker, Dulwich Munchies, Internet Gems, Sarah Cooks and Peachy Tarts

Monday, 5 July 2010

I actually made a lion cake!

I went up to Dundee for a couple of days to stay with some friends and we ended up looking round TK Maxx where I found a small lion tin. I couldn't resist! Once I returned home, I invited my friend Steph over and we set about making it.

The pan came with a recipe so I decided to use theirs which was a big mistake. It started overflowing in the oven and when we cut it apart it was filled with nothing but air! Disappointment galore.

I went back to the recipe I always use and it worked fine. Lesson learnt! The lion had a some difficulty getting out the pan so we had to do a little reconstructive surgery to save it. We then frosted it with chocolate and plain frosting.

Here is the finished result. I think it looks adorable!