Month: July 2012

Cake pops for The Poopah


It was my dad’s birthday last month. I’m not quite sure now where the nick name originated from but I call my dad ‘The Poopah’ and mum is ‘The Moomah’!

Anyway, my dad has always worn glasses and has always had a moustache (except for a small interlude where his face was bare for a couple of months and he had a full beard for a couple of months – both of which The Moomah hated and he went back to being moustacheo man!) So it’s quite easy to get his character with just a few cake decorating touches.

My dad’s birthday is always celebrated with a family gathering in his garden- usually a BBQ, but what with the summer we’ve been having it was an indoor event this year!  My aunt was visiting from Israel and my 93 year old grandma came too, so I offered to make a cake. Mum always does the decorated cakes for family so I  made some cake pops instead.

How to make the cake pops

1. I keep larger off cuts from cakes I’ve made and had to chop up (or level the top) and freeze them just for making cake pops with. I hate to waste food. ESPECIALLY cake!

2. Pop the cake in a food processor and whizz it till it’s crumbs. I used the off cuts from a one bowl chocolate cake.

3. Add buttercream and whizz again. I don’t measure anymore I just add the buttercream until it sticks together. (To make the buttercream use  a 1:2 ratio  i.e 50g butter, 100g icing sugar, and a drop of vanilla essence all blended together until nice and fluffy)

4. Roll into balls and pop into the freezer for 5 minutes to harden.

5.Mix up some royal icing and colour it using colouring pastes. Add just a tiny bit at a time. Use a toothpick for the ultimate in colour control.

6.Place the royal icing in an icing bag. I printed out a load of pictures of glasses and moustache onto a piece of A4 paper and placed the sheet inside a new, clear, plastic pocket – the kind you would use in a ring binder. Wipe it with Trex so that it isn’t too sticky then ice the shapes over the top of the print out.

7.Leave them to harden up. I would usually leave them over night but you can leave them for a few hours. Test a corner to see if they are going to be strong enough to handle. Remove them with a thin pallet knife VERY CAREFULLY. I broke so many of these that most of the cake pops had smarties all over them (as Beau was helping me!)

8.Push the sticks into the cake pops and dip into the melted candy melts. I thought I had some pink melts when I started making these but when I pulled the lock and lock box out of the cupboard it would appear that it was just pink packaging! It turned out that they were all chocolate. Oh well never mind! I melted some white chocolate to put on the top of each cake pop instead. While they were still wet I added the glasses and moustache decorations onto the top of the pops so when you looked in the box you could see the Poopahs looking out!

So, what do you think? Do they look like my dad then?

There was a bit of a Poopah theme running throughout the afternoon. None of us kids or mum discussed what we were doing/ baking with each other for the lunch. My mum made a cake of his face complete with glasses and tash and mmmm nice chocolate hair and a nose made out of marzipan. Always our favorite bit! When we were kids we used to fight over who got the most marzipan.

Even my 2 1/2 year old niece Sara got in on the action. How cute is the card she made?

Have you made any personalised cake pops recently? I’d love to know how you got on!

EmmaMT

The Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake

One bowl chocolate cake

This is a cake I made to take around to my mother-in-law’s for her birthday back in June. We were all invited for a family afternoon tea at her house. She always makes the most amazing Cherry Amours (I must get the recipe from her some time!) and she had also made scones too, so taking my chocolate cake on top of all that sugar may have been a step too far!

I’m Tim’s biggest nightmare!

I’m not very good at time management. In fact I’m hopeless. I’m late for everything and as Tim always says I have “add ons”, meaning that when we plan to do anything I always want to add on something. When I decided to make this cake I only had an hour and half to bake/decorate the cake, shower & dress and get Darcey ready to go to her friends party, wrap the present and get her to write the card! One serious ‘add on’! I originally wanted to make a cheesecake but Tim had to stop me. I really couldn’t do that in the time and chill it!

Chocolate cake in a hurry.

Needless to say this is the perfect recipe to bash out a quick cake when you’re in a hurry. As the title suggests, all the ingredients are put in the bowl at the same time, mixed up, popped in a tin (or for real speed a silicon pan- no lining or oiling necessary!) and throw it in the oven. Twenty five minutes later it’s done!

One Bowl Chocolate cake Ingredients

125g butter – at room temperature

125g caster sugar

125g self raising flour

2 eggs – at room temperature

4 tbsp cocoa powder

1 teasp baking powder

1 tbsp milk

1 tea sp vanilla extract

Raspberries to decorate

Buttercream

250g butter – at room temperature

450g icing sugar

2 drops of vanilla essence

2 tbsp cocoa powder. (I like my buttercream to be very chocolatey, so if you want a more subtle taste – or your cake is for kids, use just 1 tbsp of cocoa powder, then taste test the buttercream and add more as desired.

How to make the one bowl chocolate cake

Heat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line and oil two 8″ sandwich tins.

Place all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Sieve all the dry ingredients into the bowl then mix until well blended. Avoid over mixing.

Pour the mixture into the cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. This is a really light cake so you will see that it’s done by the edges shrinking away from the sides of the tin or a finger print bounces back instantly when touched.

While the cake is baking make the buttercream. Start by sieving the sugar and cocoa powder together. Add the butter and vanilla essence and mix well. If the mixture is too stiff add one small splash of milk at a time and keep mixing until it is just right.

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the tin and placing it on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Add the buttercream to the centre of the cake then using a large pallet knife cover the outside top and sides. Use an upwards motion to cover it easily. Finish off with fresh raspberries.

This cake went down pretty well but then again so did Nanny Ali’s scones and cherry amours!

enjoy!

p.s. I am aware that there have been a lot of chocolate recipes on here lately! Anyone would think that I like chocolate!!!!!!

Best for baking- silicon pastry mat

I love a good pastry mat !

Ikea baking sheet

I found this pastry mat on a recent trip to IKEA. I wasn’t looking for baking stuff. I was actually buying a mattress, but you know how it is in IKEA, you go in for a box of glasses and come out £100 lighter!

I’ve been meaning to replace my pastry mats for a while now. I have this annoying habit of cutting sugarpaste on them with a scalpel and not surprisingly I slice right through the mat!

This double sided mat is made of silicon and is really easy to clean and use. It has handy weight and temperature conversion chart on one side.  It also comes with a cute heart shaped spatula which has a really thin, flat end- great for picking up small cake decorations. The heart shape can be used to press into cookies or icing to make a pattern. You can also use the shapes and numbers on each side to create more decorations by icing over them, leaving them to dry and popping them onto cakes or cupcakes.

It’s a great buy!

Sockerkaka baking sheet set, £8.99, Ikea

enjoy!

A Rainbow cake for Dahlia (a.k.a. the tallest cake I’ve ever made!)

Rainbow cakeAs I write this post (now last Saturday night) I have absolutely no internet connection. Nothing! Nada! Zip! Not a squat! And it’s not just my router that’s not working at home, my mobile is kerput too! So I have been web free for 5days. It’s at times like this that you realise how much you use the web, sit on facebook and miss your cake blog. Luckily, I have had plenty to keep me busy and away from my Mac.

Firstly I have made two life size snowmen for a Christmas press launch. They took hours and hours of paper mache, painting, covering in wadding and then covering in fake snow! Needless to say that when I got to the part of the week where I got to do baking I was happy!

The Rainbow cake

This cake was my birthday present for a very special little girl. She’s the daughter of my good friend Theoda and she’s too scrumptious for words! Theoda and I worked together on Woman and Home magazine and we shared one too many cupcakes, so I know how much she likes cake! She is also one of my biggest supporters of everything I do. ( Love you Fou!)

Theoda, Peter and the birthday girl. X

Anyway, when Theoda asked if I would make Dahlia’s 1st birthday cake I was honored. I mean I really wanted to make it but sometimes you have to wait to be asked – so that you don’t step on anyone’s toes. Theoda knew exactly what she wanted… Dahlia's on the Rainbow cake It had to have Dahlia’s on the top- obviously as that’s her daughters name. I made these with small circle cutters and then squidged each piece into place with my finger, adding more and more petals in a circle, layering up as I went. I wished that I had seen the flowers from Theoda’s garden (below) as I would have created this style flower instead. How beautiful are these? You can see why Dahlia was given such a beautiful name. Dahlias

A few years ago I made a mini wedding cake inspired by a Mich Turner cake with a bow on the front, which Theoda really liked, I recreated that on the front of the cake with ‘modern’ swags. At each swag was a button, holding it in place.Sugarpaste buttons and swags

As you can see the cake board was a strong pink colour and was dotted with more buttons made from sugarpaste and it was finished off with a cute spot ribbon. Jane Means ribbons are my favorite. They’re the best around and she has such a great selection.Buttons on cake

The pièce de résistance came when Theoda cut the first slice. Inside the tall cake were six layers of Madeira cake, each layer in a darker pink colour than the one below it. There was tons of buttercream inside, to keep it straight and in between each layer. It looked great when cut and whats more each slice could feed a small army. The cake was huge!

Pink Rainbow cake

Things I learnt making this cake…

  1. Don’t add the food colouring to the cake mix and keep stirring it as you colour each layer. By the time you get to the strongest colour you’ll have bashed all the air out of the mix (which is what makes it rise) and it will end up being a heavy biscuit of a cake. Instead mix up all the ingredients apart from the flour and separate it into bowls for each layer. Then colour each bowl. Fold in the flour and bake straight away. That way you can see the exact colour difference in each cake and they will all rise and be light and fluffy and delicious.
  2. I did a crumb coating on this cake and used a cake ruler to ensure the sides were as straight and level as I could get them. I then did a top coat of buttercream and again leveled the sides and top with the straight edge. Pop the cake in the fridge in between each buttercream covering so it sets and is easier to handle.
  3. When covering a cake this tall keep your rolled out icing thicker than usual so it has enough give. I left mine at around 1cm thick. Take your time when covering the cake. Smooth the top first, then gently manipulate the sides, working your way down with your hands and then with a smoother. If you start to get a crease at the bottom gently lift the sugarpaste away from the bottom of the cake and smooth it down from the top again. If you do end up with creases use ribbon, flowers or button decorations to hide them. No one will ever know!
  4. I didn’t put a thin cake board in between the cake layers because I made this cake out of Madeira sponge which is a pretty ‘strong’ cake. If I had done more layers, or had used a softer more crumbly sponge I would have popped one under the middle layer with cake supports in the cakes underneath. This will stop the cake from sinking into itself or toppling over.
  5. Make the decorations a week in advance so that they set hard and can be handled. The bow was quite heavy once dry and was attached to the cake with royal icing. It had to be held in place for a minute or so till it was stuck.

EmmaMT

Black Forrest Gateau recipe… Tim’s Ultimate cake!

Black Forrest Gateau cake recipeIt was Tim’s birthday last Monday and his favourite cake is a Black Forrest Gateau. I have made this for him a few times but never properly. Really I just made a chocolate cake with cherries and cream. He was not satisfied! So I decided this year I was going to do it properly, but as usual I decided this the day before and had to get some ingredients at the last minute, but not your normal ingredients, no, no I had to find Kirsch. Now I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but in my neck of the woods there’s plenty of off licences and plenty of wine and beer to buy, but Kirsch was not so easy to find!

Black Forrest Gateau cake recipe

The hunt was on!

Tim’s birthday just so happened to co-inside with my car having a rather lengthy stay in the garage. So my quest to find kirsch, cherry brandy and make the cake, all within the school day was a bit of a challenge. I tried all the shops within walking distance and got hold of the brandy no problem but the Kirsch was going to have to be a bike ride.

Now might be a good time to mention that I live in between two hills. The kind that you don’t notice when you’re pootling around in your car, but that make you seriously out of breath when you’re peddling your little legs off! So, when I leaned inside my local off licence – still on my bike- helmet on and asked for the Kirsch he said that the store across town would probably have some. So off I went with my rucksack on my back full of bubble wrap and padded envelopes to protect it from bumps and mefrom any accident. Sucess! They had. So I zoomed off home just in time to collect the girls from school.

I baked the sponges first thing in the morning after school drop off then set off on my quest. When the girls got home that afternoon we put the cake together. At first when I couldn’t find the kirsch I was going to do without it, I mean wouldn’t the cherry brandy make a good enough substitute? In a word. No. The Kirsch (as you will see in the recipe below) is used with the jam filling and has a much more alcoholly taste than the sweetness of the brandy which is soaked into the sponges.

The finished cake was popped into the fridge and when Tim got home from work we had dinner together with the cake planned as a big surprise. When he went to get milk out of the fridge to make tea he was met with a “”Noooooooooo!”” buy the three main ladies in his life! Poor thing jumped out of his skin.

Anyway, he loved the cake as I did and with all that alcohol surprisingly so did Beau!

So here’s what I made…

Black Forrest Gateau recipe

Cake Ingredients

225g butter, at room temperature

225g caster sugar

160g  self-raising flour

65g cocoa powder

½ tsp baking powder

4 medium eggs

Decoration and fillings

340g jar of morello cherry jam (any cherry jam will work)

1 tin cherries- drained

2–3 tbsp Kirsch (Yep all that effort for 2-3 tablespoons! But it was worth it)

75 ml oz cherry brandy (morello cherry brandy is best but beggars can’t be choosers!))

600ml  double cream

30g dark chocolate, grated

fresh cherries, to decorate the top

To make Black Forrest Gateau

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°CGas 5. Grease 3 x 8 inch round tins and line the base with baking paper. You can use two tins and cut the cake in half through the middle.
  2. Blend the butter and sugar together
  3. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and eggs and blend until smooth
  4. Divide the mix into the cake tins and smooth it flat.
  5. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the cakes start to come away from the sides.
  6. Leave them to cool for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Make sure you remove the baking paper so the cake doesn’t ‘sweat’

To make Black Forrest Gateau filling

  • Place the jam in a saucepan with the Kirsch until it melts. Add in the Cherries and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
  • Whisk the cream until is forms soft peaks and set it to one side. I over whisked my cream. It doesn’t effect the taste but it spoils the look a bit.
  • Use a silicon pastry brush to soak the cakes with cherry brandy.
  • To assemble –  place one cake on a plate then spread it with the jam. Add cream to another cake. Sprinkle with grated chocolate then place them together.
  • Repeat with the next two cakes ending with a cream topping on the top of the cake.
  • I piped some cream onto the top and placed a fresh cherries all around the outside edge, but anything goes here! Sprinkle with the last of the chocolate and you’re ready to serve!
  • We placed our cake in the fridge for a few hours and it tasted great.
  • Although this cake will taste best on the day you make it we kept this one in the fridge and tried to pace ourselves and ate it for the next 4 days. Black Forrest Gateau cake recipe

Well, when I say we ate it, I actually mean me. Benefits of working from home!

enjoy!

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