Month: January 2014

Just a slice

I get press releases emailed me on a daily- no, make that hourly basis and I get tons and tons of baking/cooking/cupcake product ideas sent to me to test/play with / eat up and from the PR’s point of view hopefully feature. I usually resist the urge to show you absolutely everything, but I really couldn’t with these cake tins. How cute are they?

Cake slice tins


SetofThreeGoodEnoughtoEatCakeTins2200 LemonSliceCakeTin500 VictoriaSpongeCakeSliceTin500They’re from a company called ‘The Contemporary Home‘ and I have been a fan of theirs for a long time. They sell tons and tons of cute and unusual home wares – great for my styling job.  I really love these tins. I’m actually a bit of a tin fan. I have quite a few for cakes but I have literally tons for my crafting. One for buttons, one for embroidery threads. I’ve even just inherited some really vintage ones from my grandma which hold her old needles.

So you can see why these took my fancy. I mean who doesn’t need a cake slice tin to hold a bit of lemon drizzle cake or a touch of Vicky sponge? They also have some really cute tins in the shape of a chocolate Bourborn biscuit and a custard cream. So cool!

Have a great weekend bakers.


How to make a penguin birthday cake

How to make a Penguin cake

Back in November Beau celebrated her 10th Birthday. My kids usually know what cake they want for their birthdays. Well, they know for about 10 minutes and then they change their minds about 100 times!  But this year it was all about the penguin with Beau. I have absolutely no idea where this new obsession came from but all I do know is that we now have a cushion (half made but I’m working on it), mittens, a onesie and a cuddle cushion to name just a few of the recent penguin additions to our house.

Penguin cake drawing

Beau has been very creative and independent from a very young age and this year she gave me a drawing of exactly what she wanted her Penguin birthday cake to look like – complete with goldfish and bows in the hair. I love the little comments she put on there and that she even included what she wanted the board to look like and where to position the penguin’s feet! I think I’m going to be having bigger challenges as the years go on… or maybe she’ll be making her own cakes soon!

How to make a penguin cake How to make a Penguin cake

Beau decided that she wanted the actual cake to be “sky blue”. That was until I added blue food colour to a yellow cake mix and ended up with a green cake! Not to worry. It still looked good. I started off by baking three Madeira cakes in  4, 6 and 7” round cake tin. I loosely stacked them to check that the basic shape was going to work then I levelled the bottom two cakes and left the top one rounded for the head. I filled the cakes with raspberry jam and buttercream and placed a plastic food dowel through the whole cake to add stability.

How to make a Penguin cake

The next step was to cover the cake in a crumb coating of buttercream, pop it in the fridge (yes I had to remove shelves from the fridge) to firm up. Then I gave the cake a top coating of buttercream which I smoothed as best I could.

How to make a Penguin cake

Black sugarpaste is notoriously sticky but the plus side is that it is really easy to knead and roll out. It does tend to stretch and tear easily so try to keep the thickness of the sugarpaste 5mm or more. To cover the cake carefully lift the rolled out sugarpaste over the penguin. Smooth the top of the head first then smooth down the sides.

How to make a Penguin cake

As long as the sugarpaste is thick enough you’ll be able to gently ease the sugarpaste around the neck area in (when you do this it looks like your strangling the penguin) Move your hands around it’s neck till you have a good definition between the head and the body. Smooth all over and remove the excess at the bottom.

How to make a Penguin cake

I wanted the cake board (or cake stand in this case) to look like an iceberg sitting on some choppy water so I rolled out some really thick blue sugarpaste then positioned it over the cake stand and poked my fingers into it- carefully so that I didn’t go through to the stand.  I then rolled out some white icing and softened the edges with my fingers.

How to make a Penguin cake

To stick the cake in place I used a little royal icing o the iceberg then position the penguin in place.
How to make a Penguin cake

I added a pretty pink bow to the top of the head with royal icing.
How to make a Penguin cake

Next were the wings and then the feet and beak – all made from sugarpaste. Make sure the feet sit underneat the tummy. How to make a Penguin cake

The white tummy was added next. Be sure not to roll the white sugarpaste out too thinly or the black tummy will show through. How to make a Penguin cake

To make the eyes I used three circle cutters. It’s amazing what expressions you can get with a strategically placed white dot! How to make a Penguin cake The end result? A very happy Beau at her sleepover party. When this picture was taken she was in fits of laughter and didn’t want anyone to cut the cake up. Then I gave her a big knife to slice it up and it didn’t last very long at all.




Apple and almond cake recipe (dairy free)

Apple and Almond cake recipe

I’ve made this cake a lot recently. And when I say ‘a lot’ I mean about five times in the last month. It all started when I was going to my sister’s house for FNC (a.k.a Friday Night Candles – that’s a family dinner followed by lighting Shabbat candles) I wanted to make a dairy free apple cake as we were going to be having a meat dinner (keeping kosher means not mixing foods with meat and milk in) and I had tons of apples. I had most of the ingredients for the recipe I’d found but not all of them …. well actually I had about half of the ingredients. What I didn’t have I substituted and as usual I made it up as I went along and hoped for the best. I have to say that it was one of my biggest successes. My dad loved it and even the kids who were well into their Friday night sweets came back for seconds.

I made this cake again the week before Christmas with peaches which Tim says is the best one (and I agree even though I think peaches look like goldfish and that normally puts me off eating them!) It was good. I simply cut the peaches up into thin slices and placed them directly on the cake batter then baked.

I also made it with tinned cherries for a New Years Eve dinner party. It tasted okay but no where near as good as the apple and peach versions. I think pear would probably taste good too. Actually, I think pretty much anything will work when it comes to this cake.

You can eat it cold but it tastes much better warmed through with a dollop of icecream.

Apple and Almond cake recipe. 

  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 180g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs- lightly beaten
  • 130g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • 6-8 apples (I used Braeburn)

(You can get American conversions for this recipe here)

 How to make the cake

  1. Peel, core and slice the apples in to quarters then cut each quarter into three.
  2. In a large saucepan of boiling water parboil  the apple slices for 5 minutes. Drain and set to one side to cool.
  3. Grease and line an 8″ tin. Heat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan)
  4. Combine the oil and sugar then add the eggs.
  5. Add the almond essence.
  6. Sieve the flour and baking powder onto the wet ingredients and fold in.
  7. Pour the mixture into your cake tin then place the cooled apples in a pretty design on top of the cake mix and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes.
  8. It’s baked when a skewer comes out of the centre of the cake without any cake mix on it.

So what are you making this weekend. I’d love to know. Whatever it is I hope you have a good one.


FAQ: How to stop your cake baking too quickly on the outside

Frequently Asked Questions: How to stop your cake baking too quickly on the outside

Madeira cake  Just look at this beautiful 10″ Madeira cake. If you follow me on my Facebook page you’ll have seen this cake already. I made it back in November and had a little play with baking a cake that didn’t finish baking on the outside before it was ready on the inside. And the trick is so simple! 


It’s great news! overbaked cake

Well, not news as much as newspaper. I simply took three sheets of newspaper*, overlapped each sheet and folded them over three times. I then wrapped the long length of newspaper around the tin and tied it with natural string (natural string is very important as some string is coated in plastic and that isn’t a good taste for cake!) I tied it securely and then baked the cake as normal for the same amount of time. The result was amazing. A really light outer edge. Not over baked. Just super scrummy!

*UPDATE: 09:01:14

Since originally writing this post I was asked whether newspaper ink is toxic. I didn’t think it was but wanted to double check so I spoke with a printing press engineer who said that he thought it would be okay but to be on the safe side you should only use ‘food standard quality’ paper around your baking tins. So, newspaper isn’t such a great choice after all. Instead we should use greaseproof or baking paper folded a few times and then wrapped around your baking tin.  Sorry for the confusion. 

Give it a try and let me know how you get on. I guarantee it will improve the bake on any big cake.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: