Month: March 2015

FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

Sugar_syrup

Ahhh Sugar Syrup. My new and most amazing discovery! It’s the small things that seem to make the biggest difference in my baking. I hadn’t even heard of sugar syrup until I went to the Peggy Porschen sugar roses class last year. I mean I had heard of it but I just thought it was something people added to give a cake more taste – like with lemon cakes and the like, but no. I was wrong.

What sugar syrup does

One of the ladies at the sugar roses class had also been to one of the Peggy Porschen cake baking classes and she mentioned how sugar syrup had completely changed her cakes. They’re now super moist. The trick – as she told me, is to brush sugar syrup directly onto a warm cake once it comes out of the oven. This basically stops the cake from continuing to bake in it’s very hot tin once it’s removed from the oven – preventing it from drying out. The added water keeps the cake super moist.

So armed with this information I gave it a go and do you know what? It’s worked on every single cake I’ve made so far! Madeira cake, chocolate cake, Victoria sponge cake and even cupcakes – actually especially cupcakes!

The Ingredients

I’ve tried out a few different recipes but the general rule of thumb is to use the same amount in grams of sugar as millilitres in water then add a dash of flavour. The following quantity is suitable for an 8″ cake. You will have some left over though. Don’t be tempted to use it all.

  • 100g sugar – granulated/ caster/ golden – anything goes
  • 100ml water
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence / lemon juice / almond/ orange essence
  1. In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the flavour and leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
  2. Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
  3. Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

Top tip: I use a bristle brush as it is easier to control the sugar syrup than with a silicon one. It also stops you adding too much in one go.

SUGAR SYRUP recipe

Another sugar syrup tip.

Another time I saw sugar syrup being used was at the Squires Kitchen cake show. During her workshop Helen Mansey brushed her cake (which was baked the day before) with sugar syrup when she was stacking the layers. She added a light coating of syrup to the top of each cake using a pastry brush in exactly the same way as described above before she covered each cake layer with chocolate ganache. I’ve never seen that done before but she said that it keeps the cake moist as she bakes a cake on a Monday and decorates it ready for delivery on Friday/Saturday. She said the cake would still be okay to eat a week after the wedding. I’m not sure cake would last that long in my house but it’s good to know.

So, do you use sugar syrup? What flavours do you use? I’d love to know. Just leave a comment below and share your tried and tested recipes with the whole baking gang.

EmmaMT

x


Wedding cake Inspiration at the Squires Kitchen Cake show

Last Friday I went to the Squires Kitchen cake show in Surrey and I have to say that it never disappoints. This is the third time I’ve been to this show and it’s my favorite. The venue is really higgledy, piggldy with rooms and halls all over the place on different levels and the competitions are in another part of the building all-together but I think that’s why it works so well. It’s like you’re going on a treasure hunt and around every corner there’s something new to discover.

I went to two workshops on the day. One was how to make succulents with Paddi Clark and the other was how to make a double barrel cake with Helen Mansey who has a new book coming out in a couple of weeks. (It looks beautiful!) I learnt so much in those short 45 minute workshops which I am hoping to share with you when I get round to trying the techniques out. I am pretty sure that they made it all look very easy. We’ll see!

The Cakes on Show

One of the highlights for me is always checking out the wedding cakes. They are just fantastic so I thought I’d share just a few with you.

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher
Cake Creations by Jill Fisher
Cake Creations by Jill Fisher
Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

How incredible are the flowers on this cake by Cake Creations by Jill Fisher. How on earth did she make them? Are they sugar paper? They’re just so delicate and unbelievably realistic. Ranunculus are one of my favorite flowers so I may be a bit biased with this one!

Cake Creations by Jill Fisher
Cake Creations by Jill Fisher

These roses look just exquisite in the flesh. I wish I could take better photos to share with you guys.

Cakes by Elizabeth Finch
Cakes by Elizabeth Finch

There were lots of chalk board cakes at the show like this one by Elizabeth Finch. The roses on this cake are exactly like the ones by David Austin Roses.

Cake House
Cake House

The cakes by Sherry Hostler of The Cake House were also fantastic. I love this green one inspired by the art of quilling.

Authenticake
Authenticake

Authenticake’s modern twist on a classic is the kind of cake you have to look at twice before you realise that the tea cup is all made from sugarpaste.

Authenticake
Authenticake

I really love the colour combo here. Another cake trend I spotted at the show was metallics. We’ve seen it in fashion and home wares and now they’ve reached the cake world. Hoorah!

Sylvia's Kitchen
Sylvia’s Kitchen
Sylvia's Kitchen
Sylvia’s Kitchen

I really loved the cakes by Sylvia’s Kitchen. They were timeless elegance personified. I’d love to make a cake like this – Just give me a year to make all those flowers!

Sylvia's Kitchen
Sylvia’s Kitchen
Sylvia's Kitchen
Sylvia’s Kitchen

This is another design I would love to try out. I haven’t mastered the art of piping at 90º yet without it making a whole lot of mess but as soon as I can I want to make this cake- but maybe in a one tier birthday version. Just stunning!

Scrum Diddly
Scrum Diddly
Scrum Diddly
Scrum Diddly

Just look at all the pearls on this wedding cake by Scrum Diddly. This was one of my favorite cakes.

Scrum Diddly
Scrum Diddly
Scrum Diddly
Scrum Diddly

Another cake that must have taken ages to create. The clean and crisp colour combo with the textured sugarpaste and roses and strawberries make this a perfect summer wedding cake.

Jelly cake
Jelly cake

This was my favorite gold cake (of which there were quite a few!) by Jelly Cake. The colour just pops out as you look at the table. I also really like the colour of the other cakes in this trio. Really elegant on their wooden stands.

Jelly cake
Jelly cake

Another tea cup and saucer filled with floral paste flowers. Do I need to learn how to do this too?

Simply Alpa
Simply Alpa

Simply Alpa shows the amazing effect you can get with a paint brush and a little talent ( make that a lot of talent!)

Iced Innovations
Iced Innovations

This is another cake with a really pretty colour palette by Iced Innovations . Soft and delicate with cute pin wheels on the front. I can’t tell what they’re made of. Any guesses?

Lou's amazing cakes
Lou’s amazing cakes
Lou's amazing cakes
Lou’s amazing cakes

Lou’s amazing cakes really are just AMAZING. They’re the cakes I remember every year. This one is just a riot of colour! I showed it to Beau and it was her favorite.

Lou's amazing cakes
Lou’s amazing cakes

This is another painted cake but just look at that shape. Where do you start when it’s time to cover it in sugarpaste? All those ins and outs!!! Rather Lou than me!

Helen Mansey - Squires tutor
Helen Mansey – Squires tutor
Helen Mansey - Squires tutor
Helen Mansey – Squires tutor

This is one of the cakes by the tutor Helen Mansey in the Squires main hall. It was huge and so beautiful. Even the buttons on the back were perfect.

Helen Mansey - Squires tutor
Helen Mansey – Squires tutor

I can’t tell you how amazing the piping on this cake waa. What isn’t totally clear in the picture is that it’s white writing with black writing on top. It’s so delicate and fine. I was blown away by it.

Natasha Collins - Squires tutor
Natasha Collins – Squires tutor
Natasha Collins - Squires tutor
Natasha Collins – Squires tutor

I didn’t know that Natasha Collins does a class for Squires on how to paint cakes. I’m a bit of a fan of hers. Her cakes are totally original don’t you think?

 

So that’s my short round up of just a few of the wedding cakes on show at this year’s event. Amazing aren’t they? Which one’s your favourite? I’d love to know….

EmmaMT x

Spy Cake for Agent Asher

Agent Asher’s Spy Cake
IMG_3195 Agent Asher (aka the other little man in my life) was 7 in January. He and Darcey are mad on playing Spy games. Asher creates alarms that go off when you walk past a beam (YES! at 7!!) and Darcey has been practicing sneaking around, hiding, then jumping out on me to see if I knew she was there. She’s getting very good at it. So, it was no surprise that Asher asked for a spy cake for his birthday. Actually when I asked him what cake he wanted he said “A pair of spy sunglasses!” There isn’t a lot of cake in a pair of sunglasses and that’s where the suitcase idea came from.

How to make a Spy cake

The Sunglasses on the Spy cake CAKE 1

First I kneaded a little Tylo Powder into the black sugar paste. This makes it into a modelling paste so it will get harder quicker. I drew a template of sunglasses and then rolled out the sugar paste. I then carefully cut out around the shape. I used a sharp knife to do this and then marked the outline with a pointed tool. Then I cut out the arms of the sunglasses and placed all the pieces onto a piece of kitchen paper and left it to harden up over night but leaving it for 24 hours is better.

I wanted to position the glasses open onto of the cake but when it came doing that I fiddled with them so much I broke them! Next time I would make two pairs just in case and not fiddle so much!

The Walkie Talkie

SPY CAKE 2

I wanted the walkie talkie to be a bit brighter as I knew nearly everything on the cake was going to be either grey or black. I chose a yellow and red design randomly from a google search of what they look like and it turned out that I chose the exact model that Asher already had! Funny how that happens.

To make the walkie talkie I made a large rectangular cube and curved it in the middle. I then rolled out some yellow sugar paste and shaped it so it would fit over the top of the block. The grey knobs and dials were positioned on the top and front with a little edible glue and a small piece of spaghetti to keep them in position.

The dials were added to the front with the red info panel using edible glue then I used a bulbous cone tool  to make holes for the speaker area. I painted the 007 onto the panel with black food colour then left the whole thing to harden up.

The Camera and binocularsSPY CAKE 3

The camera was pretty easy to make. It’s just some flat cylinder shapes glued onto of a rectangular cube.

 

The binoculars took a long time to dry out as there was so much thick sugar paste in them. I wish I had made them a week earlier so they could have dried up a bit more.

I rolled out two long cylinders which I tapered slightly at one end. I then made two smaller cylinders for the eye holes. I used a circle cutter to imprint circles on the ends then cut out thin white circles and placed these over the ends and stuck these onto the narrow end of the binoculars. To hold the binoculars together (or at least to give that illusion) I rolled out a ball and then squished it between my fingers so there was a pointed line down the centre. I then turned this over and repeated on the other side. I then sat it between the two long cylinders. It was then left to harden up a bit.

How to make a suitcase cakeSPY CAKE 4

The actual cake was only for around 10-15 kids so I made a flat-ish Madeira cake and didn’t fill it with buttercream as I wanted it to stay flat so it looked like a briefcase rather than a suitcase. I covered it how my mum covers her Madeira cakes – with raspberry jam and then marzipan followed by sugar paste. This is without a doubt the most delicious combo! What’s more we all love marzipan so the four thick strips which were placed over the cake to give the case some shape were always going to go down well.

SPY CAKE 5

The whole cake was covered in grey sugar paste and the shape was flattened and smoothed by hand which was quite tricky to get completely smooth with the ridges in the way!  SPY CAKE 6

To make the spy case look like metal I covered the whole cake with metallic lustre. I placed a piece of kitchen paper over the cake board as I moved around the cake with a soft paint brush as that stuff is so fine and powdery it gets everywhere.

I made a lock for the front with two rectangles and a small latch then poked holes for rivets at each corner. I painted the rivets and lock black.

The Top secret files SPY CAKE 7

The ‘TOP SECRET’ files were cut out of layers of white modelling paste which I made as thin as I possibly could without them tearing. I cut them into a backwards ‘L’ shape that would slot right up against the cake and look like it was sitting underneath the cake. I did a test run with a piece of paper first to get the angles right. I layered the pages up then covered them with a thin brown modelling paste. I used a thin paint brush and edible food colours to paint on the words “TOP SECRET: AGENT ASHER” then positioned the file on the cake board- sticking into place with edible glue.

To give the pages a bit of a ruffled look I placed folded pieces of kitchen paper in between each page and left them to harden.

Once the file was in place the handle was added to the front of the case. Edible food glue was used to stick it in position.

The finished Spy cake

Spy cake To finish off I positioned all the elements on the cake. I used a little royal icing to keep them all in place and piped the birthday message on the top.Spy cake

I was pretty happy with this cake. I didn’t like the fact that my little nephew had an almost grey cake as if feels wrong for a bubbly seven year old not to have something with a bit more colour but I think he was thrilled with it. I didn’t tell him what I was doing so he thought he was just getting sunglasses! I think Agent Asher was happy with the result.

My sister Shelley put on a fantastic spy party with tons and tons of spy games – including an obstacle course with laser beams – of course! so I think the cake was just right!

Spy Cake

EmmaMT

x

Madeleine cakes by Tim

Madeleine cakes Madeleine cakes Yep, that’s right Mr MT did the baking this weekend and it was goooood!

A few weeks ago he announced that he wanted to make some Madeleine cakes but we didn’t have the right tin and let’s face it Madeleine cakes don’t taste right if they’re not the right shape do they now? So, I got in touch with Eddingtons. You may not know Eddington’s by name but as a keen baker you have definitely seen their baking goodies on the shelves. They’re sold all over the place and now I’ve mentioned them to you you’ll be spotting their cake tinsCookie cutters and kitchen gadgets all over the place.

Madeleine cakes

I have always found their bake-wares to be really top notch quality which is why I approached them. The Madeleine cake tin is really tough, thick and completely non-stick which if you’ve ever looked at my shortbread fiasco I mean post, you’ll know why this is essential! It’s also dishwasher safe – another bonus. Tim hunted around my baking book shelf for a recipe but once the tin arrived he decided to follow the recipe on the packaging.  Orange Madeleines. Who wouldn’t?

So armed with his tin and a recipe he embarked on making as much mess as possible in our little kitchen which he did with much success!!!
Madeleine cakes

 Orange Madeleine cake recipe

Makes 24 cakes

  • 110g  (2/3 cup) flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 113g (1/2 cup) melted butter – cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 130g (1 cup) icing sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 170ºC). Spray the pan with a non stick spray or brush a little melted butter into each well like Tim did. Then dust a little flour over the top. This is the trick to the Madeleines literally falling out of the tin once they’re baked.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
  3. In another bowl use an electric whisk to beat the eggs, orange zest and extract on a high speed for five minutes. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Whisk until it becomes thicker – another five minutes.
  4. Gently fold in the flour mixture then the melted butter until smooth.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tins filling to 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes. Loosen the cakes with a knife then invert the pan on a rack and watch them pop out.
  7. Once completely cool sprinkle with icing sugar

Madeleine cakes

I couldn’t leave them alone. The whole house smelt amazing. The Madeleine’s were so light in texture and the hint of orange flavour was really just perfect. Tim made them in two batches and we’d eaten half the first lot before they had even cooled down! I had to be really strong willed not to eat more before I had taken the photos to share with you guys.

Fingers crossed he makes some more this weekend. I could get used to him baking!

Enjoy!

EmmaMT

Eddingtons Non-Stick Madeleine Pan RRP £24.95 available from www.PoshRosh.co.uk

 

Disclaimer: Eddingtons sent me this Madeleine cake tin (thanks you guys!) All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

Cake and Bake show: Ticket offer

C&B_composite_logo_NEFF

 

Have you ever been to the Cake & Bake show? It’s one of the biggies. There’s tons to see, do, learn and let’s face it – what we all want to do – shop for new baking gadgets and gizmos! And this year I am really excited to be teaming up with them to give you a discount off adult ticket prices. Yaaaay!

The Cake & Bake Show will be an experience to behold. There are now four new shows taking place in Harrogate, London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Each show will be the perfect mix of live demonstrations, expert classes, market stands, live competitions and so much more to develop your home baking talents! Purses (and wallets) at the ready!

PLUS! You can also see and meet renowned baking stars, patisserie experts and the industry’s best cake decorators. From demonstrations on the Super Cake & Bake Theatre in association with NEFF, to do-along classroom sessions and book signings – there’ll be lots of opportunities for you to learn from the best!

So, if you’re planning on visiting one of the Cake & Bake shows this year you can get £3 off the price of an adult ticket just quote CAKE35 when purchasing before 30th March 2015  to receive the offer!* Tickets are on sale NOW!!!

CAKE35

 

See you there!

EmmaMT

T&C’s: *Offer valid on Adult full price advance tickets only. Offer ends 30.03.15. Ticket terms and conditions apply. Information correct at time of print.
Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 17.14.44

Disclaimer: This is a CakesBakesAndCookies.com affiliate. Every ticket sold will put a few pennies in the sugar paste buying purse! 

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