Month: November 2016

How to make a swimming pool cake

Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake I love making cakes for Evie. Apart from the fact that she’s lovely, she is ALWAYS smiling. She always says “hello” when we walk into school (and I mean says hello to me- not just Darcey!) and she always chooses fab cakes that I’ve never made before. This year she was having a swimming pool party – obviously! So a swimming pool cake was definitely the right choice of cake.

I’ve made a few cakes for Evie before and if you remember then you probably know that she’s coeliac. That’s why I love making her birthday cakes. You don’t get cakes like this in the supermarket. I basically use my Madeira cake recipe as seen in this chart and swap the flour quantity for 50% gluten free flour and 50% rice flour. I find that mixing up the same quantity of flour needed in a recipe with a mixture of gluten free flour, rice flour or almond flour comes out light and tasty.

Designing the Swimming pool cake

I wanted to keep the design simple so I made the main part of the cake the swimming pool. I baked a rectangular cake and cut it into three layers then cut away the centre of the top layer. Raspberry jam and buttercream were added and the whole cake was covered in pale blue sugarpaste. I had to make it quite thick to be able to handle getting into the corners of the pool.
Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

I wrote ‘Evie’ in my fave script and left it to dry for a few days. I mixed it with some Tylo powder so it would really firm up (and quickly). A square cutter was used to make tiles which we placed around parts of the pool.

Rope was made with white sugarpaste strands which were twisted together and stuck on at the corners. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

The splashes were made from a ball of sugarpaste which was brushed with gelatine to give it a glossy effect. The Evie was also brushed to give shine. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

A life saving ring was made from white and red sugarpaste and left to harden.

To make the ‘water’ I made up some gelatine and let it cool before I spooned it into the pool. What I hadn’t banked on was that the tiles I had stuck in the bottom of the cake would bubble up and kind of soften and start to dissolve. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was how the gelatine would set. I thought it would just firm up like jelly. It didn’t. It wobbled a bit like jelly but when I had to drive the cake to the pool party it had moved and jiggled creating all these white lines. I was mortified but Evie’s mum said that the waves looked great. Pfew! Lucky save. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

To finish off I added grey bars which I painted with edible silver paint and stuck them onto the side of the pool along with another life ring.

Having learnt my lesson making this mermaid cake I kept Evie in a little better proportion and just made the top half to place in the pool.

The bunting was literally a last minute idea made from decorative paper, string and two skewers.

Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

I kinda like this cake. I think the water worked but it’s all the splashes and the ‘Evie’ in a big dribble of water that makes it for me. What do you think?

EmmaMT x

Time to get spicy with this Pumpkin Cake recipe

Pumpkin cake recipe

So go on then. How many times have you carved a pumpkin and don’t even bother to scoop out the insides? We’ve all done it but this year – like last, I scooped out enough to feed a small army and that was with just one daughterling. The other one didn’t even get her’s carved! Teenagers! So we have a whopper of a pumpkin to use and it’s the second week in November. So, I did what every good cake blogger does. I baked!

Pumpkin cake

Every year I give my mum the pumpkin flesh as she makes killer chutney with it but this year I made a cake and still had plenty left over to share. This pumpkin cake is really moist and quite heavy. It’s a slow bake cake and is the kind you could use to stack for a tiered cake. Perfect for an October wedding cake maybe? Think of it as a carrot cake made with pumpkin. It’s topped with a cream cheese frosting – the recipe for which I got from Jane Curran, the food editor on Woman&Home. It’s the only cream cheese frosting recipe I use. It can’t be beaten. It also lasts a long time. Once decorated we were still eating this cake a week later and it was fine.

 

Pumpkin Cake recipe

Pumpkin Cake recipe

  • 30ml rum
  • 50ml water
  • 200g sultanas
  • 350g plain flour
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs
  • juice and zest of 1 ½ oranges
  • 350g shredded pumpkin
    Sugar syrup
  • Juice from ½ orange
  • 30ml water
  • 60g caster sugar
    Cream Cheese frosting
  • full fat cream cheese
  • icing sugar
  1. Place the rum and water and sultanas in a sealable container and leave for at least an hour - overnight is best.
  2. Line and grease an 8" cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 160ºC(140ºC fan)
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat and add to the sugars. Mix well. Add the lightly beaten eggs.
  4. In a separate bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Fold into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add half the orange juice and all of the zest, vanilla extract, pumpkin and soaked sultanas with their flavouring to the mixture and combine.
  6. Spoon into the cake tin
  7. Bake for 2 hours or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
    To make the sugar syrup
  1. Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat till it is all dissolved.
  2. Add the orange juice then simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Set aside to cool then brush over the whole cake as soon as it leaves the oven. Leave the cake to cool completely.
    To make the frosting
  1. Place the cream cheese and icing sugar together and mix well.
  2. Use a pallette knife to spread the frosting over the completely cooled cake. You can do just the top or all around the sides too.
http://www.cakesbakesandcookies.com/time-to-get-spicy-with-a-pumpkin-cake-recipe/

Pumpkin cake recipe

So whether you bake this now or save the recipe for next halloween (you can print it off – just see the link above the recipe ingredients) it’s a keeper that’s for sure!

What do you do with your pumpkins? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below and feel free to share your recipe with the CakesBakesAndCookies crowd!

EmmaMT x

p.s. Happy Birthday Bot. xxxx

So? Where’ve you been Emma? What’s going on!

Pumpkin cake recipeI know, I know. It’s been a while since I last posted. And even then the months before were a bit…. let’s just say sporadic. After 5 years of blogging practically every week I had a bit of a ‘moment’.

I stopped making birthday cakes for friends.

I stopped baking.

I just stopped everything.

So I thought I’d share what’s been going on and explain.

You see blogging takes a lot of time. Seriously a LOT. Apart from stopping to take shots of cakes I’m decorating – which seriously slows down to the whole 9 hour decorating process. It takes me around two hours to edit, label and tag the images, make openers and do all the behind the scenes SEO stuff and a further hour or two to write up the recipes and share the details. And my grown up work got busy. I just stopped finding the time. I didn’t get up at 6am at the weekend to do my blogging. I slept in. Something I never do.

So what happened?

At the beginning of the year I decided to start a cake podcast. I joined a podcasting community and got two terrific accountability partners. I had logos professionally designed. I bought a top notch microphone. I’d drawn up lists of all the great cake/bakers I could interview. The whole shbang. And then I felt flat. I wasn’t excited about it. I mean I REALLY wasn’t excited about it. Something wasn’t sitting right and I couldn’t put my finger on it. And then it hit me. I’m an Interior Stylist who bakes. I’m not a cake decorator or a real baker. I’m amateur and just because I have this terrific audience (and you are terrific) it doesn’t mean that’s what I want to be known for. I want to be known for my styling work. So I pivoted.

Pivotting

I had this sudden realisation that I wanted my podcast to be about Interiors. In doing a lot of thinking, planning and research I had my idea ready to execute but instead of just setting up a podcast it has turned into a fully fledged business idea. It has taken a lot of my time and a lot of planning but what actually happened is I just stopped baking and blogging in general. I’m still building that business idea now and it will be launching it at the end of the year.

Work

Around this time my styling work got busy. The busiest it’s ever been. I went from shooting once or twice a month to shooting every week from the moment the girls went back to school in September till – well it’s still going on now in November. I’ve literally had back to back shoots with no time for anything else. It’s hard to explain my work as it’s all encompassing. It’s not the kind of thing you can just switch off from. I work from home and around my family’s needs and a lot of the time there are so many props in my house it looks like a junk yard!  I use the kitchen as a painting studio and write my copy late into the night so I can do the gymnastics/drama/cubs/scout runs and I just haven’t had the desire or bandwidth to bake. These are a few shots of my kitchen mid shoot/press launch. Eughk!

And then…

I did bake. I baked a lot. Each time I thought “I should shoot that and share it on the blog” and it got eaten up so I didn’t. That’s happened a few times in the last few weeks and a strange thing happened. I got the joy of baking back. I find I’m looking for any excuse to bake. There’s a pumpkin cake, white, dark and cherry chocolate cookies and vanilla biscuits sitting in my kitchen right now. I have always found baking relaxing and now I think I will be putting a load of weight on!

Now

So what I am trying to say is I am back but a little less often. I love writing this blog. It’s my baby. I know I have followers and I have lots of hits each month but I really didn’t think anyone would notice if I stopped writing and posting. I was wrong. So many people have asked if the blog was broken or if I had given up or why they weren’t receiving posts anymore. I nearly did give it up. I nearly sold this blog. But I couldn’t. I just love it too much.

So here’s to another five years or more of baking. Let’s get fat together!

Let the blog posting resume

EmmaMT x

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