Category: Cakes

Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy : Book review and giveaway

Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

I love doing book reviews – well, actually I love reading new cakey books and getting inspired and being desperate to share what I’ve found with you guys, but when it comes to the actual writing of these posts I always find myself waffling on and on and making them way too long. And that was the case with Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy, by David and Charles. There was just so much to share.

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy I’ve Interviewed and reviewed a Lindy Smith book in the past and there’s one thing you should know about her. She works REALLY hard and is really creative. She has a new book coming out in what feels like every five minutes and they are all so different and totally inspirational. How does she do it?

 Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy

The latest book is just the same. Jam packed with clever hints and tips on how to get different effects, some of them basic for the beginner and some of them more challenging but all inspirational. Sometimes you just need to be shown a new tool or colour combination to give you a whole new idea for a cake. One piece of inspiration and the book’s a winner – don’t you think?

What I love about this book are the simple ideas executed to perfection. Whether it’s the stunning colour combinations of the Rosette cake or the cute washboard sides on the beach hut cakes. The way some simple plunger cutters have been used to make an elegant Christmas tree cake look fabulous or the clever use of a flower and some piping to make the cutest diddy wedding cake. Also, there’s buttons. I love a sugarpaste button on a cake!

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy Why I think Lindy’s books are so great is that no matter what level you’re at there are plenty of photos to describe the techniques so you can understand the way to make every element of decorating. Some books only have one step shot and explain the rest with words and you just can’t get a handle on what they’re on about. Here Lindy explains everything in clear detail and shows you too. You can’t go wrong.Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

What else is in the book?

As well as seeing where the inspiration for each cake comes from there are templates and recipes (for the main size cake tins when making small cakes) and the sticky toffee cake sounds really deelish. There’s even a vegan chocolate cake in there. There are recipes to make your own sugarpaste, pastillage, flowerpaste and of course buttercreams and ganaches.

If you aren’t sure where to start when covering a fiddly mini cake there are steps to show you how with buttercream, marzipan and sugarpaste.Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

Whether you want to paint your cake design, create beautiful flowers, go for modern or vintage there’s something for everyone. With 30 fabulous designs you’ll be spoilt for choice.

And what’s more you can win a copy right here on CakesBakesAndCookies.com. I bet you want to don’t you?

The Mini Cakes Academy Giveaway

The lovely Lindy herself emailed me offering this book giveaway to you lovely people. How honoured and excited am I by that! All you have to do is leave a comment below answering the question AND enter via the rafflecopter site (just click below to be taken straight through to the competition) A winner will be randomly selected on 12th August.

” What cake decorating question would you ask Lindy” leave a comment below and enter the rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

EmmaMT 

Disclaimer: The book in this post was sent to me by Lindy Smith and David and Charles publishers  (Thanks you guys- it’s fantastic).  All thoughts and opinions and entirely my own.

CakesBakesAndCookies.com Giveaway Terms & Conditions

This giveaway will close at 12:00am on 12th August 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Lindy Smith. I am hosting it on behalf of Lindy Smith. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Lindy Smith or her representative will send out the prize, the winner must provide their name, address once contacted. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is one copy of the ‘Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy’ book, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open only to residents in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and entrants must be over 18.

Evie and Lois’ Go Ape birthday cake

Evie and Lois’ Go Ape birthday cakeGo Ape birthday cake

Have you ever had an idea in your head for a birthday cake and then it all went horribly wrong? Well that’s kind of what happened with this cake.

The Go Ape Birthday cake.

I’ve made cakes for Evie and Lois before. They’re at school with Darcey and Evie is the reason I have such a keen interest in gluten free baking. I wanted her to have a cake that was every bit as delish as any gluten filled one. As the girls were having a shared Go Ape birthday I wanted their cake to be fitting for a load of kids swinging from ropes in trees.

Beau came up with the original design. I was trying to work out how to have monkeys, trees and models of the girls as well as the cakes needing to be completely separate when she said “Just make two cakes and two trees” and there the idea was born.

The plan

Originally, I wanted to make ball like trees and bushes and have Evie hanging down from a branch on her cake and Lois doing a zip wire from a tree on hers. I dilly dallied as to how to actually do this. I made the trees first and left them to dry then a few days later I made the models of the girls. Then delivery day came.

Go Ape birthday cake Delivery day was a busy one. Not only did I need to finish the cake but it was also the girls school summer fayre – which I was helping at,  and my brother who lives in Oz was coming home for a holiday that night with his wife and three daughters and I was going to help pick them up from the airport. This is where my regrets of not following my normal cake rule of ‘don’t go to bed till the cake is completely finished even if that means staying up till 2am to do so’ kicked in.

Go Ape birthday cake I went to the school fayre and headed home with two hours left to assemble the girls in the trees and put the trees in the cake- then I could do the writing just before dropping the cake off on the way to the airport. As I walked through the front door my dad phoned. “Their plane is getting in early. We’re leaving in half an hour!” OMG! I just lost 90 minutes! And that’s when Lois legs fell off and Evie’s hands weren’t staying in the right position! Panic. Well nearly. I had to change tact. I decided to remake the models and have them literally in the trees – pulling a few ball leaves off the bigger trees to fit them in. I tried to position the arms so they looked really chilled out.

I delivered the cake just in time and then headed straight to the airport where I met my niece for the first time and got to hug my brother and his family for the first time in three years. With the cake delivered without anything else falling off I’d say it ended up a successful day after all!

5 lessons learnt making this Go Ape Birthday cake

  1. ALWAYS finish the cake the night before delivery even if that means staying up till stupid O’clock! Always!!!
  2. Make models a week before delivery date so they have plenty of time to dry and legs don’t fall off. When will I learn this lesson????
  3. You can be a bit brave with design. I loved the ball leaves and bold topiary style tree. They look really cartoony.
  4. Gluten free chocolate cake made with almonds is amazing and doesn’t have that grainy texture most GF cakes have.
  5. Planes will always land early when you’re not expecting it!

EmmaMT

xGo Ape birthday cake

Book Review: How baking works … and what to do when it doesn’t by James Morton…and a giveaway!

Book Review: How baking works by James MortonBook Review: How to bake by James Morton

If I said “I have a book to review by James Morton” you might think who? But if I said “the sciency guy from the Great British Bake Off 2012”  you’d know instantly who I was talking about.

How Baking Works: …and what to do if it doesn’t  (Ebury press), is James’ second book (the first was Brilliant Bread) and it does exactly what it says on the tin – to the extent that I have been slowly reading “How baking works” cover to cover. I don’t think I’ve ever read a baking book like that before. I even wanted to take it on the train to read last week- but it’s a bit heavy and not to mention obsessive for that!

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton

The book starts off like most with a description of ingredients and techniques but the point of difference here is that James goes into the nitty gritty sciency background of what happens during baking, like when sugar and butter are combined (the sharp edges of the sugar cut through the molecules of the butter to create air pockets- in case you were wondering? That’s what gives your cake it’s rise). I find it all so interesting. I can’t remember all the tips so I’ve started writing myself a cheat sheet on my folded paper bookmark.

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton

Some of the facts are a bit too sciency for me and go straight over my head but what I really like about this book is that before every recipe James explains what you should and shouldn’t do for that type of baking. There are step by step pictures with explanations on what to look for and what to avoid in some tricky sections and let’s face it we can all do with a bit of that kind of help from time to time.

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton There are plenty of recipes in each section of the book including – Cake, Sponge, Brownie, Muffin, Torte, Biscuit, Short, Sweet, Choux pastry Merringue and Macarons. It makes me all hungry just thinking about it. Book Review: How to bake by James Morton As I read through the pages I want to bake everything! Crème Pt anyone? They talk about it on TGBBO all the time but I’ve never made it and I only now know how to and what the ingredients are?  I think it’s the way he talks when he writes. You feel like he’s sharing his best kept secrets with just you!

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton

How Baking Works: is available through this affiliate link on Amazon

So, how would you like to win a copy of How Baking Works: …and what to do if it doesn’t?

Those lovely people over at Ebury Press have given me a copy to giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment below answering the following question AND enter via the rafflecopter site (just click below to be taken straight through to the competition) A winner will be randomly selected on 21st July. Good luck!

EmmaMT 

What baking question would you have asked James to answer?

 

Click on the link below to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CakesBakesAndCookies.com Terms & Conditions

This giveaway will close at 12:00 on 21 July 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Ebury Press. I am hosting it on behalf of Ebury press. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Ebury or their representative will send out the prize, the winner must provide their name, address once contacted. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is one copy of the ‘How Baking works’ book, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open only to residents in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and entrants must be over 18.

Disclaimer: The book in this post was sent to me by Ebury Press  (Thanks you guys I can’t get enough of it) All thoughts and opinions and entirely my own.

Sprinkle cookies recipe

Sprinkle cookies recipeSprinkle cookies recipe

Hello there fellow bakers. How are you all today?

I’m having a great day and that is mainly because I have a tin of these Sprinkle cookies just waiting to be eaten. They’re in the kitchen. Can you hear them “Emma!” “Emma come and eat us!!!”

The inspiration for these biscuits came when Darcey found a kids recipe in a magazine where you dip crackers into icing and cover them in sprinkles. They were amazing so we made some from scratch ourselves with biscuits and they’re pretty amazing too! We can’t leave them alone. I put a few in the girls packed lunches yesterday and they both shared them with their buddies. I had a glowing report from Beau’s friend Jack “Tell your mum these are AMAZING” was the message he sent home.  High praise indeed!

For the biscuit I decided to do a version of shortbread as it has a simple texture and crumbles in the right way. With all that icing and sprinkle action you really don’t need a ton of sugar in the biscuit as well- the sprinkles are all you need.

Sprinkle biscuit recipe

Makes around 20

  • 60g icing sugar
  • 100g butter – at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk (from large egg)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 170g plain flour + more for rolling out
  • 30g cornflour
  • 80g icing sugar with water to make up
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  1. To make the dough combine the sugar and butter then add all the rest of the ingredients. Sieve all the dry ingredients so you have a lovely light textured biscuit.
  2. Once combined and a dough is formed cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC) and line a baking tray with silicon paper. 
  4. Roll out the dough so it is around the thickness of a £1 coin. This is a really soft and squidgy dough so you will need plenty of flour when rolling out to stop it sticking. I rolled out between two sheets of silicon paper to prevent sticking. That helped a ton.
  5. Cut out small circles and place on the baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes. These biscuits burn within a minute of you turning your back so keep a beady eye on them! They should be turning golden brown around the edges when they are done. You can lift one up and see if it’s browning underneath. It’s also a good idea to turn the tray around half way through the bake. Sprinkle cookies recipe
  6. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.
  7. Make up the icing sugar. Don’t let it get too runny. Place it in a deep bowl then fill a ramekin with the sprinkles.Sprinkle cookies recipe
  8. Dip the cookies into the runny icing and let it drip off for a minute. If you dip the cookies too quickly the icing goes lumpy and you end up with clumps of sprinkles. Let the excess run off for a minute. Sprinkle cookies
  9. Finally dip your biscuits in the sprinkles. If there are too many just wipe them off. Sprinkle cookies recipe
  10. Leave them to set for a while then devour!

Sprinkle cookies recipe

Enjoy!

EmmaMT x

20 Fantastic cupcakes too good to eat.

I love how a cupcake can really make any plain old day a special occasion, but these design are just so fantastic. They’re so right for the party they’re intended for. Not only would  I would love to make them some I really want to taste! They’re all beautiful. See which one’s you think are the most amazing.

1. Wedding cakes don’t have to be tiered

How gorgeous are these flower toppers? So delicate and perfectly glamourous. I’d have these stacked on a cake stand for a wedding any day.

Colinweddings.co.uk
Colinweddings.co.uk

2. A rose by another name

I love making roses from flower paste. The more I make them the better they get. I’d love to make a whole batch for a wedding or anniversary celebration. They look really special.

Rose cupcake

3. Make mine a Gin and Tonic

Yep, you’ve guessed it. These are gin and tonic cupcakes. Girls night in anyone?

Gin and tonic cupcakes
bakeitinstinct.com

4. Edible Hydrangeas

These are one of my favorite flowers and the way the decorator has used different tones of  blue and purple buttercream to pipe on each petal is genius! I can’t wait to have a go at these!

 simplystacie.net
simplystacie.net

5. Neapolitan cupcakes – How clever!

This looks totally delicious and so neat. Look how perfectly flat the chocolate layer is? How did she do that?  Chocolate and vanilla cake topped with a strawberry buttercream. I have to make these.

cookingclassy.com
cookingclassy.com

 

6. Red velvet cupcakes- seriously red!

Why do I always call these ‘Red Devil’ cupcakes? Velvet Emma VELVET! These are fantastically red. Great if you want a strong colour theme to your event.

shemakesandbakes.com
shemakesandbakes.com

7. Black Forest Gateau cupcakes

I know a certain Mr MT who would love these….errr and maybe a Mrs MT too!

cookingclassy.com
cookingclassy.com

 

8. Have fun with Funetti cakes

Totally perfect for any kids party be they 6 or 60! Sprinkle those sprinkles!

cookingclassy.com
cookingclassy.com

9. Cocktail anyone?

These are Margarita cocktail cupcakes. Don’t they look and sound delish?

buzzfeed.com
buzzfeed.com

10. Coco nut!

Coconut Lime cakes seem to be everywhere at the mo and these cupcake versions look mouth wateringly good!

dessertnowdinnerlater.com
dessertnowdinnerlater.com

11. Perfect pipework

You have to have a steady hand and a serious amount of creative flair to make these stunning cakes.

Asianweddingideas.co.uk
Asianweddingideas.co.uk

12. The cat’s meow

These cakes are such a simple design and are so effective. Great to make with kids – although I’m not sure they’d turn out this good.

littledelightscakes.com
littledelightscakes.com

13. Watermelon cupcakes

I love these cupcakes but some of the ingredients may be hard to find in the UK – Watermellow Koolaid anyone? I’m sure we can make it up as we go along!

blogs.babycenter.com
blogs.babycenter.com

14. Perfect peacock

This is just incredible. The attention to detail in what is an amazing small cake is just fantastic. This one is definitely too good to eat.

hercampus.com
hercampus.com

15. Trio of tasties

These corn on the cob cupcakes have been bouncing around the internet for ages but they’re so good I couldn’t resist adding them to this round up. The corn really looks butterlicious!

3148_corn_cupcake_xl16. Lego rocks!

My kids absolutely love Lego so these cupcake toppers would go down a storm in my house. Another clever and simple idea any one can achieve.

thecakinggirl.ca
thecakinggirl.ca

17. Minion madness

I reckon these minion cupcakes take ages to make and are really fiddly but they’re so cute they’re worth it. I’m sure all kids switch into minion voices as soon as they see them. Bee bo be bo be bo (that’s minion for police siren in case you were wondering!)

eatsamazing.co.uk
eatsamazing.co.uk

18. Star Wars cupcakes

These cupcakes are all over Pinterest but the originator was an Etsy store which I don’t think is selling them any more. Aren’t they amazing?

Etsy.com
Etsy.com

19. Move over Darcey

These ballerina cupcakes are very clever. Perfect for a little girls party.

Dose.com
Dose.com

20. BBQ time

These are my favorite cupcakes in this round up. How totally cute are they. Vanilla and chocolate cupcakes split in half with a touch of coloured buttercream for the lettuce, ketchup and mustard. You can even make marzipan chips to go along with them.

http://m.9gag.com
9gag.com

So, which one’s your favorite? Which one do you want someone to make for you? I’d love to know.

EmmaMT

 

p.s. If you like this post don’t forget to share it. 

 

 

 

Colin’s painted cake

Colin’s Painted Cake Grandad Colin's Painted cake

This was my first attempt at paining a cake. It was one of those ‘I have a great idea for a cake for grandad Colin but I don’t have lots of time to do it’ cakes! I always knew I wanted to paint the decorations on the outside and I wanted it to be a sailing cake but in the end I had literally one hour to cover the cake in sugarpaste and have it painted and in a box ready to take to lunch. Where do those hours go? Ideally I wanted to roll out the sugarpaste and have a little practice so I could plan my design. In the end I just went for it!

Once covered the painting part is pretty easy. I wished I had covered the cake in sugarpaste the day before so it had a little more time to harden up a little, but as long as I was gentle it wasn’t too bad.
Colin's Painted cake

I started by painting the boats. I used gel food colour watered down with alcohol in a paint palette (the one I usually use to shape flowers). It goes without saying that you should only use paint brushes and palettes saved specifically for cake decorating!  In her book  The Painted Cake Natasha Collins teaches that she uses water not alcohol to blend her colours so I would try that next time. I think it would produce a softer effect. The alcohol dries really fast and using water would give more time to work on the design.

Once I had all the boats, sails and little people (can you see them?) I painted waves.

Colin's Painted cake

That’s when I got help. Darcey wanted to help make Grandad’s cake so I let her. Inhale! Deep breath in. It will be all right!!! And it was. I had to just let her go with it and she did a really good job. I showed her how I painted the waves and she did more around the base of the cake.

We started with a turquoise colour then watered that down with a few drops of alcohol and added waves in between. It looked a bit flat so we created darker navy waves at the bottom of the cake  then added a few highlights of dark waves (or should that be low lights?) around the lighter areas. I wanted to give a bit of definition to the sea.

Once that was all done we stood back and looked at the cake and it still felt a bit empty so we left the waves to dry for a few minutes then used a really watered down turquoise colour to fill in the background of the sea. Colin's Painted cake

The last step was to add a ‘Happy Birthday Grandad’ onto the top – which was harder than it looked! and stick some ricrac ribbon around the base- more waves in my eyes. Colin's Painted cake

The cake was a surprise and after our lovely lunch out no-one had room for cake. We did sing Happy Birthday and then Grandad Colin took the cake home – which I think was his plan all along!

Happy Birthday Colin.

EmmaMT x

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