Tag: sugar paste

Christmas cake but not as you know it.

mini-jack-daniels-christmas-cake-1

Mini Jack Daniels Christmas cakes

Oooooh don’t you just love a mini Christmas cake? I made some last year as gifts and they went down really well. This time I decided to give them a touch of Jack Daniels and I have to say they are gooooood!

I made these ones for a local food bank on behalf of the charity I bake for Free Cakes For Kids. Lots of bakers have made lots of mini cakes so lots of families would have a special cake and it always feels great to be giving and baking for others at this time of year- don’t you think? If you want to join in the fun check out the FCFK website to find your local group. I’m yet to find a group of bakers who aren’t really friendly!

I made these cakes really last minute (meaning I didn’t start in October so I could ply the cake with alcohol) so I had few cheats. I soaked the fruit in the JD for a week before baking the cakes and once they were out of the oven I gave them another really good brush/soak with the good stuff. If you add the alcohol while the cake is still warm the liquid soaks right in. I think a Christmas cake still tastes great even if it hasn’t been drowned in alcohol for weeks or months before.

Once baked I decorated half the cakes with marzipan and white sugarpaste and the other half with just the sugarpaste so there were some nut free options – also so I could eat the marzipan that was left over.

How to decorate Christmas cakes the non traditional way.

www.CakesBakesAndCookies.com

I didn’t want to go for red or green decorations this year. My original plan was to have a little forrest of sugarpaste Christmas trees standing on top of the cakes but once I had decorated one I realised that they would be really difficult to transport to the food bank and for the families to take home too so I opted for a 2d version.

The Christmas tree decorations were made up a day ahead in pale blues, pink and white so that they could be layered up without drooping. The gingerbread men were also made up ahead of time. After 24 hours the faces were drawn on with a clever food dye pen in ‘liquorice’ black. The trees and gingerbread man were then stuck in place with a little royal icing.

To give the cakes a really professional finish I placed ribbon around the cake and wrapped them in cellophane. I was really happy with the end result. I hope the families will be too when they pick them up later this week.

Mini Jack Daniels Christmas cake

Makes 6 x 4" cakes or 8 x 3" cakes

Mini Jack Daniels Christmas cake

  • 1000g mixed fruit (sultanas, raisins, candied mixed peel)
  • 200g dates cut into small pieces
  • 225ml Jack Daniels + extra for brushing
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 260g muscovado sugar
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    Prepare the fruit
  1. Place all the fruit into an airtight container and cover with the Jack Daniels.
  2. Leave the fruit to infuse for as long as possible. 48 hours is best. Give the container a shake every now and again.
    To make the cake
  1. Line your cake tin with silicon paper. I have one that has dividers but some bakers have used cleaned out tuna and sweetcorn tins to bake in.
  2. Preheat the oven to 140C (120 fan)
  3. Mix the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs slowly then the vanilla extract.
  4. In a separate bowl sieve all the dry ingredients. Add this to the butter and sugar mix until combined.
  5. Finally add the fruit and combine till covered.
  6. Spoon evenly into each cake tin and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
  7. Bake for 2-21/2 hours.
  8. Once out of the oven brush liberally with Jack Daniels and leave to cool for 20 minutes before removing the cakes from the tin and allow to cool completely ready to decorate.
http://www.cakesbakesandcookies.com/have-you-ever-made-christmas-cake-with-jack-daniels-once-you-try-it-you-wont-go-back/

Something you can do to help….

I wrote this post before I delivered the cakes to the food bank. I feel now looking back that I brushed over the food bank part. For me this was supposed to be about sharing my recipe for a Jack Daniels Christmas cake. It is in fact about a lot more than that. There are so many people in need in our country and right on our door steps. You may not even be aware that there is a food bank on your high street, in your church or by your community centre. These places are amazing. They’re run mostly by volunteers and the people who need them are often in dire situations.

When I delivered these cakes I met with a band of very jovial volunteers who are loving and caring and so, so knowledgable. There was a young mum who was there as I dropped off. She was collecting a couple of blankets from the centre. She had been housed in the hostel around the corner. The week before she had left a violent relationship with nothing but the clothes on her back and her teenage daughter. She had nothing. She was housed in a hostel so they were safe. The hostel is an amazing resource with a bedroom and some furniture and a kitchen along one wall but that’s it. It’s very, very basic. No bedding, no plates, no comforts. I’m sure she was grateful for a safe and warm roof over her head but having just spent a few hundred quid on presents for my two daughters to then see this young woman with so little but still with a grateful smile on her face was incredible humbling.

So I’m asking you to do something and not just now – for the foreseeable future. When you’re doing your food shopping pop an extra tin of something or a bottle of shampoo in your basket and leave it in the food bank bins which are always situated just behind the checkout. All the big supermarkets have collection bins and the extra pound or two probably won’t make much of a difference to you but it will make a massive difference if we all do it for others.

Thanks

EmmaMT x

www.CakesBakesAndCookies.com

The biggest, brightest Hawaiian birthday cake I’ve ever made

80th Hawaiian birthday cake The Hawaiian birthday cake.

A few months ago I was asked to make a cake for a friend’s mum. It was an 80th Birthday cake for her friend – a lovely lady from Hawaii. Now she may have been 80 but she was larger than life and full of energy and anyone who met her wouldn’t have believed her age! So this Hawaiian birthday cake was set to be full of life and have tons of colour. The elements are all native to Hawaii and mean something to Sharon. It was so much fun to do a bright cake for grown up!
80th Hawaiian birthday cake

How to decorate a Hawaiian cake

The palm trees

When it comes to palm trees the trick is to make them in advance. WELL in advance. The first ones I made broke so I had to whip these ones up quickly. I think they broke becasue I was over handling them – anyway I learnt my lesson. My top tips would be-

  1. Make more palm trees than you need then if one or two break you still have a back up. You also have a choice.
  2. Place something long, thin and sharp at one end into the tree trunk. I made brown sausage shaped sugarpaste tree trunks and pushed a chopped down skewer into it’s centre. If it gets a bit loose use edible glue inside.
  3. Create curved lines along the trunk with a shaped decorating tool (the second one from the left here is the one I used)
  4. I made the leaves with an oval cutter and then folded each one in half along the length. I then scored lines and added them to the top of the tree trunk using edible glue
  5. Make your tree with florists paste or at least add firming Tylo powder to sugarpaste to make it dry quicker and harden up nicely.
  6. Leave your tree to harden up for as long as possible. At least three days.

80th Hawaiian birthday cake

The shells

When it came to making the shells I used a silicon mould. I was especially happy with the end result when my nephew Asher asked if these were the shells we had picked up from the beach a week earlier? What a compliment! Once they were out of the mould I gave them a brush with an almost dry paintbrush with a little brown paint on the tip. Each shell was given a dust of pink lustre. I started off with a white florist paste and moved onto colours for the starfish. I stuck them onto the cake with edible glue.
80th Hawaiian birthday cake

Hawaiian flowers

If you’re making a Hawaiian cake with flowers they have to be frangipani and hibiscus. Luckily I had my copy of Peggy Porschen’s Bloom book to hand so I could look up how to make them. I used a rose cutter for the smaller hibiscus and bought a large cutter for the big ones. Whichever size you’re making all you need to do is thin the outside edges of the petals then place them onto a palette to harden. A stamen stork was added then a little extra food colour inside each florist paste flower to make them pop out.

The frangipani was made using five petal shapes. The florist’s paste was rolled out a little thicker than usual and each petal is tucked into the previous until you have a complete flower. The flower was then placed on a piece of foam to dry out. Powder colour was used to enhance the inside of each flower. Each flower was stuck onto the cake using royal icing.
80th Hawaiian birthday cake
80th Hawaiian birthday cake  I really love how vibrant this cake turned out. Even the wording stands out. Really good fun.

So, what’s the brightest cake you’ve ever made? Share a photo of it on the CakesBakesAndCookies.com Facebook page. I’d love to see your creations.

EmmaMT x

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