Monday, 27 August 2012

Bridal shower cake finally made!

The day of the secret bridal shower was around the corner and 5 hours later, on Friday evening, I was almost finished with what had become a mammoth cake!

When I first decided to embark on making this cake I don't think I was fully aware of the time and effort one has to put in. I decided to make a sponge cake with three layers and have two different fillings. I also wanted the icing to be pink with mini doughnuts around it for the decoration and added cuteness.

So here we go, there will be lots to read so you have been warned!

I started by making the doughnuts, as I thought they need to be cooled and iced before assembling the cake:

I made the doughnuts by using a recipe from one of my favourite websites Sprinkle Bakes. Heather Baird is one amazing cake maker.

I adapted the recipe slightly;
Preheat the oven to 180-200 degrees, as ovens vary and I had a silicone mould I turned it down slightly from Heather's recipe and left them in for longer.

220g all purposes flour (sifted)
150g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
180 ml buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp melted butter (15g pre- melted)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
The zest of one lemon

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet ones. I buttered the doughnut cavities and then poured the mixture into a normal freezer bag.
I normally use a piping bag but I decided to opt for a freezer bag instead, putting the bag in a glass helps a lot but make sure the glass is tall enough. Mine just about was! Then pipe the cavities just half way.
I set the oven timer to five minutes and checked them periodically. Mine were done after 10 minutes, but do watch them so they don't go brown and hard. They will be fairly soft but they will be done.
Once they had cooled down I melted white chocolate flavoured buttons, I used Renshaw's Simply Melt. I used the bain marie method because I don't own a microwave unfortunately. I used pink, white and red dragees on top.

When that was done, I started with the sponges. I researched several favourite websites but a lot of them are from the US and they call for cake flour. I tried to find it over here in the UK and even thought about making my own but I decided to stick with what I know. I wanted to use milk in the recipe as it gives the sponge a nicer texture.

Preheat the oven to 160c (I have a fan oven, 180c for none fan assisted)

The recipe:
300g self raising flour ( I tested Mcdougall's supreme sponge flour)
300g sugar
200g butter (softened)
4 eggs
2 tsp of vanilla paste
6 tbsp of milk

First layer; lemon curd (shop bought)
Second layer; fresh raspberries
both mixed with the buttercream

I didn't use my Kitchenaid for this, so I creamed the butter and sugar by hand then added the eggs one by one. I then added the vanilla paste and milk. Finally I gently folded in the self raising flour, I find that the sponges come out lighter if you take it easy with the flour rather than beating it in.
I filled three sandwich tins and weighed them so they were equal in weight, roughly 310g-320g each. They went into the oven for circa 20- 25 minutes. Once they have cooled or even while they are cooling, start the buttercream.
I have never been a big fan of the usually just butter and icing sugar buttercream, though it's more than ok for cupcakes I find it too sweet for big cakes. I came across an excellent Swiss meringue buttercream when I first made this cake;
You have to excuse the state of the cake, it was my first big cake and I went overboard with the colouring. I stumbled across the recipe on the Whisk Kid's website and I had to make it for my colleague's birthday. He loved it despite the slight shabby look it had. Now on to the Swiss meringue butter cream, which some might find daunting but I love making it.

My cake was huge so I had to make quite a bit of buttercream and luckily there is Two Chicks' free egg whites carton so I don't have loads of egg yolks sitting in my fridge because of this recipe.

18 egg whites
600g sugar
678g butter (softened and cubed)
3 tsp of vanilla extract

In a bain marie (once the water is simmering) whisk the egg whites and sugar until all the sugar has dissolved. These egg whites are pasturised but if yours are fresh the temperature needs to be circa 70c and this should take about five minutes. I definitely recommend using the Two Chicks egg whites though.
Once it's all disolved (you can check this by rubbing some of the mixture between your fingers occasionally), remove it from the stove and start whisking with an eletric whisk.

I can't express how brilliant Kitchenaid is, especially when making gallons of buttercream!

I poured mine into my Kitchenaid bowl, if you do the same then make sure that the bottom of the egg mixture bowl is wiped so no water drips into the new bowl when you are transferring the liquid.
Beat the mixture until you reach the same texture as a meringue, quite stiff and peaks form easily. The bottom of your bowl should be cool now as well when you touch it. At this point start adding the butter, one cube at the time and make sure each cube is incorporated properly before adding the next.
Quite a few things can happen along the way when you are making this, the mixture can become runny but that's ok and you can save this by either adding more butter or fridge it for a short while.
The scariest part is once you have added all the butter and the mixture will look soupy and curdled....This is were I freaked out the first time I made it but then you whisk through it and keep whisking until finally you have a beautifully soft Swiss meringue buttercream. This is the stage were you can add flavouring and/or colouring. I wish I had rememberd to take a picture but definitely will do next time. I then crumb iced the cake and went to bed!
In the morning I finished assembling the cake and added the mini doughnuts, it looked cute, pink and it was BIG. Any excess buttercream can be frozen if wanted.

I was pleased as the cake went down a treat at the party although the bride to be's mother had made a gorgeous cupcake tower as well.

I must say a BIG thanks to my boyfriend for his 6am butter run to the shop.

I'm off to enjoy the extra mini doughnuts with some coffee, it will be a good old Swedish fika for us!

Ciao! x

Thursday, 23 August 2012


It seems that nowadays I only bake because something is about to go off.....
Yesterday was no different, I had zesty lemons and a pot of double cream infused with Earl Grey and Lemon+ Limoncello. Yum!

I pulled out my bible, well Mary Berry's Baking Bible, and used her cupcake recipe;
100g of butter (softened)
150g of caster sugar
150g self raising flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

I also added the zest of a lemon and the juice.

1. Pre- heat the oven to 180c/160c (fan)/Gas 4. Put muffin cases into a 12- hole muffin tin.
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until blended and smooth.
3. Fill up each case to about 2/3s full.
4. Bake for 20- 25 minutes, until golden and firm. They only needed 20 minutes in my oven so do watch them around that time.
5. Cool the cakes on a wire rack.

These cupcakes come out beautifully every time, I leave them to cool in my pretty pink dome.

I popped into Lakeland the other day (again!!) and bought a pack of four blossom plungers. I also bought a daisy cutter and mould which didn't come out great because the type of rolled icing I was using. I need to buy some sugar florist paste so I can try it out soon!
Anyway, they are so adorable I had to use them for my lemony cupcakes.
I coloured the rolled icing yellow and started to plunge....

I bought the paint palette holder from an arts and craft shop, very handy and cheap!
I whipped up the double cream and iced the cupcakes, I was going to pipe them but I find that whipped cream quickly becomes runny unless you have whipped it to death! Which loses the light, fluffy texture I love about whipped cream.

Although they might look basic, they taste pretty good. The slight Limoncello flavour goes great with the zesty and sweet sponge.

I decorated the last one with all the left over flowers, it almost looked too cute to eat it! Almost....
It was delicious with a cup of Earl Grey!

Tomorrow is the big day, I'm making the cake for my friend's bridal shower. I will make sure to share the outcome!

Ciao! x

Monday, 20 August 2012

Sun, glorious sun!

I hope you all enjoyed the lovely weekend we had, it was so beautiful and sunny. We ended up in London and enjoyed some drinks on a beautiful rooftop bar by Trafalgar Square.
I had a delicious Pimms and my other half enjoyed a ice cool Rekorderlig Cider.

I spent a tiny part of the weekend making a batch of macaroons, I had some eggs which had to be used up and I decided not to make another cake. Feels like we have had quite a few recently!!

I have tried quite a few recipes since I started making them at the end of last year and I must say I have had many tearful days when batches of them came out of the oven cracked. I had tried it all;
leaving the oven door open, making them on a not so humid day (if those even exist in England...), I blamed the oven temperature, I got a oven thermometer etc. In the end I decided to make a batch of plain ones and voila! I realised that the colouring bought in normal shops didn't work, the liquid ones. So I bought decent Sugarflair paste colours and now it works like a treat. Don't get me wrong, I still get the odd looking macaroon!

I always use the recipe from Delicious Magazine, it just works for me personally.
175g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
3 large free-range egg whites
75g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3. Whizz the icing sugar and ground almonds in a food processor to a very fine mixture, then sift into a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thick and glossy. You would normally add the colouring/ flavouring at this point. On this occasion I just added a bag of Tea Forté's Blueberry Merlot, which I had to grind a bit.

Fold half the almond and icing sugar mixture into the meringue and mix well. Add the remaining half, making sure you use a spatula to cut and fold the mixture until it is shiny and has a thick, ribbon-like consistency as it falls from the spatula. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
I find that it's easier to fill the bag if you either twist the bottom of the bag, by the nozzle, or clip the same place with a sandwich bag clip. This way you can push the mixture right to the bottom without spillages and then you can untwist or un- clip.

Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Pipe small rounds of the macaroon mixture, about 3cm across, onto the baking sheets. Give the baking sheets a sharp tap on the work surface to ensure a good ‘foot’. Leave to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to form a slight skin. This is important – you should be able to touch them lightly without any mixture sticking to your finger. Bake for 15 minutes ( I watch mine after 10 minutes because all ovens vary).
Remove from the oven and cool.

My kitchen always looks a bit chaotic after a session of macaroon making!

They came out beautifully with tiny feet, I added some freeze dried strawberries after pipping them.

Finished, yum!
I didn't use a buttercream filling though, I decided to use whipped double cream (150ml) with half a teaspoon of vanilla paste and one tablespoon of golden caster sugar. Because the macaroons are so sweet I like a less sugary filling.

Here are some pictures of my older attempts;

After Eight boxes do come handy even after finishing them off!

I hope you have a great week! Ciao x

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Cake pops, finally made them!

I know I am way behind this trend but I decided to make some cake pops for one of my friends and her daughter. It was my first time but I think it went very well!! :0)

The story however started on a sad note;
I made a batch of chocolate butterfly cakes with some leftover chocolate ganache. I stupidly put the ganache at the bottom of the cases instead of layering it with mixture and needless to say it was stuck to the bottoms.

I used Mary Berry's Butterfly Cakes from the Baking Bible.

100g softened butter
100g caster sugar ( I use golden caster sugar)
2 large eggs (free range!)
75g self- raising flour
25g cocoa
1 level teaspoon baking powder

I also added 50ml of buttermilk and 1 or 2 teaspoons of orange blossom extract (depending on personal taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or 180 degrees if you have a fan oven ( like me). I used a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases but some say silicone or foil cases keeps the cakes more moist.
2. Measure all the ingredients and beat for 2- 3 minutes until the mixture is well blended and smooth. Fill each case with the mixture.
3. Bake in the pre- heated oven for circa 15- 20 minutes until well risen and golden brown, I use a tooth pick to make sure because my oven is temperamental.
Lift the cases out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

I made the ganache by mixing 100g of dark 70% chocolate with 142 ml of warmed double cream and one tbsp of golden caster sugar. The ganache was made to become chocolate truffles but I had some leftover which was tragically used for these cakes.
Moving on, I crumbled the cakes and with the help of a ice cream scooper, for measuring, I rolled the crumbs into little balls. I bought the sticks from Lakeland made by Wilton.

I used tiny silicone cases to keep them in place.

I melted regular dark chocolate with some lovely Lindt chocolate orange bar, roughly 100g ( 50/50). It gave it a nice extra kick of orange. This was done bain marie style of course.

The first cake pop!

I didn't have anything to keep them standing up so I turned them on their heads!

I was most pleased with the results, yum! Next time I might add a bit of Cointreau as well.

I'm off to yoga now so I can enjoy a few of these later! Ciao x

Monday, 13 August 2012

The final weekend of the Olympics!

We spent the last weekend of the Olympics watching the marathon on the streets of London. It was brilliant and the atmosphere was amazing. The weekend started with a typical favourite breakfast of ours, waffles with creme fraiche (sweetened with golden caster sugar and a spoon of vanilla bean paste). My mum often made waffles for breakfast, more so when we had guests staying over, so it's something I always make when I feel homesick. This weekend I missed my sister a lot so I decided to cure my homesick feeling with waffles! Why not!:0)

It's so easy to make waffles thanks to Ekströms and although it is "cheating", I personally don't know any other ways to make waffles, at the moment anyway! I might do some researching after this. All you need is Ekströms waffle mix, water and oil/ melted butter. I went for oil to keep it...ahem....healthy.

And the results were delicious;

Especially with a cup of Swedish kaffe as well. Kahls is the nicest coffee ever!

The rest of Saturday was spent in the park and cycling, making the most of the sun really.

On Sunday London was buzzing and we decided to walk around to soak up the atmosphere. We walked across to St Paul's Cathedral to watch the marathon runners and found a great spot to cheer from. Well done to all the runners!!

Afterwards we walked to Bank, an area which is always heaving during the week days. It was lovely to be able to walk around and see things without all the cars and buses. We found a great bar to watch Olympic games on whilst enjoying a beverage or two. Yep, I went for tea!! In hindsight a glass of Pinot Noir would have been better.

We then walked back to Southbank and came across a place called Absolutely Starving, it looked very inviting so we decided to go in for a late afternoon snack. Anywhere with pastry in their window display normally gets my attention!

Needless to say this is a long post although the weekend, as always, felt too short.
Hope you enjoyed the novel:0) speak soon!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Seeking inspiration.....

In a couple weeks I will be making a cake for my friend's bridal shower and I am a bit stuck for ideas. My friend is a fan of bright colours and I am tempted to make something REALLY pink and fluffy- ish. I adore the pink ruffle cakes in Sweetapolita's Ruffles & Roses: A Mad(ish) Tea Party post, they are just too pretty to eat. But knowing that I can't quite pull off ruffles like that just yet, I was thinking of making a "normal" layered cake with some colourful decorations.

As I was trying to get some inspiration today I popped into Lakeland, as you do when you don't need anything.....and I came across something I have been meaning to order from Amazon for ages, a mini doughnut silicone mould. This of course meant that I had to come straight home and try it out immediately.

I searched for a recipe and decided to use the new peach shade I have for the icing. The results I must say were pretty tasty and it's definitely something I might use for the cake in a couple of weeks!

A couple of pics below of the tiny delights. Good things do come in small packages!

I love using my mini Nybro boat shaped bowl, so glad I made that purchase in Sweden.


 Until next time....ciao!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

First post ever!

Welcome to my blog, my name is Rox and I love everything to do with baking. My blog will be dedicated to all things delicious and sweet (well mostly sweet!).

I have to warn you that this is my first blog so please bear with me while I learn the ropes.

I was meant to write my first post on Monday but this week quickly became very busy and here I am, finally, on Sunday.
My week was spent watching Bradley Wiggins whizz through the streets of leafy Surrey, attending a cupcake decorating class (held by none other than Xanthe Milton aka Cookie Girl!) and watching Singing in the Rain at an open air cinema.

As this is the first post, I better keep it short and sweet with some photos of the finished cupcakes from the class!

We are going to celebrate Andy Murray's win with a cupcake....or two, most likely three:0)