Monday, September 28, 2009
Today is baking day. I used the Planet Cake chocolate mudcake recipe which should make enough batter for one 8" round cake. Just to complicate things I decided to make a 1 1/2 quantity and use it to fill three smaller pans - a 7", 6" and 5". Major baking time confusion has ensued... all three pans are in the oven and the internet is not giving me any love as I search for useful information about how to adjust cooking times for different tin sizes. It looks like I'll be stuck in the kitchen sticking skewers into cakes for the next hour...
All going well my plan is to make a blue, white and green cake covered in polka dots...
Friday, September 25, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
The day started at 10am when we were presented with a heavy chocolate mud cake and a tub of chocolate ganache. The mud had to be split in three layers and filled with ganache, like this:
And then some more ganache, smoothed evenly all over and with perfect crisp edges (note that the time between the picture above and the picture below is approximately an hour - this was a NIGHTMARE!):
Next was a lot of fiddling, kneading and playing with the icing. Naturally I chose very sooky girly colours, yellow and pink. Oh, and and mine was an 'exploding flowers' cake not an 'exploding stars'...
Anyway, in order to create the 'exploding' effect of the cake several layers of icing were required. ARGH! Cornflour was everywhere. It gives me the heebie jeebies in a similar way to fingernails on a blackboard.
Now for some pink icing! Enormously challenging to get it to sit flat on the cake. More ARGH!
Now for the 'exploding' effect:
Now I've skipped a few steps - rolling out decorative icing bits and bobs and gluing them on, attaching sugar flowers to metal wire etc. This is where I got to be a bit more creative.
Look at all the cakes!
In conclusion, I need to start saving my pocket money for Basics 102.
Friday, September 18, 2009
1 eggplant sliced in half
300g baby spinach leaves
50g greek fetta (crumbled)
50g toasted pine nuts
1 big handful of chopped mint leaves
Good quality EV olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 clove crushed garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2-3 tbsp cold water
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius
- Cover a baking tray with baking paper and place eggplant cut side down, spray with olive oil, and bake for 30 - 40 minutes
- Wash and drain spinach, and sautee over low heat in a frying pan until it wilts. Once it cools squeeze out excess water, and put it in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper
- Toss the fetta, pine nuts and chopped mint together in a bowl
- Make the dressing by just whisking together all the ingredients
- To assemble put the cooked eggplant on a plate, put the spinach on top, then the fetta mix, and then drizzle with dressing. Too easy!
I'll post photos of my attempt tomorrow. Possibly it's a bad idea to have this photo here because you will know what the finished product is supposed to look like. I'm not convinced that mine will have a strong resemblance. Ah well, I've been wanting to do one of the planet cake decorating courses for years. I'm hoping that it will demystify ganache and fondant covering techniques for me so that I am confident to have a go on my own at home.
For more information about Planet Cake courses check out www.planetcake.com.au
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
3/4 cup cocoa
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I've been perving on Polka Dot Cookies and Cakes' creations forever. Libby does some beautiful work, as you can see above! (Or on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/16806417@N05)
One of the best things about planning a wedding has been getting to meet with Libby and order a custom made cake and placecard cookies for our guests. Because I can't wait until February to see the finished products, I've managed to find another excuse to order from Polka Dot.
R's uncle is turning 50 and having a big birthday bash - HURRAH! We're collecting Libby's creation for that event on the October long weekend. I will take many many photographs!
Will I ever get the hang of this sticky bloody stuff?
I do think this week's attempt was a bit better than last. Inside is three layers of red velvet cake (freaking delicious stuff) with icing in between. It looked fantastic when it was cut up. As soon as the bright red knife came out of the cake everybody reacted like they were five years old again. It was great.
Do you remember the original Women's Weekly birthday cake book?
I'm sure there was a ghost cake in there that required this kind of glossy icing. I think I need to scour the second hand shops and get a copy. The new version just isn't the same.
Over the last two weekends I've been attempting to bake a birthday cake for a friend with autism. It had to be organic, sugar free, gluten free, yeast free, dairy free and casein free.
My first 3 attempts were not great. Each time I took a 'cake' out of the oven I'd go outside and give a bit to R to taste test. His (incredulous) response to v1 was 'WHAT IS THAT?'
Thankfully v4 was a success, mainly thanks to the discovery of Stevia. Don't ask me how an organically grown leaf can add sweetness without sugar, calories, carbs or chemicals, it just does. I bought the Nirvana Organics concentrate - 1-3 drops is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Whilst it was miraculous in the context of 'everything free' cake, I wouldn't recommend it for other baking. I'd prefer to stick to the texture and volume that butter adds to a recipe!
For those interested in recreating v4 of the cake, here it is (note all ingredients organic where possible):
1/2 cup olive oil
150g rice flour
110 g hazelnut meal
2 overripe mashed bananas
12 drops stevia
1 tbsp baking powder
1. Beat eggs and olive oil together until they're fluffy and have some volume
2. Add stevia and beat well
3. Add bananas and beat well
4. Add hazelnut meal, rice flour and baking powder and mix
5. Pour into a greased 9 inch round baking tin
6. Bake at 180 degrees C for approximately 30 minutes, or until cake is browned on top and a skewer comes out clean
Monday, September 7, 2009
WISE MOVE! It's a lot harder to work with royal icing than I had anticipated, especially when it's watered down to be runny in order to act as a filling. So I'm quite proud of my attempts, even though the stars look a little like they were iced by some enthusiastic pre schoolers...
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Father's Day involved a big middle eastern themed banquet in our back yard, followed by a most un-middle eastern dessert.
I've been ogling Magnolia Bakery's Devil's Food Cake with Seven Minute Icing for ages, and today seemed like the perfect time to give the recipe a shot.
The baking of the cake was fairly run of the mill, a classic chocolate cake recipe in three layers. The Seven Minute Icing, however, was absolutely chaotic and culminated with half my hair being plastered to my face by meringue, this stuff was unbelievably sticky.
Seven Minute Icing is a bit different from traditional butter icing because you need to beat all the ingredients over a double boiler for - you guessed it - seven minutes, and then another minute off the heat:
- 3 egg whites
- 2 1/4 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
In the end it was worth the mess and the second shower I was forced to have once the layers were put together and the icing was safely on the cake!
Rich dark chocolate cake filled and topped with squishy marshmallow is a winner. Even the 'I don't like sweets, I prefer cheese' Dad had two slices. I'll be baking this baby again.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Is this where my obsession with *All American* baked goods began? Perhaps I'd do better tracing it back to my discovery of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups at the tender age of 10...
I hope Amazon is speedelicious and brings me 'Southern Cakes: Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations' soon.