Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm loving this new way of icing cakes!

This pretty girl is a red velvet cake with vanilla bean frosting as a hat! These days I am thinking more about presentation and love the look of red velvet in a red case. Speaking of presentation where the fook is my Bake It Pretty order?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday afternoon with the Masterchef Cookbook

This morning at Woolworths we were eyeing off a festive display which had the Masterchef Cookbook as a central display piece. The Celebrity Masterchef finale this week has had R dreaming and salivating over the very idea of profiteroles. The book has Adriano Zumbo's recipe. SOLD.

The choux pastry worked! The creme patissiere not so much. It was incredibly runny so as soon as I put it in a piping bag it started oozing out the tip so I held the bag back and then it began falling out the top of the bag on to the bench, on to the floor, on to my arm, in to my glass of water... ooze city. It did taste fantastic though. I almost licked the bench top, although the water custard mix was less appealing.

Finally I used a Martha recipe to make a chocolate icing. It was great. GO MARTHA!

I was proud of my final effort, despite the oozy messy look of it all. I'd love to make a croquembouche but I think I'll need a bit more practice first!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I wish we celebrated Thanksgiving in Australia

Why? Meet Larry. He is the (brain)child of Hello Cupcake! Nuff said.
Actually no, I do have more. I just joined the Hello Cupcake! club which means a monthly cupcake challenge. This month it's making a pumpkin themed cupcake which I deduce is something to do with Thanksgiving rather than Halloween. The Hello Cupcake! book has some suggestions however these mainly involve orange sugar and twizzlers which appear to be strangers to our shore. Anyhoo, I've got til Tuesday to come up with something...
Can anyone think of any orange lollies? Or ways of orange-ing cake?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Christmas Housing Crisis

Apparently choosing a gingerbread house style is akin to choosing and successfully purchasing an actual bricks and mortar house. Actually no, it's more difficult. Still, I am determined to break into the market.

Should I go chic like Martha?

(Image from Martha Stewart)

Or I could have a gingerbread house that doubles up as a vase (handy!)

(image from Blog Florist)

Or I could let my dreams get seriously grandiose!

(image from AOL Canada Life & Style)

What do you think?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cupcakes are no longer delicious when it's 40 degrees outside

but ice blocks are! These are watermelon, a mango and a handful of raspberries thrown in to the blender and poured into my rocket ice block mold.

We used to eat home made OJ ice blocks when we were kids, we'd get covered in the melted juice right down to our elbows. We had a mold at our house, but at my Yaya's we'd have even more 'handmade' versions frozen in an assortment of containers with paddle pop sticks popped on top.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanks for the recipe Bakerella...

These peanut butter and chocolate cookies taste incredible!! The cookie jar at work as been empty for days so I thought it was about time I baked something to replenish it. I suspect my workmates will be happy with the new look cookie jar! Bye bye Arnotts...

The other great thing is how simple they are to make:

1 cup of smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
200g dark semi sweet chocolate
crushed peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius
2. Put peanut butter, sugar and the egg in a bowl and mix well, then cover in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes
2. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and roll mixture into 18 balls and place on tray
3. Squish the balls down with a fork to get the line effect on the cookies
4. Bake 18-20 minutes
5. Once cooled melt chocolate, dip one end at a time into chocolate, and then dip in a bowl of crushed peanuts
6. Pop the into the fridge until the chocolate sets and then consume!!

This recipe is one of Bakerella's - for more details visit her site.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big excitement!

I just ordered a tonne of beautiful and quirky items from Bake It Pretty. And to be shipped by Priority Mail no less!

You can look forward to some prettily packaged items showing up on this blog in 8 - 10 days, or if you're lucky under your Christmas tree.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Boozy citrus upside down cake

Today I took an early mark. It was very exciting. There is something thrilling about being at home at two o'clock in the afternoon on a lovely sunny day. I contemplated spending the afternoon making some Sesame Street cupcakes (inspired once again by Bakerella) but instead I scoured the pantry and the fruit bowl. My rationale was that cake isn't so bad for you if you're mainly baking in order to prevent already purchased items going off. In this case it was two rather sad looking blood oranges!

I decided to get experimental and make up my own recipe for an orange and semolina upside down cake, with saffron and grand marnier for an added bit of ooh la la.

Syrup - 1 cup caster sugar, 1/4 cup blood orange juice, 1/4 cup grand marnier and a few threads of saffron, cooked on low heat for about 10 minutes

Cake - 125g of butter, zest of 1 lemon and 1 cup caster sugar creamed together, 3 eggs beaten in, then 1 cup plain flour, 2/3 cup semolina, 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/3 cup natural yogurt mixed in.

Construction - line tins of choice with baking paper on both bottom and sides (I used a 6" cake tin and some cupcake tins to see which would work out better), place some thin slices of orange on the bottom, pour a little syrup over the top, then add batter.

Bake - at 180 degrees, time will depend on pan size so use a skewer to check.

Serve - let them cool for 10 minutes or so in their tins, the syrup gets HOT. Carefully turn upside down and slowly peel off the baking paper. Trim as required. They are delicious when warm and I think would go very will with some spiced lemon ricotta or mascarpone on the side.

I reckon the 6" cake worked out better and much neater looking. The cupcakes taste amazing but don't look as perfect and pretty as I would have liked, mainly because of oozing syrup. Next time I might use a little less baking powder as some of the cakes had to be trimmed at the bottom so that they would sit flat when they were turned upside down.

I might go and eat another one now...

Monday, November 9, 2009

I have been quiet

Because I have been in Hobart on a work conference and mini holiday. They have many delicious things in Hobart, including this cupcake!

I arrived home last night and this week I'll be heading to Tumut for a few days also for work. Once that's done I can breathe a sigh of relief and spend more time at home playing in my kitchen and posting about my culinary successes and disasters!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

(Belated) Happy Halloween

(Attack of some not very terror inducing ghosts!)

Alana sent me a link to A Baked Creation's 'Ghosts of Cupcakes Past.' Making little ghosties is such a great idea. I baked classic vanilla cupcakes (in pale pink Wilton papers which completely lost their colour - LAME!) and made a pink vanilla buttercream. Due to the lack of giant jubes in Australia I used marshmallows topped with fondant to create the ghosts.