Thursday, November 18, 2010

Red Velvet Supersized

Q: What does 11 cups of flour, 2.25 cups of butter, 7.75 cups of sugar, 4 bottles of red food colouring, 9 eggs, 9 tablespoons of cocoa, 4 teaspoons of vanilla, 4.5 cups of buttermilk and 1kg of vanilla buttercream buy you?

A: A resplendent three layer red velvet cake!

For anyone interested in recreating this feat, I made the Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cake recipe three times, using each batch to fill one 10" cake tin. I was a bit anxious about how a triple layer 10" cake would hold up but it was gorgeous. And heavy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Strawberry & Mulberry Jam

At the markets this morning I spied beautiful mulberries and strawberries. Lately I've developed a bit of an obsession with preserving fruit and vegetables, and the discovery of the blog Saving the Season has added fuel to the fire. My desire to make jam couldn't wait any longer, which was unfortunate given that temperatures soared to 3o+ degrees today and spending time at the cooktop was less than ideal.

Still, it was worth it. Yum.

Jam also makes a lovely little housewarming gift for friends...

Strawberry & Mulberry Jam

750g strawberries, washed, hulled and cut in half
750g mulberries, washed and stalks removed
1.5kg sugar
125ml lemon juice
25g pectin or other jam setting agent

Combine berries and lemon juice in a large saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Add sugar and cook over low heat for a further five minutes until the sugar dissolves, and then bring to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes and remove from heat, skimming any foam or gunk from the jam with a slotted spoon. Stir in pectin and then return to the boil for five minutes. Ladle the hot jam into jars, using the processing method of your choice. (Some people like to spoon hot jam into sterilised hot jars, but I prefer to use a water bath processing method because it seems somehow more 'proper'.) The jam should be left for about 4 weeks so that the flavours can develop but obviously we had to try some immediately.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wedding Cake Baker in Training III

Being a Wedding Cake Baker in Training means you have a lot of test cakes to play with and set free. I have been meaning to make my Uncle David a fruitcake with the KitchenAid he and my Aunt Sylvia gave us as a wedding gift* since, er, February. The man is a sailing fanatic which provided me with the perfect excuse to have a play with some of my favourite bits and bobs from Bake It Pretty.

Like the sail boat.
And the yellow duckie.

Not the most sophisticated effort ever but I think he'll enjoy it all the same. I kinda love it!

*How lucky are we!? Remember also the most excellent ice cream machine gifted from my Uncle Tony and Aunt Di. Lucky lucky lucky us.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wedding Cake Baker in Training II

A quick shout out to Not Quite Nigella who posted today about making a two tier wedding cake. The post answered a LOT of my lingering questions. Talk about synchronicity! Thanks Lorraine.

(In the 5 minutes since I read Lorraine's post I have developed a serious obsession with completing Faye's workshop...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wedding Cake Baker in Training

I'm diligently working through the list of things to achieve by the time I'm 30 - don't worry, I still have a good eight and a half months to go. In January I will be making a wedding cake for my lovely friends Marley and Rod which is exciting (a) because I get to "achieve" one of my goals and (b) because I absolutely love them both.

Making a wedding cake is a little bit daunting, but oddly my biggest concern is transporting the two tiered cake up the F3 highway in the middle of an Australian summer. I have had nightmares about chocolate mud cakes filled with ganache melting and sliding around the car making a giant muddy mess. Eventually the solution to this problem became obvious. Fruitcake. It's heavy and hardy, it doesn't spoil, and it can be covered in marzipan and fondant for minimum slippage. Having never made a fruitcake before I decided to do a bit of a test run which involved 1.2kg of dried fruit and a fair whack of Chivas (thanks Rahul!)

The test cake has been baked and split into four portions - "edges" that have been cut off for Rahul to snack on, two neatly sliced and marzipan covered rectangles and one square that has been re wrapped and put in the fridge so that I can test the cake's longevity.

Covering squares and rectangles is really not my forte but I completely fluked this baby! Thankfully the wedding cake will be a two tiered round number so I can avoid 8 extra edges.

As the day draws closer you can look forward to some further installments relating to the actual cake. Wish me luck!