Ombre Cakes


Petal Technique – Ombre!

One of my girlfriends is having her second baby…. a boy! I volunteered to make her baby cake and decided on everything blue.. Ombre style! I’ve put together this little tutorial for you all so you can also learn how to make these fabulously simple, but effective cakes! My main issue with the petal technique… I found my lines were not very straight. Even though I thought I was following the correct line, I had some “waves” happening. With more practice, I’m sure it would be easier to make each dot the correct size and length, etc.

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What you will need:
Cake(s)
Frosting
Teaspoon or spatula
Piping bag
Round piping tip

Cake Ingredients:
Depending on the number of layers you want to create, double this batch.
Melted butter, to grease
450g (3 cups) self-raising flour
150g (1 cup) plain flour
440g (2 cups) caster sugar
300g butter, cubed, at room temperature
310ml (1 1/4 cups) milk
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 tsp vanilla essence
Desired food colouring

Crisco Butter Cream Frosting
Makes around 3 cups
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
additional 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted icing mixture
2 tablespoons milk
Desired food colouring

OR

Classic American Butter Cream Frosting
Makes around 2.5cups
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
3-4 cups icing mixture, SIFTED
¼ teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Desired food colouring

Method (Cake):

  1. Preheat oven to 140°C. Position a rack on the second lowest shelf of the oven. Brush a round 25cm (base measurement) cake pan with the melted butter to lightly grease. Line base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the self-raising flour, plain flour, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric beater to beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until just combined. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and all the butter is incorporated.
  3. Divide mixture in two (or if batch doubled, in four). Add desired food colouring to each batch until desired colour reached. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for approximately 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cool.

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Method (Frosting):

In large bowl, cream shortening (or if using American frosting all butter) and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add icing mixture, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all icing mixture has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.
For stiff consistency, add more icing mixture until desired consistency achieved.

Divide frosting into even batches (depending on number of colours you want to do). Add food colouring to each batch until desired colour achieved. Add more icing mixture if frosting becomes too thin!

Put a light coat of butter cream over the cake. This is your crumb layer and will give you a smooth, even surface to start decorating on.

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Here’s a cute tutorial I found on Cake Central by ‘The Hungry Housewife’. I’ve also included her youtube video which clearly shows each step!

http://cakecentral.com/b/tutorial/blue-ombre-petal-cake-tutorial

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Here’s my first attempt!! Hope you all enjoy this. X

Happy Baking

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References:
http://savorysweetlife.com/2010/03/buttercream-frosting/

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Home Baked Pain au Chocolat


Last week, my husband, roomie and myself were watching night time TV when a craving for something sweet and chocolatey hit us. We didn’t have anything in the house, as I tend not to keep such vices around in full knowledge that I would eat it all… However, I always keep puff pastry in the freezer and I know we had nutella. So, asked the boys if a modified chocolate croissant would satisfy the craving. Our roomie was shocked, and asked how would I make a croissant? So I offered to show him. Here’s a quick step-by-step… so quick and easy to make!!

Ingredients:
Frozen puff pastry (thawed)
Nutella
1 Egg

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Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
Thaw sheets of puff pastry (note; you will get 4 croissants from 1 sheet) and cut into 4 equal squares.

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Step 2: Place 1 tablespoon (or whatever you desire) of Nutella into the centre of each square.

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Step 3: With a small amount of water, wet the edges of the pastry (this will make it sticky) and fold it over. You can make what ever shape you like (as shown in the picture below). Be sure to press the folded pastry down firmly (I use the back of a teaspoon) to ensure it is sealed. If you leave gaps, or it is not firmly sealed, the pastry will open during the baking process and the nutella will ooze out.

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Step 4: Whisk the egg (yolk and whites) and lightly brush over the pastry.
Place in oven and bake until pastry is golden brown (usually about 25-30minutes).

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Serve straight from the oven… Delicious!

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Cake Decorating Basics #14


Cupcake Frosting Techniques

I came across these 2 cute blogs by ‘Glorious Treats‘ and ‘Niner Bakes‘. They have a page all about frosting techniques and a few different frosting recipes you could try! I’ve added their photos to show you what each tip can create.

Link to Niner Bakes

Here’s the link to Glorious Treats (these are her pictures below)

Cupcakes wtih tips

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Cake Decorating Basics #10


Cupcake Frosting Technique using Wilton Tip #67

This is such a cute frosting technique! The tip is actually a leaf decorating tip, so I would never have thought to use it in this fashion. It’s so simple, yet so effective! Thank you ‘strawberrychicblog’ for sharing this!

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What do you think of this technique? Any other suggestions?

Cake Decorating Basics #9


Cupcake Frosting Techniques

These YouTube video’s by ‘CupcakeCentralAU’ show you several techniques on how to decorate cupcakes with butter cream frosting. These are fantastic techniques if you’re a beginner or just want new ideas. Enjoy! x

The first video demonstrates the Wilton 1M Open Star and Petal Tip 127.

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The second video demonstrates the Wilton 11 plain round tip, a french tip and a plain star tip. These come in different sizes as per the picture below.

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What do you think of these technique? Any other suggestions?

Fruit Cake


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I recently made a wedding cake for one of my husband’s friends. They wanted a 2-tier cake with one tier being fruit cake. It’s not a big deal, but I’ve never made fruit cake before… so the experimenting began! I tried three recipes – all nice, but seemed bland. So, I took the ingredients I liked from each recipe and came up with a modified version. It’s not a dark fruit cake, but you can add Parisian Browning Essence if you like (I did this with my second attempt at fruit cake, and I didn’t like it much so left it out).

Ingredients:
975g Dried Mix Fruit (I used home brand)
400g glacé cherries, quartered
1 cup (250ml) brandy, plus 1 tablespoon to glaze
250g margarine
230g soft dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons apricot jam
2 tablespoons golden syrup
4 eggs
350g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Method

Step 1
Put fruit in a bowl with 1 cup brandy and soak overnight.

Step 2
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Lightly grease a deep 22cm round cake tin. Line the cake tin with baking paper (sides and bottom).
Wrap a folded piece of newspaper around the outside of the tin and tie securely with twine.

Step 3
Beat the margarine and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters until just combined. Beat in the jam and golden syrup.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Step 4
Stir the fruit and the combined sifted flour and spices alternatively into the mixture.

Step 5
Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Tap the tin on the bench to remove any air bubbles. Dip your hands in water and level the surface. Sit the cake on several layers of newspaper in the oven and bake for 2.5hrs (the original recipe stated 3hrs, but I checked mine in 2 then 2.5hrs and it was truly done!). Bake until skewer comes out clean.

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Step 6
Brush with the extra tablespoon of brandy. Cover the top of the cake with paper and wrap in a tea towel.
Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Note:
Why the newspaper you ask? Because the cake takes a long time to bake, the newspaper will act as insulation to prevent the bottom and sides from over-baking.

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Halloween Cake Pops


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My husband and I were invited to a Halloween party where all the guests brought a dish. Naturally being a sweet-tooth person, I started thinking about Halloween themed sweets. I Googled some ideas and settled on making a variety of cake-pops: mummies, eye balls and cats.

So easy and something the kids are sure to love to make and eat!

I know there are cake-pop books out that state to stick to a cake-pop recipe, but I used supermarket bought cake and muffin mixes, as well as normal cupcake recipes to make these with absolutely no issue.

I did purchase a Babycakes Cake Pop Maker off Amazon, but the first one I purchased had a faulty heating element and its replacement was no better. I had trouble getting the cake pops to come out round, as the bottom element will start baking before you put the lid on. So it’s uneven baking. I found it very frustrating. So I use the cake pop baking trays which you can purchase at K-Mart for $15 and includes reusable lolli-pop sticks. This was much easier to use, but the cake pops are considerably bigger than the ones baked using the Babycakes Maker. Alternatively, use the moulds – which I am yet to do.

Here’s the recipe I used.
“Vanilla Cake-Pops” adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Decorations:
1 bag of Nestle Chocolate Melts*
Chocolate sprinkles
Bag of M&Ms
Liqorice – preferably a flat ribbon sort
Edible Ink Pens

*You can use Wilton Candy Melts available at Spotlight, but they are not cheap. If you want to colour a white chocolate melt, use an oil base food colouring.

Method:
CAKE POPS

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put the flour, sugar baking powder, salt and oil in a bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
3. Gradually pour in half (1/4 cup) of the water and beat until the water is just incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, and remaining water together for a few seconds. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated. Scrape sides and continue mixing for a minute more until the batter is smooth. Do not over mix.
5. Spray both sides of cake pop pan with Cake-Pop baking tray.
6. Using a liquid measuring cup, pour mixture into cake pop pan (side without holes). You will have enough mixture to completely fill all 18 holes. Put topside of cake pop pan on and secure with clips.
7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
8. Let pans cool before removing top pan (if any cake has baked through the holes simply scrape off before removing top pan).

TO DECORATE
9. Melt a small amount of chocolate melts or candy coating in the microwave.
10. Dip the end of the cake pop stick into the coating, then insert into cake ball.
11. Place cake pops into freezer for 10 minutes.
12. Heat large batch of chocolate melts or candy coating in microwave and prepare your topping bowls.
13. Remove your cake pops from the freezer.
14. Dip cake pops in melted chocolate or candy coating. Allow excess chocolate or candy to drip off cake pop.

EYEBALLS
Whilst the chocolate/candy coating is slightly wet, attach an un-melted piece of white chocolate melt or candy melt to the top. This will act as your iris. You can then use M&Ms (attach with more melted chocolate) as the pupils. Once the coating has completely dried, use the edible ink pens to draw blood vessels around the circumference.

CATS
Whilst the coating is still wet, sprinkle on chocolate sprinkles to act as fur. Once this has dried, attach M&Ms with melted chocolate as eyes and cut out small triangles for ears from the ribbon liquorice (attach with melted chocolate).

MUMMIES
You don’t need to be neat to make mummies. In fact, the rougher the coating the better the result. Once you have allowed the initial coat to dry, attach M&Ms as eyes, then drizzle more melted chocolate over the pop to act as mummie wrap. You may need to do several layers of chocolate drizzle to get the desired effect.

TO SERVE
You can use a cake pop stand to serve. I found a cheap $2.99 sturdy cardboard (very colourful) stand at Crazy Clark’s. Or use styrofoam to hold your finished cake pops.

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