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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Bouquet Garni


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The bouquet garni (French for “garnished bouquet”) is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.

There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most recipes include thyme and bay leaf. Depending on the recipe, the bouquet garni may also include parsley, basil, burnet, chervil, rosemary, peppercorns, savory and tarragon. Vegetables such as carrot, celery (leaves or leaf stalks), celeriac, leek, onion and parsley root are sometimes included in the bouquet.

Sometimes, the bouquet is not bound with string, and its ingredients are filled into a small sachet, a net, or even a tea strainer, instead. Traditionally, the aromatics are bound within leek leaves, though a coffee filter (or cheesecloth) and butcher twine can be used, instead.

Dishes made with a bouquet garni include:

Boeuf bourguignon
Pot au feu
Brown Windsor soup
Poule au pot
Carbonnade flamande
Lapin chasseur
Blanquette de veau
Ossobuco
Bouillabaisse
Court-bouillon
French onion soup
Cassoulet

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouquet_garni

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?

Toblerone Non-Bake Cheese Cake


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This is one of my most requested desserts! So easy to prepare and make. No baking required.

**You can use any type of chocolate you like

INGREDIENTS

BASE
1 packet plain chocolate biscuits
*(I use Arnott’s Choc Ripple and usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of packet)
80g butter, melted
1/4 cup almonds (optional)

FILLING
500g block PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
*(I generally use 250g of Original and 250g of Light)
*(I wouldn’t recommend 500g of Light… not as tasty)
1/2 cup caster sugar
200g TOBLERONE** Milk or Dark Chocolate, melted
*(I’m a HUGE chocolate fan and have used 600g chocolate)
1/2 cup thickened cream

TOPPING
200g TOBLERONE** Milk or Dark Chocolate for shaving

METHOD

Biscuit Base
1.
 Lighty grease or line with baking paper a 20cm baking dish/springform pan.
2. Put biscuits into a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Transfer to mixing bowl.
3. Put almonds into a food processor and roughly chop. Add to biscuit crumbs.
4. Add melted butter to biscuit and almond mixture.
(I know I said 80g butter, but I would add small bits at a time in case you don’t need the whole 80g. Basically… you want to add enough butter to get the biscuit crumbs to combine).
5. Once combined, put biscuit crumb base into the pan and use hand to distribute evenly on the base.
6. Place in fridge to chill.

Cheese Cake Layer
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer until smooth.
3. Melt Toblerone**
4. Add in the melted Toblerone** and cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well combined.
5. Pour mixture onto the prepared crumb base and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until set, or overnight.
6. Serve topped with the Toblerone** shavings.

So easy. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

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Home Inspiration Board


Matt and I both like the heritage look. We like to have character in our house, with its imperfections! A home that has a real homely feel, where you can just relax! I’m a big fan of neutral colours, and using natural products to create a blank canvas, then adding colour with beautiful photography, rugs, pillows, etc. We have a basic idea of what we want to accomplish with the look of our home… but achieving it at minimal cost is another story. Here’s some of the photos we are drawing inspiration from. Check out my Pinterest Boards for more ideas and inspiration! LOVE ❤

Leave a comment below… What inspires your home renovations? xx

ENTRANCE

12

BATHROOM

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BALCONY/DECK

34

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KITCHEN

610

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1211

14

ROOM DIVIDERS

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BEDROOMS

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LAUNDRY

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GARDEN

1517

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OTHER

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Chicken & Kale Soup


I was looking at ways to change my eating habits and experiment with new recipes. I came across Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook ‘It’s all good’ and thought I’d give her recipes a go.
As most of you know, all good cooks read a recipe all the way through before starting. I skimmed the recipe and thought.. too easy. Sent my husband to buy the ingredients while I was at work, and got home at 530pm to start cooking. I was off to a good start, putting the chicken with vegetables on and went onto the next step and realised, oh… step 1 is simply making a stock and it’s wasting good veggies, plus it’s gonna take 2 hours! So by the time I got the stock on, it was 630pm which meant we wouldn’t be eating this until around 830-9pm. Wow… had not expected this, even though it was clearly written! And I was starving! So, I baked some extra chicken breast with left over parmigiana sauce (which took 30mins in the oven to cook through), and I started taking some of the leek, celery, carrot and onion from the stock pot and served it with the chicken breast. Soup would be for dinner the tomorrow night.
Even though I took some of the veggies out of the stock pot, it didn’t affect the taste of the stock. The stock has such a rich, smooth taste to it. Perfect for winter! So I guess I’m reminding you all… A) read the recipe through and B) be patient.
This chicken and kale soup has a slight variation to the recipe in the cookbook.

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Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (uncooked) or 1.2kg whole chicken breast
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large leek, washed and roughly chopped (stalk and leaves)
3 large carrots (1 peeled and roughly chopped, 2 peeled and diced)
1 yellow onion, quartered
3 bay leaves
2 leafy springs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped off stalks into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

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Method:
1. Combine the chicken, celery, leek, roughly chopped carrot, onion, bay leaves, thyme, whole black peppercorns, and large pinch of salt in a large pot and cover with cold water.
2. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
3. Strain the stock into a clean pot (or transfer into bowl and reuse the pot you are using) and discard the cooked vegetables.
(If you have a problem with wasting good food, like I do, I saved the cooked vegetables and served them with chicken breast the following night. Alternatively, make a hot pot).

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4. Pull the meat off the whole chicken or get your chicken breast and roughly dice. Add the chicken to your stock, along with remaining carrots and kale.
5. Simmer for a further 20 minutes. Add additional ground pepper and salt to taste.

The art of living like Gwyneth

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