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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Almond, Maple Syrup and Salt Biscuits


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I’ve been trying lots of different savoury recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cook book ‘It’s all good”, so I decided to give one of the ‘sweet tooth’ recipes a try. I decided on the Almond Cookie & Maldon Salt. Now, I wasn’t able to find this Maldon salt at the supermarket, but the recipe said I could substitute it for any coarse sea salt, which is what I ended up doing. Also, the recipe mentions the use of almond butter, which again, I couldn’t find at the supermarket. So I Googled a recipe and attempted to make my own. Needless to say, I’m not really sure it turned out the way it was meant to, but I used it anyway. The cookie has a gingerbread style texture.
Let me know what you think?!

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I’ll give you the baking instructions first, as I’ve included recipe alterations of the 2 batches I made.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
2. Whisk together almond spread, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, fine sea salt and baking powder.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the almond and maple mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Spoon out 1 tablespoon of mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray approximately 2 cm apart.
6. Bake for 10-12  minutes “until air is fragrant and cookies are slightly firm”.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

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First Batch:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup natural almond butter
1 cup maple syrup
(I used what I had in the pantry… Green’s Maple Flavoured Syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

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Honestly, these cookies were so salty and bitter! Not the caramel and salt taste Gwyneth claims it has. So I’m putting it down to my substitution choices and lack of proper almond butter… but I’m posting this anyway. See if you can find a way to improve this.

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Second Batch:

I went to Woolies to check out the maple syrup range, and honestly, was a bit shocked at how much pure 100% maple syrup costs – $6-8 for a 250ml bottle. Now this recipe uses 1 cup of maple syrup (which is 250ml), so it really becomes an expensive cookie recipe once you add in the cost of the almond spread and gluten-free flour.

Oh, I googled almond butter, and we do have it in Australia, but it’s labelled as almond spread. You can find it in the health food section of your local supermarket, but again this cost me $6.98 (from Woolies) for a 250ml jar of Macro Natural Almond Spread.

For this recipe I used Steeves Canadian maple syrup $5-6.

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Now this batch was delicious! The maple flavour was there, but it still didn’t have the caramel taste I was hoping for. I did add a bit more vanilla extract to this batch as well (about an extra teaspoon). I would definitely make this again.

The art of living like Gwyneth

it-s-all-good

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Dark, Milk and White Chocolate Ganache


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I love chocolate ganache… what chocaholic wouldn’t! It’s incredibly delicious and it’s so much easier to get nice, straight sides and edges compared to butter cream. It also withstands the Australian heat much better than butter cream does. All you need is chocolate and cream. By varying techniques and tweaking ingredients, you can turn basic ganache into a truffle, a glaze, a frosting, a mousse, a tart, a warm drink, or a frozen pop. Brilliant!
Making dark, milk and white chocolate ganache varies. You require a higher ratio of milk and white chocolate to cream (3:1) compared to dark chocolate (2:1). That’s because milk and white chocolate contain milk solids, which contain milk fat. The added fat and the increased cocoa butter content make the lighter chocolates softer and more susceptible to damage from heat. You can certainly make ganache from milk or white chocolate using the traditional technique, but you’ll have to adjust the ratio of chocolate:cream to compensate for the increased fat content.
In extremely warm weather it is sometimes necessary to increase the amount of chocolate in the mixture to prevent it from melting.
To torte and cover a 9″ round cake with dark chocolate ganache 
1.2 kg dark chocolate
600ml pure cream
To torte and cover a 9″ round cake with milk and white chocolate ganache 
1.3 kg
450ml pure cream
Method: 
Place chocolate into a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream until it just starts to bubble and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for about a minute to melt. Use a hand whisk to blend it all together then set aside to cool. If all the chocolate hasn’t melted, you can place the bowl into the microwave and reheat at short intervals (I usually do it for 10 second at a time).
Your ganache at this point will be thin. You will have to let it set overnight until it thickens.
If desperate measures call and you don’t have the patience to wait, let it cool to room temperature and then pop it in the fridge (don’t cover the bowl as you may get condensation). It would  usually set in the fridge in about an hour or two. If it sets too hard, just microwave it in 10 second intervals (keep mixing it whenever you take it out).
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For more ganache recipes and ideas, please visit Big Bake Theory