Christmas cake

I made a chocolate cake for a family get together at Christmas. I’ve been considering presentation and decoration more in my bakes recently. I wanted to do more than just sprinkle chocolate on top, and I also wanted to make it festive.

I decorated it with Disney Frozen dazzling sprinkles and wrote on it with Cake Decor Choco writers white. My piping skills are not what I’d like so I decided the choco writer was a good start and I could make it look more like handwriting rather than bad piping. I also used some White Lustre Roses to add some pearly detail, they were a lot taller than I thought they would be but I think they looked pretty.

Christmas cake

Christmas cake

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Kids’ cakes

We had some extended family over today and the kids have had birthdays recently so I made some fun cakes for them.

Kids' cakes

Kids’ cakes

Flowerpot Bread

It seemed an odd concept to me at first, baking bread in flowerpots, however if you think about it the ceramic pots probably hold the heat quite evenly. Today I finally found the time to bake this bread, and the outcome surprised me greatly.

The kit I had was Artisan Seeded Flowerpot Bread. After brushing the flowerpots with oil and baking them, I washed them and lined them with greaseproof paper. I mixed the flour with the yeast, water and some olive oil, and kneaded for 10 minutes, after which I split the mixture into four balls and put them into a flowerpot to rise for an hour.

Artisan Seeded Flowerpot Bread Kit

Artisan Seeded Flowerpot Bread Kit 

The flour mix and yeast ready to mix

The flour mix and yeast ready to mix

Kneading for 10 minutes

Kneading for 10 minutes

Mixture split and left to rise

Mixture split and left to rise

After the dough had risen for an hour it was suppose to be double the size, I’m not sure mine rose that much but it seemed good enough to cook, so I baked it for the 25 minutes stated in the instructions.

The risen dough

The risen dough

The baked bread seemed very solid but after I turned the rolls out onto the board and cut into one I was surprised to find that the bread had an even consistency and tasted delicious!

Baked rolls

Baked rolls

Flowerpot Bread

Flowerpot Bread

Fluffy inside

Fluffy inside

Nom

Nom

Artisan Seeded Flowerpot Bread is available to buy from Amazon.

Chocolate fairies

After making vanilla fairy cakes last week I had to give the chocolate version a try. In the end they were mostly just a delivery system for chocolate buttercream, but we’re very OK with that.

On last week’s batch I forgot to note the oven temperature and cooking duration, this time I set the oven to 150 degrees celsius and cooked the cakes for 20 mins (I did forget to put the oven thermometer in so I’m not sure what temperature I actually reached).

Chocolate cakes

Chocolate cakes

A good rise

A good rise

Chocolate fairy cake

Chocolate fairy cake

Nom

A delicious batch of chocolate fairy cakes

Ingredients -for the buns

4 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
3 oz self-raising flour
1 oz cocoa powder
2 eggs

Method -for the buns

  1. Cream the sugar and butter together
  2. Sift in the flour, cocoa, and eggs and mix until just combined
  3. Split the mixture into 9-12 cake cases
  4. Cook at 190 degrees celsius for 12-15 minutes

Ingredients -for the buttercream

2 oz butter
3 oz icing sugar
1 oz cocoa

Method -for the buttercream

  1. Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl
  2. Add the butter and mix until smooth (if required thin with a splash of milk)

Now all you have to do is cut the top off the completely cooled buns, fill with butter cream and replace the top.

These did not last long

I wanted to go back to the bun recipe I used a few weeks ago and make some with a different twist. I remembered making fairy cakes when I was a kid, and thought a break from chocolate chip would be nice. As I mentioned in my Buns post I planned on putting my cake cases in a muffin tin to cook, which I did and it allowed the cakes to rise upwards rather than expanding outwards. I also filled the cases slightly more (though not with an ice-cream scoop as I still don’t have one), in an effort to help improve the rise.

Yummy buns

These cakes rose much better having been cooked in the muffin tin.

Mmmm

You can see these are nicely risen and are golden in colour.

Fairy cake

I remember decorating buns like this when I was a kid, and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t get old.

Nom nom

Some of the cakes had risen so well I couldn’t bear to cut into them so I just iced them.

The batch shot

Pretty batch shot, there was one more but it didn’t fit in the shot so Andy and me ate it to check they were ok!

The Creative Blogger

On my last post, ‘How very English…’ I received a nomination from Abi who writes lovegraceandcakes.com for the Creative blogger award. Given how new I am to this blogging thing it was quite a surprise, but such positive feedback is delightful, so thank you Abi.

So here’s how it goes:

1. Post a link to the person who nominated you and give thanks.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself.
3. Nominate up to 10 other blogs and give links.
4. Contact your nominees to inform them of their nomination.
5. Provide the rules to your nominees.

Five facts about me:

  1. My inspiration for wanting to improve my baking skills comes from my baby girl, she’s my little angel and I want to be able to make her birthday cakes and bake with her as she grows up.
  2. My inspiration for writing my blog comes from my boyfriend -he’s my happy.
  3. I will always view my mums cooking as the best food ever.
  4. I talk to inanimate objects (they don’t talk back so its cool).
  5. I love exocomics.com

The blogs I have been most impressed by are:

  1. Molly’s Morsels
  2. Alyssa’s breakfast cafe
  3. Love grace and cakes -who nominated me so I’m sure doesn’t want to repeat herself by posting further facts but I wanted to mention.
  4. With all my affection -this blog was also nominated by Abi so I also don’t expect to repost so soon.

How very English…

At recent family events, both my mum and Andy’s mum have brought along homemade scones, cream and jam and it inspired me to cook some myself, something I’ve not baked in years. Today I made plain scones, I much prefer plain scones over a fruit or cheese option, there’s simply no contest. There’s nothing quite like a plate of fresh homemade plain scones, some Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam. Delicious!

It is a simple enough recipe but even though I always follow it I always wish I’d made them a bit fatter. Next time I shall. They were a tasty afternoon treat.

Ingredients

8 oz self-raising flour
½ level teaspoon salt
1 – 2 oz butter or margarine
¼ pint cold milk
beaten egg or milk for brushing

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees celsius (I set my oven to 200 but it read 210 on my oven thermometer)
  2. Lightly grease a baking tray
  3. Sift flour and salt into a bowl and rub in fat finely
  4. Add all the milk and mix to a soft dough
  5. Turn out onto a surface dusted with flour and knead lightly until smooth
  6. Roll out to ½ inch in thickness and cut into 9 rounds with a 2½ inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour
  7. Lightly brush with egg or milk
  8. Put on prepared tray and bake just above centre of oven for approximately 10 minutes or until well-risen and golden
  9. Cool on wire rack
Scones

Plain scones

Afternoon tea anyone?

Afternoon tea anyone?

Cake or Pac man?

Yesterday I had a break from making chocolate sponges and made a plain one with vanilla buttercream and raspberry jam. For the last two bakes I have used Stork with butter, and while I have not had a better rise with it I have found that the sponge itself is much lighter in texture -and this time I’m not the only one to notice. When left at room temperature the Stork with butter is of a soft creamy consistency, so if you’re hand mixing like me it’s much easier to combine.

I saw a tip on a Barefoot Contessa episode a while back that I have been using when icing the sides of my cakes, and that is to put greaseproof paper under the edges of the cake before icing. It can then be pulled out when you’re done and it leaves clean edges at the bottom of the cake.

Assembly -Layer one

Assembly -Layer one

Assembly -First layer of buttercream

Assembly -First layer of buttercream

Assembly -Raspberry jam

Assembly -Raspberry jam

Assembly -Layer two

Assembly -Layer two

Assembly -The icing was a bit warm

Assembly -The icing was a bit warm

We then ate some cake and found that Pac man was in the kitchen…

IMG_6846

I will at some point make something other than a sponge cake!