Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australia Day Cupcakes

Australia Day is the 26th January and as I now live in Australia I thought I should make some cupcakes to help celebrate this great national holiday!
The Australian flag seemed like a good place to start so I collected together some reference material for my cupcakes and took a Screen Shot which then displays all the images as one large composite image on my iMac which I leave up on the screen while designing the cupcakes and working out how to make them.

First of all make the cupcakes using my easy One Bowl Chocolate Cupcake recipe for the mixer.
The mixture will make 24 cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes or as here 12 cupcakes and 24 mini cupcakes.
  Although the cupcakes keep well, they are especially good if eaten the same day they are made. 

I used red and blue paper cases

Print out some images the exact size of the cupcakes and from them cut out the templates for the Union Flag.
Use 5cm and 8cm cutters for the blue sugar-paste circles for the top of the cupcakes.

Use two different sizes of silver Cachous for the six stars of the Southern Cross. Make a small hole for each star to push into and remember to moisten the holes a little so that the little balls stick and don't fall out when you go to eat your cupcake!

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes made in the Mixer

Easiest Recipe Ever 
1. If you haven't got any buttermilk use normal milk instead replacing 2 tsp of the milk with white vinegar.
2. It is a really runny mixture so use a small ladle or similar to help pour the mixture into paper cases.

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe 
Makes 24 cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
330g (1 ½ cups) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Cupcakes will keep, covered, for up to three days.

Fill each paper case 3/4 full.

Cupcakes straight from the oven

Monday, January 24, 2011

Broccoli and Swiss Cheese Individual Quiches

                                                 Makes 24 quiches

Broccoli and Swiss Cheese individual Quiches

5 sheets frozen short crust pastry
1 head broccoli cut into florets and cooked
200g Jarlsberg or Ementhal cheese, grated
5 spring onions, finely chopped
4 eggs
200ml milk
400ml cream
salt + pepper

Cook broccoli.
Lightly grease muffin holes
lightly grease the tins
Press down the cutter and wiggle around
Use a 4 inch cutter for this job
Cut 5 circles of pastry from each sheet of frozen shortcrust pastry

At this point you may need a little light refreshement
Line muffin holes with pastry
Place in fridge for 15 mins
Ready to be filled
Fill with ¾ cheese, spring onion and broccoli
Beat eggs tog lightly, add milk, cream and seasoning
Pour into quiches and sprinkle remaining cheese on top
Oven ready
Cook in centre of oven at 190C for 40 mins.
Use dessert spoon to help ease the quiches from the tin

Remove from tin while still warm

Monday, January 17, 2011

Caramel Shortbread step by step

Learn how to make this special treat which tastes so much nicer when it's homemade.

Caramel Shortbread
125g butter
60g castor sugar
185g SR flour
(200g) 1/2 tin condensed milk
125g butter
125g castor sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
275g milk chocolate

Some ingredients

Heat oven to 180C
Line tin (16 x 26 cms) with greaseproof paper (optional)
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Sieve flour and fold into mixture.
Press mixture over base of tin and make small prick marks with a fork.
Bake in centre of oven for 20 mins till golden.

Straight from the oven
Weigh ingredients for filling straight into the pan

Place all ingredients for filling in a pan and heat gently till they dissolve.

Simmer for 7 mins, stirring constantly.
Spread over base and cool.

Caramel ready to be spread out to the corners (please note that I am making double the amount)

Weighing the chocolate 
Heat chocolate in the microwave and spread over the top.
Mark out 

Measure your slices for accurate portion control, LOL!

Definitely worth the trouble.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

11.5" Ben 10 Dark Chocolate Mud Cake Tutorial

Ben 10 Birthday Cake

When I am designing a new cake I like to gather all my ideas and resources together before I start.
I put all my images on one page and then take a screenshot. I have an iMac and I simply Preview/File/Take Screen Shot.

Screen Shot
Cake tin and cake boards
  • 11.5" diameter tin
  • 11.5" diameter thin card cake board. This board help you to move the cake around when you are decorating it and as the cake shrinks a little during baking, this board becomes a guide when ganaching. As you pull your spatula round the ganached cake to smooth it just press against the card board circle underneath as a guide and you will get the perfect thickness.
  • 16" diameter 6mm thick cake board. The cake will be heavy so you need a strong base. I use a pedestal base for this cake but I would normally have used a 6mm thick cake board.

Dark Chocolate Mud Cake (from Planet Cake Cookbook)
Ingredients for 11.5" cake
359g butter
359g dk choc
41g coffee
261ml water
204g SR
204g plain
82g cocoa
.8 tsp bicarb
784g caster
6.5 eggs
11.4 tsp oil
163ml buttermilk

Dark Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients for 11.5" cake
1960g dark chocolate, finely chopped
980ml pure cream

GREY 1700g sugar-paste to cover entire cake and other bits and pieces.BLACK 500g cake details
GREEN 400g watch dial and trousers.
YELLOW: Lettering
WHITE: No.5 and figurine top
FLESH: Face and hands

Dark Chocolate Mud Cake Method 
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease the tin and line the base and sides with a collar that extends 2 cm above the top of the tin.
  2. Put the butter, chocolate, coffee and water in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted, then remove from the heat.
  3. Sift the flours, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the combined egg, oil and buttermilk and the chocolate mixture, stirring with a large spoon until completely combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 2 hours (for 11'5"cake) or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean, though it may be a little sticky. Leave the cake in the tin until cold.
Dark Chocolate Ganache Method
  1. Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl
  2. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to boiling point. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and mix with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth. (Do not use an electric whisk, as you will create too many air bubbles in the ganache.)
  3. Allow to cool completely and then leave to set overnight.

Baking Diary

DAY 1 
Colour sugar-paste
Make ganache
Bake cake
Wrap cake in foil and place in fridge overnight. (I use my bar fridge as the temperature is not too low)
Cut finger nails. There is nothing worse than making a mark with your long nails on your completed cake just before your guests arrive  

DAY 2 
Take cake out of fridge first thing in the morning and allow to come to room temp. 
Torte and ganache cake then leave it to set.
Once set cover with sugar-paste. 

DAY 3 
Decorate and complete the job.

DAY 4 
Stuff up day. You never know what might happen when making a cake so always pencil in a stuff up day.

 DAY 5  
The day of the party

Day 1

Wilton Icing colour pastes, Bakels Ready to Roll (RTR) white sugar-paste in 7kg box and some left over coloured sugar-pastes from previous projects.

I like to keep sugar-paste in cheap freezer bags inside zip lock bags like these ones from IKEA

Add colour to the sugar-paste with a knife, cutting into the paste a little so that the colour doesn't squidge out when you start to kneed it in. All up I used 28g of black Wilton icing colour on this cake. I had meant to buy ready made black sugar-paste but forgot that the online supplier was off till 10 Jan!

I actually made about 2200g of grey coloured sugar-paste first then converted 500g of it to black. Making the coloured sugar-paste early in the week gives the sugar-paste time to unwind and time for the colour to intensify. This picture is just the start of tinting to grey
Making the baking strips using Aluminium Foil and two old drying cloths (damp)
Tin is double lined and baking strips attached.

My lovely 6.7 litre Kenwood Major Titanium mixer
K beater up and batter ready to go!
Use a pastry brush (or similar) to 'paint' the top of the cake with boiled water to keep it moist and save cracking. Then cover with a clean tea cloth to reduce evaporation.
 I remove the baking strips once they can be handled or use oven gloves to remove them.
Let cake cool completely before taking the cake out of the tin.
Wrap the cake well in cling film (do not squash cake) and put in fridge till morning.
Day 2
Covering the cake with sugar-paste
Excess trimmed off
Day 3
Design for top of cake
Cutting plan
Using the template to cut out the shapes
Ben 10 becomes Cameron 5
I used Franklin Gothic Heavy font in photoshop to get as close to the Ben 10 font as I could. I had to make the letters broader and the spaces between each letter much smaller. I also moved some letters up and down to make the effect a little crooked. All of this was done in the 'Character box'. I then duplicated the layer and added a stroke and a drop shadow. Too easy!

Adding the lettering, one letter at a time.

Day 4
This is stuff up day so if everything has gone to plan you can put your feet up!

Day 5
Party time!
Figurine was made without Tylose powder. I forgot to buy some yet again.  Baby Ben 10 would have looked so much better if I had added some of the Tylose powder to the sugar-paste.