Swirly cake

I really enjoyed making this cake, I’ve neglected my baking recently for all sorts of kitchen/boiler related reasons. Regardless of the situation, I have decided to bake on! That is what Mary would do, and don’t we all want to do as Mary does? I digress.

I whipped up a vanilla sponge with a classic 8,8,8 oz (sugar, self raising flour, butter) to 4 egg ratio and bunged it in the oven at 180C until risen, golden and cooked in the middle. I mixed up enough buttercream to sink a kayak, divided it up and coloured it in varying shades of blue. If you whip your buttercream lots and lots until it goes pale (before colouring it), you will achieve a smoother, paler buttercream.

The key to any good decoration is a cool cake. Once cooled, I cut it in half and layered lots of raspberry jam on one half of the cake and blackcurrant jam on the other (it’s good to mix things up every once in a while). I spread buttercream thinly on top of the jam and sandwiched the cakes together.

The coloured buttercream was carefully spooned into three piping bags. I like to put the piping bag in a mug and then fill it up- stops the bag falling all over the place. It is best to avoid buttercream splodges around the top of the bag as it will go all over your hands very quickly once you start squeezing !

To make a neat pattern I piped sausages of colour around the edges of the cake, alternating when it felt right to do so. The tricky bit is to use a spreader and blend it together to get very straight, smooth sides. I can always feel my heart beating LOUDLY when I approach any cake with a spreader (it’s very distracting). The remaining buttercream is used to make a swirly pattern on top to finish. I spent an awful lot of time touching it up, it’s hard to say when to stop phaffing. After all that, best not to keep it near a radiator as it will make you cry when all that smoothing and swirling melts everywhere.

This cake is dedicated to Kate who is due to have a baby boy very soon. 😀 🤰

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Valentine’s biscuits

I had a good bash at making some heart biscuits. They are a little wonky but that’s because they’re full of love. Wonky love. The method was surprisingly fiddly, I used the following recipe:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slice-and-bake-valentines-biscuits

The recipe involves making a basic vanilla shortbread and colouring one third of the dough pink. The pink dough is cut into lots of hearts which are stuck together and frozen in a log. 2 hours later you wrap the frozen hearts with the rest of the pliable plain shortbread mixture. Many more hours chilling the biscuit dough and then you slice them up and bung ’em in the oven. Pretty tasty buttery treats. 

Anyway. Fill your Valentine’s Day with butter…… buttery hearts!

WW2 cake

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I made a WW2 cake for my boyfriend’s grandad’s 90th birthday. Ken was from the East End but somehow ended up in the Welsh regiment of the British Army….. I’m sure there is a story there but I need to dig that one up! The badge on the cake depicts the ‘Prince of Wales’s feathers’ with the phrase ‘Ich dien’ which means ‘I serve’ in German. Ken likes to tell stories about the war without much prompting in addition to where he likes to walk his cat. Thus, it only seemed right to put his cat ‘Bobby’ on the side of the cake.

This cake is a sticky vanilla sponge with a very thick layer of vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam. Happy 90th birthday Ken!

One big buttery cake!!!!

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Now, everyone knows I am very fond of butter but I have to say I’m even MORE fond of my sister!! D’accord, I decided to give her the gift of beautiful butter colours shaped to perfection. What a lucky girl. I’m pretty proud of this one… you can probably pick up on the positive butter vibes surrounding this blog post.

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I made 1.75 kg of vanilla buttercream for this cake. BY HAND. My electric whisk died during the first 30 seconds of making the buttercream. I developed several blisters on my hands from making this one – worth it though, but I am looking into another whisk.  I coloured the icing and then plopped it into large piping bags. I put the cake onto my turn table and piped a layer of each colour round the edge of the cake and spun the table. I tried to get nice even layers with a good amount of buttercream present. I then took my cake spreader at a 45 degree angle to the cake and smoothed it all over whilst turning the table. I put the cake in the fridge to harden up and then put some dowelling in it to support the top layer. Bit of piping round the middle and bon, c’est fini mes amies..

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Happy 24th birthday to my really FUN sister!!!! You deserve a fun cake. 🙂

I have to say the washing up for this was a BUGGER. But that is the price of butter love.

 

‘I do!’ cupcakes

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How cute are these wedding ‘I do’ muffins? I was having a good play on pinterest and this was one of many ideas I want to try out. These muffins were eaten so quickly, I didn’t get to try one! So I’m going to take that as a confirmation of their deliciousness.

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To achieve the buttercream swirl, you need a good piping bag with a wide set star shaped nozzle inside. I sometimes find myself rushing when I pipe, but I remind myself that the buttercream only comes out as fast as you squeeze it, so I take my time to get it right! The roses are made from fondant icing, I made five flat circles out of pink icing and then curled them round each other whilst they were pliable to make a rose – no glue required! I made a lot of mess making the little brown ‘I do’ signs, there were tiny paper triangles all over the place. I think everything looks better on a doily. 🙂

House cake

My sister-in-law-to-be turned 30 this weekend and to celebrate I made a cake with a GIGANTIC version of her ‘godzillaing’ around her new house. I popped her MX5 on the drive, a BBQ in the garden and added an apple tree where I think they should plant one. Nothing quite like a friendly, iced suggestion 🙂

IMG_4340Happy 30th Birthday to Cleo! May you stomp around your proportionally sized house with grace and poise.

Macaroon madness!


I felt like getting into a real project this evening. I followed the simplest recipe I could find online (delicious magazine) and it worked a treat. So few ingredients for such a sophisticated looking dessert, and tasty too. I’m thinking Mother’s Day present in a pretty little box with a ribbon on it.
Macaroons are essentially little meringues with ground almonds mixed in. Flavoured with whatever you like, I chose vanilla and then coloured them to make them super fancy. Piping bags are essential to get neat circles. A good tap of the baking tray before putting them in the oven is a very wise move (see recipe for details). No one wants a macaroon without a footing.


Pretty huh? I made some look funky by not mixing the food dye in fully and getting a swirl effect. I found a palette knife was the most effective way of filling them with buttercream without breaking them. If you just pop the broken ones in your mouth as you go along it avoids making a mess! 😛

http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/multicoloured-macaroons/

What a tuile to tell…

I decided to make some tuiles tonight. Pretty tricky business if you ask me… it’s fiddly and burns your fingers as you have to work so quickly. Tuiles are very delicate, shapely French biscuits made with lots of whisked egg whites to keep them light. If you are on the good end of a tuile then it should be crisp, golden and absolutely delightful. However, if it’s anything like my first attempt then they are soggy, thick and quite frankly a little disappointing.

I followed the tuile recipe very carefully and realised after trying it free style that it was a very bad idea. Also, it is good to check that your oven remains on whilst baking as mine has a timer on it and I stared blankly into my oven wondering why the hell nothing was happening.

Anyway, I digress. A stencil is required, ideally made from baking parchment or thin plastic. This way you can spread the mixture awkwardly onto your NON STICK baking tray (greased with a little oil) through the stencil. I tried baking the tuiles onto baking parchment itself – don’t bother with that, noone has time for that crumbly mess.

Cook at gas mark 3 for about five minutes and quickly whip it off the tray with a palette knife or spatula like implement. It’s very important to burn your fingers whilst draping them carefully onto a rolling pin (that where the flavour comes from 😜).

Voila! 3 hours later you have one excellent butterfly tuile. Hmmmm. Filling.

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/22236/vanilla-tuiles.aspx