4 November 2009

Halloween and Baby Shower

Oh gosh, it has been that long since I last posted something on this blog? Tut Tut Tut. It's a good thing that Gracie has been keeping up with all the baking and blogging.

Did everyone have a wonderful Halloween? Here is the Pumpkin that my Rascal chose and the scary face was carved by my brother in law. Hee Hee Hee! The heat from the candle inside has made the top shrink.
My friend, Delene, had her baby shower last Saturday and I promised her that I'll bring some cupcakes. So I ordered some cute baby boy decorations and pretty cupcake cases. I phoned Gracie asking for tips on what sponge and icing to use for the cupcakes. In the end I used a Chinese Chocolate sponge and the topping consisted of melted vanilla white chocolate and milk chocolate instead of the usual butter cream and icing.
I tried to make some Totoro puffs (I saw some on a Japanese Website), but they turned out looking more like weired teddies/bunnies. Hee Hee Hee.... I definitely need to work on my piping.....well at least they tasted great.

21 September 2009

Birthdays Galore !

September... the month of birthdays - a LOT of them... or maybe just too long since I last posted... hmmm...

So what of the flurry of cakes... well... there were some indulgent fun cakes - snickerdoodles, with a crispy base, caramel mousse and chocolate cream, some fruity flamboyant celebrations of peach and strawberry layered mousse, another of mango and berries topped with a white chocolate bow, though my favourite was the elegant understated azuki and matcha mousse gateau... what's yours?

10 August 2009

Simply Summerlicious !

We are published !

Check out UKHandmade to see the full article for this yummy summery recipe idea...! :)

As you can see, I had more than a little fun setting up the photo shoot !!!

31 July 2009

Wemake Christmas Fair and Sponge Cake

Following from last year's success at the Christmas Wemake Fair we have signed up to this year's Christmas Fair at Chelsea Town Hall. So we have been both busy doing our R&D.

Photos taken from Wemake

For some reason I've been obsessed with making sponge cake (don't ask me why, but I'm not pregnant). So I've been steaming sponge cake and baking sponge cake. I bet I will be frying cake soon.........hee hee hee. I made a cake that was really......spongy, soft, moist.........and yummy today....have a look.

Update: For personnel reasons, we will not be selling any cakes and chocolates this year. We might be able to pop by and buy some goodies though.

16 July 2009

Time for Chai... ?

It has been a while since my last cake blog... so what have I been baking of late...? Well... it was the lovely Mary's birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I had promised to make her a cake since.. well, a very long time. So what cake did I make her? Well, this is one that took some thought... something a little different, a bit grown up... and here it is, a chai latte gateau.

A layering of vanilla sponge, then a chai mousse, a hazelnut sponge layer, and a rich smooth coffee marscapone cream, topped off with another vanilla sponge. It was an exciting trip for the tastebuds to the exotic world of the various chai spices in the mousse. Though I fear the cardamons were a little too strong. Though a very fragrant adventure nonetheless! Happy Birthday babes ! :)

21 June 2009

Fluffy fruity sweetness !

After a while of going awol, finally some new projects! Another festivity, this time for Father's day - He is where I got my sweet tooth from, and is always enthusiastic about any new bakes and treats I bring along for him to try. So I needed something a little different, something a bit special... and what better present than my dad's all time favourite sweets !!

I have always wanted to make marshmallows
, though it always seemed a little bit more tricky and fiddly than I was prepared to commit to. Anyhow... a recent present changed all that, I am now the proud owner of a candy thermometer! So what better way to christen it than with this sweet fluffy treat!

Marshmallows are surprisingly straight forward to make, though they are fiddly... why? because they are sticky... take a bit of patience... and oh, and did I mention, sticky... ? ;) Though, they worked !!! I blended some fresh raspberries and strawberries in for that extra fruity mMMmm... And they turned out a treat... Dad loves them! Yay!

Also tried my hand at another flavour - Tangy lemon !

15 May 2009

More Birthday Cakes

There seem to be a lot of birthdays at the moment and I have to wait till July for Gracie to bake me one.....hint hint hint. It was my husband birthday a while back and since he took a day off I decided to do the same. Instead of going to watch Star Trek (will have to go and watch it later) I decided to bake him a cake. Can you believe that I've known him for more than 10 years and I've never baked him a birthday cake?! Tut tut tut. A few of his friends asked what kind of cake I was planning on baking. Well, lets put it this way....I kind of made it up as I went along. Hee hee hee!

Here is the cake:
A three layer vanilla sponge fill and covered with cream and fruits. I was planning surrounding it with Belgium chocolate swirls all the way round, but guess who ran out....yep I ran out and so did the local supermarket. So I had to improvise with the chocolate square disk. I think it did the job.

Before I forget we raised £50 for Shelter's Cake Time. I must organise the event again next time.....it was fun.
Now I feel like baking a chocolate cake....

6 May 2009

Gracie's Lacies...

More Celebration cakes - first a wedding anniversary cake... something romantic for spring. I came up with this cake so that it would appeal to both the sweet rich tooth of the Mr, as well as the less indulgently decadent preferences of the Mrs.

The sunny spring weather was also a firm consideration in my conceptualisation. So that I ended up with a lemon-white chocolate mousse gateau, with a romantic pink lacy surround. The idea - a smooth creamy white chocolate mousse, sat upon a crunchy almond shortbread base, then a layer of vanilla sponge, topped with a light refreshing lemon mousse to offset the richness of the chocolate and decorated with meringue blots and raspberry dots. I have to say, I was a little hesitant about the lemon mousse, as I have never made an egg white mousse base before, raw eggs just worry me... though it was really yummy, light air bubbles, and just enough tang from the lemon to cut through the sweetness. Even as a dessert in it's own right, I will definitely make that again! (make sure eggs are the freshest you can get!)
Passionate birthday cake: There was a bit of a story behind this one... the original concept involved coconut cream, and then pineapple and passionfruit mousse, in multiple alternate layers to create a bit of a dramatic affect when sliced. Though I messed up my pineapple passionfruit mousse. Although it was very tasty, the consistency was too runny. It didnt set... The first attempt at this cake failed miserably, and half of it ended up in the sink when I unmoulded it from it's cake ring. Very disappointing. In the end, I had to revise the brief (as ever, time constraints!), and came up with this one. Small, though nicely formed. Vanilla sponge layered between the passionfruit-pineapple cream (scrapped the mousse idea, as I wonder if gelatine is the answer to setting it?) Topped with the coconut cream and drizzled with passionfruit coulis.

9 April 2009

Macaron Joy!

I did it !

* Tip-toed feet: check
* Smooth poofy dome: check !
* Yummy pretty baked confectionary clouds... check !!!

Even managed the chocolate ones, that were yummy... with a triple chocolate 'n praline centre... ok, maybe a bit excessive, though it's a celebration of chocolate!Too moreish! :)

5 April 2009

Les macarons...

My latest adventure, the intriguing macaron... such a neat little pretty package made of 3 simple ingredients - though has managed to present so many problems and discussions to baking enthusiasts all across the ether...

So how did I fair? Well, it wasn't the success I had hoped for, and will require further attempts. My batter did flow like magma, though was a little worryingly flat when i piped out my little disks. Though after resting them for half an hour to develop the shiny skin, I carely popped them into the oven. After around 8 minutes, I had a flutter of excitement, as I noticed the "feet" slowly emerging. Though this was short lived, as I noticed that the feet were not standing tall and upright, as they began to spread outwards as they were more akin to doing sideway splits. I removed them from the oven and was semi happy with them. They had a nice shiny coat, though I couldn't help but be slightly disappointed in their flat-footedness...

I have since learnt that this could be a combination of the egg-whites not being ages long enough, and/or overmixing... So, will have to try again ! Watch this space!!!

(Yesterday's project - chocolate nest gateaux... Happy Birthday S !)

26 March 2009

Shelter's Cake Time

I've been looking forward to Shelter's Cake Time for a while now as I had organised a small event in the office. I signed early this month and got the fund raiser pack filled with posters, stickers, a collection box and recipe suggestions. How cool is that! We decided that one person will bake two batches of cakes/cupcakes for one day of the week. I started first with a batch of carrot cupcakes and orange cupcakes this Wednesday.

[baking late at night]
[I had to take these photos quickly as there were hungry colleague to feed ...Hee! Hee! That explains why someone appears to have poked their finger in one of them...Hee hee hee!]
The carrot cupcakes were all sold out before lunchtime and the orange cupcakes sold out in the afternoon. The little collection box is half full already. What a result!
Anyway today, my lovely colleague and fellow knitter baked a Coffee and Brazil Nuts cake and a Walnut and Date Loaf. The coffee cakes sold out late morning and there is just a teeny bit of the loaf left.
[Left the camera at home so had to use my mobile]
The money will go to Shelter helping homeless people or people facing loosing their home, especially in the current economic situation. I've asked one of my colleague to count the money and will post this later.

23 March 2009

Jigglety pigglety

This weekend was a pretty busy one for me, lots of bakes and not enough time !

Mother's day is a wonderful celebration of mum's everywhere! It reminds us all how we probably spend too much time taking our mother's for granted - and allows us this reprieve to show our unspoken gratitude on this one day in March. How easily we are let off for the other 364 days of our careless offspring behaviours... ;)

Mum was treated to the beautiful displays at the orchid show in Victoria this weekend. It was a lot of fun with us girls, me mum and Maria... cheekily pointing out some of the less obviously attractive breeds of orchids in a very childish fashion - think mum enjoyed the day!

Bakes - mum got one of my Swiss apple pies. I have no idea if it is at all swiss, though it got it's name, as it is my version of an apple pie my dad used to get at the old Swiss Centre in Leicester Square. Baring in mind I was pretty young- I don't even remember if I was even 10 when they used to have them - it was always going to be a bit hit 'n miss to see if I could recreate this old gem. It has taken a couple of refinements, though it's not a bad interpretation, considering it is based entirely on a childhood memory. Chunky apple, topped with an almond meringue crust and toasted flaked almonds and lovingly presented on a suitably retro plate.

Alex's mum got something a little different - a little more ornate. I didn't have time to think up a new cake combo, so it was a mixed berries and white chocolate mousse cake for her. Topped with juicy berries... Not a big leap from previous offerings, but it's still kind of pretty, though those darned strawberries - just won't stand up straight and created a slightly wonky border... :)

15 March 2009

What's baking...?

It has been a while,though still been busy baking... 

A few new experimentations, many first times, molton chocolate soufflé, pear and almond frangipane. mochi and even tried my hand at sugarpaste roses. :) These made very cute decorations for my citrus cupcakes, not really a fan of sweet sweet icing, though I figured the lemony citrus would cut through the sugar, I think it works... 

Mochi was a different no-bake experiment, I have made them before with varying degrees of success, as the sticky sticky glutinous rice flour is just too fiddly and sticky to handle, though I was hankering for the delicate soft
 texture, so soft and satisfying when you bite into freshy made mochi. Yummy! My fillings: the usual red aduki bean filling, and also made the chinese variety - fresh toasted peanuts, sesame and coconut.
 The contrast of the fragrant crunchy crushed nuts and sesame against the squidgy soft mochiness... mMMmmm... 

18 February 2009

80s Healthy Cakes

It's currently half term and I took Monday off to spend some time with my daughter and her friends. On Sunday, we watched Dancing on Ice on television and it was the 80s themes to celebrate the 25th anniversary that Torvill and Dean won the 1984 Winter Olympic with Bolero. Now these kids haven't got a clue what the 80s were about. So I got all excited telling them about Fame, Leg warmers, rara skirts, power ballads, Steve Davis wining the Snooker Championship, Bolero, big perms, the A Team, Care Bears, Tiffany, Aha and men folding their jacket sleeves. I think they found it very amusing. Anyway, I showed them some of the old books from the 80s (my Dad use to work for a book wholesale company and had 40% off the price), when we came across an old cookery book.

This is what we made, a strawberry cream cake, decorated by myself and the kids. I tried to make a healthier version so I reduced the sugar and bought some low fat cream. We only included a tinny weeny amount of butter and milk. I thought it tasted fine, but Mum was not impressed with the low fat cream......I think I may stick with the normal double cream. Do anyone have any suggestions? Low fat cream cheese?

22 January 2009

New Year... New Cakes... !

This is my 步步"糕"昇 New Year's Cake... this is a typical chinese greeting at New Years. [Actually, you could use it anytime really when you would wish someone well...] literally translating to "every step high rising". ie. Making ever increasing steps towards success and steady progression.

Cake-dork that I am, I had a bit of a play on the characters to come up with the design (=rise), phonetically sounds like 星(=star) hence the rising star design on the chocolate surround... "糕", the word for cake, sounds phonetically like "高" (=high), which is why there are all sorts of puddings/cake-age type dishes served up at new year, to indicate abundance, superiority, things increasing, going up, overflowing I guess... And so, it was... a decadent affair of berries n baileys, nutty praline... homemade chocolate cups, dark and light, dotted with piped ganache swirls and finished with chocolate curls (though I forgot to get a shot of the cake complete with the shavings)...

This one was for dad's birthday... more of the same, though with a toasted hazelnut cream... and properly glazed strawberries so he wouldn't scrunch his nose up at out of season not so sweet strawberries. I did experiment with a nutty meringue, to add an crunch to the filling, though the duvet of cream just rendered it redundant with it's soft embrace, I suppose the only way around that would be to assemble and serve immediately... though then how to get the charlotte fingers to keep a hold onto the cake without time to set to shape... hmmm...?