Sunday, 26 September 2010

Wicked cool cakes

I'm starting to really get into cake decorating. Now if only I could actually use my icing bag I would on my way to creating some coolness. Here are some of my favourite internet finds,they will blow your mind!


Mario wedding cake. cuuuute!

 Robot cupcakes
 Yes, this is cake! holy smokes! its crazy. Everything is edible and made from fondant icing.

 These are some of my favourite Halloween cakes. Last year I made a brownie graveyard cake with green coconut icing and tiny gravestones made from funsize chocolate bars, this year I'm leaning towards the ghost cake....






I'm also going to make a pumpkin pie this year ( because my awesome American friend tells me they are out of this world good) and I've never tried it before. Does anyone have a good recipe?

These are two are super cool wedding cakes I found. I would love something like this for our Wedding cake, but probably too pretty to eat....
After looking at all these awesome cakes doesn't it make you want to go and decorate something? I've decided I'm going to look into night classes . Then I can crank out a rad xmas cake for Mum this year. She always does these amazing things with almond and marzipan icing. Time to repay the favour I think! watch this space.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Double chocolate brownies with cream cheese

Last weekend we had our awesome friends from Auckland come to stay and while the boys were out we decided to bake some brownies. The recipe is from my Allyson Gofton 'Bake' cookbook, I got it for a present but you can buy it from The Warehouse at the moment and its awesome! I love all the beautiful pictures and baking tips and tricks.



















I've tried a few of the recipes but you usually need to buy special ingredients, her recipes are pretty fancy and not the kind of things you just have lying around in your pantry.

Luckily I had some chocolate buttons so I decided to give her "family brownie" a whirl. Now I get kinda nervous when I bake something for the first time for fear it will be a total fail....but duuuude! It was a bit of a sensation! We polished the whole batch off in less than 24 hours between the 4 of us. I recreated them yesterday with less chocolate and they were just as fab!


Family Brownies:

2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
150 g butter
1 tsp vanilla
200 g melted chocolate- any dark chocolate will do!
4 Tblsp cocoa
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 160 degrees. 
Melt chocolate slowly, set aside to cool.
Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and vanilla, then the cooled chocolate.
Fold in the dry ingredients and then milk in batches.
Stir in some extra chocolate and some cream cheese (optional) I really like adding cream cheese to brownies as you get a baked cheesecake flavour in your brownie going on! but the recipe doesn't require it, so if you don't have it just don't add it.
Bake in a paper lined brownie tin for 30-40 mins or until a skewer is inserted and comes out clean.
Cool in the tin and then slice and devour :)

Friday, 17 September 2010

I will call you 'The very delicious chocolate cake'

Last year I discovered this wonderful website "ladiesaplate.co.nz" which is a New Zealand website based on the book of the same name. Its brimming with baking classic like home-made lamingtons and coconut ice! My favourite recipe so far is for this chocolate cake, its moist and chocolatey (without actual chocolate) and turns out perfectly EVERY TIME!

 Mmm cake-a-rific!:
 


 Ingredients
For the cake
  • 115 g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar *
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
* Soft brown sugar makes a more tender cake. For a more intensely chocolate version increase the cocoa to 4 heaped tbsp, add 1 tbsp of golden syrup and replace 3 tbsp of the milk with rum.
For the chocolate butter icing
  • 115 g butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ¼ tsp peppermint essence

Getting ready

Soften the butter and take the egg out of the fridge. Grease a 7 in/18 cm square tin with butter, and line the base with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.

Mixing and baking

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and beat in the egg.
  2. Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.
  3. Fold in the dry ingredients in about three lots, alternating with the soda and milk. It will be quite a soft batter. Cook for about an hour.
  4. The cake will shrink slightly away from the sides of the tin and when you press the centre gently with your finger, it will spring back.
  5. Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack. If the cake has a slightly peaked top, level it with a long serrated knife when it is cool and turn it over before you ice it.

Finishing

  1. Soften the butter, and cream it with the sifted icing sugar and cocoa, then add enough milk to make a soft, spreadable consistency. Add the peppermint essence if you wish.
  2. Cut the cake into two layers with a long serrated knife. Spread the lower layer with a thin layer of the peppermint icing. If you prefer plain chocolate icing, you could add a layer of raspberry or other red jam.
  3. Replace the top layer, spread with the remaining icing and leave plain or decorate as you wish.

Yesterday I had a free afternoon so whipped one up and it was as fantastic as the first time I made it, yum,yum,yum. I iced it with Betty Crocker pre-made vanilla frosting for something different but the recipe suggests peppermint chocolate icing- also delicious!


So if your looking for something to bake that's easy and amazing, have a go at this cake!


On an unrelated note I've started our wedding planning and phew! its hard work I tell ya, I can't decide on anything! I have however decided I love daisys and the 1950's feel because I just love those things anyway. Here are some of my favourite inspirations.


 I love this couple because they remind me of us:) Especially the tall guy with the shaggy hair and chuck taylors ah my James...

I like the idea of having balloons for photos, cute!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Joy of Baking!

For our engagement party I baked some cupcakes ( how could I not!). Lots of people commented on how lovely and moist the cake was like a mini mediera cake instead of your regular vanilla sponge cake. So I thought I'd share the recipe, its from 'Joyofbaking.com' which is a FANTASTIC baking website. I've made several of their recipes and they have all been wonderful! I can't remember how I actually found it.... possibly facebook though, because they have a great fan page where people comment and add changes they've made to the recipes. Just search for 'joyofbaking' on your facebook.

Here is their vanilla cupcake recipe I used:

Vanilla Cupcakes:


















1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin)

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (60 ml) milk

Buttercream Frosting:

( I made this but added half a block of chocolate!!)

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk or light cream

Assorted food colors (if desired)

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing. If you want flat topped cupcakes then slice off the dome of each cupcake, with a sharp knife, before frosting. If you want to pipe the frosting, use a large Wilton 1M star decorating tip or something similar.

For the Frosting: In an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth and well blended. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the milk and beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add a little more milk or sugar, if needed. Tint the frosting with desired food colour.

Makes about 12 cupcakes

Monday, 6 September 2010

Churros!

Tonight we got Hells Pizza because we forgot to defrost some meat for dinner! I ordered online and saw they had an ad for their new 'Spanish churros'. Now I'm a HUGE! fan of these delish lil donuts dipped in a thick chocolaty sauce so naturally I hit the order button.




My verdict? DIVINE! So good, in fact you should get in the car go and buy some riiight now, off you go. You won't regret it! and for 4 dollars they are a total bargain!

After a long hunt online I think i've found a pretty tasty and highly recommended recipe for them which I endeavour to try this week.




Ingredients:
Vegetable Oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Prepare to fry the churros by heating oil in a pan (1 to 1&1/2 inches) to 175 degrees.

To make churro dough, heat water, margarine and salt to rolling boil in 3-quart saucepan; stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute; remove from heat. Beat eggs all at once; continue beating until smooth and then add to saucepan while stirring mixture.

Spoon mixture into cake decorators' tube with large star tip (like the kind use to decorate cakes). Squeeze 4-inch strips of dough into hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. (Mix Sugar and the optional cinnamon); roll churros in sugar or sprinkle the sugar on the pile of churros.

Note: REAL churros in Spain are made without cinnamon mixed with the sugar, but the cinnamon adds an extra nice flavor.

Chocolate dip for Churro Dunking:

4oz dark chocolate, chopped
2 cups milk
1 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp sugar

Place the chocolate and half the milk in a pan and heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk and whisk into the chocolate with the sugar. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is thickened, about five minutes. Add extra cornstarch if it doesn't start to thicken after 5 minutes. Remove and whisk smooth. Pour and server in cups or bowls for dunking churros. Do not pour over churros, but use the mix for dunking churros after every bite. Served warm.

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