Sunday, 25 August 2013

Dough Days : Bread and Chelsea Buns

I'm a weird woman at times. When I'm making something new, I will either cook it to death until I think I've perfected it or give it a wide berth and purge all photographic evidence.

A few weeks ago I made my first ever loaf of bread (yup, one item ticked off the ol' bucket list). My grandma randomly mentioned wanting to make bread and whilst I thought it would be fun I wasn't going to savour a crumb.

I'm not sure why but for my whole childhood I thought I hated homemade bread, I can't think of a moment that it started but I always remember avoiding it like sprouts!

I found a recipe on the back of my Allinson Easy Bake yeast and made up some loaves.

For a first attempt, I was overjoyed that my offerings even resembled bread.

On reflection, as tasty as they were, they were quite stubby looking loaves (i didn't use a loaf tin).

A week later, a flour coated me rescued these from the oven.

I'll be honest, smug wasn't the word. My bread looked like the artisan loaves you get in farmers markets. I'd have happily paid £3 quid for them.

This weekend I made loaves of bread, rolls and I worked on my Chelsea buns. Past attempts had left me disappointed (tasty but not half as pretty as all the offerings I had viewed online). I really wanted to present a pretty trayfull to my pregnant sister, so this time round, I took to Google for tips.

I came across Linday's blog Baking, Making and Crafting where she recalled that the recipe omitted caster sugar that Paul had used on The Great British Bake Off. 

With that in mind, I made a batch up (with sugar added) and made sure I left the buns have a good 30 minutes second proving before baking. The only other changes i made to the recipe was add a handful of mixed peel and omitting the zest from the icing.The results are below (straight from the oven, with apricot glaze and finally with icing)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Vanilla Rainbow Cake

I can't believe it's been so long since i posted (must do better!)

My sister requested a 21st birthday cake for her friend and i took to google for ideas.

I've always loved the simple beauty of a rainbow cake, they are perfect unisex cake and because the suprise is inside, you can keep the outside fairly simple.

I must profess, i am a messy cook, i had multi coloured finger prints everywhere but it actually found it really relaxing to make, despite only have 2 sandwich tins.

The sponge and buttercream are both vanilla and it turned out mighty tall but tasty.

Friday, 9 March 2012

30th Smarties and Curly Wurly Birthday Cake

A colleague at work asked me to make a 30th birthday cake for her friend's birthday. After much umm-ing and arr-ing over whether i was up to the task, i accepted.

She had no demands other than it had to have 30 on it and there be a chocolate element. Such a loose specification scared me and i took to Google images for some much needed inspiration.

After stumbling over some amazing looking cakes, i landed on the idea of attempting this Smarties cake from Ferris Cakes. But taking the idea of using curly wurlys on this cake i had long ago found on Nom!

After posting for help on Cake Central, the creator of the cake actually replied and was especially helpful.

So, 12 tubes of smarties, hours of baking and a rather messy kitchen later, this was the result...

I was semi happy with the results.

In an ideal world (or with better planning from me lol) i should have done the numbers in the same colour, ideally blue like Melanie's and baked my cakes the day before, so i had the day dedicated to decorating, rather than turning into a stressed mad dictator in the evening before delivery, barking orders at my poor sister as she helped lay smarties.

My colleague was very happy with the cake and days later, her and her flatmate were tucking into the remains.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Raspberry and Almond Madeira Cake

Mother dearest always bemoans the fact she feels i bake for everyone but her, so i knew the next cake i made was already earmarked.

I had already planned a day of comfort food (a rather mighty shepherds pie with veggies), in celebration of my grandma's return home after a 5 week stint in hospital but i wanted a cake that would be special but also sit comfortable in a pool of custard for dessert.

When i am in the mood to bake, a ingredient will present itself and then i will find a recipe containing it. Over Valentine week, all the red fruits were bountiful and i decided my ingredient of choice would be raspberries.

After consulting my vast collection of cookbooks, i returned to the petite but ever reliable Good Food: Cakes and Bakes for it's Raspberry and Almond Madeira cake.

I adore almonds, flaked, blanched or ground, it's one of my favourite ingredients to use in cakes.
The cake was easy to make, a usual creamed mixture with the addition raspberries, orange zest and crushed almond flakes.

And 1hr later, this is what you get.....

The cake was moist and the tart raspberries just lifted it to another level.

So, what do you think?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hello Pretty - My Hello Kitty cake

Last year I embarked on a cake decoration course after boring my colleagues to death about how much I’ve always wanted to do it.

12 weeks later, I found that most of what I learnt from the course, I could have watching the plethora of amazing cake decorating tutorials available on YouTube, from the comfort of my own home.

My dear colleague Okwuchi was keen for me to make her daughter's birthday cake (and 36 cupcakes for her school friends) and after turning her down many times (who wants to be remembered for making a shitty birthday cake, let alone the stress of this being my first 'professional' cake).

No brief was given (which again triggered the panic sweats) but her only request was to make sure it was 'pretty'.

Her daughter, like many her age, has a love of all things Hello Kitty, so my decision was made.

Top of Hello Kitty Cake by Cher My Cakes

The cake is an 8 inch Victoria sponge cake, coloured pink (sorry for no pictures of that) with raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream filling. It's covered in pink vanilla buttercream and topped with fondant Hello Kitty faces, sugar pearls and shimmery butterflies.

Hello Kitty Cake

A tutorial to how to create the Hello Kitty faces are available here, as you will see, I modified mine and used Wilton decorative gel for both the whiskers and bows.

So, how did i do?

And so it begins....

I have created this blog to document my develoment as a amateur baker and cake decorator.

My love of baking has been with me since i was a child and i have amassed many cookbooks to the horror of those i live with.