Return

I’ve been away for a long time, but the time of my return is imminent…. and I will be taking things in a new direction….

I’m still keeping my hand in with the cakes, though.  I’m working on something quite special right now, as a matter of fact.  I shall unveil it in three weeks from now.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek…..

1466129_743320992356534_4222790587359644466_nSee you soon, old chums…. 😉

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Fast Lane – Race Track Cake

This cake was for a friend of mine whose little boy recently celebrated his 6th birthday.  I was told that he was gluten intolerant and that he liked chocolate and cars.  So I made this gluten free chocolate cake with cars…..
1174984_10151614834178940_695987288_nIMG_0667 IMG_0666 IMG_0662 IMG_0660 IMG_0668

Wonderland Sleepy Dormouse Cake

Recipe #17

Oh my, oh my, how the time does fly.  There are just four weeks left before the cataclysmic majesty of Cake-pocalypse sweeps down on us all and puts an end to trim tummies and toned bottoms as we know them.  From then on unto doomsday, there shall be nothing but ballooning posteriors and love handles the size of national monuments that will block out the sun and plunge the Earth into a new and perpetual Dark Age…

So, let us make the most of the time we have left.  We’ll try something fun today, shall we?  A bit of character fondant work.  It’ll be just like mucking about with the Plasticine box at nursery school – except by the end of this little activity you will be able to eat the model you make.

Actually I sometimes ate the Plasticine models I made at nursery school.  I used to make models of little people going about their everyday business; and then I would loom up over them and pretend I was a giant monster.  I would scoop them up in my mighty paws and bite their heads off.  Then, after giving them a good chewing, I would spit them out and smash them all into pancakes.  Then I would laugh and laugh and laugh until the teaching assistant called my mum to come and take me away because I was scaring all the other kids.  Happy days….

STAGE 1 – THE FONDANT TEACUP:

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • A glass tumbler, ideally shaped similar to a teacup
  • Clingfilm
  • A pastry brush
  • Rolling pin
  • Fondant modelling tools
  • A metal ruler
  • A cake decorating turntable

Ingredients:

  • White fondant icing
  • Cornflour

You will need to start construction of the teacup about three or four days before you make the cake so that the fondant will have plenty of time to dry out and hold its shape.  Begin with a glass tumbler with a form that approximates the shape of a teacup.  I decided to make two fondant teacups because it’s always a good idea to have a spare just in case something goes wrong with the first one.  Wrap the tumbler in cling film:
IMG_5728Dust the clingfilm tumbler with a liberal quantity of cornflour to form a non-stick coating:
IMG_5736Roll out some white fondant between two layers of clingfilm:
IMG_5737Peel away the top layer of cling film and lift the rolled fondant by the bottom layer.  Place the fondant over the prepared tumbler and mould it with your hands.  Once you have the shape nice and smooth, peel away the clingfilm:
IMG_5744Place the moulded fondant onto a turntable and cut away the excess with a fondant cutting tool, making sure to get as straight an edge as you can.  I know your hands will most likely be trembling with fear because Cake-pocalypse is so close, but try your best:
IMG_5745 IMG_5746Make the handle of the teacup by rolling out a long strip of fondant into a question mark shape.  Here again I have made two so that I have a spare:
IMG_5749 IMG_5750Now place these components away in a cool dry play to harden for a few days.

STAGE 2 – THE CAKE:

The heart of this cake is the chocolate Devil’s foo cake I have detailed in a previous post.  Simply follow Stage 1 and Stage 2 as described in the recipe Devil’s Food Cake – The ‘Gella Edition.  Here’s a picture of one I made earlier:
IMG_5587Before you put the cake in the oven to bake, take one ice cream scoop full of the cake batter and place it into a cupcake case.  Bake it in an oven pre-heated to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.  You will need just one.  This will form the core of the edible teacup:
IMG_5777Also set aside some of the butter ganache for the filling of the edible teacup you made earlier.

STAGE 3 – FILLING THE TEACUP:

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • Clingfilm
  • Fondant modelling tools
  • A crimped edge biscuit cutter

Ingredients:

  • Prepared fondant teacup components
  • Prepared cupcake from Stage 2
  • Prepared butter ganache from stage 2
  • White fondant

Carefully remove the fondant cup from the tumbler mould.  Fill the base with two teaspoons of the reserved chocolate ganache.  Place the cupcake gently into the cup and then cover it with a couple more teaspoons of ganache, leaving just over a centimetre of space from the lip of the cup:
IMG_5778 IMG_5779

IMG_5780Roll out a little white fondant and cut out a round crimped shape a little larger than the base of the teacup.  Moisten the base of the cup slightly to create a sticky surface and then adhere the crimped circle to the underside of the cup.  Shape the crimps with a modelling tool to give it a finished look:
IMG_5785 IMG_5786 IMG_5787Roll out some small, pea sized balls of fondant; as many as you feel you need to cover the rim of the cup plus extra just to be sure.  Moisten the lip of the cup and then arrange the fondant peas around the circumference of the cup before giving them a final shaping with a modelling tool:
IMG_5784IMG_5789Moisten the tips of the cup handle, stick a fondant pea to each end and then stick the handle to the cup.  Leave the cup aside for everything to dry:
IMG_5790 IMG_5792

STAGE 4 – THE SLEEPY DORMOUSE:

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • Clingfilm
  • Fondant modelling tools

Ingredients:

  • Prepared fondant teacup
  • Light brown fondant
  • White fondant
  • Pink fondant
  • Black fondant

Start by rolling a ball of light brown fondant to the size of a small orange:

IMG_5793Slice this in half:
IMG_5794Put one half aside and roll the other half into a ball.  This ball will form the main core of the dormouse’s head:
IMG_5795Pinch the fondant ball between your forefinger and thumb to form indentations on either side of the face:
IMG_5796Take the half ball of fondant you set aside and slice that in half again.  Once more, set one half aside:
IMG_5797Roll the other half into a ball and slice in half:
IMG_5798Roll these two halves into two smaller balls and stick them into the indentations to form the dormouse cheeks:
IMG_5799With a modelling tool press two indentations into the face to form eye sockets:
IMG_5800Roll two small balls of white fondant to form the upper lip of the dormouse:
IMG_5801Shape a tiny triangle of pink fondant for the nose:
IMG_5802Shape a very tiny semi-circle of white fondant and a sliver of pink to make the lower lip and tongue:
IMG_5803 IMG_5804Score an indentation into the middle of the nose and dots into the upper lip to make whisker holes:
IMG_5805Roll two balls of black fondant for the eyes:
IMG_5806Roll out a semi-circle of light brown and slice it in half yo make eyelids:
IMG_5807Place the two halves over the eye to give the dormouse a sleepy look.  Repeat this for the other eye:
IMG_5808Score some lines along the eyelids to give the dormouse and extra bleary look:
IMG_5809 Shape a small semi-circle of light brown for the the chin:
IMG_5810Roll a tiny strip of light brown for the bridge of the nose:
IMG_5811Add lines for fur and character:
IMG_5812Roll two thumb sized circles of fondant to make the ears.  Form them over your thumb to give them a concave shape:
IMG_5813Roll a circle of pink and slice it in half:
IMG_5814Place the half moons of pink inside the ears:
IMG_5815Press indentations into the ears with a modelling tool:
IMG_5816Attach the ears to the head – use a little water to make them extra sticky if they won’t stay in place:
IMG_5817Place the dormouse head into the teacup:
IMG_5818Make some paws with some pink fondant:
IMG_5819Place the paws on the lip of the cup and press some wrinkles into them for texture:
IMG_5820Roll out a tapered length of pink to make a tail:
IMG_5821Place the base of the tail into the cup and curve around the outside:
IMG_5823

STAGE 5 – PUTTING THE DORMOUSE TO BED

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • White card
  • Sharpie pen
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting board
  • Clear plastic sheet
  • Clingfilm
  • Tin foil
  • Rolling pin
  • Playing card suit template (see below)

Playing card suits templateIngredients:

  • Prepared teacup with mouse
  • Prepared cake
  • Red fondant
  • Black fondant
  • Edible gold paint
  • Two Caramac bars (melted)

Print out the playing cart suit template above and use it to cut out a plastic template:
IMG_5826Roll our some red fondant between two sheets of cling film:
IMG_5827Lay the template on top of the rolled fondant.  Cut through the cling film with a craft knife to cut out six each of the red suits. the diamonds and hearts.  You may need to roll out the red fondant a second time if there is not enough room to cut out the hearts:
IMG_5828 IMG_5829Do the same for the black suits, the spades and clubs.  lay the cut out shapes on to a piece of tin foil to dry slightly:
IMG_5830Arrange the suits around the cake in an arrangement you find pleasing – or you could just do it the way I have done it:
IMG_5832Add highlights by brushing the edges of the fondant suits with a little edible gold paint:
IMG_5834By now the dormouse will have got a little chilly.  So I think we need to give him a soothing bath in some nice warm tea.

Take two Caramac bars and melt them in the microwave.  About 30 to 45 seconds should do it:
IMG_5838 IMG_5839Pour the melted Caramac into the teacup:
IMG_5841 IMG_5843Once the Caramac has set, place the dormouse in the cup on top of the cake:
IMG_5846He looks more like a hungover dormouse rather than a sleepy one, don’t you think?  Goodness only knows what that Mad Hatter has been putting in the tea…
65645_10151410887076375_96291612_n

NUTRITIONAL ADVICE
Voldermort first slice 2

Easter Bunny Boiler Cake

Recipe #14

I love Easter, because it is the time when good intentions meet their hour of reckoning.  If there are any New Year Resolutions to eat sensibly and get skinny that have still survived into the spring, this is the point of their ultimate defeat.  This is the hurdle where they tumble and shatter their fetlocks.  The screens go up, the vet whips out his double barrels and it’s nighty-night Dobbin.

At this time of year, chocolate is everywhere.  You can’t avoid it.  It’s oozing from the walls, it’s seeping up out of the floor, it’s in the air you breath, it’s hiding in your underpants drawer.  No matter how far you run, how cunningly you hide, eventually it will find you.

I know what some of you might be thinking:  “I’ll be okay.  I’ve got an army of rug rats and ankle biters.  They will hoover up all the chocolate eggs and candy treats and thus remove temptation from my path.”  Ah, but there is a flaw in you plan, my friend.  You see although it is true that the little ones have an undying love of chocolate, you cannot get around the physical reality of their tiny tummies and their inbuilt puke limit.  There is no possible way that they can eat all those eggs that they pestered you to buy while you were in the supermarket desperately trying to track down a box of Weight Watchers ‘Go Ahead’ Chocolate Thins.

There will be leftovers.  And once your little ones have gorged themselves into a cocoa coma, those cracked remnants scattered across the kitchen counter will start calling to you.  Then your doom will be sealed…

STAGE 1 – THE CAKE:

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • A large bowl
  • A smaller bowl
  • A mixing spatula
  • A mug
  • A measuring jug
  • An electric mixer
  • Two 8 inch sandwich cake tins
  • A cooling rack

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams of self raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 65 grams of cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons of coffee granules
  • 180 millilitres of boiling hot water
  • 280 grams of butter, soft at room temperature
  • 280 grams of dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 75 millilitres of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 16 Cadbury’s Mini Creme Eggs

This recipe is dedicated to my good friend and fellow super villain The Easter Bunny.  I have a long way to go before I become as expert at ruining diets as he is, but slowly I am learning…

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas Mark 4.

Grease the cake tins and line the bases with rounds of baking paper:
IMG_4257First we need to do some prep work.  In a small bowl measure out the flour and salt and set aside:
IMG_5424Into a mug measure out the cocoa and coffee.  Pour the hot water into the mug and then mix until you have a rich chocolate paste.  Set aside to cool:
IMG_5425 IMG_5426Into a measuring jug crack all the eggs and whisk in with the milk.  Set this aside:
IMG_5427In a large bowl whip the butter until it is pale and smooth.  Then whisk in the sugar until you have a smooth and creamy mixture:
IMG_5428 IMG_5429Pour in the egg/milk mixture a little at a time.  Whisk thoroughly after each addition until all of the egg mix is incorporated:
IMG_5430Whisk in the chocolate paste and vanilla:
IMG_5431Fold in the flour and salt until you have a smooth mixture:
IMG_5432 IMG_5433Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared tins:
IMG_5435This next stage was a happy accident.  I had put the cakes into the oven for five minutes when I realised that I had forgotten to add my secret weapon of mass diet-struction; the mini eggs!  I wanted them to be baked into the centre of the cake as a devilish surprise.  Hurriedly I donned my oven gloves and extracted the cake tins.  The cake batter had started to bake around the edges, but luckily the centres remained quite liquid.  So I was able to pop in the little chocolate eggs as per my original plan.

As it turned out, this momentary absentmindedness worked to my advantage.  For you see the bases of the cakes had started to cook.  This created a semi-solid layer for the eggs to rest on and prevented them from sinking all way to the bottom, thus enabling them to stay suspended in the middles of the cakes.  If anyone asks though, you can tell then it was a deliberate and carefully thought out technique – all part of my diabolical genius….
IMG_5436 IMG_5437Bake the cakes for around 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the centres comes out clean.  Leave the cakes in the tins to cool for around 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely:
IMG_5442While the cakes are cooling, we can move on to the next stage….

STAGE 2 – THE ICING:

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • A large bowl
  • A smaller bowl
  • Mixing spatulas
  • An electric mixer
  • A pallet knife
  • A straight edged scraper
  • A 10 inch cake board
  • A cake decorating turntable
  • A piping bag
  • A number 199 piping nozzle with coupler

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams of butter, soft at room temperature
  • 200 grams of dark chocolate
  • 9 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • Approximately two dozen two finger dark chocolate Kit-Kats

Melt the chocolate in the microwave and leave aside to cool slightly:
IMG_5461Whip the butter in a large bowl and add the icing sugar two or three tablespoons at a time until thoroughly incorporated.  Then whisk in the vanilla:
IMG_5462 IMG_5463IMG_5464Pour the melted chocolate into the butter cream and whisk thoroughly until you have a smooth mixture:
IMG_5465 IMG_5466Place a cake board onto your turntable and smear a little of the butter cream onto the board to create a sticky surface upon which the cake can rest securely:
IMG_5467Place one cooled cake layer with the flat side down onto the board and spread about a third of the icing onto it:
IMG_5468Place the second cake layer with the flat side facing up onto the butter cream, pressing it gently into place so that it is centred and has a level surface.  Then scoop out most of the remaining butter cream onto the top of the cake (keep a little back for some frills which we will add shortly).  Use the pallet knife and scraper to spread the butter cream evenly all over the the cake:
IMG_5469 IMG_5470Attach the nozzle to the piping bag and fill the bag with the remaining butter cream.  Pipe a border around the base of the cake.  This will not only look nice, but also it will provide a little support for the Kit-Kats:
IMG_5472IMG_5473Unwrap the Kit-Kats and start to arrange them around the sides of the cake, making sure that they rise at least on inch above the top:
IMG_5476 IMG_5477Place the cake in the fridge for the icing to set and then commence to the next stage – this is where the real fun begins….

STAGE 3 – BUNNY!!!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • Cling film
  • Fondant modelling tools
  • A metal ruler
  • A big knife
  • A thin paint brush
  • Edible gold paint

Ingredients:

  • Renshaw fondant icing in the following colours: White, pink, red, green, yellow

My friend the Easter Bunny works only one day a year, but unlike Father Christmas he doesn’t have an army of elves to help him.  So I thought I would do something nice for him and make him a chocolate jacuzzi in which he can relax.  Hence the name oft his cake….

To make the bunny, proceed as follows:

Lay down a double layer of cling film across the work surface.

Take some white fondant and roll it into a ball about the size of a mandarin.  Then slice it in half:
IMG_5510
Take one half to form the torso.  Roll the other half into a smaller ball and slice that into half as well.  Use one of those halves to form the thorax and then the remaining half to form the head.  Bunny is taking shape:
IMG_5511 IMG_5512IMG_5513Take a quantity of white fondant and shape it into an oblong with rounded edges.  Slice this in half and use a modelling tool to form the cut ends into toes.  Roll out 6 small round of pink fondant.  Flatten them and fix them under the toes.  Form two larger pink rounds and place them each beneath the three toe rounds.  Bunny now has feet:
IMG_5514IMG_5514 IMG_5515IMG_5516 IMG_5529

Shape a strip of white fondant 6 inches long and half an inch wide with rounded edges.  Slice in half and flatten the rounded edges to make them even rounder:
IMG_5517 IMG_5518Shape a quantity of pink fondant to 3 inches long.  Round the edges and slice in half:
IMG_5519Narrow the flat ends and place the pinks into the whites.  Then using fondant tools score a line down each centre, press a ball into the top and pinch to close the lower ends into points.  Bunny now has ears:
IMG_5520 IMG_5521IMG_5522Roll a flat round of pink and place it onto Bunny’s torso.  Form a small half moon of pink and place that onto the thorax.  Bunny now has a tummy:
IMG_5523 IMG_5524Roll two pea sized pieces of white and place them on the head.  Form a tiny triangle of pink and place it in between the two rounds of white.  Shape a tiny square of white and score a line down the centre.  Place this under the two rounds.  Poke three holes into each small round to indicate a place for whiskers.  Bunny now has a nose and a handsome set of chompers:
IMG_5525 IMG_5526IMG_5527Using the same technique that you used to make the feet, only using slightly smaller quantities of white fondant, form another pair of appendages:
IMG_5530 IMG_5531Place them on the sides of the body.  Oh yes and poke a hole in the tummy while you’re at it.  Bunny now has hands and a bellybutton:
IMG_5530 IMG_5531IMG_5532Let’s have a look at Bunny.  You know what would like nice?  A snazzy bow tie:
IMG_5533Roll out a strip of green and square off the edges:
IMG_5536Fold over the edges and pinch the centre.  Roll a tiny strip of green to make the knot in the bow:
IMG_5537 IMG_5538You know what?  This looks a bit big for Bunny.  We don’t want the weight of it pushing him down – he might drown in the jacuzzi.  We must always be mindful of Health and Safety.  So lets cut the bow down to size.  Then we can finish it off with some yellow dots:
IMG_5539IMG_5541There, doesn’t Bunny look smart?
IMG_5542Now let’s make him look sharp with a cool pair of shades.  Roll out two tiny rounds of red.  Press some dents into the centre and place two even tinier rounds of yellow into the hollows:
IMG_5543IMG_0363Add a bridge across Bunny’s nose and some spectacle handles.  And for that extra cool look, paint the lenses with some edible gold:
IMG_0365 IMG_0366IMG_0367Bunny is almost ready to take a dip…..

STAGE 4 – JACUZZI TIME!!!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

Equipment:

  • A saucepan
  • A bowl
  • A mixing spatula

Ingredients:

  • 150 millilitres of double cream
  • 150 grams of dark chocolate
  • White chocolate sprinkles
  • Coloured mini chocolate eggs

Break the chocolate into a bowl and then heat the cream until it just starts to bubble around the edges.  Be careful not to overheat.  Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and leave for a few moments:
IMG_0368 IMG_0370After a short while, stir the mixture until smooth and glossy.  If there are still some bits of chocolate that haven’t melted, just place the bowl over a pan of boiling water on a low heat until the chocolate is smooth and liquid.  Leave it aside for about 15 minutes to cool:
IMG_0371Pour the cooled chocolate onto the top of the cake, taking care not to spill any over the sides:
IMG_0372Now it is time for Bunny to dive in, with some white chocolate bubbles and some leftover over Easter eggs:
IMG_5559 IMG_5558 Oh, but look!  The jacuzzi has sprung a leak!  Never mind; I’m sure Mrs. Bunny won’t mind mopping that up later.  For now, let’s leave Bunny to enjoy the bubbles……
IMG_5560

NUTRITIONAL ADVICE
Chocolate, uh, finds a way.