Saturday, April 3, 2010

What Frosting You Can Use In Your Cake Decorating

Those of us who are into cake decorating, think of the beautiful icing designs when we think of cake. Icing is the finishing touch on cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. There are several different types of icing used in cake decorating. The choice of icing while cake decorating, will have a great deal to do with how the decorated cake will look.
1. Buttercream Icing: Buttercream is the icing that is used the most in cake decorating. This is the same type of frosting that we can buy readymade in the grocery store. This icing is easy to use and very easy to make. The ingredients are confectioners sugar, and butter or shortening. What you use to thin the frosting will differ with the icing texture you need to work with, to determine whether to use eggs or milk. Becareful, when thinning the frosting, remember, a little milk goes a long way. If you find the frosting is too thin, you can add a bit of confectioners sugar to thicken it.
2. Foam Icing: This is a meringue and is used on lemon pie or Baked Alaska. This frosting is made of egg whites beaten into stiff peaks. It is possible to add flavoring and color to the meringue. You will not be able to use this icing for intricate cake decorating, and you won’t be able to use an icing bag with this icing. This icing is used when you want the cake to look fluffy, with little ornate decoration.
3. Fondant: This icing is very popular with those who decorate wedding cakes, and cakes for very special occasions. The ingredients are simply powdered sugar, water, cream of tartar, or glucose. Fondant is thick and doughy, with a silky, smooth, texture. Fondant will give the cake a flawless surface, and soft, rounded edges. Working with fondant is an art and will take practice to get it right. Fondant has a translucent quality, and will work best when placed on the cake over a thin layer of buttercream frosting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Almond Cakes

Almond Cakes
Yields approximately 8 cakes
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut milk
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons glutinous rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground almonds
non-stick cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350°F

Cream together butter and sugar. Whisk in egg, almond extract, and coconut milk until thoroughly combined. Mix in rice flour and baking powder. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray and divide evenly among 8 cups. Sprinkle ground almonds over batter. Bake for 30 min. Remove from muffin tin immediately and let cool to room temperature before serving.

Nutritional Estimate
This is a nutritional estimate, regard it as such.
172 calories
19 g carbohydrate
10 g fat
2 g protein

Sunday, January 31, 2010








Heart-shaped muffin tin


Friday, January 22, 2010

Lemon Angel Food Cake

Lemon Angel Food Cake

400g Caster sugar (or superfine sugar) divided into 300g and 100g portions
165g Plain flour (or cake flour if you can get it)
1½ cups egg whites – I used large eggs and it came out as 10 egg whites
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp cream of tartar
¾ tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 large lemons (1½ tsp)

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Lightly grease and line 2 9” cake pans.

Mix 100g portion of sugar with the flour and sift together at least 4 times. You’re trying to get as much air into the cake as possible as no raising agents are used. So don’t skip on this step!

Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk (with the whisk attachment) on high until the whites for medium-firm peaks. With the mixer on medium, add the 300g portion of sugar, gently sprinkling it over the whites. Whisk for a few minutes until thick and glossy. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon zest and whisk for about 1 more minute until very thick.

Sift about ¼ of the flour mix over the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula. Continue adding the flour in the same way until it has all been added and incorporated.

Divide between the two prepared tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 35-40 mins until the tops are golden brown and when pressed, springs back. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tins, then run a knife carefully around the edge and invert onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Be very careful to try and avoid drafts in the kitchen when you’re removing the cakes from the oven and leaving them to cool as they might sink.

Cream Cheese Icing

225g unsalted butter at room temperature.
375g full fat cream cheese
600g Icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice half lemon
Zest of 2 lemons

Beat the butter, then add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, a good few minutes. Then add the lemon zest and juice. I did this gradually to ensure that I got as much lemon flavour as I wanted without it being too overpowering, but add slowly and keep tasting until you get the flavour you like.

I’m not sure what recipe my friend used, but here’s my go-to lemon curd recipe.

To ice the cake: Take a large, sharp knife and carefully cut the two cakes in half horizontally. Take some squares of parchment paper and place on the cake plate, then place the first layer on top. These parchment squares will be gently removed once you’ve iced the cake and a lovely clean cake board will be left! So make sure they’re just underneath the cake.

Spread a thin layer of lemon curd on the first layer, then a slightly thicker (but don’t be too heavy handed) layer of icing on top. Pop the next layer of cake, followed by curd, then icing. When you get to the last layer, only cover with icing and, if you like (or in my case if the cake needs it) ice the sides as well. This recipe should give you masses of icing. Gently pull away the parchment squares and voila! You’re done.

I think we could have done with popping the cake in the fridge to set, but we had to dash off and transport the cake to Peterborough. There was some sliding of layers issues which you can probably spot on the slice of cake picture! 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Banana Muffin

For the muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, mashed
4 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten

For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
3. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
4. In another bowl, beat together bananas, applesauce, sugar, egg and melted butter.
5. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Using and ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin cups and fill 3/4 full.
6. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle heaping teaspoonfuls of the topping over muffins.
7. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Almond Pound Cake Recipe

3 cups
1/2 pound
1/2 cup
1/4 tsp
3 cups
3/4 cup
1/4 cup
2 tsp
Granulated sugar
Evaporated milk
Almond extract

Oven Temp ~ 320°        Baking Time ~ 1 Hour & 30  Min.
Pan Type ~ 12-cup Bundt pan
Lightly grease you pan.  Do Not Preheat Oven!
Cream sugar, butter and shortening. Add eggs and salt. Cream well.
Add remaining ingredients.
Pour into a prepared pan.
Put into cold oven.
Set temperature and bake.
Cool 15 minutes and remove from pan

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Recipe for Traditional English Banbury Cakes

  • 8oz flaky pastry
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 2 oz currants
  • 2 oz raisins
  • 1 oz candied peel
  • 1 oz bread or cake crumbs
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1 beaten egg
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar thoroughly either by hand or in a mixer
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the beaten egg, to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well
  3. Roll out the pastry quite thinly
  4. Cut the pastry into eight evenly sized oval shapes
  5. Divide the fruit mixture between the oval shapes, spreading it across the middle of each piece of pastry
  6. Wrap the pastry around the filling and seal the edges together with a bit of milk
  7. Brush each cake with the beaten egg
  8. Cook in the oven on gas mark 7, 218 C, 475 F for about 15 minutes then sprinkle some sugar over the top once they are out of the oven
  9. Serve cold with a nice cup of proper English tea.

Read more at Suite101: How to Make Traditional Banbury Cakes: Recipe for the Pastry and Dried Fruit Cake of the Town of Banbury

Tips for Baking Your Own Wedding Cake

Some brides like the idea of making their own wedding cake; others are happy to leave the task to a friend whose expertise comes cheaper than the local cake decorating store. Whoever ends up with the task is in for a considerable amount of stress. These tips can help a home baker produce a professional-looking wedding cake.

Finding a Wedding Cake Recipe

Not every recipe works equally well when doubled or tripled. Choose a tried-and-true recipe that produces a solid cake that does not sink in the middle. When working with large quantities of ingredients, the costs add up: so it pays to be extra careful. Have a friend double- and triple-check the calculations for increasing the recipe's quantity.

Hiring Cake Tins for a Wedding Cake

Most bakers do not own cake tins in a large variety of graduated sizes and different shapes. The usual practice is to hire cake tins from a cake decorating store. Tins come in half-inch graduated sizes and in basic shapes such as square, round and heart-shaped; novelty tins are also available.
The baker should ideally hire the tins with the bride present, in order to get a good picture of the size and shape of the finished cake. The number of guests to be fed should be kept in mind, especially if the cake is to form part of the dessert at the reception rather than just a favor. For a stacked cake, the general effect can be seen by stacking the tins upside-down on top of each other. If the cake is to be tiered with pillars, the final cake will be taller and appear narrower than the same tin sizes in a stacked cake.

Mixing a Wedding Cake

With huge quantities of batter, sturdy utensils and a very large mixing bowl are a must. A stockpot or even a brand-new bucket can be used for mixing the batter.

Lining the Cake Tins

The wedding cake is meant to provide a smooth, even surface for the icing. Usually the top of a cake is trimmed off and the cake turned upside down to provide a more perfect surface. Wrinkles in the baking paper make wrinkles in the cake's bottom, which have to be plugged or filled in later. Keep the baking paper as smooth as possible, and use separate pieces to line the bottom and sides of the cake tins. To fit the bottom of the tin exactly, place a piece of baking paper slightly larger than the tin into the bottom and use a knife to score around the tin's bottom edge.
Fruit cakes should be dropped from a few inches' height several times after the tins have been filled, in order to bump out any air bubbles. As larger quantities of batter take longer to cook, it may be wise to cover the top of the cake with tinfoil partway through baking to prevent burning.

Filling the Cake Tins with Batter

It can be tricky to figure out how many quantities of a recipe are necessary for a hired cake tin. An easy way to do it is to find the cake pan usually used with that recipe and fill it with water, up to the level it would be filled with batter. Then pour that water into the hired tin. Repeat until the tin is proportionately full (not to the very brim, but allowing for batter to rise). If it took four tin's worth of batter to fill the large tin, quadruple the recipe for the wedding cake.
If it looks like the tin will hold an awkward quantity of batter – say, 3 2/3 times the original recipe – round up. It is always better to have too much than too little – high cakes can easily be trimmed down to a uniform depth. For a tiered cake, the tiers are usually supposed to be even in depth, so you will end up trimming every cake to the depth of the shortest cake. Because of this, it's worth the effort to make each cake as tall as possible. Cook extra batter in muffin tins for a treat.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Homemade Candy Canes

Homemade Candy Canes

Sugar'Tis the season for house parties, cookie exchanges, ornament exchanges, and family-get-togethers. With all things going thrifty, including gift giving, sometimes it's hard to balance the purse strings with holiday cheer. But being on a budget doesn't mean crafting macaroni cards covered in glitter--all you need is a few cups of sugar and a heaping spoonful of patience to bring delicious, holiday gifts without looking like Scrooge.
If you have time to impress, I suggest harnessing your candy-making skills and twisting up some homemade candy canes. Yes Virginia, it can be done (and no, you do not have to be Martha Stewart)! It is time-consuming, and moderate candy-making skill is involved. If you're a newbie at hard candy-making, that's okay...just be prepared to end up with peppermint goop a few times. The "goop" actually tastes fantastic, and even after two failed batches, your failures are worth sharing with a friend...or being selfish and spooning it out of the pot, by yourself, in your kitchen (yes, I'm admitting to that).
3 c. sugar
1 tsp. peppermint flavoring
1/2 c. water
3/4 c. light corn syrup
3/4 tsp. red coloring
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
candy thermometer
Combine sugar, water, light corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a medium saucepan until the mixture has dissolved into a fine syrup. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into another saucepan and heat each lot until both reach a temperature of 280°F. Once 280°F is reached, add in 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint flavoring in each pot, and into one pot add the red coloring.
Pour the content of each pot onto a lightly oiled hard surface to cool slightly. Do not wait until the mixture is completely cool or else you will end up with a hard lump of deliciousness stuck to your counter. This does cool quickly, so once the candy is cool enough to touch, go for it! If the candy is super sticky and isn't forming a soft but tough exterior, then you didn't cook the sugar long enough and the candy will never harden (check out the peppermint goop above...if your candy is looking even sort of like this, it's time for a do-over). If you want to turn the clear mixture white, quickly knead the sugar dough as you would bread dough. Kneading the mixture will cause it to cool quickly, so you may want to buck up and start kneading right when you pour it on the counter. If you're finding working with this amount of candy is daunting, you can work with smaller amounts of candy at a time. Put any remaining candy in a metal bowl and place it over a pot of warm water. If the candy starts to melt remove it immediately!
Take the two colors and place them side by side and firmly, but quickly start pulling into ropes until the desired thickness is reached. You may want to keep a mug of hot water nearby, if the candy seems to be harden in your hand, simply hold the mug for a few seconds to raise your hand temperature, helping keep the candy pliable. Once you are satisfied with the thickness of the ropes, using scissors (this will make for a cleaner cut) snip the rope into pieces and twist each piece. Work fast or else the candy will become brittle and break. This isn't exactly horrible, the scrap peppermint piecesaren't beautiful but they're still tasty!
Gently bent each end to make the crook of the candy cane and leave each piece of candy on an oiled surface to completely harden. I personally wasn't too impressed with my "crooking" - so I left most of my candy has just canes.

Don't have time to spend twist and twirling the candy ropes? No problem! Whip up a batch of candy but instead pouring it on a hard surface before pulling, twisting, turning it, pour the sugar into a shallow, oiled, baking pan. Spoon on the red-colored candy and swirl it to make ribbons of red. Let this sheet of candy cool, then break into pieces. You can sprinkle these peppermint pieces as decoration on any store bought goodies - frosted cookies, brownies, or cakes! You can even add the pieces to a steaming cup of coffee or hot cocoa (before it's been sweetened, unless you like your sugar with a side of sugar).

Have a happy, safe, and delicious holiday!

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