Saturday, September 27, 2014

Colourful 60th birthday cake

I was pleased to assist S with another order, this time for a special cake for her mother's birthday. She had no specific idea of what she wanted, but we agreed upon bright coloured sponge, classic vanilla flavour, and co-ordinating pastel decorations on the outside of a white vanilla buttercream cake.
I'm sorry to say that the photos came out rather yellow-tinged, not sure why.  I gently swirled the icing design, and chose flowers and a plaque for the design.
I had fun mixing up the sugarpaste to similar but (hopefully) paler versions of the sponge interior layers.  I'm still hoping to get a customer photo of the interior, once the cake was cut.  If that photo comes, I'll be sure to update you.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quick no-bake Oreo cheesecake

We hadn't baked anything in class for a week or so, so to treat the 3rd years (freshman or Year 9's, depending upon in which country you live) my teacher, Miss K, decided we'd make Oreo Cheesecake. Well, technically she had planned for them to make Mandarin Cheesecake, but I couldn't help but notice that one of the other teachers was making Oreo Cheesecake with her class...  So I pleaded, and we ordered Oreos for the students (plus enough for us two to make a cake each too ;) ).

It was surprisingly easy, and after crushing the biscuits and adding melted butter for the base, we whipped up cream cheese with double cream for the filling.  Because Team Becca and I love Oreos so much, I crushed biscuits to put in the filling as well.  The Team knew I would be making this cake in class, and had requested I decorate it as a smiley face for them.  Miss K's more adult design is on the right there.
 We managed to hold off digging in until after the children's dinner, then got a sharp knife and cut decent wedges for us each.  And I have to say, it didn't disappoint.  Rich, creamy, chocolately and crunchy - taste sensation heaven!  As you can see, the Smarties faded in colour over the few hours between making and eating, and the whole cake didn't last too well over the next day or so.
This is definitely best eaten on day of preparation.  Enjoy!!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A giant cupcake way to say thank you

A regular customer of ours, let's call her S, loves loves loves our giant cupcakes.  She's ordered a classic one or two, a sticky toffee pudding one and now a thank you one.  This was for her child's nursery (kindergarten) teachers because he was leaving to go to a different nursery.  I had free reign, and was keen to try out a technique I had seen on Pinterest. It was a novel way to make a shaped top on the cupcake, using a fondant 'snake'.

You crumb-coat the cupcake as you normally would, then roll out a long snake of fondant and wrap it around the top half.  Then you place over your fondant top as you would when covering a cake.  If you click this link, you should hopefully see one of my pins on the topic.  (Have I told you how much I'm loving Pinterest?  It's like having a wall full of post-it notes, but on the computer!  And you can add to it whenver and however much you like! So so fun, and kind of addictive.  Check me out at Pinterest and see what I mean)
Then you roll out enough of another colour of fondant to cover the base, cut it to the size you need (I needed 3" x19" for this particular time) and roll it onto a rolling pin to transport it, then roll it off onto your giant cupcake.  That probably sounds super-confusing, so check the link above to find the photo tutorial.

I have embossed the greeting for two reasons - I really like embossing and I haven't successfully used my alphanumeric cutters/moulds yet.   The whole cake was then sprinkled with a bit of white fairy dust, and we're good to go!
I'm really pleased with the way it turned out, and the feedback from both the customer and the recipients was great!  Hope you do too 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blonde Rocky Road for a meeting

Mr Becca has a pretty stressful, customer-facing job and when it comes time for staff meetings - they have decided to have them after-hours, to not impact customer service.  Which is exceedingly kind of them, don't you think? :) 

I knew that this one would run late, as I overheard him talking to a colleague (and I wasn't sure if he was joking or not, so took it at face value) saying he had added a point 20 to the agenda. Eek!

So I offered to make him a sweet treat to take along, to gee everyone up when their spirits were flagging.  Because a hit of sugar always perks you up - it's a scientific fact!

I gave him my recipe binder and said, choose what you want (because frankly, he had no idea and neither did I).  So he chose this one from the archives, Blonde Rocky Road by Gizzi Erskine. Although having Googled it just now to add in the link for you, I notice she spells it without the e at the end, hmm.  
Either way, here are the add-ins, plus the crushed all-butter Scottish shortbread that is underneath these goodies.  The recipe calls for macadamia nuts, which I used when I first made this recipe a few years back, but we had eaten all of ours, so I chopped up some blanched almonds instead.  
It took hours and hours to set, and even then wasn't fully hard.  But I was able to cut it straight from the fridge, then made sure to keep it in the fridge for as long as possible.
As you can see, it's super-rich and decadent, and had a slight coffee taste even with me just using half a teaspoon of powder.  After all, it was a late night meeting and I didn't want them being too wired! Plus I knew our kids and friends would want to taste-test it too. 
You can see here the fudge I used, and some of the remaining mini marshmallows.
And one last gratuitous shot of that divine rich treat...  all gone now I'm afraid.  But you'll be pleased to know that it got rave reviews.