This week I am volunteering at a family farm near Melbourne, at a small place called Bairnsdale. Me and Mr Cakery are helping out with the 6 horses, 3 dogs and a young, very energetic 3-year-old boy. Needless to say … Continue reading
Mastering Choux Pastry. Well, trying to.
I’ve made Profiteroles before and it went much better than I had anticipated, but that was over a year ago and today I was baking in Sydney, at my friend’s house. I don’t know about you, but being in someone else’s kitchen throws me, every time! I’m not sure what it is, hopefully I’m not the only one? Anyway, I was convinced these weren’t going to work. I think as I have been travelling my baking confidence has wobbled a bit, probably because I have only had the chance to bake a couple of times in the four months we have been away *sigh!*
BUT I am not complaining, this travelling lark was the best decision me and Mr Cakery have ever had, and we have until October to make the most of it before reality strikes and we are home. When I am home I plan to make lots of choux pastry, for a possible Lorna’s Cakery market stall venture, or should I say adventure! We will see, lots of planning to do yet. So, today I practiced making some choux puffs, bigger than profiteroles but smaller than a cupcake. Anyway, I used this recipe and it was simple and easy to work with, you just need to really beat the mixture after you added the egg to making it glossy and smooth. try it, choux is really fun.
In true Aussie fashion, tonight we are enjoying these little guys after a Friday Night BBQ!
With the round the world trip booked, we have started to pack up our home at an albeit very sluggish pace, However, I suddenly realised that a christmas present, that I requested, from my brother was still in its original packaging, my … Continue reading
So after testing out quite a few good recipes for flavoured hot chocolates, (a great task I set myself!) I have whipped up a recipe of my own. Here is how I make gingerbread hot chocolate which is featuring in my hampers this Christmas.
• 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 10 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips
• 1 1/4 cups. powdered milk
• 1 cup. powdered sugar
• 1 1/2 cups. cocoa
• 3 tbsp. ground ginger
• 4 tbsp. ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
• 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
• 1/2 tsp. Salt
Blitz together thoroughly in a mixer, leave some larger chocolate chunks as these are nice to melt in your mug of milk later.
Do a quick sample cup and test you like the sweetness/chocolaty-ness.
Not chocolaty enough?
Add: 1/2 cup of cocoa and 1 tbsp of brown sugar. Mix again
Not Gingerbready enough?
Add: 2 heaped tsp ground ginger and mix again.
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Stir 3 teaspoons into a mug of hot milk and enjoy!
You could also divide up the mix into cellophane gift bags, add some mini marshmallows and tie with ribbon to give away to someone lucky.
This was an order from Maggie, a previous Cakery customer (the Miro cake for her arty husband Mark)
So last week it was an order for her sister’s surprise 60th birthday, the brief: “Fiercely Scottish!”
So, to avoid Loch Ness monsters and Haggis, I chose a much more intriguing aspect, the beautiful Scottish Heather’s, very underestimated in my opinion! They bloom in the most hazardous locations, and battle ferocious weathers – yet remain solid and colourful. I am a massive flower head and have often spent friday night’s in watching gardeners world, Monty Don is a legend! Not that this should surprise you anyway as most of the stuff I write is pretty WI isn’t it?! If I had more time I would look up my local group and join, maybe one day.
The Heather’s are painted tartan, obviously. I really like the look and distortion this gives the design – not too explainatory but very Scottish none-the-less. I also decided to paint around the icing on the board too, and really think it works, gone are the days were I will leave the silver board bare!
My recent cakes have been using these two main colours – the green and plum. I am a very seasonal designer and am constantly inspired by the weather and in turn the atmosphere it creates. You wouldn’t see me painting cakes like this in Summer! Spring and summer and much more yellow.
I was commissioned for this cake by the Keegan’s (check out my post on Keegan cookies for a great recipe they gave me) It was for Pete’s parents, who both turned 50 this year, so it was sort-of a 100th birthday cake.
They are a family of cat lovers and they live in Wales – so daffodils (the national flower) had to be represented strongly. Kim and Pete are fellow artists and we studied at university together a few years ago, I can’t believe how much has changed since then, we are both married now and they have a wonderful little girl Pippa. I digress…
I wanted to use a few different techniques on this cake, to create a varied surface of interest and detail. I started when I covered the cake in icing, by pressing a flower cutter into the surface. This added initial, subtle textures to play against the painted design. This was great, as I later decided to add icing ‘tubes’ to create a few protruding daffodils. I was surprised at how well this worked and would like to design cupcakes completely covered in them or maybe the top-tier of a larger cake… a little rainy day project me thinks!
The cats were a difficult one to include, so I opted for less of a narrative scene and more of an abstract, ‘design-y’ approach. what do you think?
I am really happy with my new camera, it’s so pretty and I feel like I need to give it a ‘shout out’ because compared to my previous images that I took on my phone, they are so much more appealing to look at. Saying that, I apologise if from now on my posts are more photo heavy because it’s harder to choose which ones to put up!
This cake was a Victoria sponge with chocolate buttercream filling – a cake for sweet teeth, yum!
When I met the Keegan family to give them this cake, Pippa met her first horse, below are a few pictures of our afternoon in the August sunshine…
(above) The Keegan’s! (below) me and Pippa
We later retreated to The Blackwood Arms for refreshments and I would definitely recommend it there, it’s beautiful!
I won’t babble too much about these cakes, on Friday I tried out a few more painted cupcake designs before my class on Saturday. I really think I am getting to grips with the painted cupcakes now – the few I did last week I was quite critical about. It’s so different to painting a large cake – they need to be framed more, and surprising they take a lot longer to do! I guess it is 6 different pictures instead of just the 1. But I’m getting there, which is good because I’m holding ‘How To” classes! So anyway, I thought I would share them with you.
The concentration is pretty fierce! An expression familiar to me as I wear it whenever I paint, bake or draw. I just can’t help it. You can see that there was more eating than ‘helping Lorna’, but it was really fun. Oh, the one is Red is my husband and my guinea pig of all things food, sometimes a good thing for him and sometimes not so much…
Yesterday was my first hand-painted cupcake class, held a Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead. It was such a nice class, there was 11 ladies who each brought a dozen cupcakes with them and lots of enthusiasm for cake.
(This picture above is my favourite cupcake from the class, it’s so happy! Also, you can’t see it on here, but it has a glittery sky, I squealed a little with joy when I saw it!)
The class lasted 2 hours, a good amount of time to explain the areas of possibilities with edible paint, as well as enough time for the students to try out their own ideas.
You will see from my pictures that lots of the cakes are experimental with ideas and this is exactly what I wanted. I tried to convey to the class that there really isn’t a possibility for mistakes in this – no one knows what you wanted to achieve in the design so you can change it as you go along, just relax and have fun.
We also played around with some cutters to bring another dynamic to the cupcakes – this class did not need me to hold their hand in this at all, before I could tell them to use the cutters to just make an impression in the top of a cupcake – they had already done it without me looking! I was proud!
It was really exciting to hold this class and I am definitely going to be doing this again soon, I found myself giving ideas and tips that I didn’t even realise I knew. I think it was the life long obsession of cooking and art coming out and I just wanted to share it with this lovely group – so they could go home and try these things for their friends and families.
I ended up giving out lots of my cards and asking them to keep in touch and let me know how they get on and show me cakes they do in the future, I really hope they do!
So, I have my first hand-painted cupcake class this weekend, at Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead. Which means I spent the last few days playing around with some design ideas and the office got a large supply of cakes to gobble. Not a bad week really!
I wanted to try out some simple yet effective techniques to show the students but to be honest, I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with themselves. This two cakes above actually link in the design, which I think could be fun with a bigger pattern/picture. The fabric behind the cakes is my patchwork quilt (it’s obviously not finished!) I love the colours, a mismatch of bright, fresh patterns, I just need a ‘beach hut’ style cabin to live in now.
These cupcakes are a mix of plain and coconut flavour, I topped them with seedless jam and then cut discs of Regal icing for the tops. I want to try a few more styles of hand-painted cupcakes, ones where you pip buttercream on neatly and then place a pre-painted (smaller) disc of icing on top, like a little hat! In my head I am thinking about sitting in front of the TV painting discs of icing, quite a relaxing thought isn’t it…