A rainbow surprise!

After making my rather cool (if I do say so myself) hidden carrot cake, I have been inspired to do different baking. I really really really would like to eventually have my own baking business. I have talked about it a lot, but I am actually going to make it happen! In order for that to happen, I have to do stuff that is popular, as well as get to grip with some techniques. I have been looking at tutorials on youtube and craftsy. I even made my own marshmallow fondant icing from one tutorial that will go on another cake later – I’ll save the details for the next post!

I saw a great idea for a hidden little rainbow in a big cupcake from Rosie Cake-Diva (video tutorial here). So I went off today to the shops and bought a cake pop mould. I mixed up a madeira cake mixture (from the same series of video tutorials) and mixed 5 different colours. I put them into little piping bags (and if you are like me and get cake mixture all over the top of the bag, just stick it in a glass and then spoon it in…honestly, it was brilliant and I wondered why I had never thought of doing it before!), and then you pipe a bit of each colour in. I did some that weren’t quite round when the came out, so you need to make sure you fill over 1/2 way.

Bag in a glass saves mess!

Bag in a glass saves mess!

Coloured cake mixture

Coloured cake mixture

Don't they look cool!

Don’t they look cool! Fill a little more than I have though!

I popped them in the oven for about 17 mins at 160°C and then pop the out! They look soooo cool. I have lots of ideas of other things you could do with them…very exciting!

Little balls of beauty

Little balls of beauty

Then I made up some more cake mixture – just plain, and put a bit in the bottom of the cake wrapper, squashed in a ball and filled it up on top. Back in the oven for about 20 mins or so.

Filled up to go in oven

Filled up to go in oven

Cake balls in wrappers

Cake balls in wrappers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then put on some butter icings (actually whisked with egg whites, sugar and butter (well I used stork marg and butter as I didn’t have enough butter!) and added sprinkles! Woo!

Yummy butter icing and sprinkles!

Yummy butter icing and sprinkles!

I think next time I might do the 2nd lot of cake mixture just a normal sponge, rather than the madeira cake. It was quite heavy. Apparently it is good for things to keep their shape and not move around, but I think they need to be lighter. Also I think the balls need to be pushed further down as they tend to float up a bit! You can freeze them, but then I had trouble cooking the cake fully when I did that with the carrot cake. Have you had a go before? I will experiment! 

Let me know what you think…what else could I do with these little balls?

Finished rainbow cake

Finished rainbow cake!

Easter Baking…with a bit of a twist

As promised, today I have been doing some baking for Easter! I don’t think I have had soooo much fun in ages. There are 2 reasons for the baking: 1. it is my niece and nephew’s 1st birthday tomorrow and I promised to make some biscuits for the party and 2. a competition! The Pink Whisk has teamed up with Two Little Fleas to get people do some Easter-inspired baking. So I thought I best give it a go.

I am not usually one for doing fancy things. I like to bake something and eat it! This time though I felt up to the challenge. No work, the step children were away with the grandparents until later on…the day was mine! So let’s get started!

Meringue eggs with chocolate filling

I am really into making meringues at the moment. It took a while to get the hang of them, but I feel I have really figured it out! The recipe is easy. Double the amount of caster sugar to the amount of egg whites. I have started buying Two Chicks Egg Whites rather than using lots of egg whites and wondering what to do with the yokes! It is great, cheap and lasts! By heating up the sugar in the oven, it helps it dissolve better in the egg white. So whack the sugar in a heat proof bowl, bung it in the oven at 200°C and in the mean time whisk the eggs up with an electric whisk. Don’t bother trying to do it with a hand whisk…you’ll be there forever! When it is nicely whisked (turn bowl upside down…it shouldn’t fall out!), take the sugar out of the oven and turn it down to 100°C and add it one spoonful at a time to the whisked egg whites. Eventually it is all in and will create peaks. Colour them with food colouring and put it in a piping bag. Make small meringues (about 4cm in diameter), dust with cocoa powder and put in the oven for around 30-40 mins. I’ve found when they start to crack on top and you can peel them off a silicon baking sheet (I love them!) they will be ready.

When cool I stuck them together with some melted chocolate mixed with double cream. Done! Unfortunately I can’t try them out as I am allergic to chocolate (I know!)…but others will enjoy I am sure!

Yellow meringues with cocoa powder

Yellow meringues with cocoa powder

Blue meringues with cocoa powder

Blue meringues with cocoa powder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished meringue eggs

Finished meringue eggs!

Jammy Dodger Egg Shaped Shortbread

I asked my sister what she would like me to bake for her twins’ birthday party. She said biscuits…jammy biscuits. So of course I wanted to do an Easter-y theme so made egg shaped jammy dodgers! The recipe is nice and easy:

225g of margarine, 75g of icing sugar (sifted), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, pinch of salt, 225g of plain flour

Mix up the marg and icing sugar, add the vanilla then the flour and salt. Mix in a mixer, or by hand in a big bowl (I am too lazy for that now… my mixer is my friend!). Scoop it all out, roll in some flour into a ball, wrap in cling film and stick in the fridge for a while…I did an hour to make sure it was firm. Roll it out in chunks – don’t try and do it all at the same time. Roll it to about 3mm thick…very thin I know, so make sure you put lots of flour on the surface! Cut out egg shapes (or whatever shapes you like) with a biscuit cutter. I did half with holes in (using a straw!), to look like spots on eggs for the jam to ooze out!

Bake at 180°C (preheated oven) for about 10-15 mins. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn or go too brown. Just a nice pale brown will do. Cool on a cooling rack and then get some jam (strawberry for me!) and spread on the hole-less biscuits. Put the holey ones on the top and squash! I can’t wait to try one of these! 🙂

Biscuits ready to be jammed!

Biscuits ready to be jammed!

Jammy!

Jammy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jammy dodgers...Easter style!

Jammy dodgers…Easter style!

Carrot and chocolate cake…but not what you think!

I do love a good carrot cake and I found a great recipe in a book called Delicious Gifts by Jess McCloskey…I’ll let you discover that one! The trick of this cake is that the carrot cake is hidden! So make a small amount of cake (just one 7″ square tin will do), let it cool and cut it into triangles – representing a carrot! Put them on a tray and place it in the freezer… we need those cakes to be frozen! When they are, make up a chocolate cake mixture (I did a standard Victoria sponge, 4oz of everything, 2 eggs and 1 tbsp of cocoa powder mixed with 2 tbsp of boiling water). Take the cakes out of the freezer, and place upside down in a loaf tin. Fill the surrounding areas with the chocolate sponge mixture and cook at 180°C. It takes a while…about 35 mins to make sure it cooks. It is a bit tricky around the frozen carrot cake, but it does eventually cook. Keep testing it with a cake tester until done. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Cut off the top part so it is even and turn upside down so your carrots are the right way up! Cover with chocolate mixture (melted choc and double cream again) and grate over some chocolate to finish. Then to make the carrot tops, stick some green royal icing (I bought it pre-coloured….so much easier than making your own…take it from someone who has tried) and put through a garlic press! I then squashed one end and put a cocktail stick in it, and stuck 4 of these in the cake! I have to admit, I was very impressed. I think the colouring differences of the cakes needed improving though, so you can really tell the difference. It did however look rather good…even my rabbit approved!

Carrot cake in the middle!

Carrot cake in the middle!

Frozen carrot cake with choc mixture

Frozen carrot cake with choc mixture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simon seems to approve!

Simon seems to approve! Well I had to have a bunny in there somewhere for Easter!

All in all, I think I have done really well…I am so pleased. There are a lot of good entries so far (and why not give it a go yourself!), so I am not sure if mine will be anywhere near the top, but I really did have fun making the recipes up and being a bit creative. Perhaps I will do some more themed cakes in the future!

Happy Easter everyone! x

My final competition entry!

My final competition entry!