Monday, 14 July 2014

Sixty Amazing Years.

It has been a massive week in baking for me!

On Saturday, my family and I celebrated my Nan and Pop's 60th Wedding Anniversary. We hosted an afternoon tea at our place, which meant I got to bake...a lot!

After looking at various caterers, I put my hand up to make their cake. I wanted to make something super special for these two amazing people, and it gave me an excuse to try out some new techniques and ideas!

I decided on a three-tiered cake, and after much planning and research, I had the perfect cake in mind!

So...the baking began!

Two days prior to the party, I dedicated a whole day to baking the three cakes. One oven + three cakes = a whole lot of waiting around! I made a dark chocolate mud cake for the bottom layer, a vanilla cake for the middle and a lemon cake as the top tier.

I chose to place the mud cake on the bottom of the stack to ensure that the rest of the cake was supported. Mud cake is ultra dense, resulting in a strong base which won't crumble under any pressure.

The next day, I made the fillings and assembled the cake.

© For the mud cake, raspberry jam and white chocolate ganache were the chosen fillings.
© For the vanilla cake, I whipped up some mocha frosting and dark chocolate ganache.

© Finally, the lemon cake was filled with lemon curd and white chocolate ganache.

I chose these as they didn't require refrigeration, as there was definitely going to be no room for a cake the size of this one!

After assembling the cake, I crumb coated it. Crumb coating is basically a thin, rough coating of frosting. This ensures that the crumbs don't come through and make the outer layer of icing look messy.

I then did some rosette piping around the bottom and top layer, leaving the middle tier plain. This gave some definition to the cake, rather than having it look like a big, clumpy pile of roses.

To finish the cake off, I sprayed it with Wilton Pearl Colour Mist. This gave the cake a really special, glamorous look!

Overall, I was super happy with how the cake turned out. My Nan and Pop loved it, and it made the day extra special!

Keep an eye out for some other delicious sweet treats I made for the day in the coming weeks!

Until next time, happy baking.


Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Last Five Months in Baking.

I have been SO slack!!
My last post was over 5 months ago, and I feel terrible for that! Life has been pretty busy lately, finishing my second last semester of Uni forever! 

However, I am back to write a small post about some of the sweet treats I have baked lately. 

Mini Blueberry Pies

As some of you may know, I adore blueberries! So after a trip to the blueberry farm, I dedicated much of my cooking to these little beauties!! These pies had a crisp, shortcut pastry, and a delicious cinnamon filling. Perfect for a cold, wintry day!  

Vanilla Cupcake with a Caramel Centre and Salted-Chocolate Frosting

In the middle of my busy uni semester, I found the perfect time to procrastinate, and make these super sweet but super tasty treats! Rather than following a recipe, I made it up as I went! The salted-chocolate frosting balanced out the sweetness of the caramel, and was pretty delectable! 

Rosette Piping

I purchased a rose tip a few weeks ago, and have since become obsessed with the product! I absolutely love the look of rosette piping, as it makes everything look so pretty! 

Eton Mess

My Dad requested something 'lemony' for his birthday dessert, and I was so excited to come up with something a little bit different! Mini meringues, lemon curd, vanilla bean cream, ice cream and bits of homegrown strawberries created a taste sensation! Plus, presentation is so much easier when you can be messy! 

Mini Lamingtons

Never again do I want to attempt these! Whilst they were completely and utterly delicious,  the sheer pain of dipping and coating the cake in chocolate mixture and coconut is something which I have learnt to hate

Raspberry and Custard Tarts

These little treats were the perfect finish to a summer's picnic in the park! Together with a shortcrust pastry, the vanilla bean custard and tangy raspberries created a simple yet tasty dessert! 

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Nutella and White Chocolate Ganache 

I was approached by a lovely lady asking me to make black and white macarons for a kitchen tea party. Whilst at first I  was apprehensive, as I still lacked confidence when making macarons, I took on the challenge. My first batch were a mega failure! They looked like they belonged on the moon. My struggle came from the fact that they had to be black, and too much food colouring in macaron mixture leads to...well...let's just say...extremely unattractive macarons. However, after substituting colouring for some black gel, they turned out exactly as planned. These are my proudest moment to date in my baking journey!

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

These last few months have been jam packed full of weddings/wedding related events, which in turn results in me baking...a lot! These scrummy treats were for a very special couple's engagement party, and were a very big hit! Due to their tiny, bite-sized nature, they were the ideal snack for an afternoon tea party. And for me, they were simply an excuse to use my new blowtorch..which by the way, is SO much fun to use! 

Mini Banoffee Tarts

Yes...there is a pattern emerging here. I love making 'mini' things. They look nicer and are much easier to eat, resulting in much less wastage. Every month, myself and the girls meet up at someones house for a night of talk and super sweet treats. When hosting, I created a miniature version of a banoffee pie. This is a recipe I hold close to my heart, as it was one of the first desserts I learnt to make from my beautiful Aunty. One issue I come across when making this is that the bananas go brown. I hate brown banana. So, to avoid this, i decided to slice up the banana, and coat it in dark chocolate. The girls were intrigued, and they looked pretty cute too! 

Vanilla Slice

My family love custard, so this was a bit of a no-brainer when we had a ton of eggs to use. I was actually pretty impressed at how well this particular custard set, as generally it will ooze out the sides and look prettttttty unattractive! 

Chocolate Meringue Mousse Cake

 This cake fascinates me. Whilst there are technically only two layers to this cake, upon baking it, three layers are created. A rich, dense mud cake at the bottom, a moussey layer in the middle, and a crisp meringue on top. At Easter, I make nothing other than chocolate desserts, so when I saw this gracing the cover of Donna Hay's Autumn magazine, I could not resist. Neither could each of our guests upon it's presentation at the table! 

Ok, so that ended up being a lot longer than I first thought. I guess I have actually missed writing about my baking!

Next week I will be attempting a three-tiered cake for my Nan and Pop's 60th Wedding Anniversary. Wish me luck!  

Stay tuned for a post in the coming weeks about that cake, as well as a few other layered cakes I have made lately!

Until next time, happy baking.