Thursday, 26 September 2013

How cool?! Cakes & Food Festivals

Have a read of a fellow cakey blogger...

Now I think Bestie would like a piece of this & tracking down the food festivals after his recent sausage tasting trip! Happy Reading :)))

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Choctastic for Chocoholics

So, Lisa contacted me again after I had done a gorgeous 8" chocolatey chocolate cake for her Dad's 60th birthday...

A friend of hers wanted the same for a 70th birthday, except she wanted 2-Tiers (an 8" on a 10") brilliant!

Chocolate overload & some, you see the original cake I'd done for Lisa's Dad was a chocolate square sponge, filled & covered with delicious chocolate ganache, then adorned round the edge with Cadbury chocolate fingers & topped with Malteasers.

This 2-Tier was to be identical. Bare in mind the original cake took 600g of chocolate in the ganache, 3 boxes of fingers & just over a box of malteasers. This 2-Tier took 1.2kg of chocolate for ganache, 7 boxes of fingers & 3 boxes of malteasers... Plus obviously the chocolate sponges too!

Now this week has been particularly trying in the kitchen as I've had so much on, cakes, house, chores, school, appointments, clubs - it's been full on & some... So there were a couple of glitches along the way, but I do feel despite the occasional panic attack & error, as fraught as it may be I deal well under pressure.

We've all enjoyed the excess chocolate cake, so none went to waste! Want to know the gory details where errors occurred?!

First off on bake day my 8" sunk in the middle quite drastically, I had a mass baking 6" sandwiches, 8" sandwiches, 8" square, 10" square, 12" square... I accidentally opened the wrong oven 5 mins before end baking, wouldn't have been a problem on the right oven - alas the top oven had 15 mins left, so epic fail.

So then another 8" square needed baking from scratch... Not a problem, got that sorted & all was back on schedule.

So day 1 of ganache process first layer to fill, cover, set... 8" goes perfectly to plan, then on to the 10" - argh, as I unwrap it from cling film & move it to torte (slice in half, to fill) 1/3 breaks off! Eeeeeek, panic! So instead of my usual Thursday night karaoke jaunty to de-stress, I'm on a mad dash to Tesco for more butter & eggs then up all night baking a new 10" square!!!

So yesterday was a mad decorating day & some, I had to torte, fill, cover, set the 10" & while that was setting I started work on the 12" Victoria square - this was a last minute corporate cake for a 25th year anniversary that I took on for a friend Jan, made sense as Duncan is providing the entertainment for their celebrations.

So the Victoria is filled, jammed, layered, crumb coated & put in the fridge to set, while the chocolate 8" & 10" are out to have their second ganache coats, the 10" I had pre-dowel'd worth the first ganache coat (so it stoopid support the top tier). My kitchen smelt heavenly, so deliciously chocolatey!

I then second coat ganache'd the 10", stacked on the 8" & second coat ganache'd that top... I then had to Malteaser & Cadbury finger the beast! As you can imagine, I had to work pretty fast before the ganache set & so that the malteasers & fingers did not melt (advantages of having cold hands). But yes, I managed it before the school pick-up!

All that was left was ribboning & some fondant work to the board, what a choctastic success - it looked absolutely fabulous!!!

Just so you know, the 12" corporate cake was finished yesterday evening too & looks totally wonderful too... But you can judge both by the photos x

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Birthday Dilemmas

So it's like this...

... This weekend I get to see one of my most closest cousins whom I love dearly, we've always been so close & stayed in touch since childhood even though we've probably not actually seen each other in approx 22 years!

Shocking I know, but we're always chatting via FB, txt... Used to be pen n paper but how times change eh?!

Now my cousin is always commenting on my status's n page & as she will be turning 36 on Friday I must do an ultra special cake for when she is here to celebrate her birthday in style (she's like the lil sister I never had) but I'm having so many dilemmas as to what to do?!

My first thought was a rainbow cake, as I've been wanting to do one for a while now... But that would just be vanilla or lemon sponge - plain, simple flavoured.

My second thought was a toffee, mocha, chocca cake... Similar style to a rainbow with 4 layers or so but each layer a different flavour: vanilla, toffee, coffee, chocolate - mmmmm, indulgent flavours.

The third thought was a giant chocolate cupcake... As I've not done a giant for a while so it would be busy awesome to do a chocolate overload giant - perfectly chocoholic!

My final thought is just a simple rich chocolate sponge to celebrate the birthday & then do some different flavored cuppiecakes to take to bestie's karaoke on Sunday night so we can have a variety of flavours to enjoy!

What to do?! I've no idea & keep changing my mind (it's a womans prerogative) so what would you do???

Monday, 14 January 2013

The curse of number 13 & a fantastic 90th birthday cake!

13.1.13 - So it's just another ordinary Sunday to the non superstitious people, like myself...

To prove a point I've broken mirrors, walked under ladders, trodden on cracks, seen singular magpies & not saluted them etc, etc!

I wake up, make a coffee, feed the kids, tidy the kitchen & set about getting everything ready for the cake I'm about to assemble n decorate... Everything is going to plan, or so I think!

The fact is though, after I post a status on my cakey Facebook page this is where either a) I'm cursed or b) the day was cursed!!!

At 9:43 am I set my pages status as: it's time to fill, crumb coat, regal ice & decorate the 90th birthday cake with lots of prettification now! Hehe

So I open a new cake drum, add a little buttercream frosting to it & put the bottom layer down... Brilliant all going well, pause to put kids bowls in dishwasher while the strawberry jam is heating gently in the microwave.

My dad calls by unexpected, the microwave pings & I remove the jam n stir, setting this to one side while we chat cake, family, life & I make a coffee for him, then carry on with putting the buttercream frosting in the middle of the cake to fill - I then say goodbye to my dad.

Next I put the top layer on the bottom & chill the whole cake in the fridge to set the buttercream frosting before I crumb coat (oblivious to my error at this point) I'm happily singing along to Olly Murrs, chatting with my lil princess Anneliese totally unaware.

The cake is removed from the fridge & I'm crumb coating it with buttercream frosting, I just finish levelling it all perfectly when lil miss pipes up "is it time for the jam to go on now mommy?!"

Oh my freaking days!!!! I'm mortified, I see the cooled jam sat there in the prep dish just waiting - so I'm looking at the perfectly crumb coated cake, thinking what am I gonna do now (it's 11:30)...

Ok, don't panic Lynda I say to myself... So I think maybe if I'm extra careful I can just separate the layers & put the jam in, then tidy up the crumb coat again - this should work right?!

Wrong..... As I delicately start to ease the top layer off the bottom it starts ripping - Eeeeeek!!! Not wanting to give up I carry on with a few explicit words firing out my mouth (Gordon Ramsey has nothing on me) ooops.

The top is off (minus a few mm from the base) & I start to level the buttercream frosting on the bottom layer to add the jam but it is full of crumbs where the bottom of the top separated off, I add the jam all the same but my stress levels had gone beyond breaking point for the week (it has,been a week n a half for me & this is where it gets messy) - the top layer is back on but then... I loose it as I know it is not perfect, I have OCD & I'm not happy, what would the recipient think???

Still cursing for England (poor hubby is washing the girls hair) I start screaming how the cake is ruined (not the word I used, but I'm censoring this blog) that nobody cares, I'm a failure etc, etc, etc - I then ask if anyone wants the stupid cake, screaming I'm gonna have to start again but I have just 5 hours to do it all.

Now this next point will sound hilarious but believe me, it was lucky I was the only living thing in the kitchen at the time... I grabbed the bread knife from the drawer & physically took it out on the innocent cake - I think I should've been sat in the corner rocking or carted off to a mental asylum!

Lookie what happened to it!!! I was completely mentally unstable, after screeching at my hubby to hold me & tell me it'll be alright, he helped me set about from scratch it was midday - I don't think I've ever knocked a Victoria sponge out so quick & I didn't even use my trusty bible (my guru's book) for back up confidence... He weighed as I shouted out ingredients & quantities, I mixed, it worked quite well having an extra pair of hands!

It was quite tense in the kitchen though. I quickly vented my frustrations to some very good cakey friends but in the brief format (bet you're all reading this now eh?!) & put a new status on my page: time for a new cakey blog after this creation is finished me thinks! Lol x

Once the cake was safely in the oven hubby went off to sort sons hair out with the clippers, while I whipped up another batch of vanilla buttercream frosting.

I then set about making a fondant open rose, 5 rose buds, 6 leaves & a butterfly, during the process of this I had to pause to get the cake out the oven, restart whole it cooled in the tins for 5 mins, turn the cake onto cooling racks to finish cooling completely & continue to work with the fondant!

It was 1.50 by the time I'd finished all this, yes I was panicking as I needed to be finished by 5pm latest... The cake was being collected at 5.30 & I was due out at 5.50 for a belated Christmas party!!!

I have a clear up from my modelling with fondant & pit all the ingredients away, wash up the cake pans & pieces from my Kitchenaid, then recreate my assembling workspace. The new cake is thoroughly cooled (so glad it's winter, aids the cooling process) & start again where I had started over 4 hours ago.

De ja vous: cake board, frosting, bottom layer, frosting...

Yay I remembered the jam!!! Top layer, crumb coat & set in fridge while I roll regal icing (fondant) out to cover it. This took two attempts as the regal ice was a little bit dry & cracked the first time, soon sorted that out with a bit of Trex though!

Covered the cake with ease, smoothed, polished & trimmed the excess off... I had my blank canvas finally to add the magic.

Phew it looked like the curse had lifted or so I thought, had it?!

I got my pink royal icing ready gave it a refreshing beating, had my icing tips already layed out, my bag was waiting with a coupler in, had my trust highball glass to hold my icing bag, I placed the cake on my turntable & put the first tip on to pipe the edges.....

On with the filling, I wondered if my royal icing was a bit too thin? So tested a rosette on a lid, it seemed ok (I think I looked away too quick as was stressing about the time), so I went about piping the first row around the base of the cake - insert sinister music here, da da da daaaah! Disaster strikes again, by the time I'd got half way round the original starting point had lost its form like a melting snowman!

I could cry again, yes I physically was like Niagara Falls when I had my mental breakdown after cake one! But no, I can do this... So I carefully scrape off the fallen royal icing, very carefully clean the cake drum with some kitchen towel & baked water, then empty my piping bag back to a bowl & add some more icing sugar to stiffen it to a more piping consistency - great!!!

FFS, I made it too thick & it was hell to pipe... After the initial base piping I change tips & add a smaller rosette above the random shellish pattern, it looks ok, I change the tip again & add a ruffle type edge to the top - fantastic it's starting to look good.

I then start gluing on the rose, rose buds, leaves & butterfly, it's a delicate job & you can't rush it. I then put my writing tip on the coupler to add the wording - grrrr, grrrrr, grrrrrrrrrrr the royal icing is now too thick for my writing tip!

Good job I always test on a lid before cake else it could've killed it completely again beyond fixing at this point - so quickly I emptied the bag back into the bowl, added some lemon juice & thinned it out, while hubby had to wash the tip out for me... It was 4.30, the kitchen looked like a bomb site for me!

I refilled the bag, piped the wording & then set about  adding the ribbons, I royal iced the first in place, then the second & then royal iced a bow together & royal iced that on to the front... Finally the cake was finished it was 4.40!!!

But the story doesn't end there, oh no......

The box that I had out ready for the cake was too shallow with the rose decoration on top, if I hadn't noticed I could've killed it again! I folded that box back up & got a taller box, I then proceeded to take photos quickly before boxing it up (also got a couple of it in the box). I could now almost finally breathe easy, but urgh the kitchen was a freaking mess!

Now I can't stand leaving my kitchen in disarray, hubby offered to do it but I just had to pitch in & get it just right. I dived in the shower at 5.05 (remember out by 5.50, cake collected 5.30), I literally had got out, dried & thrown my dressing gown on, when I heard the knock on the door - good job I knew the lady eh?! Hubby sorted Lisa out with the cake for her nan, I said a quick "Hi" & ran upstairs to get dressed & dry my hair.

I actually just managed to pull this one off in the nic of time, it just goes to show what pressures us home cakers go through... After all we are human & not robot or machine as per your average shop brought mass produced £10 cake.

Hope you like the end result, I think it turned out incredibly well... How about you???

Happy caking y'all x

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Shaped Pans... I have 2!!!

What's the title all about? Well quite basically shaped cake pans!

I currently own 2 myself, a Wilton Giant Cupcake & a Wilton 3D Skull... I love them, just wish I got to use them more - still the Skull is very new for me & Halloween is upon us soon, with a couple of cakes to knock out!!!

I've made a fair few Giant Cupcakes, but not done 1 for a while... I may actually attempt a Christmas version, just because I've not seen anyone do this - I wonder if it's possible to bake a rich fruit cake in the tin?! Not so sure about lining the top, but should be able to line the base ok.

Without further a do, here's a couple of pictures of some of the Giant Cuppies I've previously made my Skull! Enjoy.....


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Never enough time...

Well, I never seem to have enough to do all that needs doing in a day that is for sure!

Today I have been literally sat at the laptop since, I did the chores & had my shower, I've been updating & trying to get content on my website you see...  I am sure people that look at websites think it is a 2 second job & everything is just there for you - WRONG!!!

It takes an absolute age, or maybe that is just me?!  I've been amending pages, getting rid of 'SPAM' comments (I'm so glad they're saved for approval before going live, more about that in a different blog), trying to add photos to my galleries (that hasn't happened, so need to get assistance from my friend Lorraine) it all just takes so long & you feel like you are getting nowhere... well that's how I feel about it.

It's so disheartening, as I really want to make my website look beautiful & add photos etc, but it just doesn't seem to get very far along at all.  Still bestie had a look around & left a comment for my guest book that I approved - So at least I have 3 guest book comments now, some news for the latest news page, I've linked this blog to the site, changed the sites header logo, edited the text on the home page & managed to put the correct picture to Lorraine's testimonial.  Doesn't sound like much does it?!

It took all afternoon though as I was trying & trying to upload pictures to the cupcake gallery but to no avail, it will be fully photo functioning one day - no idea when that day will come though as like my title suggests, there just isn't enough hours in the day!!!

Anyway, if you would like to take a look at my incomplete website, you can find it here: So·phis·ti·cakez!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Only another 10 days...

Where on Earth has this year gone?!  I sit here updating my blogs (as I have been blogging a lot from my mobile & iPod - they don't make them look so pretty) & think to myself I last wrote a cakey blog on March 7th... OMG it's April 20th now!!!  I have just been so horrendously busy at home with the children, with the cakes, with chores that time has just brushed past me & it's almost May, we're almost half-way through the year!!!

So what have I been up to since my last cake blog I hear you ask???  Well it's been pretty much business as usual & lots going on as always both at home with the family, out with friends & of course loads of cakey goings on, else why would I be writing on my cake blog? Lol

Now this is the list of cakey goings on since my last cake blog; A very chocolatey 8" ultimate chocolate cake for my very dear friend & 'Biatch' Elaine, 84 x chocolate cuppies & 84 x vanilla cuppies for Cameron's (my eldest) teacher Mrs Clark (neé Miss Andrewes) to celebrate her marriage with all the teachers at the children's school & all year 5's & year 6's, a 9" triple layer chocolate fudge cake with chocolate ganache filling for Anneliese's friend Hannah's Dad, My own Dad's birthday cake (sorry the picture is on my camera still), 80 cake pops & 48 x Easter cuppies for Easter weekend at various places... Lol  So just a little bit of baking?! 2 cakes (5 layers in total), 216 cuppies & 80 cake pops total!!!

Oh & I have also been asked about 3 more weddings, a 90th birthday & a 50th birthday too!

I suppose a few photo's (off my mobile, I love the camera on my HTC) wouldn't go a miss in this blog now would they?!

 Elaine's special cake

1 of the 7 boxes of 24 Chocolate & Vanilla Cuppies

Hannah's cake for her Daddy

20 cake pops for karaoke at the Kings Arms with Funky Mike (hubby's bestie) 

24 Easter cuppies for Cupcake-oke at The Star with DJ Wobble (my hubby, Duncan)

20 Cake Pops & 24 Easter Cuppies for Easter Egg hunt
at friends Steve & Helen's on Easter Sunday (big gathering)

20 Cake Pops for karaoke at White Hart with Jason Ayres (bestie)