Funnel Cake

20141114_073623-1

Funnel Cake with Strawberry Sauce and Fresh Double Cream

So winter is approaching, it’s still dark at breakfast and my daughter has PJ day at school. If my daughter can wear her PJ’s and dressing gown to school in the rain and cold, then I can have Funnel Cake for breakfast! So that’s what I did.  I woke up early and made this extravaganza and told myself it will count as breakfast and lunch ( I ended up eating lunch as well anyway..shhhh!).

It’s actually very easy and quick to make.  I made the strawberry sauce beforehand (see recipe below)

To make the funnel cake I used an online video which was excellent:

http://youtu.be/WjOnYKlghM4

I made 1/3 of the recipe in the video which was enough to make 4 funnel cakes. Measurements for 1/3 is as follows:

Ingredients

1 egg

1 cup – 2 tbsp.  milk

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/3 tsp salt

1 cup plain flour

I mixed it all together in a measuring jug.  I didn’t have a funnel of the size recommended in the video so I used a piping bag and just snipped the end off to make a 6mm hole. You can use a strong food bag if you don’t have a piping bag. And yeah, just follow the video. It’s really simple and quick. I was amazed at how well they came out.

Strawberry Sauce

20141113_183446

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

300 g strawberries

1 tablespoon of sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp cornflour/starch

pinch of salt

Method

Place 1/3 of the strawberries in a pan with the sugar, corn starch and salt. Cook for a few minutes on low /medium heat until the strawberries soften.  Add the lemon juice and switch off.  Place this mixture into a blender and liquidise to get out any lumps.  Pour this back into the pan and bring back to the heat.  When it boils, turn off the stove and add the remaining strawberries.  Cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator until required.

Assembly

Place the hot fried funnel cake on a serving plate and dust lightly with icing sugar. Add some of the cooled strawberry sauce on top and finish with a generous serving of whipped cream.  Enjoy!

Eating this for breakfast is at the readers risk ;)

Tiramisu Cupcakes

20140709_171222

Tiramisu Cupcake

A cupcake version of the delicious Italian coffee dessert.  I have made this in a cake version (the header picture) using layers of genoise sponge and a similar cream filling, the only main difference is that I used more mascarpone in the cream filling of the cake version to make it more richer.

There are three main components to this cupcake: the cupcake, the coffee and the mascarpone cream topping.

To make the cupcakes:

Ingredients

8 oz softened butter

7 oz caster sugar

1 vanilla bean pod (but if you don’t have a pod, you can use extract as most of the vanilla flavor will be overtaken by the coffee)

4 eggs at room temperature

10 oz self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

a small splash or two of milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 170C and line 2 cupcake trays with paper cases (approx. 20)

Cream the butter and sugar until pale. Add the vanilla seeds and beat.

While the vanilla infuses into the butter mixture, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

Add the eggs into the creamed butter/sugar mixture one at a time, beating each one in before adding the next

If you are using an electric mixer, do the next step by hand.  Use a spatula to mix in the flour 1/3 at a time, adding a splash of milk ( about a couple of tablespoons)  in between. Finish by using the electric mixer for a 5 second blast to make sure it’s all mixed in.

Load up 20 or so cupcake cases using an ice cream scoop.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until springy to the touch or when an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool down completely.

The next step is to soak the cupcakes with coffee.

Ingredients

1 heaped tablespoon instant coffee

1 tablespoon sugar

300 ml boiling water

cocoa powder to dust

Prick each cupcake with a fork.

Method

Place the coffee and sugar into a measuring jug, pour in  the boiling water and stir.  Alternately you can make up 300ml of fresh ground coffee (2 cups in the espresso machine). Don’t forget to add sugar!

Using a tablespoon, pour 3 to 4 spoons of coffee onto each cupcake. Dust each cupcake moderately with cocoa powder  Allow to cool. In the mean time, make up the cream topping.

To make the mascarpone cream topping:

Ingredients

300ml double cream (cold)

150g soft cheese preferably mascarpone cheese (room temp)

4 tablespoons condensed milk (room temp)

Method

Whip the cream until very soft peaks. Do not over whip.  You want it to a stage where it’s still very floppy and can’t hold any shape yet.  Add the mascarpone and condensed milk. Combine carefully being careful not to over whip.  The end product should be soft peaks.  If you have over whipped, loosen with normal milk and another tablespoon of condensed milk.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle/tip or just cut of the top of the bag.  Pipe a generous amount onto each cupcake. Alternately, if you are very neat, you can spoon the topping on.  Using a hot palette knife*, flatten the topping, trying to make it as smooth and level as you can. Pipe and smooth a few at a time and work fast as the topping may start to set making it hard to pipe out. When they are all done, let them set for ten minutes.

To make the cocoa dusting design use a cappuccino stencil or any thing clean and flat that can be used as a stencil.  I used a grid design. Place the stencil on the cupcake and dust with cocoa powder using a fine sieve. You can if you like, not use a stencil at all and just dust the tops for a more simple look.

Cool and store in the fridge, removing ten minutes before serving.

*to make the palette knife hot, place in boiling water for a minute and wipe off the water before using. Place back into the water after each use.

These cupcakes are easy to make, you don’t need fancy equipment and you can dress them up or down as much as you like. And above all they taste absolutely dreamy!

 

 

 

 

Tiffany Inspired Cake Tutorial

20140912_125412-1

Tiffany inspired cake

I saw these colours being used in a wedding cake on a TV show and instantly wanted to design my own.  So the next order I got, they had no choice, they were getting a tiffany inspired cake! Luckily, the client who ordered the cake for his wife left the design to me (he also only gave me two days notice!) .

This is a decoration tutorial only,  You can use any cake flavours you like.  This one was vanilla cake with caramel buttercream.

I always sketch out my design. It’s a good way to visualize the cake and also plan how I’m going to go about making it.

20140915_100215-1(1)

Sketch

I used Renshaw’s jade green (yes, jade green!) fondant mixed with an equal amount of white fondant to achieve the tiffany blue for the disc and the ribbon.   I bought a 500g  packet of the jade green and used only half. Remember the other half is white fondant making a total of 500g.

I also bought the Renshaw’s in black and added some tylose powder (one teaspoon tylose to 500g fondant) to make gumpaste.  This was for the filigree and scroll details on the side of the cake.

I made the bow a day in advance using white gumpaste. The tutorial I used was by Edna de la Cruz. She is an amazing cake artist and a real inspiration

http://youtu.be/LOTdwsbgDV8

20140912_125516

Fondant Bow

I am going to go through the stages of putting together this cake assuming that it’s already been crumb coated, the above blue fondant and back gumpaste have been made up and a bow has been prepared in advance

1) Roll out 1kg white fondant to approximately 16 inches ( the diameter of the cake plus two lots the length of the sides). So my cake was 9 inches in diameter with sides of 3.5 inches so 9 + 3.5 + 3.5 = 16

Cover the cake with this, smooth it out and cut off the excess.  There are countless videos online that demonstrate this.

2) Next roll out half of the tiffany blue fondant so its about 2-3 mm thick. Using the base of an 8 inch cake pan as a guide, cut out an 8 inch circle. Brush a minute amount of water onto the cake top and stick this blue disc centrally onto the cake.

3) Next roll out the black gumpaste as thin as you can handle (1 mm) and using a Stanly knife, free hand, cut out scrolls and filigree shapes. Use online images to pick what you like. I used a variety of designs.  After cutting a few, you may end up coming up with your own designs making your cake even more unique. Let these dry on a tray as you cut out.  Do not stick them directly onto the cake while they are still flexible and moist. They need to dry a little. Remember we are using black on white and black fondant is unforgiving if you place it wrongly as it leaves marks. Drying it a little make it easier to position it before sticking it down. Plus there’s less risk of it tearing as you’re holding it vertically to attach it. After they’ve dried a little, use a TRACE amount of egg white or fondant glue (water and tylose) to stick onto the sides.

Screenshot_2014-09-16-12-12-49

Royal Icing writing and pearl borders, blue fondant disc, blue fondant ribbon and black gumpaste filigree/scrolls free hand cuts outs

4) The next stage is to apply the blue fondant ribbon along the bottom edge of the cake. Roll out a long strip (as long as you can) and use a ruler to cut a strip two cm wide. It doesn’t have to be a continuous strip.  If you are precise, you can cut two strips and make a neat join so your cake will have two joins instead of one. Attach with fondant glue or egg white.

5) The writing on the cake is done with royal icing. To make royal icing,  mix one egg white with a teaspoon at a time of icing sugar until the mixture is at soft peak consistency. Mix one-third with black paste colour and store the rest under cling film or a damp cloth to stop it drying out. I used a small 2mm round tip for the writing and the following writing design

http://youtu.be/MfxBYKxq_ws

6) Mix any left over black royal icing into the rest of the white royal icing to make a grey colour. You can add more black colour paste if u want a darker grey.  Load this into a piping bag fitted with wilton number 5 tip (or a 4 mm round tip) and pipe a pearl border where blue disc meets the white fondant and along the bottom of the cake where the cake meets the board.  You may find this tutorial helpful on how to pipe a pearl border (start watching from 1min 30 sec)

http://youtu.be/ABegbq7hV30

Screenshot_2014-09-15-09-44-50(1)

Give the cake 30 mins to dry up. Then position the bow and make some ribbon ends using white gumpaste.  You can angle the bow (just support the angle with some gumpaste discretely placed behind the bow) and make the ribbon ends as long and flowy as you like.  I went for a clean look so kept the ribbon ends short and the bow flat on the cake. Attach with fondant glue or egg white. I liked the way it looked matt and so didn’t use any polishes or glitter.

20140912_125855

I think the cake turned out better than I’d imagined! It really was beautiful.

Packet Cake Mix

Being the cake snob I am, I wouldn’t normally think about buying a packet mix. I even have issues eating ready made cakes unless they are from reputable bakeries or I’m just desperate! That’s probably why my family find it so hard to buy me a birthday cake to the point it’s now just a no go area :|  Anyhoo, while going grocery shopping with my sis abroad, she was in the ‘isle’ looking for a dumpling mix. Suddenly, this caught my eye:

20140831_134859-1

At first I didn’t notice how photoshopped the image was. All I saw was a delicious looking cake. And it was pineapple flavor.  I like pineapples in cake (and on pizzas) and so a couple of boxes ended up in my sisters trolley. I thought I’d try one and give one to my niece.

‘I should follow the instructions’ I thought, knowing that I don’t trust anyones instructions fully but my own! So I set off trying to make this marvelous looking cake. I was nervous. The instructions were vague. There wasn’t any fillings with the cake, it was just the dry mixture for the cake itself.  Great(!) I needed to figure out what would go best with a packet cake mix Id never made before. I didn’t know how sweet the cake was going to be or what the texture would be like, nor how strong the pineapple would be. So, I played it safe by employing fresh double cream to act in as my filling and frosting. Sorted.  So lets begin!

Wait..I just remembered another reason why I don’t like store/packet cakes..

20140831_134929

..hmmm…its a one off…let’s pretend this list of ingredients really translates to butter, sugar, eggs and flour.

I had no idea how much mixture it would make, should I line two pans or one? The instructions said one so I lined and cuffed it incase there was overflow while baking.

The dry mixture looked ok but boy was the pineapple frangrance strong. That is, the pineapple hubba bubba fragrance.  Lets just get this done..

I followed the intructions EXCEPT there was NO WAY I was going to beat the mixture for two minutes on medium speed.  I want cake not bread!  Even the 30 seconds I gave it was agonizing. Moving on, I baked it.

20140831_152240

It was very domed. I liked the colour.  It didn’t brown like a butter based cake. Smelled better now it was cooked. I wanted that dome gone so I turned it upside down to cool on a wire rack and waited a couple hours.  I cut as much of the dome off as I could, sliced it into three and sandwiched it with whipped unsweetened double cream.  The cake was quite sweet and flavourful and so fancy fillings would’ve been too much.

20140831_173010-1

 

I finished it very simply with covering in cream and garnished it with sliced almonds and chocolate ganache

20140831_201624-1

After setting in the refridgerator for one hour, I cut a slice eager to see the inside and to taste it.  It cut well, neatly.  It was spongy and kinda flakey but just not as crumbly as a butter cake.  It was moist too.  After taking a quick pic I tasted it.

20140831_202155-1

It tasted okay actually! Definitely a little artificial.  The double cream balanced it somewhat. My family were in mixed opinions.  My dad loved it. My daughter did not like it (she prefers bird seed muffins remember!). Mum ate it. Did I go back for seconds? Well, only a tiny slither as I was putting it away for the night ;)