Sunday, 18 March 2018

Ice-Cream Cone Birthday Cake

And then there was the cake.

It's been a really busy week, but I had Thursday put aside to make Sabrina's birthday cake.

Then I got called to help out in theatre Thursday morning. So, ok - I still had Thursday afternoon free (with the party Friday afternoon).
But of course morning work in theatre, evolved into afternoon work in theatre.

Well, I still had Friday morning...
And of course I was called out to a caesarean on Friday morning. 🙈

So, a little rushed - it could have done with some finessing - but here's the cake as it turned out.

The  cone part  is vanilla cream cheese pound cake, covered in a modelling chocolate / fondant blend. 
The scoops of ice-cream are large cupcakes (rich chocolate, and red velvet) roughly covered in buttercream to look like ice-cream. The swirl of cream is also buttercream icing. 

The design was inspired by ice-cream cone cakes made by Shawna McGreevy and Darcey Oliver. 
Despite it being such a rush, it was really fun to make. And my daughter loved it - which is all that counts!

Happy decorating!


Saturday, 17 March 2018

Ice-Cream Cone Cookies

To say that I was a little stressed this week about Sabrina's party is an understatement. 
An ice-cream themed party with a pool slide in late summer seemed like a great idea, but the one element that I couldn't control was the weather. 
Despite checking the forecasts  six times daily  regularly these past few days, not believing that the temperatures would actually shift downwards so rapidly on the day of the party, they did. 
Party day arrived misty and damp. 
Great ice-cream weather 🙈 

One thing I was on top of though, were the party-treats. Most of it was sorted with the hiring of a soft-serve machine, and purchase of lots of sprinkles and toppings. 

The rest I kept very simple, including these cookies:

Limited colour palette, outlining and flooding with the same consistency, 

and just a little airbrushing and use of royal-icing crumble to add dimension. 

I don't have a double scoop cutter, so used an ice-cream sundae cutter instead, and trimmed it a little. 


The crumble is made using a tutorial by Clough'D 9 Cookies:

It's a thin layer of royal icing spread onto parchment with a palette knife, left to dry, then crumbled up. 

So clever, isn't it? 

So, that was the cookies sorted.

I'll tell you about the cake next time.

Until then, happy decorating!


Sunday, 4 March 2018

Fluffy Raspberry Crumpets

Sunday crumpets.
The words evoke images of lazy days with cups of hot tea; feet up, reading on the couch.

Just like Sunday in our house  isn't...

They might once have been lazy and carefree days, but I just can't remember.
(It's like when you repress traumatic memories, but the opposite... 🙈 )

What did we do with our weekends before having to spend them entertaining kids; feeding kids; tidying up after kids...?!

Anyway, the kids wanted crumpets, so we made these:

Fluffy Raspberry Crumpets. 

320g cake flour
100g caster sugar
1 tbs (3tsp) baking powder
A pinch of salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
250ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
30g butter, melted
100g chopped frozen raspberries

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Make a well in the centre, and pour in the milk, vanilla, eggs and butter.
Mix until just combined. Fold in the raspberries.

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and place scoopfuls of the batter into the pan.
Cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes before flipping over; the crumpets should be a light golden brown colour.

Serve warm with butter and jam; or drizzle with syrup or honey.

That'll keep them entertained and fed for a while.
Now make yourself a cup of tea. And put your feet up.



Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Valentines Puppy Plaque

There's only one day left until the 14th Feb! Have you got anything special planned? Or are you just going to pretend it's not happening? 😉

Now, I know I say this every year ... Valentines isn't something we celebrate. 
B-u-u-ut celebrate does not equal decorate
So, there have been Valentines-themed edibles exiting my kitchen for the past couple of weeks already.     

Last year we did "Puppy Love" for the Valentines cookie class. That was one of my favourite V-Day themes to date. (It has now been eclipsed by this year's "Stuck on You" theme).

I so enjoyed that theme and those colours, that when I saw a clay plaque similar to this, I knew I had to re-create if in fondant.
(Or rather fondant and modelling chocolate - my standard blend).
It's so very quick and easy to do, that if you're only deciding now to make a cake for your special people for tomorrow, a decoration like this will take hardly any time to put together.

I used a little rubber stamp set to print on the "i / you".
If you don't have letter stamps, you could paint it on, or write it on using an edible marker.

Place onto the top or side* of a cake, or make a smaller version to use as a cupcake topper.

(*For heavy details going onto the side of a cake that's been covered in fondant, I use melted chocolate to secure it in place.)

Happy Valentines Day and happy decorating!


Monday, 5 February 2018

"Stuck on You" Valentines Cactus Cookies

The very first class I offered was Valentines Cookies.
Those days I had mounds of enthusiasm and not much skill, or experience.
We used three colours (red, white and pink), and decorated heart-shaped cookies. Heart-shaped cookies only.
Visionary stuff! 🙈

We've progressed a little since then.
And become a little more imaginative with the theme!

This year it's "Stuck on You"  - cacti being so on-trend. And oh-so-huggable!

I love all the various wet-on-wet techniques one can play with in this theme:

Like this one, with just a bit of feathering on wet-on-wet stripes

and this one, even simpler - just stripes.

That's the easy part.
The tricky bit, and always my biggest challenge, is writing script on a cookie. And it's a must for this particular theme.

If you don't have a projector to make your life easier, then print out the fonts that you'll be using and use a transfer method to get the script onto a dried flooded background.
Here's one way:
and here:

 Or throw caution to the wind and copy them free-hand  (which is still a step up from just winging it!). I write the script on lightly with a graphite pencil first, then go over that with icing.

 If you're looking for a great selection of fonts, try,  or download an app like Font Gallery on your tablet or phone.

There you go... Looking sharp!


Monday, 29 January 2018

Zucchini and Cheese Muffins

I'm going to tell you something now that I hope you take to heart:
Just because they're muffins does not mean that you don't use cupcake cases.
I'm telling you this for your own sake. Who wants to be scouring out muffin trays on a Monday morning, right?!
If you've got a silicone muffin tray, I'll let you off the hook - but otherwise, use cupcake cases, ok?

So, now that's settled ...

As I said when I posted this picture on Instagram, these are great for school lunch boxes. My son (the fussy eater) loves them, and flattens a batch in no time.

You can sprinkle a little grated cheese on top before baking, but the fussy-eater peels that off and discards it, so I don't bother with that step anymore!

Zucchini and Cheese Muffins
Recipe adapted from 
"The One & Only Cupcakes & Muffins Cookbook" (New Holland Press) 

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Line a muffin tray with 10 cupcake cases

220 g cake flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
100g finely grated courgettes / zucchini
100g greater cheddar cheese (+ extra for sprinkling - optional)
180ml buttermilk
60ml canola oil
1 XL egg

Place the grated zucchini and cheddar into a large mixing bowl.
Sift in the flour, salt and raising agents. Mix well.

In a jug, measure out and whisk together the buttermilk, oil and egg.

Make a well in the centre of the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
Pour in the wet ingredients.
Mix gently until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases. (Now's the time to sprinkle over that extra cheese if you'e doing it).

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven; serve while warm, or allow to cool before packing in lunch boxes.

Change things up by adding some finely chopped crispy bacon, sundried tomatoes, fresh parsley, etc.
Let me know what you try and how that turns out.

Happy baking.


Thursday, 25 January 2018

Painted Tropical Leaf Cookies

 I hadn't intended to write a post about these painted tropical leaf cookies ( I thought), but then I found a photo I'd taken in the course of making them. So I must have intended, after all ...! 

Only one photo *sigh* 
I scrolled back and forth through the camera roll, but still ... only one. 🙈

These are seriously simple, though. So a written explanation will easily suffice: 

The lonely photo

  • Flood cookies with dusky pink royal icing. Allow to dry completely. 
  • I airbrushed a pearl sheen on top; you could dry brush on luster dust, or just omit this step.
  • Mix powder food colouring with a very small quantity of clear alcohol, or water. 
  • Prepare 2 shades of green - one dark, and one light.  
  • Look up "tropical leaf template" on Pinterest for ideas 
  • Use a graphite pencil (non-toxic) to outline the tropical leaves on the cookie 
  • Paint over the outline with a fine paintbrush using the darker green. 
  • Allow to dry, then paint in the rest of the colour, using a combination of the dark and light greens. 
  • The trick with painting onto royal icing, is to avoid going over recently painted areas with more paint - too much moisture dissolves the icing. Rather allow coats to dry in between applications, or complete an area with one application of paint only. 
... dissolving canvases - a horror only sugar-artists would understand!

Happy decorating!