Sunday, 19 October 2014

Modelling Chocolate Recipe

Yo, ho ho! Merry Christmas!
 Ok, not really (even though you may think so judging by the shop displays!!), but I've finally got around to posting the modelling chocolate recipe!
Why did it take so very long? Well, first I thought that I  should check with Dot Klerck that I could share it (and it took a while for me to put that thought into action.) She laughed and said it's actually Katrien van Zyl's recipe (what me name drop? Never!), and I was welcome to share it. So, that out of the way, I then had the bright idea of making a video of the process. And, um well ... clearly that wasn't going to happen in a hurry. Or at all, as it turns out.
I've have documented it photographically, though. (Yay, me!)

And so, finally... here it is:

Modelling Chocolate Recipe

300g white chocolate (Chocex works well)
60g liquid glucose
10ml water (may omit in high humidity months)

Melt the chocolate. do this in approx 3 x 30 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between.
make sure that the chocolate is completely melted.

Microwave the glucose and water  for 10 seconds.  

Pour into the melted chocolate. 

With a gentle folding motion, stir the ingredients together until combined. 

As you continue to stir, the mixture will start to separate 

Use your spatula, and press the solid chocolate against the side of the bowl; pour off the cocoa butter. 

As the excess cocoa butter is removed, the paste will come together smoothly

Flatten the paste out and wrap in cling wrap or in a ziploc bag, and allow to rest for a few hours or overnight at room temperature. 

When ready to use, knead until soft (or microwave briefly - 7 seconds). 
If the paste becomes too soft, allow it to rest or refrigerate it until it firms up again. 

Paste may be coloured with gel or powder colouring. 

Use as is, or mix into fondant / plastic icing* 

(For dark chocolate paste, use 75g liquid glucose.) 

If not using immediately, store in cling wrap in a cool dark place.
Modelling paste may also be frozen. 

*These toppers were made with a 50:50 mix of modelling chocolate and fondant kneaded together. 

And, there you have it  :o)

Have a great week! 


Friday, 10 October 2014

Paris Cookies - Ooh, La La!

Did I  tell you about our trip to Paris last year? Well, it was more like a trip through Paris; a brief sojourn between EuroDisney and the Alps.
After a hot morning of dragging baggage and babes through confusing Metro stations and up and down confounding stairs, we checked into a our pit-stop (a small but elegant hotel room). Then set off into the Paris of popular-imagery.
In one afternoon we managed the Eiffel Tower, a trip along the Seine, a walk and ice-cream in the Tuileries Gardens and dinner in a sidewalk café (served by a bow-tie wearing waiter, of course).
What more could you ask for? Um...well, visiting the Louvre and Notre Dame; shopping along the Champs Elysées,  sampling macarons from Pierre Hermé ... perhaps?
But there's only so much that you can do with kids-in-tow in a few hours, even if the sun only sets at 10pm. And so there are just more reasons to return there one day ;)

Here's a glimpse of my Paris-inspired cookies....
(inspired by Paris, but also cookie artists: Sweet Face Cookies, Sugar Bliss Cookies, Arty McGoo, and Cookie Crumbs).

And here are a few work-in-progress shots of one of the cookies, which for some reason I think of as  "Moulin Rouge":

Draw design onto cookie first (I use a graphite pencil, but you can use an edible marker if you prefer).
If you're battling to draw the swags, make a mark at the lowest point of the central swag - keep it in line with the central point of the cookie. Make marks at the highest point of each swag, and marks at the lowest points. Then join the dots : )

Make the cookie look symmetrical by keeping the central black stripe in line with the central point of the cookie (where the plaque peaks outwards).

Outline swags.
Outline stripes (done with outline consistency royal icing and an Ateco 00 nozzle)
 Flood with flooding consistency black icing.

Leave to dry, then flood white stripes.

Leave to dry, then flood pink swags.

Once again, leave to dry before adding finishing details:- white on black stripes, dots, and small fleur de lis flourishes.

I like that one, but I just can't get enough of the pink with black dots... and the black with pink dots...

Ooh, la la!

À bientôt!


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Roses Cake

Ah, Sundays...
Fantasy: A day to sleep in; read the paper; take leisurely drives, and long lunches.
Reality: Get woken up at 5am; harassed to read "Dorothy and Toto"; rush through the shops, and spend hours making meals and snacks and cleaning up afterwards .
So, I have mixed feelings about Sundays. Sometimes, Monday comes as a relief!

But while I might not have had time to smell the roses today, I did manage to make some...

I'm not usually enthused by the idea of making roses, but once I start I get a little carried away.
Everyone has their own preference of which paste to use, but I like a 50:50 mix of tylose paste and fondant to make these flowers. It works beautifully for the task.
You'll find the tylose paste recipe here.
 And a few dozen rose tutorials on YouTube - watch many, try a few and find what works for you : )

Happy creating!


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Icing and Strawberry Reduction

Well, what do you know - it's Sunday, and here's a recipe! But it's sort-of only half a recipe ... It's just  icing. And a strawberry reduction. So actually, its a recipe and a half. Bonus!

You can use the strawberry reduction on its own in or over cheesecake,  ice-cream, or any number of deserts.
Mixed into the icing (recipe below) pair it with vanilla or chocolate cupcakes (or vanilla/ chocolate marbled cupcakes) or even use it as their hidden centre; or as a fill for macarons...
 Too many choices for my end-of-term brain, so you choose, ok?!

I'm calling it Strawberry Cheesecake Icing even though it isn't, strictly speaking, cheesecake, but that just sounds better than "cream cheese icing with strawberry reduction", doesn't it?

Strawberry Cheesecake Icing:

Strawberry Reduction:
250g ripe strawberries (approx 12-15 strawberries)
(2 tbs white sugar*)

*Omit the sugar if using the reduction in the icing as below, but include it if you're going  to use the reduction on its own.

Puree the strawberries using a blender or food processor.
Simmer in a saucepan until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste.
Refrigerate to cool it before using in the icing.
(May also be frozen for longer storage).

100g butter
85-100g icing sugar (depending on how sweet you like it).
250g cream cheese (use the dense kind, like Lancewood / Philadelphia/ Woolworths low fat cream cheese) 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry reduction

Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Beat in the cream cheese and vanilla - don't over-beat.
Fold in the strawberry reduction.
Pipe onto, or into cooled cupcakes or between macaron shells.

Have a sweet week : )


Monday, 22 September 2014

Frangipani Cake

Can we just ignore the fact that as far as these pages go, last week didn't happen?
It was such a bleucgh week for me. (You won't find a definition for that word in any dictionary, but it describes the paler shade of green that I was feeling). Some inconsiderate virus didn't give any due to the fact that I HAD THINGS TO DO! and made me want to curl up under my duvet instead.
But I plodded through the week, and managed to get through everything that needed to be done - except post anything here... oops!

One of the challenges was this 21st cake:
What was I thinking?! Stripes in 40'C heat and with a zombie-brain.

And I had the idea of doing a frangipani ball for the top of the cake.
Well, frangipani's are easy enough to make. But I needed to wire them to attach to the central ball of polystyrene. They're not the easiest flowers to wire.
This is what I did: Made the flower, snipped off the twist at the base and stuck in the wire. Easy. Yeah, right. And then there's the matter of arranging them in a ball.
What was I thinking?!

It all kind-of came together in the end. And now, a few days later, I can say "It was a good learning experience"! I'll do things a little differently next time; but that's what experience is for. And to give you grey hairs! 

Here's a link to a frangipani tutorial: 

Happy creating!


Monday, 8 September 2014

Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Blondies

I was thinking of making Sunday officially recipe / sharing day, but the tag-end of the weekend often passes in such a slump, that I don't want to make any promises I can't keep... And seeing as I'm writing this on a Monday, that's probably an accurate assessment!
So, I'll work on a Sunday/Monday deal, instead - ok?!
This recipe was inspired by Sheldene. She asked if a blondies recipe would work if it had quantities of ingredients similar to this date and nut brownies recipe.
I guess it does, Sheldene ;)
Thank you for the inspiration!

Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Blondies
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Grease and line a brownie baking pan.

400g white chocolate, broken into small even-sized pieces
50g butter
80g flour
100g dried cranberries
100g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
100g caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate and butter together.
Set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy.
Pour the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until incorporated.

Sift in the dry ingredients. Mix briefly.
Fold in the cranberries and nuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared brownie pan and bake at 180'C for approx 40min - a skewer inserted into the centre of brownies should come out with sticky crumbs stuck to it.

Remove from the oven and cool. Cut into squares and dust with icing sugar.



Saturday, 6 September 2014

Vintage White Cupcakes

This year has been colour-FULL!
I don't know what I was thinking. I certainly wasn't thinking about all the fondant that I'd have to colour black, navy blue, red, and cerise pink when I scheduled the past few months' class themes.
(I've been tempted to take pictures of my stained hands along the way, but there's nothing picturesque about them in that state!)
So, it was with great relief that I prepared for this class:
Vintage Cupcakes "A Whiter Shade of Pale". White and off-white. Only!

This very neutral shade is created with ivory and a drop of black.
Be very conservative with the black: otherwise the colour will go from neutral to dead.... Oops!

If you'd like to see a tutorial on making a two-tone fondant cameo see here :

Happy decorating!