Sunday, 19 March 2017

Flamingo Cookies

It's only twice a year that I make multiples of a cookie design (for each of my children's parties), and every time I do, I'm grateful that its only about 25 of them. I don't know how bakers/ decorators make dozens and dozens of a particular cookie and still maintain their creative passion (and not develop a serious case of the cookie-crazies!)




So when I do make multiples, I try to come up with ways to make it as easy as possible.
Like keeping the design and colour palette simple, using royal icing transfers, or a using a template like I did with this design.





 It looks like multiple steps (and it is!) but the guess work and fiddle-factor is taken out of it by having an outline to follow. The background icing (green and airbrushed gold dots) were done on one day, and the flamingos the next.  No cookie-craziness required!


 ... Well, no more than usual!


Happy decorating!

xxM





Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Flamingo & Watermelon Birthday Party

By now you probably know that we (meaning my daughter) plan our parties way in advance.
Pretty much as soon as this years balloons are being taken down, ideas for next year's bash are being suggested.
This one was supposed to be a Woodlands theme. (I love a woodlands theme!) With horses. (Not so much...)
But then she decided that she wanted a foam slide instead, and so we had to think of something summery to go with it. (She's like her mom in that way... everything must be theme-appropriate.)
 I suggested watermelons or flamingos.
So of course Sabrina chose watermelons and flamingos.




See the token flamingo on the top of the cake?  (It was hand drawn onto a  CMC/ tylose paste cut-out.)

And then pretty much watermelon-everything-else....



I loved working with this colour combination. I felt the same of her party last year. But this combination of green, white and pink is particularly fresh and refreshing. 
And fortunately the weather played along. 



Oh, look - there were more flamingos!
Those are supawood cut-outs from Everything Laser.
But I did paint them myself! 😅

Actually I made flamingo cookies too, as party favours. But more about those in another post.

Happy end-of-summer-decorating!

xxM

Friday, 3 March 2017

Vintage Tea Party Cupcakes: Mini-Macarons Tutorial

So we had a Vintage Tea Party themed cupcake class. And you can't have a tea party theme without a tea party. Which means pretty cake stands brimming with cake and cupcakes... and macarons. 

I dusted off my nerves and made some macarons again (you know I have a love-hate relationship with these confounding confections!) 
And, actually, they didn't turn out badly. Yay me! 😅



Let me introduce you to the easiest macarons you'll ever make, though.

They are oh-so-simple. And cute.
And not real.
But you can eat them....






Here's how to create this pretty platter of miniature sugar paste macarons...



Miniature Sugar Paste Macarons Tutorial:

For the platter: 
The edge of the platter is made in a mould, using grey modelling chocolate/ fondant/ tylose paste blend. 



Roll out your grey paste and cut out the base of the platter using a small circle/ scalloped cutter. 
Allow to dry. 

Dust with silver luster


Stick edging and base together with edible glue


Now for the macarons: 
Use a small circle cutter to cut out small rounds of paste - two in the same colour and slightly thicker than a third in a different colour.  


Use a cocktail stick or the sharp point of a frilling tool to gently create the foot of the macaron... it's just a bit of texturing along one edge of the paste. I hold the small disc of paste gently between thumb and index finger and score the edge, pushing it outwards slightly at the same time to create a tiny frill. 



Sandwich together with edible glue. 


Assemble on the platter 

When dry, place onto a disc of fondant on top of a pretty swirl of icing. 


So easy!
Have you tried making the real things yet? Let me know if you have, and how they turned out - I love hearing macaron success (and horror) stories!


You can see the macarons that I made for the tea party here . 

Happy baking!

xxM 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Ateco 852 Icing Tip

We've all got our favourites, right?
 Favourite flavour,  favourite icing,  favourite colour,  favourite child... just kidding! (...most of the time, anyway 😜)

And this is my favourite piping tip - the Ateco 852



If you have access to the Wilton range, you probably use a 1M or a 2D tip to create beautiful rosettes of icing. Locally, though, Ateco is the quality brand to choose, and the 852 nozzle is the one I'd recommend most. 


 It's a closed (the tines curl inwards) star tip. And because its tines are cut more deeply than the other closed star tips, it creates that beautiful ruffled icing/ rosette effect. 


Because it's a medium-sized large tip (as opposed to jumbo) it doesn't smother your cupcake with too much icing, and is a great choice for covering a lot of cupcakes without having to make huge batches of icing. 


So pretty, right? See - it's ok to have favourites! 

Happy decorating! 

xxM 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Puppy Love Valentines Cookies

 Did you notice that I used my cookie-colour of 2017 in the "Puppy Love" class?!
A brown and white puppy would still have been cute, of course ... but a taupe and white puppy...😍




I nearly didn't do this as a Valentines theme. I had something else in mind, and a pet-themed class was on the cards for later. But with doing fewer classes, it's getting hard to fit in all the themes.
So an amalgamation of Valentines and pets happened. And I think it works, don't you? There's nothing quite like the uncomplicated love of a pet, right? What a great way to celebrate Valentines Day.




Plus it's an option for the single people out there who don't necessarily want to decorate typical V-Day cookies. (I love you, crazy cat ladies!)




 Here's a look at the progression of Patch, the taupe and white puppy: 


(Thank you Lauri from Treat Boutique for the cutest puppy cutter!) 


A best friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself...




Happy Valentines Day!

xxM

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Watermelon Effect No-Churn Ice-Cream

Do you ever have those days that never seem to get lift-off? You're  stuck taxiing on the runway... behind a learner driver?
The latter part of that analogy came to mind because in the course of my 5 (yes, count them: f-i-v-e!) trips up and down our road on Thursday morning, one was spent caught behind a pay-loader, one behind a learner driver and another behind what must have been an octogenarian resident of the local retirement village. I'm generally very patient with learner drivers and octogenarians behind the wheel (we've all been there or are headed there, afterall) but not when it's my third trip to the paint shop in the space of two hours!



I had so much more intended for that time than what I landed up doing with it. Paint shop. Drive. Paint shop. Repeat. Grr!

One of my intentions was to make this watermelon effect ice-cream.
My awesomely creative friend, @bridgethcs,  posted a pic of her no-churn ice-cream on Instagram, and I couldn't wait to try it.
The flavour possibilities are myriad. But I had this summer-inspired watermelon-look in mind that I just had to make!

Thankfully, it is such a simple recipe that I managed to make it despite Thursday's time challenges.
(Its simplicity is the whole point of the introduction to this post, in case you were wondering what that rant was all about!)




The flavour layers are raspberry, vanilla and kiwi fruit. My family wasn't wild about the kiwi, but I like its slight pepperiness in combination with the sweetness of the ice-cream. (And the speckle it adds.) But if you'd like to substitute mint, or another flavour instead, go for it!



No-Churn Ice-Cream: Watermelon Effect
Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com 
Styling inspired by @bridgethcs 

Ingredients:
370g (1 tin) sweetened condensed milk
500ml (2 cups) whipping cream, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

150g puréed raspberries + pink food colouring
100g chocolate chips
100g puréed kiwi fruit + green food coloring

Popsicle sticks

Method:
Mix together the condensed milk, salt and vanilla extract.

In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff.

Fold a cupful of the whipped cream into the condensed milk. Mix until combined.
Pour this lightened mixture into the rest of the whipped cream. Fold until well combined.

Remove approx. 300ml of the above mixture for the green layer.
Add the kiwi fruit puree and green food colouring to this portion.

Set aside approx. 180ml for the white layer.

Into the remaining mixture (this should be the largest volume), fold the raspberry purée. Add pink food colouring if a deeper pink is required. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread the pink layer into the bottom of a silicone loaf pan.
If it is very soft, put it in the freezer to set slightly.

Follow with the white layer. Repeat freezer time if necessary.

Spread on the final (green) layer.

If it is firm enough to support the popsicle sticks, place them in the ice-cream now.
Otherwise freeze until firm enough before putting them in place.


Freeze for 4-5 hours or until set before removing from the silicone loaf pan, and slicing into individual ice-cream lollies. 

Here's a link to @bridgethcs's Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/bridgethcs/,
and here's the original recipe from foodnetwork.com if you'd like to see their flavour suggestions.

Enjoy!

xxM

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Unicorn Topper and a Photography Cheat

This was my first modelled creation for 2017.  I posted her on Instagram (@tea_cake_and_create), with the caption  Lots of unicorns around at the moment - it must mean it's going to be a magical year. 
Let's hope so!!
You've got to leave room in your life for a little magic, right?


Talking about magic - what do you think of the bokeh in these pictures (that's a fancy term for the out-of-focus lights in the background of a photo)?
You can achieve it by using a decent camera to take a picture with a small f-stop (large aperture) - so that the background gets blurred.



Or you can do what I did and print out an A4 picture of bokeh and stick that behind your cake...
hashtag photography_cheats101!
 ;o)

One of these days I'll to get around to ordering a larger-sized real photography backdrop.
But until then, with some angling and cropping - my home printer and colour cartridge is all I need to create a bit of background magic.

Happy decorating and photographing!
xxM