Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Lemon and Granadilla Swiss Roll

Simpler. That's the way I'm keeping things this year. Well, as far as possible for the first few months at least!  
The noise of 2015 is still ringing in my head (visualise said head being struck like a gong, and then you've got the picture...!).   

To that end, I'm looking for treats and eats that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. 
Something like the  3 ingredient peanut butter biscuits that I posted recently. Or this chocolate cake recipe ( it's a great cupcake recipe, too.) 
So, there I was, about to make those again last week for tea. But it turns out that if I make the same thing too often I lose the will to bake (good thing I don't run a bakery!) And tea was close to being some macarons pulled out of the freezer, instead.   
Then I remembered how simple a swiss roll is to make (really, it is). And as an added bonus, I had some swiss meringue buttercream in the freezer that once thawed, would be perfect for my plan!  

Lemon and Granadilla Swiss Roll 

Recipe adapted from Fay Lewis, "From My Oven "

Pre-heat the oven to 180'C
Line a  38x26cm baking tray with baking paper/ a silicone baking mat

4 jumbo eggs, separated
125g caster sugar + extra for sprinkling
125g cake flour, sifted
5ml baking powder
30ml milk, heated
2 tsp grated lemon rind (optional)

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks begin to form.
With the mixer still running, slowly add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Continue whipping the egg whites until stiff.
Whisk in the egg yolks.
With the mixer on low speed, add half the sifted flour and baking powder, followed by the milk and then the remainder of the flour and lemon zest, if using.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking tray, and bake for 8-10 minutes; the surface of the sponge should be a light  golden colour.

While the swiss roll is baking, cut a sheet of baking paper slightly larger than the baking tray that you've used, and sprinkle with caster sugar.
Once it's out the oven, trim the edges off the swiss roll (about 1/2 cm). This makes it neater, and easier to roll.
Invert the swiss roll onto the baking paper while it is still warm, and peel off the paper lining / silicone that it was baked on.
Working away from you, carefully roll the swiss roll up with the fresh sheet of baking paper inside of it.
Cover with the a tea towel, and leave to cool rolled up.

Unroll; then spread your chosen filling over the cake, before again rolling it up.
Sprinkle the surface with caster sugar.

Filling suggestions...
Swiss meringue buttercream  - use your favourite SMB recipe, and add a tablespoon of lemon curd and some granadilla pulp like I did for this swiss roll.
cream cheese icing 
Whipped cream with jam or fresh berries
or... simply just jam!

Happy baking!


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mermaid Tales and Scales

It's been nearly a year since I was planning this mermaid themed party.
I was asked the other day if my children appreciate what I do for their parties.... Um, possibly not.

When I made this demo for the mermaid class, my daughter took one look at her and proclaimed "Oh, you should have done that for my party!"
Does that mean you weren't happy with the one I did make for you??!!   I didn't bother to ask.
You've got to be thick-skinned to be a parent!

Anyway, here's a quick tip:
If you need to make scale impressions on your mermaid's tail, you may find that the scalloped tool in you set of modeling tools is a little too large, and not sharp-edged enough to give a good result.
So, take a plastic drinking straw and snip off a wedge lengthways, and use the remaining crescent edge to create your imprints.

And don't forget to lustre that tail  when you're done scaling! 

Happy decorating!


Friday, 22 January 2016

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Sometimes you just get that need for something peanut butter, don't you?! And a spoonful from the jar just won't cut it. Some scooped up on an apple wedge might; but why settle for that when you can take it up a sweet-crunchy-peanut-buttery notch with something like these cookies...

You can literally make them (from the time you get that peanut butter urge, until the time they're done) in 15 minutes.  15 minutes! Three minutes to assemble and mix the ingredients and 12 minutes to bake. Really - give it a try...
Ready, set, go!

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies (makes 15-18) 

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking sheet

250g peanut butter (choose the no sugar added variety)
120g light brown sugar
1 XL egg

(You can throw in a handful of choc-chips or nuts if you'd like to; half a cupful will do.)

Mix all the ingredients together.
Place spoonfuls of the batter onto the baking tray.
Press down with a fork.
Bake at 180'C for 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool before removing from the baking tray.

Dang! I forgot to include cooling time in that 15 minute timeframe. But it's essential: these cookies are very soft and crumbly when they come out the oven, but crisp up once cooled. Be patient. Wait. Ok, now ...


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Whimsical Sugarpaste Snail

Here's a little mid-week whimsy for you... 


I saw a snail like this made out of clay a while ago (the original artist is "JooJoo" / Afsaneh Tajvidi), and I was completely charmed by it. So, it's been on my fondant modeling to-do list since then. 
(There's also a baking to-do list; a sewing to-do list; a reading to-do list; a house ... ok, you get the picture..!).

But while this little creature suggested "spring-project" to me,  I didn't get around to making it until now.... because mid-summer is such a great time to be voluntarily working with modelling chocolate, right? (insert rolling eyes emoji here!) 
Finally though, we've had a balmy break from the 40'C days, and here she is, with a few work in progress shots...

Materials used -
Dusting powder - green, pink
Food doodlers - black, pink

(If you want to see Afsaneh Tajvidi's original clay work, visit www.joojoo.me)

Happy decorating!


Monday, 4 January 2016

Apple Pastry

Hello 2016! How's it going for you so far?
To be honest, this is not my favourite month of the year. If the calendar was to be down-sized (budget cuts, falling Rand value, etc)  I'd vote for January to be axed first...
But I suspect it's probably here to stay, so we just have to put on our big-girl panties and get on with things.

But let's just ease our way into things, shall we...?

Here's a delicious, easy-peasey apple pastry idea. Easy because it uses store-bought puff pastry and just a handful of other ingredients from your pantry.
 Braiding the pastry is a little more complex, but I've included a link to a video clip that shows you  how easy that part actually is, too. You can do it!

Apple Pastry
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

Pre-heat the oven to 200'C


4 medium apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup mixed raisins and sultanas
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs butter
1tsp cinnamon
1 tbs water

Place all the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan, and simmer on low heat until the apple pieces are just tender.
Allow to cool completely.


1 roll of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water (egg wash)

Place the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface, and roll it out to a thickness of approx. 4mm.

Trim off the edges to leave a neat rectangle of pastry.

Place a piece of baking parchment underneath the pastry before you continue.

1.Use a knife or pastry wheel to gently score the rectangle into thirds (length-ways). Don't cut through the pastry - it's just to give you an idea of where to make your cuts and place the filling.

2.Slice off the two top corners of the pastry and notch the bottom.

3. Slice 3cm wide parallel strips of pastry down each side of the rectangle (in the two outside thirds). These should be at approx. 45 deg angles.

4. Spoon the filling into the middle third of the pastry.

5. Fold a 1cm flap over the filling at the top of the pastry, and  fold over the flap at the bottom.
    Fold the strips of pastry over the centre filling - alternating sides. to create a braided appearance.  
    (watch this clip to see it professionally done - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd3PMaMt4j4)

6. Brush the surface of the pastry with the egg wash (a whole egg whisked with 1 tsp water).

Use the baking parchment to lift the pastry onto an oven tray and bake at  200'C for 15min.
Rotate the baking tray, then bake for another 10min. at 180'C or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven. Cool. Dust with icing sugar.
It's great on it's own, or you can serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Wishing you all the very best for 2016!


Thursday, 24 December 2015

Santa Cupcake Toppers

I think I've finally been hit by the festive spirit! Christmas cheer is here!  Ho Ho Ho!
It's been particularly tardy in arriving this year. Maybe because I had to do my shopping so late. (My usual plan is to get it all done before the school holidays start, which just wasn't possible in these busy last few months.) And when you go to the mall this close to Christmas, forget being hit by festive spirit, you get assaulted by it... (There's not a lot of peace and goodwill in the parking lots as people fight for that last empty space!)
But here we are, with just a few hours to go - and I feel like I can finally relax into the occasion.

So here's my gift to you: an easy Santa cupcake topper tutorial....

Santa Cupcake Toppers:

What you'll need:   
  • Sugarpaste in red, white, flesh and black (this is a fondant/ modelling chocolate blend) 
  • Round and scalloped cutters
  • Small roller
  • Edible glue and brush
  • Dresden tool, bone tool
  • Small palette knife
  • Edible powder colour pink and brush
  • Cornflour for dusting your work surface
Cut out a circle of flesh-coloured paste using the plain round cutter (use the smaller of the two). This is the face. 

Cut out a circle of white paste using the larger scalloped cutter . 
Cut away a segment of white paste using the smaller plain cutter. 
This is the beard. 

 Use two small balls of white paste to create the moustache 

Roll them into tear drop shapes

Make a nose, eyes and eyebrows 

Cut out a circle of red paste for the hat

Cut off the excess

Add a strip of white paste

Add the tassel of the hat

and a pom pom...

Use the edible glue to put all the pieces together

Make an impression for the eyes, add creases

Assemble the rest of the face and add some pink "blush" to Santa's nose. 


Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Purple and White Wedding Cake

Did I mention that in the midst of Christmas classes (620 cookies, 200 cupcakes); work (lots and lots of work); school functions, and end-of-year events, I also had a wedding cake to make?
No big deal really - just a three tier cake and cakes for the mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom (as is done for Zulu weddings) that I had one afternoon to rustle up!
 Princess, who works for me, had asked me to make her wedding cake - and I couldn't very well refuse! She's such a sweetheart, and does so much for us - always with a big smile.
 But I literally dashed home from the hospital on the only day that I had a gap to make it and worked for 9 hours to get it done. Haibo! 

Thankfully it was all vanilla sponge. Her colours were purple and white.
The bottom tier was covered in buttercream rosettes, and the top two with fondant and edible lace.

If you've battled with lace before, try this homemade recipe... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVLgSfe92jY  It's not as liquid as the pre-mixes, but works really well in all weather conditions - which is important right now in this misty cloud we're living in!

The great thing about edible lace is that you can make it in advance, and store until needed. I hadn't made it in advance (of course not - why make life easier for myself?!)  
But if you use the recipe above, you can have lace ready in a matter of minutes.

All in a day's work  ;o)

Happy decorating!