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!


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Black Forest Cupcakes

Not that anyone is counting (well, I'm not - are you?), but I realise that it has been a while since I posted a new cupcake recipe. I got seduced away by the glamour of big cakes.
 But then I began to miss the elegant simplicity of The Cupcake.
I often struggle to photograph slices of cake. Cupcakes are simpler. It's easier to find perfection in their compact composition. Cupcake. Icing. Sprinkles.

But after all that talk about simplicity, here I am with a relatively complex creation:
Black Forest Cupcakes. Complex but not complicated.
There are several steps involved. Each one adds a layer of deliciousness to the creation. Don't skip a step. Savour each one. I especially like the jam. I should have photographed the jam. I didn't. You can see some of it peeking out under the cream, though. It's good jam ; )  

Black Forest Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Australian Woman's Weekly

Preheat the oven to 170'C
Line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.

425g can good quality pitted black cherries in syrup
165g butter
150g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
185g caster sugar
60 ml Kirsch (cherry brandy) / sherry
1 large egg
175g cake flour
20g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Drain cherries, reserve the syrup.
In a food processor, purée 120 g cherries with 125ml (1/2 cup) syrup.
Reserve the remaining syrup and cherries four the jam.

Place the purée in a small sauce saucepan, together with the chocolate, sugar, butter and sherry.
Heat gently until the chocolate has melted. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Leave to cool for 15min.
Whisk in the egg.
Sift in the dry ingredients and mix briefly until incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake cases.
Bake at 170'C for approx 25 minutes.

Cherry "Jam"

Remaining cherries - roughly chopped
Remaining syrup
2 tbs water
1 1/2 tbs corn flour
100g caster sugar
2 tbs Kirsch /sherry

Roughly chop the remaining cherries.
Mix the water and cornstarch together. Mix this together with the sugar, syrup and sherry and heat in a small saucepan. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens.
Add the cherries and simmer for a few minutes.
Allow to cool. Spoon onto the top of the cupcakes.

Whipped cream

250ml (1 cup) whipping cream
2 tbs icing sugar

Chill the mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Sift the icing sugar into the cream and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until stiff.

Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.

Chocolate shards

Use a vegetable peeler to shave shards of chocolate off a slab of dark chocolate.
Sprinkle over the whipped cream-topped cupcake.

Cupcake. Icing. Sprinkles. Enjoy. 


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Raindrops and Rainbow Cookies

When I scheduled the "Raindrops and Rainbows" cookie classes, I thought I'd jumped the gun: it didn't look like the winter drought was anywhere near releasing it's hold on us. But on the very day of the first class, the spring rains arrived. What a co-incidence, huh?! On the one hand I was relieved that my theme wasn't completely seasonally in-appropriate (because these things matter to me!),  on the other it heralds the start of the challenges that spring brings. But at least there will be rainbows!

I knew from months before, that there had to be ducks in the cookie round-up. I couldn't quite connect the dots, though. Ducks and rainy days? It's the puddles, right?

So, to tie up the loose ends, I felt compelled to make a duck-in-a-puddle cookie. 
This is how: 

(And one with the cloud flipped over, because I thought that may be a more pleasing shape...

                                                                                                        ... which do you think is better?)

 For the cookie recipe I use go here;
and for the royal icing recipe and tips on icing techniques go here.   

Happy baking and decorating! 


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Choc-Cherry Brownies

Chocolate can be a real brat! (Another B word would also be appropriate here).
Talk about moody and temperamental.
Just the other day, we'd been getting along fine - and then it decided to have a major sulk, and sat in a huff in the bottom of the bowl, oozing disdain.

So, what to do with sulking chocolate? Brownies.
Brownies are always happy. Brownies make the world a better place.

Just take the seized chocolate (because, yes - that's what I'm anthropomorphizing here!)
and ignore the fact that is all huffy; continue as normal....

Choc-Cherry Brownies
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

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

400g chocolate - broken into small even-sized pieces 
50g butter
80g flour
100g glace' cherries, roughly chopped
100g flaked almonds
100g caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp vanilla extract

Melt chocolate and butter together (use a double boiler or the microwave on low power.)
Set aside to cool. 

Beat the eggs and sugar together 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 cherries and flaked almonds. 

Pour the batter into the prepared brownie pan and bake at 180'C for approx 35 - 40min - a skewer inserted into the centre of the brownies should come out with sticky crumbs stuck to it. 

Allow to cool in the pan before removing and cutting into squares.

Chocolate seized? Celebrate with brownies!
; )


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Punk Rock Cupcakes

There is no such thing as "too many cutters". You need them. You need a lot. And you need mini cutters, too. Just saying :) 
And I'm not trying to justify the fact that I've got more than I can count. I need them! 

So, these were the Punk Rock Cupcakes we did last month. 
When I set the theme, I only had a vague idea of what I was going to do; I knew there'd be animal print, and painting on fondant, but beyond that it was all still a bit hazy. 
Thankfully my friend Lauri from Treat Boutique helped out with the mini electric guitar and skull-and-crossbones cutters, and the rest came together pretty punkishly : )

This is how an array of mini cutters came in handy:
The construction (or deconstruction!) of a skull-and-crossbones topper. 

Mini egg cutter
Mini fluted circle cutter
Heart plunger cutter
Skull-and-crossbones cutter

To make:

Punk Rock Cupcakes

Have a sweet week : )


Saturday, 9 August 2014

Dress-on-Mannequin Cake

 I don't make cakes that I have to carve as a rule. But sometimes rules just have to be broken!

I had the idea of this cake in mind for my sister's birthday, and I tried to convince myself to make the dress and mannequin as a topper instead, but couldn't let myself get away with the cop-out.
So, after a restless night filled with cake-dreams, I took the plunge.

There are no work-in-progress shots, because I didn't actually think I'd pull it off!

The mannequin is black fondant mixed with modelling chocolate. The cake is under the skirt.
I used my white chocolate cupcake recipe for the cake - it baked 4 x  5 inch (12.5cm) layers. Which I then whittled down to 10cm base. I carved the cake after it had been chilled, and it was a pleasantly pain-free process(apart from nicking my thumb with my new ultra-sharp serrated knife!)

The trickiest part was dressing the bust - next project sewing classes!

Happy Women's Day!