Somehow my children (3 and 4) have managed to switch the "Voice Over" function on on the Mac, and I have no idea how to switch it off.
So, as I sit here typing this, every letter is being spelt out to me, every mis-spelling mentioned, and every window that opens described - by a staccato voice that only another computer would find pleasant.
I've tried going into the application to find the off switch, but I feel like I have to be sneaky about it - do it behind the computer's back! And now it's reading aloud what I've just written... *gulp!*
That's a healthy dose of paranoia for the morning. Nothing that can't be solved with some cake, though : )
I made this in a hurry for my niece's birthday. I just had a morning to do it. (Thankfully she'd requested an owl cake - not an elaborate princess castle!)
The Owls are made out of chocolate marshmallow fondant and modeling paste - fondant with tylose powder kneaded in. The "official" amount of tylose powder is 5mls per 250g fondant. But I usually do it by feel - adding a little at first, then more if needed.
The cake was 4 layers of vanilla cake - using Nigella's Buttermilk Birthday Cake recipe, with Nutella and white chocolate ganache between layers.
Here's Nigella's delicious Buttermilk Birthday Cake recipe:
(** it makes a really tasty but smallish cake - and I wanted a t-a-l-l one. So, I made two batches to get 4 x 6 inch (15cm) layers. Next time I'll just try double the ingredients - sometimes doubling works, sometimes it doesn't. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!)
Buttermilk Birthday Cake
recipe by Nigella Lawson - How To Be a Domestic Goddess
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 2 TBS buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract (or 8 - 10 drops of Vanilla Girl vanilla)
Pre-heat the oven to 180'C
Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt.
In a measuring jug, measure out the buttermilk and stir in the vanilla extract.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Reduce the speed to low, and add the eggs, one at a time; mix for 30sec between additions.
In alternating increments, add the flour and buttermilk to the mixer, beat between additions.
Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
Pour into the prepared baking tin, and bake for approx 40 minutes. (I separated the batter into 2 x 6inch tins, and baked that for 30 min. )
Cool in tin for 10min, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
(PS...and now, a day later - a simple "cmd F5" has gotten rid of the "man in the machine". Suddenly it's very quiet in here...)