Monday, 31 March 2014

Nougat Cheesecake

There's a hint of Autumn in the air, and I confess - I'm glad!
 My oven has been doing double duty these past few months, shifting between baking and acting as a "drying cupboard". Last week I was juggling between baking with it, using it to store fondant decorations, dry iced cookies, and keep cake lace away from the humidity. And then I threw this cheesecake into the mix - needing a longish baking time, and cooling time in the oven - on a particularly humid day…and oh, boy! The stress! Ok, not really. No lives were lost. Just a batch of cake lace. No biggie. 

So, the cheesecake: 

Nougat Chunk Cheesecake
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

Grease and line an 18cm square cake pan or a 29cm round springform pan.

300g finely crushed biscuits - digestives, Marie biscuits, etc.
120g melted butter
100g chopped macadamia nuts or flaked almonds

Mix all the ingredients together and press into the base of the prepared tin.
Cover with cling wrap and place in the freezer for 30min.

Preheat the oven to 160'C

2x 250g tubs cream cheese at room temp.
160g caster sugar
250ml fresh cream (35-40% fat content)
4 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
200g nougat, cut into small chunks.

 Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth.
Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well in between additions.
Beat in the cream and vanilla extract.

Pour into the chilled base. Drop the chunks of nougat into the batter.

Bake in a water bath at 160'C for 60-70 minutes, or until just the centre of the cheesecake jiggles when gently shaken.
 Leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.

Once cooled, refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Happy autumn!


Monday, 24 March 2014

Rainbow Icing

So, I may have mentioned it before: I can become a little fixated on a theme.
Fondant rainbow, rainbow decorations, rainbow cookies, rainbow jelly, rainbow candy, rainbow party favors and of course rainbow cupcakes - which is what I'll share with you now.
The one thing I didn't do was rainbow layers for the cake. I just can't bring myself to put that many "e-numbers" into children's tummies. So, I went with chocolate mud-cake instead. Much healthier!!

; )

Any-hoo... This is the way I do multi-tone / rainbow icing swirls:

Smooth a dollop of icing onto a strip of cling wrap.

Roll the icing up into a sausage.

Just pretend that this icing is blue and the same as the one above and that I didn't forget to take a picture of that step with the blue icing….ok?!

Repeat with the other colours.

Place the "sausages" together and feed the twisted ends of the cling-wrap through the icing nozzle.
It can be tricky to do this with a closed star piping tip if it is already in a piping bag, so pull all the twists through the nozzle,

then put the nozzle and sausages into an piping bag.

Snip the twists off, then withdraw the sausages slightly so that the cling wrap is no longer in the tip of the nozzle.
Squeeze the bag until all three colours come out together, then ice the cupcakes.

So, it takes a little prep, but it's a really simple and neat way to do it. And anything that is neat and clean always a big selling point in the chaos of my kitchen!

Happy decorating!


Friday, 21 March 2014

Rainbow jelly

We've just wrapped up Sabrina's birthday party. All those days and hours of planning and preparation and it's all over in a couple of hours. But that's parties, I guess.

One of the things that took a few days to make were these rainbow jellies:

If you think you have an idea of how to make them, but wonder if there may be a short cut - no, there's no shortcut!
Make the first layer, allow to set in the fridge for 4-6hours, then pour the next colour on top. Repeat.
Very easy - you just need budget enough time for it!

I could stare at those colours for hours - quite mesmerising. Or maybe that's just the post-party fatigue hitting?
I'd better go and  have a nap  clean the kitchen…


Monday, 17 March 2014

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Put a ripe red fruit on top of a swirl of creamy frosting, and what you get is so quintessentially a cupcakes, isn't it? 
I've made quite a number of summer-fruit-inspired cakes these past few months, but haven't shared many (any??), and now it's almost the end of the season. 
So, make this while you can : ) 

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create

Preheat the oven to 160'C
Line 2x muffin trays with cupcake cases (makes 24)

250g cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
300g white chocolate
200g butter
250ml milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla extract

In a saucepan on low heat, melt the butter and chocolate in the milk. Stir until smooth.
Set aside to cool slightly. Then whisk in the vanilla and the eggs.

Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder together in a mixing bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Then beat on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake cases.
Bake at 160'C for 20minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 egg whites
200g caster sugar
250-300g butter, cut into cubes, at room temp.*
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g fresh raspberries - puréed, plus extra for garnishing

Put the egg whites and sugar into a mixing bowl, and place that over a suitable saucepan of simmering water. The bottom of the mixing bowl must not be in contact with the water, and the water should not be boiling.

Whisk constantly, until the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is hot to the touch.

Move off the stove, and to the mixer.
Using the whisk attachment, whip until it forms a thick and glossy meringue.

When the mixing bowl feels neutral to touch (ie, no longer hot), change over to the paddle attachment, and add the butter one cube at a time. (* I stop adding butter when it reaches a consistency stiff enough to pipe.)
It may curdle, but just keep whipping until it reaches a satiny smooth consistency.
Then add the vanilla extract and raspberry purée and beat briefly until mixed in.

Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.
Top with a fresh raspberry...


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake

I must have channelled my inner Nigella with this one.
You see, I just had to make something with peanut butter and chocolate (as one does) and conveniently had a number of the chilled ingredients in my fridge, nearing their "use by" date.
Well, to be honest they were approaching their "incinerate"date, but that's the beauty of cultured dairy - it never really goes off, just gets...more interesting.
(Did I really just write that? TMI?)

Anyway, getting back to Nigella - I put this recipe together using what I had on hand, and then had a look at similar cheesecakes to figure out the baking time. That's when I saw how similar mine was to Nigella's; especially the base.

Well, I couldn't unmake it by then, so I decided to take photos anyway and share it with you.
But if you want to go get Nigella's version rather - I won't take offence.  Really! I'm mean it ... it's Nigella!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create (really!)

NB - allow for sufficient chilling time when making a cheesecake.

280g butter biscuits, finely crushed*
100g butter, melted
50g chopped roasted salted peanuts
75g dark chocolate cut into small pieces.

*(use digestive biscuits / Marie biscuits - I use the butter biscuits left over from classes, which I freeze until needed).

Mix all the ingredients together and press into the base of a greased and lined 20-22cm springform pan.
Place in the freezer for 30min.

250g mascarpone
250g cream cheese
150g caster sugar
300g peanut butter
3 eggs
250ml sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, vanilla and sugar together until smooth.
Add the peanut butter, mix well.
Beat in the eggs and sour cream.

Pour onto the chilled based and bake in a water bath* at 170'C for 60-70min or until just the centre of the cheesecake is slightly wobbly.
Allow to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar. Then refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, before spreading on the ganache topping.

*To bake in a water bath:
  wrap foil around the springform tin and place it in a roasting pan with enough water in it to rise 2cm   up the side of the springform pan.


240g dark chocolate - chopped into small even sized pieces.
120ml fresh cream (35-40% fat content)

Melt the chocolate and cream together in a double boiler.
Once most of the chocolate is melted, stir until smooth.
Leave to set until it has an easy spreading consistency.

When the cheesecake has chilled, spread the chocolate ganache on the top and smooth.
Place back into the fridge for 30 min before serving.



Thursday, 6 March 2014

Fun in the Sun Cookies

I'm having one of those days. I have a list of things to work on, but they're all with fondant and it's turning into goop in the humidity. So I gave up. Went shopping, baked brownies, had some chai tea and now I'm talking to you.
 Ah, that's better!

It's been a while since I did a cookie pictorial tutorial, so I took a few snapshots while I was working on the Fun in the Sun cookies earlier this week. I tend to get caught up in the cookie-ing and not the cataloging, though - so you'll notice that there are a couple of gaps. Sorry!

Here's a two-fer - 2 for the price of 1  ; )  

Beach Ball Cookie

Mark out where you want your wedges to go on the cookie (it's helpful to look at images of beach balls when you do this, but if you sketch it incorrectly - no problem, try again; it'll be covered by your icing. Just make sure you know which lines you're following for the final product!)

Pipe the central spot. (Flooding consistency royal icing) Leave it to dry for approx 20min.

Outline non-adjacent wedges

…and flood. Then leave to dry for 20min.

Now, this is where the pictures are a little lacking…
Fill in the other areas, leave to dry for 20min again; then add white lines to define the outline of the wedges.

 Watermelon Slice Cookie

Pretty self explanatory, huh?

Ok, thanks for listening - I really do feel better now : )


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Grey Buttercream Icing

It's a topic I can't keep away from for long: colour - and my lurve of working with it!
Surely, there must be a limit to what I can say on the subject?  You'd think…
But while the number of primary and secondary colours may be limited, all the possibilities of shades and blends out there are probably infinite. (Insert big smiley face here!).
So, these pages may be in for a few more discourses on the subject.
 If it's not your cup of tea (and cake), my apologies; I'll post another recipe soon!

Today let's talk grey.

For our Buttons and Bears themed cupcakes, I chose a blue, grey and yellow colour scheme.

And because we also do buttercream icing techniques in the classes, I made icing in the same colours. Well - I made pale blue and yellow icing; completely baulked at the thought of navy icing, but decided to brave the grey. 

Here's how:

Start with white icing :
- use white margarine (locally it is called "Wooden Spoon" white margarine)
- or substitute some of the butter with vegetable shortening
- or use a touch of purple colouring to neutralise the yellow 

Then add a drop of Sky Blue gel colour, followed by a drop or two of Super Black (depending on how dark a grey you want).
The addition of the blue adds interest to the colour, so that it is more alive than just a flat grey tone.

I use the same combination to colour fondant grey, too.

 (Credit for the design of these cute guys goes to Bake-a-boo Cakes)

So, that's it: behind every grey cupcake there's a blue icing…
; )