Sunday, 28 September 2014

Strawberry Cheesecake Icing and Strawberry Reduction

Well, what do you know - it's Sunday, and here's a recipe! But it's sort-of only half a recipe ... It's just  icing. And a strawberry reduction. So actually, its a recipe and a half. Bonus!

You can use the strawberry reduction on its own in or over cheesecake,  ice-cream, or any number of deserts.
Mixed into the icing (recipe below) pair it with vanilla or chocolate cupcakes (or vanilla/ chocolate marbled cupcakes) or even use it as their hidden centre; or as a fill for macarons...
 Too many choices for my end-of-term brain, so you choose, ok?!

I'm calling it Strawberry Cheesecake Icing even though it isn't, strictly speaking, cheesecake, but that just sounds better than "cream cheese icing with strawberry reduction", doesn't it?

Strawberry Cheesecake Icing:

Strawberry Reduction:
250g ripe strawberries (approx 12-15 strawberries)
(2 tbs white sugar*)

*Omit the sugar if using the reduction in the icing as below, but include it if you're going  to use the reduction on its own.

Puree the strawberries using a blender or food processor.
Simmer in a saucepan until reduced to the consistency of tomato paste.
Refrigerate to cool it before using in the icing.
(May also be frozen for longer storage).

100g butter
85-100g icing sugar (depending on how sweet you like it).
250g cream cheese (use the dense kind, like Lancewood / Philadelphia/ Woolworths low fat cream cheese) 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry reduction

Beat the butter until soft and creamy. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
Beat in the cream cheese and vanilla - don't over-beat.
Fold in the strawberry reduction.
Pipe onto, or into cooled cupcakes or between macaron shells.

Have a sweet week : )


Monday, 22 September 2014

Frangipani Cake

Can we just ignore the fact that as far as these pages go, last week didn't happen?
It was such a bleucgh week for me. (You won't find a definition for that word in any dictionary, but it describes the paler shade of green that I was feeling). Some inconsiderate virus didn't give any due to the fact that I HAD THINGS TO DO! and made me want to curl up under my duvet instead.
But I plodded through the week, and managed to get through everything that needed to be done - except post anything here... oops!

One of the challenges was this 21st cake:
What was I thinking?! Stripes in 40'C heat and with a zombie-brain.

And I had the idea of doing a frangipani ball for the top of the cake.
Well, frangipani's are easy enough to make. But I needed to wire them to attach to the central ball of polystyrene. They're not the easiest flowers to wire.
This is what I did: Made the flower, snipped off the twist at the base and stuck in the wire. Easy. Yeah, right. And then there's the matter of arranging them in a ball.
What was I thinking?!

It all kind-of came together in the end. And now, a few days later, I can say "It was a good learning experience"! I'll do things a little differently next time; but that's what experience is for. And to give you grey hairs! 

Here's a link to a frangipani tutorial: 

Happy creating!


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!