Saturday, 16 November 2013

Australia Cake

This was my first ever fondant cake. I made it last year for my friend who was moving to Australia for a year. I spent ages searching Google and Pinterest to come up with ideas and merged them all together to create this little cake. The main cake is the Australian flag (minus two stars) and then there's a boomerang, surfboard and flipflops on the sand (which is just brown sugar). I then printed out a banner and stuck it into the cake with two cake pop sticks. I was so excited with how it turned out, even though the fondant needed some patchwork repairs!!

125g self-raising flour
125g butter, softened
125g golden caster sugar
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a cake tin. Put all ingredients into a bowl and beat until smooth. Poor into lined cake tin and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream
150g unsalted butter, softened

225g icing sugar

2 tbsp hot water

1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add icing sugar and water in two batches. Add vanilla.

You will also need:
Blue fondant
Red fondant
Yellow Fondant
White Fondant
Brown Sugar
Cake Pop Sticks

When the cake has cooled completely, cover it with a thin layer of buttercream. Roll out the blue fondant as thinly as possible and lay over the cake. Pull out the edges as you are smoothing down the sides and trim to fit. Make and add whatever decorations are required!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

After Eight Cupcakes

Have you ever had one of those week where you don't have a moment to yourself? Well that was me this week. After a lovely week off work last week, it was like we had to do two week's work in one! I actually made these cupcakes on Monday (my only free evening of the week) to bring into work on Tuesday to help with the Tuesday Terrors.

These are inspired by my favourite chocolates: After Eights. They're a deliciously light and fluffy chocolate cupcake topped with a mint buttercream and decorated with a triangle of After Eight. I got a little bit excited with the peppermint essence so if you're not a fan of mint, these could taste a bit like toothpaste. But I love them!!

(from Donal Skehan)
175g self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
150g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150 ml sunflower oil
150 ml milk
2 tbsp golden syrup

Pre-heat oven to 180ºC and line a cupcake tin with cases. Sieve the flour, cocoa and bicarb into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the syrup, eggs, oil and milk. Beat well until smooth and fill your cupcake cases. This is runny mixture so only fill your cases halfway up. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Peppermint Buttercream
150g unsalted butter, softened
225g icing sugar
2 tbsp hot water
1-2 tsp peppermint essence
Green food colouring

Beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the icing sugar and hot water in two batches. Add peppermint and colouring. 

You will also need:
After Eights

Spread buttercream over cooled cupcakes. Top with half an After Eight.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Dark Chocolate and Orange Cookies

I've never really been one for making cookies. They just never turn out right for me. They usually spread and I end up with one giant cookie or they get burnt to a crisp. I decided to change this, and who better to help me that Sophie Morris, founder of Kooky Dough

I love Sophie's cookbook and was so excited to try this recipe and, if I do say so myself, they turned out great!! The recipe said it makes 14 big cookies, but I got 36 medium sized ones (which meant 3 batches in and out of the oven). These were a gift for my two close friends' housewarming so I put them in a Kilner Jar  and decorated with some cute 'Home Sweet Home' ribbon I found at my local arts and crafts shop. 

(adapted from Sophie Kooks)
170g butter, softened
55g caster sugar
220g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1 medium egg, beaten
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
180g dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream the butter, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a large bowl, until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the egg until well combined. Mix in the flour, bicarb and salt, until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Drop 6 heaped teaspoons of cookie dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving lots of room between them. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until golden around the edges but still soft in the middle. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.