Ramblings of a busy baker

And it's on! Just dozens more to pipe and attach!

And it’s on! Just dozens more to pipe and attach!

 

Well it’s been a long few weeks with plenty of baking, but not a lot of blogging!

I was recently asked to prepare more than a dozen cakes for an open day of a retirement village…My first paid baking job!

So over the last week I have been a busy bee baking and freezing what I can in preparation for the event.

In the meantime I signed up for a cake decorating class at my local community college.
This time it’s advanced!
In preparation for the class I prepared a fruit cake and covered it in ivory fondant with the assistance of my partner.
Check out the pictures below!
I have to say he did very well and was a great help when it came to working the fondant!
My first class was held last week with my teacher deciding to teach me bridgework and later lace with royal icing.
It’s was tough getting back into the piping.
Any decorator would know that your hands get a real workout if you haven’t done it for a while.
All going well, I will complete the bridgework next week.
For those who don’t know bridgework is the basis for royal icing extension work.
It supports the lines of royal icing by keeping them away from the cake.
Basically it is piped over scallops that lies under the vertical piped lines.
Still confused?
Check out the example pictures in the gallery below to give you an idea :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

IMG_5205

Thieving sugar from: My partner

Inspiration: A fellow blogger

Creation: Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Last week I happened by a few recipes for Apple Cinnamon Muffins and I thought I would give it a crack.

The recipe I ended up choosing came from another baking blog called Baking Bites.

Out of all the recipes I was drawn to this one, purely because it uses buttermilk, which I believe is an ingredient which makes some of the most scrumptious cupcakes and muffins when used.

Having not made muffins of this flavour before, I was very impressed…as was my partner!

I wasn’t sure exactly what he said through a mouth full of muffin, but I am pretty sure it was something along the lines of “These are great!”.

The muffins came out wonderfully moist, not dry like I have sometimes found with other mixes.

The apple was perfectly baked through and the cinnamon sugar sprinkled on the top made them!

The only thing I would do next time is add more to the muffin case.

I filled them to 2/3 full as I do with most recipes, but the mix didn’t rise as much as I expected it would.

If you would like the recipe click here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Throwback Thursday #tbt

IMG_4777
It’s throwback Thursday!
Today I thought I would throwback to one of my first fondant covered cakes!
Earlier this year I started attending a cake decorating course at a local community college run by a fabulous cake decorator with decades of experience.
While I felt confident with using butter creams and the like, it was a whole different story with fondant and royal icing.
I had never really worked with it, but was keen to develop my skills.
As a part of the class we were required to create a fruit cake, then cover it with fondant.
It was then decorated using the skills we were taught across eight weeks.
It included everything from piping dots, to creating fondant roses, leaves and basket weaves.
The cake pictured isn’t the first cake I covered in fondant.
The first one was a sky blue two-tier (square and round) with white royal icing details including roses and cornelli lace work.
Sadly, I haven’t been able to locate a photo of it.
Wanting to continue my skills, I volunteered to create a cake for my cousin’s son’s first birthday not long after the course.
I really wanted to create a memorable cake for him.
Given his father loves to fly helicopters, I thought it would be the perfect theme for his cake.
Not wanting to go too overboard with designs, I scoped the Internet for some ideas and decided to create a three-tier chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.
It was covered in sky blue fondant before being covered with cartoon style clouds.
Once my ‘sky’ was complete, I set to work with the help of my partner to create a helicopter and aeroplane cake topper.
It went down a treat!
Many people couldn’t believe how big I made the cake given it was just for a first birthday.
But it was a big bash with around 70 people.
It left plenty of cake for people to take home and enjoy.
The photos giveaway some of the imperfections in the fondant, but in all, I was still very happy given it was only my second attempt!
I am getting better each time I do it.
I think the design goes to show that you can still create cake with some ‘wow’ factor without going crazy with the design.
I have a feeling I will be sticking with the KISS principal (Keep It Simple Stupid) for my future designs.
The bonus, apart from the great feedback, was that I have been entrusted with creating a flamingo theme cake for another cousin’s 30th.
Let the baking continue!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

Thieving sugar from: My cupboard (again!)

Inspiration: Hazelnut chocolate

Creation: Chocolate Hazelnut Cupcakes

OK….so this week I have had a slight (OK…huge) obsession with Cadbury hazelnut chocolate!

There is just something about the crunch from the full hazelnuts when you bite into each piece. It’s pure heaven!

So it inspired me to make some delicious cupcakes.

While many spend their election weekend having quality time with their families and enjoying the sunshine, my co-workers and I were busy working.

So to make their day a little brighter, I figured a cupcake was the perfect solution.

For this creation I pulled out an old chocolate cake recipe, but divided it up into cupcake cases.

It took a little longer to cook then I originally thought, but in the end they came out perfectly.

For the frosting, I used basic frosting recipe.

It involved creaming some butter and icing sugar before adding some full cream milk and turning the Kitchen Aid on high for a few minutes.

When the frosting was finished whipping, I stirred in two dessert spoons of Nutella hazelnut spread to give it a soft hazelnut flavour.

It worked a treat!

Once it was piped on the cooled cupcakes, I couldn’t help but decorate them with a piece of the Cadbury hazelnut chocolate and a hazelnut or two.

I got some great feedback on them, particularly when my co-workers took a bite only to realise I had a dollop of Nutella hidden inside the cupcake.

Definitely a recipe I will use again!

Blondies

IMG_5103

Thieving sugar from:  My cupboard

Inspiration: The Hummingbird Bakery

Creation: Blondies

For many years I avoided heavy American inspired chocolate cakes and brownies.

I have never been a big fan of chocolate flavoured items. I love chocolate….just not chocolates flavoured items!

Weird, I know, but each to their own.

After receiving a copy of the Hummingbird Bakery cook book from my sister following her return from the UK, I was inspired by it to give chocolate-based desserts and treats a fair go.

The Hummingbird recipe for blondies is one I thought I would take a crack at.

Every recipe I have baked from The Hummingbird Bakery cook book has worked first time, every time.

As many bakers will know, there are always recipes which for whatever reason, don’t work for the individual.

It is not only disappointing, but expensive.

But with my hand on my heart, I can honestly say these recipes work and are guaranteed to always be a hit!

The Blondies were quick, easy to make and aren’t very fussy.

For those who don’t like the rich chocolate taste of traditional brownies, this is definitely a winner.

The best part about these dense treats is the room to be inventive and create your own twist.

You can add any extras you like including chocolate chips, coconut, macadamia, slivered almonds, cherries – the possibilities are endless!

While I had these for morning tea, I think they would be best served slightly warmed with a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Learn more about The Hummingbird Bakery