My First Paid Gig! Wedding Cake.

I’m going to start with a back story, just to get you in the loop. My friend’s dad does wedding ceremonies. They’re usually relatively small and independent, but really beautiful too. One day he asked me and his 2 daughters if we wanted to make a cake for this wedding. The only brief was that they wanted it to be chocolate. Perfect! 

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Needless to say, it took us quite a while to make! We decided to go for a devil’s food chocolate cake. They had asked for chocolate after all. It took us a little bit longer to decide on the style, but classics win every time, so a three tiered cake it was. Not the most innovative idea anyone has ever had but this really couldn’t be a flop. This cake really is my pride and joy! Me and my friends just sat staring at it for ages when it was finally finished, which happened to be about 6 hours after we started!

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The play mobile pieces on the top were a genius idea of my friend’s 10 year old sister. She even matched the hair colours on the dolls to the ones of the bride and groom! The only slight problem was the eye-patch, we’re just hoping that the groom didn’t notice. 🙂

 

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This cake has a secret… Do you want to know what it is? To make this cake extra special and extra tall we decided that instead of 3 layers of cake we’d make 6. So in each tier of the cake there happens to be 2 devils food cakes separated by a thin layer of vanilla buttercream icing. I hope the wedding party didn’t die of a heart attack after all the butter that went in.

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I reckon that the hardest part of this cake was the icing. The crumb proof layer was one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever done! But we managed it! The cake stayed in one piece.

One of the greatest things about this cake is that it’s super easy. It’s just an easy peasy devils food chocolate cake recipe:

http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/DEVILS-FOOD-CAKE-5310

I got mine off Nigella Lawson.

Topped off with an even easy peasier buttercream icing:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/quick-vanilla-buttercream-frosting-recipe.html

To this I just added a small amount of cocoa powder until it reached the colour I wanted. And voila! Cake made!

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Now, I know in the title I said paid gig. I wasn’t lying, it was paid. Even if it was only 6 euro once we’d paid for food and divided it up between ourselves. 🙂 But it was a million times worth the effort.

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‘Till next time my friends. 

xxx

 

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The Missing Link: The Classic Victoria Sponge.

This has been long due. I didn’t feel that I had the right to call myself a baker (or bakress, if you’re a feminist) until I’d proved to you all that yes, I can bake a victoria sponge, and I can get it to rise!

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I made this recently for a host of guests that we had staying over. It seemed the perfect choice, who doesn’t like a victoria sponge? I thought that everybody did, that was one rule that I thought there was no exception to. Until……. I had an 8 year old boy come up to me and tell me that he didn’t like jam, he didn’t like jam! I’m still flabbergasted, sugary berryey goodness! What’s not to like? So I commissioned a special slice without cream for him. The problem was finding it once the second layer was on top!

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However, all in all, this cake went down well, scrap that, it went down amazingly! Screw modesty! So why was I polite and took the smallest slice? When I went back for seconds it was all gone. 😦

This is possibly one of the simplest recipes out there, and it’s foolproof, even if you only have one baking dish of the right size. ‘Looks down embarassedly’. Ok, I admit to it, I did have to bake the cake twice. I only have one 9 inch baking dish so I cut the recipe in half and did it again. Silly, but what could I do? (I really am in a rhetorical question mood tonight.)

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 The strawberries in the middle of the cake give it a summery zing that you just don’t get from the jam. And the buttons on the top are a kind of family tradition, my Mom’s been putting them on top of my birthday cakes since I was about 5.

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And for the leftovers.

And for the leftovers.

I’m going to write the recipe up because I’m not 100% sure where it came from, I’ve known it forever you see!

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Classic Victoria sponge Recipe:

For an incredibly moist, spongey and summery treat.

Serves 10. (8 if you want leftovers)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

300g caster sugar

300g butter

6 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

300g self-raising flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons of milk

For the filling:

250g strawberries

A tub of single cream

Berry jam

And chocolate buttons (optional but advised)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170F/ Gas mark 5.
  2. Grease 2 9 inch silicone cake tins.
  3. cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Add in the eggs and vanilla essence and mix until well combined.
  5. Mix in the flour and baking powder, do not overmix. This will knock any air out of you cake mix and will make it less light and airy.
  6. Then stir in the milk to thin out. Your batter should be smooth and creamy.
  7. Pour into your prepared cake tins and level with a spatula. (I got a new rubber one recently)
  8. Pop into the oven bake for about 20 – 25 mins or until the cake springs back when you poke it and a knife comes out with only a few small crumbs attached.
  9. Cool on a wire rack until your cakes reach room temperature.
  10. Then spread with jam, cover with sliced strawberries and dollop your cream on before dropping your second layer of cake on top and covering with you (optional) chocolate buttons!

Apologies, a birthday cake shortlist and also a smoothie?!?!

I’m so sorry! I just realised that I forgot to put up the link to the original recipe for the ‘Belated Mothers Day Cake! It was (of course) on Sally’s website originally. I was just so busy on Saturday between a 1500 word essay and everything else that my mind was a bit scattered!

So anyway, here’s the link:

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/02/09/lemon-blueberry-layer-cake/

And plus I want to say congrats to Sally on her TV appearance!!!!!!!!!!! You really should check out her blog.

Ooh, and also, I just made a lovely smoothie! Banana, peanut butter and natural yoghurt with a splash of vanilla essence really is the only way to start off a Monday morning.

And (I know you’re sick of hearing my ands by now but please persevere, it’s about to get interesting) today’s the big day! I’ve compiled a list of about 10 cakes 7 cakes (I edited in the process, my tastes seem to have changed significantly since yesterday) that are all possibilities for the birthday. I of course have some preferences but I can’t make a decision for my life so I’d love any help I can get. 🙂 It’s not often that I get the chance to bake a full out whatever I want cake without feeling guilty in the slightest. But here’s my chance, and I’m taking it very seriously!

So (drumroll please) cake number 1:                                                                                                                        This is SprinkleBakes Chocolate Quake Cake. It looks divine!                                                                   And yes, there is a double layer chocolate cake with frosting under all of that!

                                                        And the link:   http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2011/11/chocolate-quake-cake.html

 

Cake number 2.                                                                                                                                                                    This is a CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER TORTE. Please just sit and take that in for a minute, really absorb those words. Pretty mind blowing, right? And just wait until you see the picture. :p

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This is a Brown Eyed Baker recipe. I believe that she has the same tastes as I do!                          Link:   http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/04/15/chocolate-peanut-butter-torte/

 

Cake 3:                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a high likelihood that this will be the only non chocolate cake on this list! But it does look amazing. Brown Eyed Baker again. This woman does good cakes. 🙂

Blueberry Buckle Recipe on @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Link:     http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2013/07/15/blueberry-buckle-recipe/

 

Number 4:                                                                                                                                                                                 Holy sugar. I am positively drooling over this one. Peanut butter and chocolate in bulk in cake form, all in the one place. Have I died and gone to heaven? Hold your eyes in for this next one, they may just fall out of your head.

Peanut Butter Cup Cake

This is from Bakerella’s food blog. Look at how moist the chocolate cake is!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s the link to her site and the recipe:  http://www.bakerella.com/got-milk-i-hope-so%E2%80%A6/  Also, if I’m cooking this, instead of Devils food Cake mix I’m going to use the recipe from this site: http://www.food.com/recipe/the-only-chocolate-cake-recipe-youll-ever-need-devils-food-26370

 

And now for Cake Number 5:                                                                                                                                         I couldn’t not have one from Sally’s blog on my list so I chose this one, it looks so good. But because of this I have to go back on my word. It isn’t entirely chocolate. So it turns out that the the Blueberry Buckle isn’t the only non chocolate cake on this list. This is her Raspberry Chocolate Chip Layer Cake.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Layer Cake - super moist chocolate chip cake with raspberries and creamy, velvety milk chocolate frosting. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

And the link to her site: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/03/28/raspberry-chocolate-chip-layer-cake/

 

Cake Number 6:                                                                                                                                                                      This cake here is Brown Eyed Baker’s Snickers cake.

Snickers Cake

Link:  http://www.browneyedbaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/snickers-cake-28-600.jpg

 

And the final one, Cake Number 7.                                                                                                                             This has fudge brownie in a vanilla cheesecake on top of an Oreo crust with a chocolate coating. Need I say any more?

Link:   http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2008/10/11/brownie-mosaic-cheesecake/

 

Did you know that when I started writing this it was meant to be a 2-3 line post apologising for the lack of a link in Saturday’s post? Well, it was! But I got caught up in the addictive world of blogging and cakes and just couldn’t pull myself away. And now we’re late for the boat of course! So please have a look at these cakes if at all possible and comment if you have a preference or inclination. I’d love to know what the rest of the world thinks about these lovely cakes. I’ll let you know as soon as I do which one I’m going to bake (and then conseqentially eat)!

Have a lovely Monday (and rest of the week).

xxxxx

 

Special (belated) Mothers Day post. Blueberry Lemon 3 Tier Cake.

I know it’s about a week late but it’s been really busy around here for the last week. Moving house really does take up your entire life. Between shuttling stuff between the houses and trying to find enough boxes to pack all our stuff in (I can’t believe how much we fitted into our cottage, we’ve accumulated quite a lot) we’ve been pretty busy. Everything else has gone on the back burner. But now I’m back. And I hope you haven’t missed me too much!

This is a really special recipe. I know you must be sick of hearing about Sally by now and I promise that at some point soon I’ll cook something that’s not off her blog but I just couldn’t resist this one. I saw it and thought how perfect this would be for my mom. And guess what? It was! Lucky that Mothers Day was coming up.

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I’m not usually a fan of any cake that doesn’t have the word chocolate in the title but this one broke the streak. It was gorgeous. It was airy and light melt in your mouth icing with popping blueberries and a slight tang of lemon all mixed together with a bit of love a lot of sugar and some vanilla essence! And yes, I did say all of that in one breath. It was gone within 24 hours of being made. With a little bit of help from 4 or 5 friends of course! And then we made it again for an event the next weekend. A big hit.

The cooking process took a little longer than expected. Between the cooling time (which I never listen to unless icing is involved) and all the other minor complications by 10 ‘o clock that night me and Jay were sitting at the kitchen table darting frequent looks at the fridge and clock just waiting for those final 45 minutes to tick by. The reason for this is that I only had one cake tin of the right size. And there was no way it was going to be a 2 tier cake, because that’s just not impressive, it had to be 3 tiers (silly me). So with a 4 ‘o clock start, no electric mixer and one cake tin I began to bake.

So we now know that complication:

1. Was the cake tin conundrum

2. Was the absence of an electric mixer

And of course, as the saying goes, ‘What happens twice always happens 3 times’. So now number:

3. There weren’t enough blueberries at the shop. So we had to make do with some strawberries.

And oddly enough, these were what made the cake so nice. I’d advise you if you’re cooking it to put in half strawberries half blueberries. Their sweetness goes really well with the overall tanginess of the lemon in the cake. Plus, they look extra pretty on the top.

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I wasn’t sure how to arrange them so I had to do a first draft. This is it! However, the top of the cake wasn’t quite this big so I had to cut it a bit short.

Oh yes! How silly of me, I forgot to tell you about complication no.

4.  ( It seems that what happens twice doesn’t happen only three times, but 4!) In the recipe it tells you to toss the blueberries in tablespoon of flour before putting them in the cake to stop them from exploding. This I did. And it worked very well. I had unexploded blueberries in my cake. But when tossing them I forgot to account for the blueberries that I’d have to put on the top of the cake. Oops! So as a result of this I spent about 10 minutes hand-washing and towel (or tissue) drying every single blueberry on top of this cake. Here’s a picture of me in action:

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These were squeaky clean blueberries by the end of it.

As you can see, this became quite a hectic day. So by the time I got around to icing the cake it was already a little late. And I was already more than a little tired. So icing made I set out to begin the icing process. And hungry as I was I ate the majority of it before it went on the cake. But never mind, I made the rest of it stretch.

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I got to this point without too many hiccups. Not looking too shabby, eh? But when I got to here I paused and took a deep breath. It was time to begin icing the sides. Here’s about the point where you begin listening to the Jaws Theme Tune and looking away in fright. As you can see from my pics of the finished product it obviously didn’t turn out too badly but there was a bit of a waterfall effect. I still haven’t figured out how to stop the icing from running down the side of the cake and pooling on the plate!  Am I making the icing too thin? Is there a special utensil that’s needed to ice a cake?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  🙂 However by the end of a few minutes wrestling with the knife and icing I managed to coat the sides in an even layer of icing.

And then it had to go in the fridge.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

It felt like hours.

So after 25 minutes we took it out of the fridge!

And it didn’t crumble. The first slice came out perfectly formed.

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And so did the second.

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And the third as a matter of fact.

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This was one nice cake. The perfect springtime treat.

This evening is taken up with compiling a shortlist of possibilities for………… MY BIRTHDAY CAKE! Yay! And you can be assured that this will be no lemon cake. I have a sneaky suspicion that the word chocolate might be included in the title. I don’t think that even the nicest non-chocolate cake in the world could sway my loyalty to chocolate!

I’ll post this shortlist soon.

xxx