Sunday, March 29, 2009

A wee makeover

I was so impressed with Granny and Sally's blog makeovers that I decided to follow suit. I used the Blogfairy, and what a simple and excellent processs it was. So easy and I am really happy with the new look. It's nice to have a wee change I must say, and even nicer to have someone else do it for me!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Castle Cake

Many moons ago (September last year to be exact, my archive of unused photos is really mounting!) I made my daughter a fourth birthday cake. The brief was that it had to be a castle cake of some description, at the time she had thought that maybe a Dora 'cloud castle' might be do-able! I am NO cake decorator and as usual the real detail and planning was left to the last minute (thank God for our resident cake decorating expert Gail on Violet's Pantry and that she was answering my frantic emails that day -the internet is such a life saver isn't it?!!!!) but in the end I was really happy with the result. So was my daughter, thrilled would be an understatement and that was all the thanks I needed for the effort. And it was not a small effort I have to say, it took some considerable time to do!
I had scoured the internet for ideas and set upon a basic shape with icecream cones for turrets and a few flowers and appropriate figurines (princesses and fairies galore!). To be honest, it was a very basic design, the tricky part was getting it nicely covered and making mock cream to put in the middle (then having to put the cake together and have it 'set' hard enough to then cover the whole thing with buttercream. I have never made mock cream before, the very idea of it turned my stomach, but I gotta say, this was flipping delicious and gave a real sturdiness to the cake.The recipe for the cake was a Jo Seagar one that my sister had made a few weeks before and upon I trying it I immediately requested the recipe! It is made in large quantities and absolutely perfectly named as a celebration cake, it truly will feed the hoards!!!!!(or serve to be cut up into lots of separate parts to then assemble a castle from!!!!) It is a gorgeously moist cake which keeps incredibly well, so along with the mock cream and butter cream (and given that you have enough space in your fridge to store it), it can be made well in advance. Of course I made this the night before, that is advance for me I am telling you!!!!!!
I iced the cones with royal icing, and let them thoroughly dry out for 48 hours and they turned out pretty cool I thought. They were probably the fiddliest part, but not onerous in the slightest.
So, I am not going to give instructions on the assembly of the cake. If you are anything like me you will use this as a source of inspiration should you be looking to make/do something similar. That is much help as I can be bothered offering!!!!:)
Here are a few stage by stage photos though, they might paint a better picture!
I doubled the cake recipe to make a large rectangle, a round cake and some muffin sized ones as these were what I decided would work best.However, the recipes I will provide are all failsafe and delicious, so go ahead and get stuck in!!!!

Celebration Chocolate Cake

Ingredients
2 cups Chelsea Caster Sugar
3 cups self-raising flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa
3 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
2 tbsp malt vinegar
2 tbsp Chelsea golden syrup
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
1 egg
whipped cream and icing of your choice for finishing cake - we recommend chocolate Frosting/icing:
Chocolate Frosting:
2 cups Chelsea icing sugar
3 heaped tbsp cocoa
25g butter, melted
boiling water

Method
(Makes a deep average-large sized cake)

Combine all dry ingredients. In a large bowl beat the 3 egg whites until stiff. In a separate bowl, combine milk and vinegar, then add the rest of the wet ingredients, including the whole egg and the 3 egg yolks, and beat. Mix wet and dry ingredients together, then fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into two well-greased or baking paper lined cake tins about 20-23 cm. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180°C. Cool on a wire rack. To serve, pile whipped cream on one cake , place the other cake on top and ice - try chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:
Mix all ingredients, adding enough boiling water to make a smooth paste.
Spread over cooled cake and decorate with strawberries if preferred.

MOCK CREAM (it looks like a wierd recipe but trust me it works!!!!)

1 ½ teaspoons Edmonds Cornflour
½ cup Milk
2 tablespoons Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons Butter.

Mix cornflour and milk together into a smooth paste, then boil 3 or 4 minutes. Cream butter and sugar, and add cornflour gradually when cold. Beat well. Flavouring may be added. (I added cocoa to make it chocolate flavoured!!)

BUTTERCREAM

This makes about 500g of Buttercream

125g butter softened or use soft margerine.
1 tablespoon milk
375g of icing confectioners sugar (NOT pure icing sugar)

Put the butter into a mixing bowl
Add the milk and any flavouring
Sift the icing sugar into the bowl a little at a time beating well (do this in your mixer not worth the effort any other way) until the sugar has been incorporated and the BC has a light creamy texture.
This can be stored in the fridge or frozen