Rainbow Iced Cookies

Rainbow Iced Cookies

Hiya!

It seems to me that on the first day of September a switch was flicked and the weather started getting cooler and wetter and darker way quicker than I was ready for! So for the next four weeks I’m going to be baking rainbows to keep the summer vibe alive. I hope you like them and they inspire you to have a go too.

Sugar Cookies Recipe

225g softened butter

225g caster sugar

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

425g plain flour

1/2tsp salt

Bake at 170°C for about 8 mins

Cream the butter and sugar until incorporated, don’t over do it as you want these cookies to hold their shape and not expand too much during baking. Scrape down the sides and mix again.

Add the egg, combine, scrape down the sides and mix again.

Add vanilla extract and combine.

Sift flour and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix on a low speed for 30 sec, when it clumps together it’s ready.

I cut 2 sheets of parchment paper the size of my fridge shelf and roll out the dough between them before refrigerating it for at least 1 hour.

Cut out your cookies and place onto a lined baking tray. I used the cutest rainbow cookie cutter that I borrowed from a friend, thanks Klau 😉

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e for 8-10 mins and allow to cool before decorating.

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t definitely find some kids to share your cookies with, my kids were so excited and it gave me that awesome summer feeling.

Cxx

PB&J Chocolate Cake

PB&J Chocolate Cake

Hiya!

This is one of my favourite flavour combinations, peanut butter and chocolate just go together amazingly and last week happened to be my birthday! So… happy birthday to me and I got to scoff my favourite cake! It was made up of 4 layers of chocolate fudge cake, strawberry jam filling and peanut butter Swiss meringue buttercream. It was decorated with hand piped buttercream flowers using the fabulous White Flower Cake Shop piping tip 402. I’m still getting to grips with this tip but I am very happy with how my flowers turned out.

Chocolate Fudge Cake Recipe

(Makes 2 x 6″ cakes each cut in half to make 4 layers)

265g self-raising flour

3 ¾ TBS cocoa

1 ½ tsp bicarbonate soda

225g caster sugar

3 eggs

225ml sunflower oil

225ml milk

2 tsp vanilla

1 TBS Nestle caramel (or other thick caramel)

Preheat the oven to 170°C

Line both tins with parchment paper, it makes removing the cake much easier.

Sieve self-raising flour, cocoa and bicarbonate soda into a bowl and stir in the caster sugar.

In another bowl whisk the eggs, add milk, oil, vanilla and caramel and whisk together.

Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and mix well. It will be quite runny.

Pour equally into the prepared cake tins.

Bake for 25-30 mins until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the tins for 5 mins before removing to a wire rack.

Once the cake is cool you can start to decorate it. I made Swiss Meringue Buttercream from my recipe here and added 3/4 of a cup of peanut butter just before it was ready.

I warmed 4 TBS of strawberry jam in the microwave and then pushed it through a small sieve to ensure no lumps or seeds were in it.

Once the cake is filled, stacked and crumb coated make sure it has enough time in the fridge to firm up before you start to decorate it.

I divided the remaining buttercream into different bowls and coloured it as I wished. I covered the cake before piping the flowers. You do not need to pipe directly into the cake, if you pipe onto parchment paper first and then place them into the fridge for 30 mins, they will be stable enough to move with an offset spatula.

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Enjoy your cake! I hope you feel inspired to try this recipe and enjoy decorating it. If you do please tag me in the pic, I’d love to see!

Cxx

Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake

Hiya!

This week I had the pleasure of making a birthday cake for a friend who happened to mention that she loves lemon meringue pie. This tied in very well with lasts weeks blog post of Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. One of the things I enjoy most about baking is the creativity and science behind baking and recreating something as classic as a Lemon Meringue Pie.

For this cake I baked a lemon zest and essence sponge cake, filled layers with lemon curd and covered the cake in Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. I decorated it with a white chocolate sail and French Meringues.

Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe

225g butter (softened)

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g plain flour

1tsp baking powder (heaped)

Zest of 1 lemon

1tsp lemon essence

Line two 6″ cake tins.

Preheat the oven to 175°C

Cream the butter and the caster sugar until light & fluffy.

Add 1 egg at a time, scrap down the sides and ensure the mixture is all well combined.

Add the lemon zest and essence.

Sieve and add the flour and the baking powder. Mix until combined.

Divide the mixture between the 2 tins and bake for 30-35 mins.

Allow to cool in the tins for 5 mins before removing to a wire rack.

If you would like to recreate the cake pictured here, you can find my Meringue Recipe and Buttercream Recipes through these links.

I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Cxx

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Hiya,

Summer is just flying by and I can’t believe the mornings are already feeling a little bit crisper, I’m not ready for the cold weather but I have already started planning Septembers posts and they are going to be all bright & cheerful, so there is something to look forward to.

Tuesday 15 August is National Lemon Meringue Pie day which I love to celebrate but I decided to mix it up a little so I have a Lemon Meringue Cupcake recipe for you instead. They don’t keep well so I’m sharing a half a recipe but if you’d like the full one just pop me a message and I’ll be glad to share.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

113g butter (softened)

113g caster sugar

2 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

113g plain flour

1tsp baking powder (heaped)

Line a muffin tin with 9 paper liners.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs and mix in well.

Add vanilla extract and mix.

Sieve and combine the flour and baking powder. Add this to the mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated.

Soon into the prepared muffin tray. I always weigh mine and put 50g of mixture into each wrapper.

Bake at 175°C for 20 mins.

Remove from the oven & cool for 5 mins.

Meringue topping

2 egg whites

50g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

Pour the egg whites into a clean mixing bowl and start to beat. Add a pinch of salt.

Once foamy slowly start to add your sugar while the mixer is going. Continue to beat until you reach stiff peaks or the mixture won’t move if you turn the bowl upside down.

Spoon into a piping bag and put to the side.

Turn the oven temperature up to 230°C.

Hollow out your cupcakes and fill with lemon curd.

Pipe the meringue onto the cupcakes.

Place in the oven for 5 mins until the meringue looks lightly toasted.

Allow to cool before enjoying within 2 days.

Cxx

Kawaii Cactus Macarons

Kawaii Cactus Macarons

Hiya!

I have really got into my groove with making macarons and really love them but plain round macarons are never going to satisfy my creativity. Yes, you can make them in any colour of your dreams and any flavour combination you can think of but with a little bit of patience you can make them any shape you desire too. There are some amazing macaron/food artists out there and they really inspire me to try a little harder and bake something super cute!

There is a lot of mystery around making very temperamental macarons but I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learnt. These are my opinions from trial and error and research I’ve found online. As much as I wish I was a French Patissier, I am not.

This is the macaron recipe I used for these super cute cactus macs.

French Macaron Recipe

100g egg whites (aged for 24 hours)
130g ground almonds
130g icing sugar
90g caster sugar
A pinch of salt

Age the egg whites for 24 hours. This means separate the whites from the yolks into a clean oil free bowl. Cover the egg whites with cling film and poke a few holes in the top. Place back in the fridge for 24 hours.

Draw up a macaron template. Keep in mind that your baking time will increase if you make them larger than 1.5″ or may decrease if you have any delicate pieces sticking off. Also take into account that the back will need to match up to the front, if your front has lots of details you may want to consider making a simplified back. For e.g. my cacti only had arms on the front not the back.

When ready to make your macarons take the egg whites out the fridge first, before you do anything else, giving them time to warm up to room temperature.

Weight your caster sugar into a small bowl.
Weight and sieve your icing sugar and into the same bowl weigh and sieve your ground almonds. I’ve yet to buy a bag of ground almonds where the whole bag will pass through the sieve, almost half is always too big. If you place the required weight of almonds into a food processor along with a couple tablespoons of your weighed out icing sugar and blend, they will become smaller and usable in macarons. Waste not, want not.

Time to whip the egg whites. If you get this part right, the rest will go smoother! When they start to foam add a pinch of salt. When you start to see trails in the egg white, left by the whisk, slowly add your caster sugar. Whip until stiff peaks. These are short sharp peaks that do not fold over on themselves. The meringue looks solid white and marshmallow like. If you tip the bowl, it won’t slide.

A lot of recipes recommend that you add colour just before reaching this stage but then you end up with everything one colour. I prefer to halve the almond and icing sugar mixture into 2 bowls and then halve the meringue mixture into each bowl. Knowing how much your bowl weighs empty will make this easy. I then add the colouring on top of the meringue before starting to fold the mixture together.

Macronage: there are many videos online showing this and maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to make a video but for now, fold, fold, fold, no mixing as you want to keep as much air in the macarons as possible while still reaching a ribbon like dropping stage with the mixture. If you don’t mix enough your macarons will not become smooth on top. Mix too much and your mixture will spread too much. There is no trick here, only practice will help you know when the mixture is ready.

I always thought that once the mixture was ready you had to be super quick to use it and had to use a large piping tip so as not to deflate the mixture. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. With a smaller opening in the piping bag you can get much more detail on your macs. To add additional details on top of the macs or with visible join lines you need to wait for your base to dry first. This surprisingly does not ruin the mixture which has been patiently waiting for you in the piping bag. I piped a second tray of macs after the first was already in the oven and you could not tell the difference between the mixture that was piped straight away or the mixture that sat around for 30 mins.

Baking temperature, time and place in the oven is all very volatile as all ovens are so different. Using an oven thermometer gives you a bit more control over the temp as you can usually see any changes in temperature in more detail. Start with your tray in the middle and next try your tray at the bottom, see what works better for you. Sit in front of your oven the first few times and see what your macs are doing. You may need to turn the tray half way through if your oven has a hotter spot.

Bake at 160°C for 10-12 mins.

If you’ve read to the end of this, I hope you found it useful. If you are a French Patissier please don’t shake your head too much if I don’t do things the right way, this is how it works for me.
If you decide to make macarons after reading this please tag me in a pic as I’d love to see.

Cxx

Baked Blueberry Cheesecake

Baked Blueberry Cheesecake

Hiya!

Yesterday was National Cheesecake Day, how exciting that Cheesecake has it’s own day! I just love all of these mini celebrations from around the world, I think it is a great way to show unity and togetherness with different people from around the world.

I love cheesecake, especially my Mom’s cheesecake. It always turns out better than mine and I don’t get to eat it very often but when we visited South Africa last month I was lucky enough to get some! So this time I decided to mix it up a little and add the blueberries to my cheesecake and it turned out great.

Baked Blueberry Cheese Cake

Prepare an 8″ pie dish or springform tin. If using the spring form tin, be sure to line the sides with a layer of baking paper, ensuring it goes just down into the join of the base and the side to decrease any leakage.

Blueberries:
200g fresh blueberries
50g caster sugar

Wash and place the blueberries into a saucepan.
Cover with sugar and heat on medium until it starts to bubble.
Give it a stir and leave it to simmer for 3-4 mins.
Turn off the heat and allow to cool a bit until required.

Pie case:
125g butter (softened)
45g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
135g plain flour

Cream the butter and sugar until pale.
Add the egg and beat well.
Add sifted flour and baking powder.
Spread the dough into the spring form tin. I used an offset spatula to get it level.
Use a teaspoon to drip half the blueberry mixture onto the uncooked base and spread it around a bit.

Filling:
450g cream cheese
2 eggs
45g caster sugar
30g plain flour
200ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of half a lemon

Beat the cream cheese and eggs very well.

Add sugar and mix, add flour and mix.
Pour in the milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix well.
This mixture will be very runny and if you use a spring form tin you will need to be quick about getting it into the preheated oven.

Pour the filling gently onto the uncooked base.
Bake at 180° for 25-30 mins until the mixture is set.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 mins. Add the remaining blueberry mixture to the top of the cheesecake with a teaspoon.
Once completely cool, place it into the fridge as it really does taste best cold!

Enjoy your Baked Blueberry Cheesecake!

Cxx

Unicorn Sugar Cookies

Unicorn Sugar Cookies

Hiya!

A while back on Instagram I shared a unicorn cookie cutter with you. I was very excited as I very seldom buy a cookie cutter, I usually cut cookies by hand. This was also very special as it was for my daughter’s birthday, which was 3 days after we got back from our vacation. So planning ahead I used some advice I read about in Sweet Ambs blog. She makes her cookie mix ahead of time for a big order, cuts the cookies out and then freezes the cut cookies. When you’re ready to go just grab them out the freezer, lay them on the cookie tray while the oven heats up and you’re good to go!

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When I was baking to order I used to ice cookies every week and I’ve really missed this, I’m also really out of practice! But my biggest challenge with the icing was making my own royal icing from scratch! In the UK you can buy royal icing powdered sugar where you just add the required amount of water & beat. I got used to the consistency that worked for me and could whip up a batch in no time. After much research I chose to use Sweet Sugar Belle’s recipe. I follow her on Instagram and her cookies always look amazing!!!

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My inspiration for these cookies, other than my daughter’s love of unicorns, was Miss Doughmestic. Her cookies always look too good to eat and it was here that I first saw this cutter and knew I needed it!

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I used my Cinnamon Sugar Cookie Recipe for these cookies and I do not think the taste or texture was compromised by freezing the raw cookies, I would definitely do it again.

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Cinnamon Sugar Cookies Recipes

225g butter (softened)
225g caster sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
425g plain flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

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Cream the butter and sugar until incorporated, don’t over do it as you want the cookies to hold their shape and not expand too much during baking. Scrape down the sides and mix again.

Add the egg, combine, scrape down the sides and mix again.

Add the vanilla extract and combine.

Sift the flour, cinnamon and salt into the mixing bowl. Mix on a low speed for 30 sec, when it clumps together it’s ready.

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Roll out a sheet of parchment paper the size of your fridge shelf, cut two. Place the cookie dough on one sheet and flatten with your hand. Place the second sheet on top and roll out your cookie dough to around 5mm thick.

Place the dough flat on a shelf in the fridge for at least an hour and it will harden up making cookies much easier to cut and move to a baking tray ready for the freezer.

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Once frozen, stack the cookies and either seal in a ziplock bag or cling film.

To bake, preheat the oven to 170°C and place frozen cookies on a baking tray for a few minutes to defrost. Depending on the size of your cookies, bake for 8-12 mins.

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Once cooled you can begin to decorate your cookies. Royal icing skills definitely improve with practice, this is the first time I’ve used textured tips and I always hope to get better. Some of the works of art out there are just amazing! I hope you enjoy my friendly little unicorns!

Cxx