Monthly Archives: October 2014

Treats for my Sweets

October is a busy cake month, three birthdays within four days (one including my own), this year also included Eid and a cake request (my first one ever!)

These were actually the last cakes I made, I’m working backwards with my posts (the tiramisu was made after, for my birthday .. I was all caked out).
A treat for my niece, who like her aunt, loves all things scary.

This was my first attempt at fondant models, I’m quite impressed with the final result, even if I do say so myself 😉
Unfortunately, due to sticky fondant fingers I didn’t get a chance to take pictures as I made them, bad blogger I know, however, here’s a simple guide

Pumpkins:

1)make a ball out of orange fondant, and flatten slightly 2) using a toothpick/knife/vining tool, starting from bottom to top, make evenly spaced vertical lines all the way round 3) using a small amount of green fondant make a stalk for the pumpkin and stick on 4) for the pumpkin eyes I cut small triangles out of the black fondant and stuck them on (this was quite fidley so I only managed 3 sets if eyes) (a great picture guide can be found here)

Ghosts:

1) roll out some white fondant, and cut a round using a cookie cutter
2) place the centre of the round on the tip of your finger, and pinch the edges, leave to dry
3) for the larger round I used a round sweet so it wouldn’t become misshapen when left to dry
4) I drew the eyes on using black gel decorating pens
(ghost topper tutorial with pics )

For the ‘mud’ I used Heston’s Chocolate covered popping candy from Waitrose, which looked really affective and made a nice surprise!

Like my nephew, my niece was also very specific about the cake she wanted, low fat and healthy. Healthy cake? Surely that’s an oxymoron.

She initially wanted a cheesecake, I really don’t like Quark or yoghurt based cheesecakes, I know it wasn’t for me, but I tend not to make things I wouldn’t want to eat myself. So that was out of the window.

She said she doesn’t mind banana cake, as they have bananas and they are healthy (great minds! I also count banana cake as one of my 5 a day, and Bounty :p )
I decided to incorporate all her favourite edible things: dates and honey, and found this great recipe for walnut, date and honey cake.
I added aprox. 75ml of buttermilk (made by adding a few drops of lemon juice to milk) or you could use yoghurt.
Ok not the worlds healthiest cake, but it has some healthy elements!
This is a really moist cake, you could probably reduce the sugar content slightly more especially as the bananas/dates/honey add sweetness, I would personally add more dates in the future.

For the frosting I was under strict commands, NO BUTTER, if I wanted to use chocolate only DARK CHOCOLATE.

Initially I was going to go for a straight forward glaze icing, but I felt it wouldn’t do the cake justice.  My niece mentioned you can make really nice frosting out of yoghurt, which didn’t really appeal to me, but as it her cake I did a quick ‘low fat yoghurt frosting’ google search and found this gem.
From the feedback at the bottom of the page it sounded promising.
I whisked 225g of greek yoghurt (I used Liberte,it is super thick and creamy) with 225g Philadelphia light.
Initially I wanted to make it honey and cinnamon flavour, as I thought that would complement the cake nicely so I put in two spoons of honey (instead of maple syrup) and sprinkled in some cinnamon, unfortunately, it tasted like cough medicine.
So I whisked in the peanut butter (I only had two tablespoons left).  It looked a bit runny, luckily I made it the night before, so once it was refrigerated overnight, it had thickened up nicely and was pipable.
This was amazing frosting, I think even if I didn’t add the extra sugar it would have tasted absolutely delicious.  You would think it was a regular frosting.

The black and orange metallic cases were from eBay.  The cupcake wrappers and cake picks were from the 2013 My Cake Magazine Halloween special edition.

Tiramisu

I had been wanting to make a non-baked dessert for a while, I decided on Tiramisu while watching repeats of ‘Nigellas Kitchen’.

When looking for recipes I was split between ‘quick’/’cheats’ Tiramisu; which didn’t use any eggs or ‘real’/’authentic’ which did. Cream or no cream. Only Egg yolk or egg yolks and egg whites.

Confusing and off-putting.

A few months later, when I was completely caked out (October tends to do that to me, my next few posts will explain why, religious celebrations/lots of birthdays) but still craving sweets, I decided to revisit Tiramisu.

I decided on Anna Olsens recipe as I had seen that episode and remember dribbling over it, and to help me with quantities one from Bakers Royale(which is a great blog I recently discovered).

I prepared a mug of strong instant coffee and left that aside to cool, I didn’t add sugar as I don’t like sweet coffee and felt bitter coffee would be a nice contrast to the sweet mascarpone cream (I needed an extra half mug).

For the mascarpone cream:
– 100g caster sugar
– 3 eggs
– 1 extra egg yolk
– 225g mascarpone
– 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Separate the three eggs, and whisk all the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla over a water bath, until the mixture is a pale yellow and the sugar has melted (i.e. You can’t see any sugar granules). When reading the recipes, I did find the whole water bath idea worrying, it sounded like effort and I was worried about cooking the eggs, but it was fine 🙂
This should take a few minutes. Give it a few minutes to cool the whisk in the mascarpone until smooth, it will initially resemble scrambled eggs but will delump (a few recipes said to whisk the mascarpone then whisk into the egg mixture, but I wanted to use as few bowls as possible, I hate washing dishes!)
In a separate bowl (unfortunately the second bowl can’t be avoided) whisk the eggs whites till they are at stiff peaks. Put one – two spoons of the egg whites into the mascarpone/yolk mix and fold in, then spoon the rest in carefully fold in.
Leave aside for assembly.

I used Savoiardi biscuits (Italian lady’s fingers), one pack would have been enough if I didn’t eat a load of them (quality control *ahem*). Dip the biscuit in the coffee, once soaked (which is pretty much immediately) quickly place in your serving dish.
Once the dish is lined cover with half of the mascarpone cream.

I then added my own twist, and sprinkled grated Lindt Coffee Intense over the mascarpone cream. This gave the Tiramisu a great texture, especially with the coffee bean granules in the chocolate.

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Place another layer of sponge fingers topped with the rest of the mascarpone cream and sprinkled with more grated chocolate.

To finish the dessert I topped it with a layer of double cream. I whisked a tub (250ml) of double cream till it was at soft peaks, I then sifted two tablespoons of icing sugar and a few teaspoons of coffee (to taste) and whisked til slightly thicker and then spread over the top.

The cream probably would have looked prettier if I had piped it. Or I could have used a stencil and dusted cocoa over it.

As this was made when I was in a greedybutlazy mood, I just grated the rest of the chocolate on top.
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This was chilled and eaten about three hours later (like I said, greedy mood), and was very good, however, when I ate some leftovers (I know, shocking!) the next day it tasted even better.
I would definitely recommend patience and chilling it over night.