The First of Many Cakes…

Having been gone from my blog for goodness knows how long, I thought I would start uploading my recent works which I have been doing over the last few months!

I had the privilege in making a wedding cake for two lovely friends who I met through university whilst doing my Primary PGCE. Both extremely hard-working and dedicated individuals to their professions and I genuinely couldn’t be happier to see a more deserving couple!

They had decided on a rustic theme together with a touch of mint and had asked me to make them a cake which was covered in buttercream.

Having been shown a design that they liked I decided to give it a go using two colours, mint and cream.

Buttercream vintage Cake

As you can see, the buttercream has been worked with to create the rustic lines across the tiers. This was done using a small palette knife and simply swiping it across the tiers whilst the buttercream was still somewhat soft as I didn’t want to do it afterwards once the buttercream had hardened purely because the buttercream would crumble off and leave an untidy finish to the cake!

Have you ever made a cake similar to this? How did you find making it?

Chocolate Ganache and turning your cake upside down!

Squires Magazine 2

 

I know… ganaching is a completely new concept to many people. But let me tell you something!… You will NOT regret it!
It is the best thing ever I promise you!
Not only that. Chocolate Ganache is a million times easier to work with than buttercream when crumbcoating! Why? I will tell you…

Buttercream:
First things first, it is lovely to work with (kinda), hardens in the fridge relatively quickly, and has a nice buttery taste although it can become rather sickly if eaten too much!

However, I have found that once you bring it to room temperature (and even if its still cold and hard) and try to cover it with fondant, it is a nightmare to work with if you end up smoothing the sides longer than you need to. I have done this on many occasions as I was trying to get a ‘sharp edge finish’!
I ended up ruining my cake and having to rip off the fondant to cover it again due to the buttercream oozing out from the layers of cake and the crumbcoating becoming too soft.

Ganache Crumbcoating:
I cannot tell you how in love I am with this stuff! First time around I got it completely wrong. This was a few months ago when I attempted to make a Great Gatsby themed cake. I didn’t let the ganache rest overnight to harden and that was my biggest mistake as you NEED to let it sit overnight for at least 12- 24 hours. Yup, its annoying having to wait that long but it allows the sugar crystals in the chocolate to crystallise which helps it to form the hard outer shell. In turn this makes it so much easier to cover in fondant as it is far less likely to melt or ooze if you’re working to get super sharp edges.
Obviously, do NOT work too the fondant too much or else it will melt the chocolate underneath! But the thing is, you won’t even need to work too long with the fondant as the edges are so razor sharp from the chocolate ganache alone that it automatically helps to form a sharp edge on your fondant with some careful smoothing. By the way, I do highly recommend Bellissimo Flexi Smoothers to get the perfect edges which you can buy from here. You can also make your own and I will show you a tutorial on how to do that very soon!
Another positive is that the taste of the cake altogether is great as you have this wonderful chocolatey sensation as you bite into your cake. Chocolate is sweet, but not as overpoweringly sweet like buttercream is. It makes your cakes stand out a mile from the rest by far!

As I was saying, the main downside is the long waiting time but it just means you can ganache and leave it whilst you get on with your other work or decoration preparation!

I made this cake (pictured below) using ONLY chocolate ganache and did so by ganaching the cake UPSIDE DOWN! Woahhh! Yup, it was so scary but so worth it in the end as I doubt I could get that type of a finish on my first attempt using any other method!
It’s actually a lot simpler than you may think and it does also help you to get amazing sharp edges hence why it is now my chosen method of crumbcoating!
As you can see from my picture I didn’t cover the cake with fondant as it was a simple chocolate cake and I’m glad I didn’t cover it to be honest as it just looks stunning just as it is with the edible silver leaf!

Squires Magazine 1

Would you like to see a step-by step tutorial on how I ganached upside down? Have you ever made a cake using chocolate ganache and did so by using the upside down method?

Nel
XxX

Duffins bandwagon

Duffin Edit 7

Yup, that’s right, I’ve joined the duffin craze that’s been going around the Great British baking community!

The first time I heard of these strange little things were on a Facebook group that I am a part of called Cake Baking Chat. Now there’s a good 7,000+ of us on there and it’s a lovely place to find and meet new friends as I have done over the past few months. I just couldn’t believe it took me so long to find it!

During the times where the hubby is fast asleep snoring away together with the melody of my daughter’s snoring next to the kitchen, I’ll be up at silly hours of the night finishing off an order, there’s always someone on this brilliant Facebook Group to keep me going and provide somewhat of a presence if that makes any sense! I’ll be taking pictures and posting them up to ask if I need to change anything or add/takeaway something and there’s always a good handful of people offering me great tips and advice!

So like I was saying, I was on my Facebook App on my mobile when I just kept seeing posts about duffins coming up on my news feed.
I was sooooo confused. What on earth is a DUFFFFFINNN? Initially I thought the first few posts had made a spelling mistake. But 8 posts stating the word duffin surely can’t be wrong?

This called for some research. I discovered that these duffins were a cross-breed of a doughnut and a muffin. Makes sense. I also found out that the infamous Nigella Lawson first plated up this wondrous doughy goodie. Click here to see her recipe.
However, it was the Beas of Bloomsbury who brought the duffins to light. The Guardian even did an article on how Starbucks started selling them as duffins whereby Beas hadn’t copywritten their recipe and name. Anyway, if you’d like to visit one of their three beautiful tea rooms and order a said duffin you will need to pre-order these as they don’t sell them anymore. They sell two flavours, Nutella filled duffin and raspberry jam filled duffin. At £2.70 each or 12 for £30, I’m pretty sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth as they have been well recognised as one of the best tea places in the UK.

Duffin Edit 1

So, there I was, with all this duffin knowledge floating around in my brain, and then I decided to give it a go. I wish I hadn’t as I really didn’t do them justice 😦
I clearly over baked them and I knew I should have gone with my gut instinct and baked at 180 degrees instead of the suggested 190, but no. I just had to follow the instructions exactly as it said. Which of course is always recommended but seeing as my bakes never turn out right when a cakey recipe instructs to be baked at 160 or 190 arghh!!

Duffin Edit 4

I baked them anyway and I made them especially for my hubby as he loves jam doughnuts, and like me he loves the conserve pictured above! I thought that seeing that he was poorly and hadn’t gone into work, I would be the domesticated wife and bake him some fresh duffins for breakfast with this delicious conserve YUM! Oh how he would love to bite into one of those soft delicious fluffy duffins once I made them. I couldn’t wait!
However, like I had said earlier, I baked at 190 degrees and i ended up over-baking. Most recipes call for them to be left in for 25 minutes but by about 15 minutes I could tell they looked perfect but I thought to myself “NO Nel, don’t take them out, it clearly cant be ready with 10 minutes still to go?” So I left them in until at 20 minutes, they started to look extra brown and a little overcooked smell was coming out the oven. You know, the one where it doesn’t smell burnt yet but almost there kinda smell? Yea, that smell.
They were as hard as rock and I even ‘trialled’ it’s rock-hardedness (if that’s even a word?) on my head haha. Yup, that sure was rock hard!

I let them cool and eagerly waited for the hubby to wake up.
I heard footsteps coming up the hallway into the living room. Excitement was brewing so fast I felt like I would burst with pride as soon as he walked through the door.
“I MADE YOU DUFFINS!!! EAT IT NOW!”
“But I need to wash my face first, I still feel ill!”
“These will make you feel better I promise”…. Really regret saying that now!
“Ok, but why do they look like that and hang on a sec what on earth are duffins?”
“They’re a ermmm a cross-breed of doughnut and muffin, they are unique and they look like that because they are special in their own right.”
Hubby looks at me with his eyebrows raised.

Duffin Edit 6

He eventually tried them and as I was fasting that day I couldn’t really try them but All I can say is that whilst he ate them he made no such effort to make them look tasty at all despite making all the effort to ‘dress them up’ as pictured above hahahaha!! Couldn’t help but laugh as I had a feeling they would not taste right seeing as the one I hit on my forehead almost left a bruise!
After all that, his response was:
“Nel, thank you for making these, the thought was really nice, BUT, and this is a big BUT… Please do not ever mix a doughnut and a muffin together. A doughnut is perfect just the way it is, don’t ruin it for me!!!”

When I opened my fast in the evening I tried it and they didn’t taste too bad to be honest. I liked them. But you must also remember that I hadn’t eaten the whole day! Anything will taste nice when you’ve not eaten. Was a little dry but the jam inside helped bring in some moisture!

Duffin Edit 5

I will be trying these again but at my mum’s AND on a lower heat setting as I know if hubby sees me making these again he will be in complete shock and just confused lol!

Here’s the what you need to know:
Equipment
2 bowls. One for wet ingredients and one for dry.
Mixer/Hand Blender/Whisk/Fork
Sieve – For the Self Raising Flour
Muffin Tray
Muffin Cases (if you would like… I would highly recommend it!)

Ingredients:
Sunflower Oil
Vanilla
Self Raising Flour
Milk
Caster Sugar
Egg
Jam of any kind.

Melted butter
Caster Sugar
Icing sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius
  2. Mix the following ingredients together in one bowl:
    85ml Sunflower Oil
    1 large Egg
    125ml Milk
    Quarter Tsp Vanilla
  3. In your second bowl, mix the following:
    200g Self Raising Flour
    100g Caster Sugar
  4. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and mix until all has been incorporated.
  5. Place your muffin cases into your muffin tray and fill the cases with HALF of the mixture.
  6. Now place roughly half a tsp of jam into the centre of each of your muffin cases which are filled with duffin batter.
  7. Cover the jam with the left over batter. See Picture below…
  8. Place into oven for 25 minutes OR until risen and springy
  9. Leave to cool and then either dust them with icing sugar as I did, or melt some butter and dip the tops of each duffin into the butter and then into a small bowl of caster sugar to give a sugared doughnut effect!
Duffin Edit 3
You can see the delicious conserve oozing out here. So making sure to use a muffin case instead of plopping them in like I did, this is how they should look 🙂

 

Remember to keep an eye on them as you don’t want to overcook them like I did!

Have you ever tried to make these duffins? How did they turn out? I would love to hear your duffin stories!

Been away far too long…

A little something that I have been doing in the past few months!
A little something that I have been doing in the past few months!

My goodness, I have been telling myself to get back on track, sit down with a cuppa…even though I REALLY do NOT like hot drinks! Yup, that’s right, I hate em’! I wish I could fit in with all you ‘hot drink drinkers’ but I’ve always struggled to drink warm things unless I am absolutely freezing! With that in mind, I do actually have a great tutorial for you on how to make a delicious home-made hot chocolate! Hypocrite I hear you say? No, no, no! Home-made is always different, I’m sure we’ve established that hence why I bake lol!!
My youngest sister loves it so that is sufficient enough for me to conclude that it is delicious heh heh!

Anywhooooo, I did mention that I like to waffle don’t I? Well if you didn’t know, you know now!
I’ve been meaning to sit down to show you all my recent works and to tell you what I have been doing for the past say… ohhhh… 2-3 months? Wow it really has been a long time!
Well, to give you a quick brief, I’ve had the mountain task of looking after my (now) 7 month old bubba, whilst house-sitting for my wonderful mother in law for a full month whilst she, hubby, and my little sister in law went away for Hajj!!!
When they came back I had an amazing rustic wedding cake to make with a mint green theme, as well as making sure to fall extremely poorly throughout the whole half-term leaving me more or less bed-ridden for the whole holiday! Once God blessed me with good health again, I was able to make roughly 100 cupcakes for a charity event held at Holiday Inn to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital!
Guess what… I forgot to take pictures of the cupcakes *slaps forehead* arghhh!!! I managed to take some of the chocolate cuppies, but not of the rest!

Anyways, once that was over with, I had great pleasure in baking some duffins for my hubby… he didn’t like them!! I’m not sure I did either to be honest, but that day I was fasting so anything tasted like heaven to me lol!! Pictures to come don’t worry!

I’m contemplating whether to reveal my vanilla sponge recipe as I do have a lot of people constantly asking me to give the recipe… plus, I have changed it since I first started out too!
Would you like to know my recipe? If so, make sure to leave a comment below!

Just a sec….. before I go, I will be giving you my Hazelnut Banoffee Pie recipe soon as well as a glimpse into my first attempt at making lace using Sugarveil and Claire Bowen. Which one do you think I liked? I won’t give anything away just yet! Just keep your eyes peeled to find out on my blog!

But for now, I need to dash as bubba has woken up!

Nel xxx