Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby cake topper

I made this wee baby cake topper for my nephew Baby Hughie's upcoming baptism. I was inspired by the baby cake in the Wilton Fondant book. I like his hair and pacifier! :) I think his legs are a bit not proportionate though.

I finally found the right fondant recipe for modelling in our humid climate. It was shared with me by the generous ladies from 'resipidotnet', a Yahoo group. It's a recipe from a certain Chef Asma. It dries hard, but I found it a bit too dry and it cracked, so I had to add some warm water to get the right consistency. The texture would be much easier to work with if you add gum tragacanth. It makes fondant more elastic and pliable. I think I'll need that if I plan to make more intricate models in the future. I have already ordered some through the internet but they are out of stock and it will only get to me some time next month. I have had no luck finding it in baking shops here.

I found the hardest part was tinting the fondant. It was pretty messy and tedious. I was afraid I wouldn't get the right shade of beige, but succeeded by mixing lots of brown with a bit of pink and yellow. I found that covering your hands with a bit of shortening not only prevented the fondant from sticking, but also reduced the stains from the food colouring. The modelling part was fun and I definitely want to do more of this soon...

This is the recipe I used for the hard fondant:

Chef Asma's Hard Fondant Recipe

1/4 cup cold water
5 teaspoons gelatine
1 tablespoon glycerine
2 tablespoons liquid glucose
1 tablespoon Crisco (vegetable shortening)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 kg icing sugar, sifted

Sprinkle gelatine in cold water. Heat up in a bain marie (a bowl fitted over a pot of simmering water) until gelatine dissolves. Stir in all the other ingredients except for sugar. Cool slightly, then add, bit by bit, to the sugar. Mix until it forms a workable dough. Add more sugar if too wet, and warm water if too dry.

Double wrap with cling film and keep in an airtight container for 12 hours before using. This fondant can be kept this way for weeks in a cool place. Do not refrigerate.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sugar cookies

Last night I baked some sugar cookies which I need for an upcoming "project". They were pretty easy and straight-forward to make. The hardest part was lifting the cookie shapes onto the tray without distorting them. Here's the recipe I used.

  • 1 bar (225g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Makes: About 3 dozen cookies.


Preheat oven to 400°F/200C. In mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extract. Mix flour and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Wrap dough in cling film and chill in refrigerator for half an hour. Divide dough into 2 balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheet 6-7 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.
I only used half the dough and freezed the rest for future use. I had more than I needed so I made the rest into small cookies for the kids to bring to school today, since I forgot to buy bread anyway :) I got to use my sprinkles and the kids loved them.

The photos are really crappy because it was late at night, so the lighting wasn't good and I was not bothered to try harder because my bed was beckoning!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Allyson's birthday cake

This was a last minute cake for my niece Allyson's party tonight, so I didn't have time to use fondant. I baked a chocolate mud cake, using a recipe I found on the internet and have been dying to try. The batter was really watery and I was worried the texture would go wrong, like my Devil's Food Cake disaster. Instead, it turned out to be surprisingly light and moist.

The filling is a yummy chocolate truffle and I iced it with the easy packaged type of non-dairy topping. I wanted very strong primary colours for the decoration so I had to add a lot of food colouring. I think I'll look for food colouring paste, instead of liquid, the next time I hit the shops.

I will be needing much more practice in piping icing, but I think overall it turned out okay for an amateur. I like the sides of the cake, but am not too happy with the top. I was just itching to use my lovely sprinkles. From now on I think I'll just leave the sprinkles for cupcakes.

The cream curdled a bit while I was doing the big round dots which are supposed to be balloons! I have no idea why. I could have overwhipped the mix or added too much liquid in the form of food colouring. I also realised I used the wrong tip for the border. I used the star instead of the shell. Learning... learning...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Annie's birthday cake

 On Friday, we celebrated my daughter Annie's 8th birthday. I wanted to make a special fondant cake for her. I baked four layers of chocolate cake (two 6" rounds and two 9" rounds) and made a two tiered cake. I was inspired by the candy cake design from one of my Wilton books.

I used the fondant recipe which I got off the blog "Zoe bakes". The taste and texture of the fondant was good, and it also didn't use any shortening (trans fat), but it could not stand up to the heat and humidity of our climate. Even though I kept the air-conditioning on, the fondant began to sweat and wilt after awhile.

I am therefore now out on a hunt for the right fondant recipe. Hope I can find one just right for our weather here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Choc chip cuppies with fresh cream & fondant

 Annie and Claire celebrated Teacher's Day at school on Friday. So, I made some chocolate chip cupcakes for them to share with the other kids during the class party. I cheated and used Betty Crocker muffin mix. It saved me so much time and of course they turned out great!

I took half of the cupcakes to decorate as gifts for the teachers. I iced them with fresh cream and made fondant apples to place on top. An apple for teacher!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fudgy brownie cake with fondant icing

I made my first fondant cake on Friday. It was a chocolate brownie cake which turned out pretty much perfect for the first time because the butter was really room temperature (I usually use cold because I have no patience to wait for it to warm up!). I filled and iced it with chocolate ganache.

Then I made rolled fondant for the first time. It wasn't as hard as I imagined it would be, but it was still quite a bit of work. I tinted some yellow and rolled it out to cover the cake. It tore a bit when I lifted it up. I also got some ganache on my fingers and dirtied the fondant with the brown colour. I had to wipe it off with a damp cloth. I think I'll stick to white frosting the next time I'm using fondant.

I cut out some white daisies and flattened little yellow balls for the centres. Then I made a border of yellow balls. It turned out okay in the end, but I think I'm going to need much more practice to get the covering bit perfected.

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