Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Teddy Bear Anniversary

Hubby and I and Sis no.4 and her hubby got married on the same day on 27/12/00. So we recently celebrated our 9th anniversary.

I made a boy and a girl teddy bear from fondant. I used store bought fondant, so it was quite easy to handle. However, I added in the gum tragacanth a few days earlier, so it made the fondant a bit harder to work with. This explains the cracks which I couldn't, for the life of me, knead out without getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

I placed the cutie bears on a scalloped circle of white fondant and wrote 'Happy Anniversary' using a fine-tipped food marker.

The cakes are chocolate cake covered in dark chocolate ganache. I used Cadbury's Old Gold chocolate for the ganache and it was heavenly! For the mini cakes I piped on the ganache using the large star tip and just placed a jumbo heart sprinkle on top.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas Cuppies

Here is a set of fondant cuppies I made for another night of carolers. They are American chocolate cake cupcakes topped with fresh cream, then covered in fondant.

This sprig of holly was simply made using the holly leaf cutter. The berries are just rolled balls of red fondant.

This one was the easiest. I just imprinted the snowflake design using the snowflake stamp I bought.

The candy cane was the most work, yet still easy. I made two ropes of fondant, one red and one white. Then I twisted the two ropes together then rolled them on my work surface until it merged into one smooth rope. Then I cut portions of the rope and bent them into cane shapes.

 This small sprig of holly was made the same way as the larger one, just using the small cutter.

And here you have them...

Chocolate Rum and Chocolate Orange Cake Balls

I had plenty of chocolate cake scraps leftover from my snowman cakes, so I decided to make cake balls. The first thing that came to mind was chocolate rum cake balls. Then I had to think of a child-friendly alternative for the many sweet-toothed kids in the extended family, all home for the holidays. Thus I decided to go with chocolate orange cake balls as well.

The chocolate rum cake balls and chocolate orange cake balls were served on this funky "Santa on a tropical holiday" serving platter. They were for ourselves, our guests, and also the carolers who were coming around.

I made them by feel and taste, so I unfortunately cannot provide the exact measurements of the ingredients that went into these cake balls. Anyhow, I'll list out what I used and you can make them according to your personal taste.

Chocolate Rum Cake Balls
  • chocolate cake scraps
  • icing sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • raisins soaked in rum
  • more rum
  • melted unsalted butter

Chocolate Orange Cake Balls
  • chocolate cake scraps
  • melted unsalted butter
  • icing sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • orange oil
Basically you just dump everything into a big bowl and mash it up with your hands until it becomes a soft dough which holds its shape. If it is too wet, you can add more cocoa powder and sugar. If it is to dry, you can add more melted butter. Refrigerating the dough for about half an hour also helps firm up dough that is too soft.

Then, just roll the dough into balls and coat them with cocoa powder, icing sugar, crushed nuts or even sprinkles. Simple to make, yet decadently delicious!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Frosty the Snowman cake

Meet Frosty the Snowman. I made him and his twin brother from store-bought fondant so it was a breeze.

For this one, I just plopped Frosty on a white fondant covered cake and tied a maroon ribbon round the base.

This second snowman I placed on a cake which was also covered in white fondant. This time I imprinted the fondant covering with snow flake patterns.

Both are yummy chocolate brownie cakes with delicious Nutella filling and crumb coat.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gingerbread Men Gift Sets

I've had a leftover batch of lebkuchen dough in my freezer for ages. I was over-ambitious the last time I made lebkuchen and whipped up double the recipe in one go. Only after baking the first portion, did I discover how tough the cookies were, and how the kids did not fancy them at all! Thus, I was left with one recipe of unbaked lebkuchen dough sitting in the freezer.

I was in a quandry, because if I turned the dough into cookies, I'd just be stuck with a whole batch of unwanted cookies. Yet I couldn't throw the prefectly good dough away. So I decided to mix that one recipe of lebkuchen with one recipe of sugar cookie dough, hoping that it would make the cookie softer and less spicy.

Well, thank goodness that idea worked and I ended up with another whole batch of gingerbread men to decorate!

This time I decided to try royal icing, because I had a can of Wilton meringue powder which I had yet to try. (You can use raw egg white too if you are not worried about Salmonella.) I was very pleased that whipping up the royal icing proved simple enough.

Here's the recipe: (I only made half portion because I didn't need much)

Royal Icing

3 tbsp meringue powder
4 cups (1 lb) icing sugar
6 tablespoons warm water*

(makes about 3 cups of icing)

Beat all ingredients until icing forms stiff peaks (7-10 mins at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, or 10-12 mins at high speed with hand-held mixer)

*For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

I was extremely happy with how simple it was to make and use royal icing. I love its light texture which made it easy to pipe, and its perfect whiteness is gorgeous. It also dried up real fast. The only downside is if you use a lot, it's taste and texture when dry it's all that great. It also doesn't have a shiny finish like cookie glaze. However, I still think royal icing is the best for outlines and attaching candy and other decorations to the cookie.

All dressed up and ready to go.

Christmas gift sets awaiting delivery.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Birthday Cake for a Hardcore Cyclist

I made a birthday cake for my brother-in-law who celebrated his birthday on Thursday. He loves off-road cycling, so I thought I'd make a model of him and his beloved bicycle in the manly wilderness! (Hence the green-grass base and r

I have finally discovered the joy of using store-bought fondant! It is so, so much easier to handle. It is less sticky, much more pliable and elastic, and doesn't dry up too fast. Thank goodness my sister-in-law who is also a baking addict introduced it to me. All this while I was avoiding using store-bought fondant, because first it's rather expensive, and mostly because I've heard that they taste awful. However, this brand that we used tasted pretty decent and is not as sweet as home-made fondant.

*Sigh*... I should've used this earlier, it would have saved me so much time and strife!

So anyway, the model turned out quite well. The bicycle however had much too small wheels! I was too lazy to make new ones and just stuck them on anyway. I made the bicycle by using wire to create a frame first. Then I coated the frame in fondant.

The cake was a bit of a failure. I wanted to try a white chocolate and macadamia nut blondies (white chocolate brownies) recipe. It turned out too sweet, and I also over-baked it so it's texture was very hard indeed! I won't be trying that recipe again anytime soon.

I looove brownies though. I simply adore their thick fudgy texture. I'd much prefer a slice of rich brownie over a piece of airy-fairy sponge any day! This is why I just had to buy another recipe book; 'Brownies' by Linda Collister.

I vow to perfect the art of making brownies. Yum...

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