I have been debating whether to close this blog and start something new. Describing my recent commitment to posting as "poor" would be the understatement of the year. Life at the moment is busy. Funnily there has been some cooking going on around these parts - rhubarb & vanilla jam, plum cake, chocolate dipped honeycomb, to name a few- but I can't seem to get organised enough to take some photos and get writing.
BUT I have made a wedding cake recently, which was significant enough to inspire photo documentation. My job was really quite easy, the hardest part was getting the cake from Sydney to Canberra in one piece. It was my cousin's wedding, and being the crafty person that she is she decided to make boutonniere, flowers and various other decorations from origami. So I had a very spectacular cake topper to work with and all I had to do was bake, decide on size and scale, and ice the creation.
I do think it looks beautiful, and this photo really doesn't do the cake topper justice. It was spectacular. With a bit of luck I will get some copies of the pro shots soon, rather than my dimly lit post wine attempt.
I'm slightly mortified by my lack of posting, particularly as Marley and Rod's wedding cake is featured in the current edition of Bride to Be magazine, as well as being the last thing I posted back in March.
To be honest I've barely baked a thing since then. My (weak) justification is that February, March and April were consumed by morning sickness; May, June and July by renovations; and most recently gestational diabetes has seriously diminished my interest in baking.
The good news is that our new kitchen is almost finished, which makes me think a housewarming celebration (with cake) is on order. And there are only about 9 weeks til the tiny human makes an appearance, at which time I will again be able to enjoy a gelato if I feel like it. So stick with me!
I have no excuse for my absence other than the laziness that comes with the Summer holidays and then the panic that comes with return to work. So I wish you all a happy new year, albeit rather belatedly. Over the last month I've had a lovely (and indulgent) Christmas, made the famous wedding fruitcake, made some resolutions about sustainable shopping and eating, and generally enjoyed the sunshine. My family gets very excited by Christmas, very very very excited. Our Christmas menu was heavily influenced by Gourmet Traveller, particularly the dessert that Mum and I made on Christmas Eve, a spectacular Cherry Bombe. You can find the recipe here.
Believe the instructions when they say that the recipe is very involved. For us that meant a division of labour. I made the sponge cake and pitted what seemed like thousands of cherries before we made the sorbet together. Mum made the cherry ripple ice cream. I made and applied the Italian meringue. Mum blow torched it (and briefly set the bombe on fire!) So a big team effort. During the process we had some doubts over whether the end result would be worth the effort, but believe me it was.
So I'll leave you with a promise to write again soon! TTFN xx
Stollen is one of those things you see every Christmas piled up by the checkout at the fruit shop, or even Aldi. I tend to think of it (rather unkindly) as Panettone's ugly cousin.
As it turns out, I don't mind Stollen at all. It's a fruity, yeasty bread, not dissimilar to Greek Tsoureki although less buttery and moist. The think I enjoyed the most about this challenge was watching Martha Stewart's instructional video on how to make bread in the shape of a wreath. If you are a Martha freak like I am you can have a look at Martha's recipe and the video demonstration here. I am besotted with Mrs Kostyra. She is one feisty old duck!
The 2010 December Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie’s Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make Stollen. She adapted a friend’s family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart’s book.........and Martha Stewart’s demonstration.
In an effort to hone my skills working with fruitcake and marzipan I signed up for a new two day specialty class offered by Planet Cake. I found marzipan to be so much cleaner than working with ganache so I will definitely be promoting the fruitcake/marzipan wedding cake option to people in the future. Sometimes a little tradition is a good thing!
Spending almost a full day making 3 elves has left me with much more confidence in making figurines. Although I am not sure that I would be able to model anybody who does not want to resemble Noddy... It was also the first time I've used a pasta machine to roll fondant icing and believe me it was a complete revelation. The red ribbons were rolled and cut from fondant "lasagne" and the green ribbon was made from fondant fettucine. The pasta machine is also fabulous for making elf girl hair. As usual post Planet Cake course I am thrilled with the outcome and left feeling quietly confident about the looming wedding cake decorating... stay tuned...
Q: What does 11 cups of flour, 2.25 cups of butter, 7.75 cups of sugar, 4 bottles of red food colouring, 9 eggs, 9 tablespoons of cocoa, 4 teaspoons of vanilla, 4.5 cups of buttermilk and 1kg of vanilla buttercream buy you?
A: A resplendent three layer red velvet cake!
For anyone interested in recreating this feat, I made the Magnolia Bakery Red Velvet Cake recipe three times, using each batch to fill one 10" cake tin. I was a bit anxious about how a triple layer 10" cake would hold up but it was gorgeous. And heavy.