Baby’s 1st birthday cake – trial run

Anyone who knows that I love cake making (and decorating), also knows that I have a new found fascination with watching Ace of Cakes pretty much every evening! Ace of Cakes has inspired me to try 3D cakes and really challenge myself. When a friend asked me to make a 1st birthday cake for their daughter, one night just before falling asleep I had a eureka! moment to make a cake of baby building blocks – the are really cute and a way to spell a simple message.

Pretty colours and message agreed, I decided to do a trial run in my brand new 30cm square cake tin. I made 3 layers of strawberry sponge (colouring the middle layer in pink), sandwiched with buttercream and covered with fondant. My only worry was making sure the blocks were square and of similar proportion to each other (not as easy as you would think with cake).

Here’s my trial run with just white fondant icing and decoration. You’ll have to wait until the week after next to see how the real one looks 🙂

Malteaser cupcakes :)

Malty-goodness! I put crushed Malteasers into the vanilla sponge mixture as well as on top of the cupcakes – no scrimping 🙂

I also added a bit of malt drink powder to both the sponge and icing to continue the malt flavour, which subtly worked well. Beware of gritty malt drink powder though, no-one likes crunchy cupcake buttercream. I swiftly piped on top (as I was a little short of time on this particular Saturday afternoon) and then sprinkled with more Malteasers….light and delicious!

Next I’m off to get some supplies for a 1st birthday cake – watch this blog-space for the trial run.

Carrot cupcakes

I absolutely love carrot cake, it has such a fabulous texture. As it has a vegetable in it, I consider it a healthy cupcake 😉 yeah right!

This particular recipe used a heap of carrot – a whole 300g which I think is a bit too much, so I’ll be cutting this down next time as it was a little overkill on the cake’s texture. These lovely low-maintenance beauties warm you inside with that hint of cinnamon and perfect partner – orange. Sadly there was a presentation let down, peeling cases. I suspect this is down to moisture from the mass of carrots. Apart from that, they were certainly palette pleasers, and a hearty cupcake with cream cheese frosting topped with orange zest.

Attempt 1 – Sachertorte

Now, I’m not one to shy away from a challenge so today I went out of my comfort zone and baked a non-cakey cake (I say non-cakey cake as it’s more eggs than anything else, except of course chocolate!).

A good friend of mine is getting married this year and has asked me about making 3 tiers of Sachertorte so I thought I’d get practising early. Her colours are black and white, so she’s asked for the outside to be lavished with vanilla butter cream instead of the traditional ganache. Following the ‘British Bake Off’ recipe (and despite getting one bit very slightly wrong) I’m pleased with my first attempt. Worried that it was going to be dry (as I’d read this was the experience of a brit who tried Sachertorte in Austria), to my relief it was moist, rich and very chocolatey. The vanilla butter cream really helps cut through the richness of the ‘sponge’ and looks quite dramatic with the colour contrast. Other bakers tend to sandwich these like a Victoria Sponge, filling with chocolate ganache – it looks more substantial, but I’d be worried that it’d cause instant heart failure on the first bite.

I also read that it’s best to wait a couple of days before cutting a Sachertorte – why is this? Does anyone else swear by this?

Wolfson College Committee taste-testing

Back in November, whilst finalising details with Wolfson’s food officer I baked a sample batch of cakes and brownies for their Committee to try during their next meeting. Feedback was that the cupcakes went down a treat! Mixed review on the brownies but I believe brownies to be down to personal taste – depending on whether you like them gooey in the middle or firm with a good cuppa.

Anyway, looks like there’s going to be a marathon cupcake session in June to feed all those sugar-starved students – looking forward to it 🙂 hourly progress updates a-hoy!

Here both cupcakes (traditional vanilla topped with glace cherry & edible glitter and Oreo biscuit) and brownies (chocolate and walnut) for the occasion…. enjoy!