Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Airplane Cake

This has to be one of the more different cakes I've been asked to make, but I think that's what made it so enjoyable. A friends Mum was turning 50 and she has a bit of an infatuation with airplanes, so a plane cake it was. The birthday girl likes planes so much that she has the dinner set used by Qantas in their first and business class. I thought it was very cute story, so with that in mind based the cake on a Qantas airplane.
For the inside of the cake I used one of my favourite flavours, a lemon and lime white chocolate mudcake filling and frosted with white chocolate ganache. The outside of the cake and the decorations are all fondant. I was a little worried that the wings wouldn't stand up to the rainy weather so made them out of cake board covered with fondant.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chocolate Chunk Giant Skillet Cookie

With the weekend weather rainy and unusually cool for February its not surprising that all I could think about was chocolate chip cookies. What better time to try out a choc chunk skillet cookie. I had seen this idea a few time before and was excited to make one for myself.

I think I may have found my new favourite cool weather treat, forget pie, cookies the size of frying pans are where its at! Basically its just a giant chocolate chip cookie with a soft cakey/ brownie like centre.

I'd suggest topping the warm cookie with a scoop of  ice cream, handing out spoons to some people you like and eating it straight out of the pan. The cookie is the perfect combination of salty and sweet and with some melty vanilla ice cream is pure awesomeness!
Chocolate Chunk Giant Skillet Cookie (printable recipe)
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
170 grams butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200 grams chocolate, cut into small pieces (use your favourite)

To make the cookie- Preheat oven to 180 degrees c.  and lightly grease your oven proof pan.

With an electric mixer cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, roughly 2 minutes. 

Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. 
Add the flour, baking soda and salt and beat until just combined.

Stir through the chocolate pieces.
Spoon the dough into the prepared skillet pan and press the top flat with a spatula or the palm of your hand. 

Bake the giant cookie for around 40 to 45 minutes or until top is golden and the edges are golden brown. 

The cookie will continue to bake for a few minutes out of the oven so don't worry if the centre seems a little soft.

Sit the skillet pan on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes until it is cool enough to handle before eating the cookie.

Dig in and enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Conversation Heart Valentines Cake

Just In time! I'm very happy to get this up before Valentines Day, even if it is only the night before.
I love the look of conversation hearts! The pretty pastels, the cute messages, pretty much the are the sweetest sweets ever.

I had a friend who carried around a tiny little envelope with a tiny little card inside and inside that card there was a single candy heart stuck in the center. I think the heart said 'U R CUTE', she carried it around in her purse just in case she met someone to give it too. I always thought it was a super sweet idea. This cake is a less subtle version of that card, way less subtle!
I had this cake idea on my mind for a little while but ran into trouble when I went looking for candy hearts in stores, the only ones I found were more candy wonky shapes than hearts and the printing on them could have been a hundred years old. Yuck! 

I didn't know what else to do so made my own conversation hearts using a edible pen on fondant, making up your own messages is more fun anyway.  I only wish I had wrote 'LOVE UR GUTS' on the topper, boyfriend if you are reading this pretend it says that instead.

Have a lovely Valentines Day everyone!!
For the conversation hearts you'll need
-A golf ball size ball of pastel yellow, green, orange, and blue fondant.
-Also twice that amount of pink fondant for the smaller hearts as well as the topper.
-Red food writer/ edible pen

To make the conversation hearts- thinly roll out the fondant to about 3mm thick and cut out hearts using a small cutter. My cutter is 2.5 cm tall and it took 100 hearts to cover the cake so cut out 20 of each colour. 
To make the larger heart cake topper roll out some more pink fondant to about 7 mm thick and cut out a large heart using a cutter. Press a popstick or skewer onto the back of the heart. Roll out a small rectangle of  fondant about 2cm wide, enough to cover the stick. Brush the rectangle with a tiny amount of water and  gently press onto the back of the heart to keep the stick/skewer in place. Flip the heart back over so the front side is up and leave all the hearts to air dry over night.

After the hearts have hardened over night they are ready to write on. Using a red food pen write your own little messages on each of the hearts.
For the Vanilla Cake
3/4 cup milk (1/4 plus 1/2)
5 egg whites 
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 3/4 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
170 grams salt reduced butter (softened)
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

To make the cake- Grease two 6 inch round cake pans and line with baking paper, preheat oven to 180 degrees c.

In a medium bowl combine 1/4 cup of milk, egg whites, vanilla extract and paste and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the softened butter and the 1/2 cup of milk and mix on low to prevent flour going everywhere. When the ingredients come together increase speed to medium and mix until smooth, about a minute and a half.
Add the egg and milk mixture one third at a time, beating on medium for about 20 seconds between each addition. The mixture should be smooth and fluffy. 
Stir through the sprinkles.
Divide the cake mix between the two prepared pans and smooth over the tops.

Place the cakes in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes keeping an eye on them toward the end to make sure they don't over cook. Test the middle of the cake with a metal skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is ready.

Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. Cool top side up. While the cakes are cooling prepare the frosting.

Basic Vanilla Buttercream
100 grams salt reduced butter (softened)
3 cups icing sugar
pinch salt (optional)
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the buttercream- Add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer, beat on medium until fluffy and very pale, for around 3 minutes. Turn the mixer down to low so you don't fill you kitchen with clouds of icing sugar. Gradually add the icing sugar and milk along with the vanilla and salt and mix until combined. Add a little more milk or sugar if necessary to get your desired consistency. Turn the mixer speed up to medium and beat for another 2 minutes until fluffy.

To assemble the cake- Trim the rounded tops off both of the cakes so each cake is flat. I ended up with one cake taller than the other so split the taller cake into 2 layers. Giving me three layers of cake.

Place the first layer of cake onto your cake plate, spread a thin layer of icing onto the top of the cake and sandwich with the second layer. Repeat this again with the third layer.

Cover the sides and top with an even layer of icing, being careful not to get cake crumbs in the icing.
Before the icing is dry stick on the fondant hearts, I started with the bottom layer and worked my way up.
Enjoy :) and have a lovely Valentines Day!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sprinkle Cake

There is one kind of cake I will pick over all others any day. What kind of cake makes me swoon you ask.  For me plain vanilla is where its at, with pink frosting (sometimes strawberry flavoured like this one) and some sprinkles to finish it off.

Sprinkles make me smile! 

A whole cake covered entirely with sprinkles, well that's face covering cheesy smile material.
It was my niece's 2nd Birthday last week, she makes me smile too so I made this cake for her.

To get the sprinkle coating I followed this fabulous tutorial from Half Baked- The Cake Blog, its pretty simple and most important mess free!