Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Blue Velvet Cake


Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting

Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting Slice

This cake sounds odd but tastes amazing, and is a nice spin on the classic red velvet cake. To put this into perspective, I made this cake for someone who loved the Winnie the Pooh character Eeyore. I've wanted to find a good red velvet recipe for a while, and changing the colour of a cake is pretty simple when food colouring is the source of the food.

I covered and filled the cake with a simple cream cheese icing, then made my own blue sugar crystals to finish.

The cake went down really well, and stayed moist for days afterwards! The cake was finished off today but had lasted nearly a week in an airtight container.

Also, there's still loads of time if anyone would like to donate to the amazing Christie's charity - they have one of the largest cancer centres in Europe and have saved so many lives. I'm running a marathon in April, and would love to raise as much money as possible for them - my justgiving page is here.

Makes one 23cm cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 110g (1/2 cup) softened butter or margarine
  • 250g (1 & 1/4 cups) granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225ml (1 cup) natural yoghurt or buttermilk
  • 2 tsp blue food colouring (I used a concentrated gel)
  • 280g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp white vinegar


For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 110g (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 225g (1 cup) cream cheese
  • 480g (4 cups) icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


For the blue crystals:

  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 35ml (1/4 cup) water
  • toothpick dipped in concentrated blue food colouring


Method:

1. Grease the base and sides of two 23cm springform circular cake tins. Line the bases with baking parchment.

2. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/355f/ gas mark 4.

3. Cream the butter or margarine against the sides of a bowl until it is really soft and spreadable. Add the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy.

4. Add the eggs, vanilla, food colouring and yoghurt/buttermilk and one tablespoon of the plain flour, and whisk until smooth.

5. Sift in the remaining plain flour, cocoa powder and salt. Use a large spoon to fold the flour/cocoa/salt into the cake mixture, until no flour speckles can be seen.

6. In a small bowl whisk together the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Immediately pour into the cake batter and fold in.

7. Evenly divide the batter between the two cake tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is springy and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins.

8. To make the frosting, cream the butter against the side of the bowl until it is very soft and spreadable.

9. Add the cream cheese and beat with the butter until smooth. Pour in the vanilla extract and half of the icing sugar, and beat until all of the sugar has been combined. Add the other half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

IF you have lumps of butter in your icing, don't stress! I've had this problem before, and have found an easy fix. Use a hand blender to blitz the frosting - it will go lovely and smooth, and didn't lose firmness :)
Place in the fridge until ready to use.

10. Grease and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

11. Make the blue sugar crystals by pouring the sugar and water into a medium saucepan. Place on a low heat, and heat until all of the sugar has dissolved.

12. Turn the heat up to medium, and heat (WITHOUT STIRRING). It will bubble up pretty ferociously, and after about 5 minutes, the bubbles will settle down to a nice rumble - when it gets to this stage keep a close eye on it. At that point, swirl the pan every minute or so.

12. Once the colour turns a golden colour (on a sugar thermometer it will read 149 - 154c/300-310f), dip the food coloured toothpick into the sugar. Swirl until the sugar has been evenly coloured, then pour onto the lined baking tray. Leave to set for around 10 minutes, until cold. If you want to make shards rather than small crystals, spread the blue caramel around the tray so that it is around 2mm thick.

13. Break into shards. Leave them like this if you like, or crush the sugar using a rolling pin or high powered food processor.

14. To assemble the cake, remove both cakes from the tins, and use a serrated knife to level the top of the cakes off (effectively removing the dome formed on top of the cake).

15. Place a small amount of icing on the middle of the cake board/serving tray, and top with the first cake layer. This acts like glue so that the cake won't slip!

16. Place around a third of the icing on top of the first cake layer, and smooth over the top. Top with the other cake layer.

17. Spread a small amount of the icing around the sides and top of the cake using a palette knife. This doesn't need to look neat - it acts as a crumb coat, meaning that when you put the final layer of icing on, you won't see any blue crumbs in the final finish.
Place the cake in the fridge for 10-15 minutes for the icing to become less sticky.

18. Place a large spoonful of icing on the top of the cake, and use a palette knife to evenly smooth over the cake top. Then add a big spoonful of icing on the side of the cake, and smooth this around the sides. Once the sides of the cake have been covered, dip the palette knife in hot water, dry it, then smooth around the cake. This will give the neatest finish.

19. Place the sugar crystals around the base of the cake, or where wished. This cake was made for my sister Gwyneth, so I did a big G on the middle of the cake :)

20. Place in the fridge to set for around half an hour. I had mine in a cake box overnight (so easily over 12 hours) and the icing didn't melt.

21. Enjoy!


Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting


Blue Velvet Cake with Blue Sugar and Cream Cheese frosting Slice

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.comDiary of an imperfect mum
TammymumMummy in a Tutu
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Saturday, 11 February 2017

Cookies and Cream Ombre Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and Tuxedo Strawberries



Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Cut Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

Hey guys. First things first, I'm running the Manchester Marathon in April to raise money for The Christie, who are one of the largest cancer centres in Europe, and are an amazing charity :) I had a recent unexpected close family bereavement, which hit us all very hard. Raising this money would be my only way of trying to do something good out of such an awful situation. Any donations would be hugely appreciated and it's super simple to do - just follow the link to my Justgiving page (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Bronwyn-Dawson). They automatically donate the money to The Christie, and are the most reputable fundraising sites I know of :)

Now back to baking...Here's a valentine's treat for you all :) I made this about a month ago, but thought it made the perfect to cake to make a loved one this Tuesday. I call it a cookies and cream ombre cake - simply it's cocoa butter-less sponges sandwiched with Oreo swiss meringue buttercream, and covered with vanilla swiss meringue buttercream that has been coloured various shades of pink. I topped them with some super cute tuxedo strawberries and dark and white chocolate hearts (coloured with a little pink food colouring).

It was loads of fun to make and tasted incredible :)

I find cake boards are a great way to stack, transport and present a cake, but if you can't find them, just make sure you have a base that is big enough for the whole cake, and that you can stick the bottom cake layer to the tray (this will help prevent the cake from falling over in transportation).

Makes 1 20cm cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 285g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 110ml milk
  • 6 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 6 egg yolks

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g (1 & 2/3 cups) caster sugar
  • 400g butter (1 & 3/4 cups), at room temperature, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g original oreos, crushed
  • Pink food colouring (I use a concentrated gel from Wilton)

For the tuxedo strawberries and chocolate hearts:

  • 150g strawberries (do NOT hull them)
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate
Equipment:
  • 1 x plastic heart mould tray
  • 1 x 23cm cake board
  • 3 x 23cm cake tins


Method:

To make the cake layers:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/ 350f/ gas mark 4. Grease and line the bases of three 23cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.

2. Whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla together using a hand whisk (or in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment). Whisk until it has at least doubled in volume and become a light orange colour.

3. Pour in the milk and keep whisking for 3-5 minutes, until when the whisk is lifted from the mixture, a ribbon of mix falls down onto the batter, and am impression is left on the top of the batter for a few seconds.

4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl, then pour into the bowl containing the yolks/sugar/vanilla/milk. Keep whisking briefly until all of the flour has been incorporated.

5. In a separate grease-free bowl (if you're worried about any grease, lightly wipe the inside of your bowl and whisk with lemon/lime juice before whisking) whisk the egg whites until they are very frothy and white, and form peaks when the whisk is removed from the mix (this will take around 3-4 minutes if your eggs are at room temperature).

6. Add a third of the egg whites to the cake mix, and fold into the batter - this can be beaten in thoroughly as it "slackens" the cake mix.

7. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites, using a large metal spoon if possible. Folding means gently stirring around the edge of the mix and cut through the middle repeatedly, just until no more egg whites are visible.

8. Evenly pour the batter into the four cake tins (you can weigh these to be super precise). Carefully level off the cake mix in the tin by tilting the tin and allowing the mixture to settle evenly over the tin.

9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden on top, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool.


To make the buttercream:

1. Place a few tablespoons of water in a small saucepan, and get a heatable mixing bowl (i.e. not a plastic one!) that can fit on the saucepan without touching the water. Into this bowl add the egg whites and caster sugar.

2. Place the saucepan on a low heat, and place the mixing bowl on top. Use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites/brown sugar, until the mixture reaches 71c/ 160F. This will take about 10 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat, and tip the egg white/sugar mixture into another large mixing bowl (this will help the meringue to cool a bit faster). 

4. Use an electric whisk to beat the meringue until it is glossy and a stiff peak of meringue forms when the whisk is lifted from the mixture (i.e. a peak falls where the tip stays upright and doesn't fall to either side).

5. Whilst whisking, add the butter chunk by chunk. Don't be tempted to add more than a chunk at a time, as the mixture may curdle. Keep beating, until all of the butter has been added and the buttercream is smooth. Add the vanilla and beat briefly to combine.

6. Move one third of the buttercream to a different bowl and to this third, add the crushed oreos. Beat until the crumbs are well distributed.

7. Take another third of the buttercream out of the bowl, and split this into two bowls. To one of these small bowls, add a small amount of pink food colouring. To the other, add about double the quantity (or use a stronger pink/red colouring if you have it).

8. Leave the final third of the buttercream white.

To assemble the cake:

1. Remove all of the cakes from their tins, and use a serrated knife to level the top of the cake (so that you are removing any dome formed during baking) - a chef's perk is to eat these cuttings dipped in any spare buttercream (bliss!).

2. Take a heaped tablespoon of the white buttercream and smooth it over the centre of whatever is being used as the cake board. Place your first sponge onto this board and stick down.

3. Spoon half of the oreo buttercream onto the cake layer and smooth over to the edges of the cake layer. Top with the next layer of cake.

4. Add the other half of the oreo buttercream, smooth over to the edges and top with the final layer of cake.

5.  Divide the white buttercream into two. Use a palette knife to spread a thin layer of the white buttercream from one of the bowls over the top and sides of the cake (this is called crumb coating)- don't dip the palette knife into the other bowl of buttercream - this means you're trapping the crumbs from the cake in this thin layer, and your cake will look uber posh at the end.

6. Place the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes - 1 hour, until it isn't sticky when lightly pressed. Meanwhile fill piping bags with half of the white (without any crumbs), light pink and dark pink buttercream - one colour in each bag.

7. Spread the white buttercream not in a piping bag onto the top of the cake, and smooth over using a clean palette knife. Snip off the ends of the piping bags containing the dark and light pink buttercreams, and pipe 3-4 cm lines randomly over the top of the cake. Use a cleaned palette knife to smooth over these (this forms a nice swirl of colour, which may well end up looking nicer than my attempt!)

8. Pipe the remainder of the dark pink buttercream around the base of the cake, forming two rings of dark pink buttercream.

9. Repeat with the light pink buttercream, and then the white buttercream, so that from base to top, you have two rings of dark pink, two rings of light pink and two rows of white buttercream.

10. Use a clean palette knife to smooth around the sides of the cake - you will have a lot of excess buttercream,  which can be used to patch any errors (or can be frozen to store!).

11. Place in the fridge to set up for at least 20 minutes.

To make the tuxedo strawberries and chocolate hearts:

1. Break the white chocolate into chunks and place in a small microwavable bowl. Heat on full power for 20 second intervals, stirring well after each burst until all of the chocolate has melted.

2. Hold the strawberries by the leaves and dip into the white chocolate so that the bottom two thirds of the strawberry are covered in white chocolate. Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper, and chill for 10-15 minutes, until set.

3. With the spare melted white chocolate, lightly colour half of the chocolate pink (if you have concentrated food gel, NOT if you use a liquid gel!), and add teaspoons into heart moulds. You can add little bits of white and pink to the same mould to get a pretty swirled heart effect.

3. Break the dark chocolate into chunks, and heat in a microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring well after each addition until melted.

4. Hold each strawberry by the leaves, and dip opposite sides of the strawberry into the dark chocolate at a 90 degree angle - so that the strawberry is wearing a "tuxedo jacket". Place on the greaseproof paper.

5. Pour the remaining dark chocolate into a piping bag and cut the tip of the piping bag a few mm from the end. Carefully pipe three buttons and a bow tie onto each strawberry. Chill for 15 minutes to set.

6. Pipe the remaining dark chocolate into the heart moulds and chill for around 15 minutes until firm.

To finish:

1. Top the cake with the tuxedo strawberries and hearts

2. Enjoy!

Cookies and Cream Cake Swiss Meringue Buttercream Chocolate Tuxedo Strawberries Valentines

TammymumMummy in a Tutu
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Monday, 6 February 2017

Pineapple, Lime and Coconut Marshmallows

Pineapple Lime Coconut Marshmallows


I've been making pretty elaborate cakes the past few weeks, so decided to try something completely different out :)

This recipe is insanely addictive - if you enjoy marshmallows, you will love these, and your friends will only ask for you to make more of them :) It's a really versatile recipe for marshmallows, which uses gelatine to get the spongy texture of the perfect mallow. I used a combination of pineapple and lime juice, but you can use whatever juice you like :) I've even heard of people using coconut milk, which would be delicious.

I was going to take a picture of the whole batch but well...they were demolished too quickly. I just managed to snap this last one!

The marshmallows will keep up to a week in an airtight container (but they'll probably be too delicious to last that long)

Makes around 25 marshmallows

Ingredients:

  • 90ml (6 tbsp) pineapple juice
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) lime juice
  • 2 x 12g sachets gelatine powder
  • 450g (3 cups) caster sugar
  • 150ml (2/3 cup) golden syrup
  • 150ml (2/3 cup) water
  • 50g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • Flavourless oil, for greasing


Method:

1. Line a 20cm square tub or tin with clingfilm. Pour the pineapple and lime juice into a mixing bowl, and sprinkle over the two sachets of gelatine powder. Set aside until the gelatine has been absorbed into the liquid (it will become very thick) - this will only take around 5 minutes.

2. Pour the golden syrup, caster sugar and water into a medium saucepan and heat on a low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil until the mixture reaches 130C/ 266F , and then remove from the heat for a few minutes (just until it has stopped boiling).

4. Start whisking the gelatine mixture in the mixing bowl (using an electric whisk or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment). Slowly and carefully, pour the hot sugar syrup onto the gelatine mixture, whisking constantly. The mixture will steadily grow in volume.

5. Once all of the sugar syrup has been added, keep whisking for 5 to 10 minutes, until the bowl just feels warm to the touch. The marshmallow will be very thick and sticky.

6. In a small bowl, sieve together the cornflour and icing sugar. Add the desiccated coconut. Sprinkle half of this on the base of the lined square tub.

7. Lightly oil a spatula and use this to transfer the marshmallow into the tub. Leave to set at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, until firm.

8. Sprinkle the remaining of the icing sugar/cornflour/coconut onto a chopping board, and tip the marshmallow out onto this board.

9. Remove the clingfilm. Dip a sharp knife in hot water, dry, then slice the marshmallow into 25 pieces. After each cut, repeat the dipping and drying - this will give the cleanest slices.

10. Turn the marshmallow squares in any spare icing sugar/cornflour, so that all sides are covered.

11. Enjoy!

Pineapple Lime Coconut Marshmallows


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