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Evie and Lois’ Go Ape birthday cake

Evie and Lois’ Go Ape birthday cakeGo Ape birthday cake

Have you ever had an idea in your head for a birthday cake and then it all went horribly wrong? Well that’s kind of what happened with this cake.

The Go Ape Birthday cake.

I’ve made cakes for Evie and Lois before. They’re at school with Darcey and Evie is the reason I have such a keen interest in gluten free baking. I wanted her to have a cake that was every bit as delish as any gluten filled one. As the girls were having a shared Go Ape birthday I wanted their cake to be fitting for a load of kids swinging from ropes in trees.

Beau came up with the original design. I was trying to work out how to have monkeys, trees and models of the girls as well as the cakes needing to be completely separate when she said “Just make two cakes and two trees” and there the idea was born.

The plan

Originally, I wanted to make ball like trees and bushes and have Evie hanging down from a branch on her cake and Lois doing a zip wire from a tree on hers. I dilly dallied as to how to actually do this. I made the trees first and left them to dry then a few days later I made the models of the girls. Then delivery day came.

Go Ape birthday cake Delivery day was a busy one. Not only did I need to finish the cake but it was also the girls school summer fayre – which I was helping at,  and my brother who lives in Oz was coming home for a holiday that night with his wife and three daughters and I was going to help pick them up from the airport. This is where my regrets of not following my normal cake rule of ‘don’t go to bed till the cake is completely finished even if that means staying up till 2am to do so’ kicked in.

Go Ape birthday cake I went to the school fayre and headed home with two hours left to assemble the girls in the trees and put the trees in the cake- then I could do the writing just before dropping the cake off on the way to the airport. As I walked through the front door my dad phoned. “Their plane is getting in early. We’re leaving in half an hour!” OMG! I just lost 90 minutes! And that’s when Lois legs fell off and Evie’s hands weren’t staying in the right position! Panic. Well nearly. I had to change tact. I decided to remake the models and have them literally in the trees – pulling a few ball leaves off the bigger trees to fit them in. I tried to position the arms so they looked really chilled out.

I delivered the cake just in time and then headed straight to the airport where I met my niece for the first time and got to hug my brother and his family for the first time in three years. With the cake delivered without anything else falling off I’d say it ended up a successful day after all!

5 lessons learnt making this Go Ape Birthday cake

  1. ALWAYS finish the cake the night before delivery even if that means staying up till stupid O’clock! Always!!!
  2. Make models a week before delivery date so they have plenty of time to dry and legs don’t fall off. When will I learn this lesson????
  3. You can be a bit brave with design. I loved the ball leaves and bold topiary style tree. They look really cartoony.
  4. Gluten free chocolate cake made with almonds is amazing and doesn’t have that grainy texture most GF cakes have.
  5. Planes will always land early when you’re not expecting it!

EmmaMT

xGo Ape birthday cake

Cherry Brownies recipe

Cherry Brownies recipeCherry Brownie recipe with Stellar

Right now, as I write this blog post it’s Christmas in my crazy media world. Anything and everything that’s to do with Christmas is being emailed my way. Baubles, gift guide ideas and of course things to make your Christmas dinner with. But when it comes to roasting trays turkey is furthest from my mind. For me it’s all about the brownie.

Roasting trays are perfect for brownies so when I caught sight of the hard anodised range from Stellar I knew I had to ‘have a play’. I requested the 33x22cm shallow roasting tray but there’s a whole range available including deep roasters, loose bottom tins, round cake tins, cupcake tins, loaf tins- you name it, it’s on the list.

What I like about this range is that they have a really great thermal conductivity for even heat distribution. This means that whether you have cookies on the tray in the front or back of the oven they’ll all come out the same- perfectly browned and even. I have another tray like this (who shall remain nameless but let’s just say it was really expensive!) and it warps every time it goes under the grill or when the oven gets too hot. This range is designed not to do this and so far – under my rigorous testing, it’s come out on top- and perfectly flat every time.

Cherry Brownie recipe with Stellar

I make brownies in shallow roasters as they’re a stronger, more suitable tray than regular baking sheets. Apart from the fact that they usually come in a good brownie size, they’re thick and strong and give an nice even- gooey bake. These are also really non stick which is always a good thing!

Cherry Brownies recipe

  • 275g (1 cup of chips) dark chocolate
  • 280g unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
  • pinch of salt ( I use sea salt)
  • 450g (2 cups) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 170g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 2-300g cherries -fresh (2 cups) is best but glacé (1 cup) works well too
  1. Line a 22x33cm (8 x 12″) roasting tray with silicon paper. I’ve been using the foil lined paper as it stays in place and makes delivering the brownies so much easier. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  2. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie then set aside to cool a little.
  3. If using fresh cherries remove the stones and cut into halves or quarters. Glacé cherries can be cut in half.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the sugar and butter then add the eggs slowly. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Sieve the flour over the mixture and stir in until completely incorporated. Pour the melted chocolate over and combine with the salt.
  6.  Add the cherries to the cake mix and stir till completely covered. Pour the mix into the roasting tray and smooth into the corners with a table spoon. Cherry Brownie recipe with Stellar
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top looks like it’s about to crack. Brownies taste best when they are soft so be careful not to over bake them. If in doubt- take them out. A knife will come out almost completely clean, you want a bit of moisture/ cake mix on the end when they are done.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
  9. To cut- dip a sharp knife into hot water then wipe with a piece of kitchen paper then clean after each slice. The knife will become very caked in chocolate as these are super moist brownies

Cherry Brownie recipe with StellarTop tips with these cherry brownies

  • You can make these dairy free by choosing a Dairy free chocolate (Bournville was the only one I could find locally) and using a dairy free spread. I did substitute the butter weight for sunflower oil in one of my tests and they tasted great but we really a touch too gloopy and only lasted a day. The day after baking the edges were really hard so you’d need to eat them on the day of baking- which let’s face it isn’t normally a problem!
  • Fresh cherries taste WAAAYYYY better than glacé ones. I de-stonned mine then dried them with some kitchen paper before dusting them all over with flour to stop them sinking to the bottom. You can also add more ( I had 300g in mine).
  • If using glace cherries opt for Morello glacé cherries. They were divine and I did have to keep noshing on them to do a taste test!
  • The key is to not over bake brownies. The top should look almost like a sheet of sugar paper when they’re done. They will continue to bake once you take them out of the oven so err on the side of caution and if they look nearly done take them out.
  • You can leave out the salt but I was once told by the lovely Bex Smith that salt and chocolate are opposite combinations (like sugar and lemons) and brownies without salt just don’t taste right anymore!Cherry Brownie recipe with Stellarenjoy!

EmmaMT

x

Disclaimer: The 33 x 22cm Hard Anodised roasting tray in this post was sent to me by Stellar . (Thanks you guys – it give the perfect bake) All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Book Review: How baking works … and what to do when it doesn’t by James Morton…and a giveaway!

Book Review: How baking works by James MortonBook Review: How to bake by James Morton

If I said “I have a book to review by James Morton” you might think who? But if I said “the sciency guy from the Great British Bake Off 2012″  you’d know instantly who I was talking about.

How Baking Works: …and what to do if it doesn’t  (Ebury press), is James’ second book (the first was Brilliant Bread) and it does exactly what it says on the tin – to the extent that I have been slowly reading “How baking works” cover to cover. I don’t think I’ve ever read a baking book like that before. I even wanted to take it on the train to read last week- but it’s a bit heavy and not to mention obsessive for that!

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton

The book starts off like most with a description of ingredients and techniques but the point of difference here is that James goes into the nitty gritty sciency background of what happens during baking, like when sugar and butter are combined (the sharp edges of the sugar cut through the molecules of the butter to create air pockets- in case you were wondering? That’s what gives your cake it’s rise). I find it all so interesting. I can’t remember all the tips so I’ve started writing myself a cheat sheet on my folded paper bookmark.

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton

Some of the facts are a bit too sciency for me and go straight over my head but what I really like about this book is that before every recipe James explains what you should and shouldn’t do for that type of baking. There are step by step pictures with explanations on what to look for and what to avoid in some tricky sections and let’s face it we can all do with a bit of that kind of help from time to time.

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton There are plenty of recipes in each section of the book including – Cake, Sponge, Brownie, Muffin, Torte, Biscuit, Short, Sweet, Choux pastry Merringue and Macarons. It makes me all hungry just thinking about it. Book Review: How to bake by James Morton As I read through the pages I want to bake everything! Crème Pt anyone? They talk about it on TGBBO all the time but I’ve never made it and I only now know how to and what the ingredients are?  I think it’s the way he talks when he writes. You feel like he’s sharing his best kept secrets with just you!

Book Review: How to bake by James Morton

How Baking Works: is available through this affiliate link on Amazon

So, how would you like to win a copy of How Baking Works: …and what to do if it doesn’t?

Those lovely people over at Ebury Press have given me a copy to giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment below answering the following question AND enter via the rafflecopter site (just click below to be taken straight through to the competition) A winner will be randomly selected on 21st July. Good luck!

EmmaMT 

What baking question would you have asked James to answer?

 

Click on the link below to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CakesBakesAndCookies.com Terms & Conditions

This giveaway will close at 12:00 on 21 July 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Ebury Press. I am hosting it on behalf of Ebury press. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Ebury or their representative will send out the prize, the winner must provide their name, address once contacted. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 3 days of the closing date. The prize is one copy of the ‘How Baking works’ book, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open only to residents in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and entrants must be over 18.

Disclaimer: The book in this post was sent to me by Ebury Press  (Thanks you guys I can’t get enough of it) All thoughts and opinions and entirely my own.

Having fun with a Spiralizer and a fab apple pie recipe

Fun with the Spiralizer and a fab apple pie recipe

SPIRALIZER

Have you seen the latest craze to hit the foodie world? It’s called a Spiralizer and it’s so much fun. Originally intended to make spirals from vegetables (corgetti anyone?) I couldn’t resist having a play with one after I saw it in action at a Lakeland press launch. Of course I don’t want to play with veg. I want to make pies!

SPIRALIZER

I thought an apple pie would be a great choice when using this gadget and I wasn’t wrong. I suspected that the apple would go soggy whilst baking- but it didn’t. As there were so many strands to cover in flavour it tasted fab.

The Spiralizer comes with three blades. I used the wrong one to make long strands at first but that didn’t matter as I crunched up the apples once spiralled anyway. The first blade cut the apples into half moon shapes. The second blade had them coming out in perfect spaghetti like spirals. The third blade can be used to cut slices. I used eating apples with the skins left on but peeled cooking apples would work just as well.
SPIRALIZER

Spiralizer apple pie recipie

  • 1 pack of shortcrust pastry (I cheated but you can find my shortcrust recipe here)
  • 3-4 eating apples (just spiral till your plate is very full)
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 20g caster sugar
  • egg white to brush the pastry with.
  1. When spiralling apples you will be left with a small end- I ate this up – waste not want not!  and the core which can be removed at the end. You also have to dig out any pips as they are poisonous to eat. It’s pretty easy to see the pips though.
  2. Once the apples have been spiralled place them in a bowl and cover with the sugar and cinnamon. Stir until the apple is completely covered. I did this with my hands and that’s why the spirals broke. I was pretty happy with how they looked. Set aside while you prepare the pastry. SPIRALIZER
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  4. Roll out the pastry so it’s around the depth of a £1 coin. Place it in the oven proof dish (my dish is 24cm diameter) and pierce the base with a fork and remove the excess dough from the edges.
  5. Heat up the jam in a microwave for a few seconds so it becomes nice and runny. Use a silicon pastry brush to spread it over the base of the pastry case. Set a little aside for the bake.
  6. Fill the pastry case with the apple and brush the pastry with egg white for a shiny finish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the apple is baked and the dough is golden brown.
  7. Once the pie looks almost done spread a little jam over the apple with a silicone brush to give it a gloss finish and bake for a further 2-3 minutes. Serve warm with thick cream or ice cream.SPIRALIZER

You can buy a Spiralizer on line from Lakeland here

Enjoy!

 

EmmaMT

Disclaimer: Lakeland sent me this Spiralizer (thanks you guys!) All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sprinkle cookies recipe

Sprinkle cookies recipeSprinkle cookies recipe

Hello there fellow bakers. How are you all today?

I’m having a great day and that is mainly because I have a tin of these Sprinkle cookies just waiting to be eaten. They’re in the kitchen. Can you hear them “Emma!” “Emma come and eat us!!!”

The inspiration for these biscuits came when Darcey found a kids recipe in a magazine where you dip crackers into icing and cover them in sprinkles. They were amazing so we made some from scratch ourselves with biscuits and they’re pretty amazing too! We can’t leave them alone. I put a few in the girls packed lunches yesterday and they both shared them with their buddies. I had a glowing report from Beau’s friend Jack “Tell your mum these are AMAZING” was the message he sent home.  High praise indeed!

For the biscuit I decided to do a version of shortbread as it has a simple texture and crumbles in the right way. With all that icing and sprinkle action you really don’t need a ton of sugar in the biscuit as well- the sprinkles are all you need.

Sprinkle biscuit recipe

Makes around 20

  • 60g icing sugar
  • 100g butter – at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk (from large egg)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 170g plain flour + more for rolling out
  • 30g cornflour
  • 80g icing sugar with water to make up
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  1. To make the dough combine the sugar and butter then add all the rest of the ingredients. Sieve all the dry ingredients so you have a lovely light textured biscuit.
  2. Once combined and a dough is formed cover in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC) and line a baking tray with silicon paper. 
  4. Roll out the dough so it is around the thickness of a £1 coin. This is a really soft and squidgy dough so you will need plenty of flour when rolling out to stop it sticking. I rolled out between two sheets of silicon paper to prevent sticking. That helped a ton.
  5. Cut out small circles and place on the baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes. These biscuits burn within a minute of you turning your back so keep a beady eye on them! They should be turning golden brown around the edges when they are done. You can lift one up and see if it’s browning underneath. It’s also a good idea to turn the tray around half way through the bake. Sprinkle cookies recipe
  6. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool completely.
  7. Make up the icing sugar. Don’t let it get too runny. Place it in a deep bowl then fill a ramekin with the sprinkles.Sprinkle cookies recipe
  8. Dip the cookies into the runny icing and let it drip off for a minute. If you dip the cookies too quickly the icing goes lumpy and you end up with clumps of sprinkles. Let the excess run off for a minute. Sprinkle cookies
  9. Finally dip your biscuits in the sprinkles. If there are too many just wipe them off. Sprinkle cookies recipe
  10. Leave them to set for a while then devour!

Sprinkle cookies recipe

Enjoy!

EmmaMT x

20 Fantastic cupcakes too good to eat.

I love how a cupcake can really make any plain old day a special occasion, but these design are just so fantastic. They’re so right for the party they’re intended for. Not only would  I would love to make them some I really want to taste! They’re all beautiful. See which one’s you think are the most amazing.

1. Wedding cakes don’t have to be tiered

How gorgeous are these flower toppers? So delicate and perfectly glamourous. I’d have these stacked on a cake stand for a wedding any day.

Colinweddings.co.uk

Colinweddings.co.uk

2. A rose by another name

I love making roses from flower paste. The more I make them the better they get. I’d love to make a whole batch for a wedding or anniversary celebration. They look really special.

Rose cupcake

3. Make mine a Gin and Tonic

Yep, you’ve guessed it. These are gin and tonic cupcakes. Girls night in anyone?

Gin and tonic cupcakes

bakeitinstinct.com

4. Edible Hydrangeas

These are one of my favorite flowers and the way the decorator has used different tones of  blue and purple buttercream to pipe on each petal is genius! I can’t wait to have a go at these!

 simplystacie.net

simplystacie.net

5. Neapolitan cupcakes – How clever!

This looks totally delicious and so neat. Look how perfectly flat the chocolate layer is? How did she do that?  Chocolate and vanilla cake topped with a strawberry buttercream. I have to make these.

cookingclassy.com

cookingclassy.com

 

6. Red velvet cupcakes- seriously red!

Why do I always call these ‘Red Devil’ cupcakes? Velvet Emma VELVET! These are fantastically red. Great if you want a strong colour theme to your event.

shemakesandbakes.com

shemakesandbakes.com

7. Black Forest Gateau cupcakes

I know a certain Mr MT who would love these….errr and maybe a Mrs MT too!

cookingclassy.com

cookingclassy.com

 

8. Have fun with Funetti cakes

Totally perfect for any kids party be they 6 or 60! Sprinkle those sprinkles!

cookingclassy.com

cookingclassy.com

9. Cocktail anyone?

These are Margarita cocktail cupcakes. Don’t they look and sound delish?

buzzfeed.com

buzzfeed.com

10. Coco nut!

Coconut Lime cakes seem to be everywhere at the mo and these cupcake versions look mouth wateringly good!

dessertnowdinnerlater.com

dessertnowdinnerlater.com

11. Perfect pipework

You have to have a steady hand and a serious amount of creative flair to make these stunning cakes.

Asianweddingideas.co.uk

Asianweddingideas.co.uk

12. The cat’s meow

These cakes are such a simple design and are so effective. Great to make with kids – although I’m not sure they’d turn out this good.

littledelightscakes.com

littledelightscakes.com

13. Watermelon cupcakes

I love these cupcakes but some of the ingredients may be hard to find in the UK – Watermellow Koolaid anyone? I’m sure we can make it up as we go along!

blogs.babycenter.com

blogs.babycenter.com

14. Perfect peacock

This is just incredible. The attention to detail in what is an amazing small cake is just fantastic. This one is definitely too good to eat.

hercampus.com

hercampus.com

15. Trio of tasties

These corn on the cob cupcakes have been bouncing around the internet for ages but they’re so good I couldn’t resist adding them to this round up. The corn really looks butterlicious!

3148_corn_cupcake_xl16. Lego rocks!

My kids absolutely love Lego so these cupcake toppers would go down a storm in my house. Another clever and simple idea any one can achieve.

thecakinggirl.ca

thecakinggirl.ca

17. Minion madness

I reckon these minion cupcakes take ages to make and are really fiddly but they’re so cute they’re worth it. I’m sure all kids switch into minion voices as soon as they see them. Bee bo be bo be bo (that’s minion for police siren in case you were wondering!)

eatsamazing.co.uk

eatsamazing.co.uk

18. Star Wars cupcakes

These cupcakes are all over Pinterest but the originator was an Etsy store which I don’t think is selling them any more. Aren’t they amazing?

Etsy.com

Etsy.com

19. Move over Darcey

These ballerina cupcakes are very clever. Perfect for a little girls party.

Dose.com

Dose.com

20. BBQ time

These are my favorite cupcakes in this round up. How totally cute are they. Vanilla and chocolate cupcakes split in half with a touch of coloured buttercream for the lettuce, ketchup and mustard. You can even make marzipan chips to go along with them.

http://m.9gag.com

9gag.com

So, which one’s your favorite? Which one do you want someone to make for you? I’d love to know.

EmmaMT

 

p.s. If you like this post don’t forget to share it. 

 

 

 

Colin’s painted cake

Colin’s Painted Cake Grandad Colin's Painted cake

This was my first attempt at paining a cake. It was one of those ‘I have a great idea for a cake for grandad Colin but I don’t have lots of time to do it’ cakes! I always knew I wanted to paint the decorations on the outside and I wanted it to be a sailing cake but in the end I had literally one hour to cover the cake in sugarpaste and have it painted and in a box ready to take to lunch. Where do those hours go? Ideally I wanted to roll out the sugarpaste and have a little practice so I could plan my design. In the end I just went for it!

Once covered the painting part is pretty easy. I wished I had covered the cake in sugarpaste the day before so it had a little more time to harden up a little, but as long as I was gentle it wasn’t too bad.
Colin's Painted cake

I started by painting the boats. I used gel food colour watered down with alcohol in a paint palette (the one I usually use to shape flowers). It goes without saying that you should only use paint brushes and palettes saved specifically for cake decorating!  In her book  The Painted Cake Natasha Collins teaches that she uses water not alcohol to blend her colours so I would try that next time. I think it would produce a softer effect. The alcohol dries really fast and using water would give more time to work on the design.

Once I had all the boats, sails and little people (can you see them?) I painted waves.

Colin's Painted cake

That’s when I got help. Darcey wanted to help make Grandad’s cake so I let her. Inhale! Deep breath in. It will be all right!!! And it was. I had to just let her go with it and she did a really good job. I showed her how I painted the waves and she did more around the base of the cake.

We started with a turquoise colour then watered that down with a few drops of alcohol and added waves in between. It looked a bit flat so we created darker navy waves at the bottom of the cake  then added a few highlights of dark waves (or should that be low lights?) around the lighter areas. I wanted to give a bit of definition to the sea.

Once that was all done we stood back and looked at the cake and it still felt a bit empty so we left the waves to dry for a few minutes then used a really watered down turquoise colour to fill in the background of the sea. Colin's Painted cake

The last step was to add a ‘Happy Birthday Grandad’ onto the top – which was harder than it looked! and stick some ricrac ribbon around the base- more waves in my eyes. Colin's Painted cake

The cake was a surprise and after our lovely lunch out no-one had room for cake. We did sing Happy Birthday and then Grandad Colin took the cake home – which I think was his plan all along!

Happy Birthday Colin.

EmmaMT x

FAQ: How to measure the volume of a cake tin?

FAQ: How to measure the volume of a cake tin?How to measure the volume of a cake tin

How do I measure the volume of a cake tin?

This is one of those questions I get asked a lot…. or rather “How much ingredients do I need for my teddy bear / football shirt/ sphere size cake tin?” (please enter any obscure measurement or shape tin in here!) and I reply with the same answer each time…

“If you can measure the volume of water your cake tin can hold I can work it out for you”

 

The volume of a cake tin.

I use a formula that is calculated from the volume of a recipe and then I calculate up or down from there. The original cake is my base line. Mine is a 6″ Madeira cake for which the cake tin holds 1200ml of water. Once I know what the volume of the odd shaped tin is I can calculate the ingredients. I learnt how to do this from Ruth Clemens on The Pink Whisk. It’s very number-y. You can see how I learnt to do this on this post or check out Ruth’s post here. It took me a while to work it out – especially when the calculation said 1 ½ eggs. I mean how do you get half an egg? (Actually I know the answer to that. You weigh it and use half!)

I’ve been asked so many times that I thought I better show you how I measure the volume of a cake tin.How to measure the volume of a cake tin

  1. The first step is to line your tin if it has a loose bottom. I use bin bags – the ones with no holes in!
  2. Then I add 1 litre at a time till I am 1-2cm from the top of the cake tin.
  3. Write it down or do a tally chart as you go so you don’t loose count. When in doubt go less water than more. I have found that less cake mix results in a taller, lighter cake.
  4. Tip out the water and check the volume against this chart below.
  5. If you need the steps on how to make the madeira cake have a look at this post which goes through it step by step. 

Madeira cake chart - April 2015

It’s that simple.

EmmaMT

How to make an Xbox cake

How to make an Xbox cake

How to make an easy XBOX CAKE

This is an Xbox cake I made for Free Cakes For Kids. I always love getting asked to make cakes for the charity because it gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling inside but this one was a bit of a concern. “Why?” I hear you ask. It’s just a black box. All kids love an XBox. It’s just a small cake. It shouldn’t be a problem for you oh cake obsessed Emma. Oh no, that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that we don’t have one and I know absolutely nothing about them and when you google Xbox a ton of images appear and having no experience whatsoever meant that I literally didn’t know where to start. The request was for an Xbox cake for a 10 year old boy who loved the FIFA football game.

Stumped!

Then Tim said “Just make the box with a controller. Don’t make it too difficult” after I was trying to work out how to get a FIFA game incorporated. And as always, he was right (just don’t tell him okay!) So that’s what I did and I have to say it was a really lovely cake to make. Pretty straight forward, simple design, black sugarpaste with grooves cut into it. And although I don’t like to make black cakes – especially for kids, the mum was overwhelmed by it when she saw it. I don’t know what she was expecting but she was so thrilled with it. I totally welled up when I saw her response (to be honest I’m welling up now just thinking about it) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Giving something as simple as a cake to someone is the best feeling in the world. It says I care and I don’t even know you. I urge you to find your local group and give it a try.

How to make an XBox cake

XBOX CAKE

I baked a rectangular cake and as it was so small I didn’t cut it in half to fill it with buttercream. I did a test and it turns out that plain old Madeira cake is just as yummy with just butter cream and sugarpaste on the outside.

The cake was covered with a crumb coat and then a second outer coating of buttercream making sure that the edges were as smooth and flat as possible.

XBOX CAKE

The cake was then covered in black sugar paste. When using black paste it’s really important to make sure every surface is as clean as possible. Every little grain of icing sugar will look like massive spot on your cake. It’s difficult to do as the black sugarpaste is the stickiest of all the colours.

XBOX CAKE

Smooth the sugarpaste till it’s nice and flat and remove the excess, then use side scrapers to get nice ‘pointed’ corners. I’m still working on this technique. It doesn’t really matter if they aren’t super sharp but the sharper the better. The way to do this is to hold one scraper flat on the top of the cake so it’s overhanging the cake and smooth from the side with the other scraper. The scrapers should meet at the edge. This gives the sharp edge. I’m getting there….slowly. Practice, practice, practice!

XBOX CAKE

I then made a template to fit on my cake so I could mark where the grooves needed to go. You can download/print my template here. Enlarge or reduce it to fit your cake. XBOX CAKE

To make the marks I use a pin which has been sterilised in alcohol. Just pierce the paper into the sugarpaste.

XBOX CAKE

I did the marks slowly – one at a time rather than all in one go. I was worried the paper would move or it wouldn’t look right. I had more control this way.

I used a thin palette knife to create the groove lines.

XBOX CAKE

The lines weren’t as straight as I hoped but once they were all done I think I got away with it. Next time I’ll mark each line and create grooves between them.

XBOX CAKE

Then came the tricky part. I cut out the circle in the centre )that’s the hard bit- working out where the centre is!) I made sure I went right through the sugarpaste so that when I removed the cutter I could just stick the pallette knife in the centre and lever it out. It works every time!

XBOX CAKE 7

Use the same size circle cutter to cut out a green circle and place it in the hole using a little buttercream to ‘stick it down’. Try to roll out the green sugarpaste to the same thickness as the black so the top of the cake is flat.

I covered the cake board in the same green a week before and left it to harden so there wouldn’t be any finger prints in it. The cake was secured onto the board with a little royal icing.

XBOX CAKE

To make the controller I used the paper template and cut out a block of black sugarpaste then curved and shaped  it.

XBOX CAKE

I used tiny circle plunger cutters to make the buttons and controllers and made them stick by dampening the underneath of them with cooled boiled water. I used the same technique to add buttons to the front of the box. I also made big dents/holes in the front using a bulbous cone tool.

XBOX CAKE

To finish a black length of sugarpaste which had been rolled into a string was added to the box and controller and the writing was added.

In all a really fun cake to make.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Bye for now

EmmaMT

Chocolate peanut cookie recipe

Chocolate peanut cookie recipe

Chocolate and peanut cookie recipeEvery now and again I come across a cake or cookie and I simply have to have more of! That was the case with these chocolate peanut cookies. I was on a photo shoot in April and the client bought some of these in with her. She’s bought them at some trendy bakers and I kept sneaking back into the kitchen to eat a few more crumbs in between shots. I couldn’t get enough of them. So, I decided to try and recreate them.

Cookies are a funny thing. They need to be moist and chewy in my mind to be a success and these weren’t as chewy as I’d hoped for. They were deep and almost fluffy inside and the combination of chocolate chips with all those peanuts just worked. I’ve tried a few flavour variations on this recipe and this is definitely my favorite.

They’re great for making in a hurry as they are a success whether you chill the dough before baking or not (I couldn’t tell the difference between the ones I baked straight away and the ones that had sat in the fridge for an hour first) They also work well straight from the freezer- just give them a few extra minutes in the oven.

So, with the end result being more biscuit than cookie we still managed to polish them off in record time. Whatever you’d call them they were totally moreish and completely deeelish. Whats more, they took less than an hour from start to munch!

Chocolate and peanut cookie recipeChocolate peanut cookie recipe

Makes around 20

  • 150g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 100g chocolate chips
  • 100g peanuts
  1. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and pre-heat your oven to180ºC (Fan oven 160ºC).
  2.  Mix the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla essence. Sieve the flour and baking powder over the mix and stir until just combined.
  3.  Lastly, add the chocolate chips and peanuts. Be careful not to over mix the ingredients as it makes the cookies tough.
  4.  Place dollops of cookie dough onto the tray leaving space for them to spread a little and bake for 12-15 minutes until they start to turn brown at the edges.
  5.  Leave on the tray for a few minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack.
  6.  These chocolate peanut cookies will keep for a few days in an air tight container.

Chocolate and peanut cookie recipe

Enjoy!

EmmaMT x

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