How to make a swimming pool cake

Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake I love making cakes for Evie. Apart from the fact that she’s lovely, she is ALWAYS smiling. She always says “hello” when we walk into school (and I mean says hello to me- not just Darcey!) and she always chooses fab cakes that I’ve never made before. This year she was having a swimming pool party – obviously! So a swimming pool cake was definitely the right choice of cake.

I’ve made a few cakes for Evie before and if you remember then you probably know that she’s coeliac. That’s why I love making her birthday cakes. You don’t get cakes like this in the supermarket. I basically use my Madeira cake recipe as seen in this chart and swap the flour quantity for 50% gluten free flour and 50% rice flour. I find that mixing up the same quantity of flour needed in a recipe with a mixture of gluten free flour, rice flour or almond flour comes out light and tasty.

Designing the Swimming pool cake

I wanted to keep the design simple so I made the main part of the cake the swimming pool. I baked a rectangular cake and cut it into three layers then cut away the centre of the top layer. Raspberry jam and buttercream were added and the whole cake was covered in pale blue sugarpaste. I had to make it quite thick to be able to handle getting into the corners of the pool.
Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

I wrote ‘Evie’ in my fave script and left it to dry for a few days. I mixed it with some Tylo powder so it would really firm up (and quickly). A square cutter was used to make tiles which we placed around parts of the pool.

Rope was made with white sugarpaste strands which were twisted together and stuck on at the corners. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

The splashes were made from a ball of sugarpaste which was brushed with gelatine to give it a glossy effect. The Evie was also brushed to give shine. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

A life saving ring was made from white and red sugarpaste and left to harden.

To make the ‘water’ I made up some gelatine and let it cool before I spooned it into the pool. What I hadn’t banked on was that the tiles I had stuck in the bottom of the cake would bubble up and kind of soften and start to dissolve. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was how the gelatine would set. I thought it would just firm up like jelly. It didn’t. It wobbled a bit like jelly but when I had to drive the cake to the pool party it had moved and jiggled creating all these white lines. I was mortified but Evie’s mum said that the waves looked great. Pfew! Lucky save. Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

To finish off I added grey bars which I painted with edible silver paint and stuck them onto the side of the pool along with another life ring.

Having learnt my lesson making this mermaid cake I kept Evie in a little better proportion and just made the top half to place in the pool.

The bunting was literally a last minute idea made from decorative paper, string and two skewers.

Evies Swimming Pool Birthday cake

I kinda like this cake. I think the water worked but it’s all the splashes and the ‘Evie’ in a big dribble of water that makes it for me. What do you think?

EmmaMT x

Time to get spicy with this Pumpkin Cake recipe

Pumpkin cake recipe

So go on then. How many times have you carved a pumpkin and don’t even bother to scoop out the insides? We’ve all done it but this year – like last, I scooped out enough to feed a small army and that was with just one daughterling. The other one didn’t even get her’s carved! Teenagers! So we have a whopper of a pumpkin to use and it’s the second week in November. So, I did what every good cake blogger does. I baked!

Pumpkin cake

Every year I give my mum the pumpkin flesh as she makes killer chutney with it but this year I made a cake and still had plenty left over to share. This pumpkin cake is really moist and quite heavy. It’s a slow bake cake and is the kind you could use to stack for a tiered cake. Perfect for an October wedding cake maybe? Think of it as a carrot cake made with pumpkin. It’s topped with a cream cheese frosting – the recipe for which I got from Jane Curran, the food editor on Woman&Home. It’s the only cream cheese frosting recipe I use. It can’t be beaten. It also lasts a long time. Once decorated we were still eating this cake a week later and it was fine.

 

Pumpkin Cake recipe

Pumpkin Cake recipe

  • 30ml rum
  • 50ml water
  • 200g sultanas
  • 350g plain flour
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs
  • juice and zest of 1 ½ oranges
  • 350g shredded pumpkin
  • Sugar syrup
  • Juice from ½ orange
  • 30ml water
  • 60g caster sugar
  • Cream Cheese frosting
  • full fat cream cheese
  • icing sugar
  1. Place the rum and water and sultanas in a sealable container and leave for at least an hour - overnight is best.
  2. Line and grease an 8" cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 160ºC(140ºC fan)
  3. Melt the butter over a low heat and add to the sugars. Mix well. Add the lightly beaten eggs.
  4. In a separate bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Fold into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add half the orange juice and all of the zest, vanilla extract, pumpkin and soaked sultanas with their flavouring to the mixture and combine.
  6. Spoon into the cake tin
  7. Bake for 2 hours or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
  8. To make the sugar syrup
  9. Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat till it is all dissolved.
  10. Add the orange juice then simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  11. Set aside to cool then brush over the whole cake as soon as it leaves the oven. Leave the cake to cool completely.
  12. To make the frosting
  13. Place the cream cheese and icing sugar together and mix well.
  14. Use a pallette knife to spread the frosting over the completely cooled cake. You can do just the top or all around the sides too.
http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/2016/11/11/time-to-get-spicy-with-a-pumpkin-cake-recipe/

Pumpkin cake recipe

So whether you bake this now or save the recipe for next halloween (you can print it off – just see the link above the recipe ingredients) it’s a keeper that’s for sure!

What do you do with your pumpkins? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below and feel free to share your recipe with the CakesBakesAndCookies crowd!

EmmaMT x

p.s. Happy Birthday Bot. xxxx

So? Where’ve you been Emma? What’s going on!

Pumpkin cake recipeI know, I know. It’s been a while since I last posted. And even then the months before were a bit…. let’s just say sporadic. After 5 years of blogging practically every week I had a bit of a ‘moment’.

I stopped making birthday cakes for friends.

I stopped baking.

I just stopped everything.

So I thought I’d share what’s been going on and explain.

You see blogging takes a lot of time. Seriously a LOT. Apart from stopping to take shots of cakes I’m decorating – which seriously slows down to the whole 9 hour decorating process. It takes me around two hours to edit, label and tag the images, make openers and do all the behind the scenes SEO stuff and a further hour or two to write up the recipes and share the details. And my grown up work got busy. I just stopped finding the time. I didn’t get up at 6am at the weekend to do my blogging. I slept in. Something I never do.

So what happened?

At the beginning of the year I decided to start a cake podcast. I joined a podcasting community and got two terrific accountability partners. I had logos professionally designed. I bought a top notch microphone. I’d drawn up lists of all the great cake/bakers I could interview. The whole shbang. And then I felt flat. I wasn’t excited about it. I mean I REALLY wasn’t excited about it. Something wasn’t sitting right and I couldn’t put my finger on it. And then it hit me. I’m an Interior Stylist who bakes. I’m not a cake decorator or a real baker. I’m amateur and just because I have this terrific audience (and you are terrific) it doesn’t mean that’s what I want to be known for. I want to be known for my styling work. So I pivoted.

Pivotting

I had this sudden realisation that I wanted my podcast to be about Interiors. In doing a lot of thinking, planning and research I had my idea ready to execute but instead of just setting up a podcast it has turned into a fully fledged business idea. It has taken a lot of my time and a lot of planning but what actually happened is I just stopped baking and blogging in general. I’m still building that business idea now and it will be launching it at the end of the year.

Work

Around this time my styling work got busy. The busiest it’s ever been. I went from shooting once or twice a month to shooting every week from the moment the girls went back to school in September till – well it’s still going on now in November. I’ve literally had back to back shoots with no time for anything else. It’s hard to explain my work as it’s all encompassing. It’s not the kind of thing you can just switch off from. I work from home and around my family’s needs and a lot of the time there are so many props in my house it looks like a junk yard!  I use the kitchen as a painting studio and write my copy late into the night so I can do the gymnastics/drama/cubs/scout runs and I just haven’t had the desire or bandwidth to bake. These are a few shots of my kitchen mid shoot/press launch. Eughk!

And then…

I did bake. I baked a lot. Each time I thought “I should shoot that and share it on the blog” and it got eaten up so I didn’t. That’s happened a few times in the last few weeks and a strange thing happened. I got the joy of baking back. I find I’m looking for any excuse to bake. There’s a pumpkin cake, white, dark and cherry chocolate cookies and vanilla biscuits sitting in my kitchen right now. I have always found baking relaxing and now I think I will be putting a load of weight on!

Now

So what I am trying to say is I am back but a little less often. I love writing this blog. It’s my baby. I know I have followers and I have lots of hits each month but I really didn’t think anyone would notice if I stopped writing and posting. I was wrong. So many people have asked if the blog was broken or if I had given up or why they weren’t receiving posts anymore. I nearly did give it up. I nearly sold this blog. But I couldn’t. I just love it too much.

So here’s to another five years or more of baking. Let’s get fat together!

Let the blog posting resume

EmmaMT x

The yummiest, zestiest Lemon Victoria Sponge cake you’ll ever bake

Yummy Lemon Victoria Sponge cake

If I get asked for one recipe (other than Madeira cake) over and over again it’s lemon cake. You guys seem to really love it. I haven’t made a ton of lemon cakes so I needed to find an opportunity to make one just so I could share it with you. Now, my ever expanding hips don’t want me to just make a cake and have it sitting looking at me every time I walk into the kitchen so I needed to have an opportunity to take it out of our house. I can’t for the life of me remember where I took this Lemon Victoria Sponge cake. I know there were kids involved and I know I had to apologize for having cut a slice to take photos and I then put it back again to take it with us. I don’t think any of my friends mind that one little bit!

The opportunity to make this Lemon Victoria Sponge Cake was also well timed as I needing to find a recipe that I could use the brand spanking new baking tools from JosephJoseph on – you know the ones I was talking about last week in the lemon curd recipe? Well the two newest products are the Fin bowl scraper and the Glaze – fillable pastry brush. That is why this regular lemon Victoria Sponge cake became a whopper of a beast. Cake +lemon curd + creme fraiche + lemon syrup glaze!

Yummy Lemon Victoria Sponge cake

The Fin is very easy to hold and manoeuvre around the inside of a bowl. As you can see from the photos above it leaves next to no cake mix once it’s been scraped around. This is one of those really handy bits of baking kit and in true JosephJoseph style it’s ergonomic and has a wide base so it will stand up on it’s own and not leave smears of cake mix all over your kitchen. zeboThe Glaze is going to be a very handy piece of kit for me. I add sugar syrup to all my Madeira cakes so this will make it a much cleaner and easier job. Glaze comes with two lids – one with lots of holes which is perfect for adding glazes and the other with one central hole which will make light work of egg washing pastry. The pastry brush simply fits over whichever lid you choose. The bottle is soft silicone so you can squeeze it to allow the contents to flow out to your desired speed.  The bottle is really tactile as it’s so soft. You just want to squidge it.

As you can see from the shots above I used it to glaze the top of the cake and then not content with the amount of sugar already in this cake I proceeded to dribble even more lemon glaze over the sides! To say this was a sweet and tangy cake would be an understatement.

I’ve been using this fab tool to glaze my cakes and I simply pour the warm glaze into the bottle and then leave it to cool down before adding the lid and brush. It’s so much easier than using a pastry brush and bowl as you don’t get those sticky, sugary drips all over the place. The last point to make about the Fin is that the whole unit is dishwasher safe. No brainer really.

Lemon Victoria Sponge Cake Recipe Lemon Victoria sponge cake recipe

🖨 Print this cake recipe here 
lemon-curd

🖨 Print this Lemon curd recipe here 

So, I hope you enjoy this zesty, lemony, tangy cake of deliciousness. I know we did!

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: Thanks to JosephJoseph for providing me with the fab baking products in this post. They’re great. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings in this post are entirely my own

Easy peasy Lemon Curd

Lemon curd

Easy Peasy Lemon Curd Recipe

Every now and again I get asked by companies if I’d like to review their products. Sometimes they’re a bit abstract, sometimes they are nothing to do with baking (life insurance anyone?) and sometimes they are spot on. As I am sure you can guess if JosephJoseph contact you with a new baking product you’re pretty much going to jump at the chance. Once I knew what the products were I had to come up with a recipe. Lemon curd has been on my mind since I talked to a friend about it a few weeks ago. We both agreed that you never really finish a whole jar. It’s great for a while but then we tend to go straight back to the strawberry jam. So I decided to make a small batch – enough for a tiddly jam jar plus to fill one 8″ cake. IMG_7053

These are just some of the JosephJoseph baking products I selected to bake with for this post. The new all singing, all dancing product is the Fin scraper which works a treat – tune in next week for the lemon Victoria Sponge cake post where I really put it to the test! The other item is the Glaze. Now as you probably know I am all about sugar syrup – especially when it comes to keeping Madeira cakes moist. This is the perfect product for that as you can store your syrup in the bottle till you’re ready to ‘glaze’ your cake. I love a silicone bristle don’t you? Especially when your dealing with very sticky sugar syrup that can be cleaned up in a jiffy! IMG_7057

Anyway, I digress! To make the lemon curd I used JospehJoseph’s amazing lemon zester. I recently broke my old zester. Plastic gadgets are not normally EmmaMT friendly!  So I was really pleased to get my hands on this beauty. Now, I do know that it’s just a zester and I’m not normally a one trick pony – kitchen gadget kinda girl but I really love this zester. The thing about JosephJoseph gadgets is that they are designed by product designers who understand ergonomics and answer a basic troublesome need. I have a degree in Product design – bet you didn’t know that? So I REALLY appreciate well designed products and this is one of them. IMG_7062

What’s so good about this zester then?

Well, the handle makes it easy to hold – to start with. It’s got a really fine stainless steel blade so your zest is fine and super zesty – rather than chewy and most of all – and this is the bit that wowed me the most, it has this really nifty integrated blade wiper which you sweep across the blade and it scoops up all that hard to release zest and forces it up to the top of the zester where there’s a hole for it to drop through. Genius! The blades are so sharp that it comes with a handy protective sheath. Want to know what I do? I put the sheath on while zesting so it catches all the citrus then I use the wiper. You get so much more zest that way.

How to make Lemon Curd

Makes enough to fill two small jars or one small jar and to fill an 8″ cake or one regular jar

Lemon curd recipeYou can 🖨 this recipe off here

Ingredients

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Juice of 2 lemons (around 6 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  1. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat.
  2. Cook for 10-­12 minutes at a slight simmer. Stir often to prevent the bottom becoming burnt.
  3. To sterilise your jam jars heat your oven to 160C-­180ºC. Wash your jam jars in hot soapy water, rinse then place the wet jars and lids in the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. Once the curd has cooled down place into the jam jar and pop a piece of silicon paper over the top and add the lid.
  5. Store in the fridge for 3­-4 weeks if it lasts that long!

Lemon curd recipe

Print this recipe here 

One last thing!

I just have to share with you all this beautiful Arena draining board. I’ve been looking at it since we re-did our kitchen four years ago. Fab isn’t it? I can’t tell you how hard it is to find a good looking draining board that will do the job too. This JosephJoseph Arena one has rubbery sections to fit practically anything. The spout for excess water reaches over the sink for easy disposal and it comes in a gorgeous grey which matches my kitchen perfectly and meets my grey obsession and at the moment the white and green is on offer.

IMG_7080

To make easy work of cleaning up the mixing bowl The Flume folding draining board is a must. It’s the perfect place for oversized mixing bowls and sieves. Once finished with you simply pick it us and fold the edges together then aim the water towards the sink. I’ve used my one every day since I got it – but I do bake a lot and use every pot and pan I can when cooking! IMG_7072

So, check out next week’s post for the Lemon Victoria Sponge cake where you’ll get to see the scraper and glaze in action.

 

Happy baking and have a zesty week

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: Thank you to JospehJoseph for providing me with the baking products in this post. They make baking even more fun and twice as easy. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are entirely my own.

Why Emoji cakes always win!

Darcey Emoji Cake : CakemojiWhy Emoji cakes always win!

When I asked Darcey what cake she would like for her birthday this year she actually said

” I want a caterpillar cake”

Now I have absolutely nothing against Marks and Spencer cakes. I love M&S and for a long time was ever so slightly, completely addicted to their profiteroles. Have you tried them? They’re devilishly good! Anyway.

“CATERPILLAR!” I replied. “You have got to be joking” A slightly crumpled Darcey replied –

“WellI don’t know – something that’s just me then”

So I got my thinking cap on. Darcey is really into a lot of things at the moment but at the top of the list is Adventure Time. We went to ComiCon in the summer and the guy who does the voice for Jake- one of the main characters was there and Beau and Darcey were a bit in awe. So, I decided an Adventure Time cake was in order. My plan was to make a 3D Jake the Dog cake with him sitting up with gifts all around him so that I could make a little gift cake from gluten free madeira cake for one of Darcey’s friends – no one misses out on cake in our house!

Changing your cake mind!

My plan was coming together nicely and then this book landed on my doorstep. CakeMoji. I didn’t stand a chance! One look and I had begs of ‘pleeeeaassse make me a poo Emoji cake‘ and ‘pleeeaasse make me a sunglasses emoji cake‘. Every five minutes it was a different cake so I went to plan B!

Plan B. The Emoji cake plan

As I had already baked a very chocolately Madeira cake – (actually I had three 8″ cakes and a 4″ Gluten free one) I thought I’d just make a few different emoji cakes. Thinking that one cake wouldn’t feed all the kids at the party and that I’d need a second cake anyway I set about reading the book (forcing it out of the girls hands!) and laughing quite a lot. Even the Poo emoji makes an appearance and it’s pretty cute – poo cupcakes anyone?

CakeMoji – about the bookemoji book

I have to say that from the moment I received a press release about this book I knew I had to get my hands on it as I knew the reaction it would get when the girls saw it. Some books are for decorating details and some for baking direction – this book for them was pure joy. It’s clever and full of great tips, recipes and ideas as well as clear step by step photos for 30 cakes, cupcakes and cookie designs. But it’s the sheer giftability it has that makes it a winner in my eyes. I can think of loads of people who would love this book. Everyone knows someone who loves an Emoji. Everyone kinda has an Emoji signature. I have favourite sign offs. Tim is the only person who gets a red heart – everyone else gets a pink one – or two hearts if I really like you. Beau gets the pink heart with a bow – get it? a Bow / Beau! Darcey’s favourite is this tongue sticking out one – hence her birthday cake. She draws him all the time and always has.  So I think this book will do really well.

Darcey Emoji Cake : Cakemoji

CakeMoji – about the book

As you would expect in a baking book Cakemogi, by Jenni Powell, Quadrille Publishers, is full of recipes and top tips. It’s clever and full of great techniques for cakes, cupcakes and biscuits. There are clear step by step photos for 30 designs. Darcey had trouble making a choice but let’s face it – this isn’t going to be my last Emoji cake. Is it?

Darcey Emoji Cake : Cakemoji

You can order Cakemoji which is released on 28th July 2016 on my affliate Amazon link here 

 

enjoy!

 

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: Thanks to Quadrille Publishing for sending me a copy of Cakemoji. I love it and so do Beau and Darcey! All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are entirely my own.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
%d bloggers like this: