Add a little glitz to your cakes with these stunning cake toppers

Add a little glitz to your cakes with these stunning cake toppers

Talking Tables cake Toppers 2

The moment I saw these cake toppers I knew I had to share them with you. I mean how cool are they? The font, the colours, the style! They’ll look great on any cake and what’s more when you’re in a rush a plain and simple cake can instantly become divine!
Talking Tables cake Toppers 5

I received the Talking Tables newsletter about them just last night when I was actually sitting down to write up a post on Rhubarb jam but I just couldn’t wait to share them.

I’ve been shooting for Talking Tables for a few years now so I’m no stranger to their fantastic and top end products (just head on over to their website  and loads of the shots you’ll see there are styled by me – the silver bath is one of my favourites. Actually this is my all time favorite styled shot which is happens to be a TT shot and is bouncing around Pinterest like mad at the mo) But this is the first time I’ve seen these cake toppers and I know that I’ll be putting an order in soon.

Talking Tables Cake Toppers post

Alice, the product developer has a really good eye for detail. I love it that this range has something for everyone whether you’re getting married, baking something special for your partner or just want to add a bit of ‘Sparkle‘ to your day. Talking Tables cake Toppers 3

You can choose the gold ‘Love’ heart and cover the cake in gold! How amazing does this cake look? I’ve been seeing gold cakes everywhere since I went to The Squires Cake Show back in March. Maybe Silver is catching up with the metallics cake trends too!

Talking Tables Toppers 1The toppers are really easy to insert. I’ve used many of Talking Tables’ other cake toppers on shoots in the past – just check out the ponies! These ones can be wiped clean ready for the next big celebration.

TT LEt's party topper

So which is your favorite? I think mine is the ‘Let’s Party’! It has so many uses.

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: I did not receive any product for this post and these are not my styled shots or cakes so I can’t take the credit. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Talking Tables didn’t even know I was going to write this post so that will be a nice surprise for them won’t it? 

 

How to make a quick Ice cream splat cake

How to make a quick Ice cream splat cakeGenoise birthday cake

It’s that time of year again. That time when your daughter who has a summer holiday birthday get’s three birthday celebrations and three cakes! One on the actual day, one with family and one with her friends! I’m shattered just thinking about it now! This has to be the last year we do it like this!

This year I decided to keep it simple whilst trying out a new recipe for the friends party. I’ve heard genoise cake mentioned loads on The Great British Bake off (along with creme pat!) and thought this was the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about.

Oh my goodness!

This has to be the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious cake I have ever made. It does take a bit of faffing – what with the heating up of the eggs and all that whisking but it is WELL worth the effort. The cake is so soft it literally crumbles in your hand when you pick it up so be warned – handle with care!

I teamed it with a chocolate ganache buttercream which I made with soya cream leftover from the family party. I have to say that soya cream is doubly creamy! Give it a go. You won’t regret it.

The ice cream splat

Decorating this cake literally took 10 minutes and if I made this kind of design again I would probably make a Madeira cake so I could cover the whole cake with sugar paste and make the dribbling ice cream a bit prettier from sugarpaste too. This cake would never have taken the weight of a sugar paste coating. It would have gone completely splat – more than the ice cream did!

The kids literally went “Wow’ when they saw it and that’s what it’s all about for me. The smiles on their faces – especially Darcey’s who helped me at each step of the way – mini photographer/baker/blogger in the making that one.

Print this recipe 

Chocolate Genoise cake

  • 60g butter
  • 8 medium eggs
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 60g cocoa powder

Chocolate ganache buttercream

  • (this quantity is enough to fill and cover the cake in ganache)
  • 150g unsalted butter- at room temperature
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 50g cream (double or single depending on how thick you want it)
  • 50-100g dark chocolate- broken into small pieces

To bake the cake

  1. Grease and line four 8” cake tins with silicon paper (I use sunflower oil to grease my tins as the edges of the cake stay soft and less crumbly). Preheat your oven to 170ºC (Fan oven150ºC)
  2. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and combine completely. Set yo one side.
  3. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat until it has melted. Keep stirring it until it becomes a deep brown colour. This adds to the flavour of the butter. Set aside to cool.
  4. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the egg and sugar. Whisk by hand until the mix warms up. You don’t want to cook the mixture – just warm it.
  5. Remove the bowl from the heat. You now need to whisk the egg and sugar mixture till it doubles or triples in size. By warming the eggs you are encouraging the air in them to expand. This will take around five minutes so it’s a good idea to use a stand mixer and let it do it’s stuff.
  6. Once it doesn’t look like it can expand anymore drizzle the melted butter into the bowl while the whisk is still going.
  7. Sieve the flour and cocoa onto the mixture – don’t be tempted to just tip all the dry ingredients in over the egg mix as it will be heavy and will burst all the air bubbles you’ve just created. Without the air bubbles the cake will be heavy. The air bubbles in the egg are the cake’s raising agent. Slowly and carefully fold the flour and cocoa powder into the mix till just combined. It’s important not to over mix.
  8. Spoon the cake mix evenly into the cake tins and smooth with the back of a spoon. I made one cake tin a smaller amount than the others as it was going to be made into a giant cake pop.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides come away from the tin. The cake will instantly bounce back when pressed lightly in the centre with a finger.
  10. This cake is very delicate so leave it to cool completely in the tin before turning out.

To make the chocolate ganache buttercream

  1. Place the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy.
  2. Place the cream in a saucepan and heat until just starting to bubble then remove from the heat.
  3. Immediately place the chocolate pieces into the cream and stir until completely melted. Set aside to cool.
  4. Once the chocolate has cooled add it to the buttercream and whisk.
  5. Try not to eat it on a spoon from the bowl!

Darcey's Ice cream splat birthday cake

How to make the Ice cream cake

  1. Layer up three layers of cake with chocolate ganache.
  2. Take the small layer of cake and crumble it into a bowl . Add a small dollop of ganache and mix it up until it forms a ball. Roll it up in your hands and pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden.
  3. Make up some royal icing in your choice of colour and put it in a piping bag. Use a little royal icing to position the cake pop on the top centralarea of the cake.
  4. Pipe the icing over the top of the cake pop and let it dribble down over the cake.

Darcey birthday cake

5. Don’t go too mad as the icing will keep dripping once you stop. I let it just reach the sides of the cake.

6. Place a trimmed wooden skewer into the cake pop at an angle. Push it in far enough that the ice cream cone will sit at an angle and won’t slip down.

7. Place the cone over the stick and press into the cake pop. Leave to set.

Happy 9th Birthday Darcey Doodles. We love you so

Mamma x

Darcey's Ice cream splat birthday cake

How to make easy butterfly cookies that look fantastic!

Easy butterfly cookies How to make butterfly biscuits

I made these butterfly cookies for a local charity event a few months ago. As a volunteer at Free Cakes For Kids we’re always being asked to support local charities and this time it was for The Maypole project. Oh I do love a charity bake, don’t you?

I’ve baked a few cakes in the past for The Maypole project charity but this time it was for a summer fete where they were going to be selling bakes to raise funds. I thought 20 odd cookies would make some money so I set about making the biscuits a few days before.

I’d been looking for an opportunity to make butterfly cookies on lollipop sticks for ages. They always looked a bit daunting so I set about decorating them slowly. I painted one stage at a time on all the biscuits so they had time to dry in-between layers and I was really happy with the end result. They looked pretty good on their own but it was when I put them all together that they looked really great.

Displaying the cookies

I used a fake cake made from polystyrene to hold all the biscuits. First I pushed a spare lollipop stick all over the base so the actual biscuits would go in -facing the front, with little need for pushing.

Once they were all in place I wrapped a thick piece of ribbon around the fake cake and wrapped the lot in cellophane. I then insisted on Tim driving us to the fete so I could hold them on my lap for the journey. I didn’t trust them to stay upright anywhere else for the journey.

I dropped them off at The Maypole Project table then we had a look around the rest of the fete. It’s hard not to resist going back and having a peek to see if your baked goods are selling throughout the afternoon. I only looked twice and they seemed to go down pretty well.

So now it’s your turn. They’re easy to do. Why don’t you have a go?

Easy butterfly cookies                                                                          

  (Print this recipe) 

(Makes around 20 biscuits)

  • 200g unsalted butter- at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 egg (medium) – at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • White sugar paste
  • food gel colours

To make the cookies

  1. Place the butter in a bowl. Add the sugar, flour, egg and vanilla essence.
  2. Mix all the ingredients by hand. I always mix biscuits by hand as the warmth from your hands means that it’s all being blended really well and for some reason they taste much better than when mixed with a machine. You can always start the mixing with a wooden spoon if you don’t like gloopy hands.
  3. Be careful not to over mix biscuit dough. It will not only become tough, but the biscuits will spread more when baked and we want them to keep their shape perfectly.
  4. Once it is nearly all blended I turn the dough out onto the worktop and knead it till it all holds together nicely.
  5. Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This allows the gluten in the flour to do it’s stuff. Without chilling the cookie shapes will definitely contort when baked.
  6. Remove from the fridge and knead a little on a lightly floured surface. Roll out using spacing sticks to ensure that your biscuits are all the same thickness.
  7. Cut out the cookies then remove the excess first. This way you can pick up the biscuit without denting it.
  8. Place a lolipop stick in each cookie making sure you don’t poke it through the front. It’s okay if it pokes through the back as the baking will keep it in place.
  9. Place on a baking tray lined with silicon paper and pop them back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. This ensures the cookies bake slowly and don’t spread. It’s the easiest way to make sure each design is exactly the same.
  10. Pre-heat your oven to 160°C then bake for 12 minutes or until the biscuits start to brown on the edges
  11. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. Avoid handling the cookies till they are cool. If you pick up a hot cookie by the lollipop stick it’s likely to fall out!

To decorate the cookiesbutterfly cookie decorating steps

  1. Roll out the white sugar paste so it is nice and thin then use the same butterfly cutter to cut the shape. Carefully pick up the sugar paste butterfly and dampen it on the reverse then ‘stick’ it down onto the butterfly cookie. Smooth it onto the cookie with the palm of your hand. Smooth the edges so they don’t stick out – or the sugar paste will snap off.
  2. Use a little yellow food gel colour – watered down with clear alcohol, to paint the edges of the wings
  3. Continue till half the wings are painted
  4. Use a dark brown or black colour to paint the centre of the butterfly
  5. Use jagged brush strokes for the tips of the wings
  6. Paint a thin line around the rest of the wings
  7. Paint across the lower wings and give the tips some detail
  8. Draw veins across the top wings
  9. and the bottom
  10. Make shiny white paint with a white lustre powder and some clear alcohol and paint tiny dots all around the outside edge of the wings on the black area.
  11. Leave to dry overnight.How to make butterfly cookies

enjoy!

EmmaMT x

Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy : Book review and giveaway

Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

I love doing book reviews – well, actually I love reading new cakey books and getting inspired and being desperate to share what I’ve found with you guys, but when it comes to the actual writing of these posts I always find myself waffling on and on and making them way too long. And that was the case with Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy, by David and Charles. There was just so much to share.

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy I’ve Interviewed and reviewed a Lindy Smith book in the past and there’s one thing you should know about her. She works REALLY hard and is really creative. She has a new book coming out in what feels like every five minutes and they are all so different and totally inspirational. How does she do it?

 Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy

The latest book is just the same. Jam packed with clever hints and tips on how to get different effects, some of them basic for the beginner and some of them more challenging but all inspirational. Sometimes you just need to be shown a new tool or colour combination to give you a whole new idea for a cake. One piece of inspiration and the book’s a winner – don’t you think?

What I love about this book are the simple ideas executed to perfection. Whether it’s the stunning colour combinations of the Rosette cake or the cute washboard sides on the beach hut cakes. The way some simple plunger cutters have been used to make an elegant Christmas tree cake look fabulous or the clever use of a flower and some piping to make the cutest diddy wedding cake. Also, there’s buttons. I love a sugarpaste button on a cake!

Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy Why I think Lindy’s books are so great is that no matter what level you’re at there are plenty of photos to describe the techniques so you can understand the way to make every element of decorating. Some books only have one step shot and explain the rest with words and you just can’t get a handle on what they’re on about. Here Lindy explains everything in clear detail and shows you too. You can’t go wrong.Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

What else is in the book?

As well as seeing where the inspiration for each cake comes from there are templates and recipes (for the main size cake tins when making small cakes) and the sticky toffee cake sounds really deelish. There’s even a vegan chocolate cake in there. There are recipes to make your own sugarpaste, pastillage, flowerpaste and of course buttercreams and ganaches.

If you aren’t sure where to start when covering a fiddly mini cake there are steps to show you how with buttercream, marzipan and sugarpaste.Lindy Smith Mini cakes Academy

Whether you want to paint your cake design, create beautiful flowers, go for modern or vintage there’s something for everyone. With 30 fabulous designs you’ll be spoilt for choice.

And what’s more you can win a copy right here on CakesBakesAndCookies.com. I bet you want to don’t you?

The Mini Cakes Academy Giveaway

The lovely Lindy herself emailed me offering this book giveaway to you lovely people. How honoured and excited am I by that! All you have to do is leave a comment below answering the 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 12th August.

” What cake decorating question would you ask Lindy” leave a comment below and enter the rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

EmmaMT 

Disclaimer: The book in this post was sent to me by Lindy Smith and David and Charles publishers  (Thanks you guys- it’s fantastic).  All thoughts and opinions and entirely my own.

CakesBakesAndCookies.com Giveaway Terms & Conditions

This giveaway will close at 12:00am on 12th August 2015. Leaving a blog post comment is a mandatory entry option. This prize is offered by Lindy Smith. I am hosting it on behalf of Lindy Smith. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing it. Lindy Smith or her 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 ‘Lindy Smith’s Mini Cakes Academy’ 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.

Almond shortbread recipe and the cute button cookie cutter

Almond shortbread recipe and the cute button cookie cutterAlmond shortbread recipe

Who doesn’t love the soft, crumbly, buttery taste of shortbread? It’s one of those melt in the mouth biscuits which- according to Beau, I don’t make nearly often enough. That and freezer cookies! 

I was requested to make a batch and when I had some leftover ground almonds I thought that they’d work well together – I’m a bit obsessed with almonds at the mo!  And my almond shortbread recipe was developed and loved. They were deeelsh. After the on-going shortbread fiasco of a few years ago I decided that now was the perfect time to have a play with my new button cookie cutter stamp.

Button cookie stamp

Almond shortbread recipe

My friend Emma (is it me or is everyone called Emma nowadays?) set up her own cookie stamp business Emma Jane’s Bakery, just before the birth of her daughter and she asked if I would like to have a play with one of the designs. Of course I jumped at the chance. I mean how great are they? Emma asked me to choose one and I have to say that I struggled. They’re all really cute. I went for this simple swirl design as I thought it would work on so many levels – biscuits for friends, christmas gingerbread gifts for teachers, shortbread for demanding eleven year old daughters!

Emma Jane's bakeryAs well as doing button cookie stamps (there’s eight to choose from) Emma also does a stamp for weddings, Christmas and she can even personalise them too. “Made by EmmaMT” sounds pretty good to me, but you can have baby’s names and birthdate for christenings, Mr & Mrs and the date for weddings, company logos – the list is endless. Go have a look and see.

Almond shortbread recipe

Almond Shortbread Recipe

  • 200g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 35g ground almonds
  • 225g plain flour (plus a bit extra for rolling out)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Mix the butter and sugar until completely combined.
  2. In a separate bowl sieve the ground almonds and flour and stir to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and almond extract to sugar and butter and mix until just combined. The less mixing you do the better and more crumbly the shortbread will be.
  4. Line a baking tray with silicon paper.
  5. Roll out the dough so it is around 1cm thick. Using the button stamp imprint the pattern into the dough. If your dough is really sticky give the stamp a light dusting of flour. Then use the circle cutter to cut out around each patterned biscuit. I found that by cutting the circles after imprinting the pattern I got a nice neat circle button. When I cut out the circle then tried to do the pattern I squished the shape and it wasn’t round anymore.
  6. Continue patterning and cutting till you have used all the dough up. Remove the excess dough from around the shortbread buttons then carefully lift each biscuit and place it onto the baking tray.
  7. Chill the shortbread on the baking tray for 30 minutes. This will prevent the biscuits from spreading and losing their shape whist baking.
  8. Pre-heat your oven to 160ºC (Fan oven140ºC) and bake the shortbread for 12 minutes. The edges will start to go slightly golden at the edges. If they go brown they’re overdone. 
  9. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling tray to cool down completely.
  10. Eat them all up!

Enjoy!

EmmaMT x

Almond shortbread recipe

Disclaimer: The cute button cookie stamp in this post was sent to me by Emma Jane’s Bakery (Thanks Emma. I’m gonna have fun using this one) All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

 

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 32x22cm 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

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