Category: Cakes

Delicious Date and Walnut loaf recipe

Date and walnut loaf recipe

Delicious Date and Walnut loaf recipe

Sometimes you need a little afternoon pick me up and for me this is it. A slice of date and walnut loaf tastes great on its own but with a little butter spread across it – deeeelishhh!. Oooooh butter! One of life’s little luxuries! The reason I like this loaf so much is because it has a really firm texture. One slice is often enough – who am I kidding one slice is never enough! I wish I could pack it into packed lunches but the whole nut allergy at school thing prevents me so we’ll just have to stick to eating it here at home. (smiles as she types!)Date and walnut loaf recipe

I am a massive date fan. I have them with a cup of tea at the end of the day (instead of another slice of cake or cookie) and the really soft, gooey medjol ones are my favorites. But when you get a regular pack and they’re all a bit hard I bake with them. By soaking the dates in boiling water they get really soft. You can leave them to cool for half an hour and they’re perfectly ready but to make them really moist for your cake leave them over night in an air tight container and give them a shake every now and then.

I didn’t used to like walnuts but over the years they’ve been growing on me. I don’t like it when you can’t taste them in a cake so I often just quarter them so the pieces are big and chunky but you can chop them smaller if you prefer. Toasting them (or baking them in the oven) makes all the difference. It’s like you’re sealing the flavour in. Definitely worth the effort.

Date and walnut loaf recipeYou can 🖨 this recipe off here

Date and walnut loaf recipe

EmmaMT x

 

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cake

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cakeSometimes my cakes go wrong and when I say wrong I mean REALLY wrong. I didn’t realise quite how wrong this cake went until I had finished it.  Tim -my harshest critic, walked into the kitchen and I asked “What do you think?” his response after looking at the mermaid was …

“Well, he doesn’t look very happy does he!”

He !!! He !!. Well I guess Tim did have a point. I had given HER the most enormous chest. Not quite sure what I was thinking about whilst making this mermaid for a 6 year old! And to make matters worse this was a cake for Free Cakes For Kids. I managed to squish the head a ‘little’ when I was adding it onto the body (without a neck) and then even further still when I attached the strands of long, heavy, sugarpaste hair. Her beautiful oval shaped head kind of became square and rugged looking. But I didn’t notice at the time. I was too busy concentrating on making the hair stick to her head.

The right way to decorate the cake

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cakeI was really happy with the rest of the cake.  I baked an 8″ Madeira cake and filled half a Christmas pudding bowl tin with cake mix to get the curved top. I used the ingredients for a 9″ cake and split the mixture accordingly.

I buttercreamed the cakes together – cutting the 8″ in half. I then did a crumb coat and covered the cake in blue sugarpaste. I really like the sea like decorations. The twists were made when I covered the cake board in sugarpaste. I just rolled out different sized cones and twisted the tops then left them to dry out. The same effect was used with the seaweed but the green strips were long and thin and were twisted and stuck to the cake straight away. I like how it gives the base of the cake a 3d effect.

For the air bubbles I rolled tiny little balls of sugarpaste and used a balling tool  to make a hole in the centre. They were then stuck on by making the back damp.

The flowers were made in advance too but just a day before. They were set in painters pallettes so they would dry curved. You can see how I make flowers here.

The cake toppingsHow NOT to make a mermaid birthday cake

Seriously! What was I thinking with those knockers!!!! I can’t believe I thought that looked appropriate for a six year old!!! Anyway, as well as the well boosomed mermaid with the chiselled jaw, I made a number ‘6’ from a roll of sugarpaste which was left to dry for ages – like a week. I also made the name in the same way for the front of the cake. (you can see how I make the names here).The ‘6’ had rocks placed behind to hold it up and in place.

If you really want to know how I made the mermaid this is how!

How NOT to make a mermaid birthday cakeThe mermaid’s tail was added to the cake first then the body. A ‘belt’ was added around the join. The tail and belt were marked with a half moon cake decorating tool. The arms were added and the painted head was attached. Finally the hair was stuck onto the mermaid using royal icing.

I had such great intentions and aspirations for this cake but I felt it fell flat. The little girl who it was for loved it – but let’s face it – she was six, it was a mermaid and it was cake. What’s not to love in her little world? Next time Free Cakes For Kids I promise I’ll do better! Maybe you should give me a man to make from sugarpaste. I think I’ve got that down pat!

All kidding aside – this was another cake for an amazing charity. The recipients are always so grateful to receive a cake for their little ones and it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to give back to our community in that way.

So, have you had a cake that’s gone wrong or just not to plan? I’d love to know all about it and see the cake wreck love. Feel free to share your cakes on the CakesBakesAndCookies Facebook page. It’s good to share.

EmmaMT x

 

The only Coffee Madeira cake recipe you’ll ever need, and it fits all cake tin sizes!

The only Coffee Madeira cake recipe you’ll ever need, and it fits all cake tin sizes!The only Coffee Madeira Cake recipe you'll ever need

After countless emails and comments here on Cakes Bakes And Cookies I am finally happy to share my new Coffee Madeira cake recipe. I’ve tried it so many different ways – with esspresso, with more coffee, with less coffee and this is THE one! It’s a perfect balance of lightly textured cake with a smooth coffee flavour. The buttercream has a delicious coffee flavour but not too strong and when put together the balance is… well, just right.

I made the 9″ Coffee madeira cake mix and split it between five small 6″ tins. Have you seen these tins from Lakeland? They’re a clever set designed for making rainbow cakes and now they do them in an 8″ set too. I wanted to have an impressive layer cake suitable for a coffee morning but you can use this recipe in one 9″ cake tin for a layered wedding cake.

 

Coffee Madeira cake chart

This chart is for round cakes. For square cakes just go up one inch so an 8″ square cake will use a 9″ round recipe.

The_only _Coffee_Madeira_Cake_recipe_you'll_ever_need

How to make Coffee Madeira cake

  1. Line the cake tin with baking paper. I use sunflower oil to grease the tin so the cake stays soft. Butter tends to bake too quickly giving you a harder cake on the outside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
  3. Start by creaming the butters together then add the sugar and beat till it’s pale and fluffy.
  4. Very slowly add the eggs – a spoonful at a time. Add a spoon of the flour to prevent curdling if necessary.
  5. Add the hot water to the coffee and disolve. Set to one side to cool.
  6. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add the flour and coffee in three goes. This produces the fluffiest and most moist cake rather than adding all the flour then all the water.
  7. Add the walnut halves mixing as little as possible.
  8. Bake for time stated on the chart for your size cake tin or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.
  9. Don’t open the oven door for the first 30 minutes. It will make the cake sink.
  10. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before adding the sugar syrup and turning out of the tin carefully.

How to make the sugar syrup:

  1. In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
  2. Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
  3. Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

The only Coffee Madeira Cake recipe you'll ever needCoffee buttercream recipe

These buttercream quantities are enough to fill each cake when split into two layers and coat the outside with a crumb coat and top coat.

 

The_only _Coffee_Madeira_Cake_recipe_you'll_ever_need

How to make coffee buttercream

  1.   Mix the water and coffee together till disolved then set to one side to cool.
  2. Start by beating the butter so it becomes light and fluffy.
  3. Sieve the icing sugar over the top of the butter then mix until well blended. I place a tea towel over my Kitchenaid and hold it carefully in place whilst mixing to prevent the dust from the icing sugar going everywhere.
  4. Once combined add the coffee and mix for 2-3 minutes so it becomes really light and fluffy. This consistency is good for a filling between layers of cake as it’s thick. I pipe buttercream between layers as it stays thicker than when I used a palette knife. It’s also easier to control and get flat.
  5. When covering a cake with a buttercream crumb coat before adding sugarpaste or for a decorative finish you need the buttercream to be more fluid. You can get this consistency by adding a drop or two of milk and mixing it in well. Do this slowly as once it’s too soft it’s a pain to get it to firm up again. How soft you want your buttercream is a personal choice. I like to be able to smooth the buttercream on with a palette knife easily and have it come off the sides with a side scraper without breaking the cake, but I don’t want it too soft.

The only Coffee Madeira Cake recipe you'll ever need

For the five layer Coffee Madeira cake

To create the coffee morning five layer cake I made the cake mix and placed it equally in each tin – which was around 150g per tin. The cakes only took 25 minutes to bake. To decorate I piped a squiggly line on the outside of each layer and filled the middle of each cake evenly.That way you get a pretty outside edge.

For the top I spread the buttercream neatly to cover the edges then piped another squiggly line around the outer edge. I broke up some extra walnuts and sprinkled them on top of the icing.

This cake was a hit in our house. Beau asked for “just a small slice” for breakfast. You can’t have a small slice of this cake.  Whichever way you cut it it’s going to be big. She managed to finish it off no problem!

Another thing about this cake is that I have been testing Madeira cakes made with butter and oil (instead of margarine). The cakes come out really light and much flatter but they don’t last as long. So if you give this a try decorate your cake to seal it (with a complete covering of buttercream) by the day after you bake it. You’ll also want to eat it within two or three days.

http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Coffee-Madeira-cake-chart-PDF-.pdf

Hope you like it

EmmaMT x

p.s. For all of you asking for a lemon Madeira cake recipe – that’s coming next month with charts too!

How to make a Baymax birthday cake

How to make a Baymax birthday cake

How to make a Baymax Birthday cake

Last month I was asked to make Dulcie’s 5th Birthday cake and it wasn’t a Baymax birthday cake. In fact I feel a bit guilty that my first response when asked was ‘Oh no, not another Minecraft cake with hundreds and hundreds of little green squares!” Dulcie’s mum very graciously changed her mind to a Baymax cake and I was soooo pleased. Not only that it wasn’t a Minecraft one but because we loved Big Hero 6 and I knew Baymax was going to be a fun one to do.

The challenge was to make him a bit interesting and not just a big white figure on a cake board. Dulcie’s mum said “No pink”. It sounds like Dulcie is like Darcey – properly feminine and a complete tomboy at the same time. She also asked for the cake to be blue. “No problem” I said. And then I tried to make it!

The impossible blue Baymax birthday cake !

I set off on a google research mission. I’ve coloured my madeira cake before but never a specific blue colour and I know from the past that a yellowy, cream cake mix will not make a blue cake. It will be green! I even asked at the cake decorating shop how to do it. They weren’t sure so we looked for a ‘white’ cake to bake that could be coloured on line. The cake on the blog we found was as pure as snow. The author had removed egg yolks and replaced them with buttermilk. She used white butter- which we can’t get here (if you know of any please let me know) and it looked light and fluffy. I tried. It was not pretty! The cake was very light in colour but no where near white enough. I added the blue colouring and baked it. It came out illuminous turquoise. Not good. It also went completely solid after one day, even though it was double wrapped in cling film. Yuck!

For the next trial I baked my madeira cake, removing the egg yolks – replacing them with double cream, I used sunflower oil instead of the very yellow margarine and I used President butter – the whitest butter I know of. It still came out deep green but it was marvelously flat and very soft. In the end- running out of time,  I had to see if a green cake would be okay and when Dulcie’s mum said “Go for it” I made another batch of my madeira cake – again making it as light in colour as possible and only adding a touch of blue colour and the end result was lovely. Pfew!

How to make a Baymax Birthday Cake

This cake was relatively straight forward to make. As long as you have enough cakes to stack you’re good to go.  Cover the cake board a few days in advance so it has time to harden.

To shape the cakeHow to make a Baymax Birthday cake

I used a number of tins with paper liners in them as I didn’t have enough of the same size to get the height. The paper cases were for 7″ cakes. I made 3 x 7″, 1 x 6″, 1 x christmas pudding bowl – for the curved shoulders and one 4″ cake for the head. I used my 9″ Madeira cake mix and split the cake mix between the tins.

As the cakes were so uneven I flattened off the tops and stacked the cake to see how it would look. Once I was happy I added buttercream between each cake and smoothed the shape of the body. To make the cake secure and prevent the layers slipping off one another I pushed three wooden skewers into the body and snipped the ends off.

To make the headHow to make a Baymax Birthday cake

The head was a small 4″ cake. Use a sharp bread knife to shape it into a head shape then cover in buttercream and then cover with sugarpaste. I made the head first so it could harden up a little for when I needed to handle it into place later.

To cover the bodyHow to make a Baymax Birthday cake

Once cut to shape cover the body in a crumb coating of buttercream. Place it in the fridge to set for 10-15 minutes. I had to remove a shelf to fit him in. Then add a second coat of buttercream to get a smooth surface for the sugarpaste to sit on. I like to chill the second coat for another ten minutes but it’s not essential.

Roll out the sugarpaste quite thick – around the depth of two £1 coins. I covered the body in one go so as I lifted the sugarpaste off the work surface I knew it would stretch and likely tear if it wasn’t thick enough. As it’s positioned it does get thinner. To make sure there are no creases lift the sugarpaste at the bottom up and gently lift it away from the cake with one hand while smoothing it down with the other. This action will stretch the sugarpaste into shape and prevent creases. This does take some practice but just take it slow and don’t be afraid to pull the sugarpaste away furhter than feels right. Tuck the paste right into the base of the cake and remove any excess. I was able to lift the cake up and tuck the sugarpaste underneath then place Baymax onto the cake board (with royal icing to make him stay in place). I then rubbed down where my hand was to make him smooth again.

Use a drop of royal icing to position the head in place.

To add the arms and details
How to make a Baymax Birthday cake

The arms and legs were made from sugarpaste. Roll out sausage shapes then make them gently squared off at the ends. On the legs use a palette knife to make groves where the feet are and on the arms cut an additional oval for the elbows. Both the arms and legs were stuck into position with royal icing. The arms need to be held for a minute till they stick and won’t slide off. Once the arms were secured four fat sausage fingers and thumbs were added.

The badge on Baymax’s chest was made with a circle cutter. A palette knife was then used to make the detail lines in the centre.

For the face be really careful to position the eyes- cut out from black sugarpaste and a line of sugarpaste, exactly where you want them to be. Black sugarpaste is really sticky and once it’s on you won’t get the marks off. Luckily Baymax’s face is really simple. I used edible glue to position them so there was no chance of seepage.

Decorations for the Baymax birthday cake How to make a Baymax Birthday cake

I really love writing names in sugarpaste since I made Asher’s climbing wall cake . Again, I wrote the name out in a big black marker on paper and placed silicon paper over the top then traced the letters in a long thin line of rolled out sugarpaste. I then left the name to dry. Drying a name takes around 4-5 days but you can speed the process up by placing it in a warm (not hot or it will melt) oven. I put my oven on to 50ºC for five minutes then I turn it off and place the name inside for only 10 minutes. Remove it and leave it to cool completely. Repeat if you want the name firmer. The firmer the name the easier it is to handle and the less likely it is to break. Use Royal icing under and behind the name to stick it in place.

As the cake was going to be pretty bland with just Baymax I made little cubes of sugarpaste into wrapped gifts by adding ribbons and bows on top. They were placed around Baymax. I also didn’t just want to have a number 5 any where so I made a mini birthday cake complete with five candles for the number to sit on. I did this with thick sugarpaste cut out into circles in beige and then had smaller white discs (for cream) with red ‘jam’ over the top. These were layered up together with royal icing to hold them together.  If I was to change anything about this cake it would be to make the sponge layers of this mini cake more brown. Next time!  The candles were thin florists paste (as it dries harder quicker) with sugarpaste flames on top. I used red and orange sugarpaste which wasn’t completely blended together to make the flames more interesting.

How to make a Baymax Birthday cake

So, that was it. I really loved making this Baymax birthday cake. I think it works for boys or girls, you just change the colours to suit. What do you think?

All that’s left to say is

Happy Birthday Dulcie you gorgeous smiley munchkin you. xxx

EmmaMT

x

Tears and tantrums at CakesBakesAndCookies.com

Tears and tantrums at CakesBakesAndCookies.com

This here blog has been going for five whole years at the end of this month and I have to say that it has truly become my baby. I didn’t realise just how much of my baby it had become till last month. You see behind the scenes there have been a few technical hitches. And when I say hitches I mean monumental screw ups. I broke my blog. COMPLETLEY!

There was stress. Then there was anger. Then there was all out sobbing like a baby – so much so that my very un touchy-feely daughter came up to me without saying a word and just hugged me tight and didn’t let go while I sobbed and sobbed – something she doesn’t do – hug or hold on tight. What did I do? It doesn’t really matter, all I’ll say is that I messed up and lost my readership and google ranking which is how people find me. My numbers dropped by 75% and I couldn’t see a way back up. I was devastated. I actually thought I might have to give up blogging. I’m not really a quitter but I thought I had come to the end of the road with no way back.

Feeling the baking love

During this time of stress some amazing things happened.

Number one

Tim sent me flowers. I don’t think he’s bought me flowers in 10 years! All the card said was “It’ll get better”. And he was right.

Flowers from my belovedNumber two

Readers were emailing me. Now, I get a lot of emails but usually they’re asking for help with Madeira cake. These emails were different. There were loads and loads of “Thank you’s”. Some were for helping with a problem I’d answered, some were just to say thanks for posting a particular recipe which they’d used and loved. Some were showing me their beautiful cakes but every one of them was showing me the baking love. Thank you. I really needed those emails right at that moment.

The other emails were asking me why the post they had previously bookmarked wasn’t there anymore or to tell me that something was broken. Without these emails I wouldn’t have known there was a problem. These lovely readers were kind enough to help me check – once I had fixed the problem, to see that everything was working again. A massive thank you goes out to you guys. Your time, patience and help means a lot to me. You know who you are. xxxxx

Number Three

I learnt that everything is fixable and you can get outside help when you can’t fix a problem alone. You just have to keep looking for the right kind of help. It took me the whole of February to get back on track and for the numbers to go back up. Even missing two posts last month my numbers are practically better than ever. So thanks for your patience. Blogging will resume as normal now!

So, that is why it’s important to subscribe to CakesBakesAndCookies.com via email. If it all goes down the pan I can still send you yummy recipes, cake decorating tutorials or just plain old book and product reviews. So, if you haven’t already please, please subscribe to the blog by putting your email in the subscribe box on the right hand side or when the pop up – pops up!



 

All that’s left to say is a massive thank you to everyone who has helped me to get right back where I was at 100% and to those who helped me pull up my socks and get back in the kitchen – which let’s face it – I never really left. Gin cocktail cupcake anyone?

Love you guys

Happy baking

EmmaMT

X

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Love yourself this Valentine with Coconut oil scones

Love yourself this Valentine with Coconut oil scones

Love yourself this valentines with coconut oil scones

The best thing about scones is that they are so quick and easy to make. You don’t need to wait for cold butter to reach room temperature. You can walk in from work and have them baked on a plate and smothered in jam within half an hour.

This super delicious recipe is even simpler. Just three ingredients! Coconut oil, coconut milk and self raising flour. You’d think that they taste really coconutty but strangely they don’t! They have a slight hint of coconut but very light. When I baked the first test batch the girls ate them fresh out the oven with nothing on, but the second batch were cold so they smothered them with jam and cream (there goes the healthy loving yourself aspect!) and they were just as good.Love yourself this valentines with coconut oil scones

Why Coconut oil

When I first received the Coconut oil from Amazon I had to have a feel. It looks like vaseline that’s been whisked up. I put some on my finger to feel it and where I rubbed it into my hands it felt really soft. There are a million and one ways to use this oil without even thinking about baking – like use it with sugar for a body scrub – yep that one works well, use it as a moisturizer, tick, add it to your bath-  Mmmmm. In fact google “uses for coconut oil ” and you’ll find lists of 99, 101 and 107 uses for the stuff. That’s why it’s become the must have ingredient of the moment.Love yourself this valentines with coconut oil scones

When it comes to eating coconut oil the list is just as long. Mix it with chia seeds for an energy boost – one blogwarns not to take this in the evening or you’ll never get to sleep! You can substitute the butter or oil in any recipe with it – but I’ve had mixed results with this.

The flavour is subtle but the end result with the scones was an instant winner. Coconut oil is definitely going to be a permanent fixture in our house – if I could only leave it in the kitchen and not the bathroom!

Coconut oil scones

Makes 15

Coconut oil scones

  • 300g Self raising flour
  • 55g Coconut oil
  • 175ml coconut milk
  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC and line a baking sheet with silicon paper.
  2. Place the flour and coconut oil in a bowl and use your hands to combine till you have a breadcrumb consistency.
  3. Slowly add the milk. Avoid over mixing as this what makes them tough and we want light and fluffy scones.
  4. Once combined roll out onto a lightly dusted surface and cut out circles. Try not to twist the cutter as you pull it off the dough, that's what makes them contort during baking.
  5. Place your scones on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. They will be pale so check the underneath has browned slightly.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before smothering with jam.
http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/2016/02/13/love-yourself-this-valentine-with-coconut-scones/

So, I hope you are loving yourself this Valentine with these healthy treats. I’m loving you all.

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: Thanks to Amazon for sending me the Super foods in this series of ‘Love yourself this Valentine’ posts. All thoughts and ramblings are my own.

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