Tag: Emma Morton-Turner

My very first ‘Free Cake For Kids’ cake

I was really excited earlier this week to be able to make my very first ‘Free Cakes For Kids‘ birthday cake. I’ve been wanting to make one for ages but the requests have all come in when I was either shooting or away or had another cake on the go – and let’s face it one cake at a time is probably best when you work elsewhere full time!

The cake request came in and the details I were given were that the little girl likes pink, butterflies and would love a heart shaped cake. So I set to!

I covered the cake board in light pink icing then cut out a piece of paper that mimiced the shape of the board. I have a heart shaped tin but it isn’t a great shape so I used it anyway and cut a better heart shape out of it. I did toy with the idea of making a square and round cake and cutting the round in half to make a heart shape but whatever way I tried it it just wouldn’t work out. It was either too big or had too much waste. My old heart shaped tin was perfect in the end and only gave a few off cuts (much to Beau’s disgust!) I then gave it a crumb coating.

FCFK1Now, all I needed to do was a second coat of buttercream to get a really good smooth base and then cover it in sugarpaste. I made the hearts and butterfly decorations the day before I made the cake so they had time to firm up enough to be handled without breaking.

FCFK4Once the cake was smooth and I had positioned it on the cake board I stuck on the heart shapes around the outer edge with Royal Icing. I then added the mini hearts and butterflies to the hearts and voila!

FCFK5

How cool is this ribbon that the head of Free Cakes For Kids Bromley had made up to go around our cake boards? Gives them a really professional look don’t you think? FCFK Ribbon

I delivered the cake on Monday and the feedback has been great but I have to say that whenever I deliver a cake and there’s a big smile it just makes my day!

If you want to join ‘Free Cakes For Kids‘ check out the website for your closest branch – they’re everywhere now.

EmmaMT

x

5 things I learnt making a Lego man birthday cake

Lego man birthday cakeSometimes cakes go wrong! Sometimes they go REALLY wrong and other times, if you’re lucky, you can get away with it. Like when it’s a cake for your 6 year old nephew!

Asher is mad on Lego and wanted a Lego Policeman birthday cake this year. “No problem” I said. Anything for the other man in my life. I thought. And then he gave me his little Lego policeman and I had to make it! What was I thinking? I was completely stumped. How was I going to get the proportions right? How would I make him stand up without falling over? There were endless questions and not all of them were answered.

How I made a Lego man birthday cake and where I went wrong

Lego man birthday cake1. The arms were too heavy

I started off with four Madeira cakes made using almond rather than vanilla essence (try it. You won’t go back) One square 6″ cake was for the legs and feet, one 5″ square cake for the body. One small 4″ pie tin  for the head and one loaf tin (half filled) for the arms. This was mistake number one! The arms didn’t need to be made from cake covered in buttercream and sugarpaste. They should have been thinner and made just of sugarpaste. That way they would have stuck to the side of the cake better.

 

Lego man birthday cake

Each cake was cut to size and shaped.

Lego man birthday cake

And was then covered in a buttercream crumb coating and then a top coating of buttercream which was smoothed as much as possible.

Lego man birthday cake

I thought that covering a square cake in sugarpaste when it was turned up onto one side was going to be impossible but it wasn’t too difficult. I made sure that the sugarpaste was really thick when it was rolled out so that when I picked it up to smooth it over the cake it moulded perfectly without cracking or tearing.

Lego man birthday cake Lego man birthday cake

Next the legs were covered in blue sugarpaste. I made a neat line in the cake for the crease in the trousers.

Lego man birthday cake

2. Where’s the support? 

I used one plastic dowel to support the top half of the cake and keep him upright – which didn’t actually work! I thought that if the dowel went from the cake board right up to his head then that would be enough to keep him sitting – not slouching. It didn’t work!

What I should have done was placed a thin cake board underneath the body part of the cake and supported him from underneath in the legs. Then had another small cakeboard under the head cake and supported through the body. Cake is heavy, especially when there’s a ton of sugarpaste on top.

Lego man birthday cake

The head was cut to size and shaped then the face was added.

Lego man birthday cake

PC Legoman is a  cheeky chappy complete with stublble.

Lego man birthday cake

3. I added stubble

Now I wanted to make the little Lego figure’s face as close to the one Asher had given to me to copy. I made the eyes out of black and white sugarpaste and then used black food colour gel on a dry paint brush to create the stubble. In hindsight a 6 year old doesn’t really need stubble on his birthday cake and it just made the cake look a bit dirty.

Lego man birthday cake

4. Too much hair makes your cake top heavy!

I used a ton of black sugarpaste to make the hair and although it looked good when I finished it was so heavy that it weighed down the rest of the cake making it impossible for the Lego man to stay upright. What I should have done was to leave as much cake on the top of the head and add as little black sugarpaste as possible. This is the one time you want the cake to dome!

After I attached the arms and head I had the cake resting against a food box. It was supposed to support the cake just while the arms were ‘sticking’. I turned my back for literally a minute and when I turned back again he had fallen backwards, leaning right on the box causing a massive crease all the way across the back of the cake. To make matters worse the arms just wouldn’t stay on. I gently rubbed the back sugarpaste to blend the crease in but it was just too deep. I had to leave it.

 

Lego man birthday cake

5. The hands weren’t quite right. 

I wished I had made the hands well in advance so they were hardened and stayed in shape but I didn’t have the time with this cake so, I had to make them on the day. In future when I make a Lego man cake (because I am not beaten yet!) I will make the arms and hands in advance when I cover the cake board so that they are really firm and I can place cocktail sticks in them to attach them to the  cake with sugarpaste.

Lego man birthday cake

All I can say is that Asher liked the cake and at the end of the day (when PC Lego man did literally topple over!) that’s all that matters.

Happy Birthday Asher. I love you. xx

 

EmmaMT

Baking brioche with the experts ‘Brioche Pasquier’ and how it all went terribly wrong!

Brioche PasquierThere is a good reason I should stick to baking cakes and not go anywhere near bread. It just doesn’t work for me! I mean I love the texture of a bread dough as it’s soooo soft and malleable compared to what I am used to kneading – cold hard sugarpaste! But as a blogger you sometimes get invited to these fab events and last week I was lucky enough to be asked to attend the Brioche Pasquier brioche masterclass in Greenwich where myself and 10 other bloggers were to be taught how to make brioche the traditional way. No problem I thought.

 

Brioche Pasquier

The event

The day started off really well and we all donned our aprons and listened to the grandson of the Monsieur Pasquier (the baker who started it all off in France in 1936) explain how the bakery was the first to make brioche with levain (a type of sour dough) to give their products that amazing taste which is still used to this day. It’s a secret formula so we made traditional brioche using dried yeast instead of live yeast. The difference? Well, our workshop was three hours long including lunch. To make them in the factory the old school way takes 5-6 hours!

Brioche Pasquier

The lovely Christine showed us the steps how to make the brioche. It should have been easy. She made it look easy. It is not easy. Well not for me anyway!

 

Brioche Pasquier

I followed her instructions and measured everything carefully, starting with the flour then adding the salt and half of the sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other (the yeast reacts with the salt so you don’t want them getting up close and personal until you’re ready to mix it all up). You then add the butter and eggs  and the water. You’re supposed to mix the ingredients for a couple of minutes to incorporate it all together then set it to run faster for a further 5 minutes before you add the rest of the sugar.

Brioche Pasquier

 

This is what mine looked like! It was supposed to be smooth and bouncy and ready to be rolled out. NOT sticky and gloopy and dry and crumbly all at the same time! Yuck! Christine came over and suggested a solution. ‘More water’ so we added more water. No change. So we added more. Still no change. I could see that she wanted to say ‘there is no way this is going to work” but she was far too sweet for that.So I said it. “Shall I start again from scratch?” I asked. There was a resounding “Yes” from all the Brioche Pasquier team. By this point everyone else was rolling out their brioche rolls ready for proving.

 

Brioche Pasquier

So I started again with bowls of pre-weighed flour, sugar and salt being sent in my direction at speed. I don’t think they trusted me to weigh it myself- probably best! I started the mixer up and let’s just say that it isn’t one I’m used to. The K-Mix has a reverse so when I started it up and it went too fast so I quickly twisted the speed dial back in the other direction and sent the dough hook whizzing backwards just as fast! Flour, salt and yeast went everywhere! Once I got a handle on how to use it the ingredients started to form a dough. A sticky, yucky dough AGAIN! What was I doing wrong!?! I should also mention that the K-Mix wasn’t too happy and started giggling across the work surface.

As it turned out with the first batch I measured the wrong amount of water. This time I had mixed it all up too quickly at first. Christine to the rescue again!

Brioche baking with Pasquier

I needed more water in my dough and more mixing to make it form a smooth stretchy dough. Every couple of minutes one of ‘Team Pasquier” would come over to see how I was doing- as all the other blogger’s rolls were about ready to go into the oven and I hadn’t even started rolling out yet! Brioche baking with Pasquier

More water and more mixing then Christine grabbed a small amount of my dough and pulled it between her fingers to see how stretchy it was. It tore each time. More water and more mixing and then it had to go in the oven or we were going to run out of time. Brioche Pasquier

This is how it looked. Still a bit dry according to Christine but it would taste just fine. Brioche baking with Pasquier

All hands on deck for the rolling which you do with the heel of your hand pushing against the work surface. As my dough was so dry it didn’t really stick as it should have done. I did my best and I need to say an extra big thank you to Solange Brechemin from the Pebble Soup blog who came to my rescue and helped me, Christine and Olivier to roll them out in double-quick time. My efforts had lines and dimples. Christine’s, as you would expect, were perfect! I then gave them a generous brush with water to stop them cracking while they proved.

 

Brioche Pasquier

 

To speed the process up the rolls were popped into a proving oven and they looked pretty fab when they came out. You then have to give them a generous wash of egg and scatter sugar pearls over the tops before you bake them for just 10 minutes.

 

Brioche baking with Pasquier

And just look how they turned out! After all that adding water and extra mixing they looked absolutely perfect. “Yes, but how did they taste I hear you ask?” Well let’s just say that the proof is in the pudding. When I asked Tim if he had tried any of my brioche brought home from the event and if they were good he looked at me like I was mad and said “I’ve had 5!” So that was a big yes. But the really test was the girls. They absolutely loved them.

Brioche Pasquier

 

So, I had a really fantastic day, a great laugh with the Brioche Pasquier team who were very gracious in my nightmare and so, so lovely that now this cake baker can’t wait to have another go at baking brioche the Brioche Pasquier way. I truly believe that by my dough going so wrong I had the edge over the other bloggers. Sometimes learning from your failures teaches you how not to do something and gives you spectacular end results next time.

 

If you fancy making your own brioche the recipe we used is below, but for the real deal you can buy the Brioche Pasquier range at supermarkets. I have to say that Beau and Darcey completely love the individually wrapped Pitch chocolate and jam filled brioche for their packed lunches but for me it’s got to be a traditional Brioche all the way!

EmmaMT

p.s. Brioche Pasquier have some really deelish recipes on their website too!

 

Brioche Pasquier traditonal Briochettes recipe 

  • 500g Strong flour
  • 100g water
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g unslated butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 40g bread yeast
  • 10g table salt
  • 1 egg and milk for the egg wash
  • optional extras: chocolate chips, sugar pearls
  1. Put the flour in the mixing bowl and attach the dough hook
  2. Add the salt and half the sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
  3. Add the water, eggs and butter and mix on a SLOW speed for two minutes then on a MEDIUM speed for 5 minutes
  4. Add the rest of the sugar and mix for another 4 minutes. The dough should be soft and shiny and elastic!
  5. Now is when you can add chocolate chips if you want.
  6. Divide the dough into pieces of 50g and shape into smooth balls.
  7. Very lightly brush the dough with water to avoid the brioche from drying out.
  8. Leave in a warm place for about 1½ hours to prove
  9. Preheat your oven to 200ºC.
  10. Brush the brioche with the egg and milk wash and sprinkle sugar pearls on top.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool before serving.Briochette recipe

How to make silver sugarpaste numbers… or letters.

Sugarpaste letters

 

Sometimes you want to scream and shout “I’m 60. Yaayyyy!” and when that happens you want your ’60’ to stand to attention. Don’t you? I know I would. So that’s what I planned for this cake. Robert was going to be given an electric guitar for his birthday so the cake was themed around that. His wife sent me a picture of the  guitar and told me that the colour scheme for the party was purple and silver. She had some really great ideas for the cake and after I sent her a sketch of my design she made a few tweeks and the look was set.

I really wanted the ’60’ to be standing up so I made it a few days before I baked the cake – so it had time to dry and would be able to be handled. This is how I made it…

 

How to make a silver sugarpaste number

how to make silver sugarpaste numbers

If you want silver letters and numbers you should mix up some grey sugarpaste. If you want gold use a pale yellow colour paste. Cut out the Numbers and letters.

how to make silver Sugarpaste letters

Place the cut out’s onto baking paper so they can dry without sticking to the surface they’re on. I left these for three days and turned them over at the end of each day so the back could dry too.

Sugarpaste letters

To make them stand up I use a little royal icing underneath each number to make them ‘stick’ to the cake, but just to be on the safe side (especially when you have to drive a long way to deliver the cake) I use cocktail sticks in the larger numbers and really thin food standard Sugarcraft Wire (the kind you use to have stars on like these) in the tiny ‘th’ to give you something to stick them in with. Gently push these into each digit soon after you cut them out so they can dry in place. If you try to add them once the digits are dry they tend to crack and break.

Silver Sugarpaste letters

Use some edible Metallic Silver Liquid food colour to get a really good shine. This tiny pot goes a really, really long way! Make sure you stir it really well as the silver pigments sink to the bottom of the pot and that’s where the sparkle comes from!

IMG_9949

Give the numbers a coat. Work quickly as it dries practically instantly. Avoid going over areas more than once as it mottles and goes a bit bumpy. If you aren’t happy with the finish you can always wait for it to dry then do a second coat. No-one will know!
Silver Sugarpaste letters

 

And there you have it. One rocking 60th birthday cake- complete with silver 60 and an electric guitar !

enjoy!

EmmaMT

x

Everyone’s gone Baking Mad!

Cheese scones recipe from Baking Mad

No, I’m not talking about The Great British Bake off (which everyone still seems to be talking about). I’m talking about those crazy bakers over at the Baking Mad website. They contacted me last month to see if I would like to link up with them and after a little persuasion (I was knee deep in a Spring/ Summer 2014 shoot – yep Christmas appears to finally be over) I said yes.

When I first went freelance I knew one of the writers at Baking Mad and she asked me if I had any cakes they could feature. I had only just started CakesBakesAndCookies.com back then so I am sure you can imagine I was thrilled to be asked. The cakes they chose to be featured were my Spiderman cake (which was the first ever cake I made for a non-friend/family member), the 40th Wedding Anniversary cake I made for my mum to take to her quilting class – all pretty with flowers and a  two tier christening cake which if you follow me over on Facebook you will have seen a few times already!

So what was I going to do with the food colouring/ decorating and flavourings they sent me to play with? In a word nothing. “And why not?” I hear you cry. Well, because after flicking through the cute little recipe booklet that accompanied the goodies I spotted this cheese and mustard scone recipe and I knew I  had to bake and eat a lot of them. I also had to share it with you guys too. (I’ll be playing with the delivery another day.. I promise)

I totally love scones so it was a no brainer for me. Who can resist a cheese and mustard scone? I mean really? I think a cheese scone is my favorite type of scone. So here it is….

 

The Baking Mad Cheese and mustard scone recipe

Cheese scones recipe from Baking MadIngredients

(makes 12)

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 1 tspBaking Powder
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter chilled and diced
  • 1 tbsp Thyme Leaves (I used dried herby ones)
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder ( I used real mustard)
  • pinch of Salt and pepper
  • 50g Cheddar Cheese extra mature, grated
  • 25g Parmesan grated ( I didn’t have any so I put a bit extra cheddar in there)
  • 3 tbsp Buttermilk plus a little extra to glaze
  • 2 Eggs medium, free range

 How to make cheese and mustard scones

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c fan oven 160c gas 4.
  2. Place the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You could also do this in a food processor.
  3. Add the thyme, mustard, seasoning and the grated cheddar and three quarters of the parmesan and mix lightly.
  4. Add the eggs and buttermilk and using a round blade knife mix gently until all the mixture is combined into a dough, but do not overwork the mix.
  5. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly roll or pat the dough to a thickness of 2-3cm. Cut the scones using a 5cm round cutter and place onto a baking sheet. Lightly brush the scones with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and black pepper.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Let the scones cool slightly, serve warm with an extra wedge of British cheese and chutney.

So, what’s your favorite scone recipe? I bet you’ll find it over on BakingMad.com. They have everything over there!

 

EmmaMT

 

P.S. If you are a certain friend who lives up the road to me and you happen to be reading this – I know that I owe you a batch of these and a cuppa! 

 

Buttercream recipe

buttercream for cake decoratingButtercream is one of those parts of cake decorating that I do without really thinking about it, which is why it’s never really occurred to me to share my recipe with you all. That is until I was asked to by a reader. I mean I have included the recipe in the past but when it comes to searching blogs for anything specific you do tend to get all sorts of other random stuff mixed in with it and actually the reader wanted to know how much to use for different sized cakes. So anyway, here it is. Nice and easy to find.

 

My buttercream recipe

My recipe is pretty basic and easy to remember. These ingredients will fill and cover an 9″cake. Some people find that this is too sweet so you can always try it with 50-100g less icing sugar. Taste it till you get it how you like it. I personally think this is a good taste- especially with the vanilla essence.Butter cream recipe

  • 250g butter – at room temperature
  • 500g sieved icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • milk as required.
  1.  Start by beating the butter so it becomes light and fluffy.
  2. 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 from going everywhere (and I mean everywhere! It will look like you haven’t cleaned your kitchen in a year otherwise!)
  3. Once combined add the vanilla essence and mix for 2-3 minutes so it becomes really light and fluffy. This consistency is good for a filling between two layers of cake as it’s thick. I’ve been piping buttercream between layers recently as it stays thicker than when I used a palette knife. It’s also easier to control and get flat.
  4. 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 in the bum 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.  You get a feel quite quickly on how you like it to be.

Chocolate buttercream 

For a chocolate version simply add the cocoa powder when you add the icing sugar but make sure you sieve it or you’ll have lumps.chocolate butter cream recipe

  • 250g butter – at room temperature
  • 500g sieved icing sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • milk as required.

Buttercream will last for two weeks in a sealed container in the fridge but remember to take it out and let it get to room temperature a good few hours before you want to pipe it.

 

Buttercream quantities for different sized cakes

And for that lovely reader who asked for quantities of buttercream for different sized cakes. Here you go…

Buttercream quantities

EmmaMT

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