Orange swirl? Chocolate swirl? That is the dilemma

To be continued….

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Happy 1st Birthday Cara

And so it was finally here, we have been blessed with Cara’s first birthday, I can remember the day my sister went to the hospital with my brother in law and mom.

Isla (3 year old niece/big sister to Cara) stayed up all night (shush) watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Until the following day we awaited to hear the news.

I wanted to do something special and as you can see from my previous cakes, I’ve always been happy to use cake mixes and icing but this time I wanted to do it myself.

I didn’t take as much pictures as I would like because I didn’t have faith it would go better than I expected. I used fondant icing to cover the cakes and FINALLY used my topsy turvy cakes. I was a complete beginner with both icing and tins and was researching smoothing techniques and various recipes for what would be a 3 (albeit wonky) cake.

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I bought
1kg of Caster Sugar,
18 Eggs,
1.5kg of Self Raising Flour,
A big tub of Stork margarine
1kg of fondant icing and 3 x 250g
250g of pink icing
Pink food colouring
Green food colouring
Vanilla Essence
1 candle
Betty Crocker Vanilla Icing
Baking powder

I also found a Madeira cake/Victoria sponge mix in the cupboard but these weren’t used.

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I used this recipe for the three cakes. The 25cm tin which would be the bottom. The 20cm tin for the middle and the 15cm tin for the top. The website where I got the recipe and method from seems to have disappeared and so I’m a bit disappointed I can’t put it on here. However I’m a big fan of Lorraine Pascal and this link is a good recipe to follow:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/three-tier_red_velvet_17795

I’m not sure if that link works but I generally googled three tier cake recipes till I found a method I liked.

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As usual I sat down to watch it rise. There’s something comforting watching what you made grow. A bit how my sister feels watching Cara grow in to a toddler and Isla in to a little lady.

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When it came out I was a bit ‘hmmm’ about it. The recipe I used didn’t call for baking soda/bicarbonate even though I had bought some. I felt it had not risen enough. Once I took it out the pan though, I could see the it had moulded to the shape of the wonk so was a little bit more pleased.

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This was in the oven at gas mark 4 for about 1 hour and a half.

I used the method of creaming the butter and sugar and adding 1 egg to 1 spoonful of flour to avoid curdling. I set to work greasing and lining the middle pan and put this in the oven for 1 hour.
And this was the end result.

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I had neglected the boy a little. So he offered to loosen up and colour my fondant icing.
It turned out he was a dab hand at cutting the butterflies out of fondant and therefore he takes the credit.

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Now came the crumb coat. This is the first time I have used icing to coat a cake crumb like rather than just plop it on!
And the fondant icing. I’ve never used it before. I’ve never covered a cake before. I didn’t have a scraper or a smoother. Just my hands.

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For my first attempt I was impressed and I’m never happy but I really was pleased. It was a heavy cake and I thought it wouldn’t be nice because of it being a sponge cake I missed putting the jam on it. I thought no one would like but everyone was pleased.

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And the birthday girl enjoyed her very first piece of cake 🙂

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The Great British Bake Off

Well I did it. I didn’t want to although I’m quite giddy that I did but I have applied for the tv programme, The Great British Bake Off I know it’s probably never going to happen, it would be fantastic if it did but even just filling out the application was an experience in itself.

But this is one day, I am never going to forget.

Banana POWER!

As I was on a baking spree I managed to slip in a banana cake, using the same recipe that’s in my previous posts.

For some reason I am not satisfied with these batches as I used buttermilk instead of normal milk. The recipe calls for butter milk as its a loaf recipe but I didn’t have it last time so used normal milk and a but of lemon juice.
I think I also put a bit too much in the one tin as this took the longest to cook and even still the cakes cracked. My mom says its from the cakes being too dry, can anyone enlighten me?

Here is the end result of my banana cakes, I was gonna put chocolate spread on them but I’m too tired. Bed is calling me zzzzzzz

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You can see the difference in the colour which makes me wonder if I should have cooked the bigger one for even longer.
They do smell delicious though and these are also for work so I shall let you know what the tasters say!

Rich, dark and gorgeous

So this is the second cake I made and again I used a Betty Crocker mix. I forgot to say that the glaze for the lemon cake came with the mix and you just have to add a bit of water.

For this cake I bought the rich and creamy chocolate icing because the cake isn’t really naughty if you don’t have the icing to go with it. This cake I am making for work as I am leaving them on Tuesday. I am sad and if I had some poison lying around, I would probably use it but I like them and I don’t have any so I shan’t.

I am of course joking about the poison, I know it’s a serious thing to joke about and therefore apologise if people are offended.

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So I prepared the mix as the instructions said to and as I said in my previous post, I’m not feeling too great and forgot to time this cake so I had to make a rough estimate on when to check and remove them from the oven.

This is the end result and before I spread the icing:

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I am still playing with sugar dough and j remembered I’d bought some heart cookie cutters so I made some hearts and shaped them into shamrocks 🙂

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This is the end result with icing and shamrocks 🙂 goodbye work!

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And my brother came home and had a slice! Damn him! It now looks like a Pacman cake

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Totally radical man!

So if you read my previous post you will know that I got my gel colours out of the cupboard. They were just screaming to be used. So.. I made a traditional Victoria sponge. Well, traditional-ish.

Ingredients:

225g/8 oz soft margarine
225g/8 oz caster sugar
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g/8 oz self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Icing sugar, to dust

For the filling it suggests 4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam and 100ml/ 3&1/2 fl oz double cream.

Apart from the baking powder (which I forgot to add) I did the recipe to the T.

I preheated my gas oven to number 4, I greased my two silicone 8 inch sandwich tins and I mixed all the ingredients in the Beast with the whisk handle.

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So having mixed the ingredients to a smooth texture, I divided about three/four spoonfuls, some five, in to individual bowls and set to work on the gel colours. Some of them didn’t go as bright as I wanted to so they didn’t get the chance to have their photo taken.

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Once all the colours were mixed in well I spooned them in to the silicone tins one spoonful at a time and this is how it ended up looking

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And of course, I sat on the floor and watched

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I forgot to mention the flour I used as it is meant to be premium flour especially for cakes

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These are the end results of the cake once I had taken them out of the oven

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I will admit, I looked at them and thought “is that it?” I went to all that trouble and this is what I was left with?

I got to work on the buttercream as I didn’t realise I didn’t have double cream in the fridge. I prefer to make this in my mixer because doing it by hand, it separates for me. I have no idea why but if anyone has any tips, please tell me!!

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The red was calling me

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I removed the cakes from the silicone sandwich tins and BAM

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Psychedelic maaaaannnnn!! Now we were talking. I am rather impressed.
The colours weren’t as bright as I had originally wanted them to be but I was pleased that my crappy purple and my black mixed in well.

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I spread the buttercream on the ‘sand’ and the jam on the ‘wich’ and hey, presto!

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bake cakes, not war!!

Soda Bread

So today I thought I would try making soda bread again. I had bought two tubs of buttermilk and they need to be used and to be honest, I’m not keen to go out in this mess.

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So first things first, a cuppa tea 🙂 I have one of those kettles that pours right into the cup but it makes an awful noise. Check out my favourite mug!!

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prepare to die Peter Pan

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I am working from the ‘Baking for Beginners’ book for my soda bread. This book is the recipe I used last time where it just didn’t seem right. But I’ve figured I will try again and tweak it as I go along. Wish me luck!!

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This recipe is for a wholemeal variation where instead of 400g of plain flour you use wholemeal instead.

Ingredients (because the picture is small)

400g/14oz plain white/wholemeal flour plus 1 tbsp for dusting;
1 tsp salt;
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda;
15g/1/2oz butter;
50g/2oz coarse oatmeal;
1 tsp of clear honey;
300ml/1/2 pint of buttermilk;
2 tbsp milk (1 tbsp extra if using wholemeal)

The recipe says to preheat the oven to 200â€ĒC/400â€ĒF/Gas Mark 6 15 minutes before baking.

Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of sofa into a large bowl. I am using Allinson Wholemeal self-raising flour. I clearly wasn’t looking in the supermarket and this wasn’t one of my tweaks but hey ho, on we go!!
oops!!

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As you can see, I’m on the 400g mark..

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I have my mixing bowl and sieve ready

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I’ve managed to get half of the flour in the sieve so I will shake this before adding the rest
Here is the sieved flour, salt and half of the bicarbonate of soda as the flour is self-raising

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Now the instructions tell you to rub in the butter until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs

And then make a well in the centre of the dough, here is said well..

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As you can see the buttermilk I buy from sainsburys is the perfect amount for this recipe and I now have to mix the honey buttermilk and half of the bicarbonate of soda (as I used self raising flour) in to the mix (like so..)

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I attach my hook handle and away we go!!!

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I mix the ingredients to form a dough and this is what it should like look (this is what I’m assuming it should look like)

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I dust the countertop with some flour to prepare to knead and I have to knead for about 2-3 minutes until it is a smooth dough. Does it look smooth?

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The recipe says to use a knife to create the tradition cross surface on the dough but my nan told me to press down with a wooden spoon. She’s Irish and cool so how can I say no?

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I used some more flour for dusting and pop in the oven for 30/35 minutes.

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Now I’m left with this ðŸ˜Ķ

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So I might as well make a cuppa tea 🙂

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10 minutes left and this is what I’m sitting on the floor looking at

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I hope it turns out okay, it certainly smells nice.

I don’t know if you can see but in the photo of my cup of hot water, I’m looking at a Victoria sponge cake recipe, I have already measured out the butter for this as I’ve decided I’m going to go a little bit crazy with these bad boys!!

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And here it is….. Taaaadaaaaaa

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