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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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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Fabulously light & zesty

Normal people thinking baking a cake is a marvellous idea. I think baking 3 cakes is cause for celebration.

The first cake I chose to make, and yes I cheated but it is Sunday and I have two more days at work before I finish, is a lemon cake. My mom loves lemon cake and I’d bought the mix on the off chance of making it for her.

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It’s described as a

sunny lemon

cake and on the back it reads

fabulously light and zesty

I didn’t really do pictures because I am not feeling the best tonight but these are the pictures I did take and I hope like me, you feel like cheating a little.

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Betty Crocker is my Queen

Who gives a HOOT?

How could I forget? The most important creation of all from the Beast.

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Now this was just a test cake. I didn’t do it the way I wanted too; I think I’d ran out of time, it was during a week day and I get up at stupid o’clock.

This is just one piece of the sandwich, it was the ‘wich’ as I was too tired to layer the sand and wich together and it being an owl cake I didn’t want to be too over confident.

This is your typical Betty Crocker devil sponge mix. Very simple to use and it tastes so good, even the non believers go ‘om nom nom’
I can’t remember the instructions off the top of my head but trust me when I say, when this cake is done properly with the chocolate fudge butter icing, it makes you feel so good that your toes are wiggling 😉

So to create my owl I used chocolate butter icing and spread it over the ‘wich’

I had previously bought orange button melts from sainsburys and I placed these overlapping from the bottom upwards to make a kind of feathered breast on the owl. I cut a triangle for the and for what was meant to be the outer feathers I used chocolate chips which I really should have battered in a food processor and the eyes; good old Oreos 🙂

Needless to say my 3 year old niece was more than impressed, so impressed she turned it upside down on the plate. Thank Bob Marley in the sky for cling film!

Topsy Turvy – BOOM!

I don’t know how it came about but my wonderful grandmother purchased me the topsy turvy pans from Lakeland. She told me when we were in the middle of the supermarket and I was being cranky because I hate food shopping and people were panic buying because of the snow we were supposed to have (and did).

In honour of said snow, here is sproots.

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Anyway, back to my new pans. I had promised a friend at work that I would do them a topsy turvy cake and you can follow me as I go along. Her birthday is not till April so I’ve suggested she help me and as it’s a special birthday (21st), I thought the best theme I could possibly come up with was the wonderful creation of Alice in Wonderland.

And the reason for this is because not only is Alice in Wonderland a classic disney film and there was the odd sort of remake but it had Johnny Depp in so all was forgiven but it was my theme for my 25th birthday last year. My closest friends threw me a tea party and I had never felt more loved or appreciated like I had that day and night. They worked so hard to keep it a secret (even though someone let it slip, FREDDY!), they made such an effort and it was perfect and I want her birthday to be perfect like mine was.

Here a few of the pictures from that day/night. These are my ‘crew’

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So yes. THE PANS!

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The pictures above are of the 15cm tin which is used for the top of the cake.

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These are photos of the 20cm tin which is for the middle part of the cake.

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And that is the 25cm tin which looks bigger than it should be compared to the 20cm tin. I am not ready to use these yet as I haven’t figured out the measurements of the ingredients so they’re still covered up but this is generally how the cake will look when it is placed together.

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I have researched on the Internet about how to decorate cakes like this. I am not used to rolling out icing and would prefer buttercream but I haven’t seen evidence of buttercream being used.

These are the kind of creations I have found on the Internet.

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I am rather jealous of the level of creativity and time that has gone in to each of these cakes and I wish I had the time and talent. I imagine creating these wonderful cakes must come naturally to some people but I also hope that there are cake decorators out there who have self thought themselves to be that good and I have a slim chance of being just as good and one day when someone like me begins something new for them, MY cakes will be on google images.

Till the next adventure.