Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Happy New Year - A new organised me!

I am starting 2009 as I mean to go on - with lots of projects on the go and lots of news years resolutions that will NOT be broken! One of them being to be Mrs Organised and to update thishere blog a LOT more regularly!

I am showing today a cake that I did at the end of November. I have done a number of cakes for this family and love that they encourage something a bit funky but give me pretty much free reign on the design. That is another resolution for this year - to produce more funky cakes and offer something a little bit daring or different. Not sure how the rest of St Helens will take this on board but time will tell!

Every bit on this cake was edible - I had to think a bit in advance to make sure the 'ribbons' on the top were dry enough to hold their shape - I made these out of 50/50% flower paste and fondant. It was only when I had finished that I remembered I have some really cool black and sparkly ribbon that would have looked brill around the edges of the cake but never mind!

I would love to know what people think of the design and what resolutions are out there for 2009!

Helen x

Sunday, 30 November 2008

I am Back!

I haven't dropped off the face of earth but am back with a new vengeance! This is one cake of many that I have done in my absence from the blogging world.

It was ordered by a lovely girl who has had many cakes from me before. This was for a good friend who is serving out in Iraq. he is only seventeen and his older (19) brother is also out in Iraq. The cake was to celebrate him winning his first ever boxing fight. The Buzz Lightyear model was because he has always wanted a Buzz Lightyear of his own - I found the head really hard to do but persevered!

She was delighted when she came to pick up the cake and even brought Kyle's Mum!

Helen x


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

A strange looking Mixed Berry Cobbler - TWD

Sorry everyone, I just could not fit in anything else this week apart from my orders. We are seriously eating microwave meals just to stay alive but hope to be back on form next week (or maybe the week after!)

In the meantime a photo of what has been keeping me so busy...

Next week Tuesday with Dorie recipe - Apple Cheese Scones (Not great for a cheese hater like me!)

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Cream Puff Ring without the Peppermint - TWD

I have been naughty - I have strayed from the rules - Ok, well maybe not that far but I haven't exactly done exactly what I should have this week - This week's Tuesday with Dorie bakeree was chosen by fellow Uk blogger Caroline from Consuming Passion. I have to admit to not being that inspired by the recipe and being very tempted to give it a miss but no...that's not the spirit. I couldn't justify the Peppermint Cream part of the recipe as no-one in this house would eat it but the Puff Ring (Choux pastry) was something I thought I had better try. I have always thought making this would be really difficult BUT IT WAS FAB!!! I now think I will be taking homemade eclairs everywhere I go - I really feel this week that I have learned something that I would not have if it were not for TWD.

I made the ring but had loads left over for mini eclairs, which I served with Raspberry Ripple Ice-cream and Dulce de leche that needed using up - Wow, what a combo.

The verdict?
Dermot (husband) - Absolutely loved it although he thought I was mad for making it when there were nine other cakes in the house waiting to be decorated with more still to bake! I keep finding him nibbling the left-overs so take this as a good sign.

Millie (5 year old) said she liked it and could she have some with butter on in her packed lunch - but it came back home not eaten so who knows? Do kids count as testers when they are so fickle?

Moi? Yum - Will def do again!

Next week - Mixed Berry Cobbler - That sounds like a proper pud!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

What have I been doing?

Well this little gem for a start!!! I realise that for a couple of weeks now I have only posted about Tuesdays with Dorie projects - I would love to say that I've been taking it easy and chilling but that could not be further from the truth. over the next few days I hope to be posting more cakes that I have been working on but this has got to be one of my favourites ever. This was for a couple from Wigan, Colette and Jeff who got married a couple of weeks ago in Cyprus and are having an enormous knees-up tonight in Wigan RLFC Stadium (I won't saything more about that hailing from rival town St Helens) but they are a lovely couple anyway.

The cake consisted of 2 tiers rich fruit cake, one chocolate fudge and one carrot cake. The brown ribbon (edible fondant) matched their delightful little girl's bridesmaid dress and the sparkly bits are edible 'bits' of fondant with added edible glitter. The design was adapted from a photo that the couple had - I'm sorry but I don't know where the original came from - with lots of amendments to make it their own.

Once again, Cara has come to the rescue and done this amazing shot.

I really love this cake and hope Colette and Jeff have an amazing night and many years of married bliss - What a fabulous job I have!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

TWD - Tart with a heart

How gorgeous does this little delight look? - The good news is it tastes even better than it looks! This week's Tuesdays With Dorie (lets ignore that it has just crept into Wednesday here in the Uk - I'm sure its still Tuesday somewhere in the world!)anyway...This weeks TWD pick came from the most lovely lady, Marie from A Year At Oak Cottage - I sincerely hope she is not only spending a year there because I am so addicted to reading her blog. Oak Cottage happily enough is in the Uk (although sadly nowhere near me as I may have been tempted to call on Marie). marie picked a recipe called La Pallette Strawberry Tart which made the most of some wonderful strawberries that we have around at the mo - In this age of thinking of food miles I love to make a recipe that can call on local ingredients (I have a blog entry coming soon that details another addition to the aardvark cakes family - no not another child but someone who lays eggs!)

Anyway, to get on...This tart was amazing - I used the Sweet Tart Dough and went along with Dorie's suggestion of adding ground almonds - I think I used a little too much butter but I love a good crunchy base so am not moaning. I even had some kirsch in the shed (I must have bought it ages ago for a really essential recipe and had never used it)

We are not listing the recipes anymore as a nod to copyrights/publishing rights which I believe to be quite right - I also thought it made my blog look really boring to have a huge long list of instructions - I do believe though that the 'chooser' may get to have the recipe listed - so have a look at Marie's blog - even if it is not there, it is well worth a visit.

Next week - Peppermint Cream Puffs - I am terrified!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Birthday Brownies - TWD

Happy Birthday Violet - My lovely youngest little chicken is 2 years old today and what a proud Mum I am! I have no idea where the last 2 years have gone but we have had lots of fun (and the odd tantrum along the way - not all from Violet!)

To be quite honest Violet didn't seem that impressed by these brownies but as far as brownies go these were good. As I have said in previous posts, I am just not that much of a chocolate cake fan but if I was these would be heavenly. These were really easy to make (although my raisins didn't set alight - The neighbours had a good laugh though watching us try on the BBQ), not too many ingredients and were eaten in super quick time.

The Scores:
Easy to make? - 8 out of 10
Ingredients - 9 out of 10 - I already had the rum in stock from previous TWD recipes
Taste - 8 out of 10

Would I make again - Possibly if someone requested brownies - I do like nuts in mine though!

Photo - Once again I would love to say it is my own work but St Cara came to the rescue (You should have seen my effort!)

Next week = Strawberry tarts chosen by the lovely Marie from A Year From Oak Cottage

French Chocolate Brownies
- makes 16 brownies -
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.
Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.
Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!
Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

TWD and Daring Bakers Apologies

Once again I have to admit defeat - So many things have happened this month to make it impossible to complete my baking missions - I am currently treading water to keep up with existing cake orders just as wedding season starts to hit alongside a perfectly timed 2 week school holiday. I do intend on catching up with the baking missions that I have missed but for now please take a look at some pretty amazing concoctions.

The daring Bakers this month made Opera Cake which was a completely new concept to me but look delish! Visit them at Daring Bakers Blogroll

Tuesdays with Dorie (which incidentally have been featured in the Wall Street Journal - how cool is that?) made Pecan Sticky Buns - although these look yummy - I know brioche making would have just sent me over the edge - Other far more organised, less traumatised bakers can be found at Tuesdays With Dorie

Thursday, 22 May 2008

A Genius

Aardvark Cakes have today entered a new era...a more modern one! Thanks to my wonderful friend, Cara of Freckles Photography, I now have a new title banner. I have mentioned Cara on earlier posts as her fabulous pictures perk up many of my creations.

The recipe for Sticky Ginger Delights is another example - These cupcakes were really simple to make, very quick and super tasty but I think it is the photo that sells them!?

Thanks again to a brill friend!


Tuesday, 20 May 2008

The end of a season - First Holy Communions

This is the last in a steady stream of First Holy Communion cakes that I have made this year - I think the season is now coming to an end. The season's run of cakes started with this and finished more traditionally.

I like it when a customer asks for something in particular so enjoyed making the chalice and wheat.

Not a book shaped cake in site this year - so glad I bought that tin last year! Hmmm!

TWD - Madeleine Flavoured Blobs!

Yes, I know they look nothing like traditional madeleines - I couldn't find a tin anywhere (not even TK Maxx and they normally come up trumps for everything!) But me being me couldn't leave the shop without buying at least one tin so voila! Madeleine flavoured blobs!

This week's choice of traditional madeleines (P167 Baking:From My Home to Yours) was from Tara from Smells Like Home. For once a recipe that doesn't yield enough for the street and doesn't cost a fortune (well, it wouldn't if I didn't buy a new tin every time I baked!)

Results - Tasty but not earth-shattering - they just tasted like the remnants of cake I cut off celebration cakes each week to level them.

Scores: I am on my own this week as they were so quick to make no-one is home from work/school yet - and I may eat them all before they get home!

Taste: 8 out of 10
Ingredients: 10 out of 10
Ease to prepare: 9 out of 10 (Only took 9 mins in the oven but had to do Dorie's signature chill in the fridge for 3 hours first!)

Recipe follows below - I used Self-raising flour and did away with the baking powder and salt.

Traditional Madeleines

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 stick (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick, and light, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the better form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines.

(For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the Madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pan.)

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan, give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake large Madeleines for 11-13 minutes, and minis for 8-10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the mods by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.

If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(Es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pans before baking.

Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioner's sugar.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Word Verification

Just a quick one...I know they drive us all mad but does anyone ever get a rude word to spell? I've just been laughing my head off at one I had to input - unrepeatable!

TWD - A Florida Pie from Merseyside

Well, its Friday and I'm only just getting round to posting this Tuesday's recipe - Many Apologies! I'm not going to ramble on about various excuses as to why I am so late but I will say it is a miracle that the recipe got made at all considering the week it has been! I think it is only because I read some of the earliest posts about this recipe and how positive they were that I tried to give it a go at all. And was it worth it?...Yes!

This week's installment was chosen by Dianne from Dianne's Dishes:

I believe Key Lime Pie is pretty big in the US - not so much here but all the ingredients were pretty easy to get hold of - apart from graham crackers - what on earth are they? Tuesdays with Dorie blog to the rescue...I asked what to subsitiute them with and digestives was the reply - no probs ...off I went!
I found the instructions easy to follow and they did what they said they should do - even the reduction which gives most bakers a bit of a quiver! I omitted the cocunut layer in the meringue (in my book you don't mess with meringue!) The added coconut wasn't needed - there was plenty in the rest. I thought the steps involving freezing were a bit unnecessary and cheated a bit as I wanted to eat it and it was 11.45pm on Tuesday! I may not post on time but I am sooo good at eating on time!
I made 12 little pies and a 6" round pie - which is still in the freezer (without the meringue!) I found that the lime flavour was better before all the freezing malarky and may put more lime juice in next time - yes, there will be a next time but prob without all the meringue.

Ingredients - 8 out of 10
Ease to prepare - 8 out of 10
Taste 9 out of 10

Comments - Husband loved it and even ate his evening meal quicker as he knew we had ' a nice pud!' Praise indeed! Well done Dorie!

I also have to make comment on my fabulous lime picture this week - regular readers may notice a drastic difference in my usual photography style! My good friend, Cara came on Saturday to take shots of another exciting project (more details to come later!) and performed miracles with some pretty ordinary looking limes - the things that girl can do with a camera! For more examples of her work, take a look at...www.caradonovan.co.uk

Florida Pie

1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust I used about 12 digestives and a lob of butter - sorry wasn't feeling very accurate!
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, seperated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes) Go on try 6 limes - it'll be worth it!
1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat. I used 12 muffin tins with no cases and a 6" round tin with a loose bottom.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

To Finish the Pie with Meringue:
Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.
Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

TWD - I'm getting there!

Please bear with me - I may be a little late with my post this week...but it will get finished! Hx

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The Music Lover

My quest...? To design a cake for someone who likes singing, drama, playing the guitar and the piano. Hopefully I fulfilled the brief - I couldn't think of anything drama/role play related but I think everything else is covered. The cake was a 10" sponge and the model made from marzipan and flower paste. Verdict? - They loved it!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

TWD - Peanut Butter Torte

Peanut Butter Torte was the the choice this week for the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group - This selection was chosen by Elizabeth from Ugg Smell Food. The recipe can be found on her website - I'm not being lazy by not posting the recipe on my blog (well, perhaps I am!) but I think it is only fair that Elizabeth gets more traffic looking at her blog on her chosen week - Thanks for choosing, Elizabeth.

The picture for this in Dorie's book looks amazing - I really wanted to like this and to be blown away by the taste. I like peanuts and don't mind peanut butter so thought this might be a winner. From reading the many blogs that I enjoy, I find that peanut butter doesn't seem to be as popular here in the UK as it is in the US - I made some peanut butter cookies (recipe to be posted soon!) as few weeks ago and loved the subtle taste of the peanut, however the torte was nowhere near as subtle. I found the mousse really rich and couldn't manage more than 2 bites - The base was OK but just ok...I would much have prepared to just eat the Oreos dipped in a cup of coffee! I was so disillusioned with the recipe that I didn't bother covering the whole torte with the chocolate ganache - I just didn't want to waste any more cream.

Ingredients - 3 out of 10 - Not hard to find but it used loads of cream, peanuts, peanut butter, Oreo cookies

Ease of putting together - 9 out of 10 - The directions for the recipe were simple and it came together just as it should have - I couldn't see the point in putting extra salt in the base as there was loads of salt already in from the salted peanuts.

Taste: Only me I'm afraid this week - DH didn't want to try, DD1 wouldn't go near and DD2 is too young for peanuts so 2 out of 10 - I might like this better if it was in tiny balls instead of being overfaced with a huge torte - I also like other bloggers' ideas of freezing the torte and eating like ice-cream.

TWD - Bill's Big Carrot Cake - The Sequel!

A couple of weeks ago the Tuesdays with Dorie gang all set to and made a fabulous carrot cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From my home to yours...I too joined in with my fellow bakers and loved the recipe. This was quite timely as I had an order for a wedding cake that incorporated 3 tiers of carrot cake due in a fortnight. I had provided the couple with a sample cake but still was not quite sure about how successful my recipe would be...until I discovered Bill's Big Carrot Cake. The photograph shows the finished article with silk tulips - I have to admit this wasn't the easiest cake to get right and stack as carrot cake is not traditionally that neat and tidy but overall I am fairly pleased with the results. When I delivered the cake, the barn was being decorated with masses of bright tulips and the room looked fantstic. Each table was named after a mountain the couple had climbed together with the top table being named after the mountain where the groom proposed. The bride's Mum rang me yesterday to say thank you and how pleased she was with the cake. Phew!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Liverpool Football Club Cake

This was a last minute order squeezed in last week for a LFC fanatic - I didn't get to meet the recipient but met his lovely girlfriend and little girl. I would have liked to put more detail on the actual shirt now I have seen the picture but had to go with the time I had (which was practically non-existent!). The little player was made from sugarpaste with marzipan skin and had a number 30 on his back. The board was made grass-like by pushing tin-foil into the soft sugarpaste and then pushing extra through a sieve and sticking around the edge of the cake.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

TWD - Ricotta and Polenta Tart

Sorry no tart from me this week due to more cake orders than is humanely possible! The rest of the gang and their offerings can be found at Tuesdays With Dorie.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge - Cheesecake Pops

Yes, I have joined yet another baking group! This time it is the turn of the Daring Bakers - a blog set up by Lis of La Mia Cucina and Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice. We (Now I count myself as a Daring Baker!) are a group of 800+ bakers from all over the world who in secret bake from exactly the same recipe over the course of a month. On a certain day (which for April 08 happens to be today) we all post about our experiences.

The mission for this month was cheesecake pops chosen by Elle from Feeding my Enthusiasm. And what a great choice it was...The recipe can also be found on her site

The basic principle of cheesecake pops are that they are a bite sized morsel of loveliness aka cheesecake dipped into chocolate - at which point the imagination can run riot - We were encouraged to think of multitudes of options for dipping the chocolate covered cheesecake into - i.e. nuts, sprinkes, sugar, biscuits crumbs. I went for strawberry flavoured chocolate that has been crying out to be used up.

The instructions for the cheesecake were simple enough and it came together just as expected - It id take slightly longer to cook than the 35 minutes we wer told but nothing major - and the taste...? Gorgeous! I defy anyone not to eat spoon after spoon of the yummy cheesecake mixture which might explain why I don't think I had quite as many pops as I should.

I left the cheesecake mix overnight to harden and got my husband to roll it into balls the next day - I then left the balls in the freezer for 5 days. My balls don't seem to have been as hard as other bakers seemed to be judging from their blogs and it was quite difficult to keep the sticks in (I had cheated though and used straws instead of lollipop sticks as I am trying to economize).

I didn't dip the whole pop into chocolate as the strawberry chocolate can be quite sickly - I still have to admit I prefer the cheesecake without the chocolate.

The Scores and the verdict:

The cheesecake 9 out of 10.
With the chocolate 9 out of 10.

The cheesecake 9 out of 10 (it would be 10 but how could I score something that fattening a perfect 10?)
With the chocolate 7 out of 10

Altogether a very successful stab at my first Daring Baker's challenge - I'll definately be back for next month!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Corporate Cake

One of this week's orders - A cake to celebrate a local business moving premises into the Town Centre. The organisation is a Housing Organisation helping people into their own homes. The 2 figures are supposed to signify a couple who are happy to be getting their own house (well, I could see if even if other people may think they are just 2 people sitting on top of a cake!) The photo is not that great as it makes the logo look lobsided - I had to paint the little icon on the board which was really hard as the icing was still soft.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

TWD - Bill's Big Carrot Cake v's Hel's little carrot cakes!

I will have to do this really really quickly - it is 1 1/2 hours past Tuesday and I am sooo tired but will not admit defeat! Another Tuesday, another recipe...and what a recipe it is.
This week's offering was Bill's Big Carrot Cake which is quite timely as I have a 4 tier carrt wedding cake next week and was not quite convinced about the recipe I was using...I have now been converted to Dorie's. I had never heard of putting nuts other than walnuts into carrot cake (I used pecans) or pineapple (didn't have a distinct taste but I'm sure it added something to the overall loveliness)

This recipe is gorgeous - I halved it because the last thing my house needs right now is more cake hanging around but did what other bloggers have suggested and made the full quota of frosting (also yum and very easy to make)

I had help this week in the form of my youngest sister who I am trying to turn into an apprentice (I am so like Alan Sugar!) - This was her first 'bake' and she had a moment of overwhelming pride (her words not mine!)

We made 16 frupcakes (inbetween a fairy cake and a cupcake) and they were mighty delicious!

Husband - Mmmm lovely.

Mum (yes, yet another family member getting in on the act!) - Nice cakes - the frosting is really nice!

Moi - Dorie is queen!

And last but not least...our guest baker, Rachel - 'Oh I am so proud' - 'OMG they are gorgeous'


Ease of making - 10 out of 10
Ingredients used - easy to find, quite a few but not too many 9 out of 10
Taste - 10 out of 10

Amanda from Slow like honey chose this recipe and the recipe can be found on her blog (or in Dorie's book!) - Have a go!

Next week is Polenta and Ricotta Cake - I will give my apologies now as my workload next week will definitely not allow for extra baking and secondly I don't like polenta or ricotta!

And that was me doing a really quick post!... hx

Friday, 18 April 2008

Doggy Birthday

I have decided I love doing cakes for little girls - probably because I have 2 of my own - I especially like it when the parents choose a particular theme that is special to the child as it makes the cake so much more personal.
This design was modelled on little Lilias' favourite teddy from M&S - in 'real' life this teddy is different shades of brown but to make the cake more girly I was asked to make the doggy in pink.
The overall design of the cake was to be simple and no fuss as so many people are going for, therefore why just a ribbon round the base of the cake.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Cornelli Wedding Cake

This must be a record for me! 3 posts in one day...I'm like a bus! This was one of the reasons that last week's Tuesdays with Dorie post was so late. I have never done Cornelli work before and was a teeny bit anxious as the bride was so lovely I really wanted to do a good job for her. Once I got started I was really pleased how I went - I used a Number 2 tube which gave me good control but my hand really hurt after a while. I made the bride and groom's bodies out of geletain paste which sets really hard so they can stand up and the rest was made out of marzipan or flowerpaste.

All in all... a cake I'm quite pleased with! Wow!

TWD - Plastic Marshmallows

Whaaaa-whoooo! I'm early! Its not even Tuesday and I'm posting..but who knows what may happen tomorrow if I don't do it now!

Marshmallows were the pick this week from the Tuesdays with Dorie group - This week's choice was from Judy of Judy's Gross Eats. I have to admit I never thought marshmallows could be something you made - I thought they were magically prepared in a Willy Wonka Type Factory and had no idea what went into them (They are mainly meringue!)

What a strange experience this has been - Not very difficult to make (I liked the fact we have had to use our thermometer twice on the run..I have only had it in my cupboard for 2 years so its about time it had an airing!)

I split my mixture into 2 and probably didn't make my marshmallows deep enough as a result - I went with the traditional vanilla for one batch and the other half had a raspberry coulis in it. The raspberry one was much nicer than the vanilla.

The verdict:

Me...Looked really strange but tasted better than I thought they would (the raspberry ones) - I couldn't stomach the vanilla ones - They looked like a big gooey mess and stuck to the pan - even the bits that did come out looked horrendous.

Auntie Janet (Yes, she was a guinea-pig again!) - Not great - taste better than they look but still reminded her of latex.

Husband - An element of suprise when he tasted them but it said it all when he was clearing up and asked me if I wanted to keep my slop!

The Scores:

Making them and Ingredients ...7 out of 10 (I used normal Golden Syrup and cornflour which I considered to be the UK equivalent of Corn Syrup and Corn Starch)

How did they look - 2 out of 10

Would I make them again?...Probably not but thanks Judy (and Dorie) for the opportunity. The recipe if I haven't managed to put you off completely is on Judy's Blog!
Roll on next week, its Carrot Cake!

TWD - The most extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart

Well its better late than never - again! Many Apologies for being soooo slow but it was worth it in the end!
This weeks choice for the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group was chosen by Mary from Starting from scratch.
Again, not a natural choice for me but I'm always up for a challenge. Like a lot of my fellow bakers, I am not a lemon fan...until now!
My post is very late but I actually made this recipe at the end of last week over the space of 2 days (I wish I had taken more notice of the waiting time for the lemon cream to set and the pastry to freeze).

What I learnt this week...The sweet pastry is very delish but did not look like traditional pastry - I know it was supposed to be crumbly but mine was ridiculous! Still tasted yummy though!
The lemon cream did exactly what it was supposed to do and has converted me to lemons for ever!
This recipe was quite a big one - I can't see why it would not easily half.

Mum (my whole family seems to be getting in on the act) - Very nice but not wow.
Husband - yeh very nice (I'm sure he said that last week too!)
Me - I love it! Can't see myself making this every week but could be good if going somewhere for a meal that you have to provide the dessert/pudding/afters (depending on where in the world you are reading from!)

Ease of making: 7/10 - Not difficult but a bit time consuming and a lot of waiting around
Taste: 8/10
Would I make it again? Yes!

The recipe can be found on Mary's blog at Starting from Scratch.

Next week...Marshmallows (eek!)

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

The most unusual First Holy Communion Cake?

Its that time of year again...First Holy Communions. I have to admit that last year I did get a tiny bit tired of doing book shaped cakes with a child praying but they were all very pretty. The first Communion cake for this year though has to be one of my most unusual requests - 4 of the main figures from High School Musical (Gabriella, Troy, Sharpey and Ryan) all on top of the cake. The creative-ness (real word?) in me will not allow them just to be sat directly on top of the icing so it had to be a sofa made out of polystyrene - Currys are going to get very suspicious soon, the amount of times I keep going in asking for spare polystyrene.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

TWD - A revelation!

Well, Tuesday has come around again awfully quickly! This week's Tuesdays With Dorie assignment was the very easy Gooey Chocolate Cakes. The recipe this week was chosen by Leigh of Lemon Tarlet. Many Thanks for an easy recipe this week during the mother of all cake weeks...More to come in future post.

The recipe didn't use too many products and it was nice to bake a recipe that didn't leave me thinking we were going to eat cake ALL week (not that that would be such a bad thing!). We were asked to use bittersweet chocolate (which I presume is Dark Chocolate over here? I have to admit I was too bone idle to find out as I had a bag of pelletts from Thorntons designed for use in chocolate fountains that I wanted to try - I think they worked just fine and it saved having to break up a load of choc)

The book didn't have a picture so I had to guess what size muffin tin Dorie was talking about - We have so many different varieties here in the UK - I went with bigger than a fairy cake but smaller than a Starbucks Muffin - I managed to fill 11 of the tins which in hindsight should have meant cooking them for a lot less than 13 minutes.

So what were the thoughts...? I luckily had a few willing helpers to taste test so I didn't have to eat all the cakes on my own...

Auntie Janet...Very nice but not that gooey.

Dearest Husband...Yeh...nice! (Man of few words! - Sometimes!) But he had 2 portions so I think he really enjoyed them!

Youngest Sister Rachel...Mmmmm - I think she liked them!

Me? - Yep, a really nice recipe - Perhaps not as gooey as they could have been, easy to make but...AND THIS IS THE REVELATION!!!!...I don't think I like Chocolate Cake!!!! I have been thinking this for a while now but not wanting to admit it as it sounds really wierd but I would much rather have other cakes than chocolate. Having said that I could tell that if you were a chocolate cake fan this would be a fab recipe for you.

Would I make again? - Yes probable to see if I could get them more gooey - I also would love to try a choc orange version or better still Baileys version...Hmmn I wonder if there is any of that Thornton's chocolate left?

Score for this week?...
Ease of Baking...9 out of 10
Ingredients needed...9 out of 10
Taste (and Gooeyness!)...8 out of 10

Here is the Recipe...
*Gooey Chocolate Cake *
Makes 6

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate,
4 ounces coarsely chopped,
1 ounce very finely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
6 tablespoons of sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. butter (or spray – it’s easier) 6 cups of a regular-size muffin pan, preferably a disposable aluminum foil pan, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the coarsely chopped chocolate and the butter in the bowl and stir occasionally over the simmering water just until they are melted – you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and yolk until homogenous. Add the sugar and whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and, still using the whisk, stir (don’t beat) them into the eggs. Little by little, and using a light hand, stir in the melted chocolate and butter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups and sprinkle the finely chopped chocolate over the batter.

Bake the cakes for 13 minutes. Transfer them, still on the baking sheet, to a rack to cool for 3 minutes. (There is no way to test that these cakes are properly baked, because the inside remains liquid.)

Line a cutting board with a silicone baking mat or parchment or wax paper, and, after the 3-minute rest, unmold the cakes onto the board. Use a wide metal spatula to lift the cakes onto dessert plates.

Next week...The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart..(or may be Orange!_

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Football Crazy!

I think I am becoming addicted to shaped cakes - I spent years being too scared to to a shape other than round or square but now that I am 'brave' I find every opportunity to move away from traditional round or square. I made this cake using 2 x pyrex bowls which held a 9" mix - The cake looked really small though when they were stuck together. I also had to be really careful when trimming off the edges to keep the ball shape.

This was for my friend's brother's 21st who supports Newcastle (Black and White) I didn't want to put too much colour on the cake but wanted a few highlights.

Altogether - Fairly pleased with this one!

Report from the recipients...A lovely thank you card saying how pleased they were and how the cake tasted 'divine'! Bonus!

TWD - Caramel Topped Flan

Oh how disappointed was I last week to find that the recipe for the Tuesdays With Dorie group was Caramel Topped Flan - No matter how many times I read the ingredients/instructions/tried to bring myself to stare at the picture, I was never going to change the fact that it was a flan.

The problem?...I cannot abide the texture or consistency of flans or any custardy type dessert - I can still remember being sick after eating blancmange when I was about 4!

So what did I do...?
1. I went on holiday and tried not to feel too guilty about all those committed bakers who were baking flans even though it wasn't really their thing.
2. I tried to get a 'guest baker/blogger' to fulfil my duties as a TWD member but no luck - it seems either everyone hates flan or they were all on holiday with me!

Never mind..Next week is CHOCOLATE! Yippee!

In the meantime, for anyone that I haven't managed to put off - here is the recipe! Sorry no pics but I didn't think unopened packets of ingredients made for great shots!


For the Caramel
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp water
squirt of fresh lemon juice

For the Flan
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1-1/4 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a roasting pan or a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.

Put a metal 8-x-2-inch round cake pan-not a nonstick one-in the oven to heat while you prepare the caramel.

To Make the Caramel: Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice together in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the sugar becomes an amber-colored caramel, about 5 minutes-remove the pan from the heat at the first whiff of smoke.

Remove the cake pan from the oven and, working with oven mitts, pour the caramel into the pan and immediately tilt the pan to spread the caramel evenly over the bottom; set the pan aside.

To Make the Flan: Bring the cream and milk just to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart glass measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Whisk vigorously for a minute or two, and then stir in the vanilla. Still whisking, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid-this will temper, or warm, the eggs so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the hot cream and milk. Using a large spoon, skim off the bubbles and foam that you worked up.

Put the caramel-lined cake pan in the roasting pan. Pour the custard into the cake pan and slide the setup into the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water from the kettle into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. (Don’t worry if this sets the cake pan afloat.) Bake the flan for about 35 minutes, or until the top puffs a bit and is golden here and there. A knife inserted into the center of the flan should come out clean.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, transfer the cake pan to a cooking rack and run a knife between the flan and the sides of the pan to loosen it. Let the flan cool to room temperature on the rack, then loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

When ready to serve, once more, run a knife between the flan and the pan. Choose a rimmed serving platter, place the platter over the cake pan, quickly flip the platter and pan over and remove the cake pan-the flan will shimmy out and the caramel sauce will coat the custard.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Viva Las Vegas!

I wasn't sure about this cake until I had finished it...This was an order for a 21st Las Vegas enthusiast. The recipient had never been to Las Vegas before but was having a Vegas themed party. The cake matched his invitations and the buildings on the side were supposed to match the skyline of Vegas. When I went to drop off and set up the cake the room was decorated in blues with loads of pics - including a massive poster of the birthday boy when he was about 2 with nothing but his shoes on!

The playing cards were painted which I should definately do more of...there is nothing more therapeutic!

Marathon Day!

What a day today has been...not only is it school holidays and I have had a 5 year old to entertain (who to be really honest was as good as gold and not a spot of trouble!) but I had 2 orders going out and my first ever deadline for the Tuesdays with Dorie group. AND I ACHEIVED IT ALL!

Not great pictures of today's cakes but I cannot do everything! The red and black cake is a Power Ranger cake for a 4 year old and the pink and yellow cake (which I lurve!) is for a 21 year old. The explosion cakes seem to be really popular at the minute - I try to do each one a tiny bit different.

I know I said that this week I would be baking Choc Orange Biscuits from Polly Put The Kettle On but the week ran away with me...I promise I will make amends!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

TWD - Brioche Raisin Snails

Oh there were sooo many times during the making of these that I was tempted to give up! When making the dough and it not pulling from the sides, when waiting for it to rise and it not really doing so, when rolling out a big mushy mess, when trying to cut the big mushy mess...but the end result?...Yummy!

Perhaps my snails don't look like everyone else's (and they certainly don't look like snails!) but they taste delicious.

There were lots of different stages to make before assembly but we had a really good laugh!

I do think the butter that I used was not really meant for baking even though it said it was on the packet - it kept separating away from the rest of the dough. The pastry cream was really easy to make and it behaved itself during the process. The raisins did not flambe even though I had moved everyone in the house 60 feet away from the stove! But I keep going back to the end taste...gorgeous! They are better slightly warm so I might be tempted to heat up in the mike.

Worth having a go but only if you have lots of spare time and don't live near a tesco that sells nice danishes!

Quite a lenghtly introduction into my first Tuesdays with Dorie experiment but I'll definately be back for more! Unfortunately, I am not doing next week's flan (i am trying to enlist a guest baker but she is having none of it!)

To make the Brioche Raisin Snails...
Brioche Raisin Snails

1 cup moist, plump raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 recipe for Golden Brioche Loaves(page 48), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating overnight)
1/2 recipe Pastry Cream (page 448)

For The Optional Glaze
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
About 1 teaspoon water
Drop of pure vanilla extract

Getting Ready: Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan, cover them with hot water and let them steep for about 4 minutes, until they are plumped. Drain the raisins, return them to the saucepan and, stirring constantly, warm them over low heat. When the raisins are very hot, pull the pan from the heat and pour over the rum. Standing back, ignite the rum. Stair until the flames go out, then cover and set aside. (The raisins and rum an be kept in a covered jar for up to 1 day.)
Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.
On a flour dusted surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 16 inches long, with a short end toward you. Spread the pastry cream across the dough, leaving 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Scatter the raisins over the pastry cream and sprinkle the raisins and cream with the cinnamon sugar. Starting wit the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it up to 2 months; see Storing for further instructions. Or, if you do not want to make the full recipe, use as much of the dough as you’d like and freeze the remainder.)
With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends if they’re ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into rounds a scant 1 inch thick. Put the snails on the lined baking sheet(s), leaving some puff space between them.
Lightly cover the snails with wax paper and set the baking sheet(s) in a warm place until the snails have doubles in volume–they’ll be puffy and soft–about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Getting Ready To Bake: When the snails have almost fully risen, preheat the oven: depending on the number of baking sheets you have, either center a rack in the oven or position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the wax paper, and bake the snails for about 25 minutes (rotate the sheets if you’re using two, from top to bottom and front to back after 15 minutes), or until they are puffed and richly browned. Using a metal spatula, transfer the snails onto a cooling rack.

If You Want To Glaze The Snails: Put a piece of wax paper under the rack of warm rolls to act as a drip catcher. Put the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl, and stir in a teaspoon of water. Keep adding water drop by drop until you have an icing that falls from the tip of a spoon. Add the vanilla extract, then drizzle the icing over the hot snails.

Golden Brioche Loaves

2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

For The Glaze
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can– this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you’re doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)

Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

Pastry Cream

2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk– this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.
Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly–as I always do–put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Better late than never - Ginger Sponge

Well, its a bit later than anticipated due to camera hitches but the cake was made and the verdict is in...Very easy to make (even when I have to interfere and change the recipe slightly), tasted ok to me but the rest of the family LOVED it!

The instructions said that opening the oven door and banging it shut again half way through would make it very gooey and sticky in the the middle - This didn't happen to me but then again I'm glad it didn't! The same instructions said that it was best eaten straightaway but I thought it improved over the course of 24 (ish) hours - It didn't last long enough to find out any longer.

To make:
2 cups S R Flour - I used 1/3 porridge oats for a bit of a bite which I think made it slightly more interesting
1 cup Caster Sugar
3oz butter
2 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp golden syrup or 1/2 and 1/2 treacle and syrup - I had no syrup so used all treacle and it turned out ok.
1 tsp bicarb soda dissolved in half a cup of boiling water
1 cup milk

1. Put all dry ingredients in a large bowl
2. Melt butter and syrup
3. Add to dry ingredients
4. Add dissolved bicard or soda followed by the milk
5. beat until a clear batter
6. Pour into greased and lined 9" round cake tin and bake for approx. 1 hour 350F or 180C

Now for this week's assignment...Chocolate and Orange Biscuits! Can't wait!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Week One: Polly Put The Kettle On!

I am championning a lovely book called 'Polly Put The Kettle On' by Polly Whitehead. This is fabulous mix of baking recipes all with a little story or background to where the author came across them. The author, Polly Whitehead lives near to a friend of mine in Huddersfield and has a lovely writing style which makes you want to start baking immediately! Each week I will try to make a different recipe from this book and will review-hopefully on a Tuesday. This week's recipe will be ginger sponge...Review to follow tomorrow...
I am a big fan of another blog called Tuesdays with Dorie where the members cook a recipe each week from Baking: From My house to yours by Dorie Greenspan - I intend on joining this group as soon as I can get hold of Dorie's book which also looks fantastic...how easily pleased I am!

Volkswagon Caravanette Cake

Well this is the first post...it can only get more interesting from here! I have chosen for the first pic my last week's cake which happened to be my husbnad's 30th cake (Not all my cakes will be family's promise!) This was a sponge cake shaped to look like the van which will probably be the closest he ever gets to owning one! The sad thing about this cake is it won't even get eaten as he has decided to to cut into it but to display it in his shop - Not sure how I feel about that!

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