Thursday, 16 August 2012

1920's Glamour Cake!

Hello! I've finally managed to find some time to blog about my hardest baking attempt yet, my 1920's themed cake for my lovely friend Kat's birthday last Saturday! I say it was my hardest for several reasons; firstly I had no idea how I was going to make the icing gold, then I had to find out where to buy the stuff, I was making a tiered cake which I had never done before, and last but not least, the cake was Red Velvet Cake!

As you can tell by SOME of the ingredients that this was quiet a challenge! I could not believe how much bloomin' butter this cake was going to need! I should point out at this point that I didn't use two blocks if that makes anyone who ate the cake feel any better! I got the recipe from Lorraine Pascale's book, Baking Made Easy. I found it really difficult to find a Red Velvet recipe that wasn't for cupcakes or included substitute ingredients to make the recipe either healthier or gluten free. Which, although I am all up from trying, considering this cake was going to be for a birthday I thought I shouldn't risk it!


All that butter was pretty much needed for the butter cream icing that was placed in the middle of each cake and around the cake to stick the royal icing to. Personally there was too much butter cream. The recipe was for a three tier cake, but after doing both my cakes I still had 3/4 of a huge bowl left of the stuff, which was a waste, tasty, but a waste.

My favourite part of the bake was making the cake red! For all those who don't know, a Red Velvet cake is a normal sponge with cocoa power and a shed load of red food colouring! Try 50ml per cake!! Although this might seem a lot, it was exactly what the cake needed to become the sumptuous looking colour you can see above! I also think it helped to make the cake light and moist!

My biggest challenge was decorating it. I had been planning this cake for a good couple of months, so I had already had it in my head what the overall design would look like. I really wanted to have the black and gold motifs that are synonymous with 1920's cinema on each corner, as well as writing 'Happy Birthday Kat' on the top. In the end I managed to complete the motifs, but the writing was just too difficult, and I think that the cake looked better without the writing as it kept the cake looking clean and symmetrical.

As you can see from above, I had to hand paint each motifs with edible paint and attach them using edible glue. I'm not sure it was because I am a complete beginner at this type of baking or that I wasn't using the product correctly but the black paint didn't end up drying, even though it was left for 24 hours. It meant that people had messy black hands and the appearance looked a little cracked. If anyone out there knows why this happened I would love to know! Tips please!

After 9 1/2 hours hard work I can proudly say that the cake was a success! Kat loved it, (I hope) and people were happily munching through the cake for the whole evening, which was if you hadn't already guessed was a 1920's fancy dress party! What I loved about the final product was that when you sliced through the very monochrome icing you were surprised by the vibrant red of the cake! It might be awhile before I attempt such a cake again, but I am so happy at how it ended up! The cake was light, moist and was so tasty! I had never tasted let all tried a red velvet cake or cupcake for that matter before and I now know what all the fuss is about! They are delicious!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

A Quick Catch Up

Hello everybody!

Massive apologies, yet again for my lack of blogging, but don't fret, it isn't down to no baking! Hell no! I've still been baking like a trooper, and this post is just a quick recap so you can see what I've been up to and then, hopefully I shall post again straight after this (or maybe tomorrow) with my rather epic birthday cake...

First, I shall start with a few of the amazing baking purchases I've made over the last few months! I've been buying like a mad woman and have notched up another 5 baking books since I last posted, well I think it's 5 it may be more! I snapped up Cake Angels by Julia Thomas and The Birthday Cake Book by Fiona Cairns for so many fabulous reasons! For a start The Birthday Cake Book is spectacular, I bought it to be inspired for my friends birthday cake and it certainly didn't fail!! I also bought Cake Angels because it contains gluten, wheat and dairy free cakes and baking recipes which, if you've read my other posts, is something that I really want to give a go and there are so many mouth watering recipes in there that i want to try, for example the sticky toffee tray bake! One word - yum!

On the same theme of buying gluten free cook books I finally managed to buy Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache! I posted that everyone should buy this book in my last minute christmas stocking fillers post and I am so happy that I finally have my greedy little paws on it! I especially want to try the Caramel Swiss Roll with Passionfruit Cream! I class this book as not only one my favourites because of its sumptuous recipes and Harry's clever use of vegetables and ingredients, but this is one of my 'pretty' books! It's so lovely to look through and I love how the recipes have been themed to the seasons of the year! Please people, go and find this book!

Now I cannot go and buy all these baking books without buying the few that kicked my butt into truly giving baking a go and that is all down to The Great British Bake Off! I always liked baking, and was comfortable with making cupcakes galore, but after watching the second series of the Great British Bake Off last year, I finally caught the bug and went baking mad, as you can tell. So, since then I have bought Edd Kimber's The Boy Who Bakes, Jo Wheatley's A Passion for Baking and most recently, and most importantly, the brand new Great British Bake Off book - Showstoppers! This is the book to accompany the new series due to start on Tuesday 14th August, and I can't wait! I can promise you this, with the exception of one week where I will be on holiday seeing the folks I will be blogging about the baking treats this year's contenders come up with!

Now, I suppose I should stop talking about the books, (that's just the bookseller coming out in me), and crack on with what baking treats I have come up with.

I promise you I haven't been idle and just reading these books, nope I've happily made chocolate banana loaf, my first ever marble loaf and my monthly flapjacks for a start! Banana loaf or bread, is something I remember baking with my mum from a young age, and I believe it's one of my dad's favourites, so it felt appropriate that I made a loaf for when they came up to see me a couple of months ago and luckily I didn't disappoint! In fact my parents seemed rather disappointed that they couldn't take the whole load home with them. Compliment or what!?

However, I couldn't write a post of my baking exploits if I didn't mention my entry in the first competition from Jo Wheatley! I was so blooming excited! It was all tied in with the release of her new book and the challenge was to recreate her Chocolate Birthday Cake. It was like fate, I woke up in the morning intending to bake that cake for another friend's birthday and just happened to look on Facebook and saw she was putting up this competition! I couldn't believe it! I spent all day baking this and was the FIRST person to enter! I ended up getting something crazy of over 70 likes and so many lovely comments, I still can't believe it considering it was my first ever entry into a baking competition. I didn't go on to win, but honestly the level of competition was outstanding and I was just so happy that i got the courage to compete and I had such a wonderful response! Jo has since then continued to put up more baking competitions, but I haven't yet had the chance to enter another but at least now I can!

Phew, sorry for the massive ramble, but now you should be up-to-date on my baking activities! However I shall leave you with this last final comment... I HAVE A TICKET TO THE CAKE AND BAKE SHOW 2012 in Earls Court in September!!!!! I will finally see the baking queen herself Mary Berry, as well Paul Hollywood and maybe even Jo Wheartley among so many other talented bakers!

Look out for my next post on my 1920's inspired birthday cake...