Wednesday 31 October 2012

I scream, ice cream

I have had this idea in the back of my head for some time, in a slightly different form, but I gave it a tweak to make a great project for you to make with your kidlets this Halloween.

I started by making some ice cream cones. Of course, you could do this with ready made cones which would be easier, and spray them or paint them to get the colour you want. But being me, I decided to take the hard way.

The recipe is very simple, just mix together 2 egg whites, 100g of sugar and 85g of flour to a paste.

I made a stencil of the cone shape I wanted with some acetate, and then, with an off-set spatula spread out 2 dessert spoons of the mixture. You have to make sure that you have greased your baking tray really well,  then put it into a medium oven (I have mine at 140 on fan) for about 8-10 mins, but check every minute after the first 5 mins to make sure they are not burning. As soon as they are out of the oven, lift them off the tray and form them into the cone shapes. You have to be careful not to burn your hands but if you don't do this immediately they will harden and crack when you try to bend them. You can download a pdf of the recipe and the template here.

I coloured half the mixture green and then made some chocolate cones by replacing 25g of the flour with cocoa powder.

My first creation was a princess cone. Using food colours I painted her face and then added some pink hair (strawberry ice cream). I gave her a little candy fascinator, and then added some pink dreadlocks (strawberry laces). She was my favourite of the day and I loved how easy it was to paint the cookie cone, my imagination has started to go into overdrive thinking what I can paint next!

The kidlets came up with their own designs. So we have a zombie cat, an alien, another alien (we basically made the ice cream cone added the decorations and sprayed it silver using edible spray paint) and a witch. 
They really enjoyed making their little ice cream characters, but I do have to include a warning. this project may make you kidlets turn green!


Tuesday 30 October 2012

Anatomical afternoon tea

Sorry that I have been MIA for a while. I have been busy with lots of different projects including Eat Your Heart Out last weekend. I feel like I have spent the last month painting blood and gore and am very much looking forward to designing something pretty.
However, before then I have lots of gory pictures to share with you and, I suppose, with Halloween tomorrow now is the perfect time. I will post pictures of the fabulous cakes at EYHO soon, but first a spin off event.
Miss Cakehead and myself were asked to host an anatomy afternoon tea party at the Google offices in London for ten brave souls.

I brought red blood cell iced gems and meringue bile.

Chocolate ganache stool samples, they did take some persuading to tuck into this!

The scab scones were made by Leshie Loves Cake and I mixed clotted cream with gooseberry jam and called it phlegm. (It's all in the name really give someone a cherry scone with cream and jam and it sounds so innocent!)

My gruesome severed toes and red blood cell cakes by Denise Bakes Cakes.

Icing sugar spleen (apparently a real disease) cupcakes and human cell truffle from Leshie Loves Cakes and chocolate vertebrae from Sarah Hardy Cakes. I made the marshmallow cotton buds.

I decide to make a blackened lung cake instead of a cookie. It was coffee and brandy. I decorated it with some cookie cigarettes!
It was a fun night and I think everyone enjoyed themselves and if they felt a bit sick it was only because they ate too much cake!

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Gruesome toes on Blue Peter

I am just about to head upstairs for some (much needed) beauty sleep, but first I wanted to share something very exciting. Tomorrow I shall be taking these gruesome toe cookies onto Blue Peter (sorry that will mean nothing if you are outside the UK) to talk about myself and how I make them. I am very excited as you can guess and even more so as I am hoping to be traveling home with one of these little beauties...

..a Blue Peter badge!
I shall hopefully take some pics while I am there and post a link to the episode.

Monday 15 October 2012

Love Food Give Food competition time

Love Food Give Food is a fabulous campaign running from the 1st of September to the end of November encouraging people to take action against child hunger.The Government has promised to match pound for pound all public donations made this year.
How shocking is it to learn that just £1 a day can help to provide an acutely malnourished child with the care they need to survive. A gift of £36 is enough to take a child back from the brink of starvation to full health, in just a few short weeks. So if you give £1 you will be helping two children thanks to the Government's promise.
If you wish to donate you can go here and click on the big red button!

As part of this year's campaign Love Food Give Food are hosting a fabulous food/Instagram competition, sounds perfect doesn't it?

So how do I enter? I hear you cry, as you reach for your camera.

I shall tell you!

You need to Instagram a picture that represents your love of food and what food means to you and you could win a ticket to a fabulous Diwali banquet cooked by top Indian chefs and Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo. You could also then go on to win £5000, yes £5000!

Here's how to enter;
 Take a picture that reflects what food means to you – for example a great cooking moment, your favourite dish or a memorable meal, or even a cake!
Upload it to Instagram.
Tag it with both #deliciousgiving and #lovefoodgivefood.
Cross your fingers and hope for the best! All pictures must be submitted by midnight on Sunday 28 October and the winners will be announced on Wednesday 31 October.

Find a list of terms and conditions here.

I have picked three of my favourite foodie Instagrams to inspire you. The first two of are of food made for me by my parents with fruit and vegetables they have grown themselves. the third is a plate of cakes made by the kidlets for their Daddy's birthday  They all represent food with family, something incredibly important to learn and pass on.

There are three bloggers hosting this competition. Myself, English Mum and Mammasaurus. Each of use have been given a hashtag. Mine is #delicious giving. I'm hoping for lots of lovely cake pictures from my followers! I'll be looking!
Thanks to unearthed®, the top twenty entries will automatically be submitted into the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year Awards  to be in with a chance of winning £5,000 and being crowned Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2013! 
Your picture will appear on the Action Against Hunger site and also will be judged by Great British Chefs and the team behind the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year awards. 
For the full list of Terms & Conditions please click here.
Good luck!

Thursday 11 October 2012

Trashed Trifle Cake

This was made for a creative agency in London who wanted a something for a cake competition with other agencies. They asked for something different, so I used the idea from Kerrang to take something a bit partyish and cheesey and trash it.

It was made from three fruit cakes, two in the bowl and one as the pork pie.

I'm glad to say it won the prize for the best cake and was then raffled off for charity.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Paul Hollywood Recipes

At the Cake and Bake show a few weekends ago everywhere I went I saw Paul Hollywood. Granted he is hard to miss with his glacier (or is it glacial?) eyes and silver fox looks. However I was mostly impressed with his work ethic, he seemed to spend the whole day either on stage or talking to his fans, and most of the reviews of the show mention him as a highlight.

Anyway that's by-the-by this is not about his looks or crowd pleasing ways, but his fine baking. So you may be interested to snaffle some of his latest recipes on a series of  cards everyday for a week, in the Telegraph. starting Saturday!
ps, this is not a sponsored post but something I thought all you baking fans may find interesting.

Book club cake of the month...October

This month we read 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonnason. Basically, the story is about a man who is 100 years old and disappears one night after climbing out of a window...!
Sorry, I couldn't help myself. 
The aged man is Allan Karlsson who has lived a very strange and wondrous life, and the novel swings between his past and his present. He becomes involved with a rag-tag group of misfits, including an elephant, and we follow their road trip as they are pursued by gangsters and the police.
His past consists of various implausible situations, including inventing the atomic bomb, meeting Stalin and being the catalyst for the Star Wars missile programme.
This is a potted history of 20th Century world politics, told at a fairly break neck speed. At one point I thought to myself 'this is like reading a Swedish Forrest Gump,' only to reach the end of the novel and find another commentator had had the same thought...why can I never be original! However instead of 'life being like a box of chocolates' for Allan it is more like a bottle of vodka.
This was another book which split our group. I really enjoyed it and found it quite amusing, it would make an excellent indie film. However half of the group thought it was patronizing, unrealistic and badly written, although they did concede that some of the meaning may have been lost in translation. It got an average of 61/2 (I gave it an 8)

I actually made two 'cakes' for the book. The first being not a cake at all, but a vodka watermelon. (One of the characters sells watermelons.)You fashion this by making a hole in the top of the melon and then pouring vodka in at regular intervals and chilling it. I only did this for one day so there was a lot of vodka at the bottom of the slices and very little at the was delicious though.

For the real cake I made Swedish chocolate balls, as the present day story is set in Sweden. I got the recipe here. They were so easy to make and delicious. The kidlets taste tested for me and have since insisted on making their own batch. As there is no cooking involved it is a great bake for kids.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Painted rose and hydrangea wedding cake

I made this cake last weekend for a really lovely couple who wanted a cake to reflect their wedding flowers but asked for my creative input too. I love having freedom to add elements that I think will compliment the bride and grooms choice, it makes for a lovely collaboration.

They also requested the bird toppers, but wanted to keep them as a memento of their day. So I placed the birdies on their own board, which was just sitting on top of the cake, and added a nest of hydrangea flowers for them to cuddle into.
I had a hydrangea cutter so I painted the fondant first and then cut them out, leaving them to dry for a day before they went on the cake. I decided to add some 3D interest to the cake so I included some of the cut out flowers on the sides.

They also wanted cupcakes to use not just as favours but also name places. The cupcakes didn't have to match the cake exactly but needed to have the same feel and vintagey colours. 
I did some simpler versions for the children attending the wedding.

This is a picture taken on the day by  Rosewarne Cox Photography, isn't it gorgeous? (The picture, not the cake!) You can see more sneak peeks of the lovely bride and groom here.

Thursday 4 October 2012

A tale of two cookies

I have an old Martha Stewart magazine with the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. I make it each time I have class, as a great afternoon snack for my students. However, it is also great baked in a cake tin to make a giant chocolate chip cookie. 
I had a request for a birthday cake recently that needed to be posted. I have tried this before, and, unless it is fruit cake, it is a massive gamble (one I normally lose). So, instead, I made a giant cookie that I covered with fondant and painted. The recipient was a fan of my work and her pal had organised this surprise...what a sweet friend!

This cookie was unadorned, and was for a very good friend who has been having chemotherapy. I can never find the right words to say in these situations (I leave that to another friend who always asks and says the right thing, but she is trained!) so I thought I would make a cake for each chemo session she has had. This is the last one and I went for a giant cookie, mainly because that's what I would want, and I can't think of a better time to eat it all yourself without feeling guilty.
I did try and package it nicely though.
Sorry I am just going to have to write giant one more time as it is amusing me...giant!