Bake me a cake as fast as you can.

What an awesome week. My birthday was on Wednesday and I’ve spent the last 5 days celebrating with cocktails, pizza & friends & family.

On Wednesday I arrived home to the smell of baking. Strange as the h2b was supposed to be at work. He’d certainly got up for work. My first thought was that we’d had the strangest of intruders, a baker had broken in and used all our cake ingredients to make a cake! Fortunately (and as a wonderful surprise for me) the h2b had just had the day off work to bake me a cake & put together a party food spread for my parents & I.

20120930-095643.jpg

Below is his amazing chocolate cake which he had baked using a Mary Berry recipe.

He had made it to look like my birthday present which is on order.

20120930-095025.jpg

Can you guess what it is yet?

When we first got together, him being a lover of all Apple products, bought me an iPod nano in red for my birthday, but recently I lost mine & so being the lovely fiancĂ© that he is he’s replaced it! Along with the iPod my friends seem to be following a theme…

20120930-095412.jpg

I will definitely be baking next weekend, but with such a selection of cook books to choose from the choice might be tricky!!

Advertisements

My first attempt at macarons.

To begin I’m going to try and help answer the great macaron/macaroon question using the following website; macarons vs macaroons I’m still not 100% sure as the recipe that follows is from the brilliant Mary Berry and if she calls them macaroons maybe they are! Anyway…

I’ve spent my morning baking macarons for school tomorrow as it’s my birthday this week and it’s customary to bring in a treat for the staff room.

I used Mary Berry’s recipe
To make the macarons as it’s my first attempt and I wanted something simple & easy to follow.

I have to admit by the time it came to combining the ingredients I was a little anxious as my consistency was thicker than the ‘shaving foam’ mentioned in the recipe & I honestly thought it wasn’t going to work.

20120923-110934.jpg

I added yellow food colouring to the mixture and carefully spooned it into a piping bag.

I piped swirls onto my magic baking paper (Lakeland Magic Non-Stick Liner) and left for an hour as the recipe suggested. I was then able to smooth the mixture as it was no longer tacky.

20120923-111007.jpg

I baked them for 10 minutes until I could move them easily. I then left them in the oven with the door open and heat off for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

20120923-111233.jpg

When they had cooled (this only took 20 minutes) I whisked some double cream with a spoonful of icing sugar and some red colouring paste to make a thick cream. I put about a teaspoon of the cream on the base of the macaron and sandwiched together.

20120923-111447.jpg (beautifully modelled by the h2b)
I tried sprinkling with some purple glitter but it was a little clumpy and then I put them in a cupcake box I had previously purchased from Hobbycraft.

20120923-111539.jpg

Hopefully these will go down well tomorrow, we have sampled one and it was pretty good although as neither of us have had them before we can’t tell if they’re right. I’ll be taking some to a friend’s later so all will be revealed!

Next time I would use finer ground almonds, a stencil to create even circles and smooth the tops down.

Inspired but where to start!?

This post is a ‘we’re almost at the middle of the week, thinking about the weekend’ post. I’m taking a break from working to watch BBC Two’s Great British Bake Off. A show many of my colleagues and friends think I should enter. Believe me, I’ve thought about it. The problem with this show is there are too many ideas and I want to try them all, right now. Next Wednesday is my birthday & it’s traditional to take in some baked goods. I’m currently weighing up trying macarons for the first time or being a little more daring. Even if I don’t decide, it’s a lovely distraction for now!

Another day, another birthday cake.

What a busy morning! It’s only 12:20 & I’ve dropped a friend off at the station, been to the gym, picked up cake supplies and coffee & made & decorated a birthday cake.

I was asked to make a Monster High themed birthday cake for a friend’s daughter. Fine, I thought. No problem. Until I was told no cream, no jam and, wait for it… no icing! I have to be honest and admit now that it wasn’t entirely without icing. Her features and hair are most definitely icing but that’s it.

First I made the sponge cake following my earlier Victoria sponge cake recipe with 5 medium eggs. I added (lots of) green food colouring & baked for 30 minutes. The photo below doesn’t quite do the awesome green colour justice.

20120915-122710.jpg

Once cooked I then cut into the shape of the face.

20120915-122741.jpg

With help from the h2b we eventually go it out of the roasting tray (it’s the biggest tin I have) and onto a black chopping board. While the cake had been cooking I had created the eyes and mouth & got very red hands!

20120915-122921.jpg

I used a paintbrush to paint the icing. I then added strawberry pencils and some green icing hair & voila! The finished product…

20120915-123100.jpg

I’m quite pleased with the finished product as it’s been the hardest to make so far. It’s not perfect but I’m hoping it will get a smile from the birthday girl!

A truly wonderful weekend.

It’s the end of an amazing weekend. A truly wonderful, jaw hurts from grinning, feeling gooey inside weekend. One of my close friends from home got hitched this weekend and I was given the honour of bridesmaid. Wow! From the moment the church rehearsal started it felt like the start of an incredible weekend. The rehearsal dinner was at Frankie & Benny’s and we had coke floats and I had the most amazing calzone (Chicago Grinder).

They married in a small village church where she’d grown up and moved onto a local hotel. The ceremony was perfect, the reading my best friend and I did (Edward Monkton – A lovely love story) was well recieved and most notably the sun was shining! The reception was held at the local Holiday Inn with pre-dinner drinks of Pimms and lemonade and then a glorious 3 course meal. I couldn’t fault the venue in any way!

This blog post is really a thank-you to everyone who made my weekend from the beautiful bride & dashing groom, my fellow bridesmaids & our group of friends from school who, despite the distance always remind me of the bigger, happier picture.

That’s all really except next time there’ll be baking!

Weddings, books and a seaside adventure

So, it’s been a while but the end of the summer holidays has crept up quickly with today being my last day of freedom! I’ve had a lovely couple of days doing all the things I love most and seeing those who mean the most.

Thursday started out with some baking which of course is my favourite thing to do! I made these dinosaur biscuits.

20120903-131343.jpg

I followed a basic biscuit recipe to create these shortbread style biscuits

Previously when I had followed the recipe I had cut them out to look like ice cream cones and decorated accordingly.

20120903-131711.jpg

I made the dinosaur biscuits much thicker and they were much softer on the inside and cooked much more evenly. I would recommend rolling them out to about 1cm in thickness and giving the, 20minutes baking time in a 200 degree Celsius oven.

As well as baking, my fiancé and I treated ourselves to a night away. We booked a room at The Marine Hotel in Whitstable and we were delighted by the room. Our room had a balcony & sea view (which we paid extra for) and it was very clean & modern. We then visited a few of the pubs in the town, sampling some of their ales including Boondoggle, The Wife of Bath and Shepherd Neame classics including Whitstable Bay & Spitfire. A very pleasant evening with my best friend and his wife.

The following day was mainly spent reading Dorothy Koomson’s new book The Rose Petal Beach. I couldn’t put it down and had finished it just 24 hours after starting it.

20120903-132813.jpg

The book is a thriller with likeable characters an a plot that will keep you guessing!

I also attempted shopping for bridesmaid dresses this weekend & they must have tried at least 15 before we decided on the dress of which there was only one in the right size, which was in the sale but last season’s and therefore no way of getting another! The search continues…