Archive for the ‘cakes’ Category

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Thanksgiving

November 28, 2008

american-flag-thanksgiving-cake

Last night we attended a Thanksgiving themed potluck, and a cake was requested. To be specific, the request was for red velvet cake, and since I didn’t have the time or patience to try and make it look like a turkey (which seems to be the Thanksgiving-appropriate cake theme of choice) I decided to go with the good old stars and stripes. I was moderately pleased with my attempt, since I had about 15 minutes all up to do the flag…

For any American readers, I might point out at this point that I am not either American or living in America – so I have never celebrated Thanksgiving before, nor was I super-aware of Thanksgiving cake rituals before this week… But if you want to see how they can go badly wrong, check out Cakewrecks – many, many turkey cakes over there right now!

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Starry Cupcakes

November 18, 2008

star-cupcakes

These star-topped cupcakes were created for a woman who spotted my Trade-Me listings and wanted some cupcakes to share with her grandson. She quite liked the butterfly and flower-topped ones I made a while back, but obviously the theme needed a little modification. 😉 The cupcakes were chocolate, with vanilla swiss buttercream icing.

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Skateboard Cake

November 17, 2008

skateboard-cake1

I made this chocolate mud cake last weekend for an 11th birthday party. The birthday boy is pretty keen on skateboarding, among other things, and so I made a boy with a skateboard and a little ramp for the top of the cake. The ramp is a bit too small… But then, either the boy and skateboard would have had to have been tiny or the ramp would have taken over the cake! So hopefully nobody minded too much – the main thing is that it tastes good, anyway! 🙂

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Crampton/Hickson Budget Line

October 19, 2008

This cake/graph shows the budget line for consumption of goods Crampton (on the y axis) and Hickson (on the x axis). The green curve shows where the consumer is indifferent between all points on the curve. The point where the curve intersects the budget line is the point of optimal consumption.

Or, for those of you not familiar with economics-speak, this is a graph most economists would be familiar with. Eric Crampton is the lecturer for an economics paper I took this semester, and Stephen Hickson is my tutor for the same course. Hamish and Craig also took a paper taught by Crampton, and we presented this cake to the two of them on Friday afternoon… Hopefully they enjoyed eating it as much as they appeared to enjoy discussing who is consumed more at the optimal point!

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Pirate Cupcakes

October 16, 2008

I was asked to make some pirate cupcakes for a little boy’s birthday, and these cute pirate faces seemed to do the trick. The cupcakes are my chocolate cake recipe, with chocolate ganache icing under fondant decoration.

Apologies for my long absence – I have some more posts coming (two cakes in the oven right now, in fact) but have been incredibly busy with uni. Luckily, tomorrow is the last day of lectures for the year – then I have a couple of weeks to prepare for my exams. And study means procrastination, and procrastination (for me) usually means more time baking. So stay tuned…

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Chocolate Mud Cake

September 28, 2008

I have some pretty pictures and things to post, but am quite bogged down with uni work at the moment (1200 word essay due tomorrow, among other things), so today I’m just going to provide you with my chocolate mud cake recipe.

This is the cake I make if I need to make a carved or shaped cake – like a topsy-turvy cake or the car cake I made for my uncle’s 40th. It’s not only utterly delicious, but very dense and easy to shape.

This makes a pretty decent cake – 25cm round, and will easily serve 30+, as it’s very very rich and can be enjoyed in small portions. If you’re after a smaller cake try halving the recipe in a 20cm round tin (although it calls for 5 eggs, halve by using three small or two extra large eggs). Also, for you folk who prefer to work in the imperial system, sorry! I don’t have time to convert – but there are plenty of websites that can do that for you, just search for ‘imperial metric conversion’.

Ingredients
325g white sugar
500g butter, cut into chunks
500g milk chocolate chips
750ml boiling water
325g flour
75g cocoa
25g baking powder
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius, and grease a 25cm round cake tin (if you’re using a springform tin put a tray underneath, as the batter is thin and can drip. Non-springform is best for this cake).
Put sugar, butter and chocolate chips into a very large bowl, and pour the boiling water over the top. Stir to melt and combine all ingredients.
When you have a chocolatey soup, add all the remaining ingredients, and beat until smooth. Pour into cake tin and place in oven.
Cooking time will vary depending on your oven, but check after 50 minutes, and continue to check every 5-10 minutes until it’s done. You can tell if it’s cooked when a knife inserted into the cake comes out with a cakey-looking substance, as opposed to a batter-looking substance. Unlike other cakes, if your knife comes out clean, you’ve cooked it for too long.
After you remove the cake from the oven, leave it to cool for at least an hour before turning it out of the pan, as it will be very fragile while still warm.

If I’m using this as a base for a shaped cake I would ice it with a chocolate ganache (which I would also use as glue where necessary), and then fondant icing. However, if you just want a mud cake it stands perfectly well on its own two feet – it doesn’t need icing.

And now I’d better go work on that essay!

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Cathie’s Train Cake – Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

September 12, 2008

My baby sister celebrated her 18th birthday last weekend (although it’s a bit of a cheat, since her real birthday is still more than two weeks away – and made life somewhat busy for me as her party was the same night as the UCanDance one), and requested a train cake to match her Duplo train party.

This is a delicious chocolate hazelnut torte recipe, and although I’m not sure that train-shaped cakes can be considered torte it works really well in the intricately-shaped Nordicware pans – and, even better, because it’s such a decadent cake the need for icing is completely negated. Of course, it also makes a great torte – the cake I made my Dad for Christmas was from this recipe.

It’s also a gluten-free cake, using hazelnut meal as the ‘flour’ – here’s the recipe, in case you want to try it yourself!

Ingredients:
400g 70% dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
400g butter
400g ground hazelnuts
300g sugar
10 eggs

Method:
Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Grease or spray a 25cm round tin.

Beat together butter and sugar. Add chocolate, beat, and then gradually add beaten eggs. Fold in hazelnuts. Pour into pan, spreading evenly with spatula.

Bake for 40 minutes, and then turn oven off and leave in oven with door ajar for a further 30 minutes.

Wait until cool and turn out of tin. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

My tips:
– I use whatever tin I feel like. If you’re using a fiddly one like my train make sure you use a pastry brush to get your non-stick spray/grease into every last crevice
– I generally don’t bother with the resting in the oven, as my oven is usually needed for other things, and so far it’s always turned out fine
– You could easily halve this recipe and use a 20cm round tin if you prefer. It is a very rich cake, so a little goes a long way