Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Double Doozies





I love homemade from scratch cakes and usually that is what I bake.  But ( dare I say it?) I like Betty Crocker Cakes too.  I usually have at least one filling the cabinet for those last minute, off the cuff bakes.  Today I was in the mood for a Double Doozie so I decided to make them with my box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Swirl Cake Mix.  

If your not familiar, Double Doozies where made famous by The Great American Cookie Company and are simply 2 cookies sandwiched together with a buttercream frosting filling.  They are as indulgent as they sound and would be a challenge to finish a whole one :)  To make things easier you could make mini versions.  

To make these, first I made cookies from my cake mix.  To do this I used one box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Swirl Cake mix and went ahead and tipped all the chocolate into the mix.  Add 2 eggs and 1/3 cup (80 ml) oil and blend well.  Spoon mixture onto cookie sheets and bake at 170C (340F) for 10 - 15 minutes.  Let cool for 1 minute then transfer to cooling rack and cool completely.  Once cool fill cookies with Buttercream Icing and sandwhich together.

Enjoy!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Blackberry and Apple Cake

For my Daughter's Birthday treat we paid a visit to Chessington World of Adventures last week.  It's one of our family's favorite days out with the kids and if you have preschoolers (like us) they have a fantastic deal for Parents and Toddlers.  I was glad we got to get in that one last visit before Summer has officially come to an end and Ayla starts "Big Kid School".

On the way there I noticed one of the local farms had a sign out to come and pick your own Strawberries.  I thought it would be a fantastic way to spend a morning with the kids so we made plans to go the next day.  The kids had a blast at Parkside Farm in Enfield picking their own Strawberries and Blackberries.  Honestly the best berries I have ever tasted and we may have gone a bit overboard with the picking :)

They are definetly too good to go to waste, so this morning with a bit of help from my Daughter we baked ourselves a Blackberry and Apple Cake.  It was the perfect day for it.  After a couple of hot summer days this weekend today is windy and has that hint of Autumn in the air.  The smell of Berries and Cinnamon through the house is just heavenly.  If your end the mood for a bit of  comfort food I highly recommend you try this.























Blackberry and Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • 250g (1 Cup) Self-Raising Flour  
  • 175g (3/4 Cup) Butter 
  • 175g (3/4 Cup) Light Muscovado Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 Rounded tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 small apple
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 225g (1 Cup) Blackberries



  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4/fan 160C. Butter and line the bottom of a 1.7 litre loaf tin (see tip below). In a large bowl, rub the flour, butter and muscovado sugar together with your fingers to make fine crumbs. Measure out 5 level tbsp of this mixture into a small bowl for the topping, and mix in to it the cinnamon and demerara sugar. Set aside.
  2. Coarsely grate the apple down to the core and mix in with the eggs and the zest. Stir the baking powder into the rubbed-in mixture in the large bowl, then quickly and lightly stir in the egg mixture until it drops lightly from the spoon. Don't overmix.
  3. Gently fold in three quarters of the berries with a metal spoon, trying not to break them up. Spoon into the tin and level. Scatter the rest of the berries on top. Sprinkle over the topping and bake for 1¼ -1 hour 20 minutes. Check after 50 minutes and cover loosely with foil if it is browning too much. When done the cake will feel firm, but test with a skewer.
  4. Leave in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out, then cool on a wire rack. Peel off the paper before cutting. Will keep wrapped in foil or in a tin for up to 2 days.



Watching the time
A 9x20x13cm loaf tin is ideal, but if yours is shallower, the cake may cook faster, so test after an hour.


Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food



















Monday, 3 September 2012

Cinderella and Her Fairy Godmother


Salagadoola mechicka boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo
Put 'em together and what have you got
bibbidi-bobbidi-boo...... 
and my Daughter's 4th Birthday Cake.   

She likes to look through the pictures in my cake books and magazines.  One day about a month ago I asked her to have a look and let me know what she would like for her Birthday.  She picked up my 2002 Wilton Yearbook which featured Doll Cakes and that was it.  At first I wasn't keen on the idea.  Doll cakes are not my favorite but my girl wants what she wants and it is after all her Birthday.  I was sure I could come up with an idea that I would like as well.  

I knew I did not want to use a doll pick topper.  So I had to decide on a Disney Princess to use.  She had never seen Cinderella and didn't have any Cinderella dresses or toys so I thought it would be perfect to introduce her to one of my childhood favorites and try to make her Birthday as magical as possible.  I rented a copy of Cinderella and she instantly fell in love with it.  

Now for the cake.  As I mentioned Doll Cakes are not my favorite thing.  I really wanted there to be something more to it so I trawled the internet until I found this picture.  The magical moment the Fairy Godmother turns Cinderella into the beautiful Belle of the Ball.  That was it, the cake would be Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother.

So here was the inspiration....... 



.........and the result. 




For the Cinderella cake I purchased the Cinderella Doll from the Disney Store.  I used the Wilton Classic Wonder Mold Tin.  I had come across a blog post I loved by Corner House for making amazing Doll Cakes so rather than post my own instructions if you click on the Corner House link above her cakes are amazing.  I was really really happy with how my Cinderella turned out following her instructions. I placed Cinderella on a 10in round drum covered with fondant and embossed with the  PME Star Cutter

My Fairy Godmother was a Rice Krispie Cake covered with Buttercream and Fondant and I used Fondant to model her face and hands.  I sat her on a 8in round drum covered with fondant and embossed with the PME Star Cutter.   I used a small sparkler for the wand with the idea it would look impressive to light this along with the candle when we sung Happy Birthday.  It would have, but unfortunately my sparkler was more of a fizzler and we only got a brief moment of the "magic" I had envisioned before it quickly burnt out and wouldn't relight.   Ohhh, well.

To complete the ensemble I created a wired starburst.  I created several stems of stars using a set of PME Star Cutters and 28 Guage Wire, then taped with white floral tape to a long piece of craft modeling wire which was great for this because I could bend and shape it anyway I wanted and it held the shape and would stand up like I needed to wrap around Cinderella.

And that was it.  Here they are all set up for the day of the party.




Getting ready to sing Happy Birthday :)





A Homemade Castle Pinata and a Bouncy Castle.  It was supposed to be a Princess Bouncy Castle but the company only wrote "Disney" when I placed my reservation instead of "Disney Princess" so we got a Disney one instead.  Nevermind, the kids had a blast and the Boy's where probably secretly grateful LOL.




The Cinderella Cake may have turned out lovely 
but my princess was definitely the Belle of the Ball :)