Friday, June 29, 2012

Peach Cobbler Recipe

It is absolutely freezing today here in Auckland. I helped some friends move house this morning which helped warm me up but now I'm back home, trying to get the motivation to do some baking while I sit in front of the heater slowly defrosting. Mr S and I had plans tonight but those plans have changed, we were supposed to go out to a quiz night which would have been fun but also would have required wearing normal (cold) clothes, using our brains (ouch) and being social. Instead, we are going to get Pad-Thai, drink cheap wine, lie in front of the heater with thick socks on and probably end up watching a Rom-Com. I like these plans much better!

One thing that winter brings that I don't hate is warm delicious desserts and at last I have found my favourite! It's too good not to share with the world! It is packed full of butter and sugar BUT it tastes amazing so who cares?!

I think my favourite thing about the recipe (other than the taste) is that it's so super duper easy to make! It has all ingredients that you're bound to have in the pantry and you pretty much just throw it all in and bake it. The only thing I don't like about it is the fact that when I talk about it or see photos of it or even think about it, I want some...like right now! NEED PEACH COBBLER!

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler Recipe 
Adapted from Food.com

Batter:
115g Butter (melted)
1 C Flour
¾ C Sugar (maybe less)
2 t Baking Powder
¼ t Salt
2/3 C Milk (room temperature)
1 Egg (room temperature)

Filling:
2 x 410g tin of Peaches, drained
½ C Sugar (maybe less)
1 t Cinnamon
½ t Nutmeg
  1. Melt butter and pour into a large pan or casserole dish.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the milk and egg and stir.
  4. Pour evenly over melted butter.
  5. Combine peaches, sugar and spices in a separate bowl and spread over batter but do no stir!
  6. Bake for 35 – 45 minutes at 180 degrees C until batter comes to the top and is golden brown.
  7. Serve warm with ice cream and try not to go back for seconds and thirds and fourths...okay you can! (I did).
Recipe Notes:
I used less sugar than the original recipe suggested and it could still do with less but it's up to you on how sweet you like your desserts.

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Peach Cobbler

Monday, June 25, 2012

Boysenberry Baked Cheesecake

I have a confession to make, I can't master the art of the baked cheesecake! I tried this recipe twice, the first time it was a little under done and was runny in the centre, the second time I screwed up the topping and possibly overcooked it. The good thing is, both times it still tasted amazing, despite the consistency. I thought I may have been alone but then I watched an episode of NZ Hottest Home Baker where almost every single contestant screwed up their cheesecakes! Whew, it's not just me!

The other good thing about the recipe is that it's not the recipes fault that I am a cheesecake-fail, I got the recipe off a work mate who makes it perfect every time. So rest assured, the recipe is fine and you're more than welcome to gloat if yours turns out perfect first time...just invite me over to try it okay?

Boysenberry Cheesecake

Boysenberry Baked Cheesecake
Ingredients:

Crust:
1 1/3 C Fine Malt Biscuits Crumbs
1/3C Brown Sugar
1 t Cinnamon
1/3C (80g) Melted Butter

Filling:
500g Cream Cheese
2/3C White Sugar
3 Eggs
1/4t Salt
½ t Almond Essence or Extract

Topping:
1 tin of Boysenberries
1/3 C White Sugar
4 t Corn Flour
1 t Lemon Juice

1) Place malt biscuits in food processor and process until fine crumbs.
2) Measure out 1 1/3 C crumbs and place back in the food processor with brown sugar, cinnamon and melted butter.
3) Process until mixture is combined.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

4) Press evenly into a deep 9” pie dish or spring form tin and set aside.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

5) Beat cream cheese at high speed until light.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

6) Beat in the sugar, eggs, salt and almond essence.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

7) Turn mixture onto crumb crust and bake at 180 degrees C for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked (see notes!).
8) Let cool down.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

9) Drain boysenberries, reserve syrup about ¾ C, made up with water if necessary.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

7) Mix the sugar and corn flour together
8) Stir in 3/4 C boysenberry juice and cook, stirring until thick.
9) Add drained boysenberries and lemon juice and let cool down.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

10) About 1 hour before serving, spread boysenberry topping over cheesecake.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

Boysenberry Cheesecake

Recipe notes:
After doing my research I have found out that you can tell when the cheesecake is cooked when the outsides are not wobbly but the inside is slightly. After it has reached this stage, keep it in the oven while it cools down with the oven door open.

Boysenberry Cheesecake

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bubble Guppies Cake and Cupcakes

Gosh I'm feeling old! My work mate asked me to make a cake based on this kids TV series I had never heard of...Bubble Guppies? We had a good time trying to guess what a show involving a giant fish and some mermaid children could possibly be like, then I discovered there was also a DOG mermaid! Whaaaaa?! These sea creatures are absolutely adorable though so it made for a cool cake and cupcakes, thank goodness for that!

The cake and cupcakes were for two year old Sierra and were chocolate cake and cupcakes. I was a little disappointed by the Wilton cupcake cases (sorry Wilton) that they didn't hold their colour at all! I know I made chocolate cupcakes but it is as if the cases didn't even try to put up a fight, they're just see through! Oh well, will have to make some lighter cupcakes in them next time.


I think my favourite is the blue haired boy and the pink haired girl reminds me of a black Katy Perry...if she were a toddler...and a mermaid...

If you would like to try making these cupcakes, they are super easy! Firstly bake cupcakes, then pipe cupcake swirls on top (using this tutorial) then pop a cupcake topper (using this tutorial) on top and viola! You're done!

Bubble Guppies Cake

Bubble Guppies Cake
You may have seen this photo on my Fondant Facts page ;-)

Bubble Guppies Cake

Bubble Guppies Cake and Cupcakes

Bubble Guppies Cupcake

Bubble Guppies Cupcake

Bubble Guppies Cupcake

Bubble Guppies Cupcake

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Kitten Pecan: Part 2

Can you ever have TOO many photos of your cat? I don't think so (my friends think you can). This blog post is for all your cat lovers out there...no baking sorry!

Pecan or Peaks as we call her for short, has gotten a lot bigger since the last blog post. She's now about eight months old and is starting to grow out of the teenage cat look (still acts like a rebellious teenager though!) She's not always the brightest cookie though, three times in the last week Mr S has had to rescue her in one way or another! Poor baby!

This pretty much sums her up:

Pecan


Pecan
Pecan working hard at the office

Pecan
Exploring outside

Pecan
*yawns*

Pecan
Showing off her pretty new collar

Pecan
"That time mum dressed me as the Easter bunny"

Pecan
Pecan gets stuck in a Muffin Break paper bag (happened several times actually)

Pecan
Look at that TAIL, it's even bigger now it's winter!

Pecan
Pecs like to go to sleep in her tail (who wouldn't?!)

Pecan
Sitting like a chicken

Pecan
Drinking out of the tap in the basin

Pecan
My beautiful princess!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Flourless Orange Cake

I made this cake for Mothers Day and surprised my mum with a delicious cafe classic, a flourless orange cake.

My mum is gluten intolerant and (as I've mentioned in the past) I'm a big fan of Googling for "flourless" cakes rather than gluten free as I tend to find tricky recipes where I don't have all the ingredients.

This recipe doesn't have tricky ingredients but it does take a bit of time so it might be best to save it for a day at home. I did some scrapbooking while waiting for the oranges to boil, that passed the time nicely!

Flourless Orange Cake

Flourless Orange Cake
Adapted from Citrus and Candy

Ingredients:
2 Oranges (seedless if you can get them)
6 Eggs
1 C Caster Sugar
1 1/2 t (gluten-free) Baking Powder
1 1/2 C Ground Almonds

Orange Puree:
  • Wash and scrub oranges before starting then place them in a large pot and fill with water to cover.
  • Bring the oranges to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Drain oranges, place them back in the pot and fill with more cold water and repeat the process by bringing to the boil and simmering for another 20 minutes.
  • Drain oranges again, place them back in the pot and fill with more cold water and this time once they have come to a boil keep simmering for one hour. I needed to top up more water about half way through this.
  • Drain oranges and set aside to cool (this takes ages!)
  • Chop cooled oranges into slices and remove flesh (the tasty part) and place in food processor.
  • With the leftover peel, gently remove the pith, that’s the white part between the peel and flesh, with a sharp knife.
  • Chop up the orange peel, place in the food processor and process until it is a fine puree.
  • Measure out 1 ¼ cups of puree, mine only made about 1 ½ so I had no use for the tiny left over, if you have more left over you could keep aside for another cake.

Flourless Orange Cake
Flourless Orange Cake

Cake Instructions:
  • Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and line a 10” cake tin.
  • Beat eggs, sugar and baking powder until thickened and pale.
  • Add ground almonds and mix well.
  • Add the orange puree in three additions, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 50 minutes to an hour or when skewer comes out clean.
  • Cool in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • Serve with natural Greek yoghurt and enjoy!

Flourless Orange CakeFlourless Orange Cake
Flourless Orange Cake

Who needs cafes when you have baking like this at home?! Remember to pair this cake with some delicious natural yoghurt, it makes the world of difference!

I'm submitting this recipe for this months Sweet NZ hosted by the lovely Kristina of Plum Kitchen. Sweet NZ is a great way for Kiwi bloggers to get to know each other and share some delicious sweet recipes every month. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fondant Facts

Do you find fondant confusing? Don't worry, you're not alone! It wasn't long ago that I didn't even know what the stuff was! Here is a little bit of info I thought I'd share if you ever find yourself needing to make a cake for someone and would like to decorate using fondant. Here is the what, why, how, and where to fondant…

IMG_4527 (1280x901)

WHAT is Fondant?
Fondant, or ready to roll fondant as it is sometimes called, is the smooth icing that usually covers wedding cakes. Not to be confused with Marzipan or almond icing.
Fondant has a marshmallowy taste and can be put on top of a buttercream or ganache covered cake. You will usually find fondant in plain white but it is also possible to buy it in different colours and flavours which is great if you’re trying to make tricky colours like red or black.

WHY use Fondant?
Fondant is great for giving cakes that smooth and professional look. You can do virtually anything with a fondant covered cakes, the possibilities are endless! As well as looking good, fondant also helps keep your cake moist for longer, once you cover a cake in fondant it is sealed and will last up to one week (depending on your filling).

IMG_1775 (1280x814)

HOW do you use Fondant?
You'll need to start with cake, try to use a recipe you know and trust. Once the cake is fully cooled down, cover with either buttercream or ganache. If you're making a cake with filling that needs to be refrigerated then you shouldn't be covering it with fondant.

If you have white fondant and want to colour it you will need to use gel food colouring, not the liquid ones you usually buy at the supermarket. I’ve heard of many disasters that started with using liquid colouring!

Next you will need to roll your fondant and cover your cake. Lightly dust your bench with a mixture of cornflour and icing sugar (I use my dust puff to do this) before rolling out fondant.
Put a small amount of piping gel on the iced cake before covering with fondant to ensure it sticks. I use rolling pin guides on my rolling pin and usually use the 1/8th of an inch to roll out fondant which means it'll be just under half a centimetre thick.
Once cake is covered, smooth over the fondant with either fondant smoothers or using your hands. If you have long nails you will probably regret having grown them while cake decorating, they can be a real pain if you scratch your cake!

Now you are ready to decorate your cake as you please! There are so many possibilities!
You can cut out flowers and other shapes from cookie cutters and stick these onto your cake using a tiny amount of vodka and a paintbrush to "glue" to your cake.

Useful tools:
Rolling pin
Fondant smoothers – once the cake is covered use these to smooth out any bumps on the cake. Alternatively, use your hands, but beware of your nails!
Dust puff – I make this myself by using a clean Chux cloth and filling it equal parts with icing sugar and corn flour then secure with a rubber band. You can also use a paper towel with some holes poked in the bottom. I use this to lightly dust down my surface before rolling out fondant or when my fondant gets a bit too moist.

Useful links:
Buttercream recipe
Chocolate ganache recipe
How to ice a cake
How to cover a cake with fondant
How to colour fondant

Storing Fondant and Cakes
You can store your leftover fondant by wrapping it up in Glad wrap twice and then putting it inside an airtight container for two months. Do not store in the fridge or freezer!

I do not recommend putting a fondant covered cake in the fridge or freezer, if you do, however, just make sure you bring it back to room temperature before you attempt to decorate it. Refrigerating the cake can make it taste dry and can cause problems with the cake sweating, not pretty!

Trouble Shooting
Fondant has Bubbles in it:
When you roll out your fondant and cover your cake sometimes you will find there are small air bubbles. If this happens, don’t worry! Just get a clean pin and insert it on an angle to release the air then smooth it over with your fingers to cover up the tiny hole.

Fondant is Torn:
Usually tearing happens with the fondant is rolled too thinly. If the tearing is really bad you may need to remove it and start over. You cannot re-use your fondant if it has touched the cake and icing or it will get messy and full of crumbs and icing! Sometimes you can cover up the mistakes with some decorations, you’d be surprised how often cake decorators do this to cover up their mistakes, you’d never know!

Fondant is Cracking:
Fondant that is rolled too thickly usually results in cracking as it can’t curve over the edges of the cake as easily. You can usually smooth away cracks by rubbing it over with a fondant smoother while the fondant is still soft. If all goes wrong just cover it with some decorations and no one would ever know the difference!

Fondant is Sweating:
If you store your cake in the fridge or airtight container it will sweat, it is best to leave it out in room temperature and it will evaporate. Try not to touch the wet fondant and do not put icing sugar on top (I did this on an Owl Cake once).

IMG_4212 (1280x856)

WHERE do you get Fondant?
If you live in NZ like me, cake decorating isn’t incredibly popular but it’s getting bigger and bigger so I’m finding more and more places are starting to sell decorating supplies. See my post on Where to Buy Cake Decorating Supplies in NZ.

If you’re overseas I would try a craft or hobby shop and it might be a good idea to ring in advance to see if they have what you’re looking for.

Sometimes the best option is to buy online, quite often this will mean you are guaranteed to get what you’re looking for and it’s sometimes cheaper! The only thing to remember is that you’ll need to order what you need in advance because you’ll have to wait for shipping. One of my favourite NZ online decorating suppliers are Kiwi Cakes and the Pretty Baker also has lots of amazing and cute products to chose from.

I hope that this post has been useful to you, please feel free to ask me any questions and I'll do my best to answer them and maybe even include more in this post if need be, if I actually CAN fit any more in one post that is!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Golf Cake

Here is a simple cake I made for Mr S's boss who was moving to another area at his work.

He's a golf man so I tried my hand at my first golf cake which was exciting

Golf Cake

To make the golf club I covered a toothpick in grey and black fondant and painted the grey fondant with silver lustre dust mixed in with a tiny amount of vodka.

I didn't stick the golf club or ball to the cake like I usually would so that you could actually putt the ball into the hole...which is just what Tyson did apparently! Hole in one!

Golf CakeGolf Cake