18 November 2009

Angel Food Cake

Well this was a new one. A friend requested if I could make her an angel food cake for her fathers birthday tomorrow. I said yes. Then I went and Googled it. Then I freaked out. Then I facebooked my dilemma. Then I calmed down. Ahhh the power of the internet. I love it!

The reason I freaked out was because you need a special baking tin, called obviously, an angel food cake tin. I don't have one, and neither does my mum or mother in law who I would usually call on in cases of panic. But thanks to the power of facebook my lovely friend Abbie managed to produce one from her household! Hooray!

The reason for the special deep tin is because this is a very high rising cake, due to having 12 egg whites...that's right, 12. It also needs a removable base because it is so very high. As you can see below.

Anyway, the cake turned out wonderfully for my first time. It looks like a kind of cakey pavlova without the meringue crust. Apparently it's very popular in the USA, not so well known here, but I don't know why; apart from a dozen egg whites (I used free range organic eggs as I was using so many, so the price was higher than my usual brand) the ingredients are very simple and very minimal and the cake itself is so low in fat and calories its the perfect cake! You just need an electric mixer and a huge bowl to mix all those egg whites in!

My friend Dallas wanted it plain so she could add whipped cream and raspberries to it. Sounds divine, so once I get my own tin, you might see it again on here!
I'll print the recipe below.

It would also look good with just a light sifting of icing sugar.

Angel Food Cake - I used this recipe from Alton Brown, Good Eats.

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup high grade flour, sifted
12 egg white, room temperature
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon almond extract (or any flavour you would like)
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a food processor spin sugar for 2 mins until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the flour and salt. Set the rest aside.
In a large bowl (make sure its large!) mix the egg whites, warm water, almond extract and cream of tartar together until combined. Crank up the pace after about 2 mins mixing continously at a medium speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the remaining sugar while mixing. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).

Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

17 November 2009

Weekend cakes

This post was supposed to go up on Sunday evening but I had a few glasses of bubbly and misplaced my camera which had all the pics on it. We've all done that right?...No? Okaaay moving on.

Obviously because I am now posting these pics up I got my camera back. My lovely friend Fiona found it and I got it back today! Hooray! The above photo has to be one of my all time favourites as it shows two of my favourite things; cake and Cheltenham beach when the sun is just coming up (the kids were up early). This is what I get to wake up to everyday. Did I ever tell you I just love New Zealand?

These are cakes I made for a 70th birthday and the other cake is a farewell cake for the same lady. The cakes are lemon with lemon buttercream icing for the farewell cake, and vanilla with dark chocolate filling and chocolate buttercream icing for the birthday cake.

The next was for a First Holy Communion morning tea celebration for Isabel, one of Madelines closest friends. We had a wonderful morning enjoying all the treats!
They were lemon curd with a lemon buttercream topping and a wee sprinkle of edible glitter for a bit of sparkle.

12 November 2009

Choux pastry

This week I have been on a pastry mission. I've been brushing up on the basic shortcrust and I thought of maybe trying something new. I've never made choux pastry, and frankly I'm surprised I haven't as it was relatively easy. And quite fun!

I made some profiteroles with a white chocolate ganache filling and a little bit of extra cream to really fill them up. And also some eclairs with a lemon curd filling topped with a dark chocolate ganache. And then lightly sprinkled with icing sugar.
Owen took the profiteroles down to the pub quiz for the team to enjoy!

Here's the results:

And here's the recipe:

1 cup plain flour
pinch of salt
80g butter
1 cup water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten.

Heat the oven to 200 deg Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper and lightly sprinkle with cold water. This is to create steam which helps the dough puff up during baking.
Sift the flour and salt onto a large square of baking paper.
Heat the water and melt butter together in a medium saucepan. When it has come to a rolling boil quickly "shoosh" the flour from the baking paper (this is why we sift the flour onto it, so it all goes in easily at once) into the saucepan and lightly mix until ingredients are combined the dough comes away from the sides of the pan. Be careful not to overbeat.
Turn off the stove and put flour mixture into a bowl and cool for 10mins. When cooled place dough in a mixer and add the eggs slowly and beat until thick and glossy in appearance.
Put the dough into a piping bag and pipe onto tray in shape desired. Long for the eclairs and wee round blobs for the profiteroles.

Put into oven for 15 mins and when puffed reduce the temperature to 180 and cook for a further 30 mins or until the pastry is dry. Cool on a cooling rack. For the profiteroles, prick a small hole underneath and fill from the bottom. For the eclairs when it is cooled slice lengthways and fill with cream, chocolate ganache...anything you wish.


This was done my little brothers office Innocent Drinks in London. He's the werewolf and the slow motion crotch-grabbing zombie. I thought this was pretty cool so I've posted it up!

09 November 2009

Birthday cupcakes

It was my brother in laws birthday this weekend so we had a lovely summery lunch to celebrate. Madeline even made a pinata, and it didn't rain. A good time was had by all!

These cupcakes are passionfruit swirl with a white chocolate ganache and a blob of passionfruit curd to top it off.

And these are vanilla with a honey berry topping - these ones were egg and dairy free.

The berry topping was a bit experimental and didn't quite turn out how I had hoped. First of all they were pink when I didn't quite plan for that! The girls picked some strawberries from our garden (the birds had graciously left us a couple of small ones) and so I whizzed them up with some frozen berries. The colour was incredible! I had wanted to dollop them on top of the honey topping but the honey topping was so super sweet I figured if I chucked the berries and splash of lemon juice it would take some of the sweetness away. But it all went pink (of course it would...duh!) and then the margarine separated because of the lemon juice. It tasted great though!
So the final look is not what I wanted at all, but I've discovered the Williams family is always happy to be experimented on!

Happy Birthday Hugh!

06 November 2009

Super Duper Exciting News and other things...

Well the exciting new is that I got on the show Next Top Baker. Terribly exciting and right now my brain has turned to mush so I hope I get my act together before it starts!!
There's more info I'm sure but it means that I probably will be doing some mega baking in the next two weeks to really brush up on my basics - especially scones. Any tips out there, please give them to me!

All the other things I was gonna blog about, like the final session on our Wilton course last night have gone completely out the window...that's the mushy brain part! So heres the cake I made. See all the lovely Wilton techniques? Yeah well it all needs practice. The colours were rather nasty but it was finished and I got my certificate!

And here's another one I did for Owens work mate. Just a simple design.

04 November 2009


I've been searching for Under the Sea themed cakes for Katie's birthday (my wee girl is 5 next month!) and in the process coming across some incredible cakes.

This one isn't a sea theme but its just so lovely. The colours, the birds and the flower detail at the bottom! Oh wow. This came from snarkychef, as are a bunch of other cakes from a cake show she visited. Some hilariously terrible cakes and some breathtaking ones too.

These ones are the cool under the sea themed cakes.

This is cute - I like the idea of the cupcakes underneath.

This one is a wedding cake but serves as simple inspiration.

This one is just too cute for words

As is this one.

Ahh so many talented people out there.

02 November 2009

Baby Shower presents

Here's some ideas for perfect baby shower yummies. Or as a gift for the waiting mummy to be to munch on in my case.

Decorated chocolate cookies and wee macaroons with dark chocolate ganache filling.
Good luck Claire! xx