Wednesday, 17 December 2014

2000 FB Fan Giveaway!!

I can't believe how quickly it happened, but we have now passed 2000 likes on FaceBook! So, as promised, here is our fabulous giveaway!


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First Prize


A Cake Frame starter kit.

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Second Prize


A beautiful ceramic deep pie dish and ceramic baking beads.

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Third Prize


Live, Love & Bake apron and wooden sign.

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Fourth Prize


Kitchen, live, love, laugh, bake wooden sign.

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How to Enter

Entry 1: Like and comment on the Facebook post for this giveaway. And don't forget to SHARE!
Entry 2: Like our Facebook page Elaine's Sweet Life. If you already do like our page, tell us so in the comments, for your entry.
Entry 3: Subscribe to follow this blog by email (enter your email into the box at the top right of the blog page, then please be sure to 'activate you subscription' with the email you will be sent). Again, if you already do, tell us so in the comments, for your entry.

Competition open worldwide.

Winners will be drawn from a hat on New Years Day.

Hosted by Elaine's Sweet Life.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of the Facebook page and not to Facebook.

Good Luck! 


Christmas Fruit Cake - Mormon style {Recipe & Tutorial}


I had really grand plans for my Christmas Cake this year, involving penguins... But, my arm is just not up to the task, so I had to simplify somewhat and finally came up with this design. I drew out my design, made a stencil out of paper and then used my brand new Dinkydoodle Airbrush to get the design on the cake. I was very pleased with the result, even if I did get a bit of bleeding in a few places - practise will make perfect though!

Now, I have a fussy lot to make fruit cakes for - no nuts (allergies), no peel (because its gross), not too many currants, lots of cherries, no marzipan, and most importantly NO ALCOHOL. So I have come up with my own recipe that caters for all these requests.

I usually bake this cake about a week before serving, so there is just enough time still to bake one for Christmas Day!

Christmas Fruit Cake Recipe

Ingredients
1.2 kg Raisins
400g Sultanas
400g Currants
400g Glace Cherries
300g Chopped Dates
2 cups Boiling Water
Zest of 2 Lemons
700g Plain Flour
600g Butter (room temperature)
600g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
11 Eggs
2.5 tsp Cinnamon
1.5 tsp Mixed Spice

Method
Cut all the glace cherries in half or quarters (nice to have some of each). Mix all the fruit together, in a very large bowl, and soak in the boiling water for a few hours, stirring occasionally.


Add the lemon zest.

 

Turn oven on to 150ÂșC. Grease and fully line the cake tin/s with baking paper.


Wrap tin/s with old tea towels or newspaper (optional).


Sieve the flour and spices together in a separate bowl (forgot to take a picture, sorry!)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl down occasionally.


Add the eggs, one at a time, while beating at medium speed.


Turn speed down to low and add the flour mix gradually until it is almost all incorporated into the batter.



Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix the batter by hand, scraping down the sides until the mix is smooth.


 Pour over the fruit mix and stir in well.




Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for     • 5 hours for 12” Cake
                             • 3 hours for 9” Cakes


Allow to cool completely in the tin, then remove, leaving baking paper on, and wrap well in tinfoil until ready to decorate. Cake can be moistened by poking holes in the top with a toothpick and poring a few tablespoons of apple or grape juice over the cake the day before you decorate it.


I baked a smaller loaf cake so that I could cut into it and show you what the inside looks like - this one hasn't had any juice added to it.


To decorate the cake, I brush it liberally with warm, runny smooth apricot jam, then cover it with fondant. You can, of course, add marzipan before the fondant, but my lot don't like it.

Click on the recipe below to download the PDF version.


Happy Baking!



Monday, 15 December 2014

Pink Castle Cake



This is a cake a friend and I made together last week, she will hopefully also soon be my brand new business partner! The cake was for my next door neighbour's little girl's first birthday.


The bottom cake is an 11" vanilla sponge with vanilla icing and the top cake is a 7" chocolate sponge with chocolate icing. The turrets are all vanilla sponge and vanilla icing.


The purple spires are made by airbrushing waffle ice cream cones. For a bit of fun, we filled them with MnM's and capped them with an Oreo.


The vines are piped on with royal icing, with little fondant flowers and the 'road' is coloured sugar.


The colour in my photos is not that great as I had to take them late in the evening when it was dark, but with a little help from my son, a sheet of white plastic and multiple iPhone torches, I think we managed OK!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Gourmet Cupcakes


We celebrated our Ward's 50th Anniversary this weekend with a party on Saturday, and a special service on Sunday. As I am the Ward 'cake lady' I was asked if I would make a cake for the party on Saturday. I, however, had a really bad week with my arm, and a cake was just not going to be a possibility, so I opted for a tower of Gourmet Cupcakes instead.


My son did all the hard work - I really wish I had taken more photos - but he is getting really good at baking with me :)



We decided to make 4 different flavour cupcakes, all using the same chocolate cake base.


First up is the After Eight Cupcake. Chocolate cake with an After Eight baked inside, Vanilla icing with blended after eights, and an After Eight on top.


The inside is not all that impressive on this one, and the After Eight bakes into the cake, but it gives it a lovely flavour.


Next comes the Caramel Chocolate Cupcake.  This one has a chocolate cake stuffed with caramel, then topped with chocolate and caramel icing, a drizzle of caramel and a cherry.


This was a very rich cupcake.


This was my favourite - the Strawberry Chocolate Cupcake. Chocolate cake stuffed with homemade strawberry gel, topped with real strawberry puree and chocolate icing, and of course, a strawberry.


I am not a fan of strawberry flavouring at all, so I only used real strawberries (fresh and frozen) in this cupcake - and it was delicious!!


Finally, the Oreo Cupcake. Chocolate cake with an Oreo baked inside, vanilla and crushed Oreo icing and an Oreo on top.


You just can't beat a classic.


Well done Jon, you did an amazing job xx




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Macarons {Recipe}


Macarons are something I try to bake every now and then, tweaking my recipe as I go. My first batch came out lumpy and dull with no 'foot'. I have gradually progressed to the point where I am happy with my recipe, just need to refine my technique a bit. My last batch came out looking beautiful (though not yet perfect) and they tasted brilliant!



If you would like to try and make some Macarons yourself, here is my recipe:

Macaron Recipe - click here for pdf

Ingredients
180g Icing Sugar

125g Ground Almonds

1/4 tsp Salt
3 Egg Whites

70g Caster Sugar
Food gel colour

Method
Preheat the oven to 160°C


Blitz icing sugar, ground almonds and salt together in a food processor.



Whisk egg whites to soft peak, then gradually whisk in caster sugar until thick and glossy. Add a few drops of food colour and whisk through.



Sift half of the almond mixture into the egg whites and fold in until well combined. Sift the rest of the almond mixture in and fold together until all lumps are gone and it looks smooth and glossy. The mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape when piping. Be careful not to over mix.



Scoop into piping bag with a 1/2" round tip, or a disposable piping bag with the tip cut off. Pipe rounds onto lined baking trays (line with non-stick baking paper, silpat or similar - don't use any fat).  Tap the tray on the counter to encourage air bubbles to rise to the surface. Use a damp finger to smooth down points from piping, as well as any other irregularities. 





Leave to stand for 20 minutes to allow a skin to form.

Bake for 15 minutes, until they can be easily lifted off the tray. Don't allow them to brown.



Allow to cool, then sandwich with filling of choice. I used a blueberry buttercream for these, but I think I prefer a ganache as it has a richer flavour.




Happy Baking!