Monday, 1 September 2014

Hassle Free Cake Pan Lining {Quick Tip}


If you are anything like me, lining your cake pans with parchment / baking paper is NOT your favourite part of baking. Well, I had a little lightbulb moment a fews weeks ago. Before I finally got my hands on some silicone mats for baking my cookies on, I bought some Teflon sheets like this:


They are very thin, similar to the thickness of parchment. But they are reusable and non-stick by nature. So one day I thought, what if I just cut the disc for the bottom of my cake pan out of one of these?

And it worked perfectly!!


When I wash my pans I just wash the Teflon disc too and it is ready for the next cake. Not only have I saved myself the hassle of cutting the right sized discs for my tins every time I bake a cake, but I have reduced the huge quantities of parchment / baking paper I consume! I have one for each and every cake pan I own now and I am going to buy some more sheets so that I can line the sides of all my pans too (something I don't often do unless it's really needed, because of the [old] hassle-factor).

Happy Baking!




Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Mini Crustless Quiche Lorraine {Recipe}


OK, I know that these are not the most glamorous looking of treats, but they taste oh so yummy! My family and I love entertaining and also attend a lot of [church] events/activities which require the bringing of a plate of eats. Now when it comes to whipping up a plate of something sweet, I have a long list of recipes to delve into, but somehow I just don't have that many savoury snacks to choose from (plenty of meals, but not many 'finger foods'). As a result, I have been experimenting a bit to expand my repertoire for when it's my turn to bring a savoury platter.

So I needed to make a dish really quickly a while ago - I had forgotten about an activity until just before hand. Because I point blank refuse to buy eats, I peered into my fridge to see what I could put together really quickly. I had plenty of eggs, ham, cheese and cream in the fridge, so a quiche seemed destined to be made! But I didn't have any pastry, nor the desire to make any just then. I hunted around on the internet for a few minutes looking for some inspiration, when I found a couple of recipes suggesting the use of panko breadcrumbs instead of a crust. Well, that would work! I had bread, I could make breadcrumbs! I normally make large pie sized quiches, but on this occasion I decided to try making mini quiches instead, because they would be so much easier to serve up! They were a hit, everyone loved them and they were gobbled down really quickly. Since then, these little quiches have been a hit every time I share them.

Mini Crustless Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Makes 2 dozen mini pies.

Ingredients:

1 Large Onion - chopped
3 Garlic Cloves - chopped
8-10 slices of Ham - diced
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Powder
1 1/2 cups Plain Dry Bread Crumbs
2 cups grated Mature Cheddar Cheese
Chives - chopped
8 Eggs
1 1/3 cup Milk
1 1/3 cup Double Cream

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 200°C

Thoroughly grease the cups of 2 muffin tins.

Fry onion and garlic in some oil until caramelised. Remove from heat. Add ham, salt, pepper and mustard powder. Mix well ensuring mustard is well distributed.
Make bread crumbs (or use ready-made):
Reduce a few slices of bread to crumbs in a food processor. Lay crumbs out on baking tray and toast in the hot oven for a few minutes until they start to go golden.

In a bowl/jug:
Beat together the eggs, milk and double cream.
In greased muffin tins:
Put 1 TBSP of plain dried bread crumbs in the bottom of each cup.




Next, put a mound of cheese in each cup, followed by a spoon of the ham/onion mixture.

Sprinkle some chives on top.




Pour egg mixture over, should be about 1/4" below top of cup. Make sure everything gets covered by the egg mixture - use a spoon to gently push bits down (some of it will float, that is fine, as long as it has been submerged and has a coating of egg on it).
Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes, until they are nice and golden on top.


When they are ready the tops are really tall and round,
but they sink down and become hollow almost as soon as you take them out of the oven.




Allow to cool in the pans, then very carefully remove and chill.
Can also be served hot!


Happy Baking!



Saturday, 2 August 2014

500 Fan Giveaway

To celebrate passing the 500 fan mark on our Facebook page, we are giving away a £25 voucher to spend on anything you like at PartyAnimalOnline!


This giveaway is open worldwide to all Elaine's Sweet Life Facebook fans.
The giveaway is open for 2 weeks and closes on the 17th August 2014 at midnight GMT

Enter below to win! You have options for 8 entries each.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
* Please ensure that you follow the instructions for each entry, or your entry will be invalid.
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  url/web address of your pin in the space provided when you click on the Pinterest option.)

Feel free to ask any questions to do with this competition on our Facebook page or on our Blog. The voucher will be issued to the winner by email. A £5 voucher will be added to the prize if the winner resides outside the UK, to supplement additional shipping costs.


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.


Friday, 1 August 2014

Bad Arm!

I thought it was time I wrote a post about the issues I am having with my right (dominant) arm. A year ago my shoulder started hurting a lot, and I assumed it was as a result of a whip lash injury I had sustained in a minor car accident a few months earlier. But then, around Christmas, my forearm started hurting until it got to the point that I could not use it any more, as it got worse my shoulder started hurting more and more too, and I was getting pins and needles in my hand. After months of multiple trips to the GP with 'rest advice' given for what was diagnosed as severe tennis elbow (they had no interest in my shoulder by this point), my arm had got so bad that I could no longer write, lift a small glass of water or even dress myself. Fine motor control was practically non-existent and I couldn't grasp things properly. I insisted that I be referred to a specialist.

I finally got an MRI 2 months ago, which revealed multiple problems in both my shoulder and neck (a very long list, some of which are growth 'defects'). I have since had a cortisone injection in my shoulder, which hurt a lot but didn't bring much relief. Today I underwent sedation and had two injections in my neck (sorry about the terribly unflattering photo LOL - thanks to a wonderful friend who lugged me around and sat with me for hours today. Thank you so much!) I really hope that it relieves me of at least some of the pain, but, depending on how I do in the next month or so, I may end up having surgery on either my shoulder or neck. I really hope it doesn't come to that!

I the mean time, I am still trying to bake as much as I can. I struggle with the detailed work, but my hand coordination does seem to have improved, so I am managing to do a bit, albeit very slowly! My BFF and my son have both been very helpful in lifting heavy bowls and putting cakes in and out the oven for me, whisking, stirring, rolling out fondant, etc. I also have gained a prodigy in my BFF! She works so well with me and picks up what I teach her so quickly, and she really listens and isn't afraid to make mistakes and try again. She practically made her baby's Blessing Cake on her own, as I had just had the injection in my shoulder and couldn't move my arm for pain at all. She was also invaluable in getting the Diamond Anniversary cake done, delivered and assembled last weekend.

Thank you for your support and if their is anything you would like to see me do/make in future posts, please just comment below :)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Ombre Naked Cake with Red Roses and Diamonds


A couple, whom I respect and love, celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary last week! I was given the great privilege of making their cake for the party on Saturday. Between my problematic right arm and their dislike of too much icing, we decided that a naked cake was in order, decorated simply with roses (I can still make these, though they take 3 to 4 times as long).


I included many edible gems, since the 60th Anniversary is also the Diamond Anniversary.




I decided that I wanted the cake to be bore, graduating from vanilla at the top to dark chocolate at the bottom. I did careful calculations to get my ratios correct and my batters came out looking good.



Unfortunately the crusts came out too dark, so the ombre is very subtle. A bit more experimentation will be required. I used clear plastic collars when sandwiching the cakes, both to keep the icing layers tidy and as support in transport. The cake was then assembled on site.




We had to keep a fan on the cake all evening as the weather was so hot, we were afraid it would melt. As it turns out, we we right to be afraid. Once the cake was moved away from the fan for cutting, it didn't take long for the icing to start melting.


The ombre looked much better on the inside.





Monday, 9 June 2014

Baby Blessing Cake


So you may have noticed that there have not been very many decorated cakes on my blog lately. This is because I am having some problems with my right arm (shoulder and neck issues) which also happens to be my dominant arm. As a result, I can barely use my arm or hand and have had to cancel all of my cake orders. But there was one cake I just had to make - my friend's baby's blessing cake. Only, I didn't actually make the cake, my friend did, under my direction. Doesn't it look amazing? And she has never done anything like this before either!


The cake is a chocolate/vanilla chequerboard cake, all stuck together with ganache.


Then covered in buttercream - just look at those straight lines.


And then the white fondant (I love The Mat by Sweetwise).




She was so amazed and happy that it worked!



Well done my friend!



Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Articles of Faith {printable}

We have recently moved into our beautiful new home, and I had a blank wall in the family room that was begging for something bright and cheerful to fill it. I came across some beautifully composed and colourful Articles of Faith printables (by It's Always Autumn) via Pinterest. As soon as I saw them I knew that they were what I wanted on my wall.


For those who don't know, we are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Articles of Faith are 13 statements which summarise the basic points of belief of the members of our church. We are encouraged, from childhood, to be very familiar with these statements, and even memorise them.


I have a thing about symmetry and am not a fan of prime numbers above 5, so the idea of hanging 13 frames on the wall was quite unappealing. So I designed two more pictures to match the set, one of Jesus Christ, and one of a temple, to make it a set of 15. If you would like to download either of these images, please click on the pictures below. 



Just to add a bit of baking to this post - here are the desserts made for our house warming party. They include lemon meringue pie, trifle, chocolate pie, vanilla bundt cake, chocolate fudge cake, rocky road brownies, chic-chip cookies, New York cheese cake and gingerbread houses. Now our house is really a home!