Saturday, 30 May 2015

Nike Hightop Cake

This was a really fun cake to make, made for a friend's nephew's 21st Birthday. This young man is a huge fan of Nikes and apparently owns dozens of pairs, so a Nike cake seemed the perfect choice for his birthday cake.

Apparently he loved the shoe so much, he kept it to take it into his studio to photograph! Guests were only allowed to eat the box.

I was really nervous about making this cake. Though I have made quite a few sculpted cakes to date, most have not required the precision demanded by something like a shoe. I am also not a huge fan of 'square' cakes.

The box measures 12" by 8" and 5" tall. The shoe is a size 10 UK size.

This particular trainer has a lot of detail and textural interest, I guess to make up for the fact that it is all red, so it was important to try and capture as many of those details as I possibly could.

I made the little logo on the tongue by hand, using piping nozzles to get the circles, then detailing it with a colour shaper. I did on very thinly rolled out fondant, then very, very carefully glued it in place.

I had a great time finding various rollers, mats, fabrics and tools that I could use to create the different textures.

I detailed the box using reverse stencils, stuck on with Trex and airbrushing the red colour over it.

The cake board I covered in wood effect fondant panels, the tutorial for which I will be posting next (the link will follow soon).

Both the shoe and the box were filled with the same vanilla sponge and vanilla buttercream (recipes found here).

I then covered both in milk/plain chocolate ganache.

As I mentioned before, I don't particularly like covering square cakes, but I tried the upside-down method for the first time on this cake, and it worked really, really well! Perhaps I won't shy away from square cakes quite as much anymore.

 And then applied the white fondant - in panels for the box,

and detail by detail for the shoe - sticking them directly to the ganache (to reduce bulk from the building up of multiple layers).

I needed to airbrush colour on to the shoe as I layered up to ensure good coverage of the white (really hard to airbrush into little nooks and crannies).

Each bit of detail added brought the shoe more and more to life.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Caro Caramel Cake {Recipe}

A couple of years ago a friend asked me to make a coffee cake. I don't drink/eat coffee and I don't particularly like nuts in cake, but the idea of a coffee cake appealed to me, so I came up with this recipe using a hot chicory and barley drink called Caro as a substitute for the coffee. Then I pared it with caramel because... well, just because!

The final result is my Caro Caramel Cake, delicious and sickly sweet (if you eat too much), it has become very popular among my friends. Yesterday a friend said to me: "You know, I don't normally like that kind of cake, but that was actually really yummy." Made my day!

This recipe can be made with Caro or any other chicory based hot drink. Caramel can be substituted with Dulce De Leche or caramel made from condensed milk.

Caro Caramel Cake Recipe     PRINT

Cake Ingredients:

335g stork margarine / soft butter
335g Demerara / light brown sugar
335g flour
5 tsp baking powder
6 large eggs
1 TBSP vanilla
6 level tsp Caro
       - dissolved in 1 TBSP boiling water

Icing Ingredients:

200g soft butter
400g icing sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
5 level tsp Caro
       - dissolved in 1 TBSP boiling water

1 Tin Caramel
Glace Cherries


Preheat the oven to 180ºC. 
Grease and line three 8in cake tins (I only have 2 tins, so I bake 2 layers, then bake the third afterward).

Beat all the cake ingredients, except the Caro and water, together until smooth. Stir the dissolved Caro into the batter. Divide the mixture evenly between the three prepared tins (reserve one third if you only have 2 tins), spread it out evenly in the tin and drop each tin firmly on the counter to settle the batter.

Bake for 25–30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean and the sponge has pulled away from the sides of the tin.
Cool sponges in the tins for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tins and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and dissolved Caro. Fill a large piping bag with the icing and cut off the tip so that you have a 1/2 inch opening.

Fill a small piping bag with the caramel, cut off the tip to a 1/4 inch opening.

Place one sponge on your cake stand/plate, pipe on a double ring of icing about 1/4 inch from the edge of the sponge, then pipe a loose spiral of icing inside that ring, finishing in the centre of the sponge. Pipe caramel into the gap between the loops of the spiral - resulting in a double spiral of icing and caramel.
Place the second sponge on top and repeat the icing-caramel filling. 
Place the third sponge on top, then pipe on a single ring of icing, close to the edge of the sponge. Now fill in the top of the cake with an icing-caramel spiral. Finish with some swirls of icing topped with glace cherries.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Frozen Cake!

Well, it finally happened! A friend asked me to make a Frozen Cake, my very FIRST Frozen Cake! I'm sure many of you cake bakers out there have got bored of making them, and I apologise to readers who are sick and tired of seeing them, but I was thrilled to finally get to make one. I almost managed to make it without singing "Let it go," but the opportunity to tease my kids was just to good, especially once I started tossing on the sprinkles! 

I made the ice on the cake by melting Fox's Mints on a silicone sheet in the oven, then stirred ice blue gel colour into the resulting sticky mess. Once I was happy with the colour, I returned it to the oven for a couple of minutes to remelt a bit and settle into a smooth sheet. Once the candy cooled I shattered it with the edge of a bench scraper.

The sides of the cakes are airbrushed with DinkyDoodle airbrush colour. I used sky blue for the top half of the cake, and mixed a darker blue using sky blue, purple, hot pink and black. I then sprayed on a coat of pearl to give it a bit of shimmer and shine. I LOVE my airbrush!!

The cake is my deliciously moist Rich Dark Chocolate Cake with light vanilla buttercream filling, coated with milk/plain chocolate ganache and covered in fondant.

All the characters are plastic Disney figurines, bought by my friend to add to my cake.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Melktert - Milk Tart {Recipe}

Melktert is a classic South African dessert, loved by all South Africans, and every other person I have ever served it to! The pie's filling is a smooth, silky and almost white set custard topped with ground cinnamon. It is much lighter and less eggy than a traditional custard tart. The crust can be made in a variety of ways. Back in SA we would usually make a cookie crumb crust with either Tennis or Marie biscuits, but I also like it with a shortcrust pastry.


Make and bake a pie crust using your favourite method - cookie crumb or sweet shortcrust are the two I use the most for this pie. The pie pictured above was made with a Ginger Nut cookie crust - any crisp/crunchy cookie can be used and can add variety and interest to the pie.

My Sweet Shortcrust Recipe can be found here.

To make a Cookie Crumb Crust:
Crumb a packet of cookies/biscuits - you should end up with about 2 cups of cookie crumbs.
Combine well with 1/4 cup melted butter.
Press this mixture into your greased pie dish and bake at 180ºC for 10 minutes.

Melktert Filling                  PRINT

1 L milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 ½ TBSP cornflour
2 ½ TBSP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP butter

Bring milk to the boil on medium heat.
Beat eggs, then add sugar, cornflour, flour and salt and beat again to well combined.
Pour boiling milk into the egg mixture while stirring, combine well, then return to pot.
Put on medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and just starts to boil.
(If the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan the temperature is too high.)
Add butter and vanilla and stir in well.
Pour into baked pie crust.
Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge. Best served chilled.