Friday, 22 October 2010

Cake Pops - my new favourite cakey snack

I first came across Cake Balls & Cake Pops via @cakeballsuk and @mollybakes on Twitter. This lead me to the cakey genius that is Bakerella!

A cake ball is cake that has been crumbed, mixed with buttercream (or alternative frosting) then covered in chocolate or candy. A cake pop is a cake ball on a stick! How can you not like them?

I decided to have a go back in May, with some chocolate cake & dark chocolate coating. They looked ok [pic below], but had a very strange texture. But I hadn't tried a cake pop/ball myself and didn't really know what to expect.

Then, in June, we went to London. I dragged my family to Selfriges where I knew I would be able to get hold of one of MollyBakes cake pops.  Here's my lovely hubby with his. He opened it before we left the shop so had to get a quick photo.

They were lovely!  But it wasn't until last weekend that I attempted them myself. Mainly it was down to a lucky coincidence that meant I had 'spare' cake and candy melts in the house at the same time! So, this is how I made my cake pops.

Crumb cake in a food processor and mix with buttercream, then form into golf-ball shapes. Put them on a sheet of greaseproof paper and leave in the fridge for a few hours until fairly solid. (Or in the freezer for about 15 minutes.)

When they're ready melt a few of the candy melts, dip the end of some lolly sticks in the melts and stick about 2/3 of the way into the balls.To ensure a firm foundation and keep your sticks steady, place a little bit of the melts around the stick to seal any gaps. Then place to side (or briefly in the fridge) to set.

When they are set, and the sticks feel pretty firm in the balls, melt some more of the melts and dip the balls in the melts until covered. Then use sprinkles to decorate as you wish!

And ta da - cake pops!

They need a bit of work to get the coating smooth - but they looked good and tasted great!

Here's how they look inside.

But, if this all seems like too much work - just give me a call and I'll make them for you!  :)

Ideal as wedding favours or party bag fillers, they could be wrapped up like a bouquet or presented in a pot. They can be any flavour and colour you want - the only limit is your imagination. Go on, you know you want to.....

Monday, 18 October 2010

Giant Cupcake

I have been wanting to try a Giant Cupcake since I first heard about them. But didn't want to fork out on a proper tin pan until I had at least given it a go. Then I found a silicon baking mould in The Works for £6 and couldn't resist!

So I made my standard Vanilla sponge mix (175g flour/sugar & 3 eggs) and filled the base and made a 100g/2 egg mix for the top. And this is what happened:

Apparently the mix is too light for the depth of the mould and I needed to add some plain flour (about half the quantity of self-raising) to the mixture, thanks to @icemaidencakes.

So, here's my second attempt:

I did lose a little bit of the top to the mould - because I forgot to grease the pan in my excitement - and the top was a little.....overdone in places. But it was nothing a knife and some buttercream wouldn't fix.

Here is the final cupcake.

And here it is in comparison to a standard cupcake:

According to the box, the giant cupcake is 25 times the size of a normal cupcake, and I think that I probably used the equivalent amount of mixture.

The sponge was a little more dense that the one I usually make, but still tasted good and has lasted well.

I'm looking forward to having another go!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Who makes your Birthday Cake?

I was tagged in a meme last week by Julie of Ice Maiden Cakes asking 'Who makes your Birthday Cake?' so here it is! Eventually! :)

It's taken me a while to remember my last birthday cake and I think my mum bought one for us to eat in work (family business) from Tesco. My birthday is in January, so to be honest we're all a bit fed up of rich food by then and on a diet, and as far as I can remember, I have not made my own birthday cake.

But when I was about 3 I was made a cake by my mum's friend, Annie Jones - and it is this cake that eventually led me to start baking. It's one of my earliest memories and I have no idea if I've built it up to be more fabulous in my head than it actually was.... although I doubt it - Annie was a pretty great cake maker! :)

It was a fairy castle cake, all turrets and sparkles - a true girlie princess cake, and when the candles were lit and the lights were turned off it looked as if the castle was all lit up from the inside. It makes me smile just thinking about it now. I would love to one day recreate this cake, as I remember it. Maybe for my own birthday as I'm not sure I'd be able to hand it over! ;)

Thanks Julie - for reminding me! :)

And I'd like to tag the following fabulous bakers to find out their stories:
Don't forget to link to your post in a comment below.

p.s. The photo above is a lemon poppy seed cake - no relevance other than it's a cake & I wanted a picture.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Peppa Pig & Welcome Home

This is the Peppa Pig cake I made for a friend's daughter's 2d birthday, and I am so pleased with it I just had to post it to my blog! I also love the writing, a technique I definitely intend to use over & over again.

Made using my 'make any word' letter press kit, you just press the letters into the icing when still soft & then I painted (with a very fine brush) some lustre powder into the groove. Gorgeous!

I've also had an idea for a cake with bunting for a while & with my little sister coming home to visit, I decided to give it a go. Again I got to use my letterpress kit, and the covering was done quickly so not as perfect as I'd like, but Sian was pleased with it. Would also make an ideal mini cake for a new mum with 'It's a boy!' bunting. Made up of 3 layers of sponge separated with jam & buttercream 4" round, it gives 4 very generous slices. Next time I will add a 'string' to tie all the flags together....but if you would like one, I'd love to have another go at making it. Would love to hear from you. ;)

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Summer Fete

Yesterday I held my first stall at a summer fete and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately I didn't take a single photo - numpty! But I had a great day, sold EVERYTHING and had lots of enquiries. Plus have an order for cookies as wedding favours. :)

Yay - I love making cakes!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

On Saturday I am attending my first fete. I will have my very own stall selling cakes & cookies. I am really looking forward tro it, but can't decide what I should take with me & how much. I've had an idea for lemon meringue cakes for a while & finally got around to trying some.

My first attempt ended up with glass and meringue icing all over my kitchen when the glass bowl I was using to make the frosting exploded. (Note: Do not use a glass bowl over heat to make meringue frosting!!) So, still a little bit afraid to try it again I found an alternative meringue recipe that didn't require heat.

I won't post complete recipe details here, for copyright reasons, but I'll tell you where to find them.

First make a lemon sponge. I used a standard 100g cake mix, but left out the vanilla extract and added the grated zest of 1 lemon. This made 8 cupcakes. When cooked and cooled, cut out a small circle from the top of the cake and fill with lemon curd - made using the recipe from Rachel Allen's Bake book (p.278) - and put the cut out bit of cake back. Then I made the meringue frosting recipe from Bake Me I'm Yours: Cup Cake (p.72) and spread over the top. Finally browing the top slightly with my cooks blowtorch - be careful not to set the paper cases alight! :)

Monday, 14 June 2010

Fairy Cake or Cupcake?

The Cupcake tower I made on the weekend sparked a discussion about the difference between Fairy Cakes and Cupcakes. Which got me thinking. In my mind there was no difference, they just had different names, fairy cakes in the UK, cupcakes in America.

In my kitchen, fairy cakes are smaller, made in 'bun' tins, while cupcakes are larger and made in deeper muffin tins. (There is quite a difference between a muffin & a cupcake, which maybe I'll cover in another post!) For example, with my standard cake mix I get anything up to 16 fairy cakes and 9 cupcakes. So they're not quite twice the size, but not far off.

I found this article by WiseGeek that talks about the main difference between British fairy cakes and American cupcakes being that cupcakes use a denser cake mix, while fairy cakes tend to be lighter.

There's also a mini cupcake that is smaller than a fairy cake - pretty much a bite size cake. 

I hope this clears it up a little. And if you want any cakes - cup, fairy or mini, please give me a shout. :)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Pink & Lilac Fairy Cakes

On Saturday I made 20 pink & lilac fairy cakes for a 2nd birthday party. A light vanilla sponge topped with vanilla buttercream and various sprinkles, and of course plenty of glitter.

I was determined to take some nice photos, so here are my favourites:

And as they only wanted 20 cakes I had a few left over for experimenting & play! Where I discovered my new favourite way of piping buttercream:

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Making Cookies

I had a go at making cookies for the first time this week. I found this post by Vanilla Bakery and found a recipe online (apologies, can't remember where I found the recipe, so if it is yours feel free to let me know.)

Cookie Recipe

175g Butter
200g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract
400g Plain Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Salt

1. Cream butter & sugar together with a mixer until pale.
2. Add eggs & vanilla extract, then beat until combined.
3. Sieve the flour, baking powder & salt together then add to butter & egg mixture.
4. Mix gently to form a dough. If it's still a bit sticky, add a bit more flour.
5. Split the dough in half, wrap in clingfilm & put in fridge for 30 mins.
6. Roll the dough to 5mm thick & use cutters to cut out shapes.
7. Bake in oven preheated to Gas Mark 4 for 8-12 minutes until firm & lightly browned.
8. Leave to cool & decorate as required.

Note: I got around 24 cookies out of 1 half of the dough & they took closer to 12 minutes than 8 to cook.

For pictures of my first cookies check out the Cookies album on my Facebook page.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Welcome to my new blog - minirhi bakes!

After a lot of baking, soul searching & being told to get on with it I have finally decided to start selling my cakes. This is really early stages at the moment, so I'll be blogging about the setting up a business process over the next few weeks.

A little bit about me

I have always enjoyed cooking, especially making cakes & deserts. They're always a bit special and I love the reactions you get when you bring out a gorgeous cake or a stunning pudding. They can be a bit naughty or fabulously light. So two years ago I made a cake for a friends birthday. Looking back now it was a bit crap, but they loved it, and it went from there. Last year I found a beginners cake decorating class in Port Talbot, which me and my mum went to. It was great & we were shown how to cover a cake, how to make figures, roses and bunnies. Then we went onto advanced sugarcraft where we made acorns & oak leaves, sweet peas and poinsettias. And I loved it!

In real life I am a marketing/web designer, and spend a lot of time on Twitter. I found myself following lots of cake making people and got jealous of their pictures, their tweets, their job. So when my husband went in for an operation I took a few days off work to look after him & started looking into what I would need to do to start a cake making business in my spare time. I phoned the environmental health people at Swansea Council - who were very helpful - and I have now registered by kitchen as a food business. I know I have stuff to do to make sure it meets with all the rules & regulations (by 1st June), but it's a start. I am meeting with an accountant (who happens to be my uncle) soon for some advice on who else I need to register with & what financial records I need to keep.

I am really excited! Wish me luck!