Thursday, January 21, 2010

My little sis turns 18!

So as you all may know, I am not the best baker in the world. Baking seems have a way of stumping me. My cakes always crack, my meringues always flop, my icing melts and nothing tastes quite like it should. I'm not sure how this happened. My Granny was a fabulous cook and spent hours in the kitchen always baking up treats for our birthday parties. She spent hours teaching my how to 'bake' but somehow, cooking meals was more natural to me.

Since my Gran died, there have been a real lack of homemade treats around our house, so I decided to get over my fear and start re-teaching myself to bake. Luckily, Granny had thousands of hand-written recipes scrawled on all sorts of odds and ends, and in the bag of papers, I discovered recipes from her Grandmother so I have many to sort through and am very excited to do so.

Gran used to ALWAYS make birthday cakes, and I was so inspired going through her recipes that I decided to make a birthday cake for my darling little sister's 18th birthday.

R just loves mudcake. Gran didn't have any recipes for mud cake so I used a rich chocolate mudcake recipe that I found on taste.com. The recipe is originally from Woolworths Good Taste Magazine.


I was also looking on www.planetcake.com.au and found a beautiful tiffany cake and decided to make something similar as A (my other sister) and I, gave R a tiffany bracelet for her birthday.

If you are interested you can find the recipe for the mud cake here, but I would recommend adding extra chocolate and baking for less time. My cake wasn't as moist as I would have liked, but it was dense. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect recipe, so if you have one- please let me have it!!

Now for the icing- ok ok, so I was running majorly short of time and used bought fondant icing. SHOCK HORROR. Nobody tell me how bad it is please, because I already know- and next time I will make the icing from scratch but this time I didn't.

My tips for the icing include make sure you have HEAPS of icing sugar to dust the surface, make sure you have enough icing to role out for the whole cake, and make sure you only use small bits of food colouring and keep adding to that. It's much easier to add more colour than to try and bring it back the other way. There are heaps of useful fondant icing videos on youtube which helped me get an idea of where to start.

Ok- so this post isn't really that helpful for bakers but I'm going to show you a photo of the cake anyway because I'm quite proud of the result! For a first go using fondant icing- it wasn't too bad. R loved it and my Gran would have been proud that I made a birthday cake!




I added some pink spots for colour and there was a bit of cracking, but overall it looked sort of coolish. Not www.planetcake.com.au cool, but coolish!

One main point- DON'T PUT THE ICED CAKE IN THE FRIDGE because when you take it out, the icing will sweat.

Do you guys have any baking stories? How did you learn to bake and do you prefer baking or cooking?

10 fabulous comments:

wishfulpantry said...

very cute!

beats my angry cake. cake stuck to pan, I got a bit frustrated and managed to slam it out of the pan. behold the birth of an angry cake.

Alibongo said...

oooh, very fancy! Nice job!! I like baking and cooking equally - I generally bake from recipes, and cook from my brain :-)

tunaranch said...

I learnt to bake from an AWW Desserts book. Luckily I had flatmates around who knew and loved to bake, so I really have all their post-mortem advice to thank.

Ally said...

Dude! That looks gorgeous! How did you do the bow - was it pre-made, or did you have to mould it into shape?

I've (foolishly) agreed to do the cake for my bro's upcoming wedding so I may just be hitting up that fondant...

(and I prefer baking over cooking, always!)

SOL's view said...

When I was first married, I couldn't cook to save myself. Now, 25 years later I think I do alright. I collect recipes and try hints and tips from all sorts of cooking shows - Gabriele Gate was the first. :) He has a great book called Good Food Fast that contains an 8 week cooking course as part of the recipe selections. I cook a lot of asian dishes and once made tandoori chicken from scratch. It was so time consuming I've never repeated the process and just use a jar! I love baking scones - so quick and easy - and scoffing them with jam and cream, but no one in the house likes them as much as I do!

Joy said...

OMG!!! You did such an amazing job!! Congratulations!! :)

Gemma said...

Looks awesome Gal! Especially for a first go using fondant! If you're going to make your own next time, make marshmallow fondant. It's much easier to make and tastes a whole lot better. I'm a bit of a fondant whore, so if you have any questions about it feel free to ask me (oh and my website will be up soon, ittybittykitchen.com)

Gemma

Trissa said...

The cake looks really gorgeous - I can't believe you think you thought you were good at baking - you obviously have gotten your grandmother's talent!

Ladybird said...

Ohh that looks so nice, well done! Homemade cakes for loved ones are always nice for special occasions :)

My first solo baking experience was when I was 8 and I wanted to make Italian lemmon butter biscuits. I forgot to add the flour, and the mixture melted alll over the oven! My mum spent hours scrubbing the oven out afterwards, but she didn't get mad at me, and told me to try again :) Needless to say, I am still baking and am careful not to forget vital ingredients!

Karine said...

The cake looks stunning! thanks for sharing :)

I don't have any preferences between cooking and baking. Both are extremely fun and have their advantages/disadvantages.

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