Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Super Sonic Birthday with some Chocomisu for me

This weekend was a Sonic weekend. A colleague of mine at work asked me to make her son a Sonic the Hedgehog cake. Her son is so into Sonic and had requested a Sonic cake especially for his 6th birthday. They seemed excited when I dropped it off so I hope they had a great day!

A picture of Sonic in the making...

After my last cake carving experience, I was able to work on giving Sonic a more 3D appearance. Maybe next time I can make him sit up! (hmmm that might be a little ambitious for now!).

The Sonic blue was so hard to achieve though! It seemed that no matter how much blue colouring I added, the fondant was still a bright turquoise instead of a nice deep blue :( Finally I saw online that some people added purple or red to deepen their blue. I would never have thought of doing that, but it worked. Petty soon my turquoise was starting to look more like Sonic's blue! Thank goodness! It would have been hard to explain to a 6 year old why Sonic was turquoise :P

Again this took longer than I expected to put together and decorate (I have to work on my time management skills!) but it was so exciting to see it all come together.

The thing about carved cakes is that unfortunately all the carved bits of the cakes go to waste. I have made cake balls out of the leftovers before but I was feeling a bit lazy this weekend, plus I like to experiment with new things! So this weekend, I made a choco-misu with the leftover chocolate mud cake from the Sonic cake.

So what is a choco-misu? Well, it's basically a chocolate version of a tiramisu... layers of crumbed chocolate cake drizzled with Kahlua between chocolate mousse and topped off with fresh vanilla whipped cream. Yum. This would have also worked well with some tinned cherries in between, but I didn't have any on hand. Oh well, next time!

Choco-misu how to:

Chocolate Mousse - I used a packet mix (told you I was feeling lazy...)

Vanilla whipped cream - Use approx 1 cup thickened cream, add 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla paste. Mix on high until the cream thickens to whipped cream consistency then stir in 1 tablespoon of Kahlua.

Assemble - Spread a layer of chocolate mousse on the bottom of the dish, crumble the leftover chocolate cake on top and drizzle with some Kahlua. Repeat until you run out of mousse or chocolate cake. Spread the vanilla whipped cream right on top and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

That's it, trust me, it's easy! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bidding farewell to a good friend

We had a farewell picnic lunch for my friend Amir this weekend. After about 8 years here in Sydney, he has decided to head home to Malaysia. So what a better way to farewell Sydney than to have a picnic at Cremorne Point. It's such a pretty spot and it's usually not too crowded and the views of the harbour are amazing.

When we got there, there was plenty of parking which surprised me... but when I got out of the car I realised why. It was a beautiful day, but it was also windy and freezing! Not the best day for a picnic, but for Amir we put on our jumpers and soldiered on.

To celebrate or mourn (depending on how you want to see it) the leaving of our friend, I decided to make a cake to look like him. I've never really made a carved cake with 'features' before so I thought this would be a good time to try. After all only a friend (and a non paying customer) will be willing to forgive me if I make a mess out of it! So once again, my friends were at the receiving end of my experiments and learning experience :) It was fun carving and moulding out all the features and even more exciting to cover it with the rolled icing and seeing it all come together.

I don't know if it really looks like him, but at least it looks like a person's head! There are a few things I wasn't too happy with, but I have learnt plenty for next time! People were also cracking jokes about how the cake looked much better than him... Hmmm. Plus they were excited about the prospect of cutting him up… I wonder what it means if your friends are looking forward to cutting and eating you :-o

The pretty sunset...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sticky Fig Pudding, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce

My ice cream maker has been a bit neglected recently… the last time I used it was about a year and a half ago before I moved. Since moving, I haven't really been bothered to put the tub into the freezer to freeze.
It's getting close to winter here in Australia now, the days get dark at around 5.30 and the air is cold and crisp most mornings. So what am I doing thinking about making ice cream? Well, the other day I was visiting Evan's blog (Bossacafez) and she had the most amazing pictures and recipe of vanilla ice cream she swears is ridiculously good. If you have time, check out her blog, I say if you have time because you will be there for awhile! The pictures are beautiful.
The ice cream used vanilla beans together with vanilla paste and I was so intrigued by the ice cream I had to try it myself. Since the cold weather is creeping up, I wanted the ice cream to accompany something warm… but what? I had leftover butterscotch from a cake I made… What goes well with butterscotch and vanilla ice cream? Sticky date pudding! I did some research online and discovered that sticky date pudding is an Australian thing ( I didn't know that…). I decided to substitute the dates with figs since I'm into figs at the moment. I settled with a recipe from Jen since she titled it 'sticky date pudding to end your life with'. How could I not try it after claim like that?!

Sticky Fig Pudding with homemade butterscotch and vanilla bean ice cream

Here is the recipe for the sticky date pudding, I just substituted the dates with dried figs.
The recipe for the butterscotch sauce can be found here. This is highly recommended, it is so easy and so tasty. I was so amazed how butter, brown sugar and cream could turn into something so good!
And lastly the very tasty vanilla bean ice cream. Unfortunately this turned out a little bit icy for me, but only because I was too impatient to wait for the mixture to cool down completely before putting into the ice cream mixer. But despite that, it was extremely yummy vanilla ice cream. And yes, it was the best vanilla ice cream I have ever tasted. :D

Before serving, just heat up the sticky fig pudding in the microwave for 30 sec. It'll come out warm, soft and moist. Yum!

Monday, May 4, 2009

1st Birthday Whimsical Cake

My weekends always seem to go by in a blur. I can't remember what I used to do with all my spare time before I started cake decorating. People sometimes wonder how and why I do it… work a 8 hour day 5 days a week, get stressed and mentally exhausted at work only to return home and start baking, kneading icing and building models. But much like how some people look forward to the end of the work day when they can go home to watch their favourite TV show, meet up with their friends or go out for a drink, it's the same exciting feeling at the end of each day when I get to go home and start decorating and thinking of ideas. Regardless of how tired I am or what a bad day I've had, everything just goes out the window when I start making little sugar models.

This weekend was one of those blink and you miss it weekends. I had a cake order from an ex-colleague for her son's first birthday. She designed the invite and wanted me to make a cake with colours to match it.

The Invite...

The finished cake...

I totally under estimated the time it would take to make this cake! This is my first whimsical cake too, so I thought I had given myself some extra time at the end but it turned out, 5 hours later, at 4.30am on the day the cake was due, I was just finishing off and adding the details to the cake. Wow, I really learned about time management on this one, and the effects of practically no sleep (I brushed my teeth twice within an hour that morning!).

I was happy with whimsical cake and so was my ex-colleague. The colours she choose worked out really well with the whole design and theme. And of course, she knew exactly what she wanted in terms of design so it made it easier :) And a special mention to the boyfriend who was brave enough to help me carry the cake and was stressing out about driving slow, even more than I was, how sweet :)

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