Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Cake for a Liverpool Fan

A while ago, Anna one of my former cupcake workshop students asked me to do a cake for her husband's 30th. We brainstormed some ideas based around the cricket and soccer theme but Anna eventually decided to go with a Liverpool logo. Anna texted me the next day to say that Namit loved it :) Which is great because I was a little worried I might have left something off the logo (and since I'm not a soccer fan I would not have noticed!).

A couple of days later, Anna wrote me the nicest and most encouraging Thank You card I have ever received. In this day and age of computers and mobiles, it's not very common for me to be getting snail mail that is not from the bank or in a form of a bill. That's why I was so touched Anna took the time to send me a card via good old snail mail.

I've been feeling a bit discouraged this last week and been having a good think about life in general so this thank you card really made my day! Thanks Anna! Anna also has a blog about her cooking adventures and has some great recipes and tips, check out:

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Cheeky Cake

A funny thing happened to me yesterday... A guy had placed an order with me last week for a bum cake for his friend's birthday. I've done cupcake boobs in the past but never a bum cake. I must admit I was exited by this project because it was just seemed so fun and cheeky ;)

So the guy decided he wanted to pick up the cake. He gave me a call as he was approaching my building and I took the bum cake complete with its frilly red g-string and a nice red lipstick kiss mark and stood along the side of the road... waiting....

A car then pulls up and a guy winds his window down. I walk up and he asks how I am... um, good... at that point I then thought it was a bit strange that he did not acknowledge the cake. So I asked him, "um, did you want the cake in the back seat?"

Then I suddenly feel someone standing next to me... "It's us that you want." Huh?! I turn around and there was a guy and a girl there looking at me and the cake in excitement. "The cake is for us". I looked back at the car and the driver had rolled up his window and zoomed away laughing. And then it hits me... I almost gave the cake to the wrong person! Some random! Oh dear, how embarrassing and what a disaster that would have been :$

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Travel Themed 30th Birthday

A good friend of my turned 30 last week and we celebrated with dinner at Bel Mondo at The Rocks. It was such a lovely place and the service and food was incredible. My main meal was soooo good, the gnocchi was absolutely amazing, it was like eating fluffy creamy balls of potato that had just been pan fried to perfection. They were solid, but just melted in your mouth. It's not usual for me to rave more about the main meal than the dessert but in this case although it came very, very close, the main meal won me over. (Dessert was amazing by the way, warm oozy chocolate fondant and creamy panna cotta - me and the boyfriend went halfsies)

The birthday girl is very much into travelling and is currently doing lots of research in African and South American adventures. She has lots of plans, the first one being to win the lotto. And I think she actually has a better chance at it than me (she occasionally buys a ticket and I never do).

So I thought a travel theme would be most appropriate for this occasion, I hope it will bring her some 'travel luck' :)

Travel themed cupcake tower... can you guess all the flags? Even though I made them, I forgot what a lot of them were on the night!

Rich moist chocolate fruit and nut travel packages.

Cupcake Flags

Canvas for everyone to stick their photos and to write birthday messages.

Everyone gets one :)

The birthday girl and her cake.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vanilla Bean Cream Filled Eclair Anyone?

I baked over 500 chocolate chip cookies last week so I'm taking things a little bit easier this week. :) How long does 500 chocolate chip cookies take to make...? oh, about 3 nights worth of baking and 6 hours worth of bagging and ribbon tying. The boyfriend and my friend both got suckered into helping me out. A big thank you to you both!

A while ago I made some mini eclairs for a dinner at my friends place and now I'm finally getting a chance to post the recipe :) I took a whole tray full of these and between 7 people (and the boyfriend sneaking some in the car) they were gone pretty fast.

The choux pastry for the eclairs is not hard to make... the only downside is that you have to make it on the day to keep its texture. I find that if I keep it overnight it tends to become soft... but you can place them in the oven for a bit to firm up if that happens.

Choux Pastry Recipe

250ml Water
60g Butter
1 teaspoon Sugar
125g Plain Flour
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 220 degrees (200 degrees for a fan forced oven).

Place water, butter and sugar into a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from the heat and quickly add the flour. Mix rapidly with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each egg. Fill a piping bag and pipe small lines onto a baking paper lined tray.

Place in the oven and bake for 15 - 20 mins until they are golden brown.

When they are ready, remove from the oven and let them cool on a rack. While they are still warm, use a nozzle (the one you are planning to pipe your cream filling with) and gently poke a hole on the bottom of each eclair.

Vanilla Bean Cream Filling

1 1/2 cups Thickened Cream
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Beat the cream until it thickens, then add the icing sugar slowly and finally add the vanilla and mix it in on a low speed.

Wait until the eclairs cool to room temperature. Fill a piping bag with the vanilla cream and insert the nozzle into the eclair hole you made earlier and fill the eclair.

Chocolate topping

100g Dark Chocolate
2 tablespoons Cream
1 tablespoon of Nutella (optional)
3/4 cup Flaked Almonds

Melt the chocolate and cream together (in 30 sec blasts in the microwave) and mix well.

Dip the top of the eclair into the chocolate and let it sit. While the chocolate is setting toast the almond flakes in a pan over the stove.

Toast on low heat until the flakes become golden brown and you can smell the delicious toasted almonds.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle ontop of the eclairs. Let it sit for awhile before you dig in. Yuuuum :)

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