Thursday, 17 May 2012

There's Nothing More Fun Than A Cake Challenge


Ian may not agree with the fun part, but we'll ignore that because he's stuck with me forever and he'll just have to deal with it!

It was our second meeting of our Clandestine Cake Club last night, and the theme was 'Jubilant Jubilee'. I couldn't decide whether to go for something decadent and fit for a queen, or something that looked impressive. I like a good challenge so I decided to go down the impressive looking cake route.

I was inspired by the humble battenberg cake, and was really excited by the idea of having a cake where every slice was a union jack flag. All my friends thought it was a challenge too far (and it nearly was).

I made two tray bake sponges, using a standard mix (the blue 4 eggs, the red only 2). I tried to find dark blue colouring to try and get a truer match to the flag, but I already had the darkest one my shop offered, so I mixed in a tiny bit of black to try and darken it.
You'll see that when you bake a blue cake, instead of going golden, it goes green! 
I tried to cut each length of blue cake into two, on the diagonal, which is not an easy task at all, and was one of the trickiest parts of the cake creation.
Once you cut into the cake, you realise just how blue it is - the green on the outside definitely fools you.
I measured up a bit of red cake to sandwich between the two bits of blue cake that I'd just cut, and was going to join all the bits with buttercream, but this was a fragile job, as every time I tried to spread the buttercream, it tried to pull the cake into bits.
The only way to get it to work was to use my hands, which was a bit weird, and involved a lot of hand washing because buttercream is pretty greasy stuff!
With all four corners of the cake made, it was time for bed, so it all got cling filmed at put in the fridge to harden the buttercream (yes, there's only three bits in this picture but trust me, I did make four!).
Making the cross to go in the middle of the union jack involved a lot of joining of cakes, and it definitely turned a bit jigsaw puzzley, but I was running out of time before cake club, and was a bit panicked so had to hope it would work.
Here's the cake all stacked and assembled - all it needed now was a nice fondant icing blanket to hide some of the joins. 
I cut off a small amount from both ends to give it a clean finish.

The cake was a lot larger than I was expecting it to be, but I achieved my goal of a flag in every slice (even if each slice had to be shared between two people because of the size!). 
I've got ideas for improvement of the process but I'm not sure I'll have much call to make another one!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Blog Break - BGT is to blame!

Sorry for the unexpected blog break last week - I'm afraid my only excuse is that I was sat watching Britains Got Talent - I know it's fun to have a whole week of semi-finals, but I'd really rather it was only on once a week so I can do something else instead of watch it! (The dog was impressive though!)


So... seeing as that's all I've been doing, I don't have anything fun to blog about. Except my wonderful husband bought me a present, and I'm finally jumping on the Nigella bandwagon (my blog friend Lisa raves about Nigella all the time so I'm hoping she's right about her! Talking of Lisa, she's also gone AWOL from the blogisphere so hopefully this mention here might bring her back because I miss her comments!).

This is apparently Nigella's third book - Ian selected it because it had several chapters with recipes to make on lazy weekends - which sounds like the perfect use of weekend to me.

I like order - so if this book works out, I'll probably buy her first and second books so I have the starters of a set, instead of one randomly from the middle - although if any of you think I should shun the order and go for your Nigella favourite, let me know which it is and  I'll consider a departure from my world of OCD.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Pinterest is a Dangerous Thing

I waste a lot of time on pinterest - but it's a great way of bookmarking for me - I can see why I pinned things instantly and I don't have to open lots of bookmarks to find the one I'm looking for. 

I saw this clever way of storing cupcake cases on pinterest and have been wanting to do the same ever since. I saw some similar glass jars on amazon and was trying to work out which size to buy - I asked Ian for his opinion and he asked where I planned on putting this jar. I figured it'd look pretty just on the side but he didn't seem pleased.

So, I decided to do it anyway! But on a trial basis for starters. I've not spent any money on a jar (I found this one in a cupboard - although I don't think it's big enough).  And I'm going to sneak it into the kitchen (although Ian now reads my blog so he might  realise I've done it!).


Do you think it's pretty? Would you allow it to take up some of your kitchen real estate?