Raspberry Jam Drops

IMG_0731I have an obsessive personality, and lately I have been micromanaging my apartment into the perfect blend of ‘accidental’ chic and purposeful perfection.

As a break from all of that, I decided to hop into the kitchen to make some jam drops.

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First step is to gather up all the ingredients. Story about the butter – Simon Johnson left Echire butter that was 2 days before the expiry date on their shelves and we bought some unknowingly. As an apology they gave us a block of Lescure for free because there wasn’t any Echire left. Not complaining!

Vanilla from Heilala – supposedly award winning and whatnot. I haven’t tried out enough pastes to make a proper comment but seems good so far.

Also, in line with the chia craze, I got a bottle of raspberry jam with chia from Henry Jones & Co. Yes – I’m always searching for the new and novel. That makes this recipe vaguely healthy, no?

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Raspberry Jam Drops

Ingredients (makes 15)

60g butter
40g icing sugar
80g self-raising flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
Raspberry jam

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 Celcius (fan-forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together.
  3. Add egg yolk, flour and vanilla paste and combine.
  4. Roll into small balls and press a circle into the center.
  5. Spoon raspberry jam into the centers.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

 

Photography

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Lens: 60mm 2.8f
Processing: Lightroom 4
Props: Brown cardboard, wooden basket, baking paper and jam jar on a white stool

Candle Cupcake

Recently, a friend had a birthday and I baked a simple batch of chocolate cupcakes for her. Because it was such a plain project I thought I’d try to photograph it a little differently and decided to style it sitting on a SOMA cube motif. I like how the  shadows turned out.

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There’s my set up – light coming from the right from my apartment window, black board at the back. Taken with a 60mm 2.8f lens.

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Raspberry Friands

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Hello, World!

Yes, I know that my supposed every Monday and Thursday posts have not been forthcoming for an entire four months. The truth is, life caught up with me and the other truth is that I was lazy. I didn’t want to face the mountain of dirty dishes that comes with baking and decorating, particularly with the more complex projects that I embark on.

Anyway, last night I decided to push myself and baked off a quick and easy batch of friands and they turned out great!

 

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These took almost no time at all to make and best of all, very little dishes to wash up because there was no creaming or whisking or anything fancy involved. And berries makes everything look pretty.

 

Raspberry Friands

Ingredients (makes 6)

1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
2 egg whites
1/3 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup raspberries

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 Celcius.
  2. Pour all ingredients except the raspberries into a bowl and mix well together.
  3. Spoon mixture into friand tins or cupcake ones if you don’t have them.
  4. Press the raspberries into the top.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and springs back when pressed.

Christmas Pretzel Wreaths

I have this bright idea of decorating my Christmas tree with edible objects every year. I decided on pretzel wreaths this year – simple, effective and long-lasting.

Pretzel Wreaths

This isn’t a particularly original idea – I saw this on Pinterest a while ago but wanted to make my own and put my own spin on them. I used up my extra leaves and flowers from a different project and did some of the others with a variety of sprinkles.

Pretzel Wreaths

Ingredients and Materials

Chocolate, melted (read how I melt chocolate the easy way)
Mini pretzels
Waxed paper
Sprinkles or desired decorations
Ribbon

Method

Watch the YouTube video I made below:

And here they are on my Christmas tree! I thoroughly enjoyed the process and I hope you did as well!IMG_0550

Christmas Swiss Roll

Christmas Swiss Roll

I am alive!

I am sorry I have not been posting – I went away to Europe (thoroughly enjoyed myself – I now want to move to Germany for 6 months if I have the chance!) and have just been so busy catching up with everything when I got back that I just did not have the time or energy to come up with any inspiration. Things have changed though and today I finally got round to making something.

To be honest, I am not the most talented when it comes to Swiss rolls – more often than not they become cake sandwiches. This was a slightly fancier version as well as I had decided to pipe holly leaves and cranberries as a motif.

Recipe as follows:

Christmas Swiss Roll

Ingredients and equipment

2 eggs
110g optima flour (an Asian sponge cake mix)
15ml water
1 tsp vanilla essence
30g butter, melted
Food colouring of choice
20cm x 30cm baking pan
Silicone coated baking paper
Disposable piping bags

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Method

  1. Line tin with silicone coated baking paper.
  2. Whisk eggs, flour, water and vanilla together until light in colour and double in volume – this may take up to 5-10 minutes depending on the speed of your mixer.
  3. Add melted butter to the mixture and fold in until full incorporated.
  4. Remove a tablespoon of mixture and add colour as desired – in my case I made one tablespoon red and the other green. Place coloured mixture into piping bags.
  5. Pipe patterns as desired onto the baking paper in the tin. Place in freezer until fully set (1-2 hours).
  6. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).
  7. Pour remaining batter over frozen pattern and even out with spatula. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and roll. Fill with desired filling.

Tip: Roll the cake as soon as it is out of the oven to prevent cracks from forming and make sure the cake is not over baked.

Just a simple project – hopefully I get into more complex things in the near future but for now – that’s it! Glad to be back.

Zoe’s Pillow Cake

Completed CakeI’m sorry there was no post on Thursday. The cake in the photo above is the reason for the delay. I got a last minute call requesting for a pillow cake for 42 people and pretty much spent my week either at work being a dentist and managing a practice at the peak period of school holidays and coming home to work on this cake. To say that I am exhausted is an understatement. Truth be told, I don’t even know how I managed to get both jobs done. Adrenaline, I assume.

As a result of that experience, I have decided that I will only be posting once a week on Sunday instead of twice as I was doing previously. The reason is obvious – I just don’t have enough time and as my posts and projects increase in complexity it takes more and more time to complete as well.

Anyway, on to the cake! It was not my original idea as the client had this cake in mind, so the structure and colour scheme of the cake was already prescribed. However, the finishing touches were and my favourite part of it was definitely the tiara which I designed from scratch at 1am on Thursday in bed, trying not to fall asleep.

Zoe’s Pillow Cake

Chocolate Tiara

Ingredients and Materials

40g white chocolate, melted
Disposable piping bag
Waxed paper
Tiara template (available for download here)
Edible pearls
Tweezers

Method

Watch the YouTube video below for full instructions:

Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients (for 2 tiers, one 8 inch round and one 10 inch square)

LIST A
750g dark chocolate, chopped

750ml water
840g brown sugar

LIST B
600g butter, room temperature

840g brown sugar
12 eggs
1080g self raising flour
60g cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced).
  2. Line all baking tins with baking paper.
  3. Combine all ingredients from List A in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second intervals until ingredients are melted, stirring in between each interval. Mixture may look like it has split slightly but that is okay. Set aside.
  4. Working off the ingredients from List B, cream butter and sugar in a food processor until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping the sides of the bowl down between each addition.
  6. Pour warm mixture prepared from List A into the bowl and mix. Add self-raising flour and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. Mixture will be fairly runny.
  7. Bake in baking tins – two 8-inch rounds and two 10-inch squares. Baking time will vary – about 50-75 minutes depending on the size of the cake. Cake is done when a skewer when inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  8. Wrap cakes immediately in cling wrap after they are removed from the baking tins and freeze.

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

500g butter, softened
500g icing sugar
125g dark chocolate, melted (my favourite method for melting chocolate outlined here)

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugar together in mixer until light and fluffy.
  2. Pour melted chocolate in and mix until well incorporated.

Assembly

Progress shots

Ingredients and Materials

3.5kg fondant (I used Satin Ice)
Dowels
Decorations as desired
6 inch round cardboard base
8 inch square cardboard base
13 inch square cake board

Method

  1. Roll 1kg fondant into a 14 inch square and use that to cover the cake board. Leave to set for at least a day before placing the cake on top of it.
  2. Stack round cakes fill with buttercream. Cake should be sitting on a 6 inch round cardboard base with a punched hole at the center for dowel to go through
  3. Trim into a shape of a pillow using a serrated knife and cover with buttercream. Put into fridge to firm up. Roll 1kg of fondant into a 17 inch disc and cover the cake.
  4. Repeat with square cakes, rolling 1.4kg of fondant into a 19 inch square before covering.
  5. Place 4 dowels into the square cake to support the weight of the round cake above.
  6. Place square cake on cake board. Insert a taller dowel that spans both tiers into the cake and slide round cake down onto it to prevent movement of tiers.
  7. Decorate as desired.

And that’s it! Other decorations that I used included fondant flowers, quilting the fondant with a stitch tool and ropes for the tassels and trim of the white pillow. The pink pillow was trimmed with royal icing.

I apologize – the photography of this cake was not what it should have been. I had about 10 minutes to photograph it before delivering it thus the very substandard image!

It was quite an experience, but what is going to be an even more exciting experience is when I go to London in a couple of weeks! I will be attending a cake decorating course there so it’s going to be pretty exciting to learn more techniques and improve my skills. Can’t wait to go – I fully intend to check myself into a day spa for a couple of days to unwind. The last few months have been overwhelming.

Halloween Gingerbread Tree


A while ago, I made some sugar diamonds for fun. I told my assistant that I didn’t know what to do with them and she suggested using them as leaves. And that was how this gingerbread tree came to being.

I decided to let a spider live in the tree, and his name is Alexander. Because I couldn’t think of any other names that rhymed with spider.

Halloween Gingerbread Tree

Gingerbread Tree

Ingredients and Equipment (for one tree)

Gingerbread Tree Template (click link to acquire)
70g butter
50g brown sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g plain flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).
  2. Cut tree template out and set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and golden syrup together until it becomes a thick sauce. Add flour and ginger and mix until it forms a dough.
  4. Roll dough out immediately in between two non-stick baking sheets and place template on top of dough.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the outline of the tree and remove all the surplus dough. Do not transfer tree cutout. The tree should be baked on the very same sheet it was cut on to reduce any distortion. Repeat with second tree template.
  6. Place baking sheet on a baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm and slightly brown. Leave to cool before removing from tray.

Royal Icing

Ingredients

1 egg white (not all will be used)
100g icing sugar
Food colouring of choice

Method

  1. Add food colouring to icing sugar and using a teaspoon, gradually add a little egg white at a time while mixing until the desired consistency is achieved.

Ombre Sugar Diamonds

I will be doing a separate post on this later this week so stay tuned for that!

Chocolate Decorations

Gingerbread Tree Close Up

Equipment and Ingredients

25g dark chocolate, melted
5g white chocolate, melted
Black food colouring
Cocktail stick
Waxed paper

Method

  1. Pipe chocolate on waxed paper into the shape of a spider’s web. I did it free-hand but if you would prefer to have a template one is easily available by doing a Google Image Search.
  2. For the spider, pipe a round circle and then draw out 8 legs out from the body. Leave to set. Then, use white chocolate to pipe the eyes of the spider. Dip the tip of a cocktail stick into some black colouring and dot the eyes on.

Assembly

The video at the top of the page outlines the assembly of the tree. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

Photography

Gingerbread Tree 5

I didn’t do anything special for the photography this time – just cardboard as the background and light coming from the right hand side of the image.

Settings

ISO:100
f: 2.8
Lens: 60mm 2.8f
Camera: Canon 7D
Exposure: 1/50 seconds
Temperature: 6000K

This was my very first Halloween project. In Australia, it isn’t a very big thing so nobody really goes all out but I have to say that I enjoyed it and might try to squeeze another one in before October ends. Maybe. Can’t believe it’s almost the end of the year!