Monthly Archives: May 2011

Cakes of bakings past: Gone to the dogs.

It was Elmer J. Fudd’s birthday over the weekend and he was having a party.  The bakery elves made him a cake…

It was a chocolate sponge with a double layer of chocolate, cream cheese icing.  It was iced in choclate fondant and decorated with marzipan, fondant and piped royal icing…

The party was a marvellous affair with party games, jambalaya, crispy duck, dog friendly treats and mimosas…we all left with a party bag!

He is a very spoilt doggy!

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Whitworth Amadala Biscuits

These are so named as the red jewel on top gave everyone at the wedding little middle-lip red patches…very funny!

So, wedding favour biscuits…

We needed something that would hold it’s shape and resist the dreaded spread…but also something that didn’t taste like a slice of a brick.

To fit in with the Marie Antoinette theme of the day they would have to be light, sweet, feminine and delicious.

After a few trials I decided on a delicately flavoured rose/lemon shortbread with a touch of rice flour to keep a lovely crumbly texture.

Amadala Biscuits

  • 250g soft, unsalted butter
  • 250g plain flour
  • 115g rice flour
  • 125g unrefined caster sugar
  • tsp rose water
  • tsp lemon extract 
  • pinch of salt
to decorate:
  • seedless raspberry jam
  • roll out fondant icing
  • royal icing for piping
  • and any additional decorations you desire
Really easy!
Pre-heat the oven 160°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar until beautifully pale and light.
Sieve in the flour and salt and add the flavourings; mix together with a knife.
Squish the dough gently together until smooth (but try not to over work it).  Flatten, wrap in cling film and pop it in the fridge for half an hour.
Roll out to about pound coin thickness (I used to pieces of wood beading from B&Q to get an even thickness…manly baking!) and cut out using a fluted cutter.  I used a touch of rice flour to stop stickage and rolled the dough between cling film.  You can re-roll the dough scraps and cut more rounds but I wouldn’t recommend re-rolling the dough more than once.
Whack the biscuits in the oven for about 12-13 mins…they will still be soft and pale but will harden as they cool…SO NO TOUCHING!
When cool, use the same cutter to cut out rounds of fondant icing (they will be a tiny bit smaller than the bickies giving a satisfying, pale, golden frame) and stick them to the biscuits with a thin layer raspberry jam.
I have tried with a few other variations and they work well with clean, interesting notes…the fondant adds a lot of sweetness so they can take a plethora of flavours.
  • How about trying
  • a few sprigs of lemon thyme?
  • a few cardamom seeds?
  • a small amount of lavender of violet flowers?
  • classic vanilla seeds?
  • almond extract? or replacing the rice flour with ground almonds?
I’m going to be playing with these all summer!

Slattery Chocolate Course

Like the movie without the Oompa Lumpas…

So for Christmas my lovely in-laws got me a chocolate making course at Slattery’s!  It was sooo much fun!

I wasn’t sure how much I’d get out of it other than some delicious goodies and a fat arse but I learned so much.  They focus the courses on developing skills you can replicate and build on at home and give piles of tips on how to modify techniques for use in your own kitchen.

In the three and a half hours we;

  • Learned about chocolate, where it comes from, the different types
  • Learned how to temper chocolate and why…and how to do it without the mess at home!
  • Made a chocolate teddy bear, chocolate cups, truffles, lollipops, decorative chocolate sweeties
  • Ate so much molten chocolate it came out my nose!
The best part of the day was getting to play with the big troughs of molten chocolate…they had big waterwheels and pouring waterfalls; I was so close to doing an “Augustus”.

Julie the instructor was a darling!  She used to be a pastry chef, was a chocolate fountain of knowledge and confidently kept control of a group of giddy adults on sugar highs with faces covered in chocolate.
So, here’s the massive pile of chocolate goodness I made:

As you can see, there is much room for improvement…so I really should buy the 10kg bag of couverture chocolate for some home practising!!!

I really want to book on some more of the courses…anyone interested in joining me?!

Qu’ils mangent de la brioche?

The wedding cake for Team Whitworth

My little sister Kimberley got married on the 1st of May.

Kimberley asked me to make her wedding cake, something to fit in with her Marie Antoinette inspired theme; this was the photo she gave me for inspiration…

EEEEEK! I’d only ever made one wedding cake before…and it was my own!! How on Earth would I be able to recreated something so grand(e), romantic, indulgent and expensive…

Off to the drawing board (and Google University) for a crash course on metallic piping work, dummy cakes, moulding edible jewels and cameo brooches…scary!

We decided to go with a classic fruit cake; you don’t get much more classic than Delia’s!  The top couple of tiers were made using soya butter as the bride-to-be has a lactose intolerance.  The bride needed to be able to scoff a piece after months of intermittent fasting and kettle bell training for the big day…girl worked HARD! (as did the groom!)

It turned out that piping in gold requires first piping in a caramel coloured royal icing, then hand-painting everything in a mixture of alcohol and gold dust…TWO COATS!  Cut to a three day montage of tiers, tears and a kitchen splattered in gold (I actually started swigging the kirsch I was mixing with the dust).

I decided to make sugar flowers and not stuff as many in as the inspiration picture did.  I liked the idea of the cake looking more delicate and light…and I really couldn’t make that many sugar roses!

So after a couple of weeks hard baking…

I’m generally happy with it.  I tried to incorporate the theme through the icing…the base was made to represent a grand ball room, the top two tiers are iced with a subtle king and queen motif.

Some of the piping is slightly off, I kept getting gold dust on the blue which was a nightmare to remove (cue another montage of kirsch soaked cotton buds and more tears…and more kirsch swigging) and left marks.  The icing dried out in the hot weather and crazed in places…and the biggest edible tier was slightly over-baked so was a little dry.

The most important thing is that the bride and groom liked it…I was so worried that I’d let them down.

As you can see, though the cake is quite pretty, it is not a patch on the happy couple!  My little sister is a beauty!


Hello and Welcome!

Greetings! Welcome to the Wondercat Bakery!

Right then, a new blog! Exciting!? Well, I wouldn’t hold your breath just yet…

I am Finlay-Jack!
Welcome to the Wondercat Bakery!

My human carer Mr Mykie has been mildly obsessed with baking for a good few years now, it’s about time he started documenting some of his creations; the good, the erm…not so good(?) and the down right disgusting!

I’ll be along for the ride to provide an honest commentary on proceedings…perhaps some sort of rating system?

We may include recipes, we may provide them on request; depends on how lazy we get.

If it’s baked, piped, whisked or spangled we’ll be posting about it!

What’s going to happen as we get started is a re-post of items from the first time we tried this blogging thing; and write ups of “cakes of baking past” to make use of the pics I’ve collected through the years.

There will be, of course, new baking fun and I’ll be here to taste test for you!

Bake well and prosper,

Finlay-Jack