Category Archives: Celebration Cakes
Well hello, long time no see!
Where exactly have we been for a year you may be asking…or not.
We thought we’d play it safe for a good few months and hole up in the Wondercat Apocalypse Bunker-just in case the world turned to shit or something…luckily, Obama is still president…bazinga!
OK, that may have been a lie. Baking and then writing about baking takes a fair bit of time and dedication…after not hearing from the Great British Bake Off we got a little bit meh about the baking thing…did you watch it BTW??! OMG we were soooooo Team Brendan! If that man doesn’t do drag cabaret at the weekend I’ll eat my litter tray. In the end, the best gay won I suppose. The closest we’ve come to baking recently has been making these Halloween delights…
It was Mr Whitworth’s birthday so Team Chadong decided to cook for him…the boys asked me to whip up a little something for dessert. The concept is based upon an after dinner truffle the Chadongs had at the Lucullo Terrace – a dark chocolate truffle with finely ground popcorn in it…fucking amazing! Oh, and after dinner the boys ran into our baking idol Eric Lanlard in the hotel! Maybe Mykie was a little tipsy and a touch starstruck and perhaps pestered the poor man for an autograph (whilst pulling out a camera?! replace tipsy with ridiculously shit-faced)…the shame! Hang your head boy!
Anyways, enough chatter…
CHOCOLATE PEANUT POPCORN CAKE
- 240g SR Flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 105g unsalted butter, room temp
- 105g whole nut peanut butter
- 340g golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 185ml buttermilk
- Line a 6 inch *winks* round cake tin and whack the oven on to 170ºC
- Beat the butters and sugar together
- Add the eggs one at a time
- Alternate between folding in 1/3 of the dry ingredients then 1/3 of the buttermilk with the vanilla extract in it
- Bake for about 1 hour until a pokey stick comes out clean (you know the cake testing drill by now)
- 150g 70% dark chocolate
- 150ml double cream
- 50g peanut butter
- Ok we were totally lazy and just stuck the lot in a bowl, microwaved it for 40 seconds until the chocolate had started to melt and whisked the shit out of it as it cooled…job done.
Icing (not frosting, Rule Britannia!)
- 50g popping corn
- 50g butter, room temp
- good pinch o’ sea salt
- 50g icing sugar
- 250ml whipping cream
- the left over ganache from the filling
- Pop the popcorn (sooo much fun!) then blitz it to a powder and toast the powder in the oven until erm, toasted?!
- Beat the butter, sugar salt and popcorn powder until smooth
- Whip the cream to soft peaks
- Re-whip the ganache until lighter and fluffier
- Fold the ganache into the butter stuff and then fold in the cream
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- pinch o’ sea salt
- Toast the peanuts and pop the corn
- Make a caramel by heating the sugar and water
- Pour caramel over nuts and corn and swish it all about…careful, the caramel is hot (We may have burned ourself by stuffing it into our pie hole before it cooled)
- Slice top off cake to level (cake spoils! munch away!)
- Cut remaining cake into 3 equal layers
- Spread a layer of the ganache in each layer then chill in the fridge for about 10 minutes
- Cover cake with icing and smooth sides
- Pipe remaining icing around top and bottom edges
- Pile up popcorn/nut/caramel mix into a mountain of deliciousness in the centre of the cake
- Sprinkle on a pinch of sea salt
The cake went down well with Team Whitworth! The mixture of squishy cake and crunchy popcorn was delightful…It tasted like the bastard child born from the erotic encounters of a gateaux and a chocolate bar. The Vanilla Duck could indulge as we’d used lactose free dairy ingredients…Wondercat is sooo very considerate of dietary needs (apart from those fucking vegans…oh and we’ll throw vegetarians under the bus as well).
So that’s it for now folks…I think we’re going to try for a regular bake schedule…possibly every two weeks? Our old schedule of twice weekly was frankly, fucking insane…cake lying around everywhere, cake coming out of peoples noses, hiding cake down the back of the sofa…
Hey kids! So you may (or may not) have noticed we’ve been a bit posting-lite of recent…
Well the thing is, we have a job, and a life and grown-up stuff and erm…Skyrim, so Wondercat has been demoted to “when we have some time spare”. Soooooo, having the week before Easter off work and a new kitchen on the verge of completion means it’s time to crack open the self-raising and turn the Kitchenaid up to 5!
It was our dear friend, the fabulous Miss Ayesha’s birthday so what better way for the new kitchen to lose it’s cake-ginity? (It beats drunk on a Saturday night with a dodgy batch of cupcakes…oh, we went to our bitter place of regret again)
Miss A requested a chocolate and cinnamon flavoured cake…she also mentioned a colour scheme but we sort of disregarded that and free-styled…we wanted to make something like the lady herself; striking, glamorous, exquisite and sophisticated.
Behold the “Miss Ayesha”!
We can’t take all the design credit as it is based on a design we found on Google University…but I think ours is prettier!
The cake was a chocolate, cinnamon sponge with a touch of ginger and nutmeg…it was nice and moist due to our new Wondercat sponge recipe (the secret ingredient: Dairy Milk Philly!)! It was split in to three layers and filled with Fortnum & Mason marmalade, a chocolate ganache (75% cocoa) then glazed with a maraschino and cinnamon syrup before coating with vanilla flavoured fondant.
We used white fondant which was painted on top in gold mixed with a bit of yellow (it did dry the icing a little making it crack a bit…something to work on), the sides were painted in red mixed with fuchsia lustre and the piping work was a dark brown royal icing using size 1, 1.5 and 2 piping tips.
Hopefully we’ll get a chance for some Easter baking (we are itching to make some hot Atheist “A” buns) and manage to post about them…but Alduin ain’t going to kill himself.
We are definitely on-board with the festive here at the bakery!
This weekend was time for our annual Winter Soirée; a time to catch up with friends and family and be merry! Tis the season after all!
This year we changed things up a bit. Gone were the glazed ham, roast turkey and salmon…bring on the Bolly and canapés! Of course, there were a few regulars…
The Chadong Christmas Cake and Mykie’s Mince Pies!
The Chadong Christmas Cake is the highlight of the baking calendar for us. Not only do we try and improve on the taste of the cake each year but we also have a great time planning the décor! The Cake is the centrepiece, the fruity glue that holds the evening together…it must be perfection (or as close as we can get given the restraints of time, resource and sanity).
This year we totally revamped the fruit cake which is usually just a Delia with a twist or two. This year we wanted something different; something that still screamed fruit cake but lighter, fresher, and more appealing to the “fruit cake haters”.
The Fruit Cake Nativity
- Mary: Dried Apricots
- Wise Men: Dried Mango/Pineapple/Papaya
- Baby Jesus: Maraschino Cherries
- Angel Gabriel: Candied Mixed Peel
- Joseph: Sultanas
- Donkey: Pistachio Nuts
- Shepherds: Lemoncello, Calvados, Apricot Brandy
- Inn-Keeper: Honey
As you can see, we made some big changes! The cake batter was made with golden caster sugar a heap of vanilla and spiced with just a touch of cinnamon and a generous helping of ground ginger…light honey frivolity replaced dark treacly depth.
The design for this year was “Snow Stripe”; we wanted to create something rigid in design but with the Wondercat signature piping detail. Over all it turned out OK. There are a few areas that aren’t as surgically precise as we would of hoped for but in the time we allowed for decorating we will settle for good over great.
So, how was this mountain of blue hues received? Pretty well!
It managed to retain the essence of a good Chrimbo Cake but really was zippier, lighter and brighter. The tropical fruits and cherries punctuated each mouthful brilliantly giving something more interesting than the traditional homogeneous treacly fudge of a classic cake. This cake converted two “fruit cake haters” to total cake-munchers but the biggest compliment came from Moogi Leong; she rang the next day to say she really enjoyed the cake and that Grandma Glover (R.I.P.) would have loved it as she also wasn’t a fan of the traditional fruit cake so always had Dundee Cake at Christmas. This had Mykie in floods when he hung up the phone…we are keeping this recipe (which I will post, promise) and dedicating it to the late, great Betty Glover!
The mince pies we made using the Cranberry Mincemeat of the previous post but once again we gave things a shake! In place of the ground almonds in the sweet shortcrust pastry, we used THIS to give a richer, more nutty texture and taste. It added a slightly wholemeal feel which contrasted nicely against the sweet cranberry and citrus tang of the filling…yummers!
The evening was a blast! Wonderful to see everyone and ramp up the Christmas spirit!
Not long to go now folks…Santa’s coming!!!! Raise a glass to friends and family both living and departed and celebrate!!!!
This afternoon was spent eating cake and discussing psychopaths whilst sat in a rocket ship…
No lie, all true! It was Skeplit: Psycho Sunday and we were discussing Jon Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test”. The new and much improved location for Skeplit is the Rocket in TV21 Manchester! Meeeeeeoooooooommmmmbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrpppppuuuuuuuuuuuuuuukkkkkkk (that’s my rocket noise)
It was also a chance to present Ms Joely with her belated birthday cake.
I wanted to make a cute, personalised cake so I picked a few things that come to mind when I think of her.
- 1) Tea: She enjoys a nice cuppa.
- 2) Book: She is the author of the AMNAR book series.
- 3) A charm quark: subatomic particle and subject of her twitter name…also a cute toy from Particle Zoo
- 4) Chocolate: Her cake flavour of choice
So, here’s what we came up with!
Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Caramel Sauce…all concealed in pale blue and white (no easy task!)!
I have to say that the book and the quark were not too difficult to construct…the teapot on the other hand was a total mother fucker!
I think Joely was happy with the cake and it was all gobbled up whilst discussing psychos…in a rocket ship…did I mention we were in a ROCKET SHIP!?!?!
I haven’t included the recipe but if anyone wants chocolate num num, I’ll post it as a follow up.
I’ll sign off with a basket of cat…
Have a nice week everyone!
Simon is 35 on Tuesday but due to our busy schedules (dahhhhhhhhlings) we had birthday cake today!
As we had a lot on this weekend Si let us off the hook as we originally were making a Necronomicon cake for him. He decided on a forêt noire to save us some time; save us some time!! Don’t think so!
We used the recipe from The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts which involved making:
- Génoise sponge
- Creme d’Or
- Kirsch syrup
- Cherry compote
- Creme Chantilly
- Tempered chocolate
Now let’s rewind back a day to the many hours of whisking, screaming, stamping and bowl licking that made us miss the Manchester Pride Parade! (the licking did help ease the pain)
Let’s come back to the hazy present (please imagine swirly sounds and smoke machine) and finishing the cake with a big fat hangover. This is why the finished product doesn’t really do justice to the work involved…I cracked the chocolate cup so lost interest, made a shitty pattern with chocolate shards so ended up literally throwing chocolate pieces at it.
Note to self: Always plan final design and don’t scratch your ass with a hand covered in melted chocolate.
So not the prettiest of the cakes we’ve made but it tasted real, real, reeeeeal good!!! (Oh GOD! The carbs! All the carbs!!!! *shouted through face full of cake*)
Annoyingly, I couldn’t get a good shot of the inside layering, in the one shot I did someone has obviously been indulging in cherries outside their slice zone!
RESPECT THE SLICE ZONE!!!
Happy Birthday Simon from all at The Wondercat Bakery!!
Really need to stop with the cakey puns…they are so not even close to funny.
Let’s try a Shakespearian cake quote instead (cheers Google University!):
Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale? (Huh? Say what Billy?)
So, this week end the boys are off to Stratford to see the RSC perform “A Midsummer Nights Dream“. They are very excited as last year the theatre was being refurbished…shiny newness this year!
In honour of the bard, we thought we’d bake something with a literary theme. So books, bit obvious, but you think of something better! 😉
Also, it’s Simon’s birthday later this month and we are planning to bake him the Necronomicon with Cthulhu tentacles wiggling around it. Book practising is therefore required…why does that word always hint toward the obvious Freudian slip? Let’s just say it out loud and get it over with: necrophilia (wah wah :$)
So, a book, just a rectangle right? Erm, NO! It got all a bit tricky and there has been screaming, crying and stamping of feet in the Wondercat Bakery…
- Making a cake look crisp and rectangular: annoying
- Making a piece of icing look like leather: difficult
- Binding cake book in icing leather: pass the smelling salts
- Blue Book= pale blue base, dry brush with royal blue, shadow with navy.
- Brown Book= khaki base, dry brush with caramel, shadow with dark brown.
I think I’m going to sit by myself with cake whilst the boys are away (they won’t be on a row boat this year after Mykie called Simon “incompetent” (he did steer them into the river bank)) and totally pretend I’m brushing up on my Shakespeare…
Well that is enough with the 1970’s slang…I had to google it, some of it seems quite recent…think we’re getting like so totally old man(?)!
So, Wondercat was asked to make a Ruby wedding anniversary cake; congratulations Sue and John!!!!
The brief was something ruby and white with text and models of the couple in their wedding ensembles!
Check out that wedding outfit!!! A-MAZE-ZING!!! I have totally fallen in love with how iconically 70’s it is! It is a skirt and jacket combo; check out the lines and the structure; check the floral head band…dreamy! I would sooooooo wear this everyday (I wonder if they do it in kitty sizes with a tail hole) and be living the dream!
We were given free reign for the design work which after leaving a rose motif on the drawing board we went for a cascade of blossom, hearts and rubies. Not to blow our own trumpet (parp) but we are really quite pleased with it.
The figurines were tough. Such teeny tiny pieces of paste to model. Very happy with the bride, her bouquet in particular; but, I think the groom isn’t up to the same level…
As it was a ruby wedding we were going to use a pink butter cream but with white icing (well the palest ivory to make to brides white outfit pop (yes we used the term “pop”(checkout the quotation marks inside brackets inside brackets, how very Inception of us (mind blown)))) it may have shown through like a black bra under a white dress…seriously, do people do this intentionally? Do they leave the house thinking “yes, underwear visible, good to go!”. You may as well just put the bra over the dress and have done with it.
Sorry, where were we? Oh yes, pink icing…we decided to use plain creamy butter icing but SURPRISE! Pink sponge! An almond/vanilla twist on red velvet! We also used our Granny Dot’s home-made blackcurrant jam as the fruit in it looked like dark little rubies (it’s all about the details…no fur coat with out knickers here!)
So, later man…Disco Sucks! (or so we are told)
Quiet Please, Tombliboos: Upsy Daisy Wants to Sing!
What is an Upsy Daisy? What is the Ninky Nonk? How many things fit in a Pinky Ponk? I think I saw an adult movie that also answered these questions…it may also have been in a garden at night.
So, I curled up on the sofa to watch the five episodes Sky+ had ready for me (I was bored anyway as Mykie no longer lets me play “catch the mouse” on the ipad as I may scratch it…who makes games for cats that involve craws on screens? Who? Whoooo?).
Right then, the Night Garden, it’s a garden…it seems really quite bright in the show…almost daytime?? By episode two I was mesmerised! Upsy Daisy is a girl/thing that likes to dance and when she’s happy erm, her skirt fills with air?!!!? In the episode we watched she couldn’t decide whether to play with a ball that bounced into her flower garden (seriously!) or sing a song…decisions, decisions!! A big hugging sesh/love-in with Iggle Piggle was called for (a blue man/blob) which ended in Upsy Daisy stuffing herself into the Ninky Nonk…I kid you not my friend…this happened!
Mykie and I both found this show totally engrossing, Simon didn’t understand how kids could be amused by a programme where nothing at all seems to happen (he didn’t see the gazebo, he would understand if he saw the gazebo).
Anyways, enough Night Garden, more cake…
We built Upsy Daisy out of, check me out, OUR OWN MEXICAN PASTE (we are pronouncing that Mehhhhhh-he-caaaaaan as we are getting down with the lingo). She was a little fiddly and getting a pose and expression that didn’t border on creepy or just plain inappropriate was tough (her arm kept drooping and ending up with her hand right in her “night garden”).
Flowers were fun to do; hello my new bff: Miss Florist Wire! The lettering worked well too! Once again this was all made from scratch including the fondant icing and the modelling pastes…my finger nails are now shades of “old skanky toenail orange” which I believe is OPI’s hot trend for late summer.
So much with the innuendo! Sorry folks…we’ll be more adult by next post (maybe)!
Well they say everyday’s a school day…welcome to the Wondercat School for Mechanics.
This post will be full of phrases and concepts that only the most senior mechanics are familiar with; you may want to be sitting down.
1) Motorbikes look different from either side
2) If you call a motorbike a “motorcycle” people will look at you strangely and realise you don’t have a clue…and are a bit gay.
So, my good friend Josie asked me to make a cake for her Dads 60th birthday. She asked for a model of her dad and a motor
cycle bike, not just any bike, a:
3) Ducati: sound it out with me, doooooooo-cat-tea.
4) Ducati’s are red.
5) You ride a motorbike, not drive.
6) Valentino Rossi
drives rides one…this is a person BTW, kinda attractive, looks a little like a baby chimp.
No problem I thought, I’ve never build anything out of gum-paste before (other than pretty flowers) but how hard can a person and a bike be? Blob here, blob there, job done!
7) Motorbikes have bits in them. The bits are called “engine”.
Note to anyone planning to start building things with paste: don’t start with a motorbike! Curves, sharp angles, structural pieces are a little challenging when working with squishy paste! Luckily, Simon is a veteran Warhammer player so is well versed in the art of model pinning and reinforcing…thanks Si, love you (I had a few Captain Janeway moments screeching about help with the “structural integrity”)!
The little trees (OK bushes or the man is a giant) are fondant rolled in crushed dry royal icing for foliage…I liked doing this bit!
Making people out of paste didn’t seem too much of an issue. A trip to Google University indicated that most are made out of blobs and look like balloon animals with stupid cartoon faces…NO! This is unacceptable! I decided to use my own method which involved building a body out of paste, rolling paste into thin sheets, cutting mini fabric clothing patterns, constructing garments over body, sculpting head, pinning head to body. I am happy with the method (though it took ages!). I think it’s something I’ll get better with the more I practice.
So here are some pictures. I make no apologies for the many shots and the schizophrenic photo editing…I bought a new camera and a pile of editing apps for ipad…I want to make use of them…deal with it.
Overall I am quite happy with it. I learned so much making the cake and enjoyed it immensely! The bike isn’t as crisp as I would have liked but as Simon said “it’s made of cake, it’s a bike of cake, it’s never going to be curved and angled to perfection, because it’s cake”. I guess I should just be happy it didn’t fall to pieces…
Praise the baby Jesus for toothpicks!