Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Harry Potter Cake!

Inspired by Bakergirl's Harry Potter post, I have decided to share with you an image of my Harry Potter themed cake.  I made it last year for my Harry Potter party; and in celebration of the "Dealthy Hallows Part II" being released I simply had to show you all!  It's made out of 2 square vanilla cakes that have been cut and shaped into my interpretation of Hagrid's hut.
I hope you all enjoy the final movie of Harry Potter! The movie was amazing; and made me realize how sad I am to now say goodbye to the magic story that JK Rowling so cleverly penned.

Ingredients for Hut
2 square vanilla cakes
2 batches of chocolate buttercream
1/2 batch of vanilla buttercream, dyed green for grass
green musk sticks for pumpkin stems
chocolate flakes to cover cabin roof and chimney
gold writing icing to draw doors and windows
+ cardboard cut outs of Hogwarts castle, and other desired characters

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tips for 3 Tiered Cake

Hello my blogging friends! The last fornight has been a whirlwind of travel, festivities and baking.  I was initially absent because I changed my blog URL which lost many of you in cyberspace!  Then, I left on my trip to Hong Kong which was then followed by celebrations for my Mother's 50th Birthday. I organized a surprise 50th party for her and had to cook many appetizers as well as this 3 tiered cake for her! Phew! I'm tired just thinking about it!

So, this post is just to say that I am definitely still here blogging and I'm sorry about my little pause. Please note that my URL is now http://www.dreamsofabaker.blogspot.com.  You may need to update your following situation for the new URL to register on your dashboards.  I look forward to hearing from you, and following your posts of course, as time goes on!

Now, I'd like to just share a few tips about icing and assembling a 3 tiered cake.  I used the following chocolate cake recipe which is enough batter for 2 cakes (click here); and the top layer of my cake was made out of this Donna Hay Vanilla Cake recipe (click here).

Ingredients
2 x chocolate cake
1 x vanilla cake
3 batches chocolate buttercream
1 x vanilla buttercream, dyed to your desired colour

Equipment
1 metal spatula
1 bowl of very hot water
1 tea towel
1 large icing bag (dyed vanilla buttercream inside) fitted with wide star nozzle
+ flowers for decoration

General Method and Tips

Place largest chocolate cake on icing board.  Dip metal spatula into bowl of hot water, wipe off water on tea towel, and then scoop up some chocolate buttercream to ice chocolate cake.  Try to use more buttercream than you need and then smooth off the excess.  The heat from the hot water will help you to create a smooth appearance.  Ice all of the cakes separately before stacking them.  Using the piping bag, pipe star shape all around the edges of each layer.  This will cover up any slightly imperfections around the bases of the cakes.  Place flowers (from garden, or edible but don't use live flowers with lots of pollen) on each layer of cake for decoration.  Chill in fridge so buttercream sets, but bring to room temperature to serve.

Design Tips
Choose a simple piping design if you are not yet confident with intricate piping.  Not only with this save you time, but will ensure that your cake looks neater and elegant.  Simple can sometimes be key.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Strawberry Kiss Cupcakes

One of my best friends is celebrating her 18th birthday this weekend; and of course, I wanted to make birthday cupcakes for her! Among her favourite ingredients are strawberries and cream, so I combined the two to create this decadent and girly cupcake.  Inside is a subtly sweet filling called Strawberries and Cream.  And these cupcakes are topped with her favourite vanilla buttercream and a pretty strawberry for decoration.  Happy Birthday Isabella!

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees (fan-forced) and prepare enough muffin trays and liners for 15 cupcakes.  Lightly beat the eggs together in a bowl, then add to the butter and sugar.  Beat together, with electric mixers, the butter, sugar and eggs until combined and creamy.  Sift the flour and pour the milk and vanilla over the top of this mixture; beat until smooth and combined.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Ingredients for Strawberry and Cream Filling
8 strawberries, hulled and washed and diced finely
200mL thickened cream
1 tbsp icing sugar

Method

Whip the thickened cream until thicker and stiff.  Incorporate icing sugar until smooth.  Fold through diced strawberries. 

Method to Fill Cupcakes
Cut round circles rougly 5cm deep into the top of the cupcakes (hollow them out).  Fill in this hole with the Stawberry and Cream filling

Ingredients for Vanilla Buttercream
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp milk
1 drop pink food colouring
+ 12 strawberry halves, leaves intact

Method
Beat the butter until smooth.  Beat in icing sugar gradually until smooth.  Beat in milk and food colouring until buttercream is smooth and spreadable and colour is even.  Place buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a wide star nozzle.  Pipe onto cakes.  Place 1 half of a strawberry on top for decoration

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