Category Archives: I Baked…

Waste not, want not

When leaving my last job, they gifted me with a beautiful big bouquet of pink blooms!

It coincided with a cake order for my church’s 130th anniversary, so me not wanting to waste such pretty flowers, and also wanting to save time, I decorated my cakes with them!

Thriftiness at its finest

The flavours included, chocolate cake with chocolate icing, and vanilla icing on the outside. And banana cake filled with caramel pastry cream. Decorated with meringue kisses, piping detail, and of course blooms 😍

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Cookie Pie

For those days where rolling 20 or so individual cookies seems too arduous a task, a cookie pie may be the answer!

Pressing the whole dough into a cake tin and baking it straight away makes the path to getting diabetes more efficient.

And as it has been requested as birthday cakes this year by my nearest and dearest, I give full permission to also call it a cookie cake. Whichever name you use, I'm sure it will go down a treat!

Terribly satisfying, and also hugely indulgent, a slice of warm cookie pie served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream can satisfy the sweetest of cravings for all things comforting.

American Campfire meets French Pastries

Being a kiwi, the idea of an American campfire with smores, is the stuff of childhood dreams (fuelled by television's portrayal of what Americans ideally do).

So every winter, out would come the skewers and the marshmallows, and as we carefully held our safe end of the stick the marshmallow slowly roasted in the fireplace. Many a cold winter's night was spent toasting the outer layer of these sugary delights, and my goodness were the Americans onto something great!

The crispy caramelisation and burnt bits, combined with the gooey molten centre is what I wanted to recreate from Adriano Zumbo's recipe for Toasted Marshmallow Macarons.

I toasted a tray of marshmallows in the oven on grill, and let the sweltering heat emulate a fireplace, (that my current flat does not have). Out came a giant cloud of toasted marshmallow mass. This was whipped into a healthy amount of creamed butter in addition to creme patissiere – as if this recipe couldn't get any better 😍 this is then piped between two French Macarons and left to mature in the fridge overnight.

I know I said in a previous post that English Coconut Macaroons are my favourite out of these two cousins, but this filling may just tip the scale 😉

Until next time,
Happy baking (and eating!)

The Humble and Sweet Cousin

Since the popularity of the French Macaron has surged in recent times, the humble, and always dependable, British Coconut Macaroon has become somewhat of a background noise.

Have people forgotten its ease of making, its reliability to never disappoint on the feet (coz lets face it, they ain’t getting any!), the always sure to please the masses dish, with minimal stress? I must admit that I did, for a little bit. But don’t worry I found my affinity for them once more, when I made some at work for petit fours, last year. And boy am I glad that I did!

To be honest, I kinda do love this scrawny mountain of chewy coconut goodness, more so than its French counterpart. It’s unassuming appearance hiding all that glorious dense cloud of white coconut meringue, it’s an experience to say the least.

I did, however, jazz these macaroons up with a little drizzle of dark chocolate and a crowning of freeze dried raspberries. They added a perfect balance of bitterness and tartness to the sweetness of the macaroon (can I just say macaroon-ness).

And while it’s French cousin is basking in the limelight, I am hoping these humble and sweet relatives will make a come-back!

Layers

Winter time calls for finding your gloves and the collection of knitted jumpers that you have hidden away from the sweltering Summer sun. As much as I love to layer my Winter outfits with thermals, shirts, jumpers, leggings, tights, and jackets, topped off with a scarf (of course!), this post is about cake, my other love.

Layers upon layers of cake.

Before I start to design a cake, I think of flavour combinations that I love to eat. For example I love white chocolate together with coconut, lemon, blueberries, and cardamom. It sounds weird, but trust me, it works.

It’s not only layers of cake and ganache filling, but it’s layers of flavours that work harmoniously together, that just belong. Each on their own being delicious, that somehow become even more so when all is tasted in one bite.

It’s like layering your Winter thermals, each is warm on their own, but when layered with others, it gets even warmer! (Yes, I do realise I am comparing a delicious cake flavour profile to being warm in Winter, but I think you get my drift!)

So once I have the flavour profile, I think about how to incorporate them into cake form. Like what can be the cake, and what flavours will be in the filling, and what can be used in the decorations and also what can add a textural element.

For this sweet creation, I thought about combining flavours into each element. So for the cake part I combined lemon and blueberries; for the filling I infused the white chocolate ganache with cardamom pods (which I removed once imparted its aroma), and then I toasted desiccated coconut to sprinkle in between the layers, and as a decoration on top (along with some pretty Pansy flower petals). And for added crunch, I sprinkled some white chocolate crispy pearls, they finish off the look perfectly.

This rustic and wholesome beauty is all you need to warm you up from the insides, on a cold Winter’s day; and don’t worry about the calories, let the thermals, jumpers, and jackets hide the extra layers of love you put inside of you!

Happy eating!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Is there anything more synonymous with the simple pleasure of home baking, than the humble chocolate chip cookie?

For some, it is their entry into the sugary scented baking world, where they experience the unadulterated wonder of the chocolate chips still in it’s melted and gooey state, ready to be savoured and devoured in a matter of seconds.

Speckled and dotted with little nuggets of chocolate that each burst at their seams with melted goodness; Chocolate chips is where it’s at for comforting food that never fails to perfectly decorate brown sugar cookie dough.