Chill and Trim buttercream straight edge cake

If you decorate cakes you are bound to be familiar with the phenomenon of the straight edge ganache Cakes to achieve a sharp edge on sugarpaste covered cakes.

Now for me I couldn’t get to grips with the two board and upside down methods so even though the edges are not as razor sharp as ganache cakes you can still acheive a nice neat edge with buttercream So below is a quick picture tutorial on how to acheive a sharp edge with no need to flip your cake.

This cake is a 10″ spiced carrot cake with fresh lemon buttercream, I’ve split the cake into three and have filled and covered with lemon buttercream so you may see lemon rind streaking the buttercream.

  • Begin with placing your cake on a thin card so you have support and a guide, apply your first crumb coat in the usual way  and chill for 10 mins. 
  • I am using a cake drum as a working board. 
  • Once chilled apply your second crumb coat but now you are aiming to create a small ridge of buttercream around the top of your cake. This will naturally occur while smoothing the sides of your cake with your cake scraper the only difference is your not scraping it away. Once again allow to chill (you can speed up the process by popping in the freezer for 5 minutes) 
  •  This is how it should look
  • Now apply another crumb coat continuing to build a ridge of buttercream around the cake. 
  • Once you are satisfied with your crumb coat you can begin to trim the edge but make sure your buttercream is nice and firm. Take a sharp knife (you can warm the blade in warm water if you wish) slowly begin to trim your buttercream edge, the blade should be flat to the top of the the cake to ensure its level  
  • Once all the edge is removed take some greaseproof paper and a cake smoother to smooth the top 
  • If there are any gaps on the top just use your palette knife to smooth and fill
  •  You have now acheived a neat straight edge    
  • Apply your sugarpaste and if you wish use Smoothers to enhance the cake edge.

I hope you will give it a try and please feel free to share.

Larkin about with Parkin

 

Yorksire Parkin
 
Have you heard of Parkin? 

I had heard of it but wasn’t exactly sure what it was, So when asked I said “is it something with fruit” but on reflection I think I was thinking of Bara Brith which is a Welsh yeast bread with dried fruit. 

Parkin is in fact one of many regional bakes originating from the north of England so being a born and bred brummie I can be forgiven for not knowing that much about it.

Anyway Parkin was bought to my attention by a man I met from Yorkshire, going to call him Mr Yorkshire who explained that Parkin is traditionally eaten around bonfire night or was it Halloween (I cannot remember) so with a bit of persuading I thought I would have ago at Larkin about with Parkin (I love a challenge, read my post about the double decker cupcake)but first I had to find a suitable recipe.

Now if your a baker or in fact if you just love to cook and if your like me when looking at a recipe I have to get a feel for the method and ingredients so I can imagine the end result.

So research I did, checked out recipe after recipe but none of them felt right. I knew the end result I wanted and what I wanted it to look like, a rich,dark and sticky cake but the ingredients for many of the Parkin recipes I came across didn’t seem quite right, too little brown sugar and treacle would give a light cake, too little ginger and it would be bland.

 Then I had a eureka moment, regional bakes, Yorkshire, it had to be Lynne hill the lady responsible for the clandestine cake club movement and also a Yorkshire woman so I knew this would be a good one.
 

http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk
 
Because if anyone was going to know how to make a good Parkin it would be Lynne, so I googled and managed to find her recipe and here it is:

http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/2013/10/29/treacle-parkin-the-yorkshire-kind/ 

The method was easy to follow and unusually contained oats which I blitzed a little more, added a little extra spice and ginger and baked it low and slow so it didn’t dry out and remained moist.

The result was delicious and the texture reminded me a little of Caribbean rum cake, quite Close in texture and spicy.

it was served the following day so it had a little time to mature but I can imagine if I left it for a day or two the flavour would be even more intense.

So time to get it tested,and happy to say Mr Yorkshire gave it a seal of approval it was was to quote “right good is that” and was served with a cup of tea, (it had to be tea) and was well received by everyone else that also managed to try it.

So come Halloween/bonfire night I will be making more Parkin for sure, and if you love ginger and spice I would recommend you treat yourself and give Lynne’s recipe ago.

 You baking a cake then?

  
We know the life of a caker is usually filled with joy, peace and harmony, early nights, spotless kitchens and immaculate Organised cake cupboards and drawers. 

Who am I kidding, The reality is a kitchen in chaos, you cannot find your favourite cake smoother, the cake is due in one day and won’t cooperate, I could go on but I won’t. So if you want to test your strength of character start baking, it’s not all sprinkles and at times you have to literally stop youself from throwing your cake in the bin, up the wall, on the floor *Delete where applicable* 

Remember Iain from The Great British bake off last year?  #BakedAlaskaGate

 

And as for poor Dorett from the first episode of this years bake off there wasn’t a person in the land that didn’t feel for her, yes this is real drama people.

  
   

But as a baking community we do tend to experience very similar things so read on whether your a baker or not, and welcome to our world.
  

1. So you walk into your local supermarket to grab some flour, enough butter to form your own EU butter mountain, eggs that make you wonder if you should consider owning chickens, and enough sugar that would make a dentist weep

 

You stand at the till and begin browsing your fb timeline to see how many likes your last cake got when you hear..

“Someone is busy you baking a cake then?”

Me-“Yes”

“You must be good then”

Me (being humble) I’m ok with a knowing wink

2. About to start baking you think you have everything, you weigh out all the ingredients and then you realise that your one egg short (What a croc)Note to self: I really do need chickens 

  

3. You go into a cold sweat when your local cake decorating shop has run out of your fave sugarpaste, you use a unfamiliar one and the cake is due in the morning, you want to have confidence in your paste and you wonder will it tear? Yep there it goes.

4. You hold your breath when delivering that stacked cake convinced it’s collaspsed in the boot of your car on what seems to be the hottest day of the year.

  

5. Can I make a cake Pop? Sure how hard can it be 4 hours later your ball of cake won’t stay on the stick I repeat it won’t stay on the stick, and as for candy melts Why, they are just adding to my torment, 

  

6. You set an alert for the great British bake off a year in advance and begin counting down the days, and then begin getting loads of messages from people telling you you should be on there.

  

7. You detest washing up and don’t have the space for a dish washer, then you need you mixing bowl for one last cake and run out of washing up liquid, Noooooooooooooo (thank god for late night shopping)

  

8. At cake International you try to convince yourself one more cutter won’t hurt,  of course I’ll use it ,oh and I really need that sparkly ribbon, the extra set of cake tins, well you just never know

9. Your covered cake is looking gorgeous, smooth, sharp and then you rotate it, and looking back at you is an air bubble so big  its like a wind machine when you pop it and the air escaping whispers “I’ll be back” terminator style.

  

10. You go to bed at 2am and get up at 6am to find your sugarpaste model has collapsed and the terminator air bubble has reappeared. You want to cry, sod it you cry anyway while stomping round the kitchen mumbling to yourself how much you hate HATE air bubbles and sugarpaste.

12. That tumbleweed moment when you check your email and don’t get a response from the quote you managed to spend hours working on as the cake was “Urgent”

  
 

13. You decide to try the upside down inside out back to front method to acheive that sharp edge and end up with a cake just right for the cake wreck website

  

14. You forgot to start the mixer on slow resulting in an icing sugar tornado 

  
  
15. And my all time fave, 

Phone rings

“You need the cake for when”

“Tomorrow”

Cue hysterical laughter 

  
Yes everyone may think it’s super glam but it’s hard work, challenging, stressful (there’s a reason people cry on bakeoff)  but it’s not always tears and tantrums, those that do bake LOVE IT , we love creating edibles pieces of art for our customers and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

So saluting my baking community we really do make life sweet.

  

On the Road

 Since I’m still juggling my two worlds of working as an events and hospitality manager and being a part time Cake entrepreneur my time is so precious that I don’t always get the most amount of time to do the things I like to do.

So I have to sneak as much into a day as I can, i.e go to the gym before work, (not always successful in this) catch up on a good book by reading in the bath, dance salsa at the weekends instead of weekdays (you get the picture)
And because my business operates from home I seem to spend as much time delivering cakes as I do baking and decorating them

For example One Christmas it was the only time I got to sit down (true story)

So I like to deliver my cake orders as opposed to have them collected because I like to think it’s a nice bit of customer service to deliver a cake even though at times it can be time consuming .

One day I will actually get round to outsourcing my deliveries but you know what it’s like handing over a decorated cake for someone else to deliver it’s just not that easy to say goodbye.

So since i can spend a bit of time  on the road i need to make it enjoyable and one of the things I like to do is indulge in listening to a podcast. It’s a bit of a distraction from cakes plus I love listening to interesting content.
I actually feel like I’m a podcast geek and sing their praises to all that will listen.

I love them cause they are free to listen to,you can download them on to your fancy phone or device, you get to subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode ,seriously what’s not to love. Strangely though I cannot find many cakey related ones, (if you know of any let me know) I did actually think about creating one myself but Sadly I just don’t have the time, so feel free to share your recommendations with me at the end of this post or if you decide to start a cakey podcast.


So my love affair with podcast really began with listening to Serial, its based on a true story that unfolds week by week. I caught it a few weeks after it began broadcasting so I was able to catch up in real time, I won’t disclose to much about the story line but its well worth a listen and quite addictive.

Below are a few more podcast I like to listen to.

This American life is from the same people who created Serial and is a public radio show that has over 2 million listening in, its usually one theme and the stories told are based around that theme
  #AskGaryVee is my latest obsession, tweet him a question about marketing, social media and entrepreneurship and if he likes it he will answer them on his Showwwwww but he is full on and a bit loud but i like his energy and what he has to say.

Big me up Media is another newbie podcast that i have begun subscribing to and I also follow Yvonne Radley on Facebook, her, podcast are based around gaining more clients for your business


If you like scary tales you will enjoy Lore, Aaron Mahnke is an author who uncovers the history behind spooky happenings and stories.


Criminal is an interesting one as its not about in your face crime but rather stories of people who have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, have been wronged or done wrong


Ted Talks is the most eclectic mix of speakers you could ever get to listen too, i have listened to podcast on sleep, on sampling with Mark Ronson, being creative, whatever your into there is a ted talk that appeals to you


Food 52 present a podcast called Burnt toast, (follow their instagram you will drool) they talk about all things relating to food culture, cooking and foodie debate.

Its certainly an eclectic mix but when you’re driving and don’t fancy listening to the radio a podcast can be good company.

So do you listen to any podcast? If so feel free to share your latest finds.

Eton Mess Roulade


its a given that you can buy almost anything all year round, our fresh fruit and vegetables are no longer restricted to the seasons, but even so I like to buy fresh fruit in the season it belongs, rhubarb in spring, strawberries and raspberries in summer and it’s especially nice to buy British strawberries in the height of summer with their distinctive Fragrance, sweetness and flavour.

So with this abundance of fresh summer fruit I decided to tweak one of my favourite summer desserts Eton Mess and convert into a summer roulade (Swiss roll).

I’ve also made a bigger version of the cake but used buttercream, fresh raspberries and strawberriesn and covered in meringue.

The Roulade is made with a Genoese sponge which is a fat free sponge whereby the air is added to the cake by the whisking of the eggs and sugar.

So if you want to give this ago the ingredients and method are below.

Equipment needed

  • Baking tray approx 15″x10″
  • Grease proof paper
  • Food mixer
  • Spatula/palette knife

Ingredients

  • 8 large eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • Double cream enough for the inside and outside approx 430 ml
  • Fresh raspberries and strawberries
  • Vanilla essence
  • A little extra sugar to sweeten the cream and the cooled roulade
  • Meringue nest

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 220c/gas mark 7
  • Line the baking tray with greaseproof paper, then lay a large piece of greaseproof on your counter dusted with caster sugar.
  • Using the mixer whisk the eggs until light and fluffy and then add the sugar a little at a time and continue to whisk until the mixture has doubled in volume
  • When fully whisked the mixture will fall in a ribbon type consistency 
  • Then carefully fold in the flour, and when just mixed add the mixture to the baking tray, use a palette knife to smooth the top and then bake for approx 5-10 minutes, when touched the cake should spring back.
  • Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly then tip the cake onto the sugar covered greaseproof and allow to fully cool
  • In the meantime whip the double cream with vanilla and a little caster sugar until whipped 
  • Wash and slice fruit
  • Cover the roulade with cream and add the fruit
  • Then carefully roll up the roulade using the greaseproof as a lever
  • When rolled remove greaseproof paper, cover in more cream and then cover the roulade in crushed meringue        

You can make other variations of Genoese sponge such as chocolate as well as other flavoured centres.

I hope you give it ago and enjoy the roulade. 

Baking it’s good for the soul 

I don’t know what it is but I find baking so relaxing and in fact I believe it’s good for the soul.

I bake because it’s my business but actually I bake because I love it.I find it therapeutic and love the end result, i always get a little rush of adrenaline when i take that perfect bake out of the oven, and mutter to myself “now that’s a sexy bake”

And it is often said baking is a science closely related to chemistry in fact its basically chemistry you can eat. You see i believe anyone can bake and the reason some people believe they cannot is in my opinion that they either skip a process or don’t weigh anything, you cannot just throw ingredients together, you have to carefully weigh your ingredients, beat, fold,whisk, be gentle or knead to within an inch of your life so whether its bread, pastry,or cakes be patient and you will get the perfect result and it is this that is the therapeutic part for me. When i am cake decorating i can find utter tranquility with the most mundane of repetitive task.

Mary Berry once said. “It is not just indulging in the end results – the cake, the biscuits, the scones – that helps to brighten up a blue day, but the therapeutic process itself”.

But it doesn’t stop there,baking and its ability to bring calm to an otherwise busy and hectic day has shown to contribute to better mental health.

John Waite (remember him) he was the winner of the third series of the Great British bake off in 2012 was diagnosed with manic depression and found that baking helped him to manage his condition.

When I’m in the kitchen, measuring the amount of sugar, flour or butter I need for a recipe or cracking the exact number of eggs – I am in control. That’s really important as a key element of my condition is a feeling of no control.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23756645

With this organisations were set up who realised the process of baking can really help so many people and the most well known must be the Depressed cake shop.

I had heard of the Depressed Cake shop a few years ago when i saw grey cakes, macarons, cupcakes with grey buttercream  popping up on Facebook timeline, how very depressing (i thought) but that’s the idea, the grey cakes were used to raise awareness of mental health, Depression and mental health issues through the restorative powers of cake and baking.  http://depressedcakeshop.org/about/,

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images from http://depressedcakeshop.org/gallery/

The Depressed Cake Shop ran a series of pop-up cake stalls across the country  that sold only grey cakes. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23756645 sometimes with an array of colour made visible when you cut into the cake. and was a really excellent way to portray how people feel with mental health issues (grey)

Melanie Denyer is the  the host of London’s Depressed Cake Shop in Brick Lane, and says the success of the event was phenomenal.

“For a lot of us involved in this project, mental illness and baking are linked. A lot of us turn to baking when we’re feeling low. Some of us even started baking because they were ill and needed something simple as a focus. And there is genuinely something very therapeutic about baking.

But in general people love to get there bake on, nearly every year when the new series of great British bake off begins sales of baking equipment goes through the roof,

Tesco homebaking buyer Darren Atherton added: ‘The Great British Bake Off is the biggest thing to have happened to homebaking since cake mixes first appeared nearly half a century ago and has inspired a whole new generation of younger bakers.’

But according to retail analyst Mintel  sales of manufactured cakes have dropped because many of us are making our own.

Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2739845/Great-British-Bake-Off-helps-fuel-62-leap-sales-baking-goods-2007.html#ixzz3bqXHHpjj

and the popularity of the baking gatherings such as the Clandestine cake club  http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/ proves this.

started by Lynn hill the clandestine cake club is a world wide phenomenon with over 200 clubs in the UK and international clubs from Argentina to the USA. The meetings are always held in secret locations only known to members and the only rules are no Cupcakes or brownies but you  go along with your cake, a spare tub and an empty stomach,chat,eat cake with like minded people. sounds like loads of fun.

So the next time you have had one of those days, get the scales out and get your bake on, i bet you will be hooked.