Friday, 5 August 2011

There is No Way that I am Kissing a Frog and Eating a Bug on the Same Day!

Disney Classic # 49 - The Princess and the Frog



Originally I had planned to make a nice tiered cake for The Princess and the Frog, both because I saw this gorgeous snow-globe cake which inspired me, and because I thought it would be a good idea to practice my stacking and icing technique. However, around March time I was reading Cake Wrecks and came across this post, which introduced my to the spectacle that is King Cake. I thought King Cake sounded fantastic, thought I could make much less of a wreck of it than this bakery (although mine did end up sort of resembling a giant croissant!?) and being a Mardi Gras dish it fit in nicely with the movie. So that's what I went with.



I used the recipe I found here - simply because it had the nicest looking photo I could find!

Prep time: around 2 hours 30 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Makes 12-14 slices

Ingredients:

For the cake:
15g active dry yeast (about 2 sachets)
100g granulated sugar
235ml milk
115g butter
5 egg yolks
500g bread flour
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon

For the filling:
250g cream cheese
100g icing sugar

For the topping:
250g icing sugar
30ml lemon juice
15ml milk
90g granulated sugar
Purple, yellow and green food colouring.

  1. Warm up the milk in a large bowl, then stir in the yeast and sugar until dissolved. Leave to stand for around 10 minutes. Meanwhile melt the butter over a gentle heat. Once the milk and yeast mixture is creamy, stir in the egg yolks and the melted butter.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon into a separate bowl to combine. Beat the milk/egg mixture into the flour mixture a little at a time until the dough pulls together.
  3. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and supple. Place the dough into a large bowl and drizzle a little oil over it. Turn the dough over in the bowl to coat in the oil, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and put in a warm place to rise for 2 hours.
  4. When the 2 hours is almost up, prepare the filling by whipping the cream cheese and icing sugar together until smooth and creamy. Grease and line a baking sheet and a clean, empty tin can.
  5. After 2 hours resting the dough should be almost doubled in size. Tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a rectangle. Spread the filling over the centre of the dough then fold it so that the two long edges meet. Seal all of the edges then shape the dough into a long cylinder and place on the baking sheet seam side down (if you're going to include an inedible plastic baby, now's the time to push it into your dough!) Place the tin can in the centre of the sheet and form the dough into a ring around it. Cover the cake with the damp cloth and leave to rest in a warm place for a further 30 mins.
  6. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. After 30 minutes the dough should have doubled in size again. Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before remove the can from the centre of the cake. Leave to cool completely.
  7. Whilst cooling, prepare the topping; mix together the icing sugar, milk and lemon juice in a small bowl until well combined, and put to one side until ready to use. Put 30 grams of granulated sugar into each of three food bags, and add a drop of food colouring to each. Seal the bags and then, one at a time, rub the food colouring into the sugar until an even tone is reached.
  8. Once the cake has cooled completely spread the topping over it and allow it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle the coloured sugars onto the cake in alternating stripes. Cut into slices and serve with a cuppa! (And remember, whoever gets the baby has to make the next King Cake!)


Next time it's the 50th and final (so far) Disney Classic, Tangled, and I'll by making and baking two goodies to mark the occasion!

Happy Thoughts
x

Saturday, 30 July 2011

More Excuses...

I'm really very sorry that I've fallen behind on the posts again. I'm using all the same excuses as before, in addition to the fact that I'm completely rubbish.

I am, as we speak, baking for Tangled... so I'll try to type that up at the same time as typing The (very delayed) Princess and the Frog...

Until then...
Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

That Meat Lover's Pizza is NOT Loving Me Back

Disney Classic # 48 - Bolt

Again I apologise for the (lack of) Quality of these photos - my camera was still in for repair :-(


As a complete side note... WOW! I honestly cannot believe we've made it this far! After Bolt there are only two more to go, then there will be a Disney Movie and cake shaped hole in my heart! It has been rather a long time coming though... don't you think?

Anyways, Bolt was the final of the list that I hadn't cared to watch before, but the premise behind the choice of baked goods was simple enough. Bolt is a film about a dog (named Bolt) and dogs have a baked treat of their very own... Doggy Biscuits!




My aunty, a couple of my cousins and by brother all used to eat Boneos. Like actual Boneos intended for a dog. It really grossed me out. But anyways, I wanted to create something that looked like a doggy biscuit, but that was suitable for human consumption (and preferably tasty, too!) So I ran a Google search for "Doggy Biscuits for People" and this was the first site that came up.

Yes - it is a website for Dog Biscuits recipes, for dogs. But the recipe I based my doggy biscuits on is the one called "Peanut Butter Dog People Biscuits".  A recipe for dogs AND people... or at least that's how I chose to look at it. I figured there was nothing in the recipe that I wouldn't normally put in a biscuit (flour, oats, peanut butter, honey... all seemed fairly standard to me!) and besides, I made (and we ate) bacon cupcakes for Angel's birthday a few weeks ago. If we can eat cupcakes that contain bacon, then we can eat biscuits containing biscuit-y things, even if they were intended for dogs.

To make them more appetising, more people friendly and completely unsuitable for doggy consumption, I decided to add a layer of peanut butter and cover the whole thing in chocolate. Because, even though I am distinctly not American, I can only agree that everything tastes better with added peanut butter and chocolate.

Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Makes 48 cookies

Ingredients:

For the biscuits:
180g plain flour
30g rolled oats
75g crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp honey
1 medium egg
drop of vanilla extract
30g shortening

For the topping:
400g milk chocolate
50g shortening
100g crunchy peanut butter
250g icing sugar
milk, as required

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Place all of the biscuit ingredients in a large bowl and beat until a dough is formed.
  3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes. Place these on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Place on a rack to cool. (You may need to bake these in batches.)
  4. One cool, melt 100g of the chocolate. Dip the bottom of each biscuit into the chocolate and place back onto the tray, chocolate side up, to set.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the peanut butter frosting: place the shortening and peanut butter into a bowl and beat until combined. Add the icing sugar and beat well. Add a little milk if the frosting becomes too think. place the frosting into a piping bag.
  6. One the chocolate on the biscuits has set, turn them over to be chocolate side down. Pipe peanut butter frosting onto each biscuit, trying to maintain the bone shape. Melt the remaining chocolate and spoon over the top of the biscuits and frosting. Leave to set for another 5-10 minutes and then serve!




The next time we're watching The Princess and the Frog, and I'll be paying baked homage to New Orleans/mardi gras by baking a king cake, (complete with an inedible baby!)

Happy Thoughts
x

Monday, 18 July 2011

Excuses...

I'm really, really sorry that I haven't posted for a while...

You see what happened was my dad went out to a science fair, but took a wrong turning and ended up as a prisoner in an enchanted castle, and when I went to find him I decided to take his place, and... no wait, that wasn't me.

What actually happened was that I fell in love. With a Prince. Only I had to make a pact with a sea witch in which I exchanged my voice for a pair of legs and spent the last few days loitering about town trying to get the Prince to kiss me, but then the sea witch started playing dirty and... no wait, that wasn't me either.

If you've read a lot of this blog you'll probably know that I spent a lot of time last year in and out of hospital, and a lot more time feeling really sorry for myself being in and out of hospital. And that's kinda the reason why I've been so slack with this blog recently - not because I've been back in hospital, oh no, I'm steering well clear of that place this summer. But because I felt like I missed out on so much last year that I'm really trying to make up for it this year by saying YES to every social event I'm invited to (unless I'm already doing something equally social that day) - the problem being that doing stuff takes time. So much time. And you know what else takes time... work. Plus I'm taking advantage of physically being able to do stuff again and trying to regain some level of fitness by exercising 3 evenings a week. And I don't mean exercise like having a go on the wii fit, I mean exercise like physically going to the gym and swimming half a mile or spending an hour jumping around like a loony (I LOVE Zumba!), and unfortunately, that also takes time.

So between working full time, exercising and being overly sociable, I simply haven't had the time to myself to sit down and type up the blog posts for the past couple of cakes. And for that I apologise - despite all of that prattle above, the only excuse I really have is that I AM MEGA LAME!

But I have a bit of time tonight (after making dinner and before going swimming...!) so I'll get to typing - the Bolt post will be with you on Wednesday, and The Princess and the Frog with you the following Wednesday. There may be a little break between that and Tangled, because of various people being away we've had to change Disney Night from being a weekly thing to being a "when most people are in the country" thing. But I promise I'll get the Tangled post to you as soon as I'm able to, and definitely before 16th August (when I take my own holiday! woop!)

So, my friends, until Wednesday... Happy Thoughts!
x

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I Have a Big Head and Little Arms

Disney Classic # 47 - Meet the Robinsons


Note: I apologise for the quality of the photographs on this and the next post. My camera died and was sent in for repair so I was using my phone/Angel's phone camera. Sorry!
Meet the Robinsons was another of the Disney films released in the 2000s which I hadn't seen before, so it's not surprising it ended up being the last movie I came up with an idea for. And to be honest, I didn't really come up with the idea. How it happened:

Scene: My living room, Fantasia 2000 Disney Night, sitting drinking tea before the film starts.
Me: OK guys, before I start the film I really need your help. I've now got ideas for all but one of the films, but I cannot for the life of me think of a cake to make for Meet The Robinsons
Craig: I've not seen it...
Me: Neither have I!
Mike: What about a T-Rex cake?
Me: Is there a T-Rex in the film?
Mike and Angel: Yup
Me: OK, fantastic, T-Rex cake it is!




So, with a lot of help from Angel, I set out to build a t-rex out of Rice Krispies, marshmallows and chocolate! We started off by building a skeleton out of cake dowels, which we were very pleased with!




Unfortunately, the day that we were making this cake was the hottest day since records began* so our marshmallow krispie Dino body wouldn't stick to the skeleton or set!

* Not based on any actual records, but on the fact that it was so hot that we almost forgot we were in the UK and wonder when and how we'd reached Africa. Seriously... it was THAT hot.

So we moved on to plan number two - truffle-rex! The truffle initially worked MUCH better than the krispies, until we added the torso, which was much too heavy for the frame and our poor Dino went extinct once more.




So we decided to have one last attempt - again we turned to the Rice Krispies, but this time we ditched the skeleton and decided to mould/model each body part, wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge to set. Once all of our Dino-parts were completely set we would just construct them using cake wire and cocktail sticks and hey presto... we'd have our T-Rex!



And this one almost, almost worked. Our only problem was that once the firm Dino-parts left the fridge for 30 seconds, they completely melted and were firm no more...


Angel didn't know whether to laugh or cry


So when watching Meet the Robinsons we ate chocolate Rice Krispies chunks and truffles and sighed at our lack of dinosaur. I let out another sigh when I realised that had I watched the film before I could and would have made a PBJ based dessert... considering that's Lewis' thing.

Anyways, when it came to writing the blog (the day after our Dino-disaster) I decided that I didn't work so damn hard to find a dessert for every Disney Classic so far to then churn out a dessert-less post for number 47... so I decided to make some PBJ sandwiches - cake style! (Which would be served when we met to watch Bolt... a bit of a peanut-butter overload but tasty nonetheless!)

I decided to make Angel food cake for the sponge, as the colour and consistency looks more like bread than normal vanilla sponge, and used a recipe found here. The "jelly" part of my sandwich was a simple layer of mixed fruit jam, and I made peanut-butter frosting by using my standard butter-cream recipe, but substituting the butter for 1/2 peanut-butter and 1/2 shortening. (My rational for this was that peanut-butter is runnier than normal butter, but shortening is stiffer, so combining the two in theory should leave me with a similar consistency the butter-cream... it made sense in my head and worked in practise so all good!)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10
Ingredients:

60g plain flour
190g caster sugar
6 medium egg whites
half teaspoon of cream of tartar
half teaspoon of vanilla extract
half teaspoon of lemon juice
2 tbsp mixed fruit jam
50g shortening
100g crunchy peanut butter
250g icing sugar
Milk, as required

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a square baking pan with greaseproof paper (but do not grease!)
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in half of the sugar, set to one side.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until thick and fluffy. Add the remaining sugar to the egg white a little at a time, beating continuously until the mixture is glossy.
  4. Fold in the lemon juice, vanilla and flour mixture, then pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until springy. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  5. Whilst cooling, prepare the peanut butter frosting. In a large bowl, beat together the shortening and peanut butter. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined, adding as much milk as required to reach the desired consistency.
  6. Once cooled, cut the cake in half down the middle. Spread the jam over one of the halves and place the other sponge half on top. Spread a generous amount of peanut butter frosting over the top of the cake, cut into fingers slices and serve!



Next time we're watching Bolt, and I'll be making some doggy biscuits!

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

And for the Record, I've Always Hated Your Choreography. It's so... 80's

Disney Classic # 46 - The Wild


The Wild was another movie which I'd never seen (and now wish that I hadn't!) so rather than come up with an ingenious plan for a dessert... I decided to go with the obvious: Animal Crackers, (or animal shaped biscuits, as it turned out!)

Looking at the DVD cover, I saw that there was a lion, a giraffe, an alligator, a koala, a snake and a squirrel... so when I found a packet of Animal Safari Cookie Cutters from the Natural History Museum containing lion, giraffe and alligator cookie cutters, I thought I was on to a winner.


Now I'm sure I could be forgiven for thinking that the recipe on the back of the packet would be a recipe for the sort of cookie dough that would maintain it's shape once baked - it really didn't. I think I managed to get one or two biscuits in each shape which looked the way they were supposed to, but most of the cookies just ended up looking like misshapen blobs. So much so that half way through baking I gave up with the cookie cutters and just rolled the dough into balls to make nice round biscuits. Both the blobs and the round biscuits tasted delicious! Anyways, this was the recipe from the back of the packet (I substituted the orange juice for lemon juice, as that's all I had in!)


Prep time: 20 mins plus 3 hours chill time
Cook time: 10-12 minutes per batch
Makes around 40 biscuits of various shapes/sizes
Ingredients:
225g butter
200g granulated sugar
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons orange juice (I used lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
285g plain flour

  1. Using an electric mixer, mix together the butter, sugar, egg, baking powder, orange juice and vanilla extract until fluffy, then gradually stir in the flour by hand until well mixed.
  2. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, remove the dough from the clingfilm and knead slightly until ready to roll out.
  4. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  5. Roll out the dough a little at a time (I did mine in 4 batches) until about half a cm thick. Cut shapes out with your cutters, and place on the baking tray. (Alternatively, it you're making round biscuit, roll the dough into smallish balls and place on a baking tray. Flatten slightly with your fingers, making sure to leave plenty of space between each ball for the dough to spread.)
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray slightly before transferring to a wire wrack to cool.
  7. Laugh manically as you bite off each animal's head. Mwahahaha!
Next time we're watching Meet the Robinsons, and we'll be making a group attempt at building Tiny the T-Rex out of Rice Krispies, marshmallows and chocolate!!.

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Mom! You Leave Barbra Out of This!!

Disney Classic # 45 - Chicken Little



I'd never watched Chicken Little before, because, frankly, it looked like poo. Anyway, that meant that I had no idea of what to do for a cake, so eventually I decided to work on the chicken/egg link. I'd originally decided to make a yummy egg custard tart, like this, but then I came across these Creme Egg Cupcakes, which looked and sounded amazing.

And so I had a dilemma.

I figured both were equally related to Chicken Little (working with the whole chicken/egg thing) but I really couldn't decide. I love egg custard tarts, and it would be interesting to make one, but the cupcakes have creme egg filling frosting on them. Alex suggested the custard tart, as I make cupcakes often and so that would bring a bit of variety to the mix... but the cupcakes have creme egg filling frosting on them.

Anyway, long story short I put it to the vote and the Creme Egg cupcakes won... mmm mmmm mmmm!



Prep time: 20 mins (plus around an hour for preparing the creme eggs!)
Cook time: 18 minutes
Makes 12 Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cakes:
65g Cocoa powder
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
60 ml water
60ml milk
75g butter
150g granulated sugar
1 medium egg

For the Creme Egg frosting:
10 creme eggs
200g butter
500g icing sugar
splash of milk
Tip: putting the creme eggs into the freezer an hour before use makes them much easier to handle!
  1.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a bowl and put to one side. In a second bowl or jug, mix together the water and milk.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and beat until combined.
  4. Stir half of the dry ingredients mixture into the butter and sugar, then add the milk and water, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, beating until combined between each addition.
  5. Spoon 2tsps of the mixture into each cupcake case and bake for 15-20mins until firm and spongy. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Carefully halve the creme eggs and scoop out the centres. Put the creme egg halves and the creme egg filling to one side. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until soft, then add the icing sugar gradually whilst continuously beating. One a smooth, silky consistency is reached, beat in the creme egg filling, adding a splash of milk to the mixture if it needs to be thinned. Put half of the mixture down one side of a piping bag, and colour the other half of the icing orange before place down the other side of the piping bag.
  7. Once the cakes have cooled pipe a swirl of frosting onto them, and then place one of the creme egg shell halves on the top.
  8. Stuff one in your mouth and smile!



Next time we're watching The Wild, and I'll be making animal crackers.

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I Think These Cows Got it in for Me!

Disney Classic # 44 - Home on the Range




Home on the Range starts the series of Disney films that I hadn't seen before now, and I've got to tell you that coming up for a dessert idea based on a film that you have never seen is bloody difficult, so you'll have to forgive me if the next few cakes don't really add up. This idea came to me in a random burst of inspiration, the title, "Home on the Range" as a Wild West-ern ring to it, in the Wild West they had wagons, and wagons had wheels. Therefore for this movie's cake I planned to replicate as best I could the biscuity marshmallow goodness of a Wagon Wheel.


Now originally I'd planned to do this by baking a chocolate cake, covering it in home made marshmallow, and covering that in chocolate. But my better half Alex protested "that's not what a Wagon Wheel is like!" he said, and then went to the shop and bought me one to prove it. He was right, of course. The Wagon Wheel was in fact more biscuit-y than cake-y, and the marshmallow was sandwich between two biscuits. I think I was thinking of a Tea Cake. Anyhow, after eating half a Wagon Wheel (Al had the other half) I re thunk the recipe in my head.




I kind of made this one up as I went along, but took inspiration from recipes here and here, although I have to admit I messed with the quantities somewhat.
Prep time: 20 mins
Chill time: 2 hours minimum
Serves: 12

Ingredients:

175g milk chocolate
200g dark chocolate
300g Rich Tea biscuits
150g butter
pinch of salt
4tbsp caster sugar
3tbsp cocoa powder
4tbsp golden syrup
50ml boiling water
1tsp vanilla extract
1 sachet gelatin powder (around 10g)
100ml cold water
200g granulated sugar
1 egg white

  1. Line 2 cake tins with cling film, and a third with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle a little icing sugar or cornflour over the greaseproof paper.
  2. Break 75g of milk chocolate and 100g dark chocolate into a bowl and melt, either in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water. Put to one side. Blitz the Rich Tea biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs, again put to one side. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat, then add the pinch of salt, sugar, cocoa powder and golden syrup. Stir until all the ingredient have dissolved then remove from the heat. Pour the melted chocolate into the mixture and stir until well combined. Pour the chocolate mixture into the biscuit crumbs and mix well. divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins lined with cling film and pressed down with the back of the a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and gelatin to the boiling water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved, put to one side. Place the cold water and the sugar in a heavy based pan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar as dissolved. Stop stirring and increase the heat, and leave the sugar to bubble until it reaches 122°C. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin. Beat the egg white until stiff, then slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg white whilst still beating. Pour the marshmallow into the cake tin lined with greaseproof paper and leave to set for at least two hours.
  4. Once everything has set, melt the remaining chocolate and leave to cool slightly. Turn out one of the biscuit-cakes and place it on a serving board. Turn the marshmallow layer out on top of this, and carefully peel the greaseproof paper from the marshmallow.Turn the remaining biscuit-cake out and place it on top of the marshmallow. Spread the cooled, melted chocolate over the top and sides of the cake and leave to set.
  5. Cut into slices and enjoy!



Next time it's Chicken Little, and I'll be making some Eggs-celent cupcakes!

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Well Gee, eh, You're One Big Beaver

Disney Classic # 43 - Brother Bear

 

So originally I was thinking I could sorta maybe try an Inuit recipe, and that yes, it may be a little unusual, but it has been fun trying out recipes I usually wouldn't throughout the Disney movie nights, so I went ahead a did a google search for "Inuit dessert". It turns out that there aren't many Inuit desserts, but one that did crop up every so often was Akutaq, or Eskimo ice-cream. "Perfect!" I thought, as I opened the recipe.

I'm sorry to say that I absolutely draw the line at serving and/or eating whipped reindeer fat and seal oil. Besides, I struggle to find simple things like shortening, pumpkins and hominy here in Cambridge - where on earth does one even buy reindeer fat (from the back) and seal oil?? So Akutaq was a complete no-go.

I tried to have a think about other aspects of the movie, and thought for a while about doing some sort of salmon cake (relating to the bears' time at the Salmon Run), but then I thought about my favourite scene from the film, when Kenai and Koda are looking at a cave painting of a human hunter and a bear, and Koda says "Those monsters are real scary" and Kenai looks at the painting of the bear but then Koda continues "Especially with those sticks" and the Kenai looks at the picture again and starts to see that from the bear's perspective the humans are the monsters, and not the bears as he had originally thought. Basically this scene:




So I decided to decorate a cake using that scene as my inspiration. I've made a lot of vanilla cakes and very few chocolate cakes throughout this series, so I figured I'd make a nice white chocolate cake underneath all of my pretty decoration, with the same yummy chocolate frosting I'd made last week for Treasure Planet (original recipe found here.)


Prep time: 20 mins (including frosting)
Cook time: 40 mins
Makes 12 slices
Ingredients:

For the cake:
300g margarine
300g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
300g self raising flour
200g white chocolate

For the frosting:

120 ml milk
2 tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
120g dark chocolate
100g butter
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For decoration:
300g ready to roll white icing
Brown food colouring
1tsp icing sugar
Drop of vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, and grease a round baking tin.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then put to one side to cool slightly.
  3. Beat the margarine and caster sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the melted, cooled white chocolate to the mixture and fold in gently, before tipping in the flour. Continue to fold until all the ingredients combine to a smooth mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tine and bake for 40 minutes, until the cake is springy to touch, or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Whilst the cake is cooling, prepare the decorations. To make the frosting, whisk the milk, flour and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture thickens. Place this into a small bowl to cool. Melt the chocolate and place to one side to cool. Grate the butter into a large bowl, then add the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat with an electric mixer on a low speed for 1-2 minutes, than add the milk mixture, followed by the cooled, melted chocolate. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. (Tip: placing the frosting in the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes before use will make it firmer and easier to manage.)
  6. To prepare the covering, knead the ready to roll icing until pliable. Create a well in the centre of the icing and place a drop of brown food colouring. Knead the colour into the icing, stopping when the icing is mostly coloured but still shows signs of marbling. Wrap tightly in clingfilm until ready to use.
  7. Once the cake has fully cooled, cut into three layers. Sandwich the cake layers with the chocolate frosting, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake to help stick the ready to roll icing down.
  8. Roll the rtr icing to the desired thickness and place over the cake smoothing gently with your hands, then trim the edges.
  9. Dip a cocktail stick into the brown food colouring and carefully draw your designs around the edge of the cake by making small dots and dashes with the cocktail stick. Mix a drop of brown food colouring with 1tsp of icing sugar and a drop of vanilla extract to create an edible paint. Paint the design on the top of the cake, then smudge the edges slightly with your brush. Leave the colouring to dry for 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices and serving. (this one is especially good with a cuppa!)
     



Next time we're watching Home on the Range and I'll be making a giant Wagon Wheel.

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Tea, Cake, the Whole Shebang!

Disney Classic # 42 - Treasure Planet



I came up with the idea for this cake back in 2010 when steampunk had a new wave of popularity in the UK. It was everywhere! I was thinking about cakes and treats I could bake for the Disney movies which came out in the 2000's which I am less familiar with, and it hit me that not only the design, but also the principle of Treasure Planet had a steampunk vibe. A Victorian tale animated with a sci-fi spin - heck, even Cap'n Long John Silver is a cyborg! Originally I had planned to make cupcakes decorated with cogs and gears, but unfortunately my cogs and gears turned out sub-standard so I decided to try to make a compass to decorate a large cake instead. Not as "steampunk" as I would have liked... but it does tie in with the movie!!


I decided to make the cake chocolate orange, as the flavour was suggested a few weeks back as alternative to the strawberry cupcakes I made for Atlantis, and I thought it would be both yummy, and the brown cake/frosting would suit the theme. I sort of made the cake recipe up as I went along, but used this recipe for the icing.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes 12 slices

Ingredients:

For the cake:
200g margarine
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
2 medium eggs
rind and juice of one orange
2tbsp cocoa powder
75g dark chocolate, melted

For the frosting:
120 ml milk
2 tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
120g dark chocolate
100g butter
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract


For the decoration:
White chocolate stars
Modelling paste
Bronze and silver lustre dust
Vanilla extract
Edible glue

Note: The compass decoration can be made a couple of days in advance to save on time, and needs to be made at least one day in advance to allow it time to dry.

  1. To make the compass decoration: roll out the modelling paste to the desired thickness. Cut two rounds out and press into the rounds of a bun tray to set, these will form the outer casing of the compass. Mould a round insert to fit inside this parts. Cut out two crosses and a "pointer". Mix the lustre dust with a little vanilla extract to make a paint. Paint the outer casing and the pointer bronze, and paint the arrows silver. Leave everything to dry for a few hours then use the edible glue to stick everything together.
  2. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and grease and line a cake tin.
  3. Beat the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy. Mix in roughly half of the flour until just combined, then beat in one of the eggs. Repeat with the remaining flour and eggs until a smooth mixture has formed.
  4. Grate the orange zest into the mixture and then fold in the orange juice until a pale and creamy mixture has formed.
  5. Add the melted dark chocolate and the cocoa powder to the mixture and beat until fully combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth with the back of a spoon until level. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes - 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to rest in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
  7. Once cooled, make the frosting. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, whisk the milk, flour and salt until the mixture thickens. Place this into a small bowl to cool.
  8. Melt the chocolate and place to one side to cool.
  9. Grate the butter into a large bowl, then add the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat with an electric mixer on a low speed for 1-2 minutes, than add the milk mixture, followed by the cooled, melted chocolate. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  10. Spread the frosting over the cake than sprinkle the white chocolate stars over the top. Place the compass decoration in the middle of the cake, cut into slices and enjoy!




Next time we're watching Brother Bear, and I'll be decorating a chocolate cake based on images in the movie.

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Also Cute and Fluffy!

Disney Classic # 41 - Lilo and Stitch




When it came to thinking of a cake for Lilo and Stitch, pineapple upside-down cake just seemed to make sense. (Although I should mention that even though this choice seems fairly obvious, a friend did have to make the hint before I picked up on it!) I'd decided quite early on that rather than baking any old upside-down cake, I'd do my best to Stitch-ify the design on top of the cake. It's just a shame they don't make blue pineapples...


I looked through all of my cookbooks for a pineapple upside down pudding recipe to no avail (which seemed strange, I thought people loved pineapple upside down pudding!!) so I ended up using a recipe a found here. I found the image to use as a template for my Stitch-side-up pattern here.

Prep time: 50 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
Makes 12 slices

(Note: the prep time here is so high because it took a while to cut the cherries and pineapple rings to the correct size and to place them all to look like Stitch's face. If you go for a more traditional pineapple-upside-down cake design using whole rings and whole cherries the prep time would probably only be 15-20 mins)
Ingredients:

200g margarine
200g golden caster sugar
Small tin of pineapple rings drained from their juice (reserve 2tbsp of the juice)
Half a pot of glace cherries
150g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
3 eggs

  1. Preheat to oven to gas mark 4. Place your template picture onto the bottom on a 9" loose bottomed cake tin, and place a layer of grease-proof paper over that.
  2. Beat together 50g of margarine with 50g of sugar and spread this evenly over the bottom and sides of the cake tin, making sure you can still see the template design below.)
  3. Slice the cherries into thin strips, and cut the pineapple slices into small chunks. Use the cherry slices as the outline of your design, and use the pineapple chunks to fill the gaps.
  4. Place the remaining ingredients (including the 2tbsp of reserved pineapple juice) into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until just combined. Carefully spoon the mixture on top of the pineapple and smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until springy to touch or a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven but leave to stand in the tin for 5 minutes, before carefully turning out onto a serving plate.
  6. Get your friends to admire your masterpiece, then cut into slices and serve warm!



Next time we're watching Treasure Planet, and I'll be making some yummy steam-punk inspired cupcakes!

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I Didn't Even Eat Carrots!

Disney Classic # 40 - Atlantis



The idea for this cake came from the memory that I had of this film (which I hadn't watched in the years since it first came out!) and that memory was BLUE. I recalled the film having very blue-tones (not surprising considering it's based under water) but I also remembered the bright brilliant blue of the magic crystals that protected the Atlantians. So it was these bright blue magic crystals, the Heart of Atlantis, that I decided to recreate in cake form.


I decided that as I was basing the only decoration of these cakes on the Heart of Atlantis, that I'd let my friends decide on what flavour the cupcakes would be underneath all of the blue icing and glitter. They decided on strawberry, possibly the least "blue" flavour they could have come up with, but it sounded tasty all the same. I had a vague idea in my head of wanting to bake fresh strawberries into the middle of the cupcakes, but wasn't sure if this would work so I set to researching my recipe books. the recipe I ended up using was an amalgamation of the "Strawberry Jam Fairy Cakes" recipe in Peyton and Byrne's British Baking and the "Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins" recipe in BBC Good Food's 101 Cakes and Bakes. 


Prep time: 45 mins                  Cook time: 15 - 20 mins
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

100g margarine
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp natural yogurt
50g strawberry jam
6 fresh strawberries

For the frosting:

200g unsalted butter
450g icing sugar
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
blue food colouring

For the decoration:

Black or brown liquorice laces
150g Fondant icing (white or blue)
Blue food colouring (if using white icing)
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp water
Blue edible glitter

Note: As these cupcakes contain fresh fruit they do not keep very well and are best eaten on the day of baking.
Tip: to save time you could make the decorations a few days in advance

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla, yogurt and jam to the mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Hull and halve the strawberries. Spoon 1 teaspoon of cake mixture into each cupcake case, and then place half a strawberry on each, pushing it down slightly. Cover each strawberry with another half teaspoon of cake mixture, until all of the mixture has been used up.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and springy to touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the butter cream and the decorations for the top of the cupcakes. To make the "Heart of Atlantis" gemstones: colour the fondant icing blue, and mould into the required shape (I made various different shapes and sizes... whatever you feel like!) Mix 2 tbsp of icing sugar with 1tbsp water to make an edible "glue". Tip the blue glitter onto a plate. Roll each gemstone into the "glue" then immediately roll it in the glitter. Leave to dry. Once they have dried, place them on the middle of a liquorice lace.
  6. To make the butter cream: beat together the butter, icing sugar and milk until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Separate the icing into three bowls. Leave one bowl of icing un-coloured, colour one a pale blue and colour the third a darker shade of blue. When putting the icing into your piping bag, put one colour down one side, one colour on the other side and the third colour in the middle.
  7. Once the cupcakes have sufficiently cooled, pipe icing onto them and then place the "Heart of Atlantis" decorations on top.
  8. Serve and enjoy!




Next time it's Lilo and Stitch - my favourite from this period, and I'll be making a pineapple upside-down pudding!

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

All About ME

Disney Classic # 39 - The Emporer's New Groove


Hello! It's good to be back!!

I have a confession to make - The Emperor's New Groove was the last Disney film I went to watch at the cinema up until The Princess and the Frog was released last year - and since that day in 2001 I've harboured a severe dislike for the film. If I'm completely honest, when I first started hosting Disney Movie Nights at my house I had said that we wouldn't be watching this movie (and a few of the others that came out in the 2000's!) and instead would switch in the Disney/Pixar films... but it was decided later that it wouldn't be right to miss out films just because I don't like them/haven't seen them and that we should do all 50 in the collection.

Anyway, the point of telling you this is to explain why I was less than enthusiastic about this film, and for the cake decided to just rely on my fail-safe of "a recipe from the place where the film is set". So I did a little googling a found out that the Emperor of The Emperor's New Groove is an Inca Emperor. So I did a little more googling and found out that most Inca dessert recipes contain quinoa, which for some reason just doesn't sit right with me. I mean quinoa is delicious... in savory dishes. I'm just not sure that it would be so great in a cake. (This is rich coming from a girl who puts cocoa powder in her chilli con carne...!) So I decided to continue googling to see if I could find anything else when I came across this recipe for Inca Kola cake, which has Inca Kola in it. I thought it looked pretty good, and apparently Inca Kola tastes like pineapple bubblegum Irn Bru cream soda but better, so I really wanted to make this cake.


Problem: Inca Kola is not readily available in the UK. (Story of my life as a blogger!!) However, as I had a fair bit of time between the last cake and this one, I was able to track some down at a small Peruvian restaurant in London Bridge (with a LOT of help from Helen!)... and so the Inca Kola cake was born!



Now, at risk of offending many people who are completely infatuated with Inca Kola... I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I tasted Inca Kola for the first time. Not because it wasn't delicious... it really is!! But it tastes just like Irn Bru. I think Irn Bru is fizzier... but the taste is so similar I think you could do something similar to the Pepsi challenge and many people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two (except for that one is bright yellow and the other bright orange... that's a bit of a give away!)

Prep time: 20 mins        Cook time: 1 hour                   
Makes 1 bundt cake and 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
225g butter
110g shortening
500g caster sugar
5 eggs
90ml sour cream
1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
200ml Inca Kola
450g self raising flour

For the glaze:
175g icing sugar
2 tbsp Inca Kola
Coloured sugar strands to decorate

A couple of notes before I begin:
  1. I had to convert this recipe from American "cups" - which I still can't get my head around - and somehow I ended up with enough mixture to make a whole ring cake AND 12 cupcakes. If that is too much cake (if there is such a thing!!) I would suggest reducing each item to 3/4... on estimate this should leave just enough mixture for the ring cake... even though the cupcakes were delicious!
  2. This mixture doesn't rise an awful lot, so go ahead and fill you ring tin almost to the top!
  3. This recipe is very simple if you have a free standing mixer. A handheld mixer is slightly more tricky, but still doable. Mixing by hand will take a lot of time and elbow grease!
  4. Start with all of your ingredients at room temperature!
OK so after all that babble, it's time to tell you how to do it!

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 and grease a ring/bundt tin
  2. In a very large bowl mix together the butter and shortening until smooth and creamy.
  3. Continue beating whilst you add the sugar a little at a time, until it is well combined and the mixture is light in colour and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating continuously.
  4. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, the rind of the lemon and a tbsp of juice from the lemon and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the flour and Inca Kola a little bit at a time alternating between the two until just mixed.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15. Make cupcakes with any remaining mixture.
  7. Once a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in it's tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To make the glaze, mix the Inca Kola into the icing sugar a little at a time until you reach to desired consistency. Spoon the glaze over the cake and decorate with sprinkles.
  9. Cut into slices and serve.



Next time we're watching Atlantis, and I'll be making some very blue cupcakes!

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

What Would Happen If You Gave a YoYo to a Flock of Flamingos?

Disney Classic # 38 - Fantasia 2000



I played with a few ideas for Fantasia 2000, all of them working along the same line... Fantasia 2000 was part-sequel part-re-imagining of Fantasia, so what ever I did for the cake had to be a bigger, better, new and improved version of the popping candy cupcakes I'd made for Fantasia. For Fantasia I aimed to make something that - on top of being tasty -was colourful, noisy, and had a bit of sparkle, and I think I achieved that with the rainbow sprinkles inside the cake, the popping candy centre and the edible glitter. But this time I wanted more - and so we ended up with a rainbow sponge cake, popping candy layers, edible glitter and SPARKLERS!!

I chuffing loved the sparklers - not the greatest photo I know!

I sort of made this up as I went along using my basic vanilla sponge recipe. For the icing I thought I'd try something new and so used a recipe I found here, but to be honest I don't think I'd use it again. It was easy to spread and set nicely, but it was far too runny for piping and had a coconut-y taste that I wasn't too keen on. But hey ho, that's how it goes!

Prep time: 1-2 hours            Cook time: 20 mins per layer (2 hours)         Serves: 10-12

Ingredients:
200g ready to roll white icing (or 200g of pre-coloured icings in colours of your choice)
Various food dyes (red, yellow and blue at a minimum!)
300g margarine
300g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
300g self raising flour
4 tsps vanilla extract
200g shortening (if you can't get any shortening, I used a dairy-free vegetable spread ;-) )
1kg icing sugar
120ml water
pinch of salt
1tsp almond extract
5 packets of popping candy
2tbsps strawberry jam
Edible glitter
multi-coloured sugar balls
  1. Colour the ready to roll icing and cut out shapes to decorate the top and sides of the cake with (this can be done a few days in advance to save time)
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and line a cake tin
  3. Beat together the margarine and the caster sugar until creamy, then beat in one of the eggs. Sift some of the flour into the bowl and stir into the mixture. Repeat until all of the eggs and flour have been incorporated to make a smooth mixture.
  4. Add two tsps of vanilla extract and mix well.
  5. Divide the mixture equally between 6 bowls and use food dye to colour the mixtures red, orange, yellow, blue, green and purple.
  6. Bake each layer for 20 minutes or until the sponge springs back when pressed. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  7. Whilst the layers are cooling, prepare the frosting. Tip the shortening, water, 2 tsps vanilla extract and 1 tsp almond extract into a large bowl with roughly half of the icing sugar. Beat with an electric mixer for 10 minutes, then beat in the remaining icing sugar.
  8. Once the cakes have cooled, begin to stack them, placing a thin spread of strawberry jam and a packet of popping candy between each layer.
  9. Once the cakes are stacked, ice the cake. Stick the pre-made decorations onto the sides ad top of the cake, and sprinkle edible glitter over the whole thing. To finish, crate a border around the bottom of the cake using the sugar balls.
  10. Cut into slices and enjoy!



It might be a while until you hear from me again, as this is/was the last movie/cake before I had to take a break to go into hospital for my operation, and I've decided to give myself April off for recovery and hope to pick this up again in May! Whenever the next Disney Night ends up being, we will be watching The Emperor's New Groove and I'll be making something a little bit Inca! Until then...

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

I Was Saved by a Flying Wild Man in a Loincloth

Disney Classic # 37 - Tarzan


Tarzan was one of the later films I came up with an idea for, and it was again kind of clutching at straws. I decided early on that I could do a banana based dish, but that I'd try to come up with something a little more original. Except I didn't manage to come up with anything more original, and I do so love banana cake... so banana cake it was! (I literally screeched with joy when this scene came up in the film:)


Bananas!!! I decided to make the banana and walnut loaf cake out of my trusty Good Food's 101 Cakes and Bakes, with a couple of tweaks here and there. The cake was amazingly delicious, and really didn't last us very long at all! ^_^

Prep time: 10-15 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 12 (or at least it makes 12 slices :-P)
Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
100g chopped walnuts
25g banana flakes (optional)

25g demerera sugar
100g margarine
140g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
2 tbsp milk
225g self raising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and line a loaf tin.
  2. Mash the bananas with a fork. In a separate bowl, mix together 25g of the walnuts with the banana flakes and demerera sugar.
  3. In a large bowl cream the butter and the sugar, then beat in the eggs.
  4. Fold the remaining 75g walnuts, the mashed banana and the milk into the mixture, then sift in the flour and continue to fold until all combined.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin and then sprinkle the walnut, banana flake and sugar mixture over the top.
  6. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to rest in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Cut into slices and serve with a cup of tea ^_^



Next time we're watching Fantasia 2000, which will be the last Disney Night for a while as I'm having major surgery the following week! Eeeep! To make up for it, I'm going to make a super-special musical celebration cake ^_^

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Look, it's Porridge, and it's Happy to See Ya!

Disney Classic # 36 - Mulan



When it came to Mulan I thought I'd come up stuck, as there aren't many Chinese desserts that I know of. I thought fortune cookies might be a good idea, and it was an idea that grew on my once I found a fairly simple recipe for them. How grand! I could make Mulan fortune cookies AND use quotes from Disney films for the fortunes!! Brilliant.

Except they tasted like crap. Actually, that's not necessarily true. The taste was pretty nice, but the texture - yuk! I don't know whether it was the recipe, whether I didn't bake them correctly or whether it was because I'd baked them the evening before and left them in an airtight container overnight and all day, but they were soggy. >_< I've posted the recipe below in the interest of consistency - I don't want to not post a recipe! But I certainly will not be trying this again! Original recipe found here.
Prep time: 10 mins            Cook time: 25 mins               
Makes 10 cookies
Ingredients:
2 egg whites
half tsp vanilla extract
8 tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
8 tbsp caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Prepare 5 sheets of greaseproof paper by drawing two 8cm circles on each. Write out fortunes on strips of paper and fold.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and vanilla until foamy, but not stiff. Sift in the flour, salt and sugar and fold until all ingredients have combined.
  3. Place one of the prepared sheets onto a baking tray. spoon 2 tsps of the better into the centre of each circle, then, using the back of the spoon, spread the batter out evenly to match the shape of the circle you have drawn.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes, until the cookie starts to go golden brown around the edges. (Whilst this pair of cookies is baking, you can get the next pair ready to go into the oven on a separate baking sheet.)
  5. Remove the cooked cookies from the oven and use a spatula to remove then from the baking sheet. Place (one at a time) upside down on a chopping board, put a fortune in the middle and fold in half, pressing the edges together. Place the folded edge of the cookie onto the rim of a cup or mug and pull the edges down. Place in a bun tin to cool to help the cookie retain its shape. (Note: you have to do this bit whilst the cookie is still hot, as the cooler it gets he more difficult it is to fold! That's why it's best to only cook two at a time!)
  6. Repeat the process until you have used all of the batter. Leave cookies to cool and hope they aren't as soggy as mine!!
Next time we have much more success with Tarzan; making a banana and walnut loaf cake ^_^

Happy Thoughts
x

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Star is Born

Disney Classic # 35 - Hercules

I decided fairly early on that I wanted to make baklava for Hercules, mostly because I love the stuff and can't get enough of it!! However, a few days before we were due to watch Hercules, disaster struck. Regular readers of this blogs will know that I've been quite ill over the last year, and true to form when I was due to be baking baklava for Hercules, I ended up really quite sick. But, this time round I didn't have to cancel Disney Night or postpone the blog, because Angel came to the rescue and offered to bake and blog for me this time round!! Yay!


Although I wasn't well enough to eat the baklava, it got good reviews from everyone else and looked amazing! (I will definitely be trying this recipe out for myself!) So now I'm going to hand over to Angel, who used his Mum's baklava cake recipe:

Ingredients:


4 eggs
3/4 mug of self-rising flour
125g of butter(melted)
1 1/4 mugs of sugar
500g filo pastry (2 packets)
1 tea spoon of cinnamon
1 tea spoon of Vanilla extract or if you have it, powdered vanilla
2 mugs of chopped walnuts

For the syrup:

750g sugar
750ml water
1 table spoon lemon juice

Preparation:

First, preheat your oven to 160degrees C.

To start you need to put the eggs, flour, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and walnuts in a bowl and mix them. Next, you need to melt the butter and get your baking tray out, after it's been melted, use a glazing brush (or whatever it's called) and cover the bottom and the sides of the tray. Then you take half of your filo pastry sheets and one by one you layer them on the bottom of the baking tray. Each time you place one sheet, you have to glaze it with the butter, until you have half of the filo pastry as the base. Next you add the filling over the base sheets. Finally you repeat what you did with the first half of the filo sheets and layer them on top of each other, one by one, making sure you "glaze" with butter before you add the next, do the same for the last sheet and then put the whole thing in the oven and bake for about 30-45mins or until the filo pastry on the top turns golden.
Syrup:

To make the syrup add the water, sugar and lemon juice together and simmer until it becomes a syrup-like consistency. You need to then use half of the syrup when the baklava leaves the oven. Let it stand for 2 hours and then pour the rest on to it. For best results wait until the baklava has cooled and then refrigerate. It will be at it's tastiest after a couple of days in the fridge.




Next time I'm back on board and will be making fortune cookies for Mulan!
Happy Thoughts
x

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Psssssssssssst...

I have a rather cheeky request to make...

I've entered a few of my Disney cakes into an online competition - I'm noway near good enough to be judged "best amateur baker" and win first prize, but with your help I might just get one of the runners up places! Follow this link which leads to the facebook page where you can "Like" my creations! (You may have to "like" the competition organisers, iambakingmad first!)
Until Wednesday I send many thanks and Happy Thoughts
x x x

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

What Makes a Monster and What Makes a Man

Disney Classic # 34 - The Hunchback of Notre Dame


You're probably all thinking "what the fudge is an Elephant's Foot and why would I want to eat it?" Also, "are there even any elephants in Hunchback??" Well, no. But there's this chain of bakeries in Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire called Birds, and they sell these cakes/pastries called Elephant's Feet. The pastries are some sort of choux buns, filled with fresh cream and topped with chocolate sauce, a bit like a giant profiterole, but much firmer, and the shape of them is bulky and blobby, (hence the name Elephant's Foot)

How does this relate to Hunchback? Well, I figured the moral of the story is not to be deceived by appearances, and that it's what on the inside that counts. I figured Elephants Feet fit here as they don't look amazing, but they are really tasty. Plus choux pastry is French... so it works for me!


Nom!

I couldn't find a recipe for "Elephant's Foot cake" so I took a logical guess and searched for a choux pastry recipe. Well, the cakes ended up not quite being Elephant's Feet- the pastry was far too soft, but they were still really really tasty. It's like I invented a new cake... and I name them Quasi's. Anyways, my Quasi's were based on recipes found here and here.
A real-life Elephant's Foot from Birds


Prep time: 15mins      Cook time: 25-30 mins     Serves: 6

Ingredients:

75ml water
75ml milk
50g unsalted butter
65g strong white (or bread) flour
2 medium eggs
350ml double cream
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g milk chocolate
100g icing sugar
1tsp coca powder

  1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to gas mark 6.
  2. Place the milk, water and butter into a large saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Bring to the boil until the mixture is bubbling vigorously, then remove from heat.
  3. Tip all of the flour into the pan and quickly beat into the mixture, until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Leave to cool slightly.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Beat the eggs into the pastry mixture a little at a time until the pastry is smooth and glossy.
  5. Put the pastry mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Pipe circles onto the prepared baking tray, leaving space between each for the mixture to spread/rise. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 mins, until golden brown and crisp on the outside.
  6. Remove from the oven and cut a slit in the side of each bun. Leave to cool on a wire wrack.
  7. Once the pastries have cooled, prepare the cream filling. Whip 300ml of the double cream with 1tbsp of caster sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Once the cream is firm, place it into a piping bag. Place the nozzle of the piping bag into the slit you made in the choux bun and pipe cream into the middle.
  8. Heat the remaining 50ml of cream in the microwave for 30 seconds, then break the chocolate into it. Stir until all of the chocolate has melted, then add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and beat until smooth. Spread around a tablespoon of the chocolate sauce onto each bun, then place in the fridge to set for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve straight from the fridge and enjoy ^_^



Next time it's Hercules, another favourite of mine (and one of the greatest to sing along to, too!) I'm going to cook up some lovely baklava!
Happy Thoughts
x