Easter Egg Cake

This is a photo of an Easter Egg Cake my sister Aisling made with her daughter Catherine.  They tell me they used a pudding tin to get the shape right (and a good pinch of baking powder) to help it rise.

Easter Egg Cake

Easter Egg Cake

This was very tasty!  It had a nice cream & mandarin orange filling in the middle.  Aisling used the zest of orange in the sponge too to give it a nice orange flavour.  The colourful plate works nicely with this cake too.

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Chocolate Easter Eggs & Easter Treats

Here is a selection of treats I made this Easter.  This was my first time experimenting with chocolate.  I made the eggs using Belgian chocolate called callebaut.  This chocolate comes in the form of buttons.   It can be bought in Ireland in special cake decorating supply shops.  I don’t think it is available in any ordinary grocery shops, but it is possible to make chocolate Easter eggs using good quality dark or milk or white chocolate.  The Callebaut needed to be tempered, so this took me a while to get right, not all of the eggs came out perfectly, but I did manage to get some to come out very well.  See below some I made and piped on the initial or name of the person I was giving them to with white chocolate.

BasketofChocolateEggs

Basket of Homemade Chocolate Easter Eggs

HomemadeChocolates

Basket of Homemade chocolate sweets

HomemadeChocolateBasket2

Homemade chocolate basket with sweets

Next I made some chocolate sweets with the same Callebaut milk chocolate.  I used a silicon mould ice-tray which worked really well.  I think silicone is easier than plastic moulds for chocolate – at least it is easier to remove the chocolate.  I put peanut butter as the filling for some, and made some chocolate ganache for the filling for others.  They were all delicious and easier to make than the chocolate eggs!  I also made the chocolate basket using a mould.

BasketandBunny

Basket of Chocolate Eggs & Homemade Chocolate Bunny

I made an Easter Chocolate Bunny for my niece Marie who is 3 years old.  I piped her name using white chocolate.  I covered up a break in the chocolate by putting in 2 white chocolate buttons –  I don’t think anyone noticed!

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Snake Cake

I made this small cake for St. Patrick’s Day, just using a 9 inch round sponge tin, and cutting a circle out of the middle.  If I had more time, I would have made 2 tins and then a longer snake, with more decorations & sugarpaste.  This one is simple enough, decorated with a green buttercream icing & buttons.SnakeCake2

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Banoffi Pie

I made Banoffi Pie for the first time yesterday.  It needs to set in the fridge for at least 24 hours before you add the banana, cream & chocolate flakes.  This came out pretty well if I do say so myself and tasted good to boot.  Here are 2 photos:SliceBanoffiPie

So for the Recipe I used:

Biscuit Base:
300g Digestive Biscuits (you could also try chocolate chip biscuits)
125g Butter
Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag using a rolling-pin.  Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the crushed biscuits.  Mix until you get the mixture to be moist enough to set (add more butter if you think it needs it).  Line a 9 inch loose bottomed tin (square or round) with parchment or grease it.  Add in the biscuit base and smooth it down.  Bring it up slightly around the edges so that the toffee mixture will sit neatly into it.  Cool it and then put it into the fridge for 1 hour.  Next make the Toffee mixture.

Toffee mixture:
2 x 397g cans condensed milk
4 oz soft brown sugar, 4 oz butter
Melt the butter, add sugar and mix until dissolved.  Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil stirring constantly.  Boil until the mixture turns a pale colour (no longer than 5 minutes or the sugar will burn).

Remove from the heat and allow this mixture to cool.  Then add it to the biscuit base.  Return to the fridge and leave it to set for at least 24 hours.

To Decorate:
The next day  whip up 250ml cream.  Don’t add any sugar as this pie is really sweet enough.  Remove the pie from the fridge.  Slice 3-4 bananas and arrange them evenly over the toffee mixture.  Next spread the cream generously over the banana layer.  Grate some milk chocolate over it to decorate.  That’s it – enjoy!
Tip!  if you like bananas use 4, I used 3 for this but I think 4 would have been better.

Banoffi Pie

Banoffi Pie

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Birthday Clown Cake

This is a clown cake I made for my Godchild Marie on her first birthday.  It was a sponge with fruit (fresh strawberries) and cream filling.  I decorated with coloured sugarpaste and surrounded the cake with some large sweets.

MariesClownCake

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January Blues Cupcakes

My friend Suzanne throws an annual “January Blues” party, this is usually at the end of the month, just after payday.  It is a great time to catch up with friends as we may not get to see each other over the Christmas or even over the year.  So I made these blue cupcakes to celebrate.  They went down a treat!Image

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ABC Birthday cake

I made this birthday cake yesterday for my 2 year old niece Aoibhinn.  It is made using a rectangular tin about 10 inches in length.  I used a classic Victoria sponge recipe, spread buttercream icing on it and covered it in white sugarpaste.  I made the model fruit and veg a few days earlier.  This is an idea I got from a book I have called “50 easy party cakes” by Debbie Brown.  The figures were easy enough to make, I had to mix colours to white sugarpaste to make a yellow, green and red colours for the apple, banana & carrot.  The book shape is difficult enough to get right.  ABCCake2 (Small)It needs a dip in the middle, I added a red bookmark to try to make it look more like a book.  The cake itself went down well with the families at the party.  Aoibhinn’s favourite bit was the characters which she wasn’t letting go of.  She also loved the white sugarpaste.ABCCake

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Guest Blog

I’m including a photo here of a HedgeHog Cake, this was made by my parents-in-law Dave & Angela – all credits to the dynamic duo!  This is a coffee cake, made with butter-icing.  Irel coffee (a uniquely Irish brand of coffee) gives this cake and the icing a rich coffee flavour with deep coffee-colour too.  This was made as part of a post-Christmas dinner we had, which was very nice indeed.  HedgeHog (Small)The hedgehog cake is decorated with almonds and raisins/sultanas for the eyes and nose.  Buttons or other sweets could be used.  This is sure to be a big hit for any children’s birthday cake.   Here is the hedgehog from the front, almost too good to eat 🙂HedgeHogCake (Small)

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Black Forest Gateau Cake

I made this Black Forest Gateau for the first time today, for New Years’ Day dessert.  This is easy enough to make, it is a butter-free cake, so it is nice and light.  The sponge is:

4 large eggs whisked together with 4 oz of caster sugar.  This is whisked for about 5-6 minutes until is is creamy & thick.  Next sift in 3 oz self-raising flour, 1 oz cocoa powder/drinking chocolate.  Fold in the flour/cocoa and put into a 23cm round tin.  The tin should be lined with parchment paper.  It takes about 35 mins to bake in a fan oven at 180 degrees C.

To make the filling you will need 2 cans or tins of stoned black cherries. Drain the juice from the tins and put into a saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of cornflour.  Boil this and then simmer for a few minutes.  When this is cool, add 3 tablespoons of Kirsch Liquer – I used Creme de Cassis – which is delicious.  Add the cherries to this mixture.  Whip up the cream – you will need 600ml of double cream.

When the cake is cool, divide it into 3 by using a long, sharp knife.

Put plenty of cream and the cherry filling on each of the two layers.  A good tip is to put cream around the edges first before you put the cherry filling in, if not, it will spill out over the edges.  Put the top layer on and smother it and the entire cake in cream.

Add some roasted flaked almonds to the sides of the cake.  Next pipe some rosettes along the top of the cake, decorate with fresh cherries and shards of chocolate.  I used flake.  That’s it.  Here’s what it looked like:

BlackForestGateau

BlackForestGateau

BlackForestGateau

BlackForestGateau

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Christmas Chocolate Log Cake

This year I followed Mary Berry’s recipe for the Christmas Chocolate Log Cake.  I would say that the sponge was delicious but the ganache was a little too rich and dark for me.  Even though I used chocolate which had just over 50% cocoa content.  When I make it again (next Christmas!) I will be using milk chocolate – but that is probably down to personal taste.  However this looked good and was very easy to make.  I cut the log about 2 thirds the way down at an angle which made it more ‘log-like’.  I used a fork to make it look like a log, I did try to pipe it first, but the ganache was too stiff to use.  The fork was easier to use and gives the same effect as piping.  I sieved icing sugar over the top just before it was ready to serve on Christmas day.  I made the sponge 2 days in advance – and it still tasted moist and fresh on the day.  I put my upside-down santa clause figure, snowman and penguin beside the log.  I made a sprig of holly using a holly cutter with some green sugarpaste and put some plastic figurines on the top (‘Merry Christmas’ sign).

This was a rich dessert, but suitable for Christmas time.

IMG_8838I was looking over this blog and realised I forgot to add in the Christmas tree cake I made – I have a special tin for this.  I decorated it using cream cheese icing – coloured using green sugarcraft colouring & decorated it with coloured sweets & flakes for the bark.  This was very nice on the table for Christmas day.

Christmas Tree Cake

Christmas Tree Cake

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