I have been trying to make choc-chip ice-cream cookie sandwiches for the past 2 days. I have tried 2 different recipes and although the biscuits came out nicely and the mixture of vanilla bean ice-cream and chocolate ganache is very morish, I think I need to find a choc-chip recipe that makes softer, chewier biscuits.
I came across this blog run by Julie Marie Craig who lives in the little town of Benicia California. She takes such beautiful photos of the things she bakes and cooks. I was going through her posts and all they made me want to do was get up off my butt and bake like Nigella on a sugar high.
Here are some photos of some of the things she’s made. If you want any of the recipes, just click on the link below each picture xxx
Came across these phyllo pastry boats and thought I should do the right thing and share them with you guys. Have you ever seen anything sweeter than this? And they float in a chocolate lake. I think all boats should be edible and float on actual lakes made of chocolate. I mean, man has managed to rocket themselves to another planet so surly they can make a lake out of chocolate and boats that you can eat with your face. SURLY.
Came across this icing technique last night, I have never seen a cake iced like this before. Isn’t it just too pretty? I got the recipe, photos and instructions from APT 2B baking Co. – click here for the original link.
adapted from Martha Stewart
– 1 1/2c, 3 sticks, softened butter
– 9oz almond paste, room temperature
– 1 1/2c sugar
– 6 eggs
– 1/2t vanilla extract
– 1 1/2c cake flour
– 3/4t baking powder
– 1/2t salt
Preheat oven to 350º and butter and flour 2, 8” cake pans (3” tall works best here) If you have shorter pans, I suggest you divide it into 3 pans to prevent overflow.
1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, mix the almond paste and sugar until the almond paste is broken up into very small pieces. Add in the butter and beat until light and fluffy, 5min.
3. Add in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients.
4. Divide the batter between the two pans, smooth the tops and slide into the oven. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30min. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10min, then carefully invert on a cooling rack and cool completely.
5. Once cool, trim each cake flat on the top, then in half horizontally. You will have 4 layers of cake when you are finished. If you baked the cake in 3 pans, just trim the tops flat.
Simple Vanilla Buttercream
– 1 lb softened butter
– 2 lbs sifted confectioner’s sugar
– 1T vanilla extract
– 1/4-1/2 cup room temp milk
– big pinch salt
In the bowl of a standing mixer or with a hand mixer cream the butter until it is well mixed, about 1 min. Gradually add in the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 min. Add the salt and vanilla extract. Slowly stream in the milk until the frosting is soft, smooth and spreadable. If you plan on finishing the cake with an ombre design it is helpful if the frosting is very soft, but not runny at all.
To Assemble the Cake
– Trimmed Cake Layers
– Vanilla Buttercream
– 12oz of cherry jam (raspberry or apricot would be great too)
– Cake Turntable (not necessary, but SO helpful)
1. Anchor the first layer of cake to the turntable with a bit of buttercream. Spread a thin layer (about 1/3c) of buttercream on the cake, taking care to leave the frosting a little thicker on the edges to make a dam to hold the jam. Top the buttercream with a few tablespoons of jam and top with the next cake layer. Repeat until you use all of the cake layers finishing with the flat bottom of the last cake layer facing upward.
2. Crumbcoat the cake with a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides and refrigerate for at least 30min.
3. While the cake is chilling, prepare the colored frosting. Split the remaining frosting into 4 bowls, tint three of the bowls dark, medium, and very light pink using food coloring. I use gel food coloring and use VERY little even for the darkest frosting. Leave one of the bowls white for the top of the cake.
4. Starting at the bottom of the cake with the darkest color, use a small offset spatula to apply frosting to the bottom 3rd of the cake, then follow with the medium color in the center of the cake and the lightest color towards the top. Top the cake with white frosting to finish. Using a tall spatula, smooth the frosting on the sides as much as possible, don’t worry if the colors mix together a little bit, but try not to smoosh them together. Smooth the top.
5. Finish the cake by holding the tip your offset spatula horizontally, pressing gently on the frosting at the bottom of the cake. Smoothly spin the cake turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula up the side of the cake, stop when you get to the top. Wipe the spatula clean, then gently press the tip of the spatula into the middle of the top of the cake and spin the turntable while simultaneously dragging the spatula towards the outside of the cake.
The cold, she is a coming. The last couple of days have really felt like Winter up in here and soon enough the jerseys, jackets and of course boots are going have to come out.
I don’t really buy boots often because I find it pretty difficult to find exactly what I am looking for, but every now and then I do come across one or two pairs that I really like. I was in Mr P 2 days ago and I found these nice simple vellies, which I snapped up because I wore my last pair to death – which makes me think that maybe I should just invest in a real pair.
And then a little while ago, I found a packet at the back of my cupboard that I had forgotten about and in it were these guys. Now I remember buying them, but I obviously didn’t remember to wear then ha! So they are still brand spanking new, which I’m quite happy about. They remind me of a pair of soaring eagles, not sure why, but they do.
I think i’m going to take these little eagle puppies downstairs for a hot chocolate. Perhaps some lavender hot chocolate. How good does this look?! Holy crap.
Recipe and pictures from here
lavender hot chocolate:
2 cups whole milk
3 ounces dark chocolate (70% cacao)
1 ounce milk chocolate
1/4 teaspoon lavender buds
1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds from 1/4 of a whole vanilla bean pod
1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
For whipped cream, place cold cream, vanilla, and sugar into a cold mixing bowl. Beat the mixture with a whisk or mixer until stiff peaks form. keep refrigerated until ready for use.
For hot chocolate, heat milk and lavender over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the milk begins to simmer. Remove from heat and let lavender steep for 5 minutes. Strain lavender and return milk to saucepan. Over medium heat, add chocolate and mix until chocolate is melted and incorporated. Whisk milk mixture for 10-20 seconds until frothy. Pour into mugs or bowls and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
My traffic lady bought this book in for me to have a look at. It’s an old school cake icing an decorating book. It is so old school in fact that it makes me giddy. Geez, what I would do to get me a ‘Sponge cake Novelties’ cake for my birthday. Look at that thing! It’s magnificent hahah. I love how you don’t know what the hell is going on or where to even start. Shame, it looks like gay over-enthusiastic pizza.
I also love love the baby in the giant quilted bed cake, complete with built-in mosquito net. Hahaha, flip these things made me laugh so hard. I mean when last did you have a slice of hat on someones special day? Bet you the answer is never. What a pity.
I wish I could make them in real life. I just don’t think my baking hands could complete such masterpieces. I need me a Julia Child, she could make these with her eyes closed, which is funny because it looks like they have been designed by someone who had their eyes closed. Hey, does anyone have a spare Julia moping around their house? I’ll take her off your hands for you.