Our cake Blog

How did you learn to bake

How and were did you learn to bake?

For me I grew up with a mother who was a house wife and who baked every weekend.
We would make typical British baked goods, she was patient to show how to put ingredients together so that they cooked and tasted good.
We would make sponge cake, fruit pie and sponge pudding, all always tasted good. Most of the time she never use a recipe book and with her pastry she never even weighed the ingredients.

When I grew up I became more adventurous and tried new recipes, also how to put new flavors together. I used recipe books but would tweak and alter the recipe to try new combinations.
I use natural ingredients use them to make the most of their flavor, to keep my cakes moist, different quantities and styles.
I try unknown flavors for cakes and mix them with well known flavors, the combinations either works or not!

I am not a conventionalist I like unusual, quirky and unique.
I bring everything natural and involve nature in my designs it is something I am passionate about.
I love creating new designs from a few elements a customer gives me and see how pleased they are when they see the finished cake.
I take the elements given and sit and see n my mind how to incorporate them and bring a cake design come to life.
It doesn’t matter if its children s or adult cakes I do my best.
How do you bake and what is your favorite recipes?

SEASONS

With each season of the year comes more fruit ripe and ready to pick, but with preservatives, freezing and shipments from foreign climates you can buy and use any fruit at any time of the year.

Is this right? In my opinion no, as seasonal fruit have the proper sugars in them, picked at the right time of year, they taste so much better.
Using seasonal full bodied flavor you get the best of the flavor so your cake, pudding or pie will taste at its best.

It does mean that you are limit in the flavors you can offer in any one season but, the ones you do produce will be good quality and flavor.
During a season look for locally produced ingredients, get to know the producer and look into how they produce the ingredient.

Try using organic ingredients, do a taste test using natural or organic to super market bought at cheaper cost.

Source regional recipes and tailor them to suite unique designed recipes, use ingredients that you can grow your self.

I have gardened organically all my life so for example I use rose petals from my garden to make a rose and honey cake.

Try incorporating flavors from different foods to make into cakes you would be surprised what works!

Try switching small cakes recipes into large cakes, loaves or biscuits like, mince pies into mincemeat cupcakes, mulled wine into mulled wine Christmas loaf/bar.

The only thing holding you back is your imagination.

Great British Bake Off

Great British Bake Off

The great British bake off first aired in 2010 bringing home baking back to popularity.

Hosted by renowned author and TV cook Mary Berry she became a well know celebrity cook always making and writing books for the average house wife.

She has published more than seventy five cookery books (her first being The Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook in 1970) and hosted several television series for the BBC and Thames Television. Berry is an occasional contributor to Woman’s Hour and Saturday Kitchen. She has been a judge on the BBC One (originally BBC Two) television programme The Great British Bake Off since its launch in 2010.

I have followed Mary Berry since I was a little girl her recipes were and are easy to follow, ingredients readily available and taste really good.

She made it fun and introduced a whole new era of family baking.

Mums started introducing their children to the fun, creativity and pride in baking their own creations. In return the super markets started bringing out lots of new lines to help us, different size cake cases, easy toppings ready made and hundreds of decorative toppings to finish the cakes professionally.

The other judge on the great British bake off is Paul Hollywood known more for his bread and yeast goods, he is younger and his career does not span as long as Mary Berry yet.

The combination of these two judges has I believed helped make the show so appealing with both of them using their vast knowledge of baking to set the tasks for the competitors.

There are 12 competitors which as weeks go by get witted down to the final 3.

Every week is a different element which is judged over three element challenges which are signature bake, technical and show stopper.

This year then challenges consisted of;

wk1-cake

wk2-biscuits

wk3-bread

wk4-dessert

wk5-alternative ingredients

wk6-pastry

wk7-Victorian

wk8-patisserie

wk9-chocolate

wk10-final.

What to have as a wedding cake?

What to have as a wedding cake?

Traditionally wedding cakes had been made of fruit, but, fashions change?

The wedding cake had originally been served with champagne well after the meal, and so fruit which is rich and heavy could then be enjoyed.

Made from flour, eggs, butter and dark sugar laden with lots of fruit and nut and finished with a good quality alcohol, the cake should be rich but moist.

The fruit cake has been around a long time and dates back to the roman times.

“The oldest reference that can be found regarding a fruitcake dates back to Roman times. The recipe included pomegranate seeds. Pine nuts and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. Honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added during the middle Ages. Crusaders and hunters were reported to have carried this type of cake to sustain themselves over long periods of time away from home.

 

1400s – The British began their love affair with fruitcake when dried fruits from the Mediterranean first arrived.

 

1700s – In Europe, a ceremonial type of fruitcake was baked at the end of the nut harvest and saved and eaten the next year to celebrate the beginning of the next harvest, hoping it will bring them another successful harvest. After the harvest, nuts were mixed and made into a fruitcake that was saved until the following year. At that time, previous year’s fruitcakes were consumed in the hope that its symbolism would bring the blessing of another successful harvest

 

In the early 18th century, fruitcake (called plum cakes) was outlawed entirely throughout Continental Europe. These cakes were considered as “sinfully rich.” By the end of the 18th century there were laws restricting the use of plum cake.

 

Between 1837 and 1901, fruitcake was extremely popular.  A Victorian “Tea” would not have been complete without the addition of the fruitcake to the sweet and savoury spread.  Queen Victoria is said to have waited a year to eat a fruitcake she received for her birthday because she felt it showed restraint, moderation and good taste.

 

It was the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake, traditionally a dark fruitcake, under their pillow at night so they will dream of the person they will marry.

The change in fashion and the way the cake is served now lends itself to other flavour; cake is still served at the end of the meal but, also can be sent to the guests after the wedding with thank you notes in fashionable trinket boxes. The flavours also have changed with many more people opting for a sponge or carrot cake or even chocolate instead,

Other unusual flavours include lemon, orange and banana!

A good quality sponge is dependent on the ingredients used; cheap ingredients will give a basic but poor tasting sponge cake. If one uses on the other hand organic ingredients,

Organic flour, organic cane sugar, free range eggs and organic butter with vanilla extract the flavour will be far superior.

This is the basic recipe for chocolate with the addition of fair trade cocoa powder, carrot cake is an entirely different mix, but again better the ingredients better the finished product.

Orange and lemon cake are made using the same organic sponge recipe for vanilla but, with the addition of zest and juice of either organic lemon or oranges.

Banana cake being same organic sponge recipe but with fork crushed ripe bananas!

I’m sure fashions will continue to evolve some weddings no longer have a central wedding cake but a great tier of fancy cupcakes, or combination of large cupcake and small ones.

I look forward to seeing what is to come!

 

Cake Styles

 Cake Styles

Cakes come in many shapes and sizes; cake has been around for a very long time.

The history of cake is a history full of progress through the ages. Today, cake is one of the most popular choices for dessert in many countries, but it hasn’t always been what it is today. In its earliest form, cake was a sweetened form of bread.

Ancient people often shaped it round for religious reasons, to symbolize the cyclical nature of life. The round shape was also used to symbolize the sun and the moon. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans are the most famous cultures to have developed cakes. The Greeks created cheesecake and the Greeks and Romans both ate fruitcakes. Medieval Europeans were the first to use cake hoops to make cake. By the 18th century, bakers used well beaten eggs instead of yeast to provide rise and leaven the cake. At this time also, the French began eating dessert at the end of the evening meal.

It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that cakes became much easier to make. Baking soda and baking powder were invented and ovens began having more temperature-controlled heating. Cakes became even more popular and the ability to bake a delicious cake was a talent.

 

Since the discovery of flour, people everywhere eat cake. Every country has its own types of cakes. With the creation of baking soda, baking powder, and even pre-made cake mixes, baking a tasty cake is within everyone’s reach.

 

The term “cake” has a long history. The word itself is of Viking origin, from the Old Norse word “kaka”.

 

Although clear examples of the difference between cake and bread are easy to find, the precise classification has always been elusive. For example, banana bread may be properly considered either a quick bread or a cake.

 

The Greeks invented beer as a leavener, frying fritters in olive oil, and cheesecakes using goat’s milk. In ancient Rome, basic bread dough was sometimes enriched with butter, eggs, and honey, which produced a sweet and cake-like baked good. Latin poet Ovid refers to the birthday of him and his brother with party and cake in his first book of exile, Tristia.

 

 

 

Early cakes in England were also essentially bread: the most obvious differences between a “cake” and “bread” were the round, flat shape of the cakes, and the cooking method, which turned cakes over once while cooking, while bread was left upright throughout the baking process.

 

Sponge cakes, leavened with beaten eggs, originated during the Renaissance, possibly in Spain

 

The history of the nuptial pastry, though, is even stranger than these modern rituals suggests.  In ancient Rome, marriages were sealed when the groom smashed a barley cake over the bride’s head. (Luckily, tiaras were not fashionable then.) In medieval England, newlyweds smooched over a pile of buns, supposedly ensuring a prosperous future. Unmarried guests sometimes took home a little piece of cake to tuck under their pillow.

 

Perhaps this was preferable to eating it. One early British recipe for “Bride’s Pye” mixed cockscombs, lamb testicles, sweetbreads, oysters and (mercifully) plenty of spices. Another version called for boiled calf’s feet.

By the mid sixteenth century, though, sugar was becoming plentiful in England. The more refined the sugar, the whiter it was. Pure white icing soon became a wedding cake staple. Not only did the colour allude to the bride’s virginity, as Carol Wilson points out in her Gastronomic article “Wedding Cake: A Slice of History,” but the whiteness was “a status symbol, a display of the family’s wealth.”

Later, tiered cakes, with their cement-like supports of decorative dried icing, also advertised affluence. Formal wedding cakes became bigger and more elaborate through the Victorian age. In 1947, when Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) wed Prince Philip, the cake weighed 500 pounds.

THE ART OF FROSTING!

There are no hard and fast rules about cupcake frosting

When I make cupcakes for the family I tire of decorating them the same way and look for unusual cupcake frosting recipes.

I love the look of a plate of cupcakes with vanilla glace frosting and a cherry on top. Pink food colouring added to the frosting also looks great. Frosting piped onto a cupcake, with a sprinkling of candy confetti, shredded coconut or chocolate is always popular.

And who can say “no” to a butterfly cake that has jam, lemon curd, or cream as its center? When dusted with icing sugar, butterfly cakes become irresistible.

If I’m invited to an afternoon tea and want to take a plate of cupcakes that will look spectacular, a really easy alternative is to use fondant as your cupcake frosting and decorations.

4 ounces/100 grams of room temperature butter/margarine

8 ounces/200 grams of icing/confectioners’ sugar

Flavouring of your choice.

If the tops of your cupcakes are not flat, slice through the peaks so that you have a nice level surface to work with. Decide on two colours (I love pale lemon and chocolate) and carefully work a couple of drops of colouring into fondant – you don’t need very much fondant. When the colouring has been kneaded in, roll fondant to the desired width and use round cutters to cut circles big enough to fit over the tops of your cupcakes. Be creative with your designs. You can cut shapes in the contrasting fondant or you can use a third colour (white is always a good choice) to add dots, lines, flower centers etc.

There are so many different cupcake icing recipes. Often it depends on the “look” you are after and the type of occasion you are decorating for that determines which recipe you will follow. Is it a casual family affair, a children’s birthday party or an engagement party? The frostings that I use (with the exception of fondant) can be piped or spread onto the tops of cupcakes. Listed below are basic icing recipes. You can vary the flavours and add colours to the recipes to match any cupcakes.

 

Almond paste can be used to coat cupcakes before frosting with royal icing. Also great for fillings in chocolates, cakes and pastries.

Brown sugar icing perfectly enhances a variety of cakes and cupcakes ranging from pumpkin, banana and carrot to chocolate, vanilla and caramel cakes.

Buttercream frosting is, as the name suggests, a very buttery cupcake frosting that tastes yummy and can be easily coloured to suit the look you are after. Buttercream is great for piping as it holds its shape very well.

 

Chocolate fudge frosting, whether used as a filling or a topping, it makes a chocolate cake look stunning and irresistibly scrummy.

 

Chocolate ganache is another cupcake frosting alternative. A ganache has a beautiful rich, smooth texture that transforms a cupcake into a magnificent dessert. It is easy to make and I guarantee you’ll receive compliments from everyone who tries it.

Welcome to our Blog

Hello and welcome to our blog. here we will discuss and give advice on all things cakey. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoy writing it.

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We are currently updating our site and have many more caked than listed here. please email and ask. 16/09/2015