Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black lace, skulls and pearls cupcakes


Lately, I've notice an upward trend in the use of skulls for bridal showers & weddings (till death do us part). I think they'd also be great for birthdays and Halloween too.

The Black 3D skulls were very easy to make using this Wilton 3d skull chocolate mould and black candy melts. You mould them in two halves, but with a little melted chocolate they glue together seamlessly.

The cupcakes are baked in Black lace cupcake papers. They're great to bake with, as no muffin pan is needed to support them, they sit flat on a baking sheet, which means I can get two dozen on one shelf of the oven at a time.

I've finished the tops with a 1m swirl of buttercream icing and a few Kiwicakes own brand sugar pearls. The long strands of pearls were made with fondant, that has a little tylose added, which was moulded in these bead moulds (6mm & 3mm).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Chocolate coins finished with edible lustre dust


I find these chocolate coins difficult to find throughout the year, however in the lead up to Christmas they seem to be everywhere, so I stockpile for the year ahead. Chocolate coins are great for pirate cakes and those cakes pointing the finger at bean counters. I remove the foils before placing them on a cake. I dusted the silver 50 cent piece with edible light silver dust and the $1 coin with edible golden sunny savannah dust (both by Rainbow Dust).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Glamour Strawberries - from Kiwicakes test kitchen


This summer has started with strawberries in abundance! Use white candy melts for a really white snow-like coating. These melts are so simple to use they should be a staple ingredient in every pantry!


The 'Jewel Fire Red' colour of rainbow dust glitter matches ripe strawberries perfectly. You use such a tiny dusting each time that your 'little pot of strawberry glamour' will last for years. I dipped a dry paintbrush into the glitter and shook it gently over the drying chocolate.


This platter of strawberries looks festive and jolly with the addition of Christmas coloured pebbles stuck to white marshmallows. I used  a wee dot of the leftover white chocolate as glue. 



Importantly, the fine grains of this food contact glitter mean that they can't be tasted when eaten. 

I had a bunch of keen taste testers for this creation. Strawberries for morning tea at work - it doesn't get much better than this!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Marshmallow Balls - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

These yummy truffles are perfect to take to summer dinner parties and picnics. It's a good recipe to have up your sleeve at this time of year! They can be halved for presentation or to serve smaller children, but I think it's fun to keep them whole and guess whether you'll find a pink or white center each time.


You will need a packet of marshmallows to wrap (Homebrand works well as they are firm).

To make the biscuit surround, mix together:

200g butter melted with
1 tin condensed milk and
1 cup brown sugar until dissolved and caramely, do not boil.
2 1/2 packs of finely crushed vanilla wine biscuits (I prefer Griffins Superwines)
2 teaspoons sifted cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


With wet hands take a chunk of mixture and flatten it in your palm. Sit a marshmallow in the centre and wrap the mixture around to form a ball. Roll in coconut while still wet. The water on your hands will also keep the mixture from sticking. 


Chill before serving or pop them in the freezer until ready to enjoy. Great for impromptu barbecues and days out. They will last for months in the freezer - that is if you don't snack on them in the meantime!

Makes approximately 35.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Peacock feather "How to" for cupcakes & cakes

This lovely tutorial comes to us from Autumn Carpenter (my gorgeous friend I met in the USA last year). You can find both of Autumn designs for the Peacock feather cutters and impression mats in the Kiwicakes catalogue here. This tutorial is reprinted with express permission from Autumn Carpenter. 



Peacock Feather Cupcakes




Tools & Ingredients

Autumn Carpenter's Peacock Feather Cutter Set
Autumn Carpenter's Peacock Feather Texture Mats
Rolled fondant
Gum paste
Rolling pin
Pasta machine (optional)
Non-stick cooking spray
Sharp paring knife
Piping gel
Food grade paint brushes
Dropper
Paint tray
Grain spirits or lemon oil
Toothpicks
Super green dusting powder
Gold dusting powder
Navy glitter
Teal glitter
Gold glitter
Lilac glitter


Roll gum paste or fondant very thin. If using a pasta machine, thin to a #4. 
Lay gum paste or fondant down on a powdered sugar dusted surface or mat. 
Lay lightly sprayed texture mat on top of fondant and using even pressure, roll pin over mat. 
Use cutter to cut the textured piece. 
Use paring knife to fray ends of feather. 
Using a small brush, fill in the center of the eyespot with piping gel. 
Sprinkle navy glitter on top of the gel then turn feather over to rid of excess dust. Allow dust to dry for 5 minutes then repeat the steps until all four colors of the eyespot have been completed. 
Mix your paint by placing a ¼ teaspoon of dusting powder into a cavity of the paint tray and dropping enough grain spirit or lemon oil into the powder to make a paintable consistency. 
Use paint brush to paint the larger part of the feather super green. 
Mix a small amount of gold dusting powder into a small amount of super green to make a golden highlight; use a medium brush to cover the feather.
Ice cupcakes using tip 1M. Lay feather into just piped icing.




Peacock Cake


Tools and Ingredients
Autumn Carpenter's Peacock Feather Cutter Set
Autumn Carpenter's Peacock Feather Texture Mats
Rolled fondant
Gum paste
Rolling pin
Pasta machine (optional)
Non-stick cooking spray
Sharp paring knife
Piping gel
Food grade paint brushes
Food dropper
Dusting powder in the following colours:
Midnight blue
Peacock blue
Gold
Fuschia mixed w/pearl
Teal
Super green
Charcoal
Super blue
Paint tray
Grain spirits or lemon oil
Toothpicks
White floral wire
Assorted round cutters, 1" and under
Parchment paper
Black and ivory food coloring


Hand mould body of peacock in gum paste. 
Use the opening of a round tip to detail the marks on the peacock body. Use paring knife to distinguish the beak from the head. 
Attach peacock to cake using piping gel.
Roll gum paste or fondant very thin. If using a pasta machine, thin to a #4. Lay gum paste or fondant down on a powdered sugar dusted surface or mat. 
Lay lightly sprayed texture mat on top of fondant and using even pressure, roll pin over mat. Use cutter to cut the textured piece. Use paring knife to fray ends of feather; gently separating some of the frayed pieces away from each other. 
Starting at the outer edge of the cake, attach feathers with piping gel. Continue to layer feathers toward the body until all are attached. Use the ¾" and 1" cutters to cut circles to form smaller feathers near the body and attach with piping gel. 
Allow all pieces to dry overnight.

Cut various pieces of parchment paper to slide under your feathers before painting. This will help minimize the amount of paint/dust that gets on the cake. Mix your paint by placing a ¼ teaspoon of dusting powder into a cavity of the paint tray and dropping enough grain spirit or lemon oil into the powder to make a paintable consistency. Use a drop of grain spirit or lemon oil to thin out the tip of your brush when it gets difficult to keep details.
Using black food colouring and a fine tip paint brush, outline the eye. Use ivory food coloring to fill in the pupil. Use super blue dusting powder paint finish the body. Use the super green dusting powder paint to do the feathers on the body. Mix a small amount of gold into a small amount of super green to brush golden highlights over the feather.
When painting the feathers, use a fine tip paint brush and follow the outlines made from the texture mat. Repeat this step until the eyespot of the feather is complete. Use a larger brush to paint the larger part of the feather super green. Mix a small amount of gold dusting powder into a small amount of super green to make a golden highlight; use a medium brush to cover the feather.
To complete the peacocks crest, brush white cloth-covered floral wire with charcoal dusting powder. Roll small balls of fondant into piping gel then coat them in super blue dusting powder. Insert floral wire into balls and cut wire to length needed. Use straight pin to make a hole in the top of the head and insert wire. Repeat until crest is complete.
To finish peacock, simply free-hand cut feathers using the opening of a round tip and paring knife to detail. Brush with dusting powder paint and attach to body with piping gel.





Cascading 3-Tier Peacock Cake


Tools and Ingredients
Autumn Carpenter's Peacock Feather Cutter Set
Autumn Carpenter's Peacock Feather Texture Mats
Rolled fondant
Gum paste
Rolling pin
Pasta machine (optional)
Cooking spray
Sharp paring knife
Piping gel
Food grade paint brushes
Food dropper
Dusting powder in the following colors:
Midnight blue
Peacock blue
Gold
Fuschia mixed w/pearl
Teal
Super green
Charcoal
Super blue
Paint tray
Grain spirits or lemon oil
Toothpicks
White floral wire
Assorted round cutters, 1" and under
Parchment paper
Black and ivory food coloring

Hand mould body of peacock in gum paste to about 5" tall from top to bottom. You will need to place a wooden skewer up the center of the body to support the head. Use the opening of a round tip to detail the marks on the peacock body. Use paring knife to distinguish the beak from the head.
Roll gum paste or fondant very thin. If using a pasta machine, thin to a #4. Using a ¼" small round cutter, cut circles that will be used for the smaller layered feathers. Use paring knife to fray edges of circles. Use piping gel to attach smaller circles to the body overlapping them. Insert body of peacock into the top layer of the cake along the edge.
For larger cut feathers, lay gum paste or fondant down on a powdered sugar dusted surface or mat. Lay lightly sprayed texture mat on top of fondant and using even pressure, roll pin over mat. Use cutter to cut the textured piece. Use paring knife to fray ends of feather; gently separating some of the frayed pieces away from each other. Starting at the bottom of the cake, attach feathers with piping gel. Continue to layer feathers on top of each other until all are attached. Attach body to the top of cake, lining it up with the cascading feathers. Use the ¾" and 1" cutters to cut circles to form smaller feathers near the body and attach with piping gel. Allow all pieces to dry overnight.
Cut various pieces of parchment paper to slide under your feathers before painting. This will help minimize the amount of paint/dust that gets on the cake. Mix your paint by placing a ¼ teaspoon of dusting powder into a cavity of the paint tray and dropping enough grain spirit or lemon oil into the powder to make a paintable consistency. Use a drop of grain spirit or lemon oil to thin out the tip of your brush when it gets difficult to keep details.
Using black food coloring and a fine tip paint brush, outline the eye. Use ivory food coloring to fill in the pupil. Use super blue dusting powder paint finish the body. Use the super green dusting powder paint to do the feathers on the body. Mix a small amount of gold into a small amount of super green to brush golden highlights over the feather.
When painting the feathers, use a fine tip paint brush and follow the outlines made from the texture mat. Repeat this step until the eyespot of the feather is complete. Use a larger brush to paint the larger part of the feather super green. Mix a small amount of gold dusting powder into a small amount of super green to make a golden highlight; use a medium brush to cover the feather.
To complete the peacocks crest, brush white cloth-covered floral wire with charcoal dusting powder. Roll small balls of fondant into piping gel then coat them in super blue dusting powder. Insert floral wire into balls and cut wire to length needed. Use straight pin to make a hole in the top of the head and insert wire. Repeat until crest is complete.
To finish peacock, simply free-hand cut feathers using the opening of a round tip and paring knife to detail. Brush with dusting powder paint and attach to body with piping gel.

Monday, November 25, 2013

3D Sparkling Snowflakes - from Kiwicakes test kitchen



Today I had a play with another new Wilton chocolate mold. They have released a freestanding snowflake design just in time for Christmas.



I had a go at both blue and white snowflakes and decided to jazz them up with matching edible glitter to highlight the ornate edges.


The mold takes 115g chocolate or candy melts and makes 3 complete snowflakes (6 discs). 



Simply melt the chocolate, pour into the mold, tap to release air bubbles, refrigerate for ten minutes, then pop the set discs out.



Use a tiny drop of edible glue on a fine paintbrush to moisten the edges, one by one. Then dip liberally in your coloured edible glitter and keep working your way around the disc until it is sparkling!

You will need to work quickly as the heat of your hands will want to melt the snowflake disc. I used a scrap of baking paper to avoid leaving fingerprints while handling the chocolate. 


This snowflake uses blue candy melts and turquoise edible glitter. The bag of melts yields 9 snowflakes.


You can play with any combination of colours and glitters to suit your theme.




Friday, November 22, 2013

Chocolate Surprise Boxes - from Kiwicakes test kitchen


This Christmas why not serve your dessert all wrapped up. I decided to play on an After Dinner Mint idea with this moreish recipe. Our new present container candy molds make it super-simple.

Melt 125g of your favourite chocolate slowly over a bowl of hot water until it's lump-free (I used 72% cocoa Dark Ghana from Whittakers). Fill the box base and lid molds half way up. Tap on the bench to remove any air bubbles and snap in the mold insert. Leave to harden in the fridge for 15mins or so. This mold makes 3 complete boxes, so a 250g block of chocolate will yield 6 dessert boxes.
 
 
When the chocolate has set, trim any excess away with a sharp knife to make a clean edge.
 


Repeat the process to complete 6 boxes. Now it's time to make your...

Minty White Chocolate Mousse

180g milky bar chocolate, sliced up finely
1c cream
2tsp meringue powder dissolved in 2T water (this is equivalent to 1 egg white)
2 drops Loranns peppermint oil measured with a dropper


Melt chocolate and leave to cool for a while so it's a similar temperature to the other ingredients. Whip the cream and other ingredients gradually until soft peaks just form (no more). Stir a dollop of cream into the melted chocolate and then pour all the chocolate mix back into the cream mixture to incorporate.

Paint ribbon and bow features onto the boxes with edible light silver metallic paint.

Pipe mousse into prepared chocolate boxes and serve with small teaspoons. The minty white centre is a refreshing and surprising treat!


Otherwise make red and green mini M&M filled boxes - how festive does this look with the features painted in metallic red food paint


Chai Buttercream (recipe in an earlier blog) and grated dark chocolate make another nice adult option.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cheesecake carrot cake from my blogging friend Alice


Every now and then I get overly excited when I discover a new recipe that's really different. I was on such a high after I'd baked this recipe for Cheesecake Carrot Cake. I shared it on our facebook page and received lots of comments from Kiwicakers keen to give it a try themselves. I've made both cheesecake and carrot cake separately before of course, but never the two together in one pan. I did share just a little of this cake with others, to great acclaim. There were superlative exclamations of its yumminess from my taste testers! 

The recipe comes from my blogging friend Alice (you may remember her from last year's Chelsea New Zealand's hottest home baker). You can check out her blog here. She also recently released this book. I own a copy and recommend getting it for yourself.


Alice has generously allowed me to share the recipe here with you. Whilst mine differed slightly in appearance (that's to say Alice's is much prettier), I was very happy with mine. I've copied the recipe by hand into the family recipe book and it's now a firm favourite for many years to come.
Ingredients
    Cheesecake
  • 375 g cream cheese, softened to room temp
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ c cream
  • Carrot Cake
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely grated carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts (e.g. pecans or walnuts)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 125 g cream cheese, softened to room temp
  • 50 g butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts, to decorate
How to
  1. Preheat oven to 170 °C. Grease the sides and line the bottom of a 23 cm spring form tin.
  2. To make the Cheesecake beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides then beat in the flour and vanilla. Add the eggs one at time, beating until just combined. Stir in the cream (try not to add any more air to the mixture) and set aside.
  3. To make the Carrot Cake, beat the sugar and oil with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes or until sugar is starting to dissolve. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices and add to the sugar/oil mixture. Stir until just combined then stir in the carrots, sultanas and nuts.
  5. Spoon two-thirds of the Carrot Cake batter into the base of the prepared tin and spread out to reach the sides. Level the batter as much as you can.
  6. Spoon all of the Cheesecake mixture over the Carrot Cake batter. Use a large spoon to “dot” the top of the Cheesecake mixture with the remaining Carrot Cake batter. DO NOT swirl it in, instead, let the heavier Carrot Cake batter sink into the Cheesecake.
  7. Gently tap the tin onto the bench a few times to level the mixture out.
  8. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 45-55 minutes until cake is set but still a little wobbly in the middle.
  9. Cool on the bench in the tin until cake reaches room temperature then refrigerate until cold.
  10. To make the cream cheese icing, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and lemon juice then scrape down the sides. Add the icing sugar all in one go and beat until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes with a stand mixer or 5-7 minutes with a hand held electric mixer).
  11. Unmould cake, place on a platter or cake plate and spread icing over top of chilled cake. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts and chill for an hour.
  12. Store cake in the fridge but remove about half an hour prior to serving.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bride & groom wedding topper - alternate idea for candy buffets


Isn't this idea for a candy buffet stunning? It's from our lovely suppliers Wedding Star. I love the alternate use they found for a wedding cake topper on a pedestal. I think it would be a lovely idea to use the topper at a bridal shower, then re-use it on the wedding cake, at the wedding reception. You can view our range of Wedding Star cake toppers here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pirate Party Stack - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

My little pirate turned three at the start of spring. He quite specifically requested a pirate party and to have it onboard a train - as you do when you're three apparently. I suspect his older sister had creative input. 


Here are his party cupcakes. Party food for kids and their families had to be transported to the bush station with us onboard the train. So to keep things simple these cupcakes were perched on a silver cardboard cupcake stand. It comes flat-packed, so I could slot it together at the destination.



Given that the party day coincided with both moving house weekend and Australian Nana coming to stay, this party food had to be quick and easy. I thought red and stripey cupcake papers looked the part. I popped these cute skull and crossbone flag picks in cupcakes for adults and I topped the kids ones with pirate sugar icing decorations to eat.  Super easy for me and they were a hit!


Here is the birthday boy with his sword, looking a bit too cute to be a real pirate if you ask me!

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