Saturday, January 30, 2010

Are you making anything for your Valentine?

What are you making for Valentines day?. Anything? I'd love to hear about it. At Kiwicakes, I'm proud to stock Roberts Confectionery products. Click here for some inspiration

Friday, January 29, 2010

How to make a chocolate transfer collar for a cake

This method although shown with a chocolate transfer, works equally well with a chocolate wrap.

Thanks goes to Amanda at Roberts confectionery for allowing me to re-post this here for you all to benefit from. The transfer shown in photo, is retro green dots
Step 1. Measure the cakes circumference and height

Step 2. Cut the Transfer Sheet to size. You can use sharp scissors or a Stanley knife. You can join two cut strips together on the using sticky tape. Join on the smooth side of the transfer sheet (ie. not on the chocolate)

Step 3. Lay the strip on a flat surface with the rough side facing upwards. If you place some baking paper underneath it makes cleaning up a lot easier and the chocolate that goes over the edges can be re-melted and used. Step 4. Pour the melted chocolate over the transfer sheet. The black strips in the photo are the “Perfection Strips”. They help you achieve a smooth even thickness of chocolate.

Step 5. Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate out evenly over the transfer sheet. Try to get a smooth even consistency that is not too thick – approximately 3mm.

Step 6. Gently pick up the chocolate transfer sheet with two hands and transfer to the cake. Place one end on the cake then smooth the remainder of the sheet around the cake smoothing with your fingers as you go around.

Step 7. Once the collar is fully wrapped around, continue to smooth the collar onto the cake to ensure the chocolate adheres to the transfer sheet well and there are no air bubbles.

Step 8. Allow the chocolate to set for a good half hour until it is hard. Then peel away the plastic to reveal your chocolate masterpiece.

Transfer sheets are a sturdy but flexible plastic sheet coated with a mixture of cocoa butter and FSANZ approved food colouring, which has been etched with a repetitive design. They come in a wide variety of designs and colours.

You can use the transfer sheets on any flat chocolate surface or to decorate biscuits, cakes and deserts. Just apply the same basic application method to whatever you wish to decorate - you can achieve amazing and impressive results with ease.

Transfer sheets can be used with any type of chocolate. Milk or dark chocolate will show gold designs to their best advantage, white chocolate will highlight pastel or lighter colours with great effect. Each sheet is for one application only. You can cut sheets to the specific size you require and tape them together on the underside to make longer strips.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chocolate transfer hearts how to

Check out the "how to" to make these fantastic chocolate hearts below (full credit goes to the team at Roberts). If you need chocolate transfers, click here to buy.

Transfer sheets are a sturdy but flexible plastic sheet coated with a mixture of cocoa butter and FSANZ approved food colouring, which has been etched with a repetitive design. They come in a wide variety of designs and colours.

You can use the transfer sheets on any flat chocolate surface or to decorate biscuits, cakes and deserts. Just apply the same basic application method to whatever you wish to decorate - you can achieve amazing and impressive results with ease.

Transfer sheets can be used with any type of chocolate. Milk or dark chocolate will show gold designs to their best advantage, white chocolate will highlight pastel or lighter colours with great effect. Each sheet is for one application only. You can cut sheets to the specific size you require and tape them together on the underside to make longer strips.
How to use

Basic Application:

Step 1. Make and bake your favourite cupcake recipe using co-ordinating cupcake papers for your theme. Ice the cooled cupcakes - I've used a basic butter frosting for these.
Step 2. Melt the chocolate melting buttons using your preferred method. I like using a small slow cooker as it keeps the chocolate melted and at the right temperature for as long as I need it.
Step 3. Make a template of the small plain heart. I placed a piece of paper over the back of the mould and rubbed around the edges with a marker pen. Step 4. Cut out the template but making it slightly smaller. You are wanting the final shape to fit easily into the bottom of the mould. Make sure there are no edges curling up the sides.

Step 5. Using your heart stencil, cut out the heart shape from the Chocolate Transfer Sheet using scissors. Step 6. Ensure the cut pieces fit freely in the bottom of the heart mould. Place it smooth side down, rough side up. Gently spoon the melted chocolate into the mould until it is filled just to the top. Gently tap the mould onto a flat surface to release any air bubbles. Then let it set in the fridge.
Step 7. To make sure your chocolate is set, look at the underside of the mould. It should look dull and slightly retracted from the edges. If it still looks wet and glossy then it is not yet set.

Step 8.
Once the pieces are set, turn the mould upside down and gently tap on the bench (put a teatowel down first to soften the surface). The pieces should remove easily. If they don't, it means the chocolate still isn't fully set. Leave for a little bit longer. The piece will look like this with the plastic still on top. Step 9. Peel away the plastic. You may have to gently pick to find the edge of the plastic, but once found, it will peel away easily.

Exciting new range of edible images

For some time, I have been concerned by the lack of suitable edible cake toppers for adults and designs for children that are not licensed tv or movie characters.
I have sourced a stunning new range of edible cake images (with more still to arrive) that will fill this void. This range is brand new to New Zealand and you won't find them anywhere else in NZ
Some of the designs just landed include Jandals, Tiger, shark, dancers, rainbow, animal prints, pirate flag, NZ themes, Casino and more.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My family recipe journey #2

When I started thinking about what to make next from the family recipe books, it was a tough choice but after recently hearing a story from Mum, it had to be Tablet!. For those of you that do not know what tablet is, its closest relative is fudge.

When Mum was 6 years old, she came down with Scarlet fever. There was an epidemic sweeping Britain and she was sent to the local infirmary to recuperate. She was there for several weeks. Each time Granny & Grandad came to visit her, Grandad would bring mum tablet. Grandad had to borrow the truck from his workplace. Grandad worked as a carpenter and had a very understanding employer, Charlie Fergusson. The Fergusson business is still in operation today.

Photo Of Strachur House (courtesy of Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia)

Granny also had an equally understanding employer. Granny was the housekeeper for Lady Campbell of Strachur House. Lady Campbell had no children. Granny & Grandad lived on her estate. She took great interest in her worker's children and in fact paid for mums older brother's specialist doctor's appointments, as Granny & Grandad couldn't afford to do so. Granny would often catch Mum playing with Lady Campbell and try to tell Mum off, but as Lady Campbell insisted she enjoyed it so much, Granny had no luck shooing her away. My Mum is now an antiques dealer and gardening enthusiast. She credits Lady Campbell with her love of antiques and gardens. Mum vividly recalls some of the items that were in Strachur house in the 1950s, when she was allowed to roam free in the house. As a result Mum now collects - of all things - ceramic patterned carpet bowls (Lady Campbell had a jardiniere full of them). Mum also recalls being allowed free reign of a mother of pearl jewellery casket full of costume jewellery - and yes she has one of those too.

Photo of Mum next to a stone boat sculpture in the garden of Strachur House.
When Mum was incarcerated (she said it felt like forever as a small child) Granny & Grandad came as soon as they could and Grandad bought a batch of tablet. It was a big deal, as post war, sugar was still rationed. Mum cannot remember just how much of the family rations this batch of tablet represented, but she recalls it was a large portion. What Grandad did not know, was that the nurses upon seeing it, seized it and rationed Mum to just one piece per day - agony for anyone!. The next time Granny & Grandad came to visit he brought another batch, but smuggled it under Mums pillow, so she could scoff it at will.

My Grandad was a great believer in sweets for sick people - he guaranteed they'd make you better in no time. He loved sweets in general, to this day my Mum is horrified that he used to let me eat sugar on toast, which I haven't eaten since childhood, but I recall was very tasty. I think his philosophy may have rubbed off on me, as even know with my youngest, I'll offer him a lolly when he has hurt himself, to cheer him up. Grandad was also the only person that ever let me re-sugar my porridge with brown sugar when it melted. He understood it simply wasn't the same without a good covering that wasn't melted. My Granny preferred salt on her porridge. It's possible Grandad let me re-sugar my porridge, just so he could redo his own, without too much trouble from Granny.

When Mum was a child 2/3 thirds of the recipe was left plain and 1/3 of the recipe had coconut added. Mum tells me Granny's favourite was the coconut, but she used to eat the plain first, so the coconut would be left for her. However once all the plain was gone, Mum & her brother launched themselves in to the coconut, even though they didn't really like it. My Mum now adores the coconut. But I must say, I've yet to warm to it.

With Coconut
When Mum & I made this batch together, I said to her "lets just make it plain!", the look on her face revealed it was entirely necessary to make the coconut. So that's what we did, straight from the recipe book 2/3 plain 1/3 coconut.

Without Coconut

Here's the recipe.

2lbs sugar (0.91Kg)

1 tin condensed milk

1/4 pint milk (150mls)

1 TBSP Butter

Put Butter, sugar & milk in a large (important that it's large - as volume grows immensely) saucepan. Bring to boil, boil 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add condensed milk. Stir continuously for 15 minutes whilst boiling. Test for soft ball stage in a cup of cold water, after 15 minutes. Allow ferocious boil to cease in saucepan, once heat has been stopped, continue to stir gently. When air drops, pour in to greased pie dishes.

Grease 2 pie dishes with butter. add 2/3 of mix to one dish. To remaining 1/3 stir in dessicated coconut to taste.

Mark when warm. Cut when cold.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cupcakes baked in oranges

Desiree from Beyond a Garden kindly granted her permission for me to share with you her cupcakes baked in oranges. To read her full post click here to go to her blog. I have never thought of doing this - now I cannot wait to try it out!. Such a fabulous idea.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Stunning new wedding cake toppers

I am so proud of this new range of wedding cake toppers in stock now. Such a vast range. The beauty of this range is it allows you to mix and match ethnicities, hair & skin colours, to best reflect the bride & grooms own love match. Check out the full range - to many to show here.

Also a great range of humourous toppers, such as cell phone couple, soccer player, fishing couple and country couple

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pina Colada Bundt cake

Here's a little cake I made for my Mums birthday last week. It was Pina Colada, with heaps of long fancy shreds of coconut. I used the Nordicware beehive pan. I thought I would give a try to the cake mix addition style of baking. It was really tasty, and I couldn't have picked, the base of this cake was a cake mix.
This is the recipe I used for the cake:

•1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 cup of water
1(8 oz.) can of crushed pineapple(DO NOT DRAIN)
1/3 cups of oil
3 eggs
1 tbs. of coconut essence
about 2 cups icing sugar
2 tbs pineapple juice
1 tsp coconut essence


Preheat oven to 175CF

Combine the cake mix, water, crushed pineapple, oil, eggs, and coconut essence in a large mixing bowl till combined at medium speed for about 2 minutes. Then stir in the shredded coconut.
Pour into greased bunt pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or untill toothpick insurted comes out clean. Cool for 10 min in bunt pan. Release from pan and let cool for extra 10 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl combine the icing sugar, pineapple juice & coconut essence. If the glaze is not thick enough add more powdered sugar, if the glaze is to thick add more juice.

In between the two halves of the cake I added a layer of Pina Colada buttercream. which I put together like this
1/2C Crisco
1/2C butter
4 C icing sugar
4 tbs pieapple juice
1 tsp coconute essence.
Cream butter & crisco. Add icing sugar a little at a time, alternating with juices.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A baking troubleshooting guide from Wilton

A little help for those of oyu that have ever had a baking disaster. Ever try a recipe and it doesn’t turn out like you thought it should? There are a number of reasons why it may not “work.” Here is a greatpost from Wilton's blog on troubleshooting. Click here to go to Wilton.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My Family Recipe Journey

Many of you have asked how/why I started Kiwicakes. There isn't one simple easy answer. A huge contributing factor would have to be my family's love of baking (and eating).
Many of you may not know that I work all day, every working day, alongside my Mum (aka Grandma Kiwicakes). During the course of a working day our conversation will often lead to family history or baking - or both. I thought it was about time I started documenting some of our family recipe history before it was too late.
The posts will encompass not only recipes, but family history and amusing stories.

My Grandad - Donald Luke (That's - Grandma Kiwicakes' - Daddy) was the most amazing baker. He married my Grandmother Alexanderina Nicholson Wilson (She was supposed to be born a boy, named Alexander. When my Great Grandfather went to register the birth, he panicked and added "ina" to the end. She was only ever called "Ina" in her lifetime). My Grandmother was a terrible cook, we used to joke she could burn water - because she did in fact do this once. Yet it is to her I owe great thanks, as she was the one that wrote down Grandad's recipes, somewhat covertly. Grandad NEVER used a recipe. He just pulled out his ingredients and away he went. I used to watch in awe, as without fail, everything came out perfectly. My Grandad passed away when I was 19 (that's 15 years ago now). Yet I can still hear his voice when I asked " what about the recipe". He would say "Oh you don't need one - it's just a sifter full of flour". I can recall thinking to myself how variable a sifter full of flour could be.

(Photo taken in front of March cottage, Strachur. Sitting is my Great Great Grandma Luke - she is holding my Grandad Donald. Standing are Great Grandad Lachie Luke & Great Granny Agnes Luke (nee Walker). The two children standing are Duncan and Evelyn luke (Grandad's older Brother & Sister from Lachie's first marriage to Mary Jane McAndless who passed away)
My Great Grandmother Agnes was one that taught Grandad to cook. Grandad was one of 7 children and Agnes was adamant all of her children were going to cook, even her boys. My Great Grandparents were fisherfolk and taught my Mum Betty (aka Grandma Kiwicakes) to fish from an early age. As a result Grandad was a dab hand with fish and had many ways of preserving it.

My Great Grandfather was a yachtsman and worked aboard Thomas Lipton's yacht.

Here is Great Grandad Lachlan McBain Luke (he was called Lachie most of the time). My Grandad is the oldest boy in this photo. Also in the photo are his siblings Betty (left) George & baby Lachie. This photo was taken up the back of the croft. (Grandad's family croft had chickens & a cow, even though they lived in the village)
A wee history lesson thanks to Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia
Crofting is a form of land tenure[1] and small-scale food production unique to the Scottish Highlands and the Islands of Scotland. Within crofting townships, individual crofts are established on the better land, and a large area of poor quality hill ground is shared by all the crofters of the township for grazing.
CroftingCrofting is a social system in which small-scale food production plays an important and unifying role. Crofting is characterised by its common working and thereby strong communities, or “townships”. Individual crofts are typically established on 2 – 5 ha of “in-bye” for better quality forage, arable and vegetable production. Each township manages poorer quality hill ground as common grazing for cattle and sheep.
HistoryA form of land tenure and small-scale food production unique to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, it evolved from a turbulent period in the areas’ history, the Highland Clearances, largely as a means of sustaining populations. It is found predominantly in the Western and Northern isles and in the coastal fringes of the western and northern Scottish mainland.
The Crofters' Holdings (Scotland) Act of 1886 provided for security of tenure, a key issue as most crofters remain tenants. The Act encouraged tenants to improve the land ground under their control, as it ensured that the control could be transferred within families and on to future generations.
This week I decided to make Grandad's shortbread. Mum and I had fun doing this together one afternoon, instead of working. I always take great delight in taking Grandad's shortbread mould from its box. The box still bears his postal address in Turangi, where it was sent to him by his sister in the mid 1960s from Scotland. The customs declaration states " 1 shortbread mould" at a cost of "GBP 1.80". The mould is not baked in. it is used to press the design in, prior to baking.
The recipe is surprisingly simple and quick to make. In Scotland this was traditionally given at New Years. However we all loved Grandad's shortbread so much, he made it at Christmas, as well as New Years and any other time we could convince him to make it. He regularly made it as gifts for friends. As well as taking it to many "bring a plate" outings. However he was well known for many dishes, so he didn't always take Shortbread. I can remember with pride at the end of any given event Grandad's plates were always bare, never any leftovers to take home. I often overheard murmurings such as "OOH! Donald's brought his shortbread (or pikelets)"
The recipe (I've converted from imperial measurements to metric) - recipe makes 1 round, as per photo above.
250 grams flour
125 grams ground rice (do not use rice flour). Currently I am buying the CeresOrganics brand Rice cereal in a 400g bag to use for this recipe.
250 grams butter
125 grams caster sugar
Cream butter & sugar. Knead in flour & ground rice with your hands. You can press in to a mould as I have done, or simply pat in to round biscuits, or a large round (pricked with a fork, or pattern as you see fit)
Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes.

Date & Walnut Torte

Between Christmas & New Years Vaughan and I took the children to Rawene where we stayed at the Rawene Motor Camp (which I can highly recommend). It was at the wonderful Boat Shed Cafe in Rawene that I tried Date & Walnut Torte. I have never tried anything that tasted quite like this before. I just had to make it when I returned home. With a little help from the internet, I found there were many versions of this recipe. I found one that was pretty good and made it today. The top of the torte is lovely and flat until you cut it, then the meringue surface breaks and cracks. It's not one of the prettiest cakes in the world, but one bite and you're done for!

There is little flour holding the goodies together, it is mainly meringue. Some recipes had ground almond in place of the flour (I am going to try that next).

You need:
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup loosely packed dates, roughly chopped
1 1/4 cups roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate, (70%)
5 egg whites ( I just used chocolate melts and it still tasted great)
1 cup caster sugar

1. Grease, flour and line a 23cm cake tin (I didn't line my tin, I used the oh-so-fabulous Wilton cake release). Pulse the flour, dates and walnuts in a food processor until the mixture is course and even. Add the chocolate and pulse further to break it up, tip into a mixing bowl.

2. Whip the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form and slowly add the sugar. Beat until glossy and stiff; gently fold into the chocolate/walnut mixture.

3. Spoon into the cake tin and cook for 25-30 minutes in a preheated 180C/fan forced 160C oven. The cake should spring back when gently pressed if cooked. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a cooling tray.

Monday, January 4, 2010

SPCA Cupcake day 2010

The SPCA raised over $130 000 from the 2009 cupcake day. They are doing it all again in 2010. To see Kiwicakes involvement in 2009 Click here To register with SPCA for updates on the 2010 Cupcake day, if you'd like to be involved this year Click here
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