Monday, April 29, 2013

Karina's birthday gem cupcakes - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Our colleague Karina recently celebrated her birthday on a workday. Before we knew it there were flowers, pressies, lunch and bubbly to share as well as these scrummy gem cupcakes whipped up in the new test kitchen. I am learning that Sandra takes every opportunity to celebrate!

A cake mix was baked in these adorable le petite gateaux cupcake papers. Its worth looking through the wide range to find one to suit your occasion - these were perfect for Karina with gem designs amongst the roses. As well as looking amazing, they peel easily away from the cake contained inside when its time to eat. Nice for classy occasions.

The birthday cupcakes were iced with strawberry icing . Large clear diamond edible jelly gems were added for a touch of class and sparkle.

Thanks for having a birthday Karina - a great day at work for us all!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My family recipe journey - Scottish Dumpling

This recipe for dumpling was my great granny Agnes Luke's. My grandad made it on high days and holidays. He never had a fail that I knew of (unless you count the time my granny bleached his pudding cloth to clean it and the smell of bleach ruined the dumpling). Both my grandad Donald and his little brother Lachie made these - they were an institution during my childhood. My mum (aka Grandma Kiwicake's) tried and failed at the recipe, if you don't get the flouring right, water gets in and ruins it. As I've mentioned previously in my family recipe journey blog posts, I sure do wish I paid a little more attention to grandad's recipes at the time, of course we take it for granted our loved ones will be around for ever, grandad passed away when I was a teenager. However during this recipe so many memories came flooding back about how grandad used to do things, with added input from mum, we finally cracked it.

Recipe (from my original written copy)
1lb flour
3/4 sugar
3/4lb sultanas
7ozs shreddo
1/2 tablespoon syrup
2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons treacle

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add a little milk to mix. Do not make the mixture too soft. Add treacle and syrup Put your cloth (pudding) through hot water. Wring it out. Rub flour over the cloth (as below photo). 

Grandma Kiwicakes, did an online search and found with the advent of the microwave, people were steaming miniature puddings in a microwave oven bag (we tried a tiny one, on the day, while making our big one (it worked well, but not as great as the original method, it does save 2.5 hours cooking time though)

To cook large pudding place on plate in the bottom of a pot of water and boil for 2.5 hours (water must boil entire time). I tied the top of pudding cloth to a wooden spoon stretched across the top of the pot, to keep it upright.

When untied from the pudding cloth, it looks a pasty white colour from the flour, this is normal, sprinkle with brown sugar.

As it dries, it gradually gets darker in colour

Until eventually it is the colour I remember when the skin dries (like that of tanned leather)

It almost has a crust when cut.

Dumpling is best served warm, we ate it with either cream, or custard, or even a special brandy butter Grandma Kiwicake's would whip up. However she was also well known for frying it the following day and eating it with black pudding.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Playing with isomalt today in the Kiwicakes test kitchen

Today I felt I had better have a good play with some isomalt, as it has been some time since my classes in the USA last year. I sure had fun, butterfly wings sea shells & creatures, coral and tiki (which was my absolute favourite)

I wanted to brush up on my skills, before sharing the wonders of isomalt with my table of eight ladies (gents welcome but we haven't had one yet!) Thursday May 9th 2013. If you'd like to book a place for the class, please either give me a call, or send me an email.

ANZAC Cupcakes - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Here's a great way to keep your crew busy for a day these school holidays - guaranteed to be a welcome treat and a great discussion point about all things ANZAC! I decided to use our new two tone cupcake pan set to achieve a colourful surprise in the middle. 
You begin by making up your favourite cupcake recipie. I actually cheated this time and used a white cake mix that you only need to add oil and water to. Really handy to have on hand in the pantry! The other advantage is that it really comes out white rather than the creamy colour butter and eggs usually give my cakes. I lined my tins with red foil baking cups, inspired by the vibrant colour of ANZAC poppies.
Then I divided the mixture into a few bowls and added a squirt of gel colour to each of them before spooning into disposable piping bags. This step really is essential to get the mixture cleanly into the cupcake pan insert. For some cupcakes I used red, blue and white to represent the colours we share with Australia on both of our nations flags. You simply snip off the end of each bag and squirt into the guide up to the level indicated. I was pleasantly surprised at the how easily and neatly the plastic insert is removed without the mixing of colours. Flavour and colour combinations are endless!
This is how they look when they come out of the oven. You might like to slice the top off to give you a flat surface for frosting. We thought the cupcake paper looked strikingly like an poppy when peeled off the cake!
We have a new easy frost icing in stock that I used as the Kiwicakes girls were eager to taste it. It was piped in an easy swirl using a drop star tip and came out a brilliant striking white. Sandra had a great idea of using black non pareils sprinkled on top, which look uncannily like poppy seeds. How fitting! This cupcake was finished off with some patriotic flag picks from our range.
ANZAC day wouldn't be the same without ANZAC biscuits so we rustled up a batch but spread it thinly out on a baking sheet to cook, instead of forming cookies. While the mixture was still warm from the oven I used a small star cutter to create mini ANZAC cupcake toppers.

ANZAC Biscuits

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar

Pour in....

  • 125 grams melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons warmed golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 3 tablespoons of boiling water 

Press mixture evenly onto a couple of trays (or roll into balls) and bake at 180 deg C  for ~15minutes until golden brown.

So there we have it - a whole day of fun baking and decorating in the kitchen! And a tasty tray of treats to share with your loved ones this ANZAC day. I will be taking my little family along to the dawn ceremony in town on Thursday then we'll come home and celebrate living in freedom by baking and eating together. What could be better!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Scottish Shortbread - by Grandma Kiwicake's

Grandma Kiwicakes has been busy in the kitchen, with her vintage cookie stamps. She has been using my Grandad's recipe (her daddy). If you want his recipe you can get it from my earlier post here 

My children adore it when Grandma bakes shortbread with them. What traditions do your parents do with their grandkids or kids?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Passionfruit Panna Cotta

I have a list of desserts I want to make, that is so long, I amy never ever get to the end of it. Over the weekend, I got the chance to make Panna Cotta, which I'll confess I haven't ever made before. It was so super easy, I may be guilty of not having considered it previously due to it's fancy name.

This recipe was passed on to me by a friend, I've since been looking at Panna Cotta recipes all over the web and I'm now tempted to also try substituting the milk for (1) buttermilk and (2) coconut milk. So it's back on to my dessert list of things still to try.

500ml cream
125ml milk
60g sugar
1 vanilla pod
3 sheets gelatine

Boil everything together, remove from heat and add gelatine. I didn't bother blooming the gelatine, I simply dropped it in and whisked and whisked and I had no lumps after doing this.

Chill 3-4 hours. Serve with passionfruit pulp. Berries work very well too. You can also chill in a silicone mould and turn out on to a plate. I chose to serve mine in some retro dimple coloured glasses.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cupcakes for ShelterBox

Those of you that read the Kiwicakes blog regularly will know I get involved in a number of charities - recently I added another great charity to the list of those we support. Recently I was contacted by the lovely Sarah Greaney who was working with Jax Hamilton to raise awareness and funds for ShelterBox (they provide emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies for families around the world who are affected by disasters, at a time when they need it the most - see their website here.)

I was able to help out ShelterBox with supplies for their fundraising event. Here are just a few photos of some of what was achieved during the event (which rasied $2800 from 400 cupcakes)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pineapple Lump truffles YUM!

I made these simple truffles a little while back, after we had a macaron making demonstration at Kiwicakes - our lovely tutor left behind quite a large quantity of dark chocolate ganache, flavoured with pineapple Lorann's oil (if you've never used the lorann's oil flavourings before, you don't know what you are missing - a few drops goes a long way and they are only $3)

Ganache makes awesome truffles, simply scoop out small pieces with a teaspoon once chilled and roll in to a ball. The pineapple flavoured ganache tasted so much like a pineapple lump - it was uncanny. I rolled the truffles in our golden yellow lustre Kiwicake's non pareils, they stick right on the ganache. Initially I was worried a truffle rolled in non pareils would be too much crunch. But they were lovely - our wonderful non pareils are not solid and hard like some brands (are Kiwicake's brand sugar pearls are also easy to bite). I asked every member of the Kiwicake's staff if they liked them with the non pareil coating, they all agreed the crunch was a nice contrast to the rich ganache.

Now I'm thinking rainbow truffles, pink with strawberry or bubble gum, green with key lime or pistachio, blue with blueberry, purple with grape. Oh! the possibilities. What flavour would you try? My truffles are bottled in one of our "MADE WITH LOVE" preserving jars

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Candy Crush cake for Leisa

Last week my good friend Leisa came to visit from Hong Kong. We are both huge Candy Crush addicts (it's a game we play via facebook). We had a quiet dinner out with her Mum & Dad and another special friend. But as always - I wanted to make a cake to celebrate. This is what I came up with.

I had a lot of fun with this, I printed the images from the game on edible paper and glued on to the cake, which was covered in baby blue Satin Ice fondant. I wanted all of the candy on the cake to be the same colours and shapes it is on the game. A trip around the corner from Kiwicakes to my local Bin Inn proved a fruitful trip, I was able to find most everything. The pink floral cachous candy I added the black centre to with fondant, so it properly matched the game. I couldn't find anything that looked like the purple flower candy so I made them with purple chocolate modelling paste using a floral silicone mould.

The photo in the little gold frame is of one of Leisa's work posters (she is a fitness instructor). I used this silicone mould to create the frame in yellow gumpaste, which I then painted gold using gold metallic paint.

The top cake was white chocolate with white chocolate raspberry buttercream. The bottom cake was chocolate with hazelnut praline filling (a.k.a Nutella)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kiwicakes 7th birthday competition

It's that time again! - Kiwicakes is turning 7. And we're running our annual birthday cake competition.
Click here to see details of the 3rd birthday cake winner and here for the 4th birthday winner and here for the 5th birthday winner and here for the 6th birthday winner. I strongly encourage all past entrants to enter again, as when I think back on all the entries, it is with fond memories. I would have been proud to have any of the entries, as the winning cake - it has always been tough to pick a winner. Your entry need not be a tiered cake, as you can see from our 5th birthday winner - it was stunning and a single level cake.

I'm asking anyone interested to design a birthday cake for Kiwicakes 7th birthday party. This years theme is Trixie goes on holiday. (For those of you that don't know Trixie is the Kiwicakes Kiwi) Your design ideas can be sent to me in any form, for example, a sketch or even a photo of a previous cake you've made, feel free to add written notes describing how you might alter the cake from your photo, or what elements in your sketch represent. The winner will be required to bake & decorate the winning design.

Be sure to include what flavour(s) the cake will be and the approximate size of finished cake. I'm a great fan of discovering new flavours of cake. Our previous winners have wowed me with some of their flavours.

Where to send it
You can email your ideas to me at or post to me snail mail at Kiwicakes, Po Box 4441, Kamo, Whangarei. Entries close May 7th 2013. Please include your telephone number with your entry.
The details
There are no design limitations for your cake, you can make it as big or as small as you like. However there is a limit of $75 for cake ingredients. I felt by limiting the cost of ingredients, this would allow design talent to shine through, rather than lots of expensive ingredients. The winner will be reimbursed for ingredients, to the value of $75
The winner will be required to make bake & decorate the winning design,  between May 25th and June 15th 2013 , at a time to suit them. I will then arrange for the cake to be collected from their home town for delivery to Kiwicakes at our expense.
I'll be loading the entries to the Kiwicakes blog (without the entrants names - so you can all remain anonymous) so that anyone interested can check them out.
Terms & Conditions - Kiwicakes 7th birthday competition
Prize is $600 worth of cake decorating supplies, chosen by Kiwicakes - delivered to the winner, at a destination within NZ. Prize is not exchangeable for cash.
Winner is required to bake and decorate the winning design between May 25th and June 15th to receive their prize.
Cost of ingredients up to the value of $75 will be reimbursed by Kiwicakes.
Competition is open to all residents of New Zealand (pick up address for cake must be within mainland New Zealand).
The winner agrees to their name & photo of cake being used for publicity purposes.
Entrants designs will be loaded to the KiwicakesNZ blog.
Winner will be posted to Kiwicakes blog and will feature in a future edition of the Kiwicakes newsletter.
Entries close May 7th 2013
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