Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hairy Maclary is 30!

Hairy Maclary has been entertaining children all over the world for 30 years. To celebrate this, Oh Baby! magazine has created this wonderful birthday party. I was pleased to help with supplies for this wonderful party. (Currently if you buy this issue of Oh Baby! magazine at the supermarket, it comes with a free Hairy Maclary book).

I wish my kids were tiny again - they loved Hairy Maclary books and after seeing this photo shoot, I wish I could have a Hairy Maclary party too. I adore the dog bowl cake - what an awesome idea.

Our dog bone cookie cutter was used for the cookies, I love how they put different names on each bone. And our stainless steel ice cream cone holder looks awesome on the party table

Our dog bone cookie cutter was also used for the sandwiches and take home party favours.

(article copied with permission from Oh Baby!)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My weekend away - The Art of Cake Awards & Rotorua

This weekend past, Grandma Kiwicakes & I went on a bit of a road trip. We were due in Rotorua on Saturday for the Rotorua cake guild's demonstration day. On Friday we left Kiwicakes and I couldn't wait to stop at Westfield Shore City in Auckland, to check out the Art of Cake Awards Some of my good friends had made cakes for this competition which I couldn't wait to see up close.

Apologies I only had my Iphone with me for photos - this cake of a life size model is from Chocolate Earth.

This cake was made by Vanessa From Bella Cupcakes. Taking a photo of this one, I was cursing having left my camera at home, I had to lean a fair way over the barrier to get the bottom tier to show up in my photo (I'll admit to checking over my shoulder to ensure no security guards were watching me)

This cake was made by Sondra from Sweet Bites Cakes and had lots of little satellite cakes & cupcakes

This cake was made by Miss Melicious

This Cake was made by Thea at Cake Couture

With so many awesome cakes - and knowing some of the cakers, it was impossible for me to vote, so I gave my voting token to my daughter and asked her to vote for her favourite.

The cakes have been getting a lot of press, Tracie from Chocolate Earth was on Breakfast TV - watch it here (advance through to 1.08 hours)

This free exhibition showcases the ultimate in creativity and artistic cake decorating excellence, with cakes up to 1.4 metres tall, inspired by the theme Haute Couture.
The cake designers revealed their grand designs on Thursday 20th June. The winning cake will be decided by public vote ending July 10th, with the winning caker announced on July 11th.
If you want to visit the cakes, why not go at a time when there's cake craft sessions running. Whether you're a serious sugar crafter or a first-timer, this is your chance to learn the art of cake decorating from the experts at the Shore City Cake Craft sessions.  

Miss Melicious - 1pm, Sunday 23rd June: Master the Cupcake Bouquet (sorry folks this one has been)
Cake Couture - Midday, Thursday 4th July: The Art of Rose Making
Sweet Bites Cakes - 2pm, Saturday 6th July: Frosting & Figurine Modelling
Chocolate Earth - Midday, Sunday 7th July: Top Tips on Modelling Chocolate
To view more photos from Shore City of the cakes - check out their facebook page

What a great start to a weekend away the cake competition was. When we got to Rotorua, we had a lovely day with the Rotorua cake guild. On Sunday I met with these 2 cheeky gals above (Jo at left From Ciccio and Sarah from The Cake Tin). We chatted away the morning, I took some photos from Jo's cake cabinets for you all.

Jo has many wonderful tutorials on her facebook page - including her shoes & peonies. She actively promotes cake decorating and is very giving of her time to beginners. On her website she even gives out recipes here Go and check it out, especially if you need a carrot cake recipe for carving 3d cakes. (which is also on her facebook page under notes)

Possibly the best part of the morning is when Jo said "let's have some cake". We took home the two slices in the containers, which are sticky toffee date cake and coffee streusel (as I was told they would travel well), the toffee cake had a huge square of fudge on the end. The remaining three cakes all had mousse layers between them. According to Jo we had to try the apple spice cake, because it was her favourite, the tiramisu cake because it was new. And the carrot cake just because!. What you can't tell from the photo is just how enormous these cake are. Jo bakes her cakes in 14'' pans, so the slices are HUGE. I am sorry to say, not all of the cake we tested on Sunday morning was eaten, which was no reflection on how incredibly yummy it was.

I highly recommend a visit to Ciccio - The Italian Restaurant if you are ever in Rotorua. I'm told they do awesome dinners too.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Spiderman Party Cupcakes - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

I have seen this effect in photographs before but never had a try myself - until today. With such bright colours it really is a simple and effective way of impressing Spiderman fans! I made a yummy golden cupcake for the design to sit on top of...

Cream 125 grams butter, 1 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Slowly add two large eggs, beating well throughout. Add 1/2 cup milk and a pinch of salt. Sift over 1+1/3 cups flour and 1+1/2 teaspoons baking powder. Mix again for 1-2 minutes until all combined and mixture is light and creamy. Spoon into black Foil Cases and bake at 175 degrees for about 15 minutes. Makes 12+ cupcakes. And our taste testers agree they are tops so you might be best to double everything and make 2 dozen!

When they have completely cooled, cut off the top dome so it is level with the top of the cupcake papers.

Mix up a simple butter icing to colour and spread over the cut surface...

Mix together with a bread and butter knife - 25 grams of butter melted, 3 tablespoons of boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence and 2 cups of icing sugar. This will achieve a runny consistency that will be easy to spread and pipe.

Colour 1/4 of the icing mixture black with a squirt of food grade colour and colour the remaining 3/4 with a good squirt of bright red. Spiderman fans will know if your colours end up pinkish or greyish (and guaranteed they will tell you!!) so its worth getting the right bright colourant.

Pop your black into a piping bag with a size 3 tip so you are ready to pipe. Its best to just work on one cupcake at a time so your icing is wet and the two colours blend nicely. Take a blob of red icing on your knife or spatula and cover the entire cut surface. Then work quickly with the black to pipe a generous dot in the middle of the red, as well as free handing three rough circles about 5mm apart as pictured above. It will look somewhat like a bulls eye. Then use a toothpick (or similar) to drag 8 equidistant lines from the middle of the cupcake to the outside.

If your icing firms up a little just give the red a few seconds in the microwave to bring it back to a nice runny consistency. By holding the black filled piping bag with the warmth of your hand for a minute it will do the same job.

And just like magic you have created a spider web effect. These can be made in any colour - and would also be good for halloween parties with a candy spider perched on top!

Another growing trend is to top cupcakes with icing decs We have them available in many of our different licensed ranges. Certainly a quick and easy way to echo your party's theme! Check out our party supplies page for over 50 differerent ranges of licensed party ware - everything from Strawberry Shortcake to John Deere Tractor!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Kiwiana Cupcakes class at Kiwicake's

We sure had fun this weekend past. Kirsten Day was with us in store at Kiwicake's teaching cupcake making classes, to celebrate the launch of her new book "Kiwiana Cupcakes, Cake Pops & Whoopie Pies"

Here are some photos from the class. We had 2 class, both sell outs, with 16 students per class.

I couldn't resist snapping some photo's some Kirsten's demo cupcakes.

Kirsten had never seen the pink sheep at Sheepworld - until her first visit to Kiwicake's. So here in Whangarei, we claim the pink sheep from the front cover as our own, as if Kirsten had not come to visit us regularly, she would never have seen them.

Thanks so much for coming to see us Kirsten - we can't wait to have you back (and for book #2)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Exciting new metallic Click-Twist food paint pens from Rainbow dust

This week, we've had an exciting new product range arrive here at Kiwicake's. The new Click-Twist pens arrived while Esme was here visiting Kiwicake's. As I was unpacking the shipment, I handed a purple one to Esme (her favourite colour) and said "How would you like to be the first person in New Zealand to try these pens?". Well of course she didn't say no, she grabbed the chance and went straight to work on a piece of fondant.

It was hilarious, as Esme brushed the purple over the fondant, we both simultaneously said "ooh - aah" - I guess you had to be there, but it was very funny. You can check out the full range of ten pens here 

The following details below are from the Rainbow Dust manufacturer

A ready-to-use and VERY convenient paint brush, pre-loaded with our very popular metallic food paint. Simply twist the end cap of the brush until the paint fills the brush tip and you're ready to go! When not in use, simply wipe any excess paint from the tip of the brush and place the cap back over the brush until next time. No mess, no fuss. It's quick and easy!

Sometimes you need a paint colour on hand but don't need the extent of a paint pallet, water beaker, brush and paper towel. Sometimes, all you need is a Click-Twist Brush®. This is great for small areas of coverage and detail work and due to the controlled delivery of paint into the brush tip, there is minimal wastage which means your Click-Twist Brush is very economical®, allowing you to paint many many decorations!

  • Click, twist and use
  • Radiant Metallic Paint
  • Dry in 10 - 15 minutes
  • Once dry the lustre pigment is sealed within the surface - no dust or smudges
  • Economical use of paint

Label Claims: Nut Free, GM Free, Suitable for Vegetarians, Certified Kosher & Hala

Supplied in a premium colour coded, retail-pack with full colour front and reverse design, including foil print. The current range has 4 different reverse designs, each demonstrating a different use for the pens.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baking classes with Esme Dawson

Yesterday Esme held interactive baking classes here at Kiwicake's. Everyone had so much fun and I think everyone told me they learnt heaps. We had a morning and an afternoon session, the items covered were similar, but the flavours varied across the two sessions.

Esme had everyone up helping her

In the morning we had Cheese and chive scones, my absolute favourite and sooooooooooo tasty!. As well as carrot cake and bakewell tart.

The franipani filling for this bakewell tart is from the Use Real Butter site here and Esme's pastry recipe is as follows
170g butter
85g Chelsea White Sugar
1 small egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
Zest of ½ lemon
260g flour

1. Beat the butter and sugar
2. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest.
3. Add the flour and mix to a paste.
4. Rest for 30 minutes in the fridge before using.

Esme's carrot cake recipe, she made in two layers so it would cool quicker.

In the afternoon, we had plain sweet scones (they got gobbled before I got a photo) and "yellow" cake.

The yellow cake has egg yolks only, so is a richer flavour and more yellow colour than whole eggs. It is slightly denser but still moist texture to it.. The yellow cake recipe is from the Joy of baking site here The most important thing when making this cake, is a lengthy creaming process for the butter & sugar (10minutes)

Esme's Cheese and chive scone recipe

Here are some of my tips;

  • Buttermilk is the key to go the best scones (in my opinion). You can subsitute normal milk in this recipe, but they will not be as light and tender. 
  • You can omit the butter entirely. In fact, when I am pressed for time I don't add it. However, I do find I get a slightly better scone by adding a little butter. But then again I'm pretty pedantic when it comes to scones! Most people would not notice I suspect. 
  • Quick & Light hands make the best scones. By this, I mean don't be too heavy handed once you add the liquid. If you overwork the dough you will end up with tough scones. A knife is best for mixing. 
  • Get them into the oven ASAP. Once you add the liquid, time is of the essence. You want to get them into the oven as soon as you can. 
  • Always sift your flour & baking powder. When rubbing in the butter, lift the mixture up from high, this always works in a little extra air. 
  • When sprinkling the cheese over the scones, let bits fall down the side and onto the tray. These form those wonderfully crunchy bits that contrast wonderfully with the light scone. 
  • This recipe can be adapted to any size/flavour. Always use a ratio of 1 cup of flour to 2t of baking powder. 
  • If you want sweet scones, then omit the cheese/chives, increase the butter (25g per 1 cup of flour) and at a couple of tablespoons of sugar (to taste). 
Enough rambling from me, onto the baking!

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celcius. 
3 cups flour
6t baking powder
25g butter (optional)
375g grated tasty cheese (1 bag of the pre-grated stuff)
1 bunch chives, chopped 
1 container (500ml) buttermilk

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Rub in butter, if using. Stir in cheese & chives (reserve some cheese for sprinkling on top).

Add 3/4 of the mlk, stirring with a knive. Add enough to get a soft dough. If you need more liquid, add a little milk or water.

Pat out on a floured board. Cut up. Put onto baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle on reserved cheese. Pop in the oven and bake for 12-15 mins (depends on the size you cut them). 

Bake until risen, golden and cooked. They should sound "hollow" when tapped on the bottom. 

Best eaten warm with lashings of butter. 

Esme's recipe for plain scones

Omit the cheese & chives from the recipe above
change butter to 75g
add 1/4 cup sugar

Esme's Carrot Cake recipe
Whisk 4 large eggs (size 7) until light & fluffy with 1 3/4 cups of caster sugar for 5 minutes in a stand mixer

Mix in 1 cup of oil

Sift together 2 cups of flour (DON'T LEAVE OUT THE SIFTING) 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (or mixed spice). Fold in.

Lastly stir in 3 cups of grated carrot

Bake in 2x 8inch/20cm cake pans at 170C for 20-30 minutes (or one larger 22-23cm tin)

Esme's Cream Cheese icing
125g butter
125g cream cheese
500g icing sugar sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
squeeze lemon juice

Make sure your butter is soft and squidgy (not melted) and your cream cheese is at room temperature. Cream butter until light & fluffy - add cream cheese, mix until blended. Beat in icing sugar in 2 lots. Add flavourings. Whip until smooth. To keep at piping consistency, don't over beat as the cream cheese starts to turn to liquid.

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