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.

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.
  • 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!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Today I am 38 years old

When my friend Lisa arrived with my birthday cake this morning, I was gobsmacked. She makes me a cake each year. Last year it was my boots. There have been other great cakes, see here and here. It's salted caramel in one area of the cake. But apparently there are also some other surprise flavours.

I adore Lisa's attention to detail. Both Lisa and I use vast quantities of Chelsea sugars - so it was quite fitting she included a Chelsea icing sugar bag.

I've been spoilt rotten today. My children descended upon me at 6.15am this morning with presents and these cookies, they've been working on for the last 2 days, with my husbands help.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mexican Tres Leche Poke cake - Coconut Lime

I'd always wanted to make a "poke" cake. So when we decided to have a Mexican themed dinner party for friends it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. There's many recipes varying from just plain milks, to the coconut and lime version I made. I adapted my recipe below, from the many recipes I found, to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. Whilst I normally bake from scratch this recipe started with a box mix, it's so drenched with milks, it really doesn't seem to matter in this case.

The recipe is simple and fun to make

Take one box of Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix. Prepare as per the instructions on the box, adding the zest of a large lime to the batter. Bake in a well greased 9 x13 sheet cake pan for approx 20 minutes, until golden brown. Once it is baked, and still hot, poke the entire surface of the cake with a skewer or fork, creating holes all over the cake. Be careful to leave some space between the holes, as you don't want the cake to fall apart from too many holes.

In a bowl whisk together
1 tin condensed milk
1 tin evaporated milk - coconut flavour (you could use coconut milk or cream too)
2/3 tin evaporated milk
1/3 cup Malibu (coconut rum)

Pour this mixture over the cake slowly, 1/4 cup at a time, wait just a few seconds for each cupful to be absorbed in to the cake, before pouring more over. It really seems like a lot of liquid, but I promise the cake will absorb it all.

I frosted the cake with a lime cream cheese icing, made by mixing together (The icing should be quite runny)
1x 250g pack of Philadelphia cream cheese
125g butter
the juice of 1 large lime or 2 small limes.

The icing can be applied to the cake immediately, as the sheer volume of milks poured over the cake cools it sufficiently to ice it. To decorate, sprinkle with the zest of 1 lime.

I prefer this cake served chilled from the fridge.This cake was served at our dinner party and received many compliments from our guests.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy birthday Jenny!

Last Friday we had a birthday party for Jenny, the office manager here at Kiwicakes. Jenny is a highly valued member of staff, she's also been my best friend since high school - we've been through a lot together. Jenny is older and wiser than me by 8 days. We had a joint 21st birthday party, which seems like a million years ago. If someone had told us we'd be working together nearly 20 years later, I'm sure we would have laughed at them. Jenny & I were each others bridesmaids and provided support for each other after the birth of our children. Jenny is the reason Kiwicakes runs so efficiently and everyones orders get out on time. We're very lucky to have her.

I decided on a pastel theme because I knew Jenny liked the ombre rosette cakes. Whilst I would've adored to spend hours on a special cake, the reality was I had just a few hours to pull the entire cake and party food together, due to other commitments during the week. This blog post has the recipe and decorating ideas for Jenny's cake. A later blog post will detail her party food and candy buffet.

Jenny's cake was a white chocolate mud cake, which I hadn't made before. I looked around at a few recipes, but when I didn't find anything I liked 100% I adapted one to suit my needs. The cake was made using two 5 inch round cakes, torted and filled, to create three layers of filling.

The filling was white chocolate raspberry cream cheese icing. I used Whittakers White Raspberry chocolate.

White Chocolate mud cake

2 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 C milk
125gr white chocolate
1tsp vanilla
175gr butter softened
1 1/2C Sugar
2 eggs

For the filling
250gr (1block) Whittakers raspberry white chocolate (you can use plain white chocolate also)
250gr cream cheese softened
125gr butter softened
2C icing sugar
2Tbsp lemon or lime juice

Preheat oven to 160C.
Heat milk until hot, but not boiling, stir in white chocolate until melted, stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool.  
In a bowl sift together flour, salt & baking powder.
In mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light & fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture, mixing until just combined. 

Pour into two greased 5 inch diameter pans or one 8 inch diameter pan. I use Wilton Cake release to grease my pans, it ensures they never stick. I also use Wilton bake even strips to ensure the cake rise level & flat and need little or no levelling after they're baked.

Once baked and cooled I cut each cake in half and added a layer of filling. As the cake was taller than it was wide I knew it would not stack easily without dowelling (which I didn't want to do for this tiny cake). My solution was to place each torted and filled cake back in to its cake pan, which I had lined with glad wrap. I then spread a layer of filling on the top of one cake and inverted the other cake pan on top. I placed the two cake pan stack into the fridge, to allow the cake set up overnight. I removed it from the fridge the following morning and it held its shape beautifully (chilling chocolate mud cake overnight actually improves the flavour).

The rosettes on Jenny's ombre cake were created using a Wilton 1m tip and vanilla buttercream icing.

Buttercream icing recipe
1/2 cup butter softened
4C icing sugar - I find Chelsea icing sugar to be the best
4-5 Tablespoons warm water.

In a mixer cream together butter and shortening until well mixed, the resulting mixture will be significantly whiter than butter. Add icing sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 Tbsp water. Add vanilla.
Take 1 cup of icing and colour it to your darkest pink. Once your first row of rosettes has been piped, you can take the remaining icing and add white icing to it, to make the next shade lighter for your rosettes. Repeating as many times as you need until your lightest shade is reached.

The little cake banner bunting can be found here 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Final Wilton class cakes - Course two - Flower & Cake design

Last Thursday the students taking Wilton course two completed cakes during their final lesson. I think they did a great job. It always amazes just how varied the final cake designs are. If you'd like to check out our class schedule click here

Chai Latte Cupcakes - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Today's assignment was to have a play with some new products and see what eventuated. We got these beautiful designer collection Isabel baking cups in recently and they were calling out to be used! In the same collection are China Plate, Pink Cameo and Delilah designs. 

Here are my finished products: cutesy little chai cupcakes. They are rich and mildly spiced, and adorned with wee fondant messages for impact. 

Chai Latte Cupcakes (makes 16 designer collection baking cup cupcakes or 12 regular)

Whip together til creamy:
- 125g softened butter
- 1/2c brown sugar
- 1t vanilla essence/extract/paste

Add in slowly:
- 2 eggs
- 1/2c milk/cream

Sieve over and incorporate:
- 1&1/2c flour
- 1&1/2t baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1/2t cinnamon
- 3T chai tea powder

Whip together until fluffy. Spoon into baking cups and bake at 175' for 15-20mins until golden brown and firm to the touch.

While your cupcakes are cooking there is sufficient time to prepare your message discs with the help of these three handy message plunger cutters. Just add a pinch of tylose to a small handful of coloured fondant and then roll out 3-4mm thick, cut and plunge. Set shapes aside to firm up slightly while you prepare your icing.

Chai Latte Frosting

2c icing sugar
1 stick crisco butter flavoured shortening (or 1 cup softened butter)
4T milk/water
1T chai tea powder
1t vanilla essence

Whip together until pale and fluffy.

Fill a piping bag with a 1M tip and pipe a spiral from the outside to the centre of each cupcake. Top with the message discs and enjoy!

Look how easily the chai cupcake pulls away from the designer baking cups. I love that they are self-standing and a no-mess baking solution. Here are the 3 disc plungers...

'Best Wishes' has so many uses - exam time, new baby, get-well-soon, housewarming...

'LOVE' - for your sweetheart, your children, wedding, engagement and valentines day.

And finally these 'thank you' toppers beautifully show your gratitude. You will make somebody's day by sharing the love with these yummy Chai Latte cupcakes. 

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