Monday, December 23, 2013

Grandma Kiwicakes makes Black Bun for Hogmanay

Grandma Kiwicakes has been busy, she's made Black Bun for Hogmanay (the Scottish word for New Years Eve) When I was growing up my Grandad made dumpling for Christmas and Black Bun for Hogmanay. It needs a little time to improve (in the same manner a Christmas cake does), hence it's made some weeks before.

Usually we make it in one square cake tin. See my earlier post here for recipe and full size version  However this year as my older brother is overseas, Grandma Kiwicakes made them in loaf tins, so she could post one to him. It should be arriving in the mail in the USA right about now.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rocky Road - with freeze dried strawberries & raspberries

This Rocky Road could not be simpler and it tastes better than any Rocky Road I've ever tried. In a bowl simply place one bag of mini marshmallows (if you buy the gluten free ones, this entire recipe will be gluten free). Add nuts of your choice, I used two handfuls of walnut pieces. I used half a bag of Freeze dried strawberry slices or raspberries per batch. My silicone baking pan is aprx 28x18cm but any size will do. Melt 500g of dark or milk chocolate over a double boiler and stir through your dry mixture.

Allow to cool at room temperature. I reserved some of the prettier slices of freeze dried strawberry for the top of my strawberry batch, I placed them on top before the chocolate set. For my raspberry batch (below), I used some of the crumbled pieces from the bottom of the packet, to sprinkle over the top.

For my strawberry batch I sprinkled over edible gold glitter.

All packaged up ready to give as gifts for Christmas, but they would make lovely gifts all year round.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Jenny - Part two

You may remember an earlier post for Jenny's birthday with details of her cake here. Today's post has the details of the rest of her birthday party food. I'd decided on a theme of pastels, which meant all of the food HAD to be pastel. This is super easy for sweets, but not quite so easy for savouries.

The cupcakes were baked using these stiletto high heel cupcake papers. I love these papers, I can get two dozen cupcakes on a flat baking sheet and bake them all at once.

Down inside a large 18'' bag, I placed 2x 12'' piping bags, each with the end cut off - one with green and one with white buttercream. Separating the colours inside two separate bags, rather than putting two colours of icing in to one bag stops the icing mixing together and getting muddy/dirty. They were piped with a twin tone swirl using the Wilton 1m tip.

I topped the cupcakes with baby pink Kiwicakes's own brand sugar pearls, as well as a little petunia made from baby pink Satin Ice fondant using this cutter & veiner set.

Frosted caramels, pastel meringues and floral cachous lollies looked great in our candy jars.

The meringues I served with whipped cream, to which I added some crushed freeze dried raspberries. Grandma Kiwicakes declared this her "new best favourite".

I used square pink dotty cupcake papers to hold mini pink shrimp cocktails. The mayonnaise I coloured pale pink by adding a little tomato sauce.

These carrot canapes are made by mixing cream cheese, freeze dried carrot powder, seasoning and pecans together (they were not quite as orange as the photo portrays). The lettuce leaf addition to the rose was cut out of iceberg lettuce using a rose leaf metal cutter (plastic doesn't work well on lettuce).

Jenny had a wonderful birthday here at Kiwicakes, we don't have long to wait until the next staff birthday, it's Grandma Kiwicakes in January. We've already started planning for her party.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Baby onesie cookies in the latest OH Baby magazine

How cute are these baby onesie cookies that appear in the latest issue of Oh Baby magazine? - they were made using this cookie cutter set The impression mats that come with the cutter set ensure great professional looking results every time. Change the colour of your fondant to suit your colour scheme.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cake truffles - the ultimate leftover

Cake ball truffles (or cake pops if they're on a stick) are the ultimate way to use up leftovers. Recently I had some left over red velvet cupcakes and some left over cream cheese icing, I mixed the two together, to form my cake truffle mixture. When mixing the two together, visually you are looking for a mixture that looks like "wet sand"

No matter what you choose to roll them in, they look great. They can even be chocolate dipped. On my cake truffles, I've used Kiwicakes own brand non pareilsjimmies (Kiwicakes brand are lovely to eat, they're not super crunchy when used in this way), and tiny heart sprinkles.

I've used these Wilton mini candy cane cupcake papers just in time for Christmas, but you could use any mini cupcake paper you have.
Next time you have a few left over cupcakes or some cake levellings, why not start a container in your freezer for your next batch of cake truffles, cake flavours can even be mixed together if you keep adding leftovers over a few months (use within 3-6 months of freezing). With cake truffles there are no rules, add chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit or anything else you may fancy to your mixture. You are only limited by your imagination

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My favourite Christmas display stand - Santa's reindeer sleigh

This reindeer sleigh is one of my favourite Christmas items. Here's a photo of how I used it on Christmas day last year. We were invited to my sister-in-law's house for dinner and had to bring a dessert, but knew there would be lots of other desserts, too. So I decided on mini bite size morsels. 

There's mini donuts, which I made in one of those nifty little donut makers. They're decorated with white icing and festive blend sprinkles. The cake truffles are dipped in dark chocolate, a little white chocolate is added on top to mimic a Christmas pudding and they're decorated with Holly cupcake candy. There's also some mint Hersheys kisses (which only seem to appear in the supermarket at Christmas time) as well as some fresh strawberries. These simple bite size desserts catered to all tastes, including the children.

I've flat packed my Santa sleigh from last year and it's ready and waiting again to make an appearance this year. Great value at only $14.95 - click here to buy

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Operation Sugar cake for Katie

Many of you will know Kiwicakes is a sponsor of Operation Sugar, which provides free birthday cakes for seriously ill children in NZ. I'm also personally registered as a volunteer baker - and I finally got my first assignment: a mermaid themed cake for Katie turning 10. Katie has Bronchiectasis.

Katie's mum Lisa tells me her daughter is very keen on publicising Bronchiectasis (see the support page on facebook here) to raise awareness for her condition. Specials thanks to Lisa and Katie for the lovely photos. 

Katie was also happy to be photographed for the Northern Advocate newspaper, the story appeared on Saturday 7th December. You can read the story here

Katie requested chocolate flavours for the whole cake. I made the bottom tier with milk chocolate ganache, to suit the children coming to her party, and the middle tier with dark chocolate ganache for the adults.

The cake sizes were a 13 inch diameter round base stacked with a 10 inch diameter hexagon. the supports are 9 inch wilton hidden pillars topper with an 8 inch round separator plate. On top of this rests an 8 inch diameter hemisphere cake.

Nearly all of the decorations were made with Chocit chocolate modelling paste. I love the never ending working time of this product. Two days after I made the mermaid, I was still able to adjust the angle of her tail (which I would not have been able to do with fondant or gumpaste).

The Chocit modelling paste comes in a wide variety of colours. I was able to mix colours together, to achieve other great shades. Some examples of my colour mixing are: the mermaids hair is yellow & white mixed together, the tail is blue & green in equal parts, the lime green used extensively on the cake is green and yellow mixed 3:1, the stingray is a tiny pinch of black added to white and the coral supports are surround with pink mixed with ivory.

The little stingrays tail I didn't model, I simply pulled the Chocit, stretching and breaking it to the length required.

The marbled shells were made by twisting together ropes of pale yellow and pink Chocit, then pressing it into silicone seashell moulds.

Just keep twisting until the stripes get tighter and tighter. This process was also used on the shells that are around the pink pillars in centre of cake (at hexagon level).

The shells on the cake board are all made from solid chocolate. The kina shells are made using these moulds and white candy melts, to which I added a few green candy melts (making the resulting green much paler than green candy melts straight from the bag). They are dusted with Rainbow Dust Pearl crushed pine lustre dust. The pink shells are made using white candy melts, dusted with pink lustre.

The paua shells are made with these moulds and blue candy melts (see here for a tutorial on how to make paua my way). The scallop shells are made with this mould, with a pearl gumball added to the centre. They are dusted with Rainbow Dust Starlight comet white.

The cake board was 20 inches in diameter. I covered it with baby blue Satin Ice fondant, which I embossed using this impression mat of waves and dots. Katie's name is cut out of purple gumpaste using the FMM Funky Tappit set.

This fish on this tier were made using this mould and the heart bubbles were created by taking some white hearts from this sprinkles blend and attaching them with some edible glue

I used the same fish mould (used in the earlier photo above) to attach to the coral pillars. The coral was created by taking uneven lengths of Chocit and wrapping around the pillar, starting at the top, overlapping each one down the length of the pillar.

The pearl drape was made using a bead mould and white Chocit, dusted with Rainbow Dust starlight comet white lustre. The individual little pearls are Kiwicakes own brand sugar pearls

The mermaid's tail colour was made mixing blue & green Chocit together.

The fondant covering for the two bottom tiers was marbled using the marbling technique from here. The colours used are blue & baby blue Satin Ice fondant. The top hemisphere tier was marbled with baby blue and pastel green Satin Ice.

I hope you've enjoyed the story of my Operation Sugar cake. Perhaps you'll consider signing up as a volunteer with Operation Sugar. You can check out all the wonderful cakes people have made on Operation Sugar's facebook page.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Popcorn Cluster Cups - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

This sweet popcorn is chewy and delicious! Start by popping a bag of popcorn and crushing 200g of candy canes or your favourite boiled sweets.

Cut 1-2 lengths of marshmallow rope into pieces (the more you use the yummier it is!) Microwave in short bursts until it goes gooey and inflated as below. Mix to coat popcorn and candy mix before it hardens.

Serve in cutesy pink cupcake papers and decorate with further lengths of marshmallow rope.

Another popcorn option is to go savoury and festive. Simply dry roast 3 teaspoons each of ground cinnamon, cumin and paprika in a warm pan. Add 6T butter and stir to melt together then pour over a bag of pre-popped microwave popcorn and stir to coat.

This is a moreish movie snack and goes nicely with a chilled beer!

Toffee-style popcorn looks gorgeous for Christmas when presented in sleigh cupcake papers and adorned with candy canes. Over a bag of microwave popcorn sprinkle 10-12 crushed candy canes and 150g of your favourite melted nut brittle/bark/toffee bar. Stir quickly to combine. Break the toffee'd popcorn into chunks to serve. The pepperminty candy canes and chopped nuts make this popcorn really addictive.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Message Cookies - from Kiwicakes test kitchen

Here's another use for a fondant plunger cutter: it works wonderfully with cookie dough, producing thin and crispy cookies for a special occasion.

Roll out your favourite cookie dough mixture. Cut and stamp with the message plunger. Transfer to a baking tray and cook as normal.

'Happy Birthday' comes in a set of 4 message plunger cuttersincluding 'Eat Me', 'With Love' and 'Home Made'. 

Perfect and robust to transport to picnics and parties!
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