Friday, 30 December 2011

2011 - A Year in Cake

January - my sister's birthday cake. Yes it's a cat's head. Chocolate orange sponge with buttercream. 

January - Chub's Birthday Cake. Coconut, lime and raspberry. 

February - Keeva's 3rd birthday cake. Chocolate and more chocolate. 

April - a wedding cake. Fruit cake, chocolate biscuit cake and tiffin. 

May - Adam's 6th birthday cake - chocolate and fresh cream.

June - Boston Cream Cupcakes. 

July - just doing some practice. 

August - my birthday! Drinking a margarita instead of baking a cake is good on one's birthday. 

September - Lemon Drizzle Cakes

October - Chocolate Cola Cupcakes & Vanilla '99s' for the Great Irish Bake for Temple St Children's Hospital. 

Happy New Year! x

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christmas 2011 In Our Home

I've been quiet recently, haven't I? I haven't been on here and I haven't much been on the tweet machine. If you would like to know where I've mostly been, I've been in bed with a hot water bottle or chained to the oven like a little Christmas cooking elf.

Christmas has come, the turkey has been brined, roasted and eaten. The last few scraps of it went in the bin today. The guests we had visiting left yesterday. There are still a few Christmas chocolates and biscuits around but they probably won't last much longer. I've mostly been wearing leggings as I have the fear I won't be able to get my jeans closed. But it's been great, hasn't it? There really is nothing better than a few days off work, all your favourite foods, seeing your favourite people, drinking your favourite drinks.... tea, red wine, amaretto and egg nog lattes and watching your favourite shows on tv. Heaven.

And strangely it's also the time when others say how much you must miss your passed loved ones when you really miss them every day of the year. Not just Christmas.

Here's what Christmas looked like in our Home. 

This year we had my Parents-In-Law to visit from Scotland. The good news is they have sweet teeth just like me the bad news is my Father-In-Law REALLY likes ALL the soaps. I do not. Here they are two minutes after arriving getting stuck into the Christmas cake.

They are lovely though and brought me back these Cocoa Atelier pretties from Vie de Chateaux at Home when I dropped them up to the shops one afternoon. They were banging on the door of Hayden's Pub at 12 o clock in the afternoon for a glass of Guinness. They weren't admitted.

I was so excited when I came across a ginger bread boy wreath on Martha Stewart and thought it would be a great little project. It was not. We don't speak of it anymore. 

The ginger bread boy fiasco was forgotten about with a rib of beef with a port and blue cheese sauce cooked by Chub. I am a lucky girl. 

It was paw licking good (not that she saw any of it!)

We opened presents. I was spoiled with a voucher for a night at Neven's and with these...... 

We had retro-fantastic Ballymaloe Smoked Mackeral Pate and Melba Toast for Christmas Day starter. 

Forgive me, I forgot to photograph the turkey (purchased from Nolans, Kilcullen). We brined the night before a la Nigella and it was amazing. We were rolled away from the table. 

I made a Baileys, hazelnut and chocolate meringue cake for Christmas Day dessert, recipe coming soon.

To burn a few calories we had a lovely walk in Glendalough, which proved difficult to pronounce for our Scottish visitors. 
 Photo by Chub - More of his photos HERE

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and go on to have a happy, healthy, food and wine filled 2012. 
Adrienne xx

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Icing a round Christmas cake with sugarpaste

So I've told you all about how to bake the cake, to marzipan the cake and true to my word, here I am to tell you all how I cover the cake in sugarpaste. 

For an 8 inch round cake, you will need 950g of sugarpaste. 

Knead the sugarpaste until it is pliable. You might need a little icing sugar on the worksurface to stop it sticking. 

When the sugarpaste is soft, you can start rolling it out into a large circle. After each roll, pick the icing up and roll it a quarter turn to stop it sticking to the counter. 

When the icing is rolled out enough so that it will cover the cake. Brush the marzipanned cake with vodka or any other clear spirit. Unfortunately, the alcohol will evaporate off but if you have been studiously feeding the cake brandy this will be ok. 

To get the icing onto the cake now, either lift it on while it's draped over the rolling pin or lift it in your hands. Be gentle. 

From here on in, it's operation smoothing.

Use one hand to lift the icing from the bottom and the other shaped like a cup to start smoothing the icing down from the top. 

Once the icing is all the smooth all the way down the sides. Start buffing with a smoother if you have one or with your hands. I use a little bit of icing sugar awell as it acts a little bit like sandpaper. 

When the icing is smooth and shiny, run a sharp knife around the bottom to take away the excess icing. 

Then using the smoother tuck in the ragged edges. These will be covered with a ribbon later so don't worry if you don't have it perfect. 

Have your pre-covered board ready. I always put a ribbon around the board to pretty it up a little too. Dab on a bit of royal icing so the cake won't run away.

Drop your cake onto your board. Yes, it weighs a ton but your arms are all lovely and strong now from all that rolling of marzipan and icing. If you have a sugar pearl spray, this is the time to use it. It gives a lovely sheen to the sugarpaste and it smells lovely. 

Next stop is to hide the not so nice bits at the end of the cake. Secure a ribbon around the base of the cake with a dab of royal icing. 

Okay, so at this stage you could be all done or you could decorate with a few glitter snowflakes or whatever your heart desires. 

The End! Merry Christmas! 

Once again thanks to Chub for taking pictures. He is useful sometimes.
Did you notice my freakishly long fingers? When we were engagement ring shopping, everyone seemed to notice them. Especially the French man in the jewellers on Johnson Place 'oh but with your very, very, very, very long pianist fingers you could wear anything' talk about giving me a complex. I am not a pianist. I played the recorder when I was in fifth class and that's about it. Sorry Frenchman.