Friday, 25 January 2013

Dog Birthday Cake

Hi everyone! I'm back in London safe and sound. I have been meaning to update my blog for days now but have not gotten round to it. Sorry! It's been quite hectic since my return - catching up with friends, dealing with admin and more importantly looking for a new place to stay. I found a lovely new place and will be moving in this weekend so will be offline until I can get myself set up. Normal blogging services will resume after a few weeks. 

This is a special cake that I made for my brother's birthday a few weeks ago. He loves dogs so the obvious choice was a dog cake. The family pet dog is a silky terrier but my cake decorating skills won't stretch that far so this is what I came up with. Glad he loved the cake! 

 family pet dog

I have to thank Daisy from Never Too Sweet who suggested I look at Not Quite Nigella's blog for inspiration. I  had actually bookmarked the recipe but forgot about it when I was deciding how to make a dog cake. If you used a bit of imagination you could say there is a resemblance between the dog and the cake :) 

I'm submitting this to AlphaBakes a monthly blogging challenge hosted on alternate months by Caroline from Caroline Makes and myself.  The letter this month is "D" for Dog cake. 

 easy swiss roll recipe from my aunt - thank you 

 perfect roll - phew! :)

 adding cupcakes for the head, tail and ears. 

 cover in frosting 

 use a grass tip to pipe "fur" over the dog 

For the face you will need 2 giant chocolate buttons, 3 M&M's and a piece of strawberry rollup cut to shape.   I made some additional decorations using a candy mould I found - bone, food bowl, dog house and  puppy. I also coloured dessicated coconut green to resemble grass. 

 cross section of the swiss roll 

For the swiss roll

4 large eggs, separated
60g self raising flour
55g caster sugar 
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sunflower oil 
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, sugar, milk, oil and flour until smooth. 
  • Fold into the egg white mixture and spread onto a swiss roll tin. 
  • Bake for 14 minutes.
  • Spread jam or cream and roll into a swiss roll. 

For the peanut butter cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

75g butter
130g smooth peanut butter
190g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
60ml semi-skimmed milk
  • Preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake cases. 
  • Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugar until well blended. 
  • Add the eggs, one at a time and then stir in the vanilla extract. 
  • Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a separate bowl.
  • Add 1/3 of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well.
  • Pour 1/3 of the milk and beat again.
  • Repeat until all the flour and milk have been added. 
  • Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases - I used a large ice cream scoop. 
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday and a Coffee & Walnut Cake

Hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year! It's my blog's 3rd birthday today so I had to make something to mark the occasion. Apologies in advance for the quality of the photos - the lighting was very poor and there were a lot of shadows! I can't believe that my blog is entering it's 3rd year - when I started it, I wasn't even sure if it would last for a few months! I had a look back at my baking/blogging resolutions from last year and am pleased to announce that I stuck to all of them.  2012 was a great year for my blog. The highlights have been:

  • Co-hosting AlphaBakes with Caroline from Caroline Makes - it has been a resounding success and we are very grateful to all our AlphaBakers. 
  • Joining in a record number of blog challenges for 2012 which I hope to continue in 2013. 
  • Writing a record number of 166 posts for the year (compared to 107 in 2011 and 106 in 2010
I'm not sure what lies ahead for 2013 but I know I definitely want to continue baking and blogging.  However, the pace will be slower as I have other priorities for 2013 and maintaining my blog plus hosting AlphaBakes on alternate months is like a second full time job! 

On to the cake - this is a coffee and walnut cake using fresh walnuts from my recent trip to Australia.  The cake was moist and delicious with a lovely coffee aroma.  I wanted to try a new decorating technique which didn't quite work so if anyone has any advice, I'd be very grateful! 

  fresh walnuts from Australia 

 cakes ready to go in the oven 

 brush with coffee syrup once cooked 

 my new textured rolling pin - you probably can't see it clearly from the photos but it says happy birthday and has a lovely design with it 

 I rolled out a piece of yellow fondant then rolled the textured pin on top. I then sprinkled some icing sugar to bring out the pattern which you can make out if you look closely. 

 I covered the cake with coffee buttercream and then placed the embossed fondant on top  

  delicious cake! 

I've never used a textured rolling pin before - does anyone know how to make the patterns stand out more? I tried dusting some glitter powder on top but that didn't work. Is it best to use it for details rather then covering the whole cake? 

Recipe for cake and buttercream can be found here