Sunday, 22 April 2012

Fondant Covered Gluten Free Sugar Biscuits

I have finally gotten around to making some beautiful basic sugar cookies - GF of course and then covering them in tinted rolled fondant.  I've really enjoyed playing about with some shapes and my new paisley rolling mat which gives the wonderful pattern.

These are ever so simple to make,  crispy and not too sweet so the fondant is the perfect complement and adds just enough sweetness to make a beautiful and not too overpowering cookie.

This recipe makes about 24 large cookie shapes

110g Unsalted Butter
200g Caster Sugar
1 Free Range Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
310g Plain Gluten Free Flour
1/2 teaspoon GF Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda (Bicarbonate Soda)
Pinch of Salt
30ml Milk

  1. Turn your oven onto 180C or 160 if Fan Forced.
  2. In a mixing bowl cream your room temp butter and sugar with an electric mixer or in a food processor until light and fluffy.
  3. Add your egg and Vanilla Extract and keep beating until combined.
  4. Unless your flour is lumpy, I never sieve GF flours as they are hopeless at going through the sieve.  So in a separate bowl combine your dry ingredients (Flour, Baking Powder, Baking soda and salt).
  5. Now alternate adding the flour and a little milk into the mixture until it pulls together to make a firm'ish cookie dough.
  6. Tip out of the bowl and bring it together using your hands then wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for about 10-15 min to firm it up and make it easier to work with.
  7. Once chilled roll out your dough and cut your desired shapes and place on a piece of baking paper on a baking tray.  These will take 8-10 minutes to bake.  Leave them in until they start to colour just lightly.  If you remove too soon they will not crisp up.
  8. Wait until the cooked cookies are completely cold before attempting to ice them.
  9. Roll out your fondant icing and using the same cookie cutters cut the topping for each cookie and place on top and decorate any way you like.
These should store well for a few days in an airtight container.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

Life's So Sweet at Fifteen

A somewhat last minute cake this week but still an absolute pleasure to create.

A phone call from my boss late on Tuesday afternoon - 'would you be able to make a cake for this weekend for my daughter's birthday ?'  After a bit of a chat and bouncing around ideas - I said yes.  The result above, is a lighter chocolate cake (not mud this time but still (!) chocolate...).

The cake has almost a lighter chocolate sponge texture to it.  I baked two separate cakes which were trimmed and sandwiched together with.....Nutella...ooooooohhh.  Yes - I did check for any nut allergies first.  I thought with the request for a lighter styled cake that the addition of a little hazelnut accent might be just scrummy.  I was right.

I then made a chocolate buttercream to which I added the rest of the Nutella and sealed the cake.  It worked well but the very oily nature of the Nutella was interesting to work with...all I can say is thank goodness the temperature has dropped or the cake would be leaking all over the kitchen floor.

The original request had been for a shoe.  Ive tried a shoe cake before and was less than impressed with my efforts.  I was hedging towards a handbag when I realised that with the lighter cake structure, it may not stand up to the carving and work that a mud cake can withstand.  Nope - I needed the cake, to be the cake, and so I was gonna need something for the top.

Ok back to the shoe idea then.  I thought I would give it a crack making it out of fondant and if it was a disaster I would revert to handbag idea.  I have learnt so much making this darned shoe.
1.  High heeled shoes take a long time to harden in position and need a lot of support in the arch.  Mine cracked in a couple of places.
2. Think very carefully ahead of time what you will use to support the shoe sole and front/top of shoe with as it may indent on the fondant underneath as it dries.  make sure it won't stick either...
3. I ended up having to make a brace for the under arch of the shoe to support it but this also ended up slightly cracked while lifting onto cake necessitating a small unobtrusive wedge at cake level to support the arch.
4.  To add strength I did insert a bamboo skewer through the heel of the shoe into the cake.

The cake itself covered in Nutella Buttercream then Pale Pink Fondant.  The shoe entirely edible from hardened modelled fondant.

I hope Ashleigh likes the cake and I hope it tastes as yummy as I think it will be.


Saturday, 7 April 2012

Fabulous and Flirty at Fifty !

It was my absolute pleasure to make this cake for a wonderful girl I work with.

I had no clue where to start other than she was turning fifty (and a very very youthful 50 she will be at that !) I was originally thinking of something along the lines of a wrapped giftbox style cake and as I was googling images I came across the playboy bunny and thought what an awesome addition it would make and perfect for the flirty fun loving Rach.

Here goes...It is - you guessed it, a dark chocolate mudcake (what is it with these chocolate lovers ?) cut in half and sandwiched with a dark chocolate buttercream icing.

The same buttercream was then used to seal and provide the smooth base for the cake fondant to be laid upon.  Its strange actually as I had nearly always used a ganache layer previously as it certainly always looked like this was the way to achieve a really smooth finish to the fondant layer...however I have to say that now after completing 3 cakes using buttercream under the fondant, that I actually prefer the finish the buttercream layer gives when the fondant is laid on top.

The buttercream layer appears to be far more forgiving to any slight imperfections once the fondant is on the top, unlike the ganache which always seems to leave me wondering how I ended up with mysterious bumps.

The primary colour was a soft pastel pink which was used to cover the entire cake with enough left over to finish the base of the cake in the fondant "buttons"  I actually like this finish much better than the round "balls" I see a lot of people using.

I had invested a couple of months ago in a packet of Black Coloured Pettinice Fondant Icing.  It has been well worth it and has lasted me through many accent pieces and I still have enough left over for at least one more cake.  Of course you can colour your own fondant black but it uses up so much of the gel colourant and takes quite a bit of time to work it through.  The depth of the Pettinice Black is definitely worth keeping a packet handy.

This is also the first cake in which I have handmade a bow and twirls from Fondant.  The bow proved to be relatively straightforward and the twirls I wound around two handles that had been greased and removed when they had set.

I am thrilled with how it has turned out and hope the birthday girl loves it tomorrow.

Happy Birthday beautiful Rachel,


Friday, 6 April 2012

Happy 18th and the Cartoon Cupcake

I haven't disappeared.

Quite a bit going on over the past couple of weeks.  It has been time to launch the new Les Mills releases of BodyPump and RPM at the gym so have been working flat out learning all the new choreography and getting that out there.

Somewhere in the midst of that I created this 18th Birthday Cake.  It was a Dark Chocolate Mud Cake (thank goodness so many request that as I just hate chocolate cake myself) but she wanted a giant cupcake as well.

Given that the party was for about 30+ guests a giant cupcake wasn't going to be big enough for the event so I made a large circular cake for the base and used the giant cupcake as a centerpiece on the top.  All the decoration was in tinted rolled fondant.

I didn't use a mold for the cupcake but instead just sculpted it freehand.  Both the cake and the cupcake were sealed using a dark chocolate ganache before the fondant was applied.

The board was covered in rolled fondant also.

The vivid colours and design were meant to evoke an almost 'cartoon' feel to the cake.  The cake board was edged in black ribbon.  This is definitely a cake which looked better in reality than in pictures.  Sometimes its difficult to capture a cake well on film.