Monday, 12 July 2010

Alice in Wonderland cupcakes and gooseberry tarts

First things first!  Here are the toppers that I made with the modelling chocolate I blogged about recently.  Really pleased with them!  They are coconut lime cupcakes, with a coconut buttercream.  I sprinkled them with decorators sugar and edible glitter, then added silver & green dragees to match the wedding theme and finally the white chocolate toppers.  They looked great, tasted wonderful and garnered me many compliments.  They made an amazing display at the wedding together with some fantastic cupcakes from other bakers, a very eclectic and tasty mix!

Next, its the height of summer and the garden is producing its treats for us; this week we harvested gooseberries.   Plenty of them but tiny!  So it seemed only fitting to make them into miniature tarts.  I lined my mini-muffin tin with sweet shortcrust and baked them blind for about 10 minutes.  Spooned in a little quark mixed with an egg yolk and some more sugar and topped with gooseberries.  They baked for about twenty minutes until they were golden and delicious.

Biting into them, they were the perfect combination of tart gooseberries, sweet pastry with the quarky filling just bridging the gap between the two.  Delicious!  If you don't have quark then creme freche would do the same job.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Prizes and chocolate clay

Remember back in April I was joint winner at Home Baked's monthly competition? Here's the badge to prove it :)

It's been a while since I posted, mostly due to the fact that I've been dieting, which of course means far less baking. I've been following an adapted version of the Dukan Diet, and so far its working well for me - half a stone lighter!  There was also the small matter of being cookerless for a few days due to a grillpan fire!  However, with a few big occasions coming up I've been thinking cakes.  I'm on a mission to decorate cakes in things that people will eat; much as I love what you can do with modelled fondant, I don't like the taste of the stuff.  Whilst enjoying SeriousCakes videos on YouTube I came across Candy Clay (also known as chocolate clay or modelling chocolate) and decided I wanted to have a go.

It's ridiculously easy to make; melt 10 ounces of chocolate in a double boiler and when its all melted remove from the heat and add 4 ounces of glucose syrup.  Mix until it starts to seize and then put into a baking tray lined with wax paper or clingfilm and leave to set for 24 hours.  After that time you get a fairly solid mass, but break bits off and warm them in your hands and you have a pliable chocolate dough.  Make it with white chocolate, as I did, and you can colour it with food colouring to make all sort of shapes and colours.  As a rank amateur I've made some cupcake toppers for a wedding next weekend that I think are pretty amazing!  I will post pictures after the event, I don't want to spoil the surprise for the bride!