Monthly Archives: May 2010

Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake Topped with Buttercream and Walnuts

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Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake Topped with Buttercream and Walnuts

Marble Cake Recipe

Marble Cake

Come 9:30pm yesterday, I really wanted a yummy treat. So, like any crazy person, I decided to bake one right then. I searched my cupboards and decided on marble cake with butter cream and as I had some leftover walnuts from another baking session, I thought I’d try it out. To my Hubby’s delight it turned out just as I’d hoped.

Ingredients for Cake
225g Plain Flour
225g Caster Sugar
225g Softened Butter
2 tsp Baking Powder
100g Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Medium Eggs
2 tbsp Milk

Ingredients for Topping
100g Butter
200g Icing Sugar
½ Cup Chopped Walnuts
½ tsp Milk

Using a pre greased and floured 8-9″ spring release cake pan. (Phew, that was a mouthful)

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until pale. Add one egg at a time mixing thoroughly between each addition. Stir in Vanilla.

In a separate bowl sieve flour and baking powder together.

Add spoonfuls of flour into butter mixture along with milk. Mix briefly until flour is incorporated.

Using a large spoon place half the mixture into the pan in 4 individual spots. Add Cocoa to the remaining mixture, stir thoroughly and fill in the gaps in the cake pan with the chocolate mixture.

Using a skewer or something similar, swirl the chocolate into the vanilla and vice-versa. But not so much that you lose the vanilla too much.

Bake for 40 Mins or until firm to touch or skewer comes out clean.

Once cooled on a rack prepare the topping.

Mix together butter and icing sugar and add in milk.

Spread over the top of the cake generously and sprinkle on the walnuts, or a nut of your choice.

Now all there is to do is let everyone enjoy and appreciate your hard work!

Embroidered and Appliqué Purse – using wool, silk, cotton etc

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Embroidered and Appliqué Purse – using wool, silk, cotton etc

A Birthday Gift for my Mother

Pink and Silver Theme Bag - Click to Enlarge

If you remember an earlier post about me going to the craft fair in Birmingham. I posted about purchasing lots of wool roving, silk and embroidery threads along with a few other things. Well, this is one result of this shopping spree. Let me know what you think below with a comment. I love to hear peoples opinions!

I was inspired by some of the work created by the people who run 21st Century Yarns. I created my own bag pattern to work from, and for anyone who knows me, would know how much of a perfectionist I am when it comes to planning and executing my craft projects. It took me a while to figure out how I wanted it to look. In the end I was very happy with this design. Although if I could change one thing I would have added even stiffer interfacing. I did think it would be heavy enough though. Something to learn from I guess.

As you can see by the pictures, I used my machine to fix the threads that I layered over the cotton fabric. I took time to make sure the placement was right. I used a wide silver coloured ribbon as an added accent which I really love. The background layer is calico that has been dyed in different tones. The colours are subtle but really work well. It’s lined with a silver coloured hand woven silk that I picked up from a different stall.

I am going to make a cushion in this similar fashion. Except I’m going to work in wool felt to add a bolder texture. This will be in a red/plum and a selection of greens. Any questions about my crafts are welcome! Happy Crafting!

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Fathers Day – Modern Embroidered Hand Silouettes gift idea

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Personalized Fathers Day Gift

For Dad

For Fathers Day, for my husband, I’m going to try something different. I will be making something sentimental rather than purchasing something already gift wrapped from the store.

So, my idea is to mount and frame an embroidery of my husbands and my sons hands using the contour lines. One inside the other. With an appropriate quote like ‘always close at hand’ or ‘in safe hands’… You get the idea. I would like it in a black and white theme with the mount painted with finger marks in a grey/white.

I will post my results a bit later on in the week. Whether this ends up exactly as I’ve described is another thing. I do tend to tweak as I go along. So come back here soon to see what it’s like. Can’t wait to start. Leave a comment if you have any ideas for fathers day. Would love to hear them!

Quick and Easy Chilled Pasta Salad with Bacon – Recipe

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Pasta Salad Recipe

Tasty!

Ok, so I needed a recipe for cold pasta salad that wasn’t too …fussy. I did search google for recipes, cause I wasn’t too confident with flavours at the time. But came up with nothing that really appealed and fit what I needed; which was to satisfy many different taste buds for a BBQ. So here’s what I threw together. Simple flavours, but big on taste! Leave a comment if you try this. I’d love to know what you think.

Serves 8-10 buffet portions

Ingredients
400g Dry weight Cavatappi (spirals)
8 Heaped Tablespoons of Light Mayonnaise (using regular dinner spoon not measuring type) Approx 600g
340g Drained Salad Crisp Green Giant™ Sweet corn (large can)
5 Large Spring Onions
12 Rashers of Streaky (or any that you prefer) Bacon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Large pinch of Paprika

Directions
Cook pasta and bacon in your usual, preferred way. Pasta should not be overcooked. Drain pasta and let sit to cool in the drainer, washing with cool water to help speed up the process. Let bacon cool on a plate.

Roughly chop the onion and place in a large mixing bowl along with the sweetcorn. Add cold pasta and mayo and lightly mix together, being careful not to break up the pasta shapes. Sprinkle on most of paprika.

Using scissors or a knife if you prefer, cut the bacon into slithers over the pasta mix. Stir to incorporate the bacon, add more mayo with you feel you need it. Place pasta salad into a container with a lid and finish off with a sprinkling of paprika all over. Cover and store in a fridge.

Best eaten 3+ hours after making, to give the mayonnaise a chance to absorb the flavours otherwise it can taste really eggy.

You could substitute the bacon for ham or chicken. Spring onion can be subbed with chives too. When including any meat, please make sure it has cooled thoroughly before you mix into your pasta mix.

Cake recipe – Best used with fondant icing

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Yummy cake mix

Ingredients
225g Softened Butter
225g Caster Sugar
4 Medium Eggs
2 tbsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
170g Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of soda (Baking Soda)

Directions
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Line your cake tin with butter and place a sheet of baking paper on the bottom. This recipe is enough for a round 9″ pan.

~Using an electric mixer combine butter and sugar until light and pale. Add eggs one at a time, mix well between eggs. Stir in vanilla and set aside.

Into a separate bowl sift flour, baking powder and soda together. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture in several batches adding milk in-between batches. Mix only until you can’t see any flour.

Set out into cake pan and bake for around 35-40mins or until springy to touch. Set out onto cooling rack before decorating. Don’t cut the cake until the it has cooled or you’ll loose alot of moisture.

Never open the door to the oven until at most ten minutes before recommended baking time or your cake may sink.

This recipe was used in baking this Mickey Mouse cake.

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme Birthday Cake – How to

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Mickey is number one!

Mickey Cake

For my son’s first birthday (last year) I baked him a Mickey Mouse theme cake. I used 9″ and 6″ cake tins to do this 2 tier cake.

I baked the cake base using this recipe or you could choose your own. You only need 1 and half times the recipe. One for the bottom and half is for the top. I halved my tiers and layered butter cream in the centre. You wouldn’t need to do this. But you will need to make a batch of butter cream to ‘stick’ the fondant to the cake.

To get the top cake, not to sink into the other cake while it’s on top, cause that just wouldn’t be pretty! Use 3 or 4 cut down straws or wooden skewers to the height of the fondant layer. Rest your cake on its own 6″ base or if using a different size tins it should measure the same as your cake so you can’t see it. It will be easier to remove it after for cutting that way. The bottom layer should probably have one at least an inch larger base than the bottom layer cake.

Ok, so you’ve baked your cake and let it cool, added butter cream to the outside and you’ve rolled out the fondant and placed it neatly over the top. Once it’s all smooth and square with the cake, you’ll want to start decorating. I only used supermarket fondant that is fairly cheap, but tasty. With the white you can also dye it any colour you like using gel colours. For mine I’m sure I used Ruby Red, Violet, and Christmas green and licorice black. Of course with any dying process you will have to add a bit at a time to get the colour you want.

The best technique I’ve found for blending the colour the best is by making a well in the white fondant ball and using a cocktail stick to control how much I put in. Place in a small amount and close the well up so the dye is inside. This will help stop the majority of the dye getting straight all over your hands. Cause it doesn’t come off your hands easily. Now roll, just using your hands, the ball into a sausage shape. You want it to be long enough to turn back on itself. Now just rinse and repeat until it is all blended. This method will help stop it sticking all on your hands too. If you add too much dye, try adding icing sugar powder to soak up the extra moisture. Now let the coloured icing sit aside and cool down. You could now dye another batch and so on. Once you have all the colours you want, return to the first colour as it should have cooled enough. Don’t leave it a long time or it will start to dry out. If you plan to use it later that day you can wrap it in cling film to stop it from drying up.

I used letter fondant cutter for his name. The Mickey heads were about 1.5″ in diameter. If you don’t have a tiny cutter for his ears (assuming you don’t just have a mickey mouse cutter) you can roll a small piece into a ball and press into shape straight onto the cake. You may want to test your sizing before going straight to the cake and make all your ear balls before applying them so they are uniform in size.

A way to get your fondant shapes to stick is to use an edible glue or make your own by using good spoon full of icing sugar and add drops of water until a glue consistency. Remember though, it takes more sugar to water to fix it if you put too much water in. So do it gradually.

You can finish of (or hide any messy edges) by using ribbon around the bottom of each layer. Hold in place with a tiny piece of clear tape or like I did using butter cream as a glue.

You should end up with an awesome, but more importantly, handmade cake! Enjoy giving and eating together! Hope you found this guide useful. Let me know if you try this! I love to share others photos too. Post a comment to contact me.