Wednesday 30 August 2017

Chocolate Utopia

If you love chocolate, as the recipient of this one says they do, then this Chocolate Utopia blog entry is for you!  It's quite a simple cake to make and does not require everything to be perfectly smooth.  

It starts with a double chocolate chip sponge, sandwiched together with Mars Bar ganache. Because I needed the ganache thicker than this one was when it had cooled, I added some icing sugar to thicken it up. 

Once this had set, the sponge was first crumb coated with Mars Bar frosting, then chilled. Once chilled, it was given it's top coat.  I found the recipe not quite chocolatey / Mars-ey enough, so I added a few drops of caramel flavouring to take away the sweetness of the icing sugar, which I found was a little overpowering.

Now, because this cake was not going to have any fondant to cover it, it didn't matter that the top coat of buttercream / frosting wasn't perfectly smooth. 

The reason why perfection is not key here is, the sides are to be covered with KitKat fingers and then topped with neatly placed Maltesers and sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings.

For my American cousins:
  • Mars bar is still known as a Mars bar
  • A KitKat is still a KitKat but ...
  • Maltesers are 'Whoppers'

Friday 25 August 2017

CWG's 100th Edible Entry

I wanted to make a cake to celebrate my 100th edible entry on the Crafty Welsh Grandma Baking Blog.  These entries, of which this is the 100th, only include cakes, bakes, cupcakes, puddings or edible cake toppers, it does not include non-edibles, reviews, general posts or DIY tools etc.

I decided to make it a lemon cake using this recipe, but you can use my plain sponge mix and a good quality lemon extract.

I added the Ready Zest, as per this recipe, into the batter mix and then, instead of adding vanilla or plain Simple Syrup ...

Ready Zest

I added the Dr Oertker Lemon Flavour Drizzle. 

Flavour Drizzles

You can, however, make your Simple Syrup and add lemon extract. Use a good quality extract like Nielsen Massey.

Nielson Massey Lemon Extract

Due to suffering the effects of between 80 and 90% humidity, using fondant without a dehumidifier was out of the question, so I used my basic buttercream. To this I added a good quality yellow food colour gel / paste and some lemon extract and then piped it all over.

I wanted this cake to be informal and very relaxed, no fancy decorations (except the gold 100 of course) and definitely not hard work - and I think I did OK.

I wasn't sure if I should 'celebrate' my centenary bake blog entry, but I thought "Everyone else has cake, why not I?"

Over the years I have baked 100s of cakes, but this is my first ever baking blog, which makes this bake another mile-stone! 

I started back when cupcakes were fairy cakes and fondant was something you made yourself, when my children were babies, now, I am a grandmother and baking for my next generation. I'm just waiting for someone to pass my skills onto, but no one wants to learn, they just wanna eat the hard work lol. Having said that ...

I want to say a BIG thank you to my family, my friends and my extended family who have supported me over the years, and we're talking quite a few years. Some have tested my patience whilst others have tested my skills! But without you, I wouldn't be baking. Thank you!

Patrick Star Cake Topper

Probably the easiest cake topper I've made in a long time!

Patrick and Spongebob were both made for the same cake and well in advance so they dry off. I have to admit, I think I just may have made them a little too big, or heavy, but they're both going to look brilliant on this cake next month.

All it took was one large cone / bud shape for the body and four smaller ones.

I didn't think there was a need to document my work as I went because it was easy to follow from a drawing I found on the internet.

I think he looks absolutely amazing, I like this one better than I like Spongebob!

Also available as a pdf eBook here

Spongebob Cake Topper

I'm making both him, and Patrick (see a later blog entry), well in advance in order for them both to dry in time to top off a dual birthday cake.

As I'd never made a Spongebob topper before, you will notice a number of errors, which I corrected as I went along. I hope you find this helpful.

When working with fondant, ensure you mix in some CMC powder or gum paste / modelling fondant. Throughout this log entry, I will use the word fondant, which I have already mixed with CMC powder.

I shall apologise, in advance, for my poor quality images on this post, I think I had some icing sugar on the lens. 

Step #1 - White shirt and body
Make a rectangle of fondant from white, ensure the bottom is flat. If it's not flat, trim it so that it is.

Step #2 - Trousers
Roll out some brown fondant and cut it so that it's between half and 3/4 of the way up the white block. Then stick this to the bottom on the white block. This is Spongebob's shorts / trousers / pants.

Step #3 - Shirt collar
Using white fondant, cut two small triangles (see image) and attach it to the side of your white block.

Step #4 - The tie
Using red fondant, cut a small strip and then cut a point into the bottom. Also cut a small triangle and then take the point off the bottom of that.

Pinch the top (without) the point) and then place the triangle piece over that.

Once this is done, fix to the body between the two triangles.

Here is where I made one of my first errors, I cut the red tie too long so I had to shorten it. I also should have fixed this on before the collar triangles.

Step #5 - Trouser legs
Roll out a short, fat sausage shape using the brown fondant. Check to ensure that it is no taller on the side than the height of the brown on that has been fixed to the block. Cut this in half, the cut ends will be fixed onto the block / body later. 

Using a ball tool, make indents into the uncut sides of both pieces, place to one side ready for the legs.

Step #6 - The legs
Cut two lengths each of white and yellow and join them together using edible glue or water.


Fix the yellow end into the hole you made with the ball tool.

Here was my next mistake, the legs were so spindly that I had to insert cocktail stick down the length of the pieces in order for the to be straight.

Step #7 - The shoes
Using black fondant, roll two balls the same size then flatten into a more ova shape.

Using a ball tool, make indents into the shapes and insert the white part of the shape into the holes.  They will be secured with the cocktail stick. Ensure the cocktail stick does not stick out of the bottom of the shoe.

Step #8 -  Affix to body

Step #9 - The head
Using yellow fondant, shape a piece into a large, flat rectangle. Place it on top, do not fix, to check that it fits perfectly onto the white block. Take it off and lay it flat on your work station.

Insert two cocktail sticks into the white block ready for fixing the yellow head on later.

You will notice the amazing errors I made on the face, I eventually re-did the face and squared up the body further as you can see from my main image above.

Step #10 - The face
Using an image of Spongebob for reference, continue with your piece and make his face.

You might find it easier to use a cocktail stick as extra support for his nose!

Don't forget to add the sponge-type indents, using your ball tool.

Step #11 - Arms
Roll out tow sausages and make three small its in one end, these are the fingers. You'll need to shape these so they are not so 'square' on the tips.

Don't forget to insert the cocktail sticks in each arm. Then place to once side to dry. 

How to fix these on is shown in the next step.

Step #12 - Shirt sleeves and arms
Take some white fondant and roll it into a short, fat sausage, much the same as the trouser legs earlier. Cut in half. The cut side will be fixed to the body / head later, 

Using a ball too, make indents in each half then fix to the side of the body in a position no higher than the nose.

Insert the yellow arms into the indents whist ensuring that the cocktail stick does not stick out at the 'hand' end.

It took some transatlantic help from my son, to fix this tragic little face, I do hope you are happy with the new one. I know he's not 100%, but you have to admit, he's a 100% better than before

I deconstructed the top half, patted the sides and top with fondant smoothers to get straighter edges of this little sponge then put him back together

Fixing the eyes, with transatlantic help!
I was sending images, via a messenger software, to have help and guidance as to how much bigger the eyes should be.  Then I took the old ones off and made new ones

Now doesn't he look better? (",)

Now available as a free eBook download here

Friday 18 August 2017

Naked Rammstein Cake

I have to be honest, I wanted to call it "Naked Rammstein" ... But I didn't want to get in any trouble, so I thought it best just to add 'cake' in the title.  I made two sponges today, check down the bottom of this enrty for the second sponge details.  

Originally, this one was going to be covered in fondant or buttercream with the logo iced on top. But, alas, the recipient has far more simple tastes and wanted a plain sponge, and not so sweet, for their birthday.

I used one of my basic sponge mix per 8" layer, of which there were two and added some basic buttercream, very sparingly to sandwich them together with some strawberry jam (with not bits). Before they were sandwiched together, each sponge had a sprinkling of simple syrup with some vanilla extract added to it.

The top was dusted with plain icing sugar, my daughter cut a template of the Rammstein logo to sprinkle the icing sugar onto.

She was also going to bake it as it was her project, but she was busy out celebrating the birthday, so mother baked it.

Whilst I was baking, I'd seen my cousin earlier in the day and she asked me so nicely for a sponge cake, I killed two birds with one stone. Her request was for lashings of jam and buttercream.

This sponge had 1.5 basic sponge mix per layer with some basic buttercream, the sponge was sprinkled with some vanilla simple syrup.

I knew what happened was going to happen ... Too much filling, especially jam, will make this cake unstable, so I adorned it with a sparkly star wand for that extra bit of stability, especially during transport / delivery.

Thursday 17 August 2017

Chocolate Shoes

Yes, you read that correctly, shoes made from chocolate.  

I am far from a chocolatier, until today, the most amazing thing I'd made with chocolate was a mess (",)   So, my first lesson for today was how to temper chocolate. There are countless 'how-to' pages and YouTube videos that show you how to do this, so I won't give the details here.

I purchased a small perspex mould from eBay and used both dark chocolate and white chocolate. 

For the dark chocolate, I used two layers in the shoe with the white chocolate as a liner.

As these are my first ever pair and I had no idea what I was doing, I think I did an alright job! 

There were a few blemishes inside the first one, so I decided to paint a rim of gold around the both. 

They also needed a little something else ... a pair of dark chocolate bows, painted in gold and, before they dried they were given a generous dusting of gold lustre dust. Perfect!

I'm also considering filling them with luxury chocolates for that extra bit of indulgence, but I'm not sure yet.

I have plans for these so keep a look out for future blog entries that they will be used for.

Sunday 13 August 2017

Bread Pudding

Not to be confused with the Bread and Butter Pudding I made earlier this week. Just like that recipe, this was also known as the "Poor Man's Pudding" as this too uses leftover or stale bread and is very inexpensive.

You will need:

  • 500g of whatever bread you have available, or even a mix of, preferably stale but I will show you what to do if your bread is not stale.
  • 500ml of milk
  • 200g sultanas
  • 2 T-sp mixed spice or cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g melted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 Tb-Sp brown sugar
How to:

Pre-heat the oven to gas #4 and grease an 8" square tin.

If your bread is not stale, leave out overnight to dry out. The dryer the bread the more milk is soaked up. I left mine on the drying rack.

Tear or cut up the bread into small chucks and place in a bowl

Warm up the milk, do not boil, and pour over the bread. Just above body temperature should be fine, but you don't have to do this, I just find it's soaked up quicker.

Pour this over the bread and leave to soak in for 15 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients and mix together. Mix with a spoon at first and then, I found this very effective, get your hand in there and squash it all together.

Once all mixed together, pour into the greased pan

Bake at the centre of the oven for 1 hr and 10 mins. Check after an hour as mine was perfect.

As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle with sugar. 

Allow to cool and serve.

It tastes good with no sugar added due to the sweetness of the fruit.
You can also chose to add another type of natural or artificial sweetener

Saturday 12 August 2017


I love scones so I decided to share mine with you. If you've never made any before, or don;t know how ... now's your chance!
I didn't have any clotted cream so I cheated and used whipped, with a generous dollop of raspberry conserve.  A nice, simple recipe that you should be eating within the hour, provided they've cooled down enough that is.

You will need:

  • 75g butter, chilled and cubed - plus extra for greasing tray
  • 350g self raising flour - plus extra for rolling out
  • 1.5 T-sp baking powder
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 75g sultanas (optional with variations below) *
  • 150ml approx, milk - plus extra for brushing top of scones
  • 2 large free range eggs, beaten
  • Clotted cream or whipped cream if you can't get anything else
  • Jam / conserve (jelly for our American cousins)
  • No fruit at all
  • Dried cranberries
  • Currants
  • Raisins 
How to:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to Gas #7 / 220C / 425F
  2. In a chilled mixing bowl, rub together the flour, butter and baking powder until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs
  3. Mix in the fruit and the sugar
  4. Add both the eggs and mix with a wooden spoon
  5. Add a little milk at a time until there are some 'breadcrumbs' left them mix with your hand until it binds into a ball. Do not add too much milk so the mix becomes too wet it should 'clean' the bowl (see below)
  6. Wrap in cling film or drape a tea towel over the bowl and allow to rest and chill in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes
  7. Once chilled, roll out to 2cm thick and, using a cutter or a glass, cut and place on the greased baking tray (see below)
  8. Bake at the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until golden brow
  9. Allow to cool (see below)
Step 5

Step 7

Step 9

Once cooled, cut in half and add a generous dollop of cream and another of jam. Whether you're and jam then cream or cream then jam person, the choice is ultimately yours

This link will also give you the "recipe" for a nice afternoon cream tea.

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