Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Last Chance

This is your last chance to enter the Easter Recipe Competition. Please don't be shy--send me your favourite Easter recipes ASAP for a chance to win a great prize!!!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Let Them Eat Cake Pops...

Probably about a year ago now, my sister sent me a link to the Bakerella website. The ideas were absolutely adorable, and there was one magical phrase that stuck with me: Cake Pop. The basic idea is that it looks like a lollipop, but is made out of cake. Adorable.

I remembered the cake pops, but didn't do anything about the idea until recently. My nephew's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, so I helped my girls to bake him a birthday cake. They had great fun decorating it with LOTS of sprinkles. I sandwiched two layers
of cake with frosting in the middle as well as on top, so I leveled out the cakes by cutting off the excess cake (super easy by just cutting all of it to the height of the cake pan before removing it from the pan). This left us with some left over cake.

So I rcmembered cake pops, found some sticks, and started rolling the cake into balls. It worked well because the cake was still warm and so took its form easily. Also, the cake was very moist and kind of crumbly, so the consistency worked really well.

I worked loosely from a Betty Crocker recipe. It was easy and one-step though, so here's what I did.


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup water (room temperature)
1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1 tbsp vanilla
5 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 eggs (room temperature)


1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and flour 2 medium to large cake tins. (This recipe doesn't work well as "sandwich cakes"; it's better as a single, big, tall cake.)

2. Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it is smooth. Pour into cake tin.

3. Bake until an inserted butter knife comes out clean. Let cool, then decorated as desired OR let cool only until it is comfortable to handle, and then shape pieces of cake into balls around lollipop sticks.

I frosted the cake pops with a pretty simple chocolate buttercream. I beat together about 1 cup butter, 4 cups sugar, 2 tbsp vanilla, 2 oz melted and cooled dark chocolate, and 2 tbsp cold water until it made a smooth frosting that was easy to spread (make sure to taste test it and adjust as desired).

After giving the frosting time to stiffen, I covered the cake pops in cling film and then tied securely with ribbon. And voila, cake pops. Bite sized cake on a stick. Fantastic for when you want to be cutesy.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Contest for Beautiful Artwork

First of all, I should make clear that this is not my competition. This is a photo giveaway by Christine Armbruster. I've never actually met her or anything, but my sister (thanks Tonts) sent me the link to her blog and I LOVE her photography. So check her out. If you check her out soon-ish, you can enter this competition too. If you don't enter, cross your fingers for me that I'll win. Thanks.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Too Good For Pictures

The problem with sugar cookies is that everyone likes to make them, and nobody really likes to eat them. It's fun to roll the dough out and cut out shapes and then decorate them. Normally, though, we're left with loads of cookies that look fantastic, but sit on the counter for weeks until some one puts them in the bird feeder.

The other Saturday I was preparing a lesson for church the next day (I teach Sunday School). Miriam thought that I should bring cookies for my class, and both of the girls love helping me bake, so after I finished my preparations we made cookies. They wanted to use the cookie cutters, so we made sugar cookies. I wanted to make them more exciting, though, so I decided to make lavender sugar cookies.

It's very simple, but the results are impressive. I used my normal sugar cookie recipe, but I substituted lavender sugar for half of the sugar. Then, when we were decorating them, I ground up dried lavender flowers using a pestle and mortar, and added them to the icing. I wasn't sure if you would really be able to taste the difference, but it definitely added a delicious twist to a familiar food.

This recipe turned out to be too good for pictures. We ended up with a huge tray of cookies stacked about 5 deep, all cut into little people shapes and decorated. I thought that I would have plenty of time to take some great pictures of them, but I was wrong. The cookies were devoured within a day. They just seemed to disappear in my Sunday School class. So I'm very sorry that there are no pictures, but it has to be a good sign about the recipe when it is eaten too quickly to photograph.