Sugarbird's Sweet NothingsI am passionate about food. And cooking. And baking. And running. Come and find a new recipe, a funny story, some strong opinions and whatever else I feel like throwing in the mix today.
Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category
Its inevitable, and the shops will certainly not let us forget it, Christmas is coming. Last year I planned my Christmas a little a-la-last-minute, and this year I have decided that I should plan better. So I am already thinking of presents, and listening closely to conversations to pick up on any hints or possibilities for what my loved ones might like for Christmas. This year we will be in Holland for Christmas for the first time so the present-buying list is a bit longer and I am looking forward to finding some gifts for the extended family. I do love Christmas shopping, although I do loathe the Christmas-shopping-crowds, so I am a firm believer in online shopping. No crowds, no queues, no aching feet. Just me, my little mac laptop, and a nice cup of coffee, and a scrummy flapjack from my hamper 🙂
I have often bought a Christmas food hamper for my Mum for Christmas when it is a year that I won’t be with her for Christmas day. I think its a really nice way to add some lovely treats to the Christmas table that will be great for munching on Christmas day, or, if everyone is already overfed, that will last the rest of Christmas week. There is nothing wrong with having Christmas pudding on Boxing Day as well. And why not New Years too?
If you are going to be doing online shopping like me, then there is a lovely website called Hampergifts, who have a fantastic selection of Christmas hampers for all Christmas budgets. With everything from wines, to fruit and nuts, biscuits, pâté and puddings, the selection looks delicious and its hard to choose just one!
I have had the pleasure of trying out the Christmas Ruby hamper, and my Mum and I enjoyed the lovely bottle of Red while she was visiting over the weekend. I also really enjoyed the unusual vanilla nuts, and the cherry and chocolate liqueurs went beautifully with the red wine, yum 🙂 Chocolate and cherry and red wine is a match made in heaven. I think I should incorporate that into a cake somehow. I think it would make a lovely Christmas flavour. Dark Chocolate and cherry cake. Mmmmmm. Feeling inspired now, time to head to the kitchen 🙂
(This post is in association with Hampergifts)
I don’t often do buttercream cakes. People tend to like the clean lines and smooth finish of sugarpaste, but there are some cakes that are beautiful in buttercream, and unusually I had two last week. One of them was buttercream ruffles. Like any other technique and medium, the more practice you get, the better you get at piping buttercream and getting the effect you want, so I did a practice cake earlier in the week. I have done a buttercream ruffle cake before, waaaaay back when when I was a hobby cake maker novice, and I was going for a slightly more polished effect than that early stumbling-around-in-the-dark effort. So I did a practice cake. I was glad I did, as I got to figure out my technique, how to hold the bag, which direction to pipe in, how to move the bag to get the ruffles ruffley (yes, that’s a word), and it was a good warm up for the muscles. Piping uses muscles. You find hand and forearm muscles that you never knew existed once you have ruffle-piped your way around a 10″ cake. But its worth it. And it looked awesome, so I’m smiling 🙂
Number two was a buttercream swirl cake, in shades of yellow, for a golden wedding anniversary. I was alightly worried that the effect would be a bit garish, having only done the piped graduated swirls in pink before, but the yellow worked really well. It wasn’t glaringly, hurting-your-eyes bright and the recipient was all smiles when I dropped it off so it was a good day, despite the 2nd good hand/forearm workout 🙂
I also did a photo 50th cake this week. I don’t normally warm to photos on cakes. I know they make a cake completely personal, but sometimes they can look a bit… simple…cheap… I don’t know. I’m not a huge fan. But this one was a bit different. It was a cake for a lady’s 50th, and the photo was of her as a baby with who I assume are siblings. I printed off the photo in the original sepia-type colouring, and framed the corners with peach flowers. I don’t know why I chose peach, I just thought it would work, and it did, really well 🙂 And peach made a wonderful change from pink. Sometimes I get pinked out. This time I was peachy-keen 🙂 hehehehehe I crack me up 🙂 Its late. Humour me ok?
Happy Monday, have an awesome week, and happy baking xxx
I do like sugarpaste as a medium, but as variety is the spice of life, sometimes its nice to do a non-sugarpaste cake for a change. Last night I delivered this large red velvet cake, which was covered with piped rose swirls and just decorated with some simple flowers. Simple, elegant, and I bet it tasted good! Frosted with fluffy vanilla buttercream, and filled with 3 fillings between the 4 layers. Chocolate ganache, strawberry swiss meringue buttercream, and vanilla fluffy buttercream. Can I stay for the party and have a piece of the cake? No? Darn 🙁 ok.