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Fondant flowers

In the midst of the slightly-tamed chaos that is the kitchen at the moment, I’ve been keeping occupied with all sorts of little cakey bakey things like these fondant flowers. I added a tsp of Tylo powder to 250g of shop-bought fondant, kneaded them together, then wrapped it in cling film and left it for a day for the tylo and fondant to do their magic and turn into sugar paste. Why? Because sugar paste gives has greater pliability and strength than fondant though not as strong as pastillage. Instead of Tylo, if you wanted to make your own flower paste, you could add gum tragacanth or CMC (arboxymethyl cellulose) to the fondant.

The flowers were molded in a set of Katy Sue designs (and other molds). I dusted them with pearl and lustre dust afterwards.

 

 

 

 

Have quite a few more to make. I’m making a plain buttercream coated cake, nicely smooth, with a border of country flowers on the top side. Nothing on the bottom. Just plain. Means the finish will have to be very good and ‘polished’. Really looking forward to getting on with it.

The kitchen units are all fitted. The new dishwasher – a full-on, full-sized one!! – is fitted so just waiting on the new cooker and washing machine.There’s lots of painting, filling, bit of tiling and the floor to come. Floor looks really grim. It’s pretty much concrete. Should all be completely finished within the next 2 weeks.

BRILLIANT.

 

 

 

 

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Edible cake decorations: pineapple flowers

These ‘flowers’ are actually slices of dried pineapple. They’re chewy, sweet and tasty and decorate rustic-type cakes beautifully.

To make pineapple flowers:

  1. Slice the top and bottom off a fresh pineapple.
  2. Remove the outer skin or peel.
  3. Use a melon baller or similar to dig out the ‘eye’s – when you have removed the outer peel, you’ll see what I mean.
  4. With a thin, sharp knife or mandolin, cut the pineapple into almost translucent slices. Take care to keep your fingers out of the way!
  5. Place the slices on kitchen roll and blot each one to remove the excess pineapple juice.
  6. Place on baking parchment or a silicone sheet and bake on a low setting – between 70 and 80º – for approximately 4 hours. Check them regularly and when they are almost dry and still have some flexibility, take each one and place inside a yorkshire pudding tray, muffin tray or similar. This will let them dry with a flower-like curl.
  7. Bake for another 30 mins or so.
  8. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
  9. Place them in an airtight container layered with kitchen roll. They will keep for about a month in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry.
  10. Use them to decorate rustic cakes or cupcakes.
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It’s all gone pear shaped!

 

No happy baking days this week. I don’t have a working kitchen. It’s being fitted tomorrow but there won’t be any mains water until Friday. But did manage one little oven treat! Pear slices

 

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I cut them thinly and added some food dye (made purple, pink and limey-yellow) and baked them on a very low oven to dry them. They become translucent, look like stained glass and are still edible. Perfect for decorating special bakes. When I can use the kitchen again….

My other glimmer of joy was the little run to Ikea where I bought some fabric to make another apron. But not until the electrician has hard -wired the socket for the new cooker and he’s cabling from the loft, down a corner of the sewing room then into the kitchen.

This, too, will pass! Roll on the weekend.

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The Little Princess Cake

This is a big little cake, not really a contradiction of terms, really! It’s about 6″ high with a diameter of about 4″ so not cup-cakey size. It’s a substantial little cake. It’s a white sponge (no egg yolk in the cake batter)  layered with swiss meringue buttercream flavoured with home-made raspberry pureé, covered in white marzipan and fondant flowers. I worked hard to finish this one this morning. Gracie was pestering to go out then didn’t like it because it was cold and/or raining and wanted back in again. She was not very happy with the weather at all. I would have liked to have worked the petals of the flowers to curl them but a cat circling around meowing and mithering because the weather doesn’t suit them doesn’t make for focus and concentration! Add to that the succession of people coming to the door to get me to switch energy provider, An Poste with Amazon parcels (then the excitement of opening the parcels and not being able to settle for a while), phone calls about delivery of kitchen things and other distractions made it a bit fraught.

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This is a top-view  showing the big daisy topped with a Jelly Tot. When did Jelly Tots go domed instead of flat, sugary buttons?! They’re more like the jelly sweets you find in Dolly Mixtures. Harrumph.

As ever, when working with icing sugar everything gets a light dusting so the cleaning up is always a lot of effort. There’s a word that’s just perfect to describe the cloud of icing sugar dust – Floofing! Like a puff or poof and fluff all rolled into one. It’s not a formally invited to take up residence in a dictionary type of word so you can kind of attribute your own meaning to it. To me, it refers to the clouds of icing sugar dust that puff out of the mixing bowl as it gets poured in and whisked about. The Urban Dictionary does have a definition but doesn’t mention clouds at all: instead they use it to describe when a cat lays in a relaxed fashion, on its back and looks fluffy. Meh. When Jess does that, she looks adorable but always reminds me of a pudding!

There are two more of these to decorate but they’re in the freezer. I learned something very useful today – internet randoms being correct in this matter, I hope, that Royal Icing can be frozen for up to a month.Defrost in the fridge and give it a beating and use it as you want (but don’t then re-freeze any left-overs).

I want to make some Nutella, or strictly speaking, Notella.Nutella is made with Palm Oil and I can’t in good conscience buy it for that reason. Plus I want a higher ratio of nuts to the mixture. So I have a recipe and a couple of bags of roasted, chopped hazelnuts ready to blitz to a hazelnut ‘butter’. The, hopefully, lovely result, will be the topping for some Notella cupcakes.

I am trying to get the baking bug out of my system for the next week or so as my kitchen will be dismantled (broken up and smashed about) over the next week in readiness for the new kitchen being fitted the end of next week. The electrician is coming Saturday to hardwire in the connection for the new cooker on the opposite side to where my present cooker is. A plasterer is coming Monday to sort the walls out. The new cooker and full sized dishwasher are being delivered Monday. Means I have to get a big wiggle on and get my crockery and serving dishes and all the crap under the sink, etc, safely packed up and away from the kitchen.

My new cross-backed apron is lovely and new and until the baking starts again, unstained! That won’t last long but I’ll try to keep it good as long as I can. So happy floofing and speak laters!

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