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Ganache drip cake with unicorn poo

Lying in bed one night, I started Googling for cakes and toppings and came across Cupcake Jemma:and was inspired. She posts lots of How Tos on You Tube and with me nudging Mr T every 5 mins saying ‘That’s how you do THAT!’ and ‘Oh – wow! That’s so easy!’ it was simpler to cast to the telly and us both watch her tutorials. I couldn’t wait for next day and tackle Unicorn Poo.

It takes some time to make because of chilling the crumbcoat and icing in the fridge, letting the ganache and mernigues to cool, etc, but it’s really worth it. The cake is a three layered vanilla sponge with vanilla buttercream icing. It’s topped with with pink ganache (white chocolate and cream with pink food colouring). And unicorn poo. As we all know, unicorn poo is somethig else. For a start, it’s magic. Secondly, it’s sweet and edible.

The basic meringue mixture is a ratio of EXACTLY (following Jemma’s order strictly to the letter) 1 of egg white to 2 of sugar. Add a tsp of vanilla essence or extract and a pinch of salt to flavour the mixture. Obviously, get your food mixer out to beat that meringue mixture and make it firm enough to form gravity-defying stalactites in the bowl and not give yourself an egg shampoo instead of a unicorn poo, should you decide to prove how clever you are by holding the bowl over your head.

Get a piping bag and draw lines of food colouring inside it using a long-handled paintbrush (I have paintbrushes used for painting food colouring only).

Fill the piping bag with meringue.The food colouring will streak the meringue as it’s piped onto the tray.

Get a baking sheet (or two) and cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper. THEN, stand little mini marshmellows on the tray, leaving some space between them and pipe the meringue vertically over each one making a little dome over them.  Sprinkle each one with hundreds and thousands, as well, if you like.

Put them in the oven (130 for approx. 35 mins)  then get them out and leave them to cool.

Decorate your cake with edible food glitter (essential for unicorn anything), unicorn poo, little stars, silver balls…up to you. Just be a bit wild. It’s about unicorns.

 

Lessons learned:

1. Make 1 1/2 times usual buttercream, not double. Now have buttercream in freezing. I don’t need more excuses to make cupcakes.

2. Ditto gananche. Only needed 150g choc and 75 g of cream (converted from ml).

3. Less is more when it comes to drip cakes. Too much ends up pooling on the cakeboard or running over.

4. Practice with food colouring first to make sure the meringues are bright without looking like something from the circus. I think I’ll colour the icing completely pink (vanilla makes it look a little on the yellow side) and put some thinish streaks of red inside the piping bag.

5. Plan to make this cake! Get the butter out the night before so it’s soft. Check the ingredients and get in what you need before you start. I don’t usually have bars of chocolate and cream in the house.

6. Think ahead about how to use up the egg yolks. We had a Spanish Omelette for tea.

 

But. OMG. That cake was amazing. I think sparklers would make it even more fabulous.

If you look for Gemma Cupcakes on You Tube, you’ll find lots of her useful hints, tips and techniques. And inspiration. My next cake will be a pinata cake…

Anyway, am learning loads and getting better and that’s what it’s all about.

 

 

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Mr Amazon called round – again

While shopping online (you know where!) for presents I spotted this cute box of icing nozzles. Too sweet to ignore.

 

And a lovely little set they are. Am very happy.

 

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I had a birthday recently and Mr T bought me an airbrush – doesn’t the compressor look damn sexy?! Can’t wait to start using it!

But busy Miss Lizzie today. Marzipanned the Christmas cake and re-organised the pantry. Mr T is putting me up some shelves today so am over the moon – all my baking stuff in one space! Christmas is coming early!

Ooh La La!

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Papercutting and silks

I’m working on a papercutting for somebody at the moment. Spent many hours this weekend on it and finally cut it this evening to see how it looks. There are several tweaks to make but generally am really pleased with how it’s turned out. What to back it with?! I remembered I did one a while ago and had had backed it onto raw silk. It looked pretty lush.

Saturday – went to a lovely shop that specialises in raw silk from China, Thailand and India. It’s called Roisin Cross. OMG. The shop has the most beautiful range of silks. Beauuuuutiful. I was caught up in the colours and textures and didn’t want to choose – wanted them all but had to make a decision in the end.

I chose three Dupion silks – these are woven in India and have a wonderful texture with little imperfections in the weave that makes them so pretty.They’re not so flowy or soft as the lighter weight silks as I needed the stiffer backing. They have a certain irridescence about them as well. Just so lovely.

The choice of colour had to be something that would contrast with white paper – Canson brilliant white, 250gsm, acid-free cartridge paper. In the end I chose a sharp green, a dark sea blue-green and a dark mulberry.

The pic above is the first cut, on Canson natural white on the dark sea green.

On the sharp green:

On the mulberry:

The Dupion silks:

Am so delighted to have found this shop. It’s been difficult to find good quality backing paper for papercuts for the past year and silk makes for a wonderful alternative.

Latest revisions:

Well, the weekend has flown by and time to think about getting stuff ready for the week. Hope you had a good one. xox

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Lebkuchen

Ingredients

200g / 7oz runny honey
85g / 3oz butter
200g / 7oz plain flour
100g / 3.5 oz ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 unwaxed orange, finely grated zest & juice
Pinch of sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper or parchment.

  2. Melt the honey and butter mixture in a small saucepan over a low heat. Pour into a large mixing bowl and chill in the fridge for 5 minutes.

  3. Take the mixture from the fridge and sieve in the remaining dry ingredients.Stir as you go. Chill in the fridge until completely cold (approx. an hour).

  4. Take pieces of the dough and roll into small balls, about an inch across. Place on the baking trays and flatten down slightly. Leave  enough space between them to let them spread during cooking. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the lebkuchen has risen and firm to the touch. Let them cool on the baking tray for a few minutes then transfer onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

  5. If you want to add a chocolate glaze, melt half the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. When the chocolate has almost melted, take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate until it is melted. Dip the lebkuchen into the chocolate and return to the wire rack to set.

Lebkuchen shapes

If you want to cut your Lebkuchen with biscuit / cookie cutters, let the dough chill till it is cool but still soft. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to approx. 2.5cm/1in thick. Cut out shapes and bake as before but if your cookies are large they may need a little longer in the oven.

Filled Lebkuchen

Wait until the dough has cooled but still soft. Roll out on a dusted work surface to 2.5cm/1in thick. Place a little apricot or cherry jam to one side of the dough then fold the rest of the dough shape over and press the edges to seal it. If you want to cut shapes from the filled Lebkuchen, make sure the jam is in the middle of each one. Bake as above. If your cookies are large they may need a little longer in the oven.

Decoration

Pipe royal icing with a fine nozzle around the outlines or ice in details from your cutter shape.

Potted up

The painted plant pot is finished. Here’s the one side:

Here’s the other (there are two flowers as well but I’m not keen on them so keeping them hidden):

Time for tea. Hope you had a great weekend! xoxox

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Movember

Movember is a big thing in Ireland, and UK, as well I think. It’s the month where the chaps grow a moustache and raise funds to help raise awareness of testicular and prostate cancer.

Some very brave men where I work had strips of hair removed using leg wax to raise money (not for fun! Lol). Where from? Legs, arms and chests! I didn’t watch – not my kind of thing at all though I did sponsor a couple of guys.

There were two baking days – I made the chocolate biscuit cake Christmas pudding for one of them (last post) and made a rich sponge with brandy buttercream filling topped with white chocolate (one coloured blue, obviously) ganache. If there wasn’t enough chocolate, I added chocolate stars, chocolate silver balls (the aluminium ones seem to have been finally discontinued!) and a ring of Malteasers.

Ganache

Ganache is dead easy to make. It’s just double cream and chocolate – a ratio of 2 choc to 1 cream.

I weighed the cream to tare it in grams then broke the chocolate into a bowl.

Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring it to the boil; stir it so it doesn’t burn and stick to the pan.

When it’s broiling and roiling, take it off the heat and pour over the chocolate.

Stir, stir, stir then stir again till it’s melted and blended together. Let it cool a bit if it’s on the hotter side of warm then pour it carefully (more carefully than I did – was in a rush) and let it pool and run over the sides. Give it a little encouragement with a push from a spatula or spoon.

That’s ganache!

It suffered a little collateral damage on the way in – I catch a train, hop on the Luas then have a 10 mins walk. The Luas is the worst bit – spend 10 mins practically stuffed inside the next chap’s shirt pocket – a bit cramped but the view is generally lovely but not conducive to careful cake carrying..

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Some of the Malteasers got dislodged but were quickly pressed back into position. Unfortunately, a few stars got broken but even that didn’t spoil the overall effect too much (pulling a Rahul face while typing, though lol!).

My cakes sales (the two together) raised nearly €100 so delighted they were enjoyed and raised money.

Spoon Graphic blog posted a free set of treasure map assets for Illustrator.They are amazing and just had to have them! Thank you Spoon.

They needed a Wind Rose Compass to set them off. There’s an Illustrator tutorial here:Wind Rose Compass that’s very easy to follow; this is how mine turned out:

I also learned about the profile elements on the Stroke palette, as well! Never used them before. Every day is a school day!

It would be pretty cool if I could plan out a treasure trove map with clues. Time is a bit scarce, though.Too much to do.

The plant pot is nearly finished. It has a name and date on the back and just needs a good coat of Modge now. Will post pics this weekend.

Anyway, November is nearly gone. Roll on December – Christmas rocks! I love it and today I put one of the trees up!!! Mr T is getting it out from the attic after tea!

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