Lego cake

For his birthday this year my son asked for a Lego cake – having just been to Lego Land may have had something to do with it ūüôā

A quick search online returned lots of amazing Lego cakes, many of them quite intricate. Unfortunately time was limited and I decided to go with a very simple design this time. I had bought a Lego brick silicone mould and made little bricks in different colours out of fondant icing to decorate the cake. A few Lego men were drafted in to help hold the birthday candles and the birthday boy was happy Рthough he was more interested in eating just the Lego bricks and not very much of the cake.  Lego cake

The day of the birthday party turned out to be quite hectic, and I only managed to take a few pictures of the cake.
Slice of Lego cake

Lego cake

Ingredients
Cake
2 eggs
200 ml sugar
200 ml flour
2 tsp baking powder
100 ml boiling water

Lemon curd mousse
100-200 g lemon curd
500 ml whipping cream
200 g cream cheese

Buttercream icing
150 g butter, at room temperature
200 g icing sugar
about 50 ml boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ready made fondant icing in different colours

Method
1) To make the cake, preheat the oven to 175¬ļC and¬†prepare the¬†tin.¬†Cream eggs and sugar¬†until pale and fluffy.
2) Add flour, baking powder and the boiling water and gently fold together until smooth. Pour into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cook on a rack.
3) Next prepare the lemon curd mousse. Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks.
4) Mix the cream cheese and lemon curd, then add to the whipped cream. Keep chilled until ready to use.
5) For the buttercream icing, start by beating the butter until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
6)¬†Add the remaining icing sugar, vanilla extract and a little bit of the boiling water, taking care not to add too much water as the buttercream shouldn’t be too sticky.
7) To assemble the cake, cut the cake into two even layers. Spread the bottom layer with the lemon curd mousse, then add the top cake layer.
8) Cover the cake evenly with a thin layer of buttercream.
9) Roll out the fondant icing and cover the cake.
10) If making Lego bricks in a silicone mould, dust the mould with corn flour before adding the fondant icing to make sure the bricks don’t stick to the mould.

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Lemon strawberry cake – and a new kitchen

Summer finally seems to have arrived in Scotland! And with it the chance to relax a bit. The past six month have been very busy Рwe moved house in the beginning of the year, and I now appreciate why they say moving house is one of the most stressful events that can occur throughout your life. Although having moved several times in the past {including between countries}, I found moving with kids and gutting and redecorating the whole house immediately on entry meant the experience was taken to a whole new level!

Living without a kitchen for three weeks was also an experience. Getting a brand new kitchen at the end of the process was definitely worth it though! Just in case you are a tiny bit curious,¬†this is how our kitchen looked for about two months before it got ripped out…
Kitchen_before
We weren’t using any of the drawers or cupboards, which is why everything was piled on top of the counter.

We then had to use this for three weeks..
Kitchen_during_renovation
…while the kitchen looked like this…
Kitchen_gutted

…before finally getting our new kitchen!
New_kitchen

It’s now a pleasure to cook and bake again. One cake I make every summer, usually as a¬†birthday cake as there are a lot of summer birthdays in our family, is this one.
Lemon_strawberry_cake
I usually make¬†it in a round tin, and without lemon curd in the filling, but I thought I’d mix it up a bit when some friends came round recently.¬†The sponge is flavoured with lemon zest and¬†the addition of lemon curd in the filling makes it very fresh. If you don’t want to fill it, the sponge cake is very good on it’s own too.

Lemon Strawberry Cake

Ingredients
2 eggs
250 ml  sugar
300 ml  plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, zest finely grated or 1 tsp vanilla extract
80 butter
225 ml milk

Filling
3-4 tbsp lemon curd
300 ml whipping or double cream
1 punnet of strawberries
possibly a little bit of icing sugar

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and prepare the cake tin.
2) Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3) Gently mix in flour, baking powder and grated lemon zest (or vanilla extract if using)
4) Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk and once hot pour over the batter. Gently stir until smooth.
5) Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 mins, until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
6) Once cool, slice the cake into two or three layers and whip the cream.
7) Spread each of the layers (apart from the top one) with lemon curd, then add whipped cream and top with sliced strawberries. For the top of the cake, either spread it with the remaining cream or lightly dust with icing sugar and decorate with whole or halved strawberries.

Lemon_strawberry_cake2

Little strawberry and marzipan cakes

As mentioned a while ago, there are a lot of summer birthdays in my family. I never had a chance to make my hubby a cake on his birthday, but I made these little cakes the following weekend instead.
Little strawberry and marzipan cakes
When making the pirate cake for my son, I had opened a packet of marzipan instead of icing by mistake. Not wanting to waste the marzipan, I made little strawberry cakes wrapped in marzipan – inspired by the traditional Swedish Princess cake {which I made last year for my son’s birthday}. Very simple but pretty little cakes!
Mini strawberry and marzipan cakes
Little strawberry and marzipan cakes

Ingredients
3 eggs
200 ml sugar
2 tbsp water
200 ml flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
200 ml whipping cream
100 ml custard (ready made or from powder)
1 tbsp strawberry jam
strawberries to decorate, 1-2 per cake
about 250g marzipan + a few drops of red food colouring  (enough for 4 cakes, use more if making more cakes)

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 200C and line a deep baking tray or large roasting tin with greaseproof paper.
2) Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3) Add the water, flour and baking powder and gently combine.
4) Pour onto the baking tray and bake for about 5 mins or until golden.
5) Leave to cool, then cut out circles with a cookie cutter or a glass, about 5 cm / 2 inches wide. You’ll need three discs for each cake.
6) Whip the cream, and mix about a third of it with them custard.
7) Spread the bottom layer of the cake with the jam and then add some custard cream on top.
8) Add the middle cake layer and spread it with whipped cream before adding the top layer and a final thin layer of cream.
9) Add the food colouring to the marzipan and knead it until it’s evenly coloured. Roll out the marzipan until a few millimeters thick.
10) Measure how high the cake is and cut out a ribbon of marzipan the same height and wrap around the cake. Trim off any excess. Repeat for all the cakes.
11) Slice the strawberries and decorate the cakes.

Arrr, pirate cake!

My youngest is all into pirates at the moment and keeps running about shouting “ahoy, pirate ship” {he hasn’t quite figured out there is a difference between ‘pirates’ and ‘pirate ships’!}. For his recent birthday, a pirate theme was a given!

I wanted to make him a pirate cake and when doing some research I found some truly amazing pirate cakes in the shape of three dimensional¬†pirate ships and treasure chests. I’ve never been good with 3D cakes though, instead I decided on a simple pirate head cake. But, never one for making it easy for myself, I wanted to jazz up the flavours a bit. Rather than using the traditional jam and buttercream filling, I settled on a raspberry mousse and a ‘toffee mousse’, which is usually called ‘fluff’ in Sweden – not to be confused with marshmallow fluff though. This is basically sweets {toffees, chocolates, foam sweets or jelly sweets – pretty much anything will do} melted in cream and later whipped like normal cream. It’s very popular as a cake filling but works equally well to frost cupcakes. Not the least be healthy, but hey, birthday cakes aren’t supposed to be!

I started off by making a sketch of the cake, to use as a guide when decorating it. I had initially thought about cutting out parts of it to use as a stencil, but ended up free-handing when decorating it.¬†Pirate cake sketchI bought red and black icing, to make it a bit easier on myself, and then coloured some white icing to make it skin toned {as my local supermarket doesn’t stock that}. Some more research recommended mixing red, yellow and a bit of green food colouring to get a skin tone. I ended up having mix the colours a couple of times before adding it to the icing, as the red became too predominant initially – so go easy on the red! Another thing worth noting is, put some of the white icing away before adding the colour, to be able to make the white dots for the head scarf, unless you want to send your husband out late at night to get more white icing!Pirate cake

Pirate cake

Ingredients
Cake
4 eggs
200 ml sugar
100 ml potato flour
100 ml plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Raspberry mousse
200 g raspberries
1 tbsp sugar
50 ml water
2-3 gelatine leaves
200 ml whipping cream

Toffee mousse
300 ml whipping cream
180 g toffees

Buttercream
120 g  butter, softened
300 g icing sugar
3 tsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing or sugarpaste in various colours

Method
1) The day before making the cake, gently heat the cream for the toffee mousse in a saucepan along with the toffees until they have melted completely. Make sure the cream doesn’t boil, as it won’t be possible to whip the cream later if it does.
2) Once the toffee cream is cool, pour it into a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge over night.
3) To make the sponge for the cake, preheat the oven to 175C and prepare a 23cm cake tin
4) Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
5) Add the potato and plain flour along with the baking powder and gently mix in until fully incorporated.
6) Bake for 45-50 mins or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
7) Leave to cool.
8) To make the raspberry mousse, put the gelatine leaves in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave for a few minutes until they have softened.
9) Meanwhile, heat the raspberries with the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat. Keep stirring until the raspberries start to break down into a puré. Once they are warmed through, add the softened gelatine leaves and stir until dissolved. Leave to cool.
10) Whip the cream for the raspberry mousse until soft peaks form. Add the cool raspberry puré and mix together. Keep chilled until ready to use.
11) To make the toffee mousse, whip the chilled toffee cream until stiff peaks form.
12) To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft. Add about half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining icing sugar, the vanilla extract and one tablespoon of the water and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in the rest of the water a little at the time, if necessary, to loosen the mixture until smooth.
13) Cut the cake sponge into three layers. Add the raspberry mousse to the first layer and the toffee mousse to the second layer before adding the final sponge layer on top.
14) Cover the whole cake with the buttercream before adding the icing and decorating it.

Pirate cake with candels

Strawberry cake

There’s a lot of summer birthdays in my family, and this cake is a firm favourite for birthday celebrations. The other weekend we had a BBQ with our parents and took the opportunity to celebrate three of our summer birthdays. Unfortunately our fridge/freezer had broken down a couple of days before the BBQ so we couldn’t prepare anything beforehand, but on the other hand this cake is best eaten straight away – it’s light and fresh and doesn’t need to sit to let the flavours to mingle or the sponge to soak up any juices.

Strawberry cream cakeThe cake is layered with strawberries….Strawberry cake - layer 1¬†and a custard cream.Strawberry cake - layer 2¬†The sponge is flavoured with lemon zest, giving it fresh and light taste, even though it’s covered with whipped cream.¬†¬†Strawberry cake assembledTopped with lots of strawberries!¬†Strawberry cake¬†I usually don’t like to make a big deal about my birthday, but I just have to mention one of the birthday presents I got from a lovely friend of mine. It’s a plate (bowl?) with “fika & more” printed across it. I was chuffed to bits to get it!!fika & more plate

Strawberry cake

Ingredients
2 eggs
250ml (1 cup) sugar
300ml (1 1/4 cup) plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
80g butter
225g milk (or water)
100ml (about 1/2 cup) ready made custard (I used tinned as it is usually a bit thicker)
300 ml (1 1/4 cup) whipping cream
50 ml (1/4 cup) strawberry jam
1 punnet of strawberries

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175C / 350F and prepare a 20 cm / 8 inch cake tin.
2) Beat the eggs and sugar until white and fluffy.
3) Mix the flour and baking powder and fold them into the egg mixture.
4) Add the finally grated lemon zest.
5) Melt the butter, add the milk (or water if using) and pour over the mixture, gently mixing until the batter is smooth.
6) Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30 mins, or until golden brown. Leave to cool.
7) Slice the cake into three layers.
8) Spread the bottom layer with strawberry jam, then cover with sliced strawberries.
9) Whip the cream to a stiff peak and mix about a quarter of it with the custard in a separate bowl.
10) Add the second sponge layer and spread with the custard cream mixture.
11) Add the top layer and cover with the remaining whipped cream.
12) Decorate with strawberries.

Keep chilled until ready to serve, or if lacking a fridge – serve straight away!

Pink rainbow and Tatty Teddy cake

My daughter is currently into Tatty Teddy, and for her birthday she had asked for a Tatty Teddy cake. A {at the time} secret Tatty Teddy cake board was created on Pintrest and off I went trawling through numerous {lots and lots and lots!} of websites looking for inspiration for said cakes. Friends even joined in the search and sent me links to places who sold such cakes for additional inspiration! Eventually, I had gathered a good selection of images and had a rough idea of how to make a Tatty Teddy {is it obsessive to confess I made a dummy teddy out of play dough too see if what I had in mind was doable?!}

I had originally planned to make a little Tatty Teddy figurine to sit on top of the cake, but due to time constraints and not having the right material to work with {my local supermarket doesn’t stock sugarpaste so ended up using royal icing}, I eventually had to abandon the idea and decided to make a flat decoration instead. Tatty teddy rainbow cake

However, before I hastily ended up having to make the flat Tatty Teddy topper, I had to decide on what type of cake to make. A friend of mine had made a very impressive rainbow cake for her wee boy last year, and it is something that is on my baking bucket list {still to be posted}. This being a cake for a 6-year-old girl though, I thought I’d make a pink rainbow cake, or ombre cake as I soon learned it’s also called. Again, I set off scouring the web for suitable recipes. I’m not very keen on plain cakes with plain frosting {they are usually too sweet for my liking}, so I had to alter my search phrase to find something with a bit more flavour. Both me and and munchkin really like raspberries and I was delighted when I stumbled across a Lemon Raspberry Ombre Cake with White Chocolate Buttercream over at The Sweet Spot.Pink rainbow cake layers

Cake and decoration decided upon, the only thing remaining was to bake it! Swee San at The Sweet Spot includes a few handy tips in her post, which are great if you {like me} are a rainbow/ombre cake novice. I’ve added the ones I found most useful below, adapting them slightly.Pink rainbow cake sponges

Tips on making a tall rainbow/ombre cake:
1. Weigh all the batter before starting to divide it into each layer, to ensure all the cake layers will end up the same height.
2. Start with the lightest colour and gradually add the colouring to each layer in order to reuse the same mixing bowl and save on washing up a lot of bowls.
3. For colouring, use a gel or paste if possible, as it gives a better colour than liquid food colouring. I used the same gel for all layers but other recipes often seem to use two similar shades to create the different coloured layers.
Pink rainbow cake being assembled5. Usually when the cake is low, it doesn’t rise that high. But if it does, trim off the top so it‚Äôs flat when assembling the cake.
6. When frosting, spread a thin layer of frosting on each cake layer before adding the next one. If the diameter of the cake is 6‚Ä≥ / 15cm or smaller, it‚Äôs advisable to use a bamboo stick / skewer to secure all the layers while frosting so the cake doesn’t ‚Äėrun off‚Äô. Once you‚Äôre done frosting, you can remove the stick.Pink rainbow cake with crumb coating

It might seem a bit cumbersome having to make separate sponge cakes for each layer {I usually just make one sponge and slice it into layers} and also having colour each one individually, but it doesn’t take very long to do these extra steps and it’s totally worth it in the end when cutting the cake and seeing the different coloured layers!

Slice of pink rainbow cake

I was in a bit of a rush to get the cake complete before heading off to munchkin’s birthday party and unfortunately the Tatty Teddy topper cracked in a few places when adding it to the top of the cake, but munchkin was still happy with it ūüôā

Tatty teddy cake

Pink rainbow / ombre cake

Ingredients
Cake
250g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
1 lemon, zested
4 eggs
300g cake flour (or all purpose flour)
1¬Ĺ tsp baking powder
¬Ĺ tsp bicarbonate soda
180ml milk
120g raspberry puree* (see below)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Buttercream
250g unsalted butter, room temperatured
250g icing sugar
100g white chocolate, melted
0.5 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp of milk if needed, depending on the consistency of the buttercream

Method
Cake
1) Preheat the oven to 175C and prepare the cake tins.
2) Cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until creamy and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, incorporating each fully before adding next.
3) Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda) into a bowl.
4) Squeeze the lemon juice into the milk. Add the vanilla extract.
5) Fold in ‚Öď of the dry ingredients. Add in ¬Ĺ of milk and mix well. Repeat by alternating flour and milk, ending with flour.
6) Weigh the batter, then pour one fifth into a bowl, add the raspberry puree and food gel and mix until evenly coloured. Repeat for the remaining three coloured layers. Leave one layer, the final one, as is to keep it cream coloured.
Suggestion for amount of raspberry puree for each layer:
2nd layer – add 15g raspberry puree
3rd layer – add 25g raspberry puree
4th layer – add 35g raspberry puree
5th layer – add 45g raspberry puree
Add the colouring to enhance the ombre/gradient tones. After adding raspberry, the batter tends to become a bit grey.
7) Bake each layer for 20 minutes or till skewer comes out clean. Remove tray from oven, let it cool and invert it out to a wire rack.
Buttercream
1) Cream the butter until creamy.
2) Add in the icing sugar, salt and vanilla and continue to beat until fully incorporated.
3) Melt the white chocolate and add into the mixture. Stir well until combined and fluffy.

Assembling the cake
Lay the darkest coloured cake on a cake board. Spread a thin layer of buttercream. Then lay the 2nd layer and spread with a thin layer of buttercream. Continue until you have assembled all the layers. If the cake layers moves during the assembly, insert a skewer into the middle to keep it stable (see tips above)
Spread and cover the cake with the remaining buttercream.

* I had a 150g punnet of raspberries which I made into a raspberry puree by heating it in a pot over a low heat with a bit of icing sugar and lemon juice while stirring and mashing the raspberries until smooth. Then strain the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds. I ended up with 90g of finished puree, which was a bit less than the recipe asked for. Next time I’d use 200g of raspberries instead when making the puree.

IMG_2493_small

Chocolate marmalade slump cake

I love turning the oven on after having baked anything with chocolate, and at the same time I don’t. I love it because the kitchen is once again filled with delicious chocolaty scents. And the reason I don’t like it is that usually the yummy chocolate treat is long gone by then, and the oven is being turned on to cook something decidedly less tasty, like fish fingers, which although loved by the kids, will always loose in the taste battle with chocolate.

Something I long to turn my oven on for again is Lucas Hollweg‘s Chocolate marmalade slump cake. I found the recipe in¬†Sunday Times ‘Style’ magazine at some point {last year?} and have been looking for an occasion to make it ever since. I finally ended up making it for New Years Eve and all I can say is wow {which seems pretty tame}. It was fantastic – rich, moreish and utterly¬†delicious. Lucas Hollweg is my new kitchen hero! {having made one of his savoury tarts a few times just adds more weight to this sentiment}. The fact that it’s also gluten free is just an added bonus!Chocolate marmalade slump cake

Chocolate marmalade slump cake

Ingredients
100 g Seville orange marmalade, preferably with thick cut peel
1 large orange, finely grated zest
125 g sugar
150 g unsalted butter
150 g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids)
4 eggs, separated
50 g cocoa powder
a pinch of salt

Method
1) Pre-heat the oven to 190C and line the base and sides of a 23 cm loose bottomed circular cake tin with greaseproof paper.
2) Put the marmalade and zest in a food processor and blitz until slushy, then add the sugar and blitz again. {This was the only part of the recipe I didn’t follow, I just mixed the marmalade and sugar and ended up with nice little pieces of orange peel in the cake}
3) Melt the butter over a gentle heat, then remove from the heat.
4) Break the chocolate into chunks, add to the butter and give it a stir so the butter covers the chocolate. Leave {well alone!} for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to melt, then stir until it’s a smooth and glossy mixture.
5) Pour the chocolate mixture and the marmalade mixture into a bowl and beat in the egg yolks.
6) Sift in the cocoa powder and beat until combined.
7) Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a clean mixing bowl until they form soft peaks.
8) Stir in 1/3 or the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then carefully add the remaining egg whites, gently folding them in until fully incorporated.
9) Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 30 minutes or until the centre has risen and set.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before taking it out of the tin.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche. Chocolate marmalade slump cake