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.

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

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

Princess cake for a prince

There is a cake in Sweden called¬†Princess Cake which¬†is very common for birthdays and other celebrations (we had it as our wedding cake!). It is covered in green marzipan (it used to be called just ‘green cake’ before being renamed Princess cake) but it can sometimes also be¬†pink, which I suppose is a bit more princessy than green. However, when I was making it as a birthday cake for my son recently I decided to go for ready-rolled golden marzipan in order to save time and, more importantly, as I didn’t want colour the marzipan and end up with bright green hands for the birthday party, having finally learnt – the hard way! – that you should wear gloves when colouring marzipan or icing but never seem to have any around when I need them!!

The cake itself is a light sponge cake layered with raspberry jam, custard cream and whipped cream.

Cut princess cake

Although I have made it a couple of times before I couldn’t remember the sponge recipe, so I decided to go with the one from the classic baking book “Swedish Cakes and Cookies“. It was originally published in 1945 and has been updated several times since. In Swedish it’s called “Sju Sorters Kakor” (Seven Types of Cakes) which is what was expected to be on offer if you were served coffee by any self-respecting housewife back in the day – as you can tell¬†fika¬†has a long standing tradition in Sweden!

Sponge for Princess cake

I must admit I was a little bit worried about how the sponge would turn out as it doesn’t contain much flour, and I had a version of the recipe from a friend that contained twice the amount of potato flour. I needn’t have worried though, it turned out¬†incredibly¬†light and porous, just as it should be! I guess there’s a reason why the book has been around for almost 70 years!

Filling a Princess cake

The cake is usually filled with raspberry jam but it can really be any type of jam. I used Ambrosia Devon custard for the custard cream as it’s quite a thick custard. If using a thinner custard, gelatine is usually added to the custard and the whipped cream mixture to thicken it. Assembling a Princess cake

The cake is covered in a layer of whipped cream before the marzipan is draped over it. Even though there’s quite a lot of cream in the cake it doesn’t feel heavy due to the lightness of the sponge. A Victoria sponge would give a completely different result, and not in a good way…

Golden Princess cake

Hubby wasn’t all that impressed with the colour of the cake. I had expected it to be a bit more golden than what it was, but it still tasted delicious!

Princess cake
Ingredients
Sponge:
4 eggs
200 ml sugar
100 ml plain flour
100 ml potato flour (or corn flour)
2 tsp baking powder

Filling:
300 ml whipping cream
200 ml ready made thick custard
100 ml raspberry jam

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175C and prepare a 21 cm cake tin
2) Beat cream and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Mix the dry ingredients and add to the egg and sugar, mix to combine
4) Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40 mins or golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean
5) Let cool completely before slicing the cake into three layers
6) Spread the bottom sponge layer with the jam. Mix the custard with about a third of the whipped cream and spread half of it over the jam
7) Add the middle sponge and spread with the remaining custard cream mixture
8) Add the top sponge layer and cover the top and sides of the cake with the whipped cream
9) Roll out the marzipan (if not using ready rolled) and cover the cake
10) Decorate and keep chilled until ready to be served

The sponge freezes very well. I made it in advance and froze it as we were on holiday until the day before the party, but it’s recommended to stick it in the freezer for a while anyway as it’s easier to cut it when it’s defrosting. Just take it out about half an hour before cutting it.

Princess cake

To show what the cake looks like with pink marzipan, here’s one I made for my eldest a couple of years ago. Picture’s not great, it was taken with a mobile phone in bad lighting, but it gives an idea. It also features the traditional marzipan rose and (somewhat heavy) dusting of icing sugar.

Pink princess cake

And finally, for a bit of nostalgia… here’s a picture of our wedding cake. Yum! ¬†ūüôā

Princess wedding cake