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    Monthly Archives: November 2011

    Inspiration and ideas for Christmas baking

    Are you ready to start your Christmas baking yet???    I have personally got to a stage this year where I’m thinking, what will I do this year for my own Christmas cake?  I usually have all of this planned by mid November, but there’s just so much on at the moment that I’m choosing to step back, and cut back! Trying, anyway!!!  What about you??   I usually bake throughout the month of December (yes, so what is different you might say to any other time of year??) but for me, I traditionally bake a new biscuit or small cake for each week of advent…I don’t eat them all!! And YES I’ll be sharing some new recipes over the month of December, so make sure you join me on twitter or facebook or networked blogs  to get the recipe updates!!!

    I make usually up a selection of biscuits and cookies into small gift boxes to give to friends and to make platter of Christmas Cookies on Christmas Day.  I like to bake something special for Christmas eve…and I’m still deciding on that one.  Last year, for the first week of advent I baked Christmas muffins, and this year I made cake pops with the kids (my cake pop recipe and tutorial).  Below is a picture of my kids’ decorating…yes I bought the icing trees, they’re so cute!  You could also use my recipe for fruit cake balls as cake pops too.  The crushed peppermint candy canes were really yum!

    Christmas cake pops with tree candies, icing trees and crushed candy canes.

    Here are a few of my favourite places to get inspired by Christmas Cake pop designs and gifts!  Click on the picture to see each website.

     

    The wonderful thing about being on facebook and online for that matter, are all of the awesome baking friends and I make, and who inspire me with their talents!  I have been seeing so many wonderful ideas for Christmas cake decorating, and so I’ve invited a few of my baking friends to share their beautiful creations with you all.  I’ve also incuded some other great ideas from bakers I’ve found along my online travels!   I hope you find the rest of this blog post inspiring to kick start your Christmas baking!

    Victoria Hansen has generously shared some ideas from Black Book Cooking  which has a fantastic list of Christmas baking and edible gift ideas.  I’m always inspired by the easy to follow tutorial Victoria produces and the wealth of her knowledge and expertise as a foodie…here is her video tutorial on baking her family traditional Christmas cake with a twist!

     

    These are a sample of Rachael Vyner’s cupcakes from Plush n’ Lush Cupcakes, she makes the most delicious flavour combinations, she’s featured a few times on my blog! Thanks Rachael :)

     

     

    The Cake That Ate Paris has made this amazing marbled Christmas tree cake….I’m thinking about making this….but seriously I don’t have the time!!!  Maybe I’ll be tempted :)

     

     

    Wiltons is a favourite website of mine to visit because there are alwaysmheaps of ideas to bake and decorate or just go, awww that’s cute, like these Christmas themed cupcakes:

     

    Michelle from Sugablossom Cakes, has kindly shared with us her classic style fondant covered cakes for Christmas

     

    Here are some more cute cake ideas I came across by The Cupcake House….I love this giant cupcake

     

    I stumbled upon this novel cake idea for a gingerbread cake by Stacey’s cakes…fun for kids of all ages ;)  a great idea for an alternative to fruitcake too

     

    For some last minute ideas, please visit Cake Appreciation Society’s blog post about  “Hot Tips for a Cool Christmas”  as Adrianne shares four of her tips to get you and your family through the festive baking season, and on the fan page, she shares the World’s Most Expensive Christmas Cake.
    “This diamond fruitcake is edible after you remove all the 223 diamonds encrusted in it. The cake is a part of a seventeen piece exihibit called “Diamonds: Nature’s Miracle” And costs… $1.65 Million USD”  Baked back in 2005, by a Tokyo Pastry Chef, this cake took 6 months to design and another month to construct. The Chef did not disclose the ingredients. The cake was sold prior to Christmas that year.

    We’re guessing whoever received it, didn’t re-gift it?”

     

     

    I hope you enjoyed this post…Please let me know in the comments which of these are your favourites, or what you are baking this Christmas…and please visit the blogs of these very talented and creative bakers :)

    Oh…and I couldn’t resist one last photo, some cute candy Christmas tree cupcakes by Bakerella!

     

    Happy Baking!  If you think any of these ideas would inspire your friends, please share this post :)

    Recipe for Chocolate Peppermint cream sponge cake

    I’ve made this cake today for a birthday celebration, and it is a decadently rich recipe for Chocolate Peppermint cream sponge cake.  A quick rundown on this cake: Dark chocolate genoise sponge cake, filled with creme de menthe laced cream, topped with a layer of peppermint cream frosting, and covered in dark chocolate ganache.

     

     

    Chocolate Sponge cake

    1) Bake genoise sponge cake, following my BEST GENOISE SPONGE recipe.  I added 1/4 cup of best quality dutch cocoa powder to the plain flour and sifted it twice before sifting it finally into the batter.  This is important, as you want a smooth and even colouring of cocoa throughout the batter.  If it’s not sifted thoroughly you may end up over beating the batter and then deflating the air you’ve beaten into the eggs and sugar mix.

    2) Fill the two lined tins with the batter evenly distributed across both tins, and bake in oven following instructions in the sponge cake post.

    3) Cut both cakes in half, this way you will have three layers of fresh cream filling.

     

    Creme de Menthe cream

    600mL thickened cream

    4 tablespoons sifted pure icing sugar

    1/8 cup creme de menthe liqueuer (or to taste)

    1) Whip cream until stiff peaks with icing sugar.

    2) Whip through liqueur until well combined.

    3) Spread cream onto cake layers.  Cool cake in fridge for about 1 hour.  Cover cake with cling film to stop it absorbing smells.

     

    Peppermint cream frosting

    3 tablespoons softened butter

    1 cup icing sugar

    leaf green food gel/food colouring

    4 tablespoons thickened fresh cream

    1    and  1/2 teaspoon peppermint essence

     

    1) Cream sifted icing sugar and butter together, it will forms fine crumbs.

    2) Mix in peppermint essence, cream and food colouring and beat until smooth.  It should be the consistency of smooth peanut butter.

    3) Smooth on to the top layer of the cake, and any extra, smooth around the outside of the cake.  Return to fridge, covered, and chill for 30 minutes.

     

    Dark Chocolate ganache

    200 mL cream
    450 g chopped dark cooking chocolate

    Put the chocolate and chopped chocolate into a saucepan, heating gently and stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and a whisk, beat until smooth.  Allow to cool for about 10 minutes on the bench or until room temperature.  Then pour onto cake and smooth around edges.  You may have enough ganache left to pipe onto cake, just make sure the ganache is chilled a bit for piping, so that it will retain the “pipe” shape.

     

    I hope you enjoy this cake! It is a decadently rich cake…please share this recipe with your friends or “like” and “tweet” it :)  Thanks…happy baking!

     

     

    Blackforest No-Bake Cheesecake recipe

    One of my favourite cheesecake recipes is a Blackforest No-Bake Cheesecake…sour cherries, kirsch, red gel, chocolate cheesecake and a delicious chocolate biscuit base.  This is an elegant cheesecake, and fancy enough for celebrations or a special dinner.  Enjoy!

     

    Chocolate cinnamon Biscuit Base

    100g melted butter
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 packet of chocolate ripple or plain chocolate biscuits

    In a food processor, blitz the biscuits until well crushed, add cinnamon.  Add melted butter.  Pulse until combined.  Or place all biscuits in a double lined plastic bag and crush until fine crumbs with a rolling pin, tip into a bowl, mix in the remaining ingredients.

    Press the crumbs into a spring form tin, making the base at least 1 1/2 cm thick.  Allow some of the base to go up the sides to create a slight dam.  I like to use the bottom of a glass to press the corners well into the tin. Put into the fridge, covered with plastic wrap, while you make the filling.

     

    Chocolate cheesecake filling

    2 packets of full fat cream cheese
    1 packet light cream cheese
    3/4 can sweetened condensed milk

    150g of chocolate or 150 mL of chocolate sauce
    1 cup cream
    1 teaspoon gelatine
    3 tablespoons boiling water

    Whip cream until thick and stiff.  In another bowl, beat full fat cream cheese until smooth, then beat in the low fat cream cheese.  The lower fat cream cheese is not as hard as the full fat one, if you add them all together it becomes chunky and not smooth.  Beat in condensed milk.  Fold in whipped cream, melted chocolate or chocolate sauce.  Dissolve gelatine with boiling water, mix well into filling.  Pour on top of biscuit base,

    Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until firm.  I always place my no bake cheesecakes into a plastic container and then into the fridge so that it doesn’t absorbs any smells- you want lemon cheesecake not cabbage or spaghetti sauce infused cheesecake!

     

    Cherry Gel

    Drain 1 x 250 g jar of sour cherries, make sure all pits have been removed.  Pat cherries dry from any excess liquid, and spread onto set cheesecake filling.  Mix 4 table spoons of kirsch into tortenguss gel.  You can buy tortenguss from delis or continental food stores.  Mix red tortenguss according to the packet instructions or make a batch or strawberry jelly, and when it is sloppy pour on top of cheesecake.  If you use strawberry jelly you won’t be able to add the kirsch as it will make it too sloppy and not set.  I use the red tortenguss, check this link, because it sets pretty instantly.   Pipe some fresh cream with it too for a little extra decadence, and top with chocolate shavings.

     

     

    Happy baking! or No-baking I should say!!  More no bake cheesecake recipes  Please share with your friends :)  or follow this blog on networked blogs for regular updates.

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