Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Princess Castle Cake

I'm the possessor of one very strong willed, stubborn daughter. My husband is the possessor of one soft as a marshmallow wife. It's probably not an ideal combination. But we try to do our best and with lots of coaxing that wild little girl, we often get where we need to be.
But to make matters more difficult, she's a self-proclaimed princess. She even tells strangers with a poker face that she is in fact, a princess-as if they should know better.
As if I needed to feed the delusion, I agreed to making her a princess castle cake for her third birthday. We found a castle cake kit by Wilton which my daughter loved-it had a million spires and the price for the kit was a bit over the top too for a third birthday.
So I thought I'd wing it. She was beyond thrilled with the end result, although at one stage I was tearing my hair out trying to mend tearing fondant which was melting as I placed it. You will know why if you live in Brisbane. It's still spring and we've had days of 40C+ weather with tonnes of humidity. Not cake friendly. The back of the cake looks like a dogs breakfast. Thankfully no one's looking there!
I used a double mixture of Mississippi Mud Cake and made the base cake in a 15cm round tin, and three small round cakes in 7cm ramekins for the tall back tower part of the cake. These were covered in fondant and skewered into place. The towers can be made from mini sponge jam rolls but I used cardboard rolls, topped with mini waffle style ice cream cones. I used a texture mat to create the brick pattern on the fondant, and the other decorations were hand rolled vines and roses. I hope you enjoy the photo by photo cake tutorial. Shoot me any questions you might have. It's much easier than it looks and you can even get really clumsy and messy with it like me and easily cover the flaws-and it will make any princess wanna-be totally thrilled for weeks.


 Roll and cover your cake board in fondant.Trim the edges to neaten.

Crumb coat your first cake with a thin layer of buttercream icing and refrigerate for 10 minutes or so to harden.

 Place the rolled fondant on your cake. It doesn't have to be absolute;y perfect, as you can see mine isn't. This will be texturised with the texture mat, so it tends to look okay in the end even if a little bumpy. Measure the cake you're about to stack and place wooden skewers in place to secure the next cake. Make sure the skewers will not pop through the top of the next layer, I made that mistake!

Cover the tall cake with fondant and gently push it onto the skewers on the first cake. Please excuse the hideous lumps, at this stage I was near to tears because my fondant was misbehaving on layer two. We can hide all the nonsense in vines, roses and towers later on.

To make the pointed roofs of the towers you will need a packet of mini cones. These stand about 8-10cm tall. Roll out your contrasting fondant and wrap around the cone. Cut off any unsightly edges and make sure all the fondant sits nicely at the bottom of the cone and slightly overlaps at the final edge. Press gently to secure this edge.

 Before moving on to our cardboard roll towers, I rolled the roofs in a little shimmer dust and set aside. The same sort of method goes for the fondant covered rolls. Once covered in fondant, I gently rolled these babies over a brick texture mat, then trimmed the edges. This is a good time to texturise the main cakes also. Gently press the texture mat all around the sides of the cakes to get the brick or cobble stone pattern.

Stack the towers on the cake and secure them with wooden skewers. These should stick out somewhat, as we use them to hold the roofs in place too. The bottom towers can just sit there or be fixed with some edible glue if you prefer.

Use the skewers to position the roof part to each tower. I found these fine just balanced so, but you could use edible glue to secure them further if you need to move your cake around a bit or take it in the car. I used edible glue to secure the roofs on the bottom two towers, as there are no skewers in these two.

 See, all those huge imperfections are melting away as we add detail! Woop!

Add a door, windows and any other details you like. I added twisted braid to the bottoms of the bottom towers, the centre join of the cakes and also the bottom of the top tower to give a bit of fluidity. I matched it with the tower roofs and the door trim. I also added glitter to the spires and topped them with pearl cashous. I added vines and roses that I had made earlier on. (The best way to make the vines is to roll flat some green fondant and cut off thin strips of it.) I added leaves to the vine by cutting little heart shapes from the same green fondant, and squishing the pointy ends into more of a point.

My Daughter Vienna Rose, the happiest little princess with her castle.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Orange and Beetroot Ice Cream

I've never been into weird food. Lamb's brains, liver, bacon flavoured soda. I'll pass.
I'm anxious when I hear about people adding cauliflower to their sweets, and even have my reservations abut zucchini in chocolate cakes, although I hear at least that one is quite nice.
So, adding pureed beetroot to ice cream is a real leap for me. I happen to love beetroot, despite its staining tendencies, and fell in love with the thought of churning hot pink to fuchsia coloured ice cream in my machine.
I figured someone had probably already invented beetroot ice cream, so I googled it and found a recipe for it on a lovely blog. The pictures were amazing, and yes, the ice cream was fuchsia!
Somehow mine didn't turn out so hot pink, but it was a lovely shade of pink, and tasted even better than I thought it would. When you hear that a vegetable has been added to ice cream, it can make you pretty weary- so I have to say I was absolutely pleasantly surprised. Of course you are all wondering what it tastes like. Well the first flavour that hits you is that of oranges-a delightful citrus that hints at marmalade and is simultaneously fresh. There are subtle notes of beet on the end. I wouldn't go as far to say that you can pick out the flavour distinctly, but there are definitely beetroot qualities, a certain earthiness, a tang. There are no strong flavours, it is a very smooth and harmonious combination, a delicate quality to the ice cream, along with a silky smoothness that lacks in many home made ice creams.


2 cups milk
4 tsp corn flour (or corn starch)
1 1/4 cup thickened or heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup (or golden syrup)
pinch salt
peel of 1 orange
3 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 cup pureed beetroot (I used beetroot from a 450g can, drained.)

In a small bowl, place 1/4 cup of the milk with the corn flour and set aside In a medium saucepan, place the remaining milk cream, sugar, syrup and salt and whisk to combine.
Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Add the orange peel and cook for 4 minutes Stir the milk-cornflour mixture until combined, and add to the saucepan. Return to the boil and cook, stirring until thick, for about 2 minutes. Remove about 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture and place in a small bowl with the cream cheese. Combine thoroughly until smooth. Add this to the saucepan. Stir in the pureed beetroot.
Chill the mixture until completely cold. I left mine overnight in the refrigerator. Then strain the mixture to remove the beetroot and orange peel. Follow the manufacturers instructions on your ice cream machine for the final step. When churned, place in the freezer for several hours to freeze before serving.

Makes about 1 litre