Baking & Decorating

From my last blog about my sister, you can tell my family have been keeping me busy.

IMG-20130401-WA0001_Biscuits[1]In between I have been trying out recipes from fellow bloggers.  This time round I tried out the recipe for Chocolate Shortbread and All Butter Shortbread from the blogger Sugar and Spice Baking. I halved the recipe as I thought I would end up making too many. I used a small cutter so made a number of biscuits. I went to work the following day, came home in the evening and went to the biscuit tin, the number of biscuits had halved, and they were going faster than the cakes I usually make! It could have been because the biscuits were smaller or because they were completely addictive!  I’m biased here because I have tried and tested out the biscuits. Have a go yourself and tell me if those biscuits were not as moreish as I said they would be. 🙂

I had planned to have a go at making a handbag shaped cake. I found a tutorial online. I have all these things I want to try out without paying attention to the fact my body is exhausted. The mind is willing but the body is screaming ‘noooo, just sit down now!’ At this point I usually have to listen to my body; the mind has little say in the matter when the rest of me is barely standing.20130402_191133_handbags[1]

I’ve been wanting to improve my cupcake decorating skills so attempted to make some fondant handbags toppers. They look so simple to make, but believe me, it
20130406_122652_Group[1]took a few attempts to get them looking like this.

I had some sugar beads so made use of them with the bags and used them to decorated some of the other cupcakes.

The following day I had a cupcake decorating class in Southend-on-Sea with the cupcake business ‘Cupcake Boutique’. My youngest brother came along with me. It was a good class. My brother got to grips with the fondant moulds a lot better than me, hence his decorations looking better than mine! My brothers cakes are the green ones.20130407_141050_MohsinCupcake[1]20130407_141057_CupcakeBoutique[1]

I had recently bought the icing tip that creates a grass effect and wanted to practice making Elmo cupcakes. I was having trouble getting the right shade of red for Elmo. I had read that adding too much red food dye can alter the flavour of the 20130407_202215_PinkElmo[2]buttercream icing making it taste bitter. I was trying to avoid this, reason why my Elmo’s are pink! I have gone onto a cupcake decorating group on LinkedIn where one cake decorator has recommended using a ‘no taste red’ paste. The lady was based in the USA. Another decorator, this one based in the UK, recommended using either a Christmas Red or Red Extra, both made by Sugarflair. Then there are Americolor products that I think we can get in the UK. The other decision to make is to use powder or gel food dyes. I’m off to ‘Cake International’ at the London Excel this weekend, so will see / ask what the other experts do. Have to admit I am uber excited about going to this exhibition. 😀

All in all I think my skills are improving and what little time I can dedicate to baking I enjoy.

If I have the time I am still going to attempt to make a handbag shaped cake. I also want to have a go at making a sesame character using cupcakes. I have the idea in my head of how I think a cookie monster made of cupcakes will work, it’s just a case of finding the time to get the idea out of my head and put it into action. Will keep you posted. 🙂

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