24 Karat Magic

Gold chocolate is all the rage, thanks to Callebut. The Belgian chocolate makers recently introduced the new colour and flavour to its finest Belgian chocolate range. The new caramel flavoured chocolate “Goldjoined the range of white, milk and dark chocolate.

BarryCallebaut_Gold - Credit Barry Callbaut

Pic: Barry Callebaut

Callebaut have expertly crafted and composed the chocolate from a fine selection of ingredients such as caramelised sugar and caramelised milk.  The intense caramel chocolate taste, has rich notes of toffee, butter, cream and an exciting dash of salt, for good measure.

With such a heavenly aroma and taste I cannot wait to start some culinary alchemy. Think Drip cakes, golden ganache and 24 carat toppings to decadent desserts.

 

 

 

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For Cake’s Sake!

In the weeks leading up to the Royal Wedding, there was much speculation in the cake community, firstly about who would make the cake, and then what style it would be.  There was probably about as much excitement about the cake as ‘the dress’.

Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery made the cake for the wedding of the year.  The day before the wedding, the only thing Ms Ptak would give away regarding the cake, was:

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credit: Kensington Palace

“It’s a non-traditional layout. It’s a slight shift from tradition.”

She went on to describe the cake flavour as a balance between sweet and tart, the combination of the “ethereal elderflower” and adding that the texture was “really lovely and the flavour is quintessentially British.”

Leading up to the wedding she worked for five days at the Buckingham Palace kitchens (probably flat out).  The cake was made in separate parts and then transported to Windsor Castle, where it was assembled and dressed with the fresh flowers.

Made with:

200 Amalfi Lemons

500 Organic Suffolk Eggs

20kg of butter

20kg of flour

20kg of sugar

10 bottles of Elderflower syrup

The cake was a light sponge cake filled with Amafi lemon curd and elderflower buttercream with elderflower syrup.  The elderflower syrup was made at the Queen’s residence in Sandringham from the elderflower trees on the estate. The cake was decorated with Swiss meringue buttercream and 150 seasonal, fresh flowers – Peonies and roses.  Everyone else will read that and stop there, but for all the ‘cakers’ out there, the cake had a rustic effect – read as ‘no sharp edges’.

As soon as the cake was finally revealed, there was much commentary and criticism in the cake world.  Now, I’ve always taken delight in the fact that most people in the cake industry are usually kind and considerate folk (we all know what it’s like to pull an ‘all nighter’ to create something magical for our customers). However, there palette knives were out and in force all over social media from Saturday onwards, with harsh and critical commentary about this cake.

I won’t give you my opinion about the wedding cake just yet, because to be perfectly frank, my opinion doesn’t matter.  I didn’t order the cake and it wasn’t my wedding, or for my guests.  The cake was not made to meet yours or my expectations.  If Prince Harry and Meghan (the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) liked the cake, that is all that mattered.  I’m sure there was a cake consultation, perhaps a cake tasting too, and I’m sure this was the agreed design that was executed.  So all you ‘cake haters’ out there need to pipe down (every pun intended).

There’s also been a lot of talk about the cost of the cake.  Who knows if it actually cost £50,000, or perhaps that was just an estimate.  The good thing is that the ‘cost’ might empower some of us cake makers who still struggle with charging the true value of what our work is worth (design, buying stock and ingredients, packaging, labour – probably charging less than minimum wage; need I go on…).

Elderflower and Lemon

 

One thing is for sure, us cake makers need to thank Claire Ptak for giving us all a new flavour to present to brides and grooms in the future. How many of us rushed out to stock up on lemons and elderflower cordial last week?  Even I had a go at making this flavour and it is delicious (it went down a treat with a cuppa, my neighbours, in the afternoon after the wedding).

The cake was simply gorgeous…Refreshingly modern for a thoroughly modern couple. Now as I drop my spatula (which is the cake equivalent of a mic drop); that is all.

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Today’s the day! #RoyalWedding

At last the Big Day has arrived.  I’m super-excited about today’s Royal Wedding and of course I’ve been baking something in celebration.  As the Bride and Groom make their vows, I will be in the front of the television, taking in every moment…tissues at hand (I love weddings).

My daughter is on scone duty for afternoon tea,  and I’ve made some Union Jack cupcakes – red, white and blue buttercream swirls with iconic London motifs.

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I still haven’t decided whether I’ll be drinking a Great British Cuppa or sipping something fizzy (probably both, throughout the day), but I will be raising a toast:

Harry and Megan,

I wish you joy,

 lots of love…

 and a long happy life together.

May today and your future be sweet.

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Kitchen Nightmares

I want to level with you; can I just be real here (among the filtered photos and selfie lights)? I actually have some baking fears…Yes, fears about certain bakes cakes and recipes.  There are things that I have just backed away from, due to some irrational fear.  But this year, I am determined to face my fears and bake it out and see what happens.

The main reason that I have been fearful of certain culinary skills is that there has been a tiny voice in my head saying ‘What you get it wrong?…What if you mess up?’.

One of my fears has been making meringues…Yes, light, fluffy, dainty meringues.  Can you believe it?  I’ve been setting myself a weekly challenge to bake or create something new, based on what I have been shying away from.

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I’m now at the stage in my life, where I’m saying ‘so what?’ to that voice, because messing up is all part of the learning.   So take a look at what I made earlier. Let’s see what I get up to next week.IMG_20180507_165901_942.jpg

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Love-child

Once upon a time, a Unicorn met a Zebra (perhaps someone swiped right).  They spent some time together and before they knew it, they fell in love.  Uni proposed to Zeb (or was it the other way round); either way someone said ‘yes’.  They set up home together, got married and before you knew it, there was the patter of tiny hooves. As they took their little bundle of joy out for the first time, creatures peered into the pram.

“What do we call him?” they asked.

Zebracon?

Unibra?

“We call him Love, because that’s how he came to be…”

Zebracon

Well, that’s my version of the colourful mythical creature.  Either way, I had the most fun designing and creating this colourful cake.  It’s totally brought out the Cake Artist in me.

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Rice Cakes

 

Rice Cakes

Class, discuss…

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Rocking out in the Kitchen

DSOTS Cover

A foodie, a graphic designer and a TV producer get together and create something that rocks!  It will come as no surprise to you that I am a huge fan of Dark Side of the Spoon – The Rock Cookbook, by Joseph Innis, Ralph Miller & Peter Stadden (published by Laurence King).  This cookbook is a celebration of rock and food (what’s not to like?).

Featuring 30 recipes that have taken inspiration from legends of rock, each dish is accompanied with an illustrated artwork that looks like an album cover (I know, I said album cover…I’ll pause for a moment, for Generation Z and Alpha readers to search what an album cover is on their smartphones).

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There’s Fleetwood Mac and Cheese, Primal Bream…But leave some room for dessert, how about some Smashing Pumpkin Pie?  I’m keen to try Iron Raisin (crispy rum and raisin cakes) and Nirvana Split (baked peach and banana split with a twist of whisky).   I’ve noticed a few recipes with just a smidgen and a splash of ‘the good stuff’, but I’m sure you can remove this, and it won’t hamper the taste.

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There’s even a recommended playlist at the back of the book. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I love to Bake and Shake. So, raid the drinks trolley, crank up the stereo (I know, another word from the 20th Century) get your apron on, and let’s rock and bake!

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