Alphabakes challenge

I have decided to take part in a blogging challenge. The AlphaBakes challenge hosted by The more than occasional baker and Caroline Makes. A monthly challenge where the aim is to bake with an ingredient that starts with the random alphabet letter chosen for that month. A random letter generator will give us our letter of the month with which we have to bake. Oohhh excitement.

The letter chosen for the month of February is the letter L.

Lemon is the obvious ingredient that springs out at me, and although I feel I should challenge myself with a more exciting ingredient however, I do love lemon bakes; lemon cakes, lemon biscuits, lemon tarts… so why not indulge. To keep up my cake decorating practice I am going to give myself an extra challenge to bake and decorate cookies to represent the special ingredient.

and so to find my recipe…..

Minature cakes in the making

This week’s class we began to assemble our minature cakes for final decoration next week. This involved covering cakes with marzipan and sugarpaste. We were using bought-in swiss rolls for these so they are not all that level on the top. The excitement comes next week when we decorate them. I am thinking bows, flowers and some piping. One of the cakes is embossed on the top to flood paint next week.

minature cakes in the making

Sugar Flowers

This week my cake decorating class was focused on making several types of sugar flowers.

I have since made these vanilla cupcakes decorated with hand pulled sugarpaste flowers on a vanilla buttercream.

sugar flower cupcakes

A basic cupcake

A simple cupcake

These are a basic vanilla cupcake (recipe adapted from the gorgeous book Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery).

The recipe calls for creaming 110g unsalted butter and 225g caster sugar together. (Recipe states preferably golden and on this occasion I used white and they seemed to be sweeter than when I have used golden, so will go for golden next time). I then add 2 large eggs one at a time mixing for a few minutes after each. Combine 150g self-raising flour and 125g plain flour, sifted in a separate bowl and add one third to creamed mix, beat well. Combine 120ml milk with 1 tsp vanilla extract and pour in one third and beat. Repeat till all flour and milk are combined. Place into cupcake cases about 2/3 full and cook at 160 degrees (fan oven) or 180 degrees (non fan) for 25 minutes or until slightly raised and golden brown. I have to say I have yet to wait for them to cool completely before trying one… well you have to test to see if they are cooked.

These were decorated with royal icing roses made by me.

Cake Decorating Lesson One

I attended my first lesson on my 4 week cake decorating course. This course is to make celebration minature cakes. This first week was learning the required piping skills. I learnt how to make royal icing and piping bags and then practiced piping shells and stars and lines. Not too bad for my first attempt.

Icing shells

I also have been a bit of a swot… at the end of the class she demonstrated sugar roses that we would be doing next week. I couldn’t resist coming home and having a go and the result was not too bad. But I will wait till next week to put up a photo.

So here’s the recipe I used for Royal Icing;

25g meri-white

150ml H2O

1Kg icing sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

Sieve any lumps from meri-white + beat together with water. Add 3/4 of the icing sugar and beat 4-5 mins. Cover under clingfilm and keep airtight.

Chocolate and Ginger Flapjacks

Chocolate and Ginger Flapjacks

Inspired by the Great Sport Relief Bake Off, I decided to make some chocolate and stem ginger flapjacks. I found a suitable recipe from the BBC food recipes by James Martin (recipe found here).

I would make sure I had a mixture of sizes of chocolate chips because a lot of the smaller peices melted in and gave them an nice overall chocolate taste but it was also really nice to come across a bonus chocolate seam.

Chocolate chunks