All posts tagged: cake decorating

Pistachio and Chocolate Cake

I have a confession to make. Well, not so  much a confession but a disclaimer. This recipe isn’t entirely original and mine. To be honest, I am fed up of seeing people posting their alleged “new recipes” when they have clearly been reworked from someone else’s and have not given them credit. So, I want to be clear, that this cake is a re-working and scaling of other people’s recipes, with a minor element being mine. The sponges that make up this cake are a scaling up of Annie Bell’s Chocolate and Pistachio cake in her Baking Bible.  I have long been a fan of hers since I picked up a very reduced copy of her Gorgeous Cakes in a discount book shop. To this day I have no idea why she isn’t a household name: the woman knows her stuff and her recipes are great. I opted to make my own filling of Pistachio Buttercream, mainly because I had some leftover. But I think it really works and adds to the pistachio flavour. The chocolate …

Raspberry and Rose Celebration

Well hello there. It feels like years since I last wrote a blog post. The last few months have been very busy in our house but I’ve been baking away just the same, only not writing quite so much about it. If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll see plenty of baking, cooking and the odd bottle or two of wine (francesbakes). My friend asked me to make a cake for her mum’s special birthday and I just knew you guys would want to see more of the process, so I documented its production to share with you today. My brief was “she likes Turkish Delight and best to avoid chocolate”…immediately I thought to ask if she likes raspberries: they go so well with rose. Thankfully, she does, and so I started planning what I’d make. Straight away I decided to use The Pink Whisk’s Raspberry Ripple cake as the basis for the celebration cake. I have used this recipe a lot and it is simply delicious. So many people that I know love it too, so …

A Coffee Cake with a kick

Good morning and a Happy Easter to you. This isn’t an Easter cake, though it does contain chocolate, nor was it made recently. But I was asked for the recipe from someone over on Instagram, so I felt I should cobble together a blog post with details of how I made this cake (which was in the Autumn of last year). The cake itself is a simple coffee Victoria Sponge, but it is soaked in a Tia Maria sugar syrup, then filled with an Espresso and Mascarpone cream, then covered completely in a good old fashioned chocolate buttercream. It is finished off with a chocolate glaze drizzle, chocolate bark and various other decorative edibles. You should start by making the chocolate bark the day before you need it to ensure it is firm enough to handle, especially if it is warm. Chocolate Bark 150G of Dark Chocolate A handful of Coffee Beans Gold Sugar, sprinkles, bronze honeycomb chunks (Marks and Spencer) or any other pretty gold or bronze decorations you can find that will tone …

Layers of Light and Lemon

This week at school one of my classes and I ran a fundraising event for Marie Curie. We held a Blooming Great Tea Party, and did various activities in order to raise money for this very worthwhile charity that offers support of all kinds to people with a terminal illness, and to their families and loved ones. I had agreed to bake some treats for the tea party and to make a cake to be raffled off. I went for a Spring like look that tasted fresh, and came up with this. A few people were asking for the recipe so I thought I’d write it up this morning. I hadn’t intended to write a blog post about this cake so didn’t document the making of it in photographic steps, so apologies for that. For the Sponge: 200g of Butter, at room temperature 200g of Caster Sugar 200g of Self Raising Flour 4 Medium Eggs The zest of 1 Lemon (unwaxed) For the Lemon Syrup: 45g of Caster Sugar 3 Tablespoons of Lemon juice For …

A Good Sport

If you ask me to go for a run with you or join in with a game of Rounders I would politely decline. I am not very sporty. I am not sporty at all, in fact. That doesn’t mean, however, that I am not a good sport. If you were to ask me to help with your charity event I would do what I could. If you asked me to bake a cake for your charity event, then I would probably be planning it in my head before I had even come to the end of, “Yes, I’d be delighted to.” When my colleague asked if I would bake a cake to be raffled off as part of the school’s fundraising for this year’s Sport Relief I was more than happy to help out. For Comic Relief  last year I made a Red Velvet Cake as I felt the colour tied in with the charity’s logo. This year I stepped away from chocolate and went fruity instead. I decided to use one of my favourite recipes from Ruth Clemens, behind The …

Cool, Pale and Festive

I think that the last thing anybody needs to be doing just before Christmas is designing and executing an elaborate Christmas Cake. If, like me, you find yourself spending lots of time with all other manner of christmas preparations, including exquisitely fiddly home made treats for the kids’ school Christmas Fayre or as gifts for their teachers, then run out of quality time to enjoy making a beautiful centre piece cake for your own family, you need to have an easy and quick design up your sleeve. I am a firm believer of less is often more, especially when it comes to cake design. Simple and elegant is often the way to go and, although that doesn’t always mean quick, in this case it does. I have come up with a cool coloured and pale silhouette cake design that really is very simple to carry out. If you have a warmer or bolder colour scheme, this design could easily be adapted to blend in. I coloured the icing a pale blue/grey using a combination of …

Knitting a Cake for Granny

The last time I knitted a cake I received an overwhelmingly positive response. This increased even more when I shared a photograph of the lady who received the cake seeing it for the first time. Not only did her delight come across as utterly genuine and heartwarming, but her vitality for a woman who had just turned 90 was clear for all to see. Clearly, finding delight in everyday things is the secret of youthfulness. So I was delighted to be asked to make another cake with a knitting theme. I was asked by a friend of my partner, who also happens to be the parent of one of my pupils (how positively mortifying for my poor pupil). Tracy wanted me to make a knitting themed cake for her mum’s 70th birthday. Her mum has recently had a serious health scare and lives a few hours away from the family, so it’s been an anxious time for them all. She wanted a bespoke cake to surprise her with on her special day. The cake had …

Winter Berries and sparkle

I know I’ve written this before, but I really mean it this time. This *is* a short post. I just wanted to share some images from something that I baked and decorated this weekend, especially as it’s a departure for me from cake. I also chose to decorate it with a nod to the visual themes of winter berries and sparkle. Some of you might be thinking ahead to Christmas and be looking for decorative ideas, and I thought this might inspire one or two of you. Ages ago a girl that I went to school with asked if I’d make a cake for her sister’s birthday this weekend. As it got closer to firming up ideas she confessed that her sister doesn’t actually like cake. After some discussion we settled on a baked cheesecake. Of course, I had to make it as celebratory and beautiful as a birthday cake. Seeing as the season has well and truly changed to winter here in Scotland, I felt completely justified in picking up some edible silver leaf …

Feeling Festive

Over the last few years it has become a tradition for me to make a Gingerbread House for my kids to decorate. Only two out of the three really like the taste of Gingerbread. But you see, it’s not about the Gingerbread: it’s about the sweets and icing; the edible glitter; and the fun and mess that we (they) make when decorating it. I use a BBC Good Food recipe (link at the bottom), that bakes into a tasty yet sturdy building, able to withstand a heavy handed toddler. Just remember to let the royal icing “cement” dry overnight. On a few occasions I’ve made a house, covered it in sweets, and donated it to my kids’ nursery or school. Money is easily raised by folk paying to guess how many sweets are on it. Yes, I do count them and yes, it’s a lot. If you plan to cover your Gingerbread House entirely in sweets, then make sure you buy lots of them. They probably won’t all make it on to the house. 😉 …

A 40th celebration in Pistachio, Raspberry and Rose

I shall try to keep this post brief. I should really be doing some of my Sunday chores in the house before heading out galavanting with my daughter to a Christmas craft fayre this afternoon. But I couldn’t wait to share the details of the cake that I made for my friend’s 40th birthday party last night, even if the photos are a bit ropey. I met this particular friend as a Glasgow Baking Club event at least a couple of years ago, and we share a common interest in baking and good food. She is an excellent and adventurous baker and first class cook who understands flavours very well. She wanted someone to make her special cake and charged her husband with the task of organising it with me. The only essential was that it was to be a fondant free zone. Very quickly, we came up with the idea of a Pistachio Cake filled with Raspberry and Rose Italian Meringue Buttercream and decorations of Meringues and Macarons. She had also expressed a desire …