Anonymous Cake – February

The weather so far this month has been awful! High winds, multiple storms, and what feels like non-stop rain. It’s been sad to see people’s homes and businesses impacted yet again by the weather. Sadly, some of my old roller derby friends were impacted by flooding again, so I wanted to do a little something to cheer them up a tiny bit.

I made some PB&J blondies and boxed them up to post to them anonymously (unless they read this blog, in which case – oops!)

I used this recipe that I found online for the blondies. I then added a small bag of chocolate chips to the mix, and topped with white chocolate ganache.

Once they had cooled down, I cut them in to squares and put into cellophane bags. I posted them and thankfully I knew that they had arrived as my friend put a post on Instagram asking who the sender was (I still haven’t owned up).

Next up, I need to think about what to bake & give away in March!

January’s “Secret Baker” Cake

I’d never actually use the “Secret Baker” name, but I laughed when someone used it when talking about January’s cake.

This one was a last minute change in nomination due to a change of circumstances, but it went to a work colleague (anonymously). He was nominated because he is an amazing colleague who gives up time in work to listen to others and is always willing to go out of his way to help. Outside of work, he gives up his time to work with the Scouts.

I was told he was a fan of bourbon, so this led to a chocolate whiskey cake being left on his desk on Monday Morning:

Chocolate whiskey cake. Chocolate whiskey buttercream. Melted chocolate.

I got told that the recipient looked very confused at first, and maybe a little concerned that someone knew about his love of bourbon and work outside of work with the Scouts. Oops!

Next month I’m going to try find someone not in work to give a cake to. Watch this space!

Giving Something Back – With Cake!

I get so much inspiration from Instagram bakers. In December, Neurotic Mom posted about donating a number of cakes to people who were nominated by her followers. Her cakes went to some of the most deserving people, and it made me feel inspired! I decided that each month in 2020 I would bake and give a cake to someone who had been nominated as a recipient.

Being me, I actually started this in December when I was feeling in the festive, giving spirit. I won’t give all the info on here, but here are pictures of the cakes that I baked to bring some cheer to the recipients…

Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, and Candy Canes
Same cake, just another angle with a little more chocolate drip on display.

Chocolate oveload cake – chocolate cake, chocolate buttercream, white chocolate drip, snickers and marc celebration chocolates to top

First Cake of 2020

It’s my niece’s birthday on the 4th January and she sent me a video in December asking me to please make a “Unicorn Cake with all the colours” because “I love unicorns”.

I hadn’t been asked to make a unicorn in well over a year, but it seems 5 year olds still like them.

The inside was 5 coloured layers to make it rainbow-esque and these turned out a bit brighter than I thought they would be.

Glass Stabbed Cupcakes

Another idea I had when making cakes for Halloween was to try making some “stabbed” cupcakes. I’d seen the idea on Instagram and thought it would be a good one to try. I had obviously made cupcakes before, but never tried anything with sugar work.

I had to begin by making the sugar mixture for my “Glass” – 2 cups of granulated sugar, some water, and a tube of liquid glucose. I had to heat this to 300 degrees F, whilst constantly stirring. It took nearly an hour!

Once the mixture was heated to the necessary temperature, I poured it out onto baking parchment and allowed it to cool down and set for a few hours

After setting, I hit it with a knife to get it to break up into the “shards”

I already had some cupcakes baked, and some leftover buttercreams. I used chocolate buttercream first, then added a vanilla swirl to the top mwhich i “stabbed” with the sugar shards

Finally, I added some red coloured icing drizzles to make the “blood”:

Brain Cake

In my last post I showed the cake that I entered for my work’s Halloween Baking contest. I entered a “Brain Cake” which is exactly what it sounds like – a cake shaped like a brain.

It’s surprisingly easy to make …

  • Bake cakes (I coloured them pink)
  • Stack cakes, then trim the edges. Take the off-cuts and put on the top to create a dome
  • Cover in buttercream (I had some red left over from other cakes so I added this too)
  • Colour some fondant using ivory food colouring and a tiny amount of pink
Cake on left, fondant on right
  • Roll the fondant out into “ropes”
  • Apply the ropes to cake to form “brain matter”
  • Coat in strawberry jam
Brain Cake

Work Halloween Baking Contest

I was planning on making a cake for my work colleagues for Halloween, but then work announced a Baking Contest so I had to get creative. The idea is that staff enter a cake that gets judged, and then they sell off slices of cake for our nominated charity.

I had three ideas, but could only enter one. I ended up making all 3 anyway (further posts to come) but entered one and just gave the rest for selling to raise money as it was all for charity anyway.

The cake I decided to enter was my Brain Cake

Brain Cake

I made one of these last year, and it is surprisingly easy to make. The Gallery below roughly shows the steps, but essentially:

  • Bake 3 round cakes (I used vanilla cake dyed with pink food colouring)
  • Stack the cakes then cut the edges from the rounds to create the curved pieces for the dome
  • Cover with buttercream
  • Colour some fondant with ivory colouring and a drop of pink
  • Roll out the fondant into ropes
  • Apply to cake
  • Cover in jam

The bakers in work are really good so there was some stiff competition! The next gallery shows some of the cakes that entered – you’ll see that the decorating work on the cauldron was really good!

Judging took place based on Appearance and taste. I was happy to say that I won the contest 🙂

I get to go have Champagne Afternoon Tea for 2 at Cloud 23 at the Hilton in Manchester.

Rainbow Pride Blondies

The Typhoons all inclusive rugby team

My brother and I were never sporty when we were children. As a teen I started to do more cardio at the gym, and when I was 25 I discovered Roller Derby which I played for 6 years. It was great to feel a part of a team and it really helped build my confidence. As a child I was fatter and never did well at sport. As an adult, I was actually good at roller derby and it was a great feeling.

I imagine my brother was in a similar situation, and he discovered all-inclsuive rugby in recent years. He’s really blossomed in the sport and he’s doing amazing – I am very proud of him!

I like an excuse to bake, and as this month is Pride celebrations all over the place i decided to try make something to celebrate Pride and send them to him (secretly) in the post. I just really hope they have shipped OK…

Rainbow “Pride” Blondies

I used this recipe from All Recipes to make the blondies, and then topped them with a white chocolate ganache. I used a 3:1 chocolate to cream ratio and coloured some of this with gel colouring.

To begin with I covered the full tray of blondies with white chocolate ganache, then I added rainbow stripes which I then feathered:

cooling in the tray
fresh out of the tray, just before cutting.
Small squares of blondies
Yummy dense blondies, with a rainbow ganache topping

I posted these to his work without him knowing, so hoping they get there in one piece. Time will tell!

Cinnamon Rolls

I love cinnamon. I love cinnamon rolls. When we go to America, I love the smell of Cinnabon when we go shopping in malls (though I have to restrict how often I eat it as I know they are so full of calories). With this in mind, I wanted to try making some cinnamon rolls at home for the first time.

The dough was made with flour, salt, milk, yeast, and sugar and had to prove for 90 minutes. After this, I rolled it out to try make a rectangle:

You have to coat the dough with butter, and then sprinkle a LOT of sugar and cinnamon over it

I followed a recipe that allegedly made 12-14 buns. Instead of cutting it into thinner buns, I cut it into 8 instead.

A second prove is then needed to allow the buns to puff up before baking:

Pre-rise
After the buns had risen
Baked rolls, fresh out of the oven

I believe that I over-baked them a little, but it was nothing that a little cream cheese frosting wouldn’t fix:

And finally, the inside of the bun as I was eating it. Yum yum yum yum

Peppa Pig Birthday Cake

Another family birthday means another cake. This time around the spec was “Peppa Pig” and “Normal cake” (I always assume people just mean vanilla and strawberry jam when they ask for “normal”.

As I don’t like making fondant covered cakes anymore, the below is what I came up with…

Peppa Pig Cake. Without Candles

I took the above photo then remembered I’d bought some candles too.

Peppa Pig Cake – with candles

I cheated on the cake making as I couldn’t be bothered to make my own pigs. Instead I spent ÂŁ3.99 on the set from eBay.

Toppers Close-up

Finally, the obligatory cake insides shot. The cake rounds were 7″ each, so that’s quite a chunk of icing for the outsides!