22 March 2013

{Recipe} Gluten-free chocolate almond torte

This recipe is so good... a bit high in calories but if you are after that chocolate brownie HIT, then this is for you! Perfect for all those into gluten-free baking too!

2 cups of almond meal
1/3 of a cup of good quality cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup of butter or if you are going dairy-free use oil
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of coffee or cinnamon
1 cup of brown sugar or sweetner if you are going sugar-free.  You can cut the sugar down to 1/2 a cup if you just want less sugar.
1/4 tsp baking power

1. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter/oil, sugar and egg yolks, and vanilla together until nice and creamy.
3. Mix in the almond meal, cocoa, baking powder, coffee/cinnamon into the egg yolk butter mixture.
4. Fold the chocolatey mix into the egg whites.
5. Bake in a tin or ceramic dish. I put baking paper on the bottom so I can take it out of the tin.
6. Bake in over for 25-35 mins at 180 degrees Celsius. Test middle with a skewer like you would for a cake.

  • Add walnuts to the top just before baking for that brownie feel... 
  • Bake in cupcake cases for gluten free-chocolate cupcakes.... Fill a little higher than normal cake batter as the torte mixture doesn't rise a lot. 

17 June 2012

{Recipe} Banana cake #gluten & dairy free

So to tackle my on-going allergies, I decided to go wheat and gluten free. Here is my recipe for gluten and dairy free banana bread... or cake because it is actually light and fluffy like cake, not heavy like bread.

So you could bake it for less time in little cupcake cases and top it with dairy free 'buttercream' for  gluten-dairy free cupcakes! My 3 year old daughter loves banana cake!

In a bowl add...

2-3 mashed ripe bananas
6 table spoons of olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 table spoons of maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
2 eggs (could substitute for 1/2 cup soy milk and 1tsp of vinegar for egg free)

Mix it all together and then add...

1 1/4 cups of gluten free flour
2 tsp baking powder

I find the best gluten-free flour is the IGA gluten free bread mix. It gives a nice finished cake product, not to crumbly, and not too dry.
NOTE: The mixture will look a bit too runny for cake, but when you bake with gluten free flour, the flour takes a little longer to soak up the moisture from the eggs, oil and banana. So if your mix is NOT runny, your cake will be really dry.

Bake at 180 degrees celsius for about 30-40 min. When it gets its rise in the middle and is firm to touch, it's cooked. I double check with a skewer or knife.

The texture of this cake is really nice. It's not crumbly, it's easy to cut into pieces. It is light, not to heavy like mud or sticky date cake.

Definitely a keeper... will be a great snack for afternoon tea at work!

7 April 2012

{Tutorial} Gel Colours

If you want really really vibrant colours, then gel colours are a MUST! They give you a whole range of colours in your cake batter, butter cream, fondant and modelling pastes without upsetting the consistency. The colours you can make are endless!!

There are three main brands.... Wilton and Americolour come from America and Sugarflair comes from the UK. Sugarflair is my favourite, but I do mix and match. Americolor is good for some particular shades. Wilton is pretty much what you see on the outside of the bottle. But the colour panel doesn't show you the potential of just one colour pot.

For example, these buttons are made from just one pot of colour: Sugarflair Mint Green. You can get even darker shades, I just stopped at 4. 

So where do you start? I would start with a few primary colours. Then you can mix colours to get new colours. For example, this first button is a light shade of Wilton ice blue. Then I mixed a little Sugarflair Chestnut into the paste to get that vintage blue on the right. then, a little more white paste to get that vintage green in the middle.

And it's the same case for all these colours below... 4 pots of colour.... sky blue, ruby, chestnut and grape. And that's not all. There are heaps more colours I can make with those 4 pots.

Some colours you can't mix for example Purple. My favourite purple shade is Violet by Americolour, you get that nice bright purple. Grape by Sugarflair comes out a bit grey for my liking. But then it depends on your own designs and colour palettes.

Hope this helpful :)

5 April 2012

{Recipe} Buttercream

People are scared of buttercream for some reason.... it's not hard... you don't even need measuring equipment!! Just an electric beater!

500 grams of icing mixture (supermarket brands are fine)
250 grams of good quality butter (I like Dairy Soft in the white tub)
1 tbs of good quality vanilla essence

... and 4 tbs of good cocoa powder if making chocolate buttercream....

This will make enough for about 25 cupcakes or more if you put a little buttercream on top. If you are making less cupcakes then you can halve the recipe.

Put the butter in a bowl and beat until it's smooth. Then add the vanilla and half of the icing mix or icing sugar. Once combined, add the rest of the icing mix and then it won't fly out everywhere. Beat until its nice and smooth. It should feel light to spread when you dip your spatula in.

Use an icing mixture as opposed to pure icing sugar as icing mixture contains cornflour and won't clump. you won't need to sift it because the cornflour stops the sugar clumping...

{gluten free}... then use pure icing sugar.... but you WILL need to sift it does not contain corn flour...
Use a good quality butter because this is what makes buttercream great. My favourites are Danish Lurpak butter (UK) or Dairy Soft (AUS) in the white container. Both are more expensive but worth the money as we usually make buttercream for special occasions anyway!

Don't keep buttercream in the fridge as it will take on fridge flavour. It also goes hard and won't pipe. So if you do make it the day before, you can keep it on the table with cling film over it. If it's the middle a hot Queensland summer, put it in the fridge. Let it come back to room temp before you try and pipe it. 

{vegan buttercream} quantities are the same, just swap butter for non-dairy spread... I find Nuttelex has the least flavour and takes on the vanilla, chocolate or essences you add. If the buttercream looks to soft and curdling, just add a little more icing mix. 

You can see how to make grass icing here.

{TIP} Do not use a butter that is labeled 'spreadable' for buttercream as it is butter blended with vegetable oil, you won't get the nice firm consistency and the buttercream will too soft.

16 March 2012

{Tutorial} Vintage roses cupcake class

This blog post includes all the information from my vintage rose cupcake class. This information is based on products available in Australia, and the hints and tips are relevant to Queensland, which is usually hot and humid.... bad cake decorating weather!
 Gum Pastes
There are two different types of paste to use, and I recommend buying both, feeling the differences and finding what works for you.
Pastillage comes in a powder.  Mix it following the instructions on the bag.  Once mixed it keeps for a couple of days, but must be wrapped tight in cling film. As soon as you have it out in the air you must be moulding it as it starts to dry and will crack quickly. 
Pros: It drys rock hard and keeps shape for petals really well. It also handles the humidity really well and can be dried gently in the oven at a very low temperature. 
Cons: it's soft and not good for the silicone moulds. It also takes a lighter shade of the gel paste than the gum paste.
Flower paste, Mexican paste, Gum paste, modelling paste... Essentially the same stuff, different names depending on the country... UK or USA.  
Pros: It is great though for the moulds and free hand modelling. It also rolls really thin as the gums make it more elastic than pastillage. Takes the gel colours really well, you get a nice depth of colour and a smooth finish.
Cons: If your have air con, you'll be at an advantage. Doesn't dry to well in the oven, melts easier than  pastillage. In QLD it will rarely dry hard, especially in the humidity, and literally run melts if left out to 'dry' overnight
Then there is fondant. Fondant is for covering the cupcakes and cakes, and is useless for modelling work as it's too soft and isn't made to dry hard.

Gel colours
To colour the pastes, you need a gel, the best brand is sugar flair which comes from the UK. It's thick and has a great range of colours. You can buy it on ebay.co.uk  Americolour is good, and Wilton is good too, but I don't find either have the depth and range of colours that sugarflair has. For these cupcakes we used Wilton Rose Pink and Wilton Sky Blue which are available in spotlight.

Silicone moulds
Silicone moulds are used to make the buttons, they are available on Etsy, Ebay, online cake stores... there are many different types. You can even buy silicone packs and make your own moulds. Cool huh!

There are a million cutters for flowers... again, I would look online and order from Ebay.co.uk or Etsy before a store in Australia as the stores here seems to be so overpriced! My favourite store though, is a local Brisbane online store www.bakingpleasures.com They have the most competitive prices and do quick delivery. If you are around the south side of the city you can arrange a pick-up time and avoid postage costs! Gotta love that!

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