Thursday, December 22, 2011

New things

My sister got back from Tokyo yesterday and she gave me these wacky KitKats. The flavours include strawberry, jasmine green tea, normal green tea...and melon, which sounds revolting, but interesting. 
I also got given (very generously) a book of 24 carat gold leaf, which I can use on my cakes because it's entirely edible. I'm really excited to start using it, on wedding cakes in particular.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cake Stand Evening

Thanks to my talented buddies Scrap Wall and Luke Jacomb, tonight's collaboration was a success. Luke is a glass blower who created these beautiful cake stands, all unique and hand made, and I baked cakes to go under each one. They are for sale at Scrap's shop One if anyone is interested!

Friday, December 16, 2011

My top baking tips

 Image: broadsheet

So blog updates have been a bit scarce lately because I've been overseas in Tokyo and Melbourne. I've been having the time of my life and I've dedicated part of each day to going to a different cake shop or bakery to taste and photograph their specialty. I've picked up an immense amount of inspiration, and learnt a lot about what makes each place special. In some cases it's the branding and beautiful packaging which makes the place unique, for some it's that they specialize in one thing and focus on that, for others it's all about the beautiful, wholesome ingredients that go into the cakes. When I arrive back home in preparation for a massive 2012, I want to combine all of these elements to make the most perfect cake shop there ever was!

In the meantime though, you can all bake spectacular cakes with my top baking tips (or just order off me!):

1. Firstly, do follow a recipe - stick to the exact measurements of ingredients stated and order of the steps. Baking is a science, unlike cooking, and before you have gained the true knack of it, it requires precision which can only be learned from a good recipe.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until it is really light, fluffy and pale. Melted butter won't do, it has to be at room temperature.

3. Use organic eggs at room temperature. The richer the color of the yolk the better.

4. Use full fat milk or yogurt in your cake, trim wont work quite the same.

5. Do not overwork the gluten, fold the sifted flour through last because you don't want to push all the air out of the mixture.

6. Make sure your cake tin is lined properly with baking paper or you'll have a tricky time getting it out once cooked. Your oven must be at the correct temperature and avoid opening it, especially within the first 20 minutes, or you'll interfere with the rising of the cake.

7. Wait until the cake is perfectly cool before icing it.

For gluten free cakes, ground almonds are my favorite flour substitute, but quinoa or brown rice flour work well too.

For dairy free cakes, you can use a margarine such as Olivio instead of butter, and soy milk instead of milk.

For vegan cakes, bananas, dates, ground nuts, soy milk and apple purée are all great ingredients to use.

When making a cake which contains a lot of chocolate, make sure you use a high quality one, it will make a huge difference to the resulting taste. Never use imitation vanilla, it may be cheaper but tastes terrible.

Melbourne!

 Portugese custard tart
 David Jones fruit and yogurt
 Cherry chocolate slice
Panforte
 Amazing lolly shop
 Glaceed fruit
 Babka on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Pretty plates

There are some glorious bakeries in Melbourne. A common trend that I've noticed is that there is a big market for 'health conscious' cakes; so many cafes and cake shops sell beautiful vegan, gluten free and organic cakes. This is what I'm all about so I've had a great time picking up inspiration here.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mmmmm

My beautiful friend Clare has arrived in Tokyo and this is one of the first meals we had together. It was the biggest bowl of noodles I have ever faced, but I still had room for something sweet afterwards.
 Banana, chocolate and pistachio sundae
 Apple and cranberry tart with vanilla bean ice cream
 Sweet pizza! This was so delicous
 Crepe house
Chloe lollies!

Friday, December 2, 2011

More sweets from Tokyo

Banana gratin with custard
Baked cheesecake
Carrot and walnut cake