Animal Parade Carousel Cake

 

Meri Meri Animal Parade Carousel Cake

 
I hope you’re having a splendid weekend? Mine has been gorgeous and full of festivities. It started Friday with DM’s and my wedding anniversary. DM has been at a conference in Dublin all week and only arrived home on Friday, so we didn’t do much on the actual day, we were both too tired. But we belatedly celebrated today when we went for a gorgeous brunch at one of our favourite hotels and then watched a Wes Andersen film whilst Munchkin napped.
 

Meri Meri Animal Parade Carousel Cake

 
The festivities continued yesterday afternoon when we attended Munchkin’s friends first birthday party. His mother and I had arranged a skills swap, she decorated the amazing cookies for Munchkin’s birthday and in return, I decorated her little boys first birthday cake.

I made the decorations out of modelling chocolate and placed them on a buttercream frosting base. Both the cake and the buttercream were made by Nikki. I was unable to sample it as it contained gluten, but both DM and Munchkin thought it delicious! Munchkin loved it so much she polished off an entire piece and, only with extreme reluctance, shared with one of their cute but very eager dogs.
 

Meri Meri Animal Parade Carousel Cake

 
Nikki had purchased a really cute suite of decorations called Animal Parade from Meri Meri, and made up really sweet cookies with the giraffe and zebra patterns. I took the designs of the animals and incorporated them into the cake.

I very rarely decorate cakes (though it appears I’ll be getting more and more practice in future! ;)) and so I’m pretty rusty. I’m really happy with how the animals turned out but not quite so happy with the top of the carousel, I made the panels smaller than the bunting surrounding it to allow the frosting to show through. But in hindsight I should have made larger panels and covered the top completely. I wanted to remake it but I ran out of time (and energy).
 

Meri Meri Animal Parade Carousel Cake

 
Finally, we’ve a little celebration for my birthday tomorrow. I’ve been banished from the studio and I’m blogging in the lounge whilst trying very hard not to listen to DM and Munchkin make me a birthday surprise. It sounds perfectly splendid. It seems to involve quite a lot of chatting from Munchkin, laughter from DM and a fair bit of bashing. I’m trying very hard not to guess at what it is! I kind of want to join in the fun, but it would mean spoiling the surprise.

After the long weekend of festivities, I’m preparing for a severe case of Tuesday-itis and so am planning on sewing up yet another cute birthday present for another of Munchkin’s friends celebrating her first birthday next week. November is a popular month!
 

Fresh flowers & bees; a 1st birthday cake

 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 
A few weeks ago we celebrated Munchkin’s first birthday with two splendid parties. For the first I made a Miffy themed birthday cake and for the second, we went with a fresh flowers and bees theme. For each cake, I made up a gluten-free vanilla butter-cake with a swiss meringue buttercream. Once you taste Swiss meringue buttercream, no frosting will ever taste as good! It’s silky smooth and, due to the addition of the egg white, is not as heavy or sweet as a traditional buttercream frosting.

I figured, if Munchkin was going to have her first cake, it should be a good one!
 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 
For the bee themed party, I made a naked cake decorated with a wild array of flowers. All designed to be perfectly imperfect! This went against the grain a little, as I love a perfect, smooth finish. At one point, just as the urge to ‘fix’ the cake became overwhelming, my husband took it away from me and demanded I not touch it again! At the time, I found this extremely frustrating. But looking back at the photos, I love it. It was just what I wanted.
 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 
I made up a whole heap of little bees with modelling chocolate and put them on floristry wire, then nestled them in amongst the cake and the flower arrangements.

To arrange the flowers, I wrapped each stem in multiple layers of floristry tape and pushed them into a 1cm thick disk of modelling chocolate that was set on top of the frosted cake.

Then, I added on simple little white candle. And it was finished! I adore the result. What do you think?
 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 

BASIC BUTTER CAKE

For Munchkin’s birthday cake, I made three batches of the butter cake (and the swiss meringue buttercream). One for each tier, and baked it in a 28cm diameter tin.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 125 grams of unsalted butter
  • 150 grams of caster sugar
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 210 grams of Schar Patisserie mix C or your preferred gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 130 ml of milk

 

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Lightly butter and flour baking tin.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at at time, beating well after each.
  4. Add sifted flour alternatively with milk until just combined.
  5. Spread into a prepared pan. This quantity fills: 2x 18cm shallow cake pans or one deep.
  6. When skewer comes out of cake clean, it’s cooked (approximately 40 minutes). If you’re cooking your cake in a thin layer like I did, it will only take about 12 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out on wire rack to cool completely.

 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 

SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

 

Ingredients
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 150 grams of caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 260 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

 

Method
      1. Place egg whites, sugar and a pinch of salt into a heat proof bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water. Ensure that the water doesn’t touch the  bottom of the bowl. Whisk the mixture over the simmering water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot to the touch.
      2. Remove the bowl from heat and using an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is cool, fluffy and glossy. At this point your mixture should be able to form stiff peaks. This takes about 10 minutes.
      3. Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Mixing well after each addition until all of the butter has been added and your buttercream is smooth.

 

First birthday cake - fresh flowers, modelling chocolate bees

 

Munchkin’s first, first birthday party

Munchkin's first first birthday

Munchkin’s birthday isn’t for nine days, but her grandparents are here in Switzerland at the moment. So we decided to have a little party before the big one with friends next weekend. It just so happened to coincide with Australian Father’s Day, so we’ve had double the reason to celebrate!

Munchkin's first first birthday

I made a little gluten-free, organic, vanilla butter cake made with rapadura sugar and swiss meringue buttercream. Then I topped it with a Miffy plaque and candle I’d made out of modelling chocolate. Munchkin adores books and Miffy is currently one of her favourites.

Munchkin's first first birthday

For decoration I bought a couple of helium filled balloons and a cute little number one that were all anchored with some streamers.

So Munchkin, after her nap, was greeted with this… (along with four very excited family members)

Munchkin's first first birthday

She loved it!

Munchkin's first first birthday

After the prerequisite off-key singing, Munchkin was presented with her first ever piece of cake.

Munchkin's first first birthday

Devoured with almost no mess, I’m assuming this means it was liked!

Munchkin's first first birthday

Our little party was perfect and we’ve had a gorgeous day!
I’ve now got to get back to work for next weeks party!

 

Gluten-free Raspberry Friands

Gluten-free raspberry friands

 

I had an itch. I needed to bake. It had been so long that my Kitchen Aid had a light coating of dust!

The cover of What Katie Ate has been giving me cravings for friands for quite some time. They don’t exist here and certainly not in gluten-free form. The delicious raspberries in season provided me with the perfect excuse.

As I don’t have a friand tin I decided to use a cupcake pan and they worked fine. I adapted two recipes to be gluten-free. One from What Katie Ate and another from online aptly named “The Perfect Friand”. And then decided I liked a mix of both! They’re light and delicious. Not to mention really easy and quick to make!

My husband has requested I make them again, and as I’ve just collected the piece to make my ice-cream maker work, I have plenty of use for spare egg yolks. I think next time I’ll use plums on the top…

 

Gluten-free raspberry friands
GLUTEN-FREE RASPBERRY FRIANDS

Makes about a dozen

Ingredients
  • 4 egg whites
  • 60 grams of almond meal
  • 60 grams of gluten-free flour of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of guar gum
  • 120 grams of icing sugar (not icing mixture)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 grams of melted unsalted butter
  • Butter to grease pan
  • 125 grams of fresh raspberries

 

Gluten-free raspberry friands

 

Method
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 degrees celsius fan forced)
  • Grease tin with butter (I used a cupcake tin as I don’t own a friand tin)
  • Whisk egg whites until frothy.
  • In a separate bowl, combine almond meal, sieved icing sugar and the pinch of salt together.
  • Add egg whites and fold in until well combined.
  • Gradually stir in butter.
  • Pour into tin, Filling each mould three-quarters full.
  • Place a raspberry in the top of each.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool slightly before removing from the mould. I needed to run a knife around the edge of mine to loosen them.

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

There were a few things I gave up on finding when I found out I couldn’t eat gluten anymore. One of them was profiteroles and a good choux pastry. But a trip to my favourite bakery assured me that a gluten-free choux pastry is very possible. They make the most amazing gluten-free eclairs!

So when the latest issue of Delicious magazine graced my letterbox with a Better Cook Challenge on choux pastry I was determined to try and make a gluten-free profiterole. We had some friends and their gorgeous offspring coming for lunch last Friday, so I seized the second wind I got on Thursday night after putting Munchkin to bed, and tried.

And it worked! *cue cheer and happy dance*

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

Honestly I can’t really remember exactly what the glutenous version tastes like, but both of my friends and my husband assured me that my version were delicious. And my husband advising that I could make them again very soon convinced me of it.

As per usual I used Schaer patisserie mix C as it’s the best commercially bought flour mix I’ve come across for pastries and cakes (and Sonja in Cully wouldn’t divulge her amazing recipe ;))

I finished them with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce rather than the chocolate one in the magazine. I’ll write up the caramel recipe for next weeks gluten-free recipe post.

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

Profiteroles with Vanilla Crème Pâtissière‎

Ingredients for the choux pastry
  • 100ml of cold water
  • 45 grams of unsalted butter
  • 60 grams of Schaer patisserie mix C or your preferred gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon of guar gum
  • 2 medium eggs

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

Ingredients for the Crème Pâtissière
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 10 grams of Schaer patisserie mix C or your preferred gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cornflour
  • 35 grams of caster sugar
  • 150 ml of whole milk
  • half a vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 100ml of double cream

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

Method for the choux pastry
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius (180 fan forced) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  • Put the water and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil, ensuring that the butter is melted and combined.
  • Remove from the heat, and immediately stir in all of the flour and guar gum. Stir quickly until the mixture thickens and starts to come away from the side of the saucepan.
  • Place back on the heat and cook whilst stirring for a little longer, just to dry the mix out a little. A minute or two should do it.
  • Put the pastry into a large mixing bowl. Leave for 2 minutes to cool. This ensures that when you add the egg it doesn’t cook immediately.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, and stir in quickly with a whisk until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fit with a 1cm plain nozzle.
  • Pipe the mixture onto the baking paper. In the photographs I made large profiteroles, and so piped them about the size of a large walnut. Pipe them about 4 cm apart.
  • Using a finger, wet with a little water, push the spikes down so that the top of your profiterole is smooth and not peaked.
  • Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees celsius (180 fan forced) and then turn down to 140 degrees celsius (120 fan forced) for another 20-25 minutes to dry them out.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on trays.

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

Method for the Crème Pâtissière
  • Place the egg yolks, flour, cornflour and sugar in a bowl and whisk until combined
  • Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Pour the milk mixture over the egg mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and put back on a gentle heat, stirring continuously until very thick.
  • Take off heat, place in a bowl, discard the vanilla pod, cover with cling wrap and allow to cool.
  • Whip the double cream until you get soft peaks.
  • Fold in the cooled custard mixture and push through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.
  • Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 5mm plain nozzle.
  • To fill the choux buns, make a small hole in the bottom of each cooled profiterole and insert the piping nozzle. Gently squeeze in filling.
  • Serve on a plate or platter with your choice of sauce. I used a salted caramel sauce (recipe in next weeks blog).

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

Recipe adapted from May 2014 issue of Delicious Magazine.

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)

 

This is an unsponsored post

 

Gluten-free profiteroles (choux pastry)