Saturday, 10 August 2013

Butterfly Birthday Cake

Post number two... finally.   Sorry there's been a bit of a delay. The last few weeks have disappeared before my eyes.

My latest bake was a classic birthday cake. Gorgeous vanilla sponge, sandwiched with lashings of buttercream filling and Mackays Strawberry Preserve with Champagne on top.  I also used this to glaze the cake before icing (heat for 20 secs in microwave and paste on with a pastry brush).   

I originally bough two 10in springform tins for my cakes, but discovered that with a small family, the cake ends up too big to be finished.  I downsized to a couple of 8in loose bottomed tins purchased at Morrisons and they've so far delivered on all occasions. 

Creating the filling

Getting the ingredients prepped before starting!

I'd be lying if I said I used a family recipe handed through the generations.  It's not.  It's James Martin's Victoria Sponge recipe for BBC Good Food, which you can find here.

I always make sure my cakes are properly cooled before I start to assemble them.  Taking your time is key! 

I am a big fan of Renshaw coloured icing for my cakes. It's easy to work with and comes in so many amazing colours.  I chose purple for my base colour.  Rolled it out to fit the cake, trimmed, then finished with an icing polisher from Hobbycraft.  These things are a godsend to get your nail marks and blemishes out of the icing! I also used a rotating  icing turntable which is perfect for small cakes.  It allows you to check everything is neat before trimming and check for any short pieces of icing. 

I kept the decoration simple.  Purple all over, then used a daisy cutter, to cut out individual daisies from hot pink icing.  I used white gel icing to dot the middle of each daisy. 

Cutting out the daisies 
 I covered the whole of the top of the cake with the pink daisies, for a really striking effect.  Then finished with wafer butterflies, a hot pink bow and using some of the leftover purple icing, decorated the board with them!  Ta daaaaaaa...

The finished cake!
It may have taken over 3 hours to pull together, but I was delighted with the finished cake.  Mr WhatClaireBaked's Mum was the recipient and couldn't quite believe I'd pulled off something like that home baking. 

I've learned though, if you're not gifted, keep designs simple.   Use the tools that are available to make your life easier and don't be frightened to buy additional ready made decor for a really professional finish.

I hope all my readers like this cake - stay tuned for the next baking installment...

Friday, 2 August 2013

Welcome to What Claire Baked


So after a few months of pondering, researching, baking up madness in the kitchen and contending with a house move, I've made the call to start a baking blog. 

I've blogged before, when I was self employed, but never really understood the whole concept of blogging, until I got involved in work project and thought "I could do this for myself!"

So here were are.  Welcome to What Claire Baked.   I'll aim to post as often as I can and keep you up to date on my latest baking exploits. 

I know it's soooooooo 2012, but cupcakes are kind of my thing. I've tried to get over my love for these tasty little cases of gorgeousness, but I just can't.  I'm sorry.   My love affair started at the Magnolia Bakery in New York in 2009, during the Carrie years, and it's never left me. I also enjoy making the odd birthday cake and I plan to challenge myself to make new and challenging bakes in the future. 

I'll keep you all posted on the challenges which lie ahead and the difficult questions that I face daily... Sugarpaste or fondant flowers?! 

Claire x