No Lemons Allowed!

Easter hols are coming to a close as we approach Easter in Cornwall, and we have tried to reserve the sweet treats for nearer the big day. So, today we made an Easter cake, in place of the chocolate nests we tend to do every year. Not such a dramatic thing to do with a 5 and 8 year old you’d think, but not so in our house! For some reason I lost it and put the sugar and flour in together at the start,(should have been the marg and sugar)  and so ended up just bunging all the ingredients in and crossing fingers! Well now, since the last blog regarding baking I have had the good fortune to have been bought a new oven by my lovely in-laws! I think this may have been more out of concern at the prospect of me poisoning their grandchildren with under-cooked food…it’s ….so….SHINY!!!

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Look, you can see through the door and everything. Who needs TV when you can watch muffins rising through pristine glass? It’s a bit of a dream come true as now I have the chance to keep my very own oven clean, rather than struggle to keep an old one clean. Sad to be so excited about that I know!

Anyway, the cake was fine, probably due to the miraculously efficient oven. Once it was cooled we moved on to decorating it and my 8 year old son and I settled quickly on some yummy lemon icing to go on the chocolate sponge. Well, this prompted the most unusual over-reaction from my 5 year old daughter. Her first attempt to stop me making the icing was to write out several prohibition signs and sick them all around the kitchen!

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“Mum says no lemon allowed”.

Well, actually, mum said “I’m making lemon icing as it’s gorgeous” – my son and I just laughed and carried on as normal. However, she then saw me adding the lemon zest and hit the roof! (sorry, I laughed again). She stormed upstairs saying she was leaving and we’d never see her again. “I won’t miss you, bye” chimes in my son, as we wait to see what will happen next. I finished the icing and called several times to my daughter to stop being silly & come and help us with the cake. She did come down eventually, with three big bags packed for ‘leaving home’ . One bag contained a swimming float and plastic ball. One contained a bracelet and hair clip, another had her favourite toy and her bicycle helmet, along with a lipbalm stick. The last bag was her school PE kit! “Wow, are you going to need all this?” said I, “Why not just taste this terrible lemon icing?”. To her credit she tasted it, and smiled. She admitted straight away that it was very nice, and so decided not to leave home! Lucky for her, as the cake turned out to look very tempting, even though the icing is too runny (in my determination to make the lemon icing I put too much juice in). My son added three white mini eggs as fangs sticking out of the middle of the cake – maybe to represent the ‘monster’ element!

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Anyone who’s read my previous blogs will recognise my son’s slowly disintegrating toy leopard, once again getting in on the photo. I should also point out, my daughter models her butterfly tabard, which she uses for cooking and painting alike as it’s a lovely wipe-clean PVC, available from my bug shop here:

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http://www.onestopbugshop.co.uk/ourshop/prod_2843260-Fab-BUGGZ-Butterfly-Tabard-Age-36-Great-Gift.html

Hope you and your little monsters have a fantastic Easter!

 

Birthday Cake – Done!

Well, I promised an update on the whole Birthday cake story, as last time I wrote about it it was just an idea in my head, and scribbled on a scrap of paper. So, here you go, this is what I did – the story of the cake (duh duh duuuuhhhhhhh!).

The request was for a Tinkerbell cake, so I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not going to attempt to create Tink’s delicate features in fondant icing – oh no, I didn’t want the birthday girl to end up screaming in horror at a bendy, wobbly version of her fave fairy. So, sticking within my abilities, I bought some cake topper fairies and made them a lovely fairy garden with toadstool to play in!

I started by doubling my madeira cake recipe and plopping the mixture into two oven-proof dishes.

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Now, I’m not going to pretend this all went like clockwork. The first problem encountered was that even though I’d thought about baking for longer due to my ailing oven, I’d not banked on it taking 2 hours!! I’m sure someone with a fully-functioning oven wouldn’t have this problem though. Now behind on time I realised I had one egg too few and not enough caster sugar for the second part of this extravaganza – the chocolate ‘garden’. So I raced off to buy these, and made the next cakes at speed. Substituting 1oz of flour for cocoa made it nice and chocolatey, but I had no idea if it would work. I bunged the two square tins in the oven on different shelves with less than 1 hour until school pick up time.  Half way through the nervous wait, I changed the cakes over, at which point I saw how wobbly they still were – yikes!! They were not fully cooked by the time I had to race off to school so I did the only thing I could, switched the oven off and hoped the residual heat would finish the job!

Luckily when I came home the damage was not so bad. The middles of the cakes were cooked, if a little softer than they ought to be, and less risen, but ok! So I had the cakey building blocks!

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The next day was the big decorate. I shut the kitchen door and got going. Luckily I’d coloured some coconut green the previous day while I waited for the cakes to bake. This took almost a whole bottle of green food colouring (for a whole pack of coconut) and STILL it wasn’t completely green. Anyway, I made choc icing (mud) and smothered that on the chocolate cake, then added the green ‘grass’. No problems there :0)

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Then came the part I’d worried about. Time to see if two bowl-shaped madeira cakes will sit one on top of the other and stay that way! I added some wooden skewers inside to help them out – and to give me peace of mind, and it worked! Then I got going with the fondant – just red and white. I cut out white circles for the toadstool using a bottle lid, and made the ‘stalk’ and underside of the ‘umbrella’ with the white, before getting the red out. I think that’s a good tip. Get your white done first!!

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Anyway, apart from having to make a bit of my own red icing as I didn’t have enough, I managed it. I then scattered sweeties around the garden, added the fairies and gave it a generous sprinkle of edible glitter, and hey presto, bibbety bobbety boo, a cake for my 5 year old! Here it is before its big moment:

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Luckily she loved it :0)

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Phew!