Monthly Archives: November 2016

Castle Cake

This week, Jason celebrated his birthday. If you don’t know exactly when it is, then too bad as I’m not allowed to tell you because he’s a bit funny about it. For fun we had burgers and beer at a local brewery and watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And played some Diablo 3 together. Good, clean, mob slaughtering co-op fun 🙂

I also made him cake!

I was cleaning out my upstairs linen closet earlier this year which also doubles as my cake supply cupboard. He had seen my Wilton Enchanted Castle cake pan and had told me, jokingly, “I want a pretty princess castle cake for my birthday!”

img_0809

I remember when you say these things! It also had never been used. Wilton released this pan in 1998 and it still endures today which is pretty awesome.

Now I could have gone the pink and purple castle but I didn’t want to make him cringe too much, so I went for a ivory and gold castle instead.

img_0793

Now mind you, it’s warming up dramatically here, and it has been a hot and humid week and completely unacceptable weather for making buttercream icing and baking.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my go to, it’s just utterly delicious and I’m certain I’ve mentioned that before. I use this recipe and guide from Sweetapolita.

You can see the buttercream melting in this closeup 🙁

img_0794

These are the piping tips I used to ice the cake. From left to right, PME 2.5, PME 4, PME 13 star tip and some very random leaf tip i found in my stash and doesn’t even have a brand name on it.

img_0807

The ivy was an afterthought because I’ve never used a leaf tip before and I just winged it on the spot but I did think the castle needed a little something extra to break up the ivory and gold.

To wrap up, I have very mixed feelings about this cake with its semi-melty buttercream. I obviously couldn’t take my time with  it due to the weather, the buttercream was starting to melt even a few minuts out of the fridge so it’s below par for what I feel I can usually achieve. But then I shouldn’t beat myself up about it because I can’t control the weather and unfortunately we don’t have air conditioning. I might just need to make a point of not playing with buttercream between November and March.

But I do still sort of love this cake despite its flaws, it is pretty cute. It also tastes great regardless of what it looks like.

Until next time, have fun!

Epic Pokemon Cross-stitch Update 26/11/16

It’s been just over five weeks since the last Pokemon cross-stitch update. I’ve knocked off another page of the pattern, leaving eight remaining. Just eight, out of thirty.

Here are the latest Pokemon. I think the Veno’s are adorable, even for poisonous bugs! And I love the extravagant tails and hairdos of the fox Pokemon, Vulpix and Ninetales, they are so fancy!pokemon-update

I’m also going to give you a look at the journey so far. It’s looking pretty great.

img_0814

Until next time, have fun!

Baby Face Emojis

Today, we have been celebrating the soon to be arrival of my new niece or nephew. The lucky parents are Jason’s brother and his lovely wifey and they are keeping it a surprise. If I have kiddos, I certainly couldn’t wait that long to know!

Anyway, I need no excuse to make cookies.

I started off making little baby faces, and they were meant to have a hair curl and ears, but they just looked so adorable I couldn’t add those things.

img_0783

These were so fast to make because a simple round cutter, a heart cutter and just three icing colours did the job. Look at that fabulous flesh coloured icing, it’s perfect. Didn’t start out that way as it was way too pink, but adding ivory really toned it down. I threw in a bunch of hearts for fun and to add a splash of colour. I did not want to do the traditional blue and pink.

img_0782

I was going to pipe on the facial features, but decided to try something different. I used black petal dust (this brand is food grade approved in Australia) and wet down a little with water to make a paint. You can also use vodka, which dries quickly, but based on the warmth yesterday when I did these, it’d probably evaporate immediately!

With painting on cookies, you do sometimes have to layer up the paint to get it opaque. It only took a couple goes to get it looking like this tough. It’s important to take your time because royal icing does not like water and if you use too much liquid, it will just melt.

I used some rose coloured petal dust to add our lovely rosy cheeks.

img_0789

Here you can see my painting supplies. I managed to find some very fine paintbrushes – a range of 5 for $5 at a local bargain store, and this one is the finest of the lot. I’ve found I like using a simple cotton tip for the blush rather than a paintbrush, as you can see the swirls more prominently with a paintbrush.

I REALLY enjoyed making these and I want to try my hand at painting more things. So happy with how these turned out.

Which is your favourite baby face emoji? Jason suggested I should have made one with lumpy icing vomit down its face for realism, but …..no.

Until next time, have fun!

Carrot Cake

I asked Jason what yummy he wanted this week, and he said carrot cake. Granted, he also told me this about three weeks ago but it mysteriously did not get made then. Probably for the best considering how many Halloween cookies we needed to eat.

But today we have carrot cake and oh man, it’s delicious and not just because of the cream cheese icing. The cake itself is wonderful and a little different to your traditional carrot cake. It was for that reason I tried out this recipe. It’s got sour cream in it, which reduces the amount of oil you need to add. I just love sour cream in cake, it mellows out the sweetness a bit. It’s also got pineapple and orange zest in it.

img_0737

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
3 carrots (about 400g), finely grated
250g sour cream
125ml vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoons orange zest
170g crushed pineapple
60g toasted walnuts, chopped

Icing
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
210g icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
Roughly chopped walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm cake tin.
  2. Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl and add sugar and carrot, stirring to combine. Beat the sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla and orange zest together until smooth.
  3. Add to the carrot mixture. Stir in the pineapple and nuts. Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin then turn on to a rack to cool.
  4. To make the icing: Beat everything except the nuts together with electric beaters until light and smooth. Spread on to the cake and sprinkle with the walnuts.

img_0742

Got a little “fancy” and pulled out the fabulous Wilton 1M piping tip, that makes the big star swirls and piped some extra cream cheese icing around the edge. Never say no to extra icing. I like the little flecks in the icing the orange zest makes.

img_0756

My oven, being its same stupid self, did make my carrot cake top dome and crack quite significantly, but I just shaved that off with a bread knife to provide a flat top.

img_0765

In other news, I got a new camera toy! New lens to go with my Canon EOS 650D. I have been having fun with this indeed, and learning more about aperture and ISO. And I have a tripod on the way too, so that’s exciting. I’m hoping I might be able to do some videos in the future. Big dreams!

img_0705-1

You can find the original carrot cake recipe here.

Until next time, have fun!

Zanzibar Sock Complete

I’ve been sneaking in a few rows here and there on the Zanzibar sock as a break from the baby blankie and I binged it the last couple of days to finish it. Here it is, it’s done! I now have the cutest pair of stripey socks that I can’t wear for at least five months because it’s too hot now. But just you wait until the cold weather comes back.

In the meantime, I’m barefoot and fancy free! Something about me – I’m totally not a fan of footwear, as soon as I enter any house, off come the shoes.

So let’s have a look at these socks, shall we?

img_0709

I knit these cuff-down using a simple pattern from Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks: Knit To Fit Your Feet. It is such an awesome book, so informative about measuring feet and adjusting patterns to make sure your socks fit. And it actually is able to be understood. I had a post earlier in the year about measuring my feet. I did not need to adjust the pattern and they fit so perfect! They are snug but not tight, they still stretch as I move my foot, and they are comfortable as heck.

img_0710

The side ridge of the heel flap looks a little funny, as if it sits out from the foot, but it doesn’t feel like that at all. I love them!

img_0720

You can check out the original Zanzibar sock post here.

They were knit using 2.5mm (US1) size circular needles using the magic loop method, one at a time. My yarn was fingering weight sock yarn.

Techniques learned:

  • k2tog – knit 2 stitches together to perform a right slanting stitch decrease
  • ssk – slip slip knit, to perform a left slanting stitch decrease
  • picking up stitches along an edge
  • 1 by 1 ribbing (knit 1, purl 1)

I can’t believe I already have sock knitting urges only a few hours after finishing these! That’s not fair.

Until next time, have fun!