Eating the dream

I am now an official full time baker (!!), and the baking me - Cake of Dreams - has been very busy this past month. Here are some of my latest bakes. Now I'm feeling hungry, fantastic...

L-R from top...1. Red velvet supreme with black chocolate marshmallow frosting, for Gus... 2. Strawberry & Lavender buttermilk cake...3.  Chocolate donuts and Lemon cronuts for brunch....4. Cronuts are now my new favourite foodstuff...5. Lemon meringue & vanilla fruit tarts...5. Birthday cake for Roman & Claudia...6. Violet meringues...7. Red velvet supreme for Katie...8. Chocolate fudge with salted caramel buttercream...9. Top view of Gus's cake. 

My Cake of Dreams website is still being finished, but I'm taking orders at hello@cakeofdreams.co.uk

 

kiss me cake

Just had a major weekend of parties, I think I may now have more prosecco running through my veins than anything else. Despite the hours of sleep I can never recover, and the sense of impending doom that accompanies most of my 30-something hangovers, it's always worth it for the chance of a long, rambling catch up with beloved old friends. Had to make little cakes for them too of course, and as I've been dying to make some meringues I thought I'd make this my excuse. 

Both cakes were 6" versions of this recipe (1 x that recipe made both these 6" 3-layer cakes), though I made Chris's yellow cake funfetti inside and Liz's pink one was three layers of different pink. The meringues were strawberry and black pepper from this recipe by the amazing Meringue Girls:

Strawberry & Black Pepper Meringue Kisses

150g egg whites
300g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
50g frozen strawberries
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

This recipe makes about 50 (I still have a whole tub of them and have eaten LOADS, but also hoping they'll double for toadstools around the gingerbread house I may never get round to making...) so you can definitely attempt less. Also I played around with different sizes, which is fine if you are keeping an eye on them whilst cooking.

Make the strawberry coulis by heating the strawberries with a pinch of sugar until they break down, then whizz them into a paste and cool.

Heat oven to 200C. Line a deep baking tray with greaseproof paper and heat the 300g caster sugar until the edges start to melt. This is apparently to help the sugar to dissolve into the egg whites. I am pretty sure I overheated my sugar because the edges were melted solid and I had to chuck them away. Still, it was only about 50g sugar and I just replaced it straight from the packet and all was FINE! Turn the oven down to 100C.

Wipe your mixing bowl & whisk attachment dry with lemon juice & paper towel to remove any possible grease, then add egg whites. Whisk slowly at first, allowing bubbles to form, then turn up the speed and whisk until you have medium peaks of fluffy meringue. At this point start adding the sugar spoon by spoon and continue whisking until you have a stiff, glossy meringue - about 5 minutes. Stir through the coulis and add black pepper to taste. I hardly added any black pepper and the taste was pretty strong, just as a heads up... 

ready to pipe!

ready to pipe!

Turn a disposable icing bag inside out and paint some lines in red, pink - or, in my case, electric pink - up the side. Turn back the right way out (awkward!) and fill with yummy meringue. Cut a hole approx 1/2in in diameter and pipe meringue kisses onto a lined baking sheet. Mine came out great, but in hindsight I could have put a bit more into my stripes as some were very feint, so don't be shy with the gel colours. 

Bake 30-40 minutes at 100C. To ensure they stay a bit mallowy in the middle, be sure to take them out as soon as they lift cleanly from the baking sheet. 

I thought these were so easy to make, lots of fun and make fantastic cake toppers. Definitely going to experiment with more colours and flavours... in the imaginary universe where I have infinite spare time. 

(yes, they do look like nipples)

sunday sunday

Overjoyed to be invited to a Mexican birthday brunch today, and commissioned to provide the cake! I spent the week constructing a rad sugar skull to go on top (another red velvet cake was requested). Felix & Catherine (the birthday girl) live in a big warehouse apartment built for parties, and had made a giant pot of hot chilli for us all. Pablo got stuck into the pinatas (multiple!) and thought all his Christmases had come at once. 

A highlight was Katie D's incredible margarita meringue cake, which I'm going to try and beg the recipe for. Watch this space...

sunday sunday

Transient

We have made a vague family decision to try and have a *proper* lunch or brunch together every Sunday over the autumn and winter, and even though it was technically still September it was dreary enough outside to kick things off. Lovely Jo, a friend for three whole decades as both our dads were journos based in Brussels together back in the VERY early 80s, came over to see us (especially Pablo, who has a bit of a crush on her) which was a great excuse for feasting. Konch made Jamie Oliver's pot roast pork with fennel, our first goose-fat parsnips of the season, buttered leeks and peas, and some little roasted salad potatoes. I decided to attempt Mary Berry's Queen of Puddings - have been lusting after it since the Great British Bake Off technical challenge a couple of weeks ago. My jam may have been a tiny bit runny but otherwise it was impressive and easy and a lovely hot winter pud. We ate it ALL, and the super super sweetness was a hit with Pablo until he decided he needed to take his top off to show Jo his muscles, then promptly dropped a spoon full of hot-ish custard onto his tummy. Whoops.  After pudding it was compulsory to spend the rest of the day sipping wine and soaking up the dregs of fennel sauce with fat slices of ciabatta, grabbing little kips and watching cartoons.