Friday, May 28, 2010

Pina Colada Cake

It took me a few hours but I managed to create a physical manifestation of my cocktail inspired gâteaux!
  The anatomy of a pina colada gâteaux is as follows: (bottom up) cake,freshly blitzed coconut mixed with white rum and cream, cake, lime mousse, cake, white chocolate mousse, cake, lime mousse, cake white chocolate and lemon cream cheese icing... flaked coconut on top.

I always feel like a proud mother as I slice into my cake babies and divide them among my guests to devour their creamy fillings. My guests, as always, were gracious in their obligation to sample my creation!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I have a new camera!...awaiting talent

Almost 18 months ago now my trusty point and shoot met a sad fate being dropped into a river while I was hiking (read about that trip here). It was not a quick death, it was in it's death throws for a year before resigning to it's fate. Since this unfortunate time I've been pondering what sort of camera to replace it with. I finally decided that a shiny new DSLR was the only way to go if I wanted pretty pictures of my cakes (and to be as hip as my friends). About a fortnight's pay packet later I have my new camera so I can wow you with my food photography...I just need to acquire some photography this space!

When I can't go to exotic places I bake them in my mind...

I've been in a bit funk work wise for a while now, mostly because I desperately want to go traveling but alas have this whole PhD thing to do...So to remedy this general malaise I sit in my lab day dreaming of exotic locations and cooking. Sometimes the two train of thoughts combine to form wonderfully bizarre recipes and I satisfy myself that I'm being productive in someway at least

The roots of my latest inspiration lie with a friend who is going to the UK for a month. Rather than transform my envy into a jealous fit of rage I've channeled the energy in to creating a new gâteaux. While England may not seem overly exotic it did get me thinking about all the fun things one could do there like go to great bars and eat at the cute little cake shops they have there. So now I'm think 'man I want a cocktail and cake' and BAM there it was the best idea for a cake ever : Cocktail Cake! 
Lime, pineapple , coconut, white chocolate, rum...there's definitely cross over potential there! Just think I could make it really naff by decorating the cake with cocktail umbrellas and a lazy beach scene! Or class it up with some shaved coconut scattered over a white chocolate ganache garnished with candied lime... oh the possibilities are endless!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The night of a thousand wedding cupcakes

I was (much to my delight) recently given the task of designing and making a friend's wedding cake. The bride and groom expressed a desire to have cupcakes. After I had congratulated them on their excellent taste in baked goods I set about trying to extract a theme from the happy couple,a black and white  minimalist floral theme was decided upon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nerd baking

Nerd Baking is the act of producing baked treats with nerdy theme. Being a chemistry PhD student I am well akin with the realms of the nerd and delight in producing sugary homages to my intellectual endeavours....

The Periodic Table Cake

This was a joint venture between me and a fellow baking obsessed chemistry nerd. We set ourselves the challenge of producing the entire periodic table in fudgey chocolate cake form as the centre piece of an afters party proceeding an organic chemistry symposium (it seemed appropriate) I think we chose our audience well....

Familly wedding cakes

              The big cake for Sami's wedding

Oh how I delight in the challenge of cake making. I'm not talking your run of the mill afternoon tea sponge, I'm refering to the cakes that mark the big occasions. Weddings, birthdays, holidays and more. I've been privileged enough to make three wedding cakes, two of which were for my sisters' weddings.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I love cupcakes

I'm not entirely sure what I love most about it their portion controlled compactness, vibrant colour schemes or favourable icing to cake ratio? I don't know probably all of the above but just the mention of these little pockets of heaven gets me excited. I'm not alone in my love, cupcake love spreads wide, and so it should.
 But I have recently been alarmed by the degree of animosity that can be leveled at these bakery delights. It would seem that the anti-cupcake movement's biggest gripe is that cupcakes are given their own subcategory when they are essentially just small cakes. So what makes a cupcake a cupcake and not a cake in a cup?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Brownie Love

If macaroons are the elitist snobs of the baking world then brownies have to be the slobby hedonist equivalent.  Their intense flavour is neither subtle nor delicate. Their fudgy stodge coats your mouth making you think twice about smiling in polite company.  But don't get me wrong, I adore the humble brownie, moreover I love making brownies. There is not one step of the brownie making process that doesn't make one salivate involuntarily, I have been know to skip around the kitchen while they are baking taking in greedy gulps of delicious air. So what makes the perfect brownie?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Macaroons..why do you hate me so?

I know it's a little cliche but macaroons really are like France... when done right they are chic beautiful little pieces of art with just that hint of culinary arrogance. However if one deigns to not speak their language impeccably they will laugh in your face. Instead of perfect pastel disks joined harmoniously with lavishes of ganache you often end up with dull misshaped blobs unevenly united with oozy filling, it's tragic really.

Try as I may to learn the subtleties of the language of the macaroon my pronunciation is never quite perfect...

For a long time now I've been trawling the annuls of the internet to find the ultimate 'fool proof' macaroon recipe. I'm not the only one it would seem. In fact I stumbled upon my latest culinary hero in Ms Humble in my search. She has tried at lengths to find a recipe that works beautifully for us mere mortals in the kitchen but alas her skills outdo mine and try as I may to reproduce her script faithfully...well the proof is in the pictures.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's it all about...

I made over 100 of these cakes for my Granny's 90th birthday

To me cooking is therapy: It clears your mind, delights your senses and vents one's oft pent up creativity. When you're done with the therapy you end with a delicious reward! What more could you hope for?

I like the adventure of cooking, to set myself wildly elaborate tasks and see how they turn out. These range from making hundreds of wedding cupcakes to all night cooking challenges with friends.
I've been told that some of my creations are worth sharing and so I've delved into the delightfully self indulgent world of blogging!
I hope you enjoy my cooking adventures...