RSPCA cupcake day

Post edited to add better pictures along with my other workmate’s contributions.

Due to workload, my contribution was limited this year, but my workmates made up for it with a huge selection of cupcakes!

I created wombats – one with a bandage like the ad..

and echindas

Here are some of the other creations…

Eyes from Chad… the same guy who brought us puppy poop cupcakes last year

A very big cupcake

And these are the ones I bought for my sweet husband who is always dissapointed when cake leaves the house…

Mum’s Birthday Croquembouche

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri

A couple of day’s late for daring bakers but mum’s party was today and a croquembouche doesn’t keep. I woke this morning to a cold rainy day… not great for pastry, caramel or pizza dough. I started the day planning out all the timings to have everything ready by lunchtime. Unfortunately the oven didn’t agree with my timings and seems to be refusing to get to and hold heat at anything over 200deg C. My oven also doesn’t have a window so checking the status of items also loses heat.

The choux pastry did not behave as well as my two batches the other day. By three eggs it was looking the same as the previous batches consistency at 4. Therefore I only added 1/2 of the last egg. I think this saved them from being a disaster. The piping was a lot better with a nice open tip and the first lot that went into the hotter part of the oven went perfectly. 1/2 of the other tray spread out and only puffed slightly. These were at the top front,  coldest part of our oven. I’m tempted to halve the recipe and try with only one tray in the oven at a time.

The custard went smootly. So far I’ve been really lucky with custard. I’m sure the one day that it is critical that it works, i’ll stuff something up. I’m looking forward to trying again with some variations on flavour.

Assembly was left to after lunch due to everything else taking a longer to cook. By this time the kitchen was full of pizza toppings, dirty dishes etc but I was determined to try to make the croquembouche structure. I used my dolly varden cake pan to assemble the structure in.

I still had heaps of fun and it was enjoyed by all. It was very small but it actually was the perfect amount for the number of people.

The perfectionist in me wants to try again, the realist in me knows that it isn’t likely with the number of other things I’m meant to be doing.


I’m going to be a day late for my daring baker’s challenge as the challenge will be the ‘birthday cake’ for my mum’s birthday tomorrow.

As I had never made profiteroles before, here are a couple of pictures of my trial run, gladly consumed by my workmates.

The trial run went pretty smoothly. Pastry right consistency, custard delicious etc. The only thing that really needed improving was my ability to pipe them, but now I have a better tip that will fit into the right sized piping bag so things should go a lot smoother tomorrow. Oh and I forgot to egg wash the first batch too.

Hot cross buns

I Looooove hot cross buns, so this year I decided to bake some…

The recipe is from one of mum’s old women’s weekly books.

  • 4 cups of plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3gr or 1 oz of compressed yeast – or 2 packets of dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 60g butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  1. Cream yeast with 1 tsp each of the sugar and flour, add lukewarm milk, mix well. Cover and stand in warm place 10-15min or until mixture is frothy
  2. Sift flour, salt, sugar and spices. Rub in butter, add beaten egg, sultanas and yeast mixture. Beat well
    (I just used a fork to beat well at this stage)
  3. Cover bowl with clean cloth, stand in warm place 40min or until dough doubles in bulk.
  4. Punch dough down, turn out onto floured surface, knead well until dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Cut dough into three equal pieces, cut each piece into five, making 15 buns in all.
  6. Knead each piece into five, making 15 buns in all. Knead each into rounded shape. put buns in lightly greased 18x28cm lamington tin. Stand in warm place 10 to 15 miin or until buns reach top edge of tin.
  7. Sift 1/4 cup plain flour, mix to paste with 1/3 cup water. Fill into small plasic bag with small hole cut across corner. Pipe crosses on each bun. Bake in hot oven 15-20min.
  8. Remove from oven, immediately brush with glaze made by dissolving 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 tsp gelatine in 1 tablespoon hot water.
  9. Cool buns on wire rack

Naughtily consume for dinner -NOM NOM NOM

I’m happy to report they turned out perfectly. It was cold today so I used a warm water bath for the bowl rising stage and an open just warm oven to rise the second time. I have my grandfather to thank for the tips as he used to be a baker and I remember some of the stories he used to tell us.

Orange Tian

The 2010 March Daring Baker’s challenge was hosted by Jennifer of Chocolate Shavings. She chose Orange Tian as the challenge for this month, a dessert based on a recipe from Alain Ducasse’s Cooking School in Paris.

As with most daring bakers challenges, there are a few steps to this process. This month was a lot of firsts for me and I have had a lot of fun in the process. I was planning on doing the dessert with limes, but we had a heap of oranges instead (long story) and since the original recipe uses oranges, I just followed all the listed instructions. I was thinking of trying chocolate mousse instead of cream, but after tasting the result, I think the chocolate would make it too sweet.

On to the recipe…

Preparation time:
– Pate Sablee: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to rest, 15 minutes to roll out, 20 minutes to bake
– Marmalade: 20 minutes to make, 30 minutes to blanch
– Orange segments: 20 minutes, overnight to sit
– Caramel: 15 minutes, overnight to sit
– Whipped Cream: 15 minutes
– Assembling: 20 minutes
– Freezer to Set: 10 minutes

Equipment required:
• Cookie cutters . Ideally, you should have about 6 cookie cutters to build the desserts in and cut the circles of dough (see photo). The cookie cutters will be the size of your final dessert, so they should be the size of an individually-sized tart mold. If you don’t have round cookie cutters you could use an individually-sized cheesecake mold without its base.
• A food processor (although the dough could be made by hand too)
• A stand-up or hand mixer
• Parchment paper or a silicone sheet
• A baking sheet
• A rolling pin

For the Pate Sablee:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
2 medium-sized egg yolks at room temperature
granulated sugar 6 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon; 2.8 oz; 80 grams
vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
Unsalted butter ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams ice cold, cubed
Salt 1/3 teaspoon; 2 grams
All-purpose flour 1.5 cup + 2 tablespoons; 7 oz; 200 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon ; 4 grams

Put the flour, baking powder, ice cold cubed butter and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

In a separate bowl, add the eggs yolks, vanilla extract and sugar and beat with a whisk until the mixture is pale. Pour the egg mixture in the food processor.

Process until the dough just comes together. If you find that the dough is still a little too crumbly to come together, add a couple drops of water and process again to form a homogenous ball of dough. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface until you obtain a ¼ inch thick circle.

Using your cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place on a parchment (or silicone) lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until the circles of dough are just golden.

As I don’t have a food processor, I made the dough by hand.You just rub the butter into the flour and then add the egg mixture, combine and kneed and it all comes together really quickly.

My biscuits expanded slightly in the oven, so they would not have fit back into the cookie cutters. While they were still warm, I used the cookie cutter and cut each of them to fit. This is probably cause I missed the instruction to put the dough into the fridge – oops. However they still cut nicely while warm and worked.

For the Marmalade:

Ingredients U.S. Imperial Metric Instructions for Ingredients
Freshly pressed orange juice ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons; 3.5 oz; 100 grams
1 large orange used to make orange slices
cold water to cook the orange slices
pectin 5 grams
granulated sugar: use the same weight as the weight of orange slices once they are cooked

Finely slice the orange. Place the orange slices in a medium-sized pot filled with cold water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, discard the water, re-fill with cold water and blanch the oranges for another 10 minutes.

Blanch the orange slices 3 times. This process removes the bitterness from the orange peel, so it is essential to use a new batch of cold water every time when you blanch the slices.

Once blanched 3 times, drain the slices and let them cool.

Once they are cool enough to handle, finely mince them (using a knife or a food processor).

Weigh the slices and use the same amount of granulated sugar . If you don’t have a scale, you can place the slices in a cup measurer and use the same amount of sugar.

In a pot over medium heat, add the minced orange slices, the sugar you just weighed, the orange juice and the pectin. Cook until the mixture reaches a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge.

When having a spread on toast, I’ll usually go for vegemite instead of jam. As we don’t usually buy jam or mamalade, I’ve never even thought about making it. This might change as it was a lot of fun and oranges + sugar is a good combination. I am getting some limes from my mother in law soon so lime marmalade will be next.

For the Orange Segments:

For this step you will need 8 oranges.

Cut the oranges into segments over a shallow bowl and make sure to keep the juice. Add the segments to the bowl with the juice.

If you have never segmented oranges before, youtube is a good tutor. By the end I was a lot quicker. I actually found the process suprisingly relaxing and it was hard to not to just eat the segments.

For the Caramel:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
granulated sugar 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
orange juice 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons; 14 oz; 400 grams

Place the sugar in a pan on medium heat and begin heating it.

Once the sugar starts to bubble and foam, slowly add the orange juice. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, remove from the heat and pour half of the mixture over the orange segments.

Reserve the other half of the caramel mixture in a small bowl — you will use this later to spoon over the finished dessert. When the dessert is assembled and setting in the freezer, heat the kept caramel sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until it thickens and just coats the back of a spoon (about 10 minutes). You can then spoon it over the orange tians.

For the Whipped Cream:

Ingredients U.S. Metric Imperial Instructions for Ingredients
heavy whipping cream 1 cup; 7 oz; 200 grams
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 tsp Gelatine
1 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar
orange marmalade (see recipe above) 1 tablespoon

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and hot water, stirring well until the gelatine dissolves. Let the gelatine cool to room temperature while you make the whipped cream. Combine the cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Whip the cream using a hand mixer on low speed until the cream starts to thicken for about one minute. Add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high. Whip the cream until the beaters leave visible (but not lasting) trails in the cream, then add the cooled gelatine slowly while beating continuously. Continue whipping until the cream is light and fluffy and forms soft peaks. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and fold in the orange marmalade.

Assembling the Dessert:

Make sure you have some room in your freezer. Ideally, you should be able to fit a small baking sheet or tray of desserts to set in the freezer.

Line a small tray or baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Lay out 6 cookie cutters onto the parchment paper/silicone.

Drain the orange segments on a kitchen towel.

Have the marmalade, whipped cream and baked circles of dough ready to use.

Arrange the orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter. Make sure the segments all touch either and that there are no gaps. Make sure they fit snuggly and look pretty as they will end up being the top of the dessert. Arrange them as you would sliced apples when making an apple tart.

Once you have neatly arranged one layer of orange segments at the bottom of each cookie cutter, add a couple spoonfuls of whipped cream and gently spread it so that it fills the cookie cutter in an even layer. Leave about 1/4 inch at the top so there is room for dough circle.

Using a butter knife or small spoon, spread a small even layer of orange marmalade on each circle of dough.

Carefully place a circle of dough over each ring (the side of dough covered in marmalade should be the side touching the whipping cream). Gently press on the circle of dough to make sure the dessert is compact.

Place the desserts to set in the freezer to set for 10 minutes.

Using a small knife, gently go around the edges of the cookie cutter to make sure the dessert will be easy to unmold. Gently place your serving plate on top of a dessert (on top of the circle of dough) and turn the plate over. Gently remove the cookie cutter, add a spoonful of caramel sauce and serve immediately.

It came out of the cutter onto the plate smoothly and with a big sigh of relief.

Then sit down and taste test one with your husband… Yum!