A Cake Decorating Class and an AppliancesOnline.com.au 8th Birthday Competition

IMG_6258

As many readers may know, I love baking and decorating cakes for family and friends.  I’m far from being an expert so any tips and tricks I can get is always welcomed.

I was invited by AppliancesOnline.com.au to attend a cake decorating class at Let Them Eat Cake in South Melbourne.  Owner Christopher Montebello and staff demonstrated their decorating skills and answered all the questions we had.  And trust me, we had plenty.

IMG_6229

Australia’s largest online retailer of appliances is celebrating it’s 8th birthday by launching a national cake decorating competition to find it’s official birthday cake.  The national competition encourages Australians to get creative by baking and decorating an appliance themed cake, to celebrate the birthday.  Entrants will go in the draw to win one of eight sunbeam food processors valued at $399.

To enter, create your cake and upload a picture via Appliances Online Facebook, instagram or twitter. Tag @appliancesAU and use the hashtag #AOLbirthday

IMG_6178

During our class, we were shown how to decorate cake to make it look like a blender. CakeDecoratingClass1

Doesn’t it look real?!

IMG_6222

Christopher also showed us how to write with royal icing.

CakeDecoratingClass2

Not bad huh?

IMG_6254

Here are some cake decorating tips:

1. Buy fondant pre-made.  It can be difficult to achieve the right consistency when making fondant from scratch.

2. Sketch your concept before you start decorating and keep it simple.  The simplest ideas are often the best.

3. Use fruit or mud cake.  Fondant works best with firm cakes such as fruitcake or mud cake.  Make sure you don’t use sponge cake as it won’t support the weight of the icing.

4. Heat the marzipan.  If you’re using marzipan, take it out of it’s foil package and microwave for about 10 seconds to make it easier to work with.

5. Applying the fondant.  Knead on a clean board that’s been sprinkled with icing sugar.  If adding colour, apply sparingly and knead into the icing.  Roll out with a rolling pin and keep applying sugar throughout the rolling process.  Drape fondant carefully over the cake and then smooth gently with dry hands, starting at the centre of the cake, moving outwards.  Make sure to get rid of any air bubbles. Trim any excess fondant with a sharp knife.

6. Experiment and have fun with leftover marzipan and fondant icing which can be used to create simple figurines and flowers.

IMG_6224

Don’t forget to enter Appliancesonline.com.au’s competition.  Ends December 8th. So get on it now!

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Bacon and Cheddar Loaves

Bacon1

What is better than the aroma of freshly baked bread? Freshly baked bread coming from your own oven.

Lately I’ve been a little obsessed with baking bread.  More specifically, Paul Hollywood‘s bread.  I’ve baked a few.  Some successful, some not so :(  However, I have found one that was (extremely) successful and better still, damn delicious.  There are a lot of bread recipes out there. Some are complicated and some are easy.  I think this recipe falls in between.  There are also some no-knead recipes out there.  Check out my instagram feed for one I baked for our ANZAC day picnic or check out #ggbreadrevolution on instagram and twitter for more pics of yummy bread.

These loaves are baked with bacon pieces and cheddar cheese.  These two ingredients lifts the flavour profile through the roof.  It was a hit with hubby and the kiddies so it is definitely a recipe I will use again and again.

 

bacon3

400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
10g salt
10g instant yeast
30g unsalted butter, softened
330ml cool water

For the filling
8 rashers of smoked bacon, rind removed, cooked and chopped into small pieces
150g cheddar, grated

 

1. Tip the flours into a large bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter and 3/4 of the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the remaining water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more. You want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use he mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.

2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5 to 10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.

3. When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a the towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size (at least 1 hour but can be left for 2 or 3 hours)

4. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

5. Once the dough is risen, add the bacon and cheese to it and knead it until well distributed. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly, pushing any pieces of bacon or cheese that bounce out back in.

6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape into ovals, tapering the ends of the loaves into points. Place the dough ovals onto trays, spacing them apart. Dust the loaves with flour and deeply slash the tops lengthways.

7. Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 1 hour or until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Preheat your oven to 220degC.

8. Sprinkle the loaves with a little olive oil and bake for 20mins until golden brown. Eat warm.

bacon2

No matter how you bake and which recipe you use, home baked bread will always be better and more satisfying than bought bread.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie