Over the last couple of months I have been so hooked on The Great British Bake Off, watching episodes back to back. It’s so good! Paul Hollywood’s breads always turn out so perfect. My brother who is also an addict of the series requested that I make these instead of a birthday cake and so I delivered! This was my first attempt at playing with bread dough and I’ve got to say, it was really fun!
I tried the classic rock salt version, which appeared in Season 4, episode 4. As I am more of a visual learner, watching that episode was a huge aid in the success of my pretzels! However, I will link the recipe here as it is informative too.
I was happy with how they turned out, they were crisp on the outside and had a chew to it.
Have you made pretzels before? If so, what flavours have you attempted? Hope you enjoy the photos. If you have any questions please leave them below. Don’t forget to like and follow if you haven’t already! You can also find me on instagram, @aliciaspunsugar for more pictures and exclusive bakes/treats.
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until combined. Beat one egg at a time until just combined. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks curdled. Mix in the passionfruit pulp, lemon juice and zest until combined.
Cook mixture in a medium saucepan on a low heat setting until it has thickened (roughly 15 minutes). The consistency should be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Test by drawing a line at the back of the spoon with your finger, if the line remains as is, without the curd running off, it is ready to be removed from the stove.
Pour curd into a sterilised glass jar, screw the lid on and invert jars until completely cool before refrigerating.
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I’ve been trying to cut down on junk food so I’ve been trying to look for a cleaner version of a brownie. I have created a brownie that is a chocolate fudge slice/brownie hybrid. It has hints of hazelnut in the base, which makes it so much more delicious, almost like you’re eating a choc and Nutella treat. The recipe I have created was inspired by Luke and Scott’s chocolate slice from their book, Clean Living Cookbook: Delicious Paleo Food to Help You Change Your Life. Recipe can be found below.
1/3 cup Cacao and Hazelnut spread (you can also use any other nut spread e.g. peanut butter or almond)
Place all of the base ingredients into a food processor until everything is well combined. Spoon into a greased and lined 18cm x 18cm brownie tin and pack it down firmly. Stick it into the freezer for 10 minutes.
Place all of the dates and cocoa powder into the food processor until mixture is smooth. It will form a smooth thick clump when ready. Smooth this mixture onto the base evenly.
Mix the cacao powder, maple syrup and coconut oil together. Pour on top of the brownie. Sprinkle the cacaco nibs on top and set in the freezer for 30-60mins before serving. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
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As promised in my previous Peppa Pig cake post, I’m going to go through the process of how I constructed the Peppa Pig cookie pops. It’s super easy and cute for kids’ birthdays. You don’t necessarily need to recreate Peppa Pig, this would also work great with other large cookie cutters for other characters or shapes (e.g. stars or flowers).
Yields roughly 20 cookie pops (this will vary, depending on the shape and size of your cookie cutter)
1 cup butter (227g) butter
¾ cup caster sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
3 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Lemon royal icing:
Powdered royal icing (Queens brand) mixed with some lemon flavouring and water.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in 1 egg at a time until completely mixed. Mix in the vanilla extract.
Mix in the dry ingredients until well combined. Wrap the dough mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Roll the dough out around and cut out shapes with the desired cookie cutter (I used a large Peppa pig cookie cutter, roughly 8cm wide)
Push a cookie pop stick (Wilton cookie sticks) behind the cut cookie. Reinforce the back with some leftover cookie dough. Continue this process until all the cookie dough is finished.
Place all of the cookie pops on a tray, lined with baking paper and stick in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 165oC (325F).
Remove tray from the freezer and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden.
Place cooking on a wire rack to cool.
Prepare royal icing when the cookies have cooled. I flood the cookie with light pink royal icing and then let them set for roughly 30 minutes, until a crust formed on the surface. I then thickened the royal icing, until it became 20-second icing in order to pipe on the facial features. The black pupils of the eyes were drawn on with a black edible marker.
Allow the cookies to set over night. Wrap in plastic and tape the bottom tightly.
The part about the royal icing can become a little confusing, so leave me a comment below if you have any questions. Like and follow if you haven’t already! Have you made cookie pops before? If so, what flavour and what shape? In other news, I just created an instagram account, @aliciaspunsugar. Come follow me! :).
Last week I was given the challenge to create some Peppa Pig themed treats for my niece’s birthday party. I prepared some Peppa Pig cookie pops, Muddy Puddles and the actual birthday cake. I’ll be uploading these within the next few days.
In the mean time, I’ll be sharing how I completed the cake, some tips, general thoughts on the whole process and problems that I had. I found that the most challenging part was actually covering the cake with fondant, especially because it was my first time using it. I made my own marshmallow fondant to cover the whole cake, but all of the other elements were created with Satin Ice fondant, which I picked up from my local Spotlight and cake-decorating store. I personally thought that the marshmallow fondant was a little more difficult to handle, though tasted much better than premade fondant. The marshmallow fondant, although very sweet, it has a nice textural spring to it. The recipe I followed was by My Cupcake Addiction, her youtube video and recipe is here. I have also the written version of it is below. I’m more of a visual learner, so I prefer to actually see the process of how it was made; this is more crucial when you need to actually see whether the consistency of the fondant is right. Essentially, this will vary with your climate and you will need to adjust the water and icing sugar content accordingly. If you’re in a warmer climate like me, you will generally need to add more icing sugar and less water.
When it came to actually covering the cake (I had a 7inch cake), everything was running smoothly until I was trying to keep the edges sharp. I began to see the dreaded elephant skin. I quickly massaged some vegetable shortening (I used Crisco, which I picked up from my local cake decorating store. Copha should do the same job too, but needs to be softened in the microwave).
Disclaimer: This is my first time working with fondant. I am far from a professional. Sorry if this isn’t 100% correct! This is just how I achieved this finish. I would love to hear your feedback and tips! I have plenty room for improvement.
I just used a basic, dense vanilla cake. Do not use a sponge cake.
After the cake had cooled after baking, I trimmed the tops off to ensure that they were level.
Once the cakes were levelled, I drizzled some vanilla simple syrup (equal parts water, caster sugar and a dash of vanilla essence until boiled) on each layer, including the very top.
I made a dark chocolate ganache. I allowed it to cool at room temperature until it reached a spreadable consistency. I spread some of the ganache onto a cake board that has the exact SAME dimensions as my cake. Place my cake on it and then proceeded to spread in between my layers. Then I stuck it into the fridge for 10 minutes to harden.
I removed it from the fridge, trimmed off the edges and continued to cover the cake with the ganache as a crumb coat. Placed the cake back into the fridge for 20 minutes, until cake has set firm. I then continued to cover the cake with ganache again, to fill in any other gaps and start to really even the surface out. It helps to dip your spatula in get some warm water to try to make everything smooth. I placed the whole cake in the fridge to firm up again for another 20 minutes. During this time, I was kneading out my marshmallow fondant that I had taken out from the fridge. This was my workout for the day!
After kneading the fondant until pliable and at a workable state, I dusted my surface with corn flour and rolled it my marshmallow fondant out to roughly 4mm thick. I then covered my cake, used 2 fondant smoothers to smooth out the surface. I then trimmed the excess and continued to ensure that the surface was smooth and attempted to remove any trapped air bubbles.
I left the cake out at room temperature.
The top tier was a dummy cake (entirely made out of foam). I stuck my dummy cake with royal icing onto a cake board that has the same dimensions, then spread some Crisco on the foam and rolled out the same marshmallow fondant to cover it.
450g (16oz) white marshmallows (I used the massive camping marshmallows from Costco)
2-4 tablespoons water
900g sifted icing sugar
¼ cup vegetable shortening (e.g. Crisco or melted Colpha)
Heat the marshmallows and water (start with 2tablespoons first) in a heatproof bowl; 30 second bursts in the microwave until marshmallows are completely liquid and melted.
Mix in the icing sugar with the marshmallows, kneed the dough until it is smooth.
Roll the dough into a ball and rub vegetable shorting all over the surface of it. Refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.
All of the figurines had tylose powder added to it, in order to reduce drying time.
All figurines were moulded using Satin Ice, premade fondant. I used the white one and added gel colours (used both Americolor and Wilton gel colours) to achieve the desired colour.
To make the eyes of the characters, I used a fine black edible marker
I prepared my figurines a week in advance to allow them to dry solid and to give myself ample time to complete the cake.
The whole family Peppa pig family had toothpicks inserted in them to attach the head to the body.
The bicycle was purely made out of fondant; no wires were used to support it. Again, I used tylose powder to stiffen the fondant. I was extremely fiddly but was easy to assemble when everything was dry.
The duck pond was just made out of blue fondant, with some piping jelly on the top to make it look like fluid water. I placed 3 dried fondant ducks on the top.
The appearance of elephant skin on my fondant at the top of my cake, meaning that my fondant was dry. Luckily I had the dummy cake to place on top of it. I massaged some Crisco on top to try to revive it but wasn’t a complete fix.
Does anyone know how to prevent this?
Such a lengthy post! I hope it was somewhat helpful though. If you have any questions, tips or like to share how you would do things differently, please share them below! I’d also love to hear your own experiences on working with fondant. As always, please like and follow if you enjoy this post! Happy baking everyone 🙂
Yesterday I went out for dinner to celebrate my best friend’s birthday. His favourite type of cake is a blueberry cheesecake. I thought I’d do something a little different by creating a cake with two different layers. I also paired it with a strawberry sauce, which I thought added a nice touch to it. You can find the recipe for it here. I personally prefer a thin biscuit base, so if you prefer a thicker base or prefer the biscuit layer to cover the sides, then add more biscuit crumbs and butter accordingly. No Bake Berry Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce Adapted from Philadelphia and J cupcakesIngredients
1 cup sweet biscuit crumbs
80g butter, melted
500g of cream cheese, softened (at room temperature)
200ml heavy whipping cream
12g gelatine, ¼ cup boiling water
½ cup caster sugar
¼ cup strawberry puree
¼ cup blueberry puree
Blueberries and strawberries, extra, for decorating (optional)
Dried roses (optional)
Mix the butter with the biscuit crumbs and press into the base of your lined and greased 18cm round spring form pan. Refrigerate.
Beat the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.
In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar with an electric mixer, until smooth.
Fold in the whipping cream into the cream cheese batter.
Separate the mixture into two bowls, evenly. In one of these bowls, mix in the blueberry puree and 6g gelatine, dissolved in 1/4cup of boiling water until well combined.
Pour blueberry cheesecake mix into the springform and spread evenly. Chill the whole pan in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Repeat step 5 with the other half of the cheesecake mixture, but with the strawberry puree. Pour the strawberry cheesecake mixture on top of the blueberry layer, spreading it out evenly on the top. Refrigerate the whole pan overnight to set.
Remove from pan and serve with fresh strawberries and strawberry sauce, which you can follow here.
Enjoy! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this recipe. Don’t forget to like and follow if you like recipes if you’d like to see more!