Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Ateco 852 Icing Tip

We've all got our favourites, right?
 Favourite flavour,  favourite icing,  favourite colour,  favourite child... just kidding! (...most of the time, anyway 😜)

And this is my favourite piping tip - the Ateco 852

If you have access to the Wilton range, you probably use a 1M or a 2D tip to create beautiful rosettes of icing. Locally, though, Ateco is the quality brand to choose, and the 852 nozzle is the one I'd recommend most. 

 It's a closed (the tines curl inwards) star tip. And because its tines are cut more deeply than the other closed star tips, it creates that beautiful ruffled icing/ rosette effect. 

Because it's a medium-sized large tip (as opposed to jumbo) it doesn't smother your cupcake with too much icing, and is a great choice for covering a lot of cupcakes without having to make huge batches of icing. 

So pretty, right? See - it's ok to have favourites! 

Happy decorating! 


Monday, 13 February 2017

Puppy Love Valentines Cookies

 Did you notice that I used my cookie-colour of 2017 in the "Puppy Love" class?!
A brown and white puppy would still have been cute, of course ... but a taupe and white puppy...😍

I nearly didn't do this as a Valentines theme. I had something else in mind, and a pet-themed class was on the cards for later. But with doing fewer classes, it's getting hard to fit in all the themes.
So an amalgamation of Valentines and pets happened. And I think it works, don't you? There's nothing quite like the uncomplicated love of a pet, right? What a great way to celebrate Valentines Day.

Plus it's an option for the single people out there who don't necessarily want to decorate typical V-Day cookies. (I love you, crazy cat ladies!)

 Here's a look at the progression of Patch, the taupe and white puppy: 

(Thank you Lauri from Treat Boutique for the cutest puppy cutter!) 

A best friend is someone who loves you when you forget to love yourself...

Happy Valentines Day!


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Watermelon Effect No-Churn Ice-Cream

Do you ever have those days that never seem to get lift-off? You're  stuck taxiing on the runway... behind a learner driver?
The latter part of that analogy came to mind because in the course of my 5 (yes, count them: f-i-v-e!) trips up and down our road on Thursday morning, one was spent caught behind a pay-loader, one behind a learner driver and another behind what must have been an octogenarian resident of the local retirement village. I'm generally very patient with learner drivers and octogenarians behind the wheel (we've all been there or are headed there, afterall) but not when it's my third trip to the paint shop in the space of two hours!

I had so much more intended for that time than what I landed up doing with it. Paint shop. Drive. Paint shop. Repeat. Grr!

One of my intentions was to make this watermelon effect ice-cream.
My awesomely creative friend, @bridgethcs,  posted a pic of her no-churn ice-cream on Instagram, and I couldn't wait to try it.
The flavour possibilities are myriad. But I had this summer-inspired watermelon-look in mind that I just had to make!

Thankfully, it is such a simple recipe that I managed to make it despite Thursday's time challenges.
(Its simplicity is the whole point of the introduction to this post, in case you were wondering what that rant was all about!)

The flavour layers are raspberry, vanilla and kiwi fruit. My family wasn't wild about the kiwi, but I like its slight pepperiness in combination with the sweetness of the ice-cream. (And the speckle it adds.) But if you'd like to substitute mint, or another flavour instead, go for it!

No-Churn Ice-Cream: Watermelon Effect
Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com 
Styling inspired by @bridgethcs 

370g (1 tin) sweetened condensed milk
500ml (2 cups) whipping cream, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

150g puréed raspberries + pink food colouring
100g chocolate chips
100g puréed kiwi fruit + green food coloring

Popsicle sticks

Mix together the condensed milk, salt and vanilla extract.

In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff.

Fold a cupful of the whipped cream into the condensed milk. Mix until combined.
Pour this lightened mixture into the rest of the whipped cream. Fold until well combined.

Remove approx. 300ml of the above mixture for the green layer.
Add the kiwi fruit puree and green food colouring to this portion.

Set aside approx. 180ml for the white layer.

Into the remaining mixture (this should be the largest volume), fold the raspberry purée. Add pink food colouring if a deeper pink is required. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spread the pink layer into the bottom of a silicone loaf pan.
If it is very soft, put it in the freezer to set slightly.

Follow with the white layer. Repeat freezer time if necessary.

Spread on the final (green) layer.

If it is firm enough to support the popsicle sticks, place them in the ice-cream now.
Otherwise freeze until firm enough before putting them in place.

Freeze for 4-5 hours or until set before removing from the silicone loaf pan, and slicing into individual ice-cream lollies. 

Here's a link to @bridgethcs's Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/bridgethcs/,
and here's the original recipe from foodnetwork.com if you'd like to see their flavour suggestions.



Thursday, 26 January 2017

Unicorn Topper and a Photography Cheat

This was my first modelled creation for 2017.  I posted her on Instagram (@tea_cake_and_create), with the caption  Lots of unicorns around at the moment - it must mean it's going to be a magical year. 
Let's hope so!!
You've got to leave room in your life for a little magic, right?

Talking about magic - what do you think of the bokeh in these pictures (that's a fancy term for the out-of-focus lights in the background of a photo)?
You can achieve it by using a decent camera to take a picture with a small f-stop (large aperture) - so that the background gets blurred.

Or you can do what I did and print out an A4 picture of bokeh and stick that behind your cake...
hashtag photography_cheats101!

One of these days I'll to get around to ordering a larger-sized real photography backdrop.
But until then, with some angling and cropping - my home printer and colour cartridge is all I need to create a bit of background magic.

Happy decorating and photographing!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Apple Squares

I like to bake. I like to bake if it's quick and easy. And I like to bake with fruit and nuts. 
This recipe gets three checks ✓✓✓


It's adapted from numstheword.com.
The first thing I did was reduce the sugar, and then doubled everything else. If you're going to make something delicious, you need enough of it - right?! 
And I added the butter topping. It gives a delicious crisp surface to these moist and flavourful squares. 

Apple Squares
Recipe adapted from numstheword.com

Pre-heat the oven to 180'C
Grease and line a 22cm square baking pan.

125g butter, melted
250g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
320g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs custard powder
2 medium apples, diced
100g chopped pecan nuts

Mix together the melted butter and sugar.
Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
Sift in the baking powder, flour, cinnamon, custard powder and salt.
Stir until well combined. The mixture will be stiff.
Stir in the diced apple and pecan nuts. Mix well.

Mix together:
2 tbs butter, melted
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. Pour the topping mixture over the batter and spread evenly.

Bake at 180'C for approx. 40minutes.

Don't over-bake these squares - you want them to remain moist and soft. But if you do, well it's the perfect excuse to serve them up with some ice-cream or drizzled cream. 
Num num num! 
Thanks numstheword for the inspiration! 


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Taupe Cookies

I think I've found my colour for 2017:
Ok, it may not the most exciting colour.
But it's solid and stable and makes every other colour around it look great (BFF material, right?!)

To get this hue add a few drops of Chocolate Brown (Cake Flora / Americolor food colour gel)  and a couple of drops of Super Black to your royal icing. Add more black if you want a grey undertone, and more brown if you want it a shade warmer. I 💛 warm neutrals! 


Experiment, go wild ... go 50 shades of greige. 


Happy decorating!


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes

I wasn't planning on baking anything for NYE this year ... which seems to be a repeat-habit of mine.
I scrolled back through Tea, Cake & Create's photos on Facebook looking for an I'm-not-baking-anything-this-year-but-here's-something-from-a-previous-year picture to post, and couldn't find anything from the past four years.
So, I baked.
Nutella swirl cupcakes with Nutella icing.

You're welcome.

Happy 2017!

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes 
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

Preheat the oven to 180'C
Line a muffin pan with cupcake cases.
Makes 12-15 large cupcakes

250g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarb) 
1/2 tsp salt 
200g caster sugar
180g butter at room temp. 
4 large eggs
250ml buttermilk or sour cream 
1 tsp vanilla extract
* I also added a few drops of Vanilla Girl hazelnut extract. 
200g Nutella

Sift together the flour, raising agents and salt in a bowl, and set aside. 

Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. 
Add the eggs, one at a time, with the mixer on low speed. Scrape down the bowl between additions. 
Beat in the vanilla extract, and hazelnut extract if you're using it. 

With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat in the sifted dry ingredients and the buttermilk or sour cream -  begin and end with the dry ingredients. 
Beat until just combined. 

Spoon a large dollop of the batter into the base of each cupcake case  (the case should be about 1/4 -1/3 full).
Follow with a generous teaspoon-ful of Nutella  (it's easier to use the Nutella if you heat it slightly). 
Repeat with another dollop of batter. The Nutella should be covered by the cake batter. 

Bake at 180'C for 20min, or until the cupcakes spring back when touched. 

Nutella Icing
Recipe by Tea, Cake & Create

(Enough for  approx. 15 rosette-type swirls)  

100g butter, at room temp
250g cream cheese (use a dense medium or full fat cream cheese like the Woolworths brand or Lancewood.) 
90g sifted icing sugar 
50g sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
100g Nutella
1 tsp vanilla extract

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until pale and soft before adding the icing sugar.
Beat the icing sugar and butter together. 
Add in the cream cheese, vanilla and cocoa. Beat well. 
Mix in the Nutella. 

Ice onto the cooled cupcakes. 

Some of the Nutella will stay as a lovely gooey blob in the centre and some of it will ooze out towards the edges.
(Oooo-oh! There go those New Year's resolutions!)  

Happy baking in 2017!