Thursday, February 28, 2013

Make-Up Bags, Birthday Cakes and Trying New Things.

Phew! I realised that my last post was just after my birthday party in October. That's a bit of a gap from then until now. In those missing months I've been busy with Christmas, New Years, a family trip to Torquay, a new (short) haircut, getting my son settled into Year 7 and my youngest daughter into routine as the only family member still in primary school. There have been lots of things baked and consumed, some great and some not so great. I've had my share of cake wrecks, and even a few triumphs.

My favourite triumph was Belinda's 10th birthday cake. I surprised her by making a Make-Up Bag cake. I spent a few nights visiting with Kerrie making some fondant ornaments to go on the cake, and then on the decorating day I convinced her to come and help me with icing the cake. She showed me how to make Swiss Meringue Buttercream which I had never done before, and then we got to decorating.  This is the finished product. Belinda was thrilled!

I also painted a placemat set for my nephew's second birthday.

It was fun to paint again, but I'm struggling to find the time to fit it in. I've signed up for another Pay it Forward craft project this year and am planning on doing painting again. It will be interesting to do as I've decided to use a different medium this time. So I'll be stretching my skills again.

Today's baking was inspired by the many patterned Swiss Roll cakes that I have been seeing on Facebook lately. Some of the designs are amazing! I used the recipe and instructions that I found on Rosie Cake-Diva's page. It's a deliciously easy recipe to make, but I hadn't planned a pattern and opted to pipe dots as I figured that it would be easiest to do while my day-care kids were eating morning tea. What I hadn't realised was that my piping tip was too wide and the cake batter was very runny. So my dots were a bit crazy before I even got to the next step. I cooked the dots for a minute as instructed, and then poured in the rest of the uncoloured batter. Disaster! All my dots were moving and smudging and stretching. I finished spreading the batter evenly and cooked it for 10 minutes as instructed. I'm not overly stressed about it's appearance as I've never made a Swiss Roll before so I was more interested to see if I could make it work and roll it without cracking. This is a great recipe as it is spongy and rolls beautifully. I filled mine with plum jam and the left over frosting from yesterday's home made Boston Bun (yummy vanilla frosting). I am looking forward to getting my kids to taste it this afternoon as they will be the judges on whether I will make it again. (I had a small slice after lunch for quality control purposes and I can vouch for it's yumminess!)

The baked Swiss Roll (inside view)

My polka dots are a little dodgy.

If I take the photo just right, you don't see most of the dodgy dots!
Not bad for my first Swiss Roll.
If I do try my hand at another patterned Swiss Roll I will try a couple of different things to see if I can get a better result. Obviously the first thing would be to use the correct piping tip (and don't rush it). Then it's been suggested that I should freeze the patterned batter before I bake it. So I think with those tips in mind, I might have a better chance at getting a clean pattern on the cake. I also might try baking for just less than 10 minutes as the cake is darker at the edges than in the middle. Anyway, those are all things for next time. Meanwhile, it's back to work for me now.