Wedding Cake Tasting

So… I’m making one of my close friend’s wedding cake this Summer too.

I love all the experimentation and the practice bakes and I really want to make sure I create exactly what she has in mind so I thought I would have a little homemade taster session (read: another excuse to make cake, hang out and eat it all).

wedding cake tasting

For our “wedding cake tasting” I made:

(Top Left) A vanilla sponge filled with fresh cream and raspberry compote covered with fondant icing
(Top Right) A lemon sponge filled with lemon curd and covered in a swiss meringue buttercream
(Bottom Left) A chocolate sponge filled with salted caramel and covered in a milk chocolate ganache
(Bottom Right) A vanilla sponge covered in fresh raspberry buttercream

We had a taster of each and chatted through ideas for sizes and design. We settled for 3 different flavour combos on 3 different levels all covered in a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream so that the whole cake when put together looks the same. I am so excited about getting started on it!

There was SO much cake left over though! I had hugely overestimated the amount we would consume, so I send them home with the remainder. I think (if I do this again) that next time I will create mini cakes for the tasters rather than full size. Maybe cupcake sized so that we can try more flavour combos a the same time.

Have you done anything like this before?

I loved it every minute of it – I wish I could do this everyday!

Banana Cake with Walnut Buttercream and Chocolate Ganache

(Sorry in advance for these photos. I mean, they aren’t normally “top notch” on Bitesize Bakes –i’m still learning– but I fear these are particularly bad so bear with me…)

banana cake with walnut buttercream
Our “5 month ’til the wedding” cake was a Banana cake (Again! see my other recent Banana Cake here). This time though, I made it much bigger, and swapped out the brown sugar buttercream for a walnut variation.

banana cake with walnut buttercream
This tasted great…but was an absolute arse to coat with ganache. I really struggled to leave a smooth finish under those big ol’ chunks of walnut -so much so that I ended up over-working the ganache as it cooled and was left with a weird elephant skin like texture.

banana cake with walnut buttercream

I had purposefully left the walnut chunks large to ensure you got the crunch with your slice, but in hindsight maybe I should have chopped them a tad smaller.

It is a shame because the flavours really worked well together. The walnut helped balance out the sweetness and was a nice texture that cut in too.

banana cake with walnut buttercream

Do you have any ganache saving tips you can impart onto me for next time? Would LOVE to hear them if you do….

banana cake with walnut buttercream

If you fancy a go at the Banana sponge (which I do recommend), here’s what I used:

180g butter
200g caster sugar
100g light soft brown sugar
4 eggs
1tsp baking powder and bi carb
460 self raising
575g banana mashed (the older and softer the better

Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then fold in the banana, flour, baking powder and bi carb. Pop it in the oven (mine filled x2 8 inch rounds) at 180 degrees for around 45mins or until a skewer comes out clean and it is golden brown in colour.

The toppings were a tad experimental on this one. Below is the buttercream I used, but I have left out the ganache. It didn’t set right and would be weird to share something that I didn’t think was quite right. 

1 tsp vanilla bean paste
250g butter
300g icing sugar
approx. 2 handfuls of walnuts, chopped

The buttercream was a standard vanilla buttercream (vanilla, butter, icing sugar whipped until smooth, to taste). After those ingredients are completely combined, fold in the chopped walnuts. Sandwich the two layers together with the walnut buttercream and leave it to set in the fridge, whilst you make the milk chocolate ganache to cover it.

To finish, I covered my cake with milk chocolate ganache and finished with some gold stars.

Again, if anyone has any chocolate saving hacks, I am all ears!! There must be a way to save it in the future!!

Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream

This cake was born out of convenience.

banana cake with brown sugar buttercream

I had aging bananas that need to be used, and a baby shower to attend the next day. I wanted something a little more up market than my regular banana bread go-to’s (here and here) to turn up with (they are a tad casual for this occasion I thought) and so this cheeky two tier 8 inch was born.

banana cake with brown sugar buttercream banana cake with brown sugar buttercream

I found the original recipe here and amended the amounts slightly.

Having very ripe bananas (which always come out sweeter), I decided to lower the added sugar content and had other plans for the topping so ignored that entirely. I was also taking this cake to a baby shower so omitted the walnuts as I wasn’t sure whether there would be any nut allergies in the room – better to be safe than sorry!

banana cake with brown sugar buttercream

Here’s the recipe in case you wanted a go:

300g banana
75g butter
150g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp bicarbonate and salt and baking powder
225g self raising flour

Normal routine: Combine the butter and sugar. Mash the banana in a separate bowl. Mix together all the dry ingredients in another separate bowl. Whisk in the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture. Fold in the dry ingredients and then fold in the mashed banana. Pop it into a greased and lined tin (this filled one 8 inch round tin which I then split in half) and bake at 180 degrees for around 60 minutes (or until its golden and a fork comes out clean).

banana cake with brown sugar buttercream

The filling and topping was brown sugar buttercream which I had found a base recipe online ages ago (really sorry I have lost the original site to link to!). This is my adaptation of it though, in case you want to recreate:

1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup light brown soft sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 cups icing sugar

Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat so that the sugar starts to dissolve. Bring to the boil and add the heavy cream. Take off the heat and cool. Whisk the cooled mixture together with the icing sugar.

NB: I used about two thirds of the brown sugar syrup to mix with the icing sugar and then drizzle the remaining third on top as a bit of decoration.

banana cake with brown sugar buttercream

I used an icing comb to get the texture on the final coat of buttercream after the crumb coat which I am really pleased with. Super simple but effective. I didn’t use any food colouring in the buttercream so it helps to lift what could be quite a drab looking cake, I think.

banana cake with brown sugar buttercream

banana cake with brown sugar buttercream

Sugar Flower Making Course – Part 2

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft4

Class two of my sugar craft flowers course was mostly finishing off our roses.
(Class one can be found here)

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft

I spent as much time as I could with my head burrowed down, furiously thinning and curls the petals to get them looking as “natural” as I could muster.

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft5

We made closed bud roses, half roses and roses in full bloom.

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft1

It was much more fiddly than the previous class as the roses are so delicate and you have to work the sugar paste out to be much thinner.

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft2

Thanks to a fab teacher, I now have a bunch of gorgeous roses I could use just as they are on a cake already.

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft3

Sugar roses require fast finger work so the paste doesn’t get too warm or wet and then they need another week to dry out before you can colour them up. Once dried out though, they can be stored and kept for long periods of time.

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft6

I chose to make these practice roses all yellow so that I could use them as a reference going forwards – you can easily spot the folds and joins so that when I make them again I know what I am doing.

As soon as I find some free time, I am going to make up a bunch more so that I have them on hand for cakes going forwards. They are simple, but could be so effective as a cake decoration – and they can just be grabbed out of a box and will be ready to go whenever you need them.

Flower_Rose_Sugar_Craft7

I’m super keen for these to all dry out so I can start to play with colours!

What do you think? Do you like them?

I am definitely going to try some in a deeper red colour soon, and maybe a soft pink base as well so I can play with colouring those up afterwards with highlights too.

Mango and Passionfruit Layer Cake

We are 6 months out from getting married this year and I have made the decision to bake our wedding cake.

!!!

mango and passionfruit layer cake 3

I am not sure at this point if I have made really stupid decision and it is going to cause me undue stress in the run up to what is meant to be a fun and enjoyable day… or… (and I hope it is the latter) it is going to be fine and give me an opportunity to push myself to try a few new things and work on my presentation.

Either way, it’s too late now. I’ve committed.

mango and passionfruit layer cake 3

My plan in order to avoid a catastrophe is… practice, practice, practice.

As such, on top of my irregular baking spurts that I blog about, I am baking Rob a cake each month in the run up to the wedding to try out a bake that might make it to the big day.

mango and passionfruit layer cake

This one is a mango and passionfruit layer cake.

mango and passionfruit layer cake 3

Four layers of vanilla sponge, lined with passionfruit puree, and sandwiched together with mango and passionfruit buttercream.

mango and passionfruit layer cake 3
After I had beat the buttercream edges into submission, I topped it with a mango chunk “6”.

The first cake option on the board.

Thoughts?

Sugar Flower Making Course – Part 1

I have enrolled on my first baking-related course!

Sugar Flower Making Course part 1_1

Sugar flower making to be exact.

Told you I was looking to up my cake-finishing game! (here)

Class one was learning the basic techniques when working with sugar paste and getting used to sugar craft tools, which are much finer and more delicate than cake spatulas and food mixers.

Sugar Flower Making Course part 1_1

I may have a new favourite thing to do. It is SO satisfying working the paste into delicate little shapes. I could have literally sat there for days on end creating these filler flowers.

I have come away with a box full of chrysanthemums, tiny filler flowers and starter buds that need to dry out for roses (next week).

Sugar Flower Making Course part 1_1

I am so pleased with my little edible flower garden! Aren’t they cute?!

Sugar Flower Making Course part 1_1 Sugar Flower Making Course part 1_1

Can’t wait for next week…

Raspberry, White Chocolate and Apple Muffins

Over flowing muffin cases filled with raspberries, little chunks of apple and white chocolate pieces.

white chocolate raspberry apple muffins 1

No recipe today, and hardly any photo’s because these were knocked out after work and eaten before I had a chance to snap a decent shot of them.

white chocolate raspberry apple muffins

I still wanted to share them though. A note to self to remember the flavour combo. Nothing special to look at but they were just right for a little after work pick me up.