Sunday, 15 September 2013

Engagement Celebration Biscuits

The excitement when someone close to you gets engaged in infectious. It's uplifting to see someone so elated and fun to plan and think about all the exciting things that lie ahead. Last weekend I received a heart warming text from a friend sharing those great words 'We got engaged' and it really lifted my spirits. Once I got over the initial excitement of it all I was keen to make something memorable in the kitchen to mark the special occasion. I toyed with the idea of intricately decorated cupcakes or a masterpiece of a cake, but given that whatever tasty treat I was going to conjure up would be brought to work on Monday I reckoned I should make something simple that people wouldn't feel too guilty about eating after the weekend! I settled for this delicious sugar cookie recipe which is one of my favourite biscuits of all time. Lighter than shortbread, with a fantastic texture, these biscuits really have it all. I opted for single hearts, double hearts and the all important engagement ring.


Engagement Celebration Biscuits

Ingredients                                                                  
200g butter at room temperature                                
280g sugar                                                                   
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract                                          
1 egg                                                                              
400g plain flour
a pinch of salt


Method 
1. Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a free-standing electric mixer and cream until light 
    and fluffy (You can also use a handheld whisk). 
2. Add the egg and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl intermittently to ensure all the ingredients
    are incorporated well. 
3. Add the flour and salt, mixing well. The dough should look light, feel soft and be easy to handle.
    Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Cut out the shapes of 
    your choice ( I chose these heart and engagement rings). Place the cookies on a well greased or 
    lined baking tray (you will need at least two large trays) and using the individual stamps, firmly 
    press the desired letters into the dough. Bake for 10 minutes at 170C.  
4. The cookies should be very light golden on the outer edges and paler in the centre. Once cooked 
    remove the cookies from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


E-D's Notes
- This type of rubber stamp set can be picked up in any good craft
   shop or online. Both Amazon and Etsy sell similar products. This pack cost me €11.50 in a local         art shop. Stamps are a great way of personalizing your bake and can of be used similarly to print 
   into fondant icing.
- Removing the biscuits from the tray as quickly as possible will 
  prevent breakages as the biscuits begin to harden.
- The engagement ring cutter was bought in STOCK in Dublin's 
  city centre but is also available here online.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Zebra Print Cake

One of my good friends recently turned 30 and to celebrate I decided to put together this bright, vibrant and funky cake to mark the special occasion  I've always loved the combination of pink and green and the zebra print tier sets this cake off nicely, giving it a really fun and girly feel. All off the decoration was done by layering different shapes and colours of fondant including the fondant bow on top. The cake is made up of two tiers, the bottom tier a 9 inch square cake, topped with a 6 inch cake. Again I opted for a simple lemon Madeira base and sandwiched the cakes together using a delicious zesty lemon buttercream. The colours were achieved using Americolor gel food colourings, with the exception of the black which was bought pre-coloured from Decobake.


Ingredients (for a 9 inch square cake)
For the cake
450g sugar
450g butter
680g self-raising flour
8 eggs (beaten)
3 lemons (juice and zest)

For the lemon buttercream icing
240g butter
500g icing sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Method
For the cake
1. Beat together the sugar and butter until pale and creamy.
2. Add the beaten egg a little at a time.
3. Add the lemon juice and zest of 2 lemons and mix well.
4. Finally fold in the flour and mix gently until all the ingredients are combined.
5. Spoon the mixture into the lined tins and cook in the centre of the oven for 40-50 minutes at 
    180C. To check the cake is ready, dip a sharp knife into the centre of the cake and continue 
    to cook until the knife comes out clean.

For the icing
Mix all ingredients together using a handheld mixer until light and fluffy.

Assembly
Once the cakes have cooled slightly, using a sharp knife and cut each cake in half lengthways. Then spread the bottom half with buttercream before reassembling the cake and sandwiching the two halves back together. Then cover the outside of each cake with the remaining buttercream. Roll out the fondant to size and gently place over the cake, cutting away any excess icing.


E-D's Notes
- Knowing how much fondant to use can be very difficult at the best of times. Rolling fondant out 
  to the right size is an art in itself and I always use a ruler to measure the sides and top of the 
  cake to know the exact diameter or width I need to roll the dough out to.
- Below is a table of the cakes used in this recipe and how much fondant was required for the 
  basic covering (not the extra decorative pieces).

Shape


Height

Size
 Amount of fondant needed

Square


3 inches

6 inches

600g


9 inches

1200g


     





         Wilton also have a great page outlining different cake sizes and the amount of fondant  
  required for different shapes and sizes. Check it out here

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Lemon Drizzle Funfetti Cake

So I have been in hiding for the last little while, spending time with family and getting some wedding things done and dusted. Finding time to squeeze my blog into my day was becoming impossible and I always feel I should avoid blogging for the sake of blogging. But I'm back with a bag and though I haven't been sharing I have as usual been baking and creating here and there. 'E-D Does It' officially celebrated it's 1st Birthday last week and I made a simple and tasty 'Funfetti Cake' to celebrate. A funfetti cake is an easy but fun cake to make and simply involves the addition of sprinkles to the cake mixture before baking which give the cake a colourful and interesting inside. This technique can be used with any type of cake mixture but I decided to opt for a deliciously zesty lemon drizzle cake.


Lemon Drizzle Funfetti Cake

Ingredients
For the cake
225g butter
225g sugar
225g self-raising flour
4 eggs beaten
Zest & Juice of 1 large lemon
Sprinkles
Fondant Icing Stars for decoration

For the drizzle
Juice of 1 lemon
65g sugar


Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line the base of an 8 inch round tin. 
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
3. Next add the beaten egg a little at the time, alternatively with the lemon juice.
4. At this point at the sprinkles to the mixture along with any desired food colouring and  
    mix thoroughly until well dispersed.
5. Finally fold in the flour and lemon rind gently.Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place 
    in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown and springy to touch.

Meanwhile whilst the cake is cooling in the tin, mix the sugar and lemon juice together. Pierce the cake in various spots gently with a fork. Pour the lemon sugar mixture over the cake allowing the liquid to be absorbed into the cake.


E-D's Notes
- I opted to decorate my cake with some coloured fondant which I had left over from a cake 
  venture. Fondant is an easy and inexpensive way of brightening up an otherwise plain looking 
  cake.
- The above quantities for the drizzle may be increased or doubled if you wish to serve extra 
  drizzle as an option for guests to pour over their individual slices of cake.


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