Meringue Christmas Trees

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We had a text from school today asking for cake donations for the kids Christmas party in two days time! There’s nothing like a bit of notice is there?! Anyway, it was our day off, and I happened to be at home, so I had time to rustle something up. I wanted something easy, and straightforward, which didn’t require many ingredients, but at the same time, something the kids would love, and that looked festive. These simple little meringues were just the ticket.

When making meringue my general rule of thumb is 1 egg white to 50g caster sugar. I whisked 2 egg whites until frothy before adding in 100g caster sugar a dessertspoon full at a time. Halfway through adding the sugar I added a couple of blobs of green food gel.

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Once the meringue was stiff and glossy I put it into a piping bag with a large nozzle and piped little Christmas tree shapes on a lined baking tray. I got 17 out of this batch.

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I put them on the middle shelf of the oven, which I’d preheated to 100oC. The key to these meringues is to cook them low and slow. That way they’re crispy and light all the way through. I cooked these for two and a half hours, then turned the oven off leaving the door shut until they were completely cool.

Once cool, I melted 50g each of milk and dark chocolate in a bain marie and dipped the bottoms of the trees in. Now, had I had any rolos in the house, I would spooned a little melted chocolate on top of an upturned rolo, and stuck the tree on top to give the effect of a trunk. But, I didn’t have rolos, so dipping had to suffice.

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I put the remaining choc in a pipping bag and used it as glue stick on little decorations. Edible glitter and dust gave them a final flourish.

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No doubt the kids will love them…not sure the same could be said for the parents come bedtime!

Elsa doll cake

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When I look at this cake the words “never” and “again” spring to mind. It probably would’ve been a lot easier had I had enough fondant to roll it out slightly thicker. As it happened I didn’t, and the result was that the skirt kept splitting, so under that white cape is actually a complete mess, hence there aren’t any pictures of the icing process. My hands were too sticky and my head to stressy to think about pics! Anyway,  here’s the link to the tutorial I was following, although you’ll notice the end results are pretty different due to the icing saga! I used three quantities of a basic Victoria sponge recipe and baked two in round springform tins and the third in a Pyrex bowl.

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Slice each cake in half and fill with seedless raspberry jam

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Stick each cake on top of each other using buttercream as the glue

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Wrap Elsa in cling from the waist down

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Carve a hole out using a knife

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Stick Elsa in up to her hips.

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Shave bits off the cake to create a skirt shape.

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Cover in buttercream and chill for an hour.

At this point the disasters started so I’m afraid the next pic I have is this one…

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I used flower paste to make the cape, and royal icing for the snow and snowflakes. The main thing is that the little one loved it!

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Here’s what it looked like inside:

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If you’d like to see the last Frozen cake I made (for her last birthday) you can check it out here.

Chocolate and peanut butter cheesecake

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This cake is not for the faint hearted, or weak hearted for that matter. If you’re watching your calorie intake you’re reading the wrong blog, as this is the ultimate in chocolate peanut butter blow outs.

A friend had given me a jar of chocolate spread, and because it’s not the type of thing I’d usually spread on my toast I wanted a recipe to use it up. Hence coming up with this beauty!

For the base I used a packet of chocolate digestive biscuits, some salted peanuts, and melted butter. Having accidently put too much butter in the biscuit crumbs, I needed to ad-lib a little using whatever I could lay my hands on to soak up the excess butter, as we didn’t have any other biscuits in. So, some pretzels and granola later the base was ready. I pressed it into a springform tin and chilled it whilst making the topping.

The topping was completely made up as I went along. I whipped approx 300ml double cream  then mixed in 500g mascarpone, a jar of smooth peanut butter and a jar of chocolate spread. It needed a bit of something sour to cut through the richness and about 200ml of natural yoghurt did the trick.  After spreading the topping on the base I drizzled about 50g melted milk chocolate over the cheesecake and sprinkled with crushed salted peanuts. Leave to set in the fridge over night.

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This dessert was one of a few I did for a welcome home party for some friends who had just arrived back from a round the world adventure.

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I also did a rhubarb, strawberry and rose water pavlova:

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Mini creme pat and filo, fruit tartlets (recipe here) :

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A fruit platter and a cheeseboard.

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It was a great success and a lovely evening was had by all.

Ice cream cone cupcakes.

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I know these babies have been popular in the USA for a while now, but here in the UK they’re still a bit of a novelty. With our church hosting a Light Party (alternative to Halloween) this afternoon, I figured the kids would love a bit of a treat. Here’s how to make these incredibly simple cone cupcakes:

Firstly buy the short ice cream cones which have a flat bottom so they’ll stand up. Make your cake batter and then cover a cupcake tray with tin foil. Push the cones through the foil (this works best of you puncture the foil worth a knife first). The foil will give them some stability and so them falling over in the oven.

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Then fill the cones with the cake batter up to the first line of the cone. As you can see from the pictures I was a little over enthusiastic with the batter and overfilled them which caused a few of them to spill over the sides during the baking process.

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Bake in a preheated oven at about 160oC for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes clean. You’ll end up with something like this:

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Now for the icing. I made white  buttercream but wanted it to be a bit more colourful so in the piping bag I drew a line of red, purple, green and blue food colorings before carefully adding the white buttercream trying not to smudge the colours.

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Then, from the outside of the cupcake, start a swirl working inwards to create the affect of a ‘Mr Whippy’ ice cream.

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Everyone knows an ice cream isn’t complete without some adornment so I used peppermint straws as makeshift flakes.

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I had some left over buttercream so iced a few regular cupcakes with a rose style. For this start at the centre of the cake and swirl outwards.

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Well that’s all for today folks. I’ve got a party to go to! Here’s all this mornings baking ready to go…

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