Sunday, 20 April 2014

White Loaf.

I don't think I can remember the last time I baked bread by hand. Sure, it's easy enough to dump a mix in the bread maker with some water and olive oil and pass the loaf off as 'homemade' but there's nothing quite like nurturing a ball of dough for hours while it rises and proves. So, to get back into baking bread, I started off by making a simple white tin loaf from a recipe in my favourite book, Paul Hollywood 'How to Bake'. However, I'd forgotten how great homemade bread tasted and, with the help of my mother, I managed to eat the whole loaf in a day.

You'll need:

400g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
8g salt
25g unsalted butter
250ml cold water

How to make it:

1. Put the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl ensuring the yeast and salt remain separate.
2. Add the butter and some of the water and mix with your hands.
3. Continue to add the water until it forms a dough and all of the ingredients have been incorporated.
4. Knead on a lightly oiled surface until the dough is soft and smooth but also shows elasticity.
5. Leave in a lightly oiled bowl to prove for around 1 hour - it needs to double in size.
6. Remove the dough from the bowl and begin to knock it back on a lightly floured surface.
7. Roll it into an oblong and shape to fit your tin.
8. Put the dough in the tin and put it in a plastic bag to rise for a further hour before baking for 30 minutes on 220˚C.

An optional step is to create a steam environment in the oven. To do this, put a roasting tin in the oven whilst it is preheating. Then, just before you put the dough in to bake, fill the roasting tin with boiling water. This will help to make the crust crisp and give it a slight sheen.

The next day I decided to bake again. This time I was a little more adventurous (as suggested by Paul) and made a white cob loaf. The recipe was virtually the same and so was the baking process, it was simply shaped and baked on a baking sheet instead of in a tin. Instead of the above ingredients I used 500g flour, 10g instant yeast, 10g salt, 30g unsalted butter and 320ml cold water. To create the shapes on top I simply sliced into the dough a little.

I think it turned out like a little hedgehog which is quite cute. Also, it somehow tasted even better than the previous loaf - it was a lot softer and I presume this is all down to how well you prove it. It just happened to be a lot warmer in my house so it rose more when proving.

Happy Easter!
Cakesfordorothy xoxo

Friday, 18 April 2014

Mini Egg Easter Cupcakes.

It's a well known fact that I love making cupcakes that are themed, even more so when they are based upon the time of year. Before, I have ventured to Christmas cupcakes and Easter cupcakes several times so it's no surprise that I'm back again with a new bunch.

A few months ago I purchased the Wilton 2D piping nozzle from Lakeland after it was recommended to me by my aunt and people on my cupcake decorating courses and I must say it is well worth the money. That combined with my favourite piping bags from Waitrose makes it so easy to produce great looking cupcakes. On this occasion I decided to make two-tone icing. It was a first attempt so I definitely know how to improve next time.

I simply used a small brush with some of Sugarflair's melon colouring paste on and painted inside the piping bag and piped from the outside inwards onto the cupcakes (based on this video). Then to each cupcake I added three mini eggs and sprayed with my holy grail pearl lustre spray!

I was so pleased with how they turned out and I actually gave these to my friends in little Easter cupcake boxes. I've found that Home Bargains and B&M home store are so great for cupcake boxes so it's definitely worth having a look!

Cakesfordorothy xoxo

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Cow Cupake.

A friend of mine had her birthday recently. Usually, I like to make my friends a big cake with a theme based on something about them (see previous ones herehere and here) but this time I didn't have enough icing to cover a whole cake. Instead I made her an individual cupcake in a cute cake box.

I was inspired by this cupcake but was quite surprised how much they charged for it! I am soon starting my own cake business, Emma's Cakes, and I simply couldn't justify asking someone to pay that much for a single cupcake which didn't take too long to make. Perhaps someone could explain this to me?
Anyway, I started off by putting a dollop on vanilla buttercream on a freshly baked cupcake followed by a thick, round piece of white icing. I didn't have any pink icing left so had to combine white and a little red but I think it turned out fine in the end. I then added the nostrils, mouth, eyes, eyes, horns and patches as can be seen in the picture below.
In the end I was fairly happy with how the cupcake turned out and my friend very much enjoyed it so that's the main thing!

Cakesfordorothy xoxo
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