Raspberry Bubblegum Macarons

Macarons have been few and far between as of late. As much as I love making them, and more importantly, eating them, they can be very finicky and temperamental, especially in the heat and humidity of the summer. However, I thought, before I go back into Uni hibernation, I should probably make some, even just to know that I am still capable (and this I am now unsure of!).

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 I had been on the hunt for a delicious bubblegum flavour, as I love baking with fun and nostalgic flavours. With fresh raspberries in abundance, I thought, what better than raspberry bubblegum macarons. Whilst my shells failed to comply, they were still tasty, and the intense bubblegum flavour coupled nicely with the burst of the fresh raspberry.

 Macarons:

Recipe by Adriano Zumbo. You will definitely need kitchen scales to make macarons.

  • 135g almond meal
  • 135g icing sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 45g egg whites
  • 50g egg whites
  • 40g water
  • Colouring gel, purple (Wilton and Americolour are best)
  • 100s & 1000s, any sort you like (I use CK Brand – Jimmies)

Spray four oven trays with cooking oil spray around the edges, and line with baking paper and set aside. Place almond meal and icing sugar in a large bowl, and sift together 3 times. Set aside, along with the 45g egg whites. Put 50g egg whites in a separate bowl. Heat caster sugar and water in a small saucepan, over a low-medium heat, until the sugar completely dissolves and begins to bubble slightly. You can also use a candy thermometer, and heat the syrup until it reaches 118 degrees C (244 degrees F). If the syrup becomes thick and powdery in appearance, you will need to start again. This is because the sugar has been heated too much, too quickly, and instead of dissolving, it has cooked and hardened.

Begin beating the 50g egg whites with one hand, and with the other, stream the hot sugar syrup down the side of the bowl to create an italian meringue. Beat until stiff peaks form, the meringue should be thick and very glossy. Add the colouring gel now, taking care to only add very small amounts until your desired colour is achieved. Pour meringue into the almond meal, icing sugar and 45g egg whites mixture and mix roughly to combine. When combined, fold mixture together (one single stroke) until there are no air bubbles left. Make a spread across the top of the mixture, and it should disappear in about 20 seconds. Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. If you don’t have a piping set, most supermarkets sell plastic disposable ones with a few different nozzles. You should be able to find them in the baking aisle. Lock the bag by spinning the top around 4 times. Pipe 3-4cm rounds on the oven trays prepared earlier. Sprinkles macaron shells with 100s & 1000s. Tap the bottom of the trays on the kitchen bench and let them sit for about half an hour, or until mixture is dry to the touch. Don’t rush this process – you want the shells to be completely dry. Otherwise, it is unlikely that the ‘foot’ of the macaron will be formed.  Preheat your oven to 135c, or 125c fan forced.

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Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Turn trays around, and bake for another 9 minutes. To check if shells are cooked, gently lift one off the baking paper. If it peels of easily, they are done, if not, keep checking at 2 minute intervals. Furthermore, if you notice the tops have a slightly crumpled look after you take them out of the oven, put them back in for another couple of minutes. In my experience, this means that they are slightly undercooked and/or haven’t dried out enough before cooking. Cool on trays for 10 minutes, then peel off and place on a wire rack. The mixture should make about 12 -15 large macarons, and about 25 smaller macarons. Macarons keep really well (about 5 days in the fridge).

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 Raspberry bubblegum buttercream:

  •  Approximately 10 fresh or frozen raspberries, chopped finely
  • 200g butter, chopped and softened (not melted)
  • 2-3 cups icing sugar mixture
  • Colouring gel, turquoise (Wilton and Americolour are best)
  • Bubblegum flavouring (available at specialty cake supply stores)

With a beater, or in a mixer, beat butter until pale and creamy (usually 4-5 minutes). Gradually add in the icing sugar, mixing each addition until well combined. Add approx. ¼ teaspoon of colouring gel. You can always add more if you would like a deeper colour. Very carefully, add a couple of drops of bubblegum flavouring. Mine is extremely strong, so I only needed a tiny amount to achieve enough flavour. Remember, you can always put more in, but you cannot take it back out! Gently fold through the fresh raspberries through the buttercream.

Assembly:

Pair up similar sized macaron shells. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a large round nozzle (it must be large, as you do not want the pieces of raspberry to get stuck behind the nozzle), with buttercream. Pipe rounds of buttercream onto one macaron shell, and gently sandwich with the other. Place in an airtight container, and store in the fridge. Macarons always taste better the day after you have made them, as the flavour has had time to develop. Always serve macarons at room temperature.

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 Enjoy! X

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Cherry Ripe Layer Cake

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and managed to relax over the holiday season. I can’t believe the best time of the year is over already, it always goes too quickly! Usually, for me, January is a busy month for cakes, with most of my families’ birthdays. This year, however, almost my whole family were sick, and celebrations kept getting put off! So, this beauty of a cake was made for three peoples’ birthday, and delicious it was. Excuse the crappy photos, my awesome proper camera broke, and my the photos from my phone just aren’t the same 😦

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This cake is quite similar to this one I made about the same time last year, with red wine ganache. However, I omitted the red wine this year, and added toasted coconut flakes and cherry ripe bars.

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Chocolate Mud Cake Layers: (recipe by Janelle Bloom)

Makes 4 x 23cm layers

400g butter
200g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup good quality cocoa
2 tbs good quality drinking chocolate or instant coffee powder, or 1 tbs of each if you want
1 tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract
2 cups caster (white) sugar
6 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
Approximately 500g fresh cherries, stones removed and halved
Approximately 30 fresh cherries, with stems (I used a 695g bag altogether, and it was just enough)

Preheat oven to 160c. Line 23cm springform cake tins with baking paper. I had two tins, therefore had to repeat the process.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, chocolate, water, cocoa, drinking chocolate and/or coffee powder and vanilla. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat, and set aside for 10 minutes or until lukewarm.

In the meantime, beat eggs and sugar together in a stand mixer, on medium speed, until pale and creamy. Stream the chocolate mixture down the side of the stand mixer to incorporate into egg mixture. Beat until well combined. Stop the mixer, and add the flour. Beat again until well combined and smooth.

Weigh mixture into four even portions (I did this with digitial scales), to ensure even layers. Pour mixture into prepared tins. Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven, or until a skewer is inserted, and comes out clean. Repeat process, depending on how many cake tins you have.

Cool cakes for 15-20 minutes in tins, and transfer to a wire rack. If not using immediately, wrap tightly with cling film once cakes are completely cool, and refrigerate. Bring down to room temperature to assemble and eat.

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Dark chocolate ganache: (you will need to make the ganache the day before serving the cake)

· 300g good quality dark chocolate, chopped, or choc bits
· 300ml thickened cream

In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and cream, and place over a low-medium heat, constantly stirring until melted. Place in a large bowl and let cool at room temperature. When ganache has cooled, cover with cling wrap and leave overnight at room temperature.

Assembly:

· Toasted coconut flakes or dessicated coconut
· 900g cherries, pitted and halved
· 100g whole cherries

Place one layer of mud cake on the stand/base. Place ganache in a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle. Pipe one small dob of ganache in the middle of the cake, and place halves of cherries around it. Repeat the process with ganache around the other side of the cherries, and repeat again. Sprinkle with coconut. The end result should look like this:

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Repeat the process three times, until you reach the top layer. You can really decorate the top layer however you want. I used the ganache for the middle of the top layer, and as you can, sprinkled coconut around the edges. I stuck the whole cherries in with the ganache, to ensure they weren’t going to fall off. I sliced the cherry ripes into sharp triangles, to look effective on the cake.

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Enjoy, and happy baking! X

Wedding Cakes, Sesame Street and more!

Well, I did say it could be a while. However, I am back, and back with lots of photos of cake! The last month has been absolutely flat out with cakes for me, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be slowing down any time soon! Which is not a bad thing, it is nice to busy making cake, than busy writing essays! Anyway, lets get to the important stuff – this cake below was made for a very special family wedding in late November, and I was super happy with how they turned out:

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The top cake was a 4” vanilla bean layer cake, filled with lemon curd. All of the cupcakes were a nice simple vanilla bean, with fondant flowers to match the bride’s beautiful dress. I love making vanilla bean cake, because it’s so simple, but has such a lovely flavour (providing you use good quality paste or beans). I am definitely a chocolate girl at heart, but vanilla bean brings a nice change and is so underrated.

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I used the trusty vanilla bean cupcake recipe by Taste.com, which I have been using for years, for both cakes. The recipe is so versatile – the result is always great with cupcakes, and small and large layer cakes.

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These cupcakes below have to be the most fun I have ever had making cakes! I was a little nervous to make these because I have never done anything like it before, but I was very happy with the results! As you probably know from my previous work, I am not a fan of fondant at all, but I had to make a slight exception for these cuties 🙂

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It was only the second time I have attempted bright red buttercream, because the first time, it was a nightmare! Red is such a difficult colour to get right, because you have to use sooooo much colour for it to be deep enough. However, if you add too much gel to the buttercream, it splits due to the amount of liquid = disaster. It took me two times to get it right, and the trick for me was to start with a deep pink, and then add the red to deepen the colour. If anyone has any tips for red buttercream – please let me know!! 🙂

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Below are some other Birthday and Christmas cupcake orders I have been lucky enough to make 🙂

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Happy Christmas baking to you all, stay tuned for a delicious festive dessert soon! x

P.S. For more regular photos and updates, follow me on Instagram – @whiskitforabiscuit

 

Pomegranate, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Pan Cookie

Delicious. Is just what this delightful pan cookie was. I have been wanting to make one of these for a while now, and it certainly did not disappoint. Crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, plus the addition of creamy salted caramel = YUM!

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 The combination of the sweet white chocolate, salty caramel, and the fresh little pops of the pomegranate seeds were a really great mix together. However, I also made smaller cookies on their own, which were delicious, but very, very soft, due to the amount of salted caramel I added! This combination is perfect for a pan cookie, topped with more pomegranate and some ice cream. Plus, these are so easy to make, and are a great dessert to share, or not to share 😉

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 Pomegranate, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Pan Cookie: 

Makes 1 pan cookie, and approximately 12 smaller cookies. You could halve this recipe for the pan cookie only.

  • 125g butter, chopped and softened, not melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup castor (white) sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4  cup self-raising flour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 250g good quality white choc chips
  • 2 tbs salted caramel (I used a homemade one, but you could also use Dulce de Leche, Nestle Top ‘N’ Fill Caramel)
  • Seeds of ½ a pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 160c. Grease a small non-stick pan (I used a 17cm pan) with butter, and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla, and the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, until completely mixed. Add the chocolate, salted caramel and pomegranate seeds, and mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared pan, filling it to the top, and smooth over mixture with a spoon. Place in pre-heated oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, and top with more pomegranate seeds and ice cream. Enjoy!

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FYI – you could easily use a bigger or smaller pan for this recipe, you would just need to adjust the cooking time, and keep an eye out for when the cookie is golden, or to your liking 🙂 Also, sorry for the crappy photos. I had to quickly snap away before the sun went down!

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Halloween Spooky Spider Chocolate Oreos

Can you believe it’s Halloween already?! I’m a little bit excited about this, as it means it’s getting nice and close to the best time of year – Christmas! Halloween is not really a huge deal in Australia, although it seems to have become more popular in recent years. This is only the second post I’ve ever done on Halloween, and I’m definitely looking forward to doing more. There are some pretty cool baking ideas I found on Pinterest for Halloween. People are so creative. These Oreos, however, are probably not the most creative. They are, in fact, very easy to make and insanely delicious.

 

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I am a little bit obsessed with chocolate covered Oreos at the moment. I see stacks of them on Instagram, and some people make them look  like the most amazing little morsels of sparkly treasure, and you would never know that a humble Oreo biscuit was nestled inside. I have officially been inspired. Yum.

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So, why not cover an Oreo with a totally justifiable amount of chocolate, and then whack another Oreo on top? Just as well I could turn them into spiders, and that it’s coincidentally the week of Halloween!

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My chocolate piping skills are very obviously flawed! I can’t say I have really ever piped melted chocolate before, and it’s really not the easiest thing to do. The designs on these Oreos definitely could have been cleaner, but I don’t mind too much as the taste totally makes up for it! There is no recipe for these Oreos, it’s pretty self explanatory. A little bit of chocolate in the mould, the Oreo, and more chocolate. You just have to have the right moulds (I got mine from Baking Pleasures).

These Oreos are awesome. They are quick and easy to make, a great idea for cooking with kids and super versatiile – you can make them any colour and design them however you wish, and best of all, they are super delicious.

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeeen!

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Top Deck Mini Cupcakes

It’s been a busy few weeks. I have been popping cupcakes out of my kitchen like no tomorrow! So, here, I present to you, Top Deck Mini Cupcakes. White Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate. It’s that simple.

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 These cupcakes are super easy to make, and are very delicious. I used the extremely trustworthy chocolate cupcake recipe that never lets me down, and my own white chocolate ganache to top them with. White Chocolate ganache is something I have always struggled to make. I find it is always runny, and I usually have to add a truckload of butter before it becomes somewhat of a pipe-able consistency. Nevertheless, it was yum!

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Chocolate Cupcakes:  (from Taste.com.au) 

Makes approx. 55 mini cupcakes

  • 100g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 125g butter, chopped and softened, not melted
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa

Line trays with cupcake cases, and preheat oven to 160c, fan forced (170c regular). Place the chocolate and water together in a small saucepan, and place over a low heat, stirring with a metal spoon until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until each is well combined. Place flours and cocoa in a separate bowl, and stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to the butter, sugar and egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Once combined, add the melted chocolate mixture and continue to stir with a wooden spoon until mixed. If the mixture is a little runny, leave it to settle for 10 minutes or so. Spoon mixture into cupcake cases, and bake for 15-18 minutes in preheated oven until cooked, or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean. Leave in trays to cool for 5 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack.

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 White Chocolate Ganache:

As I mentioned earlier, this is certainly not a perfect recipe. It took a lot of trial and error before I was happy with the taste and consistency. I would recommend making the white chocolate and cream mixture at least a few hours before, or even the day before.

 

  • 300g good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
  • 300g butter, softened, not melted

Place the white chocolate and the cream into a small saucepan, and stir with a metal spoon, over a low heat, until melted and smooth. Pour mixture into a heat proof bowl, and place in refrigerator. Beat butter until pale and creamy. Depending on the consistency, you may need to put the white chocolate and cream mixture in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. Gradually add the mixture to the butter, and beat until combined.

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Spoon the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle of your choice. Pipe ganache onto mini cupcakes. To store, place cupcakes in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. Cupcakes will last approximately 2-3 days. Enjoy!

Vanilla Bean and Raspberry Melting Moments

Melting moments are one of my favourite biscuits to make, and one of my favourite doughs to eat! (Let’s face it, there aren’t many doughs that I wouldn’t eat!) They are so yummy, and this version takes the usual melting moments up a notch, with delicious homemade raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream.

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This recipe was featured on Masterchef Australia 2 years ago (I think?!), and won contestant Julia a challenge. I have been wanting to make these for a long time, like many others things, but I am very glad I finally did. They really are delicious and were certainly worth the wait! Yum! I will most definitely be making these little gems again.

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Vanilla Bean and Raspberry Melting Moments: (recipe by Julia Taylor on Masterchef Australia)

I doubled the original recipe, as it said it would only make 5 sandwiched biscuits. I ended up with about 25 with a double batch, although I did try and make them small.

Biscuits:

  • 360g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 120g icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 120g custard powder
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 360g plain (all-purpose) flour

Preheat a fan forced oven to 180c. Line 2 oven trays with non-stick baking paper. Beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 2-4 minutes. Add the sugar and custard powder, and stir with wooden spoon until well combined. Add the flour and the baking powder to the dough, and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed well. Roll small ball of dough, and place them on the pre-lined oven trays. Press fork lightly onto dough, to leave an indent. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until very slightly golden. Let biscuits cool on trays, then transfer to wire racks.

Raspberry Jam:

  • 200g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 150g caster (white) sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Tbs cold water
  • 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin

Place raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan, and cook on low-medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Place water and gelatin together in a small bowl, and mix until combined. Stir into jam, and place in heatproof bowl, in the fridge, to cool.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

  • 250g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract

Beat butter until pale and creamy, 2-4 minutes. Beat in vanilla bean paste. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until all well combined. Spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle.

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To assemble:

Place likely pairs of biscuits, facing upwards, next to each other. On one biscuit spoon a small amount of the raspberry jam, and on the other biscuit, pipe a swirl of buttercream. Gently sandwich together. Be sure not to use too much jam as it will just drip out when you press the biscuits together. Biscuits are stored best in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. FYI – they are also best made the day before, as both the jam and buttercream will set, and the flavour will develop also.

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Happy Baking! 🙂