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Showing posts from March, 2011

A cake for Olive

I had a lot of fun planning my daughter's 3rd birthday cake.  However even the best laid plans can go awry.

Initially I'd planned to make a two-tiered white chocolate mud cake, covered in fondant and decorated with fondant strawberries, leaves and flowers in a homage to Cath Kidston.  I wanted my first fondant covered cake to be stunning.

Sometimes though, you have to let the cakes (or lack of cake) decide what your design will be.

The 9inch cake worked out perfectly - it was tall and even and cooked through. At the time I thought I was on fire!  Then I cooked the 6inch cake.

The worst thing a baker can do is start to feel cocky before the cake is finished.  I must have invoked a curse because my 6inch cake had a big crack on the surface.  I tested it with the skewer (in multiple spots) and came out clean.  Fantastic!  I let it rest on the bench and got busy with cleaning up.

Fifteen minutes later I took a look at my cake and the crack had turned into a ravine with lots of ra…

Mastering macarons

In case you missed the news, Nigella was in town last week.

That’s right, the domestic goddess herself. I just adore her attitude to food and those gorgeous cashmere cardigans.... they’re the kitchen accessory I covet the most in this world after a Kitchen Aid mixer.

It got me thinking: if Nigella were to pop round for arvo tea at my place, what would I make? I delved into How to be a Domestic Goddess for inspiration and then it came to me – macarons!

Macarons are the most elegant biscuits in the world – a divine concoction of almond meal, icing sugar and egg whites, sandwiched with ganache or buttercream. They shouldn’t be confused with macaroons which are more like little cakes and are made traditionally with coconut.

Macarons are quintessentially French and are about to take over from cupcakes as the next big thing in baking. If you were a fan of Masterchef Australia you would have seen Adriano Zumbo’s killer Macaron Tower challenge.

There are hundreds of blogs celebrating the ma…

Baking resolve

I finally got a kick in the pants this week to just get on with it.

A timely admission of being less than perfect from Glorious Treats made me realise that there’s never going to be a perfect time to bake, create and write. Not everything will bake properly. Not everything will look pretty and I have the kitchen I have so stop wishing and hoping for something better.

I have a framed “Keep calm and carry on” tea towel in my family room/kitchen. It’s my daily mantra for when my daughter acts like a preschooler and the house is looking worse for wear.
I mutter it under my breath when inevitable baking disasters occur. I force myself to remember it when the dog has dug up my lavender bush to make a nest for herself in the sun.
I still swear and throw things at the bench but I take that deep breath sooner and think about how to solve the problem or resolve to start again. When all else fails, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and a little lie down on the co…