The Cakes of Cake International 2014

A few weeks ago I went to Cake International – The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show – at EventCity
in Manchester. You may have already read my post on Mary Berry’s appearance at the show. One of my favourite parts of Cake International is all the amazing cakes that are on display for the visitors to view. They are simply stunning and are without doubt works of art. This post is full of beautiful photos as I wanted to share the stunning cakes with you! Perhaps they will inspire you to try out cake decorating yourself, or give you ideas for an upcoming event…

Wedding & Celebration Cakes

A simple and romantic idea.

I love how the birds hang at each side holding the bunting, so clever!

The hand painted detail in the cake pictured above is stunning and must have taken hours to complete.

A gorgeous floral effect cake, the detail is beautiful.

An Asian inspired square cake with ‘pillow’ tiers at the top.

I love anything rainbow and this cake is so captivating and colourful.

This cake above looks quite simple, but the floral design on the side has been hand painted and the flowers on top were crafted out of sugar.

I cannot get over the detail on the side of this cake pictured above. I am in awe of how this is even possible!

Cupcakes

A simple but stunning idea! Would be great for a garden lover’s birthday.

Having the apple domed cupcakes hanging from the tree, and baskets full of apple cupcakes below is a fabulous way to display these cupcakes.

Novelty Cakes

I love this Steam Punk themed cake pictured above, very unique.

The Corpse Bride is a wonderful film and I am a big Tim Burton fan, I love the look of this cake.
 

This cake is themed around The Dark Crystal and the hand painted design work is so intricate, plus the structural work of getting the whole thing to balance with the thin middle tier – amazing! As you can see it won a 1st prize, deservedly so.

This cake is perfect for any book fan, it nods to Peter Pan, The Chronicles of Narnia, and of course, Harry Potter.

 

Wow! The detail here is breathtaking. From the fur on the bear and the lion, to the jewels and wrinkles of the elephant. Structurally it is so unique. A masterpiece!

 

 A Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs themed cake.

 

A How To Train Your Dragon themed cake.

I love the detail on the Coca Cola Polar Bear cake, from the bear’s fur to the droplets of water on the Coke can.

A homage to Mary Berry!

 

I hope you feel as bedazzled and awed as I was by all the beautiful creations!

If you missed Cake International Manchester you can catch it again in London 10th – 12th April, and in Birmingham 7th – 9th November 2014.

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Treat Petite March – Round Up

This month’s theme for Treat Petite was ‘Ireland’. This meant anything traditionally Irish, made with Irish ingredients or inspired by Ireland and/or St Patrick’s Day.

My fellow Treat Petite host Cakeyboi entered these Grasshopper Marshmallows. They are mint chocolate flavour and green in colour for St Patrick’s Day. They look soft and light, and I love the marbled colour effect!

Emily from Cooking for Kishore submitted her Grandma Walsh’s Irish Soda Bread. This is a well loved family recipe, perfect with a cup of tea!

Johanna from the Green Gourmet Giraffe entered her St Patrick’s Day Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes. Johanna is a huge fan of anything green and also made soda bread and a spinach dip as well as decorating to celebrate St Patrick’s Day – the ultimate green day!

Caroline at The More Than Occasional Baker sent over a No Bake Chocolate Peppermint Slice. A great time saving recipe and a delicious flavour combination with a biscuit base and minty filling.

I made some Guinness Chocolate Brownies which were very rich, moist and simple to make. They disappeared fast when I took them into work on St Patrick’s Day!

Finally, Caroline Makes… entered her Mini Sticky Toffee Pudding with Irish Whiskey Sauce. Made with Irish whiskey these sweet puddings sound like the perfect warming treat!

Thank you to everyone who entered this month! If you fancy making any of the treats above, please click the links for the full recipes. Look out for April’s annoucement coming soon from Cakeyboi!

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Iced Biscuits: Cookie Stamp Review

I recently got sent a cookie stamp by Chef’n to try out. A cookie stamp not only cuts out the shape of your biscuits, but also imprints a pattern or image into the dough that remains after baking. You can leave the biscuits plain or ice them like I did. I’ve never iced biscuits before, and the stamp made it really easy as it left a pattern to follow and a ‘dip’ in the cookie for the icing to sit.

Chef’n sell lots of awesome kitchen and baking gadgets and the cookie stamp comes in a neat little pot with the cutter as the lid, and the different stamps inside. Perfect for easy storage!

I used the biscuit recipe inside the box as it recommend using it for best results. I started by mixing 225g caster sugar and 340g butter. Then I added 1 large egg and 2 tsp vanilla extract and mixed in. Finally I added 515g flour and 1/2 tsp salt and formed the mixture into a dough.

I cut the dough in half, wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for one hour.

I took the dough out and rolled it on a floured surface. I kept it quite thick, about 3/4 inch. I chose a stamp and attached it to the cutter, then cut out the cookies.

I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutes. As you can see I over baked the second batch! I blame Friday night baking after a long week at work…

I made up some icing using water, icing sugar and a variety of food colourings. I put the icing into piping bags and snipped of the ends – remember not to snip off too much as you want it to be quite a thin line. I piped each colour separately and let each one set before adding the next.

I was really impressed with my icing! As a total beginner to iced biscuits I think I did a really good job for a first try. The effect looked really great, especially the more complex designs. This would be a fantastic activity for baking with children and they would have lots of fun stamping out the biscuits as well as icing them – I certainly did! The biscuits themselves were really yummy too (even the over baked ones!), so it is definitely a recipe I would use again. Maybe next time I will add some cocoa powder for chocolate biscuits.

You can purchase the cookie stamp here or for your local stockist call 01730 811 811.

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Iced Biscuits
Ingredients
  • 225g Caster sugar
  • 340g Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 515g Plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 200g Icing sugar
  • Food colouring
Instructions
Start by mixing the caster sugar and butter. Then add the egg and vanilla extract and mix in. Finally add the flour and salt, form the mixture into a doughWrap the dough in cling film and chill it in the fridge for one hourRoll the dough out on a floured surface to a thickness of 3/4 inch. Cut out the cookies using a cutter and set them on a lined baking trayBake them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutesMix the icing sugar with water and desired food colourings. I put the icing into piping bags and snip of the ends. Pipe each colour separately and let each one set before adding the next

NB. I was sent the stamp for free to review, but was not asked to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

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Guinness Chocolate Brownies

Happy St Patrick’s Day! These delicious moist brownies are the perfect way to celebrate the day. The addition of Guinness to the chocolate mixture intensifies the flavour and makes them super gooey. Plus, they are so easy to make. Perfect for an after dinner treat tonight, or anytime!

I started making the brownies by melting 225g dark chocolate, 75g butter and 200ml Guinness in a pan on a low heat until glossy and smooth.

I let the mixture cool slightly, then poured it into a bowl and mixed in 300g light brown sugar and 3 eggs.

Finally I added 100g plain flour and mixed in. I poured the mixture into a lined square baking tin and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

When the brownies were ready I left them to cool…but not for long! I soon sliced in and enjoyed a delicious warm brownie. I highly recommend eating these warm! They would be amazing with ice cream.

As the theme for myself and Cakeyboi‘s monthly baking challenge Treat Petite is Ireland this month, I am entering these gorgeous moist brownies made with a classic Irish tipple!

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Guinness Chocolate Brownies
Ingredients
  • 225g Dark chocolate
  • 75g Butter
  • 200ml Guinness
  • 300g Light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 100g Plain flour
Instructions
Start by melting the dark chocolate, butter and Guinness in a pan on a low heat until glossy and smoothLet the mixture cool slightly, then pour it into a bowl and mixed in the light brown sugar and eggsFinally add the plain flour and mix in. Pour the mixture into a lined square baking tin and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes

Recipe from Good Houskeeping.

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Mary Berry at Cake International

At the weekend I visited Cake International – The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show – at EventCity
in Manchester. For the second year the show, the largest of its
kind in the world, came to Manchester after a successful first year in the city in 2013. See my review on last year’s show here. I didn’t have as much time to spend at the show as I did last year so I had to prioritise, and of course seeing Mary Berry came out on top!

Mich Turner and Mary Berry were this year’s star guests and the opened the show at 10am in front of an eager crowd! Mich Turner MBE is the founder of Little Venice Cake Company, a successful author, an award winning cake designed and has a host of celebrity clients from Cheryl Cole to Her Majesty the Queen.

I watched Mary’s demonstration on the Cake International Theatre Stage where she started by making a Tirimasu Cake. The sponge layers were soaked with a coffee and it was filled and covered in cream and mascarpone cheese. She said that she likes to show people cakes that they can go home and make themselves, and she keeps in mind that you don’t always have another person in the kitchen to help you so keeps things simple.

While she was making the cake she talked about The Great British Bake Off. While Mary doesn’t bother to weight out the cake batter for every sponge layer, all of the contestants on GBBO do! She hoped that we thought her and Paul were fair judges and confirmed that no one else is involved in the judging decision. It is just her and Paul, without any interference from the BBC.

Mary does not like half fat or low fat products. She insisted that if you make the Tirimasu you must use full fat mascarpone cheese! She thinks that it is better to have a small slice of something perfect. However, she is giving up chocolate for lent. Although, she said, she could never give up alcohol!

Mary is fiercely passionate about getting children involved in baking and believes it is part of their education. The photo above is Mary and her three children. The second recipe she made were some Granola Bars. She smiled as she told us how she gets sent lots of photos around Christmas time of gingerbread houses that children have made. She often bakes with her grandchildren and thinks it is important to teach kids to bake and make things that they will enjoy eating.

She asked if we’d been watching her new show Mary Cooks and told us that the focus of the show was family baking and things that you can prepare ahead of time. The show is part of an exciting year for Mary which has included an appearance on Strictly Come Dancing. She told us how she would never appear as a dancer on the show, but she did have a dance with Anton Du Beke in the make up room!

Mary also appeared on Piers Morgan which she really enjoyed as she had a ‘new frock’ and very high heels. She thinks that Piers was nice to her and kept the show clean as his mum was there and she is a GBBO fan.

And finally, Mary’s advice for being a good baker was that you need two things. Passion, and digital scales!

If you missed Cake International Manchester you can catch it again in London 10th – 12th April, and in Birmingham 7th – 9th November 2014.

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Treat Petite March

Welcome to Treat Petite March!

If you haven’t already, head on over to Cakeyboi to check out the amazing entries we received for February’s Loved Ones theme, so nice to see what you all made for your loved ones!

In honour of St Patrick’s Day this month’s theme is…

Ireland

So you can enter any recipe with an Irish theme, ingredient, or inspired by Ireland and/or St Patrick’s Day. It could be Irish coffee cupcakes, a rich chocolate Guinness brownie or you could give chocolate potato cake a try!

Remember the idea behind Treat Petite is quite simple – it’s any sweet treat you can think of that’s not a big cake! From cookies to macarons, krispie treats to truffles; we want to see any delicious concoction you conjure up in the kitchen that is individually portioned!! And don’t worry; cupcakes are permitted.

Here are those all important rules;

1. Email kat.buckley@hotmail.com by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest – include in the e-mail your name, if you have a blog the URL of your post and name of your blog, recipe and a photo (640x480pixels max) of your bake.

2.  If applicable post your bake onto your blog and link back to Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer, stating who is hosting that particular month

3. Follow Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer blogs via the Google Join this Site button, if you haven’t already.

4. If you tweet use #treatpetite and mention @MrCakeyboi and @BakingExplorer – we will retweet

5. Add the challenge logo to the post and ‘Treat Petite’ as a label to the post

6. Use any recipe as long as the source is noted

7. Add your photo to the ‘Treat Petite’ Pinterest board and request access from Cakeyboi

8. Feel free to enter old posts as long as you update the post and meet all the requirements above!

If you have any questions at all, please contact Cakeyboi or The Baking Explorer.

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