Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Tea, Cake, the Whole Shebang!

Disney Classic # 42 - Treasure Planet

I came up with the idea for this cake back in 2010 when steampunk had a new wave of popularity in the UK. It was everywhere! I was thinking about cakes and treats I could bake for the Disney movies which came out in the 2000's which I am less familiar with, and it hit me that not only the design, but also the principle of Treasure Planet had a steampunk vibe. A Victorian tale animated with a sci-fi spin - heck, even Cap'n Long John Silver is a cyborg! Originally I had planned to make cupcakes decorated with cogs and gears, but unfortunately my cogs and gears turned out sub-standard so I decided to try to make a compass to decorate a large cake instead. Not as "steampunk" as I would have liked... but it does tie in with the movie!!

I decided to make the cake chocolate orange, as the flavour was suggested a few weeks back as alternative to the strawberry cupcakes I made for Atlantis, and I thought it would be both yummy, and the brown cake/frosting would suit the theme. I sort of made the cake recipe up as I went along, but used this recipe for the icing.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Makes 12 slices


For the cake:
200g margarine
200g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
2 medium eggs
rind and juice of one orange
2tbsp cocoa powder
75g dark chocolate, melted

For the frosting:
120 ml milk
2 tbsp plain flour
pinch of salt
120g dark chocolate
100g butter
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the decoration:
White chocolate stars
Modelling paste
Bronze and silver lustre dust
Vanilla extract
Edible glue

Note: The compass decoration can be made a couple of days in advance to save on time, and needs to be made at least one day in advance to allow it time to dry.

  1. To make the compass decoration: roll out the modelling paste to the desired thickness. Cut two rounds out and press into the rounds of a bun tray to set, these will form the outer casing of the compass. Mould a round insert to fit inside this parts. Cut out two crosses and a "pointer". Mix the lustre dust with a little vanilla extract to make a paint. Paint the outer casing and the pointer bronze, and paint the arrows silver. Leave everything to dry for a few hours then use the edible glue to stick everything together.
  2. To make the cake: Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and grease and line a cake tin.
  3. Beat the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl until creamy. Mix in roughly half of the flour until just combined, then beat in one of the eggs. Repeat with the remaining flour and eggs until a smooth mixture has formed.
  4. Grate the orange zest into the mixture and then fold in the orange juice until a pale and creamy mixture has formed.
  5. Add the melted dark chocolate and the cocoa powder to the mixture and beat until fully combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth with the back of a spoon until level. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes - 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to rest in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
  7. Once cooled, make the frosting. In a small saucepan over a medium heat, whisk the milk, flour and salt until the mixture thickens. Place this into a small bowl to cool.
  8. Melt the chocolate and place to one side to cool.
  9. Grate the butter into a large bowl, then add the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Beat with an electric mixer on a low speed for 1-2 minutes, than add the milk mixture, followed by the cooled, melted chocolate. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
  10. Spread the frosting over the cake than sprinkle the white chocolate stars over the top. Place the compass decoration in the middle of the cake, cut into slices and enjoy!

Next time we're watching Brother Bear, and I'll be decorating a chocolate cake based on images in the movie.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Also Cute and Fluffy!

Disney Classic # 41 - Lilo and Stitch

When it came to thinking of a cake for Lilo and Stitch, pineapple upside-down cake just seemed to make sense. (Although I should mention that even though this choice seems fairly obvious, a friend did have to make the hint before I picked up on it!) I'd decided quite early on that rather than baking any old upside-down cake, I'd do my best to Stitch-ify the design on top of the cake. It's just a shame they don't make blue pineapples...

I looked through all of my cookbooks for a pineapple upside down pudding recipe to no avail (which seemed strange, I thought people loved pineapple upside down pudding!!) so I ended up using a recipe a found here. I found the image to use as a template for my Stitch-side-up pattern here.

Prep time: 50 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
Makes 12 slices

(Note: the prep time here is so high because it took a while to cut the cherries and pineapple rings to the correct size and to place them all to look like Stitch's face. If you go for a more traditional pineapple-upside-down cake design using whole rings and whole cherries the prep time would probably only be 15-20 mins)

200g margarine
200g golden caster sugar
Small tin of pineapple rings drained from their juice (reserve 2tbsp of the juice)
Half a pot of glace cherries
150g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp lemon juice
3 eggs

  1. Preheat to oven to gas mark 4. Place your template picture onto the bottom on a 9" loose bottomed cake tin, and place a layer of grease-proof paper over that.
  2. Beat together 50g of margarine with 50g of sugar and spread this evenly over the bottom and sides of the cake tin, making sure you can still see the template design below.)
  3. Slice the cherries into thin strips, and cut the pineapple slices into small chunks. Use the cherry slices as the outline of your design, and use the pineapple chunks to fill the gaps.
  4. Place the remaining ingredients (including the 2tbsp of reserved pineapple juice) into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until just combined. Carefully spoon the mixture on top of the pineapple and smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until springy to touch or a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven but leave to stand in the tin for 5 minutes, before carefully turning out onto a serving plate.
  6. Get your friends to admire your masterpiece, then cut into slices and serve warm!

Next time we're watching Treasure Planet, and I'll be making some yummy steam-punk inspired cupcakes!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

I Didn't Even Eat Carrots!

Disney Classic # 40 - Atlantis

The idea for this cake came from the memory that I had of this film (which I hadn't watched in the years since it first came out!) and that memory was BLUE. I recalled the film having very blue-tones (not surprising considering it's based under water) but I also remembered the bright brilliant blue of the magic crystals that protected the Atlantians. So it was these bright blue magic crystals, the Heart of Atlantis, that I decided to recreate in cake form.

I decided that as I was basing the only decoration of these cakes on the Heart of Atlantis, that I'd let my friends decide on what flavour the cupcakes would be underneath all of the blue icing and glitter. They decided on strawberry, possibly the least "blue" flavour they could have come up with, but it sounded tasty all the same. I had a vague idea in my head of wanting to bake fresh strawberries into the middle of the cupcakes, but wasn't sure if this would work so I set to researching my recipe books. the recipe I ended up using was an amalgamation of the "Strawberry Jam Fairy Cakes" recipe in Peyton and Byrne's British Baking and the "Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins" recipe in BBC Good Food's 101 Cakes and Bakes. 

Prep time: 45 mins                  Cook time: 15 - 20 mins
Makes 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

100g margarine
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp natural yogurt
50g strawberry jam
6 fresh strawberries

For the frosting:

200g unsalted butter
450g icing sugar
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
blue food colouring

For the decoration:

Black or brown liquorice laces
150g Fondant icing (white or blue)
Blue food colouring (if using white icing)
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp water
Blue edible glitter

Note: As these cupcakes contain fresh fruit they do not keep very well and are best eaten on the day of baking.
Tip: to save time you could make the decorations a few days in advance

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla, yogurt and jam to the mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  3. Hull and halve the strawberries. Spoon 1 teaspoon of cake mixture into each cupcake case, and then place half a strawberry on each, pushing it down slightly. Cover each strawberry with another half teaspoon of cake mixture, until all of the mixture has been used up.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and springy to touch. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the butter cream and the decorations for the top of the cupcakes. To make the "Heart of Atlantis" gemstones: colour the fondant icing blue, and mould into the required shape (I made various different shapes and sizes... whatever you feel like!) Mix 2 tbsp of icing sugar with 1tbsp water to make an edible "glue". Tip the blue glitter onto a plate. Roll each gemstone into the "glue" then immediately roll it in the glitter. Leave to dry. Once they have dried, place them on the middle of a liquorice lace.
  6. To make the butter cream: beat together the butter, icing sugar and milk until soft and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and mix well. Separate the icing into three bowls. Leave one bowl of icing un-coloured, colour one a pale blue and colour the third a darker shade of blue. When putting the icing into your piping bag, put one colour down one side, one colour on the other side and the third colour in the middle.
  7. Once the cupcakes have sufficiently cooled, pipe icing onto them and then place the "Heart of Atlantis" decorations on top.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Next time it's Lilo and Stitch - my favourite from this period, and I'll be making a pineapple upside-down pudding!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

All About ME

Disney Classic # 39 - The Emporer's New Groove

Hello! It's good to be back!!

I have a confession to make - The Emperor's New Groove was the last Disney film I went to watch at the cinema up until The Princess and the Frog was released last year - and since that day in 2001 I've harboured a severe dislike for the film. If I'm completely honest, when I first started hosting Disney Movie Nights at my house I had said that we wouldn't be watching this movie (and a few of the others that came out in the 2000's!) and instead would switch in the Disney/Pixar films... but it was decided later that it wouldn't be right to miss out films just because I don't like them/haven't seen them and that we should do all 50 in the collection.

Anyway, the point of telling you this is to explain why I was less than enthusiastic about this film, and for the cake decided to just rely on my fail-safe of "a recipe from the place where the film is set". So I did a little googling a found out that the Emperor of The Emperor's New Groove is an Inca Emperor. So I did a little more googling and found out that most Inca dessert recipes contain quinoa, which for some reason just doesn't sit right with me. I mean quinoa is delicious... in savory dishes. I'm just not sure that it would be so great in a cake. (This is rich coming from a girl who puts cocoa powder in her chilli con carne...!) So I decided to continue googling to see if I could find anything else when I came across this recipe for Inca Kola cake, which has Inca Kola in it. I thought it looked pretty good, and apparently Inca Kola tastes like pineapple bubblegum Irn Bru cream soda but better, so I really wanted to make this cake.

Problem: Inca Kola is not readily available in the UK. (Story of my life as a blogger!!) However, as I had a fair bit of time between the last cake and this one, I was able to track some down at a small Peruvian restaurant in London Bridge (with a LOT of help from Helen!)... and so the Inca Kola cake was born!

Now, at risk of offending many people who are completely infatuated with Inca Kola... I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I tasted Inca Kola for the first time. Not because it wasn't delicious... it really is!! But it tastes just like Irn Bru. I think Irn Bru is fizzier... but the taste is so similar I think you could do something similar to the Pepsi challenge and many people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two (except for that one is bright yellow and the other bright orange... that's a bit of a give away!)

Prep time: 20 mins        Cook time: 1 hour                   
Makes 1 bundt cake and 12 cupcakes

225g butter
110g shortening
500g caster sugar
5 eggs
90ml sour cream
1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
200ml Inca Kola
450g self raising flour

For the glaze:
175g icing sugar
2 tbsp Inca Kola
Coloured sugar strands to decorate

A couple of notes before I begin:
  1. I had to convert this recipe from American "cups" - which I still can't get my head around - and somehow I ended up with enough mixture to make a whole ring cake AND 12 cupcakes. If that is too much cake (if there is such a thing!!) I would suggest reducing each item to 3/4... on estimate this should leave just enough mixture for the ring cake... even though the cupcakes were delicious!
  2. This mixture doesn't rise an awful lot, so go ahead and fill you ring tin almost to the top!
  3. This recipe is very simple if you have a free standing mixer. A handheld mixer is slightly more tricky, but still doable. Mixing by hand will take a lot of time and elbow grease!
  4. Start with all of your ingredients at room temperature!
OK so after all that babble, it's time to tell you how to do it!

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 and grease a ring/bundt tin
  2. In a very large bowl mix together the butter and shortening until smooth and creamy.
  3. Continue beating whilst you add the sugar a little at a time, until it is well combined and the mixture is light in colour and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating continuously.
  4. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, the rind of the lemon and a tbsp of juice from the lemon and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the flour and Inca Kola a little bit at a time alternating between the two until just mixed.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 15. Make cupcakes with any remaining mixture.
  7. Once a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in it's tin for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To make the glaze, mix the Inca Kola into the icing sugar a little at a time until you reach to desired consistency. Spoon the glaze over the cake and decorate with sprinkles.
  9. Cut into slices and serve.

Next time we're watching Atlantis, and I'll be making some very blue cupcakes!

Happy Thoughts