Wednesday, 29 June 2011

I Have a Big Head and Little Arms

Disney Classic # 47 - Meet the Robinsons

Note: I apologise for the quality of the photographs on this and the next post. My camera died and was sent in for repair so I was using my phone/Angel's phone camera. Sorry!
Meet the Robinsons was another of the Disney films released in the 2000s which I hadn't seen before, so it's not surprising it ended up being the last movie I came up with an idea for. And to be honest, I didn't really come up with the idea. How it happened:

Scene: My living room, Fantasia 2000 Disney Night, sitting drinking tea before the film starts.
Me: OK guys, before I start the film I really need your help. I've now got ideas for all but one of the films, but I cannot for the life of me think of a cake to make for Meet The Robinsons
Craig: I've not seen it...
Me: Neither have I!
Mike: What about a T-Rex cake?
Me: Is there a T-Rex in the film?
Mike and Angel: Yup
Me: OK, fantastic, T-Rex cake it is!

So, with a lot of help from Angel, I set out to build a t-rex out of Rice Krispies, marshmallows and chocolate! We started off by building a skeleton out of cake dowels, which we were very pleased with!

Unfortunately, the day that we were making this cake was the hottest day since records began* so our marshmallow krispie Dino body wouldn't stick to the skeleton or set!

* Not based on any actual records, but on the fact that it was so hot that we almost forgot we were in the UK and wonder when and how we'd reached Africa. Seriously... it was THAT hot.

So we moved on to plan number two - truffle-rex! The truffle initially worked MUCH better than the krispies, until we added the torso, which was much too heavy for the frame and our poor Dino went extinct once more.

So we decided to have one last attempt - again we turned to the Rice Krispies, but this time we ditched the skeleton and decided to mould/model each body part, wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge to set. Once all of our Dino-parts were completely set we would just construct them using cake wire and cocktail sticks and hey presto... we'd have our T-Rex!

And this one almost, almost worked. Our only problem was that once the firm Dino-parts left the fridge for 30 seconds, they completely melted and were firm no more...

Angel didn't know whether to laugh or cry

So when watching Meet the Robinsons we ate chocolate Rice Krispies chunks and truffles and sighed at our lack of dinosaur. I let out another sigh when I realised that had I watched the film before I could and would have made a PBJ based dessert... considering that's Lewis' thing.

Anyways, when it came to writing the blog (the day after our Dino-disaster) I decided that I didn't work so damn hard to find a dessert for every Disney Classic so far to then churn out a dessert-less post for number 47... so I decided to make some PBJ sandwiches - cake style! (Which would be served when we met to watch Bolt... a bit of a peanut-butter overload but tasty nonetheless!)

I decided to make Angel food cake for the sponge, as the colour and consistency looks more like bread than normal vanilla sponge, and used a recipe found here. The "jelly" part of my sandwich was a simple layer of mixed fruit jam, and I made peanut-butter frosting by using my standard butter-cream recipe, but substituting the butter for 1/2 peanut-butter and 1/2 shortening. (My rational for this was that peanut-butter is runnier than normal butter, but shortening is stiffer, so combining the two in theory should leave me with a similar consistency the butter-cream... it made sense in my head and worked in practise so all good!)

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 10

60g plain flour
190g caster sugar
6 medium egg whites
half teaspoon of cream of tartar
half teaspoon of vanilla extract
half teaspoon of lemon juice
2 tbsp mixed fruit jam
50g shortening
100g crunchy peanut butter
250g icing sugar
Milk, as required

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a square baking pan with greaseproof paper (but do not grease!)
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in half of the sugar, set to one side.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until thick and fluffy. Add the remaining sugar to the egg white a little at a time, beating continuously until the mixture is glossy.
  4. Fold in the lemon juice, vanilla and flour mixture, then pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until springy. Place on a wire rack to cool.
  5. Whilst cooling, prepare the peanut butter frosting. In a large bowl, beat together the shortening and peanut butter. Add the icing sugar and beat until combined, adding as much milk as required to reach the desired consistency.
  6. Once cooled, cut the cake in half down the middle. Spread the jam over one of the halves and place the other sponge half on top. Spread a generous amount of peanut butter frosting over the top of the cake, cut into fingers slices and serve!

Next time we're watching Bolt, and I'll be making some doggy biscuits!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

And for the Record, I've Always Hated Your Choreography. It's so... 80's

Disney Classic # 46 - The Wild

The Wild was another movie which I'd never seen (and now wish that I hadn't!) so rather than come up with an ingenious plan for a dessert... I decided to go with the obvious: Animal Crackers, (or animal shaped biscuits, as it turned out!)

Looking at the DVD cover, I saw that there was a lion, a giraffe, an alligator, a koala, a snake and a squirrel... so when I found a packet of Animal Safari Cookie Cutters from the Natural History Museum containing lion, giraffe and alligator cookie cutters, I thought I was on to a winner.

Now I'm sure I could be forgiven for thinking that the recipe on the back of the packet would be a recipe for the sort of cookie dough that would maintain it's shape once baked - it really didn't. I think I managed to get one or two biscuits in each shape which looked the way they were supposed to, but most of the cookies just ended up looking like misshapen blobs. So much so that half way through baking I gave up with the cookie cutters and just rolled the dough into balls to make nice round biscuits. Both the blobs and the round biscuits tasted delicious! Anyways, this was the recipe from the back of the packet (I substituted the orange juice for lemon juice, as that's all I had in!)

Prep time: 20 mins plus 3 hours chill time
Cook time: 10-12 minutes per batch
Makes around 40 biscuits of various shapes/sizes
225g butter
200g granulated sugar
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons orange juice (I used lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
285g plain flour

  1. Using an electric mixer, mix together the butter, sugar, egg, baking powder, orange juice and vanilla extract until fluffy, then gradually stir in the flour by hand until well mixed.
  2. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, remove the dough from the clingfilm and knead slightly until ready to roll out.
  4. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  5. Roll out the dough a little at a time (I did mine in 4 batches) until about half a cm thick. Cut shapes out with your cutters, and place on the baking tray. (Alternatively, it you're making round biscuit, roll the dough into smallish balls and place on a baking tray. Flatten slightly with your fingers, making sure to leave plenty of space between each ball for the dough to spread.)
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown, then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray slightly before transferring to a wire wrack to cool.
  7. Laugh manically as you bite off each animal's head. Mwahahaha!
Next time we're watching Meet the Robinsons, and we'll be making a group attempt at building Tiny the T-Rex out of Rice Krispies, marshmallows and chocolate!!.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Mom! You Leave Barbra Out of This!!

Disney Classic # 45 - Chicken Little

I'd never watched Chicken Little before, because, frankly, it looked like poo. Anyway, that meant that I had no idea of what to do for a cake, so eventually I decided to work on the chicken/egg link. I'd originally decided to make a yummy egg custard tart, like this, but then I came across these Creme Egg Cupcakes, which looked and sounded amazing.

And so I had a dilemma.

I figured both were equally related to Chicken Little (working with the whole chicken/egg thing) but I really couldn't decide. I love egg custard tarts, and it would be interesting to make one, but the cupcakes have creme egg filling frosting on them. Alex suggested the custard tart, as I make cupcakes often and so that would bring a bit of variety to the mix... but the cupcakes have creme egg filling frosting on them.

Anyway, long story short I put it to the vote and the Creme Egg cupcakes won... mmm mmmm mmmm!

Prep time: 20 mins (plus around an hour for preparing the creme eggs!)
Cook time: 18 minutes
Makes 12 Cupcakes


For the cakes:
65g Cocoa powder
100g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
60 ml water
60ml milk
75g butter
150g granulated sugar
1 medium egg

For the Creme Egg frosting:
10 creme eggs
200g butter
500g icing sugar
splash of milk
Tip: putting the creme eggs into the freezer an hour before use makes them much easier to handle!
  1.  Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a bun tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder together into a bowl and put to one side. In a second bowl or jug, mix together the water and milk.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the egg and beat until combined.
  4. Stir half of the dry ingredients mixture into the butter and sugar, then add the milk and water, followed by the remaining dry ingredients, beating until combined between each addition.
  5. Spoon 2tsps of the mixture into each cupcake case and bake for 15-20mins until firm and spongy. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare the frosting. Carefully halve the creme eggs and scoop out the centres. Put the creme egg halves and the creme egg filling to one side. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until soft, then add the icing sugar gradually whilst continuously beating. One a smooth, silky consistency is reached, beat in the creme egg filling, adding a splash of milk to the mixture if it needs to be thinned. Put half of the mixture down one side of a piping bag, and colour the other half of the icing orange before place down the other side of the piping bag.
  7. Once the cakes have cooled pipe a swirl of frosting onto them, and then place one of the creme egg shell halves on the top.
  8. Stuff one in your mouth and smile!

Next time we're watching The Wild, and I'll be making animal crackers.

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I Think These Cows Got it in for Me!

Disney Classic # 44 - Home on the Range

Home on the Range starts the series of Disney films that I hadn't seen before now, and I've got to tell you that coming up for a dessert idea based on a film that you have never seen is bloody difficult, so you'll have to forgive me if the next few cakes don't really add up. This idea came to me in a random burst of inspiration, the title, "Home on the Range" as a Wild West-ern ring to it, in the Wild West they had wagons, and wagons had wheels. Therefore for this movie's cake I planned to replicate as best I could the biscuity marshmallow goodness of a Wagon Wheel.

Now originally I'd planned to do this by baking a chocolate cake, covering it in home made marshmallow, and covering that in chocolate. But my better half Alex protested "that's not what a Wagon Wheel is like!" he said, and then went to the shop and bought me one to prove it. He was right, of course. The Wagon Wheel was in fact more biscuit-y than cake-y, and the marshmallow was sandwich between two biscuits. I think I was thinking of a Tea Cake. Anyhow, after eating half a Wagon Wheel (Al had the other half) I re thunk the recipe in my head.

I kind of made this one up as I went along, but took inspiration from recipes here and here, although I have to admit I messed with the quantities somewhat.
Prep time: 20 mins
Chill time: 2 hours minimum
Serves: 12


175g milk chocolate
200g dark chocolate
300g Rich Tea biscuits
150g butter
pinch of salt
4tbsp caster sugar
3tbsp cocoa powder
4tbsp golden syrup
50ml boiling water
1tsp vanilla extract
1 sachet gelatin powder (around 10g)
100ml cold water
200g granulated sugar
1 egg white

  1. Line 2 cake tins with cling film, and a third with greaseproof paper. Sprinkle a little icing sugar or cornflour over the greaseproof paper.
  2. Break 75g of milk chocolate and 100g dark chocolate into a bowl and melt, either in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water. Put to one side. Blitz the Rich Tea biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs, again put to one side. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat, then add the pinch of salt, sugar, cocoa powder and golden syrup. Stir until all the ingredient have dissolved then remove from the heat. Pour the melted chocolate into the mixture and stir until well combined. Pour the chocolate mixture into the biscuit crumbs and mix well. divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins lined with cling film and pressed down with the back of the a spoon. Place in the fridge to chill.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and gelatin to the boiling water and stir until the gelatin has dissolved, put to one side. Place the cold water and the sugar in a heavy based pan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar as dissolved. Stop stirring and increase the heat, and leave the sugar to bubble until it reaches 122°C. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin. Beat the egg white until stiff, then slowly pour the sugar mixture into the egg white whilst still beating. Pour the marshmallow into the cake tin lined with greaseproof paper and leave to set for at least two hours.
  4. Once everything has set, melt the remaining chocolate and leave to cool slightly. Turn out one of the biscuit-cakes and place it on a serving board. Turn the marshmallow layer out on top of this, and carefully peel the greaseproof paper from the marshmallow.Turn the remaining biscuit-cake out and place it on top of the marshmallow. Spread the cooled, melted chocolate over the top and sides of the cake and leave to set.
  5. Cut into slices and enjoy!

Next time it's Chicken Little, and I'll be making some Eggs-celent cupcakes!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Well Gee, eh, You're One Big Beaver

Disney Classic # 43 - Brother Bear


So originally I was thinking I could sorta maybe try an Inuit recipe, and that yes, it may be a little unusual, but it has been fun trying out recipes I usually wouldn't throughout the Disney movie nights, so I went ahead a did a google search for "Inuit dessert". It turns out that there aren't many Inuit desserts, but one that did crop up every so often was Akutaq, or Eskimo ice-cream. "Perfect!" I thought, as I opened the recipe.

I'm sorry to say that I absolutely draw the line at serving and/or eating whipped reindeer fat and seal oil. Besides, I struggle to find simple things like shortening, pumpkins and hominy here in Cambridge - where on earth does one even buy reindeer fat (from the back) and seal oil?? So Akutaq was a complete no-go.

I tried to have a think about other aspects of the movie, and thought for a while about doing some sort of salmon cake (relating to the bears' time at the Salmon Run), but then I thought about my favourite scene from the film, when Kenai and Koda are looking at a cave painting of a human hunter and a bear, and Koda says "Those monsters are real scary" and Kenai looks at the painting of the bear but then Koda continues "Especially with those sticks" and the Kenai looks at the picture again and starts to see that from the bear's perspective the humans are the monsters, and not the bears as he had originally thought. Basically this scene:

So I decided to decorate a cake using that scene as my inspiration. I've made a lot of vanilla cakes and very few chocolate cakes throughout this series, so I figured I'd make a nice white chocolate cake underneath all of my pretty decoration, with the same yummy chocolate frosting I'd made last week for Treasure Planet (original recipe found here.)

Prep time: 20 mins (including frosting)
Cook time: 40 mins
Makes 12 slices

For the cake:
300g margarine
300g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
300g self raising flour
200g white chocolate

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 decoration:
300g ready to roll white icing
Brown food colouring
1tsp icing sugar
Drop of vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, and grease a round baking tin.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then put to one side to cool slightly.
  3. Beat the margarine and caster sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the melted, cooled white chocolate to the mixture and fold in gently, before tipping in the flour. Continue to fold until all the ingredients combine to a smooth mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tine and bake for 40 minutes, until the cake is springy to touch, or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Whilst the cake is cooling, prepare the decorations. To make the frosting, whisk the milk, flour and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture thickens. Place this into a small bowl to cool. Melt the chocolate and place to one side to cool. 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. (Tip: placing the frosting in the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes before use will make it firmer and easier to manage.)
  6. To prepare the covering, knead the ready to roll icing until pliable. Create a well in the centre of the icing and place a drop of brown food colouring. Knead the colour into the icing, stopping when the icing is mostly coloured but still shows signs of marbling. Wrap tightly in clingfilm until ready to use.
  7. Once the cake has fully cooled, cut into three layers. Sandwich the cake layers with the chocolate frosting, and spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of the cake to help stick the ready to roll icing down.
  8. Roll the rtr icing to the desired thickness and place over the cake smoothing gently with your hands, then trim the edges.
  9. Dip a cocktail stick into the brown food colouring and carefully draw your designs around the edge of the cake by making small dots and dashes with the cocktail stick. Mix a drop of brown food colouring with 1tsp of icing sugar and a drop of vanilla extract to create an edible paint. Paint the design on the top of the cake, then smudge the edges slightly with your brush. Leave the colouring to dry for 10-15 minutes before cutting into slices and serving. (this one is especially good with a cuppa!)

Next time we're watching Home on the Range and I'll be making a giant Wagon Wheel.

Happy Thoughts