Sunday, 5 January 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

The end of 2013 seems to have flown by in no time at all - I've no idea where the time has gone...

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year!

It's been a while since I posted, so I thought I'd share a few of the things I've been baking recently and what I'd like to do in 2014.

I didn't mention in my last post, but I also entered the Christmas Bauble cake into a competition at Bolling Hall in Bradford. They were holding a Victorian Fayre which included a Christmas Cake competition. As I'd made the cake for the Renshaw competition the day before, I decided to take it along and enter it there too.

I entered the cake and we enjoyed an afternoon at the Fayre. At the end, we went back to the competition tent and I was delighted to find that I had won the competition.

First Prize was a lovely trophy - I was really pleased!

After trying out my hemisphere cake pans on the Christmas Bauble cake, I decided to make another round cake for Christmas Day.

I'm really not a fan of Christmas Pudding, but the Mr really loves it! I decided to make a chocolate cake in the shape of a Christmas Pudding instead.

The recipe I used was from my day at the Peggy Porschen Academy. Peggy's Rich Dark Chocolate Cake is heavenly! It has a just cooked centre so it's lovely and sticky, and is sandwiched and covered in a dark chocolate ganache.

You can find the recipe in Peggy's Boutique Baking book.

I used the medium (6 1/2") hemisphere pan and a half batch of the recipe. After the first hemisphere had baked and cooled, I made up another half batch of the recipe and baked.

The recipe is for a hot mix, so make sure the oven and tin are ready as it needs to go in immediately!

I dropped the temperature to 130-140 fan and each hemisphere took about an hour and a half to bake.

I had a bit of difficulty getting the cakes out from the pan due to the stickiness - it took a bit of persuasion but they survived fairly unscathed!

After sandwiching and crumbcoating, I needed to pour the rest of the ganache over the cake.

I reheated it a little in the microwave and started pouring it over the cake. Then I noticed that the ganache had just started to split....

I was committed at that point though! Luckily, the ganache tasted normal and I think the slightly textured look helped with the overall appearance of the pudding - Bonus!

I made a few holly leaves and berries and drizzled some water icing over the cake for a traditional look.

Earlier in the year, I made a camouflage cake for a 15th Birthday. After some advice from Google+, I gave the cake a go.

I made up a few shades of green icing along with some brown and black, and made blobs of different sizes. I then rolled the dough out and it created a camouflage effect.

The result is really effective, but it was so difficult to move! It came apart a bit when I lifted it over the cake, so I needed to do a bit of patching up!

The cake turned out pretty well, despite the patching up! I'm definitely going to have to figure out a better way of moving the icing next time...

Over Christmas, a few things I thought I knew about my food preferences changed significantly.

I don't like Prawn Cocktail - Wrong! I've always loved prawn cocktail crisps, but I wasn't really keen on prawn cocktail itself. I had prawn cocktail on Christmas Day for the first time in years and it was really good - my opinion has definitely changed!

I don't like Trifle - Wrong! The trifle we had was really good! Lots of satsuma etc segments, tangerine jelly, custard and dream topping topped with cherries and chocolate leaves. As a kid, I really disliked the soggy, boozy fingers in the bottom of the trifle, so the fruity version made a refreshing change!

The lovely Mr bought me my own domain name for Christmas - I was so pleased!

Gone now is and hello!

It took a bit of setting up and I did panic for a while when neither link worked! Luckily, the DNS updates only took a few hours. If it had taken up to 72 I really would have panicked....

I've *tried* to clean up the layout a bit so I hope you like the update!

I'm not really one for making New Years Resolutions, but there are a few things that I'd really like to do this year.

Hopefully, sharing them here will give me a bit more incentive and motivation!

What are your plans for 2014?

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