Saturday, June 14, 2014

Modelling Chocolate

This year, my daughter requested an Ohmu shaped birthday cake.

Previous birthday cakes have been cartoon characters that can be made easily using coloured buttercream on a flat shaped cake, but this one required some 3-dimensional construction.

I piled up rectangular layers of chocolate sponge cake stuck together with blueberry fruit spread - it's less sweet than jam - and then carved out the oval shape of the Ohmu.

After a skim coating of chocolate buttercream to smooth over the cake edges and give something for the outer layer to adhere to, it needed some brown rollable icing to make the carapace plates. Stick on some glace cherry halves for eyes, and add the legs at the front.

Now, commercial fondant icing is all very convenient and available in many colours. BUT IT TASTES HORRIBLE. A cake decorated with it may look pretty, but your guests will be quietly peeling the icing off before they eat. So I went looking for a recipe to make a rollable chocolate-flavoured icing. And discovered a new cake decorating wonder material!

All it takes is TWO ingredients.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Chiles en Vinaigre a.k.a Mexican Carrot Pickle

Mum used to make this one regularly when I was growing up. Unlike many of the other pickles and chutneys, this one was a big hit with us kids and a batch never lasted long.

The actual name of the recipe in the recipe book is Chiles en Vinaigre, but Mum went lighter on the chillies and bulked it out with the other vegetables, so we called it Mexican Carrot Pickle.

These days, I put in the original proportion of chillies - mild to medium big juicy ones like jalapenos, not scotch bonnets though!

This is the recipe for a single batch, but you could double up if you have a glut of peppers or carrots to use up.