Marshmallow bunnies and Easter excitement

huddleGuys. I’m so excited about Easter. I ate a Crème Egg last night and I can’t contain the excitement any longer. As soon as I cave and eat an Easter egg, I can’t help but get excited. The Easter flood gates have officially opened!

This year’s Easter is going to be quieter than years gone by; we don’t have much planned. My cousins usually bring their kids over, which results in much cuteness (see instagram for exhibit A) Continue reading

Toffee custard pots and Autumn food

aboveI went through a phase where I made about 50 different kinds of pots de crème for the blog. It was a delicious time! I haven’t made one in a long time, so I figured, with Autumn chills creeping in, that a comforting little toffee pot would be warmly welcomed.

And I was not wrong.

The warm little pots are indulgent and smooth, the perfect little treat for a night snuggled under the blankets. I wish that I had taken them to the outdoor cinemas the other night – The Boy and I went to North Sydney moonlight cinemas and it rained!

Insert crying emoji here. Continue reading

Recipe testing and a tea giveaway

Yay! Competition time! I used to love entering competitions. Actually, I still do, I just don’t often find the time to do so. If I weren’t at a distinct advantage with this giveaway, I would totally enter it myself.

I’m currently recipe testing for cakes that will feature on my (currently non-existent) Etsy shop, so I don’t have a recipe for you all. I do have progress pictures though, and I’m super excited about the process! I’m going for vintage-style, flower-garnished tiered cakes. After the success of my three tiered vanilla cake recently, I was inspired to perfect this vanilla and rose cake.

above

stand

side

slice

I’ll just leave those there.

Perfection is not my aim, and fondant is not even close to being on the cards. I’m a buttercream revivalist, a naked cake enthusiast, a tea-party-appropriate cake connoisseur.

And I could not be more enthusiastic about it!

If you’re interested in buying a cake like this, you can email me at gabquirk@gmail.com as the Etsy store isn’t up and running yet. Drop me a line, I’d love to chat.

Back to competition though.

higher living tea rangeTea and cute things – what more could you want out of a giveaway?

In this giveaway you have the chance to win part of a $200 prize pack – so get your thinking hats on!

First place will win $50 worth of Higher Living Herbal Tea and $30 worth of Foddies baked goods.

foddies 2Second place will receive $50 worth of Higher Living Herbal Tea and a gorgeous tea towel from DeeDub Designs, pictured below in my Oreo ice cream sandwich shoot.

scene

Third place will win $50 worth of Higher Living Herbal Tea.

All I want to know from you is what your favourite tea is and why – tell me what flavours you love (make up a combination if you want!) For example, strong English Breakfast is one of my favourites because it makes me think of spending time at my cousins’ farm, out in the paddocks and the warmth that tea, straight from the thermos, brought when it was time for a tea break.

25 words or less – start typing!

Winning is easy – make sure you like Baking with Gab on Facebook, then email your answer to bakingwithgab@gmail.com with the subject line “More tea, please!”

About the prizes:

higher living teaHigher Living Herbal Tea are a brand that I came across when I was living in England. Their packaging is divine and their teas are delightful. They’re currently stocked in Woolworths, but they’ve only got a limited range of teas right now. The full range can be found on their UK website, and you can try Higher Living Cinnamon, Ginger Kick, Evening, Licorice and Vitality right now. Once you’ve tried their teas, you’ll be petitioning to get the other flavours into Australia as well!

Foddies are a fairly new company with a fabulous focus – they provide delicious baked goods to people who suffer from Fructose Malabsorption. Their treats give people who would otherwise be limited in their options for sweets a delicious alternative. They’re also super lovely to deal with, check out their treats here.

Dee Dub Designs are a company I’ve worked with very recently (you may have seen the tea towel in my Oreo ice cream sandwich post) and have a gorgeous range of printed tea towels, cushions and more. I fell in love with the We All Scream For Ice Cream! Tea towel because of its adorable graphics and pastels.

*Terms and conditions:
You must follow Baking with Gab on Facebook to be eligible to enter.
This competition is open to Australian readers only.
Only one entry per person is allowed . The winner will be picked based on merit of answer , no discussion will be entered into regarding the winner chosen.
Competition closes April 19th at 11:59pm AEST. The winner will be contacted via email before being announced on Facebook. Failure to respond to notification of winning within seven days will result in a new winner being chosen.

Baileys bundt and St Patrick’s Day

sceneSt Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays which brings people together. Everybody loves it! People don silly hats and wear ridiculous amounts of green, and it’s just fun. For the past two years I’ve completely forgotten about St Patrick’s Day and inadvertently worn a green item of clothing and it’s like you’ve joined a club; people smile at you on the street, give you a little nod. I love it!

I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll wear green today…this cake is making me feel rather festive though. Continue reading

Baileys buttercream sandwich biscuits and St Patrick’s day surprises

pileI started making these biscuits so that I’d have a St Patrick’s Day appropriate recipe. I don’t really like to go for the super cliched option when it comes to occasion baking, so I’ve stayed way from green desserts this year. Last year I made the delicious Guinness cake, but this year I opted for Baileys instead because I drink Baileys all year round. Now that I’ve made these delightful little morsels, I know that they’re far too delicious to only make once a year. This babies are going to be on high rotation because they’re addictive!

I also had lots of fun messing around with videos as I was making them. I was surprised at how fun playing with Instagram videos is – I’m going to be making lots more videos! My new, adorable baking paper and speedy baking are a match made in heaven! Continue reading

Decorating a cake with fresh flowers

sceneCakes covered in real flowers are awesome. Naked cakes are super popular at the moment, and with those rustic, cutesy cakes have come flowers – big, small, pastel, bold, spiky, flowing…you get the point. Combining delicious cake with gorgeous flowers is a glorious idea, but the concept can seem foreign to some people, so I’ve put together some tips to help you take your cake to the next level.

Most of these steps are aimed at making sure that your flowers are safe to be placed on a cake – you don’t want nasties getting on your beautiful cake.

Continue reading

Giant vanilla cake and gratitude

sceneA little bit of gratitude goes a long way. I deal with lots of people through Baking with Gab, and I love that it puts me in contact with amazing, creative, kind people. Like Bianca from Communicake It, or Meredith from DeeDub Designs, or the lovely duo from TTotaler.

I strive to be positive and pleasant in all of the dealings with people who come into contact with the blog (and even those who don’t!) It’s just good practice.

After such a gloriously positive weekend last weekend, I had a bit of a downer yesterday. I was super proud of this vanilla and raspberry cake, but life didn’t respond to my enthusiasm with the same love.

So today I attended a group dachshund meet (yes, this is a thing, and it’s wonderful!), ate some delicious brunch and I’m listening to Lunchmoney Lewis on repeat. And I’m blogging about this beauty. My ungracious Saturday is already being forgotten.

I’m also contemplating opening up an Etsy cake shop – scary!

And I’m grateful. For my sausages, for my friends and family, for so much in my life right now.

Whatever you’re grateful for, let the world know.

Vanilla cake:

  • 250g butterabove
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp bicarb
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tsp vanilla bean paste

Simple vanilla buttercream:

  • 225g butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 cup raspberry jam

Grease three 8 inch baking tins and line the bases with a circle of baking paper.

tinsCream together your butter and sugar on a medium speed until pale. Add in 2 of the eggs, mix, then ad in the remaining 3. Mix in your flour, one cup at a time, then the bicarb. Slowly pour in the milk and mix. Finally, mix in the vanilla bean paste (if you don’t have vanilla bean paste, use 2 tsp vanilla extract.)

Distribute your batter evenly across the three baking tins and pop them in the oven for 30-35 minutes, rotating them at the halfway point.

Once the cakes are done, allow them to cool for five minutes before turning out onto cooling racks. Allow to cool completely. Pop in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

While the cakes are cooling, make a start on your icing by beating together your butter and one cup of icing sugar using the paddle attachment. Start of slowly so that your icing sugar doesn’t go everywhere, then turn it up to fast. Whip for about a minute, so that you get a nice pale yellow buttercream.

white icing

Add in the next cup of icing sugar and repeat; start of slowly, then turn up to high until it’s pale. Do this with each cup of icing sugar to get the whitest, creamiest icing. The high-speed whipping gets lots of air into the mixture, while the slow addition of icing sugar gets you fabulous, smooth icing. You can see the difference this beating process makes – the first photo is the buttercream after each addition of icing sugar and beating.

jamOnce your cakes cake cooled completely, grab a bread knife and slice off a small amount of each of the tops, just so that the tops are level. Grab one cake and use a spatula or pallet knife to spread it with a thin layer of butter cream. Spoon half of the jam over the top and use the back of the spoon to spread almost all the way to the edge. Grab the next layer and spread its base with a thin layer of buttercream and place it on top of the jammed layer. Press down lightly.

layersSpread a thin layer of buttercream over the second layer, then cover with jam. Don’t throw the jam spoon and bowl out.

Grab the final cake layer and spread the base with a thin layer of buttercream, then press down onto the second tier. If your layers are a little bit wonky, adjust them now. Breathe, that’s the building process over!

Pop them in the fridge to allow the buttercream to harden for 10 minutes.

side viewRemove from the fridge and pop four bamboo skewers around the cake to help hold the tiers in place. Grab a chunk of buttercream with your palette knife and fill any holes that may be left in between the layers of cake. After this, spread a thin layer of buttercream around the entire cake – this is your crumb coat, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t worry if you smear some jam, this will form part of the seams of pink later on.

Remove the skewers from the top and spread a thin layer over the top as well. Return to the fridge for 15 minutes.

When you take the cake out of the fridge spread a final thin layer of buttercream around the cake, leaving some small portions of the cake slightly exposed. Grab your jammy spoon and bowl; scoop any excess bits of jam hanging around and use the back of the spoon to smear streaks of jam in various parts of the cake. When you’ve done this to your satisfaction, grab a clean spatula or pallet knife and a glass of hot water.

sideDip your pallet knife in the hit water and smooth it around the cake, wiping off any excess icing on a cloth. Do this around the entire cake until it is smooth. Pop in the fridge until you’re ready to serve .

Give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve just made one fine piece of cake!

Extras:
You should have a small amount of excess buttercream – if you want to add extra, special touches to your cake, add a drop of pink food colouring to the buttercream and mix in. Scoop into a piping bag fitted with a closed star tip, and pipe accents around the cake. For me, this was around the base and the roses – get creative!

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Banana sundae mini cakes and sweetness

wholeI wrote in my last blog post that everything seemed to be going swimmingly. I had a wonderful weekend. It just so turns out that the luck is continuing! My work week is plodding along steadily, I received a gloriously vanilla-scented parcel from Vanilla Queen, and I just realised that the Cake Bake and Sweets Show is rolling around again this year.

Life is sweet.

I think I know what started all this sweetness. Continue reading

Angel food cupcakes and lightness

singleI had one of those weekends where everything seems to float on by. It was most enjoyable. I baked most of Saturday, had a long-awaited catch up with a good friend, and entertained on Sunday. By entertained I mostly mean that I force-fed my friends so that I didn’t eat all of Saturday’s baking efforts.

It was all fabulous, easy, lovely. After my jam-packed weekend in Melbourne, the lightness of it all was refreshing. There is no better segue into these cupcakes than this – they’re easy, fabulous and breezy. They’re also quite a show-stopper, with their brilliant white inner. They’re the kind of cupcake that looks like you’ve put in loads of effort, when actually you haven’t – I love those recipes!

The only downside is that you have to use 5 egg whites, which I’d usually balk at. Luckily I’d just finished making delectable Oreo ice cream, so I had 5 to spare. I recommend you make both of these recipes, just so you’re not wasting any eggs!

 Angel food cupcakes:

  • ¾ cup caster sugarbite
  • 5 egg whites
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

 Icing:

  • 450ml thickened cream
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Sprinkles (optional)

whip whitesPreheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 12 cup capacity cupcake tin.

Whip together your sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until firm peaks form. This is easiest to do if you’ve got a hand/stand mixer, but is do-able by hand – you just need some muscles! Add in the vanilla and mix lightly. Sift the flour lightly over the egg whites in at least  four batches, folding it in after each addition. It’s best to do it this way to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Scoop your mixture into your tins until they’re almost full (about 7/8 of the way) and pat gently with a spoon to smooth out any points.

foldCarefully slide into the oven for 19-22 minutes, until tops have browned evenly and they spring back when pressed.

Allow to cool.

While the cupcakes cool, make a start on the icing. Whip the thickened cream until it just starts to thicken, then add in the icing sugar and vanilla. Keep whipping until it is a smooth, pipe-able consistency. Take care not to over-beat it.

abovePop the cupcakes out of their molds. Don’t worry, even though they look delicate, they’re quite sturdy and will spring back into shape. Scoop your icing into a piping bag fitting with a round nozzle and pipe in spirals. Top generously with sprinkles.

The joy of these cupcakes is their fluffiness – the cupcake and icing are both gorgeously light and soft. As a result, it’s best if you’re gentle with them – if it’s warm, keep them in the fridge before serving to stop the icing from drooping.

Oreo ice cream sandwiches and the end of Summer

sandwichSummer ended this weekend. How dramatic does that sound? Even though everyone was heralding the end, both days were really hot. Hot enough that I decided to make my own ice cream, without an ice cream machine!

It did not disappoint.

The custard base gives it a sweet, smooth flavour, and the Oreos add a delectable crunch – the best taste, however, if the satisfaction of home-made ice cream!
I refuse to believe that this is the last batch of ice cream I’ll be making – with the weather we had today (stinking hot), I envisage many more batches of home-made ice cream!

scene 2Plus, with this gorgeous, pastel-hued tea-towel egging me on, I’ve got no excuse. The tea-towel is from Deedub designs (check them out here, everything in the shop is equally as gorgeous!) and I’ll be giving one away in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for the competition.

As much as I enjoyed screaming for ice cream this weekend, I am looking forward to Autumnal foods – stone fruits, pies, gallette! Is it odd that I anticipate the seasons based on the foods I plan on eating?!

Oreo ice cream sandwiches:

Makes 1L

  • 1 cup milk (full fat)squish
  • Pinch salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 ¼ cups thickened cream
  • 7 Oreos, crushed
  • 7 Oreos, whole

Mix milk and sugar together in heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. Using a thin knife, slice the vanilla bean open, lengthways, and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and the bean pod in the milk and return to the heat, allowing the milk to simmer for two minutes before turning off.

Cover with tin foil and allow to infuse for 1-2 hours.

Whisk your egg yolks for 20 seconds to break them up. Warm your milk again, then discard the vanilla pod. Add a tablespoon of milk to the egg yolks and mix in. Repeat about 5 times, until the egg yolks have warmed to body temperature (this is called tempering.)

Pour the egg and milk mixture into the saucepan of milk and return the stove on a low heat. Stir constantly for about two minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to stop the mixture sticking, until it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.

swirlPlace your container in an ice bath and pour cream into the container. Pour the warm egg and milk mixture into it, stirring until combined. Put in the freezer for an hour, remove to stir, then return to the freezer. Repeat 2-3 times, stirring in the crushed Oreos on the second stirring.

scoop textureRemove from the ice bath and leave in the freezer overnight.

Remove from the fridge 5-10 minutes before ready to serve.

sceneWhile allowing the ice cream to thaw, twist your Oreos so that you can sandwich the ice cream in the middle. Use a tablespoon to scoop your ice cream out, place in the middle of the Oreo parts and sandwich together.

Eat immediately.

If you’re after more home-made ice cream recipes, try my no-churn berry icecream. It’s super-easy, and such a stunning colour.

 

Also, my fingers look giant in the picture where I’m holding the sandwich. They’re regular-sized Oreos, and I have regular-sized hands. The ice cream scoop is pretty small :P