Thursday, 23 February 2012

Teddy Bread! Teddy Bear Bread Rolls Recipe


I spotted these adorable Teddy Bear Bread Buns a while ago now and given my teddy bear baked goods obsession it was simply a matter of time before I made them.

I was actually really pleased with how they came out, although they certainly don't hold a candle to the originals, I obviously need a little practise.


I adapted the original recipe to suit the quick yeast I had in my cupboard and my lack of Japanese flour.  I have a feeling the Haruyutaka Flour used in the original recipe is responsible for that glorious smooth finish on the baked rolls but I can't be sure, it may just be masterful bread making.

The bears did take the best part of a day to make and the recipe and construction is a little tricky in places but when I saw those cute little faces it was all worth it. 

The soft, white bread rolls were really lovely too, they tasted great and had a beautiful texture.


Teddy Bear Bread Rolls

200g Strong White Bread Flour
10g Caster Sugar
3g Salt
1/2 tsp quick yeast
60g Water
60g Milk
10g Butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Sift the flour.

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is just about to reach the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Mix together the bread flour, sugar, salt and quick yeast in a large bowl.

Add the water, (warmed to 32 ℃, the water should be warm to the touch but not hot) and the milk (same applies, the milk should still be warm to the touch), to the flour mixture and mix thoroughly. When the dough comes together in one ball, place on a flat surface and knead until a smooth texture is achieved, around 10 minutes.

Once your dough is kneaded and smooth, gradually knead in the cooled melted butter, until fully combined.

Place the dough into a large round bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place until the dough has risen to approximately twice its initial size, 1-2 hours.

Once risen, remove the dough from the bowl and place on a bench-top or chopping board.  Now you want to prepare the bears’ ears. Cut 20 1g pieces of dough and roll them into small balls.

Cut the remaining dough into 10 equal portions and roll these into balls to create the bears heads. Place all pieces between a pair of damp cloths or wrung-out tea-towels for 15-20 minutes.

Squeeze each ball to force out any gas pockets, and then re-roll into spheres. Take each large ball and firmly press two small balls onto it to create the ears.  Place a damp cloth over them to prevent them drying out as you work.

Take two baking trays, line them with baking paper and place them on the bench-top. Place the bears on the trays and spray with a water atomiser. Fill some drinking glasses with water and then place these in various locations around the tray, in between your bears. Cover the whole lot with plastic wrap by gently dropping the wrap on the trays from above.  Leave the bears to rise in a warm place, until they are double their original size, around 1 hour.


For lightly browned bread (as I have made here) preheat your oven to 220 degrees, before lowering the temperature and baking the bears for 15-20 minutes at 190 degrees.

For a white finish, preheat to 190 degrees, lower the temperature and bake the bears at 160 degrees for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature once again to 130 degrees for a further 5-10 minutes. If they start to brown, immediately place an upside-down enamel bowl over them, or cover with aluminium foil. Keep an eye on the bears while baking, because oven temperatures/cooking times will vary.

Allow the bears to cool on their trays for 5-10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now you can decorate your bears!
 
I piped little chocolate faces on my teddy bear rolls but you could use edible food pens instead.
 

 x  x  x

Monday, 20 February 2012

Miniature Edible Food Craft: The World's Tiniest Pancake Stacks

These really are the smallest pancakes I have ever seen! Each tiny little pancake is around the size of a 1p coin.

 Of course they are 100% edible and exactly the same as regular sized American pancakes only really really small.


Each little pancake stack even comes complete with a drizzle of maple syrup and a little cube of butter!

 I wouldn't have it any other way! They may be tiny but they still deserve the same respect you would give a regular pancake!


I used my favourite American pancake recipe to make these little cuties, it is the same recipe I always use and I love it, you can find it here. 

I recommend making some regular sized pancakes first and saving a little batter to make mini ones, otherwise you will be there all day and possibly drown in mini pancakes.


I poured the pancake batter into a squeezy ketchup bottle to dispense it and by squeezy ketchup bottle I don't mean the bottle you buy your ketchup in but rather one of those clear squeezy bottles you find filled with ketchup and brown sauce in cafes, they are often used for cookie craft and I use them at the bakery for all sorts, they are very useful.


Using my squeezy bottle made it really easy to create tiny little, perfectly circular dollops of batter. Each little pancake cooked in no time at all, I'm talking literally seconds.


Best of all these are so yummy, a tiny little, scrumptious, bite-size version of the real thing.

They are not however particularly filling...unless you are a Fairy of course...

x  x x

Miniature Edible Food Craft: Mini Oreo Layer Cakes

These cute little layer cakes are made by stacking Oreo cookies together and frosting them with buttercream as you would a normal layer cake.  Not only are they adorable but they are a breeze to make and better still they are really yummy too!


I used one and a half Oreos to make my little cakes, (filling included) and chocolate buttercream icing to decorate.  Once iced these cute cookie cakes need to be stored overnight before slicing, this will allow them to soften somewhat.  If you remove the Oreo filling and replace that with buttercream they will soften even further and slice even more easily.  I still wanted some crunch to my little cakes though, the thought of soggy Oreo scared me a little. Mine still maintained their biscuity bite but were consequently still a little crumbly when cut.


This post marks the beginning of a new series for The Extraordinary Art of Cake.  I'm going to be exploring miniature edible food craft and I already have another post coming up straight after this one. 

I know what you're thinking, don't I already do a lot of miniature edible food craft..?

Well yes I suppose I do but this series is going to be slightly different, with less emphasis on baking and more on crafting amazing edible miniatures. Tiny little, 100% edible versions of some of my favourite foods will be featured in the coming weeks. I think my next post will give you a better idea of what form my miniature edible food craft post will take so stay tuned.

x x x

Friday, 17 February 2012

Cupcakes, Cupcakes & More Cupcakes

Woohoo Cupcake Friday!

Miniature Chocolate Box Valentine's Cupcake


Vanilla Oreo Cupcakes


Mini Brownie Forget-Me-Not Cupcakes with Seven Minute Frosting


Mini Brownie Cupcakes with Seven Minute Frosting & Love Hearts



Vanilla Cupcake with Lemon Royal Icing 


Mini White Chocolate Cupcakes


Cute Angel Wing Cupcakes


Chocolate & Banana Cupcakes with Banana Chip Topping


Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Frosting, Chocolate Drizzle & Coconut Sprinkle


Pretty Vanilla Cupcakes with Mini Pink Bows


Chocolate Marshmallow Cupcake


Have a great weekend everyone!

x x x


Friday, 10 February 2012

Salted Butter Popcorn Macaron Recipe & A Tale of Macaron Carnage

I was over the moon to receive a copy of Adriano Zumbo's new book Zumbo for Christmas, the book is without a doubt the most inspirational in my entire collection and I have a huge collection.  Zumbo is not a book for everyone and I doubt even I will really recreate many of the desserts completely, many include numerous different components and would certainly take the best part of a week to finish and assemble.

Also almost all of the recipes require specialist ingredients that even the most frequent home baker will struggle to find, such as Iota, Lecithin, Titanium dioxide and Algin.  All that being said, I absolutely love it.  The photographs are phenomenal, the recipes jaw dropping and every single page gives me a million ideas. 

The highlight of the book for me is the macaron section, with recipes such as Sticky Date Macarons, Strawberry Bubble Gum Macarons, Cherry Coconut Macarons and Rice Pudding Macarons, I could not wait to dive in.


First I had to get my hands on some egg white powder as Adriano Zumbo uses 2g of powdered egg whites in his basic macaron recipe.  This wasn't too difficult and I managed to order some from one of our suppliers at the bakery.  At this point I should point out that although the idea and buttercream recipe I have posted are adapted from Zumbo's book the macaron recipe is not. 

I tried the basic macron recipe required for these Salted Butter Popcorn Macarons twice and both times was a complete disaster!

 Not just a few dodgy macarons disaster but a total macaron carnage type of disaster.  Why this is I can't tell you, maybe I was having a bad macaron day, maybe the addition of egg white powder was changing the consistency of the meringue and I was consequently over or under mixing, I really don't know. I have never had such a macaron mess on my hands and it was terribly disappointing.

After attempting the macarons twice I was very fed up. I was just about to try the recipe for a third time when I though, sod this!  I pulled out a trusty macaron recipe from I Heart Macarons, French Meringue this time because quite frankly I was sick of making sugar syrup. They took about 15 minutes to knock up and came out absolutely perfectly! I thanked the Macaron Gods profusely.

You are probably wondering why I still love this books so much, well try this buttercream and you will know.  Never in my life have I been so in awe and utterly stunned by a recipe.  I can't even begin to tell you how much the finished macarons taste like Salted Butter Popcorn. Exactly! They taste exactly like Salted Butter Popcorn!!!!

Adriano Zumbo is a genius! I just need to master his blooming macaron recipe!

I will try the macaron recipe again but not until I'm feeling particularly resilient.


Salted Butter Popcorn Macarons

(Macaron recipe adapted from I Heart Macarons, Buttercream recipe adapted from Zumbo)

For the Macarons:

85g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
3 large egg whites
65g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Buttercream:

100g caster sugar
38g water
75g lightly beaten egg
45g egg yolks
200g butter
3g sea salt flakes

1 bag microwaveable natural or butter-flavoured popcorn
Melted unsalted butter, for brushing

For the Macarons:

Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Sift the almonds and icing sugar together into a medium bowl and set aside
Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and whisk until they reach soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, whisking continuously until you have a firm,glossy meringue. Add the vanilla extract and whisk until evenly distributed.

Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold in the almond mixture, one third at a time. Once all the almond mixture has been incorporated use the spatula to cut through and fold the mixture a few more times. Just until the batter falls from the spatula in a thick ribbon that sinks back into the rest of the mixture within about 30 seconds.

Pour the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain round nozzle and pipe small rounds of equal size. Tap the baking sheets firmly against the counter top to knock out any air bubbles and help the macarons settle. Leave the macarons on the counter at room temperature for around 30 minutes or until they form a skin.

Preheat the oven to 160C .

Bake the macarons one tray at a time in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes depending on their size.

When baked, remove from the oven and slide the baking paper off of the hot tray and allow the macarons to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes before peeling the shells off the baking paper.

To Make The Buttercream:

Beat the softened butter in a medium sized bowl until very soft and creamy, set aside.

Place the eggs and egg yolks into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and place over a medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Turn the heat up to medium and cook until the syrup reaches 121C.

While heating the syrup beat the eggs and yolks at a medium speed with an electric mixer for two minutes. Whisking continuously poor the hot syrup in a thin, steady stream over the egg mixture.  Whisk the mixture until thick and cooled to 50C.

Slowly add the softened butter, a teaspoon sized amount at a time, mix well after each addition to ensure there are no lumps.  Fold in the salt.

To Assemble:

Cook the popcorn according to the instructions on the packet and blitz half of the popcorn to a crumb in a food processor.

Pair up your macaron shells.  Brush the top of each macron with melted butter and sprinkle with popcorn crumbs.  Leave for 10 minutes for the butter to set.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a 9mm plain round nozzle with buttercream.  Pipe around a tsp of buttercream onto the flat side of one macaron in each pair and sandwich together with it's partner.

Refrigerate the macarons to set. Serve at room temperature.


If you like this post, you may also like:

Toffee Popcorn Mini Macarons
Salted Caramel Macarons

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Candy Floss Macaron Recipe

These macarons are just so pretty and they really are as sweet as the look.

The beautiful pink, vanilla bean macaron shells are sandwiched together with luscious French Buttercream, which I made using candy floss sugar and there is real candy floss hidden in the centre of each little macaron.

I found a small bottle of candy floss sugar at Selfridges and couldn't help myself, I used it in place of caster sugar to make the sugar syrup for the French Buttercream, in the hope that it would pack a big candy floss punch but it didn't. 

The buttercream was lovely and very sweet but I wouldn't have tasted it and automatically jumped to candy floss, which was a little disappointing.  Adding a little candy floss to the centre before sandwiching my macarons together went a long way to appeasing this though and I really loved these pretty pink, super sweet macarons in the end.


I really tried to take a picture of a 'half eaten' or split in half macaron so you could see the middle but they all looked terrible and you couldn't really see anything anyway.  I hear that if you freeze a macaron and then cut it in half once frozen you can get perfect pictures of the inside, as the macaron holds it's shape.  I will definitely try this next time I make these to give you a look at that candy floss centre. 

The candy floss sugar I used is already pink (you can also get blue) so I didn't add any food colouring to the buttercream but if you're using caster sugar use 3 tbsp not 2 1/2 and add a little pink food colour at the end.

You can buy Candy Floss flavouring online and the addition of this to the buttercream would really amp these up but to be honest I really love them without it.


I used a French Meringue Macaron recipe for these cuties and I have to say it was a pure joy not to have to faff about with sugar syrup, especially since I do so much of that with Buttercream anyway.  We usually make Italian Meringue Macarons at the bakery as they are much easier to produce on a large scale but I love French Meringue. 

French Meringue Macarons are much simpler to make but also much easier to over mix so be careful.

Candy Floss Macarons

For the Macarons:

80g ground almonds
120g icing sugar
2 large egg whites
40g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
pink food colouring paste

For the Filling:

110g unsalted butter, very soft
1 large egg
3 tbsp water
2 1/2 tbsp candy floss sugar (pink)
vanilla extract

1 small bag or tub of pink Candy Floss

For the Macarons:

Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Sift the almonds and icing sugar together into a medium bowl and set aside.

Place the egg whites into a large mixing bowl and whisk until they reach soft peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, whisking continuously until you have a firm,glossy meringue.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the meringue along with the pink food colouring paste, whisking until evenly distributed.

Using a rubber spatula, gradually fold in the almond mixture, one third at a time. Once all the almond mixture has been incorporated use the spatula to cut through and fold the mixture a few more times. Just until the batter falls from the spatula in a thick ribbon that sinks back into the rest of the mixture within about 30 seconds.

Pour the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain round nozzle and pipe small rounds of equal size. Tap the baking sheets firmly against the counter top to knock out any air bubbles and help the macarons settle.  Leave the macarons on the counter at room temperature for around 30 minutes or until they form a skin.

Preheat the oven to 160C .

Bake the macarons one tray at a time in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes depending on their size.

Slide the baking paper off of the hot tray and allow the macarons to cool on the sheet for 10 minutes before peeling the shells off the baking paper.

For the Filling:

Beat the softened butter in a medium sized bowl until very soft and creamy, set aside.

Place the egg into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine the water and candy floss sugar in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat until it reaches soft ball stage. (Drop a little of the syrup into a small bowl of cold water, if you can make the drop into a small ball with your fingers the syrup is ready).

While heating the syrup beat the egg lightly with a handheld mixer.  When the syrup reaches soft ball stage slowly poor the syrup like a thread into the beaten egg, beating continuously at a high speed.

Reduce the speed to a medium and continue to beat the mixture until the bowl is no longer hot and the mixture is heavy and white.

Add the very soft butter to the mixture in three stages, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until smooth and creamy.

(The syrup and butter may separate as you do this, the mixture will look curdled and horrible and you will think you have made a mistake. You have not! I promise, just keep beating and the buttercream will miraculously become creamy and gorgeous again).

Add the vanilla extract and beat well.

To assemble:

Pair up your macaron shells and pipe around 1 tsp of buttercream onto the flat side of one macaron in each pair.  Place a little candy floss in the centre of the buttercream and sandwich each macaron together with it's partner.


Enjoy!

x x x

If you like this post, you may also like:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Lemon & Lime Drizzle Cake Recipe

Lemon Drizzle Cake is a firm favourite of mine, it is moist and tangy, not too rich but unbelievably moreish and oh so delicious.  I would happily take a slice of Lemon Drizzle Cake over a slice of Chocolate Cake any day.

This is a very simple variation of a traditional recipe, the addition of lime as well as lemon gives this cake a bit of edge, more depth of flavour and a beautifully bold citrus-y bite.


Make sure your eggs are room temperature and add a tablespoon of flour after one or two of the eggs to prevent curdling.  Line your loaf tin with baking paper, leaving a few cm or so hanging over the edges of the tin, this will make it much easier to remove the loaf later.

Lemon & Lime Drizzle Cake

For the Cake:

225g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g vanilla sugar (or caster sugar)
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
5 medium eggs, room temperature
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime

1 x 23 x 13cm loaf tin greased and lined with baking paper.


For the Drizzle:
100g icing sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1/2 lime

For the Glaze:

150g icing sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice

For the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 175C.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium sized bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar and the lemon and lime zest for around 5 minutes until light and fluffy. 

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add a tablespoon of flour to the mixture after adding the third and fourth eggs to prevent curdling.

Add the juice of half a lemon and half a lime and mix well. 

Gently fold in the flour mixture, until fully combined.

Scrape the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and place in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

For the Drizzle:

As the cake is nearing the end of its cooking time make the drizzle.  Combine the icing sugar and lemon and lime juice in a small saucepan and place over a medium heat.  Simmer the syrup for a few minutes until all the sugar has dissolved.

Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and with the cake still in the tin, immediately use a cocktails stick or wooden skewer to make holes all over the loaf cake.  Pour the syrup all over the cake allowing it to soak through the loaf.  Leave the syrup sodden loaf to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before removing it from the cake tin and placing on a wire rack.

For the Glaze:

Sieve the icing sugar into a medium bowl and add the lemon and lime juice 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency.  You may not need the full 4 tablespoons or you may need a little more, the glaze should be nice and thick.

Pour the glaze over the top of the loaf cake, letting it drip down the sides.

This yummy cake will keep for 3-5 days, store airtight and at room temperature.


x x x