The Dreaded Tempered Chocolate

Tempering Chocolate

Image Credit: East Village Kitchen

It’s not until you start baking quite often that you realise the importance of knowing how to temper chocolate properly. It still taste great when it’s not but the texture and visual side of things is noticeably different.

When you buy chocolate in the shop it is already ‘in temper’, which means that all the fat crystals are aligned to give it that shine and really nice snap!  So when you melt this chocolate, you are taking it out of temper.  The heat causes the fat molecules to get all jumpy and if they aren’t realigned correctly, you get what’s called “bloomed Chocolate”.

So I’m posting up how to temper chocolate correctly. I hope it helps!

All you need is: A pan, Chocolate and a thermometer.

  • Rest a large bowl over a pan that is filled with 1 inch of water.
  • NB: Ensure the bowl is an inch away from the water to ensure that the bowl is definitely not touching the water
  • Used chopped up chocolate as it melts better and evenly.
  • Get a silicone spatula to use for stirring.
  • Bring the water to a simmer. It is very important that the water is not brought to boiling point. The chocolate needs to slowly melt in order for it to temper properly, so leave it at simmering only.
  • Stir chocolate continuously as it completely melts
  • NB: A single drop of water will destroy our chocolate completely so be very cautious as to not let this happen
  • Bring milk chocolate to 45oc and If using dark chocolate bring it to 48oc
  • Once completely melted remove the bowl from the pan of water and wipe the steam from the bottom of the bowl.

And there you have it, you should have lovely tempered chocolate. enjoy!

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All Things Cupcake

Following my ‘All Things Cake’ Post, I am now posting my useful tips that I have gathered for all things cupcake. I hope they help!

  • When that muffin or cupcake just wont budge from the pan, place a cold wet towel underneath the pan for thirty seconds and they will slip right out.
  • To divide the batter evenly when making cupcakes or muffins, use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter from the mixing bowl to the baking pan.
  • You can add water to the baking try of empty slots and it has multiple benefits. It can prevent the cupcakes or muffins from browning on the edges to quick. the extra steam prevents the mix from over cooking. It can also be used to prevent the baking pain from warping when you are not using every slot. Just half fill all the empty slots with water and put in oven to bake as normal.
  • When decorating with icing, It looks a lot better to use a piping bag and nozzle. It gives the cupcakes a more professional look, rather than using a spoon or knife.
  • Always fill your cupcake cases 2/3 of the way full to allow for the mix to rise. over flowing cupcakes and muffins does not look good, although its nice to nibble on the extra!
  • I would always suggest using an electric mixer, as mixing things by hand all the time can be time-consuming and just plain tiring. If the recipe says fold on, then do not use an electric mixer. you must fold it in yourself, either using your hands or a wooden spoon.
  • Sifting is key to light and fluffy cupcakes. as tempting as it may be do not skip this step because it makes a huge difference in how your cupcakes or muffins turn out!

All Things Cake

After plenty of research into the best and most useful baking tips,I have finally collected a list of extremely useful ones I have found and collected over the years! This week I am putting up a list of useful cake tips.

  • An easy way to keep your loaf cakes fresher for longer is, when cutting the slices cut from the middle instead of the outside. Firmly push the two leftover sections together to reform a loaf. This  eliminates the dried out, end slice.
  • Even though this next tip might be a familiar one to most, a lot of people don’t use it. For the best cake mix, always let the eggs, butter and milk reach room temperature before using.
  • To cut a freshly baked cake, use a wet knife.
  • If you roll fruit and raisins in flour before adding to a cake mix, It can prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the mix.
  • Use unflavored dental floss to slice evenly and cleanly through a cake or torte. Simply stretch a length of the floss taut and press down through the cake.
  • An apple cut in half and placed in the cake box will keep the cake fresh several days longer.
  • If there is one thing that I hate doing while baking, it has to be waiting for the cake to cool down so I can ice it. To cool a cake quickly for frosting, pop it into the freezer while you make the frosting. By the time frosting is ready, the cake will be cool and ready to slip out of the pan

More to come over the next few weeks so make sure to check it out!

Simple Buttercream icing recipe

Video credit: Videojug Food- Youtube

One of my best friend’s turns 21 this week and I am obviously going to take advantage of this opportunity to bake him a cake. While researching the perfect type of icing to use, I came across this really easy recipe for butter icing. Just add whatever flavoring or food colouring you want at the end!

Arsenal Cake

Twenty Sixth birthday cake I made for my sister's boyfriend

Twenty Sixth birthday cake I made for my sister’s boyfriend

Image credit: Bloggers own image

Here is my second special designed cake attempt. I made this cake for my sister’s Boyfriend as a gift for his 26th birthday. His name is Ade and he is a huge arsenal fan!

For this cake I used a Vanilla sponge with a layer of chocolate cream filling and I used sugar fondant for the icing. The fondant makes designing the cake a lot easier because of the flat smooth surface.  I had help from my friend Jennifer with the crest.

Here is the recipe I used:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter (lightly salted)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl with paddle attachment for 4 minutes.  Do not skip this step!

2. Add sugar, and continue beating for another 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and stir on low until just combined.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Add to eggs and sugar on low-speed until just combined.

4. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter on low heat just until butter is melted.  Add to batter, beat just until combined.

5. Pour into two greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.

6. Bake at 325 until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire cooling racks and cool completely.

Oreo Chocolate Sponge cake

barrys-18th-birthday-cake[2]

Here’s the finished product.

Image credit: Bloggers own image

So here is the recipe I used for my brothers guitar cake below. The only adjustment I made was doubling the amount of Oreo’s it originally said to use and using chocolate filled Oreo. I had to make three or four batches to construct the guitar shape. It was extremely fun making it and very rewarding afterwards to see all of his friends in shock when we came in with the cake and sparks shooting up from the firework-like candles! I found this delicious recipe; take a look yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 226g of Stork
  • 266g of caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 20 crushed chocolate crème Oreo cookies
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 270g of  self-raising flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of milk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree’s (fan assisted)
  2. Beat the stork in a baking bowl until light and fluffy
  3. Add sugar and vanilla essence to butter and beat together until well mixed
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and mix until mixture has doubled in size
  5. Add flour and salt and mix thoroughly
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add in the milk
  7. Mix again until all ingredients are well incorporated
  8. Add in your 8 crushed Oreo cookies
  9. Pour mixture into your pre-greased baking tin
  10.  Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes. Sponge is ready when a skewer inserted in to the mixture comes out clean with no bits attached
  11. Once removed from oven, leave it to cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

18th Birthday Celebrations

First professional-looking cake I ever attempted!

First professional-looking cake I ever attempted!

Image credit: Bloggers own image

Back in early June, I attempted my very first professional-looking cake for my little brothers 18th birthday. Not to bad for a first-timer aye’? I was delighted with it.  I didn’t do it all on my own thought! I had help from two of my dearest friends who helped with the design of the icing. The cake itself was a Oreo chocolate sponge while the icing was a white sugar fondant that I got in Decobake  bachelors walk.  I would definitely modify the recipe of the sponge the next time, it definitely needed more Oreo! Practice makes perfect.