Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Mini Doughnut Cakes

I always like the idea of making elaborate cakes, decorated to perfection. But years of failure and laziness have reminded me that I just do not possess the skill or patience for cake decorating.
I still like to pretend though, so when I saw the Doughnut Cake, I adapted the idea for an afternoon of pure pleasure.
Again, playing with icing like this helps me to be calm and happy and therefore, I will class this pastime as my idea of Mindfullness.

I used mini doughnuts from Sainsburys because mini is mega and I could try out a few designs.
Betty Crocker icing works perfectly when it is kept at room temperature.
The doughnuts take the icing much better than cake. They don't crumble as you spread.

I made some la di da chocolate bits and popped them in the fridge to harden.

Stacked and iced doughnuts, ready for decor.

Show off.
 




Of course some mini cakes looked better than others, but because this was on a small scale and just for fun, it really didn't matter.



We enjoyed the tasting session.



Because this was so easy, tasty and satisfying, we have already done this a couple of times. It's a great playdate activity; the satisfaction of baking and creating food art without the total mess.

Inspiration from:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/27279165@N06/6278731713/
and
http://www.instructables.com/id/Doughnut-Cake/

A Pinterest success story:-)

Monday, 13 July 2015

Deceptions of Pinterest: Chocolate Bowl Edition

A while ago, I had some time off of work and a bit more time on my hands to do those little things.
Like showing off and making a chocolate bowl a la Pinterest that I had been wanting to do for a while.
My melted chocolate was delicious, but it did not floweth over the balloon into elegant drips.

I man-made some drips as best as I could.

But when I deflated the balloon (after fridge cooling) with care, the drips broke off anyway.
The balloon did not peel away from the hardened chocolate easily and it left some residue behind leaving a latex like taste.

Perhaps it would have been useful to suggest a cooking spray on the balloon before pouring over the chocolate.


But the itch was scratched and I have now I can tick: Make a Chocolate Bowl off of my bucket list, but I probably won't bother doing that again for a while. 
La-di-da.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

It's been a busy week. I will be pleased to reach the weekend and hope that we can reserve some down time. 
Still three weeks to go before the end of the school term and it feels as though we have reached the height of the crazy crescendo of school, work and social events. 

At least I hope it's the height of the crescendo.

Anyhoo. There may be a lack of coherence. 
A lack of words.
My brain is frazzled. 

But here's what's been going down in our garden over the last couple of weeks.

This Buddleia has flowered for the first time. But I thought it was supposed to be white. Nevermind. Less than a week later, it looks like it has given up on the idea of blooming anyway.
Did they get burnt in the sun? 
Are they about to turn white and get big? 
Is it because they are so thirsty?

Uniforms have been abandoned in the heat

in favour of Owl wings and bare legs for sprinkler hopping.


They have been very busy in the mud kitchen.

(See the deflated blue ball? And the dog? She is a master at convincing anyone to play fetch with her. She has even discovered that if she puts it in my weeding bucket as I move through the garden; I will have to chuck it out eventually, so then she gets to fetch it. Sometimes this backfires and her ball ends up being gone forever. She also puts it in the paddling pool with the kids. She doesn't understand they are throwing it out because they don't want slimy dog drool ball in the pool.) 

Ikea Meatballs?

My husband gave me some random, old photos recently and I'm quite fond of this one, even though it's not the clearest of images. 

On the back, the caption reads:
Jakin in our garden making mud pies.

Despite all the years, changes and technology, Mud Pie Making never goes out of fashion.



The boat is tied up for the night so that it doesn't sail away in the great wide open that is the sand pit lid.

Splash?

I freak myself out when I look at pictures like this on the internet.
What is going through my kids' minds?! 

Yay! The first Geranium appears!
(Poor Ah-melia has been blown off from her postition on our roof and moved off the windowsill she was peering into. It seems as though my family is not as fond of her as I am.)

The first Strawberry is ready, 

and it goes straight into his Eton Mess. (Link there because I only learned what an Eton Mess was just over 10 years ago. There may be more innocents that need Eton Mess in their lives.)






These succulents have such a crazy design. Especially when their stretch up tall to flower like this.


Although there are not as many Poppies as last year, there are enough to keep me happy. I like the staggered stages of their stages to keep the party going for as long as possible.


The Lavender wit a touch of the blues creeping in!








Mammasaurus

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The.Cake.


Last year, I was a Diva and insisted that I did not want a traditional cake for my birthday.
Oreo ice cream was my latest dribble-inducing obsession. 
It was my birthday after all, and I didn't feel that I should have to do the traditional cake thing if I didn't want to.

So we did this:
                                                                   And it was good.
And I was Happy. On my birthday.
It was a Happy Birthday.

This year, I am still a big fan of Ice Cream and Oreo ice cream.
We've been making batches of homemade ice cream. 
(Without a machine. Still holding out, trying not to go down that path. Yet.)
And then we were hanging out, watching The Russian Hacker make an ice cream sandwhich cake iced with whipped cream.




So then I thought: I know what else will "ice"a cake nicely! Our no-churn ice cream pre-freezing!
So then, THE OREO ICE CREAM SANDWHICH CAKE came to be.

Ok, pictures aren't needed because this is so easy, but it makes me happy just looking at the icing process so here they are.
Make a batch of no-churn ice cream. 
Like this: No Churn Ice Cream
SO easy. And if you whip it enough, it really works.
We don't even measure- we eyeball it.
Pour the tub of cream the bowl, half a tin of condensed milk and gurgle of vanilla essence.

Whip it good until it resembles clotted cream. Like so:-)

Get your stash of Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches ready.
It is also sensible to plan what you are going to place your cake into to go into the freezer.
I used an old Haribo sweet tub upside down.
By taking this step to plan, I realised that I couldn't go quite as large as I had planned to, but it was fine. I wanted a cover on the cake to avoid ice crystals.

I think that I used around 15 Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches for this cake and it was more than enough. It fed eight people with enough for a few second helpings. This size however, was not enough for my work colleagues and worked on a first come, first served basis. I like to stack up when I find them on special offer at Tescos. 

For the second cake, we tried using Iceland's version of the Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches as they were cheaper. It was not worth it and we picked those bits out.

Start stacking and cutting extra Oreos into quarters to fit into the gaps.

Cement them in together with the ice cream, adding a layer of cream between levels.

Then ice the sides and top.
It's so easy!!!

The ice cream ices like a dream. Smooth as can be. No cake crummage as you go along smoothing too much. As long as the Oreos inside stay cold you can slather and smooth to your hearts content.
Does this count for a trendy Mindfulness activity? Because I am so into icing stuff that is easy to ice right now.
And it was chillin'. 

Of course you can decorate it however you like now, sticking bits to the ice cream before freezing. I didn't want to mess up the nice icing effect, so added Oreo cookies to the bottom. 
When the kids made their version, they piled mountains of smashed Oreo crumbs on the top.

FYI: If you make a batch of the no churn ice cream and stir in a whole bunch of smashed Oreos before freezing, this also makes a deliciously awesome homemade ice cream.
I also brought this activity into work/school and called it a sensory activity.
Easy, relatively safe cooking, fun and delicious.

Put your germs on the cake in the hope that no one else will want any.

If this tactic fails, share graciously. You will be rewarded by seeing that this cake makes others just as happy as you.

Now, this cake is a frozen cake so therefore it needs a good deal of pressure applied to cut through.

It might be a good idea to leave the cake out to defrost a bit if you have a super-efficient freezer.
(maybe 45 min?)
I have made this cake three times in the last week, and the freezer at work was WAY too efficient and I really struggled to cut it up and share it out during the lunch break.

So plan for this ahead of time to avoid being attacked by ice cream crazy people with no patience.
This has actually happened to me in real life.




I know that this is a super lazy cake, but it was so much fun and it might just be my favorite cake in the whole wide world. 
(Apart from my mother's Angel Food Cake with cream and strawberries of course.)


Chances are, this cake has already been made before. I don't know about this. I'm sure I would find it if I googled it. But I didn't and this is just how I did it. 
I'm not claiming to be a genius inventing a new recipe or anything.
But I totally feel like one.