Friday, 6 January 2017

Birthday Cake

Hello again!  Yes, I know, two posts in one day!  Crazy!

So, today was my daughter's birthday party, and you know what that means - cakes!  Now, if you have followed me for a while, you will probably recall that I seem to have a tendency to have birthday cake disasters.  This time is no different!  Though, I did manage to make them look alright in the end.

Now, my daughter chose cupcakes that looked like ice cream sundaes.  I realised that the candle we had bought was too large for a cupcake, so had to make both cupcakes and a large cake.  No big deal, right?  

So, this is what happened:
First of all, I made the cupcakes.  Just normal chocolate cupcakes, from a recipe that I've used several times.  When I spooned the mix into the cases, I realised that they wouldn't rise high enough for what I needed, so in my infinite wisdom, I decided to add a marshmallow into the centre of each one.

The problem with this, as I quickly remembered after I'd put them in the oven, is that when you heat marshmallows, they expand and then deflate, creating a crater.

Ok, so that was a bit of a fail, but I soon remedied it by placing another marshmallow on top before icing.

To make these look like ice cream sundaes, I melted white chocolate buttons, and slowly poured a dollop over the top, smoothing it around to make it look like ice cream.

Once that had set, I then melted some dark chocolate buttons, and placed a blob in the centre of each cupcake, allowing it to run a little.  I added sprinkles and an M&M to the top.
I think they turned out pretty cute, don't you?

Cuteness aside though, there may have been a tad too much chocolate, because they were a touch hard to bite through!  Oh well, I know for next time!

As for the cake.  I had high hopes for this.  I had picked a silicone cake mould in the shape of a rose, because it had the right shape to make the top of the sundae.  It also, however, had a lot of ridges in the pan, which apparently did not want to let go of said cake.  This is what it looked like:

I know what you're thinking - delicious!  Right?  Lol
As you can probably tell, it's a red velvet cake, so instead of white chocolate, I made a cream cheese icing - just because it would be wrong not to.

For anyone who hasn't made this before, you use around 1/4C cream cheese, 1/4C softened butter and around 1C icing sugar - I also like to add some lemon essence or lemon zest.

I had forgotten to buy another piping bag, so I did the old trick of cutting a corner out of a bag and using that.  I got about 3/4 of the way through before the nozzle came squeezing out and I had to rejig my bag to a different corner.  By this stage I had quite a lot of icing on my hands.
Once I managed to get that finished, I again melted some dark chocolate and poured on top - take my advice, don't do it as thick as I did - not the easiest to cut!
Before the chocolate sets, add sprinkles and M&M's or whatever you are using to decorate.  I also took this moment to stick the candle in - also probably not my best idea as it became stuck in the chocolate.  I know, I'm such a pro!
Anyways, I think it turned out alright in the end:

Anywho, I hope you've enjoyed my little ramblings, and perhaps I've inspired you to try and make your own ice cream sundae cakes :)
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and Happy Cooking!

Pulled Pork

Hello my lovelies!

Anyone who is on my FB page will have seen that I was making jam and pulled pork the other day, so I thought I'd jump on here and share my recipe with y'all :)

This is the first time I have attempted pulled pork, so I did some research and took bits from several recipes to combine them into my own one!  Let me tell you, the house smelled divine!  
I used my slow cooker, so it was hassle free, and by the end of the day, the meat just fell apart.  I didn't use a bone in roast, but a pork belly, so the fat fell off and the meat was perfect.

Here's what I did:

Heat a pan to medium high and sear the edges of the roast.  (From what I've seen, a lot of people use a shoulder roast, but I really loved the belly - it looked like it might not have a lot of meat on it, but believe me, there was plenty.)

Place meat in slow cooker on low.

Using the same pan, add a diced onion and a clove of garlic, crushed with a splash of Olive Oil.
1/4 C cider vinegar
1/4 C tomato sauce
1/4 C shiraz or any other red wine you have handy
1 Tbsp cranberry jelly
1/2 C water
1/3 C brown sugar
1tsp chinese five spice
salt and pepper to season

Simmer for five minutes before pouring over the meat in the slow cooker.
Cook for around 8 hours, turning occasionally.

When ready to serve, use tongs to pull it out - I needed to use two sets to get a hold on it - and place on a chopping board.  Using forks, start to pull the meat apart.

I then added it back into the cooker to coat in the sauce before serving.

We just had this in some buns with some new potatoes on the side.  It was delicious!  Definitely a make again :)

I'm off to prepare for my daughter's birthday party!  Have a fantastic weekend and Happy Cooking!