Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Jelly Belly jelly bean rainbow cake

My husband is addicted to Jelly Belly jelly beans so this year I decided to make him a gluten free jelly bean birthday cake.

I found a gluten free cake mix in the local supermarket which I decided to try and it was amazingly easy, although sadly didn't taste as good as I had hoped. I got two packets and made three 6" sponges and six cupcakes. I cut up a random selection of Jelly Belly bean Belly Flops and put these into two of the sponges, creating a jelly bean confetti cake (lots of recipes for this on the web).

The confetti layers sandwiched a plain layer and all were fixed together with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream. I then coloured some buttercream green for the sides of the cake and some blue for the top. My daughter and I then sorted out a selection of beans the colours of the rainbow and created a rainbow on the top of the cake. Random beans and a jelly bean flower were stuck to the sides of the cake. 

I topped the cupcakes with Betty Crocker chocolate fudge icing and a "sprinkling" of jelly beans.

I even managed to hide the cake from hubby until his birthday and, needless to say, neither the cake or the cupcakes lasted long!

© 2011 Nicola Noble

Friday, 27 May 2011

Handbag-tastic cake

It's my wonderful mother's 70th birthday on Monday, and as she is the one who always helps me with my children's fabulous birthday cakes I felt a home-made special cake was in order.

It was very hard to decide on the design but after playing around with a few ideas I finally settled on a handbag-tastic cake (inspired by a little cake I spotted in Harrods last year).

I covered a large cake board with fondant which I coloured a slightly dusky pink and put a green ribbon around the edge (I had this already). I made the cake triple layer to make it bit more substantial without being huge and covered this with lemon buttercream and white fondant.

I made a selection of handbags, creating five very different bags. The colour theme turned out to be pink, green and purple, mostly dictated by the colours of fondant I already had and the new pink I had coloured up. I think it works well. I used some icing nozzles to pattern some of the bags (the "knitted" bag and the circles on the clutch bag). I also used a new embossing mat for the flowers on the big pink bag, and a modelling tool for the stitching. I decorated some of the bags with cut-out fondant flowers, silver,pink and green edible balls and a fondant button (using a new mould I recently bought from Pretty Witty Cakes) and used my extruder to create a rope handle and a tiny tassel!

I decided I needed to "display" the bags on the cake so made some "marble" pillars to sit them on, mixing white with some of the pink fondant. The marble effect is created by rolling the fondant between the palms of your hand until you get the desired effect.

The buttercream was a little too soft and so the cake is a bit lumpy but I hope it adds to the charm! I decided to tidy the join of the cake to the cake board with a pink fondant rope. This was made using my extruder and the trefoil disc which creates a trefoil shape roll which then needs to be twisted to get the rope effect.

I decided to be kind and not mention 70 anywhere on the cake, so I have cut "Happy Special Birthday" in the three colours I used and added sparkle powder to them. I also moulded a selection of buttons in the three colours and glued them to the sides of the cake to add some interest.

Now we just have to get it to the restaurant on Monday and hope that she likes it!

© 2011 Nicola Noble

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Easter eggs

I decided to make Easter eggs for family this year rather than buy them and found it all quite addictive.

Many, many years ago I collected coupons and sent off for some egg moulds which I rediscovered at the end of last year. I bought a selection of dark, milk and white chocolate and also some mini honeycomb and fudge pieces.

I wasn't technical in the making of the eggs (ie tempering the chocolate etc) as I worked on the principal that the eggs wouldn't be around long enough to "bloom". I melted the chocolate in the microwave and with a bit of practice I figured out how long to "zap" it for - several short bursts to the point where there were still some chocolate pieces that looked solid but with a bit of gentle shaking they collapsed into the melted chocolate.

I made a selection of all dark eggs (for dairy intolerant hubbie) and milk eggs for others. The fun bit was decorating the eggs. I made some mini piping bags from greaseproof paper and melted the white, milk and dark chocolate in the bags in the microwave. I then cut a small hole in the piping end and had fun making flowers, spots and just drizzling randomly across the eggs. When this had hardened I spooned in the contrasting chocolate for the egg and added either fudge or honeycomb pieces, both of which were delicious. When these had set I then melted a little more chocolate and stuck the two halves together to make the complete egg.

I was very pleased with how they came out ...
© 2011 Nicola Noble