Blackberry, Apple And Basil Pie
I was talking to a friend from CC about the differences in pie making between the USA and the UK and decided to bake some pies. I used the shortcrust recipe from Tesco's Finest pastry flour which produced a fine pastry and added some sugar. For the filling, I cooked one Granny Smith apple and a pack of blackberries (225g) with sugar and added several leaves of wide leaf basil towards the end. The fruit only needed about 10 minutes to cook. The aroma was so enticing, the flavour divine! I did not chill my pastry dough before pushing it into the muffin tin and it ended up very fragile. The sides of the pastry had an almost cake-like texture which is probably caused by the extra sugar or because they were so thin. As you can see by the photo, cooking the fruit before baking makes it easier to avoid bubbling up and there is no need to add anything else to make the filling stable. My only regret was not questioning the size of the pastry recipe. It was hardly enough to make six pies! Tesco will be hearing from me about that matter ;)
Made this for my daughter's birthday. It was hard work working with silicon moulds because I was using plain fondant and had no idea of the best way to use them. The instructions that come with the moulds are minimal and you learn through trial and error. By the time I had finished this cake, I said never again! There was also the issue of making the cake, filling it and then tasting the leftover cream and cake which I found to be too sweet and soft. So I scrapped it and started from the beginning. As the shops were closed, I had to use buttercream to fill the cake. The restaurant we held her party at put the cake into their freezer by mistake and we couldn't cut it. I felt so upset and ashamed! Then we got home and my daughter said 'now that it is all over, how about we have a piece of the discarded cake?' And I cut into it and it was fluffy and airy and oh so delicious. I then realised that I should never taste my cakes after a lot of hard work and tiredness because my taste buds do not work properly. As for the runny-ness of the cream filling, this does happen in high temperatures but it always sets nicely once chilled. Lesson learned.
I love this tray bake. I got introduced to it when I came to live in the UK. It is so delicious! Even more so when you make it yourself with quality ingredients.
Oh Oh Oh! Chocolate Tart
Title comes from my friend's reaction as she bit into it. We even have a hilarious video clip to prove it deserves this title. It was one of my experimental bakes and I failed to write down the exact steps, so now I am trying to decipher my own recipe... An eye-rolling moment or what?
Strawberry Ganache Cake
A cake made in a hurry for my friend's birthday. She decided she wanted one literally at the last minute. She came and picked it up before the glaze had even time to set. Had I had time, I would have chilled the cake and then the glaze would have sat nicely on top. Oh well! At least she got a cake...
Is there anything better than a Serano cake? Recreated from the memories of my Greek childhood for my friend's little son's birthday.
Friend's oldest son craved a Banoffee pie, so I had to learn to make one! I made my own caramel sauce as the one from the tin was not satisfactory at all.
Serrano Cake With Intricate Design
A cake reminding me of my childhood with its soft chocolate mirror glaze that I made for a friend's son's birthday. The intricate design was inspired by a photo that I saw online which I thought added a bit oomph to a cake for a special occasion.
This was made for my daughter's feast day (name day). It was the first time I was using fondant on a square cake and had absolutely no idea how to get it smooth over the corners! LOL Hence the 'wings' or what you want to call them. It was also the first time I made roses. I had no idea at that time that fondant is not good enough for flower making so they had to be thick or they would break down. I must have made the roses five times over to achieve this result. Looking at them now, I know they can be made better using flower paste, a balling tool, etc. But in those days YouTube was not full of tutorials as it is now. So we all struggled on our own. The piping is chocolate. Inside the cake was chocolate sponge with a rose syrup filled with a chocolate-strawberry ganache. This is my cake heaven (strawberry and chocolate!)
A confirmation cake made for a friend's daughter's special day. The report I had back was that the cake was fresh and delicious and most surprising as they expected an English type of cake with jam and buttercream that would be too sweet and heavy and got something very European, light, moreish and it kept well for a week.
Halloween Pumpkin Cake
I used my s.s. mixing bowl to bake this cake and it needed minimum carving afterwards. Unfortunately, I did not have enough fondant to cover it (only had a small pack of 250 g) so I had to roll it very thinly. Made some leaves out of white fondant and used the veiners from a pack I had, then painted them using Sugarflair edible dust colours and rejuvenator spirit. I fashioned a stalk out of white fondant, too. Made the mistake of using confectioner's glaze to glaze the black and the brush transferred some colour onto the orange fondant. The inside was chocolate sponge with vanilla cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting has become my trademark because people prefer a filling that is not too sweet or heavy and I find it achieves the best balance. I do not use butter in this frosting, neither shortening. Just cream cheese and sugar!
Made these pastries using vanilla sponge rounds cut out of a sheet pan, sandwiched with almond cream and topped with pineapple jelly, raspberries and roasted almonds.
Almond And Grand Marnier Cake
What is there not to love about cake that has been soaked in a Grand Marnier syrup, filled with almond buttercream (nothing but butter, cream cheese and icing!), covered with an assortment of fresh fruit and roasted almond slivers? This one was for us, because we deserved good things, too!
Caramel Lotus Cake
A mousse type cake made with chocolate almond base and different mousses: caramel, praline, Lotus, cream cheese, topped with caramel sauce jelly and a chocolate disk reading Happy Birthday (which unfortunately I failed to temper properly and was the only decoration saved from several I had made.) This particular cake is an invention I made especially for my friend's birthday but it is based on a regular caramel cake that we eat in Greece.
Almond Cream Cake
My daughter's best friend and I conspired to make this cake to celebrate her mum's birthday. It is chocolate cake with almond cream frosting decorated with popping candy and dried strawberry.
Made this for my daughter's birthday. Vanilla cake with strawberry flavoured cheese frosting.
An acquaintance was having a baby and I got so excited, I made a cake and sent it by post. Inside was vanilla butter cake with a chocolate-brandy flavoured filling.
Hulk Coming Through A Wall
I made this cake for my friend's boy's birthday. Inside is vanilla cake with a white and pistachio green cream cheese frosting in chequerboard style. I made the mistake of colouring the bricks on all sides and then when I wanted to stick them on the fondant, I found they were sliding down, leaving a coppery trail which is why in parts there are piles of bricks supporting each other ;)