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My Piping Illusion cake baked with Trex

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I loved creating this fun and playful take on a layered gateaux cake complete with fluffy buttercream, ganache and cherries with a magical piping bag effect.

This cake is created by using a frame inside the cake, with each layer of sponge ‘threaded’ over the tube that comes up through all layers and out of the top. The filled piping bag is then inserted into the fame using wooden skewers to support and then a final bit of buttercream is used to disguise the cake frame. Magic!

I baked the sponge with Trex which gave the sponge a really god light texture, and it’s also dairy free! If you want to be completely dairy free you can also use it in place of the butter for the buttercream, just add an extra 100g of icing sugar to help stiffen.

I thought I’d share the recipe as it’s a really fun illusion cake but not too tricky! You could change the colours of the buttercream if you wanted to or even make a chocolatey version, it’s super fun! If you do make one I’d love to see any pictures of your creations!

The Recipe and How to!

Preparation: 1 hour 30 minutes
Baking: 30-40 minutes
Serves: 25-30
Vanilla Sponge Layers:
Ingredients:
• 750g Trex
• 750g Golden caster sugar
• 750g Self Raising flour
• 1tsp baking powder
• 15 eggs lightly beaten
• 1 tbsp Vanilla bean paste

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
2. Grease and line on the base and sides, 3 x 10” round cake tins, alternatively if you only have one tin, repeat the process until all three layers are baked.
3. Cream together the Trex sugar and paste until fluffy for a few mins with a hand whisk or in a stand mixer.
4. Add the eggs gradually beating gently until incorporated.
5. Mix the baking powder into the flour with a whisk, then gently mix in the flour until just incorporated, don’t over mix.
6. Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes until light golden and spongy, a skewer should come out clean from the centre when tested.
7. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins then turn out onto a rack, removing the parchment paper and cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache Filling:
Ingredients:
• 450g dark chocolate
• 100g double cream
• 200g butter

Method:

1. Melt all together in a microwave, until amalgamated and smooth. Allow to cool until thickened slightly and at room temperature before placing into a large plastic piping bag.
Buttercream:
Ingredients:
• 500g room temp unsalted butter
• 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
• 1kg icing sugar

Method:

1. Beat all together until smooth, pale and really creamy, ideally with an electric hand whisk or in a stand mixer.
2. Load up into a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle (I used a Wilton 1M) and pipe over each layer of sponge to construct the layer cake adding a generous filling over each layer covering the ganache.
3. To decorate pipe little stars around the edge then fill in the centre with little whips of buttercream on the top of the sponge, topping each one with a fresh cherry

To create the piping bag effect, you will need:
• A clean plastic piping bag
• A large open star nozzle
• A small piece of polystyrene to wedge inside the bag
• A little off the excess buttercream
• 2 wooden skewers
• A little cling film

Method:
1. To assemble, push the long wooden sewers right through the polystyrene piece/pieces, pushing out through the front and back of the polystyrene.
2. Add the nozzle to the piping bag by cutting a hole in it and pushing in the nozzle.
3. Test the distance and length needed of the skewers. The long tips of the sewers need to be pushed right through the nozzle and extend into the opening of the illusion cake tube that extends from the cake. This will help support the weight of the piping bag once it’s filled – make adjustments accordingly.
4. Take your excess buttercream from the initial bake and pipe inside the decorative bag, around the polystyrene, do this until the bag and is full and completely masking the polystyrene inside the bag.
5. Secure the decorative piping bag at the end, and use a small piece of cling film to tie the bag up. If your skewers are showing a little coming out of the bag, this can be snipped off with strong scissors.
6. Once you’ve got your cake ready, the final step is to place your decorative piping bag into the illusion cake tube, the skewers will support the bag from falling down as there will be tension where the skewers are leaning against the illusion cake tube.
7. Use your buttercream to cover the clear plastic tube within the cake and there you have it, your cake appears as the perfect magical illusion!

Focaccia Bread

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Focaccia Bread for KitchenAid

Easy Foccacia

This delicious light and spongy bread is so easy to make and is a perfect accompaniment to any pasta dish or antipasti sharing plates. As long as you leave yourself a little time for the dough to work it’s rising magic, its easy peasy.

For the dough

600g strong bread flour
300g 00 Italian pasta flour
475ml hand hot water
1 sachet of dried fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
Pinch of sugar
Olive oil to grease
A little ground polenta or semolina
For the topping
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tablespoon water
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Sea salt flakes

In the KitchenAid bowl with the dough hook attachment, pop your flours, salt, pinch of sugar and yeast in the bowl and mix on slow speed, gradually add the warm water and keep mixing on slow until a dough is formed. Let the machine do the work for you, working the dough into a nice pliable springy ball. If you find it’s a tad dry you can add a few more drops of warm water as needed. Once the dough is ready, in a plastic or glass bowl, grease with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl to rest with a damp tea towel laid over the top. Put in a warm place to prove until it has about doubled in size and looks nice and aerated and light in texture.

While the dough is rising, grease a large baking tray (my one measured 30cm x 20cm approx). Scatter liberally with some polenta grain or semolina, this aids it not sticking and gives the base a lovely crunch.

Get your dough out of its bowl and place in the prepared tin. Flatten it out with your palms to evenly spread out the stretchy dough. Drizzle with a little olive oil, rub over lightly and leave this again covered with the tea towel to rest for about 45 mins to an hour, until it doubles in size again. Preheat the oven to the max temp, I baked mine on 240 fan, you need it super hot.
Once you are ready to bake, using your finger, press down to make several dimples all over the surface of the dough. Press down until you hit the bottom of the tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and whack in the oven to bake off. Bake for around 15-20 mins until your dough is lovely and risen and a deep golden colour.
Let cool for a couple of mins white you whisk the olive oil and water together to mix, then turn the dough out onto a cooling rack, its nice and stiff so it shouldn’t break, it will be super hot. Using oven gloves flip it over so the dimple side is up and now really liberally drench the hot dough in the oily water, it soaks up loads. I love mine really oily. Scatter generously with sea salt flakes, and push little bunches of rosemary sprigs down into the dimples, this is THE ULTIMATE if served warm with extra virgin olive oil and good quality balsamic vinegar to dip. I could just eat this alone.

Easy chocolate chunk cookies for KitchenAid

chocolate chunk cookies

Gooey chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate chunk Cookies

These delicious soft and chewy cookies are best served warm straight out of the oven, with a side of ice-cream, or they will keep also in an airtight container or food bag for up to a week. You can refresh them in a warm oven at 140 degrees for a couple of mins if you wish too.

Makes approx 12 large cookies
125g salted butter at room temp
150g light muscovado sugar (i love Billington’s)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 large egg
180g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g chocolate chunks of your choice – I’ve used half dark and half milk in bar form and broken these into squares

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees fan, 200 conventional/gas 6 and line a couple of baking sheets with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla in your Kitchenaid with the paddle beater on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed and beat in the egg until combined. Tip in the flour and baking powder and mix on slow until combined and you have a sticky dough. Drop in the chocolate chunks and mix on slow just to distribute a bit. With your hands, take out a generous ball of the dough with a couple/few chocolate chunks in and roll them into a large walnut size ball. It’s pretty sticky and a good tip is to dampen your hands first, this helps to roll it without sticking too much. Line the balls up on the trays,. They will flatten and spread into a large disc so allow plenty of space, I just put 6 balls on each tray. Bake for approx 10-12 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges but are still a bit squidgy in the centre. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before eating while the chocolate is just a bit melty, DELICIOUS!

Recipes for KitchenAid

Protein Bars

Protein Bars

Homemade Granola Protein bars

These are super quick and easy to make, packed full of seeds and goodness with a little honey or agave to sweeten. Using some protein powder makes these a great homemade post gym bar, they keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container or in a food bag.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees fan and grease and line an 8” square cake tin with baking parchment. If you want to go dairy free grease with coconut or vegetable oil.

175g oats
50g protein powder (I used a vanilla protein powder called the Good Guru but you can use any you like)
75g Almond butter (you can use any nut butter you like e.g. cashew, multi or peanut)
15g ground flax
15g chia seeds
100g honey or agave syrup
125ml unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk drink
50g raisins
70g plain chocolate chips or broken into small pieces (I used a vegan chocolate)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
1.5 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
mixed seeds to sprinkle

in a bowl, mix the oats, protein powder, flax, chia, cinnamon and salt together with a spoon to distribute everything,
Place the almond butter, honey/agave, milk and vanilla in the KitchenAid bowl and mix on medium speed until fully blended and amalgamated. Add the oat and protein powder dry mix and beat on slow until completely mixed and a sticky dough is formed. Lift the beater and sprinkle over the raisins and chocolate chips over the bowl, lower the paddle and mix on slow for 10 seconds or so until they are distributed through the mix. Remove all the mix from the bowl with a spatula, tipping it out into the tin. With the back or a spoon or damp fingers, press the mix down until you have a nice even layer lining the bottom if the tin. Sprinkle liberally with your chosen mix of seedy topping. Bake for approx 15/20 mins until the edges are starting to turn a golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin, then remove by lifting out the paper, and cut into bars with a sharp knife.

A Healthy(ish) Carrot and Courgette cake for BBCR1 Breakfast show!

grimmy and cakeology

I had a brilliant cakey challenge to create a cake for Grimmy’s 3rd anniversary show. Grimmy is on a health kick right now so I decided to do a little bit of experimenting and mess about with some recipes to find a delish but healthy (ish) cake recipe.

I went for the This Is Your Life cake design as its a great one for special monumental celebrations as you can add tons of different piccys on to celebrate the occasion, and if you want to learn exactly how to make one yourself (shameless plug alert!!) check out page 139 of my new book, Cakeology!! Its a vintage patchwork cake and if you can use the exact same principles/technique but switch the fabric print for your own pics, you can create this cake for that special someone in your life.

I really enjoyed making this one. I used loads of the famous ‘Instagrim’ pics from the show so we had all the celebs on the cake that have been guests, and to tailor it for the special 3rd anni theme, I added some number 3’s images, various pics of Grimmy’s R1 escapades and also chucked in some brekkie pics (healthy ones of course, like Avocado toast, poached eggs, blueberries etc, all the on trend healthy food items)!

It was brilliant to go down to the show as I met Nick finally (I’ve done a few cakes for him in the past with my mate Dan P Carter; see below…one is VERY VERY rude so I’ve had to obscure part of it so I don’t cause any offence!

Very rude but a fine example of accuracy in Marzipan sculpture

Very rude but a fine example of accuracy in Marzipan sculpture

A huge Vanilla and Chocolate version of the classic MacDonald's fave

A huge Vanilla and Chocolate version of the classic MacDonald’s fave

Nick was lovely and good fun as I thought he would be…but an added bonus was I got to meet long time hero and legend David Walliams!! He asked about the cake and of course I had to take the opportunity to do an impression of one of his little Britain characters!! The funny Scottish guy that says ‘Carrot cake, Carrot cake, have ye any nuts?’ I am a bit of a loser but it was a good fan girl mo.

David Walliams in Little Britain.......

David Walliams in Little Britain…….

Luckily he found it mildly amusing and he was a good sport…..we went in the Instagrim Booth which was fun and he gave me a copy of his new book, Grandpas Great Escape!

what a bloomin nice bloke

what a bloomin nice bloke

The recipe was actually really good, not too sweet. I did have to use a little unrefined sugar, so I used some Billington’s light muscovado as its got a lovely fudgy caramel flavour, and I also used unrefined icing sugar for the filling which I lightened with some cream cheese so it wasn’t too sugary sweet.

So here’s the recipe if you want to try it I’d love to hear what you thought, its delish and a little bit healthy! Its got 2 of your five a day and I used coconut oil in place of veg oil as its favored for its healthier benefits plus I added a little glace ginger to pack a punch of flavour. Enjoy and I’d love to see your pics of your cakes!!

NB this recipe made enough to make a 6″ and 9″ square cake which i baked in 2 halves for each one as it is dense due to so much veg. As a guide i wouldn’t bake this more than an inch and a half in depth to be sure its not too heavy, better to bake thinner layers and stack them up.

600g grated Carrot
400g grated Courgette (squeeze the excess water out of this)
600g light muscovado sugar
375g melted coconut oil
10 lg free range eggs
300g raisins (you could use sultanas)
1kg self raisin flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp Nielsen Massey vanilla bean paste
2 tsp glace ginger (optional)
zest of 3 oranges
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

Place your sugar and vanilla paste in a very large bowl and add your melted oil, thoroughly mix in. Beat your eggs and add these to the sugar and oil and stir well. chuck in your grated veggies, raisins, zest and glace ginger and give it a good old mix. In a seperate bowl combine your flour, spice and baking powder and then tip this into the veggie mix and gently stir, don’t over mix.

Pop into your prepared tins and bake on fan 160 or conventional oven 180 (all ovens vary so do keep a check) and bake until cooked through. a metal skewer or sharp knife will come out clean. for the larger cakes you’ll be looking at around 40 mins per half layer…..ish!

Enjoy!

Check out my youtube channel!

Hi everyone thanks, if you’d like to learn a few baking and cake tips it would be FAB if you can subscribe to my youtube channel!! I’ll be uploading regular videos. thanks!! Happy baking xx

Juliet Sear youtube channel

 

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Cakeology – Out now!!

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Welcome to my blog! I’ll be posting  lots of recipes & tips, fun stuff I’m up to, some videos and also competitions. It would be great to chat to you all and hope to share lots of food/cake/baking love.  My new book Cakeology, published by Hardie Grant is out now!! I wanted to say a HUGE thanks to everyone who has supported me and bought the book and posted about it on social media, I’m over the moooooon!! I was thrilled to see it hit no1 in Cake decorating and Desert books on Amazon, one of those ‘life goals’ ticked off! THANK YOU!

One of the most popular designs from the book has undoubtedly been the Pinata cake….I think because it is so eye catching, fun for anyone, of any age but ultimately, it is super simple for anyone to make. Thanks to the ol’ GBBO  being back on our screens, there is a good buzz around cake decorating and baking, and the Daily Mail  picked up a feature on the Pinata cake which was fantastic. Have a look here to see the full recipe and how to video on their website!

To celebrate with you all, I’m doing a competition to give away a signed Cakeology book, along with a hamper of baking goodies, PLUS a selection of yumptious sweets so you can make your own Pinata cake….. just subscribe to my blog please and tweet me at Julietsear_ or post a pic of your favourite cake on Instagram and tag me, julietsear and I will choose the winner and announce it on my blog next week. Good luck!

Happy Baking, Juliet xxx

Cake inspiration: Oasis and V&A

cake-patterns

The fantastic thing about making cakes I think is getting a spark of inspo from something and turning it into an edible creation. I am always getting #cakeinspo from all sorts of things, fashion, nature, interiors, other food and often wake up in the night with a cake dream that I will just NEED to give birth to, I must confess I’m a bit of a cake geek like that.

This week I had great fun working on a cake that was inspired by the amazing collaboration between Oasis and the V&A museum.

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The collection is so GORGEOUS and includes beautiful 18th century hand painted historical prints. I love the William Kilburn botanical one, but it’s SO but it’s hard to choose a favourite. I just knew this would be a perfect marriage with one of my signature designs, using little tiles of edible print, the Vintage Floral Patchwork cake so I could use a good variety of the prints together on one cake.

So I set to work icing my square Vanilla bean cake sponge in panels to give me a perfectly square look and make a good base for the box design. To decorate the cake in my patchwork design, I laid out the prints on edible icing paper set onto finely rolled out sugar paste, which I stuck on with vodka (well, it was the afternoon so I had a little V&T to accompany me at the work bench!) I carefully cut out each little tile using a royal icing straight edge ruler as a guideline template and left these to dry overnight.

The next day, bringing the cake to life was pretty simple. I piped on squiggles of stiff royal icing along the side of my cake and then placed the little print tiles onto the cake and spaced them out equally. Then I repeated this all up the side on all sides and finished across the top in the same manor.

The little tiles were then ‘grouted’ with sweet royal icing to fill in the gaps between the tiles, and to finish I piped a navy snail trail around the top, bottom and corners to finish the design.

I hope you like it, I just LOVE this and was thrilled to use the V&A prints for this cake.