Perfect Macarons – The Holy Grail

Creating the perfect Macaron is like finding the Holy Grail for some Cakers. These heavenly little things have driven more people to quit than I can count – just spend a day in a cake group on Facebook and you’ll see exactly what I mean. These little meringue/biscuit hybrids are well worth the effort though, and once you’ve mastered them, they’ll take pride of place at every afternoon tea party.

Four raspberry ripple macarons.
Raspberry Ripple Mini Macaron, available as part of an Afternoon Tea at For Cakes Sake

When you first set out to make these impossible treats you’ll probably read a ton of blogs (like this one), you might even watch a bunch of tutorials. I know I did. In that case you will already know about perfect feet (that’s the bit under the smooth dome!) You’ll also want a smooth top, and a great rise with no cracks. But the fact is, that they only have to taste lovely, anything else is a bonus. Remember that, and you can’t go wrong!

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Test Kitchen Take Over

My test kitchen has been completely taken over by For Cakes Sake this week. Just right too as things are starting to hot up over there. Not only has an offer gone in on a premises, I have also registered as a limited company. This means that things are getting real and there is a massive list of recipes to test and cost out. It’s pretty bonkers the amount of work that needs to be done.

Baking cakes is always a treat. But when the pressure is on to test out a ton of stuff, it makes sense to combine a few skills. So, I designed this Dungeons and Dragons Crate Cake. I had missed a few sessions of DnD over the past few weeks, and I kept promising them cake. Although, I knew they would not be expecting this!

Secret Recipe Strawberry Milkshake Cake

I particularly wanted to test out my new recipe for strawberry milkshake cake, but I also wanted to work with chocolate. Choccywoccydoodah make it looks so easy and fun. So I decided to break away from using the standard fondant and try something a little different. I am so glad I did.

Dungeons and Dragons Crate Cake. It has a baby dragon hatching from an egg, a broken scroll and plenty of gold coins.
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The Perfect Scone

What exactly is a Scone?

Simply put, a scone is just a type of quick bread. They are versatile little things though, and the variations are almost endless.

They can be sweet or savoury. You can use wholemeal flour, oats, lemonade, sugar, fruit, cheese, and even pumpkin puree in your recipe! And, you can griddle them, fry them, oven bake them, you can even deep fry them.

As if that wasn’t confusing enough, they are also known under a variety of different names. For example, when made with potato they are called Tattie Scones and if you use baking soda and griddle them, they are Soda Farls. In America, they are Biscuits, and they can also be Bannocks or Griddle Scones. We already mentioned the deep fried version in Australia, they call these Puftaloons.

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Baking with buttermilk

What is buttermilk

Buttermilk is a tangy, milky liquid that is often used in baking. It adds a lovely flavour to the dish, but it also works perfectly with baking powder to add rise to your bakes.

It comes in two different forms. The stuff you buy in the supermarket is a cultured milk that contains acid. This is what you should use if your recipe calls for buttermilk. The other kind is made from churning double cream. This kind of buttermilk will taste nice as a drink, plus you also get butter as a by product. But, it isn’t acidic, and that means it will be no good for your baking.

homemade buttermilk in a jar
Homemade Buttermilk
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Mmmm Marshmallows

Whats a marshmallow?

Marshmallows, as we know them, have been around for thousands of years. Originally, they were made with root sap from the marsh mallow plant, hence the name. The root was boiled with sugar, and once thickened, it was strained, cooled and flavoured. We know the Egyptians were making honey flavoured marshmallows as early as 2000 BC, although this treat was reserved only for gods and royalty!

Not just any old treat, these might be good for you!
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Lemon Liscious Humpday Cake

Humpday Just Got Better!

Remember my leftover Madeira cake from last month? I said I had exciting plans for it, and I have finally found some time to get working on it. So let me present (drum roll)… my Lemon Liscious Humpday Cake.

Lemon Liscious Humpday Cake
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Mmmm… Gooey, Chewy, Dark Chocolate Brownies

Gooey Brownies are a great addition to any afternoon tea menu. Make them bite size for a more refined affair, or serve in slices for a more relaxed tea. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a chewy, chocolatey brownie.

The first “true” Brownie was made in 1907 in Bangor, Maine. This was a close match to the Brownie we love today, but similar products had been made prior to that date. It is believed the original version was created ten years earlier in Chicago’s, Palmer House Hotel . This early version contained walnuts and apricot jam, and was made at the request of the hotel owners wife who wanted a cake-like desert that could be taken in a lunch box. They are still made to the original recipe in the hotel today.

Gooey, Chewy, Dark Chocolate Brownies
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Birthday Cake Alaska

When I asked my fiance what type of cake he wanted for his birthday, I wasn’t expecting him to ask for a Baked Alaska. I’ve never even eaten one, let alone made one, but I could hardly say no. He raves about the one his mum used to make, so it’s a good job I love trying new recipes!

Thankfully, I have a shelf full of recipe books. And, the internet isn’t exactly short of ideas either. So I was confident I would be able to throw something together. Here goes…

Two Beautiful Madeira Loaves
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