Friday, 30 March 2012

An Apple Cake a Day...

We get lots of requests asking what our recipes are, and normally we don’t like to oblige, you know a magician never gives up his secrets. But today we are making and exception, this light and delicious apple cake is the perfect dessert for a nice warm day.

Ingredients (serves 6…unless someone’s greedy):

·           225 g self-raising flour
·           1 level tsp baking powder
·           225g caster sugar
·           2 large eggs
·           ½ tsp almond extract
·           150g butter, melted
·           250g cooking apples, pealed and cored
·           25g flaked almond

  1. First preheat the oven to 160C/fan, 140C/gas, after then you should lightly grease a deep 20c loose bottom cake tin
  2. Now in a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, almond extract, and the melted butter. Mix until well blended and then beat for a minute
  3. Now you should have prepared the apples, if not do so, I’ll give you a minute…ok now you need to pour half of the mixture into the prepared tin, and lay the apples on top. Cut them however you like it, but we recommend it be a bit of a thicker cut.
  4. Now pour the rest of the mixture over the top, focusing on the middle so that it flows out. Now use a spoon to help make it all nice and even.
  5. Now sprinkle the top with the flaked almonds, this is really just a suggestion but its great for given the cake a real nice crunch to it.
  6. Finally bake in the oven for at  least 1 ¼ hours, but it may take a bit longer. It should be golden brown and coming away from the tin.
  7. Lastly cut, serve, eat, and enjoy.

This little creation goes great with a little vanilla ice cream or really just about anything; chocolate drizzled on top, or even fresh berries. You make it as flavourful as your imagination is able to.

I hope you enjoy it, because I know that we enjoy making them.  

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Half Way Blog Post

Well I have reached the halfway point in my journey as an Intern, and being here at Family Cakes has been an experience so far. It  is always interesting, there really is a bit of something new every day. But I thought I'd share a little more of the behind the scenes stuff.

While I'm sure that many of you who are fans of Family Cakes see the beautiful creations that we produce, you hardly ever begin to know the hard work that goes into thinking them up.But I am the fly on the wall and I see and hear the process and sometimes I'm even involved, you know, because I'm a pretty big deal. Last week, I gave you just the tip of the iceberg in my blog about the bounty cake. That was just the actual decision process, the yes or no. But how did we get there, where did it start?

Really most ideas are just drawn from various inspirations, the Bounty cake is a pretty obvious example of this. We thought, hey, its a popular candy bar, lets make a cake out of it. The result wasn't quite what we all hoped for but that happens.Sometimes though, it's by total accident. There is some chocolate sponge left over, what can we do with it? That is what helped create this decadent beauty.

But other times, it is well thought out. And I mean well thought out. Sketches, price lists, and a distinct examination of different flavours and cake combinations. This does not just refer to the commissions made here, many of the cakes take time and lots of tinkering to make them perfect. It may take months to really truly get the cake  down to where we all want it. This is, might I remind you, all while also filling out the numerous orders for cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes, etc. that Family Cakes gets every week.

They are in the kitchen in the morning, dreaming up new delicious treats, before most of us are out of bed and have had our morning coffee or tea. So personally I salute that...Granted sometimes beautiful creations, well...flop, but those are the breaks when it comes to cakes. (yes the rhyme was on purpose)

Either way it doesn't stop them from trying and if they ever did, then it just wouldn't be Family Cakes.

Hard at work

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Spring is in the Air

Spring has sprung here at Family Cakes! That means Easter bunnies, fresh fruit, and splendid spring themed cupcakes. So far in my time here I have never been at a loss to see a beautiful cake. With Vincenzo working hard to put together some new fresh and delicious cakes I see something great almost every day. These are just one of the wonderful and vibrant creations that I have see this week.

Easter is just around the bend and while we have a playful little bunny cake that we offer, we felt we needed something with a bit more austerity, just as much decadence, and something that is as amazing to look at, as it is fantastic to eat. This is why we came out with the Easter Basket Cake.

This Easter Basket cake is not only a work of art but it is one fine cake. Aside from the golden eggs and the chocolate bunny on top, the cake can be stuffed with an variety of fillings and choice of chocolate or vanilla sponge. So basically what I’m trying to say, is to not miss out on this cake. Its fun for all ages, as delicious as you want to make it, and we will deliver it to your door. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

This post isn't only about Easter however, here at Family Cakes like to simply celebrate the season as well. That is why Vincenzo put together this light and delicious cake for your viewing pleasure. Its topped with a variety of fresh fruits and just like the Easter Basket cake, you can add any variety of fillings. We recommend Italian style because it might give it just that extra bit of flavour that takes it to the next level. 

Finally, we offer beautiful spring and Easter themed cupcakes that are fun and tasty too. We have Easter Bunny Cupcakes, Sheep Cupcakes, Easter Egg Cupcakes, and Butterfly Cupcakes. All toped with your choice of icing colour and with either chocolate or vanilla sponge. 

So whether you have a spring birthday, an affinity for butterflies, or maybe you just want to satisfy a sweet tooth, just order something today and you'll wonder why you didn't sooner. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Chocolate Coconut Cake: The Ultimate Test

This cake, modeled after a Bounty Chocolate bar was brought up as a possible idea for a new cake. We all agreed that it was a good idea to try, but that is where the agreement and civility stopped.

The cake came out looking rather nice, a bit fudgy on the top and could easily be topped with strawberries for accent. Good start so far.

We cut it open and Vincenzo has something to say about it already, there is too much sponge at the top. He wants to distribute the coconut and sponge a bit more evenly to help the taste and it even might be more visually appealing.  That’s not so bad, easily fixable.

As we all sample a piece, the opinions run the gambit of all that is possible: Vincenzo was indifferent, I enjoyed it, and Daniel absolutely hated it. The toping he thought, a simple chocolate icing made from condensed milk and cocoa powder, was the only bright spot. The cake was then instantly relegated to the boys downstairs so they could have a try and it may not even get a second thought.

It just goes to show, there is no perfect idea, nor is every cake that we try and make here, a good one (at least to some people). 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Last Chance Mother's Day Cakes

If you are reading this, it’s likely that you just realized only a few days before that Mother’s day is this Sunday. Don’t panic just yet; there might still be time.

There is no need to rush out and dive into the first store you see to buy her something that she never wanted or needed. What you can do is go to the Family Cakes website and get one, two, or even three of the beautiful and delicious Mother’s Day cakes or cupcakes offered.

Click here to get a look at what we are offering this year, but don’t ogle at the pretty pictures for too long. Time is of the essence. No one wants that disapproving glare after you get your Mother a chocolate bar and a “World’s Best Mum” mug…again.

Family Cakes is happy to deliver and simply needs 24-hour notice in order to create and send one of their unique creations.

So just relax and let your heart rate return to normal. Its all going to be OK, Family Cakes is here. 

The Social Media Reminder Cake!

So, I bet you guessed by now that there isn’t really any cake. I didn’t mean to deceive you, I just wanted to take a second and remind everyone to check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well.

If you like what you see here (and how could you not?) then you might just fall out of your seat with the plethora of delicious images that await you in the world of Facebook. You can see our Master Chefs teach class, bake cakes, making the Marzipan animals, and all in one convenient timeline.

So don’t be shy, “like” us and all your dreams will come true*

 Or on Twitter @FamilyCakeComp

*Family Cakes is not responsible for any dreams that may not come true as a result of “liking” us on Facebook :P

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Classic Zabaglione!

As much as I may love cake, there are days when cake can not take the place of my all time favorite, 
irreplaceable, stop the clock dessert. So I give you Zabaglione! 

This is the Queen of Italian puddings, but you can hear chefs all over the world running for cover. It's basically a big pain in the 'whisk' to prepare this after dinner delight & these days not easy at all to find the real Macoy!  

A la minute preparation is an absolute must.  It's not for the feint hearted, but very very worth the effort.  
My life long friend Claudia is famous for her classic version & I would like to share with you today:

Claudia's Classic Zabaglione - makes six servings (although easily adaptable for more or less)

6 Free range egg yolks (1 yolk per person)
6 tablespoons of caster sugar (1 spoon per person)
Marsala al Uovo wine to taste (you can also use Marsala which is not 'al uovo' or if you can't find any at all, medium dry sherry is a good substitute. But Marsala is definitely BEST)

Prepare a bain Marie by boiling some water in a saucepan.  You will also need a heat proof bowl large enough to sit on top of the saucepan without it touching the boiling water.
If the bowl touches the boiling water the dessert will spoil & you will have eggy, sugary, boozy disaster on your hands..

OK..while you are waiting for the water to simmer, put all six egg yolks into the bowl (off the heat) & whisk vigorously with an electric hand whisk or a balloon whisk if you have muscles!
Now add the caster sugar & continue to whisk, still off the heat.  Once the mix begins to turn pale & fluffy & by now the water should be simmering place the bowl over the simmering pan making sure that the base of the bowl is nowhere near the hot water.  It's important to keep the whisking going & be vigorous about it !! NO scrambled eggs here!

Whilst you are whisking, add a glug at a time of Marsala, this really is according to your own personal preference, all I can say is it's utterly delicious!

Continue whisking (vigorously) until the mix has doubled in size... take the zabaglione off the heat & spoon into cups, or glasses.

For a Summery twist, spoon the warm frothy mix over some ripe raspberries or even better some fragrant sliced summer peaches..the thought of this is too much for a girl typing in mid March...

How ever you like your zabaglione, eat it warm & add a sponge finger or two on the side for a bit of texture or to indulge in a bit of dipping!

Dessert a deux may never be the same again!!  Enjoy!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Mother's Day and Cake: A Natural Combination

This year we are rolling out two very special cakes for Mother’s day. These are not your average “I love you Mum” cakes. These are works of art; these are cakes that will really make your mother glad she spent 8 hours in labor for you. So gather round sons and daughters…and try not to drool on your keyboard.

The first of the two cakes comes to us straight out of Italian history. It is the “Torta Mimosa.” In Italy the Mimosa flower has traditionally been given to women on “La Festa Della Donna,” a holiday for women that was created after World War II and one now that greatly parallels Mother’s Day.

This cake is a sumptuous nod to this tradition. It features a moist vanilla sponge in the middle with Lemon Cream. The outer portion of the cake is covered in Pan Di Spagna, which is used to mimic the texture and color of the flowers. And for the grand finale it is topped with red berries. You can't find anything wrong with that.  

Irresistible isn't it?
The second cake is one where Vincenzo really out did himself. It is a Setteveli cake. This literally means “Seven Veils” and refers to the seven delicious layers that lie inside. The Cake features: Chocolate Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate, Cream Cheese, Chocolate Sponge, Crunchy Flakes, and just a hint of Rum Liqueur. The result is a culinary tour de force.

The outside of the cake is covered in a rich chocolate spread. The outer edges are dotted with chocolates and the middle features a placard where you can write a personalized message for your mother.

I dare you to say no
So maybe you don't feel like doing the whole grand beautiful cake bit (heaven forbid), well then maybe you can just surprise your mum with some of these delicious cupcakes. Some are Mimosa themed again while the others are simple chocolate cupcakes with flower petal accents.

I am telling you, these cakes and cupcakes are ones that you don’t want to miss out on. If anything get one for your mum just so you might get to have some yourself. You wont regret it.                                                                                                 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Taking a Bite out of Blogging

Welcome! Well welcome to me anyway. My name is Alex Willis and I will be hijacking…I mean…guest blogging for Family Cakes over the next few weeks. I am the new bright eyed and willing intern (who is so handsomely featured below). I don’t know much about blogging, but I do love cake, so that is definitely a good start.

First a little about me, I am originally from the states. I grew up in Indiana, where corn and not cakes, is usually what’s on the menu. I’m studying economics and international relations, at The American University, I think that this is a truly unique opportunity to be abroad and work in a great place like Family Cakes (Granted it’s only my first day so “great” is yet to be determined).

That’s really about it I’m afraid, not too interesting of a post this time around I know. But in the weeks to come I look forward to bringing you constant updates, maybe a behind the scenes look or two. Will it be scandalous? Probably not. Raunchy? Chocolate and cream will be involved. Delicious? Always.

So until next time make sure to find Family Cakes on Facebook and Twitter as well, I hear some really awesome intern is in charge of those too…