Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Have a little Nibble on our Cupcakes!

Oh the cupcake challenge has been a hoot, you guys have had some weird combinations (I like weird though) some fabulous ones (got me jealous, why didn't I think of that). We have been extremely busy in the kitchen this week. We had a hotel get in touch last week who wanted 2 cakes, well by the time I'd finished my magic on the design and Anna had made it into a delicious reality we had another 3 orders for exactly the same for there different sites, fabulous and busy has been the kitchen motto this week. Here's the corporate cake by the way what do you think. But fabulous and busy has left little room for cupcake creativity, little not none. Look at these cheeky little scrumptious bites Anna came up with!

This is our Strawberries and Cream Wimbledon Special, Lush!And just to give you a little giggle this is my disastrous attempt I'm a gonna stick to the drawing of cakes am much better then the actual decorating!

This is how I found out that Smarties don't like fridges, Whoops!

The cupcake challenge is still going till this Friday so get in touch admin@familycakes.co.uk and let us know your ideas we will be posting the names of those we have chosen to get free cupcakes and there's idea's the following Friday.

Nicola Quigley

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Diabetic Friendly Cakes.

So the cupcake challenge has been building momentum and I've quite a few scrumptious ideas filling up my inbox at the moment (If you are still in the dark about our cupcake challenge then go to this link and get participating; you do not want to pass on the chance for free cupcakes surely http://tinyurl.com/5srts63).

Interestingly a lovely lady I know got in touch and asked about Diabetic friendly cakes and cupcakes, being new to the world of baking I started my own research in to different recipes available and the different health affects of sugar vs sweetener vs sweetening aids. There is a whole host of information out there and recipes galore.

Although I am by no means an expert I thought it would be good to share my new found knowledge with you as I really have learnt quite a lot. Firstly the biggest impression I have been left with is no matter what alternative you use there is still variables to be taken into consideration, even if we remove all the granulated sugar and replaced with a sweetener alternative there is the carbohydrate factor which would be just as damaging to glucose levels for a diabetic sufferer as sugar, so in short it is not as simple as one sugar free cake fitting all. Alternative to flour that have been suggested so far are a wholegrain flour or rice flour these are great alternatives (healthier then white flour too) but you would need to allow for the coarser bulk agent and introduce more moisture from another ingredient.

The Diabetes U.K website http://tinyurl.com/6hnoj8t has been a great source of information one of their suggestions is to remove the sugars completely and replace the sweetness with fresh fruit, again it has to be fresh as dried fruit is highly concentrated with fructose sugar that would wreak havoc for diabetes sufferers. On a bakery term this greatly reduces the shelf lives of our cakes and although that is fine for ourselves as we bake to order I couldn't see a smaller shop based bakery being able to produce this for display and buy as it would probably last just a day.

As for replacing the sugars with sweeteners there are several U.K licensed artificial sweeteners that can be used but again many of these have a laxative effect and so can only be eaten in moderation. The best way to keep the sweetness is by using a sugar alternative like the lovely agave syrup (great in a Margarita) or honey sparingly and again increasing the fruit content, but the agave syrup and honey will still have an effect on blood sugar levels and therefore again they should be consumed in moderation.

The conclusion I am coming to myself is that a diabetic friendly cake only allows them to have a generous portion as opposed to a sliver of a non friendly cake, it will still incur some kind of monitoring and therefore the only cakes available for a diabetic sufferer are friendlier but not an out right replacement.

We would love to know what recipes you are using out there as there is such a myriad of ways to cook a diabetic friendlier cake, I Will include some that I have found please let us know how you get on and again please be careful and know that even a friendlier version can only be eaten in moderate amounts and with careful monitoring!

All recipes and most of the information used have been taken from the Diabetes UK website which has extremely useful information in all aspects of life for people suffering with Diabetes Please take a look.

Chocolate Brownies
This Link is for a chocolate Brownie recipe incorporating ground almonds and beetroot amongst other sumptuousness would be delicious for anyone, might try this one out this weekend!

Individual Pear Crumbles with Creme Fraiche....Yummy!!

Lemon and Lime Sponge with Passion Fruit Topping
A great summer treat for anybody...and if you make this PLEASE send me some!

Thank you for taking a look I hope you found this interesting please get in touch with any comments or feedback you may have!
Nicola Quigley

Monday, 6 June 2011

Build me a house....out of cake!

OK we said; let's make it happen and the towering inferno begun....or what it affectionately became known as amongst the office staff as the buttery creamy spongey tower of tastiness was carted off to the big fridge for quick blasts of frozen air so Anna could continue working on it, what fun. But before I show the beautiful beast that is 91 Highbury Hill here's what it looks like on the inside.

We knew this was going to be a very heavy load from the off, lots of Marzipan covering and detailing meant before butter cream and sponge the cake would be a few pounds already. So to avoid the slide of doom onto our recipient Anna actually built 3 seperate sponges with coloumn inserts running through to hold up the next layer.

Its hard to see the house amongst the sponge at this point but its getting there promise.

Next Anna covered the whole thing in lashings of luscious apricot jam and buttercream to help all the marzipan stick, it looks like fun but really really isn't. Once we had a white buttercream tower (this is when the towering inferno reference started kicking in) we had to keep taking it for short bursts of cold hair to keep it from sliding as anna attached the marzipan brick work below, unfortunately for Anna our brick pattern rrolling mould had not arrived in time and so every line you see is hand measured and pressed by Anna.

It was very hard not to grab a spoon and start eating from the top downwards at this point, a fear of anna stopped me in my tracks and the finals pieces got added, slate roof again marked by hand due to a lack of mould delivery, individually made windows and a sugar paste road sign. I think Anna done a fabulous job lets us know what you think!

Nicola Quigley

Friday, 3 June 2011

Intern's Last Blog

Hey all,   My time has come to head back to America.  The land of the free and the home of the brave. Today is my last day working at Family Cake Company, and I can honestly say I will miss it.  They really do make you feel like part of the Family, even if Nicola constantly called me 'the yank.'  I have noticed a  difference in the American workplace and the English workplace. Brits are in no rush to finish their work.  They take their time, gossip, and chat throughout the day.  That's not to say the work won't get done, but there is usually little urgency.  It's actually a bit refreshing when compared to the stiffness of the American office. Also, when someone leaves the room to get tea, they will always ask everyone if they want something.  A nice gesture that us rude Americans should start doing. In fact, Nicola just brought me a cup of tea. 
 I'll miss the constant love/hate relationship between Nicola and our chef Vincenzo.  There was always a good laugh whenever the two started a playful argument.  I'll miss never really knowing where Daniel has ran off too, and having 5 people come in and ask if I knew where he was.  I'll miss messing up 30 bows and Nicola having to redo all of them (Sorry!). I learned a lot from working here, and I'd like to thank everyone at Family Cake Company for making me feel welcome.  I still don't know how to properly tie a bow though.

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I've always liked the looks of this cake. Decotube and mixed berry.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Scrumptious Wedding Cake!

We delivered this gorgeous 3 tier spectacular creation last Saturday, the inside was as tasty as the finish. Chocolate Sponge with bitter chocolate ganache and fresh raspberries throughout, I was salivating while setting this cake up and am so disappointed I didn't get to eat it; this cake is becoming the reason I want a wedding not a marriage a wedding!

Tiered wedding cakes like this are in fact very sturdy and can withstand a fair amount of movement, tables jogged vigorous first slice, and this is due to what Vincenzo does before it even see's a White Chocolate tube.

Each column is carefully fitted and adjusted so the cake board that sits on top sits flat. Vincenzo will place dowels into each tier in a triangular setting no bigger then the sponge that will sit on top, he will then mark each dowel and cut to the correct length these are inserted through the sponge and covered with a little icing before the pillar is then fitted on top which sits above the sponge and holds the next layer. It sounds so simple but is also the most important part of a wedding cake if fitted correctly you will have absolutely no problems setting the cakes up, displaying them and cutting.

Once all the dowels are correctly fitted we can start to finish the decoration. For this cake we wanted an asymmetrical finish on the outside tubing which would alternate between the stacks; each tube is measured and cut before being placed into position against the buttercream finish on the sponges.

Vincenzo then covers the top in piped chocolate buttercream swirls, over this we build a mounting of berries and finish with a dusting of icing sugar, gorgeous!

And that is how our fabulous wedding cakes are built!

Thank you for taking a look let us know what you think!

Nicola Quigley