January Baking – Mincemeat Scones

I always make a batch of homemade mincemeat in December, ready to make mince pies or other festive goods throughout the month. My version is vegetarian and sweetened only with the dried fruit itself so I feel it is a tiny bit healthier (!). This year I made these scones for Christmas morning but with a spare jar of two of mincemeat in the fridge come January I thought they are also a great bake to use up leftover mincemeat after the festive season. With a hint of spice and the sweetness of the fruit they are deliciously comforting straight from the oven with a cup of tea on a dark and cold January day!

Mincemeat Scones

Ingredients for the Mincemeat Scones:

  • 500g self-raising flour
  • 100g unsalted butter, cool but not cold
  • Good pinch baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tbsp caster sugar
  • Grated zest 1 small orange
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 jar mincemeat (homemade or shop bought), approx 200g
  • 1 egg mixed with a little milk to glaze
  • Handful flaked almond (optional)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 170°C/315F.

Step 2: Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine

Step 3: Add the butter and rub into the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Step 4: Add the caster sugar and stir to combine.

Step 5: Add the mincemeat and orange zest and stir again until just combined.

Step 6: Mix together the egg and milk before adding to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. If a little dry add some more milk to make a moist dough.

Step 7: Turn the dough onto a floured surface and roll lightly with a rolling pin until approx 3cm thick.

Step 8: Cut out scones using a round cutter. Place scone on a lightly greased or lined baking tray and brush with the  egg/milk wash. Sprinkle with flaked almonds if using.

Step 9: Bake for 15-20mins until golden.

Step 10: Remove from the oven and place on a warm rack to cool.

Step 11: Enjoy as soon as possible with a little melted butter or some jam!

Storage: Scones are best enjoyed on the same day but can be stored in an airtight container. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Christmas Book List – A Few of My Favourites!

I have to admit that I have a little cookbook obsession, which in recent years has obviously been focused more on those related to baking and cake decorating. Despite the wealth of recipes and cake decorating information available online, I adore nothing more than browsing the cooking section of a good bookshop and selecting a beautifully photographed tome of recipes and tips to add to my bookshelf (Anyone else with me?!). Last week I indulged in purchasing Ottolenghi’s Sweet (I was meant to be shopping for children’s books but couldn’t resist!). I had been contemplating purchasing it since it was published and having enjoyed some of his savoury editions I was keen to try this one (it didn’t disappoint!).

It can be hard to decide whether a book will be worth it, sometimes it can languish on my shelf unused. With this in mind and given that it is now December, I thought I would share a few of my current favourite books (in no particular order!), for anyone wishing to create a little book list for Santa (!).

 

Sweet, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh

This book is a baker’s delight no matter what your skill level.  With over 100 recipes in categories such as cookies, cakes, desserts or confectionery there is something for everyone. The preface explains how the book came to fruition, outlining Ottolenghi’s ethos around sweet treats: as one of life’s little pleasures, to be enjoyed for all their sweetness on ocassion and as part of a healthy diet (a breath of fresh air in the current climate of so called ‘healthy’ treats filled with other sweeteners).

Unlike some of Ottolenghi’s savoury recipes with lengthy and unusual ingredients, the recipes and ingredients in Sweet are accessible and generally easy in method. Additionally, each recipe has an introduction as well as detailed information on preparation and storage of your finished baked goods. Bakers tips and a glossary of ingredients add to the wealth of information and a modern touch lies in the ability to access all of the recipes online using a unique access code.

There are the usual Middle Eastern influences in recipes such as Tahini and Halva Brownies and Lemon and Semolina Syrup Cakes. For me the Cranberry, Oat and White Chocolate cookies were given the thumbs up from the kids while the Pecan and Prosecco Truffles and Almond and Aniseed Nougat are on my list to make for Christmas gifts! It must be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving (!).

 

Maggie Austin Cake, Artistry and Technique, by Maggie Austin

Maggie Austin needs little introduction to many. Renowned around the cake decorating world for her pioneering techniques and style, her cakes are nothing short of works of art. Her sugar flowers alone are spectacular, exemplified by the awe-inspiring Christmas sugar flower arrangements she created for none other than the White House in 2014. Her first book, Maggie Austin, Artistry and Technique is a must for anyone who is a fan of her style. The introduction outlines her background (a ballet dancer turned professional pastry chef) and sources of inspiration (from art to architecture and nature), and includes key recipes as well as tools and tips required to use the techniques in the book.

Chapters  are designated based on her signature techniques, such as frills, textile, painting or wafer paper, with each chapter giving an introduction to the technique as well as project variations which often incorporate skills from other chapters too. Perhaps most exciting is the chapter on her signature sugar flowers, with detailed techniques and accompanying images for flowers such as rose and ranunculus, along with tips and tricks for arranging them.

For me, I simply love the photography and inspiration to experiment that lies in this book. The techniques are not necessarily meant as a formula to follow but rather as inspiration to dare to get creative. It is a beautiful tome, worthy of coffee-table status, for anyone to browse and admire no matter what your cake decorating tendencies!

 

Modern Sugar Flowers, by Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet Cakes

Jacqueline Butler of Petalsweet cakes is world-renowned for her delicate and fresh sugar flowers in signature pretty shades of pastels and greens. Having taught through classes and online tutorials, Modern Sugar Flowers is her first book, and true to her style is a really beautiful collection of techniques for over 15 of her signature sugar flowers.

The introduction provides detailed information on sugar flower basics, such as tools and materials, before the collection of sugar flower techniques commences. Techniques for flowers from ranunculus, dahlia and roses to smaller flowers such as lilac and sweet peas, are all detailed, clear and precise, and are accompanied by step-by-step pictures. It can be difficult to follow sugar flower instructions from a book, sometimes oversight from a teacher is required, but Jacqueline’s techniques lack any ambiguity, meaning that you too can create something beautiful.

Jacqueline finishes her book with a series of cake projects, giving you the tools to arrange your flowers in various forms on single and tiered cakes.

Modern Sugar Flowers is technically comprehensive but with it’s fresh and pretty photography is also a delight to browse through. A beautiful addition to my bookshelf!

 

Secrets of Macarons, by Jose Marechal

For anyone trying to master macarons, this is the book for you! It was my bible while I tried to perfect them a few years ago and is still a book I revert to for recipes and tips. Much of the book is devoted to the ingredients, equipment and techniques, focussing on what exactly is required, the chemistry of the process and what can make things go wrong (which can very easily happen with these tricky little things!).

Recipes are divided into classic macarons, made using the Italian meringue method, and speciality macarons which includes one recipe using the French meringue method. Each recipe has detailed instructions as well as a selection of filling options for each flavour of macaron shell. I think I am going to try the Hazelnut version, perhaps with a chocolate orange ganache for Christmas treats!

 

Happy reading! And please share your favourites (I’m always on the lookout for something new!).

Rose Butter Madeleines with White Chocolate and Pistachio Praline

 

I recently received the most amazingly fragrant organic roses from Bumblebee Flower Farm in West Cork. The scent was something that you would never get from a standard shop-bought rose…these roses were those that you just wish to close your eyes and breathe for. My purpose was to try out some of the beautiful summer blooms from Bumblebee Farm for use as decoration in some of my cake designs, but I couldn’t pass the smell of these roses without thinking that I had to incorporate that scent into a cake too!

Madeleines are small French butter cakes baked in pretty scalloped-shaped madeleine moulds. I had only made them once before but thought that making a delicate rose-scented version would be perfect for these dainty teatime treats. To capture the scent of the rose petals, I infused the butter in the recipe first which resulted in a deliciously subtle sweet and fragrant flavour. If you can’t get your hands on rose petals feel free of course to add a little rosewater for a similar taste. This base recipe would also work with other flowers such as lavender.

Normally my recipes are self-explanatory but much like other French baked goods (macarons spring immediately to mind!), I have found that making madeleines is not quite as straightforward as it seems and a few little tricks are essential! In my first attempt at this recipe I only buttered the tin, resulting in cakes that stuck tight. A dust of flour is essential. Recipes vary greatly and I initially didn’t chill my batter but they subsequently rose and spread hugely outside the moulds, tasting delicious but losing their pretty shape. I found chilling the batter in the tin for about 30 mins solved this. I have also found that the light sponge doesn’t stay fresh for long, so feel no guilt in devouring these tiny treats on the day they are made!

Rose Butter Madeleines with White Chocolate and Pistachio Praline

Ingredients for the Rose Butter Madeleines:

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • Handful fragrant edible rose petals (or use 1/4 tsp of rosewater or other flavouring)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 50g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

For the Pistachio Praline:

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g shelled pistachios

To decorate (optional):

  • 100g white chocolate
  • Pistachio Praline
  • Dried rose petals

Step 1: To make the rose butter madeleines, preheat the oven to 170°C/315F.

Step 2: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add the rose petals and leave to infuse, swirling now and then. The butter should become fragrant with the rose petals. Have a small taste to check and if not leave for a little longer or add more petals.

Step 3: Use a little of the butter to brush over the moulds of a madeleine tin. Then dust the moulds with a little flour, tapping out any excess.

Step 4: Whisk together the egg and caster sugar using a handheld or stand whisk until the mixture is pale and mousse like and has increased in volume.

Step 5: Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg and sugar mixture and fold in gently until just combined

Step 6: Strain the butter into the mixture, discarding the rose petals, and fold in gently until combined.

Step 7: Place a heaped teaspoon of the mixture into each of the moulds of the madeleine tray and place in the fridge for 30 mins.

Step 8: To make the pistachio praline, roughly chop the pistachios and place a square of baking paper on a tray.

Step 9: Heat the sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat, swirling regularly until dissolved.

Step 10: Continue to heat the sugar until it caramelises, taking care not to burn.

Step 11: Remove from the heat, add the chopped pistachios and quickly stir to coat in the caramel. Pour out onto the baking parchment and leave to cool.

Step 12: Place the praline in a chopper or pestle and mortar and grind to a rough consistency.

Step 13: To finish the madeleines, remove the madeleine tray from the fridge and bake for approximately 12-15 mins until risen and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before gently removing each madeleine from its mould using a palette knife. Leave to cool on a wire wrack.

Step 14; Melt the white chocolate in a cup or small bowl in the microwave. Dip the tip of each madeleine in the white chocolate and place on a sheet of baking paper. Sprinkle some pistachio praline and rose petals over the top. Enjoy immediately!

And the award for Best Dessert Blog goes to…!

I was beyond thrilled to have won a Golden Tier Awards in New York last month. Bowled over actually is more like it! The Golden Tier Awards is the first American-hosted, international awards show of its kind, recognising the contribution of pastry chefs, cake and sugar-artists, dessert professionals, authors and writers, chocolatiers, instructors, and retailers and celebrating the very best the industry has to offer. The Awards were hosted by Lisa Mansour of the renowned cake supply shop and school, New York Cake,  along with American Cake Decorating Magazine.

A total of 14,000 nominations (yes!) from around the world were received, spread across 13 different awards categories…Cove Cake Design was in the Best Dessert Blog category. I was asked to submit photos of my work and links to my website and blog for the judging panel to review.

An esteemed panel of 15 cake artists and pastry chefs (that read like a whose who in the cake world) then whittled the nominations down to 3 finalists in each category and we were chosen in the Best Dessert Blog category alongside Olivia Bogacki and Veena Azmanov. I was deeply humbled to be amongst the 39 finalists, many of whom I have known and admired hugely for years.

With only 3 weeks until the awards ceremony, a business and 3 children meant that it was no mean feat to go to New York for the awards show. I am hugely grateful to one of my lovely clients who allowed me to deliver her wedding cake the night before her wedding day, and her florist (Melanie of Fussy Peacock) who so kindly agreed to arrange the flowers on her cake for me so I could catch a flight to New York in time! And of course I have to thank the grandparents for jumping in to babysit!

The Black Tie awards show took place in the iPic Theater in Lower Manhattan, with a glitzy cocktail party preceding the main event. The Best Dessert Blog category was up first and I had my incredulous Oscars moment (!) when my name was called out by Ron Ben Israel who presented my award. It was a fantastic night and I have to say the hugest of thanks to Lisa Mansour and all the staff of American Cake Decorating who organised such an amazing night, as well as all the judges who gave their time. And of course congratulations to all of the winners and finalists for whom I have the utmost professional admiration and respect!

On returning home the messages of congratulations were overwhelming. I can’t thank everyone enough for their continuous and generous support of my business. But most of all was the elation of my children, who had crafted congratulations cards for my arrival…they couldn’t wait to see the award! (although a subsequent win of a football trophy by my 7 year old was soon deemed to far surpass Mum’s trophy!).

People have since asked me what it means to me to have won this and one word comes to mind..validation. I gave up my science career 9 years ago, spent the intervening years rearing children and running a house, somewhat then falling into cake decorating, a business and a blog. I work part-time from home covering all aspects of the business myself. Sometimes it is hard to find the time to be as creative as I would like to be, or to advance things as much as I would like to.  Probably like all those in creative industries I have had moments of wondering how I ended up here, whether I am good enough for it, and whether the juggle is justified. But to anyone starting a business, pursuing a passion, being creative and having moments of self-doubt I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes which springs to mind when wondering if the path chosen is the right one……

 

 

Lemon Raspberry Hibiscus Loaf Cake Recipe

 

I recently came across dried Hibiscus flowers on one of my many compulsive deli wanderings. Ruby red in colour, it is consumed as a tea, with a tart berry-like flavour, often requiring the addition of sugar to counteract this. I love using teas to flavour cakes and decided to try Hibiscus in a loaf cake, paired with the classic combination of lemon and raspberry. This cake recipe is deliciously moist due to the addition of natural yogurt, and the hibiscus flavour is introduced as a drizzle syrup, and in a tangy cream cheese icing. I decorated with candied hibiscus flowers, pistachio praline crumb (I do like to add pistcachio to all things possible!) and thyme flowers, but would be equally as good just with a smattering of fresh raspberries. Enjoy with a cup of your favourite brew!

(Note: If hibiscus flowers are hard to find this recipe is delicious as a simple lemon raspberry loaf cake. Simply substitute lemon juice for the hibiscus water in the syrup and omit the hibiscus syrup in the icing. Or ice with a simple mix of icing sugar and lemon juice!).

Lemon Raspberry Hibiscus Loaf Cake

Ingredients for the Lemon Rasberry Cake:

  • 190g unsalted butter
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • Finely grated zest 2 lemons
  • 25g natural yogurt
  • Handful of frozen raspberries

Ingredients for the Hibiscus Syrup:

  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g boiling water
  • Handful dried hibiscus flowers

Ingredients for the Hibiscus Lemon Cream Cheese Icing :

  • 100g cream cheese
  • 2tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1tbsp icing sugar
  • 2tbsp hibiscus syrup
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon

To decorate (optional):

  • Candied Hibiscus flowers (you can buy these in a syrup in some good delis)
  • Thyme flowers
  • Pistachio crumb
  • Other options include fresh raspberries, candied lemon peel and edible flowers!

Step 1: To make the lemon raspberry cake, preheat the oven to 170°C/315F.  Grease and line a loaf tin.

Step 2: Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer (or hand mixer) until pale. Scrape down sides regularly.

Step 3: Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Step 4: Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.

Step 5: Add the flour to the butter and sugar mixture and mix on slow speed until just combined.

Step 6: Add the natural yogurt and mix again until combined.

Step 7: Pour the batter into the lined tin. Push the raspberries about half way down into the cake so they are dispersed throughout the loaf. Smooth over the top and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 50 mins or until the top is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Step 8: To make the hibiscus syrup, add the hibiscus flowers to the boiling water and leave to steep for 10-15 mins.

Step 9: Drain the hibiscus water into a small saucepan and add the sugar. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and a syrup formed.

Step 10: To make the hibiscus cream cheese icing, mix together the cream cheese, yogurt and lemon zest until combined. Add the hibiscus syrup a little at a time until the desired consistency and taste is achieved (you don’t want it to be too runny).

Step 11: To assemble the cake. When the cake is cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10mins before turning out onto a wire wrack to cool further.

Step 12: While the cake is still warm, poke holes in the top with a skewer and pour the warm hibiscus syrup over the top.

Step 13: When the cake has cooled completely, cover with the icing and decorate as you see fit! I used candied hibiscus flowers, pistachio praline crumb and thyme flowers. Some fresh raspberries would work equally well!

Storage: Due to the cream cheese icing this cake needs to be stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving and consume within 1-2 days.

Hazelnut Chocolate Orange Macarons

I made these macarons as my edible Christmas gifts last year. The combination of chocolate and hazelnut is a well renowned match made famous of course by Nutella! The addition of orange zest adds a fresh twist and the decoration of dipped chocolate coated in crunchy hazelnut praline adds an additional layer of flavour and luxury….the perfect gift and indeed luxurious teatime treat! Enjoy!

Hazelnut Macarons with Chocolate Orange Ganache and Hazelnut Praline

Ingredients for the Hazelnut Macarons:

  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 x 40g egg white

Ingredients for the Chocolate Orange Ganache:

  • 110g 70% dark chocolate
  • 100ml pouring cream
  • 10g caster sugar
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • finely grated zest 1 orange

Ingredients for the Hazelnut Praline Decoration:

  • 100g 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g skinned toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Step 1: To make the hazelnut macarons, preheat the oven to 170°C/315F.  .

Step 2: Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for approx 10-15mins, shaking every few minutes to turn. Take care  not to burn. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before placing in a clean tea towel and rubbing to remove the skin.

Step 3: Place the skinned hazelnuts, ground almonds and icing sugar into a blender and grind to a fine powder. Sieve into a clean metal bowl, discarding any large particles. Add 1 x 40g egg white and mix to form a paste (called the tant pour tant). Set aside.

Step 4: Clean the inside of the metal bowl of a food mixer and the whisk attachment with lemon juice or boiling water to remove all traces of grease. Wipe with paper towel. Place the second 40g egg white into the bowl.

Step 5: Place the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, swirling now and then to ensure even heating.

Step 6: Meanwhile whisk the egg white to soft peaks. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 105°C, increase the speed and whisk to stiff peaks. When the syrup reaches 115°C, remove from the heat and pour the syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites. Whisk for approximately 10mins until thick and glossy.

Step 7: Add about a third of the meringue mixture to the hazelnut/almond mixture and fold in to loosen. Then add the rest of the meringue mixture, folding in until it has a ‘flow’ similar to consistency of lava.

Step 8:  Fit a piping bag with an 8mm round nozzle and pour in the batter. Pipe small well-spaced rounds of batter approximately the size of  a walnut onto a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet (if you don’t have a silicone mat use baking parchment and attach the corners to the tray with a small blob of the batter). Tap the trays on the counter 3-4 times to remove air bubbles. If any fail to pop use a cocktail stick to do so. Leave to form a ‘skin’ for approx 25-45mins depending on ambient temperature and humidity (test by touching gently with the tip of your finger, if skin has formed your finger should come away clean).

Step 9: Bake in the oven for 12-15mins, turning the tray half-way through. Leave to cool completely on the tray before removing.

Step 10: To make the chocolate orange ganache, place the orange zest and cream in a saucepan and heat gently until warm. Remove from the heat and allow the orange to infuse for 1hr. Pass through a fine sieve to remove the orange zest.

Step 11: Add the sugar to the cream and reheat.

Step 12: Meanwhile place the chocolate into a mixing bowl.

Step 13: Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted.

Step 14: Finally add the butter and stir to combine. Allow to cool and refrigerate for approximately one hour before filling the macarons

Step 15: To make the hazelnut praline, heat the caster sugar in a small saucepan until dissolved. Swirl gently to ensure even heating. When the syrup is a golden brown colour, remove from the heat and add the chopped hazelnuts. Stir with a spatula before transferring to a piece of baking parchment to cool. When cool, break into a food processor and pulse gently to form a medium coarse powder.

Step 16: To finish the macarons, dip half the macaron shells in the melted chocolate and place on a piece of baking parchment. Sprinkle with the hazelnut praline and leave to set.

Step 17: Using a piping bag fitted with an 8mm nozzle, fill the other half of the macaron shells with the chocolate orange ganache and place the chocolate praline coated shells on top. Place the macarons in the refrigerator. They are best eaten after 24 hours and within 72 hours of filling.

Mother’s Day Recipe-Orange Blossom Pistachio Shortbread with Pomegranate Glaze

I always love to have some cookie recipes up my sleeve, something that can be made quickly for an edible gift, or when expecting guests for an afternoon cuppa. For this recipe I adapted a simple shortbread base to incorporate the delicate flavour of orange blossom combined with pistachio, pomegranate and a sprinkling of rose petals..a favourite flavour combination! Delicate and pretty these would be perfect for Mother’s Day!

Orange Blossom Pistachio Shortbread with Pomegranate Glaze

Ingredients for the Orange Blossom Shortbread:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 300g plain flour
  • 150g cornflour
  • 300g soft unsalted butter
  • 1tsp orange blossom water (or use finely grated zest 1 orange if you don\’t have this)
  • 100g shelled pistachios
  • 1 egg, beaten

Ingredients for the Pomegranate Glaze:

  • Juice from one pomegranate
  • Approx 300g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
  • Rose petals to decorate (optional)

Step 1: To make the shortbread, Place the pistachios on a baking tray and place in the oven for approx 10-15 mins until lightly toasted, shaking every few minutes to turn. Take care  not to burn. Place in a processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Scatter the ground pistachios over a baking tray or sheet of greaseproof paper. Set aside.

Step 2: Sieve the icing sugar, flour and cornflour together and transfer into a food processor. Add the butter and orange blossom water and process until the mixture forms a ball of dough.

Step 3: Remove the dough from the processor and divide into 3. Roll each piece into a log shape approx 4cm in diameter.

Step 4: Brush each of the shortbread dough logs with beaten egg and roll in the ground pistachio to coat.  Wrap tightly in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 mins to chill. (Note: the dough can be stored in the fridge at this stage for up to 24 hours before proceeding with the next step if you wish to prepare in advance)

Step 5: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C/325F.

Step 6: Remove the shortbread from the fridge and unwrap the cling film. Using a sharp knife cut the dough into rounds. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat. Bake for approx 15 mins until lightly golden. Remove the tray from the oven and leave to cool for approx 5 mins before gently removing with a palette knife to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 7: To make the pomegranate glaze, sieve the icing sugar into a medium size bowl. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate and pour any juice into a separate bowl. If the pomegranate is not particularly juicy simple pulse the pomegranate seeds in a small food processor and pass the pulp through a sieve, collecting the juice and discarding the seeds.

Step 8: Slowly add enough pomegranate juice to the sieved icing sugar to make a smooth icing that is spreadable but not too runny. Add the orange blossom water and mix.

Step 9: To finish the cookies, spread the pomegranate glaze over each of the cookies using a palette knife. Sprinkle with rose petals and any leftover ground pistachio. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Best consumed within 2 days.

Storage: The cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

 

Sharing the love-A Few of My Favourite Instagram Accounts

Instagram has to be the one social media outlet that I truly love. More than a social media channel or advertising domain, it can be a source of unending inspiration. From recipe writers to artists, food stylists to interior designers, not to mention fellow cake makers, I love to see beautiful imagery popping up in my feed. Today I thought I would share a few of my favourites with less than 5,000 followers.

@cakeatelieramsterdam

I only recently stumbled across the feed of Natasja Sadi (@cakeatelieramsterdam), a wedding dress designer turned cake decorator. Her Instagram feed is filled with beautiful images of her stunning lifelike sugar flowers, artistic cakes as well as little glimpses of her carefully curated interior style. Add to this pretty photos of one of my favourite cities, Amsterdam, and Natasja’s Instagram feed is a firm favourite!

@pippa_cakery

@pippa_cakery, based in Utah, is run by Tauri Tucker. Her Instagram feed showcases her seemingly effortlessly styled cakes, which are characterised by decadent touches such as caramel drips, gold leaf and fresh flowers. Most importantly however is how delicious they look..sure to spark a cake craving!

@designology.ie

Designology is an inspirational interiors and lifestyle blog by Moya Farrell. Her Instagram feed @designology.ie is a carefully curated collection of casually styled interiors, delicious food and everyday beauty…all in a serene and pretty colour palette…sure to calm and inspire, it is always a delight to see her photography in my feed   !

@marcylamont

Marcy Lamont of Cotton & Cream Studio makes THE cutest cake toppers! With the most intricate of details they always elicit an ‘aww how cute’ from both myself and my children when I show her images to them. A peek through her Instagram feed is sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face!

@cavistons

@cavistons is my amazing family-run local delicatessen. Providing me with much of my fresh fruit as well as more unusual ingredients for my cakes and recipe experiments, no matter how often I visit I always love to browse the heavily stocked shelves of artisan produce. But their Instagram feed is also worth more than a mere mention…with beautifully styled deli products and ingredients, as well as tips and recipes on how to use them, I always love to see their imagery pop up in my feed!

Custom Flavours for Chinese New Year

I adore Asian food and flavours, having visited various parts of the region over the last 10 years while my husband worked there. So I was thrilled to be asked to create custom flavours with a nod to Asia for a Chinese New Year event that took place here this week. The clients requested an assortment of macarons as well as a small dessert-style sweet to include flavours of lychee, green tea, rose and raspberry. The colour palette for the event was one of red, gold, green and deep pinks.

For the dessert option we made white chocolate mud cake bites, with green tea buttercream, toasted black sesame, raspberry curd and rose meringue kisses.

Topped with gold leaf of course!…

The macaron flavours were Green Tea and Chocolate, Lychee, and Raspberry and Rose…with decorative flourishes of chocolate drizzle, gold  and rose petals!

We are always happy to customize flavours to suit your wedding or event….simply contact us with your ideas!

 

January Newsletter

January can seem like a long, dark month in the Northern Hemisphere but it is one that I think is secretly relished as a slightly quieter month by all those working in the wedding industry! Sometimes a little time with few orders allows you to catch up, take stock, try new things and plan for the year of business ahead. Here is a little of what we got up to this month…

Sample boxes:

January was sample box month and we were delighted to send delicious tasting packages to many of our 2017 brides! This month’s boxes included some of our most popular flavours such as Lime, White Chocolate Pistachio; Champagne, Elderflower and Strawberry; and of course what has become a signature flavour, Guinness Chocolate with Roasted White Chocolate! Our next dispatch is scheduled for late March.

Classes:

Off-peak wedding season is a great time for us to host some classes. We offer private 1-2-1 tuition, allowing clients to pick exactly what they wish to learn. I had a lovely day with Melissa from the UK, teaching techniques including smooth chocolate ganache, semi-naked buttercream, macarons and overall styling. This was the result of the day! If you are interested in private tuition contact us directly to discuss options and available dates.

Press:

It was a pleasure  to collaborate with Orla Neligan of Cornershop Productions in a botancial themed photo shoot for the Spring Issue of Irish Brides which is on sale now. Shot in the beautiful surroundings of Cliff at Lyons by the talented Kataya Koliban, we loved the soft foliage, hints of gold and considered props. Our cake was a classic lace design which Orla styled with deep velvet green ribbon, white rose and foliage.

New Design:

Not one to put anything to waste, after our photoshoot for Irish Brides I reconditioned our lace cake for a new display model. Taking inspiration from the current trend for oversized bridal bouquets, I topped the lace design with an abundance of sugar flowers to include David Austin Roses, Garden Roses, Frilly Peonies, Freesia, Blackberries and lots of foliage. Perfectly in keeping with the Pantone Colour of 2017 we are a little bit in love with this one!

Recipes:

No month would be complete at Cove Cake Design without some time spent experimenting with recipes and flavours! Pink peppercorn has been on my list of ingredients to try for some time and makes a deliciously spicy addition to these Chocolate Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn cupcakes. Perfect for some Valentine’s Day baking this recipe will appear in the Febuary edition of TheTaste.ie .

…and here’s to Febuary!