Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Whoopie Pies and the best costume ever

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. It’s ok to be jealous. It’s pretty much the best costume ever. And so versatile. Going to a Christmas party? Dress in green, whack some big red baubles on your ears and go as Christmas Barbie in-a-box! Grandma’s 80th birthday? Grab some comfy shoes, a cardigan and a blue rinse. Hello Grandma Barbie in-a-box. The same goes for men, just as a Ken (or Barbie if they wish. I don’t judge). Oh and the rest of the family looks pretty good too.

2010 marked the 3rd annual KayB, JayB, MummyB and DaddyB Halloween Moonlight Screaming, where we invite all our mates around, dress up in wicked costumes and eat wicked food while watching scary movies in the backyard.

Among the many many cool costumes, there are also many many cool food options. Miss Moon always makes these awesome Halloween Cupcakes. 

I also got my hands on some real life CANDYCORN! The national candy of Halloween in America. I love this stuff. The group was divided, some loving it, others loathing it. It tastes like jersey caramels. Whats not to like?

I also got creative and used my Halloween cookie cutters to make some Bat and Ghost chips. Get some tortilla wraps, cut out the spooky shapes and pop em’ in the oven for 5-10 minutes till they crisp up. Simple.

But my big cooking project for Halloween this year was the Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Ever since I spied the whoopies pies on Bakerella, I had been keen to give them a try. I also just like the name whoopie pie. While they don’t necessarily look that appealing, they taste pretty darn good.
In essence, a whoopie pie is a cross between a cookie and a muffin top with some sort of delectable filling sandwiched between the two layers. By themselves, the cookie/muffin tops were actually quite plain. Pumpkin filling, however, equaled amazing-ness!!! Ohh boy, somebody get me a spoon. Quick. Someone. SPOON. GET ME A SPO.. oh too late. I just slammed my face into the bowl and sucked up all the pumpkin filling through every orifice in my face (insert Homer Simpson gurgle here). 
Chocolate and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder 
1 tbsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter (salted)
1 cup castor sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups whole milk
Pumpkin Filling
125g Philadelphia cream cheese
125g Butter
1/2 pure icing sugar (sifted)
1/2 cup of canned butternut pumpkin soup 
Preheat oven to 170 degrees fan forced. Sift flour, coco and baking soda into a bowl, set aside.
In an electric mixer cream sugars and butter until smooth. Add in eggs one at a time until just combined.
Add flour/coco/baking soda and milk bit by bit, alternating between the two.
Spoon onto trays lined with baking paper (desired size. They are normally very large, I made some of mine with a teaspoon size scoop, easier to fit into the mouth). Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops crack. 
Combine icing sugar, cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Add pumpkin soup until just combined. You may like to add more sugar as desired.
Sandwich filling in between cookie/muffin tops and decorate with orange sprinkles.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My first wedding cake. Congratulations Nads and Robdog!

I love weddings. The dancing, the food, the copious amounts of alcohol. Oh, and not to mention all the love. So much love! Last weekend my SIL married her prince charming. The weather was perfect, the dress was perfect, the location was perfect, the food was perfect and the wedding cake.. well, it turned out alright! :)
You may remember when I had the pleasure of making Nads and Robdog a French inspired engagement cake. A memorable experience, to say the least. The wedding cake, thankfully, was less eventful. But that’s not to say there wasn't a few bumps along the way. Namely an exploding bowl of ganache. Yeah, that was heaps fun to clean up. My bad. 

We start our wedding cake adventure two weeks out from the wedding day. The bride requested all mudcake, and luckily I had recently perfected my super moist mudcake recipe!  I spent all day Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday night baking five separate cakes. The plan was to use the mudcake as the bonbonniere for all the guests, so there would have to be extra slab cakes made, because there was no way in hell I was making a five tier cake that was likely to sink and collapse into itself, knowing my luck! With that decided, three 14inch slab cakes were made. These would be delivered to the venue early so they could be pre cut and packaged, ready for guests to take home.
Now, that’s the guests taken care of. Next up, the bride and groom. A 10inch and an 8inch mudcake formed the display or ‘cutter’ cake. Cover it with white fondant and Bob’s your uncle!! You have a wedding cake! Almost.

Nads and Robdog had a black and purple theme throughout their wedding, and the invitations featured black lace and purple ribbon trim. Very pretty. Also very pretty on a wedding cake, FYI. 
I’d discussed ribbons and decorations with the bride and groom, and they were happy to leave the creative side of things up to me. So once the invitation arrived, I knew exactly how the cake would look. The display cake was dropped off at the venue in the morning with the slab cakes, and I was able to come back and set up it in between the ceremony and the reception. I had looked at a few bride and groom toppers, but I’ve found this to be such an old fashioned tradition. There really wasn’t anything nice available, everything was tacky and plastic unless you were willing to spend between $200 and $400 to get personalised toppers made. Instead, I stumbled across some sugar diamonds, which matched the diamontes featured on the wedding invitation perfectly.

The bride and her swag of bridesmaids spent, what I can only imagine to be an alcohol fueled weekend making gorgeous cake boxes which doubled as name tags for all the guests, which featured this little poem
It would be a big mistake
If you forget your cake
Please enjoy the flavour sensation
Thanks for sharing our special occasion
Nobody forgot their cake. And extra slices of cake from the display cake were put out for guests to have with coffee. The bonbonniere cake boxes were a perfect idea. When catching up with family and friends the next morning, everyone exclaimed ‘Oh KayB! I just had your cake for breakfast! Amazing’. Haha, oh to live in a world where everyone eats cake for breakfast. Living the dream guys, living the dream.

So, here are all the statistics. Along with a heart attack, this cake (all five of them) includes;
1.2kg milk chocolate
2.4kg dark chocolate
2.3kg butter
3kg flour
5kg castor sugar
36 eggs
1.2 L cream
1.2 L buttermilk
Things destroyed during the making of this cake include;
1 extra large glass bowl
1 batch of dark chocolate ganache
1 index finger
18 tea towels
The amount of people who enjoyed a KayB’s cake;
Approximately 108. And a very happy bride and groom. Which are the only people who matter!

Congratulations Nadia and Rob. I’m so happy I could help out with your wedding. Looking forward to making you both lots more cakes for lots more special occasions in your future!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Did someone say Chocolate?

"Umm.. big chocolate craving then?" asks the teenager at the checkout. "Nah mate, just your average Tuesday night", I reply as I pile 2 kilograms of chocolate onto the register.

And this photo isn't even the full load. Add an extra 3 kilos of dark chocolate and 1.5 litters of pure cream, among other things..

Any guesses about what I'm up to?

Just promise you'll keep your fingers crossed for me this weekend, ok? And I promise to fill you in about it all next week, yeah? Deal.