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    Entries in white (19)


    Art by D.L. Giles

                                       'We three' D.L. Giles

    We weren't hillbillies... but when I was small, my Mum, my Uncle and my cousin would doodle and draw on the loo wall. It was an outside toilet at my Grandparents house that was sort of built into the house (I repeat we were not hillbillies I swear!!), the toilet itself had a rusted chain that you pulled to flush and wooden boards for the walls. It scared me as a child as there were always "giant" (or so they seemed) spiders spinning their webs just waiting for chubby little blonde girls to enter. 

    If only I had overcame my fears and "doodled" on that wall and I might have come away with at least some of the talent for drawing my cousin Debra possesses!! 

    More art works by cousin D.L. Giles can be viewed here 


    Frosty the Snowman Cookie

      Frosty the Snowman Christmas cookie; fondant, jersey caramel and coconut top a chocolate sugar cookie

    Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul,
    With a corncob pipe and a button nose
    And two eyes made out of coal.
    Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say,
    He was made of snow but the children
    Know how he came to life one day.
    There must have been some magic in that
    Old silk hat they found.
    For when they placed it on his head
    He began to dance around.
    O, Frosty the snowman
    Was alive as he could be,
    And the children say he could laugh
    And play just the same as you and me.

    A touch of retro today with a 'Frosty the Snowman' cookie... a present for my husband Mark who has been grumbling about "you never make a snowman". Mark does love a snowman, I'm sure something to do with the fact that he has never actually seen snow!!

    To keep with the retro theme Frosty's round tummy & the snowballs are made from a Mark's favourite childhood lolly 'Jersey Caramels'. With a fudge like texture it was easy to shape and roll into small balls, I dipped the balls in melted white chocolate and rolled them in desiccated coconut to form the snowballs.

       jersey caramels being rolled into snowballs

    I am feeling the time pinch and it's just about my last post for the year. For those who haven't seen my earlier posts; for the first seven months of 2011 I'll be assisting my husband setting up his landscaping business 'Mark Paxton Landscapes' and will only be able to blog sporadically. I'm sure there will be months in that time frame where I'll be able to do more and times when I won't, like "June" tax time!! 

    But for now "Happy Baking" :)


    Baking Straight Cupcakes

                              peace on earth cupcake

    I was thrilled to be invited to give a ten question interview on the gorgeous blog "Haniela's", pop on over and read the interview here and whilst there don't miss Haniela's too, too beautiful Christmas cookie collection!! 

    "Ignorance is bliss"

    Wow, if you use gmail you'll know it stacks your emails under what google call "conversation" view. I turned off conversation view today and now I'm feeling sick! I've only answered the first and second mail from each batch coming from The Lone Baker, I didn't realise there was more mails in the "stack". I think we can safely say that I'm being cursed all around the world for not answering the July wedding emergency emails! Sorry ):

    One of the most popular questions is "how do you bake your cupcakes to look so straight". I do like the look of straight sides on a cupcake and really came across how to do it when I was tackling the other most asked question "cupcake case fall". 

    There is three elements to baking cupcakes with straight sides; 

    Firstly the cupcake tin/pan... I use Wilton, it's not the heaviest/best quality tin on the market but the cup holes have straighter sides.

                        Wilton cupcake tin

    Secondly the liner... You're looking for liners that have straighter sides, higher too if possible.


                the centre liner has higher sides

    the centre liner is less flared & perfect for straight cupcakes


                               the fit of the liner

    These cupcake liners in the pan demonstrate liners "fit", the black fox run liner fits perfectly into the tin, the donna hay liner will drop into pan hole with the weight of the batter and the last one is a Wilton case that does not fit the Wilton pan! Note the folding around the edges that happens once it is weighted, this is exactly how they bake with over half the cupcakes I baked with these liners having folds around the side. 

    Thirdly the batter... You need a cupcake batter that isn't too high in fat, (butter, cream, oil, chocolate) so the double choc sour cream cupcake won't be as straight as a sponge or standard cupcake batter. Also avoid the liquid batters that you pour into the cases if you are after straight cupcakes. 

    All these elements will also reduce to eliminate "case fall" too. Other tips for reducing case fall is to remove the cupcakes from the tin as soon as possible to reduce "sweating"; moisture from being left to cool in the pan and humidity can both lead to case fall. Also you might be tempted to under-fill the cases with cake batter so you have more decorating room once baked, however under-filled cases can lead to case fall simply because the case doesn't have enough cake batter to grip onto. 

    Those dreaded minis and that "case fall"

    Alas too late??  I've found a type of mini cupcakes cases that don't fall... I've tried three batters in them, left them to dry, tested refrigerated and froze/defrosted and they've stayed in place. They are the "minis" part of the High Tea range.

    Since they have the same base diameter, it has to be the height of the case that is keeping the case on. 

    Now we come the "alas" part; I went to buy more and I can't find them now, the standard sized 'High tea' range is everywhere but not the mini's... if you have spotted them please let everyone know. 

    It's always nice to get thank you emails and this is an especially nice one from Sophie;

    Subject: Thankyou
    Message: Hi,
     My name is 
     I am 11 years old,
     I would just like to say thank you for giving me this great advice on how to clean my toffee pan because I couldn't find any other way.
    So Thank you

    Thank you Sophie, glad I could be of some help :) 

    Clean you toffee pan the easy way

     You may also be interested in Twirly Swirly Chocolate Decoration ... fab for New Year & Celebrations; 

    Lastly, thank you everyone who phoned/text/messaged/emailed condolence messages on the passing of our beloved 'Marvin the Pug'. He was our darling boy. 

    Back mid week with more Christmas goodies. Happy Baking :)


    Dove cupcake pick by Birchcraft has now been discontinued... a shame, their metal cupcake picks were lovely... today's dove I painted the toothpick with blue lustre edible paint. Do look for metal charms, scrap booking pieces or metallic dresden's to turn into cupcake picks, you'll end up with something unique & perfect for gift giving. 

    Wilton cupcakes tins ; Australia Everten Online  UK Cakes, Cookies and Crafts  US  


    Martha Stewart makes Cookies App Review

                  variations of Martha Stewart's chocolate crackle cookies


    UPDATE: February 9th.... please note the glitch in the text display with the Martha Stewart make Cookies App has been fixed. Plus more cookie recipes were added with the last update. We can presume at this stage cookies will be added to the app at regular/holiday intervals :) Don't forget to sync your ipad! 

    As a self declared Martha Stewart fan (or insert "fanatic" perhaps?), I just had to get the 'Martha Stewart Makes Cookies' app for ipad! 


    welcome screen "Martha Stewart Makes Cookies" ipad app

    Pros; well it's "'fun and gorgeous", but I guess you want to hear about the features... 

    It's easy to choose any of the cookies with the apps intuitive navigation methods; either scroll sideways through the images and "touch" to make your selection, or use the selection wheel to dial a flavour/type of cookie and of course you can always go old school and type the cookies name or ingredient into the search box.


    scroll sideways then touch to select 

    dial a choice with the selection wheel

    Helpful pre-set timers are built into the recipes to aid with preparation and baking times.

    setting the timer for 11 minutes for beating meringue

    Ready to share; Loved the recipe you just baked? You can share any recipe through email, Twitter and on Facebook with a touch of a button.

    share a recipe

    emailing a recipe, the full recipe arrives in your inbox complete with small colour image of the cookie.

    Other main features include a dozen short videos showing a cookie being made or technique, shopping list and the ability to bookmark favourites. The new recipes featured and twists on classic recipes are delightful.

    Cons; first up the price at $7.49 (US) or $9.99 (AU) is high for an app. I'd definitely like more packaging ideas (the same two come up over and over again) and more recipes!! If you already own Martha Stewart's Cookies book or are a Martha fan you will find a lot of familiar territory covered; traditional shortbread, sugar cookies, mexican wedding cookies, and yes... biscotti. No metric!!

    There is a small programming glitch (that I'm sure that will fixed in an update) that blurs the third line of each cookies intro page. 

    double blur on third line of all the cookie intro pages

    Personally, I'm loving this app for the share and timer abilities, ease of use, the twists on Martha's classic cookies plus the gorgeous photography. This app would suit Martha fans and those ipad carrying people that are new to cookie baking. Whilst there is room for improvement, for a first app it's fantastic and I'm looking forward to future Martha Stewart apps. 


    'Martha Stewart Makes Cookies' app from the iTunes store

    In the 'Martha Stewart Makes Cookies' app you will find a variation of the classic Martha Stewart 'Chocolate Crackle' cookies, this one containing ground almonds... with only a half cup of wheat flour this recipe would be ideal to convert to gluten free.

    Chocolate-Almond Crackles using Martha Stewart Makes Cookies for iPad

    8 ounces (225 grams) bittersweet (dark eating chocolate), finely chopped

    1 cup blanched almonds, toasted

    ½ cup all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    ½ teaspoon coarse salt

    ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

    1 cup packed light-brown sugar

    2 large eggs

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1 cup granulated sugar

    1 cup confectioners’ sugar 

    1 Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, stirring. Let cool slightly.

    2 Pulse almonds in a food processor until very finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, and stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.

    3 In a separate bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in chocolate. Reduce speed to low, and add almond-flour mixture. Cover and chill 1 hour.

    4 Preheat oven to 175 celsius (350°). Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar to coat, then in confectioners’ sugar. Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until surfaces crack, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

    Coloured Sugar: I made coloured batches of icing sugar by whirling icing sugar and either powdered food colour or gel paste colour in the food processor. You do get tiny dots of intense colour with both powder or gel. I wanted them to match the flavour variations I had planned....

    I made one batch of these Chocolate-almond Crackle cookies and rolled them in white icing sugar.
    Then I made a batch of the traditional Chocolate Crackle cookies from Martha Stewart's website. I divided that dough in half adding a 1/2 cup of chopped dried blueberries to one half (rolled in blue) and 2 teaspoons of raspberry liqueur to the other half to be rolled in the pink.

    *note if you are using the recipe for Chocolate Crackle cookies from Martha's website there is one step missing that is included in the cookie book. Roll your cookie dough balls in granulated/white sugar before rolling in icing sugar... this step ensures a pristine finish for when you need to package your cookies as gifts.

    Happy Baking :)

    you might also like Martha's Baking Handbook review

    today's main photo Daniel Paxton-Zahra


    Gold Chinese Dragon Cupcake and Gold cupcake wrappers


                                                Enter the Dragon cupcake

    Chinese Dragon; this mythological symbol dates back to 3000 BC and stands for happiness, immortality, procreation, fertility and activity. Chinese Dragons were believed to ward off evil spirits. Take a look at a Chinese city and you will see dragons decorating ancient monuments and buildings, sometimes playing with a pearl or thunder-ball.

    Boy, the old Mac computer doesn't like the heat & has been constantly crashing today... I'm a bit behind schedule because of it, but I just had to show you my new cupcake cases!

    Love these free standing gold crown cupcake wrappers that come with removable white cupcake liners to bake in. Fabulous for potted plant cupcakes, Christmas tree pots or do as I did and swap the white case for another colour. The cakes sit at a slight angle in the square wrappers, but are still stable enough to transport.

    Available in square or round, I got mine from Bake it pretty (US)

    The Chinese dragon hand modelled from leftover white/grey modelling paste I had on hand. 

    Partially made dragon, cornflour (corn starch) dusted cardboard supports are in place for the drying process.

    After leaving to dry overnight I gave the dragon a coat of antique gold food paint & finished it off with a dusting of red & antique gold dust. 

    Happy Baking :) 


    Cupcake Cases, Liners, Papers & Wrappers

    Cupcake liners can match your theme, just be pretty or act as an inspiration like these pretty ruffled cupcake cases from Wilton.

    I received a couple of requests last evening about the cupcake cups I used in the 'I'm not in Paris Wombat Cupcake'. The cases are from Wilton and are available in three colours; teal, white and rose (which is red).

    My husband immediately thought of "Christmas" when he saw them, I thought of Paris! They would be gorgeous for baby showers and weddings too.

    They are lovely baking cups, bake beautifully & are best used with light coloured cake batter.

    close up of ruffling

    I got mine from Fancy Flours (US), elsewhere request them from your local cake decorating store, Wilton stockist or check Ebay.


    Cupcake Cases, Liners, Papers & Wrappers

    Cupcake liners can match your theme, act as an inspiration, or just be pretty like these cupcake cases with a touch of gold.

    These sweet pretty pink & yellow medium weight cases with a swirl of gold are what I would describe as "fairy cake" size with a 2.5cm (1") wall & a 4.4cm (1.75") base. 

    Multi packs of four colours containing 135 cups from Fancy Flours

    A traditional pattern in gold adorns white cases. Available in packs of 25, they are made from greaseproof Swedish paper, 3.1cm (1.25") tall and 5cm (2") across the base. Also available as mini's from Fancy Flours 

    Both types bake extremely well, with little or no staining; they do look better with light coloured cake, think sponge cake or vanilla buttercake.

    You might also be interested in:

        All that glitters

    You might also be interested in:

       Raspberry Jam


    My Chocolate Valentine

    My Chocolate Valentine cupcake, dark, dark chocolate cupcake with chocolate truffle frosting & sparkly iced chocolate sugar cookies.

    With loads of chocolate truffle frosting left from Daniel's cupcake making, I thought I'd make chocolate lovers valentines cupcakes for Valentines Day.

    Hope everyone had or is having depending where in the world you are, a HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!

    You might also be interested in:

     Valentines Truffle Pops recipe            

    You might also be interested in:

    Vintage Valentine Cupcake Picks       


    Colouring Chocolate

                     White chocolate coloured different shades of pink

    Update: Since writing this posting Americolor products are more freely available in Australia. For a full range of colours including sheens for your spray gun Baking Pleasures  or Cakes around Town

    Pink chocolate, Magenta chocolate, Purple, Blue, Terracotta, Mauve or even Black chocolate it's possible thanks to Americolor's Flo-Coat. A liquid lecithin that acts as an emulsifier to stop chocolate from seizing when you add a liquid.

    In the past I have used powder colours to colour white chocolate, however they do come in a limited colour range and can alter the texture of the chocolate.

    I'm loving using Flo-Coat, at a ratio of five parts Flo-Coat to one part gel paste colour, you can turn white eating chocolate or white compound chocolate into any of the 40 colours in the Americolor's Soft Gel Paste range. 

    Cons; for Australian's... I can't get Flo-Coat here! I'm buying from the US. If anyone knows of a stockist here I'd love to know! 

    Pros; So many uses for coloured chocolate decorations; to match wedding colours, party & decorating themes or even sporting clubs team colours.

    Available from Cake Decorating Suppliers & Confectionary Suppliers US, I got mine from Bakers Nook

    You might also be interested in:

            Persian Fairy Floss

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