February 17, 2019

Iced Fingers

I'm a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off and this recipe for Iced Fingers was featured in one of the earlier seasons of the show.  I'd been meaning to make them ever since I first watched that episode all those years ago so you could say these are long overdue.  There's just something so inviting about a soft and fluffy bun filled to the brim with whipped cream and jam. 

The recipe comes from Paul Hollywood, GBBO "male judge" and bread baker extraordinaire, so you can pretty much assume it's going to be a winner.  And you would not be wrong.  Enriched dough is not as difficult to make as you might think and this one has the most beautiful texture to work with.  You could make the dough by hand, as suggested in the recipe, but I'm too lazy for that and leveraged my trusty Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  It makes your life so much easier!

Baked to a lovely golden brown the fingers had a beautifully soft and fluffy interior.  My main deviation from Paul's recipe was in the filling.  Rather than using whipped heavy cream on its own I added softened cream cheese to give it more structure and stability.  The last thing you want is a weepy iced finger!  Once iced and filled with cream cheese whipped cream and raspberry jam these fingers were a dream to eat.   

One caveat though: I highly recommend making the buns all in the same day to get the maximum freshness and flavor.  I spread it out over two days and found that the buns weren't as soft and fluffy as they were when they were freshly baked...still tasted great though!

February 12, 2019

Cake Pops & Surprise-Inside Heart Cupcakes

Since I made the Surprise-Inside Heart Cake in a 6-inch size rather than 8-inch I ended up with some extra cake batter and buttercream frosting.  I couldn't bring myself to bin them so I asked myself what could I do?   Immediately I thought of Cake Pops and Surprise-Inside Cupcakes!  I love how one dessert can produce two more.

The cupcakes are really simple to put together, trust me.  Since I only ended up using half of the baked pink cake I turned the rest in to little heart shaped cake bites with the help of a petit fours cutter.  To make the cupcakes I poured a spoonful of the white cake batter in to a paper lined muffin  pan and placed the heart cake bite standing upright.  I then spooned more cake batter over to cover it completely and baked like normal.  A swirl of the buttercream and a dusting of pink, red and white jimmies finished it off.  It's not until you slice the cupcake do you discover the surprise heart inside!

Cake pops were the perfect way to use the leftover cake trimmings and buttercream.   I recommend reading this post from Bakerella who is the queen of cake pops.  The technique couldn't be easier.  You just break up the cake in to crumbs and mix in some buttercream to create a Play-doh like dough.  Roll in to ping pong sized balls and refrigerate until firm.   Then you dip the cake balls in to melted candy melts (I got mine from Michaels) and decorate with sprinkles!

February 9, 2019

Surprise-Inside Heart Cake

This was my first attempt at making a surprise-inside cake and I think it turned out okay.  I preface that by saying I'm a perfectionist so I'm always going to be my worst critic.  But while the cake does look pretty cool I would have liked the heart shape to come out with more distinct and sharp lines.  I'll save that for my second attempt I guess!

I was inspired to make this cake after seeing an Instagram video post by Baking With Blondie.  Between you and me I think I probably watched the video at least twenty times to learn how she put the cake together.  The cake was too cute not to try and replicate and Valentine's Day was the perfect occasion to practice.

For the cake I used Stella Parks's White Mountain Layer Cake and frosted it with her American Buttercream.  Normally I would use my favorite Swiss meringue buttercream but I'd been meaning to try her take on the American classic.  I baked the white cake layers using three 6-inch pans and for the pink cake filling I used a quarter sheet pan.

A bonus to making this surprise-inside cake was that it produced two additional treats using the leftover cake and icing.  I'll post them shortly so stay tuned!
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