Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pina Colada Checkerboard Cake

I am an amateur photographer, emphasis on the AMATEUR! These photos do not do justice to this delicious and beautiful checkerboard cake. I made this cake to enter into a cake decorating competition but wasn't satisfied with my effort so it didn't make the cut. It was still a fun cake to make and the end result of the checkerboard look is pretty impressive. I learnt how to make a checkerboard cake from my favourite food blog Raspberri Cupcakes.  

The cake itself is just a basic buttercake recipe split into 3 flavours. To one I added lime juice, to the other I added crushed pineapple and to the last I added coconut. I colour coded them to match their taste, lime is green, pineapple is yellow and coconut is white. Although in a moment of absent mindedness I actually coloured the coconut batch yellow instead f the pineapple :(. Ahh close enough, no one will ever know... In hindsight, I would have maybe added a bit more depth of flavour to the cakes using more ingredients such as liquers and coconut cream. 

If you are wondering how to get the checkerboard effect (as I was when i first saw it), I've included step by step photos.

So its basically cutting 3 circles out of 3 cakes, alternating the circles and then stacking the cakes on top of each other (that photo is absent, but im sure you get the idea).

For the Cakes

(recipe from taste.com Homemade Buttercake)

What you will need

  • 125g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Green and yellow food colouring
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup coconut

What you will need to do

  • Preheat oven to 180*C and grease 3 round cake tins of the same size.
  • Beat butter, vanilla and sugar until light and creamy (HEAVEN!)
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Stir in flour and milk until combined.
  • Split mixture into 3 bowls. 
  • Add lime juice and zest to one bowl and colour it green, pineapple to another and colour it yellow and add coconut to the last bowl. Stir each bowl until well combined.
  • Pour into cake tins and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  • When cakes are done, allow to cool slightly then remove from tins and cool completely.
  • Wrap cakes in plastic and put into freezer preferably overnight or just until frozen.
  • Prepare the cream cheese icing just before you take the cakes out of the freezer. I used the recipe for the cream cheese icing from this Macaron recipe but just left it vanilla flavoured.
  • Take frozen cakes and unwrap. 
  • Cut out circles as shown in photos above. My cakes were 18 cm in diameter so I cut out a circle 6 cm in diameter then 12 cm in diameter on each cake. Alternate the circles so each cake has one of each colour.
  • Place a blob of icing on your serving plate and place one of the cakes on top. Spread the first cake with a thin layer of icing and place the second cake on top of that. Spread again thinly with icing and place the final cake on top. Spread the whole cake with a thin layer of icing then put in the fridge to set for at least an hour.
  • Take the cake out of the fridge and cover with the rest of the icing. I decorated my cake with the Lemon and Lime Macarons.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lime and Pineapple Macarons

Welcome to Sugar, Butter, Cream. I have started this blog to share my recipes and creations with other lovers of all things sweet and delicious! What better way to kick off the blog than with my very favourite tasty treat, the Macaron.

I made these Lime and Pineapple Macarons to decorate the top of a Pina Colada Cake, which I will post about at a later date. I decided to keep the shells the original almond flavour and just bring the lime and pineapple flavours through the fillings. I usually fill my macarons with a chocolate ganache however this time I opted for a cream cheese icing filling for that extra tang that would compliment the lime and pineapple juice.

I coloured the lime macaron shells green and the pineapple shells yellow using Winton gel colours (much better than the watery food colours!). It didn't take much at all to get a nice pastel colour. I wanted to avoid making the shells too bright as I feared when they were on top of the cake it would lose the Pina Colada feel and look more like an Australia Day cake.

My macaron recipe is ever evolving, it is definitely not perfect yet, and so each time I make them I adjust the ingredients in search for an even better result. There are some very important steps to master when making macarons but I have found most people have their own technique. I will include as much detail as I can, but I found reading lots of different macaron recipes the best way to develop my own technique.

For the Basic Macaron Shell

What you will need

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • Gel food colours

What you need to do

  • Line two flat baking trays with baking paper.
  • Place almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor and pulse until fine.
  • Meanwhile beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add caster sugar and beat until light, fluffy and shiny. At this stage, add a small amount of food colour and beat until evenly coloured. I made one batch for green and one batch for yellow.
  • Sift the icing sugar mix into the meringue mix. Stir the mix until combined. Fold mixture until it reaches the correct consistency. It should slide slowly in the bowl when tilted.
  • Place mixture into a piping bag fit with a round nozzle, i use a size 3. Pipe 1 inch rounds onto the trays, leaving and inch between each round. Tap the tray on your bench to burst any big bubbles in the shells.
  • Preheat oven to 150*C. Leave trays on bench to form a skin on the shells. They are ready to put into the oven when you can touch the tops without them sticking to your finger, this is usually at least 30 minutes.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until the bottoms start to brown slightly. Your macarons should have developed little 'feet', when this happens, REJOICE! 
  • Cool on trays then transfer to a wire rack.

For the Cream Cheese Icing 

What you will need

  • 100g butter
  • 225g cream cheese
  • 375g icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsp pineapple juice

What you will need to do

  • Place butter and cream cheese into a bowl and beat until smooth.
  • Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat until light and creamy.
  • Divide into two bowls. Add lime juice to one bowl and pineapple juice to the other. Mix until juices are well combined. 
  • Place each icing mix into a piping bag. Pipe lime icing onto half of the green shells and pineapple icing onto half of the yellow shells. Sandwich the empty green shells with the green shells with icing and repeat for the yellow shells.