Hello Monday : Eat All The Cake

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Hello Monday!

After a 500 3 week long school holiday the kids are back to school today and life will return to somewhat normal programming.

I have to say that although I did endeavour to take some time off and enjoy the holidays with my girls, it was a very busy period for me filled with many, many cakes, so I don’t really think that that they minded at all.

This Wednesday I will be posting Tip # 2/20 in my Macaron Files series (Know Your Almonds). If you missed the first tip you can find it here.

Then on Friday will be a healthy but delicious recipe from GI Jane in the Blogger Recipe series and somewhere in between I will be sharing my recipe for Gluhwein and my Chocolate Gluhwein Cake. So, stay tuned for an awesome week ahead!

Here are a few photos of my favourite bakes from the past few weeks.

If you’ve seen something that you like, you can always head over to our contact page and send us an enquiry or just leave a comment here to let us know which one you loved the most 🙂

xxx Viveshni

HumpDay Help: How To Get Perfect Cupcakes

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While “working” on Pinterest I came across this tip that I think is awesome and I thought would be perfect for today’s post.

So, for all the cupcake lovers, here is a simple way via Foodista, on how to get the perfect cupcakes every time.

kellyneil.com 2011

For those of us baking in the land of Degree Celcius: 350F = 180C / 325F = 160C

If those perfectly risen cupcakes are still evading you, you may want to check out my post on My Top 5 Reasons Your Cakes May Be Flopping.

Here is also a simple Cupcake Recipe that you may want to try.

Please leave me a comment and let me know if you are enjoying these HumpDay Hints and finding them useful. I would love to hear from you xxx

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Picture This : It’ all about the Cakes..C C Cakes :)

I’ve recently had a drastic increase in the number of cakes that I’ve been asked to make. I’ve enjoyed every challenge and I definitely see my skills getting more finely tuned with each new cake that I make. Like they say, practice makes perfect. I guess you also say nothing ventured, nothing gained as well 🙂

Here are some of my favourites from the past few months.

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Cupcake cake for my nephew who is the biggest cupcake lover I know

 

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This beautiful photo was taken by Annelise. I love the rustic ombre look

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This is the first cupcake cake that I made

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Definitely at the top of my list. I made this for a Nautical Themed Bachelorette party

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Lace and Pearls

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This was a 3 tiered cake for 200 people! My biggest cake to date.

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One of the many Sofia the First cakes that I made.

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A beach /summer themed cake for my niece Ascharya 🙂 All the sea shells were made of chocolate, yum yum!

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A Shabby Chic wedding cake. I love the combination of the sugar roses and pearls

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Baby Shower Cake

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A Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake. The base was 17″ big. If you don’t know… that’s giant amount of cake!

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This may be my favourite of all. A Mickey Mouse Cupcake Cake with Fresh Cream Icing on top.

If you would like to see more pictures you can follow me on Instagram – @MadameMacaronSA

 

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HumpDay Help: My top 5 reasons your cakes may be flopping

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There was a time a little while back when I was having no joy with my cupcakes or cakes. As hard as I tried to stick to my recipe they kept sinking while they were cooling. So I did some research and spoke to some people and here are my top 5 reasons that you cakes may be flopping.

1. Are you following the recipe correctly? Baking is all about chemistry and ingredients reacting together to get the desired result, in this case, a cake that rises properly. If you were for instance to add too much baking soda, then too much of air would be created within the cake when it’s baking and when it’s resting the cool the air will escape and cause the cake to sink. Ingredients are also not interchangeable. You cannot substitute baking soda for baking powder.

2.Did you overmix the batter?  Recipes will often say ‘Mix until just combined’ . They say this for a reason. When adding in your flour you do not need your batter to be smooth and silky, you need the ingredients to be at the point when they just combined. Overmixing will cause too much air to be incorporated into the batter and cause air pockets in the cake. So, like with the baking powder when this air is let out of the cake, the cake will sink. We tend to get a bit carried away using our big mixers so be careful and use the machines on a low speed.

3. Is the oven temperature correct?  The temperature of your oven is an important factor in the baking of your cakes. If its running too hot or too cold there is a good chance your cake will sink. I would suggest investing in an oven thermometer if possible. Also opening the oven door to check on your cake will drop the temperature in the oven every time you do, so try not to open the oven door for about the first 80% of the baking time.

4. Are your ingredients fresh?  So this is where the fault in my baking lay. Baking powder has a shelf life of 6 months to a year, if stored correctly and even though it’s such a small percentage of your ingredients it an cause all kinds of drama. In my case, I was convinced by someone at the store that I buy my ingredients to buy the store brand of baking powder. It had obviously been on the shelf for a while and hence was the root of my sinking cake debacle. I’ve learned my lesson!

5. Did you take it out too soon?  The tried and tested method for checking if a cake is done is to insert a clean skewer into the center and if it comes out clean it’s done. I’ve found that this is not always 100% effective for me so I rather use the spring test. If, with a finger,you gently press down on the center of the cake or cupcake and the sponge springs, back its ready to be taken out of the oven. If you leave a little dent in the sponge it needs a little while longer to fully bake.

*Just as an extra tip: Preheating your oven is an important step that needs to be followed

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I hope that these tips help and please comment below if there are any others that you can think of.

Happy baking!

 

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Photo Credit: Nicky – PolkaDots and JellyTots / Products made by Madame Macaron

Halloween Inspiration

When I was younger Halloween was just a day that was celebrated by the people on TV and the 31st was just the last day in October here in sunny S.A.

Well times have changed and Halloween is gaining momentum and has been adopted by many South Africans as we embrace more and more of American culture.

For me 31 October is my wedding anniversary ( 6 years this Friday!), but if you are celebrating this goulish holiday here’s some inspiration for you.

mummy cupcakesspider macaronshalloween cakepopspooky spidersMartha stewartcakewww.artschooldropout.netsouthwoodimageundergroundcookeryschoolweheartit

Image Credits

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Picture This {October}

Here’s a whole lot of pictures of what I’ve been working on the past few weeks.

A frozen themed party

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A Minnie Mouse themed party

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Some cakes and macarons

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Finally, a Sofia the a First party. The setup was done by Polkadots and Jellytots.

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Here are some photos of the setup by Polkadots and Jellytots. The cakes, cakes pops and cupcakes were made by me.

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Humpday Hints: Are Baking Powder and Baking Soda/ Bicarbonate Of Soda The Same?

The short answer to this question is no.

The long answer is this.

While baking powder and baking soda look the same and both basically do the same job of helping our baked goods to rise beautifully, they do this under very different circumstances and conditions.

So, baking soda is pure bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate. Because it’s a base, it needs moisture and acid to react, so ingredients like buttermilk or yoghurt are used when baking with baking soda. They also balance the flavour of the baking soda. The baking soda reacts with the acidic ingredient and forms bubbles. These are what expand in the heat of the oven and cause your cakes and other baked goods to rise. The reaction between the baking soda and acidic ingredient happens immediately, so if your recipe calls for baking soda, you need to be using the batter straight away or whatever you’re baking is going to flop. ( sad but true)

Baking powder on the other hand does contain sodium bicarbonate but also other things as well. Namely, the acids that it needs to react with, and because the baking soda needs moisture to react, there’s also a drying agent like cornflour mixed in as well. Most baking powders are ” double acting”. This means that there will be a reaction at room temperature first and then while in the oven. The more bubbles created, the fluffier the texture of the cake or whatever it is you may be baking. Important to remember , is also that baking powder has a shelf life of 6 months, so be sure to check the expiry date on the packaging.

So the big question… Can I substitute baking powder for baking soda and vice versa if I’m too lazy to go out and buy it? Well…substituting either will affect the flavour, texture and even colour of your baked goods, but here are some cheats from About.com 🙂

xxx Viveshni

Cakes, cakes and more cakes

I’ve been super busy these past couple of weeks, which is a good thing, because it means my business is growing. 🙂

There seemed to suddenly be an influx of orders for cakes. Now, my usual cake order is around 1 a week, with the bulk of my orders coming from macaron and cupcake and cake pops sales. ( not that I can’t bake a yummy cake 😉 ) This past week I had a total of 4 cakes on order in addition to my regular orders.

They ranged from picture cakes so a super chocolatey chocolate cake.

This one was for a little girl who knew exactly what she wanted. Chocolate sponge with light purple vanilla buttercream and butterflies. Her mother sent me a few photos of her, so I put together a little collage for the picture part of the picture cake.

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These were the matching cupcakes.

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This one is the second picture cake that was ordered, funnily enough also with light purple buttercream.

The chocolate one! This was by far the chocolatiest cake I’ve ever made. It was concentric rings of chocolate buttercream and dark chocolate ganache sandwiched between 2 layers of chocolate sponge. It was then covered in a rich chocolate buttercream and then the dark chocolate ganache again. And finally finished off with thin pieces of tempered chocolate around the outside. Chocolatey indeed!

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This is the last one that I did, and by far the most fun to make. It was a Spongebob Squarepants themed cake. Chocolate sponge with vanilla buttercream and plastic icing and little sea shells in coloured white chocolate. I loved making the Spongebob, Patrick and Gary characters for the top of the cake.

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And of course the cupcakes to match.

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Picture credit: unknown

And that’s all 🙂

xxx Viveshni

Pics of the Week : Catch Up! (Part 1)

I have been a bit remiss in my posting on the site, but not without good reason. I’ve been busy busy busy! No person that owns and runs their own business will ever complain about being too busy and I, by no means, am going to be the first 🙂

So needless to say I have a ton of new photos to post and I have definitely had fun flexing my creative muscles.

The Macaron of the Month Club has also launched so if you don’t know what it is, head over to the Macaron of the Month page and there you’ll be able to sign up as well.

These doughnuts were amazing. I made them using my Gran’s recipe. I’ll be posting the recipe soon 🙂

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These are just a few or the pictures. I’ll be posting the ValentinesDay photos, as well as some from a Mad Hatter Themed party tomorrow and the next day so keep an eye out 🙂

You can also have a look at my photos on Instagram @madamemacaronsa or like my page on Facebook – Madame Macaron SA

xxx Viveshni

Jasmin & Teyla’s 4th Birthday Party : The Circus

And here and the pictures from Jasmin and Teyla’s 4th birthday party. Everything did. It go 100% as I had planned but it was amazing nonetheless. The kids had a great time, the parents had lots of yummy stuff to eat and Jasmin and Teyla received some wonderful gifts

This was my first time setting up a candy buffet and I don’t think I did too bad a job. I’m glad that all the hard work paid off in the end.
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The Candy Buffet Table

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Vanilla cupcakes with Candyfloss flavored buttercream

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I unfortunately did not have time to make the cake myself but this beautiful creation was from Ladybug Cakes in Pinetown. It did have a bit of a wobble on the way to us, he co the tilt on the upper layers but it tasted amazing so she is forgiven 🙂

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Le macarons 🙂

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The chocolate ‘candy apples’.

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I bought these bottles from My Cherry Blossom , printed the labels and filled them up with apple juice.

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Candyfloss in cups (I didn’t make the candyfloss but I did fill the cups 🙂 )

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Caramel coated popcorn

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The beautiful circus themed gazebo set up by Wendy from Big Occasions for Little People. Unfortunately, as you can see, the wind was not our friend. Better than the rain though 🙂

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Fun on the jumping castle

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Out of the photo booth box

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Party time!

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We expected rain but got wind instead so all in all it turned out to be a great day.
Sadly I don’t have any pics of the savoury food I made but its inevitable when hosting a party that some things get forgotten.

I want to give out shout out to my wonderful husband for putting up with my party planning madness and family for all the help on the day. I definitely couldn’t have done it without you. Much love!

Now to start planning for their 5th birthday 🙂