30 December 2013

Last Baking Day 2013

So there we are, another year has passed and fairly quickly too. It feels like I've cooked and baked a lot more than previous years, but I'm nowhere near the early years of the blog.


My last baking day was going to be very busy, but I had it all worked out, wore my comfy slippers and made sure to keep a good posture so that my back wouldn't start hurting at lunchtime.

My main item was a birthday cake for my younger niece Falbala. She's turning 15, so obviously she has other things on her mind than cakes, but I'd stumbled over this website and was dying to try out the technique, so I asked if I could make her a birthday cake and she agreed.

I got up fairly early and went shopping for all ingredients, then sent off Lundulph to buy cookie cutters - my original idea was for the number 15 to be baked into each piece of cake. I followed the recipe for the sugar cookies, using the metric amounts. I also used the extra fine sponge flour as it's been quite good in my recent cookies. It all started well, I even remembered how dusty icing sugar can get when you cream it with butter, so I worked it carefully by hand. I swapped 50 g of the flour for cocoa powder as I wanted the hidden design to be chocolate inside a white sponge cake.


Sugar cookie dough
565 g unsalted butter at room temperature
700 g icing sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla essence
670 g plain flour
50 g cocoa powder
1 tsp salt

Sponge cake mixture
One batch of good old trusty recipe from Lou's swimming pool cake.

1 packet (450 g) of ready made Chocolate Fudge frosting.
Large white chocolate stars
Daim sprinkles

Method for the sugar cookie dough

  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar carefully not to incorporate too much air.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and incorporate well, finally add the flour, salt and cocoa powder and stop mixing as soon as they have been incorporated.
  3. Line a round cake tin (15-16 cm) with cling film, then transfer the dough to it and push in so that the tin is filled without bubbles. Cover with more cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour or two.
  4. Once the dough has chilled, take it out.
  5. Then using a long sharp knife, cut into 32 equal wedges.
  6. Using the chosen shape for the hidden design, cut out a piece from each wedge and place on a sheet lined with baking paper.
  7. Continue until a shape has been cut out from each wedge and place on baking sheets. Then chill the shapes for a further hour or so.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 175 °C, then bake for 7 minutes just enough to set the cookies.
  9. Allow to cool completely. In the mean time, pre-heat the oven to the cake baking temperature, butter and flour a larger round cake tin and prepare the cake mixture. Then arrange the cut shapes into a circle in the large cake tin.
  10. Pour the cake mixture around and over the cookies
    then bake until it's ready.
  11. Allow the cake to cool, remove from the baking tin and decorate.
    The hidden design appears when the cake is cut.

As you can see, something went horribly wrong when I baked the cookies. The second sheet fared a little better, but nowhere near good enough to use. I dropped the temperature to 150 °C for it, so perhaps what I need to do is to bake them at an even lower temperature.


Cutting out the numbers turned out to be very time consuming, so I couldn't do yet another round of these. Instead I rolled out some of the cookie dough and cut out stars, which I froze for an hour before arranging in a circle in the large cake tin. I also made one batch of the cake mixture, not being sure if it would be enough, but hoping for the best. And it was, luckily, but just about. Once the cake was baked and out of the springform, its bottom gave an indication of what we'd find inside...


A blob most likely. Dang! What did I do wrong? Did I confuse °F and °C? Hang on, this fine sponge flour is self-raising! Why didn't it say so with big letters on the front of the packet? But I've used it on other cookies and they were fine. Curses! Too late to do anything about it. In fact, the cake was not cool enough in the evening, so I went to bed and got up really early on the 31st and iced it, before we set off to celebrate the birthday girl.


It's a good thing Falbala is a very tolerant and laid back person and I must say the cake was quite tasty with a blob of fudge in the middle. It seems I will need to work out how to do this twice baked hidden design thing myself.

I didn't throw away the blobs, they make rather tasty and chewy cookies, very good for a sneaky snack every now and then. I've put them in the fridge and they've sort of stuck to each other a bit. I gave some of the left-over dough to Lou and Falbala, in case they want to make cookies and I still have quite a lot left as well. I'd better freeze it, we won't be needing it anytime soon.

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