Pinata Pookies

Pinata cookies have been on my radar for a while, popping up on many lists of cookies you need to make, or the best party food. So when a family birthday presented its self to me, with out the time to make a cake, cookies were the answer. They keep longer that a regular cake will, and stay just as tasty when travelling.

I used my usual recipe from The Biscuiteers, and using  a set of star cutters, made the biscuits – remembering to cut out the middle of a third of the batch.

naked biscuits

I stuck the middle one on to the base with some chocolate round the edge.

doubled up

Then I filled in the middle with lots of mini smarties!

Smartie filling

Then used a bit more chocolate to stick on the top cookie.


I wanted to make them look very pretty, since I had avoided the usual brightly coloured dough. I coated the base in some chocolate, and let it set up on a chocolate transfer sheet.

Transfer sheet

Hey presto, lovely grown up pinata cookies.

Pinata cookies

Which you can even stick a candle in too!

Pinata cookies

A Mario and Zelda Themed Wedding Cake

There is no denying that this was a very exciting cake to be asked to do – a wedding cake themed around Mario and Zelda. And all in chocolate, with ganache, the best icing to work with. And for an extra step, a separate gluten free cake, to be as much a part of the wedding as the main cake. It is safe to say this took a lot of time, consisting of the research before hand (including playing the Wii U a lot), the time spent making the topper and decorations, as well as the time them spent making the actual cake – but the reactions made it completely worthwhile, as ever!

The topper was different to the usual bride and groom, in that they were in karts from Mario Kart. This also meant working on a smaller scale too. I have a work tray for doing modelling work, so set that up with the tools and pastes needed, and then got busy.

Here is a slightly disturbing shot of a headless bride and groom:

Headless couple

Followed by a much better looking completed couple:

Finished couple

And a ‘Just Married’ sign to go over them:


It was a pretty wonderful day when it was finished, and looked as I had imagined!


Here are some of the limited pictures of the making of the other bits that went on to the cake – apologies that some of them are from screen shots of Snapchats.

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There were a few other pre made bits, which missed having their pictures taken, sunch as the Rainbow Road fences, and Moo Moo Meadows grass. Having them made in advance meant that putting it all together did not take too long.

That cake its self was all chocolate sponge,the different tiers filled with coffee, caramel and chocolate buttercream. In a trial run, i used a jar of caramel sauce (Tescos Finest) added to my usual buttercream, which was very tasty. However, then I could not find a new jar when I needed it, so used this recipe instead from John Whaite. This is up there as a contender for the tastiest thing I have ever made, so I suggest everyone goes forth and tries it too – especially if you missed out at the wedding.

Figuring out the road running up the side of the cake took some time, and then once it came time to make the cake, I did it completely differently too. Each cake had a rice crispy add-on to the side to make the road up to the next tier. All the cakes were covered in ganache, then sugarpasted. The bottom tier was also air brushed, where as the top two were covered with green sugarpaste.


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Here it is in location, at The Golden Lion hotel in Stirling.

 rob and aly wedding cake

A gluten free wedding cake was also part of the order, to be shaped as a Tetris brick. Again, this was covered in ganache (having been filled half with chocolate buttercream, and half with white chocolate buttercream) then sugarpaste.




It was airbrushed red, and the board covered with more sugarpaste Tetris bricks.


Now I will bombard you with some more photos, in part because some of the details are easy to miss, especially the Zelda ones. I have no idea what an Ocarina is, but apparently it was important in the games (it’s the blue thing!).

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It was great to make a cake that reflected the couples interests so well, and having completed the massive tidy up of the kitchen (the downside of working with chocolate), I find my self in a bit of a post wedding cake slump. However, this will be lifted very soon by the making of a birthday cake, of which I will hopefully remember to take more making of pictures.


A Class with Mademoiselle Macaron

In April I found my self in full cake swing again, after an illness and tonsilectomy filled start to the year.  Thankfully, someone else was doing the planning, and tidying, when I went to a class with Mademoiselle Macaron. The class takes place at her little shop, and it is a lovely place. We did get a coffee break half way through, so we had a chance to enjoy the cafe part, not just the kitchen part – which was also fun, being filled with decorations, flavouring and gadgets that I could covet.

Macaron display

With a brief history of the macaron, and how her shop came into being, we got started. She demonstrated making the rose flavoured ones, then we got on with making our own. Working in pairs (with just 8 people in total), we had our own work station – and mine was the pistachio flavoured one. It’s unfortunate I don’t actually like pistachios, but everyone made a different flavour, then you got a mixed box at the end so it didn’t matter too much.

After a lot of beating of egg whites and debating how much green was enough, we had two trays ready to sit and skin over, before baking. You can see the other flavours too – vanilla, orange and chocolate.



After a demonstration on making ganache, we then made our pistachio filling, which had a lot of ground up pistachios in it.


It was then coffee time – I had a tasty hot chocolate, but we also had some oreo mouse pie, and a kouign amann (familiar from the Great British Bake Off), which were both super delicious.

Hot chocolate

When we went back through, the macarons were all ready and cooled – and thankfully, pretty impressive looking. They were also a good even size, so putting them into pairs went pretty well too.


They were then carefully filled, and that was them. The key word is carefully – squeeze them, and they do not fare well!

Filled macaron

With the macarons finished, we filled our gift boxes, and headed for home. Sadly not to eat them, as you are supposed to leave them 24 hours before eating, so the filling can kind of merge with the shell. I did at least manage to leave them til lunch time the next day, and they were lovely – although the chocolate was my favourite, unsurprisingly.


A Pig Birthday Cake

I have awanted to make a pig cake for years now, mainly as they are just so cute, but also pretty simple to make. I used a bowl to bake a chocolate chip sponge, before covering it with vanilla buttercream.

Naked bowl cake

I covered it with the pink sugarpaste, and the board with chocolate glace icing as the mud.

Pink bowl

The trotters and snout were just shaped balls of sugarpaste, with a little sausage rolled up for the tail.

Pig cake

At this point I was confused as to why it did not look cute, or particuarly pig like, before remembering that aside from needing eyes, it also needed ears!

Pig cake

The pig needed to be a bit muddy as well, so had some blobs of glace icing added to his trotters and arround his sides. And hey presto, he was cute!

Cute pig cake

Gluten Free Doughnuts

If you follow A Kimbo Cake on Facebook or Twitter, you will have seen my home baking exploits, as well as the decorated cakes I have done recently. And you may have noticed a gluten free turn in things, as one of my friends is gluten and dairy free, and I think it would be unfair for her to miss out on all the cakey goodness that so often finds its way in to my work place.

On the whole, my gluten free baking has gone well, although often not quite as expected. Being dairy free, with block stork and trex easy replacements is not quite as difficult, while getting used to the different texture of gluten free baking, and using xantham gum to try and avoid crumbling, and the range of different flours available is not as straight forward. Although tempted by many recipes and blogs to start buying fancier flour blends, I have stuck with Doves, which so far has worked really well (their recipe section is worth a look as well).

So while my friend gets by with cooking and baking herself, and the odd trip to gluten free friendly places like Loudens or Mimis, (phone them and they will make sure something gluten free is available) the one thing you apparently cannot buy in a gluten free form is doughnuts. Having been over a year since my friend had eaten a doughnut, we swiftly decided that we should attempt to bake them ourselves. Partly because it is fun, partly because with yeasted dough and deep fat frying, there was more potential for disaster, both baking and burning, so a second person seemed like a wise idea.

We followed a recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoe String – in part because the ingredients were mostly things we had. The dough came together pretty easily, although next time we would heat up, and cool, the milk in advance – we suspect we killed off some of the yeast by leaving it sitting in the mix of dry ingredients. They did still rise fairly well though, so we were reasonably hopeful for the frying stage.

Risen doughtnuts

However, neither of us has deep fried anything before – and the idea of hot scalding oil is pretty scary. However, with the thermometer, at least we knew the right temperature, and the fact it didn’t spit and sizzle as much as I thought it might was good too.

Hot oil

As advised we fried some bread first to dirty the oil – I think like making pancakes, the first one will be a dud, so the bread made the sacrifice. They cooked very quickly, so we managed to get through our selection of ring doughnuts, doughnut holes and to-be-filled doughnuts in good time.

We made the glaze, although decided that double dipping was the way to go, as the glaze is a really tasty part of a doughnut. For the filled doughnuts, they had a glace icing on top, and were filled with seedless raspberry jam. We had seen doughnuts being filled on TV and it actually is as easy as it looks -stick in piping nozzle and squeeze. I guess the filling will always find a way in.

Finished gluten free doughnuts

And the verdict? Delicious doughnuts! They did have a typical doughnut texture, and I don’t think you would have guessed they were gluten (or dairy) free – but I think the best judgement was that my friends doughnut craving was well and truly satisfied. We did eat quite a lot, which turned out to be a good move despite the sugar crash – the second day doughnuts definitely suffered for it, so maybe freezing any extras would be a good move.



Iron Man in Smarties

For this cake, I wanted to do something really fun. The recipient loves Smarties, so that was my starting point – maybe a pattern based on the colours, covering the side with Kit Kats like a candy barrel cake. The recipient also loves Smarties, so I decided to try and make iron man out of Smarties. I also decided to fit even more Smarties in to the cake, doing a ‘surprise in side’ cake.

Starting off with a filled and buttercreamed cake, I marked out the middle to cut away.

Measuring the middle

…Which I then cut away…

Cake hole

…And filled with Smarties…

Smartie hole

… And topped it off with a disc of cake to get a level finish.



I made ribbons of red and yellow sugarpaste to cover the sides. I used some CMC in the top band to give it extra strength, as it was mostly standing free of the cake.

Rad and yellow

I had found a template on line, which I sized to fit the cake. I marked of the outline in Smarties, and started to fill in the colour.

Iron Man outline

Iron Man Smarties

I filled in the background with Minstrels. I had forgotten how tasty they were!

Iron man in smarties

I loved the finished cake, but of course, the real surprise is in the middle!

Inside surprise cake

I’m glad I did this one for fun – there were a few lessons to be learnt. Mainly, it needs to be done really close to eating. The Smarties shell goes soft with the moisture from the cake – and the colour leeches in to the cake too. However, it is also awesome – Smarties inside a cake is a lot of fun!

A Yorkshire Wedding Cake

This weekend saw the completion of my third wedding cake. It had an excellent and unique theme – Yorkshire. The couple came to me with their ideas, and after a few sketches we confirmed which design to go with, along with the sizes and flavours wanted. In case anyone ever needs to know, rhubarb and vanilla jam can only be found in Waitrose, unlike rhubarb and ginger jam which can be found in every shop in Edinburgh (and an assortment of places off the A9 too).

The base tier (vanilla) was to be the Yorkshire country side, complete with rough fell sheep. The middle tier (chocolate) was to have a representation of the Yorkshire flag. The top tier was a Yorkshire pudding, complete with bride and groom figure.

I like a blog post with photos to show the making of pictures, but time tends to get away from me and having to wash my hands before I cover the camera in cake/ icing is a fiddle. So at Lewis’ suggestion, we set up the Gopro, which can be used to make time lapse videos. It worked really well – apart from the battery recharging while I actually covered the cakes. You can see the bottom and middle tiers being iced, then the decorations being applied.

The Yorkshire pudding doesn’t really feature in the video, but that was air bushed yellow, then with a mix of yellow and brown, a bit more brown on top. I then filled it with ‘gravy’ aka piping gel, which was surprisingly easy to make!

Here is a shot of the finished cake once it is all in place at their venue, Surgeons Hall in Edinburgh.

Yorkshire wedding cake

The groom did not quite make it to the very end of the night – I guess he could not resist a swim in the gravy! (it was taken on my phone)

Gravy groom

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