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.

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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

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A Minion Birthday Cake

I had seen a lot of cool minion cakes (the character from Despicable me, and Despicable Me 2). Making something that needs to be recognisable, rather than something just from my imagination always adds an extra layer of pressure – there are plenty of not quit right minions on the internet as well.

I started off with a 6 inch sponge. And then decided that more baking did not appeal to me (and the birthday girl does not actually like cake, just icing), and made three layers of chocolate crispie, one of which was done in a bowl for the top of its head.

After covering in butter cream and sugarpaste (not an easy job for such an awkward and large shape), I airbrushed on the yellow colour, and managed to get a nice even coating.

Yellow minion

Next up was dressing the minion in the trademark dungarees. I used a ribbon cutter to keep the straps an even size, and then a different attachment to make the stitching marks.

Minion dungarees

After adding the pocket, came the eye. Considering a minion does not have many facial features, the eye is even more crucial. I started off with a layer of white sugarpaste, followed by brown, black and a small dot of white. I rolled a thick strip of grey sugarpaste to make the frame to the glasses.

One eyed minion

Adding the mouth and tongue made it look a lot more like a normal little minion, and the strap to the glasses.

Minion

For the hair I had rolled small cones of black sugarpaste, which I stuck on with royal icing. For the legs, I used chunky sausages of the blue paste. The arms were a bit of a challenge – I should have had them pre-made and airbrushed so they were stronger and easier to handle, but I had not – so some supportive drying material was brought in to support them in place.

Armed minion

I used black sugarpaste for the shoes and gloves – they only have three fingers so to make the gloves, once I had the basic shape, I just had to make two indentations to make the fingers.

Minion

The minion was finished so all that was needed was the cupcake in front of him. This was going to be made of pure sugarpaste, especially for the birthday girl, who as I mentioned, does not like cake. I made the base, and sprayed it with an edible gold spray. I also hollowed out a spoonful of icing to fill with buttercream. Then that was covered with a spiral of pink sugarpaste, and a few sugarpaste sprinkles added.

Minion cupcake

With a bit of orange ribbon, the minion cake was complete.

Minion cake

All that was left was to destroy it! But the inside looked as good as the outside!

Inside minion cake

That is the first cake of the summer rush down. The next one will require a bit more structural work, but will be featuring a different kid friendly character….

 

Christmas Baking Inspiration

One of the best things about Christmas, like most holidays, is the food. Savoury wise, I have a hankering for roast parsnips. Sweet wise, I want to make everything! Time always escapes me though, so if I manage just one or two things I will be very happy.

I tried marshmallows the other week, and whether it was the unintentional use of vegetarian gelatine, or not beating them for long enough, I was left with green goo rather than festive green marshmallows.

If you want successful marshmallows, without having to do it yourself, the Edinburgh based Marshmallow Lady comes highly recommended, and I would love to try some myself! I’m not convinced that eggnog marshmallows are the way to go, but toffee apple or millionaire shortbread, yes please!

If you want to do something creative yet easy, this marshmallow tree from Planning With Kids (instructions here) looks like a good idea – easy and quick enough that it might even make it into my baking schedule.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Delia Smith –I suppose the same could be said for Americans of Martha Stewart, just looking at these candy cane marshmallows is making me jealous! If you want to give home-made marshmallows a go, the recipe is here.

Actually, I might need to go stock up on a lot of marshmallows – melted snowman cookies (or cupcakes) are always hugely popular at this time of year. With misshapen half – melted marshmallows, this tutorial from Truly Custom Cakery looks good.

Or, you could just stick with these traditional snowmen cookies, from the Pink Momma. If you don’t have a snow man cutter, cut two circles and then cut them so they fit together – they will bake together and be pretty solid!

The best festive bake I have seen this year though? These Hot Chocolate Truffles from Your Cup of Cake, that I doubt will make it onto my baking list this time round. I think any chocolate ganche recipe would do the job though, and then you can decorate to your hearts content.

As for Christmas cakes, if you need any last-minute inspiration, the Edinburgh branch of the British Sugarcraft Guild came up with plenty of designs to get you thinking at our November meeting, which you can see here. Hopefully everyone has a lovely Chrsitmas, and keep an eye on my facebook page for my Christmas cake pictures.

Making a Grass Covered Board

This is just a little entry on one of the most useful techniques I have ever been taught. It was at a British Sugarcraft Guild meeting, the theme being Easter. The lady made an easter themed cake, and used this technique to decorate the board of the cake.

Cover your board in green to be grass. I used a patch work technique to cover this, since the cake was a bit of an odd shape, and not in the middle of the board. The grass making method is good at hiding the seams from covering the board like this. Should you be so daft as to stick a finger or utensil into the icing, this method also helps to cover any marks.

Take a star tip like this one, and go nuts. Poke it into the icing to leave the impression behind. A lot of times. Although you do need to do it lots of times, it is still a pretty quick effect.

And hey presto, a lovely patch of grass, which on this occasion was the background for a haggis.

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