Diamond Jubilee Petit Fours


By now it’s no secret the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is coming up next week.  Over here in the UK we’re in full BBQ and street party planning mode. 

To be honest, I’ve never actually been to a street party before – I guess they’re kind of like the North American block party, although to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever been to one of those either.  I don’t think they’re as popular there as they are here. 
A traditional British Street Party (Image Source)

It’s being reported that there will be over 10,000 official street parties throughout England and Wales, and that’s not counting unofficial parties that haven’t gone through the proper approval process through local councils.
On Sunday I’m hoping to attend one of the larger parties in my area that will take place in our favourite park.  Monday and Tuesday are public holidays here, so the parties and celebrations will continue for a few more days.
In order to help make your street party look it’s best all of the major stores have released their own lines of street party gear including the essentials such as bunting flags, paper plates, cups, napkins, cupcake cases, etc. 
Each of the jubilee product lines are very patriotic and obviously incorporate everything British and royal such as union jacks and crowns, but they’re also very different from each other.
Lakeland was kind enough to send me some products (above) from their Jubilee range, so I’ve featured some of them here with my latest street party inspired creations.

My street party snacks are the perfect addition to your Jubilee table – they’re patriotic, three out of the four are quick and easy, you can make them all ahead of time, they’re all very transportable, and best of all they taste great!!!

I’ve decided to split the recipes for my Jubilee treats into two separate posts, otherwise you’d be reading this post forever!

 

First up I’ll start with my Diamond Jubilee petit fours.  I’ve always wanted to make petit fours so when I was given some cute little London themed sugar decorations in a Waitrose goodie bag, I knew they’d be perfect to add on top.  I used the traditional Victoria Sponge recipe that I came up with last year to celebrate the Royal Wedding, but this time I replaced the strawberry jam with black current jam – something I consider very British as it wasn’t something I’d really ever come across in Canada.

Diamond Jubilee Petit Fours
Ingredients:
3/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp (200g) Castor Sugar 
3/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp (200g) Butter, room temperature 
4 Eggs 
1.5 tsp Vanilla extract 
1.5 Cups + 1.5 Tbsp (200g) Self Raising Flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder

Blackcurrant Jam
Vanilla Buttercream 

Ready to Roll Fondant – I used Renshaw Regal Ice White Chocolate flavour

Liquid Fondant – (I used the Silver Spoon powdered version that you mix with water)

Liquid Glucose – optional
Red and Blue gel colouring

Decorations of your choice – I used Jubilee decorations from Waitrose and a couple of left over crowns I made for my Dome cake here.

Instructions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).  Line two* square 8″x8″ cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 5-8 minutes).

*I divided my batter up, and made 6 cupcakes for another project and used the rest in a 9″x9″ pan which made 16 petit fours approx 1.5″x1.5″

2.  Add in the eggs 1 at a time to ensure they don’t curdle the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat well before adding each following egg.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

3.  Gently fold the self raising flour and baking powder into the butter, sugar and egg mixture until just combined.  Don’t over mix.  Divide the batter equally between the two pans, making sure that the batter is as flat and even as possible.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

4.  Let the cakes cool in their pans at before lifting them out by the parchment paper. Leave the parchment paper on your cake, and wrap it in cling film before placing it in the freezer for about an hour to firm up slightly.

5.  While your cake is chilling in the freezer make your buttercream icing according to your favourite recipe. (I don’t have a recipe for my buttercream – I just cream a block of butter and keep on adding icing sugar (with a nit of milk and vanilla) until it tastes right.

*The instructions below are for one 9×9 cake (as I mentioned above). If you’ve made two 8×8 cakes, follow the instructions below twice.

6.  Take your cake out of the freezer ensuring that the bottom of the cake is facing upwards (this ensures you’ll have a perfectly flat top) and slice it in half so you end up with two layers.  I used a Wilton cake slicer, but a steady hand and knife should do the trick.  Open your cake so that the freshly cut sides are facing up.  Spread a thin layer of the balckcurrant jam on one half of the cake (remove any large currents), and a layer of buttercream on the other half (make sure it’s as smooth as possible).  



Sandwich the two layers together so the fillings are in the middle, making sure that the edges are aligned.  Next, trim the edges of your cake to ensure it’s perfectly square with nice sharp edges.  Spread another layer of buttercream on the top (which was once the bottom) of your cake, making sure it’s as smooth ad level as possible.

Roll out your fondant so it’s about 3mm in thickness.  Cut a square of fondant out the same size as your cake (you can use the bottom of your cake pan as a guide, and trim the edges later). Place the fondant over your buttercream covered cake top and smooth it out, ensuring you don’t have any trapped air under the fondant.  Trim off any excess fondant so that the edges are flush, and it’s exactly the same size as the cake.

Cut your fondant covered cake into small squares – once trimmed, my 9×9 cake made 16 squares.

7.  Prepare your liquid pouring fondant according to directions on the package – I added in about a teaspoon of glucose to mine to help make it spread easier.  I used Silver Spoon brand which is available in most supermarkets, but you can also buy other bands at speciality cake stores.   One 500g box was just enough to cover my 16 petit fours.

Place a 1/3 of your cake squares on a wire rack that’s been placed over a baking dish.  Start by pouring a tablespoon or two of the uncoloured white fondant on the top of one of your cake squares.  Using an offset pallete knife, spread the fondant to the edges so it starts to flow down the sides of the cake.  Using the back of the knife, scoop out a bit more fondant from the bowl and spread it down each side, starting from the top.  Let the fondant run down the sides until all of the cake is covered.  


Once the cakes are covered, place a sugar decoration in the middle of each one and let the icing dry for at least half an hour.

Ignore the random white one with sprinkles!
Divide the remaining fondant icing in half an colour one half red, and the other blue.  Repeat the steps above for the rest of your cakes.
8.  After the fondant has surface dried, use your palette knife to move each cake onto a paper liner.  You can press the paper onto the fondant to help it form to the shape of the cake.
Leave your petite fours uncovered until they’re thoroughly dry.  I made mine in the evening, and I don’t know what on earth possessed me to cover them in a sealed container but I did, and because my liquid fondant hadn’t dried completely my sugar decorations absorbed some of the moisture which discoloured them.  Obviously I wasn’t thinking clearly!  
These petit fours will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days if they’re properly covered with liquid fondant to prevent them from drying out.



I hope you like these petit fours – I loved them – especially with the addition of the blackcurrant jam!  I can’t wait to make more of them.  Don’t let all the steps detour you, because although they do take a bit of time to make them, the final results are not only pretty, but also delicious!

Check back later for my other Diamond Jubilee street party recipes!

Thanks to Lakeland for the Jubilee products (cake stand, napkins, cupcake cases and jam jar covers are featured), and to Waitrose for the Jubilee sugar decorations.

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May Foodie Penpal Reveal

This was my second month as a Foodie Penpal, and I received a great little box of goodies from Fiona of the blog Fee Hates Rain.  I told Fiona how I liked snacky type stuff as well unique things or ingredients that I don’t come across in my regular mainstream supermarket.  Fiona did a great job selecting some unique products – none of which I’ve ever tried or seen before.  


Along with a pretty note card, Fiona sent me some Lap Snacks – these are roasted broad beans coated in a spicy batter, and they are delicious!  They’ve got just a hint of spice in them without being too hot,  They’re great to snack on at my desk – nice and crunchy!

Also included was some Scrummee brand Yorkshire Rhubarb, Lemongrass and Ginger dessert sauce.  I haven’t tried this yet, but it sounds absolutely amazing.  I can’t wait to try it – either in a recipe or on top of some vanilla ice cream.  

Fee also sent a really unique bar of chocolate – Madecasse Pink Pepper and Citrus Chocolate.  The label says it’s 63% cocoa with pink pepper and combava fruit.  I’ve never heard of combava fruit before!  I haven’t tried this yet.  It’s so unique I don’t know what to expect, but I love the fact that she managed to incorporate Pink into it! 

Last but not least, she sent a fancy little packet of Peri-peri chicken spice that I cannot wait to try!  My husband and I both love peri-peri chicken, and I’m saving this for a special meal when we can both sit down together and enjoy it – something we rarely get to do!

A huge thank you again to Fiona for sending me such a great package that was so thoughtfully put together!  

As for myself, my Foodie Penpal was Sarah from the Blog North West Nosh.  Sarah told me that she ate a lot of Eastern foods, and was really into spices like cardamon and cinnamon, as well as rose flavours, and also like snacky stuff too.

Sarah’s package suggestions gave me the perfect opportunity to explore the new Asian market that recently opened up near my office.  It was filled with so many neat products I hadn’t seen before and many that I’d used before, but needed to make a special trip to another store far away to find.


I bought Sarah some Moroccan spiced couscous, rose flavoured Turkish delight, several different types of nougat and 4 different flavours of sesame snaps.  

Waitrose had recently sent me a package filled with a selection of their Jubilee goodies, but I decided to pass some of them along to my Foodie Penpal this month as an extra little bonus because it was so near to the Diamond Jubilee.  I had been sent so much Jubilee product that there was no way I could ever use it all. Hopefully Sarah can have fun with it this weekend.  The Waitrose Jubilee items were: cupcake cases and toppers, 4 different tubes of festive icing and some street party Royal Trivia cards.

If you’re new here and haven’t heard of Foodie Penpals you can check out my first Foodie Penpals post here.


If you’d like to become a Foodie Penpal you can find more information and sign up through the Rock Salt Blog here if you’re in the UK & Europe, or through the Lean Green Bean Blog here is your in the US & Canada.
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Queens Diamond Jubilee Hat Cookies


When I was living in Canada I was always a little envious of our patriotic American neighbours.    To many outsiders their patriotic enthusiasm seemed overly excessive and brash, but as a Canadian kid I looked on in amazement.  They took any opportunity they could get to plaster their flag on anything and everything, and I often wondered why Canadians didn’t do the same. 

The patriotic differences really became apparent when July rolled around.  Canada celebrates their birthday with a national holiday on July 1st, while the US celebrates theirs on July 4th.  The Americans always seemed to have loads of festive activities going on like parades, barbecues, block parties and amazing firework shows, while Canadians seemed relatively unfazed by their national day.  Don’t get me wrong – Canadians definitely do celebrate Canada Day with a few fireworks and the odd picnic, and as Vancouver showed during the Olympics, Canadians are extremely proud of their country, but we don’t always shout about it from the rooftops like our southern neighbours do.  

Some of the patriotic things that always caught my eye were all the fun American themed desserts and products that seemed to pop up during the weeks approaching July 4th.  A large part of it I’m sure, was a result of savvy marketing, but the other part was down to sheer patriotism.  

I remember flipping through magazines (most of the magazines were American) and watching programmes like Live! and Martha Stewart and thinking how pretty the desserts and crafts that they were featuring looked in red, white and blue.  For some reason red and white (Canada’s colours) never seemed as much fun.  

With the upcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (marking the 60 year reign of Queen Elizabeth) in a few weeks, it appears that the whole of the UK has gone jubilee crazy.  And I couldn’t be more excited about it!  It’s such a nice feeling to see Union Jacks everywhere – on grocery packaging, home decor, magazines and loads and loads of CAKES! 

It’s so nice to see the whole country getting excited about their heritage and celebrating it with a little red, white and blue.  And I especially love it because it’s the perfect excuse for me to do some fun and festive baking – just like I always wished I could have done when I was younger!

I’ve come up with a few Jubilee themed desserts – one of them was this Jubilee Dome Cake with red and blue flowers and a golden crown that I posted last week.  


I’ve also made these little Jubilee hat cookies inspired by the Queen herself!  It’s no secret that the Queen is a fan of her hats – they even took bets here in England on what colour hat she would wear to Will and Kate’s wedding last year!  

I got the original idea for these cookies from the fabulous book Cookie Swap, and then borrowed a few tips from Bakerella who also made them a couple years ago for Easter.  

I loved making these cookies – they were so fun and easy to make, and I really think they’re just perfect to help celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  Seriously – how cute would they  look alongside a nice cup of tea, or arranged together on a stand at your local street party.

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Hat Cookies

To make these cookies you’ll need a few things:


Sugar cookie dough – I use Peggy Porcshen’s recipe that can be found in this post here.
A small amount of Royal Icing – Peggy Porcshen’s recipe that can be found in this post here.
Double sided pastry cutters – I used these.  
Mini flower plunger cutters – I used these
White fondant – I used white Renshaw brand
Sugar paste / flower paste – I used Squires Kitchen Sugar Floral Paste
White nonpareils 

Instructions:

1.  Make your sugar cookie dough according to the recipe and instructions here.  Once your dough is chilled, roll it out to the appropriate thickness (about 4 or 5mm).  Using the scalloped edge of the 68mm (2 5/8″) round pastry cutter, cut out as many circles as you think you’d like hats.  These will be the base of your hats.  I think you could make at least 20 hats with the cookie dough recipe – probably more.  Next, use the 38mm (1 1/2″) plain edged round cutter to cut out twice the number of circles as you did with the scalloped cutter.  These will make up the top of your hats, and each hat top requires two smaller circles. Bake according to the instructions in my original recipe post, and then cool.

2.  While your cookies are baking you can start to make the little sugar paste flowers that will decorate the brim of the hats.  Take a small amount of the Sugar Floral Paste and tint it whatever colour you’d like – I used Wilton gel paste colours.  Roll the sugar paste out, and use the flower cutters to cut out various sizes of flowers. It’s easy – honest!  I used some royal icing to attach the white nonpareils to the inside of the flower, but if you don’t have any nonpareils, then a dab of royal icing will do just fine. Set the flowers aside to dry.

3.  Once your cookies are nice and cool you’ll need to start building your hats.  First you’ll need to roll our your fondant, and use the same sized scalloped edge pastry cutter you used for the base of the cookies to cut out the fondant circles that will sit on top.  Use the end of a paintbrush or chopstick to make small indents around the scalloped edge.  Put a little royal icing on the scalloped cookies and then place the matching fondant pieces on top making sure to line up the scalloped edges.

To make the second part of the hat you’ll need to glue two of the smaller circles together by adding a dab or two of royal icing on the top of one of the small circles.  Next, use another dollop of royal icing to fix the bottom of the smaller stacked circle to the scalloped fondant covered cookie base.  Using the small cookie cutter, cut out enough fondant circles to cover the tops of the smaller circle stacks.  


Next you’ll need to cut some fondant strips to wrap around the stack of small cookies – use a small ruler to make sure the fondant strip is the same width as the cookie stacks, and long enough to wrap around them.  Fix the strips around the cookies using royal icing.  Use your fingers to smooth out the fondant strips and blend them into the fondant tops.

Lastly, it’s time to add your sugar paste flowers – simply glue them on in whatever arrangement you like, and there you have it – little Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Hats!


I’m sure it’s pretty safe to say that these hat cookies will likely end up inside your tummy – but I’d really like to know what’s happened to all of the Queen’s own hats?  Seriously – Buckingham Palace must have one gigantic room filled with 60 years worth of the Queen’s hats!


Because my hat cookies have flowers on them, I’m also sending them over to The Tea Time Treats monthly challenge hosted this month by Karen of the blog Lavender and Loveage, and other months by Kate of What Kate Baked.  This month’s theme is floral, so I think they’re a perfect fit!
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Diamond Jubilee Dome Cake


The other day I posted my review of Peggy Porschen’s new Boutique Baking book.  I was so excited when it arrived, I couldn’t put it down.  I flipped through the pages over and over again, examining every recipe trying to decide what to make first.  


The recipe that stood out the most to me was a very simple, yet elegant dome cake that Peggy calls her Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake (pictured below from her book).  This cake isn’t your typical cake – it’s made up of a thin layer of jaconde sponge and then filled with a delicious custard butter cream that’s been studded with raspberries.


I’m not going to lie – this cake is fairly labour intensive.  There’s a lot of steps involved and it’s best to do them over two days, but the step by step pictures are a huge asset and really do help to reassure you that you’re doing things correctly.


Peggy’s version of the Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake (above) is covered in pastel fondant and decorated with pretty sugar paste flowers.  I choose to decorate mine in a royal theme to help celebrate the upcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I used the same sugar paste flowers that I made last year on my Royal Wedding Cupcakes, and I also made some cute little crowns from a mould that I picked up a few months ago at the Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating Exhibition.
  


I’ve decided not to post the recipe for this cake because it’s very long (approx 4 pages in the book) and requires a lot of steps (see the pictures above).  I don’t want that to detour you from making it though.  It’s not hard to make – especially the jaconde sponge (I made a similar one here, and they only take 8 minutes to bake!), it’s just the assembling of the cake that takes the time.  So if you think you’d like to try baking your own dome cake, then please buy Peggy’s Boutique Baking book – you won’t regret it!


To make the crowns you’ll need a mould like this one here from Squires Kitchen that I used.  First I took some Mexican modelling paste and tinted it a light golden colour (I used golden yellow from Wilton).  Next I brushed some gold metallic lustre dust inside my mould which helped to give it the golden colour, but also to prevent the modelling paste from sticking.  


Firmly push the modelling paste into the mould and trim off any excess with a sharp knife,  To remove the crowns simply turn the mould upside down and tap the back of the mould firmly with the handle of a knife to help shake them out.


To give the crowns their nice golden colour I mixed a bit of the gold lustre dust with a tiny bit of vodka to create a shiny gold paint and used a paintbrush to coat the surface of the crowns.  The red and blue gems in the crowns are actually just shimmery sugar sprinkles that were given to me by Waitrose in a goody bag a few months ago.


This cake calls for a dome mould (Peggy uses half of a ball pan) to give the cake it’s perfect shape, but I didn’t have a dome mould, so instead used a bowl.  Although the bowl worked, it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d imagined.  It was a bit deeper and not as perfectly domed as I’d hoped, but I think I could have done a better job of lining my bowl with the jaconde sponge to get a better shape.  I get a bit annoyed when my baking attempts don’t turn out exactly as they do in the pictures!

This cake, like most traditional UK cakes is covered in both a layer of marzipan, followed by a layer of fondant.  I’m not a huge fan of marzipan, and I honestly don’t see much of a point in using both layers of covering (other than the fact that the marzipan layer makes the fondant layer a little easier to smooth out).  I almost did’t bother using the marzipan, but I wanted to make the cake exactly as it’s shown in the book.


I had intended on using the same fondant boarder around the base of my cake that was shown in the book, but the red fondant (Renshaw brand) I’d bought a month earlier had dried into a rock hard block before I even got a chance to get it out of the package!  Instead, I kept things simple and just used some red and blue ribbon.


Overall, I was quite pleased with my dome cake – even if it didn’t turn out perfect.  Although I’ve done a few, I’m still fairly new to covering cakes in fondant, and really just enjoy tinkering around in my spare time making flowers and sugar paste decorations.  I’ve always wanted to improve my cake decorating skills, and I’m very pleased to announce I will get that opportunity this week!  


You see, last summer after I made my Peggy Porschen Baby Shower Cookies I was absolutely thrilled to receive an invite from the Peggy Porschen Academy inviting me to attend one of Peggy’s cake decorating courses!!!  The only thing was, they had invited me to a course that was taking place 3 weeks after I was due to give birth to baby Jayden.  I knew there was no way I could attend a cake decorating course and leave my 3 week old at home. Luckily, Peggy’s team was very understanding and told me to contact them when I was ready to take one of her courses.


A few months ago I got back in touch with Peggy’s team and we decided on my course.  I’m so excited to tell you all that this Tuesday I will be spending the day with Peggy learning how to make this absolutely stunning Black and White Anemone Cake!!


I’m sooo looking forward to learning how to make this stunning cake and picking up tips from the master herself.  I can’t wait to share my cake with you all when I’m done, so keep watching, and I’ll post it soon!

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Peggy Porschen Boutique Baking Review


Last night I had the pleasure of attending the launch party for Peggy Porschen’s new book titled Boutique Baking.  It’s no secret that I’m a huge Peggy Porschen fan.  I’ve made several  recipes from her books including these baby shower cookies last year.  



Boutique Baking is slightly different from Peggy’s previous books which focus more on decorating projects using several key recipes.  Instead, Boutique Baking is filled with recipes – each with their own decorating ideas and techniques that Peggy clearly guides you through with written instructions and visual steps.  

Boutique Baking is made up of 7 chapters:  Sweet Treats, Beautiful Biscuits, Cupcake Heaven, Luscious Layer Cakes, Classic Cakes & Bakes, Delicious Drinks, and The Icing on The Cake. 

Notable recipes include:

Springerle Cookies – I’ve always wanted to make these, but have never found an authentic wooden mould. 

Chocolate Heaven Cupcakes – I’ve made these and they’re delicious, so keep an eye out for the recipe.  I’ll be posting it soon!

Summer Berry Cake – this has a beautiful pattern on top that’s created by a simple dusting of cocoa powder over a patterned stencil

Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake – An absolutely stunning dome cake accented with delicate sugar paste flowers.  I also made this, and will be posting it shortly!

Minteani – A light and refreshing iced mint tea and vodka cocktail


Out of all of Peggy’s books (she has 5), Boutique Baking is my favourite.  The recipes are all mouth watering and accompanied by stunning photos, not only of the finished product but also of the steps needed to get you there.  Boutique Baking has something for everyone.  Novice bakers and decorators need not shy away, as there’s recipe and decorating idea to suit every skill level.


With thanks to Quadrille Publishing for my review copy of Peggy’s book.

Boutique Baking is available on Amazon UK here and Amazon US here  


** Now here’s some exciting news for you – if you live in London and you’re a fan of Peggy Porschen you’ll be pleased to know that she’ll be signing copies of her new Boutique Baking Book in her parlour this Saturday May 26th between 3pm – 5pm.  Directions to Peggy’s pink parlour and additional information can be found here.


And finally, I’ve also got some VERY EXCITING Peggy Porschen news to share with you later in the week, so keep an eye on my blog, facebook and twitter to find out what it is!!! Until then I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of Peggy’s book party.




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