Search Results for: Peggy Porschen

Peggy Porschen Cakes in Bloom Review

Peggy Porschen Cakes in Bloom

It’s no big secret that I’m a huge fan of Peggy Porschen.  She makes the most amazingly beautiful cakes with the most amazingly beautiful sugar flowers.

I used to spend ages carefully studying the gorgeous floral tiered wedding cakes that filled the large windows of her pastel pink parlour in Belgravia. Just take a peak at the stunning cakes displayed in her parlour windows, and you’ll know exactly what I mean. They’re breathtaking.

“If only I could make those one day” I thought.

So imagine my surprise when I received an email from the Peggy Porschen Academy inviting me attend an Anemone flower and cake decorating course!  Seriously! I could hardly contain myself.

Peggy Porschen Anemone Cake

My anemone cake that I made with Peggy during her course.

 

Over the course of the day Peggy taught our class everything we needed to know in order to make a picture perfect cake fit for a wedding or anniversary. I left the course with a gorgeous cake complete with three beautiful sugarpaste anemone flowers. I’ll tell you all about the course in another post, but for now lets focus on sugarpaste flowers.

I was so pleased with the way my anemone flowers turned out after Peggy’s course that I couldn’t’ wait to learn how to make other types of flowers.  I was thrilled to find out that Peggy Porschen was releasing a new book filled entirely with sugarpaste flowers, and instructions on how to make them!

Cakes in Bloom, Exquisite Sugarcraft Flowers for All Occasions was released last year (just about the same that time I put my blog on hiatus, hence the late review).  It’s a stunning book packed full of beautiful realistic looking sugar flowers, and detailed instructions on exactly how to make them. This is definitely Peggy’s most advanced and specialised book that she’s released. In addition to step by step instructions and photos showing you exactly how to make the flowers, there’s also several cake recipes as well. But the main focus of Cakes in Bloom is the sugar flowers.

Peggy Porschen Flowers

There’s a huge variety of flowers to learn in this book.  From tiny stephanotis blossoms, to large English roses and exotic orchids.  You’ll make the folks at Kew Gardens jealous by the time you finish making them all!

I love that this book has flowers and techniques suitable for all levels, and that you don’t have to be a professional cake decorator to make them. If you’re just starting to learn how to make sugar flowers, you can easily start off by making hand formed rose buds which are perfect for cupcakes and don’t require any specialty equipment like cutters and wire.

Cakes in Bloom, Exquisite Sugarcraft Flowers for All Occasions

Peggy Porschen Mini Rose Cakes

A selection of the flowers that Peggy has included in the book are:

Peonies
Roses
Anemones
Pansies
Sweetpeas
Orchids
Hydrangeas

Peggy Porschen David Austin Rose

To give you a better idea of what’s exactly in Peggy’s new book, and the level of detail included in it I’ve done a little video review to show you. I filmed this review over a year ago, and at the time Cakes in Bloom hadn’t come out yet, so just ignore that part.

Watch my Cakes in Bloom, Exquisite Sugarcraft Flowers for All Occasions below:

Cakes in Bloom, Exquisite Sugarcraft Flowers for All Occasions is available to purchase from Amazon UK here, and Amazon US here.

If you sugar flowers aren’t really your thing, Peggy is releasing her newest book Love Layer Cakes next Month, and it’s sure to be filled with even more delicious recipes.

Thanks to Quadrille Publishing for sending me a review copy of Cakes in Bloom.

Peggy Porschen Roses

Peggy Porschen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes



First things first.  It’s national cupcake week.  So obviously you know what that means. Cupcakes. Cupcakes, and more cupcakes.  They’ve been everywhere this week.  On Twitter, on TV, and online – even more than they already were before.  

So as we near the end of cupcake week I figured it was only right that I provide you all with some cupcakes for your viewing (and baking!) pleasure.

But I do have a confession to make. I actually made these cupcakes for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I just never managed to post them until now. 

Both the recipe and the decorating idea for these chocolate cupcakes comes from Peggy Porschen’s latest book Boutique Baking.  I’m a huge fan of this book – it’s got a load of great recipes and decorating ideas, and it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve come across lately.  If you’re interested, you can read my review of Boutique Baking here.  


As is the case with every recipe of Peggy’s that I’ve tried, these cupcakes were delicious.  The chocolate cake was so soft and fluffy, and the chocolate cream cheese icing was as well. 

I’ve found that all of the icings on the cupcakes I’ve purchased from Peggy’s parlour are so soft and fluffy that they don’t fair that well in the heat or while being transported home on the train.  While the icing is absolutely delicious, it is very soft and tends to slide off the cupcakes while I carry them around London in their box.

The icing on these cupcakes was so yummy, but it was very soft.  You can see it in my pictures here – the icing started out stiffer, but softened up and started “drooping” a bit while I was taking the pictures because it was so hot in our living room.  But don’t let that detour you from making these – they’re really delicious, so just make sure you keep them in a cool place and don’t bounce them around if you need to transport them anywhere.  Besides, you’ll probably want to keep them all to yourself anyway!

The other thing I loved about these cupcakes was their little decorations.  Aren’t they cute!  And guess what – I made them!  Well, kind of.  They’re made out of sheets of candy paper (rice paper) which is widely available here in the UK.  I picked up a big package of multi coloured sheets in Top Shop of all places.  


I sprayed the candy sheets with a coating of silver lustre spray, and then used a craft punch to punch out the little crowns (in honour of the Diamond Jubilee – although I’ve always been a big fan of crowns in general which is why I had the punch).

I do have a few words of caution before you make these cupcakes – see my notes at the bottom of the recipe.


Peggy Porschen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the Frosting:

140ml whipping cream 
160g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa) 
1 tbsp glucose 
200g full-fat cream cheese (I used the new Cadbury Chocolate Cream Cheese instead)
200g salted butter, softened 
450g icing sugar, sifted 

For the Cake:

125g plain chocolate, chopped (min. 53% cocoa) 
165ml milk 
285g light brown sugar 
105g unsalted butter, softened 
2 large eggs 
180g plain flour 
pinch of salt 
½ tsp baking powder 
½ tsp baking of soda 
8g cocoa powder

For the Decorations:

2-3 Sheets of rice paper
Edible Pearlised Lustre Spray
Craft Punch

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven 320ºF (160ºC) and prepare your cupcake pans. Set aside and make the icing.

To Make the Icing:

1.  Heat the cream in a small sauce pan until barely simmering. Place the chocolate and glucose into a bowl and pour the hot cream over the top. Whisk carefully until smooth, shiny, and all the chocolate is melted. Leave to set at room temp. The ganache should have the consistency of soft chocolate butter.

2.  Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy, set aside. 

3.  Cream the butter and icing sugar together until very pale and fluffy. Add the ganache, a little at a time, to the buttercream mixture, and mix on medium-high speed until combined. Gently stir 1/3 of the chocolate buttercream into the cream cheese. Slowly whisk the remainder of the buttercream, and add the chocolate cream cheese in two batches.  Make sure not to overwork the frosting, or it will split. Chill until set!

To Make the Cake:

1.  Place the chocolate, milk, and half the sugar in a saucepan and gently bring to a boil while stirring. 

2.  Cream the butter and the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes).  Lightly beat the eggs together then slowly mix into the butter mixture, making sure they don’t curdle.

3.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa together, and then add them to the butter mixture in two batches. Mix slowly until just combined. 

4.  Slowly add the hot chocolate mixture into the batter and mix. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula to make sure it’s well combined. The batter should be liquidy.  

Pour into the cases so they’re 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cupcakes fully cool before icing and decorating.

To Decorate: 

1.  Spay the smooth side of your rice paper sheets with a  thin, but even coating of lustre spray.  It might help to weigh the ends of your paper sheets down with butter knives so they don’t curl up because of the moisture.

2.  Let the rice paper sheets dry, and then use your craft punch (mine was from Martha Stewart) to punch out shapes from the edible paper like you would a normal piece of paper.  Set your punched decorations aside.

3.  Pipe the chilled frosting onto your cupcakes using a piping bag and a large star tip, or simply spread it on top with a knife or off set spatula.  Place your edible paper decorations on top.

These decorations are the funnest, and easiest things to make.  What a clever idea – I love that you can make so many different designs!


**  A few notes:  The book says this recipe will make approximately 24 cupcakes, but I only got 16, and I made them the exact same size I make all of my cupcakes.  I can also confirm they were almost identical in size to the ones sold in Peggy’s Parlour, so I’m not sure why the recipe estimated they make 24.

Also, I’m pretty sure I had to bake my cupcakes for closer to 20 minutes before they were fully cooked.

Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing.  They’re delicious, and I highly recommend making them.

If you do make Peggy’s Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes and decorate them with a rice paper punch out, I’d love to see a picture of them.  Feel free to leave a comment below with the link, or you can also post them onto my Facebook page here so I can see them!

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.




Peggy’s Favourite Cakes and Cookies Review…. And Some News!

If you’re a fan of cake and cookie decorating, then you’ll no doubt have heard of Peggy Porshen before now.  Peggy is an absoloute master at cake and cookie decorating.  Her designs are simple, yet elegant, which makes them the perfect learning tools for people wanting to learn about cake and cookie decorating.  

Photo courtesy of Peggy Porschen


Peggy has released numerous cake and cookie decorating books, and her latest book titled Peggy’s Favourite Cakes and Cookies is essentially that – a compilation of her favourite cakes and cookies from her previous books.  This means that there really isn’t any new material in this book, which is perfect if you don’t own any of Peggy’s other books, or have been trying to decide on which one of them to get.  

Peggy’s Favourite Cakes and Cookies is broken down into four main chapters – Cookies, Cup Cakes, Miniature Cakes and Large Cakes.  There is also a chapter at the back called Basics where you will find all of the recipes and key decorating techniques.

Photo courtesy of Peggy Porschen


A few of the projects featured in the book are the: Rosebud Sugar Cookies and Wedding Cake Cookies, Ruffle Rose Cupcakes and Butterfly Fancies, Pansy Pots and Mini Tea Rose Wedding Cakes and the larger Romantic Rose Tower and Peggy’s signature Neapolitan Monogrammed Cake.

Photo courtesy of Peggy Porschen


There are so many gorgeous cookies and cakes in this book it was hard to choose what to make.  For my first project, I could’t decide between one of Peggy’s mini cake designs (my favourite chapter in the book) or her gorgeous decorated sugar cookies.  In the end I choose to make the sugar cookies.  

Photo courtesy of Peggy Porschen


I’ve made decorated sugar cookies a few times before, but never using Peggy’s recipe and never putting as much effort into them as I did with these.  I can definitely say that her sugar cookie recipe is the best I’ve ever used.  They kept their shape perfectly and tasted great as well.  I had also planned on making Peggy’s Royal Icing, but in the end laziness got the best of me and I opted to use the Tate & Lyle Royal Icing mix that only required me to add a bit of water before mixing it up.

So what sugar cookie design did I end up baking?

Well, it’s about time I let you all in on a little secret I’ve been keeping.  Despite all the gorgeous sugar cookie design’s in Peggy’s book, I choose a very special design – the “Baby Shower” cookies.  Why?  Because I’m pregnant! 


Despite a few complications during the first few months (hence the lack of posts & tweets earlier in the year) I’m pleased to announce that my husband and I are expecting our first baby  at the end of August, so I made these cookies to celebrate! 


These cookies were really fun to make – although they did take a lot of time as Royal Icing can be a little finicky to work with and they needed to be iced in layers, so I actually made them over a period of 2 or 3 days.



Peggy’s Sugar Cookies
Makes about 25 medium cookies   

Ingredients:

200g Unsalted Soft Butter  
200g caster sugar
1 egg lightly beaten  
400g plain flour, plus more for dusting   

Optional flavours:  For vanilla cookies, add seeds from 1 vanilla pod.  For lemon cookie, add finely grated zest of lemon.  For orange cookie, add finely grated zest of orange.  For chocolate cookie, replace 50g of the plain flour with 50g of cocoa powder   

Instructions:

1. With paddle attachment of electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar and choosen flavouring until well mixed and just creamy in the texture.  *Do not overwork, or the cookies will spread during baking.   

2. Beat in the egg until well combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed until a dough forms. Gather into ball, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.   

3. Place the dough on floured surface and knead briefly. Using marzipan spacers, roll out to an even thickness.   

4. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes and using a palette knife, lay on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Chill again for about 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 375ºF (180ºC).   

5. Bake for 6 – 10 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown at the edges. Let cool on wire rack before decorating.


Peggy’s Royal Icing 
(note: I have not tried this recipe)

Ingredients:

25g Merriwhite (dried egg white powder)
150ml Water
1kg Icing Sugar, sifted 
1 tbsp Lemon juice

Instructions:

1.  Mix the merriwhite with 150ml water and pass through a sieve to get rid of any lumps. 

2. Place the icing sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer, add about three-quarters of the merriwhite mixture and the lemon juice, and start mixing on low speed. 

3. Once the sugar and the merriwhite are well combined, check the consistency. If the sides of the bowl still look dry and crumbly, add some more merriwhite until the icing looks almost smooth but not wet. 

4. Keep mixing for about 4-5 minutes, until it has reached stiff-peak consistency. 

5. Spoon into a plastic container, cover with a clean damp j-cloth and the lid. Store at room temperature.

Royal Icing Consistencies: Simply thin down your basic royal icing with water, a little bit at a time, mixing with a palette knife, until you have the right consistency. Keep your icing covered with cling film or a damp cloth when not using it, to stop it from drying out. Stiff-peak consistency: for piping sugar flowers and leaves Soft-peak consistency: for piping lines, dots and borders Runny consistency: for filling in the centres of spaces.

*** While making these cookies I discovered the following things to be very helpful ***

Made With Pink’s Top 5 tips for baking and decorating sugar cookies:

1. Use disposable chopsticks on either side of the dough to help ensure an even consistency when rolling out your dough.

2.  Instead of using flour to prevent sticking when rolling out your dough, use icing sugar.  This will prevent your cookies from absorbing too much flour and becoming tough, and will also sweeten up your cookies a tad more.

3. To save time, instead of refrigerating the cookie dough cut-outs for 30 mins in the fridge, pop the whole cookie tray in the freezer for 10 minutes to prevent them from spreading while baking.

4.  After you’ve made your Royal Icing, take the bowl and give it a few really hard taps/bangs on the counter top to bring any air bubbles to the surface.  This will prevent any tiny air bubbles appearing just after you’ve pipped your cookies. 

5.  When filling your cookie with a base colour, work quickly.  First pipe the outline, and then fill the inside of the cookie.  Give the cookie a few good shakes side to side in order to help spread the icing evenly and fill in any little gaps.  

Good Luck!!!


These cookies were absolutely delicious, but unfortunately they gave me horrible heart burn.  Other pregnant ladies, you know what I’m talking about!!!

If you’re pregnant you may need to serve these with a side of Gaviscon or Tums!


Overall I’ve been very impressed with Peggy’s book.  Despite there not being any new content in the book, the designs are beautiful and the directions and recipes are easy to follow.  When I wrote a previous review for Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns I mentioned that I had assumed there would be more decorating techniques given the title of the book.  I do admit that although the recipes in Bake and Decorate were delicious, I was a bit disappointed that there were so few advanced decorating techniques in the book, so I felt it was much better suited to a beginner or someone just looking for nice recipes.  Peggy’s Favourite Cookies and Cakes was much more suited to me – I enjoy trying new decorating techniques, and there are countless designs and ideas in this book.  It also makes a beautiful coffee table book.

Oh, and one other piece of news……


Peggy’s Favourite Cookies and Cakes is published by Quadrille Publishing, and is available now.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Foodies

I’ve always been a sucker for holidays of any kind. The shops are filled with cute limited edition holiday themed sweets and gift ideas. No sooner are we over one holiday before another limited edition themed product range hits the store shelves.

Some people may find this overkill, and at times I do too (ie: seeing the Easter candy being put out on display on Christmas Eve!), but it gives me something to look forward to.

I’ve noticed that the Valentine’s Day range of products has been slow to hit store shelves this year. They’ve been trumped by the Easter range which is still 3 months away. And perhaps it’s because other holidays have a wider appeal, but the selection of Valentine’s products never equals that of the other holidays (aside from St. Patricks Day – except maybe in the States where it’s hugely popular). Over the past week or so I’ve really started to see some neat Valentine’s Day products emerge, especially in the food / baking department.

I’ve found a few new products that I really love, as well as a few favourites that have been seasonally rebranded. So without further adew, I give you my top 10 Valentine’s Day gifts for foodies. Feel free to share these with your significant other, you know – just in case they need a little help.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Foodies

1.  Limited Edition Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole Dish – What more can I say?  I seriously LOVE this dish!   Available exclusively online at Le Creuset  UK, this “chiffon pink” casserole dish is limited to only 100 pieces, and retails for £145.

2.  Peggy Porschen Valentine’s Day Cupcake Gift Box – An assortment of my two favourite cupcakes, the Strawberry & Champagne, and Chocolate Heaven cupcakes are decorated with hand made sugar roses and mini heart biscuits.  £30 for six cupcakes.  You can also add on a bottle of Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Champagne if you wish. Available for pick up and delivery from Peggy Porschen.

3.  Charbonnel et Walker Truffle Kisses – How cute are these!  Perfect little pink lips flavoured with Marc De Champagne and Raspberry.  So much better than a Hershey’s Kiss!  Available from John Lewis for £15.

4.  Pink Tuscan Cake Stand – An absolutely gorgeous pale milky pink 9 inch cake stand.   Other colours and sizes available. £65 from Liberty.

5.  Heart Ravioli Pasta Cutter – Instead of going out, cook your other half a romantic dinner to remember with this ultra cute ravioli cutter.  I first spotted this in Carluccio’s a year or so ago, and I’m glad to see they still have it.  £4.95

6.  Mason Cash Hearts Mixing Bowl – You can never have enough mixing bowls.  Seriously.  This would also make a great popcorn bowl if you feel like watching a movie after dinner. It’s the perfect size for sharing.  £13.99 from Dunelm.

7.  Laduree Macarons – Laduree has the best macarons, as well as the most stunning gift boxes.  They’ve always got seasonal flavours – this month it’s a limited edition Nina Ricci Macaron covered in gold leaf that’s filled with a raspberry jam, and a hint of lemon juice and rose essence.  Ah-maze-ing!  Assorted flavours, boxes and sizes available from the four London Laduree locations.

8.  Light My Fire Matchstick Biscuits – These are just so cute and unique.  Perfect if you’re not into heats and pink!  Available from Not On The High Street for £10, although I’m pretty sure you could make your own with minimal effort.

9.  Emma Bridgewater Heart Mug – I’m not a massive fan of Emma Bridgewater, but I do love her heart pattern collection.  These mugs are so classic, and beautifully British.  You can also order a personalised version for £18 from the Emma Bridgewater website.  I have one, and it’s great. No one can steal your mug at the office!

10.  “I Love You A Latte” Coffee Stencil – These are actually personalised coffee stencils that you can customise to say whatever you want, but there’s a great selection of pre-made ones suitable for Valentine’s day. Really great fun for a Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed. £12.50 from Not On The High Street.

* My Top 10 Picks were independently chosen by me without any compensation or influence from the manufacturers.