Cake Craft Made Easy by Fiona Pearce [list of books]


  • Full Title : Cake Craft Made Easy: Step-by-Step Sugarcraft Techniques for 16 Vintage-Inspired Cakes
  • Autor: Fiona Pearce
  • Print Length: 128 pages
  • Publisher: David & Charles
  • Publication Date: June 5, 2013
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1446302911
  • ISBN-13: 978-1446302910
  • Download File Format: azw3

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Cake Craft Made Easy: Do you dream of being able to make beautiful decorated cakes for any occasion? Cake Craft Made Easy will teach you all of the essential cake decorating techniques you need to know to create your own amazing designs, from simple buttercream piping through to brush embroidery with royal icing, making sugar flowers, and decorating novelty cakes. Includes 12 gorgeous cake decorating projects to make 16 cakes that are impressive and stylish, but use small cakes in various sizes to keep the baking elements simple and to allow you to really focus in on learning how to decorate a cake. Bridges the gap between decorating cupcakes and cookies and decorating larger tiered cakes for beginner to intermediate cake decorators. Plus 12 free video demonstrations, available online, to teach the best way of completing each cake decorating technique. Inside Cake Craft Made Easy: Easy to follow cake decorating techniques explained in detail with full-colour step-by-step photography, covering the following subjects: Buttercream Piping, Cupcake Towers, Pattern Embossing, Sugar Pinwheels, Stenciling, Royal Icing, Piping, Sugar Models & Flowers, Sugar Doilies Frills & Ruffles, Brush Embroidery, Rice Paper Work, and more.

 

About the Author

Fiona Pearce studied cake decorating at Brooklands College and now runs her own cake decorating and sugarcraft business, Icing Bliss, which specialises in vintage-inspired bespoke cupcakes, cookies and small celebration cakes for special occasions. Fiona also teaches cake decorating courses at Cakeology (www.cakeology.net). Fiona is based in South West London.

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e a tantalizing selection (see Appetizer party menu).

CHÈVRE TOASTS WITH ASSORTED TOPPINGS

These are richly flavored and irresistible with wine. A great appetizer for a special or simple meal.

12 thin slices narrow-loaf French bread

Olive oil

¼ pound chèvre (goat cheese)

ASSORTED TOPPINGS

Marinated roasted red peppers (or use store-bought)

Capers

Black olives (preferably small, oil-cured)

Chopped fresh herbs

Cherry tomato slices

Makes 1 dozen toasts

Place the bread on a baking sheet and broil on both sides until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven. Using a pastry brush, coat 1 side of each slice with some olive oil. Spread some chèvre on top of each slice, then garnish with your choice of toppings. Here are some suggestions: marinated roasted red peppers cut into strips, rolled, and placed in the center; 3 capers placed in the center; a whole black olive with a sprig of a fresh herb such as dill or parsley; overlapping cherry tomato slices; chopped fresh herbs such as chives, thyme, parsley, dill, or chervil.

CRISPY GARLIC TOASTS(CROSTINI)

Here is one case in which garlic powder works better than fresh garlic. These toasts are light and buttery, with an assertive garlic flavor. Serve them with soup or relish them as an appetizer.

1 narrow loaf French bread (about ½ pound)

½ cup olive oil

Garlic powder

Salt

Makes about 40 toasts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the French bread into ¼- to ½-inch-thick slices. With a pastry brush, lightly coat each slice on both sides with olive oil and lay it on a baking sheet.

Generously sprinkle garlic powder on top of each slice, then lightly season with some salt.

Bake 5 to 7 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly golden. Turn the slices over and sprinkle again with garlic powder and salt. Bake 5 minutes more, or until golden all over.

Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the toasts cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store in a covered tin or plastic bag at room temperature for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

HERB CHEESE TOASTS (CROSTINI)

It’s best to let these toasts sit for twenty-four hours before serving, to let the wonderful mingling of flavors develop fully. Also, dried herbs work better than fresh in this recipe.

1 Narrow loaf French bread (about ½ pound), or grinder rolls

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried dill

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

Makes about 40 toasts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the French bread into ¼-inch-thick slices. With a pastry brush, lightly and evenly coat both sides of each slice with olive oil, then lay the slices on a baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes, then remove from the oven. Turn each slice over.

In a small bowl combine the cheese with the herbs. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on top of each toast, then press down lightly with your fingertips to help stick it to the bread. Return to the oven and bake 7 to 10 minutes more, or until the cheese is golden brown and the toasts appear crisp (they will harden more upon cooling). Be careful not to burn the toasts. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in a covered tin or plastic bag at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerate up to 1 week, or freeze up to 2 weeks.

STUFFED CHERRY TOMATOES

These little tomato cups stuffed with a ricotta cheese-scallion mixture are pretty enough for an elegant party, yet simple enough for an informal occasion.

½ cup ricotta cheese (preferably part skim)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1½ tablespoons very thinly sliced scallion

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

20 to 25 cherry tomatoes, stems removed

2 teaspoons minced scallion (green parts only)

Fresh parsley sprigs

Makes 20 to 25

In a small bowl, beat together the ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, sliced scallion, and pepper. Cover and chill while preparing the tomato cups.

Slice off ¼ of the bottom of a tomato (it will sit more securely on its stem end). With the tip of a knife, scoop out the pulp and gently squeeze out the seeds and juice. Discard the sliced-off cap, juice, and seeds. Repeat with the remaining tomatoes.

Using the handle of a teaspoon, stuff each tomato with some of the ricotta mixture. To garnish, sprinkle a few minced scallion pieces on top of each tomato. Chill the tomatoes at least 30 minutes so the flavors can blend, then let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so before serving (cold tomatoes lose their flavor). For a striking presentation, serve on an attractive platter and garnish with bunches of parsley sprigs.

CHEESE CRACKERS

The flavor of your cheese will determine the quality of these mouth-watering crackers. Choose the best cheddar you can get, and you’ll be well rewarded. Serve the crackers as an appetizer or alongside a steaming bowl of soup.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups (½ pound) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1¼ cups unbleached flour

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons water

Makes 4 dozen crackers

In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until soft and smooth. Beat in the cheese until blended.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and cayenne. Sprinkle into the butter mixture and beat just until combined. Pour in 1 to 2 tablespoons water, or just enough to help the dough cohere (it will be crumbly). Do not overheat.

Gather the dough into 2 balls, knead 2 or 3 times, then roll each ball into a cylinder 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill the logs at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. Or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, thaw the logs for 1 hour before using.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the logs into rounds a little less than ¼ inch thick. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Cool thoroughly on a wire rack. To store, place in a tin and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. Or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month.

TAMARI ALMONDS

Salty but not too salty, and with an alluring overtone of spiciness. Great for nibbling.

3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

1½ tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¾ teaspoon salt

4 cups (about 1¼ pounds) whole, unblanched almonds

Makes 4 cups

Combine the tamari, oil, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the almonds and coat well. Let sit 1 hour, stirring often.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. With a slotted spoon, remove the almonds from the bowl and spread in a baking sheet in a single layer. Discard any remaining marinade. Bake 20 minutes, removing the baking sheet from the oven every 5 minutes or so and tossing the almonds with a spatula. (When done, the almonds will be somewhat dry and crusty looking and have a dark coating, but they should not be burnt.)

Spoon the almonds into another baking sheet or onto a few plates, and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks, or wrap well and freeze up to 1 month.

SPICY MIXED NUTS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup almonds

1 cup walnuts

1 cup raw or dry-roasted cashews (see Note)

1 cup pecans

Makes 4 cups

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spices and cook 30 seconds. Stir in the nuts and toss to coat well. Cook 2 minutes.

Spread the nuts in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Store in a tin or jar for up to 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Note: Raw cashews can be purchased in natural foods stores.

RUSSIAN-STYLE MARINATED MUSHROOMS

My friend Sally Patterson, a Russian translator, introduced me to some memorable Russian dishes that she discovered while living in the Soviet Union. Here’s one of my favorites: a tantalizing way of preparing mushrooms that doesn’t involve any cooking. The mushrooms soak up the garlicky marinade and turn a rich, brown color. These make a popular hors d’oeuvre, served with toothpicks for nibbling, or a tasty first course, served on lettuce leaves.

½ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 garlic cloves, minced

⅓ cup minced fresh parsley

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 pound very fresh mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry

Serves 4

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley, salt, and a liberal amount of pepper until blended.

Cut any large mushrooms in half, and leave the others whole. Stir the mushrooms into the marinade and coat well. Cover and let sit at least 8 hours, but preferably for 24 hours. Stir periodically to coat with the marinade. (If marinating for a lengthy period, refrigerate after the first 8 hours.) Serve at room temperature.

EGGPLANT CAVIAR

Here’s another recipe Sally Patterson brought back from the Soviet Union. It’s so delicious that my husband and I inevitably eat the entire bowlful in one sitting. Serve it Russian style with party-size pumpernickel bread or toasts.

¼ cup olive oil

1 medium onion, finely diced

116-ounce can tomatoes, finely chopped and well drained

1 medium eggplant (about 1 pound), peeled and finely diced

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves 6 to 8

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add the drained tomatoes and sauté 5 minutes more, stirring often.

Lower the heat to medium, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover the pan and cook about 20 minutes, or until the eggplant is very tender. Stir periodically. Remove the cover of the pan and cook until all the juices have evaporated, another 5 minutes or so.

Puree half the eggplant mixture in a blender or food processor and return to the pan. Stir very well to mix, then scrape into a serving bowl. Serve at room temperature.

MARINATED ROASTED PEPPERS

Spoon these garlic-soaked peppers on slices of French bread for a divine appetizer—and be sure to fill the wine glasses. If red bell peppers are not available or are too expensive you can substitute additional green peppers, although the mixture is more striking if both colors are used.

1 pound (about 2 extra-large) red bell peppers

1 pound (about 2 extra-large) green bell peppers

⅓ cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Makes 2 cups

Place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil 1 to 3 inches from the flame or heating element until the peppers are blackened all over (this could take up to 20 minutes). You will have to turn the peppers every so often to char them evenly.

When done, place the peppers in a paper or plastic bag and close it tight. Let the peppers sit 10 minutes; the steam they release will loosen the skins. Remove the peppers from the bag, then slip off the skins under cold running water. Pat the peppers very dry with paper towels.

Core each pepper, then scrape out and discard the seeds. Cut the peppers into 1-inch squares and place in a bowl or jar.

Add the remaining ingredients and toss to coat well. Marinate at least 2 hours before serving. These peppers can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, but be sure to bring them to room temperature before serving.

BLUE CHEESE LOG

8 ounces Neufchâtel or cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Serves 6 to 8

Mash the cream cheese and blue cheese together with a fork until blended. Scrape the mixture onto a piece of wax paper and shape into a log 1 ½ inches in diameter. (The wax paper will help you roll the cheese into a cylinder. If the cheese mixture is too soft to handle, chill 20 minutes or so and shape again.)

Combine the walnuts and the parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top and sides of the log. Slip the log onto a serving plate and serve at room temperature surrounded by crackers.

JALAPENO CHEESE NACHOS

These delicate crisps are made with flour tortillas instead of the corn variety, and this accounts for their unusual lightness. You can cook the tortillas up to three days in advance, but don’t broil them with the cheese until you are ready to serve.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 8-inch flour tortillas, cut into six wedges

1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers

Serves 4

With a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of each tortilla wedge with oil. Place on cookie sheets and broil on both sides until lightly golden. (Do not let the tortillas get too brown.)

When ready to serve the nachos, neatly sprinkle some of the grated cheese on each wedge. Broil just until melted. Serve immediately.

NACHOS WITH SOUR CREAM

Place this dish of nachos in the center of the table and let everyone dip in. So simple, yet downright addictive.

6 cups (about 4 ounces) corn chips

1½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro (optional)

1 cup salsa

cup sour cream

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the corn chips in one layer in a large shallow baking dish. Sprinkle on the cheese and cilantro. Bake 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven, then drizzle the salsa all over the corn chips. Place little spoonfuls of sour cream all over the tops of the nachos, and serve immediately.

POTATO SKINS WITH HORSERADISH DIP

Children love these “fried potatoes, ” and they are much more nutritious than French fries or potato chips.

4 large baking potatoes, scrubbed

1 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

Dash salt

Chili powder

2½ tablespoons tamari soy sauce

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Serves 4

Prick each potato in a few spots with a fork or knife and place in the oven. Set the oven at 400°F. (you don’t have to preheat), and cook about 1 hour, or until tender.

Meanwhile make the dip. Combine the sour cream, horseradish, and salt in a small bowl and mix to blend. Sprinkle on some chili powder, then chill the dip until ready to serve.

When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven, then raise the temperature to 500°F. Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them. Cut each in half crosswise, then cut each half lengthwise into 4 pieces (each potato will yield 8 wedges). Slice some potato from each wedge, leaving about ¼ inch of potato on the skins. (Save the leftover potato flesh for potato pancakes. See Note.)

Combine the tamari and oil in a small dish and, with a pastry brush, brush some of the mixture all over each potato wedge. Lay the wedges skin side down on a cookie sheet as you complete them. Liberally sprinkle chili powder on top of each wedge.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Serve on a platter surrounding the horseradish dip.

Note: To make potato pancakes, mix some melted butter, salt, and pepper into the potatoes and beat well with a fork. Form into patties and coat on both sides with flour. Fry over medium heat in a hot skillet that has been coated with some oil.

CHEESY POTATO SKINS WITH SALSA DIP

Here is another enticing version of potato skins. These are extra crisp and match well with a spicy salsa.

4 baking potatoes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Salsa

Serves 4

Prick the potatoes, then bake them in a 400°F. oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes until easier to handle.

Raise the oven temperature to 500°F. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, then in half again crosswise. Scoop out the potato flesh, leaving about ¼ inch on the skins. (Save the flesh for another use, such as potato pancakes. See Note, .)

Brush each potato shell—inside and out—with the melted butter, then place skin side down on a baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes, or until the wedges begin to brown.

Remove the wedges from the oven, then place some grated cheese on each. Return to the oven and cook 5 minutes more, or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve warm with a bowl of salsa.

STUFFED MUSHROOMS

Sherry and thyme accent these juicy mushrooms. Be certain to cook them so that they are tender throughout and have rendered their juices.

12 large fresh mushrooms

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, minced

4 slices good-quality white bread

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

3 tablespoons dry sherry

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Serves 3 to 4

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wipe the mushrooms clean with damp paper towels. Snap off the stems and mince them. Generously butter a pie plate or other shallow baking pan.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the minced mushroom stems and sauté 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat.

Toast the bread until golden. Let cool a few minutes, then tear it into tiny pieces and stir it into the onion mixture, pressing it to help it absorb the juices. Stir in the parsley, sherry, thyme, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Place the mushroom caps in the prepared pie plate. Place a bit of the remaining tablespoon of butter inside each mushroom cap. Mound some stuffing in the caps, pressing it in firmly with your fingers.

Bake 45 minutes, or until the mushrooms are brown, tender, and juicy.

STUFFED MUSHROOMS WITH SPINACH, FETA CHEESE, AND PINE NUTS

I like to make these aromatic mushrooms bite size so they can be eaten easily with the fingers.

24 medium fresh mushrooms

110-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons pine nuts

1½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits

Serves 4 to 6

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the mushrooms.

Wipe the mushrooms clean with damp paper towels. Remove the stems and discard, or save for another use.

With your hands, squeeze the spinach to remove all the moisture. When dry, place in a bowl, then stir in the feta and Parmesan cheeses. Set aside 24 of the pine nuts, then stir in the remainder.

Stuff each mushroom with some of the spinach mixture. Press one pine nut into the top of each stuffed mushroom as a garnish. Press one bit of butter on top of each mushroom.

Bake 30 minutes, or until brown and juicy. Serve warm.

CHEESE STRAWS

These delicate puff pastry twists pair perfectly with wine or cocktails and are equally suitable as a snack for an informal occasion. They are easy to prepare and can be made up to one week in advance. Try standing them upright in a pretty glass tumbler.

1 sheet (about ½ pound) frozen store-bought puff pastry

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

A few pinches cayenne pepper

Makes 4 dozen cheese straws

Thaw the puff pastry at room temperature until thoroughly defrosted but still cold, about 30 minutes. Carefully unroll it. Mix the Parmesan cheese, mustard, and cayenne together, then spr

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