Unicorn cake

A more extensive look at the steps I took to make this cake. I completely made it up as I went along.

Check out the video I made of the process here!

To start, I drew out a quick sketch and added colour and annotations to say how I wanted it to look.

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I wanted a rainbow for the layers and silver icing in the middle to be like unicorn blood from Harry Potter. It was a good in theory but did not turn out so well in practice. The icing just turned a pale grey.

After I figured out all the details, I had to find a good vanilla cake recipe because all the cake recipes I have used in the past have ended up being crumbly and dry. I needed one that would hold up 7 layers. I found one from Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery. This recipe is the best cake I have ever had! Highly recommended!

So I had the plan and the cake, all I needed was the right sized cake tins, colour for the layers and icing, and fondant icing for the ears. I used regular fondant icing from Tesco. I knew that the colour would have to be strong and not too thin a liquid otherwise it would mess up the mixture (been there before with a red velvet cake). I opted for some gel food colouring from amazon which judging by the pictures, was decent quality. I also ordered 8-inch sandwich tin, silver gel colouring, and gold powder colouring. By this point, I decided to do a chocolate-filled ice cream cone for the horn, instead of icing, as it was easier and had a really cool pattern on it.

I had everything prepared so I waited for my birthday to come.

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I made the cake layers one mixture at a time so I wouldn’t have cake mixture sitting around with nowhere to put it. It worked out better that way because I had time to prepare the next thing and do some cleaning up.

As the cake layers were cooling, I made the “silver” icing (100g butter, 200g icing sugar, too much silver colouring which didn’t really make a difference) and melted a bit of jam. I put jam and icing on each layer, just enough to make it stick together, any more then the cake would have been unnecessarily sweet. I assembled the cake on a cake board on a Lazy Susan so it could spin while I was decorating it. Whatever icing didn’t go in the middle, I used to kind of cement any holes or breakage and left it overnight to set because decorating was another day of work.

To decorate, I started with a layer of white buttercream icing all around. To do that, I used about 100g TREX and 100g stork with 400g icing sugar (I may have put more, I didn’t really measure it), and a tiny bit of soya milk (possibly about a teaspoon). I used a palette knife to smooth it out, something I hadn’t done prior to this cake and it didn’t go spectacularly well.

Next, I melted some chocolate to fill up an ice cream cone, that I would use as the horn. I put a bamboo skewer through it and put it in the fridge. Once it was set, I covered the cone in some gold powder (which didn’t really come out very gold, unfortunately) and placed it in the middle of the top of the cake.

I then used royal icing to mould the ears and eyes. This was actually pretty fun because I like to sculpt. I broke off two bits of icing about the right size and cut off bits to make it into the right shape. Then, I smoothed out the surface and coloured the front bit with gold powder. I put a cocktail stick through them both and placed them next to the horn.

Finally, the hair. It was so hard and it didn’t come out the way I wanted it to, to be completely honest. But it still looked good so whatever. I made some buttercream icing (1 part margarine, 2 parts icing sugar) and mixed some colours in with it. I think I did 50g margarine to 100g icing sugar per colour. I put them into a piping syringe, like this one, and just piped some spirals all over the place. My hands were very tired by the end of it.

The final result:       20181030_214544.jpg20181030_214616.jpg20181030_214915

If you want me to keep making fun cake projects, be sure to like this post. If you have any ideas of what cake I could make next, or any other recipes you want me to try out, leave a comment below.

Farewell, until we meet again 😄

 

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Victoria Sponge (gluten free): Oat Flour Experiment

Recently, after a few messages my body was sending me, I had a thought that I may be intolerant to gluten, so I have decided to give it up for a few weeks to see if there is any difference to how I feel. Of course I decide this the day before I planned to make a Victoria Sponge cake.

Unable to do the shopping in time to get some gluten free flour, I decided I would experiment with using ground oats. I found a random recipe and, instead of all purpose flour, I replaced it with oat flour.

To make the oat flour, I got some porridge oats and ground them up to a fine powder. The recipe says to use 1 3/4 cups of flour, I used about 2 1/3 cups (a decision I would later regret) as I had read that using oat flour makes the cake more moist so you should use an extra amount to absorb the wet ingredients.

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Results:

Structure: I wish I hadn’t put so much oats. It came out very dry and crumbly. One of the layers broke in half. Next time, I will put less and maybe use a different binding agent, like no egg or ground flaxseed, to make sure it holds together.

Appearance: It came out really bubbly. I’m not entirely sure why. For the filling, I just used a jam layer. I didn’t have any cream to put in it. Come to think of it, I was really low on ingredients when I made this; I’m not entirely sure why I went through with it today.

Taste: Funny enough, it had quite an oaty flavour. Although the outside was a little crumbly, the inside was moist and sweet and held together. I put the right amount of jam so that it wasn’t too sweet but also not too dry. I’d say this one was a pass.

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In conclusion, I’m glad I tried this out. It wasn’t the best cake attempt but I have never been all that good at making cakes anyway. I appreciate the practice. I am willing to try out more experiments and see what works best for me and I will probably figure out my own recipes in the future.

 

Update: As it happens, I am not gluten intolerant. However, I will still be trying out more gluten free recipes for those who are.


QOTD: What are some of your favourite gluten free recipes?

The Perfect Diet?

I know I’m not alone when I say this: I don’t really understand portion sizes. I’m not sure how big one portion is, I’m not sure how many portions go in each meal, I’m not even sure how many portions to eat in a day.  So I googled it.

I found this website called ChooseMyPlate and it basically breaks it all down for you. All you have to do is find out how many calories you are supposed to eat per day. To do that, just use a simple calorie calculator (like this one). It will tell you how many calories to consume whether you want to lose 1lb p/w, lose 2lb p/w, maintain your weight, gain 1lb p/w, and gain 2lb p/w.

This link will take you to chart (image below) with age groups and calorie amounts for that specific person (if you are under 18, you should really consult a doctor before doing any change to your diet, even if just to let them know).

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From there, you will be taken to a .pdf page. The 2 pages below are for the Ages 14+, 1800 kcal. It tells you how much you should eat, and a tracker with some ideas.

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The last thing I did was create an account with ChooseMyPlate’s partner website thing called SuperTracker. I didn’t want to mention this site because it will be closed down on June 30th this year but I found it so incredibly helpful so I’m mentioning it anyway.

You can create a weight goal and when you want to reach that goal, as well as a calorie goal, and an exercise goal. But the best part of all of it is it gives you sample meal plans which is exactly the thing I was searching for:

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I am hopeless at organising my meals like this. So if you know any websites or apps that will set up a meal plan for me, please comment!

I hope some of this information helped you because it has definitely helped me.


QOTD: What has helped you reach your weight/fitness goals? What advice would you give to other people?