Bake & Decorate
|Photos copyright © Laura Hynd.|
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Fiona Cairns was chosen to create William and Kate's wedding cake. Her book will show you how to impress family and friends with stunning and delicious cakes, cupcakes and cookies of your own that are as lovely to look at as they are simple to make. Here are a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration along with foolproof recipes and complete step-by-step instructions to recreate the sweet and stylish confections that have made Fiona Cairns one of London's most celebrated bakers.
Start with 30 recipes for classics such as carrot cake and basic shortbread cookies or more sophisticated and unusual desserts such as Sticky Toffee Cupcakes with Salted Buttercream. While impressive enough to serve on their own, these delicious baked goods become true standouts when embellished with one of the 50 clever decorating schemes that follow. More...
An Excerpt from the Foreword by Fiona Cairns
Photo (left) copyright © Laura Hynd.
Baking and eating cakes and cookies is all about home, comfort, pleasure and luxury. Admittedly, they are not an essential part of our daily diet or sustenance, but they are vital to our souls. Cakes are a treat. They can be a gift, an occasion in their own right to be shared while relaxing around a kitchen table, eaten indulgently solo, or given as a centerpiece at a lavish celebration with loved ones. For me, they are also about the unmistakeable sweet aroma of the oven, the light texture of a cake crumb or the tantalizing fragrance of citrus and rose water in a syrup.
Cakes create memories. I'd like our children to have those memories, too. For many of us, baking was our first introduction to the kitchen and I remember fighting over scraping down and licking the mixing bowl with my brother. Even now, I have been known to sneak the last drop of some silky, melted, still-warm chocolate. Sadly, in our increasingly busy lives, many of us these days lack the time and knowledge to bake. I want to change that. I hope to show in this book that the process of baking and decorating is just as enjoyable as the eating; it might surprise you. Everyone makes mistakes, even the professionals, so a lack of confidence is no reason not to give it a try. Once, when making Christmas cakes, I lost an earring in the batter. I only found it with the help of a metal detector!
You will find some very simple recipes in this book clearly explained, which you can decorate or not, depending on your mood and the occasion. If this is all new to you, try something easy at first -maybe a Victoria Sponge Cake, or one of my recipes that require no cooking, such as sumptuous Gilded Chocolate Tiffin - and progress from there...
...Whatever your style, my book will help you create the perfect, most delicious occasion for your friends and family, where the cake is the star and the baker glows in its reflected warmth. Happy baking!
This is the perfect cake for those on a gluten-free diet. Feel free to experiment with other nuts, as both almonds or pecans would be as good as hazelnuts. For a more festive presentation, serve with raspberry sauce. You can leave out the ganache if you prefer, and simply decorate the top with the raspberries dusted with confectioners' sugar.
Photo (left) copyright © Laura Hynd.
FOR THE CAKE
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) skinned hazelnuts
- 5 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
scant l/2 cup organic sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for the pan
- 3 large eggs, separated
FOR THE GANACHE
- 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), chopped
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12-14 ounces fresh raspberries
FOR THE GANACHE
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 x 1 1/2" round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Roast the hazelnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes, watching carefully so they don't burn. Let cool. Grind finely in a food processor. Place the chocolate, l/3 cup of the sugar and the butter in a heatproof bowl set over very gently simmering water (ensure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and melt together gently. Remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnuts. Beat the egg yolks until they thicken and turn pale yellow, then fold them into the cooled chocolate mixture.
In another, very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy, then slowly beat in the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Take a large spoonful and fold it into the chocolate to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining egg whites, as gently and lightly as you can, using a large spatula. Transfer the batter to the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes. This cake is fragile, so take care when handling it. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan. Cool completely. Turn out very carefully on to a serving plate. The base will become the top. Remove the paper.
To make the ganache, melt the chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl set over very gently simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water). Stir well and remove from the heat. Cool a little until it thickens, then pour and spread it over the cake with a metal icing spatula. Stud the surface with the raspberries.
Copyright © 2010 by Fiona Cairns. Photography copyright © 2010 by Laura Hynd. Reprinted from Bake and Decorate with permission from Rodale.
About the Author:
FIONA CAIRNS (photo, left, © markguthrie.com) trained as a pastry chef at the Michelin-starred Hambleton Hall and then began baking at home and supplying local businesses. Her company now bakes 220,000 cakes a year for clients such as Harrods, The Conran Shop, The Ritz Hotel, just to name a few. She has made cakes for Bono, Pink Floyd and supplies Sir Paul McCartney with a Christmas cake every year. Despite her success, she has never lost her passion for home baking and still makes cakes at home for family and friends.