In my first science/ cake crossover post here is a turbulent ocean cake made for a PhD viva (spot the langmuir turbulence…).
A turbulent royal icing ocean.
The main cakey thing here is that royal icing makes a good ocean. I added 3 tsps of glycerine to 500g royal icing sugar, could have got away with 2. Colour the icing to a bluey green base then add some blue and green colouring and mix a small amount to spread the colour without mixing it in. Save a little white icing for the flicks of foam on the waves. The waves can be made easily with a flat knife.
Here you don’t need a marzipan base for the royal icing if the cake is sponge (sometimes the colour can bleed through from cake to icing, especially if fruit cake). One thing to be careful of though is cake crumbs getting through to the icing- add a thin base layer of icing gently and then build up the thicker parts for the waves.
My rating: 8.5/10
Simple and different cakes that anyone could manage.
I buy most of my baking books on recommendation so I thought it might be useful to start posting some reviews on here. I didn’t want to start with anything negative so here is one of my favorites. It’s subtitled ‘little cakes with attitude’ and I wouldn’t argue with that.
Straight forward instructions and plenty of pictures.
The book is divided into low-faff, medium-faff and high-faff so you know what you’re getting but the really nice thing is even the high-faff recipes look acheivable an really not an extreme amount of effort. The pictures don’t all look like the finely decorated immaculate cupcakes you get in many books: they’re beautiful but not unrealistically perfect and that’s what I really like about this book- they look like they’ve been made by a real person and are something that you could realistically copy (maybe not quite as well but at least you’ll get something that’s reasonably like what you expect!). In terms of ingredients and equipment I’d say they’re all pretty low-faff. Lovely.
Things anyone can do…almost.
The flavorings are great and different without being too wacky (although I’ve not investigate the savory cupcakes section yet)- the ‘grown-up’ mocha cakes have become one of my standard bakes and always disappear even when I worked in a office full of weight watchers fiends.
The best thing is this feels like a book written by a real person. Not a company or team. Kate’s sense of humor comes through and her section about free-range eggs and gluten free cakes just makes you like her. I was recommended this by someone who had attended her cupcake classes and I’m sad that I no longer live in Devon and can’t go. Her website is here, I’d recommend a look, just avoid the wedding cakes, they look too good and will make you sad (unless you’re actually getting married in which case GO, GO NOW).
Tip: This book can be found online for just over a fiver but I picked it up in The Works for about £3- definitely a bargain at that price.
My attempt at the star cupcakes. Not the neatest but still not unhappy as was my first time piping with royal icing. My main niggle is the fact that they are stars. Come on Kate, who can even draw a star well let alone pipe one?? Even so, the tip in the book of practicing before putting them on the cake was a very good idea.