Something you might not know, I have a twin. This year we were lucky to be in the same place to celebrate our birthday, so we threw a bit of a party in my new flat in London. Inevitably, me and my other sister (who I live with) made far, far too much food, not that it’s gone to waste; it’s been slowly nibbled over the week. Here are some photos of our little bash, including a mind blowing number of lemon cookies and rosewater cookies, those amazing meringues from the bakery, mini victoria sandwiches, pastry nibbles and many home made dips.
Also keep with me for those little iced birthday cakes I promised you!
Honestly, I made so many cookies, they filled two tins. My logic was, if I make half a batch of each (lemon and rosewater) then we might not have many left after the party, so I made a batch of each and they have definitely lasted…. I used Sweetopia’s tutorial to make the lemon cookies, it’s so simple! (especially if you have a handy helper to do the dragging with the cocktail stick)
And I promised you the other birthday cakes I made for a friend, which actually never made it to the friend for various reasons unfortunately!this, or a large square pan and then cut them out. 3 eggs 175g flour 175g caster sugar 175g butter or Trex 1 tsp baking powder ½tsp salt Zest of 1 lemon and juice of half 50-100ml milk or almond milk
Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C for a fan oven. Grease the individual holes and dust with flour, or grease and line your large tin.
Now for the easiest method imaginable; put all the ingredients apart from the milk in a stand mixer and beat on a medium speed. Once it has all come together gradually dribble in milk until the mixture is smooth, light and drops off the beater.
Spoon into the prepared tray and cook for about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them because it can vary, they are ready when they are golden brown and pulling away from the tin at the edges. If you’re making a larger cake it will be more like 20-25 minutes.
Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Next up, make some buttercream. I used these ratios:150g butter or Trex 300g icing sugar, sifted 50-75ml milk or almond milk 1tsp vanilla bean paste
In the stand mixer, beat the butter or Trex until smooth, add a few spoonfuls of icing sugar and beat on a slow speed. Gradually add spoonfuls of icing sugar until it forms a ball. Dribble in a little milk to loosen it and continue to add the rest of the icing sugar. Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer up and dribble in a little more milk until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy.
To assemble the cakes, slice off the tops if they have domed and give each a thin layer of buttercream with a small spatula or butter knife. Put them in the fridge for half an hour before giving them a proper layer of buttercream, trying to make them as smooth and flat as possible (easier said than done!) Put them back in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up.
Roll out small handfuls of fondant icing to about 2mm thick. Cut roughly a 10cm square for each cake and cover the cake with it, smoothing from the top over the edges and onto the sides. Trim the bottoms and use the edge of the knife to tuck it underneath the cake. The smoother your buttercream, the smoother the icing looks (I have still have much to work on!) You can also roll your icing out thicker to help disguise those bumps, but it will be harder to cover the cakes as they are so small.
This was my first attempt at making flowers, and I bought some gum arabic to help them set hard, which they did! I added a tiny pinch when I was kneading each colour, it does mean you have to work pretty fast otherwise the icing dries out and becomes impossible to work with. I made these flowers by rolling out the pink icing and cutting out five small circles with a cookie cutter. I started off by rolling the first circle into a spiral, and wrapping each circle around it while pinching the bottom. I found that using a little bit of water between the petals helped stick them together as I was going. I attempted to sort of flatten and shape the petals as I was going, but I really need to invest in some sugarcraft equipment! I finished these off with a heart cut with a cookie cutter and some little leaves (which are actually holy but no-one will ever know…)
And what did I get for my birthday? A shiny new bike!