My 1st phone post

24 May

I’m on the move. Sat on the bus on the way to a business meeting. I’m excited actually. I always feel really motivated after one, and get loads done. Then I am off to get me some Jack Sparrow!

I’m also off on my trip to London tomorrow. It’s a business trip you know…ok only a little business, mostly research.
I must go check out the local bakery scene in London. See what’s new, buy a few bits (must test) and take some pictures. I can’t wait! I’ll probably spend a good potion of time in Covent Garden, I want to go to Boogie Macaron and Tea. Then Selfridges for some food shopping. There are ingredients in some of the big department stores in London that you don’t get down here in the south, so that will take a good few hours.
I doubt I’ll even have time (or money) to set foot in a clothes shop, but honestly, I’d rather be looking at cakes all day!

I will look forward to posting some pictures on Friday. But you might get a few cheeky uploads off the old mobile phone!
Have a great few days xx

Big Mac-arons

19 May

Ballpark Snacks  is the theme for this month Mac Tweets Mac Attack Challenge. This is the 1st Mac Tweets challenge I have ever entered and I am rather excited.

I’ve never been to any sort of ball game before. Not in person anyway. So when this challenge came up I was umm-ing and ahh-ing over what to do. I had a few ideas, but non I could relate to my own experience.

Then I remember The World Cup last year. We spent most of that summer BBQ-ing in our little courtyard, summer sun beating down on our faces, friends drinking cold beer and always a World Cup game on the television. It then it came to me. Burger Macarons. We ate a lot of burgers that summer.

But what flavours? I had some vanilla sugar, so I went with simple vanilla shells. I wanted the centre to look like a burger, so chocolate ganache seemed only good and right. There was something missing though. They didn’t quite look the part. Hmmm.

Cheese! Not just any cheese though. It has to be that horrid plastic cheese that only comes into its own when slapped on a good burger.

But I’m not about to put cheese in a macaron, eww.

Peanut butter played the part very well. Plus peanuts are a Ballpark Snack right? And they go so well with chocolate. I used crunchy peanut butter as I can’t abide the smooth stuff, too sweet, plus a little crunch is nice. Honestly I didn’t quite know I was going to add the peanut butter when I started, but that is kinda how I cook. A bit of this, a bit of that…

I also was trying something else new today. I usually bake macarons using the Italian method of pouring sugar syrup into the egg white, but I’ve been wanting to try the French method of just adding sugar to the white instead. Today was the day. To my surprise and complete delight they worked. I was sitting next to my oven just waiting to see those little feet, and honestly when they popped up I did a little dance in my kitchen. Very pleased!

So there we have it.

Grab you’re Big Mac-aron and enjoy the game!

French Macarons

Almond flour

150g almonds finely ground.

150g icing sugar.

2 egg whites aged.

Meringue

2 egg whites aged.

150g granulated vanilla sugar.

Filling

100g chocolate broken into pieces.

100ml double cream.

Macaron Method

Sift icing sugar and almonds into a bowl, add egg white and mix to a paste. Put to one side.

Put the second batch of egg white in a very clean bowl and start whisking on a low-speed with an electric mixer.

Once the egg whites start looking like thick bubble bath, add the sugar, little by little, while still beating.

When you have added all the sugar, whisk for a little longer until the egg whites hold soft, glossy peaks.

Add a third of the egg whites to the almond paste and beat to knock some of the air out. Fold in the rest of the egg whites. The whole process should take no more the 20-30 folds. It should flow like thick magma.

Scoop the macaron batter into a piping bag ( I use disposable ones as they are really easy to use) fitted with a half-inch nozzle.

Pip little half-inch rounds onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and give them a good few wraps on the counter. Leave to dry for around 30 minuets, or until you can touch the surface without it sticking to your finger.

Pre-heat you’re oven to around 150c. Put the macarons into the oven for around 15 minuets, but keep a watchful eye on them. You’ll know they are ready when you place you’re finger on top and move it from side to side, the macaron shouldn’t wobble.

Take them out and off the baking tray strate away, carefully peel them off the baking sheet and leave to cool.

Ganache Method

Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl.

Heat the cream until almost boiling and pour over chocolate. Mix and leave to cool on the counter.

Once cooled completely, pip a small amount onto a macaron shell and attach another. Place you’re macarons in the fridge for 24 hours. This helps moisten them a little. Remove from fridge 20 minuets before eating.

Enjoy!!!!

Best of: Online

15 May

I think I’ve just spent the last 2 hours internet browsing. You see I have just had a wedding order come in, which is toe curling excitement for me. So research, research, research. Which is honestly so much fun.

Along with the excitement of doing a wedding, I also have my first wedding fair in September, at The Lighthouse in Poole. So I am in the throws of designing my spring 2012 cake collection. Which means lots of drawing, decorating, mood boards, drawing, decorating….you see how it goes. There is so much inspiration on the internet, but also through the fashion industry, so my eye is kept closely on many a fashion blog. One of my favourites at the moment is The Glamourai . She has such a unique style to her blogging with great tutorials and lovely pictures, but not just that, she also has her own collection of jewelry, Kelly Framel Jewelry . She makes one of a kind pieces, so you really do get you’re own unique piece of beautie. Well worth looking at, as there is some really exciting stuff coming out of the USA right now.

Here are some of the things I love that our american cousins have produced as of late. I want to celebrate that, so here’s to you USA!

Credits:
Top. 3 tier Peony cake on Style Me Pretty, photography by Jessica Claire.

Clockwise from top.
2. DIY Love Banner by Heirloom Paperie.

3. Rock Candy Cake picture found at Style Me Pretty.

4. Alice in Wonderland Mini Heart Confetti $2 from So They Say on etsy.

5.Verdigris candy earrings$85 from Kelly Framel .

New ways to follow me.

13 May

Hello lovelies.
This is just a very quick post letting you know you can now follow me at Bloglovin’
Follow my blog with bloglovin
Twitter @TheLilacBakery
And soon Facebook.

Have a happy day 🙂
x

A bit of this, a bit of that.

12 May

I’m not sure about you. But I find it almost impossible to work while listening to music. It distracts me. I get lost in the beat, so much so that the other day I found myself typing along to the rhythm of The Sea, by Morcheeba, which I think may be a skill in itself, but not very productive.

And until about 2 minutes ago I thought I had a few stable albums I could listen to without getting to lost, but I’ve proved myself wrong because I spent 5 valuable minutes singing along to

Zero 7’s Destiny. Lucky for me most of that album is instrumental, so it really is my only safe bet if I want to listen to music.

Plinking away

This time last year I was writing music you see. Plinking away on a keyboard for hours upon hours upon………….I grew up with a musician as a daddy, playing me Bob Dylan and Steely Dan at any given moment and teaching me about cross rhythm at the age of 2. So now I don’t just listen to music, I analyze it, pull it to pieces and put it together again, a frustrating game between me and my mind.

I haven’t played music in about a year, but tonight I am embarking on that and doing a little bit of sing songing with The Boy (honest to god, he makes drum playing look easy) and a good friend of ours, Ben, (a seriously good blues guitar player) this evening. So that could be interesting.

Well this was a bit of a mind spill wasn’t it?

I am going to London in a few weeks. Going to eat lots of baked goods and great food. If you can suggest anywhere to try out I would be thrilled!

Keep it real…

Aimee xx

Giveaway! Who loves free stuff?

9 May

I DO!

I love free stuff…

So what’s with all the giving? Well, I wanted to thank you guys for reading and supporting me really. I am rather grateful.

Today’s giveaway is a box of Cake Pops. You’re own design!

How to Enter Well done to Chloe. And her Twin Pops.

1. Leave me a comment telling me you’re cake pop idea.

2. Leave you’re comment with a way for me to contact you if you win. (email, blog link)

3. The winner will be picked at random and announced on Tuesday 17th May.

4. I’m sorry, but if you are reading from outside the UK don’t enter this giveaway. Or you might receive rather stale cake pops 😦 Next time thought!

Good Luck!

Say “Cheese”.

8 May

What is the secret of the perfect cheese cake?

Pretty Tray

Is it a fluffy filling or densely creamy? Plain and simple or full of fruit?

These are the questions I asked myself and The Boy yesterday.

Yes I do kind of value his opinion, but don’t tell him that or he’ll think he’s always right…

We came to the conclusion that we both preferred a non-baked cheese cake as it is the most refreshing and probably the most calorific.

A thick crumb base is always good. It’s always frustrating when you order a cheesecake and there isn’t enough base!

Because I really want an excuse to photograph my new cake stand/tray, I want it to be a simple looking cake. So instead of just vanilla, and because I am sure summer is poking around out there somewhere, I decide it must have some citrus notes, as this cuts through the creamy-ness of the filling perfectly. Organic lemons are lovely. I say organic because I find they have more flavour and for some reason have less pips…So I am decided. Simple Lemon Cheesecake….

“Chocolate” he says while whizzing round the supermarket. “Cheesecake must have chocolate in it”….*Cue a slightly horrified & confused face from me*.

Now don’t get me wrong, in most cases he would be on the money, but I wanted a beautifully crisp looking cake, and I was not envisaging me getting into a chocolatey mess (which happens with me and chocolate).

We settle for a chocolate chip base instead.

See, I can compromise 😉

So here it is.

Simple Lemon Cheesecake (with a chocolate chip base)

Ingredients:

Base

275g biscuits (any flavour you like, but I used chocolate-chip)

125g butter, melted

1 tbsn honey

pinch of salt

Filling

600g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

2 organic lemons, peel and juice.

285ml double cream

First of all you need to grease and line a 8 to 10 inch springform tin. Set aside.

Base

1. You need to smash those biscuits up, I know, this could be a difficult moment for some of you, but I promise, it’s worth it.

Using a food processor, pop the biscuits in and whizz up until you have what resembles fine bread crumbs.

If you do not have a food processor (like me), a sandwich bag and bashing implement will do.

I used a knife sharpener…Stick them in and smash away.

2. Melt honey and butter together in a small pan on a medium heat.

3. Put biscuits in a mixing bowl and add butter/honey mix and salt. Mix.

4. Once all the crumbs are covered, press the crumbs into the base and sides of your tin. Making sure you compact the mixture as much as possible.

Place in fridge for 1 hour to set.


Filling

1. In a spotless mixing bowl whip the cream cheese to a smooth consistency.

2. Add half the sugar and stir in. Grate the lemon peel in the bowl and add the juice of 2 lemons, little at a time. Add the remaining sugar and mix in.

3. Add all the cream to the mixture and beat with an electric mixer for 5 minuets.

4. Once you have a stiff mixture, spoon it into you’re biscuit base and smooth out. Place in fridge overnight to set.

5. Remove from fridge 5 minuets before serving.