10.8.15

CAKEOLOGY - by JULIET SEAR

Sometimes I get invites to events that I don't have to think twice about attending - like the recent launch party for cake maker and decorator extraordinaire, Juliet Sear's new book, Cakeology. Sadly though my plans changed and I wasn't actually able to make the party, though saw photos of mini burger cakes, and a whole tree made out of cake that she'd created for the event. And though I'd missed out on the actual party I was sent a copy of her beautiful book to review instead.



Cakeology is a cake decorating book, with step by step instructions on how to create over 20 masterpieces, including a Belgian chocolate torte cake, a skull cake and a piƱata surprise. The main part of the book takes you through each of these creations, while the base recipes are at the back of book, along with stencil shapes for creating the cakes and biscuits. Although the final pieces look almost impossible to make, as long as you follow the very clear instructions, I reckon most people could make a lot of the cakes/biscuits in the book - and as each recipe is graded from easy through to difficult, you could start with an easier one and build up your confidence before moving on to the intermediate/difficult ones. I tasked myself with the Acid Brights Buttercream Cake - a stunning cake, made of 3 tiers in Juliet's book (one in my kitchen) on a base vanilla bean and syrup sponge. I've got my version of the recipe for you here, but this is definitely an adaption of the recipe and in no way as incredible as Juliet's cake. The quantities below are what I used, not what the book states, so please buy her book yourself if you want to make these amazing cakes!!

Makes a 1 level, 20cm cake

For the vanilla syrup:
100g golden caster sugar
100ml just-boiled water
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

For the cakes (makes 2 20cm layers, which are then sandwiched together):
400g salted butter, at room temperature
400g golden caster sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons greek yoghurt
400g self-raising flour

For the buttercream icing:
500g salted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1kg icing sugar
One food colouring of your choice (I used pink)

Start with the syrup. Combine the sugar and water in a pan and heat very gently, without letting it boil, until the sugar has dissolved and you're left with a syrup. Remove from the heat and a couple of minutes later, stir in the vanilla bean paste. Leave to one side until later.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix the butter, sugar and vanillas in a bowl or magimix until the mixture is very pale, soft and fluffy and the sugar granules have disappeared. Add the beaten eggs little by little and then fold in the yoghurt. Add the flour gradually, mixing it in gently until it's all added and combined. Split the mixture into two and spoon each half into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin. Bake both cakes on the same shelf for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake. Remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes before turning out on to a wire rack. At this point, liberally brush all sides of the cakes with the vanilla syrup. Leave to cool completely.

Now make the buttercream icing. Put the butter and vanilla in the magimix and blend til pale, soft and smooth. Add a quarter of the icing sugar and blend until combined, then for a further 30 seconds. Continue to add the icing sugar quarter by quarter, then blend for 1 minute once it's all added. This is now your base buttercream.

Once the cakes are completely cool smear the top of one cake with a small amount of buttercream. Place the other cake on top of this and press down. Lightly cover the top and sides of the entire cake with buttercream so you create a flat, smooth surface. Put the whole cake in the fridge for an hour or two to let it firm up.

When you're ready to ice the cake, scoop about a sixth of the remaining buttercream into a the corner of a freezer bag. Snip the point off the end of the bag's corner and pipe a line of white icing around the bottom of the cake, spinning the plate and holding the piping bag still. Add 4 drops of colouring to the rest of the buttercream and blend til the colour is even (5-10 seconds). Take about a fifth of the remaining buttercream in another freezer bag and pipe a line around the cake, above the line of white icing you've already done. Add another 4 drops of colouring to the remaining buttercream, blend and repeat the piping/adding colour process until you've piped circles of buttercream round the sides and the top of the cake, finishing with the darkest shade of pink in the centre of the top of the cake. Take a palette knife (which I didn't have to hand so used the back of a table knife) and smooth down the top of the cake in a circular motion, applying an even amount of pressure, then repeat this on the side of the cake and you'll be left with a smooth ombre icing, going from white at the bottom of the cake, to dark pink in the centre. My cake was by no means perfect, but it was the first time I've iced a cake like this, so was still *quite* pleased with the results.

 
 
I tucked into a slice of the cake with some fresh raspberries, and it was truly delicious. I really can't wait to try more of the recipes from Juliet's book and really think that with practice and the help of the book I can master some of these amazing cakes!

You can get a copy of Juliet's wonderful book here.

Cakeology by Juliet Sear (Hardie Grant, £20.00) Photography: Helen Cathcart
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18 comments

  1. I would love a copy of this book (and a slice of your cake!) You get invited to all the best gigs, Rosie! Love Lou xx

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    1. Grab yourself a copy Lou, it's so great, can't wait to get onto the more complicated ones!!

      Rosie xx

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  2. It still looks utterly beautiful (and far prettier than anything these paws could make!)

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  3. Beautiful. Maybe you could write your own book! A x

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  4. I can see why you didn't have to think twice this looks brilliant. The front of the cookery book is gorgeous, glad that you made it such a pretty cake. This is definitely making its way into my book shelf Lucy x

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    1. It's a fab book Lucy, with it I will master cake decorating!!

      Rosie xx

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  5. That is such a gorgeous cake!! You did an incredible job! xxx

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    1. Thank you Miranda - Juliet's is still miiiiiles better though! Obviously!!

      Rosie xx

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  6. Sounds like a great book - I used to be so into baking and I really want to get back into doing it, so maybe Ill start with this recipe :)

    Mehreen A | wrapyourlipsaroundthis.com

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    1. Have a go at it - and get her book. So many great cake recipes and ideas in there.

      Rosie xx

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  7. it's must be a really interesting book :)

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    1. It's fascinating - so much to learn from it!

      Rosie xx

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