Posts Tagged ‘wedding cake’

Pizza, gnocchi and the ice cream lift

Day two of the surprise trip to Rome went as follows.

We started out with coffee and a croissant near the apartment before heading to the Colossuem.

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We just about missed the huge crowds being led by tour guides and got a relatively uninterrupted visit. There has been lots of reconstruction and cleaning work inside and Danda said it is very different from when he was last here, years ago. Like I said yesterday, everything in Rome in so big. The Colossuem is the ultimate in massiveness. As there were about 80 exits and entrances, post-games, the place could be emptied in ten minutes, despite being able to hold 65,000 people.

The games were all free. Citizens would be given a ticket to get in, which indicated where they were allowed to sit, depending on their position in society. The plebians and women would sit right at the top, being rowdy and uncouth and the dignitaries would sit in the best seats at the front.

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At the bottom of that picture, you can see where they have reconstructed a section of wooden flooring of the arena where the gladiators fought. A few times, we saw groups out on this wooden flooring so I decided I wanted to go on it. When we eventually found the gate we needed, it was shut. So I don’t know how you get on the arena floor bit.

Interesting fact – in the first 100 days after the Colossuem was opened, 5000 animals were killed in a long opening celebration. 5000! It’s a wonder there are any animals left in Europe!

Next we went to the Emmanuel Vittorio II building, known as the “wedding cake”. Recently, it had a glass lift built onto the outside which takes you up onto the roof. For some reason, I kept getting mixed up and calling it the “ice cream cake” building and the lift, I called the “ice cream lift”. So anyway, we went up the ice cream lift and views over Rome were amazing. As the Romans don’t seem to build very high, you have pretty much uninterrupted views to all the main monuments.

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Although it was built a little over a hundred years ago, it is in keeping with the general grandeur and style of the ancient Roman statues and buildings. So it is still amazing to look at.

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Next, we headed to a cafe for a top up on our coffee levels. We were like alcoholics, panicking as we sobered up. Parallel to the Via del Corso, we found a lovely little back street cafe, where I ordered an iced coffee and channelled my inner Italian.  

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What came was a kind of cold coffee-chocolate-cappuccino thing. It was good. But I don’t really know what it was.

Next, we made a beeline for the Spanish Steps and passed the Trevi Fountain, quite without meaning to. A quick squeeze through the crowds and a pic then we continued on our way.

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We stopped for lunch at the Spanish Steps and found a lovely little bistro, next door to the Ristorante alla Rampa, which is what we had been heading for, on the strength of a recommendation. It was full, though, so we settled for eating next door and it was a fantastic choice. We had our first pizza of our Roman Holiday and it was really good.

Next, we strolled along the Via Condotti, admiring the fancy shops and expensive items…

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… And not buying anything!

We realised, by this point, that our legs were feeling the pressure so walked back to the apartment to get ready for dinner, which we ate right in front of the Pantheon.

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Thankfully, we were under canopies because it rained pretty heavily, all of a sudden, for about forty minutes, hence the tourist-less view of the Pantheon on this photo.

I had asparagus and egg for starter and gnocchi with ragu for my main. It was soft and springy and tasty and exactly how gnocchi should be.

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We took a taxi back to the Colossuem and walked from there. It was the first time we had travelled in Rome using anything other than our feet.

We headed to the ice cream shop near our apartment where we had been the previous two nights and I dithered around taking forever to make a decision. I got a tiramisu and some caramel-peanut ice cream. Mmmmm. The tiramisu I saved and had the next day for breakfast (when in Rome…?).

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Search terms 2

I’ve had a few interesting search terms recently so thought I’d do a second part to my previous Search Terms post. The last search term in this list worries me a bit, although I am pleased that people are stopping here to learn about social etiquette….

baobob
highgate bookshop roof
book maze festival hall lego
my first bikram
wealthymatters
london eye chairoplane
“unspoken rules if social etiquette”
first bikram class
yoga “notify me”
first hot yoga class
i ve made my first wedding cake
cows for brides
evil peppa pig
lasy son resit university
portmanteau words sandwich
gary barlow neighbour
smiking
bikram tickling legs
i can be a worst manager
is big mag cow or pig
all embracing naked photos on olympics
yggdrasil afghan for sale
preschool watermelon temple
renegade squats
sun glasses one direction in eygpt
national estimayed costs bird droppings
the emptiest swimming pool in sf
sexy peppa pig

As a P.S., I’ve tried checking whether big mag is a cow or a pig but the truth is, I may never know….

Photo diary of my first wedding cake

Due to a torrent of requests (one) I have decided to bow to public pressure (a few Twitter comments) and make today the photo diary of my epic adventure into the world of wedding cakes.

It started with an offer to bake the cake for a friend’s big day. It was only a small affair so nothing amazing was expected. The friend runs a gallery and requested a cake which looked like a picture frame. Ok, I thought, and got to work with my imagination. I got fancier and fancier. A visit to the cake shop had me with armfuls of stuff to put on.

I dipped into the best cake cookbook I know, from the Hummingbird Bakery and decided on two types of cake, in case I just did one and they hated it. It was like a back up option, to have two! I did a red velvet cake (but not red) and a kind of carrot cake but without carrots and with bananas, pineapples and pecans instead. With cream cheese frosting.

And so it started.

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I made lots of little chocolate truffles. I coated some in white chocolate but ended up using the plain ones instead. They’re so simple – oreo biscuits in a food processor then cream cheese added and whizzed until it’s all chocolate coloured and sticking together.

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I made cream cheese frosting. 50g butter and 300g icing sugar mixed together then 125g cream cheese. Whisk until light and fluffy, about 5 mins.

Then made the red velvet cake. I left out the red partly because I didn’t think it would go with the cake’s colour scheme and partly because I’d run out of it. If you’ve never had red velvet cake, the reason it’s so amazing is that it’s the loveliest, softest cake ever. I think it’s because it has buttermilk in it but that’s just me guessing. Try one. It’ll blow you away.

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Then I made the fruity nutty cake, which was unusual because it doesn’t have butter. It uses sunflower oil instead, and has 3 bananas, some chopped pineapple and loads of pecans. It tastes really soft and decadent.

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I then cut them so the inside edges were straight and put a layer of the frosting down the middle and stuck them together to make a square.

I covered the whole thing with the frosting…

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…And put the decorations in the middle, worried that if I did the outside decorations first I might knock them while working on the middle bit.

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Next I put the gold paint into the remaining frosting… And disaster! It didn’t look gold at all! I looked kind of dark and un-food-like. I panicked and ran to the cake shop and burst in, explaining my dilemma. “Yeh it’s really hard to make frosting gold.” It wasn’t the thing I really wanted to hear. Their answer? Gold leaf! Ok. I’ve never worked with it before but I was prepared to give it a go. Back home, I piped on the not-gold frosting in the shape of the frame….

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…And put some of the edible red carnation petals together with a blob of melted white chocolate to keep them in place…

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I then covered the darker area in the gold leaf. I must add that I said the word ‘shit!’ quite a lot during this period because it went absolutely everywhere except where I needed it – on the cake! I covered some of the truffles in gold too.

Then, to cover a mistake in the bottom left hand corner, I put some little white hearts and the petals in the opposite corner. I then dotted a few of the gold truffles on, there wasn’t really space for more. And it was ready!

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The groom seemed pleased with how it looked so hopefully it tasted ok too. Fingers crossed.

Things I learned –

Gold leaf is hard to work with.
Get extra of everything.
It is good to have a cake shop near to your house.

If anyone wants any of the recipes for the cake, just let me know and I’ll post them up.

Cake talk

Today, I have a day off work, so my brain has gone into meltdown. I’m not very good with time off. So I make jobs for myself. I have made a cake this morning already. I have also done a bit of Land Law revision. It’s mortgages today. Not the most fascinating thing I can think of. With the brain in meltdown, I’m not very good at thinking what to blog about. So I’m just going to blog what’s on my mind.

The biggest thing is planning a wedding cake. Not for me, I might add! Someone else is getting married and I’m doing their cake. (Me? Getting married? What a hilarious thought!) I had trouble falling asleep last night because I was planning it in such detail. I love a foodie project. Yesterday I went into the cake supplies shop and was just out of control. It’s like someone had unleashed the mad woman that I usually keep under wraps and told her to get one of everything! It’s not like I went in with a plan in mind and got things which fitted with my plan. Instead I looked in great detail at absolutely everything in the shop and thought about how I could possibly use it, picked it up and kept moving. Occasionally I placed things back when I’d re-made the plan after looking at the next item but my arms were still pretty full by the time I got to the till (maybe an hour after entering the shop).

When I was falling asleep last night I was running through, over and over again what I was going to do, whether I should put this here or that there. What type of cake should I do for the cake bit? I also took the momentous step of finally purchasing a piping bag, which is a thing I’ve always felt like I should have but was quite intimidated by, like muslin cloth. I now have both. I think I should practise piping things first because I can just see a big disaster happening on the actual cake.

Now I don’t want to jinx things by talking about it too much and I hope Mr/Mrs Soon-To-Be-Married don’t stop by this blog before the big day but here’s the plan. Opinions please.

He owns a gallery and requested a cake in the shape of a picture frame. So I’m going to do a square/rectangle cake with gold frosting for the frame bit. Then inside the frame there’ll just be white frosting and I got two little silver letters for their names.

Oo! I’ve just thought! Gold framing and silver letters?! It’s not going to go together. Dammit. Should I go and get gold letters instead? Or will that be gold overload?

Anyway, two letters for names, whichever colour they end up being. Then I have edible red carnation petals that I thought I’d make a little flower out of for one corner and two small white icing hearts for the opposite corner. I’ve got two teeny tiny mini champagne flutes to put in the middle and thought I’d make some really small white chocolate truffles to either put on the board around the bottom of the cake or to put round the edge next to the flower, so it looks like part of the pattern on the frame.

It will probably change tomorrow, and the next day, so I’m going to start making little sketches or something so I remember each idea before I change it. Actually, here’s the one for what my current idea is… (Obviously my artistic skills are somewhat lacking and the proportions will no doubt end up completely different.Those little blobs in the two corners are the mini white chocolate truffles.)

Anyway, that’s the main thing on my mind this morning. Other thoughts are:

‘I’d better try and finish revising mortgages today as the exams are really close..’

….and ‘Omygoodness I ate a lot at the staff meal out last night, I should probably try to do a long walk or something to balance it out…’

…and ‘I want to make the truffles for the cake today.’