Monday, 9 March 2015

Many Hands

A very busy long weekend with a wedding and an Open Garden.  Fortunately, the Open Garden was on Saturday and the wedding on Sunday. Whilst totally different events, each required good planning, organisation and a willingness to enlist the help of others. They were a perfect examples of 'many hands make light(er) work'.  I like to be involved and will help where I can, however, a plan was a definite must, shopping needed to be completed and support enlisted if it was to all go smoothly.

It was my friend Helena who opened her garden to the public on Saturday. You can read more about her garden, Arundel here.  Refreshments were made available as part of opening her garden.

 Visitors had the opportunity to relax in the grounds, sit at the many tables and chairs scattered throughout the garden and purchase a slice from the many delicious home baked cakes and sip their coffee or tea in what was a  truly splendid garden.

All the baking was supplied by the Geelong Friends of the Botanic Gardens. As a Friend of the Gardens I committed to making many trays of brownies, all to be delivered on Saturday morning when I was to take the morning shift in the refreshment area. This baking needed to be done on Friday night.

There were so many other volounteers involved, on the gate, selling at the plant stall and working inthe refreshment area.

It was a great pleasure to help our friends Tina and Frank with the preparations for their son's wedding and a vote of confidence in my 'crafting' skills - a cupcake wedding cake and a 'wishing well'.

Friday afternoon was the day to bake the cupcakes and the top tier of the wedding cake, the chocolate mud cake is better a day or two later. The outer layer of cupcake papers had all been decorated and the wishing well constructed earlier in the week. My friend Bronwyn happened to drop in and was put to work,  helping attach the bows to the cupcake containers.

Saturday afternoon was dedicated to finishing the cupcakes. With lots of help from Emma who seemed to enjoy piping.

and from my lovely daughter in law Rachel, who helped with the batch that were destined for supper at knitting group.

It was great fun to construct this 'wishing well',

and help Tina and Kaye decorate the chapel. Many metres of tuille later, large bows adorned the backs of the chairs and the big potted plants were swathed in organza.

On Sunday, all that needed to be done was delivery of the table decorations and the cake to the reception venue. All  undertaken by Ray who then assissted me in assembling the cupcakes into the finished cake.

All the while there were other friends driving the bridal cars, photographing and picking up guests from the airport.

Many hands do make light work.

This is the mud cake recipe that I used for the wedding cake. The cupcakes were chocolate mudcake with white chocolate frosting and the top tier was made white chocolate mud cake with white chocolate frosting. The roses were piped with a Wiltons 1 M tube with grated white chocolate scattered around the edges of the cup cakes and white seed sprinkles in the middle to represent stamens.

Mud Cake
( Variations)
1 1/2cup water (375ml)
180 -220g dark chocolate
(large/family size block eg Old Gold or Club)
250g unsalted butter
2 cups castor sugar/brown or mixture of both
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla essence or to taste

Preheat oven to 135C

Place water, chocolate and butter in a large saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth. 

Remove from heat and add castor sugar. Stir to combine and help sugar start to dissolve. Allow the mixture to cool slightly (about 10 minutes).

Sift flour with bicarb soda. Add to chocolate mixture and beat well with an electric handbeater or transfer mixture to mixing bowl of an electric mixer.  

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Place the mixture into cup cake cases or prepared cake tins and bake until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Approximately 40 minutes for the cupcakes and longer for cakes depending on the size of the tin.

Allow to cool in tin on a wire rack.

White Chocolate & Sour Cream Frosting

200ml sour cream,
400g white chocolate

Melt chocolate on medium heat in microwave or on low heat in small saucepan.

Add sour cream and whisk

Return the chocolate mixture to the refrigerator and allow to cool. The mixture will become thicker.

Beat with electric beaters until thick and glossy.

Spread or pipe onto cakes

White Mud Cake – use white chocolate and white sugar

Caramel Mud cake – use white chocolate and brown sugar

The cupcakes were baked in a white cupcake container and then placed into the black and white cupcake container and then into the decorated white cupcake container. I would not usually use so many cupcake containers, however, the butter and dark mixture show through the white containers and I wanted the finished cupcakes to appear white.

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