Cake it to the limit 🎂

I’ve been a baking machine over the last few weeks. We had a wedding in the family, and the bride and groom asked guests to bring cakes for a ‘cake-off’ and I made this toffee apple cake.

 

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There was also an event at work  where we were asked to provide cakes. I made this lemon and almond cake, which went down a storm and tasted fabulous, but was a little crumbly when trying to cut into slices.

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My final contribution was a chocolate mint marble cake.

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Chocolate Mint Marble Cake

175g butter at room temperature
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Peppermint extract
Green food colouring

Glacé icing
100g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
75g chocolate mint bubble-style chocolate bar

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a deep 20cm baking tin with baking parchment.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs in one at a time.

3. Add the flour and baking powder and gently mix in. Divide the mixture into two. For the mint mixture, stir in a few drops of peppermint essence and the green food colouring. For the chocolate mixture, blend the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of boiling water. Stir well into a smooth paste. Thoroughly fold this into the cake mixture.

4. Add the two sets of mixture to the tin in a random fashion to make the marble effect. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Ensure the cake is cooked through and is well risen before removing from the oven. Allow to cool. Remove the baking parchment from around the cake.

5. Once the cake is completely cold, you ice the cake. To make the glacé icing, mix the icing sugar, cocoa and 1 tablespoon of hot water thoroughly to make a smooth paste. Pour over the top of the cake. Crumble the bubbly mint chocolate bar and use to decorate the top of the cake, covering the icing.

(I forgot to take a picture of the cake when sliced to show you the inside, but it’s definitely worth the effort for the fun effect.)

Sticky marzipan and cherry buns

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Stick marzipan and cherry buns (makes 12)

150g butter
150g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
150g self raising flour
1 tsp almond extract
75g glacé cherries, washed and halved
50g marzipan, cut into 5mm cubes

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a bun tray by lining with bun cases.

2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with mixing in some of the flour. Once all the flour is stirred in, add the almond extract.

4. Stir in the cherries and the marzipan pieces.

5. Divide the mixture between the bun cases. Bake for 20 mins until golden and risen.

6. If you want to ice the buns, I would suggest starting with this recipe here.  I made a wet style icing, but you can make something firmer and good for piping if you want by playing around with the volumes of ingredients.

 

Love is … Chocolate Chilli mug cake

Mug cakes cooked in the microwave were really popular last year, which I found amusing as we’ve made cakes in the microwave at our house from being children. My sister’s favourite was chocolate sponge, mine was golden syrup sponge. I thought I’d update the flavourings with something she likes as an adult; chocolate and chilli.

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Chocolate and Chilli Microwave Mug Cake (serves 1)

30g chocolate
25g butter
1 tsp chipotle Chilli powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
5 tbsp self raising flour

1. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave in a large mug, heating slowly and stopping to stir frequently, so the chocolate doesn’t burn.

2. Mix in the remaining ingredients, stirring well.

3. Microwave for 1.5 minutes.

Let them eat cake

I’m really proud of myself for sticking with the ‘Blog Everyday in September’ challenge so far. It’s not been easy, but I’ve enjoyed pushing myself. Today’s theme was Holiday Essentials, which is another subject that doesn’t fit easily with a cooking blog. I haven’t cooked anything exciting today to tell you about either, so I’m going to share some cake recipes I’ve enjoyed over previous months. (And of course eating cake when on holiday is on my essential list of things to do!)

Raspberry and lemon polenta cake

Amaretto cake from The Clandestine Cake Club cookbook

Spiced Sweet Potato Cake

They are all delicious and I’ll be making them all again.

Holidays

The challenge for today is to write about your next holiday. I’m very excited about this as I’ve only just booked it. I’m going to Menorca in October. It will be my first visit to the island and it looks lovely. I’ve been having a look at some of the food options and learnt that Mahon in Menorca is often named as the place mayonnaise originates from. (I’ve never made mayonnaise from scratch so maybe this is something to challenge myself to do before I go.) The island also has lots of gin producers and gin factory tours are popular.

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Today I made a Red Velvet cake for the local Clandestine Cake Club meeting. Tomorrow the holiday healthy eating plan needs to start!

Meringue Icing

3 large egg whites
250g caster sugar

1. Rest a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the egg whites and the sugar to the bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. It’s important to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved or the finished icing will be gritty.

2. Once the mixture is completely smooth, it needs whisking up, ideally with a handheld mixer, or you can transfer it to a stand mixer. It will take at least 5 minutes to whisk it not stiff peaks. The icing can then be used to fill the cake layers and can be piped onto the top to decorate.

Being awesome

The challenge today is to list what makes me awesome. So I’ve been thinking about when I feel awesome in the kitchen, and I would say my cooking ‘superpower’ is baking cakes.

This week I made a Parsnip and Maple syrup cake using this recipe.

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It went down really well with my friends so I’ll definitely be baking this one again. I added some icing sugar to the filling because I didn’t want it to be too runny.  I also left out the nuts in the cake.

Ginger and rhubarb cake

I bake cakes a lot, but don’t often blog about them as I’m usually following someone else’s recipe rather than creating my own. On this occassion, I couldn’t find one single recipe that worked for the ingredients I had, so I was forced to concoct a recipe of my own, and I was very happy with the outcome.

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Ginger cake with a rhubarb fool filling

225g Self-raising flour
1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
120g butter, chilled
120g golden syrup
120g black treacle
120g sugar (I used granulated but muscavado would be good here)
275ml milk
1 egg
2 stalks of rhubarb (around 300g)
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
200g double cream

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Stir together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg, making sure there aren’t any lumps.

3. Dice the butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a sandy consistency.

4. In a saucepan gently heat the golden syrup and black treacle, stirring them together. Set aside to cool.

5. In another saucepan heat the sugar and the milk, stirring frequently until the sugar has all dissolved. Set this pan aside to cool too.

6. While the two pans of ingredients are cooling to a lukewarm temperature you can prepare your cake tins. I used two 20cm round tins and I lined the bases with a circle of baking paper.

7. When the wet ingredients have cooled sufficiently mix them both into the flour along with one egg. Stir well to corporate all the ingredients into a smooth batter. Transfer the mixture to the cake tins.

8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

9. For the filling, chop the sticks of rhubarb into 2 cm chunks and heat in a pan along with the sugar. When the rhubarb has cooked down into a lovely pink pulp leave it to cool and get on with whisking up the cream. Finally, fold the rhubarb into the cream and use the mixture to sandwich the two halves of the cake together.