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.)

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.

Vegan Sticky Ginger cake

I’ve not been posting much on this blog recently; the main reason being that we’re tackling a whole bunch of allergies in our household, which makes trying new recipes a bit of a challenge.

This recipe is for a cake, and it’s pretty good to say it cuts out a lot of allergens.

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Sticky Ginger Cake (makes one loaf)

120g black treacle
50g vegetable oil
60g sugar
1 apple
1 banana
250g gluten free flour
1 tsp (gluten free) bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp ground ginger
200ml soya milk
75g stem ginger, chopped into small chunks (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the treacle, oil and sugar.
  3. Peel and core the apple and grate it. Add to the mixture.
  4. Mash the banana and stir this in.
  5. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger into the mixture.
  6. Stir in the milk and the stem ginger, if using. (The recipe works well without it, so I wouldn’t buy stem ginger specially, but it does taste great.)
  7. Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf tin. Bake in the preheated oven for at least 1 hour, but it might need up to 30 minutes longer, so keep checking in it. If you need to, cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent it from burning.
  8. If you’ve used some stem ginger, drizzle some of the syrup from the jar over the cake while it is still warm to add to the stickiness. Otherwise, leave to cool.

(Next time I make this I’m going to make a lemon icing, which I think will be a nice addition.)

 

Cherry cake

This is a very sweet and very pink cake – perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat.

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Cherry Cake

For the cake:

250g Butter
250g Light Demerara sugar
4 eggs
300g self-raising flour
200g glace cherries

For the icing:

200g butter at room temperature
400g icing sugar
Around 12 maraschino cherries and 4 tbsp syrup from the jar

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease two 20cm cake tins.
  2. Prepare the cherries by chopping them in half and then rinsing them well. Use a little flour to coat the cherries. This will stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake. (I love finding a whole cherry in a bite of cake so I usually chop around half of them into two and leave the rest whole.)
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with a spoonful of flour.
  5. Add the remaining flour and mix in well.
  6. Fold in the cherries.
  7. Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread out evenly.
  8. Bake for 40-50 mins, then allow to cool before icing.
  9. To make the icing, blend the cherries and syrup together in a mini processor. Meanwhile, beat the icing sugar and butter together in a mixer until well combined. Mix for a further 3 minutes so the mixture is light and fluffly. Mix in the cherries. Use this icing to fill the cake and cover the top and sides.

 

 

Tres Leches cake

I’m sure it’s not just me who decides on what to bake and then spends ages ‘researching’ to find a recipe that suits me. On this occassion, I had some evaporated milk that needed using and remembered a recipe in Marian Keyes’ book Saved by Cake for Three Milk Cake. The  only problem was that the recipe called for soured cream, which I didn’t have. So I set about finding a different recipe to suit, only to find I still needed to adapt as my chosen recipe required 4 eggs and I only had 3!

I’ve only tried this adapted recipe once, so please feel free to check out my selected sources for more ‘tried and tested’ approaches. From reading lots of recipes I can recommend making sure you add your flour and milk to the egg and sugar mix by alternating flour and milk, otherwise you will get a lumpy mix or risk knocking all the air out of your egg mixture.

Tres leches/Three milk cake

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3 large eggs
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour
75ml milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g sweetened condensed milk*
200g evaporated milk
100ml double cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Grease and line a 21cm square cake tin.
3. Seperate the eggs and whisk the egg whites until stiff.
4. Gradually mix in the caster sugar and then gently fold in the egg yolks, one at a time.
5. Weigh out the flour and baking powder and sift together in one bowl. In another container, mix together the milk and vanilla extract.
6. Gently combine, by alternating mixing the flour and milk into the eggs and sugar. Combine by mixing quickly and gently.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30mins.
8. While the cake is cooking, mix together the evaporated milk, condensed milk and double cream.
9. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick it firmly all over with a skewer and pour over the milk mixture – don’t be alarmed, it will all soak in!

* I used Sainsbury’s own brand condensed milk, which is made in Holland, so I’m hoping is ethically sound.

Sources of inspiration
Saved by Cake by Marion Keyes – this is a lovely book, with lots of unusual flavour combinations to try.
Recipe from The Telegraph
Recipe from BBC Food