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.)

Happy Easter

IMG_0870I think it was 2016 that I first come across the concept of the Creme Egg “Scotch Egg”. As a vegetarian, I often find myself adapting traditionally meat-based dishes into something using different ingredients, but I loved the idea of taking something savoury and making it sweet too.

I found lots of recipes online, but I wanted to do things slightly differently as I wanted to achieve a crumb coating, rather than a chocolate based coating. The steps below are less of a recipe, more construction suggestions.

 

Creme Egg Scotch Eggs

  • I used 2 packets of mini Creme Eggs. A lot of the recipes I looked at online used full size Creme Eggs, but for me the smaller size was perfect.
  • For the covering, I went for a cake pop style mixture, I crumbled 200g chocolate cake and mixed in 150g of chocolate icing. This creates a mixture that is easy to mould around the eggs. After coating the eggs I put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the mixture firm up.
  • For the outside coating I went for a biscuit base. I crumbled 75g of shortbread biscuits, getting the crumbs as fine as I could. I melted 75g milk chocolate. I dipped each covered egg in the chocolate and rolled this in the biscuit crumb to fully coat. I would recommend using one hand to get the egg coated in chocolate and the other hand for the biscuit mixture. Let the chocolate set before serving the eggs.

2017 so far – the year of Chocolate?

The start of 2017 came with a trip to London to see the stage show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also indulged my sweet tooth with a trip to Fortnum and Mason for cream puffs (expensive but amazing!), a Baileys Hot Chocolate on the Carousel Bar at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and a Red Velvet cupcake from the Primrose Bakery.

(I forgot to take a picture of the cupcake, but I DID take a picture of the delicious Bermondsey Porter Cake that I had from Peyton and Byrne when we popped back to London to see The Lion King a month later.)

On returning to Yorkshire, I went with some friends to see The Witches in Leeds.

I was feeling inspired to work on some sweets of my own (not ones laced with Formula 86 or with the ability to transform you into a blueberry!) and, luckily, for Christmas I received a copy of Hope and Greenwood’s Sweets Made Simple. I decided to have a go at English Almond Butter Toffee. I’ll definitely make this again. It was a bit of a challenge, but it was so tasty and moreish.

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.

Chocolate thumbprint cookies

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100g Butter, at room temperature
100g Caster Sugar
3 heaped tablespoons Cocoa powder
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
175g Plain flour
100g White chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Cream together the sugar and the butter. Then mix in the cocoa powder until well combined.

3. Add the salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and flour and mix briskly together.

4. Prepare 2 large baking sheets by covering them in baking paper.

5. Roll the mixture into walnut sized balls and place on the baking sheets, keeping them well spaced. Press your thumb into the middle to make a indent.

6. Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes for a chewy texture. You can leave them in longer if you want a firmer texture.

7. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, press your thumb into them again to make sure the dent remains.

8. Allow the biscuits to cool.

9. Melt the white chocolate.  I do this in the microwave, but take care to melt the chocolate gently as it can easily burn. Use the chocolate to fill the indent. Allow the chocolate to set. (If, like me you are taking these biscuits to a Lego themed event you can top them with a Lego brick modelled from modelling icing.)

This recipe is based on a recipe from A Pinch of Yum.

 

Cookie monster

If I was asked to pick my favourite flavour of cookie, I’d have a challenge on my hands. In my old office at work we developed a bit of an obsession with White Chocolate and Raspberry. Oatmeal and raisin is an old favourite. I’m also partial to Smarties cookies. I came across a recipe for raisin and oat cookies but decided to shake it up a bit by using chocolate covered raisins.

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Chocolate raisin and oat chunky cookies (makes 15-20)

100g butter at room temperature
50g granulated sugar
50g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
100g porridge oats
100g self-raising flour
75g chocolate covered raisins

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare 2 large baking trays by covering them with baking parchment.

2. Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and egg together.

3. Stir in the oats, flour and  chocolate raisins.

4. Put teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking tray and press down slightly. Leave some room to allow them to spread a little.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. These are best eaten on the day you make them.

Guilty pleasures

I think my guilty pleasures in the kitchen is cooking with chocolate bars. I particularly love an opportunity to include Mars Bars in my desserts and baking.

For a quick treat that is super easy to make and only requires a few ingredients I can recommend Crunchie Rock Road. I used this recipe from Maison Cupcake, but left out the marshmallows in order to make it vegetarian.

Processed with Snapseed.

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