Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

I reviewed a recipe book recently called Lola’s A Cake Journey Around The World and as part of my review I made an Amarula Cake from the book. I really enjoyed it as it contained some of my favourite flavours – chocolate, caramel and whipped cream. I also have a new love for Amarula! It’s similar to Baileys in that it’s a cream liquor, but it’s made with a fruit from South Africa called the marula fruit. I really wanted to make the cake again but I wanted to amp it up and really make it indulgent and special, so this Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake was created!

I started by mixing 120g cocoa powder with 250ml boiling water, then left it to cool. I whisked up 6 eggs, 440g caster sugar and 120ml vegetable oil with an electric hand whisk until it was frothy. I added the cocoa powder mixture and whisked it in.

Then I added 500g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp Amarula and folded it in. I separated the mixture into three 22cm cake tins and baked on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

I made a buttercream by mixing together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar. I stacked up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some buttercream.

I covered the sponge in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

I took it out and covered it again with the rest of the buttercream and I smoothed it out as best I could.

To decorate the cake I carefully piped blobs of the caramel on the edge of the cake, then covered the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel. I whipped up 200ml double cream, 3 tbsp Amarula and 2 tbsp icing sugar and piped it around the edges. I added bronze sprinkles and white chocolate stars in the centre, then cut some chocolate squares I got from The Chocolate Trading Co into triangles and stuck them into the cream. Finally a spritz of gold glitter finished it off!

This cake was everything I had dreamed of! Rich chocolate sponge, sticky caramel drizzle and sweet buttercream with Amarula flavour. It would make a fabulous cake for a celebration, or the ultimate way to treat yourself!

I’m linking these cake up with some blogger link ups this month. Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins, and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

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Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

Servings 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 120 g Cocoa powder
  • 250 ml Boiling water
  • 6 Eggs
  • 440 g Caster sugar
  • 120 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 500 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 12 tbsp Amarula
  • About 1/3 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 900 g + 2 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 450 g Baking spread
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • 10 Chocolate Duo Panels
  • Gold Edible Glitter

Instructions

  1. Mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water and leave to cool

  2. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric or hand whisk to mix the eggs, caster sugar and vegetable oil until frothy. Then, add the cocoa powder mixture and whisk it in
  3. Gently fold in the self raising flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tbsp of the Amarula
  4. Separate the mixture into three greased and lined 22cm cake tins and bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes (check they are done by inserting a skewer or thin knife into the centre, it should come out clean). Leave them on cooling racks to cool completely

  5. To make the buttercream mix together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar until smooth
  6. Stack up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some of the buttercream
  7. Cover the cake in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to set
  8. Cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream and smooth it out as best you can using a palette knife or scraper
  9. Put the Carnation Caramel into a piping bag and carefully pipe blobs on the edge of the cake so it drips down. Then cover the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel
  10. Whip up the double cream along with 3 tbsp of the Amarula and the 2 tbsp of icing sugar, pipe it around the edges of the cake
  11. Add sprinkles in the centre of the cake, then cut the chocolate duo panels into triangles and stick them into the cream. Finally spritz with gold edible glitter

 

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Mini Layered Easter Cakes & A Mary Berry Homeware Competition!

Mini Layered Easter Cakes & A Mary Berry Homeware Competition!

As you will know if you’ve been to my blog before, or if you follow me on social media, I am a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off and the Queen of Baking that is Mary Berry. Every year I ‘bake along’ to GBBO and it’s really expanded my baking skills and repertoire. I was beyond excited when I was offered the chance to host a competition that Mary Berry herself would be judging the winner of! In this post you can find out how to enter the competition to be in for a chance to win a set of Mary Berry Homeware and a signed book from Mary!

I first saw Mary Berry’s homeware range at The BBC Good Food Show Winter 2016 and I immediately fell in love with it’s pretty patterns and pastel hues. The range is beautifully packaged and presented and I wanted to make something that really complimented it. So I decided to use the colours in the range – pastel pink and teal to make these gorgeous layered mini cakes. And seen as it’s Easter, they just had to be topped with mini eggs!

I started by making the sponges. I had three mixing bowls and into each one I put 120g butter and 120g caster sugar. I then put drops of blue, pink and yellow food colourings into the mixtures, I made the colour slightly stronger than I wanted the final result to be as the eggs and flour would lighten it. I like to add food colouring at this stage as later on it can remove air from the mixture as you over mix to get the colour right.

I added 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to each bowl and whisked in. Finally I folded 120g self raising flour into each bowl.

I baked each sponge in a lined traybake tin on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for between 10-15 minutes. I inserted a skewer into them to make sure they were done. I don’t have three traybake tins, I only have two, so I baked two first and then the third. I made sure not to add the flour to the mixture of the one that was waiting to be baked as this would affect the texture of the final cake.

When the cakes were fully cooled I used a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut 6 circles out of each sponge. I didn’t throw away the leftovers, I whizzed them up in my food processor then put them in a freezer bag and froze them. I’ll use them to make cake truffles in the future (check my recipe finder page for all my cake truffle recipes if you’d like to do the same).

I made a vanilla buttercream by mixing 200g butter, 400g icing sugar and 2 tsp vanilla extract. I used my Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip to pipe blobs of it on the blue bottom layer.

I did the same with the middle yellow layer, then topped with the final pink layer.

I then used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe rosettes on top of each cake and I placed three different coloured mini eggs carefully into the middle.

I was so pleased with these little cakes, they look so pretty and I though they really complimented Mary’s beautiful homeware range. They tasted pretty scrumptious too! The sponge was lovely and light and the delicate vanilla buttercream was the perfect finishing touch. I felt like I could almost have been at afternoon tea with Mary Berry herself – a girl can dream!

 

The Competition

Ok so onto the competition! What you need to do to enter is head over to my Facebook page by clicking here and commenting onto my post with a photo of your Easter bake.

Full details:
– Bloggers and non-bloggers can enter
– The winner’s prize is a Mary Berry Homeware set which includes: a cake stand, mug set, cake plates, cake forks and a cake slice
– The overall winner from all five blogs will win a signed book from Mary
– You use any recipe you like to make your Easter bake
– The entries will be shortlisted to two finalists and Mary Berry will be choosing the winning entry to receive the homeware set and then the overall winner for the signed book
– The competition closes on 2nd May, and Mary will begin judging in the week commencing 8th May

– If you have any questions please comment on this post and I will answer you

I can’t wait to see all of your Easter bakes!

 

 

I’m linking this recipe up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation and I’m also linking up to Cook Blog Share hosted this week by Easy Peasy Foodie.

 

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Mini Layered Easter Cakes

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 560 g Baking spread
  • 360 g Caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 360 g Self raising flour
  • 5 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 bag of Mini eggs
  • Pink, blue & yellow Food colouring
  • 400 g Icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Grease and line three traybake tins, or if you have one or two tins, grease and line them and then wash between batches

  2. To make the sponges you need three mixing bowls. Into each one put 120g of the butter and 120g of the caster sugar. Cream them all together, then in the first bowl put a drop of blue food colouring, in the second bowl a drop of pink food colouring and in the third bowl a drop of yellow food colouring. Mix in well and add more if needed. Make the colour slightly stronger than you want as the final result will be lightened by the addition of the eggs and flour
  3. Add 2 of the eggs and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract to each bowl and whisk in
  4. Fold 120g of the self raising flour into each bowl. Tip: If you have three traybake tins then add the flour to all of the batters, if not, wait to add the flour until you're ready to bake
  5. Pour and smooth out the batter into the traybake tin(s) and bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean
  6. Cool the sponges fully on cooling racks. When they are cool use 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut 6 circles out of each sponge
  7. Make a vanilla buttercream by mixing together 200g of the butter, the icing sugar and 2 tsp of the vanilla extract. Put half of it into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip and pipe blobs of it on the blue bottom layer of sponge
  8. Cover with the yellow sponge layer and again pipe blobs of buttercream onto it, then top with the final pink layer
  9. Put the other half of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip and pipe rosettes onto the top of each mini cake, then place 3 different coloured Mini Eggs into the middle
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Biscoff & Banana Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Biscoff & Banana Cake with Caramel Drizzle

I think I severely underestimated how much time moving into a new house takes up even after you move. I’ve been so busy recently doing very grown up things like going to the tip on Saturdays, spending scary amounts of money on furniture and attempting to pick paint colours. I had some bananas that were slowly going brown in the fruit bowl and I decided that it was the perfect excuse to fit in some baking. My boyfriend is obsessed with Lotus biscoff spread and he loves it on sandwiches with banana. He’s been working so hard recently that I wanted to combine those flavours into a cake for him to enjoy and this is what I created!

To make the sponge I started by mixing together 360g butter, 150g golden caster sugar and 150g light brown sugar.

I then added 3 eggs and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and whisked in, then I mixed in 4 mashed up bananas. Finally I folded in 450g self raising flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.

I seperated the batter into three 20″ sandwich tins, and baked on 160C for 25 minutes. I left them to cool completely.

For the biscoff buttercream I started by mixing together 300g butter with 600g icing sugar. I then added 540g Lotus biscoff spread and 6 tbsp double cream and mixed it well until smooth.

I put the first sponge on my turntable to start decorating, I spread on a layer of buttercream and smoothed it over.

Then I sprinkled on some crushed Lotus biscuits for extra crunch between the layers, I then did the same for the next layer and then topped it with the final sponge.

I covered the whole cake in a layer of the buttercream, then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I took it out of the fridge and smoothed on a final layer of the buttercream, I used a palette knife to make it as smooth as I could all over. I refridgerated it again for 30 mins.

I was going to make my own caramel, but I had a bit of a disaster as I burnt the sugar. My new house has gas hobs rather than the electric hobs I’ve been used to for the past 5 or 6 years living in flats, so I’m still getting used to how hot they can get so fast! Luckily I had some Carnation caramel in the cupboard. I tipped about half the jar into a bowl and stirred it to smooth it out. I added 1 tsp salt to give it a salty kick, then put it in a piping bag.

This the first time I’ve made a ‘drip’ cake so I carefully piped blobs of the caramel on the edge of the cake, I was quite stingy with the amount as I knew it would carry on dripping more than I would realise. I then covered the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel. I put it back in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up the caramel.

I put the rest of the biscoff buttercream in a piping bag and piped rosettes around the edge using my Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip. I then crushed up some more Lotus biscuits and filled the middle of the cake with crumbs. Finally I chopped some pieces of dairy fudge in half and placed them neatly on top of the buttercream.

And the cake was done! I was pretty pleased with my first ‘drip’ effect cake, as I think it does give a really professional finish. You just have to be as stingy as possible with the amount of caramel, so it doesn’t flood the cake. The cake was a huge hit at work, I had some lovely comments from my happy colleagues on both it’s looks and taste. The banana cake was super moist and full of banana flavour, the crunch between the layers gave the cake some added texture, and the buttercream was pure biscoff heaven!

I’m linking this recipe up with Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins.

And with The No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary as I was making use of 4 ripe bananas languishing in the fruit bowl, and the fudge pieces were also left over from a previous cake decorating session.

And with Recipe Of The Week hosted by A Mummy Too.

And with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

And with Dessert Island Dish hosted by Good Egg Foodie.

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Biscoff & Banana Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Ingredients

  • 660 g Baking spread
  • 150 g Golden caster sugar
  • 150 g Light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Ripe bananas mashed
  • 450g Self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 600 g Icing sugar
  • 540 g Lotus biscoff spread
  • 6 tbsp Double cream
  • 10 Lotus biscuits crushed
  • 175 g Carnation caramel
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 pieces of Dairy fudge

Instructions

  1. To make the sponge mix together 360g of the butter, the golden caster sugar and the light brown sugar

  2. Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing between each addition, then add the vanilla extract and whisked it in

  3. Mix in the bananas, then fold in the self raising flour and baking powder

  4. Separate the batter into three 8" lined and greased sandwich tins, and bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes. Turn out onto cooling racks and leave to cool completely

  5. For the biscoff buttercream mix together 300g of the butter with the icing sugar. Then added the Lotus biscoff spread and double cream and mix it well until smooth

  6. To decorate, put the first sponge on a turntable and spread on a layer of buttercream and smoothed it over

  7. Sprinkle some crushed Lotus biscuits over the buttercream layer, then add the second sponge and do the same, then top it with the final sponge

  8. Cover the whole cake in a layer of the buttercream, using a palette knife to smooth it out, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes

  9. Remove from the fridge and smooth on a final layer of the buttercream, again using a palette knife to make it smooth all over. Refridgerated again for 30 mins

  10. Tip the Carnation caramel into a bowl and stir it to smooth it out. Add 1 tsp salt and put it in a piping bag

  11. Carefully pipe blobs of the caramel around the edge of the cake so it drips down the sides, use less than you think as it will drip more than you expect and you can always add more. Then cover the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel and put it back in the fridge for 15 minutes

  12. Put the rest of the biscoff buttercream in a piping bag and pipe rosettes around the edge using a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip

  13. Tip the remaining crushed Lotus biscuits into the middle of the cakeFinally, chop the dairy fudge in half and place them neatly on top of the buttercream

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Cherry & Nutella Chocolate Cake: GBBO The Final!

Cherry & Nutella Chocolate Cake: GBBO The Final!

The Great British Bake Off series 7 came to an end last week, and it really was the end of an era as it was the last time the show will be aired on the BBC. Of course, none of the bakers or presenters knew that at the time of filming. Our three finalists were Candice, Andrew and Jane. Candice has been well known throughout this series for making elaborate bakes themed around her family, she’s won star baker three times and is this year’s lipstick queen! Jane won star baker on week one, and has had quite a few ups and downs since then. Andrew has been known for his technical approach to baking, and has won star baker twice.

The theme of the final was royal and the signature challenge was to make a three layered filled meringue crown, family sized and decorated. Paul said the bakers have struggled with meringue in the past so he wanted to see how they did again. Jane’s meringue crown was filled with blueberry compote, raspberry and strawberry compote and nectarines. It had quite a simple appearance, and Paul said it had to be perfect because of this. Apart from her blueberry compote being slightly runny, her bake went well. Mary gave it plenty of praise while Paul stayed quiet as he was happily eating it all! He gave her a double Hollywood handshake!

Andrew used muscavado sugar in his meringue, which meant there was a higher risk of his meringue cracking. He made it in the shape of the Queen’s jubilee crown and filled it with pecan praline, layered it with blackberry fool and made cassis jelly ‘jewels’. He struggled with his pecan praline as it stuck to his baking paper, but he had a good bake. The judges felt that his praline was too sweet and overpowered the meringue, and that the fool wasn’t tart enough. They enjoyed his meringue and cassis jelly.

Candice made two different types of meringue, one with caster sugar and one with golden caster sugar. Her crown was filled with prosecco soaked strawberries, mango curd, and glittered fruit and nuts. One top was a tiny tiara style crown. The judges thought it looked impressive and that it had great texture and flavour, she got a Hollywood handshake too!

This week’s technical gave the bakers nowhere to hide. It was to make a Victoria Sponge, but without a recipe. They also had to make the buttercream and jam for the filling, again without a recipe. This is pretty straightforward for people who bake a lot, but the bakers were really feeling the pressure so were bound to make mistakes. I did think it was a little simple, and they could have challenged them more.

Jane made the mistake of weighing her eggs in the shells, so she had far
too much mixture. Both Jane and Candice made their sponge with the all
in one method, while Andrew used the creaming method. Candice made the raspberry jame seedless, which Mary didn’t like. Jane came third due to using too much mixture, Candice was second as her buttercream was grainy, and Andrew won the technical!

The showstopper challenge was to make a picnic fit for a Queen, this had to include: 1 chocolate celebration cake, 12 puff pastry sausage rolls, 12 mini quiches, 12 savoury scones and 12 fruit and custard tarts – 49 items in total! Mary said that even though the bakers had 5 hours to make everything, they still needed good time management. Paul wanted every item to be suitable to serve to the Queen herself.

Candice made a chocolate, orange & cardamom cake, bacon, mushroom & black pudding sausage rolls, manchego & olive scones, salmon & asparagus quiches and rhubarb & custard tarts. The pastry on her tarts did catch, but they still looked good and she avoided a soggy bottom! She also made cute pig faces on her sausage rolls which was a nice touch, and her puff pastry was well cooked. Her quiches were crispy and full of salmon. Her scones didn’t taste of cheese as the olives overtook the flavour. Paul loved her chocolate cake, and Mary thought it was a great cake for a picnic.

Andrew made smoked cheddar & paprika scones, sausage & chorizo rolls, sweet potato, goats cheese & caramelised onion quiches, strawberry & pistachio tarts and a chocolate cake featuring chocolate shards. He had an extremely detailed Excel spreadsheet which had every 5 minutes of the challenge planned to keep him on track. He also used family recipes to ensure success. Andrew added a sugar glaze to his fruit tarts which unfortunately soaked through and made the pastry soggy. His sausage rolls tasted good but he had raw pastry. Mary loved the apperance of his scones, but couldn’t taste any cheese. His quiches were crispy and tasted delicious according to Paul. His chocolate cake looked great and Paul felt the same about the taste of it.

Jane made red fruit and elderflower tarts, butternut squash & parmesan scones, apple & thyme rolls, salmon & prawn quiches and a chocolate cake decorated with a chocolate collar. Jane was flapping quite a lot as she seemed unorganised. Her chocolate collar did not set so she had to cover her cake in buttercream and glitter instead. Her sausage roll had raw pastry, but tasted good. Mary really enjoyed her quiches and fruit tarts. Neither Mary or Paul could taste the butternutsquash in her scones. The judges did enjoy her chocolate cake and said it was light and soft, and loved the cherry and cream surprise in the middle.

And the winner was… Candice! She certainly deserved it as her bakes were the best in this episode. She was who I wanted to win as I felt she deserved it overall from the quality of her bakes throughout the series, even though the judges don’t take that into account on the final day. It was quite emotional as she talked about what winning meant to her. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next!

I started by greasing and lining three 9 inch sandwich tins.

I creamed together 520g caster sugar and 520g butter.

I added 9 eggs, mixing them in two at a time.

I then mixed in 400g self raising flour, 120g cocoa powder and 2 tbsp milk.

I divided the mixture into the tins, I always make a hole in the middle of the batter to try and stop it from doming too much in the middle.

I baked it on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes, then left to cool fully.

I made the nutella buttercream by mixing together 150g butter and 300g icing sugar, then I added 200g Nutella, 3 tbsp double cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I mixed it until it was smooth.

I made the cream filling by whipping up 250ml double cream, then mixing in 250g mascarpone cheese

I started stacking up the cakes. I spread half of the cream mixture onto the first layer.

Then I spread half a jar of cherry jam on top.

I stacked up the next layer of cake, then spread the rest of the cream layer on, followed by the rest of the cherry jam.

I then added the last sponge and spread a layer of the Nutella buttercream over the top using a palette knife.

I put the rest of the Nutella buttercream in a piping bag and piped two rows of rosettes around the edge of the cake. I used a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip for this effect. I filled the middle with some Dr Oetker chocolate strand sprinkles.

I took 10 cherries out of a jar of kirsch soaked cherries and put them on some kitchen towel to soak away as much moisture from them as I could. I then rolled half of each cherry in edible gold glitter and arrange them around the cake.

The cake was ready for a celebration! I took it along to my friend’s 30th birthday party for the guests to enjoy.

The cake was so yummy and if I do say so myself it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made! The sponge was lovely and moist, and the fresh cream and cheese filling was the perfect balance against the sweet chocolate and Nutella buttercream. I adore kirsch soaked cherries so they were a tasty bonus for me.

I’m linking up with the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 hosted by Mummy Mishaps.

And with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

And with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

And with Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello.

And Cook Blog Share hosted by Sneaky Veg.

Nutella buttercream recipe from What Jess Baked Next

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Cherry & Nutella Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 670 g Butter
  • 520 g Caster sugar
  • 9 Eggs
  • 400 g Self raising flour
  • 120 g Cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 200 g Nutella
  • 250 ml + 3 tbsp Double cream
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 250 g Mascarpone
  • 1 jar of Cherry Jam
  • 10 Kirsch soaked cherries
  • Gold edible glitter
  • Dr Oetker chocolate strand sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Grease and line three 9 inch sandwich tins

  2. Cream together the caster sugar and 520g of the butter

  3. Add the eggs, mixing them in two at a time

  4. Mix in the self raising flour, cocoa powder and milk

  5. Divide the mixture into the tins and bake it on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes, then leave to cool fully

  6. Make the nutella buttercream by mixing together 150g of the butter and the icing sugar, then add the Nutella, the 3 tbsp double cream and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth

  7. Make the cream filling by whipping up the 250ml of double cream, then mixing in the mascarpone cheese

  8. Start stacking up the cakes. Spread half of the cream filling onto the first layer, followed by half a jar of the cherry jam on top. Do the same with the second layer of cake

  9. Add the last sponge and spread a layer of the Nutella buttercream over the top using a palette knife

  10. Put the rest of the Nutella buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a Wilton Number 6B Open Star Tip and pipe two rows of rosettes around the edge of the cake. Fill the middle with the chocolate strand sprinkles

  11. Take 10 cherries out of a jar of kirsch soaked cherries and put them on some kitchen towel to soak away as much moisture as possible. Then roll half of each cherry in edible gold glitter and arrange them evenly around the cake

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Apple Pie Fondant Fancies: GBBO Week #9

Apple Pie Fondant Fancies: GBBO Week #9

I didn’t post a bake along last week as I’ve been on holiday, I feel like I lucked out as Tudor Week looked tough! I’m still not over Benjamina’s shock exit either… This week was patisserie week and also the semi finals! As usual Bake Off is coming to an end far too fast. All of the bakers were very nervous this week, even Selasi!

The signature challenge was to make two styles of 24 savoury palmiers, using only puff pastry (no rough puff allowed!) Paul and Mary were looking for layers in the pastry, and a small amount of filling but with a lot of flavour. There were some debate amongst the bakers over whether they were using strong bread flour or plain flour for the puff pastry dough, with most of them using a mixture of the two. Andrew was the only one who used only plain flour and he had to re-start his puff pastry as it was too crumbly.

There were lots of different palmier shapes from the bakers. Jane made flowers, Andrew did musical notes, Selasi made butterflies and Candice made hearts. The judges thought Jane’s pesto and sundried tomato palmiers were not fully baked, they loved the flavour of her tapanade palmiers but again they were not quite baked. Candice’s pastry was well baked and the judges enjoyed the flavours, however they felt the palmiers were too big and thick. Selasi’s palmiers were also underbaked. Despite Andrew having to redo his pastry, his palmiers were crispy and Paul loved them.

This week’s technical challenge was to make a Savarin, this is basically a large rum baba. It’s a yeasted cake which is soaked in an orange liquor syrup and decorated with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Paul warned the bakers may not prove the cake correctly, and he also wanted to see the cake evenly soaked with the liquor. Jane knew what it was, but the others were unsure.

Jane struggled with the caramel shards, I lost count of how many times she attempted to make them! All of the bakers had very neat piping skills when they made the chocolate label for the cake. It was a hot day in the tent so they all struggled with getting the cake to cool so they could add the whipped cream decoration. Paul actually gave the bakers some grace for this! Selasi came last as his savarin was over baked and his orange segments still had membrane on, Candice’s was also over baked and under proved which meant she got third place. Andrew’s was also slightly over baked so he came second, and Jane won despite not being successful with the caramel decoration.

The showstopper was to make 36 fondant fancies, two different types, all made with genoise sponge, and all made from scratch. They had 4 and a half hours to complete the challenge, Mary admitted that you’d make the sponge the day before usually which would make it more difficult for the bakers, but of course she still wanted them to be perfect. Paul wanted to see shop standard fancies with flat sides.

I liked Jane’s tip to use a potato masher to dip the fancies into the fondant. Mary made a comment about Selasi not sifting his flour, so he immediately re-made his sponge again! All of the fancies had to be covered in buttercream to ensure smooth sides, but Jane was the only baker who decided against doing this as it is a time consuming element to the bake. It was a very tense time in the tent as they all struggled to complete the challenge on time.

Mary and Paul both loved Candice’s praline fancies and cherry bakewell fancies, they thought the overall apperance was a bit messy but the flavours and fillings were what won them over. As Jane did not use buttercream to cover her fancies, the side were very messy and the judges noticed this immediately. Andrew’s fancies looked fantastic, I loved the way he presented them, it was such a clever idea.The judges agreed and called the presentation ‘stunning’.

Selasi left this week, he came last in the technical and the judges thought his white chocolate fancies were overly sweet. It was very close between him and Jane I thought, and I was surprised they chose him. Next week is the final and we get to find out who the winner is!

This week I decided to make the fondant fancies. I find making puff pastry from scratch quite boring (too much turning and folding) and I don’t have the right tin to make a Savarin in. Making these gave me so much sympathy towards the GBBO bakers! They are very time consuming due to all the different stages, but ultimately worth giving a go at least once as they taste so good and look really impressive!

I started with the cake. I made a genoise sponge and whisked up 5 eggs with 150g golden caster sugar for about 7 minutes until it was thick.

I then sieved in a mixture of 150g plain flour and 2 tsp cinnamon in three stages, and gently folded them in each time. I then added 75g melted butter which I poured around the edge of the bowl and folded in. I poured it into a lined baking tin.

I baked it on 180C/160C fan/Gas 4 for 25 minutes. I let it cool then wrapped it up and put it in the freezer for an hour.

While the cake was baking I made the apple filling. I heated up 1 chopped cooking apple, 1 tsp cinnamon and 25g light brown sugar on a low heat for 15 minutes until the apples were soft. I let the mixture cool, then whizzed it up using a hand blender.

 

I took the cake out of the freezer and brushed a thin layer of apricot jam over the top.

I then rolled out a 250g pack of orange fondant and covered the cake with it.

I trimmed the edges of the cake then using a ruler I cut it into 1.5″ squares.

Then I cut each square into half.

I spread the apple filling onto the bottom half and sandwiched them all back together.

I made a caramel butter cream by mixing 150g butter, 300g golden icing sugar and 1 tsp caramel extract.

I used a palette knife to coat the sides of each cake. This was quite fiddly to get 100% neat. I put them in the fridge for an hour for the buttercream to set.

I made a pourable fondant by mixing up 1kg ready to roll fondant with 115ml water and some orange food colouring. I set up a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath and using it to place the cakes on before the pouring the fondant over the top.

I melted 100g white chocolate, put it into a piping bag and piped a zig zag pattern on top. I then added some bronze sprinkles.

I didn’t expect the fancies to be as neat as professional ones, but I thought they came out alright in the end. The sides could have been neater, but the top were lovely and smooth. My fondant didn’t fully set, even after being in the fridge overnight, so they were quite messy when eating them!

And the best bit, they tasted just like apple pie! The cinnamon, apple and caramel all came together in a way I wasn’t expecting, and produced a delicious apple pie flavour. This wasn’t my original intention, but it really made the whole experience of making these worthwhile.

I’m linking up with the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 hosted by Mummy Mishaps.

And with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

And with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

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Apple Pie Fondant Fancies

Ingredients

  • 5 Eggs
  • 150 g Golden caster sugar
  • 150 g Plain flour
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 75 g Melted butter
  • 1 Chopped cooking apple
  • 25 g Light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Apricot jam
  • 1.25 kg Orange or white ready to roll fondant
  • 150 g Butter
  • 300 g Golden icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Caramel extract
  • 100 g White chocolate
  • Bronze sprinkles
  • (If using white fondant) Orange food colouring

Instructions

  1. To make the genoise sponge whisk the eggs with the golden caster sugar in a stand mixer for about 7 minutes until thick and trebled in size

  2. Sieve in the plain flour and 2 tsp of the cinnamon in three stages, and gently fold them in each time. Add the melted butter by pouring it around the edge of the bowl and folding it in. Pour the batter into a lined baking tin

  3. Bake it on 180C/160C fan/Gas 4 for 25 minutes. Let it cool then wrap it up and put it in the freezer for an hour

  4. To make the apple filling heat up the chopped cooking apple with 1 tsp of the cinnamon and the light brown sugar on a low heat for 15 minutes until the apples are soft. Let the mixture cool, then whizz it up using a hand blender

  5. Take the cake out of the freezer and brush a thin layer of apricot jam over the top

  6. If you are using white fondant, knead some orange food colouring into it first until you get the desired shade. Rolled out 250g of the fondant and cover the cake with it

  7. Trim the edges of the cake then using a ruler cut it into 1.5" squares. Then cut each square into half horizontally

  8. Spread the apple filling onto the bottom half of the cake and sandwich them all back together

  9. Make a caramel buttercream by mixing the butter, golden icing sugar and caramel extract together. Use a palette knife to coat the sides of each cake with the buttercream, then put them in the fridge for an hour for the buttercream to set

  10. Make a pourable fondant by mixing up 1kg of the ready to roll fondant with 115ml water. Set up a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath and using it to place the cakes on before the pouring the fondant over the top

  11. Melt 100g white chocolate, put it into a piping bag and piped a zig zag pattern on top. Add some bronze sprinkles

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Dominican Sweet Potato Cake (Gluten Free)

Dominican Sweet Potato Cake (Gluten Free)

It’s around this time of year, when the weather starts it’s decent into cooler temperatures, that we all start to wish for sunnier climbs. I’ve teamed up with Inntravel to share this Caribbean style recipe with you, as they have recently launched a new holiday to Dominica in the Caribbean. If you’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy a holiday to this dream destination, then check out their websitje. If not, this sweet potato cake can bring a taste of the Caribbean to your home! The recipe has been created by Caribbean chef Dean who owns the Caribbean cafe in Leeds.

I started by grating up 900g sweet potatoes. I used a food processor to make this quicker and easier.

I then added 260g light brown sugar, 70ml vegetable oil, 250ml milk (I used almond), 2 eggs, 2 tsp fresh grated ginger, 40g dessicated coconut, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp nutmeg. I also chose to add 1 tsp allspice.

The most unusual thing about  this cake is that it contains no flour, making it gluten free. I poured the mixture into a lined baking tray.

I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes.

The cake had a very soft texture, and tasted deliciously exotic with all the spices and coconut. It paired perfectly with ice cream and sultanas. I did some research on this cake as it was so new to me and typically they are made with a white varient of sweet potato that is more starchy, so if you can get hold of that, it will make the texture firmer.

I’m linking this recipe up with Simple & In Season hosted by Feeding Boys, as sweet potatoes are in season October – December.

And to Cook Blog Share hosted by Sneaky Veg Blog.

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Dominican Sweet Potato Cake (Gluten Free)

Ingredients

  • 900 g Sweet potatoes
  • 260 g Light brown sugar
  • 70 ml Vegetable oil
  • 250 ml Almond milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Fresh grated ginger
  • 40 g Dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Allspice
  • Ice cream for serving
  • Sultanas for serving

Instructions

  1. Grate up the sweet potatoes using a food processor
  2. Add the light brown sugar, vegetable oil, almond milk, eggs, fresh grated ginger, dessicated coconut, cinnamon, salt, all spice and nutmeg
  3. Pour the mixture into a lined baking tray and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 45 minutes
  4. Slice into squares and serve with ice cream and sultanas
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Lemon & Elderflower and Orange & Honey Floral Cake: GBBO Week #6

Lemon & Elderflower and Orange & Honey Floral Cake: GBBO Week #6

Well The Great British Drama of the past couple of weeks seems to be settling down for now, and it’s all been outside of the tent so far! This week’s theme was a new one – Botanicals Week. It based all around things that grow, so fruits, flowers, herbs and vegetables. I really liked this theme and the challenges that were themed around it. I also loved how Selasi, Jane, Mel and Mary all got into the spirit of it by wearing floral clothes!

The signature challenge was to make a citrus meringue pie. Mary was very excited and she wanted crisp meringue that was baked in the oven. Paul wanted balance between the sharp citrus and sweet meringue. Rav made a mandarin tart served with tequila. Both Jane and Candice used lime and coconut, Andrew also went for lime but added ginger to it, and both Benjamina and Selasi chose grapefruit to flavour their tarts. Benjamina added ginger to hers, while Selasi chose mint. Tom of course, went for something different and made a pumpkin, blood orange and pecan tart.

Everytime a baker mentioned using a blowtorch on their meringue the look on Mary’s face was very disapproving! Personally I prefer blowtorched meringue, it’s lovely and marshmallowy. A few of the bakers had problems with their meringue being too ‘wet’. Benjamina got a glowing result, as did Jane. Selasi’s curd was his only let down. Rav’s meringue was not stable enough, but they enjoyed his flavours. Andrew’s pie also lacked volume from his meringue, but his curd was ‘beautiful’ according to Paul. Tom’s pastry was not baked through and the judges couldn’t taste any citrus. Candice failed to impress with the apperance of her tart.

This week’s technical challenge was to make two herb fougasse. A leaf shaped bread flavoured with three different herbs – thyme, sage and rosemary. The main part of the instructions the bakers struggled with was how to cut the bread. Some made the middle cuts on top of one another, and some made them next to each other. There was also variety in the choice of proving time chosen.

Tom was relieved to be doing bread as this is his comfort zone, also he got quite stressed towards the end of the challenge. Selasi was his usual over relaxed self, and he didn’t get his bread in the oven quickly enough so it wasn’t baked through. A few of the bakers added water to the bottom of the oven to create steam as the bread baked. Selasi came last, Andrew 6th, Candice 5th and Jane 4th. Leading up the top three were Rav in 3rd, Benjamina 2nd and the winner was Tom.

This week’s showstopper was to make a spectacular three tiered floral cake. The floral element could be the decoration or flavours. Mary warned against over powering them with floral flavours, and Paul wanted exceptional decoration. Andrew’s three cakes were cherry & almond, strawberry & vanilla and lemon & elderflower. He decorated them simply with buttercream and fresh flowers, the judges thought it was too simple and his cake was dry. Rav spent the whole challenge in quite a nervous state as he doesn’t do “pretty” when it comes to baking. His cakes were all only one flavour, which was orange blossom & almond. The judges found it uncreative.

Tom used floral teas as her flavour inspiration and his three cakes were flavoured with camomile, jasmine, green and elderflower teas. He also made genoise sponges and decorated with a pretty floral effect, Mary called it simple but it clearly took a long time to do. She said his cakes were brilliant. Candice made a four tier changing of the seasons cake which looked really impressive and the judges agreed. Her flavours were chocoalte & orange, lemon & raspberry, spiced carrot and her Nan’s boiled fruit cake. I love how she uses inspiration from her her family for her bakes and it is always a success when she does this, like with her gingerbread pub.

Jane didn’t use any flower flavours in her cake and went for all orange sponges. She suffered from lack of timing throughout the whole challenge and even had to throw one cake away. She made floral chocolate collars and buttercream flowers but due to her timing problems they were very messy. Selasi made a stunning cake that really showcased his piping skills, it was flavoured with carrot, strawberry & vanilla, and lemon & poppyseed. The judges loved all of his cakes too! Benjamina produced a gorgeous naked cake which Paul said looked ‘unfinished’ – has he never seen a naked cake before?! They are everywhere! Get yourself on Pinterest Paul. Her spongers were camomile, honey & poppyseed, and orange blossom & almond. Unfortunately they were slightly underbaked.

Rav left us this week and Tom won star baker. It was a tricky one as Andrew and Jane equally could have left, and Selasi and Candice equally could have won star baker. If any of those three names for either decision had been announced I would not have been surprised. Next week is desserts week.

I wanted to go all out this week and make the showstopper. I couldn’t do three tiers as I don’t have the right size pans and I didn’t have time to buy any. I did however realise that this is the first time I’ve ever made a tiered cake! So I’m starting small, but who knows how many tiers I’ll make next time round!

I started with the lemon and elderflower sponge. I creamed together 350g butter and 350g sugar, then added the zest of 3 lemons.

I added 6 eggs, 2 at a time, and mixed between each one. And 3 tsp elderflower cordial. Then I added 350g self raising flour.

I divided the mixture between two 9 inch lined and greased tins. I always make a hole in the middle to avoid the cake from doming on the top too much.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 35 minutes until they were golden brown and a skewer came out clean.

While the cakes were baking I made a syrup from 10 tbsp caster sugar, 50ml elderflower cordial and the juice of 3 lemons.

I used my  Joseph Joseph Glaze Refillable Silicone Pastry Brush to brush the syrup all over the hot cakes, then I left them to cool. It was sent to me recently as part of their new baking range and it made this task so much easier!

Then I moved onto the orange and honey sponge. I creamed together 180g butter and 180g caster sugar. I added the zest of 1 orange, then 3 eggs, 1 tbsp honey and finally 180g self raising flour.

 

I divided the mixture into two 6 inch lined and greased tins.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 25 minutes. They took a lot longer to bake through so they were a bit darker than I wanted. I brushed a syrup made from the zest of 1 orange and 85g honey all over the cakes and left them to cool.

After trimming the cakes around the side and top to make sure they were neat and level, I started stacking them. I used apricot jam between each layer as I had some to use up in the fridge and I wanted something fairly neutral so the flavour of the cake would come across. Lemon curd would work really well too though.

I used four wooden skewers as dowels in the bottom sponge to support the top cake and avoid any sinking/collapsing.

Then I stacked up the two smaller cakes.

I had to make a lot of buttercream to cover and decorate this cake. I total I used 750g butter and 1.5kg icing sugar. I made the icing in two batches, and I also added 1 1/2 tsp orange extract and 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract to each batch.

I covered the cake in a base layer, or crumb coat, of icing. Then I put it in the fridge for an hour to set.

I turned my piping bag inside out and painted stripes of baby pink food colouring inside. I turned it back the right way, then filled it with buttercream.

I covered the whole cake in buttercream rosettes.

I made a last minute decision to make some flowers, and I rolled out some baby pink renshaw fondant. I used a fab flower tool to make the flowers, for full details on the tool and how to use it have a read of my Elderflower Cupcakes post.

I used a madeline tin to put the flowers in while they dried.

I used a dab of water to stick a pink sugar pearl in the middle. Then I stuck them all over the cake.

I was really pleased with the appearance of the cake. I’m not a very girly person, so I don’t often make things that are this pink and flowery! But I did think it looked lovely and the rosettes are simple but very effective.

I was most pleased by how neat the slices looked when the cake was cut! The lemon and elderflower cake was stunning, I adored the strong citrus flavour. The orange and honey was more delicate in flavour, but certainly no less delicious.

I’m linking up with the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 hosted by Mummy Mishaps.

And with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

And with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

And with The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, for National Cake Week.

NB. I was sent the Joseph Joseph products for free, all opinions are my own.

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Citrus Floral Cake

Ingredients

  • 1.28 kg Butter
  • 530 g + 10 tbsp Caster sugar
  • 530 g Self raising flour
  • 3 Lemons
  • 50 ml + 3 tsp Elderflower cordial
  • 9 Eggs
  • 1 Orange
  • 85 g + 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1.5 kg Icing sugar
  • 8 tbsp Apricot Jam
  • Baby pink ready to roll fondant
  • Pink sugar pearls
  • 3 tsp Orange extract
  • 3 tsp Lemon extract
  • Pink food colouring

Instructions

  1. To make the lemon and elderflower sponge cream together 350g of the butter and 350g of the caster sugar, then add the zest of the lemons
  2. Add 6 of the eggs, two at a time, and mix between each addition. Then add the 3 tsp of elderflower cordial, followed by 350g of the self raising flour, and mix in
  3. Divide the mixture between two 9 inch lined and greased tins. Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 35 minutes until they are golden brown and a skewer comes out clean
  4. While the cakes are baking make a syrup from the 10 tbsp caster sugar, 50ml of the elderflower cordial and the juice of the lemons. Brush it all over the hot cakes as soon as they come out of the oven
  5. For the orange and honey sponge cream together 180g of the butter and 180g of the caster sugar. Add the zest of the orange and mix in
  6. Add 3 of the eggs mixing between each addition, then mix in the 1 tbsp of honey and finally fold in 180g of the self raising flour
  7. Divide the mixture between two 6 inch lined and greased tins. Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 25 minutes until they are golden brown and a skewer comes out clean
  8. While the cakes are baking make a syrup from the zest of the orange and 85g of the honey. Brush it all over the hot cakes as soon as they come out of the oven
  9. If required, trim the cakes around the side and top to make sure they are neat and level, then start stacking them using apricot jam between each layer
  10. Use four wooden skewers or dowels in the bottom sponge to support the top cake and avoid any sinking/collapsing
  11. Make a large batch of buttercream by mixing together 750g of the butter and the icing sugar. When it's mixed add the orange and lemon extracts
  12. Cover the cake in a base layer, or crumb coat, of icing. Then put it in the fridge for an hour to set
  13. Turn the piping bag inside out and paint stripes of baby pink food colouring inside. Turn it back the right way, then fill it with buttercream. Cover the whole cake in buttercream rosettes
  14. Roll out the fondant and make flowers with a cutter and pressing tool. Allow to dry, then use a dab of water to stick a pink sugar pearl in the centre of each flower. Stick them all over the cake as desired

 

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Midnight Blue Velvet Cake & Bake Box 5 Unboxing

Midnight Blue Velvet Cake & Bake Box 5 Unboxing
My fifth Bake Box of the year arrived last week and in typical fashion I got rather over excited about the contents. If you’ve not heard of Bake Box before it’s a bi-monthly subscription service for all the baking and cake lovers out there. Once you sign up, every two months you receive a themed box filled with bakeware items, a specialist decorative item and 6 recipe cards to inspire you. You can read my other Bake Box posts here, here and here.

This month’s theme was New York and inside the box was:

  • A giant cupcake mould
  • A mini donut mould
  • A whoopie pie mould
  • Blue food colouring
  • New York themed cookie cutters
  • Chocolate decoration sheet

I had a few favourite items in this box including the mini donut pan, giant cupcake mould and the coookie cutters!

I decided to make the blue velvet cake as I thought it looked really pretty and impressive. I had a few friends coming round and I thought it would really impress them. I followed the same sponge recipe from the Bake Box but I changed the decoration and the buttercream. That’s the great thing about Bake Box, it doesn’t just provide items and recipes, it also inspires you to bake new things.

To make the sponge I started by sieving 400g plain flour, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder into a bowl.

In another bowl I mixed together 400ml buttermilk, 3 eggs, 2 tsp cider vinegar and 2 tsp vanilla extract.

The blue food colouring was supplied in the Bake Box, and I also decided to use my Wilton easier layer cake pans which I lined and greased.

In a third bowl I creamed together 350g butter and 350g caster sugar. I then added 1 1/2 tbsp of the blue food colouring. I definitely added way too much as my cake turned out bluer than I wanted, so I would suggest adding 1 tbsp or even 3/4 tbsp. It will depend on how potent your food colouring is to how much you need to use.

I added the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the bowl in thirds, one at a time, and mixed between each addition.

I seperated the batter into the four greased and lined pans. I always make a hole in the middle as it stops the cakes from ‘doming’ too much in the middle.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes, and they were definitely bluer than I wanted them to be! More like a midnight blue – hence the name of the cake! I left them to cool.

To make the cream cheese frosting I started by mixing together 600g icing sugar and 100g butter. Then I added 250g full fat cream cheese and 1 tsp vanilla and mixed it well with an electric mixer. I put it in the fridge to chill.

I’m not the most talented with fondant icing so I decided to decorate the cake with some blue, white and red meringues in keeping with the American theme. I followed a Meringue Girls recipe and started by heating the sugar in the oven on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes. To find out the weight of sugar to use, weigh your egg whites, then double the sugar weight.

Meanwhile I whipped up the egg whites (I had 3) with 3/4 tsp cream of tartar until stiff peaks formed.

I prepared the piping bags whilst the sugar was in the oven. I turned them upside down and painted stripes of red food colouring on one, and blue food colouring on the other.

I continued to whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer and added the warm sugar a spoonful at a time. When it was all mixed in, I kept mixing for 5 minutes until I could rub the meringue between my fingers and could not feel any grains.

I halved the meringue and put it into the prepared piping bags. I piped it out onto baking trays. It took me a few tries to get the kisses neat, and the recipe made way more than I needed for the cake, but they were so yummy it was ok with me!

I baked the meringues on 90C/200F (it’s hard to convert this into Gas Mark as it’s less than a half) for 40 minutes.

I trimed the edges of the sponges as needed then started to stack them, spreading the cream cheese frosting between each layer. I piped the cream cheese frosting on top for a neat finish, then sprinkled some of the crumbs from trimming the sponges on top.

Finally I decorated the top of the cake with the meringues. Both the cake and the spare meringues went down really well with my friends – despite making everyone’s mouths blue! Thankfully I was told it was completely worth it. The little meringues are amazing and they just melt in the mouth, definitely a recipe I’ll use again both on their own and to decorate cakes.

I’m linking this cake up with Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello.

 

And with The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen, this would be a great bake for a Macmillan Coffee Morning.

And with the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary, as I used leftover egg white that I had in the freezer to make the meringues.

Disclaimer: I am sent the Bake Box free of charge, all opinions are my own.

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Midnight Blue Velvet Cake

Ingredients

  • 400 g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 400 ml Buttermilk
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 450 g Butter
  • 350 g Caster sugar
  • 3/4 - 1 tbsp (depending on strength) Blue food colouring
  • 600 g Icing sugar
  • 250 g Cream cheese
  • 3 Egg whites
  • Double the weight of your egg whites Caster sugar
  • Red food colouring
  • 3/4 tsp Cream of tartar

Instructions

  1. To make the sponge sieve the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a bowl
  2. In another bowl mix together the buttermilk, eggs, cider vinegar and 2 tsp of the vanilla extract
  3. In a third bowl cream together 350g of the butter and the caster sugar. Then add the blue food colouring, add enough for a deep blue colour
  4. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the bowl in thirds, one at a time, and mix between each addition
  5. Separate the batter into four greased and lined pans
  6. Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes, then turn them out of the pans and leave them to cool
  7. To make the cream cheese frosting mix together the icing sugar and 100g of the butter. Then add the cream cheese and 1 tsp of the vanilla. Mix well with an electric mixer then put it in the fridge to chill
  8. To make the meringues heat the caster sugar in the oven on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes. To find out the weight of sugar to use, weigh your egg whites, then double the sugar weight
  9. Whip up the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks formed
  10. Prepare the piping bags by turning them upside down and painting stripes of red food colouring on one, and blue food colouring on the other
  11. When the sugar is done, continue to whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer and add the warm sugar a spoonful at a time. When it is all mixed in, keep mixing for 5 minutes until you can rub the meringue between your fingers and cannot feel any grains
  12. Halve the meringue and put it into the prepared piping bags. Pipe it out onto lined baking traysBake the meringues on 90C/200F (it’s hard to convert this into Gas Mark as it’s less than a half) for 40 minutes
  13. Trim the edges of the sponges as needed then started to stack them, spreading the cream cheese frosting between each layer. Pipe the cream cheese frosting on top for a neat finish, then sprinkled some of the crumbs from trimming the sponges on top
  14. Decorate the top of the cake with the meringues
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Homemade Jaffa Cakes: GBBO Season Seven Begins!

Homemade Jaffa Cakes: GBBO Season Seven Begins!
The Great British Bake Off is back for it’s seventh year on our TV screens and this means that my yearly ‘bake along’ commences too. If you’re new to my blog – hello! And also, you won’t know that I’ve been baking along to The Great British Bake Off for 4 years now, with this year being my fifth year! I started doing this in order to increase my skills and expand my baking repertoire. I’ve learnt so much and baked such a wide variety of things that I may never have tried otherwise. I’m excited to get started on another year of baking adventures. If you’d like to check out all of my past GBBO bakes click here.

As usual the bakers this year are a mix of ages, professions and ethnic backgrounds. There’s Val who’s 66 and loves exercise, Ed Sheeran and “listens” to her bakes. Andrew who’s 25 and designs jet engines for a living. Candice who’s 31 and a PE teacher. And Rav who’s 28 and is into vegan baking and far eastern cuisine. It’s so hard to tell at the start who will go the distance!

The first challenge for the bakers was to make a drizzle cake, and it must be moist. Paul said they are taking the challenges back to basics, so making it easier, but the judging would only get harder! Mary wanted the twelve new bakers to be inventive.

Any bakers doing a two layer cake were asked by Paul and Mary if they were putting the drizzle on both layers – which is a massive flashing warning light to the bakers that this is what they should be doing! First week nerves hit everyone, Lee immediately hit issues as his mixture kept separating. Selasi was the most laidback baker in the tent, when he forgot to put cinnamon in his cake batter he just put in the drizzle instead. Jane forgot to add ground almonds so had to make her cake again.

Benjamina got great comments from the judges, as did Candice, Jane and Selasi. The others bakers had problems with texture, lack of drizzle and missing flavours.

This week’s technical challenge was jaffa cakes. This entailed making a fatless genoise sponge, and orange jelly, and neatly covering them in chocolate. Mary said they are a great British classic and she wanted them to be absolutely perfect. No pressure bakers!

Some of the bakers made the sponge by whisking the eggs and sugar over simmering water, none of them knew how long to bake the sponge for, and a couple of them got confused on which way round the sponges should be. Andrew did all of his upside down, then almost presented them with the chocolate on the bottom, not sure if he’s eaten jaffa cake before?! Unfortunately that meant he came last, Lee was eleventh, Val tenth, Louise ninth, Rav eighth, Jane seventh and Benjamina sixth. Candice made it into the top five with fifth place and Kate came fourth. Michael was third, Tom second and Selasi was first.

The showstopper challenge was to make a mirror glaze cake, which should be as shiny as a mirror, and cover the entire cake. The sponge must also be a genoise. Mary was looking for sheer perfection and Paul wanted something that would stick in their minds. There was a great variety of flavours from salted praline with white chocolate from Benjamina, matcha tea from Michael and

Candice had a lot of trouble making her genoise sponge, she made them multiple times and even chucked one across the tent like a frisbee! Tom, Benjamina and Val also made their sponges more than once. The cakes, once baked and cooled had to be covered with a base layer, or crumb coat, of either ganache or buttercream. There were the first tears of the series from Benjamina as her swiss meringue buttercream was too runny, Sue was there to offer comfort and kind words.

Jane got great results from the judges, with both her flavours and appearance getting praised. Rav’s mirror glaze also looked good, the Paul didn’t like the texture of his cake. Despite having too much gin in his drizzle cake, Tom didn’t have enough alcohol in his mirror glaze cake this time! Unfortunately for Michael the judges didn’t like matcha tea, although I thought his presentation looked stunning. Kate’s cake was very messy, but Mary liked the gooseberry flavour.

Selasi was praised for his cake as he was the only one to do a fruit glaze and fill his cake with a set mousse, Mary said it was a joy to eat and Paul said it was simple, elegant and beautifully flavoured. Val’s cake looked good, but she’d used caster sugar in her buttercream. Lee’s cake had a messy appearance on the outside and the sponge was dry. Louise had no mirror glaze at all, but her cake was delicious. Benjamina had a simple but good looking cake, with lovely flavours. Candice had a good mirror glaze, but her vanilla genoise was not cooked well. Andrew’s cake looked stunning and Paul called it fantastic all over.

 

Lee was the first baker to leave the tent, as he did badly in all three challenges he was the obvious choice. Jane got star baker which surprised me to be honest as I really thought Selasi deserved the title. Next week is biscuit week!

I decided to make this week’s technical challenge – Homemade Jaffa Cakes. Partly at my boyfriend’s request, and partly because they looked really yummy! I followed Mary Berry’s recipe for them and changed a couple of bits here and there to suit.

I started by making the orange jelly the night before as it takes a couple of hours to set. I used a sachet of Robinson’s orange jelly as it was the only one in the supermarket suitable for vegetarians, I found it in Asda. I followed the instructions on the packet and I also added the zest of 1 orange. I added a small amount of orange food colouring too as I wanted it to be brightly coloured when the jaffa cakes were cut into. I lined a baking tray with cling film for the jelly to set in one even layer.

To make the sponge I started by greasing a muffin tin with butter.

I used an electric whisk to whisk up 1 large egg and 25g caster sugar for 4-5 minutes until it was thick and pale. I then gently folded in 25g self raising flour.

I only got enough for 10 sponges, so I made another lot of mixture and greased up another muffin tin.

I baked each lot of sponges on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 9 minutes, turning the tray around in the oven after 7 minutes.

I tipped the jelly out onto some baking paper and cut out circles using a 1 1/2 inch cutter.

Then I melted 250g dark chocolate and gently covered the top of each cake using a spoon. I then used a fork to give the top some texture. I put them in the fridge to set the chocolate.

Then I tucked in! These are so satisfying to eat, breaking through the crisp dark chocolate to find tangy orange jelly and light as air soft sponge is a great feeling. One that can too easily be enjoyed over and over and over again…!

I’m linking up to Cook Blog Share hosted by Sneaky Veg.

And We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

And Tea Time Treats hosted by Lavender & Lovage.

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Homemade Jaffa Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 Robinsons's Orange Jelly Sachet
  • 1 Orange
  • 2 Free range large eggs
  • 50 g Self raising flour
  • 50 g Caster sugar
  • 250 g Dark chocolate
  • Orange food colouring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Line a baking tray with cling film and follow the instructions on the packet to make the jelly, also add the zest of 1 orange. Add a small amount of orange food colouring too at this point if desired. Pour the jelly into the lined tray and leave in the fridge to set for approx 2 hours or overnight
  2. Grease two muffin tins with butter or margarine
  3. Use an electric whisk to whisk up the egg and caster sugar for 4-5 minutes until it is thick and pale
  4. Gently fold in the self raising flour
  5. Bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 9 minutes, turning the tray around in the oven after 7 minutes
  6. Gently tip the jelly out onto some baking paper and cut out circles using a 1 1/2 inch cutter
  7. Melt the dark chocolate and gently cover the top of each cake using a spoon. Then used a fork to give the top some texture. Put them in the fridge to set the chocolate
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Funfetti Birthday Cake

Funfetti Birthday Cake
 It was my birthday this weekend and I’ve just got back from a lovely weekend in Windemere. I fancied a quiet one this year, but of course had to have some afternoon tea to celebrate! We went to the amazing Holbeck Ghyll and enjoyed a delicious selection of cakes and pastries. Last week I made myself a birthday cake, I usually make my favourite cake in the world for my birthday – Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream – however this year I fancied trying something different! I’ve seen funfetti cakes a lot online and I wanted to give one a try, here is how I got on…

I made the sponge by creaming together 350g butter and 350g caster sugar. I added 6 eggs, one at a time, and mixed between each addition. I then added 3 tsp vanilla extract, and finally folded in 350g self raising flour.

Then I added 50g of sprinkles! I got these ones from ebay.

I divided the mixture equally between two lined and greased 22cm tins. I made a hole in the middle as this stops the cake from doming in the middle (don’t worry it fills up as it bakes!)

I baked the cakes on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes. I left them upside down to cool and to flatten the tops fully.

I made the icing from 300g butter, 600g icing sugar and 3 tsp vanilla extract.

I piped blobs around the edge of the bottom layer of sponge using a piping bag with the end snipped off, then filled in the middle using a palette knife.

I put on the second layer of sponge and smoothed icing all over the top again using a palette knife to make it as smooth as possible.

I then used a piping bag with a nozzle to pipe swirls around the edge and I filled the middle with more sprinkles!

The cake was so pretty when I cut into it – I was so pleased with how it turned out! It has such a colourful and festive appearance. The bright rainbow colours of this funfetti cake are what make it stand out, and the light vanilla sponge and sweet vanilla buttercream give it lovely flavour.

I’m linking up with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

And Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Honest Mum.

And Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too.

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Funfetti Birthday Cake

Ingredients

  • 650 g Butter
  • 350 g Caster sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 6 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 350 g Self raising flour
  • 600 g Icing sugar
  • 75 g Sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Cream together 350g of the butter and the caster sugar
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix between each addition
  3. Then added 3 tsp of the vanilla extract, and fold in the self raising flour
  4. Fold in 50g of the sprinkles
  5. Divide the mixture equally between two lined and greased 22cm tins. Make a hole in the middle as this stops the cake from doming in the middle
  6. Bake the cakes on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes. Leave them upside down to cool and to flatten the tops fully
  7. For the buttercream, mix together 300g of the butter, the icing sugar and 3 tsp of the vanilla extract
  8. Pipe blobs around the edge of the bottom layer of sponge using a piping bag with the end snipped off, then fill in the middle using a palette knife
  9. Put on the second layer of sponge and smoothed icing all over the top again using a palette knife to make it as smooth as possible
  10. Then use a piping bag with a nozzle to pipe swirls around the edge and fill the middle with more sprinkles!
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