Irish Coffee Cake


Irish Coffee Cake 1

As I sat drinking a break time coffee wishing it was an Irish version, I realised that within my daylight hours I resided in a regimented World punctuated by bells, demands and deadlines. On top of that I’ve two self-inflicted days of fasting followed by five days of visiting the ‘Land of eat whatever I fancy’. Life felt too controlled, I longed to be free even if just for 10 minutes so I hatched a cunning lunch time plan that involved:

  1. Desertion
  2. Crime
  3. Smuggling contraband

Irish Coffee Cake 4

That does sound grand, but you’ll be glad to know that the contraband was in the form of Irish coffee cake which is the most acceptable way to bring alcohol into the workplace (ooh I’m so naughty).

I tortured myself by making this cake on a fasting day; there was no licking of fingers, bowls or sneaky tasting therefore its success remained a mystery until the next day (I know I’m so hard-core in the self-torture department). When I took these pictures I had to wrap the cake slice up and yes that was very hard, I may have licked my computer screen just a little bit but don’t tell anyone.

Irish Coffee Cake 5

As the following lunch time at work arrived I threw off my goody two shoes veil to become a wicked woman about to take a walk on the dark side. I deserted my post, stole out of the confines and told myself I could just keep on walking if I didn’t feel any better after five minutes. Trees whispered, birds darted past and teenager’s feet stampeded for cover as I inadvertently walked past their secret cigarette lair all of which made me smile.

Irish Coffee Cake 2

I felt so much better that I turned back towards the hallowed halls. Feeling stronger I dared myself to commit a detention nominated crime by entering a clearly marked exit door and skipped up the one way only stairs. There was one mission left to complete as I crept back into my office trying to hide the flush of fresh air which had reddened my face. I pulled out the contraband, my hands shook slightly as I opened the foil hiding a cake cocktail* of rich coffee with Baileys white chocolate buttercream. The time was now, fast day was over and there was only two more minutes of peace before the bells tolled so I took a big bite and realised there is truth within the words ‘naughty but nice’. The cake tasted exactly as I imagined it, I felt like I’d been transported to a glitzy restaurant where I indulged in an Irish coffee over lazy chatter.

It’s the little things in life that matter, you’ll never say on your death-bed ‘I’m so glad I spent all those hours at work’ instead why not take just 10 minutes for yourself and be a little bit naughty next lunch time. Your work will be better due to lower stress levels which results in an increase in effectiveness and cake always boosts happiness so what’s to lose?

*always eat cake responsibly

Traditionally, Irish coffee consists of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar stirred and topped with thick cream I have altered this idea to fit my cake vision (fresh cream wasn’t that practical for transporting) but feel free to adapt it anyway you wish.

Irish Coffee Cake 3

Irish Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake Ingredients

400g Salted Butter (room temperature)
400g Caster sugar
400g Self raising flour
8 eggs
5 tbsp espresso ground coffee (instant) mixed with 3 tbsp of boiling water

Instructions for Coffee Cake

1. Pre heat the oven to 160 / 140 fan or Gas 3
2. Line two deep 20cm tins (do use the right size tins to avoid disaster)
3. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy (5 minutes as this is what makes the cake rise so beautifully to get the full big cake wow factor so not skimp this part. I also find that using very soft butter (but not liquid) helps the creaming process)
4. Add the eggs two at a time and sift quarter of the flour into the mixture and beat until combined
5. Repeat until all eggs and flour are used up
6. Add coffee extract and mix
7. Place the tins in the oven on the middle shelf for approx 50 minutes (all ovens vary so check your cake after 45 mins)
8. Cakes are ready when the skewer can be inserted into the cake and it come out clean.
9. Leave in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool

White Chocolate and Baileys Buttercream Recipe

250g Salted Butter (room temperature)
500g Icing sugar
250g White chocolate melted
125ml Baileys (or cheaper alternative!)

White Chocolate and Baileys Buttercream Instructions

1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy
2. Melt the chocolate ( I do mine in 10 second stints in the microwave)
3. Let the melted chocolate cool slightly (10 mins)
4. Pour the chocolate into the buttercream mixture in small quantities beating as you do until all the chocolate has been incorporated.
5. Add the baileys and beat to combine one last time

Assembly of the Cake

1. Level the cake that will be the bottom layer
2. Smother the bottom layer of cake in buttercream and add the top layer of cake
3. Smother the top of the cake in buttercream, make spiking patterns with a palette knife
4. Cover with grated chocolate

      5. Eat and enjoy your naughty contraband
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Rolo Cupcake Challenge


I’ve been playing ‘hide and seek’ with cupcakes and it’s great fun! For the game to work I baked chocolate fudge cupcakes baked with rolo inside adorned with lashings of caramel buttercream.

Rolo Chocolate Cupcake

The Rolo hidden inside was what I hoped would make them a hide and seek cupcake. Although I froze the Rolos for 24 hours before hand in the hope they would remain somehow intact inside the cupcake sadly they didn’t but who cares when your welcomed by an explosion of moist fudgy chocolate cake.

Rolo Chocolate Cupcake

Homemade caramel was added to the buttercream and then drizzled with chocolate and caramel sauce and of course a Rolo completed the ensemble.

Rolo Chocolate Cupcake

Then the fun began! Yes fun! I had to write it twice to remind myself as life rang me the other day:

“Excuse me I’m looking for fun.”

Err, I don’t know where she’s gone?” I replied whilst looking up at the ceiling wondering if she was perhaps hanging off there with the remnants of mis-tossed pancake. “Perhaps she’s gone out with childhood wonder and laughter to play.”

“Hmmmm,” Life replied. “When she gets back get her to give me a call”

“Oh, OK.” I sang before a forceful slam reverberated in my ear drum which signalled the end of the conversation.

It was then I realised fun, wonder and laughter must have got bored waiting and gone off exploring without me. After sulking for a few days I had an ephinay of sorts. I could find fun again, yes it might take some work but I was sure I could track them all back down eventually. I set myself a challenge for three weeks as I believe things should and do always come in threes. This challenge would be based on me, us and them. For me: I wanted fun back even more than ‘twihards’ want Edward to show up in their living rooms so they can breathe ‘bite me you sexy beast’.

So I set about wondering and came up with this:

  1. Could I bake a Rolo inside a cupcake and it still be whole?
  2. Is it possible to play a game involving cupcakes?
  3. Could I find fun, bring her back and share her with my Husband and teenage son?

The answer was no, yes, yes in that order. The hide and seek cupcake game is easy with two variations:

  1. Hide cupcakes around the house whichever are not found are yours so hide well and give them a time limit to find them. Hmm about 10 seconds seems fair.
  2. Set a 007 challenge to overcome household obstacles in a race against the clock to find the cupcake in 70 seconds and return back to the starting point and sing the 007 theme tune. If you haven’t seen the coke zero version of 007 challenge you must watch it for inspiration! Think locked doors, chairs, discarded toys, rogue shoes and people getting in your way so pretty much like a normal day but with cake.

They both moaned initially when they realised they had to play a game to get their cupcake but when the countdown started they couldn’t stop their little faces lighting up. You see there is nothing loved more by men than a challenge which involving man V food.

From this challenge I learnt that fun is still out there and although admitedly she just pops in every now and then I aim that one day she might stay a bit longer until the day she moves right back. When you have fun you might notice that the other people in your life seem happier too and when you share the fun you get to witness that sparkle appear back in their eyes that you forgot existed. I’m not quite at the end of my three week challenge but it makes me wonder what else can I do for 21 days?

Try it out yourself: give yourself permission to go and play ‘hide and seek’ cupcakes and find out that fun might just be waiting patiently for you to invite her back in.

Ingredients for Chocolate Fudge Rolo Cupcakes

130g room temperature butter
3 fl oz / 95 ml of boiling water
3 tsps strong coffee granules
75g Self raising flour
75g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g caster sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
5 tbsp sunflower oil

70ml sour cream

Chocolate Fudge Rolo Cake Instructions

  1. I froze my rolos for 24 hours (but up to you if you wish)
  2. Preheat the oven
  3. Line a muffin tin with liners (my mix made 13 cakes so I left one to bake later)
  4. Mix coffee with boiling water and add to a pan with butter and chocolate
  5. Heat the mixture gently to melt
  6. Sift all dry ingreadients into your mixer bowl
  7. In a bowl combine and mix eggs, oil and courcream
  8. Add both the egg and chocolate mixture to the dry ingreadients
  9. Mix on low (2 for Kitchen aid) until combined
  10. Add approx 2 tbsp of mixture (I use a cookie scoop)
  11. Add one rolo in the centre of each and top with further tbsp. to cover the rolo
  12. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the top springs back when touched or cake tester is clean
  13. Leave to cool in the tin

Caramel Buttercream Ingredients

125g caster sugar
4 tbsp of water
80ml double cream
½ tsp of salt (optional but does bring out the flavour)
1 tsp of vanilla essence
160g butter
200g icing sugar
2-3 tbsp of milk (if needed to make the buttercream lighter for piping)

Caramel Buttercream Instructions

  1. Heat the sugar and water in a pan until the sugar has disoloved
  2. Continue cooking until it turns a golden colour and thickens slightly
  3. Remove from heat and add cream be aware it may splutter so be careful
  4. Stir and leave to cool
  5. Cream butter and icing sugar for 5-6 mins (Kitchenaid gradually increase to speed 6 once combined)
  6. Add caramel and beat until combined (reserve some caramel to drizzle over your cupcakes)

To Assemble

Pipe or cover your cupcakes with lashing of caramel buttercream, drizzle melted chocolate and caramel over the top and adorn with a Rolo. Then go and hide them, trash the house and set the timer 🙂

Take a break from the grey and bake


2012 is officially the colour of Grey. Floods and continual grey skies create the perfect reading opportunity for stuck indoors women in their millions to one by one drop like flies and seek comfort in the arms of the infamous Mr Grey. I can’t go anywhere without hearing constantly  ‘I’m spending the night with Christian’, ‘I got the last copy whoop whoop’ and my personal favourite ‘I wrestled the woman in Tesco’s for it and won’    Honestly all this grey has turned my female social media friends into whipping, drooling and silk scarf frenzied sex kittens.  As with all good things Ladies you have to take a break some time or bits start to fall off so walk away from Grey and Greyer, give your racing hearts and imaginations a rest. If you really have a need to tie yourself to things that’s fine just tie yourself to the food mixer or oven door and get it over with. You all have to eat sometime so join me in my top ten round-up of bakes over the year and I hear the naughty chocolate fudge sauce is good if that’s your sort of thing.

Number One – Strawberry Pimms Cake Pop Truffles

Pimms Cake Pops / Truffles

Pimms Cake Pops / Truffles

This is where it all began and I really enjoyed making these and I think at the time that was probably because at the beginning it did not matter if the cake I baked was wonky or imperfect as it got smooshed up with various fillings to create a mouthful of heaven. If you roll cake balls in meringue before dipping them in chocolate you have an Eton mess variation and perfect for when you need something ball shaped that isn’t salty.

Two – The mis-piped naughty meringue snowmen

My piping disaster (keep on reading to see more!)

See these were a bit of a baking disaster and most of you who have spoken to me over the year will have chuckled at these.  I was not the best at piping back then and figured that the little snowmen rather naughty looking tails would go down in the oven.  Hmmm I guess I was wrong with that one however they will star on this year’s Christmas cards!

Three – Pay Day Cakes  ‘The Macchiato’

The ‘Pay Day Cake’ idea began in March with the premise that you do not scrimp on ingredients but bake a cake that has four layers in a celebration for each week worked. This one is the Machiatto based on the coffee, vanilla and caramel drink at Starbucks. After this followed Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake, The Turkish Temptress and White Chocolate Mousse cake with a secret berry blast that will keep your admirers wondering how you did it? The final cake so far is triple chocolate mousse cake with chocolate covered strawberries – do I pick the longest names or what? What next a fifty shades of grey cake how would that work?

Sticky Toffee Cake

 FourVanilla Essence (DIY)

Homemade Vanilla Essence

A great gift to you or a baking friend – why not make a few at the same time.

This has to be on the list as it is the one ingredient I use in all of my bakes – simple to make, full of flavour and saves £££ and if you add lemonade to a shot of it you have a vanilla vodka spritzer – love the dual purpose nature! Comes with a humourous tale of baking meltdowns.

FiveMojito inspired Polenta Cake

Mojito polenta cake

Polenta cake – this is a dairy and gluten-free option you know you will be safe most places you need to take cake. Moist, tangy, easy to make and very portable with no fussy icing to worry about – bake it and job done and if you like it try the lemon and berry version.

SixJammie Dodger CheesecakesJammie Dodger Cheesecake

Perfect little pick me up with a creamy cheesecake, jamminess and biscuit all rolled into one. You would think a soft biscuit base wouldn’t work but it really does and cute too.  Comes with a tale about synchronicity.

Seven – Raspberry Bakewell Cake

Raspberry Bakewell Cake

Another dairy and gluten free cake (but you would never know) that is just as good as a Bakewell tart but far less hassle. I have a love of simple loaf cakes and my top tip is buy cake liners for your tins to save time from fiddly lining with baking paper. Why not try out Left over Banana, honeycomb and chocolate or Lemon and Blueberry.

EightNaughty Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Just perfect for pouring over ice-cream sundaes, traybakes, puddings or whatever else takes your fancy but I don’t want to know about it thank you very much. Keeps in a jar in the fridge and then just heat and pour over your choosen dessert or body parts includes cute labels as well so you can give it as a gift but please don’t tie the labels to body parts as that would just be wrong.

Nine – Palmiers, Berries and Macaron Ice-Cream

Juicy berry Palmiers with ice-cream oozing with berries and crushed macarons which is the perfect use for them if they have gone hideously wrong as mine do. Accompanied by a funny story of blackberry picking disasters and walking like John Wayne but without needing Mr Grey to do that for me.

TenSprinkle Spiral Cookies

Made for Valentines day with love and such fun to hang on the side of cups (if you cleverly cut them as soon as you take them out of the oven before they begin to harden. Any colour or flavour would work with these and they freeze well so you can make ahead and bake when needed. I keep a frozen cookie roll in my freezer which also serves as a back up weapon to ward off any intruders. Please don’t get any ideas of putting cookie rolls anywhere they shouldn’t go as that would be a hard one to explain at the NHS walk in centre.

Hope you enjoyed my round-up and here’s to more bakes ahead. As for Mr Gey I’m avoiding you for the moment as my kitchen is my own version of a ‘red room of pain’ where I’m often found weeping in dispair, involunatrily tied up in piping bags or yelling with sheer baked ecstacy all without having read the trilogy.  Apparently there is expected to be a 50 shades baby boom which will lead to some interesting questions for those parents in the next decade.  I can imagine their conversations now, ‘Mum, how was I concieved?’ and the reply ‘Well Your Dad tied me to the Kitchenaid and I spanked him with the beater attachment whilst balancing a cupcake on my head’ oh dear Mr Grey what you got us into?

Thanks to all who have supported me, commented, followed and the extra pounds my close friends and family have endured so far in my little journey. What was your favourite?

Love to all x Up next gooey popcorn bars traybake

Turkish Delight Layer Cake (Gluten Free)


A 60th Birthday is the excuse for this month’s pay day cake and this is the 3rd so far in my pay day cake quest.  If you missed the espresso hit ‘Macchiato’ and the moist gluten free ‘Sticky toffee pudding’ layer cake then do take a look.  This cake is for a man who is enchanted by the lure of eastern promise. So it had to be a turkish delight and chocolate cake just like his favourite bar.  I know this is not going to be everyone’s favourite but you can always choose not to use the rose in the buttercream and have a chocolate and vanilla layer cake instead.

Turkisjh Delight Layer Cake

So I set to work with my usual staple of four layers of cake – this time using a moist and dark chocolate cake.  This cake never fails me and I do believe if it is not broke don’t fix it. Ganache however is a whole new ball game for me and it was most defiantly a challenge.

Turkish Delight Layer Cake

A vibrant pink rose flavoured buttercream sandwiched the layers together.  Rich dark ganache held it all snuggly together and turkish delight adorned the top of the cake like glistening jewels.  Ok, I admit I did get glitter happy but it is a birthday cake and all birthday cakes deserve a bit of sparkle I think.  I think Edmund from the ‘Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ would have worn this cake as a crown if the White Witch would have given it to him.

Luckily I did not have to belly dance or go as a sultry lady to give him the cake (phew!).  Like magic the cake vanished so quickly his wife had to rescue a piece for him and hide at the back of the fridge. I let out a huge sigh of relief that not only had I made it, got there in one piece and was devoured.

Rich dark chocolate cake
150g dark chocolate chopped into tiny pieces
200ml milk
450g light brown sugar
150g salted butter at room temperature
4 eggs at room temperature
300g plain flour
3 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

To make gluten-free – substitute the flour for gluten-free plain flour – no need to add xanthum gum as this cake is very moist and does not need it. I have baked this chocolate cake gluten-free on a number of occasions and find it works very well.  I am going to try this with with spelt flour next time.  To find out more about gluten-free baking see my top tips here.

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 160 C / 140 fan  / Gas 3
2. Line 2 x 20cm cake tins with greaseproof paper
3. Chop up the chocolate into small chunks and place the chocolate, milk and half the sugar into a saucepan
4. Heat until the chocolate is fully melted and remove from the heat
5. Beat the butter and remaining sugar until light and fluffy ( about five minutes)
6. Add the eggs one at a time (adda spoonful of flour if the mixture curdles)
7. Sift the cocoa , flour , baking powder and bicarb into the mixture
8. Mix on a low-speed until fully combined
9. Pour into the tins and bake on the middle shelf for approx 40 minutes
10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

Rose Buttercream
200g softened butter
200g icing sugar
Few drops (to taste) of rose extract – be sparing it is powerful stuff
Drops of pink food colour (optional)

Instructions

1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy
2. Add the milk (or for richness use condensed milk)
3. Add a few drops of pink food colouring (optional)
4. Add a few drops of rose extract (use sparingly, mix and taste after each drop I would suggest until you get it how you like it)

Ganache
400g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
400g single cream
Few drops of glucose (optional but makes the chocolate nice and shiny)

Instructions
1. Chop the chocolate into very small chunks
2. Put the cream into a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil and remove from the heat
3. Pour the cream over the chocolate (or add the chocolate to the pan) and let it have about a minute before stirring it to melt the chocolate
4. Set aside to cool

To Assemble the Cake

Cut each cake into two even layers (I use a tape measure to make sure each layer is evenly sized. I don’t have a cake stand that rotates but I do use a revolving cheese board stand but you could also uses a lazy Susan to do the job. Add a dollop of buttercream to the centre of your stand and add your first layer of cake and press down – this will keep your cake in place while you work.

Assembly
1. Spread buttercream across the bottom layer .
2. Add the next cake layer carefully and repeat until all layers are done
3. Do not refrigerate cake as this will cause the ganache to go off too quickly.
4. Using a large palette knife – spread the chocolate ganche around the cake and top with turkish delight. Ganache I found to be a bit more tricky than buttercream (see below)

Chocolate Ganache
One minute it was too warm so was slipping off the cake in gloops of molten chocolate goo. The next minute it seemed to be staying put, spreading well and it was beautiful and glossy.  Then I turned by back for less than a minute and when I returned the ganache had started to harden and that was it – time up!  Luckily for me I still had a bit of ganache left over which I warmed for a few seconds in the microwave just to gloss over any areas I was not happy with.  I think I need a bit more practise with this!

Enjoy!

Up Next: Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Layer Cake (Gluten Free)


This is my second pay day cake as the first was the ‘Macchiatto’ espresso, vanilla and caramel layer cake and this month I wanted to create a sticky toffee pudding cake that was moist, not covered in sickly buttercream but smooth and silky in the mouth.  It was not easy to photogrpah this cake and it may look a lttle dark but I assure you it is not burnt just crammed full of dark rich dates.Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake by Cakeboule

My pay day cake idea revolves around creating a reward to celebrate the fact that I’ve been paid and made it to the end of another month as we should all be thankful if we have jobs these days. However I believe there is always an excuse that can be made for making or eating cake so that it does not need to be kept solely for Birthday celebrations, here are a few examples:

1. I love you cake (aka its all for me)
2. It’s Friday, Monday cake etc whatever day you want to celebrate
3. ‘I saved a fortune by getting all this in the sale’ cake (honest)
4. I put up with your snoring so I deserve cake
5. There is a celebration most days on google with a funky graphic so if you are really desperate use that as your excuse!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake by Cakeboule

You don’t have to go the full monty and make a four tiered layer cake as I do this to me as each layer represents a week worked. If you wanted to you could half the recipe and bake it a 20cm tin, cut in half and smother the middle it in sticky toffee sauce. Or you could heat it up, drizzle with more sauce and serve with ice cream for a delicious pudding. The bonus of a cake version is that is portable so you can have a sticky toffee hit where ever you go.

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake by Cakeboule

This produces a dense moist cake but it is not overly sweet like you might expect as it uses a swiss meringue buttercream flavoured with the sticky toffee sauce. Unlike a normal buttercream (butter and icing sugar) swiss meringue buttercream is not as sweet so will need flavouring. The buttercream is a bit fiddly but not as bad to make as I thought it would be and the reward is a very smooth silky buttercream that knocks the socks off any other I have tried.

Sticky Toffee Cake

To Make this Gluten Free
I have made this gluten free a few times before with great success.  Simply substitute the self raising flour (see below) with gluten free self raising flour (I use Doves Farm). As this is a very moist cake it works well as a gluten free cake and needs no further moisture or xanthum gum. For more gluten free info – ready my 7 tips for gluten free baking here.

Ingredients (cake)
450g dates, pitted and chopped (soaked in 300ml water with 4 green tea bags or use ordinary tea bags)
2 tsp vanilla extract ( use my own version so I know it has no nasty stuff in it)
2 tsp mixed spice
360g self-raising flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
230g unsalted butter, softened
350g light muscovado sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions for the Cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
2. Line 2 x 20cm round loose bottomed tin with greaseproof paper.
3. Using scissors cut up the dates into small pieces.
4. Put the dates and water into a large saucepan.
5. Bring dates and water to the boil and continue to cook uncovered for 8 minutes until dates have softened
6. Remove from heat, fish out the teabags – remember count them in and out as you don’t want to forget one – it’s just like being on a school trip.
7. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda – this may make the mixture froth so be careful.
8. Leave the date mixture cool on the side – although if you are impatient (like me) the cake will still work but it will melt the butter so it won’t be as fluffy and cake like.
9. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth, pale and airy.
10.Beat in the eggs and add to the butter and sugar mixture. Add vanilla extract.
11. To the mixture in the flour and the e mixture (cooled).
12. Pour (as this is quite a liquid mixture) into the prepared baking tins and level the surface.
13. Cover the cake with foil
14. Bake for approximately approx 30 mins and then remove the foil ( to prevent burning) and bake for approx 10 minutes more. It is ready when the top is golden and the cake has begun to shrink away for the sides. It will still have a little bit of a wobble as the mixture is moist.
15. Leave to cool in the tin and transfer to a wire rack.
16. I always leave cakes that are being layered overnight in an airtight container wrapped in greaseproof paper so that they do not crumble when you cut them.

Ingredients for Sticky Toffee Sauce
120g light brown sugar
120g salted butter (but unsalted works just as well)
100ml cream (I used Elmlea half fat)

Instructions for the Sauce
1. Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved whilst stirring so the sugar does not burn. To check the sugar has dissoleved you can put a very small amount on your fingers and rub them together it should not feel gritty but be careful as it will be hot.
2. Stir in the cream and heat until gently bubbling – stir continually. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Tip – You can always double the recipe and put it into an airtight jar and store in the fridge for toffee fudge sundaes in the next week – yum!

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (Adapted from Sweetapolita)
If you have never done swiss meringues before I urge you to read Sweetapolita’s article – swiss meringue buttercream demystified – it is a god send and made me feel far more confident that was until it curdled – but I have included how I fixed this later on in this article!

Ingredients
120g egg whites (I used liquid egg whites which you can buy in a carton from the Supermarket as they are pasturised)
200g granulated sugar
340g butter (soft but still cool)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Vanilla bean (seeds only)

Special equipment
Double boiler, baine marie / porriger pan or use a bowl over a saucepan – make sure this clean by wiping it with a lemon or vinegar
Sugar or jam thermometer

1. Beat your butter using a hand whisk and transfer to a seprate bowl for later.
2. Add about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan / bowl and add the egg whites and sugar to the pan / bowl
3. Whisk gently over a low heat until the egg whites reach 140C and then remove from the heat
4. Pour egg whites into mixer bowl and whisk on medium speed for five minutes. Continue on high until stiff peaks form. Keep whisking until the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm – this is really important as you do not want to melt the butter when you add it (this takes about 8 – 10 mins)
5. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time whilst still mixing and watch it until it has combined – continue in this way until all the butter has been added. If you mixture is soupy you did not wait long enough for the egg whites to cool – put the mixture back it the fridge and then try again in 15-20 mins. Is it curdled and yukkly? See below…
6. The mixture will come together to become light and fluffy – add the sticky toffee topping to your own taste – add a tablespoon of sauce (one at a time) whilst still mixing. Any left over sauce can be used over ice-creams for sundaes!

Dillema – The Swiss Meringue Buttercream Curdle (How to recuse it)
Yes I hit this problem and I kept mixing the buttercream like Sweetapolita tells you to do and have faith that all will be fine. After five minutes faith was leaving me, I tried putting it in the fridge, praying, beating it on high, low but none if it changed the fact that the SMB looked disgusting!

However I did find something that works on this site – take 1/4 of the mixture out and pour into a microwavable bowl – heat for 15 seconds and then stir it to get a smooth consistency before pouring it back into your mixture. Whisk again on a low-speed. This worked and I was so pleased to have saved the buttercream.

Toffee Swiss Meringue Buttercream

To Assemble the Cake

Cut each cake into two even layers (I use a tape measure to make sure each layer is evenly sized. I don’t have a cake stand that rotates but I do use a revolving cheese board stand but you could also uses a lazy susan to do the job. Add a dollop of buttercream to the centre of your stand and add your first layer of cake and press down – this will keep your cake in place while you work.

Assembly

1. Put half the SM buttercream into a large piping / pastry bag and use a large star open tip nozzle
2. Use a palette knife to spread out the sticky toffee sauce onto your first layer. Make sure you don’t go right to the edge or the sticky toffee sauce is likely to ooze down the sides of your cake.
3. Spread SM buttercream across the top of the sticky toffee sauce – again keep in from the edge
4. Pipe around the edge of your layer using and up and down (think waves at the sea) motion until you have gone round the entire cake
5. Add the next layer carefully so as not to squash the piping
6. Repeat until all layers are done
7. Cut up fudge pieces and add to the top if you wish

Sticy Toffee Pudding Cake

Important Storage Notes
This cake should be stored at room temperature which is fine if you used the pasturised egg whites. After a couple of days it will need to go back in the fridge if there is any left. However if you are putting in the fridge you will need to get the cake out and let it come back fully to room temperature or the icing will taste disgusting!

Quick Malt Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes


Malt chocolate cake was what I was craving as I wanted a delicate, light chocolate cake smothered with malteaser buttercream icing.  So I set off to the kitchen to indulge my chocolate fix dragging my Son with me promising him he could lick the bowl. Now as this recipe is quite quick it will be no time before you can also sit down with one in hand and enjoy the story at the end of this post about ‘How to upset a cupcake’.  It’s nearly easter and these are perfect to decorate with eggs if you wish.

Malt Chocolate Cake

This malt chocolate cake is light and fluffy and is an adapted version from Peggy Porshen’s book Cake Chic (buy it here).

Malt chocolate cake

I choose to make 12 large cupcakes but this would also make a fantastic quick bake in a 20cm (round or square) tin with malt chocolate buttercream icing spread over the top. Decorate it with chocolates or malteasers and you are ready for a children’s party, cake sale or for when time is short but you still want a light fluffy chocolate fix.

I made a chocolate buttercream and added malt powder to compliment the cake flavour.  Crushed malteasers (whoppers) were mixed into the buttercream and more sprinkled on top for decoration.  This works well if you are eating the cake on the same day as it gives you a satisying crunch to the topping.  If the cakes make it past 24 hours (give yourself a pat on the back) you will find the crunch melts beautifully into the buttercream leaving gooey pools.  Due to the bits of malteaser in this buttercream it will not pipe unless you use a large round plain pastry nozzle so instead just put it on with a palette knife and smooth it round and enjoy less washing up.  Now is the time to either scroll for the instructions or read the tale below…

Malteaser cupcake

 Storytime – How to upset a cupcake (a tale of dating, technology and oops)

One evening whilst immersed in my marking I’m interrupted by the laughter and animated chatter of my Husband and his friend gossiping in the kitchen.  Let’s call these two Ron (Friend) and Ronald (Husband) for ease as when together are truly like two old women who have not seen each other for a lifetime instead of at the weekend.  They have little comedy duo spats and arguments over how to fix the (more manly) camper van but mostly they banter with each other each trying to out do the others in wittiest stakes.

Tonight’s conversation will be about Cupcakes

Tonight’s topic of conversation got my attention as I heard the word ‘Cupcakes’ rather than clutch repair so I began to listen whilst tapping furiously on my keyboard to make it look like I was not listening (naturally).  After a few minutes I realise Cupcake is a pseudonym used by a lady Ron met recently on a dating site and not the edible cake kind I love.  They discuss in great detail the second date, descriptions of flirty text messages are analysed by the two boys men and the kiss was relived in second by second sloshing detail before googling the next possible date location.  The conversation finally veered off to their good old days when Ron apparently used to be a bit of a man whore (their words not mine).  Now I was bored by the notch on the bedpost nostalgia and returned to my marking.

I looked up when Ron’s loan phone (the other had died) beeps, he pulls it out from his pocket whilst  laughing at the last smutty comment.  Ronald chuckles like a crazed hyena but Ron has gone strangely quiet.  I see Ron’s face drain of colour, sweat beads spring across his forehead quicker than a chicken pox rash and his cheeks glow in a reminiscent shade of a telephone box.  Ron looks up from his phone and with a loud and drawn out ‘ooohhh’ and we wait for the next words:
‘What is it?’ asks Ronald impatiently.
‘It’s a text from Cupcakes’
‘OK, so what does it say?  No hang on don’t tell me she is organising the wedding cars already!’
‘Umm, no.  Not exactly’ replies Ron shaking his head.  ‘I don’t quite know what has happened.  Let me read you the text. He takes a big breath ‘I have just listened to a four minute voicemail message from you talking to your friend and I am not impressed’.

The two of them look at each other and their little brains are working overtime to work out what could have happened.  Sadly the loan phone that Ron had did not have a keyguard lock and it accidentally rang the lady from his pocket.  She replayed the voicemail conversation and listened to every single word that was said on more than one occasion.  Poor Ron  never made a next date so I gave him an extra cupcake to make up for it.  The moral of the story is to never share your secrets with a friend unless your are absolutely sure your phone has keyguard lock on.  Oops!

Malt Chocolate Cake Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes, 1 x 20cm cake)

150g dark chocolate
200ml milk
450g brown sugar (I use light muscavado)
150g salted butter softened
4 eggs lightly beaten
300g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder ( I use Green and Blacks)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp malt powder (like ovaltine or any other malt flavoured powder drink)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 160 C / 150 / Gas ?? / F
2. Line your muffin tin with muffin cases (I like large cupcakes)
3. Beat the butter and sugar until ight and fluffy (about 5 minutes)
4. Put chocolate , milk and half the sugar in a saucepan and stir until all contents are melted and then leave to one side until cooled.
5. Sift the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and bicarbonate of soda onto a tray (this gives it air)
6. Slowly add the eggs one at a time then adding a quarter of the dry mix (above) repeat until all eggs and mixture are fully combined
7. Start to add the hot mixture slowly into the batter by pouring down the side of the bowl
8. Once combined – pour into cases tin and place in the oven until cooked (approx 15 mins)
9. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 – 15 mins and then remove and place on a wire rack

Malt Chocolate Buttercream

175g soft butter (but not too soft it is squdgy)
350g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder ( I used Green and Blacks)
1 tbsp malt drink powder (like Ovaltine)
4-5 tbsp of milk
100g crushed malteasers

Instructions

1. Mix together the butter and icng sugar using light and fluffy (about 5 minutes) in a stand mixer or using a hand whisk
2. Add the milk until the consistency is spreadable
3. Add the cocoa and malt powder and mix until fully combined
4. Add crushed malteasers (leaving some to sprinkle on top) to the mixture and give a final mix until it is fully combined
5. Spread onto your cupcakes and then use a palette knife to smooth around the edges
6. Top with a malteaser and sprinkle over the remaining crushed malteasers and then eat!

Ginger and White Chocolate Buttercream Cupcakes


Cupcake Ho!
After last weeks very sentimental post (sniff) it is time to give you more cake!  What better way to say I love you than to combine stormy sea views with warming stem ginger cupcakes lavished with smooth dreamy white chocolate buttercream. Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes 

We ventured to Westward Ho! for a secret break I organised for our anniversary to a seaside town in North Devon, UK.  You can see more of my photography on my Flickr gallery. He did not have a clue where we were going but chouxchouxbedoo guessed it!

Westward Ho! is one of the 2 locations in the World which offically has an exclamation mark as part of its name.  I am known to overindulge in my exclamation mark use so it seemed fitting to go somewhere where it’s an acceptable part of conversation. Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

I love this place and in my dream I will live by the sea, waking up to uninterrupted views of the ocean every morning.  Of course on the bedside table there is a steaming mug of coffee and a freshly baked cupcake to compliment the dreaminess of the view and as this is a dream it will have no calories.

Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

Sprinkles and cupcakes are an iconic duo like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers they are destined to dance together so heart-shaped chocolate sprinkles had to be included. I created mini handmade chocolate fondant roses (my first ever attempt) and made larger white chocolate roses.

Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

Maisie Fantasie Cupcakes Ebook

This dream was originally inspired by Maisie Fantasie a London wedding cake designer. Her ebook on cupcakes is truly heavenly and if you only get one cupcake book ever then this truly is the one and at a £4.99 it represents a real bargain. There are 20 cupcake recipes and each one has beautiful imagery and simple recipes which are easy to follow and recreate at home.

Often I find cake books do not seem to translate well to conventional ovens and the results are then disappointing but so far each recipe has been great (no I did not get sent a copy I paid for it!). Whilst I love her ginger cupcakes my Husband wanted more ginger kick so I worked to adapt the recipe which is below.

I even made a mini ruffle layer cake made out of two cupcakes stacked on top of each other – see that’s love for you packing the piping kit when going away! Ginger white chocolate cupcakes

Decorating ideas
Top with fresh strawberries or chocolate roses made from chocolate fondant icing or use sprinkles – anything goes really!

Ruffle Mini Cake
I used two cupcakes minus their wrappers – one placed upside down on top of the first which is right side up.  I then used a pallete knife to spread buttercream around their join. The buttercream was piped in zig zag  ruffles up the side using a small petal tip (click to see a video where I got the idea from – I love this video as the little boy makes me chuckle as kids love to get involved at the most awkward of times). This was not as daunting as I first thought.  Just keep on piping and you will be amazed how simple it is! The cake was topped with a choclate from Hotel Chocolat a strawberry and black pepper (Read all about this divine chocolate here). The result was simple yet elegant and as my husband noted two cupcakes together are more man-sized!  Another review on Hotel Chocolat will be coming this way shortly.

I Heart Rocky (Story Time – if you don’t do stories hurry on down for the instructions)

As any respecting parent should do on holiday I forced my Son to partake in two walks with me per day which he throughly enjoyed after protesting and sulking for at least twenty minutes each time.  In the mornings we would venture off towards Cornborough Beach for a spot of rock and pebble hunting.  On the last day we finally found a rock with a funny face for my best friend and a heart shaped one for my Husband after a week long search.  

Instantly I went into ‘be prepared’ Girl Guide mode and pulled out a carrier bag to put the prized treasures in, well you never know when you might need a carrier bag even on a cliff top walk.

Westward Ho!

As we had been succesful we called it a day and jubilantly bounced back up the steep and rugged hill, battling the wind as we went. My happiness was fuelled with excitement of finding shaped rocks as it is always the little things that do it for me.  My Son’s happiness was because he no longer had to search for stupid shaped rocks and could go back and play on the Wii in peace.

Rock Friend Cakeboule

Towards the top of the hill my Son searched out my other hand to hold and I took a sharp intake of breath and smiled.  As he is nearly a teenager this struck my heart strings and reminded me of years gone by that I miss. Sighing with happiness I swung the bag in time with my steps until on the backward swing the bag split and rocks tumbled in all directions back down the hill. We laughed as we ran after them clomping down the hill noisly in our wellies and we managed to rescue the heart and Rocky.  I was so determined to take them home that mere lack of bag did not deter me and I carried them both like a small rock child the whole two miles home taking comfort in the fact that at least this one did not complain. Coffee and cupcakes greeted us at the apartment which was a good job as my arms were locked in rock holding position but luckily I found this worked in my favour for plate to mouth movement..

Finally – here are the instructions!

Ginger cupcake recipe ( my own adaption )

200g self raising flour / cake flour
200g softened butter
200g dark muscavado sugar (or dark brown sugar)
4 medium eggs at room temperature
5 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tsp homemade vanilla extract (or shop brought)
5 pieces of stem ginger (approx 50g)

1. Preheat the oven to 170 / Gas 4 / 150 fan and line a muffin tin with large cupcake / muffin cases
2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (approx 5 mins it will begin to pale in colour)
3. Add two eggs to the creamed butter and sugar and mix to combine fully
4. Add half the flour and mix until it is incorporated
5. Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour
6. Add the ginger, black treacle and golden syrup and mix to combine fully
7. Divide the mixture between the muffin cases ( I always use a cookie scoop to get the right amount)
8. Wash the stem ginger under the tap and cut into small pieces
9. Sprinkle the pieces of stem ginger onto the top of the cupcakes evenly

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden, springy to the touch and a skewer or cake tester is clean when removed

White Chocolate Buttercream

100g butter
200g icing sugar
100g white chocolate ( I used Belgian)
100ml double cream

Instructions
1. Pour cream into the pan and bring slowly to a boil
2. Immediately pour cream over the white chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate has melted
3. Leave the chocolate mixture (ganache) to cool
4. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until fluffy. Once the chocolate has cooled to about body temperature add to the butter mixture and beat together until smooth.
5. Add the mixture to the top of the cupcakes either using a palette knife or a piping bag and get creative!

Westward Ho! you have my heart and I will be back x

Coffee, Vanilla Latte and Caramel Layer Cake – The Machiatto


This is my pay day cake – the cake that rewards me for making it to the end of the month and indulges me with my own piece of cake land heaven (sigh).

Coffee Vanilla Caramel Macchiato Cake

In honour of feeling knackered this month I wanted to create a ‘Macchiato’ which is a coffee drink found in Starbucks consisting of espresso, milk. froth and drizzled with caramel. So I set out to recreate this in cake form that will last longer then a coffee (well maybe?) but will still give a coffee buzz and a sugar rush. It had to be big and as I enjoyed making my Tiffany inspired chamapgne layer cake earlier in the year I knew I wanted to make another one.

Coffee Vanilla Caramel Macchiato Cake

Inside this layer cake there are four layers of espresso flavoured coffee cake one layer earnt for each week worked.  I think a pay day cake should be desirable and luxurious with no saving pennies or calorie counting allowed as it is a once a month treat.

Coffee Vanilla Caramel Macchiato CakeEach coffee liquor soaked layer has lashings of rich dulce du leche caramel and vanilla bean latte buttercream.  The entire cake is bathed with swirling layers of buttercream and edged delicatley with dulce du leche caramel.

Of course the best thing about going out to Starbucks is usually a toss up between the silky caramel drizzle or the little caramel wafers on top of your cup that go all gooey with the heat.

To make the experience as close as possible my ‘Macchiato’ layer cake has these butter toffee wafers too, after all this is pay day cake and I want to have it all for a moment before going back to basics next week.

Coffee Vanilla Caramel Macchiato Cake

I like this idea so much I think I will make myself a pay day cake each month.  Want a bite? Go on…

Macchiato Coffee Vanilla Caramel Cake

Ingredients for Coffee Cake

400g Butter (room temperature)
400g Caster sugar
400g Self raising flour / cake flour
8 Eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp Homemade vanilla extract (or use good quality)
4 tsp of Espresso instant powder (or to your own taste)
Water to make up 50ml of coffee
1 tin of dulce du leach / caramel (this will be used for the filling later – I use Nestle)

Preheat the oven to 150 / 315F / Gas 2-3 or 140 fan

  1. Grease and line two 8inch / 20cm deep cake tins (I use silverwood)
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until fluffy and pale in colour (about 5 mins)
  3. Add two eggs and mix until combined
  4. Add half the flour and mix until combined
  5. Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour
  6. Make up the espresso with 4tsp of coffee added with enough water to make 50 ml
  7. Add vanilla extract and mix for the least time until the flavours are mixed in
  8. Pour the batter evenly into two tins (you can weigh the mixture)
  9. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for approx 50 mins or until cake is springy to the touch and a cake tester / skewer comes out clean.
  10. Leave in the tin to cool

Layering the Cakes

  1. Once cool – cut the top edge off each cake to make it level
  2. Measure the height of your cakes to work out equal layers
  3. Slice each cake in half horizontally to make four layers  ( I use a serrated knife to do this – I go around the sides of the cake first before then taking the knife across the remaining middle section to get a clean layer – see the video on the tiffany inspired champagne layer cake for this)

Ingredients for Coffee Sugar Syrup
45ml coffee liquor (or use espresso mix again)
3 tbsp of homemade vanilla sugar (or you can use any type of brown sugar)

Heat the coffee liquor and sugar in a small pan until the sugar has dissolved
Brush the mixture evenly onto each cake layer

Vanilla Bean Latte Buttercream
400g softened butter
800g icing sugar
6 tbs milk
4tsp instant espresso powder
2 vanilla beans (seeds scraped out)
2 tsp homemade vanilla essence (or other good quality)

  1. Cream the butter and  milk until light and fluffy
  2. Add the icing sugar and continue beating until it is well combined and light and fluffy in texture
  3. Add the espresso powder to the 2 tsp of vanilla extract and pour into the buttercream mixture
  4. Add the beans / seeds from 2 vanilla pods and add to the buttercream mixture
  5. Mix for the final time until all flavouring is well combined
  6. Use straight away or if putting it in the fridge remember to allow at least an hour for it to come fully back to room temperature so it is soft enough to pipe

To Assemble the Cake

Add a dollop of buttercream to the centre of your cake stand and then add your first layer of cake and press down – this will keep your cake in place.

Layer your cake in this order

1st layer – caramel
2nd layer – buttercream
3rd layer – caramel

  1. Use a palette knife to spread out the fillings and make sure you don’t go right to the edge or the caramel is likely to ooze down the sides of your cake.
  2. Add a very thin coating layer of buttercream using a palette knife all over your cake (don’t worry what it looks like) and place in the fridge for 30 mins so the buttercream can firm up.  This will stop crumbs getting into your icing.
  3. After 30 mins use a large palette knife to ice your cake all the way round (again the video on the tiffany layer cake is very good at showing you this).  Iit is much easier if you have a cake turntable – I do not have one but I do have a lazy susan (revolving circle wooden board) so I used that and it worked perfectly!
  4. To get the same effect with the buttercream as I did you need a small palette knife placed flat on the side of the cake at the bottom.  Hold the palette knife and move the cake round on the turntable until you reach the top.  It is like running your finger round and round your cake.
  5. I then used a palette knife loaded with dulce du leche and went round the same pattern gently to add a touch of caramel to the layers.
  6. Make a criss cross on the top of the cake with caramel (just like they do in Starbuck) and pipe buttercream on the top in what ever formation you like – top with a butter toffee wafer and get ready to eat.

This cake will last well in an airtight container for a few days.  I also entered into the fantastic Alphabake Challenge for March and this month’s letter is M.  The challenge in kindly hosted by The More than Occasional Baker and this months host Caroline Makes.

Enjoy! x

Leftover Banana, Honeycomb and Chocolate Cake


After rescuing some rather disgusting looking banana’s from my work colleagues I decided to bake this cake as it also fitted the fact I had been a bit of a banana at work – more on that confession later.  I really enjoyed the lemon and blueberry loaf cake so this seemed like the next step.

BananaCloseup

There is nothing better than using up manky bananas that look like they could walk to the bin on their own and then like a magician turning them into something amazing with chocolate.  I like to add honeycomb for a really delicious twist. Banana’s (so Mr Nigel Slater tells us) are at their baking best when they are black as they are full of sugary sweetness so I figured well why not and I am glad I did.   This cake also freezes well.

Being a Banana (The Confession)
I spotted a note randomly left on the side in one of the teaching room’s and being a tidy freak I picked it up .  Nothing special about it – I had a look and the teacher in me noted that the spelling was incorrect with some crossing out (ironic as my spelling is awful online). 

I turned it over to read the other side and now I was rather confused as both sides looked the same.  I turned it over again and thought to myself ‘perhaps they rewrote it because of the spelling?’ and I continued this pattern whilst walking to my next classroom.

As I entered the door of the room I burst out into laughter, you know the real deep right from the pit of your belly type laughter and tears streamed down my face as it suddenly dawned on me how incredibly dumb and a complete and utter silly banana I had just been.

My husband calls me a malteaser as I am brunette but with an inner blonde struggling to get out.  I always make objections to this as I don’t think being blonde makes you any less intelligent but clearly the note in this case was quite right for me.  In my defence if a child had handed it to me then I would have been suspicious straight away but sadly it seems senior moments are most definitely coming my way (early) so watch out it will be hot flushes next!  Sadly I also have to say that my posts are about to become less frequent as this time of year in teaching land is to put it quite frankly a nightmare time of coursework and exam prep hell.  My already filled evenings will be spent extracting and marking coursework until the small hours leaving not a lot of time for baking, photographing, #FF and writing so I am sending love to all my readers and thank-you for your patience I’ll post when I can and yes I can hear all those violins you are playing for me now 🙂 but I do have a collosal coffee inspired macchiato cake planned for medicinal purposes to keep me awake (of course) so do pop back,

Adapted from Nigel Slater – Black Banana Cake (here)

175g Softened butter
140g Golden caster sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
35g Dark soft brown sugar (plus a small handful to sprinkle on top of the cake)
2 Over ripe black bananas
175g Self raising flour
70g Dark chocolate (chopped roughly or 100g if not using honeycomb also)
1 honeycomb bar (crunchie) or I used my own homemade honeycomb which needed using up
70g Milk chocolate (chopped roughly or 75g if not using honeycomb)
1 tsp Vanilla essence (I make my own as it is so easy – click here to find out)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 / 150 fan or Gas 3
  2. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper or liner
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy
  4. Add one egg and mix until combined
  5. Add half the flour and mix until combined
  6. Repeat with the remaining egg and flour
  7. Add vanilla essence, mashed banana and chopped chocolate and fold into the mixture just until combined (do not over mix)
  8. Put mixture in the tin and sprinkle dark brown sugar over the top
  9. Cover loosely with foil and place in the oven (middle shelf )
  10. Bake for 50 mins, remove the foil and then continue to bake
  11. Bake for the remaining 10 minutes or until cake is golden brown and is springy to the touch
  12. Leave in the tin to cool completely
  13. Devour with a steaming mug of hot chocolate to wash it down!

Next post alert!  Baking Addiction Part 2 – Confessions of a Baking Addict (Stage 3)

Not read part 1? – click here for a chuckle

Lushious Lemon and Blueberry Loaf Cake


Luscious Lemon and Blueberry Cake screams out to you ‘come on spring already’ as I have had enough of snow and woolly jumpers. This cake is so easy to make and could easily be glammed up with a lemon icing or crunchy lemon topping for a special tea and decorated with candied lemon.

The Tale of the Sceret World of Swotchers
It is cold this week and when the Met Office predict snow the entire country will grind to a halt and children take on a new obsession that I call swotching. Swotching is the art of ‘snow watching’ and makes British school children (and adults you know who you are) twitch the curtains all night waiting and praying for snow which is high enough up the kerb to warrant a day off. At school I am convinced there is a hidden inner circle of swotchers (aka teachers who live locally who have been entrusted to be in the secret circle of school swotchers). This elite crew (they do exist – trust me!) have been tasked with a mighty school ruler (this is my imagination) and school issued wellingtons to bravely enter the snow on behalf of the school and measure the depth to determine whether it is safe or not for us all to venture out. So far on my swotchers quest I have discovered there are three swotchers at our School who dutifully report the weather conditions to the Head so he can use this as well as other data to make an informed choice.

According to my observations over the last eight years if the snow is kerb level or over – School is called off and if it is below – off to School you go. The secret world of swotchers can also be seen on twitter where they (not so secretly) post under the hashtag #snowarmageddon or #snow. I am sure each snowflake has it’s own tweet by a secret swotcher somewhere. This story of the snowy underworld captivates my students who look at me open-mouthed and you can see their brains ticking over as they try to work out who the secret swotchers are. Then again they could be wondering how mad their teacher is – you never can be sure?

I guess the other thing that makes me chuckle about snow is the Met Office warnings – they amuse me so much as they just the epitomy of Britishness. I interpret them as:

BE AWARE = A snow flake may fall somewhere (OMG) you should pack cold weatehr gear just in case.
BE PREPARED = Panic buy bread, trusted rock salt, and prepare the sleighs for safe transport to work and school. Put the kettle on and under all circumstances remain calm and twitch those curtains!
TAKE ACTION = Run for your life, lock the doors and windows and do not come out as the white stuff is about to land. This may turn you into an ice statue if you step outside the front door for even a second.

Personally in times of panic and despair I bake and this was one of the results. In fact I was so engrossed I never noticed the snow until it was time to take my son out and lo and behold SNOW! I was so excited I rushed to get my snow boots which I brought last year and put them on for the first time. I stepped outside the front door like a snow warrior invincible to the white powdery stuff as these boots were made for walking. A few bounces and skips later I was off. I am known in the street for being the mad woman that will randomly get up at 6 am when it has snowed just to be the first one to walk on it. Last year I was found at 7am doing snow angels in the middle of the street next to life size snowman – that’s normal isn’t it?

The best thing about this snowy day was the lovely fresh cake and coffee when I got home to warm me up. My cake is destined for lunch boxes and therefore I choose not to ice my cake as it would not have withstood the day without becoming a mangled mush of icing and cake.

Recipe adapted from here (Good Food)

Ingredients
175g softened butter
100ml greek yoghurt
3tbsp of lemon curd
3 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons
200g self raising flour
175g golden caster sugar
90g blueberries (I used frozen)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 160 / 140 fan / Gas 3
2. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
3. Place butter, yoghurt, vanilla extract, lemon curd, lemon zest, eggs , flour and caster sugar into a mixing bowl and mix with a hand whisk or in stand mixer until the mixture is just combined.
4. Add half of the mixture to the lined tin
5. Sprinkle over half the blueberries
6. Repeat with the remaining cake mixture and blueberries
7. Place in the oven for 1hr 10mins – 1 hr 15 mins until the cake is springy and a cake tester or skewer comes out clean.

I am still not sure why you do the blueberries in two halves as they always end up at the bottom!

You might also like:

Tiffany Champagne Layer Cake
Make your own vanilla essence and save ££££
Are you a baking addict – click and find out

This cake is to be entered into the Alphabakes competition being hosted by the more than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes. The host this month is a complete baking addict and runs a fantastic blog with so many recipes and good ideas I just can’t keep up with her! Wish me luck!