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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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

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Covered Strawberries


Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Introducing Pay Day Cake 5 the triple chocolate mousse cake lovingly covered with chocolate covered strawberries.  This is probably not an eat in ‘best company’ cake as I find its destruction is accompanied by a loud drawn out satisfied sigh which you won’t realise you’ve made until you feel the heat of others eyes boring into you from all directions (they’re just jealous). Chocloate covered strawberriesIf you are kind enough to make this triple chocolate mousse cake for a special occasion you will find there are few people who can resist the sweet aroma of this celebration cake. Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

A garden decorated with sparkly disco balls, candles and freshly made  pink lemonade jar cocktails greeted my Best Friend for her Birthday.  I am now known as the ‘Jar Lady’ which is a step up from the cat lady but only slightly. We had a great evening full of laughs, food and an impromptu random birthday dance that even the village people would have been proud of.

Triple CHoclate Mousse

As it turned dark I choose a song on my MP3 player but it randomly played its own choice of ‘It’s a beautiful day’ by U2 which I didn’t even know I had but it summed up the evening.  This was topped off with fairly lights that are not designed to twinkle but decided they would for ‘one night only’ in time with the beat for the entire song now how bizarre is that! I have no idea why these odd things keep happening but whoever is watching over me (maybe it’s the man in the photo that was taken of me on my recent holiday post) they obviously saw me having the time of my life and decided to add a bit of magic to an evening with friends that I will truly never forget.

You see the more you watch and pay attention to the World the more messages it gives you. Like it’s OK to have forgotten the candles when you find sparklers in the drawer you forgot you had but they were so much better.

Triple Chocolate Mousse

The laws of synchronicity are at work right now as somehow it decided you would stumble upon my little post which means you were destined to be here.  No matter how many years later you find this post share a little bit of mousse magic by passing it on to everyone you know and keep the Universe happy.

P.s the moment I pressed save my computer shut it self down of its own accord – this was to tell me to shut up I think – look Frugal Feeding I made it under 500 words whoo hoo albeit without the recipe 🙂

Day 1 – Bake the Cake layer (as in previous mousse cake post this is the second half of the layer)

Ingredients for Base Genesoise Cake Layer
75g plain flour
50g cocoa (good quality) or replace 50g flour for a plain base.
4 eggs at room temperature
125g caster sugar
30g melted butter (left to cool)

Instructions
1. Grease and lightly flour a 20cm round tin
2. Melt the butter in a pan and leave to cool
3. Beat the eggs and suga at a medium speed for 12 minutes until when you lift the whisk attachment out of the mixture falls in ribbons and pools on top of the mixture without disappearing straight away.
4. Sieve the flour and cocoa over the mixture
5. Fold in gently until combined
6. Drizzle in the butter and fold in – do not over fold or the cake will become tough – so when you think it is is nearly there and there are no huge lumps be brave and put it in the oven.
7. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 30 minutes
8. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin and placing on a wire rack
9. Add 2 tablespoons of raspberry liqueur (Chrombards, Framboise) to 2 tablespoons of caster sugar – heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Brush liberally over the cake to moisten it. If you prefer you can use a simple sugar syrup which is equal parts sugar to water and you can add a flavouring or substitute with another spirit.
10. Divide the cake into two layers using a long serrated knife.
11. Wrap the cakes in greaseproof paper once cool and wrap in foil. Either store in an airtight container until you need it or put it in the freezer.

Day 2 – Chocolate Mousse (based on Michael Roux – Desserts)

Ingredients
150g chocolate finely chopped
2 sheets leaf gelatin
50ml milk
1 1/2 tsp of liquid glucose
2 egg yolks
150ml whipping cream
30g icing sugar

Instructions

1. Set a bowl over a saucepan which is filled to one-third with water. To the bowl add the chopped white chocolate. Using a low heat wait until the chocolate is half melted and remove from the heat. The chocolate will melt by itself and this reduces the risk of it burning.
2. Soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. (optional)
3. Heat the milk in small saucepan until boiling point and then remove from the heat.
Squeeze out the water from the gelatin and add it to the milk. Stir gently until the gelatin has dissolved (optional)
4. In another bowl add the egg yolks, liquid glucose and 3 tbsp of warm water. Mix together until combined.
5. Whip the cream and icing sugar in another bowl until the cream leaves ribbon trails when you take the whisk out of the mixture.
6. Pour the hot milk over the white chocolate and gently mix with a whisk until there are no lumps and is it a smooth consistency.
7. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate and mix gently until combined.
8. Using a spatula fold in the cream gently until fully combined.

Assembly (phase 1)

1. Get your original tin that you baked your cake in – place the cake in the bottom (tip: use the bottom layer of the cake as the top layer will be smaller as cakes shrink as they cook). You can use the bottom layer for another cake.
2. Pour the mousse into the tin.
3. Place the tin in the freezer overnight for best results.

Day 3 – White Chocolate Mousse (based on Michael Roux – Desserts)

As above but replace the dark chocolate with white.
Take the cake from the freezer and pour white mousse mixture onto the cake and return to the freezer overnight or leave in the fridge overnight to set if serving the next day. The cake will last for at least one month in the freezer.

Day 4 – Strawberries & Eating!

1. Make Chocolate covered strawberries by melting 100g of chocolate in a bowl and dip the strawberries liberally into it.  Let the chocolate drip off the excess before placing on a sheet of greaseproof paper to set.  Melt some white chocolate (approx 50g) and drizzle over the top on the strawberries once set.  Either do this with the back of a spoon or  used a mini squeeze bottle.

2. To remove the mousse cake from the tin use a hair dryer or blowtorch to gently heat the tin so that it removes easily. Add the strawberries on top when you are ready to serve or the juices will escape and bleed into the cake.  Slice into portions with a warm knife (cleaning after each slice).

Enjoy!

White chocolate mousse cake with a raspberry blast secret centre


White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Yes I made it to one whole year of blogging and here is the next pay day cake in celebration – number 4! (you can see the others on my recipe page) Well in reality 6 months half-hearted and 6 months full blogging and what a difference a year makes. This time last year I began by making cake truffles for my friends Birthday and look what I have made 1 year on. Here is the link to my very first post – be nice! I have tried to avoid baking a cake for my blog birthday but I gave in. It had to be something new to me and this is how the white chocolate mousse cake with a hidden raspberry blast was born. The candle on the top was the one I saved from my son’s first birthday cake (ahhhhh). This cake is perfect for the up and coming Jubilee celebrations.

The combination works so well together with the hidden layer of tart and icy raspberries, velvety smooth white chocolate mousse and dark chocolate sponge laced with black raspberry liquor.

Raspberyy Mousse Cake

You see despite its splendor this cake was not actually supposed to be like this I could lie to you but I won’t. The moment I had completed the white chocolate mousse layer I knew that it was not going to work as I had not used enough gelatine in it to allow the mousse to stand proudly on the plate as I had imagined. Not one to beaten I sat for hours pondering how I could rescue it and finally stumbled across a recipe for a frozen mousse cake. Yes! I cried to myself as I realised all I had to do was freeze the cake and serve it partially frozen. The result is a cross between mousse and ice-cream and it works beautifully and you get to keep and enjoy it longer.

White chocolate raspberry mousse cake

You see as I said in my earlier post synchronicity and the universe just work to create what is needed not necessarily what you though you wanted. The little girl in the picture above would have opted for the melting version as she loved ice-cream. That little girl is me and as you can see (see the 1st picture above ) my mouth is always open. When I slid this cake out of the tin I am pretty sure my mouth did the same excited gape.

White chocolate raspberry mousse cake

Compared to other things I have baked this is not too hard and the trick is to do it in stages gradually so it does not feel like a chore. The beauty being that you can make this over the jubilee weekend but is also perfect for any celebration where time before may be short. If you want to serve this as a mousse cake that does not freeze but stands proudly then I have added the optional gelatin requirements for each section. However I like it just as it is and I’ve learnt from it and you can see what else I created with mousse magic very soon!

Have Camper will travel

So I am off on the maiden voyage in May our 1979 Moonraker VW campervan for the half term week. Sadly the weather is not going to be as glorious as we have just had think 2 degrees overnight – brrrrr.

VW Campervan Moonraker 1979

Sneak Preview!

Day 1 – Bake the Cake layer

Ingredients for Base Genesoise Cake Layer
75g plain flour
50g cocoa (good quality)
4 eggs at room temperature
125g caster sugar
30g melted butter (left to cool)

Instructions
1. Grease and lightly flour a 20cm round tin
2. Melt the butter in a pan and leave to cool
3. Beat the eggs and sagur at a medium speed for 12 minutes until when you lift the whisk attachment out of the mixture falls in ribbons and pools on top of the mixture without disappearing straight away.
4. Sieve the flour and cocoa over the mixture
5. Fold in gently until combined
6. Drizzle in the butter and fold in – do not over fold or the cake will become tough – so when you think it is is nearly there and there are no huge lumps be brave and put it in the oven.
7. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for 30 minutes
8. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin and placing on a wire rack
9. Add 2 tablespoons of raspberry liqueur ( Chombards, Framboise) to 2 tablespoons of caster sugar – heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Brush liberally over the cake to moisten it. If you prefer you can use a simple sugar syrup which is equal parts sugar to water and you can adda flavouring or substitute with another spirit.
10. Divide the cake into two layers using a long serrated knife.
11. Wrap the cakes in greaseproof paper once cool and wrap in foil. Either store in an airtight container until you need it or put it in the freezer.

Day 1 – Make the hidden raspberry layer

Ingredients for the Hidden Raspberry Layer
400g raspberries (I used frozen – defrost overnight before you need to use them)
2 sheets gelatin (if wanting it to stay in shape on defrosting)
60g golden vanilla caster sugar
1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur (optional)

Instructions

1. Line a 6 inch or 18cm baking tin with cling film – making sure you have enough to hang over the sides of the tin fully.
2. Place the raspberries in a food processor and puree.
3. Push the mixture through a fine sieve to prevent the pips from getting in the puree.
4. Soak the gelatin leaves in two separate bowls of cold water (enough to fully immerse each) for five minutes.
5. Put the puree into a small pan and heat gently to 35C (not boiling but warm to touch) and then add the gelatin and stir to dissolve.
6. Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
7. Remove from the heat. Leave to cool for about 20 minutes.
8. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and place in the freezer until the mixture has set (approx 1 hour) then cover over with extra clingfilm and leave overnight or until you want use it.

Day 2 – White Chocolate Mousse (based on Michael Roux – Desserts)

Ingredients
450g White chocolate finely chopped
6 sheets leaf gelatin
150ml milk
4 1/2 tsp of liquid glucose
6 egg yolks
450ml whipping cream
90g icing sugar

Instructions (if not using gelatin then remove these steps)

1. Set a bowl over a saucepan which is filled to one-third with water. To the bowl add the chopped white chocolate. Using a low heat wait until the chocolate is half melted and remove from the heat. The chocolate will melt by itself and this reduces the risk of it burning.
2. Soak the gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. (optional)
3. Heat the milk in small saucepan until boiling point and then remove from the heat.
Squeeze out the water from the gelatin and add it to the milk. Stir gently until the gelatin has dissolved (optional)
4. In another bowl add the egg yolks, liquid glucose and 3 tbsp of warm water. Mix together until combined.
5. Whip the cream and icing sugar in another bowl until the cream leaves ribbon trails when you take the whisk out of the mixture.
6. Pour the hot milk over the white chocolate and gently mix with a whisk until there are no lumps and is it a smooth consistency.
7. Add the egg mixture to the chocolate and mix gently until combined.
8. Using a spatula fold in the cream gently until fully combined.

Day 2 – Assembly

1. Get your original tin that you baked your cake in – place the cake in the bottom (tip: use the bottom layer of the cake as the top layer will be smaller as cakes shrink as they cook). You can use the bottom layer for another cake.
2. Pour the mousse into the tin.
3. Remove the raspberry layer from the freezer and push down into the mouse mixture until it is about half way down. Place the tin in the freezer overnight for best results.

Day 3 – Eating!

1. To remove the mousse cake from the tin use a hair dryer or blowtorch to gently heat the tin so that it removes easily. You can then either slice into portions with a warm knife (cleaning after each slice) or place in a box for eating later and keep it in the freezer. The cake will keep frozen for at least one month.

Make Some Cake Bunting

To make youself some bunting to go on the top I used paint sample cards from Dulux and used a heart punch but you could also cut out bunting style triangles. I then stapled them onto ribbon and tied them to two lollie sticks. This is also far cheaper than ones you see on various websites. If making for the jubille then choose red, white, and blue colour cards.

Enjoy!

I’m entering this cake as I feel the flags say Jubilee celebrations to me and as you have an extra bank holiday you could make this cake over the weekend and enjoy it on the Monday or Tuesday. The competition is a Blogging Jubilee Baking Competition being run the fabulous Homemade By Fleur. If nothing else you should look at Fleur’s blog as I recently dreamt that we went shopping together (not that we have ever met but I have seen her on TV) and she gave me a signed copy of her new cookbook (not that she has one yet – this is dream after all) so as I said to her – it’s a sign! She is very talented and has had the pleasure of baking with Eric Lanlard in a baking competition that she rightly won . As you know I truly believe in signs so you must see Fleur’s rather stunning new website and check her out before she is famous. This competition has a prize that is sponsored by Appliances online. Wish me luck!

Up next: a drink recipe that will make you fall in love with summer.

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!

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

Sprinkle Spiral Cookies


Ever since I saw beautiful spiral swirl cookies on Sprinklebakes who has such beautiful photography that it just inspires me to keep on trying.  They would make perfect party or wedding favours as they can be made ahead and frozen and you can adapt the flavours and colours to suit any event.  After hours of staring at cookie images I dreamt about them which meant I had a soggy with drool pillow and images of swirling colours had caused me to roll the duvet around me leaving the other half with none and shivering (oops).  I must have thought about them far too much as the next night I ended up having dream arguments with myself over which colour and flavours to create and I would shout out ‘strawberry’ or ‘blue no pink’ and then silence would fall only to be filled by that baking addict long sigh of contentment.    

Be warned that these cookies will bring out the sprinkle fetish in you and when the box of sprinkles finally arrived I literally pounced on my poor neighbour with delight as she delivered them to me.  I should have waited to open the box when she was gone but the ‘I need sprinkles NOW!’ urge took hold and I started to open the box in a relatively cool (ish) manner.  This was until the selotape decided to stick better than a wax strip during a brazilian and then all decorum went out the window.  I bit the selotape with my teeth like a hungry caveman, clawed at the box with my talon nails whilst trying to explain to my dear friend (in between breaths) that it was sprinkles inside.  She knows me well, so she took a ring side seat and watched me with a smirk as I wrestled with the cardboard caged sprinkle tigers.  If you can recognise any of this odd behaviour you need to consult my baking addiction guide here – yes right now!

Ahh sprinkles how I love you I could literally look at you for hours. 

I choose to model the sprinkle spiral cookies on ‘Stupid Cupig’ who is a little Bath pig which I designed and painted for our top table at our Valentine wedding inspired by a play of words from the song ‘Stupid Cupid.  I love the Bath Pigs about as much as I love my home City of Bath.  The pigs were the focus of a treasure hunt involving life-sized pigs painted by artists, schools and businesses (this was of course before I discovered sprinkles).  I spent many an hour hunting piggies with my son trudging behind his maniac Mum just so I could photograph each one in order to name the tables at the wedding after them.  How else can you get away with sitting random odd people at a table called Inky Pinky Porky without causing offence!

The cookies are cotton candy and vanilla flavour as I wanted something fun and different.  They have a melt in the mouth sugar cookie consistency and taste as amazing as they look.  I am taking a frozen bath covered in sprinkle butterflies with me on holiday to bake.  I will be back to make more of these and I will try to take some of photo’s of the making process as I have my heart set on some pretty packaging and different flavour combinations.  Also I realise as I look at the swirl cookies that they remind me of bacon particularly when accompanied by a pig looking over them – perhaps that’s why she turned her back to them!

Ingredients (Adapted from Peggy Porshen Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe from the book Pretty Party Cakes which you can buy here and is packed full of cake and cookie imagery guaranteed to make you go oooh)

Makes 3 cookie rolls 1 for now – 2 for later or reduce the recipe.  This recipe gives a firm cookie dough that once chilled could be used as a weapon against intruders as well as being firm enough once chilled to get perfect swirls.

Vanilla Dough

200g unsalted soft butter
200g caster sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 vanilla pod (scrape out the seeds or you could use 1 tsp of vanilla essence – try my homemade version which is very tasty and easy to make)
400g plain flour

Cotton Candy Dough

Same ingredients as above plus the following
Add 8-10 drops of quality flavouring to the butter and sugar mixture (I used Lorann Cotton Candy – which you can get here)
4-5 drops of colouring to the butter and sugar mixture (I use Sugarflair as this will not effect the consistency of the dough – which you can buy here) always colour the dough a little bit more than the colour depth you wish it to be as some colour will be lost during baking.

Sprinkles – I found smaller ones worked better (non paraleills) – but the choices are endless! 

Instructions for dough (make each separately)

  1. Line a cookie sheet / tray with baking parchment / greaseproof paper
  2. In a mixer cream the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla
  3. Beat in the egg until combined and add the flour and mix on a low-speed until a dough forms.
  4. The recipe says to mould the dough into a ball and cover in clingfilm and transfer to the fridge for at least one hour.  Repeat above to make the second batch of dough but add flavouring oils and colouring.

Making the swirl (see a photo guide here by the amazing Sprinklebakes who I find such both a baking and photographic inspiration)

  1. Line a cookie sheet or flat baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Roll out both sets of dough so that each is a large rectangle and 5mm thick (about the size of a pound coin).  Place the vanilla dough on on a lined baking tray then place your coloured layer of dough on top – neaten the edges of the dough so both are an equal size by cutting out a rectangle with a knife.  

Note: If your dough just crumbles and will not roll out I found if I warmed it a little so the dough is pliable and then rolled it out it worked better.  Make sure you return it to the fridge for at least an hour or overnight (see below). 

  1. Now it is time to roll – start the process of by rolling the first layer over the tightly and then roll it up like swiss roll – use the paper to help you get a tight even roll. 
  2. If the dough splits – pinch it back together and keep going – it will all be fine in the end.
  3. Pour your chosen sprinkles to a baking tray (with sides – this is more for me than you!) and roll the cookie in it so that it is covered in sprinkles.  Cover your cookie roll in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least one hour – better still leave it over night until firm. 
  4. At this stage you can also transfer the cookie roll to the freezer for up to one month (I keep them longer and they have been fine) and defrost in the fridge overnight before baking.

Baking

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 / Gas 4 / 170 Fan
  2. When ready to bake cut the cookie roll into slices once fully chilled. I prefer mine to be about 1cm (ish) as this gives a melt in the mouth cookie rather than too cripsy.   Warning – cutting the roll before it is firm will result in an imperfect swirls – look on the internet there are plenty of pictures of them
  3. Bake in the oven for 8 – 12 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your cookie they should not be brown but will just beginning to have a slight golden colour to the outside. I always do a small test batch to see how long to bake them for.

Happy Valentines!

You might also like:

Champagne Tiffany Layer Cake

Lushious Lemon and Blueberry Cake

Clementine and Cardamom Shortbread

6 Steps to Toffee Crispie Heaven

Valentine Bake and Craft Competition Entries 2012


Update:  You can see the winner here.

The virtual sounds of plans, laughter, a few ‘ah ha’ moments and whoops of twitter joy have headed my way as people created their Valentine bake and craft entries bringing out their creative and romantic sides. Take a few minutes to look through these wonderful virtual entries and click on the images to visit their pages. Do stop and say hello as they don’t bite (as far as I know!) and there have so many more images and stories on their blogs all of which are a very good read and all are competing to win this handcrafted oak heart trophy. This competition has been a real learning curve for me but an enjoyable one.  All being well I do think it will be back on a yearly basis as I don’t think DH will want to make trophy’s every month but this way it keeps it special.  A big thanks to all who entered and bonne chance!

The winner will be announced on Feb 14th as an update to this post (wi-fi permitting!) so come back and see who won. The competition will be judged by an independent professional cake eater and lover of beautiful things and will be done in full X factor style with photo’s of all the work, hours of indecision, caffeine overload but will lack the far flung visit to judges houses – although with these entries you are all welcome for tea anytime!

Triple Valentine Wedding Cake by @Rhixx (twitter only entry – no link to blog / website)

Valentine wedding cakeAmazing @Rhixx used her baking mastery to create this Valentine wedding inspired triple tier cake
Valentine ringCreative artisan Perles de Bijoux used the calling of beautiful sparkly Swarvoski crystal beads and wove them into a Valentine inspired ring of love
Made with love
Made with love is the story behind the meeting of husband and wife and surprising your man with a romantic packed lunch which also includes a heart shaped chocolate cake from talented Homemade by Fleur
Triple Valentine
We don’t do Valentines Day is the story behind this beautiful craft and bake inspired entry from amazing crafter ChouxChouxBeDoo which also includes cake and cupcakes none the less.
I Heart Cupcakes
Underneath their unassuming exterior lies a secret…a hidden heart! and this entry comes aptly from Laura Loves Cakes which also includes full instructions so you will never have to wonder again!
Valentine Whoopie Pies
A 21st Birthday prompted this entry for Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Icing and this delightful entry comes from Aga Girls and was inspired by Hummingbird Bakeries.
Luuuvvv Biscuits
27 years of marriage and being alone this Valentine inspired the creation of Luuuvv Biscuits and this delightful entry comes from inspired The Daisy Cake Co who was also the winner of the Hotel Chocolat box so she will be able to enjoy those in peace this Valentines!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
The intrigue of red velvet cupcakes proved too much for My Culinary Adventures who was unable to resist any longer which is good as they are perfect for this Valentines Day competition.
Custard Cream Hearts
A brand spanking new blog and it’s first post none the less was the entry with Custard Cream Hearts from All for Scone! who has been meaning to begin a blog and this competition spurred her into action which is amazing. A great first post – happy blogging and good luck!
An amazing entry of Valentine Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake from Baking Beats with his stylish creation complete with the ultimate Malteaser explosion I mean what’s not to like!
A teeny tiny entry of Valentine Fairy Slippers from Janice Pattie with her so cute fairy slippers which are oh so adorable. I just wish my feet were tincy wincy enough for these (sigh).
A fantastic swarm of cute little bees on the top of Nigella’s Chocolate Honey cake is the entry from the biggest Baking Addict I know. She truly lives up to her name and her cake is smothered in ganache. The bee’s look to cute to eat although I would have to give in due to the chocolate!

An unusual combination of half Carrot and Chocolate Cake Hearts which are lovingly smothered in an orange cream cheese icing is the entry from Baking Bachelor. A truly unique combination which includes love heart messages and as he now has lots of these treats he can delight many a lady with these!

Champagne Layer Cake (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)


I love the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and my dream one day is to go to New York and visit Tiffany’s and stand outside like Audrey whilst stuffing a big slice of something scrummy in a very unlady like fashion whilst slurping on a glass of champage and staring through the window as they would never let me in.  I would be stood staring longily at all the sparkly diamonds I will never be able to afford. This would result in me being escorted off the sidewalk and deposited blocks away but at least my belly would be fed and my inner magpie fascination with anything that glitters will be sustained before they take me away. 

In a mid winter moment of madness I decided that the closest I am going to get to Tiffany’s in New York would be a mock up in my own home. To make sure the fantasy is relived as close as possible to my dream I am in the conservatory staring at the blue cloudless sky with my hat, coat and gloves on in true New York winter style.

I have cut a door wedge sized slice of ‘Tiffany’ blue champagne cake and I am taking the biggest bite I can as icing is ouzing up the corners of my mouth and I feel like a very naughty girl completely free of my incesscant need for table manners. I nostalgically raise my cool frosted glass of steady streaming bubbly in a toast to my first ever layer cake as the glass partially slips from my knitted hands and although I manage to catch it but precious bubbles splatter across the floor – is it alright to lick the floor I wonder? I decide I better not so I leave the bubbles there happily foaming away and mingling with cat hair as I remind myself that this is a moment I won’t get back.

I return to my little fantasy World and take a big sip of the remaining chamapagne nectar and realise I am missing one key element; sparkly diamonds to look at of course!.  I get a flash moment of ‘ah ha’ and I smile to myself as I reach in my coat pocket for my phone. A few swipes and clicks later the Tiffany app appears and I give a huge sigh of happiness as a girl can dream and I can always get a straw for that champage and cat hair later.

Like a squirrel I hide away food and blog posts and this was due for release at New Year but then I realised that both Sweetapolita and I had used the same video to inspire our champagne cake.  One recipe, two different cakes and you can see her beautiful pink chamapge cake pops here so there really is not excuse to grab a bottle of bubbly and start baking.  This recipe would be perfect for an engagement, wedding or dare I say it Valentines Day.

Recipe converted into metric from this youtube video

Equipment

Stand mixer
Sugar thermometer
2 x 8 inch or 20cm round cake tins (at least 3 inches deep)

Champagne Cake Ingredients
450g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
175g butter at room temperature
1 tsp quality vanilla essence
6 egg whites at room temperature (keep yolks for frosting)
250g caster sugar
474 mls of champagne (the rest will be used for frosting)

Instructions (because I had to watch it a million times so you don’t have too – all part of the service)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees / 180C / 160 Fan
2. Grease, flour and line two 8 inch / 20cm baking tins (round) with greaseproof paper.  The nice man in the video shows you how to do it but I am obviously a bit special and failed.
3. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl
4. Cream the room temperature butter and sugar fluffy and light in colour (about 5 – 8 minutes) using a hand or stand mixer
5. Slowly add the room temperature egg whites to the butter mixture with the mixer still running (medium speed) until fully combined
6. Half way through remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl
7. Add half a cup of dry ingredients at a time into the cake mixture whilst still mixing and then half a cup of champagne.  Alternate this until all is gone and resist temptation to drink the champagne as all of it is needed.
8. Divide the mixture into the two tins (weight them if like me you have the need too) level and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the cake starts to come away from the side of the tin and is golden brown.

Champagne French Buttercream

Ingredients

240ml champagne (leaves with you some left but you do not get to drink it as it is still needed – sigh!)
170g Sugar
340g Salted butter at room temperature

Instructions

  1. Pour the champagne and sugar into a pan
  2. Pour egg yolks into the mixer and beat on a high / fast speed throughout the duration you are heating the sugar using a whisk attachment.
  3. Heat the sugar and champagne until 121c or 208F – you will need a sugar / jam thermometer for this.  Do not panic that this is taking ages as it does (approx 8-10 minutes in my case).  If you see any lumps of sugar or think it is going to burn / caramelise give the pan a swirl but do not stir it with a spoon (naughty).
  4. When the sugar and champagne reaches temperature begin to pour it into the egg mixture very slowly as this will gently cook the eggs.  Avoid pouring the sugar syrup over the whisk else you will be pulling sugar off your eyebrows / cat / husband later in the evening as well as scraping it off the floor, ceilings and walls as I did.
  5. Keep mixing until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch (approx 8+ minutes)
  6. Add the remaining champagne slowly and mix to combine fully
  7. Add ¼ tsp of food colouring.  I use sugarflair colourings as they produce rich colours without adding extra liquid to the mixture.

For decorating and layering please see the video.

Word of Warning
I thought this cake was wonderful once baked and layered and I did the London Tipton thing which involves me prancing aorund the kitchen like an excited puppy whilst clapping my hands and yelling ‘yeh me, yeh me’.  Sadly my elation lasted until the morning as I felt the need to put the cake in the fridge and it never did taste the same after even after being out at roon temperature.  So the overall verdict is: it looks good, ice and eat it on the same day if possible avoid my mistake of having an incessant need to refrigerate everything…

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