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

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 :)

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake


Sometimes you want cake and you want it right now! Yes a great big wedge of cake on your plate with a fork in your hand ready to devour it.  I adore all the beautiful mini treats and cakes like Sarah from Maison Cupcakes makes there are those times where large is the only thing that will feed your craving. This cake was for one of those times.

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake

Beautiful swirls of chocolate and orange cake smothered in a chocolate orange buttercream and topped with grated chocolate orange and the best bit is it is messy so perfect for finger licking.

Chocolate Orange Cake

This is pay-day cake 6 on the list do stop by my recipe page to see the others – as always think large as there are no small pay-day cakes in my collection.

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake

To all my followers I wanted to let you know the Cakeboule is going offline for the Summer to recharge the baking batteries. So I’ll leave you with this massive slice of cake and as Arnie says ‘I’ll be back’.

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake

Have a great Summer everyone and I hope the sun shines wherever you are. Go and make happy memories as that is what I intend to do. Ta Ta For Now.

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake Ingredients

400g soft butter
400g caster sugar
400g self raising flour
8 eggs (must be fresh)
50g cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
1.5 tsp orange extract
2 oranges (grated rind only)

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake Instructions

1. Preheat 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. Split the mixture into two bowls equally (I weigh mine to be sure)
7. Add 50g of cocoa and 1 tbsp of milk to one portion and mix to combine
8. Add orange extract and rind to the other portion and mix to combine – I also added a small bit of orange colouring to make the orange colour stand out more but this optional)
9. Take two big spoons and alternate dollops of chocolate and orange mixture into both tins trying to make sure you have equals amounts (you can weigh your portions to be sure if you wish)
10. Use a knife or skewer and run it through the mixture to create swirly patterns  do not over do this or you will not end up with the big swirls but a combined mess!
11. Place the tins in the oven on the middle shelf for approx 50 minutes (all ovens vary so check your cake after 45 mins)
12. Cakes are ready when the skewer can be inserted into the cake and it come out clean.

Chocolate Orange Buttercream

250g soft butter
500g icing sugar
100g melted plain chocolate
1.5 tsp orange extract

Instructions

1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy
2. Melt the chocolate
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 orange extract and beat to combine one last time

Assembly of the Cake

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

Devour! See you soon :)

Gooey Popcorn Bars (Gluten Free)


Say sod it and call a movie night with a gooey, toffee, marshmallow and chocolate covered popcorn bar in hand.  Seek pleasure watching the silky caramel strands form as you pull the bars apart. This is a quick tray bake but with no baking (bonus!) but guaranteed to brighten up the dull and miserable summer we are having and great for big kids parties.

Popcorn Bars

I have never made popcorn before and I was more than a little bit excited when I saw fluffy white clouds pinging around my saucepan. Truthfully I was that excited I had to call the entire family to watch a miracle in the pan. If you have never made popcorn before then you truly have not lived.

Popcorn Bars

This recipe is an adaptation of my toffee crispie treats. After spending days discussing films set in New York with a friend I am now eager to sit down with one of these next week watching chick flicks to my hearts content so go on let it rain see if I care.

Popcorn bars

Of course you can top them with anything you like as this is an easily adapted recipe. I like the idea of twix or malteaser topppings or give it blast with some popping candy a la Heston style.

Popcorn BarsThe cat loved them too as he sauntered into the photograph, sniffed and then bit my finger!

Popcorn Bars

Enjoy!

Ingredients

250g toffees (Sainsbury’s Basics)
50g butter (room temperature)
3 tbsp of milk
1 tbsp of golden syrup
115g marshmallows
80g popped popcorn

Instructions

1. Brush your a 20cm square tin (or other suitable) with baking spray or oil and wipe with a kitchen towel to make sure it is not too oily.
2. Add toffee, golden syrup, butter and milk into a saucepan and heat gently.  Stir the mixture as it heats until all the ingredients have melted.
3. Add marshmallows and stir until they have melted.
4. Add the popcorn to the pan and make sure it is well coated with the toffee mixture
5. Pour quickly into prepared tin and flatten it down well with the back of a wet wooden spoon.  Add whatever toppings you fancy by pushing them down gently into the mixture so they set into to it.
6. Leave to set (about an hour) and cut into sizes required and eat (one is not enough) they will keep for about 5 days if they get that long in an air tight container. Do not place in the fridge or the pocorn will go soft.

Up next – Pay Day Cake 6 time!!!! (see previous here)

I am entering this into the Teatime treat competition hosted by the talented Karen from Lavender and Lovage and the theme this month is cake stall cakes and I think this will fit quite nicely.

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.

Ten -Sprinkle 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!

Pink Lemonade Recipe (from scratch)


I predict Summer will arrive in the UK with a bang in September when all the kids are back at School and you know my predicton will be right.  Celebrate with pre-prepared vivid hot pink lemonade a natural beauty with no nasty additives.

Pink Lemonade

This drink slaps you across the chops with refreshing fruitiness reminscent of sucking on a lemon and strawberry sherbert sweet.  You can’t not smile and go ‘ahhhhh’ when you have a glass of this whatever the weather.  The concentrate freezes well so you can enjoy that sunshine in September!

Pink Lemonade

I don’t posses ice cubes trays so I used a heart shaped silicon mould which was just perfect! All I need to do in future is add an iced pink raspberry concentrate heart to glass of lemonade and watch it turn pink. Yes that is just my sort of evening as why watch paint dry when you can watch a bright pink ice cube melt!

Pink Lemonade

The Story (optional reading) I watched the Smurf movie for the first time this week which was not exactly my choice of film but hey ho. It reminded me of a big cuddly Smurf I had when I was little. The smurf with no name was as big as me and I have no idea where he came from but he must have been deemed precious as I wasn’t allowed to play with him (sobs). Poor Smurf was held captive in a cupboard in my bedroom to keep for best.  At night I would creep across my bedroom floor very quiet, unlock the door of the forbidden cupboard and just sit there and staring at him not daring to touch. Years later when I deicded enough was enough Smurf needed rescuing from his wooden cave. I bravely opened the forbidden wardrobe but he had mysteriously vanished and I guess as I was a bit old for him by then so he must have been given away. SO sadly I never did get to play with him (sniffle) I know get the violins out right! (it’s OK Dad I’m not completly unhinged becuase of it only slightly but you knew that already)

The moral here?
1. ‘Never keep things for best as they will be out of fashion by the time you use them’.
2. Never buy things that do not fit as that never ends well
3. Live each day as if it’s your last and just once eat your microwave / take out / cheese on toast off a posh plate and enjoy the thrill of breaking the rules you rebel.

Personal note to self ‘take own advice and don’t leave the pink lemonade concentrate in the freezer for years because you love it so much that you never get to enjoy it”.  So this week live a little, raise a glass to life even if life often rains on your parade. For me I’m British and very adept at coping with lifes torrential downpours and severe gales from my recent camping trip in my VW – thanks to all those who commented I am glad to be a source of your amusement :)

Back to Pink Lemonade – Finding a recipe for pink lemonade concentrate online was fruiteless (pardon the pun) as nobody seemed to have a standard recipe so I figured I would follow suit and make my own as I went along. Even if it’s not sunny when I post this get ahead of the game; make this, freeze it and savour your own perfect glass of sunshine just waiting to be poured when the Sun finally makes its entrance. I guess you want to know how to make it because you know you will it’s just too hard to resist. Ok come on follow me…

Pink Lemonade

This also makes a great cocktail – 1 shot of limoncello, 1 shot of vodka, pink lemonade concentrate, top with lemonade or sparkling water and add plenty of ice – mmmm.

Ingredients

200g raspberries
200g strawberries
300ml water
300g golden caster sugar
1 vanilla bean / pod
6-8 lemons (mine were tiny!) juice and grated rind

Pink lemonade

Instructions

1. In a pan add sugar, vanilla bean (I used one from my vanilla sugar so it was already used) and the grated rind.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then take off the heat and leave to infuse until cool (or however long you want to wait).
3. In a blender (or with a blender attachment) blend the raspberries and strawberries until smooth.
4. Pour the berry mixture into a sieve to remove the pips.
5. Strain the sugar syrp to remove the lemon rind. Pour the berry and sugar syrup mixture into a jug.
6. Squeeze the lemons and add the juice to the pink lemonade mixture and stir until combined.
7. Pour a portion into a glass like you would juice you add water too (to taste) and top with ice cubes, sparkling water or lemonade and add a sprig of fresh mint if you feel so inclined or basil and serve.

To Freeze
Pour the concentrate into ice cube trays or silicon moulds and freeze overnight. Depending on the size of the moulds you may need a few ice cubes to flavour a drink. I also plan to use some in a cake, jellies and jam once I have worked out how I am going to make it all. I admit it I am a little obsessed with the flavour I have to say but not that obsessed that I’d torture myself by making ice lollies with them as I know I can never get the damn things out of the mould.

Happy summer rainy days x

I am entering this into Botanical Baker’s Summertime Sipping competition where I’m sure you will find lots more ideas and yummy natural drinks I can’t wait to see what everyone else has been up to!

summertime sipping

Pink Lemonade

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.

Raspberry Bakewell Loaf Cake (Gluten and Dairy Free)


Raspberry Bakewell Cake

Finally I made myself a cake that is dairy free and gluten free who knows next time it will be cake without actually having cake in it? I have a guilty secret to share I am having a bit of a love affair with raspberries at the moment and I can’t wait until raspberries come into season but for now frozen will do.

Raspberries suit this moist cake beautifully and make me think of summer (sigh) oh how I miss it. It’s not right to still be wearing jumpers in May and with a looming maiden camping voyage in the ‘so nearly finished after two god damn years’ VW camper and when I look out the window at the rain and realise with dispair that it’s certainly not looking promising. At least the cake to take looks like a slice of summer.

Raspberry Bakewell Cake

When we brought the van to experience retro style family holidays I did not quite have in mind rain, men and smelly feet. I’ll admit being a fair weather camper and whilst some people stuck in a middle of a field somewhere may pine for the lack of television, toilets, proper showers or the internet but no not me I will pine for the loss of my oven. Although I did spot a mini electric one for £39 in Lakeleand that plugs in and sadly I am very tempted.

Coming on the trip is Ron and Ronald the comedy bromance duo (husband and his best friend) as well as my about to be teenage son leaving me as the only one with two ovaries in the camper and with the fact that I’m sat here having hot flushes they may be on their way out too. So many unimportant but nagging questions are running through my head like the torrential downpour drumming on the window as I speak ranging from:

1. Sod the food how much wine can I actually fit in the van for medicinal purposes?
2. Does Lakeland have a testosterone repellant I can spray around the van and on myself or do I have to have PMS / Pre-menopause hormones for a whole week to get any peace?
3.Will bunting actually make me feel more girly in a camping world that will involve stories of clutch repairs long winded attempts at humourous breakdown stories stuck on repeat.
4. If I put up sparkly lights, light scented candles, get out my sparkly rug will this constitute glamping or do need fluffy heeled slippers for that?
5. Will my husband actually read this post and then I will be in the proverbial dog house all week anyway?

Raspberry Bakewell Cake

This rainy cold spell is not doing my ass any favours either. It feels as if it is getting larger with each passing rainstorn. Comfort food is still the order of the day in fact I still want to cook soup for goodness sake! This cake was supposed to be frozen for the trip but instead it spoke lovingly to me. Quite literally my ass and brain simultaneously decided extra pounds were needed to be added to my curves in preparation for warmth needed on those cold camping nights. Oh well I can bake another one but just imagine if I had the mini oven I could just pop out a cheeky one there. Nope there is no hope for me.

Raspberry Bakewell Cake

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food - I choose to do a loaf cake (2 pound) as I have just discovered the joy of paper liners for cake tins and they are the only size I have (yet). It was a choice of faffing around with lining a tin or just plonking a liner in. Yes you know which one won, however this cake will also fit a 20cm deep cake tin just fine.

See also my 7 top tips for gluten free baking

Ingredients
175g ground almonds
175g softened butter (or use dairy free substitute or use flavourless oil such as sunflower)
175g golden caster sugar
175g self raising flour (Gluten Free – Substitute with gluten free self raising flour – like Doves. Also add 1 tsp of xanthum gum to prevent cake from being too crumbly)
2 large eggs (rooom temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g raspberries

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 180c / 160 fan / gas 4
2. Line a 2lb loaf tin
3. place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until well combined
4. Put half the mixture into the lined tin and level it
5. Sprinkle over the raspberries and cover with the remaining half of the mixture and level with a spoon or spatula.
6. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, ovens do vary. You should check your cake at 45 mins to make sure it is not getting to brown on top – if it is you can cover it loosely with foil to prevent burning).
7. Test cake by inserting a skewer, if it is ready it should come out clean. Remove cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

Almond Icing (optional)
140g icing sugar
1tsp almond extract or 1 tablespoon of amaretto if you are feeling naughty
2-3 tbsp of water

Instructions
1.Mix the extract and 2 tbsp of water into the mixture until combined. Keep adding water gradually until the icing is thick but not too runny. Drizzle over the top of the cake.
2. Toast the almonds in a pan with no oil on a low heat. After about 3 minutes the oil will begin to be released from the almonds and they will begin to brown. Keep moving the pan around to stop them from burning. When they reach a golden brown colour remove from the heat and leave to cool before sprinkling over the top of your cake.

Serve and enjoy x

Raspberry Bakewell

Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes


I have become rather interested in synchronicity lately after watching the program ‘Touch on’ on Sky 1. Synchronicity is a term used by Carl Jung to explain that the events that happen in our lives are not an accident or coincidence as everything happens for a reason. We have all had times when you go to ring or text someone and before you get to do it they ring or text you. The moment when you are in a real hurry and you drive into a car park and someone drives out just at the right time (OK that never happens to me) but those are very simple examples of synchronicity. I think the Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes I created are an example of synchronicity at work that day for me.

Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes

They began creation in my mind a few months ago when I spottted mini oreo cheesecake’s on the wonderful Grace’s Sweet Life but I never got around to making them. Not until this weekend when the order of the Cosmos (or whatever you believe in) decided that I was going to create them. Firstly the universe made sure Jammie dodgers were on offer so I had multiple packets as they are not a biscuit I buy as they are quite pricey. The cream cheese I had ordered for something else a long time ago which sat folornly waiting to be used decided it would leap out of the fridge at me. The raspberries ordered for a raspberry bakewell cake never arrived ( I was so gutted) so my baking plans for the weekend were ruined (or so I thought)

Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes

The roughly drafted recipe from months ago fell onto the kitchen floor and I realised that now was truly the time. I opened the dodgers with a sense of purpose and began to count the biscuits and this is where I hit my first problem. I assumed there would be 12 in a packet in my rough recipe (always the optimist) to find there was only 8! Dejected I took one dodger, hovered it by my mouth in a knee jerk must have comfort food type reaction. As I grumbled about it all being wrong – blah blah blah, my Son walks in. He hears me moaning and says ‘I’ll just work out the correct ratio for you Mum, give me a pen’. Umm did that really happen?

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

I needed 92g of cream. Guess how much was left over after the turkish delight cake? Yes exactly 92g and for some unknown reason I did not throw it away although I would normally as I don’t eat cream unless it is in something. The scaled down cheesecake mixture by my Son could not have been more of a perfect fit if it tried. These were meant to happen and I am so glad they did as they are bliss.

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

I love that you can see the splat on the dodger and the jammy heart through the paper which again is a miracle as I have baked these again and it didn’t happen (I think as I did not push them fully down into the tin in my haste). Thanks to synchronicity my family all raised their little Jammie Queen’s to the sky and admired the splat before sending them on their final journey. I don’t think I can even express how much I love it when baking and synchronicity come together.

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

So whether you believe in synchronicity or not I feel it has a lot to play in my life and I am certainly looking out for the signs. They are there you see as when I was photographing these on instagram I ended up having a conversation with Butcher Baker who I have not spoken to too for ages who was in the throws of writing a fantastic post on how to make Jammie dodgers and had sent me a message. The World as they say works works in mysterious ways so why not slow down and listen to the baking messages you get. What have you been told lately?

Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes

Let me know your synchronicty / coincidence stories – be it life or baking! I truly find it fascinating.

Ingredients
1 packet of Jammie Dodgers (8 biscuits)
1 packet of mini Jammie Dodgers (optional for topping)
272g cream cheese
67g vanilla sugar (or use caster sugar)
1 egg (room temperature)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp if not using vanilla sugar)
92g single cream (any cream will work fine)
2 tbsp of strawberry jam (optional as a filling to the cheesecake)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 275f / 135 C / 115 fan
2. Pop a jammie dodger upside down (splat faces down!) so you have the jam centre facing downwards in muffin cases and in a muffin tin x 8
3. Beat together cheese and sugar
4. Dizzle in the egg and mix
5. Ad the cream and mix – add in the vanilla extract and give a final mix
6. Pour mixture into the cases on top of hte jammie dodger until each is near the top
7. Warm the jam so it is runny and easier to pour (about 20 seconds in the mircowave)
8. Add a dollop of jam to centre of each cake and swirl
9. Add one further dollop of jam in the centre so they look like a jammy dodger
10. Transfer to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 11 minutes and then rotate the tin 180 degrees. Bake for a further 11 minutes (approx your oven may vary). There will be some wobble to the cheesecakes but the mixture will not be runny when it is done.
11. Leave cheesecakes to cool in the tin and then transfer (still in the tin) to the fridge overnight for best results. Do not try to admire the splat at the bottom as it will end in disaster just trust it is there (ifd you pushed it down enough) and enjoy the thrill of seeing it tomorrow when you salute the sky with your new Queen of cheesecakes.  If it does not appear then blame it on synchnocity playing with you.
12. Top with cream and a mini dodger if you wish.

Enjoy!

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

Coming soon: pay day cake 4 is in development and a little clue there is less cake this time. Other than that I have no idea I’m just going to see what happens.