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.

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7 tips for Gluten Free Baking (GF)


So you have been nominated to make a cake for a gathering and then someone says to you ‘hey can you make it gluten free?’.  You get sweaty just thinking about it, I mean gluten free – what is that?  You wonder how you are going to create a cake without flour but somehow find yourself nodding at the same time – well it is rude to say no.  If gluten free baking is something you have not done before you know that hours of internet research is ahead of you .  Where do you even start? Well you read on and find out…

Understand what Coeliac is (taken from coeliac website)

“Coeliac disease (pronounced see-liac, spelt celiac disease in other countries) is an autoimmune disease. Gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye triggers an immune reaction in people with coeliac disease. This means that eating gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. Other parts of the body may be affected.”

It is very limiting to be on a gluten free diet especially when out socialising as you have no control over what has gone into the food and eveything can potenitally be the gluten devil.  Wheat free is generally a food intolerance but coeliac (gluten free) is an autoimmune disease.  Do not think that a person who is Coeliac (GF) will eat be OK eating a bit of gluten every now that they might be a bit ill but they’ll be alright.  Gluten can have a very damaging effect on their intenstines in the long term and cause complications such as infertility, osteoporosis and bowel cancer.  Once diagnosed like an alcoholic they have to avoid gluten for life as this is the only way to control it and even one bit of gluten can upset the stomach and intenstines for day and out them back to square one.

My Top Gluten Free Bakes

I was recently invited to attend an overdue gathering of friends when I got that request for gluten free cake so I set to work to meet the challenge so nobody felt they were missing out.

1. Firstly I started with toffee crisp bars.  These always work well , requitre little effort and everyone lovesthem.  Do check the ingredients of the toffee and marshmallows (made from corn) you buy. If you wnat to cover them in chocolate you will need a gluten free chocolate. Most chocolate is GF (good ones) but some do use it- Nestle chocolate is GF where as Cadburys has been reclassified as having a very low gluten content. I made the toffee crips as a tray bake in a 20cm tin rather than moulds like below for speed. Final tip on that – use a wet wooden spoon to press it down into the tin!

2. A rather dodgy looking but yummy chocolate cherry cola cupcakes was made by my Son and Husband. Note: Cola and GF flour do not like each other!

3. I made fruit alternative as the choclate base was already covered with a zesty lemon polenta cake with fresh berries to satisfy all tastebuds. Polenta is a GF grain and this is more of a dessert cake with a satisfying texture that I really enjoyed.

4. My naughty hot chocolate fudge sauce is also gluten free and we poured it over vanilla ice cream again watch out fo rice -cream but there are some very gluten free varities and I swear by Swedish Glace which I know Saisnbury does stock as it is delicious. When using cocoa in a recipe as always with gluten free baking be vigilant check as it can contain cereals and starch which are a no no.  I use Green and Blacks 70% Cocoa which is GF. Nestle also offer GF cocoa and hot chocolate powders that you can use and are easy to get.

I can tell you now it is worth the effort as anyone on a strict GF diet will love you forever if you make them cake as some varieties in supermarkets are not always that nice and can be very expensive.  To help you understand more here are some general guides as to what coeliacs can and can’t eat. There are many other recipes out there that involve alternative flours but if you are not following a GF diet here are my top tips to adapt a favourite recipe you already have:

1. Use 1 tsp of xantham gum in cakes stops them from being too crumbly in texture which is notorious in gluten free cakes especially ones that don’t have lot’s of moisture in them e.g victoria sponge.

2. Gluten free cakes can be quite dry so don’t be afraid to add extra moisture. Into a 20cm cake I will normally add an extra 1 – 2 tbs of milk, water or fruit juice (depending on the flavour of cake).

3. Subsitute any ordinary wheat / gluten based flour with a gluten free flour alternative these are available in plain and self-raising. In my own experience Doves farm is my favourite but there are others. You can easily adapt the same recipe you love this way.

4. For fail safe baking and first attempts – go for moister cakes like carrot, coffee or fruit as in my expereience they tend to work better and will not have that gluten free taste twang that you can sometimes get with a vanilla sponge.

5. Check your baking powder is gluten free – I only use this type anyway so that I do not get the wrong one by accident.

6. Icing sugar (by Silver Spoon) is gluten free so you can still use this to make buttercream icing.

7. Watch out for starch (check what sort it is – potato is OK but see tip 7). Corn is OK, wheat must be avoided and oats are ad odd one.  Manufacturers seem to process oat goods in the same spaces as wheat ones therefore cross-contaminating them so my advice is if it it does not clearly state gluten free then don’t use it. If in doubt check the manufacturers website but for the best list of ingredients to avoid click here – once you see the list you will soon start to realise just how limiting a GF diet is and how they sneak naughty gluten into most our food.

Make someone’s day who is GF and bake them a cake.

Hope that helps so you never have to sweat again 🙂

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!

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce (Gluten Free)


So Easter is over and no longer will we have to endure cute bunnies and eggs taking over the blog World.   If you want to use up your left over Easter eggs then try this  recipe for naughty hot chocolate fudge sauce which is perfect accompaniment to an ice-cream sundae and you can use up any left over easter eggs either in the sauce of by scattering them on top.

This sauce so my family tells me is rich, fudgy and as my son says ‘delish’.  It only took 20 minutes to make and would make a great gift coupled with a small bag of chocolate or fudge to give the gift of a Sundae.  A number of friends have told me I should go on Dragon’s Den with this recipe or sell it to Ann Summers for lickable body paint but I think not.  Of course what you do with the sauce in your own home is up to you.

You are probably wondering why I have not tried any of this sundae if it is so delicious?  Well,  milk and I do not see eye to eye.  In a chemical warfare battle between my stomach and ice-cream – the frozen stuff wins and it is just not worth it.  It was so hard to take these photographs and not lick the spoon or the bowl as I love ice-cream but it would have reaped its revenge on me.  Luckily I enjoyed watching my boys and the surrogate one (Ron) lick their spoons with glee so that made up for it.

The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few weeks (or more) if you use a sealed jar (e.g Kilner or Mason). To use the sauce just scoop the sauce you need into a bowl and heat in a pan or in the microwave for about 30 seconds on medium until it comes back to pouring consistency. I have included the jar label files (scroll down) so you can decorate your jars and make them look all pretty. Just print them out and glue them on I only used a glue stick as they are not going to stay on very long. I have included photoshop editing compatibility on the pdf for those who wish to edit and change the wording or colours – my gift to you.

You could also use the sauce on a cake between the layers for a chocolate fudge experience and heat it up and serve it with ice cream mmmmm.

The Geeky Hunt

I set my family an Easter Egg hunt where for each egg found they were given a binary number as I still on a binary kick (read chocolate & binary – trust me it is the best learning combination).  I can’t say they were initially thrilled at the idea as it required effort but no pain no gain I say and after all Mummy had been to Hotel Chocolat and therefore extra effort to gain these gifts were required.  Once they had worked out the decimal from the binary code (one per egg found)  they had to match the number to the letter in the alphabet (e.g 1 = A, 2 = B) then they had to put the letters in the right order to find out the location of their egg.  Ha ha I loved watching them try to figure it out 🙂 and I am so doing it again next year.

Ingredients (Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce adapted from BBC Good Food)

To make this gluten or wheat free – use Green and Blacks Cocoa or Nestle – or check the manufacturers label. For more tips see my post – 7 tips for gluten free baking.
200g granulated sugar
140g vanilla sugar or use caster sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod (seeds)
85g dark muscavado sugar
1/2 tsp espresso powder
100g cocoa (I use green and blacks)
30g cornflour
1 tin (410g) of evaporated milk
250ml water
50g butter cut into small cubes
2 tsp of vanilla extract (add at the end of cooking)

Instructions
1. Place all the ingredients into a large pan over a medium heat and stir constantly until you reach boiling point (approx 10 – 15 mins).
2. Continue cooking for a further 5 mins and the sauce will begin to thicken. Depending on how you like your sauce (thick or slightly runny) take it off the heat when you are happy with the pouring consistency. Add the vanilla essence.
3. If you are not using the sauce straight away you can pour into sterilised jars and add pretty labels.

The PDF labels (I have not done this before so please do not yell at me if this does not work!) I believe all you need to do is click on the link to open the file and then right click to save it (you will need a pdf reader).

PrintablesSml

Lemon Meringue Roulade


This dessert is not a smack it in your face and make it screw up with the power of unadulterated lemon zest like you get sometimes with a tart au citron or Lemon meringue pie. This dessert is lemon meringue with finesse as it draws you in with clouds of soft sweet meringue, caresses you with the taste of italian sunshine and finishes with tangy limoncello soaked berries. If you use half fat cream it is also good for fitting in those summer short you were avoiding putting on this week.

As Marks and Spencer’s would say this is not just any old meringue this is lemon meringue roulade and quite simply you do not want your portion to end. Don’t be fooled by its cracked exterior and dodgy rolling as you should never judge a dessert purely by its looks or you will miss out.

Avoidance Tactics
Some people go to extraordinary lengths to avoid things, people or events.  Those moments in life where if given the opportunity to cross over to the other side of the street or just ignore it, you grasp the opportunity and break into a sprint even in stiletto heels as long as it is far in the opposite direction.   My Mum’s favourite pudding is Lemon Meringue Pie but the thought of making a pastry tart filled with me with anxiety, gave me pastry related nightmares even though my berry palmiers with macron icecream turned out with gentle puffed layers of butter I still fear it.  As a result out tumbled the A team (A for avoidance) to my rescue.  For once I am proud of my dithering tactics as this turned out better than I hoped, no guilt was felt afterwards and my feet do not have blisters on them.  However this dessert probably took longer in internet searching and planning than if I had just got on with the pie in the first place but that is the downside of avoidance.

Meringue Roulade
Make the lemon mousse and soak the berries in Limoncello (optional) the night before to give them time to chill fully

Lemon Mousse Ingredients (adapted from BBC good food online)
284ml Elmlea double cream (half fat alternative but you can use full fat double cream)
Zest of 1 lemon and juice
60g caster sugar
2 egg whites (room temperature)

Mousse Instructions
1. Add cream, zest, and sugar to a bowl and whisk until it starts to thicken
2. Add lemon juice and whisk again – whisk until thick but not too stiff that you can not add whisked egg whites to the mixture
3. Clean the bowl you wish to whisk the egg whites in with the rind of the lemon (left over from juicing) to ensure it has no grease
4. Whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage (if you go to tip the bowl the mixture will slide around – so don’t put it over your head this time)
5. Fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture until it is combined
6. Pour mousse into a container and chill until ready to use.

Limoncello soaked berries
200g fresh or frozen berries of your choice ( I used Sainsbury’s frozen blueberries and strawberries)
50ml of limoncello (I must post the recipe as I make my own and it is as simple as making vanilla essence and a delight after dessert to cleanse the palette)

1. Add the limoncello to your chosen fruits and leave to soak covered in the fridge overnight whilst your mousse is chilling.
2. When you are ready to make the roulade – strain off the juice into shot glasses and enjoy later – it is so good and a reward for your baking efforts.

Meringue Roulade (taken from Mary Berry Recipe for Raspberry Meringue Roulade – The Ultimate Cake Book)

Roulade Ingredients
5 egg whites (room temperature)
275g caster sugar
1/2 jar of lemon curd for the filling ( I used Sainsburys taste the difference)

Roulade Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6 / 180 Fan.
2. Line a 13×9 inch tin (33×23 cm) which is a swiss roll tin with baking parchment (including up the sides for easy removal).
3. Wipe the bowl you will use to whisk the eggs whites in with a slice of lemon to degrease it and ensure perfect peaks.
4. Pour the eggs whites into the clean bowl and whisk on high speed until the egg whites form very stiff peaks (you can turn the bowl upside down and the eggs will not move an inch).
5. Add caster sugar one teaspoon at a time to the egg mixture whilst still beating and ensure all sugar is combined before adding the next (I count to 5 between spoonfuls).
6. The mixture will be very stiff once all the sugar has been included (so much so the blades of my mixer started to struggle but it is a 1950’s Kenwood Chef).
7. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and use a pallet knife to spread the meringue
8. Put the tin near the top of the oven and bake for 8 mins.
8. Turn down the temperature to 160C/ 325F/ Gas 3/ 140 Fan and bake for a further 15 mins until it lightly golden and the meringue is firm to the touch.
9. Cut a further piece of baking parchment the same size as the tin.
10. Turn out the meringue onto the baking parchment so that it is upside down and then remove the baking parchment. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Assembly

1. Smooth the lemon curd onto the roulade.
2. Smooth the mousse over the top and scatter with the berries.
3. Keep the meringue on the baking parchment to make rolling it easier.
4. Start at one of the longest edges of the meringue. Fold the edge of the meringue inwards and begin to roll it up like a swiss roll.
5. It will crack and feel like it will never work but use the baking parchment to help you roll it and be gentle (ish) with your touch get the parchment to do the work.
6. It may not look brilliant at this point and the filling is likely to squirt out but you can lick the work surface later.
7. Once rolled use the baking parchment to transfer it to a plate (it is quite long so you may wish to cut into two depending on your serving plate size). If you wish you can have the joy of removing the baking parchment which is a little like trying to pull out a tablecloth whilst plates are still on it but if it is for family tea – just cut it on the paper and get over the need to be perfect (says the one who did the pulling off of the paper).

Enjoy- love you Mum!

7 Reasons to Love DIY Granola with Adaptable Recipe


This post will not beat you around the face with yet another recipe for granola as there are millions online and why reinvent the wheel?  What this post does share with you is my own chart that I made which is easy to use to make your own adapatable Granola easily with anything you have to hand.  With this simple formula you will be able to choose your own Granola destiny with the blink of any eye.

Granola recipe

Granola is beautifully packaged clusters of oaty breakfast cereal that shout out at you from the supermarket aisle.  They lure you in with their tantalizing oaty flavours but leave you taking a sharp intake of breath when you see the price attached to it and back on the shelf it goes (maybe next time).

Granola recipe

Top 7 Reasons to Love DIY Granola:

1. It is far cheaper to make your own Granola while you do have to buy quite a few ingredients to start with, you will be able to make far more from it.
2. You are in control of your Granola destiny so if you wnat more of this or that go for it.
3. You can experiement with a dash of this and blob of that – no more best fit granola flavour for you. This also means you can flavour it so the rest of the family avoid it if you’re clever.
4. You can use the granola for many other things like topping muffins, puddings and I used it to make granola bars (post on its way soon).
5. It looks beautiful in a jar and has no powdered bits at the end (like boxed cereals).
6. The house smells fresh and oaty when it is baking.
7. It requires very little effort that it makes you wonder why they charge so much?

Adapting a Granole Recipe
I discovered that once you have the main ingredient ratios for Granola this frees you up to get creative and change the recipe to suit your mood, what is in season or in the cupboard.  From searching 100’s of granola recipes and reading all the comments to see what worked and what did not I made a visual Granola chart summarising it for myself and thought I would share it with you:

Granola Recipe Chart

Sadly my family also seem to have suddenly taken a liking to my Granola and especially the bars I made with it (post to follow) and I think I am going to have to make another batch.  Not that I mind as normally they would not put an oat into their mouths unless it’s baked with golden syrup, butter and sugar.  My son has an adversion to breakfast, anything remotely healthy and baths so at least this recipe solves two of three of those problems.   Which just leaves me to wonder what can I put in it next time that they do not like? Hmmmmm….

Granola recipe

Basic dry ingredients (for those of you who can’t see the chart)

200g combination of dried fruit
100g combination of seed / nuts
450g combination of rolled oats and any other cereal
100g sugar
1 pinch salt

Basic wet ingredients

150 ml syrup / honey – used as the binding agent
2 tbsp oil (non flavoured – sunflower works well)
150 ml fruit juice or Bramley apple sauce works very well – this is also used as the binding agent

Designing your own muesli (just a few ideas)
Pick and Mix Flavourings – vanilla extract, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg etc
Seeds – sesame, pumpkin, poppy, flax etc
Nuts – brazil, pistachio, almond, hazelnut – for best flavour toast them in the oven for a few minutes
Fruit – cranberries, blueberries, cherries, dates, apricots, mango, pineapple,sultanas, coconut etc
Cereals – always used rolled oats, add any other cereal like bran, rice puffs,  etc
Syrups – honey, acacia (lighter taste) golden syrup, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup (less sugar rush)
Sugar – brown, normal, muscavado, vanilla sugar or a combination
Treats – chocolate chunks, fudge pieces etc

What I used – Recipe (if you really want one. However it is mianly here so I can remember!)

450g rolled oats
100g sesame seeds
100g sunflower seeds
3 tsp homemade vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
100g flaked almonds
200g dried fruit (add after cooking)
2 tbs sunflower oil
150g Bramley apple sauce
150 ml acacia honey and maple syrup (I used half and half)
100g homemade vanilla sugar
pinch salt

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 160/ Gas 3 / 140 fan.
2. Line 2 baking trays (at least a 1 inch side.) with greaseproof paper / baking parchment
3. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl (do not add the fruit – add this after baking)
4. Add all the wet ingredients and stir well to combine fully, pour into trays evenly
5. Bake for 50 mins use a spoon to turn over the granola every 10 minutes to prevent burning
6. You are aiming for a light golden colour to your finished Garnola.
7. Leave to cool, add fruit and pour into a large airtight container or jar.
8. Makes enough for approx 20+ servings and I stored mine in a 1000ml preserving jar (which was full and I had about two portions left over!)

Enjoy the smugness in the morning! x

Ginger and White Chocolate Buttercream Cupcakes


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

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

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

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

Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

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

Ginger White Chocolate Cupcakes

Maisie Fantasie Cupcakes Ebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Westward Ho!

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

Rock Friend Cakeboule

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

Finally – here are the instructions!

Ginger cupcake recipe ( my own adaption )

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

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

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

White Chocolate Buttercream

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

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

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

Leftover Banana, Honeycomb and Chocolate Cake


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

BananaCloseup

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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from Nigel Slater – Black Banana Cake (here)

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

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

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

Not read part 1? – click here for a chuckle

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!

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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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