Irish Coffee Cake


Irish Coffee Cake 1

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

  1. Desertion
  2. Crime
  3. Smuggling contraband

Irish Coffee Cake 4

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

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

Irish Coffee Cake 5

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

Irish Coffee Cake 2

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

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

*always eat cake responsibly

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

Irish Coffee Cake 3

Irish Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake Ingredients

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

Instructions for Coffee Cake

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

White Chocolate and Baileys Buttercream Recipe

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

White Chocolate and Baileys Buttercream Instructions

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

Assembly of the Cake

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

      5. Eat and enjoy your naughty contraband
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Rolo Cupcake Challenge


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

Rolo Chocolate Cupcake

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

Rolo Chocolate Cupcake

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

Rolo Chocolate Cupcake

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

“Excuse me I’m looking for fun.”

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

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

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

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

So I set about wondering and came up with this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients for Chocolate Fudge Rolo Cupcakes

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

70ml sour cream

Chocolate Fudge Rolo Cake Instructions

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

Caramel Buttercream Ingredients

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

Caramel Buttercream Instructions

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

To Assemble

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

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.

TenSprinkle Spiral Cookies

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

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

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

Love to all x Up next gooey popcorn bars traybake

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Covered Strawberries


Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

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

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

Triple CHoclate Mousse

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

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

Triple Chocolate Mousse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instructions

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

Assembly (phase 1)

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

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

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

Day 4 – Strawberries & Eating!

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

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

Enjoy!

Mojito Inspired Polenta Cake (Gluten and Dairy Free)


Mojito Gluten and Dairy Free Polenta Cake

IWhen I baked the lemon and berry polenta cake I promised I would be back to bake another one and here I am. Once again this was not a planned cake but one that just sort of happened. You would never guess this cake is both gluten and dairy free as like my last post of Raspberry Bakewell cake as it is light and moist.

Mojito poelnta cake

Juicy limes meet spiced rum in this gluten and dairy free cake and it’s all mine I tell you. Concoted with the last remenants of spiced rum so that my husband and I could not argue over who got the last tipple and some little limes I randomly ordered (as you do). I choose to miss out the mint in this cake as I’m not a big mint lover. I am sure someone somewhere will tell me that ‘technically it’s not a mojito cake then’. Fair enough, add a sprig of mint for decoration on the top and get over it I say as life is too short! This cake keeps beautifully and the depth of flavour increases over a few days as the rum truly soaks into the moist cake.

Mojito Polenta Cake
Life’s little coincidences

The voice of synchronicity is still going strong last weekend my Husband and my mobile phones both signalled a message at 08.30. Thinking that someone must have sent us both the same message I thought no more of it and went back to sleep. It turned out the messages were both from different people (who do not know each other) and one message was to sadly tell us of a death and the other a birth. A true reminder that life’s never-ending cycle is certainly evident. So I got up and baked this cake and pondered for a while.

Mojito polenta cake

Coincidence Number 2

Whilst still pondering I posted a picture of this cake using instagram. Later that day one of my followers on twitter spotted it and asked me kindly for the recipe for her next Clandestine Cake Club meeting. I thought she may live somewhere in the South so I asked where it was out of curiosity. It turned out that that we both live the same town. I mean what are the odds of that out of all the invisible people on twitter? She also kindly asked me if I would like to go and offered me a lift. So perhaps I am destined to actually go to a cake club after all?

Mojito polenta cake

Whatever conicidences happen ahead and I know they will I’d just like the universere to know that I’m ready, armed with cake and I have a 1950’s Kenwood stand mixer on stand by just waiting to soothe any trouble.

Mojito Polenta Cake

Recipe (adapted from Doves Farm)

120g sunflower oil
150g caster sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
75g ground almonds
1/s tsp gluten-free baking powder
2 limes – grated rind and juice
75g Polenta (quick cook fine grain variety)
50g granulated sugar ( for the sugar syrup) and a tad more for sprinkling
40ml of spiced rum (20 ml for the cake and 20ml for the sugar syrup)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/Fan150°/325°F/Gas 3
2. Grease a 18cm/7”cake tin and line with baking parchment or greaseproof.
3. Beat oil, eggs and sugar together for 3 mins
4. Mix in the ground almonds and baking powder until fully combined.
5. Stir in all grated lime rind and juice of one lime – reserve the rest for the sugar syrup.
6. Add 20ml of spiced rum
7. Stir in the polenta.
8. Spoon mixture into cake tin.
9. Bake for approx 40/45 minutes on the middle shelf
10. Allow to cool in the tin.
11. Add the juice of the remaining lime into a saucepan with 50g sugar and 20ml of spiced rum.
12. Boil gently, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes to form a thick syrup.
13. Make holes in the cake with the cake tester or a skewer and pour syrup over the cake
14. Allow to cool before removing from the tin. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sugar and finish with a sprig of mint if you wish!

Storage

This cake is very moist and will last in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You might also like my Lemon and berry polenta cake. or wish to read more about gluten free baking.

Props: Rainbow bunting (Folksy £20), Cake stand – Wilkinsons £8 and heart band made with paint cards (free from DIY stores) punched with a heart shaped punch and stapled onto ribbon.

Enjoy!

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.

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 🙂

Lemon and Berry Polenta Cake (Gluten Free)


Zesty, lemon sugar syrup the slight crunch of polenta coupled with juicy berries gives a refreshingly different dessert cake.  Serve with oodles more berries and cream and you have yourself a mighty fine pudding. This cake uses fine grained polenta (quick cook) which as an added bonus makes it a gluten-free cake so you get all the taste but without the gluten gunk.  I have not said I love you to a cake yet but this is a surprising contender and definitely on my bake again list.

Four lemons go into the cake and the juice – yes four of them!  So expect a citrus hit which is great as I love lemons but it is not too sour just right in my opinion.  In my tutor group leavers speech I told them ‘If life gives you free lemons – say hey – free lemons!’ OK so they did not get my meaning either but maybe one day they will realise that free lemons = great cake. Nom nom.

I added berries for more flavour and texture.  Yes I admit they were frozen ones as we are not quite in strawberry and blueberry season yet but don’t knock frozen fruit as it tastes better than some of the out of season water filled varieties.

Do you know why I like this cake so much? 

Quite simply it was quick to make, simple, tasted great and when I went to take the photographs it was about to rain as the dark grey clouds were gathering.  This meant instead of spending countless hours getting the pictures right to fulfil the perfectionist streak in me I was challenged to just shoot the images as it was.  I love the pictures  and just like the cake they were no fuss but a great result.  Finally something that required not much effort!

Lemon Berry Polenta Cake

I took this cake as part of a set of gluten-free goodies to a university reunion and it was very happily received so I promised my newly diagnosed coeliac friend that I would do a post on gluten-free baking – more on that to follow.

What surprised me the most about our PGCE gathering (teaching qualification) was that I am the only person still in teaching!  What does that say about the profession I wonder?  Also on a sadder note apparently I am only a quarter of the bubbly person I used to be perhaps that is the result of still being in teaching I wonder.  Cue mid-life crisis….

Recipe (adapted from Doves Farm)

150g soft room temperature butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs (room temperature)
75g ground almonds
1/s tsp gluten-free baking powder
4 lemons – grated rind and juice
75g Polenta (quick cook fine grain variety)
50g granulated sugar ( for the sugar syrup)
200g berries of your choice

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/Fan150°/325°F/Gas 3
2. Grease a 20cm/8”cake tin and line with baking parchment or greaseproof.
3. Beat butter and 150g sugar together until pale and light(about 5 mins).
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
5. Mix in the ground almonds and baking powder until fully combined.
6. Stir in all the grated lemon rind and juice of two lemons – reserve the rest for the sugar syrup.
7. Stir in the polenta and then the berries.
8. Spoon mixture into cake tin.
9. Bake for approx 40/45 minutes on the middle shelf
10. Allow to cool in the tin.
11. Add the juice of the remaining 2 lemons into a saucepan with 50g sugar.
12. Boil gently, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes to form a thick syrup.
13. Make holes in the cake with the cake tester or a skewer and pour syrup over the cake
14. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.

Storage

This cake is very moist and will last in an airtight container for up to 3 days.  Generally gluten free cakes do not last as long as regular cakes – so more excuse to get one and eat it!

Enjoy!   Coming up next – 7 tips on gluten free baking and the turkish temptress layer cake (pay day cake 3!)