Category Archives: cakes

Feel Good Fruit Cake

Hello everyone. Sorry for the lack of blogging recently. I have not been feeling myself. I will not go into much detail here but you can read my post on my parenting blog here if you like.

When I am not feeling 100%, I retreat to the kitchen and bake. Today I have made something I have wanted to bake for a while. When I was a child, I used to go to my Nan's after school, she used to give me a slice of Mr Kipling's Farmhouse Fruit Cake. I loved it and it is a real memory of childhood for me. I recently tried some again after many years of not having it and although, it tasted ok, I was disappointed to see that it contained dried egg, dried milk and a few other non-appetising sounding things so I decided I could do better and make a better one myself.

I adapted the recipe here. I added an extra 30g of dried mixed fruit and 50g of glacé cherries. In my fan oven, the cake took just over an hour in my fan oven. The cake looks and tastes better than I remember from childhood. I will make it again soon!

 

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off – The Masterclass: Sticky Ginger & Treacle Traybake

The Great British Bake Off is now finished until sometime next year, however Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen gave us the whole month of November to make anything from the series that we wanted to make again or try for the first time. As ever, I am leaving it until the last minute to link up and take part.

After watching the four Masterclass episodes I decided to make Mary Berry’s ginger and treacle spiced Traybake. I liked the look of the combination of flavours and thought it was very different to the usual traybakes that you see around. It was very easy to make and I only made one adaptation to the recipe. I added in a teaspoon of dried ginger instead of the mixed spice and allspice as I did not have any in. I think the recipe needed the extra ginger in it to work, however I really love ginger! I took this into work on Wednesday for my last day in the office before maternity leave. Everyone loved it and it disappeared very quickly!!

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 10 – Thomas’ 2nd Birthday Lightning McQueen Cake

It was the final week of the Great British Bake Off this week and wasn't it a good one. The final three were challenged to make a picnic pie, pretzels and a wedding cake (three layers). As ever, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen are asking us to do something similar. Fortunately for me, the final week of the bake off has landed on a week when I was planning a large baking project anyway. Thomas is 2 years old on the 29th October and his birthday party was today.

Thomas loves cars, buses, planes and most other forms of motorised transport and his favourite film is Cars. Therefore, I decided a couple of months ago to attempt a Lightning McQueen cake for his birthday. Originally, I planned to make a 3D Lightning McQueen cake but could not find a tutorial online that made a good enough replica of Lightning McQueen for me. After a bit of searching I discovered this tin from Wilton and I snapped it up on eBay as soon as I saw it. However, this tin was not going to be big enough to feed 25 toddlers along with friends/family too. Therefore, I borrowed my friend's 12 inch cake tin that she brought from Lakeland a few years ago so that I could make a base layer to sit the car cake on.

I used the recipe here for the 12 inch cake and the recipe here for the car cake. The instructions for the decorating of the car cake is that it should be piped on with buttercream in various colours, however I am not the best at piping so I decided to sugar paste the entire cake. I used white to cover the base cake as it shows off the car the most. Before the base cake was covered, it was cut with a cake slicer and sandwiched back together with strawberry jam. I used about 1.5kg of sugar paste to cover the 12 inch cake. The car cake was covered separately with red sugar paste and then carefully placed onto the base layer, using a black strip of sugar paste to cover the gap. Using the car tin template as a guide I stuck Lighting McQueen's features using more sugar paste with edible glue and then outlined the features using black writing icing. In total, the cake took about 7 hours to do from baking to completely finished over three days.

Everyone loved the cake at the party and could not believe that I had made it. I enjoyed making the cake and it was probably my biggest baking challenge to date. I will now be taking a few weeks off baking for a well deserved break. Thank you to Jenny and Helen for starting the Great Bloggers Bake Off and inspiring me to bake many new things :-)

 

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 9 – Easy Charlotte Royale

This week, the four remaining contestants on the Great British Bake Off were challenged to make savoury canapés, a Charlotte Royale and an Opera cake. As ever, Helen from The Crazy Kitchen and Jenny from Mummy Mishaps are challenging us to do the same.

Time has been a bit tight this week as I have been doing lots of baking for the Nearly New Sale of my local NCT branch. I made 4 large trays of Rocky Road, a chocolate sponge cake and 18 large cupcakes. I liked the look of the Charlotte Royale as soon as I saw them, however I do not have the time or the inclination to make them in the Classic French way as shown in the programme. Therefore the recipe below is my easy (otherwise called lazy!) version of a Charlotte Royale. I presented the finished Charlotte Royal in my sunning new cake stand from the cookware department at Debenhams. I think it looks lovely and shows the cake off really well.

Easy Charlotte Royale

Ingredients

  • 1 large jam Swiss roll or 2/3 small ones, cut into 1 1/2 cm rounds
  • 184ml tub of double cream
  • 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small handful of strawberries, chopped and stalk removed
  • Small handful of raspberries

Method


  1. Line a small Pyrex bowl with cling film. Place the Swiss roll rounds in the bowl to form a wall and completely cover the bowl. Ensure the Swiss roll rounds are close together so no cream will come out.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk up the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks are formed. Gently stir in the fruit then carefully put into the Charlotte Royale shell.
  3. Put more Swiss rolls on top then cover with cling film. Then put in the fridge overnight weighed down (I used a large saucepan old and two time).
  4. Once set overnight, carefully remove the Charlotte Royale from the bowl onto a plate/cake stand. Put back in the fridge though if you are not going to eat straight away otherwise the cream will start to soften. Eat and enjoy!

Disclosure: I received the cake stand to review from Debenhams. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Great Bloggers Bake Off Week 1: Rhubarb & Custard Sandwich Cake

The lovely Jenny of Mummy Mishaps and Helen of The Crazy Kitchen have created a new linky for all bloggers who are fans of the Great British Bake Off. Each week, we have to cook something related to that week’s challenges on the show. This week it was cake and the contestants had to make sandwich cakes, an Angel Food cake and a chocolate creation. I would of loved to have attempted an Angel Food cake but being a bit short of time, I did not feel brave enough to give it ago.
Inspired by one of the contestants on the show and determined to take the normal Victoria Sponge to the next level, I have dreamed up a rhubarb and custard sandwich cake. This recipe is a hybrid between my normal sandwich cake recipe and Nigella’s custard birthday sponge. I am not going to put the full recipe down as I mostly followed the Victoria sponge recipe for the cake. I only added a couple of tablespoons of custard powder to the mix at the same time as the flour. I followed Nigella’s recipe for the buttercream with an added bit of yellow food colouring to make it more custard like. The rhubarb (from my Nan’s garden) in the middle was roasted for about 20 minutes in a hot oven with a tablespoon of caster sugar, mashed up slightly with a fork and then cooled. The top is decorated with more buttercream using the duo icing kit from Lakeland.
I served the cake this morning at my local NCT branch coffee group. Everyone loved it. It is one I will make again. :-)

 

Jamie Oliver’s Sticky Toffee and Chocolate Cupcakes

 

I was recently contacted by the good folks at jamieoliver.com and was asked if I fancied trying one of Jamie's recipes out and letting you guys know about it. As I am currently craving chocolate, a recipe where it was one of the main stars of the show seemed the best way to go. I decided on the sticky toffee cupcakes with chocolate topping as I always tend to make vanilla cupcakes and wanted to make something a bit more interesting. The recipe was very simple and easy to follow. The cake mix smelt very lovely and full of traditional sticky toffee flavour. The cakes rose quite well. The chocolate topping was very simple and easy to make too.

I was also sent some dark chocolate from the Jme range to use in my baking. It is called 'Tall, Dark and Handsome' (just how I like my men LOL!) and it was some of the best chocolate I have ever tasted. I had to use most of it to decorate the cakes but I did get to try a bit. It was rich, very smooth and did taste more luxurious than most dark chocolate I have eaten. I will definitely use it in my baking again.

Disclosure: I was sent the chocolate to use in my recipe and review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Easy Easter Nest Cupcakes

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Easter is just around the corner and to get you in the mood, I have some inspiration for some easy Easter nest cupcakes that children can easily decorate themselves.

The chocolate cake is actually Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake recipe. The version I used is here. The recipe makes a massive quantity of cake mix and easily makes 30 cupcakes. I adjusted the cooking temperature to 175 degrees as I have an electric fan oven and baked them for 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean. The mix is very runny and it is easier to pour it into the cake cases before baking. I let the mix stand for an hour before baking and it thickened up slightly, making it easier.

Once cooled, I made up some chocolate buttercream (250g unsalted butter, 500g icing and 100g dark chocolate melted) and decorated the cupcakes using a grass/hair nozzle to give it a twig effect. The grass nozzle is very forgiving and you are almost given permission to not be perfect for the nests as the messier the better! This nozzle is perfect for children to learn basic piping techniques as they can hardly go wrong. This method of decorating does not use as much buttercream as you think and I ended up with some leftover for use another day. I finished the decoration off with my favourite Easter chocolate, Mini Eggs. I am impressed with myself that all the Mini Eggs made it onto the cakes! Where I found the willpower from not to eat them all, I do not know!

What are you baking this Easter? I would love to find out :-)

PS: I am taking these to Blue Door Bakery’s Cake Club tonight. I am looking forward to talking about cake, cake and even more cake!

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