Saturday, 30 November 2013

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

I’ve not had that much time to bake recently, busy working and being an adult and all that lark, but it’s Christmas soon so I will be baking some festive things if it kills me! I made this cake for another Clandestine Cake Club meeting last weekend. The theme was ‘winter spice’ but being awkward I hate all things like fruit cake so I thought I’d make something chocolatey. I tried it first as a traybake, and then as a round cake and it works well as either. This cake is really tasty and feels quite Christmassy too.

180g butter
½ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
150g brown sugar
150g black treacle
150g golden syrup
1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250ml milk
2 eggs
280g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
150g milk chocolate, chopped

To Decorate
80g butter
4 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tsp fresh ginger juice or syrup
25ml lemon juice
180g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180⁰ and line your tin of choice. Just keep in mind if it’s a deeper tin then the cake will take longer to cook.

Melt the butter in a saucepan.

Add the spices, sugar, treacle and golden syrup and heat until the sugar dissolves.

Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in a tbsp of the milk.

Lightly beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk in the butter mixture.

Add the bicarbonate of soda and the rest of the milk.

Sift in the cocoa powder and flour and gently fold in.

Stir through the roughly chopped chocolate.

Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 45mins-an hour or until the cake is springy to the touch and completely cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, gently heat the butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

Add the cocoa powder, ginger and lemon juice.

Sift in the icing sugar and whisk until dissolved and the icing is thick.

Ice the cake and leave it a good ten minutes to set. For my round cake I made the icing without adding the ginger and lemon, and instead added that to a simple white icing to decorate. It’s delicious either way!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Pumpkin Scones

These are something that I made a couple of weeks ago but I’ve been ridiculously busy so I’m only just getting around to posting this. There are still pumpkins in the shops though so I would definitely give this a try because they are sooo tasty. To make the pumpkin puree cut the pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds and bake in the oven until soft. There’s something about spiced things that just make you feel happy in this cold, dark weather.

70g soft brown sugar
115g butter
1 egg
115g pumpkin puree
260g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch salt
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp clove
Icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 200⁰C and line two baking trays with parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Stir in the egg and pumpkin.

Sift the flour, raising agents and spices and mix until combined.

At the point my mixture was ridiculously wet and very un-scone like so I added some more flour. Most of the recipes that I’d read said that you should turn out the mixture, roll, cut the scones etc, but this one is way too wet. What I did was use a large spoon to dollop rough blobs onto the prepared trays. It should make around eight large scones so divide the mixture equally this way, and smooth the surface slightly so that spikey edges don’t burn.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

When they are completely cool mix together some icing sugar with a very small amount of water to make a simple icing. Drizzle liberally all over the scone.

I have to say that these are fabulous warm, with or without some butter. If you’re feeling pumpkin nuts, then have one with a pumpkin spiced latte.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Sunset Citrus Ombre Cake

I wanted this post to be an interesting one because it’s my 100th post! That means I’m either a very dedicated blogger or an absolute cake-loser. I think I’ll go with the first option. My sister’s birthday seemed like the perfect excuse to whip up a ‘showstopper-style’ birthday cake so here we are. Ever since Edd Kimber showcased his ombre cake in a Good Food magazine ages ago I’d wanted to try this style of decoration. My sister decided that she wanted something based around autumn, (random, I know), so this is what I came up with. This cake needs to come with an extreme obesity warning because although the actual cake inside is a different recipe from the magazine one, it did state that one slice was 1,000 calories. I shit you not.


6 eggs
12-14oz self-raising flour
12-14oz butter
12-14oz caster sugar
3tsps baking powder
Red gel colouring
Yellow gel colouring
Lemon essence
Orange essence
Lemon zest
Orange zest

11oz butter
1 lb icing sugar
1 lb full-fat cream cheese
Lemon curd
Orange curd
Orange zest
Red gel colouring
Yellow gel colouring

This cake does take time, but I promise it’s not as difficult as it looks. I made the sponges the day before to save on time. The reason I’ve put 12-14oz of flour is because I always weigh the eggs first and match it to the flour weight, so it depends how heavy your eggs are.

Firstly preheat the oven to 180⁰C and line 3 round cake tins, around 20cm wide.

In a large mixing bowl (or KitchenAid if you have one), combine the butter and sugar until creamy.

Beat the eggs and then add a spoonful at a time to the buttery mixture, along with a heaped spoonful of flour.

Keep doing this until all of the eggs and flour are beaten in.

Divide the mixture equally between three bowls.

To one add ¾ of the zest of a lemon and half a tsp of lemon essence. Add enough yellow gel colouring until you’re satisfied with the shade.

For the middle layer add the other ¼ of lemon zest, a ¼ of an orange zest, ½ tsp lemon essence and ½ tsp of orange essence. Add enough red and yellow gel colouring to make a pale orange colour. If it’s going too pink then counteract it with some more yellow.

To the final set of mixture, which will form the top layer, add the rest of the orange zest and ½ tsp of orange essence. Add the colouring to make it a deep orange colour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and bake for 25-35 minutes or until springy to the touch and cooked all the way through. I shouldn’t be telling you this, because you might not have noticed otherwise, but I got a bit oven happy and opened it after 20 minutes which caused two of my layers very annoyingly to sink a bit. I would undoubtedly be thrown out of the Bake Off tent for such an error, but as it is my family doesn’t care as long as it’s cake.

When they’re done, cool them on a wire rack. If you’ve made them the day before then wrap them well in clingfilm so that they don’t go stale overnight.

When you’re ready to decorate you need to first make the buttercream. Sorry but I don’t have any pictures of this stage because my mum sneakily did it while I was at work. Beat the butter for 3 minutes until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar, a spoonful at a time, until it’s all combined. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth, but be careful not to overmix.

Set a small bowlful of the icing aside for assembling the cake and then divide the remaining icing into three.

Leave one icing white, but add a generous spoonful of lemon curd to flavour it.

Add half the zest of an orange to both of the other portions of icing. Then add red and yellow colouring until you make one a light orange colour and the other a darker orange colour.

Choose a cake stand or plate and place the yellow, lemon cake layer to form the base of the cake.

Cover the top in a layer of white icing, followed by a layer of lemon curd.

Place the paler orange cake layer on top of this and cover in a layer of icing, and a layer of orange curd.

Pop the final cake layer, the darkest one, to form the top of the cake.

Cover the entire thing, including the sides in white icing. This gives the blobs something to stick to.

Now this is the fun bit. Get three piping bags fitted with a large round nozzle and fill with the three different types of icing. A good tip is to let them rest in tall glasses while you’re not using them, which stops the icing from going everywhere.

Starting with the white icing, pipe two generous blobs going up the cake, followed by two of the paler orange colour and then two more of the darker colour. The six blobs should cover the cake from the top to the bottom.

Then use a small palette knife to gently smear the icing to the right, cleaning between each colour.

For the next row, move one blob down, so start with one dark orange blob at the bottom, then two white, two lighter orange with one dark blob on the top. Carry on like this all the way around the cake, just moving one colour at a time, smearing as you go. When you get into it, it’s really easily to forget which colour you’re supposed to do next, so just take your time and enjoy it.

When you’ve covered the outside of the cake move onto the top. Pipe two rings of the darker orange colour, smearing sideways to the right. Then pipe two rings of the lighter orange colour, doing the same, followed by the white to fill in the middle.

If you manage to eat a whole slice of this cake then you are some kind of superhuman, because it is seriously sweet.