Archive | June, 2010

Yummy Chocolate Cake Jamie Oliver styleee

30 Jun

Most people love chocolate cake and one recipe that has always served me well is the party cake in Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef. I have used it lots and lots. I recall making eight of them on one evening many, many moons ago. It is great as a simple birthday cake or for any occasion really. It can be dressed with whipped cream or chocolate buttercream. The first tip with cake making is to make sure whatever fat you use and the eggs are brought up to room temperature for about an hour beforehand. There is, apparently, a scientific reason for this. Something to do with the binding the ingredients.

Anyway, here is the recipe (slightly abbreviated by me):

Cake –
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
200g/7oz caster sugar
200g/7oz butter
3 large eggs
200g/7oz self raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder
1 handful of flaked almonds (I don’t bother with these but it is in the recipe)

Filling –
200ml/7floz double cream
1 large handful raspberries
1 large handful strawberries

Chocolate topping –
100g/3 3/4oz butter
100g/3 3/4oz best cooking chocolate
100g/3 3/4oz icing sugar
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4. Line the bases of 2 x 20cm/8 inch cake tins with greased greaseproof paper.

Mix the cocoa with 4 tablespoons of boiling water until smooth.

Beat the sugar and butter together in a separate bowl until fluffy, then add the cocoa mixture, eggs, flour, and baking powder. Mix well and then fold in the nuts. Bake for about 25 minutes (I would check after 18). Poke them with a skewer and if it comes out basically clean then they are cooked. Remove from the tins when cool.

To make the topping, melt the ingredients together in a bowl over lightly simmering water and stir until blended. Allow to cool slightly.

For the cream filling, simply whip it til it forms soft peaks and sweeten with a little (icing) sugar to taste.

Assemble the cake by topping one sponge with the cream folllowed by the fruit and then the other sponge and then the chocolate topping!

Mega, mega yum!

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CakeMe

29 Jun

I have now added today’s CakeMe to the blog as my profile picture. Having now reviewed my photographs of yesterday’s efforts I am too embarrassed to put them up!

I am pleased to say that the ganaching worked much better as you can create a fantastic, firm base for the icing. I can see the improvements I could make with a third attempt but I am going to put down the oven gauntlet for today.

Comedy Icing

28 Jun

The Planet Cake book advocates ganaching between the cake and the soft icing on top. Ganache is melted chocolate mixed with single cream so cannot fail to be delicious in my book. It is ideal as a filling/topping in cakes but can also be used to stick fondant icing on top of cakes. I made some white chocolate ganache up this morning but should have done it last night because it is best left a while to solidify a bit for use. Doh! I’ve put it to one side for later so watch this space….the theory is that it keeps for a week. I strongly suspect this will remain a theory only in my house.

Determined to have a go this morning at decorating last night’s cupcakes I reverted back to good old buttercream for the ‘glue’. I then topped with a disc of flesh-coloured sugarpaste to make a face, adding a nose, mouth, and eyes and some hair, and last of all…wait for it….glasses. Yes – I have made a CakeMe! Impressive and fun as this sounds, the results weren’t quite as hoped for so the evidence has now been swiftly consumed by my Chief Taster (once the laughter had died down) and I am going to have another attempt later on, using the ganache this time. I shall look forward to posting before and after pictures in due course, and sincerely hope that there is a difference between them. Does anyone else fancy being the subject of my next CakeMe?

Vanilla Cupcakes the Australian Way

27 Jun

P1010374

Having recently purchased the book  Planet Cake by Paris Cutler, I could not wait to try out the vanilla cupcake recipe in it.  I was intrigued by the addition of lemon zest and madeira to the mix.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any madeira in so it was Asda sweet sherry all the way for me!  I also added about a teaspoon of glycerine which, as a humectant, keeps cake moist.  Other than that I followed the instructions to the letter.  The end result was very tasty, very moist and light, though my chief taster (OH) couldn’t quite pinpoint the flavour.  Maybe a little more vanilla extract would have increased the impact, whilst keeping the depth of flavour provided by the lemon and madeira/sherry.  Having tried the Hummingbird vanilla cupcake recipe, I should say that the Planet Cake recipe is not quite as ‘airy’ as that.  There is a bit more substance to it.  I’m looking forward to trying the icing methods advocated by Planet Cake next.