Strawberry Milkshake Cake

vscocam96I have been meaning to make this cake for SUCH a long time – I love making things that aren’t cake into cake, and I really like strawberry milkshake. Like really. Winner. Continue reading

Carrot and Chilli Cupcakes

IMG_0899  Me and chilli have only just become friends.
Maybe friends is a stretch, acquaintances. I have an awfully low tolerance to chilli, and my boyfriends dad puts it on EVERYTHING. So I’m attempting to increase my chilli tolerance by adding it to lots of things; my favourite is super easy pasta in a lemon and chilli oil with rocket and this obviously.

IMG_0905Carrot cakes were one of the first cakes I ever learnt to make, I remember my mum making them when I was a child, my reaction to carrot in cake was only superseded by cream cheese in an icing. My first mouthful changed everything, it was love at first bite, carrot cake has so many perfect layers to it, the crunch of nuts, the spice and the moist cake from the juicy carrots. These cupcakes are super moist but with the wholemeal they are awesome as a standalone cupcake, it’s not as wet as your usual carrot cake.

Plus wholemeal equals healthy yeah?IMG_0879IMG_0887

Also, and I feel like this is the most important part of my blog post; please read this article on Cracked (not funny). The shooting in America is insane; like, I cannot wrap my head around it, I cannot wrap my head around America, or pro gun people, it hurts that such stupidity exists, nobody needs an assault rifle to protect themselves unless they are going into combat (whole other kettle of fish). This article sums up my feelings on this and this post by Pancakes and French Fries is also excellent further reading.

Carrot and Chilli Cupcakes – adapted from BraveTart
Carrot Cake

230 grams unsalted butter
195 grams sugar
100 grams brown sugar
½ tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground if you’ve got it
1 teaspoon ginger
½ chilli minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves ground
3 eggs
227 grams whole wheat flour, sifted
½ tablespoon vanilla extract
450 grams carrots, peeled, trimmed, and shredded
Giant handful of pecan pieces or shelled pistachios, lightly toasted
Vanilla Buttercream with 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, cinnamon and ground ginger combined.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180° and line 2 cupcake pans.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, it will start to bubble and spit, endure this. Once the butter has stopped spitting and bubbling, it’s ready. Add the minced chilli to the hot mixture.

3. Combine the sugars, baking powder and soda, salt, spices and eggs. Whip on a medium speed until full combined, light brown and fluffy.

4. Keeping the mixer running on a low-speed drizzle in the browned butter with chilli mixture, get all the browned bits in there. That’s deliciousness! Add the flour in parts; otherwise the flour will go evveerrrywhere.

5. Shut off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in the nuts and shredded carrots.

6. Use an ice cream scoop to equally distribute the batter between the patty pans, bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until fully risen and springs back when touched.

Strawberry and Chai Cake

IMG_5068Lately I’ve been feeling uneasy and less assured. Like life is hanging in the balance, a constant see-saw of pleasing everyone; am I fun enough, do I work enough, is this too much pasta, do I have enough friends, am I smart enough?
I’m not entirely sure when this began. As a teenager I never felt like this. I had boyfriends that maybe elicited this kind of reaction, but I always had people to fall on. It was always ‘everything is perfect…but X’ now it’s more ‘what the ‘eff is going on?’. When did everything get so complicated? Continue reading

Strawberry and Champagne Financiers

Strawberries and champagne scream early British summer to me. Wimbledon, the early sun, 99’s, the softest grass you ever did lay your head upon and bright, long days filled with the scent of ripe strawberries are constantly in my dreams; not that I like Wimbledon. Things just always seemed a tad more civilised whilst it was on. The grunting annoys me. Continue reading

Blood Orange and Almond Upside Down Cake

My favourite thing to do in the warmer months is eat breakfast outside, and I know right now you are thinking “Why are you telling me this?” or “How did I get here?”, but it makes a difference!
It makes eating an event, and less of a rush to getting out of the door. Hanging with the birds and rays of sun on the back of my neck is what blue skies are all about. Plus you get all of the scents of summer; hazy breezes, floral scents and my fruit is always somewhat amplified by the warmth.Eating with your nose is important, it aids with the getting-full-feeling, makes you more aware of what you are eating and it makes you happy. Some of my best memories are those of eating fruits in summer (If I could marry fruit I really would, for real). Holidays in Cyprus eating the best fresh cherries, seeing how far we could spit the pits, fresh strawberries from my grandparents back-garden (my love of strawberries is well documented on my recipes page) and my gorgeous friend Abby’s blood orange tree at her parents house (with the cutest dog ever; love you Snowy!). That last memory holds so true in my head whenever I eat Blood oranges (pretty much constantly for the three or four weeks they in season). This cake is warmth, remnants of winter and spring all in one.

Blood Orange and Almond Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes one 9 inch cake
For the Topping:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 blood oranges thinly sliced
For the Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
130gr Plain Flour
30gr Almond Meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ginger
2/3 cup plain yoghurt

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven.  When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven.  Tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter.  Once sides are coated, sprinkle the sugar over the melted butter and lay the oranges flat in the still warm pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed.  Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg, vanilla extract and ginger.  Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed while adding the yoghurt.  Beat until the batter just comes together.  Batter will be pretty thick.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.

Spoon batter over the oranges and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and inverting the cake onto a cake plate.

Giant Lamington

It is totally amazing the effect the weather can have on your mood, blue skies equals birds singing in the sun and beers on the beach with tanned beautiful people (the first of these days is okay; and then bikini … Continue reading

Surprising Birthday Cake

I dearly love my friends, each of them are people who in some way have unequivocally altered my life for the better. So for them I make cake.

This cake is for one of my dearest friends, so she gets a super special cake. I would blather on about her but in terms of privacy and selfishness I want to keep her and the rest of my friends all to myself. I feel the same way about ice cream. The whole internet privacy thing is a biggy; being Gen Y it is hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t connected to the internet. And I totally understand the faults of that and the bonuses.
Fault: Time keeping has gone out of the window and eye contact is becoming a thing of the past.
Bonus: Internet Shopping! Also I tend to give out more thanks because it’s just easier now.

Mia Freedman wrote an excellent article on this actually –  I love it because I read so many blogs that are pretty much parents parading their children around. As a gal in my twenties I find the situation a bit annoying, you’ve got all these rad people doing awesome stuff and then boom a baby. Cue pictures of baby clothes and ice cream smeared faces. I’m not the maternal type – the whole thing just puts me right off.

I could go on forever about the annoyance of mum blogs, but I feel it is instead more appropriate for me to continue just not being a mum and blogging about that. Ergo one blog that is not a mum blog. Hurrah!

This cake on the other hand is fabulous, inappropriate for children and wildly fun. When I say cake I of course mean a tart.

Adapted from Heston Blumenthals Recipe
Ingredients

For the base

150g all butter shortbread biscuits
30g unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp white caster sugar
25g neutral popping candy

For the chocolate ganache

175g whipping cream
Pinch of salt
A big handful of frozen Raspberries + extra for topping
50g fresh custard
110g dark chocolate (minimum of 60% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
50g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

For the flocking

500g dark chocolate
200g vegetable oil Or Cocoa Powder

 Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Place the shortbread biscuits on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Place the biscuits in a food processor and add the melted butter and sugar. Blitz until the mixture resembles fine sand in texture.

Gently stir in the popping candy. Place the mixture inside a 15cm cake ring placed on a tray lined with baking paper. Flatten using the back of a spoon then put to one side to set.

Add the cream, salt and raspberries to a small saucepan and place over a medium heat until it almost comes to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes, then stir in the fresh custard.

Put the dark and milk chocolate in a bowl. Place over a bain marie (a pan of gently simmering water) and allow to melt completely. Remove from the heat.

Strain the infused cream and add to the bowl of melted chocolate a third at a time, making sure to incorporate the cream thoroughly after each addition. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature.

Once the tart base has set, use a pastry brush to spread some of the ganache on top of the base and around the edges then place in the freezer for 5 minutes. This will ensure that the ganache will not seep through.

After 5 minutes, pour the remaining ganache into the ring and place the tart in the fridge to set for 2 hours. Place the tart in the freezer at least 4 hours before flocking.

After the gateau is fully frozen, sit the gateau on a wide upturning glass or pot. Remove the metal ring by lightly warming with a blow torch. Remove by carefully sliding the ring downwards. Place back in the freezer.

For the flocking, break the chocolate into chunks and place in a small bowl. Melt the chocolate by placing the bowl over a bain marie. Leave to cool slightly before stirring in the vegetable oil.

Fill the base of a paint gun with the melted chocolate mixture and attach the nozzle. To avoid redecorating the kitchen in chocolate brown, set a large cardboard box on its side to provide a protective roof and walls to work in.

Remove the gateau from the freezer and carefully lift it onto a plate. Place the gateau in the cardboard box then spray it with the chocolate, turning carefully as you go. Return it to the freezer until 20 minutes before serving.

Strawberry and Gin Birthday Cake

My dad and I have lots of things in common; I think. We live in the same house, we have the same taste in comedy and a penchant for documentaries; although definitely opposing tastes in the type documentaries…seriously how many doco’s on warships can you watch dad? Documentaries like this are way better.

I know for sure though that overly sweet things are not appropriate for either of us. They make my teeth hurt. When I was little I actively avoided birthday cake in search of the jelly and ice cream, I couldn’t stand that nothing sweetness of white buttercream; even worse is shock horror it was encased with fondant. Gosh I hate fondant. My dad is nicer about the situation; mentions it was little sweet for his tastes and moves on. I have not mastered that level of decorum; seriously fondant WHAT are you bringing to the table?

So when it comes around to his birthday it’s a bit of struggle to make a not overly sweet cake; it’s definitely not a struggle to give him fondant.

This is where Swiss meringue buttercream or SMB comes in. I mastered the art of SMB a while back and now it has to be my favourite frosting! It hasn’t got that gritty texture that icing sugar based buttercreams do. And it isn’t excessively sweet, it’s is light and fluffy. SMB is a meringue-based buttercream, you create the meringue then chuck butter in, it’s a slower process but you don’t end up covered in icing sugar.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream may look really hard but this tutorial from Sweetapolita makes it so damn easy. It’s all about temperatures and timing but once you’ve got it it’s hard to mess up. And it freezes and chills well. I made a massive amount and now I’m ready to frost.

Plus its much, much easier to add alcohol to this frosting; and that is what everyone wants in a frosting yeah? I added gin to this; Bombay Sapphire to be specific and four shots for the frosting one shot for me. That combined with the light vanilla sponge and fresh strawberries is like a cocktail in a cake!

I would suggest if this cake isn’t for a birthday that you eat it with the girls, drinking darned nice cocktails and watching ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ your life will seem brighter, happier and more worthwhile after doing so.

 Joy the Baker Vanilla Sponge

226g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

393g granulated sugar

4 large eggs

240ml whole milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

343g all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2-teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour two 8-inch round baking pans and set aside.

In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything is well mixed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.

In a small bowl whisk together flour baking powder and salt.

In a separate small bowl combine the milk, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.

With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture in three batches.  Start and end with the flour mixture.  When the batter is just combined, shut off the mixture and thoroughly incorporate the dough with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a pale golden colour, and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.  For cupcakes bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool.  Frost and berry only when cakes are completely cool.

Are you guys sugar tolerant in cakes or do you need much more of  balance? Let me know!