Category Archives: cake

Summer Roulade

I made this on sunday, with the first British strawberries that I have seen this year.  The rolling didn’t work out too well. But I thought to myself, ‘well I will post it as it tastes good’.  Then just before I post it I read Chele’s latest blog about this month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge. This month’s challenge is not an ingredient, but a technique and you guessed it – the making and rolling of a roulade/ swiss roll.  Oh well, maybe more practice is needed before I can submit an entry into this month’s challenge.

Last time I made this roulade it rolled much better.  But last time I had run over to my parent’s house to borrow her swiss roll tin, which measures 29cm x 18cm and has shallow sides.  On Sunday I used my Aga half-sized roasting dish which measure 27cm x 16cm and so this resulted in a slightly thicker and slightly shorter cake.  This made it more difficult to roll, so I think getting the right sized tin is definitely the way to go if you want to enter any challenges.  If you just want a tasty cake then live a little on the edge and use a tin that is approximately the right size.

The recipe for the cake element is based on Delia’s Squidgy Chocolate Log from her Complete Cookery Course.

For the cake:

6 eggs
150g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder

Method

Line a swiss roll (shallow) tin that measures  29cm x 18cm with greaseproof paper or silicone sheet.

Separate the eggs.  Whisk the yolks until they start to thicken.  Add the sugar and whisk until a little thicker. Sift over the cocoa powder and fold in.

In a separate and scrupulously clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Add one third of the egg whites and fold in carefully and then add the rest of the egg whites in two further batches.  Folding carefully to retain as much air as possible.  Pour the mixture carefully into the prepare tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the centre of the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 20 minutes until it is springy to the touch.

Leave in the tin to cool.

For the filling:

3 tablespoons of strawberry jam
300ml double cream
about 8 strawberries
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper, slightly larger than the cake, onto the worktop and dust with cocoa. Softly whip the cream.   Turn the cake out of the tin onto the greaseproof paper.  Spread the jam evenly over the surface and then spread the cream on top.  Halve the strawberries and dot them on top of the cream.  Using the greaseproof paper roll the cake gently into a roll.  If it cracks, it will still taste good. Serve with extra double cream poured over.

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Rainbow Cake

“Finally!”, I hear you shout.  This is the cake I made for the crystallised violets.  It was my niece’s 22nd birthday and she had asked for a cake reminiscent of childhood birthday cakes.  This, then, had to be a rainbow cake. Then I added my own childhood memories – a topping of melted Dairy Milk and chocolate rose leaves.  I hope she has similar memories to mine.  She was pleased with the cake and I think it soaked up some of the alcohol consumed that day.

However, because it was destined for my niece I couldn’t slice into it to show you how beautiful a rainbow cake is.  Also, the girls had helped me make this cake and were very excited about the rainbowness of it all, and then disappointed to see that it came out of the oven looking very  much like a normal cake.  So I made one for them the very next day and they decorated it with icing.  The second one rose a lot in the middle.  Mixing the colours into the batter can mean you overmix the cake, losing a lot of the air, and I think this is what happened.  It still tasted good though and both girls have requested rainbow cakes for their next birthday.

This is it destined for the oven, and this is it when cooked.

Every slice is different.

225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g plain (all purpose) flour
2 tsp baking powder
50 ml milk
food colourings of your choice ( we used pink, red, purple and green)

Method

Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180°c, gas mark 4.

Beat the butter until soft and then add the sugar and beat together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat again.

Sift the flour and the baking powder over the batter and gently fold in.  Add the milk and fold again.  Divide the mixture between four bowls (or however many colours you are using) and using the food colouring make each bowl of mixture a different colour.  Try not to overmix the mixture when adding the colours.

Spoon alternate colours into the tin, trying to make a level top without swirling them together too much.

Place into a preheated oven at 180°c, or the baking oven of the four-oven Aga and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then take out of the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Pistachio Marzipan and Chocolate Cake

It has been a very busy Easter holiday and so I am a bit behind with my posts – sorry.  The next post will be the cake for which I used the crystallised violets but I have just had a look at Choclette’s blog and she reminded me that time is running out if I want to submit an entry for this month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge.  Choclette chose marzipan this month and marzipan is one of my very favourite things.  I adore marzipan chocolates and so the idea of cooking with marzipan and chocolate really appealed. I wanted to try something a little different but that was reminiscent of Easter.  Easter, of course, means  simnel cake, but I didn’t want to make a normal simnel cake.  Then I thought about the pistachios I had bought and then about my chocolate hazelnut cupcakes and whether it might work if I made the same mixture but with pistachios and cooked the cake with a layer of pistachio marzipan like you do with simnel.  The resulting cake was moist and chewy, much more like a brownie than a cake and was better the second day than the first when it had time to settle.

I really liked this cake/ brownie and it can be made with almonds just as easily.  I urge you to have a go at making your own marzipan as it is so much nicer than shop bought. The layer of marzipan sinks to the bottom but is gloriously chewy.  The people who tried this cake gave it the thumbs up and I don’t think they were just being polite.

For the pistachio marzipan

125 pistachios, finely ground in a food processor
60g caster sugar
60g icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 free range egg, lightly beaten (you will only need about half the egg)

To make the marzipan:

Place the pistachios and the caster sugar and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well. Add the lemon juice and about half the egg and mix to a soft dough.  Place on a worktop dusted with icing sugar and knead until smooth. Place in the fridge until you are ready to use it.  (I made mine by putting all the ingredients into a food processor and whizzing until smooth, which worked just fine).

For the cake batter:

200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
100g pistachios, finely ground in a food processor
100g spelt flour (you could use wholemeal or plain flour)
25g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder

Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.

Roll out the pistachio marzipan into a disc that fits snugly in the tin and leave to one side whilst you make the cake.

Beat the butter with an electric whisk until creamy and then cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.  Fold in the pistachios, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder.

Place half the mixture in the tin and then carefully place the disc of marzipan on top.  Cover with the remaining batter, smoothing the top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4, for 50-60 minutes.  About halfway through check the cake and cover the top with foil if it is beginning to brown.  A skewer should come out clean when the cake is cooked.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about ten minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutella fairy cakes

These have been in my mind for quite a while. I have been thinking about how Nutella might taste in the middle of a fairy cake and what would happen to its consistency. I can tell the seasons from a jar of Nutella.  In the winter it is almost impossible to spoon out of the jar, the cold of the cupboard has set it hard.  In the summer it becomes oily and hard to keep on the knife as it is lifted out of the jar.

Well, these little cakes were made when the Nutella is of perfect consistency, on a mild spring day, when the sky is an almost azure ( I am in England after all and we don’t often get an azure sky) and the temperature is that wonderful warm on your back but don’t reach for the sun screen warm. The Nutella stayed soft in the centre of the cakes making for a lovely bite of gooeyness.  This also means that there is no need for frosting – perfect.
Makes 12

110g light soft brown sugar
110g softened butter
120g self raising flour (or plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder added)
20g good quality cocoa
2 eggs
Nutella or hazelnut chocolate spread, about 6 teaspoons

Method

Place all of the ingredients, except for the Nutella, in a large bowl and whisk well until all is combined.

Place a scant teaspoonful of the mixture into a fairy cake (mini muffin) case in a patty (mini muffin) tin.  Place  half a teaspoonful of Nutella on top.  Cover with another scant teaspoonful of cake batter.  Repeat with the remaining eleven.

Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the baking oven of the Aga for 15-20 minutes until springy to the touch of a light finger.

Place on a wire rack to cool.

Lime and chocolate cheesecake

This month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge is hosted by Chele over at Chocolate Teapot and she decided that lime would be this month’s magic ingredient.  I had lots of ideas, including a lime flavoured chocolate cake with lime buttercream, (which sounds so delicious I think I might just make it yet), but yesterday was my turn to make Sunday lunch and I fancied making a cheesecake. I used a similar recipe to the successful cherry cheesecake Mr OC made not so long ago, but added plenty of grated rind and juice of lime.  The chocolate has taken a bit of a back seat just making a cameo appearance in the crust and a light grating on the top.  The reason for this is that my folks are not big fans of chocolate (how I manage to be their daughter I am not sure!).  But the presence of chocolate just about shines through.

This time I cooked the crumb base, but it is not really necessary.  I did it this time because I used Hob Nobs and I thought the oats might make a sort of flapjack base.  I was right.

This cheesecake is zingy and refreshing and makes a lovely end to a roast dinner.  You could say it is a light dessert, but that is then counteracted if you follow it up with a serving of apple crumble and then a serving of crème caramel – oops!  Oh well, it was a Sunday.

200g chocolate coated biscuits ( I used chocolate Hob Nobs)
100g butter, softened

400g cream cheese, at room temperature
50g icing sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
300ml double cream

To decorate – the finely grated rind of 1 lime and some finely grated chocolate

Method

Place the biscuits into a food processor and whizz until crumbs.  Add the butter and whizz again until well mixed. (If you don’t have a food processor then place the biscuits into a food bag and bash with a rolling pin or a can.  Melt the butter in a small pan and add the biscuit crumbs and mix well. )

Press the crumbs into a 20cm springform tin, making sure they are well pressed down.  Now you can leave it like this or you can bake it in a preheated oven at 180 °c, gas mark 4 for 6-8 minutes until lightly golden.  Leave to go cold.

In a large bowl mix together the cream cheese, icing  sugar and the rind and juice of 2 limes.  In another bowl lightly whip the double cream and then combine with the rest of the ingredients.  Spread this over the crumb base, levelling with a palette knife.  Place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  When you are ready to serve grate over the rind of one more lime and a chunk of chocolate.

Chocolate hazelnut cupcake with coffee buttercream

I think I could benefit from a cupcake decorating course 🙂

I made these the other day to have in the park on the walk home from school to celebrate the change in the weather we seem to have had in the last week or so.  Spring may actually have sprung.  Of course, though, because we had planned a picnic the English weather let us know that we were fools and the sun didn’t peek out of the clouds once.  It was a fairly cold picnic!  Oh well, the cupcakes were good.

I made these in muffin tins so that they are a fair-sized cupcake. You don’t see fairy cakes about much these days.  A fairy cake sized cake is sometimes exactly right to fill a hole.  So feel free to make these smaller.  If you are making them muffin sized they will make 12, so smaller might make 16- 20 I would say.

200g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
100g whole hazelnuts
100g plain (all-purpose) flour
25g good quality cocoa
2 tsp baking powder

For the frosting
100g butter, softened
200g icing sugar
3 tsp cool strong coffee, made from 3 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in  4 tsps of just boiled water
2 tbsp double cream

Method

Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and place into a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 for about 4 minutes until they are lightly toasted.  Be careful, they soon burn. Pour them onto a clean tea towel and rub gently.  Most of the skins will come off, but leave some on as they add a good flavour.  Turn the oven down to 180°c, gas mark 4.

Put the hazelnuts into a food processor and whizz until they are large crumbs.  This adds a nice crunchiness to the cupcake.

Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and whisk until fluffy and pale.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well with each addition. Gently stir in the hazelnuts.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder over and fold in gently.

Place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture into the muffin cases in a muffin tin. They should be about three-quarters full. If you are using fairy cases then use a teaspoon to fill them three-quarters full.

Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 20 – 25 minutes for the muffin sized cakes or 10-15 minutes for the fairy cake size.  They should look firm and feel springy to a gentle touch.

Leave them to cool in the tin for a minute or two and then lift out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a bowl until soft, add the icing sugar and stir in gently at first.  If you beat it straight in you will end up with a fine layer of icing sugar dust all over the kitchen.  When it is starting to clump together start to whisk it until it is fluffy. Add the coffee and beat again. Add the cream and beat until all is combined.  Pipe over the cupcakes more artistically then I can manage.

 

Rocky Road Slice

It is Cake Sale Day at the little one’s nursery today to raise money for the nursery. So my contribution is this Rocky Road Slice and an awful admission, which I will tell you about at the end of this post.

I have completely made this recipe up this morning so I don’t know if it should really be called Rocky Road at all.  To be honest it’s not something I would choose to eat myself, it is overly sweet for my tastes, but I think the children will like it.

I have used what I have in my cupboards so feel free to use whatever you have in yours.  Replace the cranberries with sultanas or raisins if you like, use another biscuit rather than digestives – you get the idea.

50g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
25g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
25g mini marshmallows
50g dried cranberries
4 digestive biscuits (Graham Crackers), crumbled
25g Rice Crispies (puffed rice cereal)

30g milk chocolate for drizzling over the top (optional)

Method

Melt the dark and milk chocolate, butter and syrup together in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir well to combine  and add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.

Line a 20cm square tin with clingfilm and pour the mixture in.  Level the top, pressing down well.  Melt the milk chocolate, if you are using it, and drizzle over the top. Place in the fridge to set.  Mine took about 1½ hours this morning.

Cut into squares.

Now for my awful admission.  My other contribution will be Double Chocolate Cookies made from a box mix – I know, shock horror.  Believe me, I am struggling with this myself.  I was given a box of it and I was in a quandary as to what I should do.  I have promised myself that I will try not to waste any food, so putting it in the bin was out of the question.  Then I worried that I may be becoming an awful food snob. I looked at the ingredients – flour, light brown sugar, sugar,(yes, sugar is listed twice), fat reduced cocoa powder, natural flavouring and raising agent.  I was reassured by this list, this is what I would normally put into cookies, so they can’t be too bad.  I just had to contribute the butter and egg yolk.

Anyway, I made them and they are OK, they don’t taste as good as if I had got out the flour, sugar and cocoa out of the cupboard.   There seems to be a lot more sugar in these than I would have put in and I think the cocoa is poor quality.  So, there you have it, my verdict is that these ready to bake kits might be OK if it gets someone baking that wouldn’t otherwise touch it with a barge pole.  But, you can definitely make tastier biscuits if you select the best ingredients and the right ratio of sugar.

All in all, I don’t know if it is an awful admission or if I have just become a terrible food snob, but a famous brand of cookie mix did not go in the bin and the cookies will be taken to  the cake sale.  I might just anonymise the plate though :).