Archive | January, 2012

Super Chocolate Cake 4/52

29 Jan

Four weeks in seemed like an appropriate time to make a chocolate cake. In fact I am surprised that Mr M let me take this long to bake him this!

In order to justify the purchase of yet another cookbook I thought it would be a really good idea to pick a cake from my newest acquisition – Tea with Bea. It was quite a difficult choice as this has a pretty scrumptious selection of chocolate cakes. I settled for the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake, as a base for a devilish looking celebration cake 🙂

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The basic batter for this cake was made from beaten eggs and sugar combined with melted chocolate and butter. Buttermilk and flour were gradually incorporated until a thick glossy mixture was ready to be baked.

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After a good while in the oven two monster sandwich cakes emerged, ready to face their icing smothered future’s!

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We saved the decorating for a later date as it was quite an involved process. Mr M carefully sliced one of the cakes in half. I prepared a rich chocolate buttercream (the recipe wanted am Italian style meringue cream but time didn’t permit).  A chocolate fudge icing was also needed to coat the cake.  This was fun to make. Cream, golden syrup and butter were heated together and then poured over small pieces of chocolate. I followed the instructions carefully, as the aim was to create a glossy emulsion. The mix was left to stand for a minute before I carefully mixed it from the centre with small movements. It took a few minutes before anything happened and then a gorgeous, shiny icing emerged!

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The cake was assembled with layers of fudge sauce topped with buttercream. The outside was then smeared with buttercream and refrigerated for half an hour. Mr M took charge of carefully covering the cake with the fudge icing, he got a great finish!

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A smattering of crystallized rose petals and it was ready to serve. Went down well with my family and Mr M says it’s a perfect 10!

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I also managed to squeeze in another bake for our dear friends who needed some cakes to celebrate the birth of their baby boy in style!

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Plum Crunch Cake 3/52

22 Jan

This cake was the reason I bought a particular cookbook. I love plums (as you may have guessed I also love cake) so this seemed like a pretty good idea. As an added incentive I knew that somewhere in my freezer lurked a bag containing the remains of the Victoria Plum harvest from our tree.

I seem to do a lot of the baking for this blog at the end of the week and it was Friday before I had a chance to start this (mind you I’ve done a lot of baking this week, home made passion fruit curd, scones, the pink cupcakes below, cookies and this cake).

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As usual this recipe started with creamed butter and sugar. Eggs were lightly beaten and then added with the zest of a clementine and some of its juice. In went the flour,some creme fraiche and the chopped and stoned plums. The batter was poured into a tin and baked for an hour at 150 c.

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Once golden brown it was cooled slightly, then Mr M took over (I had to get to the cinema to see ‘The Artist’ very good it was too) to make the crunch. As with drizzle cake caster sugar was mixed into lemon/clementine juice and poured onto the warm cake. For added crunch slightly bashed up sugar cubes were added.

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The finished effect was quite pleasing, sort of rustic. The cake scores high on the taste scale with a warm autumnal essence from the clementine and the slightly almond plums. The sugar topping prevents it becoming sour. I was disappointed with the texture as I think it was a bit too gooey, Plums tend to lose their structural integrity when frozen and I think the ones I used were a bit sloppy for cake (crumble or jam next time). Nonetheless thoroughly enjoyable with a cup of tea 🙂 I will remake this with fresh plums when I have some…

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Next time it has to be a chocolate cake! I have my eye on one in the Tea with Bea cookbook I acquired 😉 watch this space!

Doughnut muffins – 2/52

13 Jan

In November 2011 there was a recipe and a boy.  The boy liked the recipe very much. It was for doughnut muffins. In the months that followed the boy could be heard to proclaim often and a great volume in an inquisitive tone DOUGHNUT MUFFINS?!?

One day in January 2012 when the boy had been very good his plea for doughnut goodness met with success! And so his very nice wife got to work.

Flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and nutmeg were mixed together. The wet ingredients of buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla essence and an egg were beaten together. The two were combined to make a loose cake batter.  This was then poured into the muffin trays and cooked for 30 minutes until golden brown.

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Once removed from the oven they were immediately dipped in melted butter and rolled in caster sugar. Afterwards they were injected with strawberry jam.

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Whilst still warm they were gobbled. The boy was very happy and said thank you!

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The recipe was from an extract the Tea with Bea cookbook in Easy Living magazine, which has has now become another book for me to lust after!

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These were pretty damn tasty,  but it think most stuff would taste Amazing if you dunked it in butter and covered it in sugar! They are also super calorific and even the boy could only eat one. There are 8 left!

Pistachio Loaf Cake 1/52

6 Jan

I first laid eyes on the recipe for this whilst staying with friends for New Year, the vibrant green of the nuts in the photo lured me in. Suffice to say my decision to get on Amazon and purchase the Hummingbird Cake Days book was pretty immediate.

The day after its arrival I assembled the ingredients and got to work. Mr M kindly chopped the nuts whilst I creamed butter and sugar, added eggs, followed by flour, creme fraiche, vanilla essence and the pistachios. The mix went into a loaf tin and from there into an oven pre-heated to 170 degrees celsius for an hour until golden.

After cooling on a rack I glazed it with a simple runny icing and tipped it with finely (almost dust) chopped pistachios. I had intended to give it a rose water glaze, but alas we were out of this fab flavouring.

So I would rate this as easy to make, its just a variation on a creamed sponge mix. It creates a light crumb and the pistachios bring their unique flavour and beautiful colour to the cake. It tastes pretty fine, if I were to make it again I would flavour the glaze and maybe top it with crystallized rose petals for contrast.

All in all I am pretty happy with this, especially as its quite a big loaf and there is plenty to be eaten 🙂

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A cake or bake a week.

6 Jan

So Mr M and I enjoyed our 2011 challenge but thought this year we would attempt something less challenging. So given how much I love baking I have decided to blog about at least one bake a week. Mr M has conceded that his role will mainly consist of munching my offerings 🙂

This years posts I will try to give more informative feedback on rather than just a score. Mr M loves cake so you are likely to not see any low scores… So I am armed with an exciting variety of cook books (covering a globes worth of cuisines) and with well stocked cupboards I am off!

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And the winner is…

6 Jan

Lamb Dopiaza drawing with the ever versatile sandwich pies.

So whilst our blogging efforts for the last 2 months of 2011 were undoubtedly poor I’d like to reassure people that Mr M and I did perservere with the cooking and eating part of the challenge!

In conclusion I think our year of munching adventures has definitely opened our eyes to a wide variety of yummyness and ensured we got good use from our cook book collection (it might have grown slightly as a result)…

New Year so new challenge over and out Mrs M.

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