Sunday, 11 November 2012

Banoffee Cake

FINALLY, I have actually made something on my To Bake list! I started the list to catalogue all the lovely things I see online that I want to try, but the list has just ended up getting longer and longer and actually multiplying because I also have a list in my notebook for things I've seen in magazines. Argh!

Anyway, for Mike's Dad's birthday in September I had a feeling that the Banoffee Cake I had seen on the Goddess' Kitchen might be just the ticket. I'm not really sure why, because he really will eat anything cake-wise, but I think he has a sneaky preference for fruit type cakes and this one just felt right! I believe the recipe is from Make, Bake, Love by Lilly Higgins which looks like a beautiful book and one that's gone straight onto the Christmas list.

This was such a great recipe - so quick and easy and no faffy ingredients, so a great one to make use of the sad looking bananas left in the fruit bowl! The cake was lovely and moist and banana-y and the toffee topping just finished it off perfectly - it wasn't too heavy or sickly. The only tricky element to the cake was the icing - the recipe did warn that it hardens quickly and that is no lie! Maria had obviously been quicker than me as she has lovely smooth icing and mine was quite rough - to be honest I didn't mind and once the cocoa was dusted over the top I thought it made for a nice textured effect. I won't bother typing out the recipe as it is available here.

Now I've got the first one boshed out I hope to make a bit more of an indent into the ever growing list! Do you see anything on there that you might like? If so and you know me in real life, please feel free to request something to chivvy me along!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Rocky road cupcakes

I've made three forms of Rocky Road in the past couple of months, and thought that I should post about them today, what with it being Bonfire Night and all that. Rocky Road just feels bonfire-y to me - I'm not sure if it is a Bonfire Night thing or not, but anyway, here we are.

The first was for my best friend's partners birthday back in September, who is a big fan of Rocky Road. I decided to make a cupcake version and after a bit of research went with this recipe from Baking Mad. Unfortunately, it was a disaster! I don't know if I was just a bit out of 'the zone' as I hadn't baking in over a month and had just come back from holiday, but the first batch just wouldn't seem to cook and by the time I was satisfied they were cooked, they were actually completely burnt. ARGH! So I reverted to my bog standard usual chocolate cupcake recipe and used the topping from the recipe and they worked a treat!

Sadly that's where the pictures dry up since I didn't get any photographic evidence of the other Rocky Roads, so I will have to ramble my way through the rest of the post!

The second batch was Actual Rocky Road - or not, depending on how strict you are with your criteria. Mike was going on a rally day with some friends in the deepest darkest forests of Wales so I thought Rocky Road would be a good snack for a group of hungry petrol heads, plus it would be easier to cart about than anything cakey and dainty. I melted up 500g of Dairy Milk and mixed in some chopped up Chocolate Fingers and some mini marshmallows - not sure how much, just enough so that it wasn't too runny. Poured into a lined square 20cm baking tin, chilled until set, and cut into squares. I know that any Rocky Road purists will be horrified that there was no nuts or cherries but we prefer our Rocky Road to be as sugary and sweet as possible!

The third lot was a batch of Rocky Road cupcakes for Mike's sisters Bonfire Birthday Bash last Friday night. Similar to the first lot, I used my usual chocolate cupcake recipe, topped with the fudgy icing from this recipe, stuck on some chopped up Chocolate Fingers and mini marshmallows and drizzled some Dairy Milk over the top. Again no nuts or cherries but the birthday girl hates her cakes being infiltrated by anything nutty or fruity!

After all that, I don't think I want to even think about Rocky Road again for at least another year!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Marble cake

After the resounding success of the mocha marble cake I decided to make another marble cake for Mike's Mum's birthday in August (yep, still a tad behind here!).

I really don't know why I haven't made this before because not only is it so simple, it is also one of my favourite types of cake. The only moment of stress with this cake was when I was deciding what to top it with. In the recipe, it was just a plain cake but I knew I wanted to ice it to jazz it up a little. I remembered eating marble cake with royal icing on when I was little, but I was torn between that and chocolate frosting.

A plea on Twitter added the potential of white chocolate into the mix (argh!!!) but as you can see, in the end I went with chocolate icing - fudgy chocolate icing, to be precise! I used the icing from this Mary Berry recipe which I'd seen Jo raving about on her blog a few weeks before. It was a definite winner. This was the scene in the kitchen moments after I let Mike loose on the leftovers...

Sadly, I didn't actually get to eat any of this cake. We had gone out for a meal, and knowing how Mike's family like their desserts, I didn't want to let on that there was cake back at ours as I didn't want them to feel like they had to forego dessert to keep room for cake! We were given a couple of slices to have the next day, but they mysteriously disappeared while I was at work....

Here's the recipe for a super simple, easy to whip up marble cake (from one of the mini Good Food recipe books)

225g butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 180c and grease/line a 20cm deep round cake tin.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Fold in flour, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Separate half the mixture into another bowl, and stir the cocoa powder in to it.
5. Spoon the mixtures into the prepared tin, putting in alternate dollops of the vanilla and chocolate mixtures. Tap the tin on the surface to get rid of any bubbles, then swirl a skewer round the mixture briefly for the marble effect.
6. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
7. Serve as it is or add the frosting of your choice (I used the fudgy chocolate topping from this recipe)
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