Saturday, 13 February 2016

Bloodied brain cake

Not a very seasonally appropriate bake, unless you like your Valentine's Day filled with blood and gore!

I like to make something Halloweeny every year, and this was 2014's effort. To my utter horror when I started to write this a few days ago, I realised that I didn't note down anything at all about what recipe I used for the cake! However, as luck would have it, I was sorting through my recipe binder today and I found some notes I had made for it scribbled on the back of another recipe - hurrah!

It was inspired by Lily Vanilli's brain cupcakes but I wanted to make a giant version! The cake itself was Rachel Allen's hedgehog cake but with the cocoa powder omitted. Before pouring the mixture into the prepared bowl, I spooned out 6 tablespoons and coloured it pink, swirling it back in with the main mixture before baking.

I used the buttercream from the Lily Vanilli recipe, and used the 2A nozzle instaed of the No. 10 due to it being a bigger cake. For the blood, I just used strawberry jam - the Bonne Mamane with lumps in it for extra gore! It was really difficult to pipe the icing on - I wanted it to look vaguely plausible and it was hard without something to follow. In reality though it didn't really matter once you'd slathered the jam on.

The risk with this cake is that people simply won't want to eat it. It looks horrendous, and Mike only managed one slice (usually unheard of) because he said the look of it really put him off. However, I did think it looked pretty awesome sat out on the table for Halloween.

I sadly didn't manage to bake anything for 2015 but I did make these cute burgers from a recipe in the Co-op magazine! Mike didn't have any trouble eating them funnily enough!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

2014-2016... the lost bakes

So after boldly claiming I'd hardly baked anything over the past year or so, I've just been through my phone pictures and found plenty of evidence to the contrary. Sadly (or not, in some cases), these are all bakes that never got the full photo session treatment for one reason or another, and some of them I don't even remember making!

In the interests of completeness I am therefore posting this random selection of poor quality phone pictures plus scant notes of what on earth they were for and why.

Most annoyingly, one of my favourite cakes that I KNOW I made over the last year was the Salted Caramel Bonfire bundt (recipe here from Kat the Baking Explorer)... I made this at a family Bonfire gathering and it went down very well along with a generous glug of custard. I can't believe I didn't at least get a phone snap! Gutted. Ah well, excuse to make it again this year...

1.  7th September 2014: unidentified loaf cake. Presumably for Mike's Dad's birthday, going off the date. And presumably containing walnut, going off the topping. Apple and walnut maybe?

2. 20th September 2014: Orange and Pomegranate cheesecake. Now THIS I remember. Mainly because it took me about an hour to deseed the pomegranate, which left me looking like a homicidal maniac. I made this when we had some friends round for tea - no bake cheesecakes are definitely my dessert of choice for these occasions. Definitely one to make again! Recipe from BBC Good Food.

3. 2nd October 2014: Victoria Sponge for Dad's birthday.

4. 4th October 2014: Baby shower cupcakes for my cousin and her husband! I'm pretty sure these were standard vanilla. I really liked the cute animal decorations, but those letters are an absolute arse to make with sugarpaste!

5. 13th December 2014: Popping candy latte cupcakes. These were for a friend's 40th birthday, with the flavour a request from his wife as they had loved some popping candy lattes they had had on a recent trip away. I'm pretty sure the cake and frosting was the Espresso cupcakes from Cake Days, with a bit of popping candy sprinkled on top.

6. 24th December 2014: This years festive efforts. Burnt Florentines and Cranberry and Pistachio cookies (also looking a little burnt round the edges).

7. 11th February 2015: Bailey's cupcakes for my best friend's birthday.

8. 27th February 2015: I have genuinely no idea what this is. Clearly something pistachio/chocolate related. This is annoying because I think it might have been really nice!

9. 1st March 2015: Apricot butter cake. This was very good and eased my fear of fruit based upside down cakes somewhat after some previous issues!

10. 9th April 2015: This was for my Mum's birthday and again, I have no idea what it was! Something with pistachios again, clearly. This was also made using an egg substitute but unfortunately that's all I can remember!

11. 11th April 2014: Half finished 30th birthday cake. Made for a colleague at work so he could finish the decoration himself. The 3 was a cycle path and the rugby pitch was covered with lego characters. It looked absolutely amazing once he had finished it but I don't have any pictures unfortunately!

12. 21st June 2015. Chocolate Guinness cake for Father's Day. Recipe was from the Hummingbird. This was possibly one of my favourite cakes ever! Looking at the picture now I don't know why I haven't made it again since!

13. 30th July 2015: Jammy dodger cupcakes. Basically vanilla cupcakes filled with jam and topped with a mini jammy dodger from Ikea. So cute!

14. 23rd September 2015: Rhubarb crumble muffins. Made because I had some leftover rhubarb after a crumble.

15. 24th September 2015: Another 'surprise inside' cake, this time going easy on the buttercream as the birthday girl isn't a fan! I quite liked it with the runny icing instead.

16: 2nd October 2015: Yet another 'surprise inside' cake - this time with liquorice allsorts for Dad's birthday.

17. 24th December 2015: This year's festive gift food was salted fruit and nut bark. Recipe from BBC Good Food. This one is definitely going into the Christmas repeat repertoire, really easy to make and looks impressive. It was a shame to break it up; next time I think I would get some giant sellophane bags and package them as a whole slab, or make smaller ones.

18. 31st January 2016: My first bake as a married woman! And it wasn't for my husband. I baked this Maple and Pecan cake to take to work with me on my first day back. It was from one of the Hummingbird books. I didn't even try a piece myself, it was all gone from the kitchen before lunchtime!

Looking back, I'm not sure I did slack all that much on the baking front, it's the photographing and documenting that I've let slip. I'm disappointed but looking forward to returning to blogging a bit more this year, I feel quite out of the loop! Also I've noticed that a lot of the baking blogs I follow are no more - if you have a baking blog or have any to recommend, please do leave me a link in the comments!

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