A couple of weeks ago was the Great British Bake Off final. It also happened to fall upon the day that Chloe and I – and our department – were due to deliver cake for Cake Wednesday. As you might be able to imagine if you know me I was mega excited for the final; although sad that GBBO was coming to the end for another year. I decided that a good way to celebrate the final was to go all out on my contribution to Cake Wednesday.
To celebrate GBBO I used a recipe from a book written by a past winner (Frances Quinn) and made her confetti cupcakes. This entailed drying fruit (I was gifted with rhubarb from my parents garden so dried some of that, as well as lemon zest) and mixing it with flaked almonds and crystallised ginger. Additionally I cut pineapple into thin rounds and dried it in a mini muffin tray to create edible “flowers”. The cupcakes themselves had ground almonds in them, lemon curd and a raspberry hidden underneath sweetened marscapone cream. I was really really pleased with how they looked (having tasted one I do think they should have been taken out of the oven a just a couple of minutes earlier to be spot on but hey ho).
Now, normally we keep our cakes by our desk until we bring them down at break time to be consumed. However this time we pooled them all together in a room not manned by us. Unfortunately this meant that some of our department’s cakes were taken and shared out before the judge could try them – and mine was one of them. I might have instigated a mini
witch hunt with Chloe to find out who had taken our cakes down early. It turned out that the people who took the cake down only did it so that some of the other staff who take a different break to most of us could share the joy of cake Wednesday. Annoyingly it did mean that there was no winner of cake Wednesday that week.
Rant over, look what I made!
Firstly, an apology: work has been really busy and life got a little stressful so this blog fell by the wayside a little – but we’re back!
A while back a work friend celebrated turning 40 and asked us to bake four different flavours of cocktails (ten of each) for her 50s themed party. Not only do we love baking and adore any excuse to do so, we both enjoy the opportunity to dress up – especially if it meant attempting victory rolls!
The four flavours chosen were mojito, piña colada, strawberry daiquiri, and gin and tonic (good flavours if I can say so myself!).
The cupcakes went down well, with some guests having more than one and honestly – I don’t know which flavour I like the most!
My husbands work have a work birthday party in the summer every year and this year I was asked to make some cupcakes for it. I ended up making Guinness, earl grey tea and Moscow mule cupcakes but as I’ve already written about the Guinness and earl grey I’ll focus on the Moscow mule cupcakes.
Firstly, I should admit that I love a cocktail, so the idea of marrying cupcake and cocktail excites me. These cupcakes had both stem and ground ginger in the cake, with a vodka syrup poured over (in the same idea as a lemon drizzle cake) and then had a vodka and lemon buttercream icing, with a piece of crystallised ginger on the side. Having never tried them before I was rather impressed by them – I’m very much looking forward to creating more cocktail inspired cupcakes!
(The blue/teal ones are Guinness, the orange are earl grey and the White/cream ones are the Moscow mules.)
I’m still searching for the perfect G&T cupcake recipe that has a good level of zing without a slightly odd aftertaste (I think it’s due to the mix of butter and gin, it doesn’t taste as clean and crisp as I want it to!). I used a different recipe to the one I have blogged previously (when I made the mini cupcakes), however it’s still not there. I’m thinking that I’m probably going to have to put the thinking cap on and redesign it from the ground up, if I succeed you guys will be the first to know – perhaps even with a take on a gin and marshmallow frosting rather than gin buttercream… I’m also going to try a more citrusy/smokey gin next time as I think it might give it more oomph than the Hendricks.
Anyway, these were another offering for cake Wednesday at work and went down very well (I cheekily hid one when I laid them out – turned out to be sensible as they went pretty quick)!
It’s the standard rose icing, keeping it simple.
I’ve written before about my love of tea when I made earl grey cupcakes, what I haven’t written about yet is my love of coffee!
My husband jokes that I might be somewhat fanatical about my love of coffee and all the different ways it can be brewed* and consumed; be it in chocolate coated coffee beans (a favourite crunchy treat), tiramisu, cappuccinos or cake.
I find it slightly crazy then that it has taken me until now to actually bake a coffee and walnut cake but it’s certainly going to be something I make again.
Both the cake and the icing were very light, and the addition of Kahlua gave it a subtle hit (on that note I hadn’t tried Kahlua before – oh my days it’s good!). As you might be able to tell, I really enjoyed both the baking and the eating of this cake!
Anyway, I’ll leave you with a photo.
*My husband counted recently and we discovered I have five different ways to prepare coffee… Whoops!
It was our turn again for cake Wednesday at school a couple of weeks ago. So the pressure was on to win the Star Baker award! I thought I would try a new recipe out.
I turned to the wonderful Nigella for this recipe, making the curd was surprisingly easy and very satisfying (and tasty!). Managed to get 2 spare jars of it – so any ideas with how to use it up are welcome!
The cake went down nicely, I personally think it could have done with having more of the curd in the middle, I was originally worried about putting too much in! Oh well, looks like I’ll just have to bake it again!
I have a confession to make. Last year I was a mean wife. My husband’s birthday and Chloe’s are only three days apart and in the whole day bakeathon with Chloe I might have forgotten to schedule in baking a cake for him until a week or so afterwards.
I’ve already written about baking the rainbow cake so won’t go back into it here apart from to say that seeing the cake caused my favourite ever reaction from my husband. When he first came into the kitchen and saw the massive cake we had created (it was taller than Chloe’s head – I have photos to prove it) he laughed and laughed and laughed.
So when it came to baking for his 25th birthday I thought it would be nice to make him his own rainbow cake. So I did (and felt like I was cheating on Chloe the whole time as she wasn’t there to make it with me).
This – I am sure – is only the first of many rainbow cakes that will be posted on this blog, as I definitely want to make another with Chloe (and all of the correct rainbow colours).
The cake was well received and even though cutting thin slices gave you a massive amount of cake I saw at least one person go up for seconds so it must have been pretty tasty! In order for you to see the colours I’m going to leave you with a picture of a slice of cake rather than of the uncut cake itself.
So Chloe’s birthday came up this Saturday just gone and obviously a cake had to be baked (and a new recipe had to be tried). This time in the year brings up particularly fond baking memories for me as it was (I believe) when we properly discovered just how deep our love of cake and baking went, and how similar we actually are in that respect.
Last year, Chloe wanted a rainbow cake and she wanted to be a part of the baking. So she came round to mine and we spent 11 hours giggling, baking and icing in the kitchen. We had decided to flavour it with earl grey tea and, as per Chloe’s request, it was stacked according to the rainbow song (“red and yellow and pink and green…”) rather than the true rainbow order (sorry Chloe, I still think you’re wrong…). We also decided to make our own stripy multicoloured meringues.
When we finally finished the cake was a little bit crazy. It was ridiculously heavy as it had been made 3 times the size of a normal two layered sponge, it was slightly lopsided and the bottom layers had been squashed from the pure weight of the cake itself. (It’s on the cards to do this cake together again, it is still probably my favourite Chlophie bake.)
However it went down pretty well, it tasted really good, a waitress even came over to have a look inside as she had worked out that it was a rainbow cake and everyone at the table said they had enjoyed it.
Anyway, the point of the story was that this cake, the cake for Chloe’s 25th birthday couldn’t just be a bog standard sponge. It had to be something a little bit different. In the end I settled on a mojito cake and I think it went down pretty well!
Happy birthday Chloe, it’s really lovely to have you back in the country!
So I have a confession. It was my mum’s birthday on Good Friday this year and so I made a gin and tonic cake to celebrate (we love gin in our house!). It was similar to a lemon drizzle cake but with the addition of gin (score!) but… Here’s the rub. I didn’t take a photo.
So instead, for your eyes to view today I give you another cake I made for my mum’s birthday, viola!
This cake was a carrot cake – one of my favourites. This was round about the time I was practicing using the rose nozzle I have (and was mighty pleased about owning). It went down well, but I do have to admit I prefer the gin drizzle cake I made this year! (I’ll have to make it again and make sure I get a photo!)
I think one of the joys of Cake Wednesday at work is the opportunity to taste cakes made from recipes I have yet to try. I must admit that if I taste something I haven’t made before, or when there’s a recipe I prefer over one of my own, I make it my mission to find out who baked it and where it was from (I think there’s a compliment somewhere in there for anyone I’ve pleaded recipes from). It’s because of this that I now own what I would class as my (as of yet) Ultimate Guinness cake. We’re talking a Guinness cake where the frosting is creamy and more reminiscent of the drink it is named for than the standard cream cheese. A cake that can be wonderfully dense without being bitter or too sweet. There has been more than one occasion where I have waxed lyrical about this – proclaiming that the substitution of double cream instead of butter makes the frosting much creamier rather than… er… buttery (clearly a new low for my somewhat cake obsessed brain).
Anyway, my Dad’s birthday came up recently and I offered to make the cake for it. Of course as Dad likes Guinness this had to be the cake I chose. I had forgotten that a full time job can make it difficult to get a cake cooked, cooled and iced during the hours I am normally awake. It didn’t help that it takes an hour to cook in the oven itself and then needs to cool in the tin; I ended up making the icing the next day in between getting home from work and leaving for the two hour journey to my parents.
We took the cake to the restaurant we went to and I must confess that I completely forgot to take a picture before the cake was cut, so please excuse the photo below (it isn’t me trying to go avant guarde!).
Regardless of the poorly lit photo (the frosting was pale cream in reality), the cake was pretty well received!