Tag Archives: chocolate

Recipe: Chocolate Cat Cake. It’s purrrrrfect, etc.

2 Dec

We need to talk about Kevin

My boss turned 40 this week and it was only right that this happy day was marked with a cat-shaped chocolate birthday cake, right?  Our chum Laura christened him Kevin and at a cake-fest in the office, Kev bravely gave his life for the enjoyment of us hungry office-workers.  Way to go Kevin.

This cake is very simple to make and keeps for a few days if you don’t hoover it up before then.

To buy:

For the cake –  *200g plain flour   *200g caster sugar   *1 teaspoon baking powder   *half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda   *40g best-quality cocoa (I used Green and Blacks)   *175g soft unsalted butter   *2 large eggs   *2 teaspoons real vanilla extract   *150ml soured cream

For the Icing –  *150g icing sugar  *100g  soft unsalted butter   *1 teaspoon vanilla extract   *a few teaspoons of cocoa   *splash of milk

For the topping –  *Bassets Licorice selection

To bake:

1.Take all of the cake ingredients out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.  Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180oC / 160Oc fan and butter 2 20cm sandwich tins.

2. Now, in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream.  Use a food processor or a hand whisk and beat until it’s smooth and thick.

Feline hungry?

3. Divide the mixture between the two greased tins and spread flat.  Bake until a skewer comes out clean but the cake has a springiness to it.  Will take around half an hour or so but check regularly.

4. Remove the cakes from the oven and press and tap out onto a wire rack and cool entirely.

5. Place one of the cakes on a drum and cut 2 triangles out of the other cake.  Using cocktail sticks fasten the triangles (ears) to the other cake (face).

6. To make the icing combine the icing sugar, butter, vanilla and a splash of milk in a bowl.  Leave a small amount of the white icing in one bowl and transfer the  lion’s share to another bowl and add cocoa to taste to this batch of icing.

7. Using a palette knife cover the cake with the chocolate icing.  Then add some of the white vanilla icing to the ears and the middle of the cat’s face.

8. I used licorice to make the cat’s eyes, heart-shaped nose and whiskers.

9. Ice a birthday message onto the drum if you like.  Add a few candles and say a special wish for the birthday boy or girl. x

Guilty Pleasure: cakes that make you go “oooohh!”

31 Jan

Crack Fox Cake

It is not exactly a secret that I love cake.  I think the news may just –  just – have slipped out.  But this is not a shameful confession, this is no love behind-closed doors, this blog post shouldn’t really be titled “Guilty Pleasure”…  because we can all love cake.  Whether it’s the shop-bought Jamaican Ginger cakes that I used to scoff with lashings of Birds custard or the first fairy cakes that I baked with my granny, birthday cakes with candles I found impossible to blow out, or a hefty slice of victoria sponge and a piping hot cup of tea on a tiring day out, cake, for me, is kind of a big deal.

But not all cakes are baked equal.  Whilst I love them all, pretty much, there are some that inspire the same cooing noises as bonfire night fireworks and the same longing stares as a picture of Robert Pattison biting his lip and looking moody.  These are cakes that practically force you to go “oooooooh” and I adore them.

Here are three examples of cakes that made me gasp, one of which, excuse me for blowing my own trumpet, I baked myself.  The first cake was baked by friend and natural-born-foodie Laura, for a birthday bonanza and is of course, the crack fox from Mighty Boosh. And just who wouldn’t love a crack-fox for their special day? It is hard to explain quite how big this cake was, just how gorgeous it smelled or how perfect the sugar craft is.  Laura, I applaud you, you are a chef-extraordinaire.

These woolly little cakes may not taste entirely amazing but WOW!  They are so cute and so inviting.  They were knitted for me by Mother-in-Law-to-be, Leonie, and every single time I see them they make me smile.  Each cake is different and perfect in it’s own way – complete with a knitted cherry and knitted hundreds and thousands.  Utter, wonderful, knitted yumminess.

Woolly cakes

The only possible downside of having these woolly cupcakes in my lounge is that they remind me, on a daily basis, that I am a shockingly bad knitter and it has taken me two years and counting and I still haven’t finished knitting my fiancé’s scarf.  Not that he’d ever want to wear such an itchy, holey old rag, but still!

And finally, this tower of chocolate psychedelia is a cake I baked for my boss’s leaving do last Friday.  It was pretty tall, a bit odd and covered in all manner of chocolate drops, sprinkles and giant buttons and once cut revealed rainbow layers of e-number ridden sponge.  From carrying it into work and hearing passers-by yell: “nice cake love!” to the grinning school boy who sat next to me on the bus and gave me a would-you-mind-awfully-if-I-had-a-teeny-bite-smile the cake was giving off oooh and aaaahhh vibes all day long.  It even helped spawn a new word – a cake-o-tunity: an oppurtunity to eat cake – a wonderful word if ever there was one.

Have you got a cake that always makes you swoon? Have you been baked a cake as trippy as the crack fox?  Is there anyone in the world who doesn’t love Jamaican Ginger Cakes? Seriously?

ker-razy cake.

Recipe: Howzat Cricket Birthday Cake

26 May

Be bowled over by it...

Today is my boyfriend’s birthday. And you can tell it is a boy’s birthday because we’re going out for steaks tonight. Yeah. In the meantime, here is the cake I made for his special day… (which gets me thinking, remember when you hit 10 and everyone would say “oooh double figures!”, that was fun…)

Anyway, my boyfriend is a cricket nerd. In fact he’s THE cricket nerd. He loves the drama, the stats, the beauty, the atmosphere. I just love the booze. Until now. I have found a way to love cricket. Simple. Turn it into a cake. So here it is…

To buy:

*225g unsalted butter   *225g golden caster sugar   *225g self-raising flour   *1tsp baking powder   *4 medium eggs   *1oog nice white chocolate chopped into teeny bits  and for the decoration   *couple of handfuls of desiccated coconut   *green food colouring   *red food colouring   *115g unsalted softened butter   *250g icing sugar  *1 x tube of white icing, I used ‘Queen’s white chocolate writing fudge’ which was awesome.

To make:

1. Preheat the (in my case fan) oven to about 160oC and grease a sandwich tin.

2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, butter, eggs and flour in stages and mix until smooth. Throw in the chopped white chocolate and mix really well.

3. Pop into the oven until golden brown and cooked right through. It took about 40 minutes for my cake to stop being wobbly in the middle – just checking every five minutes or so will do the trick.

4. Allow to cool on a rack. Trickier than it sounds. Fight the urge to get busy decorating the cake or the icing will melt and christmas will be ruined!

5. To make the “grass” just mix the coconut and the green food dye and leave it to dry until you’re ready to use it.

6. Combine the butter, sugar and red food colouring to make the “ball”. Cover the entire cake once it’s totally cold and smooth it out so it looks shiny.

7. Use the white fudge icing to pipe the seam onto the cake. I had to google an image of a cricket ball to remember what one looked like. Oops. But two sets of three dotted lines’ll do the trick.

8. If you want to make a pun like my “26 not out” then feel free. I think not punning in the cricket community is frowned upon. Just a warning.

Howzat! It’ll take a few hours but is dead simple. Do let me know if you have a recipe for a Ferrari cake so I can come up with something for Him-Indoors next year!

Guilty Pleasures: Cocos Ball aka Chocolate Clouds

11 Apr

Clouds of Joy

I freaking love cocos balls. Marshmallow balls enveloped in silky chocolate and dipped in coconut. Soft and gooey, crisp and moreish. They are amazing. Although as I discovered with flushed-cheeks today, difficult to eat – politely – in public.

Popular across the world in one way or another, Britain’s nearest cousin is the amazing Tunnocks tea-cake (which avid readers will know I have waxed lyrically about previously) and I have eaten these in Sweden and Finland and Denmark where they’re called flødebolle.

Having bought a giant pack from Ikea a few weeks ago, I reprimanded my boyfriend, “I’m eating a cloud, shut up!” and so we now refer to them as chocolate clouds. Which I think sums up their fluffiness and wispiness well.

I cannot understate my love for chocolate-clouds. And so it was that I went on an epic journey across London – involving tube, bus, tram AND train to go to Ikea, yesterday, and pick up 3 boxes of these puppies. A box of 10 big balls can be picked up for £1.70 whereas 6 little balls will set you back £1.05. I expect they will remain in this house less than a month. They are the perfect little pudding after a huge dinner or a just-got-back-from-work-and-peering-in-the-fridge-for-something-quick-to-eat-to-take-the-edge-of-your-hunger treat. Is there anything else in the Ikea Food market that’s better than this? I mean I doubt it, but remain to be convinced!

Recipe: Nest Cakes

2 Apr

They're egg-cellent, etc..

This recipe turns your Good Friday into a Great Friday- so childish, so moorish, so easy: Nest Cakes! When I say that it is fool-proof, I promise it is not a dig at my boyfriend who got stuck in the kitchen on this occassion, oh no, that would be bullying and no-one likes a bully. Although the buzz about the faux Hardman Gordon “Step Outside Posh Boy!” Brown posters rather undermines my assertion there.

But really, these little cakes are as dorky as they are yummy and take only a few minutes to make. And they last nowhere near as long as that!

To buy:

*1 big pack of mini eggs   *200g good quality chocolate   *Shredded Wheat   *Golden Syrup   *Butter   *Cake cases

To make:

1. Lay out your cake cases on the side or on a plate. I made about 10 this time but it varies on how big you make your nests…

2. In a bowl over a pan of boiling water melt about 30-50g butter and stir in 2 big teaspoons of golden syrup. Keep the heat low and stir gently.

3. Break in 200g of chocolate. You can use milk and dark or a mix of the two and once it’s all melted remove from the heat.

4. Break in a few bars of shredded wheat (I used about 4 bars) until the mixture is less gloopy but not too dry.

5. Spoon the mixture into the cases and make a little well which you can fill with as many mini-eggs as you like.

6. Leave to set for a few hours (less time if you pop them in the fridge) and then… NOM!

Easy as A B C- these cakes make me grin like an -April – fool. Gooey, rich and sweet. As Haribo would say – “Kids and Grown-ups love them so!”

Guilty Pleasures: Tunnocks

1 Mar
Lunchbox Hero

Today, for the first time in ages, I had a packed lunch. It was epic. A nice refreshing drink, some tasty leftovers and.. a Tunnocks tea-cake. My goodness. What a treat. Crisp chocolate, fluffy mallow and a sweet and juicy biscuit. Off. The. Hook.

 
But the Tunnocks teacake isn’t even my favourite confectionary from the Tunnocks range. Oh no. That accolade goes to the Caramel Wafer. The old school foil wrapping, which oh-so proudly boasts “More than 4,000,000 of these biscuits are made and sold each week”, the smooth chocolate, the layers of delicate wafer and gooey caramel. Tea and biscuit breaks don’t get any better than this.
 
When I was knee-high-to-a-grasshopper I used to love getting a tunnocks in my lunch box and gee-whizz if it is no different today. Love it.
 
Do you have any lunchbox heroes? Anything that you can’t resist scoffing with your sarnies or popping in your picnic? Confess all below.. H x

Recipe: Cappuccino Cupcakes

7 Feb

hurrah for splodgy home-baked cakes

Home-made cakes rock my world. The dorky, splodgy, odd-shaped gems that make homes smell so sweet and your face glow with pride once you’ve finished decorating them.  These little cakes are from a Nigella recipe and if I was in any doubt that the lady is a domestic goddess the proof – to the contrary – is in this pudding. The icing is to die for and the cakes spongy good! 

To buy: 

*125g self-raising flour   *125g salty butter   *125g golden caster sugar   *2 large free-range eggs   *1tsp vanilla extract   *1tsp baking powder   *1 heaped instant espresso powder   *2-3 tablespoons milk.  And for the Icing:  *160g white chocolate   *60g butter   *120g soured cream   *260g icing sugar   *cocoa powder   *cupcake cases 

To make: 

1. Preheat the oven to 200Oc/gas mark 6 and pop the cupcake cases on the tray. 

2. Put all of the cupcake ingredients – except for the milk – into a bowl and mix, then add the milk and blitz. 

3. When the cake mixture becomes a soft dropping mixture divide between the cupcake cases and then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. 

4. Cool on a wire rack – fully – and meanwhile get to making the icing. 

5. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl within a pan of boiling water and then leave it to cool slightly. 

6. Then add the soured cream and gradually beat in the icing sugar. 

7. When the icing is ready, add a huge dollop to each cake and then sprinkle- through a tea strainer – the cocoa onto the cakes so it looks like a cappuccino. 

This recipe makes about 12 cakes and is a perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Scrummy. Thanks Nigella!

Recipe: (Raspberry and White Chocolate) Lovecakes

31 Jan

You'll love them.

Insanely girly, pretty as a picture and soft as a cloud these cakes are totally dreamy. Mixing smooth white chocolate and tart raspberries and sprinkled with love, your Valentine would love one…

To buy:

*120g salty butter   *75g white chocolate   *150g caster sugar   *1tsp vanilla essence   *2 eggs   *1 tsp baking soda   *180g self raising flour   *120ml water   *At least24 fresh and juicy raspberries and then for the frosting: *100g butter   *160g icing sugar   *15 raspberries   *sugar hearts (Jane Asher does them.)

1. Preheat the oven to 180Oc and lay out 12 pink cupcake cases.

2. Melt the butter in a pyrex bowl over a pan of boiling water. When starting to look all melty add the chocolate. Once completely smooth remove from the heat.

3. Add the sugar, vanilla and eggs and mix really well. Sift in the baking soda and, as Michael Jackson once said, beat it.  Add the water (don’t worry – it gets quite runny) and then divide the mixture between the cases.

4. Add the raspberries to the cake mixture and ensure the batter covers them. Bake for twenty minutes (if you pop a skewer or cocktail stick into the cake it will come out clean), then cool completely on a wire rack.

5. Meanwhile, gently heat the raspberries in a pan with 2 tspb of water until you can mash it gently, cool entirely.

6. Cream the butter and add the icing sugar, add the raspberry purée and it should make a light pink frosting.

7. Decorate the cakes and cover with love-hearts. Scoff.

Thanks to Cooksister for the amazing recipe. Subtle and sweet – these cakes are gorgeous little pink ladies!

Food on Film: Willy Wonker and the Chocolate Factory

28 Jan

Oompa Loompas scare me.

Johnny Depp is awesome, that cannot be denied. It’s a FACT. Yet as good as he is, and as much as I love him and Tim Burton for that matter, the best Willy Wonker has to be the original one, played by Gene Wilder, as a lunatic confectioner. Roald Dahl was always my favourite growing up and it was because he understood what children can be like (spiteful, petulant, greedy and nasty, and that’s just the good ones, boom boom) and what motivates them: getting one over authority figures, keeping out of trouble and above all, sweeties!! In this eccentric and downright mental movie, we meet Charlie Bucket, a good but poor kid who wins a trip to the chocolate factory and meets a procession of horrid children: Augustus gloop, violet Beauregard and mike teevee: one and all are amazingly awful little brats!

So, the food. The food. We have gum that tastes like a three-course dinner: with a roast beef main!, a deep and gloopy chocolate river, everlasting gobstoppers, geese that lay golden eggs, lickable wallpaper, Scrumpdiddlyumptious bars.  It’s a feast for the ears as well as the belly. I remember wanting to walk through the candy village with edible toadstools more than ANYTHING EVER when I was little and nothing has changed since then. This film puts the joy into food and inventiveness into scoffing. It also teaches you to be a very, very good child and do as you’re told. A valuable lesson for sure.

Guilty Pleasures: Extremely Chocolatey Caramels

22 Jan

Resistance is futile.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen Marks and Spencer’s adverts – you know, this isn’t just food porn, it’s M&S food porn – and dribbled into my pyjamas, but credit where it’s due, they know their onions.

And their melting chocolate pudding, thick beef stew, extra-thick white chocolate biscuits… mmm…

These extremely chocolatey caramels are just ace. Chewy caramel, generously dipped in creamy chocolate, I defy you to have just one at a time.