Birthdays – cake update

Well as I said yesterday I am going to have a hectic weekend baking 2 cakes and pizza, focaccia and goodness knows what else.

I said that I’d post a picture of my first cake if it went well and I think it looks ok. It is a chocolate orange marble cake covered in chocolate buttercream and dark and white chocolate swirls.

Here is the photo:

Corinne's birthday cake

Not bad. It looks quite impressive (I think) and the only criteria was that it looked good so I hope it fits the bill.

Well better go as I have pizza dough to get ready for this evening…

Updated pic to include the inside of the cake as requested (it was quite delicious by the way and she definitely enjoyed the wow factor:

Corinne's birthday cake post party!!

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Curry & cake – the perfect weekend!?!

Hello again folks,

Well I have had another busy weekend in the kitchen. I am one of those people who like to cook from scratch and I love Indian food.

So this weekend I cooked up a chicken korai with mushroom bhaji, onion bhaji, pilau rice and garlic and coriander naan bread – all cooked from scratch. This isn’t difficult but can be a bit time-consuming. The naan bread is an unleavened version which will be in my new book, which is essentially a recipe book containing various breads from around the world.

This is what the finished dish looked like:

Chicken korai with mushroom bhaji, onion bhaji, pilau rice and garlic naan

Now I have to say that I do cook a mean curry – I have taken food to a few indian parties and mine is always the first to go, so I must be doing something right. Then again I have been cooking these for years so have had plenty of practice.

If you had this from a takeaway it would be very calorific but I only used a little olive oil and the sauce contains a plethora of pureed veg – a good way of slipping veggies into kids!

But I have to say that my pride and joy was my cake. Bearing in mind that I am relatively new to the world of cake baking I constructed a beautiful cake consisting of a chocolate brownie, cream laced with icing sugar and raspberries, and topped with a hazelnut meringue. This certainly had the wow factor and all my family (wife and kids) were taking photos to share with their friends.

Chocolate brownie cake with hazelnut meringue and raspberry cream

This cake looks great and pictures don’t really do it justice. It is a towering cake but surprisingly light as it uses a brownie type cake with light meringue. The sharpness of the raspberries compliment the sweetness really well too.

Chocolate brownie cake with hazelnut meringue and raspberry cream

This may look a little daunting but believe me if I can do it anyone can. If you would like a recipe for this one please leave a note and I will post it later.

This was taken about 5 minutes later!!

Chocolate brownie cake with hazelnut meringue and raspberry cream

I got 12 portions out of this cake so we all had 2 slices each – this cake will disappear fast!!

So if you want to have a go let me know and if there is enough interest I will post the recipe, likewise with the curry.

Next time I will continue my posts on flour, so until then…

Chocolate cake – yummy!!!

Hi folks,

I hope some of you took the opportunity to have a look at my book, and if you do please let me know what you think.

After pimping my last cake with passion fruit I decided to make my first chocolate cake. All I did was substitute 50g of flour with 50g cocoa in my Victoria sponge recipe.

This resulted in a light deliciously chocolatey cake that wasn’t too rich, even with a chocolate buttercream filling.

I am really beginning to get the hang of this cake baking thing but I had better slow down or I will end up the size of a house!

Here’s a pic of the finished (and half devoured) cake:

My first chocolate sponge!

More cakes!

Well hello again folks. Did any of you try my Victoria sponge recipe? I have made it 3 times now but the last time I baked it I decided to “pimp” the recipe.

I didn’t do anything too drastic. I added some blueberries to the sponge mix (always a winner – just look at blueberry muffins!). Next I made a passion fruit glaze by straining 3 passion fruit through a sieve to remove the seed. The juice was then mixed with 150g icing sugar (the amount you will need will depend on how juicy your fruit is and on what sort of glaze/icing you want. I made mine quite runny i.e. a glaze NOT an icing. After the cake has cooled, I gradually add several layers of glaze. With this cake I didn’t fill with jam, just fresh cream. The tang of the passion fruit perfectly complements the sweet sponge and rich cream.

You really MUST try this variation as it is quite simply divine. Give it a go, take some photos and let us all know what you think or share your ideas for pimping the humble Victoria sponge.

Till next time…

Victoria sponge with blueberries & passion fruit glaze

My first Victoria sponge!

If you’ve been following the last few posts you will have seen the beginning of my journey into sweet baking. I started out simply, mainly to build confidence, but now was the time to bake my first “real” cake! Now I had to choose which one to tackle. I decided to start with the Victoria sponge as it is a relatively simple cake and a good foundation for the future. Here is the recipe I used to bake my first cake:

225g butter (softened)

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self-raising flour (sifted)

1tsp vanilla extract

200g double cream

Raspberry jam

Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Next add the eggs 1 at a time , mixing each one in. Then add the vanilla extract and finally mix in the flour. Add a little milk if the mix is too stiff. divide between 2 well-greased 20cm cake tins and bake in a preheated oven at 1600C for 20-25 mins. Place the cake on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins and leave to cool completely.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and spread over 1 layer whilst spreading a generous amount of jam on the other. Place together and give it a light dusting of icing flour and tuck in.

Well all I can say is, wow!!! This cake was so light and was absolutely gorgeous. My wife was gobsmacked. “How did you manage to get it so perfect first time?” she asked. “My cakes never turn out like that!

Perhaps it was beginners luck so next week I baked it again, replacing the fresh cream with buttercream – great results again so if I can do it you can too. I think the secret is in the eggs as my wife said that it seemed to be quite a lot of eggs – I have since spoke to a friend whose wife is an expert baker and she agreed. She said that to make great light cakes always add 1 more egg than the recipe asks for.

Try this recipe and let me know how you get on. You will not be disappointed.