Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Chocolate and Orange cake

This is another one of my citrus bakes, my new found must ingredient when baking cakes. This time I have left alone my tried and tested use of lemons and decided I would try baking a cake using a different citrus fruit, this time in-cooperating an orange in my bake. Like so many recipes in my baking books, I have bookmarked this recipe for chocolate and orange cake from BBC Good Food Cakes and Bakes. The recipe in this book is actually for a dark chocolate and orange cake but I decided to adapt the recipe as am not a big fan of  dark chocolate, nor was I partciularly keen on the method of boiling an orange for half an hour then placing in a food processor to blend, as suggested in the baking book. My way of grating the orange zest and adding the squeezed juice of the orange, is easier, I can imagine, and the orange taste really comes through and I think this has helped the cake become less chocolatey. I defintiely will be making this again, as my family enjoyed this. I decorated the cake using a packet of Tesco's chocolate orange.
Here is how my chocolate and orange cake turned out:
Milk chocolate and orange cake

A slice of my chocolate and orange cake
Milk chocolate and orange cake

Inside my chocolate and orange cake:
Milk chocolate and orange cake

I first started by mixing the egg and sugar and oil together until combined.
Egg, sugar and oil

Eggs, sugar and oil mixed
I then grated the orange zest and squeezed the juice of the orange and placed to one side.
Grated orange zest.

I then added the zest to the liquid mixture before adding the self-raising flour to the mixture,
Orange zest added to the liquid mixture

Once the dry ingredients were added, I placed the cake mixture in a baking tin and placed in the oven on gas mark 4 for 55 minutes.
Cake mixture in tin.

After the cake was baked, I left to cool in the tin and then began to make the icing.
Baked cake

I tend to make a ganche not using double cream, instead by using the same amount of chocolate and butter, which is usually 250g of butter and 250g melted chocolate to cover a cake. However, I suggest perhaps using only 200g butter and 250g melted chocoalte as the added juice of an orange gave the cake a slightly salty taste, which only became noticable after several slices.
Melted butter and chocolate

I left the ganache to set for around an hour until set then began to spread it on the tops and sides of the cake and formed a crumb layer.
Crumb layer 

I then spread the remaining chocolate ganache over the cake.
Cake smoothed over

Here is the link for the recipe for the chocolate and orange cake


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ginger pecan and coconut cake.

Recently I brought BBC Cakes and Bakes and I must say this is one of my favourite cake books. There's around 100 recipes in this book, with each cake recipe displaying the calorie content, which makes it easier to chose the right recipes if you are trying to lose weight. My ginger, pecan and coconut cake is not one for those who are wanting to watch their weight as it comes in at around 700 calories per slice, but was so delicious it's worth the calorific content. I've adapted this recipe and turned it into a three layered cake and I added coconut. The addition of coconut adds sweetness and alongside the pecans which adds depth and the ginger fieriness was a perfect match made in heaven. This was a really easy cake to make and didn't require any complicated methods and a must try for all those who love flavoursome cakes. I added a ginger fudge icing which I love and what I've made before.
Here is how my ginger cake turned out:
Ginger, pecan and coconut cake.

I first started by mixing the butter, sugar, syrups and eggs together.
Butter, treacle and golden syrup.
Butter, treacle and golden syrup mixed.

Once beaten I sifted in flour, chopped ginger, chopped pecans and coconut and gently in-cooperated.
Pecans and ginger
Coconut and pecans added
I then placed the mixture in three baking tins.
Cake mixture

Cakes pre baking

After 45 minutes the cakes were baked and I left to cool before getting on with the ginger fudge icing.
Baked cakes
I've made this ginger fudge icing before, it's delicious and basically syrup from stem ginger in-cooperated in the buttercream.
Ginger fudge icing
I layered up the sites with ginger fudge, but wish I added more ginger fudge on the first layer as it would have been more visually effective.
Cakes layered up
As I was bringing this cake to church I wanted to add a lovely ribbon to make it look more pretty.
Recipe for pecan, ginger and coconut cake - adapted from BBC Good Food Cakes and Bakes - my adaptations are in brackets. The recipe is for a two layered cake but my adaptations are for a three layered cake.
200g - self -raising flour (I used 270g)
4 tbsp ground ginger (I used 3 tablespoons of ground ginger)
1tsp baking powder (I used 1 tablespoon baking powder)
200g butter (I used 270 g butter)
350g golden sugar (I used 250g golden sugar and 200g treacle)
100g light muscavodo sugar (I used 130g dark muscavodo sugar)
4 eggs, beaten (I used 6 eggs)
100g pecans (I used 50 g pecans)
100g crystallised ginger (I used 60g ginger)
I also added 50 g coconut.
Pinch of salt

The recipe and method for the  ginger fudge icing can be found here.

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas mark4/ Fan oven 160C. Butter and line the base of two 20cm/8 inch tins. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt. Rub in the butter until it resembles crumbs - (I done this as stage 2)
2) Beat in the syrup, sugar, eggs, pecans, crystallised ginger and coconut. Pour into the tins and bake for 45 minutes until firm. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes and turn out on a wire rack.



Friday, 19 October 2012

Levi Root's Sticky ginger and Guinness cake with ginger fudge icing.

It was my grandad's birthday a few days ago so what better way to say happy birthday then making a   cake. Now, I wanted to make something that would remind my grandad of Jamaica, as he was born there, but with a modern twist. My "modern twist" to a Jamaican cake is lavishing the cake with butter icing, my favourite! Jamaica is known for it's ginger cake, so I thought making a ginger cake would be the perfect cake to make. I, of course, went to my two Caribbean books "Levi Root's Caribbean Food Made Easy and Reggae Reggae cookbook". Only Caribbean Food Made Easy had a recipe for ginger cake "sticky ginger cake with lime icing", but with no picture. Now I know what a ginger cake looks like, I'm sure everyone does, but I wanted a picture for some inspiration, at least for the icing. So, I had a flick through my BBC Cakes and Bakes and found a lovely picture for ginger fudge icing.
I also know my grandad likes Guinness so I researched online to see whether I could combine the ginger and Guinness ....... and of course I can!. I found this recipe as inspiration which had  a combination of the ginger and Guinness and I though this must work. I am not one for recipe building or testing, I usually just follow the recipe to the latter. I used my internet research as inspiration and added 250ml of guinness to my ginger cake.
Here is how my cake turned out:
Ginger and Guinness cake

Guinness and ginger cake
Slice of ginger cake
This is a really simple cake, which has a spicy twang. You can really taste the flavours of the ginger and the Guinness and I think the Guinness beautifully complements the ginger cake. I followed the recipe for the icing to the latter, but the ginger did not really come through. However, most importantly, my grandad enjoyed the cake and that's what's most important, not my culinary preferences.
I first started by making the treacle:
 Once melted I let the mixture cool:
I then made a well and combined the beaten eggs with flour:

I then in-cooperated the wet ingredients to the dry and thoroughly combined and added 200ml of Guinness:
Placed in my cake tin:

Once baked, I left the ginger and Guinness cake to cool and got on with the butter icing.

Recipe for sticky ginger Guinness cake (adapted from Levi Roots Caribbean Food Made Easy).
Serves 8-10
155g butter, plus extra for greasing
115g soft dark brown sugar
115g treacle
55g preserved stem ginger, chopped
225g plain flour, sifted (I used self-raising flour)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 large free range eggs
2-3 tbsp milk
200ml Guinness

For the ginger fudge icing (from BBC Cakes and Bakes)
4 tbsp ginger syrup, drained from the jar
300g icing sugar
140g unsalted butter
2 tsp lemon juice

1) Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Butter and base line a 18cm (7inch) cake tin. Melt the butter, sugar and treacle into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Don't let it boil. When it's all melted and well combined, leave to cool a little and add the stem ginger.
2) Put the flour and ground ginger into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Put the beaten eggs and treacle mixture into the well and, using a wooden spoon, gradually mix the dry ingredients into the the wet ones (At this point, add the 200 ml of Guinness and the milk). Be careful to get a smooth batter.
3) Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean. Don't open the oven door during cooking or the cake will sink a little.
4) Remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the tin for 15 minutes or so then turn it out to a wire rack to cool.

For the icing
5) Beat together the icing sugar, butter, lemon juice and the remaining ginger syrup, and spread over the cake.
I am entering this cake into the Baking with Spirit a monthly blogging challenge that is organised by Cake of the Week and invited fellow bloggers to make a cake with a chosen alcoholic ingredient. This month the challenge was using beer, and as my cake had Guinness this fulfils the challenge.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Nostalgic Coconut cake with a modern twist.

What do you bake for your nan for her birthday when there are so many recipes, so many different flavour combinations and so much choice?. I had some desiccated coconut that has been lurking in my cupboards and once I picked this up, I thought I could make a bake on a half used up bag of desiccated coconut. The only coconut thing I make is a coconut loaf cake and over the summer I made a coconut, lime and strawberry cake, but wanted to do something a bit different, after all an abandoned packet of coconut needs some oomph. I remembered having lots of coconut cake when I was younger and thought i'd take a trip down memory lane.
I brought BBC Cakes and Bakes cookbook last month and pencilled in many recipes and the two coconut recipes which appealed to me were "nostalgic coconut cake" and "mango, banana and coconut cake". I decided on the former as I could dress up this cake. As for the decorations I was going to follow the suggestion of a simple cream based buttercream, I thought I would add some sprinkles. I was inspired by the 2011 winner of the Great British Bake Off, Jo Wheately blog on a sprinkle cake, where she added sprinkles to the buttercream and decorated around the cake. Yum.
Here is how my coconut cake turned out:
Coconut cake and slice
Coconut cake
Inside my coconut cake

This is a simple variation of a normal sponge cake and uses 50g desiccated coconut as an addition. I also altered the recipe as I wanted to make three layers instead of the normal two layers. I upped the recipe to an extra 1/3 to make sure I had enough mixture.
I first started by mixing all the ingredients for the sponge together.
Cake mixture
I usually take pictures of the cake mixture in their tins and out of the tins, but I forgot this time. Anyway, once the cakes were cooled I used my homemade jam to spread on a layer of the cake before topping with buttercream.
Homemade jam

Jam on sponge.

I prepared the loose buttercream by mixing all the ingredients and adding a selection of sprinkles.
Oh, I passed my masters degree so I celebrated with a glass of sparkling wine, a slice of cake and Nigella's new book :-) and spending time with my family.

Recipe for coconut cake, my amendments are in red.
175g butter (I used 240g)
175g caster sugar (I used 240g)
185 g self-raising flour (I used 240g) 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, beaten (I used 4 eggs)
50g desiccated coconut (I used 75g)
2 tbsp coconut cream or single cream. (I used 2 tbsp milk).

For the buttercream filling and topping.
280g icing sugar (I used 350g)
100g butter, softened (I used 125g) 
3 tbsp coconut cream, or single cream (I used 4tbsp)
5 tbsp raspberry jam (I used 7tbsp)
I used a selection of sprinkles for decorations. 

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4/ fan 160 C. Butter two 20cm/ 8 inch sandwich tins (I used 3 tins) and line the bases with greaseproof paper. Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs in a food processor for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Gently stir in the coconut and cream.
Divide the mixture between the tins and smooth the tops. Bake for 24 minutes until evenly golden and firm. Loosen the edges and leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire to cool.
Make the buttercream: beat together the icing sugar, butter and coconut cream until smooth. Spread one sponge with the jam and buttercream, then repeat for the second sponge. Top with the third person and swirl with the remaining buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Oh, and add the sprinkles.

This fulfils a number of this months blogging challenges. Firstly the lovely Dom at Belleau Kitchen hosts random recipes, a monthly challenge which encourages readers to randomly select an ingredient (such as the desiccated coconut) or book from their collection and bake. His blog can be found here:

I also bookmarked this recipe when I purchased the Cakes and Bakes book so this fulfils the challenge hosted by the lovely Jacqueline from Tinned Tomotoes The challenge is any bookmarked recipes which is suitable for vegetarians - take a look.

I am also entering this to Bake Fest, another vegetarian monthly challenge which is open to any bakes which is vegetarian. This month it is hosted by Fun and Food Cafe and originally started by

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