Thursday, 9 January 2014

Chocolate layer cake from The Primrose Bakery.

I can't say enough how much I love chocolate cake. It's the most blogged type of cake on my blog and I love trying new flavours with the chocolate, different decorations and experiment with different layers.  My coconut, lime and brownie meringue cakechocolate rum syrup cakes and chocolate and lime cake with candied lime peel are examples where I have tried something different to the simple chocolate cake.  Sometimes a simple chocolate cake decorated with some maltesers, m&m's or poppets are all you need for those lazy indulgent weekends, and this chocolate layer cake from Cupcakes From The Primrose Bakery is one of those simple, easy and yet sublime cake which you will want to make time and time again. The chocolate cake turned out light, moist, soft and not overpowering with chocolate (as some chocolate cakes do). I was super impressed with the icing as I usually use butter and chocolate but this recipe calls for icing sugar too which I felt gave the chocolate butter icing a lift and enhanced the flavour of the chocolate. I simply decorated with some chocolate poppets, a simple and effective way to decorate these delicious cake.
Here is how my chocolate layer cake turned out:

Chocolate layer cake.

Chocolate layer cake.


Cooled chocolate added the butter, sugar and egg mixture.

Milk, flour added to the choc mixture.
Cake- pre bake

Cake baked.

Make buttercream and spread on each cake
Assemble, and decorate as you wish.


Recipe for Chocolate Layer Cake
Makes two 20cm (8 inch) cakes, which can be sandwiched together to make one layer cake

230g dark chocolate (I used a combination of milk and dark)
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g light soft brown sugar
3 large eggs, separated
370g self-raising flour
pinch of baking powder
500ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To decorate
175g dark chocolate
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 170C/190/375F/gas mark 5. Grease and lime two 20 cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.
Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt on a medium setting in 30 second bursts until completely melted. Stir well between each session. Alternatively, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir in occasionally until completely melted. Set the bowl aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, which should take 3-5 minutes using an electric mixer. Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl and beat them for several minutes. Slowly add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. Add the cooled chocolate to this mixture and again beat well.
Add the flour in a separate bowl. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a jug. Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites, with clean beaters, until soft peaks start to form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the main batter using a metal spoon. Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake for about 30 minutes. Insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes - it should come out clean if it is cooked.
Remove the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool. Peel the greaseproof paper from the bases of the cakes. once they are cool, sandwich the layers together with chocolate buttercream icing and cover the top of the cake with more. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles or other decorations.

For the buttercream
Melt the chocolate in a bowl or a plastic jug in the microwave until smooth and of a thick pouring consistency. Stir occasionally until it has completely melted and is quite smooth. leave to cool slightly.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk and vanilla and icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy. Spread on top of the cake.

I am entering this chocolate layer cake to two blogging challenges. Firstly, TeaTimeTreats which is guest hosted by the lovely Jane from The Hedge Combers and run by the lovely Karen from Lavender and Lovage. This months theme is eggs and this cake contains 3 eggs.

I'm also entering this into Calendar Cakes hosted by Dollybakes and Lauralovescakes. This months theme is "What makes you happy", I love love love chocolate cake so this certainly made me happy.

xx
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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Raspberry Cupcakes

I first heard of the Primrose Bakery from picking up their second book "The Primrose Bakery" in my local supermarket last year. After flicking through some of the recipes I added this book to my must purchase list and decided to wait a bit as I thought the £10 cost was a bit high for another baking book (considering that I have so many). I was delighted when I discovered that WH Smith was selling this book for £3.74 in January so I snapped up two (one for me and a friend who loves baking) and have baked quite a few of their cupcake recipes see lemon cupcakes and lemon layer cake .
This recipe, raspberry cupcakes is taken from their seasonal cupcakes section and is classified as a summer recipe. I must agree, I much prefer to have a raspberry cupcake towards the end of summer instead of making it in the cold winter months. As for the cupcake, I found these to be delicious and I really liked the raspberry flavour which I could taste in every bite. I decided on topping these cupcakes with raspberry buttercream which I made by adding three tablespoons of raspberry jam to my usual buttercream recipe. These cupcakes are perfect whilst the weather is still ok and is flavoursome.
Here is how my raspberry cupcakes turned out:
Raspberry cupcakes.


Inside my raspberry cupcakes.

I first started by creaming the butter and sugar together and then added the flour mixture alongside the egg in batches.
Flour and egg added to the butter and sugar.

Once all the flour and the two eggs were added, I added 3 tablespoons of raspberry jam to the mixture.
Mixture pre jam.

Jam added to the mixture.

I carefully folded the jam to the mixture before dividing the mixture into 12 cupcake cases.
Jam in-cooperated.

Raspberry cupcakes pre bake.

I baked these cupcakes for 20 minutes and left to cool whilst I got on with the raspberry buttercream.
Raspberry cupcakes baked.

For the buttercream I creamed the butter and added the warmed raspberry jam, alongside the icing sugar - which I added in batches. If the mixture becomes too stiff, add a tablespoon of cold water to loosen.
Raspberry buttercream.


Recipe for Raspberry cupcakes with raspberry buttercream.

Ingredients
Makes 12 regular cupcakes
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs
225g self - raising four
125ml semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or essence
3 tablespoons of seedless raspberry jam

For the icing, I developed my own recipe as I did not want to pair these cupcakes with the suggested white chocolate buttercream.
Raspberry buttercream.

125g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
420g icing sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons of raspberry jam, warmed.

Method
Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)/ 180CC/350F/ gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin trays with the appropriate cupcake cases.
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, which should take about 3-5 minutes using an electric beater. Add the eggs, one at a time,  mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
Put the milk in a jug and add the vanilla extract or essence to it. Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added.
Gently fold in the raspberry jam until most of its combined. The idea is to have some jam streaks running through the mixture, rather than an evenly coloured batter. Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once they have cooled, cut a small hole in the centre of each cake using a sharp knife or teaspoon and carefully place a teaspoon of jam inside- you can slightly warm the jam in a saucepan first to soften it before pushing it into the sponge.

For the raspberry buttercream

Method
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until the buttercream is smooth and creamy. I usually place the buttercream in the fridge for around 15 minutes as this makes it easier to spread the cupcakes.

Ice the cupcakes using a palette knife or using a piping bag with a large nozzle fitted and enjoy.

I am entering these lovely cupcakes to Calendar Cakes a monthly baking challenge hosted by lauralovescakes and dollybakes. This month's theme is cupcakes as it is national cupcake week between  16th - 22nd September.


xxx


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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Lemon Cupcakes with lemon buttercream.

In light of my recent love for citrus inspired cakes, I made a batch of lemon cupcakes with lemon butter cream for Comic Relief. These were supereasy to make as most of the recipes from Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery, and the only laborious task was piping the cupcakes into swirls using my Witon 1M piping nozzle. Lemon cupcakes are always popular, and I am sure have lots of Vitamin C for us, so must be good for the body :-)
Here are how my Lemon Cupcakes turned out:
Lemon Cupcakes
I sprinkled citrus strands over my cupcakes for extra lemoniness.
The method to make these cupcakes were super easy, I first started by creaming the butter and sugar together until smooth.
Butter and sugar
I added the eggs, one a time to the butter and sugar mixture. I then combined the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) and in a separate jug, combine the lemon juice, zest and milk and stirred.
Flour

Grated zest of lemon
Lemon juice
I added a 1/3 of the flour to the butter, sugar and mixture and then also added some of the liquid mixture, ensuring the ingredients were combined.
Once the mixture was combined I placed in 12 cupcake cases and baked for 25 minutes.
Lemon cupcake mixture
Cupcakes pre bake
Once baked, I left to cool and began making the lemon buttercream. I follow a simple buttercream recipe 125g butter, whisked and 450g icing sugar and the juice of 1 lemon, to decorate 12 cupcakes.
Whisked butter for buttercream
Buttercream mixture

Recipe for Lemon Cupcakes, adapted from Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery.

Makes 12 regular cupcakes
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
pinch of baking powder
90ml semi-skimmed milk
juice of 2 lemons and their zest

For the butter cream
125 g butter, whisked
450g icing sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Citrus strands or hundreds and thousands to decorate.

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tray with the appropriate size cupcakes.
In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and smooth, using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and combine the milk and lemon juice in a jug. Add one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk have been added, incorporating the lemon zest with the last third of flour.
Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcakes cases, filling them to about two thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown.
Remove the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack yo cool. Once they are cool you can begin the with buttercream.
Whisk the butter until soft, and gradually add the icing sugar alongside the juice of a lemon. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes or so and spoon into a piping bag with a large nozzle. Ice the cupcakes in a swirl.

xxx

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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Lemon layer cake

I stated in my one of my previous that I have been recently baking more non chocolate cake recipes, and this, is yet another one non chocolate cake bake. My previous lemon drizzle cake was not as lemony as I liked so I thought i'd try a new recipe from my latest book, Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. I have to say this is THE Lemon cake recipe I will be following from now on. The cake was extremley moist and light and the buttercream enhanced the cake, it was love at first bite!
Here is how my luscious, lemon layer cake turned out:
Lemon layer cake

From the top.
Lemon layer cake
This cake is very simple and easy to make, and I think is the perfect cake for all those that do not like overly rich cakes. I first started by creaming the butter and sugar together until pale and smooth.
Butter and sugar creamed
I then combined the dry ingredients in a seperate bowl and added the eggs to the cream mixture, one at a time, and then alternated with the dry ingredients.
Dry ingredients

Eggs added to dry mixture

I then grated the zest of two lemons and added the zest alongside the juice to the mixture.
Lemon zest
Lemon juice
Lemon cake mixture combined

Once everything was combined I divided the mixture between two cake tins and spread evenly.
Cakes pre bake
The cakes take around 30 minutes to bake, and when baked leave to cool and get started on the lemon buttercream. I used my trusted buttercream recipe from The Great British Book of Baking and just added the grated zest of 1 lemon and 5 tablespoon of lemon juice to 125g butter beaten and then add 450g icing sugar.

Recipe for Lemon Layer Cake
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons

Method
Preheat the oven to 170 C (gas mark 5). Grease and baseline two 20cm cake tins.
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until the miture is pale and smooth. Combine the dry ingredients in a seperate bowl. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture, one at a time, mixing for a few minutes after each addition, alternating with the dry ingredients, and finally the grated zest and lemonjuice. Beat well after each addition, but again do not overbeat.
Divind the mixture evenly between the tinss and bake for about 25-30 minutes until raised and golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave in their tins about 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cook. 
Once the cakes are cool, sandwich the layers together with the lemon buttercream icing and cover the top and sides with the buttercream icing. 

xxx

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