Gastronomically Terrific

July 17, 2011

Wendy’s Caring Cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:49 pm

This is a “no added sugar” diabetic recipe for fruitcake.  As I am missing a picture, it is hard to visualise this, but it doesn’t look any different to a normal fruit loaf.  We quite enjoyed it, but at the same time it wasn’t all that thrilling.  It was a lot better as a pudding (served hot with cream) than as a cake.  The texture in particular was odd, presumably the high density of dried fruit – and pineapple! leaves the cake a little rubbery (but not in a bad way!).

I’ll give the ingredients, but not a proper recipe.  You can guess the rest, its pretty obvious!  Cook covered (190 degrees) for an hour or so.

Ingredients: 425g can of crushed pineapple, with juice, 450g mixed dried fruit, 1tsp mixed spice, 4 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 225g self raising wholemeal flour.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “Baking, making and sharing” by Susan Over, page 18.


March 11, 2011

Essential Ancient Egyptian Phrase Book

Filed under: Funny — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 7:31 pm

Top: Cake. Bottom: Wine.

The essential guide to Ancient Egyptian.  No more confusing menu blues!

December 30, 2010

Light blackberry cheesecake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 12:17 am

This isn’t really cheesecake, and came as a bit of a disappointment.  Still, it was interesting…

Cheesecake that is arguably neither cake, nor made from cheese...

Alarm bells started ringing when we noticed there was no base.  No base means no chocolatey biscuity goodness.  The air raid siren followed: this has cottage cheese and semolina in it.  Um…?  And it even has flour in it, making it into something of true cake like consistency, though it tastes more like… well… nothing.  Not bad, just a slightly strange consistency and a plain flavour.  You get excited eating the blackberries, which admittedly are tasty when baked but really shouldn’t be the highlight.

In conclusion: avoid cheesecake made from semolina and cottage cheese.  Just sayin’.

Who made it: Anna and Dan both deny any part in the making.

Recipe: Cheesecakes, pavlovas and trifles by Woman’s Weekly, page 19.

October 30, 2010

Chocolate Orange Spider Cupcakes

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 11:51 pm

“Eeeuuugh, they’re all leggy!”


The chocoholics cure to arachnophobia.


These cupcakes are richly chocolatey, zested with orange and thoroughly creepy.  Sitting on the counter top they exude primal arachnoid fear.  Yet like a fly to the web you are drawn in….

The recipe came from a Morrison’s Magazine.  I don’t know how we found out that these were in it, and I don’t think I want to.  Sometimes the wise culinary wizard must overlook the evil of the mystic tome and the suspicious circumstances by which it was obtained, because the spells inside look and taste so good.  But it does bear repeating, because they look so good and because we tweaked their recipe ever so slightly.

Ingredients (Makes 4 large muffin-sized spider-monsters)

For the cakes: 1 egg, 60g butter, 60g golden caster sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp orange zest, 25g chocolate chips

For the topping: 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 tbsp water, 50g icing sugar, 30g butter, sugar strands

For the decoration: 2 boxes (64 pieces) Mikado dark chocolate sticks, 25g dark cooking chocolate, 8 white chocolate buttons


Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Sift in flour and cocoa powder into a separate bowl.  Add the egg  slowly to the butter mixture and beat, whilst slowly folding in the flour mixture.

Add the orange zest and chocolate chips; mix and put into muffin cases (filling to about two-thirds) and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius, gas mark 4.

For the buttercream, mix the cocoa and water into a paste, beat the butter and mix in the sugar then the cocoa mixture.  Spread over the cakes and add chocolate sprinkles.

To make the legs, pierce the body with a cocktail stick or similar to make a hole.  Cut half the mikado sticks into long pieces (2/3rds length of the full piece) and the other half into shorter pieces (1/3-1/2 of the full piece).  You can extend the chocolate covered region to the whole stick if you coat them in melted chocolate but it is easier to use many mikado sticks.  Insert the shorter pieces at an angle; then dip the longer pieces into the melted chocolate and place on to make a joint.  Leave the legs to cool when all are added.

The eyes can be made by drawing a pupil with melted chocolate on the button.  Place as appropriate.

Its not posisble to reach past this monster to the fruit...

Who made it: Anna did the hard graft, Dan did much of the decorating

Recipe: See above, or look at Morrisons Magazine Sept/Oct 2010. may lead you there but we found it rather frustrating to navigate.

October 24, 2010

Tipsy Chocolate Gateau

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 2:56 pm

The only thing missing from chocolate cake is alcohol.  Rectified!


Chocolate Gateau soaked in rum.


This is a fluffy chocolate Gateau that has been soaked in rum, covered in cream and then more chocolate.   There is a layer of jam in there too – we used cherry jam which goes very well with alcoholic chocolate.  Oddly enough, it is one of the few cakes that improves on the second day, presumably because the rum soaks through more uniformly and takes the tartness out of the cream.

We had to adapt the recipe a little to make it for two people (the book gives a recipe that serves 20…) so I’ll give what we used in full.

For the cake

3 eggs

80g caster sugar

1 teaspoon oil

60g self-raising flour

25g drinking chocolate

1/2 heaped teaspoon cocoa powder

Filling and topping

1 teaspoon coffee granules

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1/2 tablespoon boiling water

70ml water

2 tablespoons rum

A good amount of cherry jam

200ml double cream (whipped)

25g dark chocolate


  1. grease and line two 7″ (20cm) tins
  2. whisk the eggs and sugar together “until double in size” and a thick creamy texture (takes about 3 minutes, and keep the bowl warm by placing over some boiled water); drizzle in the oil slowly whilst whisking.
  3. Sieve the flour, drinking chocolate and cocoa together, then fold gently into the egg mixture.
  4. Bake at 220 celcius for 12-15 minutes until the centre springs back when touched and the mixture is set throughout., then leave to cool.
  5. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water, add the rest of the water and the rum.  Drizzle half of the liquid over the base of the sponge, and spread jam on generously.  Then spread on 1/3rd of the cream, put the top of the cake on and drizzle over the remaining rum mixture.  Spread the remaining cream on top, then melt the dark chocolate and drizzle on top in concentric circles.  The marbled effect is created by dragging a cocktail stick radially out from the centre.

I wasn’t a fan of the tartness of plain cream on the day we baked it – perhaps adding some sugar (25g?), or perhaps some more rum before whisking would sweeten the deal.  But I would say that it wasn’t a problem on day two because the rum soaked up from the top and bottom into the cream.  It makes a great pudding style cake, spongy and moist. Mmm.

Who made it: Dan and Anna jointly (its true!  I instigated this little cake fest….)

Recipe: Adapted from “Hallelujah!  Chocolate!” by The Chocolate Squad  (page 50).  I have to say that this recipe book is almost always a success…

June 20, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 3:21 pm

This post is here as a warning: these were not that great.  We had some blueberries and thought muffins would be nice, but sadly they were not quite sweet enough, not quite cooked in the centre, and a little burnt on top.  The last two are obviously a problem with using our oven (it does that if you forget to take measures) but the first is a problem with the recipe.  I just like sweeter muffins.

No photos – we made these when I was very busy and I had no time.  They looked fine – more cupcake sized than muffins but otherwise as expected.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book, page 235.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 12:57 pm

This cake is very chocolaty, very orangey, and very sweet.  Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, it is neverless going to be a hit for those with a sweet tooth.

Nice symmetry.

We took this cake on the barge holiday, where it competed with Francis’ cake which was much larger and less sweet.  It was just a little too sweet for me, which meant that small slices were what you wanted – lucky, as we were sharing between a lot of people!

Mmm, cake.

Who made it: Anna.

Recipe: Hallelujah Chocolate! by The Chocolate Squad, page 17.

April 10, 2010

Easter Nests

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:40 am

The last of our Easter Treats this year, these “fairy cakes” are so good they taste otherworldly.

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and chocolate makes a perfect combination.

I can’t quite figure out what it is about these fairy cakes that makde them so morish.  Perhaps Anna went overboard with the cocoa.  Perhaps the combination of sweet chocolate on top complements the slightly bitter cocoa in the cake.  Perhaps these were cooked to exact perfection.  Whatever the reason, there was something special about these guys that made it difficult not to stuff all 6 in my mouth in one go.

These are just ordinary chocolate fairy cakes, covered in chocolate buttercream, sprinked with chocolate flake and of course decorated with chocolate eggs.  OK, that is four types of yummy chocolate right there – perhaps that is the reason.  Anyway, I’m tempted to insist that these are a very summery type of cake this year…

Who made it: All Anna’s handiwork.

Recipe: Fairy Cakes, by Joanna Farrow, page 34.

April 3, 2010

Easter Nest Torte

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:57 pm

There are five different uses of chocolate in this Torte, and Anna presented it so well that my feeble photography skills can’t cope.

Perfectly presented easter torte. I'd love to see the bird that made this nest!

There are only four types of chocolate visible here: mini eggs, flake, the chocolate border and the chocolate mousse.  The final one is a fairly thin layer of chocolate sponge, visible in the piece below.

Torte, open for the eating. The imperfections only appeared on the cutting.

This cake confuses me.  On the one hand, it looks amazing and everything in it tastes great individually.  For me the whole is a little less than the sum of its parts, which I think is because the mousse changes the texture of the chocolate on top and doesn’t taste very strong itself.  Now I should be clear here – it tastes really rather good.  Just not, in my opinion, as good as an ordinary chocolate sponge cake with chocolate icing and chocolate on top would have done.  Perhaps the vege-gel in the mousse is to blame, or perhaps the mousse should be made with a higher proportion of chocolate (though actually, that would be difficult…)

I can’t even begin to describe the recipe as Anna did all this when I was not here – you should have seen the silly grin on my face when I found this in the fridge!  It is moderately complicated but there are clever tricks to getting a professional finish without having to be artistic. Indeed, I would like to point out the great job Anna did with the chocolate collar, which holds the mousse in.  It was some of the most professional chocolateering to come out of our kitchen, rivalling the picture in the book for smoothness and crispness (although my photos do not rival the books… sorry!)

Who made it: All Anna’s handiwork!

Recipe:”Simply Cadbury’s Chocolate”, by Joanna Farrow, page 120.

March 16, 2010

Chocolate button frosted traybake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 9:44 pm

This tasty traybake was made for Ben’s birthday – it was simple and portable, and could be cut up for lots of people.

What happens if I push the button?*

This is your common-or-garden** sponge cake, smothered in chocolate butter icing and decorated in buttons.  There isn’t much more to say – it is of course very tasty, and very simple.


Who made it: Anna did all the work then made Dan load it into the tupperware.  As usual this was a mistake and lots of cake was sadly lost on the way, although you’ll be pleased to hear it went to a good home.  Briefly.

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book, page 75, but actually Anna made up the topping!

* I get told off.

** Ooh, I wish we could grow cake in the garden!  Maybe that is where I’ll make my millions…

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