Gastronomically Terrific

January 29, 2016

S’moreanne cupcakes

Filed under: Cake, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 1:49 pm



A slightly more successful attempt at making sugar syrup

After the complete failure of my butterscotch marshmallow bars, I (perhaps foolishly) decided to try out another recipe from the same recipe book. This time, I wanted to make S’moreanne cupcakes. Having read through the recipe, I knew they were going to be something of a challenge.

There are three different elements to these cakes. Firstly, you need to make a chocolate sponge. That turned out fine, and was no more complicated than making a standard sponge cake. Secondly, you add chocolate shavings and biscuit crumbs to the top of the sponge batter. Again, not particularly hard to do.

Thirdly, you make the sugar syrup. Whilst this is boiling, you whisk together egg whites. You then add the sugar syrup to the egg whites and whisk it all together to make a shiny meringue. This meringue is then added to the top of the baked cupcakes. The cakes are then lightly browned with a cook’s blowtorch, before being topped with squares of chocolate and some biscuit crumbs. Now, I admit that I ended up using the blowtorch after adding the chocolate squares, giving the cakes a little more of a burnt look than intended. But overall, I was really pleased with how these cakes turned out. Yes, they are incredibly rich. But they looked good, and tasted lovely – and I didn’t mess up the sugar syrup this time!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days Recipes to make every day special, by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers, pg. 182-3


June 12, 2015

Easter bonnet cake

Filed under: Cake, Easter, gift — Tags: , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:37 pm

Easter bonnet cake from front sideAnother recipe that I made for my mum’s birthday, even though it’s officially an Easter recipe. I’ve been wanting to make this for ages (it looks good in the photos, and sounded pretty easy to make considering the potential end result), and messing up the rest of my mum’s present (basically I ordered the wrong thing) meant it was a good excuse to make this.

The cake itself is simple – it’s just a basic lemon sponge cake. The only difference is you bake it in a Pyrex dish so that it gives the right shape for a bonnet. It’s the decorating that takes time. You place the cake on a circle of icing, then cover the cake with icing after you’ve used a cake cooling rack to mark out squares. You then make flowers out of icing to place around the edge of the cake, and tie a ribbon around the bottom of the cake (which is a great device for hiding the joins in the icing!). Finally, you can create some icing butterflies to add to the cake. All relatively easy if you have the right cutters – which, for the most part, I did. And I was relatively pleased with the end result.

Unfortunately however, unlike the Mothering Sunday sweets, I didn’t get to try any of this (when offered, I foolishly went for the flapjacks. Yes, they were good – but I know what flapjacks taste like), so I can’t say if the cake was tasty or not. My mum told me it was good though, so I guess I’ll choose to believe her.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter, Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris, Judith Merrell, pg. 38-39

February 26, 2015

Trinity Cake

Filed under: Cake, Easter — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:59 am

Trinity cake with slice cut out from aboveI specifically hadn’t planned to bake much in the near future, knowing that soon there would be a new baby in the house. But this baby is taking their time, so I’ve found myself with a fair bit of spare time. So, on Pancake Day, I was hunting through a Hallelujah! Easter recipe book to remind myself of the amounts needed for pancake ingredients. As I flicked through the book, I realised that a lot of the recipes were pretty simple and used ingredients we already had lying around the house. So I figured it was a good book to use to make relatively easy, simple-to-find-ingredients-for-recipes until this late baby made an appearance.

The first thing I made was the Trinity Cake. I have made this before, but it was a couple of years ago. It’s actually a super-easy cake to make, but made a bit more complex by the fact that each layer is flavoured slightly differently. So there is a vanilla sponge layer, a chocolate sponge layer and a coffee sponge layer. Each layer is sandwiched together with buttercream, and then the top is simply dusted with icing sugar. The only time-consuming element is mixing together 3 different sponge cakes instead of one.

One thing worth mentioning is that the recipe suggests using three 7in round sandwich tins. I used three 6in square sandwich tins – simply because that’s the type of tin I had three of, and I couldn’t be bothered to cook each layer in the oven separately. It turns out that this was the right choice; there was only just enough mixture to cover the bottom of my 6in square tins. It turned out fine, but if you did want to use 7in tins you should probably make more mixture than the recipe suggests (which is 50g of each basic sponge ingredient plus one egg).

For a quick and easy weekend cake, it’s fine – but it’s not very exciting. The flavourings are pretty mellow (although I guess it would be easy to add extra coffee or chocolate for a stronger taste), and it is, when you think about it, just a basic sponge cake. I’m not sure it’s something I would choose to make for a special occasion like Easter though (unless you really are a novice baker).

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter by Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 56-57

August 11, 2014

Lemon drizzle cake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 5:48 pm

Lemon drizzle cakeThe second visitor was my friend Emma. It had been a pretty busy week, and she was only here for a couple of days, so I didn’t do anything fancy, but I did decide to bake the August recipe in my Home Baking 2014 calendar – a lemon drizzle cake.

As it transpired, Emma didn’t actually eat any of the cake. But it was easy to make, traditional and super tasty, and hubby and I happily chomped our way through it in a matter of days (or perhaps that should read minutes).

There really wasn’t anything hard or fancy about this cake – you make a basic sponge, add lemon zest to it, then add lemon icing to the top of the cake. Lemony and light, it was truly lovely and easy to eat.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Home Baking Calendar 2014 (August)

June 11, 2014

Cake baked Alaska

Filed under: Cake, pudding — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 12:57 pm

Cake baked Alaska with flashThe June recipe from my Homebaking 2014 calendar, this seemed like an ideal pudding to make when we had friends visiting for the weekend.

Now, it sounds odd, but cake baked Alaska is really easy to make, and doesn’t taste as bizarre as it sounds! Firstly, you make a cake. Any cake you like. I chose to make a sponge cake, but the recipe suggested a banana loaf cake. Either way, once it has been made and cooled down, you cut it up and put it on the bottom of a dish or flan tin. You then dollop ice cream in the middle (the recipe called for vanilla; I mixed rum and raisin and vanilla. Vanilla would probably have been better, but we had rum and raisin to use up). Finally, you make a meringue mixture with egg whites and golden caster sugar. You then pile this over the ice cream and around the edges, on top of the cake. You then bake the whole thing in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

Like I said, it doesn’t taste half as bizarre as it sounds!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Homebaking calendar 2014, June

April 27, 2014

Apple streusel cake

Filed under: Cake, pudding — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 9:14 pm
Nice cold, lovely warm, best with custard

Nice cold, lovely warm, best with custard

This was baked as a result of being given apples by family over Easter. They were very cheap when they bought them, and officially past their sell-by date. However, they looked and tasted fine, so I figured that the quickest way to use them up before they went off was by putting them in a cake. So I found this recipe for apple streusel cake in my Cake Days cookbook.

The cake is basically apple crumble with a sponge base. You make it in three parts – firstly you make a flour and sugar topping, then you mix together a sponge cake. You then slice and cut the apples and layer them on top of the sponge cake, before adding the topping.

It’s not a difficult cake to make, and whilst there are a number of layers, none of them take that long to create. The longest aspect of this bake was, for me, waiting for the cake to bake in the oven. The sponge cake took a while to cook, and it’s fairly hard to check because it’s under a layer of apple. But you’ll know when it’s done as your skewer will come out totally clean. if you’re in any doubt, it’s not ready yet. Overall, it’s an enjoyable process with a relatively assured end result.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, pg. 42-43

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