So long farewell – wait a minute

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in a while I keep meaning to make a cake but I’ve been promoted at work and it’s all I seem to do, apart from sleep.

I still have the cake mix in the cupboard and I fear I will never get to taste it as I have my sister’s birthday coming up.

And she likes chocolate.

So I was wondering, rather than getting a mix, I thought I would make my own. Do any of my UK followers know where I can buy cocoa? Do you have a fool proof recipe? What about chocolate disasters?

Please let me know as I am needing the inspiration.

Cake Pop PLOP!

So a good friend of mine was leaving the office to move on to a ward and we’d arranged a two day BUFFET! I have competition at work. A lovely lady who has charmed the office with her cheesecake.

I haven’t attempted to make a cheesecake yet but for the leaving buffet I was going to make vanilla cake pops with melted orange chocolate.

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I baked the whole Victoria mix in one cake tin (as I had misplaced my others) this resulted in a longer cooking time instead of the suggested 25 minutes, it took about 45!!

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I love watching the mixture drop off the whisk 😄

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Once the cake had cooked and cooled in the plan. I took it out to leave it to rest.
This is another part where I get impatient. I can’t wait for it to cool down. I want to mess with it right away.

Which I did.

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I cut it in to 4 triangles and left it again to concentrate on the icing and melting.
I mixed 100g of butter with (a prepacked) icing.

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I got my orange flavoured chocolate melts that I bought from Sainsburys and set to melting them. I placed then in a glass bowl and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time.

STOP THE PRESS. This made my microwave SPARK. Does anyone know why? My mom put a glass of water in it and it didn’t spark for that but every time we tried to melts, it set it sparking again.
please don’t melt these chocolates in your microwave

I took to melting them in a bowl over another bowl of hot water. This was great till some water accidentally managed to jump out of one bowl into the other.
So I mixed and mixed till I got a half decent consistency.

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I broke the triangles of cake and mixed them into the icing one chunk at a time

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It didn’t look very appetising once I started mixing more cake.

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As you can see above ^ the orange melts and the water had a party and combined a bit more.

So here’s where the pop PLOPPED. I’d put all the pieces of cake INTO the icing whereas I should have gradually added. What I had when I’d finished was gloopy balls which slid down the sticks.

no one wants gloopy balls

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I managed to get ONE on a stick but when it came to adding the melted orange over it in a rolling way with a spoon… It fell in to the icing.

So I wasn’t successful with the cake pops but I am determined to try again. I had recently been glossing over the Bakerella website and had seen this cake and imagined that would be how my cake pops turned out.

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Has anyone else had cakes flop and pop?

Happy 1st Birthday Cara

And so it was finally here, we have been blessed with Cara’s first birthday, I can remember the day my sister went to the hospital with my brother in law and mom.

Isla (3 year old niece/big sister to Cara) stayed up all night (shush) watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Until the following day we awaited to hear the news.

I wanted to do something special and as you can see from my previous cakes, I’ve always been happy to use cake mixes and icing but this time I wanted to do it myself.

I didn’t take as much pictures as I would like because I didn’t have faith it would go better than I expected. I used fondant icing to cover the cakes and FINALLY used my topsy turvy cakes. I was a complete beginner with both icing and tins and was researching smoothing techniques and various recipes for what would be a 3 (albeit wonky) cake.

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I bought
1kg of Caster Sugar,
18 Eggs,
1.5kg of Self Raising Flour,
A big tub of Stork margarine
1kg of fondant icing and 3 x 250g
250g of pink icing
Pink food colouring
Green food colouring
Vanilla Essence
1 candle
Betty Crocker Vanilla Icing
Baking powder

I also found a Madeira cake/Victoria sponge mix in the cupboard but these weren’t used.

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I used this recipe for the three cakes. The 25cm tin which would be the bottom. The 20cm tin for the middle and the 15cm tin for the top. The website where I got the recipe and method from seems to have disappeared and so I’m a bit disappointed I can’t put it on here. However I’m a big fan of Lorraine Pascal and this link is a good recipe to follow:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/three-tier_red_velvet_17795

I’m not sure if that link works but I generally googled three tier cake recipes till I found a method I liked.

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As usual I sat down to watch it rise. There’s something comforting watching what you made grow. A bit how my sister feels watching Cara grow in to a toddler and Isla in to a little lady.

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When it came out I was a bit ‘hmmm’ about it. The recipe I used didn’t call for baking soda/bicarbonate even though I had bought some. I felt it had not risen enough. Once I took it out the pan though, I could see the it had moulded to the shape of the wonk so was a little bit more pleased.

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This was in the oven at gas mark 4 for about 1 hour and a half.

I used the method of creaming the butter and sugar and adding 1 egg to 1 spoonful of flour to avoid curdling. I set to work greasing and lining the middle pan and put this in the oven for 1 hour.
And this was the end result.

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I had neglected the boy a little. So he offered to loosen up and colour my fondant icing.
It turned out he was a dab hand at cutting the butterflies out of fondant and therefore he takes the credit.

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Now came the crumb coat. This is the first time I have used icing to coat a cake crumb like rather than just plop it on!
And the fondant icing. I’ve never used it before. I’ve never covered a cake before. I didn’t have a scraper or a smoother. Just my hands.

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For my first attempt I was impressed and I’m never happy but I really was pleased. It was a heavy cake and I thought it wouldn’t be nice because of it being a sponge cake I missed putting the jam on it. I thought no one would like but everyone was pleased.

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And the birthday girl enjoyed her very first piece of cake 🙂

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Giant toffee crisp

It’s one of my good friends birthdays and she is obsessed with toffee crisp. So I did some research, if you google giant toffee crisp, there is an excellent video on how to recreate this timeless chocolate classic.

I started by melting the toffee, I melted it in the microwave in bursts of who seconds and then 5, till I got a spreadable consistency.

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I realised that it wouldn’t work unless I coated my loaf tin with some chocolate. I had planned to unfold the tin (as its silicone) to remove it. I used cooking chocolate, which once it was all complete, I decided was too sickly and it set too quickly. I was worried using normal chocolate wouldn’t set at all.

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After I had coated the tin and poured the toffee, I let it set whilst I mixes the cooking chocolate (or cake covering as its called) with the rice pops! These tasted delish and no amount of choc

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I poured the remainder of the chocolate over the top to give it a coat and wallah! One giant toffee crisp ready to be set in the fridge!

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It was quite difficult removing the toffee from the dish I used, it needed to soak for a bit. The washing up is always the worst after you’ve made something. Once I had cleared up and put the kettle on. I sat down and dreamed of the reactions of my colleagues and my friend when I unveiled this masterpiece.

Well it was a nice surprise for Melly who I work with but what I didn’t anticipate was the toffee separating from the rice crispy section, however once the toffee had softened a bit, both rice and toffee were delicious and greatly appreciated seperately and

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Creme Egg Cupcakes

I thought I was having a genius moment where I had created a new recipe. I love creme eggs and I love chocolate cupcakes so I thought

why not add them together

little did I realise that people had already tried this and had put said recipes on the Internet. noooooooooooooo the only good point about this is having a recipe to follow which suggested using a cupcake mix (hello Betty!)

I used to devil’s chocolate cake mix, it asks for 90ml vegetable oil, 250ml water and 3 eggs. I mix it all together and place my cupcake cases onto trays.
I had frozen the creme eggs for an hour (it didn’t say how long to freeze them for)

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I filled the cupcake cases and found that I still had half a mixing bowl of mixture left.
I was a bit worried about the timing of how long the cupcakes would take and would this alter the affect of the creme egg. So I did one tray as an example.

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And put them in the oven (180 fan) for 15 minutes and sat there staring at them for a couple of minutes

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After 15 minutes the cakes l

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I can see that some of the creme eggs had burnt a little and some where even melting whilst it sat on the counter but for my first attempt, I’m quite impressed.
I don’t know whether to add more mixture to the cupcake cases or whether to place the eggs in the side. 8′ the second batch I found that some of the cupcakes covered over the egg but when it came to taste testing it was a mixed review. The cupcakes tasted delicious but I found that most of the creme eggs stuck to the cupcake cases.

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I had popped an unfrozen creme egg into a case and this is the result of that

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I went back to the website I found that was doing a similar recipe and asked for advice on how I could stop the eggs from sticking to the cases or if I should have frozen them for longer so next time I try this I should get better results

update
Having given in and tried another creme egg cupcake just now, I’ve found that the cupcakes that were in silicone cups were better as the egg and mixture didn’t stick. Looks like I will have to invest in more silicone bakeware!!!

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