Sunday, 29 April 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

It's my mums birthday today and one of her requests for her special birthday was a cake. She doesn't ask for much my mum, so I thought this would be a really good opportunity to spoil her.

I had seen this cake on another bloggers page, Jo Wheatley,  she is also the winner of the Great British Bake Off so you know it's going to be a good cake. This cake grabs you as soon as you set your eyes on it, and as soon as I saw it I knew that was the cake I was going to make for my mum.

There were a few alterations to my own cake mainly in regards to the decoration. My collar was slightly taller, but in the end I preferred this as it looked a little more Art Nouveau and the '50' on Jo's cake was replaced by a '60' for my mums cake.

You can find the original post and recipe here.

Looks impressive right? Looks incredibly hard and complicated to make yes? Well maybe.. but if I can do so can anyone! It just takes a lot of patience and good timing.

So here's how my construction of this epic cake went.

This cake requires four 7 inch sponge layers. I only have two 7 inch sandwich tins, so patience comes in to play already whilst I wait for the first pair to bake and then put the second pair in to the oven. (Lots of tea was consumed in the making of this cake).

I measured out the strawberries on one of the cakes to make sure I had enough to fit around the top before I diced the rest of them for the strawberry cream and strawberry layers.

Then once the cakes were cooled I made the cream and sandwiched them altogether.


I thought that the cake might actually collapse as I transported it to the fridge but it was, despite it's weight, rather sturdy.

So whilst the cake was chilling in the fridge I set out to make that chocolate collar, the bit I was dreading the most. I melted the chocolate in a pan (for some reason I can't do the chocolate over a pan of boiling water so I just stick it in a pan over a low heat and let it melt, it always works out okay) then attempted to put it in my icing tube... melted chocolate is a lot thinner than icing and so it started squirting out all over the place, managing eventually to get it under control, and covering myself in chocolate I started to drip it over my pre-placed baking parchment. Because of the weight in the bottom of the tubing if you hold it at the top and gently rock it, it moves in a pendulum fashion.

I arranged 4 pieces of parchment on my table, the centre piece of parchment which would hold my collar, and pieces at the bottom and the ends so I could peel these away later and get an absolutely straight edge for the bottom of my cake.

Here timing is essential, you have to judge it just right. Too early and the chocolate will just run down the paper when you lift it, too late and the chocolate wont stick to the cake and the chocolate might crack too.

I had to rearrange the whole of my fridge and take two shelves out to put it in there and let the chocolate cool.

Once cold hard and set I took it out of the fridge and peeled away the paper.


Ta Da!

Here are some more pictures of this very special cake.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Mini Creme Egg Brownies

I wanted to make an Easter treat that I could take in to work for my co-workers (sorry for spoiling the surprise if you're reading this before I spring them on you!) and I thought about making mini egg brownies but then one of my co-workers said how much she loved creme eggs...

So I decided to make mini creme egg brownies!

They actually turned out incredibly well! I was a little nervous that they would just explode in the brownie mixture and all the goo would seep out of the bottom. I let them cool down for about an hour after I had baked them in the hope that the eggs would harden a little before I cut in to the brownie square.

The eggs made the brownie even more gooey and chewy than they normally are. They are incredibly chocolaty! Definitely one for the chocoholics out there. Some of the eggs which I stirred in to the mixture burst and sunk to the bottom, but I also popped some on top of the mixture right before putting them in to the oven and these ones managed to contain their goo.

I used a simple brownie recipe and substituted the broken chocolate for the same amount of mini creme eggs, with a few extra dotted in the top.


150g of unsalted butter
300g light brown muscovado sugar
75g cocoa powder
1tsp of bicarbonate of soda
150g plain flour
pinch of salt
4 eggs
1tsp of vanilla extract
2 packets of mini creme eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan assisted).

2. Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan that need to big enough to fill with brownie mixture. Once the butter has melted stir in the sugar until completely bonded and a little glossy.

3. Sift in the cocoa powder, bicarb, pinch of salt and flour in to the pan keeping it on the heat and mix it all together.

4. Whisk your eggs and vanilla extract together until a little fluffy. Take the pan off the heat and fold in to your eggs until completely absorbed and starting to look like a brownie mixture.

5. Then add 150g of the creme eggs to the mixture quickly stir them in, trying not to let them melt and then tip into the tin. Then dot the remaining eggs in to the mixture.

6. Put your brownies in the oven for 25 minutes, when you poke a stick/skewer in to the mixture it should still be gooey in the middle.

7. Let your brownies cool for about an hour on a cooling rack before dividing them up.

Then enjoy! After about an hour mine were still fairly warm in the middle, which added to the gooey chocolateness was absolute heaven.

*Chicks are optional.

This little guy looks a bit sad...

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

As a thank you to people for helping out with my move in to my very own flat, or simply donating me furniture or other essential items I have vowed to make everyone cake. My eldest brother so kindly offered to pick me up in his van from Ikea with a lot of flat pack furniture. To say thank you I asked him to name his cake, he chose pineapple upside down cake. I wasn't sure if he was joking at first... but decided what the hell I've never made it before so he's going to get one joking or not.

I found a Nigella recipe for Pineapple upside down cake in my copy of Nigella Express. This recipe is also available online. My quantities varied from Nigellas, so really it's however many pineapple rings and cherries your tin can hold to make this cake!

I had to buy another new pan for this recipe.. 23cm cake tin, unfortunately I couldn't find a copper one that Nigella recommended but the one I got was a TKMaxx bargain and is grease proof.


  • Butter to grease your tin
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • 7 pineapple slices from a 425g tin of pineapple 
  • 3 tbsps of the pineapple juice from the tin
  • 13 Glace cherries
  • 100g flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g soft butter
  • 2 eggs

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees and butter your tin. 
  2. Sprinkle the two tablespoons of sugar over the buttered tin, and then arrange your pineapple slices as shown below. 

3. Pop a cherry in each pineapple rings hole, and also in between them around the edge.

4. Mix your flour, baking powder, bicarb, butter, caster sugar and eggs in a bowl with an electric whisk for about 3-4 minutes or how ever long until its nice and smooth. Then pour in your pineapple juice and mix it in to make the batter thinner.

5. Now you need to get this mixture on top of your pineapple and cherries without ruining it completely. So what I did was tablespoon at a time begin to drop the mixture around the tin. When most of it was out of the bowl and into the tin I carefully spread the mixture with the back of the spoon, and tipped (scraped) any remaining mixture on top or into any gaps. The mixture only just covers it.

6. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes.

7. Once done take it out of the oven and carefully run a spatula along the sides. This is where my grease proof tin came in very handy as it had made the cake quite loose in the tin. Leave it to cool a little while as it will be hot to touch.

8. Once cooled but still warm put a tea towel over the top and flip the cake upside down! Then leave it to cool on a wire rack.

My cake is on a paper plate so apologies for presentation! However my only mode of transporting this cake was to sandwich it between paper plates and wrap with cling film.

The final result is very satisfying as it is such a symmetrical and good looking cake. It's so simple and quick to make too!

I didn't get to try any as I gave it all to my brother for him to take away.

(Please ignore the naughty cat paw prints on my table! I hadn't notice them until I had taken the pictures!)