Monday, 30 June 2014

Monday Ta-da! - Triple Chocolate Caramel Cake

Last Tuesday Minibakebakegirl turned 12. Here's a picture of her when she was three - she loved her picnic garden set - so many lovely teddy tea parties in the sunshine.  The past few years I have decorated her birthday cakes with fondant icing (here and here) - but I don't like it - I usually end up eating only the sponge - having spent ages in the kitchen making the cake, I feel a bit hard done by!! This year I decided to make a chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache. The recipe I used was a Lulu Grimes one from Olive magazine's 10th birthday issue, last year.

I love rainbow cakes, when the surprise is when you cut into it - like my jubilee cake.  But sometimes the amount of food colouring required to get a decent colour is scary!!  This layers in this cake are - vanilla, caramel, caramel chocolate and chocolate.  Then there are three ganaches - dark chocolate, milk chocolate and caramel.  I sprinkled the top with "bronze crunch" from Waitrose.

I am really pleased how it turned out, the layers look great.  We had family round to share it with on Saturday.  With four tiers this is a definite special occasion cake.   The sponge was really easy to make and I could adapt it for a smaller cake with two layers for another time. 

Minibakebakegirl had a lovely birthday - she got her braces fitted on Friday so she is still getting used to them.

Thanks for visiting,

Today's top three Spotify songs:

1. You've Got Time - Regina Spektor
2. I Can't Stand The Rain - Eruption
3. Daydream in Blue - I Monster

Monday, 23 June 2014

Monday Bake - Raspberry and Coconut Squares

A few weeks ago we went to Hertford - Hubby said you can walk along the river between Hertford and Ware.  So yesterday Hubby and I parked the car in Hertford, and got the train one stop to Ware.  After a quick wander round the town we then walked along the river back to Hertford - which is just over 2 miles.   It was a lovely sunny afternoon, the start of the walk is quite shaded and cool but then we were in full sun - and in need of some shade when we got back to Hertford!  

I have been working the past two Saturdays, last week I took in a lemon drizzle tray bake to share with my work friends.  This week I made a different traybake to take in. This is a really easy basic sponge recipe to remember.  It can be topped with so many different icings but this week I added raspberry jam and coconut.  

225g butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour - sifted.

Preheat the oven to 180c/160 fan/GM4. Grease and line a traybake tin (mine measures 8" by 122 with greaseproof paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Gently fold in the sifted flour.   Pour into the tin and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Allow to cool in the tin.
Once cool - spread a layer of raspberry jam over the top.  Sprinkle with desiccated coconut. Slice into squares.

Thanks for visiting,

Today's top three Spotify songs:

1. My Silver Lining - First Aid Kit
2. Kings - The Pierces
3. Sing - Ed Sheeran

Monday, 16 June 2014

Monday Review - Cambridge

Today I popped to Cambridge to do some shopping.  It's easy for me to get the train, there is a good range of shops and I love the old buildings and wee streets - watch out for the cyclists - they are speedy!

I have worked out a really good route which takes in all my favourite shops but today I was on a Minibakebakegirl birthday shopping mission.  I had completed this by late morning and was ready for a cup of coffee and a sit down!  My only criticism of Cambridge town centre is there aren't many independent coffee shops (or are they hiding?!)  I really like to support the independents when I can.   As I was looking for somewhere new for coffee I remembered that when Sister and Nieces were down at Easter we had found Stickybeaks, however there were no spare seats for us that day.   But today I had timed it just right and someone was leaving just as I arrived.

They have a good selection of cakes and pastries.   I had the passionfruit crunch cake (which I think was gluten free)  It was really light - and a very large slice.   The croissants looked delicious and were enormous! (next time)  My cappuccino was really good and I was glad I had chosen the large.  Their lunch menu has a good range and they also have a daily specials board.   I need to visit again.

Thanks for visiting

Today's top three Spotify songs:

1. Your Song - Elton John
2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
3. Blue Eyes - Elton John

Monday, 9 June 2014

Monday Bake - Spanish Chocolate Cake

Time for a CatK update me thinks!  Minibakebakegirl takes some really good pictures of him, so I thought I would share a few with you on here.  He does love being outside - he is the talk of the street having been in several of our neighbours houses!   Minibakebakegirl has said a few times he smells of perfume when he comes home....

I made a Spanish chocolate cake a few weeks ago - the recipe was in Sainsbury's magazine.

125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100 ground almonds
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
200ml olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
100ml fresh orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180c/160 fan/GM 4. Line a loaf tin.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in the ground almonds and caster sugar.  Make a well in the centre.  add the beaten eggs, olive oil, orange zest and juice and vanilla extract.  Mix to a smooth batter.

Pour into the tin and bake for about 1 hour 10 mins (cover loosely with a sheet of baking paper after 50 minutes), until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

I made this cake when I had just had my oven professionally cleaned (worth every penny) - we had Yorkshire puddings with tea that night so I took a picture of them too as the door of my oven was sparkling and I could see them rising perfectly!

Thanks for visiting,

Today's top three Spotify songs:

1. What You Know - Two Door Cinema Club
2. Little Talks - Of Monsters And Men
3. We Are Young - Fun.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Monday Bake - Cheese and Ham Bread Pudding

Last Tuesday Minibakebakegirl and I went up to The View from the Shard.  The weather wasn't great but we still had a really good view across London (better that it looks in my photos as the camera on my phone focused on the raindrops on the windows)  When you book you get a half hour arrival time slot but once you are up at the top you can spend as long as you like up there.   I was imagining it to be like whizzing up to the top of the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas but to get the top you get two separate lifts - my ears did pop in the second one.  There are two viewing platforms, one indoors and one partly outdoors - which you can see here.


I realised that I have probably only blogged about a couple of savoury bakes on here.  I make several things for dinner that are "baked" in the oven so I will start to include them in my Monday Bakes.   

At the start of every year I try to do one new recipe for tea a week.   It gets us out of the "same things on the same night of the week" routine. Also when Minibakebakegirl was smaller I found this got her to try new things by saying we hadn't tried it either, and then voting afterwards whether we would have it again.
I made this Cheese and Ham Bread Pudding a few months ago.  
You can find the recipe here.  It is so easy to make - we had it on a night Minibakebakegirl was at a friends, therefore there was lots for leftovers to be reheated for lunch the next day.  It is really tasty - even though I forgot to put the tomatoes in - I would reduce the quantities next time as even though my dish was the right size I did have to squash everything in.  I love spinach - Hubby is growing some at the allotment again this year.

Hope to see you next week,

Today's top three Spotify songs:

1. Feeling Good - Muse
2. Weapon of Choice - Fatboy Slim
3. Tom's Diner - Suzanne Vega, DNA