Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Raspberry and Strawberry Cake with Marsala

This is one of my favourite cake and I keep baking this one time and time again. I think mascarpone/cream cheese and Marsala is a match made in heaven but if you even add some fresh strawberry and raspberry...........hmmm even nicer.

For the sponge
125 g butter
0.5-1 tbsp instant coffee
175 ml hot water
100 g good quality dark chocolate
190 g caster sugar
115 g self-raising flour
75 g plain flour
25 g cocoa powder
1 egg

For the cream
250 ml double cream
250 g cream cheese/mascarpone
2-3 tbsp icing sugar
3-6 tbsp Marsala - optional but highly recommended
1 Dream Topping

250 g strawberries
150 g raspberries

Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare 2 sandwich tins (19 cm in diameter). Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Blend the coffee with the hot water, add to the butter with the chocolate and sugar and heat gently, stirring until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and leave just until warm.

Sift in the flours and cocoa butter, then using an electric mixer whisk together with the warm chocolate mixture on low speed. Gradually whisk in all other dry ingredients then the egg.

Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins and bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes until firm and the skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Leave in the tin for 5 minutes to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

For the cream whisk to soft peaks the double cream with dream topping, add the cream cheese, icing sugar and Marsala and give it a final beat (don't beat it for too long otherwise you can't really spready the cream. Taste the cream and if you think it isn't sweet or boozy enough just add more icing sugar or Marslala.

Layer together the sponge and cream adding sliced strawberries(2/3rd) in the middle layer and leave the raspberries as a whole for the top of the cake and remaining strawberries.
Keep it in the fridge... it is best if you leave it rest in a the fridge for a few hours or next day before serving.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Volkswagen Camper Van Cake

Last week it was our dear friend's, Kabi's Birthday. He turned 18 - again:) khmmm. For this grand occasion I created something special: his favorite car a Volkswagen Camper Van. He has the Lego version of this car so a few days before his birthday I helped myself to his little Lego figures (so I don't have to make them from sugar paste). I think it turned out great, especially as I was making my own templates on the go. During my research for this cake, I found it frustrating that page after page demanded money to check a simple template/tutorial (it is not that they invented anything new).....Anyway i hope you enjoy this free Volskwagen Camper Van Cake tutorial, step by step.

As usual I made a red velvet cake sponge, as I know that this version has good structure and it doesn't matter if you bake it two days ahead, since it just gets better a few days after baking. 

For the sponge
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
pinch of salt
1 vanilla
165g plain flour
10g cocoa powder
8g baking powder
red food colouring * more on this topic in the Tricks and Recommendations 
1 cake board

For the butter cream
80g butter softened
180g icing sugar
20g cream cheese

For the filling
150g soft cheese
100g white chocolate
150g double cream
1 dream topping
70g dessicated coconut

To cover:
500g white icing
250g  black icing(black sugar paste)-I used an already coloured one, as I read in other blogs that if you try to add food colouring to the white icing you should work on it for quite a while to achieve a nice even black colour.....and I didn't had the time for that
250g red icing (red sugar paste)

To decorate:
Silver edible paint - optional
Green edible paint
Edible glue
Edible pen - optional
Spatula knife
Cake smoother

Preheat the oven to 180C. Put the butter and the sugar into a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs,vanilla, salt and half of the flour to prevent the mixture from curdling. Add the remaining flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and give it a final mix.

Add the food colouring and mix well. 
Put the mixture in a 20X25cm prepared tin and bake it for 1hr and 15minutes, but check the sponge after an hour. If the skewer inserted into the center comes out clean then it is ready. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes than put it onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the filling
Whip the double cream to stiff peaks, then add the cream cheese, melted white chocolate dessicated coconut and the dream topping and mix again. Put it into the fridge so it stiffens up a bit before applying.

With your cake leveler cut the now completely cold sponge in half horizontally, then cut off the edges on either side then in half vertically. This gave me two 11cmX20 cm rectangles (cut in half horizontally:

Put some cream on your cake board (you can see on the top right picture that the cream is peeking out from underneath the first layer). This cream will mend the sponge to the board so it won't move when you transport the cake.

Sandwich together all layers with the cream and put the cake into the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the filling to be hardened so you can shape it more easily.
Once the cake is cooled and a bit more solid you can start your carving: I used a knife to create the curved front and slightly curvy back. I also carved a small part of the top(creating to rooftop effect - once i have icing on the top you will see what i mean) off and removing a tiny amount of sponge from the bottom (all around)- I will explain later why.


As it was a fee style exercise I guessed where the wheels should be and carved out the wheels. We need this sponge for the actual wheels so try to remove that sponge part in one piece.

For the butter cream
Cream together the softened butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese and mix again.

Spread the butter cream thinly on the surface of the sponges,try to smooth the cream with an offset spatula knife for a nice finish. Don't forget to cover the 4 little wheels with butter cream- but before you do that make the "whleel"-sponge smaller so even with the icing on top you can fit it back into the whole - NOT LIKE ME. 
Refrigerate until set to the touch and then spread the remaining butter cream over the cake to give a perfect finish.

Once you have two layers of butter cream on the cake (as smooth as possible) you can start applying the icing layers.

To cover
Be careful with the sugar paste as it drys out quickly so if you don't use it wrap it in cling film.Make sure your work surface is clean and dry before you kneed the black sugar paste until warm and pliable. Use some icing sugar to dust your work surface and roll out  a tiny amount of black icing. Cut an 5mm wide strip and cover the very bottom of the cake. As the car's body not supposed to touch the ground I cut a tiny amount of sponge off from the bottom. By covering it with black icing I hope to make the bottom invisible.

Now you can roll out the white icing (approx. 350g-400g) on the work surface (dusted with icing sugar) to 3-4mm thickness to cover the van. Carefully lift over the centre of the cake and lay onto the butter cream layer. Dust your icing smoother with some icing sugar and rub the icing gently over the cake. Don't rush this part as it will make the whole cake awful if you make a mistake at this stage.
On the edges smooth with one hand and keep lifting the icing with the other (I am sure there are plenty of Youtube videos available on this technique).Use a sharp knife to trim the edges and the spaces for the wheels.Save the trimming for other decorations. 

Now you can see the top better:by carving a small edge off from the top it creates a roof-top effect. 
Using the remaining of the black icing cover the 4 wheels and craft 2 number plates.
Using white icing prepare the accessories: 4 small rounds for the alloy, 4 wheel bolts, 2 handles, 4 big lights, 2 small lights and a surf board.

Support the Surf boards to end, so it takes up a curved shape once it is dry. I used my edible glitter paint to personalise the number plate and paint some of the head lights and wheel bolts.

Now comes the hard part: to create the iconic curved icing for the van. I used a piece of paper, a scissor and a pen.....I took me about 10 minutes until i was happy with the shape but in the end I got my template. Once I was happy with the curve I cut out the spaces for the whleels. The front wheel should be totally visible while the back wheel should be half covered (only if you can fit in your wheels properly......I learnt a lot from this project).


Push the wheels into their place (carefully as the icing is probably still soft), then with edible paint glue on the two cut out red panels (one at the time). Try to be careful so the panels don't sink (leaving a red gluey patch exposed),supporting the panels with a palet knife from the bottom until the glue sets (it takes about 2-3 minutes).

Until the red panels totally set I prepared the grass on both sides. Simply roll out some white icing and cut a wave in the middle. Place the two parts on either side of the van and trim off the ends hanging off from the board. I used some edible glue on the board just to keep the grass intact. With a paint brush create some grass effect. You can also prepare some road markings if you wish. 

I have to apologise as I got too excited at this point and totally forgot to take more pictures.

Roll out some black icing and using your ruler cut out 4 long strips (all the same height). It is totally down to your preference but i cut two blocks for the front - securing all parts with edible glue - 4 "blocks" to the sides and I left the back windscreen as i long strip.

Using your white icing cut out two long narrow strips for the bumpers (one on the front one on the side) and three more strips for the roof rack. Now all you have to do is glue on the lights and number plates and using your edible pen create the Volkswagen symbol. I tried and failed to do this from icing so that is why I opted for the pen.

It is very important that after you finished with your cake you leave it on room temperature so all icing hardens up (otherwise it will melt down if you put it into the fridge like that).

Until the last moment - when I presented the cake - I left it in the fridge because of the coconut filling. 5 of us only managed to demolish half the cake, mind you we just finished a massive Thai dinner. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Cappuccino Cake

I haven't baked for a while, but now I am back in the kitchen:) I found a great recipe on  the bbcgoodfood website and this is one of the few recipes I haven't modified. The cream is truly wonderful, but you have to use a very good quality coffee  to get the favours just right.

Cappuccino Cake

250 g unsalted butter, softened
250 g light soft brown sugar
300 g self-raising sugar
4 eggs, beaten
50 walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
100 ml very strong coffee (made fresh) cooled

500 g mascarpone
3 tbsp light soft brown sugar
100 ml very strong coffee (make fresh) cooled
cocoa powder to decorate

Heat the oven to 180C. Butter 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper. Beat butter and sugar together with electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the flour and eggs in one go and keep beating until evenly mixed.
Fold in the walnuts and the coffee. Spoon the mix into the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 mins or until golden and well risen.

Leave the cakes in their tins for 5 mins before turning onto a wire rack. Sweeten the coffee with the sugar and sprinkle 4 tbsp over the sponges. Leave to cool completeley.

While the cakes cool make the frosting. 
Tip the mascarpone into a large bowl and beat in the remaining of the coffee until smooth and creamy. Use about half of the frosting to sandwich the sponges together then using a palette knife spread the rest of he frosting over the top of the cake. Decorate with dusting of cocoa powder.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Jaffa Cakes

Ok I used yet again a different technique than the author suggested, but I think the end result is better and more suitable for a bigger batch. Although it says jaffa cake you can use any other flavoured jelly to make it more interesting, but I will give you the author's original recipe for the jelly I found as well in a Hungarian culinary magazine by Judit Stahl.

Jaffa Cakes

Ingredients (for 24 sponges)
For the sponge
4 eggs
100 g sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
100 g plain flour

For the jelly
2 l Fanta
200 g sugar
juice of a lemon
12 gelatine leaf (20 g)
Hartley's or other jelly of your choice

For the chocolate
100 g good quality dark chocolate
2 tbsp sunflower oil

muffin tin

Preheat the oven to 180C and spray the muffin tin with vegetable oil based release agent.
Whip the eggs and sugar in a bowl above boiling water for 5 minutes. Take off the bowl from the heat and stir in the melted butter and flour. Pour a tablespoon worth of batter in each cavity and bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes.

When ready leave it to cool completely. In the meantime prepare your jelly either by the jelly instructions (if you use shop bought jelly) or do it from scratch. 
Pour the Fanta and sugar in a big bowl and boil it for about 30-40 minutes until the liquid is reduced to 600 ml, then off the heat and leave it to cool. Put the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 5 minutes. When the gelatine leaves are soft, squeeze them to get rid off the excess water and dissolve them in the Fanta syrup.

Stirring the jelly constantly (to avoid jelly lumps) cool it down and when it is just about to set, spoon as much jelly to each sponge as you can.

My husband suggested that next time I should place the sponges round side down and spoon the jelly to the flat side. He is right, as this way you can put more chocolate and  jelly on each sponge and it would create the both side rounded shape.

 Leave the jelly to set completely on the sponge and melt the chocolate in a bowl above boiling water. Add the vegetable oil to the chocolate and spoon it to the jelly.
Once the chocolate is hardened your jaffa cakes are ready.