Month: December 2014
Sometimes we all need a showstopper cake in our repertoire and this is one of mine.I love a bit of Amaretto and Apricot cake and I seem to be making more and more tall cakes with a touch of alcohol in the ingredients…. and I’m practically teetotal. Well, designated driver at least!
This is a cake I came up with after my lovely friend Jane gave me a beautiful bottle of Disaranno after I made her daughters Minecraft cake.( I’ll have to share that with you sometime. It was a girl version of this one.) The reason Jane bought me this rather than any other drink is because Dr Pepper is my drink of choice – I love the stuff, and amaretto and coke is like alchoholic Dr P. Very good on a school mum’s night out.
Anyway, I was talking to my sister about the disaranno and she said that Amaretto is made from apricots and I was surprised as I always thought it came from almonds. It turns out that it can be made from either. What a good way to flavour a cake I thought. So I did.
Amaretto and apricot cake
For the cake
- 150g dried apricots (cut into small pieces)
- 100ml Amaretto
- 175g butter at room temperature
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp Amaretto
- 200g self raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp Amaretto (or 1 tsp almond extract) this could be increased according to your preferred taste
- 50g butter
- 50ml honey
- 1 tbsp ameretto
- Cut up the apricots into small pieces and soak in an air tight container for 24-72 hours – or longer if you want a boozier cake. Give the container a shake every now and then.
- To make the cake: Pre heat the oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC) and line a deep 6″ cake tin or four 6″ sandwich tins- You can use disposable foil ones for a quick clean up.
- Place the sugar and butter in a bowl and mix until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs slowly and whisk thoroughly. Add the Amaretto
- Sieve the flour and baking powder over the mix and fold in gently.
- Add the chopped apricots and whatever Amaretto hasn’t been absorbed.
- Place the cake mix in the cake tin, smooth with the back of a spoon and bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes for sandwich tins (40-50 minutes for a deep tin) until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and after ten minutes take the cake/s out of the tins and leave to cool completely on a rack.
- Once the cake is completely cold whisk all the ingredients for the buttercream together in a bowl for 4-5 minutes until it’s really light and fluffy.
- Slice the large cake into four layers.
- Layer up the cake with a decent amount of buttercream between each layer finishing with a smooth top. You can use a palette knife or place the buttercream in a piping bag for a really easy assembly. Set to one side.
- To make the glaze place the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Add the honey and Amaretto then leave to bubble for 5-10 minutes until the liquid is a rich golden brown colour, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before pouring into a jug.
- When nearly completely cold pour the glaze over the whole cake so it dribbles down the sides. Ensure the glaze isn’t too warm or it will completely melt the butter cream.
- Serve straight away
Have you ever been on the BakingMad.com website before? It’s jam packed full of tons and tons and TONS of recipes, loads of inspiration and a cakesbakesandcookies.com cake or two! (See here and here if you’re interested!) They’ve really revamped the website since the last time I was on there. Now there’s an array of baking images to greet you from the get go. And if you’re looking for a touch of Christmas baking gift inspiration – I’m thinking teachers here, then there’s loads of choices there too.
Beau and Darcey always want to give ALL their teachers a Christmas gift, so that’s their class teacher, the teacher who has them when their class teacher is planning, the teacher’s assistant, the teacher that helps them with extra maths or English…. the list goes on and on and let’s face it I’m not made of money and I love to bake, so it’s a no brainer really. Enter Bakingmad.com and their gingerbread man wreath. How cute it this? Such a simple idea.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to be set the challenge of making one of their Christmas recipes to share with you guys (in exchange for a box load of flour, essence and some yummy Bilington’s sugars- thanks you guys!)
When the BakingMad team asked me which recipe I was going to make I said the peppermint candy canes, then the chocolate fudge cake and then finally I decided that it had to be this wreath. I have actually made the chocolate cake too but more on that in another post! The wreath was super easy to make. You simply cut out the shapes – I made some from gingerbread men and snowflakes. Place the biscuits on a sheet of silicon paper. I used circles of paper so I could follow the shape of the paper and keep it neat. Once all in position I gave the holding hands a gentle press just to make sure they stuck together whilst baking- and they did. I was surprised how well the wreath held together once baked but then I did make pretty thick biscuits!
Once out of the oven I threaded ribbon through the gaps. I made a few extra gaps with a metal skewer and finished off with a bow. Cute hey? I have to say that I really enjoyed making these. I was singing away to myself the whole time!
So, that’s the teachers sorted – now for the rest of the family!
So what are you guys making for gifts this year? I’d love to know.
Beau turned 11 years old on the 14th November which just happened to be a Friday. Scouts is on Fridays, so I hatched a cunning plan. Her Scout group were going into London to see the poppies at The Tower of London. It was a ‘Poppies and Pizza’ evening but as there were 25 of them they couldn’t get a table in London and came back to the Bromley Pizza Express for the pizza part.
My cunning plan was to make a cake and deliver it to the Pizza Express while they were out. When I dropped Beau off at the train station I told the leader my plan but she wasn’t expecting me to make sure there was enough for everyone. She obviously doesn’t understand how a Jewish mum’s mind works. Food is king and there’s always enough to go around.
The cake was a 10″ Madeira cake with a mint green coloured buttercream filling. I also coated the cake in the same buttercream and rolled it in 100’s and 1000’s. I’ve made a few cakes now which are covered in sprinkles and I am yet to do it without making a huge mess!
How to decorate a cake with sprinkles
I always start by giving the cake a butter cream crumb coating followed by twenty minutes in the fridge for that first layer to firm up. I then add a second butter cream coating to the sides which the sprinkles stick to when I lift the cake up and hold it sideways between my hands from the top and bottom and roll it in a tray full of sprinkles. I then pop the cake back in the fridge for the butter cream and sprinkles to firm up enough to decorate the top of the cake. I add a generous amount of butter cream with a spatula to the top and give it 10 minutes to chill then I position the name and age cut out on the top and press down gently around the edges of the letters and numbers so no sprinkles can get underneath the paper. I then gently add sprinkles to the top. I brush off the excess with a bristle pastry brush and then – you’ve guessed it – pop it back in the fridge, this time for ten minutes. Then I remove the paper letters and numbers and carefully transfer the cake onto a cake board, put it in a box, take a few snap shots and shoot out to Pizza Express.
Beau was really stunned and I think just a little bit chuffed with the surprise. When the parents got there to collect their scouts there was tons of cake left over so there was definitely plenty to go around. We even cut some up for people to take home. I definitely didn’t want any at home as we had the second birthday cake and that was also a biggie.
The birthday party cake
When I asked Beau what cake she wanted for her birthday party this year she already had it planned. Her one word answer was “Smarties”. For some strange reason she has got really into Smarties recently. I think it’s the boxes with the letters on the lids. Have I ever mentioned that Beau is really into crafting and a lot of that revolves around making things from boxes. I’m in big trouble if I try to throw out a toilet roll tube!
Well, for the cake she wanted to have two tiers and it be Madeira cake with chocolate butter cream as the filling and on the outside with the whole thing covered in Smarites. I chose to add a few of the Renshaw mini bean cake toppers to the cake to add a bit of scale. Tim managed to get hold of one of those tubes of just pink Smarties so I could use them for the words and ’11’. Beau loved it and I’m not sure how we managed to get the cake to the bowling party without any going missing!
I think she liked it. Judging from this smile I think it was a winner! I must say that I seem to have a recurring theme with photos of my daughters and their birthday cakes. They always seem to be wielding massive knives!
I can’t actually believe that I now have an eleven year old. When did that happen. She’s so young and grown up all at the same time.