Category: Birthday cakes

The Easy One Bowl Chocolate Cake

One bowl chocolate cake

This is a cake I made to take around to my mother-in-law’s for her birthday back in June. We were all invited for a family afternoon tea at her house. She always makes the most amazing Cherry Amours (I must get the recipe from her some time!) and she had also made scones too, so taking my chocolate cake on top of all that sugar may have been a step too far!

I’m Tim’s biggest nightmare!

I’m not very good at time management. In fact I’m hopeless. I’m late for everything and as Tim always says I have “add ons”, meaning that when we plan to do anything I always want to add on something. When I decided to make this cake I only had an hour and half to bake/decorate the cake, shower & dress and get Darcey ready to go to her friends party, wrap the present and get her to write the card! One serious ‘add on’! I originally wanted to make a cheesecake but Tim had to stop me. I really couldn’t do that in the time and chill it!

Chocolate cake in a hurry.

Needless to say this is the perfect recipe to bash out a quick cake when you’re in a hurry. As the title suggests, all the ingredients are put in the bowl at the same time, mixed up, popped in a tin (or for real speed a silicon pan- no lining or oiling necessary!) and throw it in the oven. Twenty five minutes later it’s done!

One Bowl Chocolate cake Ingredients

125g butter – at room temperature

125g caster sugar

125g self raising flour

2 eggs – at room temperature

4 tbsp cocoa powder

1 teasp baking powder

1 tbsp milk

1 tea sp vanilla extract

Raspberries to decorate

Buttercream

250g butter – at room temperature

450g icing sugar

2 drops of vanilla essence

2 tbsp cocoa powder. (I like my buttercream to be very chocolatey, so if you want a more subtle taste – or your cake is for kids, use just 1 tbsp of cocoa powder, then taste test the buttercream and add more as desired.

How to make the one bowl chocolate cake

Heat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and line and oil two 8″ sandwich tins.

Place all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl. Sieve all the dry ingredients into the bowl then mix until well blended. Avoid over mixing.

Pour the mixture into the cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes. This is a really light cake so you will see that it’s done by the edges shrinking away from the sides of the tin or a finger print bounces back instantly when touched.

While the cake is baking make the buttercream. Start by sieving the sugar and cocoa powder together. Add the butter and vanilla essence and mix well. If the mixture is too stiff add one small splash of milk at a time and keep mixing until it is just right.

Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the tin and placing it on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Add the buttercream to the centre of the cake then using a large pallet knife cover the outside top and sides. Use an upwards motion to cover it easily. Finish off with fresh raspberries.

This cake went down pretty well but then again so did Nanny Ali’s scones and cherry amours!

enjoy!

p.s. I am aware that there have been a lot of chocolate recipes on here lately! Anyone would think that I like chocolate!!!!!!

A Rainbow cake for Dahlia (a.k.a. the tallest cake I’ve ever made!)

Rainbow cakeAs I write this post (now last Saturday night) I have absolutely no internet connection. Nothing! Nada! Zip! Not a squat! And it’s not just my router that’s not working at home, my mobile is kerput too! So I have been web free for 5days. It’s at times like this that you realise how much you use the web, sit on facebook and miss your cake blog. Luckily, I have had plenty to keep me busy and away from my Mac.

Firstly I have made two life size snowmen for a Christmas press launch. They took hours and hours of paper mache, painting, covering in wadding and then covering in fake snow! Needless to say that when I got to the part of the week where I got to do baking I was happy!

The Rainbow cake

This cake was my birthday present for a very special little girl. She’s the daughter of my good friend Theoda and she’s too scrumptious for words! Theoda and I worked together on Woman and Home magazine and we shared one too many cupcakes, so I know how much she likes cake! She is also one of my biggest supporters of everything I do. ( Love you Fou!)

Theoda, Peter and the birthday girl. X

Anyway, when Theoda asked if I would make Dahlia’s 1st birthday cake I was honored. I mean I really wanted to make it but sometimes you have to wait to be asked – so that you don’t step on anyone’s toes. Theoda knew exactly what she wanted… Dahlia's on the Rainbow cake It had to have Dahlia’s on the top- obviously as that’s her daughters name. I made these with small circle cutters and then squidged each piece into place with my finger, adding more and more petals in a circle, layering up as I went. I wished that I had seen the flowers from Theoda’s garden (below) as I would have created this style flower instead. How beautiful are these? You can see why Dahlia was given such a beautiful name. Dahlias

A few years ago I made a mini wedding cake inspired by a Mich Turner cake with a bow on the front, which Theoda really liked, I recreated that on the front of the cake with ‘modern’ swags. At each swag was a button, holding it in place.Sugarpaste buttons and swags

As you can see the cake board was a strong pink colour and was dotted with more buttons made from sugarpaste and it was finished off with a cute spot ribbon. Jane Means ribbons are my favorite. They’re the best around and she has such a great selection.Buttons on cake

The pièce de résistance came when Theoda cut the first slice. Inside the tall cake were six layers of Madeira cake, each layer in a darker pink colour than the one below it. There was tons of buttercream inside, to keep it straight and in between each layer. It looked great when cut and whats more each slice could feed a small army. The cake was huge!

Pink Rainbow cake

Things I learnt making this cake…

  1. Don’t add the food colouring to the cake mix and keep stirring it as you colour each layer. By the time you get to the strongest colour you’ll have bashed all the air out of the mix (which is what makes it rise) and it will end up being a heavy biscuit of a cake. Instead mix up all the ingredients apart from the flour and separate it into bowls for each layer. Then colour each bowl. Fold in the flour and bake straight away. That way you can see the exact colour difference in each cake and they will all rise and be light and fluffy and delicious.
  2. I did a crumb coating on this cake and used a cake ruler to ensure the sides were as straight and level as I could get them. I then did a top coat of buttercream and again leveled the sides and top with the straight edge. Pop the cake in the fridge in between each buttercream covering so it sets and is easier to handle.
  3. When covering a cake this tall keep your rolled out icing thicker than usual so it has enough give. I left mine at around 1cm thick. Take your time when covering the cake. Smooth the top first, then gently manipulate the sides, working your way down with your hands and then with a smoother. If you start to get a crease at the bottom gently lift the sugarpaste away from the bottom of the cake and smooth it down from the top again. If you do end up with creases use ribbon, flowers or button decorations to hide them. No one will ever know!
  4. I didn’t put a thin cake board in between the cake layers because I made this cake out of Madeira sponge which is a pretty ‘strong’ cake. If I had done more layers, or had used a softer more crumbly sponge I would have popped one under the middle layer with cake supports in the cakes underneath. This will stop the cake from sinking into itself or toppling over.
  5. Make the decorations a week in advance so that they set hard and can be handled. The bow was quite heavy once dry and was attached to the cake with royal icing. It had to be held in place for a minute or so till it was stuck.

EmmaMT

Black Forrest Gateau recipe… Tim’s Ultimate cake!

Black Forrest Gateau cake recipeIt was Tim’s birthday last Monday and his favourite cake is a Black Forrest Gateau. I have made this for him a few times but never properly. Really I just made a chocolate cake with cherries and cream. He was not satisfied! So I decided this year I was going to do it properly, but as usual I decided this the day before and had to get some ingredients at the last minute, but not your normal ingredients, no, no I had to find Kirsch. Now I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but in my neck of the woods there’s plenty of off licences and plenty of wine and beer to buy, but Kirsch was not so easy to find!

Black Forrest Gateau cake recipe

The hunt was on!

Tim’s birthday just so happened to co-inside with my car having a rather lengthy stay in the garage. So my quest to find kirsch, cherry brandy and make the cake, all within the school day was a bit of a challenge. I tried all the shops within walking distance and got hold of the brandy no problem but the Kirsch was going to have to be a bike ride.

Now might be a good time to mention that I live in between two hills. The kind that you don’t notice when you’re pootling around in your car, but that make you seriously out of breath when you’re peddling your little legs off! So, when I leaned inside my local off licence – still on my bike- helmet on and asked for the Kirsch he said that the store across town would probably have some. So off I went with my rucksack on my back full of bubble wrap and padded envelopes to protect it from bumps and mefrom any accident. Sucess! They had. So I zoomed off home just in time to collect the girls from school.

I baked the sponges first thing in the morning after school drop off then set off on my quest. When the girls got home that afternoon we put the cake together. At first when I couldn’t find the kirsch I was going to do without it, I mean wouldn’t the cherry brandy make a good enough substitute? In a word. No. The Kirsch (as you will see in the recipe below) is used with the jam filling and has a much more alcoholly taste than the sweetness of the brandy which is soaked into the sponges.

The finished cake was popped into the fridge and when Tim got home from work we had dinner together with the cake planned as a big surprise. When he went to get milk out of the fridge to make tea he was met with a “”Noooooooooo!”” buy the three main ladies in his life! Poor thing jumped out of his skin.

Anyway, he loved the cake as I did and with all that alcohol surprisingly so did Beau!

So here’s what I made…

Black Forrest Gateau recipe

Cake Ingredients

225g butter, at room temperature

225g caster sugar

160g  self-raising flour

65g cocoa powder

½ tsp baking powder

4 medium eggs

Decoration and fillings

340g jar of morello cherry jam (any cherry jam will work)

1 tin cherries- drained

2–3 tbsp Kirsch (Yep all that effort for 2-3 tablespoons! But it was worth it)

75 ml oz cherry brandy (morello cherry brandy is best but beggars can’t be choosers!))

600ml  double cream

30g dark chocolate, grated

fresh cherries, to decorate the top

To make Black Forrest Gateau

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°CGas 5. Grease 3 x 8 inch round tins and line the base with baking paper. You can use two tins and cut the cake in half through the middle.
  2. Blend the butter and sugar together
  3. Add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and eggs and blend until smooth
  4. Divide the mix into the cake tins and smooth it flat.
  5. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the cakes start to come away from the sides.
  6. Leave them to cool for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Make sure you remove the baking paper so the cake doesn’t ‘sweat’

To make Black Forrest Gateau filling

  • Place the jam in a saucepan with the Kirsch until it melts. Add in the Cherries and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool completely.
  • Whisk the cream until is forms soft peaks and set it to one side. I over whisked my cream. It doesn’t effect the taste but it spoils the look a bit.
  • Use a silicon pastry brush to soak the cakes with cherry brandy.
  • To assemble –  place one cake on a plate then spread it with the jam. Add cream to another cake. Sprinkle with grated chocolate then place them together.
  • Repeat with the next two cakes ending with a cream topping on the top of the cake.
  • I piped some cream onto the top and placed a fresh cherries all around the outside edge, but anything goes here! Sprinkle with the last of the chocolate and you’re ready to serve!
  • We placed our cake in the fridge for a few hours and it tasted great.
  • Although this cake will taste best on the day you make it we kept this one in the fridge and tried to pace ourselves and ate it for the next 4 days. Black Forrest Gateau cake recipe

Well, when I say we ate it, I actually mean me. Benefits of working from home!

enjoy!

Peggy Porschen’s Lemon Limoncello Cake recipe

Peggy Porschen’s Lemon Limoncello Cake recipe

Peggy Porschen Lemon Limoncello cake

So, yesterday I reviewed Peggy Porschen’s latest cake book and today I am happy to share with you an extract from the book for this yummy and oh so pretty cake. I just know you guys are going to love it! Thanks to the publishers Quadrille for giving me permission.

Peggy Porschen
Peggy Porschen herself!

By the way I forgot to mention two things yesterday about the book that I really love.

No. 1 – The book is styled by my friend Vicky Sullivan who has styled all of Peggy’s books (I think?) She’s a stylist with amazing talent and a natural eye, expecially when it comes to cakes. She really captures the look and feel you want when you display a cake. It needs to look too good to cut and Vicky nails it every time!

No.2 – The book was photographed by Georgia Glynn Smith. I’ve never worked with Georgia but having seen her work in many, many books (and having been told that she’s reeeaaallly lovely by people who have worked with her) I really want to. I’m sure one day our paths will cross. You never know, maybe I’ll have a book of my own to shoot one day!

Anyway, on with the cake…

LEMON LIMONCELLO CAKE

THIS IS A VERY LOVELY CAKE – LIGHT, MOIST AND FULL OF FLAVOUR. A SCATTERING OF CUTE SUGAR DAISIES COMPLEMENTS THE REFRESHING PALE LEMON BUTTERCREAM ICING.

Makes one 15cm (6in) round cake, serving 8–12 slices

Ingredients

For the decoration

  • 150g white sugar florist paste
  • Small amount of white vegetable fat
  • Green and yellow paste food colour
  • Small amount of royal icing

For the sponge

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour

For the sugar syrup

  • 150ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50ml Limoncello liqueur

For the buttercream filling

  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 80g icing sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 40g Peggy’s Lemon Limoncello Jelly or any other good-quality lemon jelly or lemon
  • curd

Equipment

Basic baking kit
Three 15cm (6in) round sandwich tins
Cake leveller or large serrated knife
Non-slip turntable
Flat disc to place on top of the turntable
(I (Peggy) use the loose base of a 30cm (12in) springform cake tin)
15cm (6in) round cake card
Metal side scraper

Make the simple daisies and leaves decoration at least one day ahead of assembling and serving. Bake the sponges one
day ahead of serving. Make the sugar syrup whilst baking the sponges. Prepare the filling and assemble and decorate the cake on the day of serving.

To make the decoration

Mix two thirds of the sugar florist paste with a small amount of white vegetable fat. Mix the remaining third with the green paste food colour to a pale green shade. Mix the royal icing with the yellow paste food colour to a pale lemon shade. Using a daisy plunge cutter, leaf cutter and veiner,
make approximately 12 simple sugar daisies and small leaves. Leave to set in a cool dry place.

Preheat the oven to 175°C/gas mark 4.Prepare the sandwich tins by greasing and lining them with greaseproof paper.

To make the sponge

Place the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest into a mixing bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly add to the butter mixture while whisking quickly. If the mixture starts to separate or curdle, stop adding the egg and beat in 2–3 tablespoons of the flour. This will rebind the batter. Once all the egg has been added and combined with the butter mixture, sift in the flour and stir until the batter is just combined. This will ensure the sponges stay light and fluffy.

Divide the batter evenly between the sandwich tins. If you find it difficult to measure by eye, use your kitchen scales to weigh out the amount of sponge mixture for each tin.

Bake for 15–20 minutes, depending on your oven. If you are using deeper cake tins, the sponges will take longer to cook. The sponges are cooked when the sides are beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tins and the tops are golden brown and spring back to the touch. If in doubt, insert a clean knife or wooden skewer into the centre of each sponge; it should come out clean.

To make the sugar syrup

While the sponges are baking, prepare the sugar syrup for soaking. Place the lemon juice and caster sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until all the sugar crystals have dissolved. Set aside to cool down slightly and then add the Limoncello liqueur.

Once the sponges are baked, let them rest for about 10 minutes outside of the oven. Using a pastry brush, soak the tops of the sponges with syrup while they are still warm; this 
allows the syrup to be absorbed faster.

Once just warm, run a knife all the way round the sides of the tins, remove the sponges from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Once cool, wrap the sponges in cling film and then rest them overnight at room temperature. This will ensure that all the moisture is sealed in and the sponges firm up to the perfect texture for trimming and layering. When trimmed too soon after baking, the sponges tend to crumble and may even break into pieces.

To make the buttercream filling

Place the butter, icing sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and cream together until very pale and fluffy. Add the lemon jelly to the mixture and stir through until combined and smooth.

To assemble the cake

Trim and sandwich together the three sponge layers using one-third of the buttercream filling and the limoncello syrup for soaking. With the remaining buttercream filling, cover or mask the top and sides of the cake.

To decorate

Arrange the sugar daisies and leaves around the circumference of the cake top andstick them down with a dab of buttercream.

Serve the cake at room temperature. This cake is best enjoyed within 3 days of baking, but it can last for up to 1 week

Tip

Decorations made from sugar can attract moisture and may collapse when exposed to 
humid conditions. Therefore, do not store the cake in the fridge once decorate if it is not being eaten on the same day.

Peggy Porschen Lemon Limoncello cake

BOUTIQUE BAKING by PEGGY PORSCHEN, published by Quadrille (£20, hardback)

Photos ©GEORGIA GLYNN SMITH

Peggy Porschen  Boutique Baking

Mr Men Birthday cake

When Beau was 6 she was really into Mr Men and Little Misses books. She couldn’t decide which character to have for her cake so we decided that we would have a Mr Men and Little Misses picnic cake. Mr Strong and Mr Bump were made of cake and the smaller ones, Mr Small, Little Miss Tiny and Little Miss Twins were solid sugarpaste.

All the characters were sitting on a picnic blanket, which was on grass. Of course any cake board that has grass has to have flowers, so I filled the green space with loads of pretty blossom flowers in different colours.
Mr Men picnic cake - Mr Bump birthday cake
Mr Bump was really good fun to do. I had a job sticking the arms on. In the end I used cocktail sticks and edible glue. His arm fell off just as the party guests were arriving. I quickly applied a bit of royal icing and that did the trick!

Mr Men picnic cake

Mr Strong was the first tall squarish cake I ever made. It was a job to get the sides even and flat before the sugarpaste was applied. I’m not very good at seeing when things aren’t straight or even. You should see the shelves I’ve put up in the house in the past! If I had a £1 for every cake Tim looked at and said “It’s not straight!” I’d be a rich girl right now!

Mr Men picnic cake

I must have been in a reall hurry (or just plain inexperienced) when I made Mr Small. Look at all those lines! He’d never look like that if I made him now! I’ve learnt that you need to work the sugarpaste to get it to roll nice and smooth. Then leave it alone!!!

Mr Men picnic cake

I had loads of fun making the plates and sandwiches. I think the Little Miss Twins are eating a tomato and cucumber sandwich. What do you think?

Mr Men picnic cake

How cute is Little Miss Tiny? I love adding loads of extra details to a cake or cake board. I could have gone on for ever with this design. It was so much fun to do.

enjoy! 

How much sugar paste do I need ?

Covering a cake with sugarpaste

When it comes to decorating a cake you need to know how much ingredients you’re going to need. One of the most important ingredients to consider is the sugarpaste. Buy too much and you can always store it for next time, but buy too little and you’re stuck!

I’ve devised the following charts over the years to help me get the right quantities. So, now you can work out how much sugarpaste you  need to cover a cake and a cake board too.

Most of my cakes are about 3″ tall. I roll out my sugar paste to around 5mm thick. That way it has enough give to fit over the edge of a cake without tearing. It can also be smoothed easily. If you are covering a shaped cake add at least 1.25g of sugarpaste to these quantities.

How much sugarpaste to cover a cake

Size in Inches

Quantity  for a Round Cake

Quantity for a Square Cake

6″

600g

750g

7″

850g

875g

8″

975g

1kg

9″

1.1kg

1.25kg

10″

1.45kg

1.5kg

11″

1.75kg

1.75kg

12″

2kg

2.2kg

14”

2.7kg

3kg


Cake boards

I cover cake boards with icing at least a week before I need to add a cake to the board. That way it has time to set really hard and won’t get finger prints when I handle it. But I’ve also recently discovered that you can pop a cake board in a warm oven to speed up the process if you’re on a tight deadline. An hour in an oven at around 50-100 C is all it needs. Leave it to cool completely before you touch the top.

How much sugarpaste to cover a cakeboard

Size in Inches

Quantity  for a Round board

Quantity for a Square board

6″

150g

150g

7″

250g

350g

8″

450g

450g

9″

600g

600g

10″

700g

700g

11″

725g

725g

12″

825g

825g

14”

850g

1kg

I hope this has been helpful. Until next time!

enjoy!

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