A cake for the minions...

its a bit of a tradition at work that we bake for each others birthday...well....the wednesday night lot anyway!

Frans birthday was last sunday so i promised her a cake! i gave her the option of either a chocolate cake with a chocolate brownie layer OR a banana cake with salted caramel icing. much like a minion she went for the banana.

this recipe is from Raspberri Cupcakes, an Australian blog that i have been following for quite some time now.

you will need:

for the cake: 
250g unsalted butter
500g caster sugar
4 eggs
4 banana's
1tsp of vanilla extract
500g plain flour
2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp salt
1 and a half tsp cinnamon
250ml buttermilk

for the frosting:
225g caster sugar
4 tbsp water
250ml double cream
500g butter
1-2 tsp salt
500g icing sugar

for the decoration:
1-2 banana's
small amount of granulated sugar

preheat the oven to 180°C.

start by creaming the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

next add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.

mash the banana's in a bowl and then add them to the rest of the mixture along with the vanilla extract. beat once again until fully incorporated.

next measure out the flour, add the bicarb, salt and cinnamon and sieve half into the bowl. add half of the butter milk and beat until well mixed. scrape down the sides of the bowl and then repeat the process until all of the buttermilk and dry ingredients are incorporated.

the batter itself is quite thick compared to my normal cakes, but do not fear! divide between two 18cm cake tins, you will find that there is a lot of mixture in each tin but the cakes will be thick enough to cut in half and create 4 layers of heaven.
bake for 50-60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and they are golden.

you will notice that the cakes dome quite a bit! no need to worry though as once they have cooled all you need to do is trim them off then slice each cake into 2 halves...oh...and eat the dome of course..to test the bake...greedy piggies...

whilst the cake is cooling get cracking on the caramel for the frosting. in a medium sauce pan add the sugar and water and stir BEFORE putting on the heat, once you apply the heat you don't want to stir at all! 

place the pan on a medium heat and allow the sugar and water to bubble away until they become a nice amber colour.
once this happens remove from the heat and carefully and slowly add the cream. it will bubble violently but this is normal. just make sure you continue to mix with a WOODEN spoon, don't use a whisk like i did...i ended up with a lump of solid sugar on the end of it and had to start again... oops!

once everything is nicely incorporated set the caramel aside and allow it to cool down to room temperature.

once the caramel is cool you can get on with the messy business of mixing the butter and icing sugar. as you can see i'm not the tidiest of bakers...

once creamed together add the caramel and beat again until its smooth and has a caramel tone to it. add the salt a little at a time, tasting as you go. you don't want to chuck it all in at once as you could ruin it.

slice the cakes and begin the layering process. there is a lot of frosting so make sure to put a nice thick spread in between the layers.

for the decorations, slice the banana and place onto a baking tray. sprinkle over the sugar and take a blow torch to them (if like me, you may want to scream "BE DO BE DO" as you do this).

i really enjoyed making this cake, it was nice to try something different and i was really happy with the result. although i think i need to practice my frosting skills a little bit...

place in the fridge to allow the icing to harden up slightly and remove 30-40 minutes before serving.

Sinfully delicious chocolate cake...

as i mentioned earlier i'm trying to bake along side the GBBO series, partially as i would be baking something any way, but mostly to practice as i hope to enter into next years competition.

week ones episode was all about cake. i started by baking a victoria sandwich and it went down so quickly that i didn't even get a picture... apparently they liked it!

so the weekend after i finally managed to come true on my promise by making Emma a birthday cake, a belated one at that!

i decided to go for a chocolate cake with a white chocolate ganache filling. it really is an easy cake to make and i think it is probably one of the nicest i have made! 

you will need:

for the cake:
190g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
2 level tbsp cocoa powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 level tsp baking powder
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 free-range eggs
150ml sunflower oil
150m milk

for the icing:
200g white chocolate
150ml double cream
125g full-fat cream cheese

the method really is simple...
pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 then grease and line your chosen tins. i used 2 8inch loose bottom tins.

simply sift all of the dry ingredients together and then make a well in the center. Add the syrup, eggs, oil and milk into the well and mix.

separate into 2 tins evenly and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back when you poke it with your greedy little finger!

remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the pans and placing on to a wire rack.

to make the icing simply break the chocolate into a bowl and then heat the double cream in a pan until its very hot (just don't let it boil).
pour the cream over the chocolate and stir, the heat from the cream will melt the chocolate. Set the mixture aside and allow it to cool slightly.

place the cream cheese into another bowl and gradually add the slightly chilled chocolate mixture. mix well until combined and then set aside to firm up.

once the icing has thickened up, build the cake...

and finally..


cake wednesday transforms into bake off wednesday...

as you may well know every wednesday Fran and i battle it out at work with baked goods, filling the stomachs of our colleagues after a long evening.

the bake off has recently started and its taking the nation by storm once again. this in all honesty is the first year i've actually set it up to record, the other series i've watched snippets of...but shhhhhhh don't tell John! (i did watch that series the night before the bloggers bake day!)

i've been thinking about entering the competition myself for a little while now but i've always been a little concerned that there would be a lot of stuff i wouldn't have tried before, but as everyone at work is hooked on the show we decided to turn cake wednesday into bake off wednesday!

every tuesday night i watch the show and attempt to create something from the show on the wednesday morning to take in for my shift.

so far its going really well! the victoria sponge went down a storm,sadly i didn't get a picture of it..it went that quickly! But never fear i made another cake to show you for Emma's belated birthday. i've also tackled 2 types of bread and i have just finished a batch of madeleines.

i'm going to sort out the recipes and get them on later on today.




Total Saving

a cause close to my heart...

last week i was asked to create some pink cakes for a fund raising event at work. the event is taking place as we have a colleague returning to work after being treated for cancer. all money raised will be donated to Cancer Research UK.

they asked me to think of some ideas for baked goods that i could sell, including a pink cupcake.
i've decided to go for cherryade cupcakes, they went down really well last time i did a charity bake sale. they have ordered 120 of these.
lucky for me they are paying me 50p per cupcake to cover the ingredient cost and they are also paying me to stay at home part of the day on Wednesday to give me some time to bake.

the plan is to bake all of the cupcakes on Tuesday ready to be decorated on the morning of the bake sale. hopefully i will be able to make some peanut butter pinwheels in advance as they are easily stored and can be baked shortly before the sale.


i also have LOTS of creme eggs left over from easter which i need to use before July so i hope to make some brownies if time allows!


in other news!
i have entered the above cake into a competition! i was wondering if you guys would VOTE FOR ME?

click on the Link and go to the facebook competition APP. the cake is titled "Mad Hatters Tea Party Topsy Turvy Birthday Cake"

the people with the most votes get to the next round of the competition and the judges then decide on a winner. the prize is a Kitchen Aid Mixer

thanks in advance guys!

marshmallow mountain and pub fun...

....yesterday was the day i had to face my fear and take on the task of the mammoth marshmallow mountain chocolate cake!

because of the stress levels i didn't actually do the normal guide to making, instead i took a picture of the finished cake and i have to say i was quite pleased with it. it is in no way like the choccywoccydoodah cake but its not bad for a first attempt.

it's a chocolate mud pie cake with chocolate frosting, topped with marshmallows and covered in a white chocolate ganache.

after ruth and i made the delivery (which was probably the worst part as the cake itself would fit in none of my containers!), we decided to go out for dinner at one of the local pubs!

we decided to go to the captains cabin which is right on the sea up by the old pier in weston super mare. 

as we arrived the sun was low in the sky so i decided to snap a few photos before going inside. that little whale like island out at sea is Steep Holm...or Eamon Holm as we renamed it last night.  

we entered the pub and ordered a drink and quickly felt a bit on edge. it was extremely quiet at the bar and it was unusual for that pub, usually its full of merry pub goers.

we went through to the next room as we wanted to order food and we realised that we were actually the only 2 people there!

we ordered our food and sat there wondering if we had missed a health scare of something but when the food came all worries vanished! it was beautiful!

on a slightly different note i would like to introduce to you all my cousins new puppy, Buster! 
hes a little cockapoo and is 9 weeks old! i get to meet him next week and i'm really excited! hopefully his pressy will arrive before hand.

+£300 Work Bonus
Total Saving

cake mountain and a farewell...

after a lovely week off work i decided i had better show my face...
i had enjoyed my time off so much that i actually felt quite sick at the thought of returning but it had to be done. so after pulling myself out of bed and getting myself ready i made the journey in.
it wasn't as bad as i had been expecting and it was nice to see the familiar faces, that and the fact i knew it was only a day before my next day off haha.
when i arrived home i had received a private message from a friend asking me if i could make a cake for her sons first birthday next week. the cake is obviously aimed for the guests of the party rather than the baby.
they asked me to make something they had seen on the choccywoccydoodah website. It's basically a chocolate cake bathed in chocolate topped with marshmallows and even more chocolate.. at first i wasn't sure i could do it...but then i thought heck! i can try!

Deans funeral was today, i went with some other work colleagues and it was a lovely service. there were no hymns but lots of his favourite songs including Barcelona by Freddie Mercury.

RIP Dean

a zesty little number..

this blog has been waiting to be posted for just over a week, i've been really busy baking and working and just havent found the time to sit and type it up!

so here we have it, a lovely lemon cake! i've made many lemon cakes in the past but this one has to be my all time favourite. its incredibly lemony!

you will need :

for the sponge
110g unsalted butter
380g caster sugar
320g plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
320ml buttermilk
the zest of 2 lemons
3 eggs

for the frosting
900g icing sugar
zest of 1 and a half lemons
150g unsalted butter
375g full fat cream cheese

and finally for decoration
a handfull of raspberries
the zest of one lemon
a small amount of icing sugar for dusting

start by beating the butter and the sugar today until there are no large lumps.

sift the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture and give it a good mix.

measure out the buttermilk and add the eggs, give it a whisk until combined.

add the zest and give it another quick stir.

with the mixer on a low speed gradually add the liquid, scraping down the sides and turning up the speed until fully combined.

separate into 2 to 3 tins depending on the sizes you have. i went for 2 9inch spring form tins.
throw them in the oven (not literally) at 170ºc or gas mark 3 and bake for 20-30 minutes (this may vary on your oven).

whilst the cakes are cooling you can make the icing. beat the butter and icing sugar on a slow speed until no large lumps remain. next add the lemon zest and the cream cheese and beat on a medium high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, this can take between 5-10 minutes.

then place the first cake onto a board or your favourite cake stand and cover with your favourite raspberry jam, go right to the edges so that every bite has some in.

next put some frosting on top of the jam and smooth it over with a palette knife.  

place the second layer on top of this and press it down gently.
spoon some more mixture on the top and spread it out evenly, dont worry to much about the crumbs at this point.

continue to cover the entire cake with a layer of frosting, this will act as a crumb layer so the final cake is crumb free. once thats done pop it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to allow the frosting to set slightly.

once cooled place a second layer of frosting on the cake and decorate with the palette knife. i made the mistake of placing it directly onto the cake stand so this made decoration a little tricky but you get the idea!

finally top the cake with a handfull of raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar. if you wish you can grate some lemon zest over the raspberries but that is up to you. i decided to change it up a little and used lime zest instead to give it that extra tang, i didn't regre it!

i took this cake to work with me on tuesday last week and it went VERY quickly! next time i think i will have to make 2, one for the family and one for work.


The Londoner's charity bake sale...

rosie over at the londoner is holding a charity bake sale this saturday between 3pm and 6pm @ Bumpkin in south ken.

its a great way to raise money for two very important charities but its also a great way to make friends with other bloggers, get advice and also stuff your faces with cakes and other baked goods.

i had my heart set on baking up a storm and travelling up to london for this but sadly because of the short notice i cannot make it due to work.

all of you bloggers out there that read this blog and live in london, think of poor me working late night saturday and all day sunday and bake something for the event..

go on...you know you want to!

for more info see her blog post

early birthday yummies

so today one of my friends gave me an early birthday cake as we wont be working together for over a week as im on holiday as of sunday.

its a chocolate sponge with chocolate fudge icing, two packs of chocolate fingers, two boxes of malteasers, 4 bars of chocolate (melted), dark chocolate decorations with chocolate covered strawberries.

needless to say i love chocolate

only had one slice though, shared with the rest of the gang at work.

i can still smell the chocolate! YUM!