Thursday, 28 March 2013

Some like it hot...

This week, I got challenged with making a chilli chocolate cake from my Sister's Fiance's birthday!  It was quite a challenge to find a recipe I liked and trusted for this special occasion! It was my first "commission" so it was as exciting for me as it was for my Sister!

After struggling for a few days to find a recipe for a chilli chocolate cake, I decided to take a standard chocolate cake, and then make a chilli chocolate ganache to go with it!

The chocolate cake I chose to make was from a blog called Sweetapolita.  It is an incredibly dense and moist cake, with frosting which reminded me more of chocolate mouse rather than a chocolate frosting!  This cake has quite a few processes, uses lots of pots and pans, and take quite a few hours to make.  So if you love baking, and have half a day on your hands, this recipe is definitely for you! If you aren't particularly keen on baking, or like to make quick bakes, don't choose this one! However, I can't imagine someone who doesn't like baking, would be reading this!!
So here's how I did it:

For the cake:
145g Dark Chocolate (I used Lindt)
260g Butter
315g Plain Flour
24g Cocoa Powder (I used Green and Blacks)
2 tspn Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tspn Baking Powder
4 Eggs
1/2 tspn Salt
200g Caster Sugar
220g Light Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tspn Vanilla
475ml Sour Cream

Preheat your oven to 180 celcius and prepare four 8 inch cake tins.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie until smooth and glossy, and bring to room temperature. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, cocoa, rising agents, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, it takes about five minutes (2).  Once light and fluffy, slowly add the cooled chocolatey-buttery mixture and whisk until incorporated.  Then its time to add the dry ingredients and sour cream. You should add the wet and dry ingredients in three parts alternately, starting and ending with the dry ingredients (3).  This makes for a well mixed cake batter. Then spoon into the four cake pans and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, depending on your oven.  Once baked, take out of the tins and leave to completely cool.

Meanwhile, you can make the chilli chocolate frosting! This is like no frosting you will have ever tasted! If you have read my other posts you will see that I'm not a huge fan of buttercream frosting, however this is completely different, it's light, it's moussey, it's like nothing of this earth.  However, like the rest of this cake, its pretty lengthy, but its oh so worth it!!

200g Caster Sugar
47g Plain Flour
36g Cocoa
360mls Whole Milk
115g Chilli Chocolate
2tspn Chilli Flakes
1 tbspn Vanilla
680g Butter

You start off by whisking together the cocoa, flour, sugar and milk, in a saucepan, over a medium heat. It will take about 5 minutes to become thick and glossy. Once this has happened, take it off the heat whisk in the chocolate, vanilla and chilli flakes and then allow to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, take the butter and whisk in a stand mixer, until lighter in colour and aerated. Then, slowly incorporate the chcolate mixture into the butter and leave to whisk for another five minutes.  
Remember, you can always add more chilli flakes, but you cannot take them out, so be careful!

Now assemble the cake and crumb coat.  For an explanation please see my first ever blog post: Pink Rainbow Cake.  Once crumb coated, refrigerate for half an hour to firm up the frosting.  Now for the fun bit! Load up the rest of the icing into a piping bag, with a round piping tip.  Pipe a line of circles up the length of the cake (1), take a small offset spatula and position in the middle of the circle, and drag the frosting across the cake (2). Repeat the process and all around the cake.  For the top, use the same method, but pipe the circles in circles (how many times can I say circles in a paragraph?) around the top of the cake (3). 

Top with a happy birthday cake topper and a fondant chilli and hey presto! A chocolate chilli birthday cake!!


Friday, 15 March 2013

Getting my bake-on for Comic Relief..

My sister's is having a bake sale, at work,  for comic relief so yesterday, I made red nose day cupcakes.

I started off by baking twenty-four cupcakes.  For the recipe, please see my post: "fondant ducky, you're the one"

These cupcakes have lots of little steps to them that can be rather time consuming.  But once you get the hang of it, and work in a "conveyor belt" type of way you will soon speed up.  Never-the-less it took in excess of three hours to bake and decorate twenty four of these bad boys! If you are new to the cupcake decorating game, maybe start with twelve, unless you have a lot of time!  The ingredients needed for the decorating are: fudge, giant white chocolate buttons, red peanut M&Ms (or any large round red sweets), soft eating liquorice.  

 Start off by spreading a little butter cream frosting into a dome shape on your cupcake.  This gives a rounded face shape, making your cupcake more 3D. Then, knead the fudge until soft and pliable and roll out.  You need to cut out a circle, using a circular cutter, that is one size bigger than your cupcake cases.  Then place your fudge circle onto the cupcake and mould into place. 

For the eyes, take two giant white chocolate buttons. Using melted white chocolate as glue, stick on a chocolate chip for a pupil.  Repeat until you have enough for all your cupcakes, two per cupcake. Once all your eyes are complete, pop them into the fridge to set.  This should only take five minutes! The trickiest bit of the whole process is positioning the eyes.  To do this, mark out where you want to put the eyes, and then make a slight incision into the fudge.  Then stick the eyes into the incision, using melted chocolate as glue. The eyes will slant upwards,
creating a 3D effect. 

Then, using melted chocolate, stick on your peanut M&M in the centre of the cupcake to form your red nose! Remember to have the M&M logo on the side facing the fudge!

To make the liquorice mouth, take a piece of soft eating liquorice and roll out into a flat shape.  Then fashion a smile using either a knife or a round cutter. Using a little water, or melted chocolate, stick on your liquorice smile!

This is done by taking a small amount of fudge and rolling into a sausage shape. Then curl the roll so that the two ends meet. The fudge ears should stick onto the fudge with little need for glue, however, if you feel that they need a bit more stability, then by all means, use a little more melted white chocolate!

And there you have it! Cupcakes fit for any red-nose-day bake sale! These fudgey-faces can be modified for numerous events.  You can substitute the liquorice smile for a moustache for Movember, or you can take off the big red nose and substitute for a plain fudge nose for a more subdued face for any occasion!

This week, I joined the world of twitter! So for more information, or updates as to when new posts are published, follow me on twitter:

The original idea for this cupcake was by "My Cupcake Addiction".  This is a youtube channel which give you step by step tutorials on cupcake decorating.  Check her out, I've learnt a lot!!

Sunday, 10 March 2013


 Today I spent the morning making cookie monster cupcakes.

Firstly, I made red blue velvet cupcakes.
20 ounces self raising flour
14 ounces sugar
2 cocoa powder
3 eggs
7 ounces butter
8ounces water
2 tbspn olive oil
2 tspn vanilla extract
Blue food paste dye

This recipe yields twenty-four cupcakes in total - good for large number orders but you can always just half the recipe if you don't want that many!!  And, simple as anything, pop everything into the bowl and mix until incorporated.  This batter is thick, and spoons easily into cupcake cases.  Just remember to only fill them three quarters full!! Then pop them into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for twelve to fifteen minutes. 

Once they are cooked pop them on a cooling rack and begin your buttercream frosting.
Blue paste food dye
140g softened butter
280g icing sugar
2 tspn vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
Begin by whipping your butter until it is light in colour and texture! Then add your icing sugar a little at a time to avoid a icing sugar snow storm!! Once half the sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla extract, followed by the milk and food dye.  Then add the rest of the sugar little by little until combined.  Continue whisking for a further five minutes on high speed.  Your buttercream frosting will then be ready to go!

To decorate:
Pipe a mound of buttercream onto the cupcake and smooth into a dome shape using an offset spatula.  I have seen the frosting covered in blue coconut shavings or blue sprinkles but I used my offset spatula to "rough up" the frosting adding a fur effect.  The choice is yours!

For the eyes, take two giant white chocolate buttons.  Using melted white chocolate as glue, stick on a chocolate chip for a pupil. These were then placed into the frosting with the chocolate chips facing different directions. This makes cookie monster look crrraaazy for cooookies!! 

For the mouth, I used a mini cookie and wedged it into the frosting and into the cake in an upward slant.  When doing this, take care to support the cake to ensure the top half of the cup cake does not tear off!!  It was at this point that Michael came into the kitchen to hear me squeaking and jumping around in excitement (simple things)!!

I was so so pleased with how these turned out, they look pretty impressive (even if I do say so myself) but are relatively simple to put together!

I have been thinking for a while now that I would like to start selling my baked goods.  If you have seen anything you like on my blog, or have a specific requirement, and would like to place an order, please leave me a comment, or email me: and I will get straight back to you!!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Boyfriend Bakes with Bananas...

So, this week, my lovely boyfriend decided to join me in the kitchen to bake! We made one of his favourites, banana bread! I have tried out lots of different recipes for banana bread but this time I tried Sophie Dahl's recipe and it tasted amaaazing!

So, here it is:
75g butter
4 bananas
200g soft brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbspn vanilla extract
1 tspn baking poweder
1 pinch of salt
170g plain flour

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
The main principle of baking banana bread is to ensure your bananas are very ripe.  When I make my banana bread I prefer to keep the bananas quite chunky so I chop them with a knife rather than mashing them with a fork.  So begin by doing this.  In a large bowl, add your; bananas, sugar, butter and egg and mix.  Then add your vanilla extract, plus your baking powder and salt.  Last of all, fold in the flour until just incorporated.  Pour into a buttered and lined loaf tin and pop in the oven for approximately an hour.  And it really is as easy as that! Good for a first time baker, like my boyfriend!

You can really get creative with what you put on top.  Most people go for chocolate spread, cream cheese frosting.  Sophie suggests a lick of butter! However, I like mine plain and simple - all by itself!