Themed cakes part deux

In a long overdue post, this recent cake was from a bonfire night/beer festival party.

4/11/12

This weekend saw the first ever Brockley Novtoberfest hosted by super couple David and Rachael. Not only were there themed glasses, a variety of home brews to try, fireworks, but a cake and thing in a jar competition. The Braxfield three stepped up to the occasion each with our own contribution and this is mine.

A black forest castle bundt cake aka Black Forest Chateaux

Ingredients:

For the cake:

4 cups Butter, room temperature

3 cups 
sugar

2 cup 
sour cream

4 
eggs

6 cups
 self-raising flour

1.5 cup
 unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons 
baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cup
 milk

¾ of can of pitted black cherries

3 caps of cassis

For decoration:

1 bowl of vanilla buttercream dyed blue

4 pitted black cherries

Plain chocolate, white chocolate and toffee writing icing.

You will also need one 3D castle mould.

Method:

Preheat oven to 160 c. Generously butter the 3D castle mould.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in sour cream and eggs. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add dry mix to creamed mixture alternating with the milk. Mix until well blended. Add the cherries and cassis and stir in.

Pour the batter into the mould.

The mould

Bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool overnight and then take out of the mould and put on a cake stand. Pipe the blue buttercream around the edge of the cake to create a sea, and then fill the middle of the cake with the rest of the buttercream.

Then following the lines of the mould decorate the cake using the writing icing. Put some plain chocolate icing in the turrets and place a cherry on top of each turret.

Ta da!

 

 

Black Forest Chateaux

Incidentally the cake won best named cake in the awards ceremony!

Themed cakes part 1

Tis the season, well not quite but with the nights drawing in it time for Halloween, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and most importantly a themed cake. Whilst trying not to bake whilst I finish writing up, the new job has seen a bake a week which has worryingly developed some kind of office dependence on cake, my own fault really having a wide variety of taste testers is just too tempting for a baker.

I usually take a cake in on a Wednesday and as this Wednesday was Halloween I decided to theme the cake, making a chocolate and ginger graveyard.

Ingredients:

For the ginger cake:

200g self-raising flour

200g of caster sugar

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking powder

55g of soft butter

1 egg

2 tbsp of golden syrup

240ml of hot water

For the decoration:

20 bourbon biscuits bashed into crumbs

1 packet of chocolate orange sticks

1 packet of haribo Halloween sweets

4 ginger finger biscuits

White chocolate writing icing

1 batch of chocolate buttercream

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350FGas 4. Grease and line a 28cm x 18cm/11in x 7in baking tin with greaseproof paper.

Blitz all of the ingredients in a food processor.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 35–40 minutes, or until golden-brown and the top is springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin.

Once the cake has cooled cover in the chocolate buttercream. The break each chocolate orange stick in half and place around the edge of the cake to create a fence.

Take the bashed up bourbon and scatter over the top of the cake, discarding any large lumps. Break the ginger fingers in half and push into the cake so they stand upright. Using writing icing in a tube carefully write onto the gravestones. Then place the ghost haribo sweets around the gravestones.

Aerial graveyard

Ta da!

 

The final spooky product.

Anonymous vegetables

16th October 2012

The title of this is somewhat misleading as the vegetables I am writing about are not actually anonymous, we are not in the times of early economic botany where explorers would find new plants when abroad, and name them after themselves, these already have names, fennel and kohlrabi, both of which I had heard about, neither of which I had actually seen before.

Since starting my new job at Goldsmiths, I have tried to explore New Cross on my lunch breaks, and whilst I have been to many of the pubs on the high street, I had not come across the allotment before. This rather contemporary take on the greengrocer sells organic local veggies, amazing cakes and pastries and all sorts of deli delights. More importantly they sell veg boxes. Lured into the concept of the veg box 5 years ago when I first moved to London, it had started to seem an extravagance that Lewisham Market could replace both cheaply and with more variety. However the allotment veg and fruit box seemed reasonable at £12, and very convienient as I can collect it on my lunch break without much hassle, which when you have a full time job and a PhD to finish is very important.

This week saw the arrival of my first allotment veg and fruit box, and what delights it held, enough fruit to last me two weeks, as well as being able to make a cake from some of it, and enough vegetables to create lunches and dinners too! But as it common with the veg box you have no control over what might appear and this week I got these two beauties.

Having never cooked with them before and after some googling and consultation with friends and family I decided to try out the following two recipes:

For lunch: Middle Eastern Chickpea and Kohlrabi stew

Ingredients:

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp chili flakes

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tbsps olive oil

1 kohlrabi diced

1 can chickpeas, drained

1 can chopped tomatoes

1/2 lb tomatoes

1 aubergine, peeled and diced

500ml vegetable stock

Pinch of salt, pepper and parsley

 

Method:

Fry the spices together in a pan, add the olive oil and diced kohlrabi and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add all of the other ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Serve over rice, with bread or on its own.

I tupperware tubbed this so fast I forgot to photograph, it was very yummy, although after eating it for a week I could have used some variety.

For Sunday dinner: Fennel Gratin

1 large fennel bulb

1 garlic clove

pinch of nutmeg

100ml of double cream

25g of grated parmesan cheese

 

Method:

Heat oven to 200C and put a pan of salted water on to boil.

Fennel

Trim the fennel tops, then cut into wedges. Boil for 5-6 mins, then drain well.

Fennel Gratin pre oven

Arrange in an ovenproof dish, season and sprinkle with nutmeg. Stir the garlic into the cream and pour over the fennel. Top with the Parmesan, then bake for 20 mins until golden.

I served this with roast chicken and it was delicious.

Upside down [boy you turn me]

It seems everywhere I turn there is an upside down cake being made and consumed. I have always wanted to make tarte tat in but when I saw this dish on, once again Lorraine Pascale’s cooking show, I had to give it a go. I was going to have a break from baking for a little while to concentrate on new jobs and the PhD, but then I went out to dinner. Now I’ve never really been a fan of banoffee, taking two perfectly good flavours and then combining them to create something that has never quite made me want to devour it completely, just seemed a waste of experimental baking time. But then I had the banoffee pie at gourmet pizza in Gabriel’s Wharf, and I’ve clearly grown up, it works! And not only does it work I want more of it, so whilst this cake isn’t banoffee pie, it does use the basic flavour combination. Incidentally I tried whisky again in the same evening, and it wasn’t awful, which for those of you who know me well, will recognize this comment as a departure from my usual description of any kind of whisky as lighter fluid. What a good evening, and it led me to make this (recipe taken from Lorraine Pascale):

Ingredients

The topping

  • 50g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g soft light brown sugar

The sponge

  • handful of pecan nuts
  • 150g soft butter
  • 175g soft light brown
  • 4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
  • ½ vanilla pod (or a couple of drops of vanilla extract)
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 75g whole meal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • pinch of salt

Bananas

  • 2 small, firm bananas

Method

You will need a 20cm (8in) square cake tin or equivalent tray bake tin, for example 24cm x 20cm x 5cm (9 ½ in x 8in x 2in). Preheat the oven to 180°C, (fan 160°C), 350°F, gas mark 4, with the middle shelf at the ready. Grease and line the cake tin with baking parchment and grease again.

First, make the sticky topping. Place the butter and soft light brown sugar in a small pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is melted, turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble away for a few minutes until it begins to thicken slightly. Stir it frequently so it does not catch on the bottom. Pour the mixture into the bottom of the lined tin and tip the tin back and forth to spread it out evenly (the mixture will eventually solidify in the tin so make sure to spread it out now). Next, tip the pecans onto a baking tray, with a knob of butter and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pecan nuts from the oven once toasted and set aside to cool.

Now, make the sponge mixture. Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large bowl, by hand or with a hand-held electric whisk (or freestanding electric mixer) until it becomes a little lighter in colour. Then add the eggs one at time, beating hard between each addition. Split the vanilla pod open, scrape the seeds out and add (or add the vanilla extract). Then fold in both flours, the baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, golden syrup and salt and set aside.

Take the bananas and slice them into 5mm (1/4 in) thick pieces. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of the tin. I line them up so they are nice and straight, but of course it is fine to do them in any old order too. Pack them all in tight so they don’t move around once the cake mix goes over, it should look like this:

Bananas in harmony

Roughly chop the pecan nuts and stir them through the cake mix. Now carefully dollop the cake mix over the bananas and gently spread it out with the back of a spoon or with a palette knife, levelling the top to look like this:

Looks a bit like polyfiller, thankfully doesn’t taste like it.

Then pop it onto a baking tray and into the oven for about 35–45 minutes or so to cook.

After the cake has been cooking for 35 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and insert a metal skewer or the blade of a small knife right into the centre (but not touching the bottom). It should come out completely clean. If there is some cakey gooeyness left on it, just pop the tin back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so.

Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. Then put a large flat plate over the top of the tin and, holding the tin and the plate, flip the whole lot over so that the tin is now upside down. Gently remove the tin and peel off the baking parchment to reveal your very tasty dulce and banana underneath, voila:

Yum

It was a pretty large cake, so whilst a considerable chunk was destined to be a present for the dinner companion, I cut the rest into individual pieces and distributed amongst the museum lovelies to an overall positive response. The rest was placed in the coffee table Tupperware, and seems to have gone down, so I assume this is a positive response from the housemates too. Its great because its quite a versatile cake, you can have it hot or cold, and once warmed up again is lovely with some cream or toffee sauce. A cake for everyone, except perhaps those with nut allergies.

Stuffed (us and the chicken)

September 4th

I had invited my best London friend and her husband round for dinner before they jetted off on their second summer holiday! Shocking I know. I had recently seen a cooking show where someone did saltimbocca, and rather than cooking veal, I decided to do a similar dish, stuffing chicken and wrapping it in pancetta. But what to stuff the chicken with?

I decided to stuff it with a mixture of sundried tomatoes, basil and olives blended to form a paste. This would then be served with whole-wheat spaghetti tossed with spinach and cream cheese.

I didn’t follow a recipe but here is what I did:

Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts

12 slices of pancetta

1 tsp of light cream cheese

3 tsps of sundried tomato paste

3 tsps of black olive paste or olive tapenade

a handful of shredded basil leaves

pinch of black pepper

Method:

Slit the chicken breasts down the middle and lay open.

Mix the cream cheese, basil, tomato paste and olive paste. Stuff into the inside of the chicken breasts and close.

Lay out 4 slices of pancetta to almost the same width as the chicken breast, making sure that the pancetta overlaps slightly. Then lay the chicken breast onto the pancetta and roll up, like a sausage roll, so it looks like this:

wrapped and ready to go

Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the juices run clear. I served it with boiled whole-wheat spaghetti tossed with some more light cream cheese, sundried tomato paste and a bag of spinach. Unfortunately it was gobbled down so fast I didn’t get any pictures. If i would do anything differently it would be to make more of a sauce for the spaghetti, otherwise yumtastic.

In case you are interested this meal was sandwiched between a starter of homemade garlic and rosemary pizza bread, and meringue fruit sandwiches. It should be noted that I did not make the meringues, despite spending hours trying to the previous sunday, the skill still eludes me. It was accompanied with both red and rose wine, and Budweiser and Cobra beer, so something for everyone.

Departures with a twist

 

This weekend one of the housemates is moving out, he is off to Thailand to teach English, and whilst I am very proud of him for shaking his life up and going off to do something exciting on the other side of the world, I will miss him. Especially because he is the chief consumer of my kitchen experiments. So we organised a surprise BBQ for him in addition to his big leaving do and so of course I had to make a cake. For a while I have wanted to make Wagamama’s Chocolate and Wasabi fudge cake, I absolutely love it, especially the unusual flavour combination. As the housemate is heading to Asia, what a perfect excuse to make an Asian desert. Wagamama’s don’t publish the recipe, not even in their cookbook, which I own, so I turned to the Internet, and found this. So using her recipe, I adapted the topping section, and this is the final recipe I used:

 

Ingredients

 

For the cake

 

400g plain flour

 

250g caster sugar

 

100g brown sugar

 

75g cocoa powder

 

2 tsp baking powder

 

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

 

½ tsp salt

 

3 eggs

 

1 150g tub Total 0% Greek Yoghurt

 

1 tbsp vanilla extract

 

175g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 

300ml ice water

 

For the Wasabi fudge icing in the middle of the cake

 

50g dark chocolate

 

125g unsalted butter

 

137g icing sugar

 

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

 

1 tsp Wasabi paste, (to taste)

 

For the Wasabi fudge icing on the outside of the cake

100g white chocolate

 

250g unsalted butter

 

275g icing sugar

 

1 tbsp vanilla extract

 

1-2 tsp Wasabi paste, (to taste)

 

Method

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/gas 4. Butter and line with greaseproof paper the bottom of two 20 cm sandwich tins.

 

2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, cocoa, sugars, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda.

 

3. In a large jug whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Add melted butter and ice water.

 

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and beat in well.

 

5. Divide the batter between the two prepared tins and bake the cake for 50 – 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

 

6. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes, if you try to ice it before it’s cool your icing will melt and become greasy.

 

7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly.

 

8. In another bowl beat the butter until soft and creamy and combine the sifted icing sugar. Beat until smooth and then add the cooled chocolate, vanilla and Wasabi. Beat until smooth and glossy, check the strength of the Wasabi and add more if necessary. I liked it to have a distinct heat!

 

9. Repeat for the white chocolate topping.

 

10. Use the dark chocolate icing to sandwich the cake together and place on a cake stand to ice the top and sides of the cake with the white chocolate icing.

 

The cake came out nicely and sandwiched together well with the first venture into dark chocolate wasabi butter cream.

 

I made the white chocolate wasabi butter cream the next day, and being a little impatient didn’t wait long enough for the white chocolate to cool, thus curdling the butter. So I did it all again, being patient this time and it worked perfectly…it just didn’t taste like wagamamas. After icing, I added some edible letters to wish the housemate good luck.

The cake was served to Take That’s ‘Back for Good’, which anyone who has seen the last episode of Spaced will understand. The verdict seemed altogether positive, although it was commented that it was a little rich. I definitely want to try this again, as the wagamamas cake is a lot lighter, and fudgier and there is something different about the icing. I think first a trip to wagamamas may be in order. Stay tuned to see how this experiment develops.

 

Birthdays and odd combinations

On Thursday my mum’s partner Steve turned 60. On Saturday we are all trundling down to the Sussex countryside to celebrate, and I’m in charge of the cake!! I was to be quite honest a little excited, with no parameters other than its not to be decorated I could do anything. Well Steve is known for his love of unusual food combinations. One Easter we had a fantastic Mayan chilli chocolate cake in the shape of a Mayan temple. Last Christmas was every kind of local berry gin you could imagine. So inspired by the chilli and the fruit I decided I wanted to make a chilli chocolate cake but, as Steve doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, with some fruit in it. So googling away I came across this. I figured I could just adapt it to make it into a cake. Now I’m known a little for my kitchen disasters as much as my baking (tempura vegetables, a very desperate chocolate finger house cake using kinder chocolate, the list goes on) so having little time to practice I decided to make a mini version of the cake, as I went along in order to make sure it tasted great and worked out.

Mango Mousse

  • 4 cups Mango Puree
  • 2 each Thai Chili, split
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 12 Gelatin Sheets
  • 2 qt Heavy Cream

Mango Gel

  • 1 ¾ cup Mango Puree
  • ¾ cup Water
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2 sheets Gelatin

Chocolate Cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

So following the recipe I made the cake on Thursday night. Mini cake alongside, and its tasted great, so far so good. I substituted buttermilk for yoghurt, as I can never find it in the supermarket, and I’m not sure they even have it in this country.

Preheat the oven to 165 Celsius. Butter a round deep cake tin with a removable bottom. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well blended but do not over mix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool.

So Friday night came and time for the complicated bits. I followed the recipe for the Mango gel and mousse, simultaneously following another recipe for the instructions on how to make the mousse:

Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water.

In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to the boil, simmer for 3-4 minutes and remove from the heat. Add the gelatin, which will dissolve immediately.

Peel and coarsely dice the mango and place in a liquidiser with the juice and zest of half orange. Reduce to a purée.

Place the cream in a large bowl and whisk to ribbon stage.

Add the syrup/gelatin and whisk in.

With a metal spoon, beat in the mango purée.

Layer mousse- about 1” inch thick and smooth out with rubber spatula. Pour room temperature gel. Make gel while cake is cooling so you can pour it over the mousse it a liquid state. Allow to set at least 2-4 hours. Best results if allowed to rest overnight.

And this is what I ended up with.

Image

It survived a train journey to mums and being taken out of the cake tin, and although the topping did leak down the side of the cake a little, I was happy with it for a first try, and the verdict was YUM!

Image

Crouching Tiger Hidden Zebra

20th August

Arriving home the other night I wandered into the lounge to find the housemate watching the TV as per usual. Distracted by his online poker he had left the TV on BBC and Lorraine Pascale’s Fast Fresh and Easy Food was starting. I sat transfixed for the next 30 mins, apparently breaking silence to mutter ‘ooo I could give that a go’ or ‘ooo we could have that for your leaving do’. But what inspired me the most was her ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Zebra’ cake, which I decided to make this week. The recipe wasn’t available online and I hadn’t thought to write it down, so I made a basic sponge cake recipe:

Ingredients:

2 medium eggs

75g caster sugar

75g self-raising flour

Heat oven to 180ºC, 350ºF, Gas Mark 4. Grease an 18 cm (7 inch) cake tin.

I whizzed all this together in the food processer and poured it into a freezer bag and tied it at the end. I then made the mixture again but put on 65g of self-raising flour, and 10g of sifted cocoa powder in. Whizzed again and into another freezer bag.

This is where it gets messy, snip the corners of each freezer bag, and picking one colour, pipe a circle into the middle of the cake tin. Then using the other colour pipe another circle into that. Continue, alternating colours until the tin is full, you will probably have some mix left over. It should look like this:

Before the oven

 

Pop it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Cool and eat. I added a layer of butter cream onto the top of the cake as I thought it was bit dry. The cake tasted good but was strangely bouncy; perhaps I will try with plain flour and baking powder next time.

A zebra in a cake?!

Poker food [face]

4th August Poker Food

Any social occasion and you will find me in the kitchen baking or cooking up a storm. The word guests seems to signal to me that this is an occasion to cook for a bunch of people, which takes the pressure off you having to eat it all yourself, after all I don’t want to spend my entire life in a zumba class. We were hosting the regular poker night round ours, and last time I had been accused of making food that wasn’t manly enough. So I quickly whipped up some classic cheese straws from the Be-ro cookbook, adding small chopped bits of fried bacon into half of the mix, to change it up a bit. No photos, I forgot and they were gobbled up so fast I lost the chance. I’ve been making them in various forms since I was about 6 and my Gran taught me how. She taught me most of what I see as staple family foods, Yorkshire puddings, cheese straws, flapjacks, and of course fruitcake. Everytime I visited my Gran as a student she would send me home with a fruitcake that would then last me the term. I’ve taking them camping, eaten them at the cinema, there is nothing more comforting than fruitcake, especially when just out of the oven mmm.  The recipe can be found on the be-ro website if you don’t have access to the 1970s original cookbook.

Anyway.Now that the manly food was out of the way I could concentrate on experimenting with some classics. The week before I had eaten an AMAZING flapjack at a hotel in Somerset, moist, chewy and packed full of dry fruit, it was divine. I wanted flapjacks. I followed this basic recipe found on BBC Food, and added in half a bag of Whitworths dried fruit. I made far too many, but the boys ate them during the week and I took some for my girlfriends on our Dorset mini break, so it went down well. Once again the recipe is a Lorraine Pascale, somewhat a theme for me at the moment, I am somewhat in awe of the woman.

Ingredients

  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 175g/6oz golden syrup
  • 175g/6oz muscovado sugar
  • 350g/12oz porridge oats
  • ½ lemon, finely grated zest
  • pinch ground ginger

 I also added nutmeg and dried fruit.

Preparation method

  • Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat. Dip a brush in the butter and brush the baking tin with a little bit of it. Add the golden syrup and sugar to the butter and heat gently. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, lemon zest and ginger.
  • Pack the mixture into the baking tin and squash down. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Once cooked, remove from the oven, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a chopping board and cut into squares.

Ta da! (i didn’t win at poker 😦 )

Image

 

Graffiti and East London delights

So I’ve been writing these posts for a while now, but never found the time to upload them, so please forgive the sudden burst of posts. I love to bake and cook, always have; it’s a fantastic way to de-stress. As I finish my PhD my housemates will testify that there are more and more baked goods appearing on the coffee table. It’s not really the act of eating the finished thing that I’m that bothered about, but the process that goes into making something wonderful. I’ve started trying to make something new about once a month alongside other cooking and baking and these experiments will be posted here, hopefully all successful, but sometimes not. These are the experiments from the last few months.

July 15th 2012

I regularly meet up with an old school friend and we do some photography in London, choosing a different theme each time. This Sunday’s theme was ‘urban’ London, and we had decided to hit East London and photograph some of the amazing graffiti that can be found there. In a rather anti-graffiti move I found an iphone app with a map which pointed you toward graffiti hotspots. Its somewhat the antithesis of graffiti BUT it was incredibly useful and stopped us spending too much time searching. My friend is also a foodie, working in the food industry, so our get togethers are always interspersed with the search for some good food/new coffee shops etc. We stumbled upon this amazing little coffee bar in the bottom floor space of the design agency Protein; the coffee bar is run by DunneFrankowski. The guy (one cute half of DunneFrankowski) was really passionate and knowledgeable about coffee and it was a delight watching him work, and listening to him recommend coffee to my friend. Unfortunately I do not like coffee, and possibly rather insultingly asked if he could do me a tea. Thankfully he had some Darjeeling and produced a very aesthetically pleasing, and tasty cup of tea.

Refreshed we hit the streets again and after an hour or so, stumbled onto Brick Lane. I’ve never actually been on market day and it was a real experience to nosey at some of the bric a brac you could pick up, I wanted everything and needed nothing. Again we stumbled into a really paired down coffee shop Brick Lane Coffee Shop, very basic with an emphasis on the drinks and food and ordered the most divine slice of red velvet cake. I wanted to die.

Brick Lane Coffee Shop’s Red Velvet

 

Stumbling out of there, bellies full I remembered I had wanted to pick up some bagels, not just a few, a dozen and where better to go than Beigel Bakery, the queue than generally run outs of the door is a testament to the cheapness and the yummyness of these bagels. Buy and load and freeze them is my tip, then just eat them as you need, or in my case eat bagels all week.

So back home, inspired by the graffiti I remembered I had wanted to try Lorraine Pascale’s graffiti cake that I had seen on Saturday Kitchen the other morning. Now I’ve managed to loose the exact recipe but here is an Americanised version of it:

For the cake:

  • 7 ounces butter, softened, plus more for greasing
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

FOR THE SUGAR SYRUP:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM:

  • 3 1/2 sticks or 28 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 7 cups powdered sugar

FOR THE GRAFFITI:

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup liquid glucose, available in specialty baking stores
  • Food coloring
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Where I differed is I used golden syrup and not liquid glucose, it worked just as well though you have to be careful not to burn it.

So whizz all of the cake ingredients together and divide into two round cake tins. Bake for 20-30 mins at 180 degrees Celsius. Cool and then put them in the freezer for about five minutes. In the meantime make the sugar syrup.

Remove the cakes from the freezer and brush both tops with sugar syrup and put in the fridge. Meanwhile make the butter cream by whisking all the ingredients together. I used icing sugar where it says powdered sugar. Remove the cake from the fridge and place it on a cake stand. Use a bit of the butter cream between the cake stand and the bottom cake to make it stay. Spread the top of one cake with butter cream. Sandwich the other cake on top. Then set to work covering the whole thing in the rest of the butter cream, using a knife to smooth it all off.

Leave aside and put all the sugar syrup ingredients in a pan, boil, and then simmer for around 10-15 minutes being careful not to burn the mixture. Pour into a measuring jug. Lay out a long sheet of baking paper on a surface making sure it is the same circumference as the cake. The carefully pour the slightly cooled syrup onto the baking paper making graffiti patterns that are continuous and the same height as the cake. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then gently peel off the baking paper, use a knife if needs be. It should come away in one long piece, which you can wrap around the cake and cut off any excess. Ta da!!

Graffiti cake

So I liked the look of mine, and the cake tasted yummy, but I burnt the syrup, so after this photo was taken I peeled it off and we just ate the cake.