Themed cakes part deux

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


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


For the cake:

4 cups Butter, room temperature

3 cups 

2 cup 
sour cream


6 cups
 self-raising flour

1.5 cup
 unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons 
baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cup

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.


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.


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


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


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



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



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


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.