Chocca Mocca Traybake

Chocca Mocca Cake
This is a simple, lightly coffee sponge tray-bake with a chocolate topping and sprinkled with toasted nuts. I tried a ‘Cappuccino’ cake at a cake sale and it was absolutely delicious so I thought I’d try to replicate it. However, it had a white chocolate, buttercream type topping, sprinkled with chocolate powder. My cake turned out quite different as I didn’t have any white chocolate available but it is very light and quite delicious.

Chocca Mocca Traybake

Ingredients:-

225g Self-Raising Flour

1 Teaspoon Baking POwder

2 Teaspoons Cocoa

225g Butter, softened

4 Eggs, medium beaten

5 Teaspoons Coffee granules dissolved in a little hot water

Method:-

Pre heat the oven to 180c and prepare a 20cm tray bake tin.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Beat the butter, eggs and coffee together then stir in the dry ingredients.

Bake for  approximately 30-40 minutes.

Ingredients for the topping:-

125g Chocolate icing sugar

150g Milk Chocolate cake covering

50g Butter

1 Tablespoon Black treacle

1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract

Method for the topping:-

Heat all the ingredients, stirring well until melted, in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.

Allow to cool and then spread over the cooled cake.

To decorate the cake I toasted 150g chopped, mixed nuts and sprinkled over the top of the cake.

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Baking and technology

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Baking with an Acer Iconia A1 Tablet

I have recently discovered the Acer Iconia A1 Tablet. I wouldn’t call myself a technological person and have generally been happy with my laptop and a mobile phone and think of myself as more of an artistic / creative person. I bake, make and create cakes and enjoy a creative life. What I’ve just discovered though is a creative girl’s best friend.
I’ve spent the past two weeks playing with an Acer Iconia A1 Tablet after I was kindly sent it to try. What I discovered is that I can search for recipes and pictures, ideas and inspiration as well as download You Tube tutorials, magazines and books and cake decorating apps!
The 7.9” screen is a perfect size to view while I’m actually baking which is a revelation as I usually struggle to see things on my phone. I like to be able to keep looking at the pictures as I work, particularly when I’m making sugar flowers and models for the top of cakes. And yes, although I have lots of recipe books I am always looking for new ideas and recipes.
I can also store documents so can keep all my new recipe ideas together and of course take photo’s of my newly baked creations. The battery lasts for 7.5 hours and the fact that it is big enough to see everything clearly and small enough to hold in one hand makes it the perfect accessory to take everywhere. I often need to show my cake creations and can create a scrumptious looking slideshow as well as check back to my recommended cake portions and sizes.
I can check out emails, play music, check out ‘Amazing Wedding Cakes’ and play with any number of other apps. Alas, I think my poor trusty old laptop may not be coming out so often – it’s just so much easier to keep the tablet close to hand.
You can find out all about the Acer Tablet and see more information and Iconia A1 Review.
This weekend I created a ‘Beatrix Potter Cake’ for my granddaughter, featuring Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Mrs. Tittlemouse. I used the tablet to find pictures from her stories as well as finding cake ideas and modelling tips. The cake was a vanilla sponge with strawberry jam and strawberry chocolate ganache filling (I used 100g of Silver Spoon Strawberry Chocolate drops along with white chocolate). I think she was thrilled with the result!

Created with Nokia Smart CamCreated with Nokia Smart Cam
NB. I was sent an Acer Iconia A1 Tablet to try but was not paid or asked to give any particular view point. Everything I have written is my own unbiased point of view and I only include comments which I believe are of use to others who may read my blog and enjoy similar things to myself.

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Lemon Curd Rolls for Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea doesn’t have to be a grand affair. Sometimes it’s just simply enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake outside on a sunny afternoon. Having some home-made cake available for just those occasions is something I love. As a child it was always a delight to visit my grandmother who always kept home-made cake in a tin. It was just the done thing to have cake available should anyone visit.

I love trying new recipes and recently found several afternoon tea recipes to try out at Baking Mad. This weekend I attempted their Lemon Curd Rolls recipe. I’m not quite sure if mine turned out exactly as they should have as they kind of melted together during baking and became more of a deliciously lemony cake more than separate rolls.

However, this resulting ‘cake’ was something quite scrumptiously moreish and just the thing to go with a cup of tea in the garden. It’s exactly the sort of cake to keep in a tin and serve to any fortunate visitor as it’s just a little denser than a sponge and has lots of lovely lemon curd layered inside to give it moisture. The simplicity of this bake also means it’s one to come back to time and time again.

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I do believe in using good quality ingredients when baking and I’m sure that makes the difference between a good home-baked cake and a shop bought cake. Baking Mad recipes recommend using specific ingredients in their cake recipes and I was only too happy to follow this as I would use those items anyway. They recommend using Billington’s sugar, Allinson’s flour, Neilson Massey Lemon Extract and Silver Spoon icing sugar in the recipe I tried. I also used my own home-made lemon curd and local farm fresh free range eggs.

I was also pleased to see that Baking Mad have some lovely looking scone recipes for me to try. I recently visited Australia and tried a new scone recipe from over there but I have yet to decide on my favourite one. My scone research continues as they are always a favourite for afternoon tea but a great scone can be hard to find!

I bought all the ingredients I used myself and chose the recipe so everything I have written is my own opinion. I have received some other items in the post to try out some more Baking Mad recipes for which I am very grateful:)
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Little lemon drizzle heart cakes

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……..Just time to take a cup of tea and a lovely lemony drizzle cake into the garden and enjoy the sun!

 

These lovely little heart shaped cakes are simply cut with a heart shaped cutter from a lemon drizzle tray bake and look perfect served on vintage china.

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5 fun ways to decorate your cake!

The Artistry of Baking

5 fun ways to decorate your cake

If you ask a stranger if they rather like cooking or baking, his answer is most likely going to be cooking. People who prefer cooking will all agree with food writer Danielle Oteri that following directions and exact measurements is a pain. Although both are forms of culinary arts, it’s cooking that’s more so an art and baking as a science. The artistry of baking really comes after the cake is out of the oven. And for all those bakers, both aspiring and professional, decorating the cakes is the best part of the whole process.
Just like M&S ’s head of cake development Helen Brennan is “always on the lookout for new icing and decorating techniques,” you should be too. There are plenty of ways to personalise cakes, and no baker should just limit themselves with buttercream frosting as the finishing touch to their final product.
Here are some simple yet imaginative ways to decorate your cake:

Add fondant shapes

Use cookie cutters on already rolled out fondant icing to create shapes for your cake or even cupcakes. Fondant dries out pretty quickly so it’s best to seal the leftovers with plastic wrap.

Make a polka dot cake

To make add charm to your layered cake, try adding polka dots! Not only are they fun but they also do a nice job of hiding whatever flaws there are in the cake’s icing. To keep those dots neat, remember to hold the pastry bag in both hands. The tip should be at a slight angle just above the cake’s surface. Then squeeze gently, release, and pull back.

Sprinkle sanding sugar

Place a stencil of your cake and dust away with the colours of your choice using a spoon. Remember, before placing the stencil, the cake should have already been frosted and refrigerated for a couple of hours.

Instead of any additional icing…

Fruits, nuts, and some store bought cookies are great, inventive, and easier ways to decorate a cake. Nuts can be crushed and sprinkled on top or even line the edges of the cake. Sliced berries and cream filled sandwich cookies could serve as embellishments.

Or if you’re looking to just frost the cake after baking…

Try using the teaspoon technique on the cake frosting. All you have to do is make “S” shapes with a teaspoon. If you mess up, simply start over by smoothening out the frosting.

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Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

These cupcakes are deliciously moist and chocolatey! The topping is made with soft cheese and chocolate which gives a lightness and ensures that the whole thing isn’t too rich. They are perfect for an Easter treat and could, of course, have added decorations for extra scrumptiousness :)

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Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

90g Butter, softened

150g Caster Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs, beaten

150g Self Raising Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

45g Cocoa Powder

140 ml Whole Milk

12 Squares Milk Chocolate

Method

Preheat the oven to 160c

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Fold the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together. Slowly add the eggs to the butter, sugar and vanilla, and then fold in the dry ingredients. Carefully mix in the milk.

Pour into cupcake cases in a 12 whole tin. Place one piece of chocolate carefully just into the top of each cupcake and then bake for about twenty minutes.

Topping

200g Soft Cheese

50g Butter, softened

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

400g Icing Sugar

50g Dark Chocolate

Beat the soft cheese and butter together well with the vanilla. Carefully fold in the icing sugar and then beat well for a few minutes until completely combined. Melt the chocolate and then cool a little. Fold in the chocolate. It can be mixed in completely or just swirled in. Make sure the topping is completely cool and then pipe onto the top of the cooked and cooled cupcakes.

Decorate as you wish or just devour as they are!

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Lovely Lemony Layer Cake for Mothers’ Day

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This is a lovely lemony drizzle layer cake filled with fresh cream and lemon curd and then covered with buttercream and decorated.

Find the recipe for the cake here

To make the buttercream beat 200g soft cheese, 50g butter and a tiny dot of your chosen food colouring. To make lemon buttercream, add the zest of two lemons. Slowly add 400g icing sugar and when it’s all folded in beat well for a few minutes until really smooth. Using a palette knife spread the buttercream all over the cake.

This cake is covered with petals made from sugar-paste using a hydrangea petal cutter. The sugar-paste was coloured with tiny dots of pink to make different shades. They were rolled out a little on the edges and dusted with some rose food powder colouring to enhance the shading.

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Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

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Recipe for Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Ingredients:

200g Crushed Digestive Biscuits

75g Cocoa Powder

150g Unsalted Butter

900g Cream Cheese

4 Eggs

200g Dark Chocolate

Zest and Juice of Two Oranges

Method:

Preheat the oven to 160 c.

For the base, melt the butter in a pan and add the cocoa powder, blending well. Stir in the finely crushed biscuits then press the mixture into a greased 8″ loose bottom cake tin. Press down well and place in the fridge to cool.

Beat the four eggs, cream cheese and caster sugar together well with the zest and juice of the two oranges. Pour this mixture over the cooled base and place in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The cheesecake should be still very slightly wobbly in the middle and will set when cool.

This would make a lovely Easter bake and could be decorated with grated chocolate swirls or even mini chocolate eggs.

This recipe was adapted from one in the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. The Hummingbird Bakery was opened by Tarek Malouf in Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill in 2004. He wanted to replicate the delicious cakes and desserts found in the USA, particularly New York. The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is packed full of mouth-watering recipes from this unique bakery. I love the Carrot Cake and the absolutely scrumptious Hummingbird Cake. Packed with mashed bananas, pecans and pineapple, it’s a moist and delicious family favourite. Another of my favourites is the Brooklyn Blackout Cake made with three layers of chocolate sponge, filled and covered with a chocolate custard and finished with a fine topping of chocolate cake crumbs.

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Recipe for Hummingbird Cake:- http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/tropical_fruit_cake_01471

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Cupcakes

SAM_4104For a Valentine’s Day treat take an ordinary chocolate cupcake and make it extraordinary with some simple decorations!

You can find a chocolate cupcake recipe here:-

Fearne’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Topping by @FoodNetwork_UK

To decorate your cupcakes roll out some coloured sugar-paste – I used red and white. I used three different sized heart shaped cutters and embossed them with a pattern pressed onto them. I piped ‘love’ onto some and sprinkled with edible glitter.

 

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Gorgeous Giant Cupcakes

Giant cupcakes are fabulous for a tea party celebration – they are fairly easy to bake and decorate and can look and taste simply amazing. Ruth Clemens, at the Pink Whisk has a great Vanilla Giant Cupcake Recipe and shows how to bake the two halves of the cake.

To decorate you will need to allow the cakes to cool completely. First you will need to cover the bottom half with sugar-paste while it is upside down. Cover it completely with a layer of buttercream and smooth this as much as possible. Put the cake in the fridge for about half an hour or until the buttercream has set quite hard. The sugar-paste can then be rolled out, laid over the cake (upside down) and cut round the bottom edge.

This will need to set firmly and is best left for 24 hours. In order to retain moisture, I brush my sponges with syrup while they are still warm. The top one will be best stored in an airtight container while the bottom one will need to be stored in a dry place so it the sugar-paste can dry out. (A syrup can be made with sugar and water or flavourings can be added)

To complete the cake, the bottom half will be turned carefully up the right way. A layer of buttercream is then layered on to the top of this cake and the top cake then sits on top of that. The top can be decorated with swirls of buttercream to look just like a cupcake.

To make a chocolate sponge giant cupcake use the above recipe but substitute 75g of the flour with cocoa powder.

Here are three giant cupcakes I’ve made and decorated…

This is a giant cupcake made from vanilla sponge, filled with peach and apricot preserve and covered with vanilla buttercream and white chocolate sprinkles. The decorations were made from sugar-paste and royal icing. It was made to celebrate ‘prom’ night.

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This is a vanilla and white chocolate birthday giant cupcake…

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This is a chocolate giant cupcake with chocolate buttercream decorated with hot pink gerbera flowers. It had 50 matching cupcakes.

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Here is the tin you’ll need to bake a giant cupcake …

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Here is another great giant cupcake blog post by Laura at Laura Loves Cakes.

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