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Emma x

Category: Cakes

Banana, Cinnamon and Rum Friands

Banana, Cinnamon and Rum Friands

The first time I had a friand was in NYC on an Art trip a couple of years ago . My friends and I found this amazing patisserie shop near where we were staying and consequentially had delicious viennoisserie and patisserie for breakfast every morning. One day I had a raspberry friand – which is basically a chewy but very light cake, and it was so insanely good! I can still remember sitting on a bench in central park, everything turning orange and red because it was on the cusp of autumn, and biting into this moist fruity cake with a delicious chew on it. Since then whenever I’ve made friands they’ve reminded me of my amazing trip and so I thought it was about time I make some and write up a recipe of my own for them.

I’ve always loved the flavour combination of cinnamon and banana, so I thought this in a  friand would be cool. I’ve topped these with  rum icing which is optional but is also very delicious so I’d really recommend trying it out. This icing also goes really well with any sponge cake, crumble or generally warm pudding, so if you make too much just keep it in a pot in the fridge for when you need it! Traditionally these are made in little oval tins, but as I didn’t have a specific financier tin I just used a well-greased muffin tin which seemed to do the trick.

Recipe

Makes 12 Friands

Time: 20 minutes, plus cooking time

Ingredients

For the Friand

  • 55g Ground almonds
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • 30g Plain flour
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon
  • A large pinch of Salt
  • 50g Butter, melted
  • 3 large Egg whites
  • 2 large Bananas

For the rum caramel icing

  • 60g Butter
  • 75g Light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Whole milk
  • 1 tbsp Rum
  • 100g Icing sugar

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C and then grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter.
  2. Now make the cake mixture. Put the ground almonds, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and whisk together. Add the melted butter and egg whites to the mix and whisk until smooth.
  3. Take one of the bananas and mash it in a bowl with a fork. Then add it to the mix and whisk it in.
  4. Then take the other banana and slice it into slices the thickness of a £1 coin. Put one of these slices into the bottom of each of the muffin holes. Top with an ice cream scoop of the cake mixture and then bake the firands in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown on top and cooked all the way through (a knife or skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean).
  5. Take a knife and run it round the edge of the cakes to loosen them from the tin and then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  6. Now make the icing. Put the butter into small pan and melt gently. Then add the sugar and heat whilst stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  7. Add the milk and bring to the boil. Then remove from the heat and add the rum. Stir and then leave to cool to room temperature.
  8. Once cooled add the icing sugar to the mixture and stir to make a smooth icing. Pour the icing into a pipping bag with a small nozzle and then drizzle over the friands.  Serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” – Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland.

We’re at the end of book themed month (where did that go?!) and so I’ve decided to end like we started and do a week of recipes themed around one book – this time that good old favourite Alice in Wonderland! I’m from Oxford and there’s loads of Lewis Carrol references around the city that I’ve been trotted around since I was very young, so I’ve always had a fondness for this crazy story. Although it’s technically a children’s book I think the actual themes and plot are pretty incomprehensible and I remember being really confused with it as a kid, but re-reading the book now in my early adult years I’m finding it much more insightful and interesting.

So, back to why we’re here, the food! When doing an Alice in Wonderland themed week on a food blog it’s kinda compulsory to do a Mad Hatter’s tea party so that’s what we have. This is an all bells and whistles afternoon tea, but you could scale it back if you don’t want to spend two days baking. If you really don’t want to bake that much you could just take inspiration from what I’ve put together and buy the elements from a shop. I have to admit to being sooo tempted to just buy a bakewell tart on my way out of the shop when I was buying the ingredients for this! In my opinion a ‘complete’ afternoon tea needs…

• Finger sandwiches

• Scones

• Some kind of cake

• Some kind of biscuit

• Something made out of choux pastry (e.g a profiterole)

• Something made out of Shortcrust pastry (e.g a tart)

• And of course lots of tea!

I’ll be posting a recipe a day which you’ll be able to find on the main page of my blog, or on this post where I’ll be collating all the links…

First up is the base of all afternoon teas – finger sandwiches!

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches

Scones

Banana, Cinnamon and Rum Friands

Bakewell Tartlets

Passion Fruit and Chocolate Profiteroles

Chocolate Ginger Biscuit Shards

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Mirror Glaze Chocolate Gateau  

Mirror Glaze Chocolate Gateau  

I’m back to what I really love making – complex patisserie! Being the massive baking nerd that I am I love making things like this that take ages but look really cool once finished. This gateau is mirror glazed, which is a kind of icing that has a gorgeous reflective finish. I always find something really elegant about mirror glazed things and when done right they can look really professional. They also have this deceptive, exterior simplicity to them which is broken when they’re cut into and all the layers, colour and textures pour out, like the doors being opened to a vibrant party.

The trick when making something like this is just to take your time and to not rush any of the steps. I actually made this one over three days, partly because I was a bit busy and so I was making elements whenever I had some free time. This meant that I could leave each element to set completely which was really useful for when it came to assembling, although it would also be possible to make this in a single day if you wanted to.

Recipe

Serves 10

Time: 3 1/2 hours plus lots of chilling

Ingredients

For the Brownie

  • 55g Butter
  • 70g Dark chocolate
  • 1 Medium egg
  • 70g Caster sugar
  • 15g Plain flour

For the Jelly

  • 200g Frozen Strawberries
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 Leaves of Gelatine

For the Crispy layer

  • 100g Cornflakes
  • 50g Milk chocolate

For the Mousse

  • 3 1/2 Leaves of Gelatine
  • 175g Milk chocolate
  • 175g Dark chocolate
  • 220ml Milk
  • 350ml Double cream

For the Glaze

  • 150ml Double cream
  • 135g Caster sugar
  • 60g Cocoa powder
  • 3 Leaves of Gelatine

To Decorate

  • 2 Fresh strawberries

Method

  1. Begin by making the brownie. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 12.5 cm round tin with butter and baking paper.
  2. Put the butter and chocolate into a glass bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and leave to melt.
  3. In another bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Pour in the chocolate mixture and stir together until smooth. Add the flour and mix it in until everything is combined.
  4. Pour the brownie mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until a crispy top has formed and the cake is still a little gooey. Take the cake out of the tin and then leave it to cool until needed.
  5. To make the jelly put the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar into a pan and bring to the boil. Then leave to simmer until the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries have become a mush (about 15 minutes).
  6. In another bowl leave the gelatine to soak in some cold water for 5 minutes, until it’s soft and flexible.
  7. Blend the strawberry mix into a puree with a hand blender and then add the gelatine to the warm mixture. Stir until the gelatine is completely dissolved and then leave to cool.
  8. Line a 12.5 cm round tin with cling film and then pour the cooled jelly mix into the tin. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours or until needed.
  9. Next make the crispy layer. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  10. Pour the melted chocolate into a bowl with the cornflakes and mix everything together until the flakes are completely coated in the chocolate.
  11. Line a 12.5 cm round tin with clingfilm again like you did with the jelly, and then tip the cornflake mixture into the tin. Even the layer out with a spoon so that it’s relatively flat. Then leave to cool/set and leave to one side until needed.
  12. When everything’s ready (the brownie, jelly and crispy layer) you’re ready to make the mousse. Put the gelatine into a bowl with some cold water and leave to soak.
  13. Finely chop the chocolate until it’s the texture of a broken up ice cream flake. Then transfer the chocolate to a bowl.
  14. Heat the milk in a pan until it reaches a boil. Take the pan off the heat, squeeze the gelatine to remove excess water and then stir it into the milk until dissolved. Then pour the warm milk over the chocolate to melt it and stir to make sure it’s smooth. Set aside to cool.
  15. Pour the cream into a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. When the chocolate mix is completely cool, fold the whipped cream into the mixture until the colour is even and the mixture is smooth.
  16. Line a 17.5 cm tin with clingfilm. Pour a little of the mousse mixture into the lined tin so that it just covers the base. Leave the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes to set this layer.
  17. Once set, carefully place the jelly layer in the centre of the entremet. Then top the jelly layer with the brownie and then the crispy layer. Pour the rest of the mousse over the layers so that they’re completely covered. Then leave everything in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours, or better overnight.
  18. When ready make the glaze. Put the cream, sugar, cocoa and 150ml water into a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to the boil and then leave for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  19. Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water for about 5 minutes, until flexible. Squeeze out the excess water and then add the gelatine to the glaze and stir to dissolve.
  20. Cool the glaze down to 38˚C and then it’s ready to use. This can take a while so I’ve found that transferring it into another bowl and whisking it every so often will help! Sieve the glaze to make it super smooth.
  21. Unmould your gateau and place it on a wire rack with a large roasting tin underneath to catch the excess glaze that will drip off. Then pour the glaze over the cake so it evenly covers the gateau. Leave the gateau for 30 minutes to allow the glaze to set slightly.
  22. Quarter your strawberries and then place them around the top of the gateau. Serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Chocolate Ginger Chequerboard Cake

Chocolate Ginger Chequerboard Cake

Here comes the return of the chequerboard cake. I know I made one of these a while ago, but trust me, this one’s even better! The other day it was my godmother’s birthday so I made her this for the occasion – a four layer, chocolate and ginger chequerboard cake. Making really big, elegant cakes is one of my favourite things, but as they’re often for special occasions you want them to look perfect, and over the years I’ve found that these are really one of those things that you just need to practise in order to make really well. As a result I’ve constantly straddled the line between having slightly messy cakes and having way too much cake in my life. Therefore when the occasion comes round to make cakes for other people I leap at the opportunity, as it’s great practise and also a great way of showing someone how much they mean to you!

Most of the photos I have of the chequerboard inside this one are pretty dark and weirdly lit from this light-filled bottle next to it, but it still shows a little of what it’d look like when it’s cut into. A great thing about these kinda cakes is that they look really impressive as they are, and then when they’re cut into they have this surprise pattern inside, so you’ll get a lot of ooos and ahhhhhs! This one is also the first cake I’ve ever managed to get with really smooth icing. I’ve finally developed a good icing recipe which is the perfect consistency and will set really well. This means that with two layers of icing, a crumb coat and a finish coat, you can get a really professional finish!

The two cakes in this are also so insanely moist that they practically melt in the mouth and are packed full of flavour. Chocolate and ginger are two of my favourite cake flavours, so for me when they’re slotted in together the result is insane! Chequerboard cakes can be made with pretty much any combo of flavours though, as long as they go well together and have contrasting enough colours to make the pattern stand out. If chocolate and ginger isn’t your thing I’d recommend chocolate and vanilla, almond and raspberry, mint and chocolate, or anything else that takes your fancy.

Recipe

Serves 15

Time: 3 hours, plus chilling and baking time

Ingredients

For the chocolate cake

  • 180g Unsalted butter
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 240g Plain flour
  • 280g Caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarb
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 142ml Greek yoghurt
  • 142ml Milk

For the ginger cake

  • 140g Butter
  • 300g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarb
  • 5 tsp Ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Mixed spice
  • 140g Light brown sugar
  • 290g Golden syrup
  • 300ml Milk
  • 1 Large egg

For the chocolate ginger icing

  • 300g Unsalted butter
  • 600g Icing sugar
  • 150g Dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ½ tsp Ground ginger

For the filling

  • 300ml Double cream
  • 25g Icing sugar
  • ½ tbsp Vanilla bean paste

For the chocolate drip

  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 75ml Double cream

To Decorate

  • Crystallised ginger
  • Anything else you like (biscuits, sparklers, candles, chocolates etc.)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line four 7.5 inch cake tins.
  2. First make the chocolate cake. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  3. In a bowl mix the flour, sugar, bicarb and cocoa together.
  4. In another bowl whisk together the egg and yoghurt. Add this mixture and the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, along with 100ml boiling water. Whisk quickly until combined and then pour this into two of the lined tins.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean once inserted. Leave the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks and leaving to cool.
  6. Now make the ginger cake. Put the butter, flour, bicarb and spices into a large bowl. Cut the butter up into the flour with a round-bladed knife. When you can’t cut the chunks of butter any smaller go in with your hands and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips. Shake the bowl from side to side every so often to get the bigger lumps of butter coming to the top, and rub these in until the whole mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  7. Then put the sugar, syrup and milk into a small pan and heat whilst stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Then stop stirring and bring the mixture up to the boil.
  8. Crack the egg into the flour mix. Then pour the syrup into the flour mix, a little at a time, whisking in between additions.
  9. When fully combined pour the mix into the lined tins and bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Take out of the tin and leave to cool on wire racks.
  10. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream icing. Beat the butter and icing sugar until smooth. Then add the melted dark chocolate and ground ginger, and mix until fully combined. Spoon the icing into a piping bag, fitted with a round nozzle.
  11. To prepare the filling put the cream, icing sugar and vanilla into a bowl and gently whisk until it just holds it’s shape. Then spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle and leave in the fridge until needed.
  12. Now start assembling. Lay your cakes out on a board and compare the heights of them. They should all be the same, but if they’re not use a serrated knife to level them so they’re all the same thickness. This will mean that the rings will be the same height as they cakes they’re put into in the next step.
  13. Take a 5 and 2.5 inch smooth, round cookie cutter. Then in all four cakes cut out a circle from the centre with the 5 inch cutter, and then take the 2.5 inch cutter and cut a circle out of the 5 inch piece.
  14. Take the middle ring out of each cake and swap it into a cake of the other type (so the chocolate rings will go into the ginger cakes and visa versa).
  15. Take your icing and put a little on the cake board or plate you’re going to be presenting on, this will stop the cake from sliding around. Then put one of the cakes that has two rings of chocolate and one of ginger and put it in the centre of the cake. Pipe 1/3 of the cream in the pipping bag over the top and smooth it over with a palette knife.
  16. Then put one of the cakes which has two ginger rings and one chocolate on top and repeat with the cream and the other layers of cake, but with the final layer of cake don’t top with cream.
  17. Now make the crumb coat of icing. This is the first layer which aims to trap the crumbs and stop them from getting into your final icing finish. Take your chocolate icing and spoon 1/2 of it over the top of the cake. Then use a palette knife to gently work the icing around the sides of the cake. Smooth the icing as best you can so that it’s even, but don’t worry about it looking too finished at this stage. Then put it in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
  18. When set, take the cake out again and repeat with the icing, this time making sure that the finish is super smooth and glossy. (A palette knife and turn table is really helpful for this!) Keep any excess icing for later and leave the cake in the fridge until needed.
  19. Now make the chocolate drip icing. Chop the chocolate finely and put it into a bowl. Then put the cream into a pan and heat gently. When the cream just starts to boil take it off the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Stir to combine and to help melt the chocolate. Then leave it for a couple of minutes so that it thickens up enough to be pourable but not runny.
  20. Pour the drip icing into a piping bag with a small round nozzle. Then gently pipe around the top edge of the cake, letting uneven drips roll down the cake.
  21. Take the excess icing from earlier and put it into a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle. Pipe rosettes around the edge of the cake so that the join of the chocolate drips to the icing is hidden.
  22. Top with the crystallised ginger and any other decorations you want (e.g ginger biscuits, candles or sparklers). Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Peanut Butter Blondies

Peanut Butter Blondies

Blooondieeeeeees! Here comes the insanely underrated cousin of the brownie. These have the crisp top and chewy texture of the best brownie imaginable, but instead are flavoured with peanuts and little chunks of sweet white chocolate. I made these a while ago, and then realised I forgot to write down the recipe. So when it came round to doing a blog post on them I was like ‘ah man, how the hell did I make these before??’ Luckily though I think I’ve worked out what I did to get this amazing texture, and they’re now better than ever – but I guess the only way to know for yourself is to make a batch!

Recipe

Makes 16 squares

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 50g Butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g Peanut Butter
  • 200g White chocolate, chopped roughly
  • 190g Plain flour
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 200g Light brown sugar
  • 100g Golden caster sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla bean paste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Take a 21 x 21cm tin and line with butter and baking paper.
  3. Put the butter, peanut butter and ½ the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave to melt. Take off the heat and leave to cool until needed.
  4. Then put the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Take another bowl and put in the sugars and the eggs. Whisk with an electric hand whisk until the mixture is thick and pale, about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Pour the chocolate mixture and vanilla into the egg mix and fold together. Sieve in the flour and then add the chunks of white chocolate. Fold everything together again until fully combined.
  7. Pour the mixture into your lined tin and smooth it over with a spatula so it’s an even thickness.
  8. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the blondies comes out clean.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin and then cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x