I feel awful! Ok so I have man-flu, which is not the worst thing in the world. There’s Cholera, of course. That’s it.
But before I began to feel like death, I managed to whip up an experimental creation using the following special ingredient:
That’s right! I’ll be making a cheesecake with pink wafer biscuits. I’ve checked the whole internet (including some very dark, niche areas therein) and I cannot find evidence of this anywhere. I feel like I’m breaking new ground, like Marie Curie or an Earthquake.
I’ve never actually made a cheesecake before, so I decided to keep it simple and go with vanilla. I had thought about doing a strawberry or rosewater one, but on reflection realized that, like the Cheshire Cat, it would make one quite giddy. And I need to start limiting the stereotypes-per-post.
The thing about cheesecake is, you have to chill it. For FRICKING AGES. So the first slice was a little sloppy, as it had only been in the fridge for an hour. And don’t you say anything, I only did it because my nan’s blood sugar was low. Bet you’re feeling guilty now (*smug*).
It was finally done, and actually tasted divine, much to my surprise. There was a delightful bite to the biscuit base, and you could taste the pinkness, which is one of the special powers they give you when you join the gay club (we also get discounts at garden centres).
Right, I’ll probably have to have my spleen removed or something, so I won’t be back till after the weekend. I have some bananas that are on the turn, so I’ll think of something to do with them (suggestions welcome). Here’s the recipe I used, although I had to add some more biscuit/butter as I was using a larger pan than usual.
Pink Wafer Vanilla Cheesecake
200g Pink Wafer Biscuits
50g caster sugar
750g Full Fat (no dieters here) cream cheese
150g Icing Sugar (plus more to taste)
1tsp Vanilla Extract
Equipment: 9-Inch spring form cake tin, 2 bowls, a mixing spoon, some non-stick greaseproof paper, a sealable sandwich bag and something heavy.
1. Put the biscuits into a sandwich bag and take out your sexual frustration on them they are a fine dust. Add the sugar and mix around.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour it over the biscuits/sugar, mixing until it binds together
3. Line a 9-inch spring form cake tin with butter and non-stick greaseproof paper. This is a necessary step, I found out later.
4. Spread the base mix evenly and press down. Put in the fridge to chill for 30 mins or so.
5. Meanwhile, put the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla into a bowl and mix until smooth and all the sugar has been absorbed. Taste a little, and add more icing sugar if you prefer it sweeter.
6. Once the base is chilled, spoon the cream over it, and smooth it flat, or make a design of your choice! This is exciting.
7. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Trust me, it will be worth it.
8. Remove from tin and serve. If you don’t eat all of it (a laughable thought) store it in the fridge.
You can obviously chop and change the cheese bit, lemon would be nice. And if I did it again, I think I would top it with popping candy, to make it even more different. If you prefer a deeper, smaller cheesecake, use an 8 inch pan and slightly fewer biscuits, say 160g.
Have a good weekend!
I’m back! Sorry for being away, but after an intense week of initial baking, I decided to take stock. Literally, in some cases, as I had a butt ton of cake to get through. Speaking of getting through things, I’m going to have to cut back on the daily posts. I spent £9 on butter alone that week, and the woman in our local shop is beginning to think I’m some sort of deviant. But I love noshing on a good pud, so I’ll try and make this regular.
To christen this return to the land of being judged online, I bought a new toy. It was just halloween, and while everyone and his buzzfeed went crazy over costume ideas, I was browsing through baking ideas. I went to a brilliant halloween party on Saturday night, and I decided to make cake pops for the occasion
Now I know what you’re thinking. What is he doing making those pretentious, taking-over-from-cupcakes, hipster, trendy, nonsense cake lollipops? Well I’m here to tell you that if you can get 12 nice tasting balls for under £15 a pop, you give me the name of that sauna. But seriously they do make a good party dessert, as they can be eaten with one hand and are small enough to seem vaguely refined, which is a first for this blog…
I’ve not taken pictures of the ingredients/equipment, partly because it can come across as patronizing, mostly because I forgot. Above is the finished cake pop, the recipe for which can be found below. I had a bit of a problem getting a rise out of the first batch. You have to heat the machine till it’s very hot, then fill each hole with goo. But bugger me if I could get to the last one before the first had erupted from its hole. I had batter all over the shop, and not in a good way. I worked out that if I used a moist teaspoon (that bedroom staple), I could get the mix in much quicker, and if I pressed the lid down for the first minute of cooking they’d rise into perfectly round undescended testicles.
Decorating was so fun. It’s the sort of thing I could imagine doing as an activity with some children, but I’m such a control freak it would be no fun and I’d probably be accused of running some sort of sweat shop. Anyway, to make eyeballs you’ll need regal icing, you can buy the read rolled or roll it yourself. I chose the last option, because I’m a masochist at heart. You’ll also need red “writing icing” for the veins. Just cover each popper in a thin coating of white icing. Press a small circle of coloured icing (or a smartie) into it and a small round piece of black icing in the middle of that. Draw on some veins and you’re set!
You can use them as decorations in all areas of your home. From the kitchen:
Or even the bathroom:
That’s all for this episode, I’m thinking about a twist on cheese cake, so something experimental will be coming on your faces in the next few days. I know you can’t way 😉
Vanilla Cake Pops Recipe
(Stolen unashamedly from the cake pop machine manual)
Makes around 24 poppers
100g Caster Sugar
50 g Butter
100g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Equipment: a scale, a bowl, another bowl, a metal spoon, 2 teaspoons, a cup of boiling and a measuring jug.
1. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl, and mix together. Most recipes say “until light and fluffy” but I have no idea when that is, so just “mix well”.
2. Add the egg and mix
3. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in the other bowl.
4 Add half of the dry mixture into the wet and combine until you can’t see flour any more.
5. Measure out the milk and add the vanilla to it, stirring until combined.
6. Add milk to the mix and combine. Stir in the rest of the flour.
7. Turn on the cake pop machine, wait until heated (a green light shows when mine is)
8. Meanwhile, boil the kettle and pour a a cup of water. Put the 2 teaspoons into it.
9. Once the machine is hot, quickly and carefully pop a teaspoon of mixture into each hole. Close up and press down for the first minute.
10. Check after 5 minutes, the balls should spring back when prodded slightly. Once they are ready, remove and leave to cool.
That’s all. If you want to make cake pops but don’t want to buy a machine, you can buy a cake pop mould from the tinternet or cookware shops, but I’m a lazy and impatient person 🙂
The Ugly Duckling, Wine, Carol Vorderman, these are all things that became more attractive over time. The same thing happened with today’s cake. The brown sugar gives is a wonderful hue, and the grated apple adds just the right amount of chunks. But you try and stop me licking the bowl.
It was nice to do something more traditionally shaped sponge cake. Something round and thick you can squeeze a bit. It was also refreshing to do an all-in-one cake, just mix the dry, add the wet and stir. Saucy…
I also had to have a go at icing, which I’ve done before but not on this blog. Usually I would wait until the cake is completely cooled, to avoid the icing melting, but Waterloo Road was on, don’t judge me.
A dusting of cocoa made a somewhat ordinary cake… well still pretty ordinary, but nicer to look at.
Right, recipe then bed. I’m up super early tomorrow (it will be painful), to make something nice for a friend, before jumping on a bus to Oxford of all places, to see him. I’ll be there till Saturday night, so no post for Saturday. But don’t despair my honey buns, I’ve got something good in the offing for Sunday, and will be joined by special guest bloggist, MY MUM!
Apple and Walnut Cake with a Coffee and Treacle Icing
(A bloody mouthful, if you ask me)
300g Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
140g Dark Brown Sugar
50g Caster Sugar
250ml Sunflower Oil
3 Unpeeled, Coarsely Grated apples
100g Walnuts, finely chopped.
For the Icing
100g Butter, softened
50g Dark Brown Soft Sugar
1 teaspoon Black Treacle/Golden Syrup
200g Tub full fat soft cheese.
50g Icing Sugar
1 teaspoon of instant coffee, dissolved in 50ml water
A little cocoa, for dusting
1. No music today, dad’s having a nap. You’ll need 1 large bowl, 1 scale, 1 sieve, 1 wooden spoon, 2 x 8 inch sandwich tins, 1 cheese grater, 1 cooling rack. Preheat the oven to 150°C non-fan/130°C fan/gas 2
2. Put the flour, cinnamon, bicarb and sugars into a bowl, and mix well until there are no lumps.
3. Grate the apple, and squeeze out the excess juice.
4. Add them, the oil, and the eggs to the bowl. Mix well.
5. If the walnuts need to be chopped, put them in a food processor and pulse them until fine. Or if you don’t have one, get chopping, and think of me laughing at your misfortune.
6. Rub the sandwich tins with an even layer of sunflower oil. Pour the mixture into the tins, making sure they are equal (roughly). Weigh them if you’re feeling pedantic.
7 Pop them in the oven for 40 minutes, turning halfway through. Check they are done by inserting a sharp knife into the middle of the cakes. They are done if the knife comes out clean.
8 While the cake is in, put all of the ingredients for the icing into a bowl and mix like a mother. Make sure the butter is VERY soft, and don’t be afraid to use an electric mixer if you’re feeling lazy.
9. Take the tins out, leave them to cool for 5 minutes before turning them out onto the cooling rack.
10 Once completely cool, spread one with the icing, sandwich the other, and add the remaining icing on top. Sprinkle with cocoa.
As I sit here watching an episode of Foyle’s war, I’m excited by the memory of my trip to TK-Maxx. It is a wonderful place. Ok, maybe “Better than sex” is a bit of an overstatement by someone who is a little resentful of … HANG ON A CERAMIC CAKE STAND WITH GLASS DOME FOR £16.99??? WHO NEEDS A MAN?!?!
Everything is really good quality, and the reductions are great. I can’t stand the clothes they have in there, but as for cookware, they can do no wrong in my book.
I always feel a little dirty when I get out. I go in with a spring in my step, get way too overexcited, hand over far too much money and end up with something I can’t get rid of. So, like visiting a prostitute, really.
When I got home, i decided to start on the crumble. It always takes me back to my student days (so, 3 months ago) when I would do a crumble for puddings. It’s super easy, adaptable, cheap, tasty and requires almost no utensils.
It also reminds me of my student days because this crumble is flavoured with cereal. It’s the only thing I always had in the house, and it gives a nice crunch.
I divvied the finished crumble into some small bowls, and left the leftovers to cool down. The berries were a little sour, but that’s what comes from buying Aldi berries. Wonderful institution though it is, it does not make good berries.
It’s been a short one this evening, but I’ve spent the day planning what I’m going to do for the rest of the week. I’m very excited about tomorrow, I get to make use of my TK-Maxx purchases. As well as the cake stand/dome, I got a bright purple serrated cake slice. Because I needed it. It’s essential, like underwear or red wine.
That’s all for today honey buns. I shall be making something pretty to go in my cake stand tomorrow, an actual proper layer cake with treacle icing. I will also shortly be departing on a holiday to an Enid Blighton story. I should practice my casual racism.
Cereal Berry Crumble.
200g Unsalted Butter
300g Plain Flour
175g Light Brown Soft Sugar
500g Frozen mixed berries
A few handfuls of Caster Sugar
Cereal(s) of your choice, a small handful of each crumbled in your hand
1. Music on, ingredients and utensils out. You will need 1 large crumble bowl, 1 scale, and a food processor. That’s all. Yes, I do hate washing up. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 (finally bothered to google it)
2. Make sure the butter is cold and hard, pull back the wrapper and give it a squeeze (sorry, couldn’t resist). Put it into the food processor.
3. Put the crumble bowl onto the scale, and measure out the flour in it. Tip it into the food processor. The thin layer of flour left in the crumble bowl will sop up excess berry juice.
4. Blitz the butter and flour, until it resembles dry breadcrumbs, or for the middle class, freshly made cous cous.
5. Pour the berries into the bowl. Tip a few handfuls of caster sugar in, and roll them in it, to coat them.
6. Pour the crumble mix on top, making sure that there are no gaps for the juices to seep through.
7. Pick your cereals, crumble them in your hands and gently rub them into the crumble. Top with a bit of sugar.
8. Pop into the oven on a middle shelf for 45 minutes. Turn it half way through to get an even browning.
9. Wash up the food processor.
10. Serve on its own or with some appropriate accouterments, custard or ice cream or 2 more helpings.
You can probably guess from the title that the chocolate-y treat I’ve prepared for today is Rocky Road. Aunt Rose brought back some Rock from St Ives, so I thought I’d experiment and use it as an ingredient. It was a difficult decision to make: on the one hand, it is an untried, untested recipe, there is no precedent for it in all of Google, and it needs 400g of 70% dark chocolate, so if it goes wrong there’s 8 quid down the swanny. On the other hand, I get to use a spanner as part of the recipe. No brainer really.
I popped on the Abba, got everything together, remembered the spanner, spent 20 minutes digging around the shed for it, washed it and got started.
I have to say, this was a stupidly fun recipe to make. I got to smash 3 different ingredients AND melt chocolate in a bain-marie, which is one of the most sensual things in baking. That and fisting a bowl of mini marshmallows (try it before you judge me).
Be prepared to lose your ziploc bags, there were quite a few small holes in the ones I used. Well, the holes weren’t small, and I think someone with a lot less sexual frustration wouldn’t have this problem.
I spent a lot longer stirring the melted chocolate than was strictly necessary, but it’s very therapeutic. I’m sure Nigella would come up with a pun using the phrase “brown gooey goodness”, but this is a classy outfit, we’ll have no shit puns here.
The rest of it was very simple. I added the ingredients to the chocolate, mixed, and put it into a foil tin. I’d have a picture of that up next, but it looks terrible. So here’s a picture of me playing with the marshmallows
I had a taste of one, and the rock really works! Some people might disagree with me, but I find dark chocolate really heavy, the mintiness of the rock lifts it a bit at the end. And yes, they don’t look great, but they taste good and that’s what matters.
And with that arsey description, it is time to sign off. Tomorrow I’m going to go to TK-Maxx, which should be fun, and will be making something hot, sweet, and crumbly. It’s a crumble.
400g Dark Chocolate (at least 70%)
6 Tablespoons Golden syrup
200g Mini Marshmallows
2 sticks of Rock
1. Pop the music on, and an apron. Get your utensils together: 1 Scale, 1 Large Bowl, 1 Saucepan, 1 glass dish, 1 wooden spoon, 2 ziploc bags, 1 spanner (or other heavy hammer-like implements) and 1 foil tray.
2. Put the biscuits into a ziploc bag. Work out your frustration with the spanner until they are the size of 10 pence pieces or smaller.
3. Put the rock into the other ziploc bag. Carefully bash it down into near dust.
4. Break up the chocolate. Put it into the glass bowl with the syrup and butter. Fill the saucepan with boiling water (from the kettle). Put the glass bowl over it, and put on a low heat. Stir until melted.
5. Put all of the ingredients except the chocolate into the large bowl. Add the chocolate, and stir until completely coated.
6. Tip into the foil tray (or if you don’t have one, a lined baking tray) and press down. Put into the fridge for 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
7. Cut into squares/batons and gorge thyself
Today was my Aunt Rose’s 40th Birthday, and I decided to make her something a little bit special.
I was rooting around TK-Maxx’s Cookery Section (I’ll talk about this tomorrow, but suffice it to say I effuse about them so much it sounds as if they’re paying me. They’re not, but they should be, I swear there’s at least 4 people reading this) and I managed to find this wonderfully lurid muffin tin:
Hence my theme for this post. I thought about making rosewater muffins, but Rose prefers lemon, and you can take a theme too far.
I gathered together my ingredients and utensils, and set to work.
I decided to go old school and MIX BY HAND. I know, the sacrifices I make for my craft know no bounds.
Once I’d worked up a sweat, I followed the rest of the instructions (reproduced below) and ended up with some very lemony batter. I used vegetable oil to grease the moulds (for want of some spray) and added the batter. The first batch would be cake coloured, and the second would be pink. This was entirely planned and not at all because I forgot to add the food colouring to the first batch.
Into the oven, clean up, watched a bit of Time Team (I couldn’t stop laughing, they dug up an entire housing estate and found FUCK ALL!) and I had some cakes. They slipped out of the mould a treat.
I was then told that my Aunt getting back from a holiday in St Ives in 20 MINUTES, so I put them into a dish and Mum and I dashed to Nan’s house to blow up balloons and put up banners. Well, she did that while I pissed around arranging the cakes.
She said she liked them, as did everyone else, which was a good sign as some of my family members are not cake people (MADNESS, I know). We sang happy birthday out of tune and she opened her cards and presents. Then we had KFC. It sounds sad, but when you’re hanging around with my family, doing interpretive dances to R Kelly’s “I believe I can fly”, you don’t need anything fancy.
Right, I’m off to watch a documentary on BBC4 I’ve had paused for 45 minutes. I think a glass of white is in order. I’ll leave you with the recipe, and see you tomorrow. I shall be using something my Aunt bought me from Cornwall to make some chocolatey treats, so stay tuned!
Very Lemony Cupcakes.
125g of butter
200g light brown soft sugar
200g Plain Flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1. Pop some music and an apron on. Get all of your ingredients and utensils out. You’ll need: 1 scale, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 sieve 1 box cheese grater, 1 wooden spoon, 1 metal spoon, 1 sharp knife, 1 mould. Check my working by looking at the picture above. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/Gas Mark No Idea.
2. Start by making buttermilk. You can buy it, but I prefer homemade, particularly for this recipe, as it adds extra lemon. To make it, just add the juice of a whole lemon to 100ml of milk. Stir it through and leave it for 5 minutes. It will curdle slightly, which is butter milk.
3. While it’s curdling, put the sugar and butter into the large bowl and whisk like a mother until “light and fluffy”. You’ll never get it as good by hand as with a mixer, but I decided to make denser cakes with more integrity. Add the zest of 1 lemon.
4. Beat the eggs and spoon them into the butter and sugar mix one tablespoon at time, making sure each spoonful is completely incorporated before adding another.
5. Finally, sieve in the flour and add the buttermilk. Add a little of each, fold in gently with a metal spoon, and when there’s no flour or milk visible, add some more.
6. Once this is all done, add the juice of half a lemon. The batter is ready to go into the mould now. If you want to add in any colouring, do so a little at the time, making sure not to use too much, or you’ll end up with a cake that tastes like food colouring (it happened to me once during a very disastrous rainbow sponge).
7. Pop the cakes into the oven, middle shelf. Time 17 minutes on your mobile. While this happens, clean up (you know it makes sense). Once the timer goes off, open the oven as little as possible and turn them around, so they are evenly cooked. Put them back in for 6 more minutes.
8. Check they are done by popping a knife into the middle of a couple of the cakes (don’t worry, it only marks the bottom). If it’s done it will come out dry.
9. Take them out of the oven, and leave them on the side for 5 minutes. Then slip them out of the mould and put them out to cool.
10. Once completely cooled, munch excessively. (or add a candle to each if your Aunt Rose is turning 40).
Today I woke up and decided to start a blog. About cake.
I’ve just finished university, and the constant, nagging fear of what I’m going to do with the rest of my life isn’t getting any quieter. Right now I’m living at home, applying for jobs, and trying to figure out what’s next.
So I have nothing to do until I get a job or Game or Thrones comes back on. Except cake. And I don’t give a crap about the “health issues”, it’s a damn sight healthier than wine. This doesn’t mean I’ll stop drinking, you understand (perish the thought) I’m just making a point. I wonder if you can make wine cake…..
Anyway, on with today. I decided to start off with something simple, as it’s been a while since I baked anything. I chose a book from my shelves called “cake keeper Cakes”. It contains simple recipes that you can make daily and therefore has my undying love.
There were all sorts of steps in between opening the book and having a cake come out of the oven. But I only remembered that blogs need photos after it was already in the oven. This is a damned professional enterprise, I can tell you.
Some tips I remembered along the way:
1. Flour the tin, as well as greasing, which helps avoid the dreaded SOGGY BOTTOM. But make sure to get rid of the excess or Paul and Mary will moan that there’s too much flour.
2. Use an oven thermometer. The oven I’m going to be using for this blog has no numbers or symbols on it except “150”, “200” and a dot halfway between them. After spending 10 minutes pre-heating the grill, I finally got it working. This is especially important when I discovered that:
3. Ovens do vary. I thought this was some sort of urban myth, like eating before swimming or Anne Widdecombe’s sex tape. But my cake was “well done” a good 10 minutes before the lowest time in the recipe (which I’ve reproduced below)
Right I’m off to have some cake and a rest. Might see if there really is an Anne Widdecombe sex tape. I’ll leave you with the recipe, but do drop by again tomorrow, it’s my aunt’s Birthday, so I’ll be making something a bit more special.
Apricot Jam Cake
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup soft light brown sugar
100g unsalted butter
1 cup apricot jam
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup roasted, finely chopped hazelnuts. (or almonds or walnuts. Go….crazy)
Sort out a baking playlist. Put your apron on. Get everything you’ll need out, ingredients and utensils. You’ll need 2 bowls, an electric mixer, a sieve, and 8 inch square tin, some measuring spoons and cups, something to act as a cooling rack, a plate and a spatula to scrape the bowl.
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/350°F/Gas Mark I have no clue. Grease an 8-inch square baking tin and dust lightly with flour. Bash out the excess.
2. Sieve flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
3. Combine butter and sugar in another bowl, either by hand, with an electric whisk, or if you’re a lazy mofo like me, stick it in the stand mixer on 4 till it’s light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add the jam till it’s mixed in.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mix them in. Add the sour cream, mix that in. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
5. Add the dry ingredients, REALLY SLOWLY. Wait until the streaks of flour have disappeared before you add another little bit. Turn the speed down and add the nuts, till they’re mixed in.
6. Pour the mixture into the tin, whack it in the oven, middle shelf. The original recipe said 50 mins to 1 hour, but mine was done after 40, so keep an eye on it after 30 minutes. It’s ready when a knife/skewer inserted into the middle comes out dry.
7. While it’s in the oven, do the washing up and put everything away. They never put this in recipes but LEAVING IT TO SOAK DOESN’T HELP. Scrub while it’s in the oven, the cake will taste better (probably).
8. Once it’s done, take it out of the oven and leave it in the tin for 15 whole minutes. Don’t be tempted to take it out early. Then turn it out onto something, then invert it again onto a cooling rack. Leave it until it’s completely cool, as it will be much easier to cut.
9. Cut it into squares and serve. You can do many little slices as I did, or a few big ones, or just leave it as is and eat it like a sandwich. We don’t judge here.
It’ll keep for 3 days at room temperature which gives me time to read this book: