Chocolate Cases

I make a lot of sponge cakes and am always trying to make sure I get a nice flat topped sponge for tiered cakes, but doesn’t always work out and I have to do a bit of trimming, so today I had some cake trimmings and decided to make these..

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I didn’t start this last night, I started this morning and used the fridge to help set the cases. I was using bournville chocolate and only ended up using 100g. I also did it in stages, so I painted on one layer..

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Then after a couple hours in the fridge it had nicely set..

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I then painted on a second layer and put back in the fridge for another few hours.

The cases peeled off no problem to leave nice chocolate cases!

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Then I mixed the cake crumbs with the jam and very little sherry, I didn’t want to use too much as my daughter was really looking forward to trying these!! If they had been for adults only I would probably have added more sherry..

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That mix is then spooned into each case..

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Then I piped on the whipped cream..

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So the recipe says maraschino cherries but I opted for the coloured glace cherries I have..

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I was first to test this and what a perfect afternoon treat with a cup of tea!! The chocolate case is great and the cream and sponge mix together is just a delight!! It was a struggle to limit myself to one just…

Would I make these again? Yes, loved these..

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Rich Christmas Cake

I meant to post this recipe a while ago, well I started making it a while ago but didn’t actually eat it until fairly recently!

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In the book there is also a recipe for a light Christmas cake and an economical Christmas cake. My plan is to do one each year and I’m pretty sure I have another 2 years worth of recipes!

I decided to try this one first and think I made this back in October!

I don’t make many fruit cakes like this, the only ever wedding cake I have made was a chcolate sponge. Do love the colours of all the fruit together..

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It’s a really thick mixture and is a good workout for the arms mixing this together..

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After 4 and half hours in the oven the house was smelling pretty amazing, and the cake was looking nicely done..

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I did opt to pour over some brandy before wrapping up, and I also added a few more spoonfuls over the next few months!

I iced the cake just before Christmas and started with a covering of warm jam..

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Then marzipan..

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Then I couldn’t decide between sugarpaste or royal icing. I ended up going for the sugarpaste because I have loads in the house.

Then for the decoration. I decided to keep it fairly simple and fist off slightly embossed the sides with an icicle mould, but then asked my daughter for advice and that’s how we ended up with an iceberg, polar bear and penguins..

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We finally cut the cake over Christmas..

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I wouldn’t normally go for a fruit cake but this is a great recipe. Yes it’s pretty rich and you don’t need a big slice, it’s perhaps not as moist as I’d like so maybe I should’ve fed it with brandy a few more times over the last couple of months!

Overall through its a good cake!

Would I make this again? Yes

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Mushroom Cake

In the party cakes chapter there is a sub section of novelty cakes. I thought this one sounded interetsing so decided to make for us..

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I started with the sponges, and I was thinking that this seemed like not enough cake mix for two 7 inch tins. I do make quite a lot of cakes and would normally use double this amount for this size. I wasn’t expecting a massive cake!

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I then whisked the egg white, it was looking lovely and glossy..

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I then just piped random shaped blobs onto a tray..

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I’ve never had much success with meringues, and the recipe doesn’t actually give any advice on cooking the meringues! I decided I would turn the oven down after the sponges were cooked and let the meringues cook for about 20 minutes then turn the oven off and leave them in to cool.

Have to say I think they turned out quite well!

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The recipe says the stalks should be almond paste which I assume to be marzipan, I didn’t have any so I used fondant for the stalks..

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The I piped chocolate buttercream on the underside to look like the gills..

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I ended up with loads of mushrooms, I reckon I had about 30, so we had to eat a few to check they were ok, and they are fab! Like little sweeties!

As expected the cakes weren’t that big once baked, and then were sandwiched together with chocolate buttercream..

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Then I covered the too and sides with more buttercream..

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I then couldn’t decide how to decorate with the fork so I just went for swirls..

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Next I mixed some coconut with green colouring paste and a touch of water..

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Now all that’s left to do is decorate the cake. I had loads of mushrooms and if I used them all then the entire cake and board would be covered. Instead I used just about half and think it looked good!

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So how does it taste? It’s all good! The cake and icing are good and it’s nice when you get a bit if the coconut. Overall I think this is a really good fun cake to make. I can’t imagine ever having an occasion that would require a mushroom cake!

Would I make this again? Yes I do think I would!

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Meringues

This didn’t go quite how I expected! I had planned for this to be yesterday’s recipe but then I had bought the wrong cream and there is no way of whipping single cream! So had to wait until today, plus I didn’t exactly do a very good job of cooking the meringues…

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I thought everything was going ok initially and the egg whites with the first lot of sugar were whipped into a lovely glossy looking mixture

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I folded in the next lot of sugar and didn’t want to over mix so just kept folding until I thought it was evenly distributed. Then when I spooned onto the tray it didn’t look so nice and glossy anymore..

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So I followed the cooking instructions exactly and I even turned my oven down a bit as it’s a fan oven, but after only half an hour they had turned a very pale brown. I opened the oven slightly and turned down even more but I think the damage had been done and my meringues were a very unattractive pale brown colour!

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They also didn’t feel particularly crisp or firm but I didn’t want them to brown anymore so I reckon I turned the oven off after 2 hours and let them to sit in the oven as it cooled. They were feeling slightly crisp but not very firm!

I sandwiched together with some plain cream, was tempted to flavour the cream but I liked the simplicity of this.

So I know they don’t look right, but have to say they taste pretty damn good! The meringue is very soft and sticky, and only very slightly crisp on the outside. I love chewy meringues so this appeals to me, if you like your meringues really crisp then you’d hate this!!

I do wish I had mixed in the caster sugar a bit longer to give a smoother finish, and I wish I had piped the meringue to make a pretty shape.

I’ve also decided I’m going to cut back to a recipe every other day. I know when I started this I planned a recipe a day but I’ve become so busy making cakes and other things that I can’t sustain that! Think I did quite well nearly going for a year! So doing a recipe every other day means I will have more time to do my posts and they will not be as rushed as some have been!

Anyway back to meringues..

Would I make these again? Yes, will mix more and start with an even cooler over next time, but despite not looking or feeling quite right they do taste pretty good!!

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Caribbean Sponge

I wanted to make a cake for us today and liked the sound of this one…

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As you can see this is a fatless sponge, it was lovely and light and fluffy once mixed together

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It’s not obvious from the next picture but it really did rise a lot but did sink back a little when cooling

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I have to say this is such a light sponge and does smell good!

The filling is easy enough and I had to have a taste to make sure it’s ok! I tried to chop the ginger into the smallest pieces I could manage, and then I added the full 3 tsps of rum. I don’t ever drink rum so wasn’t sure how much I’d like it but it tasted great, the combination of butter icing with the chocolate, rum and ginger was fab. I even ended up licking the bowl!

The topping icing was a bit of a weird one. I melted the chocolate and then attempted to stir in the icing sugar but it’s just to much icing sugar for the volume of melted chocolate. It turned into a thick mess that was unmanageable and that was after only adding about a quarter of the sugar. So I added the cream which helped soften it and managed to stir in a bit more sugar. I didn’t end up during all the sugar as it was just too thick. Even after adding the boiling water there was no way I could stir in any more sugar.

The minute the icing hit the sponge it totally stiffened up, so there was no real scope for spreading! So the icing has just been shoved on!

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This was lovely and light, and the icing was brilliant. The middle icing with the ginger and rum was just great and the chocolate icing on top is really thick but tastes good. Overall it’s a great cake, full of flavour and nice and light.

Would I make this again? Yes

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Coconut Pyramids

Well this did not go quite as I expected. I had imagined nice little meringue style pyramids which were packed with coconut, not these…

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They just look rubbish but I stuck exactly to the recipe so not sure what went wrong..

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I have bags of egg whites in the freezer so just defrosted one for this that I knew had two egg whites in it. I did everything as per the recipe and my daughter requested pink pyramids so I added a touch of pink paste, did that have an effect on them?

I did whisk the egg whites until really stiff and did carefully fold in the sugar and coconut, it did seem like a lot of sugar, so has that been the reason they don’t look right?? Well I am assuming they don’t look right, I don’t have a photo to compare but they don’t look anything like a pyramid!

I was tempted to pipe on but went with the recipe and piled on using a spoon. They did not stay up and I couldn’t really shape easily!

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Then after 45 minutes in the oven they didn’t look any better..

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Then I couldn’t get the damn things off the baking paper! They had completly stuck so I pretty much ended up pulling away a shell, and left lots of sticky inside on the tray.

Overall this has not gone well, but despite all that they taste good! The outside is crunchy and then what’s left of the inside is lovely and chewy! Then the coconut is great.

Would I make this again? If I could figure out where I went wrong then yes as I imagined these so differently in my head!

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