Salted caramel cake

Oh my goodness, this recipe has changed everything. Best cake I’ve ever made, hands down.

Here is the recipe:

I’ve avoided making salted caramel for a while for fear of burning it. How wrong I was. Don’t rush melting the sugar and do not deviate from the recipe! The tricky bit is at the end when you need to mix the caramel with the cheese frosting without melting it. Also, if you wait too long to drizzle the caramel on the cake at the end, the caramel can solidify and become tricky to work with. This cake didn’t last one hour!


Pecan carrot cake

I am on a mission to find the best carrot cake recipe. The recipe for this cake was boasted by The Guardian as being the best (see link). I have to say it was pretty tasty. Most carrot cakes I’ve made are oil based not butter based. Now I know butter is better. Why did I doubt my love and need for butter? For now this is a top contender but the search remains open. Just in case…

Swirly cake

I really enjoyed making this cake, I’ve neglected my baking recently for all sorts of kitchen/boiler related reasons. Regardless of the situation, I have decided to bake on! That is what Mary would do, and don’t we all want to do as Mary does? I digress.

I whipped up a vanilla sponge with a classic 8,8,8 oz (sugar, self raising flour, butter) to 4 egg ratio and bunged it in the oven at 180C until risen, golden and cooked in the middle. I mixed up enough buttercream to sink a kayak, divided it up and coloured it in varying shades of blue. If you whip your buttercream lots and lots until it goes pale (before colouring it), you will achieve a smoother, paler buttercream.

The key to any good decoration is a cool cake. Once cooled, I cut it in half and layered lots of raspberry jam on one half of the cake and blackcurrant jam on the other (it’s good to mix things up every once in a while). I spread buttercream thinly on top of the jam and sandwiched the cakes together.

The coloured buttercream was carefully spooned into three piping bags. I like to put the piping bag in a mug and then fill it up- stops the bag falling all over the place. It is best to avoid buttercream splodges around the top of the bag as it will go all over your hands very quickly once you start squeezing !

To make a neat pattern I piped sausages of colour around the edges of the cake, alternating when it felt right to do so. The tricky bit is to use a spreader and blend it together to get very straight, smooth sides. I can always feel my heart beating LOUDLY when I approach any cake with a spreader (it’s very distracting). The remaining buttercream is used to make a swirly pattern on top to finish. I spent an awful lot of time touching it up, it’s hard to say when to stop phaffing. After all that, best not to keep it near a radiator as it will make you cry when all that smoothing and swirling melts everywhere.

This cake is dedicated to Kate who is due to have a baby boy very soon. 😀 🤰

Courgette & prosecco cake

Well, I had an interesting time making this cake. The first prosecco based recipe I tried was a total, utter flop. I made two fizzy, oily pancakes which dripped all over my oven. Thanks recipe. The cakes went in the bin, GBBO style. 
This cake however, was a super success, it’s moist and not too sweet. Here’s the recipe:

  • 300g grated courgette (squeezed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tap bicarbonate soda

No fuss, mix that lot together and dollop into an 8 inch cake tin and bake at 180C. 

  • 250g mascarpone
  • Icing sugar to taste
  • Lemon zest
  • Glug of prosecco

The mascarpone cheese filling is very much down to personal taste, I don’t like it too sweet. You have to be careful with the prosecco or it will be too sloppy, so just be slow with the additions. Assemble with a creamy layer in the middle and some on top. Dash with pistachio nuts and lemon zest and voila! A light and tasty cake with a hint of prosecco and seasonal vegetation. 

Apple & walnut cake

Anyone else drowning in apples? I called on Mary Berry for inspiration. Standard. Her fabulous recipe (see link) is essentially an apple sandwich. This cake uses LOTS of apples and cinnamon. I recommend a food processor for grating the apples. Life’s too short to do it by hand. 

Still have apples left over? Bung ’em in the oven with a load of sausages and chopped up onions. They’ll caramelise together into something rather dreamy.

Crabapple Jelly

To my delight, I was handed a whole tree’s worth of crabapples. I decided to make crabapple jelly. 

Firstly, I opened up the crabapple bag and loads of flies came out so I squealed like a pig and ran around my kitchen. Once I had gotten over myself, I washed the fruit and removed the bruised bits and stalks. I filled many pans with the crabapples and put enough water in to cover the fruit. I put the fruit on the boil and went on a fly hunt (standard). When the fruit was soft I poured it into many sieves lined with muslin cloths to drip into bowls overnight. In the morning, I excitably lifted the fruit out (without squeezing it) and admired my fruity syrup. IMPORTANT: If you squeeze the muslin cloth/fruit the jelly juice goes cloudy. No one wants cloudy jelly.

I measured the juice and mixed it with A LOT of sugar (7 parts sugar to 10 parts juice). I boiled it on a low heat for what seemed like an age. I skimmed the top regularly and tested it for jelly consistency by blobbing the syrup on the back of a cold spoon. IMPORTANT: Once the syrup solidifies on the back of a cold spoon, it is ready to pour into a sterilised jar. 

Behold. I made three jars out of 300(ish) crabapples. It took 9 hours of effort, twenty fruit flies and a lot of washing up. It tastes REALLY good, it’s sweet with a sour note. As you can see I already ate the top half of the jar.

Jam is a bargain in the supermarket, that’s for sure. Never take jam for granted. Bit crabby now.

Guinea pig cake

My sister turned 25 this week and to celebrate we bought her some guinea pigs. Lotty has always been animal mad and works at Chester Zoo. The grey pig is called Gin and the brown one is Rhubarb.
So…. it only made sense to make a guinea pig cake. A sticky toffee guinea pig cake. I was very impressed with the recipe I found online (see link). You just have to remember to buy a lot of dates. 

He’s covered in toffee buttercream fur and his feet and ears are made out of fudge. I’m pretty happy with him, he’s about 5x bigger than the baby pigs!

Blastocyst cake

I made a blastocyst for a colleague’s leaving cake. For those of you who are not sure what a blastocyst is, it is an embryo that is about 5 days old (humans that is). I made a vanilla sponge and plopped plenty of vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam inside. I then created the embryo by using sweets. Those  ‘jelly tot’ like sweets look a bit GM. If you’re not convinced it’s a blastocyst, then feel free to think of it as a UFO or something equally fun.