Tales from kitchen and cellar

Posts Tagged ‘cake’

Autumn Leaf Cake

In Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on November 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Autumn Leaf Cake












Here is a recent cake I made that was inspired by the falling autumn leaves. It was a time consuming cake but not difficult.

Make yourself a chocolate cake, there are enough recipes out there to suit you and coat the cake in two layers of chocolate buttercream. I made a chocolate ganache buttercream on this occasion.

You do need to buy fondant icing in at least two colours, here I chose pumpkin orange and caramel brown. You will also need some leaf cutters in at least three different shapes.

I used oak, maple and ash I believe!

Warm your fondant icing in your hand and kneed until pliable. You can then roll out a little sausage shaped length in two colours and twist together. Roll out to a good pound thickness and cut out your leaves. Do this in small batches so you get a range of marbled leaf shapes.

Leave to harden over a curved surface such as a rolling pin or wine bottle, leave some to dry flat.

When the leaves harden arrange at the base of the cake pushing into the icing to neaten the edge and in a pile on the top.




Decadent Orange Polenta Cake

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food on August 9, 2012 at 10:50 am









Who doesn’t like cake? Sorry, don’t answer that! Very few at any rate and for those who are looking for something a little different to a classic sponge then this rich, sumptuous, glossy orange cake might be just the ticket.

Dense and delicious, rich and yummy this is a serious cake from Ottolenghi the cookbook. It’s a little effort but worth it.


50g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

200g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

3 free range eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp orange blossom water

240g ground almonds

120g quick cook polenta

Caramel Topping

90g caster sugar

2tbsp water

20g unsalted butter cut into cubes

2-3 oranges

Glaze (optional)

3tbsp orange marmalade (shredless)

1 tbsp water


Preheat oven to 170 Gas Mark 3

Take an 8 inch cake tin, grease and line the base and sides with baking parchment.

Place the sugar and the water for the caramel in a pan and bring gently to the boil, do not stir or the sugar will crystalise. After a few minutes the sugar will start to darken to a golden caramel. Remove from the heat and stepping back from the pan add the butter.

Pour the caramel into the base of your cake tin and swirl around so the base of the tin is fully covered.

Zest your oranges being careful not to remove the bitter pith and set to one side.

Carefully cut off the rind of the oranges and slice into 6 discs removing any seeds as you go along. Place the orange slices into the caramel and pack in tightly. Use an extra orange if necessary.

Start with the cake batter. With the help of a kitchen aid or electric beaters cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Then add the eggs, orange blossom water and zest.

Fold in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour in the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Leave to cool completely.

You can glaze the cake with some warmed shredless marmalade for extra shine. Serve with a little sweetened mascarpone for a sweet sharp twang.


Dotty About Cake

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on June 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm


Celebration Cake

Cakes are a firm favourite of mine whether they’re to eat, bake, decorate or share. This cake is no exception. When a friend asked me to bake a cake to celebrate her ten year wedding anniversary I was, of course thrilled. With little direction except “fresh flowers please!” I was excited but nervous about creating the right cake.

Thankfully this one went down a treat. The lemon drizzle and lemon curd buttercream was rich, sharp, sweet and tangy and was enjoyed by all.

I covered the cake in two layers of buttercream chilling between each layer before I covered it in ivory sugar fondant. I left to set overnight before spraying with gold food spray a number of times to ensure a golden, glittery sheen.

I picked roses from the garden mixed with some shop bought and they were kept moist in a little soaked oasis planted in a jam jar lid.

The spots on the cake were made from three different pastel fondants which I thought would complement both the cake and the flowers. I cut them out in three different sizes and stuck on with a little vodka.

I was tempted to spray again with a little gold but I liked the juxtaposition of the matt spots against the sheen of the cake.

I rested the flowers on top and added an ivory ribbon at the base secured with a pin, and that was it!

Ready to eat….


Birthday Cake Celebrations

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, drink, food, Food and Drink on May 31, 2012 at 8:45 am









Birthday Cake

Today I am showcasing a recent cake I made for a 60th Birthday. It’s a little more fun to look at and I had a great time making it. I tried to make it funny and light hearted as the birthday girl in question is exactly that.

I tried to tie in her home sofa, a place she likes to relax and with what better celebratory drink than a glass of champagne.

I made a basic lemon sponge with all the fillings that I have showcased here before. Once again I coated the cake in two layers of lemon curd buttercream and then iced with white fondant. A little shimmer of silver spray glitter, gave the cake a pearlescent sheen. Everything on this cake was edible except the champagne glass which was made of plastic

I cut out triangles of bunting from fondant paste and dotted a little blue icing between each to give the impression of the string that would be used to hold it up. I was keen for the bunting to hang in different lengths around the cake to give a more relaxed feel.

The figure and sofa itself was made in two stages. I made the sofa out of 6 parts. 2 parts for the underneath I shaped as pillows and stacked on top of each other. This website teaches you how…I made a rug out of a little blue fondant and one of my shaping tools gave it a fringed effect.

For the figurine I rolled out a tube for the legs which I folded in the middle. A body was mad out of white icing with two balls of icing for the feminine form! I made two flesh coloured arms and attached them to the body frame.

I then rolled out a little blue icing and rolled out a few small strips of white icing. I rolled the white into the blue to form a stripy top. This I then draped over the icing torso, and trimmed to make it look like a top.

At this stage I was pretty happy, the head proved more challenging and in truth I did many different versions. I added a little red food dust that you can buy from cake shops for blusher. I made little white balls which I pushed into the eye sockets using a small ball shaped icing tool. A little blue food pen was used for the iris’s and black for the eyelashes.

Her wedge shoes with toes were simply made with a little blue fondant and a little flesh colour to show her toes.

I worked off a photograph to get the hair effect. I mixed a little yellow with a little liquorice food colouring, I added a little mexican sugar paste to the mixture that ensured that it would set hard and not flop at the ends. Using a knife I made cuts into the hair for effect.

A little blue bracelet was added to reduce the obvious join between hand and arm. I used spaghetti (uncooked) through the torso which stuck out a little to attach the head.

Finally a little lemon jelly was made to fill the champagne glass, which I syringed into the glass and left to set in the fridge. Green fondant icing was used for the bottle together with a mexican paste label that I wrote on using a food colouring pen.

I mixed a little fondant with vodka to make a paste and set the sofa on the cake before icing Happy Birthday.

In hindsight I should have used a dowling road through the sofa and the cake so that the figurine didn’t collapse into the cake, which after a 5 hour car journey it sadly did!

Going Bananas Over Banana Bread

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on May 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm








Moist Banana Loaf

This great tea time treat took  its inspiration from the four sad and black looking bananas lurking at the bottom of my fruit bowl. As I wavered whether it would be less cruel to just put them out of their misery and into the bin a wave of inspiration hit me. A second life was awaiting these sad looking fruit souls in the form of a delicious and moist banana bread.

Below is a recipe I have taken from the BBC website. It’s quick and easy and will fill your kitchen with the sweet aromas of baking and warm bananas. Although it’s very tempting to eat whilst warm from the tin this cake benefits from a days relax. The true fruity banana flavour develops more and the moist cake just tastes better all round…A really great reincarnation for the humble banana.


  • 285g/10oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 110g/4oz butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 85ml/3fl oz buttermilk (or normal milk mixed with 1½ tsp lemon juice or vinegar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Grease and line with baking parchment a large loaf tin

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  • Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well. Fold in the flour mixture.
  • Grease a 20cm x 12.5cm/8in x 5in loaf tin and pour the cake mixture into the tin.
  • Transfer to the oven and bake for about an hour, or until well-risen and golden-brown.
  • Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

Luscious Lemon Cake Part 3…The Final Slice

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on May 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm

The End…

Luscious Lemon Cake Part 1

In Baking, Cakes, food on May 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Luxury Lemon Cake

Today’s post is late in the making as I am creating a 70th Birthday cake for this weekend. It has been a lengthy process so I thought I’d take you along with me for the ride…a cake ride that is.

Today is all about the cake, a luscious rich lemon drizzle filled with lemon curd buttercream. Part 2 will be all about the finished article.

I’ve tried many recipes for a sturdy but moist lemon cake that can take the pressure when it comes to icing and filling. This is the best. The recipe is for a 6 inch cake. Double the quantities for an 8 inch and treble for a 10 inch. Which this beast surely is!


140 g self raising flour

140g plain flour

200g unsalted butter

200g golden caster sugar

4 medium eggs, beaten

Grated zest of one lemon and 2 tablespoons of juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Syrup glaze

100ml lemon juice

85g golden caster sugar


Pre heat oven  to 140 C fan 160 C conventional, gas mark 3

Make sure all ingredients are room temperature. Grease and line your tin. Sift the flours together then beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs a little at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in a few tablespoons of flour into the creamed mixture to stop it curdling.

Fold in the remaining flour, then stir in the lemon zest and juice and vanilla extract.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 25  (plus 15 minutes per 2 inch cake tin size)

Once cooked test with a skewer which should come out clean.

Make the syrup glaze whilst the cake is baking by gently heating the juice and sugar. Make holes in the cake and pour the glaze in making sure it soaks it up. Let it cool in the tin with the glaze. Then trim the top of the cake off so it is level.

I used a lemon curd butter cream filling to fill the cake, see below:

Ingredients Buttercream Filling

250 g unsalted butter

500g icing sugar sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

275g lemon curd.

Beat the softened butter until  very soft then add the icing sugar, a kitchen aid is best for this process, then stir throush the buttercream, adding more if you like a particularly acidic twang! Slice the cake in two fill with the lemon curd buttercream.

Then make another batch of buttercream without the lemon curd and cover the cake with a layer, chill then repeat so you layer the cake with buttercream see below. This is a great substitute for marzipan and makes a good firm base for the fondant icing to go over.

Tune in for the next instalment, the dressing of the cake!

Decadent Chocolate Brownies

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on April 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm



Chocolate Brownie Heaven

These tasty fudgy rectangles make a great any time treat and are so versatile. Have as an afternoon snack or slightly warmed as a delectable dessert. The crispy shell and gooey centre is a sure fire hit with kids and adults alike. There’s nearly always a fight for the gooey slice at the centre. They are quick and easy to make and if kept in a sealed box will last upto a week, although I would be surprised if they’ll survive uneaten for that long!

Dust with icing sugar if serving as a dessert and with a good quality vanilla ice cream. If pudding wines are your thing then a very chilled glass of sauternes or the more unusual banyuls will go down a treat.  Yum!


22cm square brownie tin

oil, for greasing, greaseproof paper

350 g dark chocolate, broken in small pieces

50g white chocolate button

50g milk chocolate buttons

250 g unsalted butter

3 eggs

250 g dark brown sugar, preferably muscovado

100 g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder


Heat the oven to 170°C/gas 3. Lightly grease a 22cm square cake tin and line with greaseproof paper for easy removal laerMelt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, being careful that the water doesn’t get into the chocolate.Whisk the eggs and sugar together for 2-3 minutes until smooth, creamy and fluffy. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir to mix. Fold in the chocolate drops Pour the mixture into the cake tin.Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 35 minutes until the surface is set. It is cooked when it just starts to crack on the top. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely in the tin.
Slice the cake into squares and store in a tin or in a container in the fridge.

Giant Victoria Sponge

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on April 13, 2012 at 9:13 am

Victoria Sponge

Well it’s a Friday and what better way to celebrate than with a gorgeous, moist if slightly wonky victoria sponge. These are great cakes, quick, simple and can still pack a wow factor punch. The only downside is that it’s best enjoyed fresh and eaten on the day of creation. Still for many that’s not too big a burden! I saw some English strawberries the other day and although they might not be at their best just yet, I bought them just to get in the mood for summer. Let me know if you think it’s too soon for strawberries?

Ingredients for 2 x 8 inch tins

Preheat oven to 180C

175g butter ( must be at room temperature)

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs

175 g self raising flour

Good quality strawberry jam and lightly whipped double cream if feeling particularly decadent!


Prepare your baking tins by lining the base with butter and then greaseproof paper.

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together until you get a pale, fluffy mixture  that is almost creamy white in appearance. Beat the eggs together separately then add a little at a time to avoid curdling. If it curdles a little don’t worry too much but it’s best avoided so you get a light fluffy sponge.

Lightly fold using a metal spoon the flour (sieved) into the mixture. You should have a light mixture that drops off the spoon easily. Place into the baking tins in equal measure.

Place on the middle shelf of the oven for around 25 to 30 minutes.

When the cakes are done they should feel springy to the touch and come away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then find a grand plate or stand if you have one. Sandwich together with jam if you’re a purist or together with double cream if you’re feeling ultra indulgent. Top with strawberries and sieve with icing sugar. Enjoy…immediately!