Devils Food Cake with Angel Frosting {from Baked Explorations}

Today was Mr. Knightley’s* birthday!!! All he said was he wanted a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. He’s easy to please! 

So, I had all sorts of recipes to mix and match, but was struggling to settle on what to do. I am a bit spoiled for choice when it comes to all the recipes I have in my arsenal. 

Flipping through Baked Explorations* I found Devils Food Cake with Angel Frosting. It’s exactly what I was looking for! It is a very very good cake and very rich!! The frosting was a first for me*, but it was good and it turned out. Here it is! Enjoy!

Devil's Food Cake with Angel Frosting 

1 ounce (30g) good quality dark chocolate (60-72%) broken into a few pieces
½ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valhrona)
2/3 cup hot coffee
1/3 cup whole milk
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
10 tbsp (1 1/14 sticks or about 143g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325 F/170C.  Butter two 8 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.  Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.

Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl.  Pour the hot coffee directly over them and whisk until combined.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with chocolate mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes.  Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely.  Remove the parchment.

For the Angel Frosting
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup. I used golden syrup.
1 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract)

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together 1 1/4 cups of the sugar, the corn syrup, and ¼ cup water.  Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the heat to medium high, and clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pot.  Heat the mixture, without stirring, to almost soft ball stage ( about 235 degrees F) do not let it go above 235 degrees F.

While you wait for the syrup to reach soft ball stage, whip the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form-do not beat beyond this.

As soon as the sugar mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, remove the pan from the heat.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup sugar over the soft peaks of the egg whites and turn the mixer to low.  Slowly stream in the hot sugar syrup.  Once all the syrup has been added, increase the speed to medium high and beat the icing for about 7 minutes until it is thick and shiny. Add the vanilla and beat again for 10 seconds.

To Assemble: Place one cake layer on a serving platter.  trim the top to create a flat surface and evenly spread about 1 cup frosting on top.  Place the next layer on top, then trim and frost it in the same way.  Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.  Serve immediately. Angel frosting tastes best if it is served within 4 hours of being made.

Baked Notes: Even though this recipe uses almost an entire cup of hot coffee., the taste is undetectable in the final dessert.  The coffee merely enhances the chocolate flavor while cutting a little bit of the sweetness.  If you want, you can substitute the coffee for 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder dissolved in 2/3 cup boiling water.

*For those of you who don’t know I refer to my husband as Mr. Knightley from Jane Austen’s Emma. It’s my second favorite Jane Austen novel, the first being Sense and Sensibility. (bet you thought I was going to say Pride and Prejudice!)
*First bake from this book! Haven't done a review, didn't really think I needed too as it's been out for ages now! 
 * Frosting's don’t always like me, I tend to struggle with them when they veer off from being buttercream or cream cheese frosting! 

Paint the Town Black! Gingerbread Guinness Cupcakes!! #ToArthur

This Thursday is Arthur Guinness Day and pubs across Ireland have invited massive music names and local artists to come celebrate the man behind the pint and Paint the Town Black. 

Wish I lived in Ireland! ;0) 

I have had my eye on these cupcakes for a while, but whenever I look through Tea With Bea I always decide on a cheesecake! Not sure why that is? There are so many other delicious looking cakes in this book!

My frosting was very liquid-y I am sure I did something wrong…. like put my butter in the microwave to soften it and even though it wasn't melted it was probably too soft!

But it still tastes delicious and I kind like how the cupcakes looked like mini Guinness pints with the foam ya know? I also sorta wish I had made it as a cake instead…ah well there’s always tomorrow!

So here they are Gingerbread Guinness Cupcakes!! Enjoy!

Gingerbread Guinness Cupcakes:
250 ml/1 cup Guinness stout
250 g/3⁄4 cup black treacle/molasses
11⁄2 teaspoons bicarbonate of/baking soda
280 g/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
100 g/1⁄2 cup caster/superfine sugar
100 g/1⁄2 cup dark brown soft sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
200 ml/3⁄4 cup sunflower oil
chopped crystallized ginger, to decorate
muffin trays, lined with about 24 large cupcake cases
makes 24

Preheat the oven to 170˚C (340˚F) Gas 5.
Put the Guinness and treacle in a tall saucepan (the next step will cause the mixture to bubble up violently and potentially overflow, so choose a very tall pan) and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of/baking soda. Let stand until completely cool.
Put the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves in a bowl and stir until well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, both sugars and the grated fresh ginger. Gradually add the oil. Add the stout syrup and stir thoroughly.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake cases, filling them four-fifths of the way up (the mixture will not rise that much).
Bake in the preheated oven for 25–35 minutes until they feel springy to the touch. Remove the cupcakes from the muffin tray and let cool on a wire rack.

golden cream cheese icing
225 g/1 cup cream cheese
60 g/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
175 g/11⁄2 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons golden syrup
piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle/tip

To make the golden cream cheese icing, put the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until combined and glossy. Add the icing/confectioners’ sugar and beat until fluffy. Fold in the vanilla extract and golden syrup.
Fill the prepared piping bag with the icing and pipe onto the cupcakes. Top with a couple of pieces of crystallized ginger, to decorate.

Variation: to make into a layer cake instead of cupcakes, spoon the mixture into 2 x 20-cm/8-inch pans or 1 x 25-cm/10-inch pan and bake at 160˚C (315˚F) Gas 4 for 45–55 minutes (for the small pans) or 1 hour 15 minutes (for the large pan).

I’m sharing these on Cupcake Tuesday with Hoosier Homemade! 
You can also find this recipe here

Best Frosting Ever!! {Funfetti Cupcakes} #NationalCupcakeWeek

Every once in a blue moon I visit a not-so-local American grocery store and picked up a box mix of Pillsbury's Funfetti cake mix. It's been sitting in the cupboard for a while and I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with it. There are so many blogs that show you how to use funfetti cake mix in many different ways: cookies, bars, cheesecakes etc.... So, when I came across this blog and the claim for best frosting ever I thought use the box mix and focus on the frosting!! ;0) 

Everyone who had a cupcake said that the frosting was pretty amazing! I think it's pretty darn good myself and really easy. Anyone who cooks and has made a basic white sauce will find this frosting very familiar to make. To go with the theme of funfetti I topped mine with sprinkles or if you're in the UK hundreds & thousands! Enjoy!! 

Best Frosting Ever

5 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter (2 sticks = 230g)
1 cup granulated white sugar

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It took me around 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. You can place the saucepan over ice in the sink for about 10 minutes or so until the mixture cools if you are in a hurry. Stir in vanilla. This mixture must be completely cooled in order for the frosting to work.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream. Make sure you scrape down the sides every so often so that it all gets incorporated and whipped. If it's not looking like whipped cream, keep on whipping. This frosting is great for piping. Best served the same day.

Really you could use any cupcake you wanted with this frosting recipe, boxed cake mix or not! If you using a box just follow the directions on the back of the box! This particular box mix is from America so it is easier if you have cups. Not that the UK is short boxed cake mixes! 

Happy National Cupcake Week!! 

Cinnamon Breakfast Loaf!! and {book review}

After making the amazing Sticky Maple-Apple Traybake last weekend from the Great British Bake Off App (previous post), I didn’t miss a beat in saying yes to reviewing a copy of the book The Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers.

If you’re a fan of the show, like I am, then you will know that the third challenge of the weekend is called the ‘showstopper.’ A chance for the bakers to show off a bit and maybe save themselves like Ryan did last week with his Key Lime Pie. FYI: the recipe for that pie is included in this book along with other showstoppers from the contestants like Victoria’s Sixpence Cake (the cake with the blackbirds) and James’ Lychee & Raspberry Tart! Plus many more we have yet to see! Some of the recipes are labeled Showstopper Challenge: 1-Easy 2-Takes a Little Time 3-Needs a Little Skill; other recipes are labeled with Best of the Bake Off and Judge’s Technical Challenge. The Technical Challenges are the ones I’m always curious about! No need to worry though because all the directions are there!!

There are many other recipes with no label at all and one of those is the Cinnamon Breakfast Loaf. I couldn’t make up my mind on what to make so my husband picked it! Let’s just say I’m glad Paul Hollywood wasn’t judging me today!! You’ll see why!!

500g strong white bread flour
1 ½ tsp sea salt flakes, crushed
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
125ml milk
125ml water
50g unsalted butter
1 large egg, at room temp

for the filling:
50g caster sugar
1 tsp plain flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

to finish:
milk, for brushing
small knob of butter

1x900g loaf tin, 26x12.5x7.5cm, greased; baking paper
I added the 125ml water to the list above because I forgot it. Before anyone says it - I did read the recipe thoroughly!! I knew there was something wrong, but I only figured it out when I wrote this post. I had even told myself not to forget the water. But before I start a recipe I get out everything I need according to the list. Then I am usually multi-tasking when I’m baking. Which I was - I was making lunch and attending to the demands of a 2 ½ year-old. I kept adding more milk like is says in step 2 and wondering why it wasn’t coming together right. Anyway….

  1. Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a large freestanding electric mixer. Stir in the dried yeast.
  2. Gently warm the milk with 125ml water until lukewarm and the butter has melted. Remove from the heat. Add the egg and beat with a fork until combined, then add to the flour mixture. Work the ingredients together (use the mixer on the lowest speed) to make a very soft but not sticky dough. If there are any dry crumbs at the base of the bowl, or the dough seems dry and hard to work, add more milk or water a tbsp at a time. I ended up adding a lot of extra milk because of my mistake. If the dough is too sticky add more flour a tbsp at a time.
  3. Turn out the dough unto a lightly floured worktop and knead thoroughly for about 10 minutes by hand, or 5 minutes with the dough hook on low speed until dough is silky-smooth and pliable. Return to the bowl and cover with snap on lid or cling film and leave to rise in a warm but not hot place for about an hour until doubled in size. It was here I told myself if it doesn’t rise I would start again. But it rose so I went ahead with it.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare your tin. Press a sheet of baking paper into the tin so it hangs over the edge a bit. It makes it easier to remove incase the filling leaks. In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon and leave to the side.
  5. Punch down the risen dough to deflate, then turn out unto a lightly floured worktop and knead for a few seconds. Pat out to a rough rectangle about 2cm thick. Cover lightly with a sheet of cling film and leave to relax for 5 minutes – it will make it easier to roll out.
  6. Lightly flour the rolling pin and roll out the dough to a rectangle as wide as the length of your tin and 48cm long. Because of the nature of my dough I couldn’t get it to roll out and so it was not that long and it didn’t roll very well as you can see in the pictures. Brush the dough liberally with milk, then sprinkle over the sugar mixture in an even layer, leaving a 1cm border clear at one short end. Roll up the dough, neatly and tightly, from the other short end and pinch the seam together to seal it firmly.
  7. Lift the rolled dough into the tine, gently tucking the ends under to make a neat shape. Slip the tin into a large plastic bag and slightly inflate it so the plastic doesn’t stick to the dough, then tie the ends. (I just used cling film). Leave to rise as before until just doubled in size (don’t let it become to big or it will lose it’s shape). Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas4.
  8. Uncover the dough and brush lightly with milk. Bake for about 35 minutes until a good golden brown and the turned-out loaf sounds hollow when it’s tapped on the underside. If it sounds like a dull ‘thud’ return it to the oven (set straight on the shelf) and bake for a further 5 minutes, then test again.
  9. Transfer the turned out loaf to a wire rack and rub the butter over the top to give a glossy finish. Leave until completely cool before slicing. Eat within 5 days, or freeze.
 Even though I forgot a substantial amount of water and added in a lot of milk the loaf and it’s heavy (dense?) it still tastes okay. Maybe I’ll try frying it or make French toast with it? Or something? I love cinnamon so I will probably give this recipe another go sometime!! I’m just glad that my ‘bad’ baking day means I’m just short some flour and sugar and I’m not being kicked off a TV show!!

The book has many tips and tricks in making your baking stand out! I would recommend it to any level of baker because I believe we never stop learning!!

The Great British Bake Off: How to Turn Everyday Bakes intoShowstoppers by Linda Collister

In my last post I talked all about how awesome the Great British Bake Off App is. If you haven't already downloaded it I think you should. It's only 2.99 (available now from the iTunes Store)! You get recipes from this book and the other book Great British Bake Off: How to Bake. Which is a bargain!! Still not convinced check out this preview and other reviews to find out more about it! (link removed as it is no longer available (26/11/17)
It's also available in the USA!

Sticky Maple-Apple Traybake!! {review: The Great British Bake Off App}

It’s that time of year…The Great British Bake Off has started again! I know this Tuesday will be the fifth episode and that I haven’t said too much about it here on my blog, but I watch every week!!

I love watching the bakers show their skills and creativity when being presented with a challenge. I think to myself if they can do it, then surely I can as well, right? The show has inspired many to take up baking; with books and an iPhone app (out last month) home bakers have lots to choose from for inspiration!

Not owning any of the books that accompany the show, when I was given the opportunity to check out the app I jumped at it!

The app contains fifty amazing recipes selected from The Great British Bake Off: How to Bake and the new book for this year, How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers. The recipes will look and feel familiar if you are an avid fan of the show like me.

It didn’t take me long to decide what to make first. As it’s officially fall now all I think about are apples! When I saw the Sticky Apple-Maple Traybake on this app I didn’t have to look any further.

The cake is super moist and full of flavor!! I am finding it really hard at the moment not to go and grab another slice!
The directions say 30-35 mins I only needed 25, so know your oven!
My littlest one saying she "want that" gotta love baby talk!
Big pieces of apple and walnut in a light moist cake!!
The best part of using this app was I didn’t have to touch the screen of my iPad with mucky fingers to get to the next screen! This part took me a minute to figure out… first you need to turn the iPhone, or in my case my iPad, horizontally! It was a light bulb moment for me! Then you touch the little hand picture (see picture above) and you just wave your hand above the screen and it scrolls through as you go!

This app is great for all levels of bakers! Within the app you can take pictures and share on Facebook or Twitter. I am on both under United Cakedom! ;0) At 2.99 you can’t really go wrong with this app!!

The Great British Bake Off App

Celebrity Bake Book - in support of The Ben Kinsella Trust {book review}

In June 2008 Ben Kinsella's family lost him to knife crime. It was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ben's family have started a trust in his name, in hopes to bring awareness of the consequences of knife crime and what it can do to a family to kids across the country. 

One thing Ben loved to do was cook; his favorite dessert was apple pie. The recipe can be found in the book. If you want to know more about the book check out the website. (no link - not available as of 26/11/17)

The amount of celebrities who have submitted a recipe to this book is numerous. I wouldn't even know where to begin in listing them. Some recipes you will have seen before and there are several recipes for banana bread/muffins/cake. But I like the feel of the book. A bunch of people coming together for a good cause. I like how the recipes range from rustic to modern, easy to hard, and they come from all around the world. 

Intro & back cover
People have commented to me about gun crime in America, but here in the UK knife crime is serious business. When I first moved here in 2005 I read an article about how a man was stabbed on a bus after asking a group of people to stop throwing stuff at him and his girlfriend. Another article about how a guy was stabbed on his wedding day... another case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that The Ben Kinsella Trust is important. If you want to learn more or help out visit the website. You could buy the book all royalties go to the trust.

A few of the recipes I plan to try! 
I wouldn't normally post so many book reviews right in a row, but after buying this book on Thursday and receiving it yesterday, I felt the need to share it sooner then later. When I get around to baking from it I will share it here! 

Lily Vanilli's Sweet Tooth: Recipes and Tips from a Modern Artisan Bakery {book review}

When I saw Lily Vanilli's Sweet Tooth on Amazon I pre-ordered it right away and impatiently waited for it to arrive!  
I knew if it was anything like her previous book and blog I would love it! 
A Zombie Ate My Cupcake was one of the first books to enter my collection. 
I have yet to visit her bakery, but plan to rectify that on my next trip to London (Bakery Tour Fall 2012)!
 Lily's approach to baking and decorating are a real inspiration to me. 
I like her simple yet classy decorations with the focus more on the cake, tart, etc...
It's just nice to see a baking book free of fondant covered cakes. 
(I hate fondant, it's disgusting and the amount of handling in peoples hands make me cringe. I am a self proclaimed germaphobe!) 
 Even though I knew I was going to love this book before I even got it, nothing could prepare me for the awesomeness of this book! The layout is very modern and she goes into some of the science of baking- which, as she says, will help with your baking because once you understand how things work you can play a bit more. There are plenty of pictures to accompany the recipes. I have a long list of must makes although I could easily make everything in this book!
Here are a few of the recipes I am drooling over: 
Bitter Chocolate Orange Cake (picture)
Chocolate Avocado Cake
Porter Cake
Passionfruit Ganache Tarts (picture)
Spiced Apple Custard Tarts
Biscuit Brownies
Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts
Candy Floss Meringues (picture above)
Pecan Brittle
Absinthe and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (picture below)
On the front cover Gizzi Erskine (food writer and TV presenter) is quoted as saying 'Lily's cakes and pastries are inspired - they look beautiful and taste extraordinary, Sweet Tooth is the only baking book you will ever need.' and I completely agree with her, especially the second part. If you don't own a single baking book and you're looking for one that has it all, this one could quite possibly be the one for you!!