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Cake 24 May, 2014

Posted by monopod in Ethan, Food.

I am now the parent of a six-year old and a nineteen-month old. Where does the time go?

Ethan turned six on the nineteenth of this month, and we held a fabulous superhero birthday party the day before. A fabulous superhero birthday party for a fabulous superhero birthday boy requires a….

You guessed it, fabulous superhero birthday cake.

I planned to make this cake, which I’d also done for his fourth birthday party: http://www.sophisticatedgourmet.com/2010/06/chocolate-strawberry-layer-cake/ – but not with that icing, rather with fondant. In every previous year, I’ve done a trial cake a week before just to make sure it would all be fine. This year, I had no time and less inclination so… I baked the cake on Friday evening, for the party on Sunday afternoon, which would have been uneventful except that first the cake batter leaked out of all my cake tins and then I couldn’t get the cakes out after baking.

Managed to salvage that one:

Saturday was a bit of a crazy day. By 8pm the kids still weren’t in bed and the cake was neither crumb-coated nor covered in fondant (both of which I’d never done before).

Two hours later, it was double crumb-coated, having been refrigerated for an hour after each coating:

The next hour brought this:
Which stuck and wouldn’t come off the plate and then cracked in various places while I was manhandling it.

But all’s well that ends well, because:

Thoroughly chuffed, especially when I heard the birthday boy tell a friend at his party to come look at his fab cake. There might be more fondant in my future.


In Which She Says Inconsequential Things 7 June, 2007

Posted by monopod in Food.

I like sour mangoes, and I want to eat a heaping big bowl of spinach.

Coconut Candy 29 April, 2007

Posted by monopod in Food.

Al! Does this bring back memories?

No wonder it tasted good. Can you say ‘sugar high’?

More Chocolate Swoonings 5 March, 2006

Posted by monopod in Food, Weekends.
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Just been on another baking spree. Cake looks heavenly – no idea what it’s going to taste like, but Him will be reliable guinea pig later on.

Chocolate Ginger Cake (Recipe by Margaret Ruhl, from the Green and Black’s website)

150g (5oz) caster sugar
150g (5oz) butter
3 large eggs
3 tbsp syrup from a jar of stem ginger
150g (5oz) self-raising flour
35g (1 1/4oz) cocoa powder
100g (3 1/2oz) stem ginger, finely chopped
100g (3 1/2oz) crystallised ginger
100g (3 1/2oz) Green & Black’s Dark 70% chocolate, broken into pieces


Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour.
Use: 18 or 20cm (7 or 8in) round cake tin

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 (NB: Step can be moved down to #3 or #4 depending on how dab a hand you are with creaming sugar and butter, in the interests of not wasting gas/electricity).
2) Line the base of the cake tin with greaseproof paper (I used a Teflon sheet – cake nearly flew across the kitchen when being taken out of the tin, such is the slippery goodness of Teflon).
3) Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the stem ginger syrup, and lightly beat again. Sniff mixture.
4) Sift the flour and cocoa, fold them into the mixture, then fold in the finely chopped ginger. Inhale mixture again.
5) Pour into the cake tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave it in the tin for 10 mins before turning out on to a wire rack, leaving the paper on (NB: Paper will not allow you to do this if coming in the guise of Teflon). Allow to cool before making the icing. Smell cake.
6) To make the icing, finely chop the ginger. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Add the ginger and stir well. Once the cake has cooled pour the icing over the cake using a palette knife to spread it. Sit in front of cake with blissful smile on face. Try not to get nose in icing, particularly if icing still hot.

Chocolate Mousse Cake 13 February, 2006

Posted by monopod in Food.
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Him has given this one his seal of approval. Very rich though and must be eaten in limited portions.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

3 x 100g bars Green & Black’s dark 70% chocolate
275g caster sugar
165g unsalted butter
Pinch of sea salt
5 large free range eggs
Icing sugar
1 tablespoon ground almonds plus extra for dusting the tin

Quote from the Green and Black’s website:

“This rich, dense chocolate cake is incredibly easy to make but will always impress. It can be served with whipped cream, crème fraîche, Green & Black’s Organic Vanilla ice cream or simply on its own sliced into small fingers with coffee. It can also be made with Green & Black’s Dark, Milk, White and Maya chocolates either on their own or in a combination. If it is made the day before and then chilled over night it becomes even more dense, fudgey and wicked. The lack of flour in the recipe also makes it suitable for coeliacs.”

Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 35-45 minutes.
Use: 20cm or 23cm (8in or 9in) cake tin with removable base or similar-sized tart tin
Serves: 10

1) Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
2) Butter and dust a cake tin with a removable base.
3) Put the first 4 ingredients in a bowl over barely simmering water and allow to melt.
4) Whisk the eggs with the ground almonds and then fold into the chocolate mixture with a spatula off the heat.
5) Pour into the cake tin and bake for between 35 and 40 minutes.
6) Allow to cool, and dust with icing sugar.

I only had 150g of 72% dark cooking chocolate so made do with that and adjusted the other amounts accordingly. Didn’t have any almonds either. Then dispensed with the icing sugar and promptly forgot the sea salt. And you have to line the cake tin with baking paper rather than just oiling it, otherwise you have to eat it from the cake base because it certainly won’t do you the favour of coming off without brute force (this bit of course could just be me, combined with the fact that I didn’t have any ground almonds).

But the point is, it still turned out pretty darn good. It looked like roadkill, partially because due to the reduced volume of ingredients it ended up like a pancake, but it still tasted divine.

It’s a flaming pity I’m not allowed to eat chocolate. Gah.

World Domination 25 December, 2004

Posted by monopod in Food, Him, Self-Absorption.
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I am on my way to world domination in my guise as Domestic Goddess. I made lemon sponge cake on Christmas Eve which Him has given his stamp of approval by proceeding to eat half the cake. Wahey!

Courtesy of the lovely Gill, here’s the recipe (NB: I have modified this slightly):

Juice and finely julienned zest of 1 lemon
150g (5.5 oz.) caster sugar
150ml carton of low-fat plain yogurt (approx. 200g pot)
150ml (5 fl. oz.) sunflower oil (I used olive oil)
250g (9 oz.) self-raising flour
2 large eggs

and possibly a pinch of bicarb of soda, though I haven’t tried that yet.


1) Preheat oven to Gas Mark 3/170 degrees c./325 degrees f. Fully line a 20cm (8″) round cake tin with greaseproof paper (spray tin beforehand as well if not using a non-stick tin).
2) Put lemon juice into a bowl and add one tsp of the caster sugar.
3) Put the lemon zest into a large mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar, yogurt, oil, flour and eggs. Mix thoroughly.
4) Pour mixture into prepared tin, transfer to middle shelf of oven, bake for approx. 1 hr or until risen and springy when lightly touched.
5) Stand cake tin on cooling rack and while hot, slowly spoon the lemon juice mixture over the cake. Allow to cool in the tin.
6) When completely cooled, cut cake into 16 portions.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. It’s freezable too – just wrap individual portions in cling film and freeze for up to two months.

Plus you’d never know it was a low-fat cake (I certainly didn’t when I first ate it. Out of the Weight Watchers mag I think – for those so inclined, values per serving are: 190 cals, 3 points. Not, of course, if you eat half the cake, but then some people aren’t quite so bothered).

Affirmation 5 November, 2004

Posted by monopod in Food.
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Follow-up to Banana Cake #2

My banana cake (a new one, not the one I made last week) received rave reviews at work today. I will now become my colleague’s bestest friend ever if I make her blackberry and apple crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Buy my friendship? Nevah.


Apple and blackberry crumbles

35 minutes Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Put 4 peeled, cored and quartered apples, 200g blackberries, the zest and juice of 1 lemon and 50g light muscovado sugar in a bowl and mix. Divide the mixture between 4 overproof cups and dot with some unsalted butter. Rub 50g unsalted butter into 150g flour until it looks like coarse sand. Stir in 50g light muscovado sugar, 25g rolled oats and 50g chopped hazelnuts. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Serve with clotted cream. Serves 4

Banana Cake #2 30 October, 2004

Posted by monopod in Food, Self-Absorption.
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Was a success. Ahem. Thank you.

Heaven is a Banana Cake 30 October, 2004

Posted by monopod in Food, Self-Absorption.

Hopefully. Because I’m making one (from scratch, natch) and the last time I made a cake was eight years ago under Home Economics duress. The mix looks nice in the bowl at the moment, but there’s still time.

Where’s my metaclopramide? Maybe posting my revolting pumpkin was a psychic glimpse into the future. Though Him and I aren’t quite that orange.

Bum, my cake has collapsed in the middle. We need to get a proper steamer. (Go on then, blame the equipment…)

Anyone who wants entertainment should come round ours on a Saturday night and watch us discover that the recipe for banana cake in our possession is WRONG. 25 minutes’ steaming time is blatantly WRONG.

Anyone for half-done banana cake ? (At least that solves the sinking cake mystery.)

We’ve now scooped off the done bits and popped them in the microwave (for safety’s sake), topped up the loaf tin with the rest of the mix we refrigerated earlier and are now trying again. This cake is going to look hideous, but by golly, it WILL be edible…

My title is very misleading now. God clearly has a sense of humour.