This week I have literally made so many new things I need to publish over two posts. So welcome to the first ever Kitchen Gems baking special! I baked three new cakes / cupcakes this week – and although my waistline isn’t thanking me, its been amazing!
Bake No 1: Coffee and Walnut Cake
Now I blame my parents for this but if I have a proper Sunday dinner I need a pudding of some sort. There is nothing more comforting than finishing a roast dinner off with something sweet. So as my chicken was roasting Nigel Slater style in the oven I had a bit of time to look around the kitchen to make something sweet. As I’m not eating chocolate for lent and I didn’t have any lemons for a lemon drizzle cake I decided on a coffee and walnut cake since Mr Gem is partial to a coffee and walnut slice.
For this recipe I turned to Delia – and you can find the recipe I used here. The basic recipe is for an all in one sponge – 4 oz Marg, 4 oz flour and 4 oz caster sugar, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 eggs. You mix all the ingredients together until it forms a smooth batter then add a tablespoon of instant coffee granules dissolved in 1.5 tablespoons of water. I also added chopped walnuts to the mix to add a bit of crunch. Then bake in the oven at 170 degrees for about 20 minutes. For the frosting I dissolved sugar in water and reduced until it became thick but before it turned into toffee, mixed the sugar syrup into two egg yolks then whisked in butter until it made a creamy mixture. Simple!
And delicious – the cake was really moist and the frosting was addictive – I literally had to leave the kitchen until the cake cooled down as I kept “testing” the cream! Mr Gem enjoyed it although I think my Mum does it better – but I’m young, I can improve!
Then my other two bakes came as a result of a bake-off at work to raise money for Sport Relief – this led to a very stressful evening on Thursday and a trip to the shops in my pyjama’s – read on!
Bake No 2 – Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes
These were so cute! I was literally beaming from ear to ear when I presented them to Mr Gem for inspection!
The recipe was from my Bakes and Cakes book. Starting with a standard cupcake recipe with a handful of crushed raspberries stirred in at the very end. You literally mix the raspberries in for about 10 seconds so that its not blended fully – this is what makes the ripple effect and the the mixture was a lovely pink colour by the time it went in the oven (I think I enjoyed making these because it was such a girlie bake!).
However it wasn’t all pink fluffiness at Kitchen Gems HQ on the evening of my mammoth bake – when the cupcakes had cooled I began to make my frosting and it’s at this point it all went horribly wrong for a time. I was meant to crush some more raspberries and then sieve them to make a puree – I don’t have a sieve (I know, I know but I never remember to buy one until I need it!) so I thought I’d add a bit of water to the crushed raspberries and pass it through some kitchen roll – which incidentally worked a treat. Whilst the raspberries were pureeing I began to whip some cream and icing sugar. Unfortunately I over whipped the cream so that when I added the puree it literally churned into raspberry flavoured cheese. I came up with a new plan to just make with a simple butter cream, of course I then realised I was out of icing sugar so had to trek to the Co-Op in my pyjamas covered in flour, looking like a maniac.
All in all through the cupcakes turned out really well and looked so pretty despite my trauma!
And finally for Week 12 Part 1:
Bake No 3 – Carrot Cupcakes
There were amazing – I could literally eat them every single day for ever and ever. The recipe was pretty much the same as a full size carrot cake – there are a number of carrot cake recipes online but the one most similar to the one I used is here. I didn’t put nuts in the cake though (because I’d run out and I couldn’t face another late night trip to the shops) and instead used mixed raisins. Again these were dead easy to make mix all your ingredients together and bake in the oven – they take about 20 – 25 mins at 180 degrees. When they come out the smell is fabulous. The best part of these cakes though was the frosting. I mixed Marscapone with orange juice and icing sugar – it was unbelievably good. Out of all of the cakes this week I’d say these were the best, so tasty and moist and so easy to make.
I may not have won the bake off at work – but then the lady who won made a white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake and frankly who could compete with that? Even with the best carrot cupcakes in the world!
So that concludes my sweet little post. My next post features the savoury dishes from week 12 – I know you should have savoury before sweet but I can never resist cake!