Monday, 21 April 2014

Squidgy Chocolate Cake for Cake Club

Delia's Squidgy Chocolate Cake

A couple of Sunday’s ago it was Clandestine Cake Club time again.

I can’t believe that the cake club has been going for a couple of years now. And that I am now one of it’s organisers!

But this wasn’t my turn at organising (that’s next month). This time the honours went to my good friend Jac (blogging goddess – check out Tinned Tomatoes).

courtesy of apexhotels.co.uk

The secret location was revealed at last minute, and it was the Apex Hotel in Dundee. And the theme set by Jac was ‘Bake like Delia’.

Any cakes from the archives of the legend Delia Smith were allowed.

I turned up at the venue (we were in the Venice function room) and most of the cakes were already out on display.

As I’m sure you’ve assumed from the picture, I made Delia’s delicious Squidgy Chocolate Cake. This is a light chocolate cake, layered with a layer of chocolate ganache, whipped cream and chopped chocolate. If you’d like the recipe check out Delia’s website. The pic below gives you an inside glimpse of the cake



The other cakes were all very different and equally delicious. They included:

A lime and coconut cake – I love those two flavours together – very tropical!



There was a classic chocolate fudge – so much better than those pre-made ones.



A coffee and walnut cake, with a very delicate taste of coffee. The coffee wasn’t weak, just really mellow and not bitter at all, which some coffee cakes can be.



The lemon cake made with fresh homemade lemon curd was light airy and tangy!



We also had doublers at the cake club. Jac and group member Ellen both made Delia’s Sticky Toffee cake, with toffee buttercream. Both cakes were actually quite different, but both delicious.



There was an apricot and hazelnut meringue cake, which was my personal favourite of the night. I never thought those two flavours would marry well together, but they really did!



The Apex was a lovely place to have the cake club, having our own little room for the event.

The hotel, apart from having 151 luxury rooms, boasts a bar and brasserie, perfect for a meal and some drinks.

courtesy of apexhotels.co.uk

There is also a spa where you can unwind, exercise or take a dip in the pool.

courtesy of apexhotels.co.uk


Plus, of course, the meetings and venues rooms.

Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa
1 West Victoria Dock Road
Dundee DD1 3JP
Scotland

T +44 (0)1382 202 404
F +44 (0)1382 201 401

To make a reservation:
T 0845 365 0000 (UK)
T +44 (0)131 441 0440 (Outside UK)
dundee.reservations@apexhotels.co.uk

Now, my turn to find the next venue. I'd better get my finger out!



Sunday, 20 April 2014

Sainsbury's Cake Recipe Collection Book Giveaway



Did you see my Sainsbury’s Easter Table last week, brimming with lots of delicious seasonal goodies?

Well, Sainsbury’s also sent me a couple of copies of their new book – Cake recipe collection.

It’s a great book, showing you step-by-step cake decorating techniques.



The book starts with the basics, some recipes, techniques for icing, fondant modelling and so on.



Then the book is broken into different cakes to try out – children’s, special occasions, cakes for loved ones and lastly little cakes.




At the very back is some templates to use when making the showstopping cakes on the inside of the book.

I get to keep a copy, but there is one more copy up for grabs so if you would like to be in with a chance of winning it, enter via the Rafflecopter thingamajig below.

The giveaway is open to UK residents only, until midnight next Sunday and a winner will be announced soon after. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure Statement: I received a copy of the book free to own and one to give away. I have not been paid to run the giveaway and any opinions expressed are my own.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Easter Egg making with Claire!


I was recently sent an Easter egg making kit from the very nice people at StayinDevon.co.uk in partnership with Choc on Choc, a handmade online chocolate shop who also sell in shops such as John Lewis, Selfridges and Waitrose.

The kit consisted of a chef's hat, a couple of egg moulds, some chocolate buttons and sweets to decorate the eggs with.
I asked my friend Charmaine if her daughter Claire would like to have a bash at making the eggs and Claire jumped at the chance.

Here’s how she got on…



Claire carefully prepped the egg moulds and got the buttons ready.


Before heading to the microwave...


The chocolate was melted in no time!


Claire then brushed the egg moulds with the chocolate...


And allowed them to set before removing them from the moulds. The eggs looked great.


But what happened to those sweets?? I think they have ended up in someone's tummy before they got to the eggs!

A big thanks to Claire for showing us how she got on making Easter eggs and a Happy Easter to everyone!

Disclosure Statement: I was sent the egg making kit free and was not committed to writing a post. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lemon Drizzle Waffles

Lemon Drizzle Waffles

I was trying to think of a nice Easter breakfast alternative to chocolate and these Lemon Drizzle Waffles came into my mind.

I don’t know about you, but my Easter Sunday morning usually consists of whacking a Cadbury’s Easter egg off a hard surface, then tucking into the broken (delicious) shards. But no! I’m going to try and make something a tad more grown up for a change.

A breakfast treat I have not very often are waffles. I’ve loved waffles ever since I was in America in the late 1970’s, visiting Aunty Mary and Uncle Bill. I saw round toaster ones advertised on the box and had to have them (probably demanding them like any petulant 4 year old would). 



You couldn’t get the round ones near where my Aunt and Uncle stayed, but Uncle Bill actually took scissors to square ones and cut them into circles I am reliably informed. How spoilt was I?!

Anyway, I thought that lemon drizzle ones sounded uber-extravagant and delicious and for some reason quite Eastery (ignore this is bit if you are reading this post nowhere near Easter!).

To make them (you need a waffle iron) I added lemon zest to the waffle batter and made a zingy lemon syrup to drizzle over them (instead of the classic maple). Lastly I poured some fresh cream over the top and wham! These Lemon Drizzle Waffles were born. Here’s how I whipped them up…


Yield: Stacks of Waffles!

Lemon Syrup Ingredients:
125ml fresh lemon juice (About 4 lemons)
125 grams granulated sugar

Waffle Ingredients:
175 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
400 ml milk (any type)
56 grams unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Plus:
Butter and fresh cream to drizzle

Syrup Method:
Place the lemon juice and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heat proof jar. The syrup will thicken as it cools.



Waffle Method:
Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt together in a large bowl. Grate in the lemon zest.



 In a saucepan melt the butter then let it cool slightly. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and milk together. Slowly whisk in the cooled butter. Add this wet mix to the dry ingredients and blend just until combined. Don’t over mix. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside for 15 minutes.

Preheat your waffle iron, coating with a non-stick spray.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy then continue to beat slowly adding the two tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks are formed.



After the 15 minutes, fold the egg whites into the batter fully so no white streaks of egg are seen. Then spoon a couple of heaped dessert-spoonfuls of the batter into the waffle iron. Cook according to your waffle iron’s instructions.

Place the cooked waffles on a warmed plate, with a small knob of butter on top. Add each freshly cooked waffle on top so the butter melts.



When all your waffles have been cooked, serve them up on a plate, drizzled with the syrup and then the cream on top.



These really are decadent, but oh so worth it! In fact, if you don’t have a waffle iron, they are worth buying one for. Either that or substitute pancakes with lemon zest in the batter.

But these are sweet, tangy and refreshing all at the same time. And perfect for starting off your day…Enjoy!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Easter Egg Teacakes

Easter Egg Shaped chocolate mallow and biscuit teacakes


A while back I was in Poundland – It’s great to pick up the odd seasonal item – and I found very cute silicon easter egg moulds. I bought two, knowing that these would come in very handy for this time of year.



I remember seeing on the Great British Bake Off, a couple of years back, the contestants making teacakes and I thought Easter egg shaped ones would be very cute for this time of year.

All I needed was a simple batch of biscuit, some melted chocolate, and marshmallow filling. Plus as a little surprise, I added a yellow micro egg to each one, so it kind of looked like a little yolk.

I have to admit that I cheated a wee bit, due to a lack of time, and didn’t make my own marshmallow filling. I bought some marshmallow fluff instead and spooned this into my eggs. But if you want to make your own, check out my easy recipe.

The biscuits were quite a short biscuit, quite hard, they need to be sandwiched next to the marshmallow and it’s best if they don’t go soggy.

But I thought they turned out very cute and would go perfect with a seasonal Easter cuppa.

Yield: 12 teacakes

Equipment: 2 silicon easter egg moulds

Ingredients:
100 grams plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
50 grams granulated sugar
50 grams unsalted butter, cubed
2 tablespoon milk
300 grams dark chocolate
12 tablespoons (or so) marshmallow fluff
12 yellow micro eggs (optional)

Method:
Melt the 200 grams of the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and add in the remaining 100 grams, finely chopped. Stir this through until melted.

Take spoonfuls and add to each mould, turning about until totally coated and draining off any excess. Chill in the fridge until set and do the same again to ensure a thick chocolate coating.



Make the biscuits, in a bowl together mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add the butter and rub through with your fingers until you get a breadcrumb like consistency. Add two tablespoons of milk and mix to form a dough Add more milk if the mix is too dry.



On a floured surface roll the dough to about a quarter of an inch. Cut out eggs shaped the size of the silicone moulds – either with a cutter or tracing with a knife. Place onto a baking tray with greaseproof paper and chill for about 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170C in this time.



Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until they have turned golden brown. They will have risen slightly but shouldn’t have spread. Let them cool completely.

Take the chocolate egg moulds out of the fridge and spoon a tablespoon full of marshmallow into each cavity. Place a micro egg in each if using. Place a cooled biscuit on top of this.



Re-melt the leftover chocolate and spoon this over the biscuit to completely coat the base of the teacake, so no marshmallow or biscuit is showing through.

Place back into the fridge to set for about 30 minutes to one hour.



To remove from the mould, carefully push the egg up from underneath. Trim any excess chocolate if you need to.  And your teacakes are ready!



You might notice that I added white chocolate into the moulds beforehand. This just needed a wee bit of white chocolate and a little piping bag. Let this set in the fridge before adding on the dark chocolate.

These have a good crack of chocolate when you bite into them. Then you get the soft mallowy centre, followed by the thick crunchy biscuit – and don’t forget the hidden micro egg in the middle.

Happy Easter time and enjoy!!



Oh yes, I am entering these teacakes into this month's We Should Cocoa - hosted by Choclette from the Chocolate Blog Log and this month Rachel Cotterill. The theme is Easter, no explanation required!



And I'm also entering them into this month's Love Cake hosted by Ness at Jibber Jabber UK. The theme is Springing into Easter and these are perfect for that!


Saturday, 12 April 2014

On my Sainsbury's Easter Table

Sainsbury's Easter Selection

Sainsbury's recently asked if I would like a selection of goodies to try for Easter. Of course I said yes, and I was given a choice of a kid’s box, an adult’s box or a combo.



I plumped for the grown-ups version and was very excited when a huge box turned up at the door. Now, I have to try these things before Easter gets here, just so I know what I am writing about. And to be honest one of the items didn’t even make it to the table, as the sell-by-date was quite soon, so Disneyboi and I had to scoff these Taste the Difference mini Belgian chocolate hot cross buns. 



They were moist and delicious, not like regular hot cross buns, in that there was no dried fruit, just delicious chocolate throughout. As you can tell by the picture, these were eaten in a hurry!!



Next on to the bounty atop the table and first up was the traditional all butter simnel cake. Now, I’m not a huge fan of simnel cake, but my taste testers told me this was delicious and buttery as the name would suggest. It’s got loads of fruit inside, made with ground almonds and has marzipan balls on top representing the eleven apostles (apparently).  As you can probably see from the picture above, my balls became detached during transit, but then mines was sent via the mail, so if you are buying or having delivered, the cake will be more delicately handled!



The cute little egglets above are wee Belgian chocolate (3 white and 3 milk) truffles filled with an almond and hazelnut praline filling. Very rich, so one at a time is plenty, but very worth it!



The big egg you can see is a Taste the Difference Belgian White Chocolate Egg. It’s a hollow egg decorated with dark chocolate. I reviewed some Taste the Difference white chocolate back at Christmas time, so I knew this were going to be creamy and delicious and  I wasn’t wrong!



To wash this all of this down, I had lashings of tea (I’m a bit a tea junkie) and the English Breakfast Fairtrade Fine Loose Leaf Tea I was sent was very refreshing. No complaints there, I tend to make tea from bags, so having loose leaf is always a bit special.



The adult portion of the Easter box was the mini bottle of Rioja. I love my red wine and I have yet to try this to be honest. But I am reliably informed that this rioja has spicy bramble flavours going on and a subtle vanilla taste. Can’t wait to sample this soon!



And in the box also, was the bunting and paper plates you can see. The bunting will come in handy when I go to my cousin's for our Easter family get together. The paper plates are very cute and there is a whole range to match these ‘Sunshine Happy Days’. I’m going to keep these for summer BBQ’s, and get some matching napkins etc.

Overall, a lovely Easter selection from Sainsbury’s and I hope I have inspired some of you in your purchases!

Disclosure Statement: I received the items in the box free to try and was not expected to write a positive review. Any opinions expressed are my own.