Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Cartoon Time - Happy Halloween

Cakeyboi and Chip are away out trick or treating, so all that is left to be said is Happy Halloween everyone and Happy Birthday Disneyboi! x

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

You didn’t think I’d go through Halloween without making something containing pumpkin did you?

Funny that canned pumpkin is not generally available in the UK, in fact I don’t think that we ever used to see pumpkins in supermarkets even just a few years back. When I was younger at Halloween, it wasn’t the giant orange squash that was hollowed out for the season, but turnips – or neeps as we call them in Scotland. Can you imagine trying to carve one of those? Not easy, as they are solid, I think a chisel was probably the order of the day then.

Luckily nowadays, pumpkins are in every supermarket at this time of year, but very few I am guessing are used in the kitchen. And still no canned pumpkin on our shores, unless you purchase it online or find an American food stockist. To get pureed pumpkin (which is needed for this recipe) is actually very easy to do with the actual gourd itself. Instructions are available over at Smitten Kitchen. I have done this in the past and made lovely pumpkin pie.

I had a couple of cans of pumpkin lurking in my cupboard and put one to use in this recipe, which I have adapted from one I found online elsewhere (can’t remember where!). I wanted to make a cake as Halloween is actually Disneyboi’s birthday and we were also having a family get together with my nephews, so knew they would love it too.

The recipe brings together moist layer cake, chocolate chips and spices commonly found in pumpkin pie. If there is anyone baulking at the thought of pumpkin in something sweet, it is really quite flavourless, but adds great moisture. It’s really the aforementioned spices that add the flavour. This cake uses the one bowl method (i.e. everything is dumped in together), which makes it nice ‘n’ easy!

You will notice in the pic above I have made little eyes to decorate the cake. This was just from experimenting with melted white chocolate, in eye shapes, allowed to set and then some melted dark chocolate on top to finish them off.

Cake Ingredients:
1 can pumpkin puree (or 425 grams)
3 large eggs
200 grams plain flour
120 ml vegetable oil
450 grams granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
100 grams plain chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:
500 grams softened cream cheese (full-fat)
110 grams softened unsalted butter
1 kilograms icing sugar (I know, I know!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Orange food colouring

Cake Method:
Preheat your oven to 180oC. Grease and line two 8” cake pans with greaseproof paper. Grease the paper and then sprinkle flour all over, tapping out any excess. This will ensure your cake does not stick at all!

In a large bowl, place the pumpkin puree, 3 eggs and oil beating well with a whisk until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Beat in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger and finally (and slowly) fold in the flour, soda and baking powder until all incorporated. I dusted the chocolate chips with a bit of flour, which prevents them from sinking in the cake batter, before stirring them through the mix.

Divide the cake mix equally between the two cake pans (I was anal and actually weighed them) and tap them hard on the counter to get rid of any excess air bubbles. Pop into the middle rack of the oven for half an hour. After this time a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake, if not pop back in for a few minutes. After having been out of the oven for 10 minutes, remove from the pans and allow to cool completely. I left mine overnight to harden slightly. This makes slicing each cake in half much easier and prevents it from crumbling. The cake is ready to frost.

Frosting Method:
In another large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add the icing sugar until it reaches a thickish spreadable consistency. Have some more icing sugar on stand-by in case it’s too loose. Finally stir through the cinnamon and add orange food colouring until you get a shade you are happy with.

Now, I am not an expert cake decorator; mine’s always look a bit haphazard! Using an offset spatula I spread some frosting on each layer, stacking them up. On the top I add more frosting and smooth it down the sides. I chilled this for about an hour, removed from the fridge and added another layer of frosting on top, before sticking the chocolate eyes into the cake.

As it is quite a tall cake, a good tip is to insert a bamboo skewer down the centre cutting off any extra. This prevents too much slippage. Alternatively, the batter can be put into cupcake cases and baked for about 12 minutes, which I did last year (when my frosting was way more orange?!) …

However, the cake is nice and moist with the pumpkin and vegetable oil (instead of butter). The plain chocolate is a nice compliment to the spices and the delicious frosting just finishes the cake perfectly. Enjoy!!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Booberry and White Shockolate Ghost Mallow Cookies

My decorations are up and it is beginning to feel a lot like the witching hour. Seriously, I do put Halloween decs up – I’m a big kid at heart if you hadn't guessed already. Not that I dress up myself, heck I’m not even usually in on Halloween as it’s Disneyboi’s birthday and we tend to go out for something to eat – which means I get to avoid the guysers (as we call them in Scotland) scrounging for sweets!

But I like to create and bake for all the seasons. And for this bake, I decided to make cookies – blueberry and white chocolate. Not very in keeping with the season, but put a ghostly mallow on top,call them Booberry and White Shockolate and you have something more inline with October 31st!

Yield: 24 Cookies

For Marshmallows, follow the recipe guidelines for my GoldenSyrup Mallows recipe and pop the mix into a piping bag, rather than the cake pan. Line a cookie sheet with greaseproof paper, lightly wiped with some vegetable oil. Pipe little ghost shapes by swirling round and up. Finish with one last blob for the head. Dust liberally with the icing sugar/cornflour mix and leave overnight to set.

Cookie Ingredients:

100 grams plain flour
50 grams porridge oats
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
110 grams unsalted butter, softened

110 grams granulated sugar
60 grams soft brown sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
50 grams dried blueberries
150 grams white chocolate, chopped into chunks

50 grams of white candy melts (or white chocolate) melted.

Pre-heat the oven to 180oC. Line a cookie sheet with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Set the bowl aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth and lighter in colour, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is smooth and very slightly thicker.

Add the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until totally combined. Add the blueberries and white chocolate, making sure to mix them right through the cookie batter. Spoon dollops of batter onto the cookie sheet, so you get 24 equal amounts. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they have turned golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

With a black food colouring pen (or a toothpick dunked in black colouring) draw a ghost face on each mallow. Carefully remove from the greaseproof paper.

With the melted candy melts (or chocolate), spread some on top of each cookie, topping with a ghost mallow, pushing down slightly to make sure they stick. Allow them to set.

You now have your own Booberry and White Shockolate Ghost Mallow Cookies – a mouthful I know, but if anyone can think of a snappier name, please do let me know! The cookies are lovely on their own, the sharpness of the dried berries cuts through the sweetness of the chocolate. They are also a bit like tea cakes without the chocolate covering. Hmmm, teacakes, now there is an idea! Right off to experiment – oh yes, please enjoy!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

{REVIEW} BBC Good Food Show

You may remember recently that the good people at Plenty gave me some tickets for the BBC Good Food Show being held in the SECC in Glasgow, over the weekend of 19-21 October. As luck would have it, Disneyboi and I were visiting Glasgow that weekend anyway to see the Scissor Sisters (what a great concert!), so I arranged to go down earlier than planned, to visit the show. Sadly, my pal Linley had to call off, but I travelled down on my own for a nosy.

I entered the hall at the SECC to be greeted by amazing sights and smells, a free Good Food show guide
  – and LOTS of people. The area was set up with little stalls for each company, promoting their wares. One side was set up for Scottish exhibitors – billed as Scotland, Land of Food and Drink Regional Village. The other side was touted as the Producers Village (I couldn't really tell the difference!). Plus there was a Farmer’s Market, a Seasonal Tasting theatre, Nick Nairn demonstrating recipes for his Cook School and the Supertheatre. I wandered around the stalls, trying samples of the delicious food and drink on offer. There was vodka, wine, cider – all very early in the day, but I managed. Also lots of varieties of cheese, bespoke vinegars, spicy curries and of course Arbroath Smokies (from my home town!). I also had Hog Roast Roll for my lunch which was delicious, packed with lots of stuffing and onions.

But being Cakeyboi, the biggest draw for me was the array of sweet goods of display, oh yes, and the small matter of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry from The Great British Bake Off being there. I had booked a visit to the ‘Supertheatre’ at one end of the hall, for a GBBO Masterclass with Paul and Mary. Now it only cost £3, but I was a bit disappointed that they were on stage for probably a little less than half-an-hour. Olly Smith from Saturday Kitchen introduced them; they then in turn made a couple of bakes from the series (iced finger buns and fraisier cake). And to top it off, at the end they brought out James Morton, one of the runner’s up from the show (and who I wanted to win!). All in all, despite it feeling a bit rushed it was enjoyable.

I ventured back into the main area, to sample sweet treats – lots of fudge, shortbread, tablet, brownies, cookies and Tunnocks teacakes at the Tunnocks stall. I bought a Salted Caramel brownie from The Brownie Bar, which was delicious – there were a lot of flavours to choose from, it was a hard choice! I also bought a couple of rolls of chocolate chip cookie dough from Mo’s Cookie Dough – but more on this in another post! And I spied some MAHOOSIVE meringues from the Whole Food exhibit, one of which I bought for Disneyboi. It was swirled with raspberry and looked like an all-in-one Eton Mess to me. He hasn't tried it yet…

I later watched Mary Berry again, at the ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ theatre, where she ran through a couple of recipes, giving tips on how to use all of your food, without chucking anything away. Now this was a free theatre, and lasted longer than the paid Supertheatre event, so I did feel that the main show was a bit of a swizz. Oh, another bugbear was the amount of people who just stood aimlessly, blocking paths, or folk rushing about jabbing you with their elbow – consideration for others please!!!

Paul and Mary were signing books at the WH Smith stand, although I didn't wait in line, lots of gadgets being demonstrated a-la-shopping channel-mode (I bought a 'whizzy whisk' – don’t ask!) and some supermarkets promoting their lines.

I stayed a few hours, before realising I couldn't sample another thing! I did enjoy myself and will visit next year, if I get the chance. My photographs may be a bit poor, but I was trying to balance my camera and goodie bag, full of my buys and samples, so apologies.

But thanks again to Plenty for the tickets. I hope my ticket winners had as good a time as I did. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mini Funnel Cakes

I’d heard of Funnel Cake but was never really sure what it was. Not something we get in the UK, so I researched (i.e. googled). Apparently it is a fried snack commonly sold at funfairs in the US. They look a bit like a deep fried brain or spider’s webs. And I thought, with Halloween on the way, what a perfect time to try making them!

Having never had them, I wasn't too sure what to expect. They looked huge and I didn't fancy gorging on a massive greasy treat, so thought I might just make mini ones. They are called funnel cakes because the batter used (bit like a pancake batter) is placed in a funnel then swirled around to get the random look. A funnel was a bit big I pondered, so I went and bought a cheap sauce bottle and hacked off the top of the opening making it slightly wider (you could use any squeezy bottle really).

I looked at a few recipes online and realised it was a pretty basic pancake batter really, with some baking powder. I decided to add a dash of vanilla extract and some ground cinnamon to amp up the flavour. I heated my oil, placed the batter in the bottle and set about squeezing. They didn't take to long to fry and I was pleasantly surprised…

Yield: varies

180 ml milk (any kind)
1 large egg
100g plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Vegetable oil
Icing sugar (for dusting)

Add vegetable oil to a large frying pan, getting it about half an inch deep. Heat to 190oC.
In a measuring jug, add the milk, egg and vanilla, whisk together. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, whisking to get rid of most of the lumps. Pour the batter into the squeezy bottle.

Carefully squeeze the batter into the hot oil, making a random, web like type shape, I made mines about 3 to 4 inches wide. Fry for about a minute and with tongs flip over for about another minute on the other side. 

It should be nice, golden and puffed up by now, so remove it from the pan and place it on some kitchen paper to drain. Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar and your mini funnel cakes are ready to eat, and they are best eaten cosy. 

They are like a cross between a pancake and a doughnut and are delicious. Not the prettiest of sweet treats, which make them perfect for a Halloween snack! Enjoy and discard that hot oil safely!!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Halloween Rice Krispie Treats

I hadn't made Rice Krispie Treats for a while and I thought Halloween would be a prefect time to put a Cakeyboi spin on the RKT’s (much quicker to type!). I pondered what flavours I could use, using as my inspiration the colours of the season – orange and black, well brown in this case.

It seemed pretty obvious when I thought about it – chocolate and orange. A few months back I was watching an American cooking show (surely not, I hear you cry) and I was surprised to hear that the flavour combination of chocolate and orange is not a common one in the US. The presenter was describing to the audience how we even have a huge ball of chocolate called a ‘Chocolate Orange’, like it was a weird concept. I suppose most Americans would find it surprising that chocolate and peanut butter isn't big in our sweets this side of the pond. Anyhoo…

I looked through my cupboard and found a sachet of orange flavour Kool Aid and of course the candy corn I had used in my bark. I also had some chocolate chips on hand, so set to.

200g mini marshmallows
30g butter
125g rice krispies
Sachet of orange Kool Aid (or some orange extract)
100g candy corn
100g chocolate chips – melted

Grease an oblong shaped pan – I used my glass lasagne dish! In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and mallows. Add the orange flavouring and stir through. Add the krispies and stir well to combine all. Add the candy corn and stir again.

Place this mix into your pan/dish and press down firmly, smoothing all over. Allow to set for a couple of hours. 

When ready, remove the krispies from the pan and cut into bars, or use a cutter like I did. Take the melted chocolate and dunk the top of each bar into it. Allow to set a little, before taking a toothpick and drawing a spiders web design on top (if you want to, of course). Allow the chocolate to set and they are ready to eat or hand out to the little darlings on All Hallows Eve. You can’t go wrong with the flavour combo of chocolate and orange, and the candy corn adds even more sweetness! Enjoy…

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Cartoon Time + Cakeyboi hits the Airwaves!

Not just the usual Wednesday cartoon - on no! A wee heads up that I was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live's Morning Report for a piece about men who bake. It went out at 5 in the morning, so I missed it(!). The producer of the show sent me a link and if you would like to hear my dulcet tones, click here (should be available until Saturday 20th October). Apparently my interview is about 26 minutes in. I don't know for sure, as I haven't listened to it, nor do I plan to (hate hearing myself talk), but Disneyboi assured me I was fine. Still think I was waffling tho...

An obvious one for this time of year, really...

Monday, 15 October 2012

Wicked Cupcakes

chocolate mint cupcakes with an homage to wicked the musical

I am excited! This week I'm going to see Idina Menzel in concert. Many of you may not know who Idina is, but she is a stage and screen star – probably best known for playing Elphaba in the Broadway production of my favourite ever musical - Wicked. Oh, and she plays Rachel’s biological mother on TV show Glee.

If you haven’t seen Wicked, it is 'another take' on the story of the witches of Oz. And anyone who knows me, knows my love of all things Oz. It probably all stems from endless repeats of ‘The Wizard...’ on TV when I was younger. And it has stayed with me.

And to celebrate the fact I am going to see the original Elphaba – I decided to make Wicked cupcakes, which all ties in nicely with this month’s Halloween theme!

The cupcakes are chocolate sponge, with a molten choccy centre and a huge swirl of peppermint frosting atop. I like to think of them as Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, what with the molten centre. I melted some chocolate and made little discs, stuck some Hershey Kisses on them to make little witch hats and for the broomstick I used mint flavoured Matchmakers.

Yield: 6 large cupcakes

110 g of unsalted butter, softened
110 g caster sugar
2 large eggs
170 grams self raising flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
60ml milk
110 g chocolate chunks

3egg whites
250g white sugar
60 fl oz water
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Drop of green food colouring

Milk Chocolate discs, mint Matchmakers, Hershey Kisses

Pre-heat oven to 180oC. Line a muffin tin with brown muffin cases. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder, set aside.
In a bowl beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in one third of the flour, then half the milk, another third of the flour, remaining milk, finishing off with the remaining flour.

Half fill each muffin case with the batter, then stick a chocolate chunk in the middle (don't use Kisses, they refuse to melt!), pushing down slightly although not to the bottom. Top each case with more batter, covering the chocolate chunk completely. Pop into the oven for 12 – 15 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean from the sides – don’t poke it in the centre, as the melted chocolate will just come out. Allow the cupcakes to cool.

To make the frosting, place all of the ingredients, except the extract and colouring, in a large bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water and with an electric mixer, beat for 5 minutes. The frosting will become thick and voluminous. Remove from the saucepan and add the mint extract and food colouring. Beat for another couple of minutes.

To decorate, I placed the frosting in a piping bag and piped it on the cakes as high as I could (defying gravity some might say). I then balanced the witches hat on top and added half a Matchmaker. I sprinkled on some edible glitter for magic sparkle, but this is entirely optional.

There we have Wicked cupcakes – in both senses of the word. Enjoy (as much as I will enjoy Idina!)

I am entering this cupcake into the Calendar Cakes Challenge hosted this month by Dolly Bakes, ably assisted by Laura Loves Cakes.

I am also entering the cupcake for Cupcake Tuesday hosted by Hoosier Homemade.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Halloween Bark

A few months back I made Great British Bark and extolled the virtues of the great treat that Bark is. I also said that over time I would be making more to share with you. And here, I keep my promise. Halloween Bark is fun to make, and great to hand out to those little terrors, erm…Trick or Treaters.

Like my GB Bark, it all starts with melted white chocolate and rice krispies. A lot of Bark recipes don’t have krispies, but I like to add them as it bulks it out and makes it good and crunchy. I then add chopped up Oreo cookies, broken up salted pretzels ( I love the whole sweet and salty thing) and candy corn.

Candy Corn is not common here in the UK, but I can sniff American ingredients from a fair distance and got these on one of my trips (London probably, but can’t remember, had it a while!). The pack says it’s made with honey, but tastes sort of like vanilla jellybeans to me. They are iconic and always associated with Halloween and the ‘Fall’ in the US.

All my measurements are pretty rough but I use 450 grams of melted white chocolate, 500ml of rice krispie (pour into a measuring jug until they reach that level) and I just eyeball the rest of the add-ins.

I stir the krispies into the melted white choc ( I use the good old bain marie method to melt) and spread this concoction onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. I spread it out until it’s fairly thin but not so much that it breaks up. Then I randomly sprinkle on the toppings making sure the slab has a good even coat. Lastly I take another sheet of greaseproof paper, place this on top of the bark and gently press all over, sort of smoothing it, to embed the toppings into the chocolate. Remove the gp paper and pop into the fridge for a good couple of hours, to let the bark set. When ready, break the bark into shards and it is ready to eat (it is very very moreish) or pack into gift bags for the little urchins. I had some clear bags, popped the bark into them and then printed some bands to go around the baggies, securing it with stickers I also printed off.

I hope this has inspired you…so go create!

I am submitting this recipe for the 'United Bakes of America' challenge over at Cupcake Crazy Gem. What with the candy corn and Oreos, I hope Gem likes them!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Cartoon Time - Cake O'lantern

It's that time of year again! I love Halloween and for the rest of October all the makes, bakes and toons will be here to haunt and inspire you...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

BBC Good Food Show Ticket Giveaway from Plenty

Do you have any plans the weekend of 19-21 October? If not you might just want to enter my latest giveaway…


The good people at Plenty – you know, the strong household towel  – have very kindly given me tickets to the BBC Good Food Show which is on at the SECC in Glasgow between 19 and 21 October. It’s being billed as the 'biggest celebration of Scottish culinary heritage'. I’m excited as Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry from the Great British Bake Off will be there, as well as James Martin, John Torode and Gregg Wallace from Masterchef, to name but a few. There will be lots of great shopping opportunities and live demonstrations. Watch the clip below to see what is on, because…..Plenty have given me three pairs of tickets to giveaway to my lucky readers! The tickets are valid for any day of the event that you choose.

So, if you can be in Glasgow on the weekend 19 to 21 October and would like to be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets – simply leave a comment on this post!

However If you would like extra entries:

1. Follow Cakeyboi on Google Connect or Networked Blogs (down the side panel) and leave a second comment to say you have done so.

2. Follow @MrCakeyBoi on Twitter and leave a separate comment to let me know you have done so.

3. Tweet the competition using (I’d love to win tickets to the BBC Good Food Show Scotland with Plenty! #win #giveaway) and leave a separate comment to say you have done so.

4. Like the Cakeyboi Facebook Page and leave a separate comment to let me know you have done so.

If you add everything into one comment you will only get one entry, so remember to write a separate comment for each entry.

The giveaway runs until midnight on Sunday 14 October 2012. Quick turnaround  I know – but I have to make sure you get your tickets in time! This giveaway is open to readers in the UK only.

Thank you Plenty and good luck to everyone who enters!