Archive for the Cakes Category

Blanka Pound Cake

Posted in American food, Baking, Cakes, Recipes with tags , , , , , on 21/07/2013 by libbyplummer

Blanka Pound CakeBlanka: “Would anybody like some pound cake?”

Ryu: “I’d like some pound cake”.

Ever since Street Fighter aficionado Pete sent me this Blanka Makes Pound Cake YouTube video the other day, I’ve thought of little else but pound cake.

Suffice to say, the joke only works if you’re familiar with Ryu’s Hurricane Kick sound effect from the Street Fighter games – which I am, it being one of only about five games that I’m able to play with any kind of socially acceptable dexterity.

Apparently Ryu is actually saying Tatsumaki Senpu Kyaku, but it does sound remarkably like something to do with pound cake…

Just in case you’re not schooled in the ways of baked goods, pound cake is popular in the US, particularly the south. The traditional recipe calls for a pound each of sugar, butter, flour and eggs, hence the name. Incredibly, 4 March is National Pound Cake Day in the US.

Blanks Makes Pound Cake

The fact that this particular version as got turmeric in it sounds a bit weird and gives it a slightly yellow colour, but DON’T PANIC. I can assure you it’s very pleasant with a tasty cup of tea (or coffee, if you insist).

Enough chat, here’s the recipe (not sure where it originates from, it’s the one my mum always uses)…

What you’ll need:
200g/8oz unsalted butter (at room temp)
325g/13oz caster sugar
5 large eggs
250g/10oz plain flour (sieved)
2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp ground mace
pinch of turmeric

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 160°C /140°C  (fan oven)/325°F/Gas mark 3. Grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Cream the sugar and butter together in a big bowl, using a fork. Once it’s all mixed together, add the eggs one at at time, mixing each one in as you go. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Dollop the whole lot into the tin and smooth over the top with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour and 10 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (my oven took about 1 hour 20 minutes). Once it’s out the oven, leave in the tin for about 10 minutes then turn onto a wire rack to cool. Game Over.

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Depressed Cake Shop comes to London

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Cakes, Events with tags , , , , , , , on 21/07/2013 by libbyplummer

Gloomy Grey Lemon MacaronsThe Depressed Cake Shop is a pop-up shop that aims to raise awareness of depression and well as making some cash for a mental health charity in the process. All the baked goods in sold in the shop will be grey on the outside.

The first shop will open on 2 August in Brick Lane, London, with plenty more pop-up shops planned all over the country. The project is also set to go global, with bakers already lined up in the US, Australia and Malaysia.

Depressed Cake Shop

The splendidly grey-tinged, fundraising idea is the brainchild of Miss Cakehead, who’s previous projects include the gruesome Eat Your Heart Out shop for Halloween, the Katy Perry-themed Cakey Perry afternoon tea and the Cakes for Japan shop which raised money to help rescue efforts following the 2011 tsunami.

Among other things, the Depressed Cake Shop will be selling Gloomy Grey Lemon Macarons from Dainty Bakehouse, Misfortune Cookies from Miss Insomnia Tulip, and Life’s Taken a Bite Out of Me Biscuits from Laura Fortune.

Life's Taken a Bite of Me biscuits

For more details, head over to: The Depressed Cake Shop

If you want to get involved in the project, join The Depressed Cake Shop Facebook group or  contact emma@misscakehead.com

Eat Your Heart Out 2012

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Events with tags , , , , , , , on 28/10/2012 by libbyplummer

EYHO 2012Eat Your Heart Out 2012 was the latest project from Miss Cakehead, whose previous projects include the kitsch Cakey Perry afternoon tea and Cakes for Japan – a cake-based series of fundraising events to raise money for victims of the 2011 tsunami.

I went along to Eat Your Heart Out 2010 – the world’s first 18+ cake shop, so I as soon as I got word of Eat Your Heart Out 2012, I stuck it in the diary and booked my (free) ticket) faster than you can say “make mine a polycystic ovary cupcake”.

EYHO 2012

The EYHO pop-up shop was open for three days over the weekend before Halloween with the pathology museum at St Bart’s hospital in London providing the perfect venue for the macabre cake sale.

The gruesome treats on offer included aorta cupcakes (with rum syringe shot!) from Leshie Loves Cake, lung cancer cookies from Nevie Pie Cakes and polycystic kidney cake from Cakes by Victoria.

EYHO 2012

You can check out the full EYHO 2012 menu here.

While designed to shock, the baked goods also carried a serious message, many of which were displayed to raise awareness of the conditions that they represented, like the prostate cancer truffles and mole cupcakes.

EYHO 2012

It’s testament to the artistry of some of the bakers involved that their cakes simply looked too horribly realistic to buy. While I appreciate the edginess of the STD cupcakes, stool sample cakes and limoncello cocktails disguised as urine samples, I simply couldn’t bring myself to try them (although I’ve no doubt that they were very tasty).

EYHO 2012

Instead I opted for some macarons shaped to look like internal organs (kidneys and lungs) from Miss Insomnia Tulip and a ‘wounded bakewell’ from the All Mine Patisserie. As you do.

EYHO 2012

Bravo, Miss Cakehead – I do hope you’re planning EYHO 2013…

EYHO 2012

Pop Art Halloween Brownies

Posted in Baking, Cakes, Seasonal food with tags , , , , , , on 14/10/2012 by libbyplummer

Pop Art Halloween Brownies

It’s nearly Halloween! Like any other time of year on London Baking, that means tenuously themed baked goods. This cakey creation is based on my usual brownie recipe with a colourful twist.

Without wishing to sound too much like an utter ponce, the colours of the toppings were in fact inspired by a painting (pretentious? Moi?). The piece of art in question is Andy Warhol’s witch print which I saw up close and personal on a recent visit to Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Andy Warhol witch

I really can’t be arsed to write out the recipe again, so I’ll just link to my Judge Fudge Brownie recipe – it’s exactly the same, just without the fudge. For the pop art topping, read on…

What you’ll need:
200g white chocolate
Food colouring

Pop Art Halloween Brownies

What to do:
Firstly decide how many colours you want to use (or you can can just use the choc in its natural white state). I wanted three colours, so I divided the bar into three. So far, so easy. For each colour, you need to break up the chocolate into pieces and drop into a bain-marie (that’s a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, to you and me).

Once the chocolate is melted, you can add as much colouring as you like. The laws of chemistry mean that a water-based colour won’t mix with the chocolate very well. I used gel colours, but to get the best shades, tinting powder is probably the most effective.

Pop Art Halloween Brownies

Once you’ve got your chosen shade, simply get a dollop of chocolate on a large spoon and drizzle over the cake. Obviously you’ll need to repeat this as many times as you’ve got colours. Once it’s completely set (bung it in the fridge to speed things up), cut into slices and scoff.

SugarSlam III: Batter Royal

Posted in Baking, Biscuits, Cakes, Events with tags , , , , , , on 15/07/2012 by libbyplummer

SugarSlam III flyerPunk rock baking blogger Natalie is once again running the wrestling-themed SugarSlam bake-off over at Bake & Destroy and the good news is that the deadline for entries has been extended to 15 August 2012 so this blog  post isn’t quite as last-minute as I’d feared. Huzzah!

The lucky winner will be awarded the coveted SugarSlam World Championship belt along with a host of other prizes and there’s also a top prize stash in store for the People’s Champion.

Check out the official SugarSlam rules over at Bake & Destroy and take a gander at the SugarSlam 2011 entries here (including my Kendo Nagasaki cake pops).

Elizabeth Sponge cupcakes for the Diamond Jubilee

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food, Events with tags , , , , , , on 03/06/2012 by libbyplummer

Elizabeth Sponge cupcakes for the Diamond JubileeWe’ve got a four-day weekend here in the UK to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee – that is, 60 years since the young princess ascended the throne.

With street parties, barbecues and flags all in place, celebratory cakes will also be high on the list of priorities for many Brits (along with copious amounts of alcohol, in the guise of celebrating our Queen’s lengthy rule).

Elizabeth Sponge is simply a variation on the classic Victoria Sponge, named after our reigning monarch (and myself, of course). These cupcakes include a hidden layer of strawberry in the centre, along with red, white and blue striped icing.

I’ll be honest – the fancy icing is a little fiddly (never before have you heard such bad language directed at an icing bag) but I think it’s worth the effort.

Elizabeth Sponge cupcakes for the Diamond Jubilee

Of course these wouldn’t fit the London Baking theme without some sort of tenuous punk connection, like the Anarchy in the UK cupcakes that I made for the royal wedding last year.

That’s why the flags are adorned with circled As (grrr, anarchic baked goods!) and the God Save the Queen slogan that the Sex Pistols used for their controversial hit single that was released to conincide with the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

God Save the Queen Sex Pistols

I’ll leave you with the recipe below. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Putney to celebrate the Jubilee (by which I mean ‘spend all day in the pub’).

What you’ll need:
110g/4oz self-raising flour (sieved)
110g/4oz caster sugar (sieved)
110g/4oz margarine
1tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
Seedless strawberry jam

For the buttercream icing:
340g/12oz icing (confectioner’s) sugar (sieved)
150g/5.25oz softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Red and blue paste food colouring ( I used Sugarflair Christmas Red and Navy Blue)
Icing whitener ( I used Wilton)
Disposable icing bags

Makes 12 cupcakes

Elizabeth Sponge cupcakes for the Diamond Jubilee

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C (fan oven)/325°F/gas mark 3. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases (Union Jack ones, if you can find ’em). Chuck the sifted flour, sugar, margarine and baking powder into a bowl and cream together with a fork. Next add the two eggs, mixing after adding each one, then add the vanilla extract. One it’s all mixed together, give it a quick whisk so that it’s light and fluffy.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 cupcakes cases and  in the oven for 20 minutes (or until slightly golden brown and firm but springy to touch). After removing from the the oven, let the cupcakes cool in the baking tray for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Elizabeth Sponge cupcakes for the Diamond Jubilee

Once they’re completely cool, you’ll need to cut out a chunk from each cake to add in the jam. Carefully score a circle around the top of the cake with a sharp nice, then retrace the circle with the knife at an angle so that you cut out a section (in a vaguely conical shape). Use a teaspoon to dollop a tiny blob of jam in the crater, then replace the ‘lid’.

Elizabeth Sponge Cupcakes for the Diamond Jubilee

Next up – the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a large bowl and cream in the butter using a fork. Once it’s all mixed in and smooth, divide the icing into three bowls.

Colour one red, using paste colouring (apply sparingly with a cocktail stick and work in with a fork until you get the colour you want). Do the same with the blue colouring and if you want, add a few drops of icing whitener to the third bowl.

Now comes the tricky bit. You’ll need four disposable icing bags. Half fill three bags with the three different colours (you can always add more as you go along). Next snip the end of the fourth bag so that a large star nozzle fits comfortably.

Striped icing

Next, snip the ends from the other three bags and put them all inside the fourth, making sure that the tips all fit inside the nozzle (this is the bit that takes time, patience and, potentially, a lot of swearing). Once in place, you can ice away as usual.

Leveson Inquiry cake pops

Posted in Baking, Cakes, English food with tags , , , on 28/05/2012 by libbyplummer

Leveson cake popsUnless you’ve been living on the moon (or simply in another country, where the state of the British tabloid press is not high on your list of priorities) you’ll know all about the Leveson Inquiry.

If you haven’t heard, it’s a public inquiry into the ethics and practices of the British press led by Lord Justice Leveson and fueled by the News International Phone Hacking Scandal, which led to the closure of the News of the World.

What the deuce has this got to do with baking? Well, Miss Insomnia Tulip has taken it upon herself to concoct a range of Leveson Inquiry cake pops. As you do.

Leveson cake pops

The selection includes likenesses of British Prime Minister David Cameron, ex News International chief exec Rebekah Brooks and antipodean media mogul Rupert Murdoch. My favourite has to be Grand Inquisitor (not his actual job title) from the News of the World committee hearing, MP Tom Watson…

Leveson cake pops

You can check out the full range of cake pops over at Miss Insomnia Tulip’s Flickr page.

Via: Miss Cakehead/Eat Your Heart Out