Monday, 22 November 2010

Rocket, Moon and Astronaut Space Themed Cake

This weekend was hectic in the best possible way, lots of family and fun!! It was Mr.Colehill's nephew's fourth birthday party, and I (somewhat bravely) offered to make the cake for the occasion, and here is the finished article!! I'm quite pleased with it since it's only my second go at cake decorating - the first being the baby cake for the birthday boy's new baby brother a few months ago.

I definitely want to take a course at some point to learn the tricks of the trade and improve on the basics and foundations of cake decorating, but for a new hobby and a fairly ambitious idea I'm happy with it. If anyone knows of any good courses that run I'd appreciate some tips!!
Both the moon and the rocket are entirely cake - a vanilla sponge with chocolate buttercream, and the astronaut is modeled out of sugarpaste. hope you like it!!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Nigella's Devil's Food Cake

All hail Nigella, she's done it again. I recently bought her latest book Kitchen without having read any reviews, without flicking through it first, and without umm-ing and ahh-ing over it as I usually do with a hefty new cookbook. Should I have been a little more cautious before racing to the counter? A resounding no. It's a triumph and an absolute gem of a book to read, let alone use any of the recipes. There is a beautifully written introduction and a lengthy section on utensils worth having, and perhaps more importantly, gadgets absolutely not worth having. I hold my hands up to making some of the same purchasing errors as her, but it's so tempting at the time!!

Anyway, I couldn't wait to get started and have a go at some of her recipes, and yes I know this is utterly predictable, but I went straight to the desserts chapter and landed satisfyingly on her Devil's Food Cake. If you are on a diet, this is not for you. However if you enjoy a hefty dose of chocolate and cake, then do not hesitate to make this little (or rather large) beauty.

Devil's Food Cake
50g cocoa powder, sifted

100g dark muscovado sugar
250ml boiling water
125g soft unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

125ml water
30g dark muscovado sugar
175g unsalted butter, cubed
300g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line 2 sandwich tins.
Put the cocoa and muscovado sugar into a bowl and add the boiling water, set aside.
Cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb in another bowl, set aside.
Add the vanilla extract to the butter mixture, still mixing, then the eggs one at a time.
Keep mixing then add the flour mixture, then fold in the cocoa mixture.
Divide between the two tins and bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

For the frosting put the water, muscovado sugar and butter in a pan and melt over a low heat.
When it begins to bubble take off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
Leave for about one hour, giving it a whisk every now and then.
When the cakes have cooled and the frosting is ready, put some frosting between the cakes, then cover with the rest.

Although Nigella suggests an hour is long enough to set the frosting, mine wasn't ready at this point and I needed to speed up the process so I put it in the freezer for 5 minutes. I did the trick, however I sacrificed the glossiness that the frosting should have had for speed. I would suggest making the icing before you make the cake and give it plenty of time to firm up at room temperature.

Utterly delicious and dangerously moreish, I highly recommend this cake. This was demolished within 48 hours, leaving only some rather snug waistbands and a smattering of crumbs on the plate!