Why I’m stuck on Friands
I absolutely adore Friands. Have you ever made them? They look like a mini cupcake or a squashed muffin but what they actually are is a little taste of heaven. Now, I know what you’re thinking – really? A taste of heaven?!?!? but bear with me.
I have a minor (read MAJOR) addiction to Dr Pepper which is an almond flavoured fizzy pop drink and marzipan is one of my all time favourite cake ingredients – especially when my mum adds it to her Madeira cake, so it’s no surprise that a little thing like a Friand floats my boat.
Friands are a little French cake made with ground almonds, icing sugar and egg whites. This Friand recipe is much more moist than a cupcake and have a beautiful, delicate texture unlike a muffin. They are more of a delicacy in my eyes. But, and that’s a big but, they like to get stuck in the tray. And when I say stuck I mean welded on – can’t get it out even with a knife, spoon or thin spatula -kind of stuck. So, when I baked these last night there was only one thing for it. Tim and I stood in the kitchen – me complaining that even though I coated the tray with plenty of oil those babies weren’t coming out. Tim – with a mouthful of dug out Friand said “They taste great to me” whilst attempting to get his next one out! So lesson learned. Make these delicate bakes in cupcake cases!!!
Needless to say, they didn’t go to waste and the little hits of blueberries were delish! Even baked in a silicon mould didn’t help keep them unstuck!
Chocolate Ganache Recipe
If you follow me on Instagram then you would have already seen this picture of the chocolate ganache I made for a birthday cake a few weeks ago. I totally love ganache. I mean what’s not to love – it’s chocolate and cream!
I thought I’d share my recipe with you as it’s really handy to have – especially at this time of year when you’re thinking about making chocolate truffles asChristmas gifts. Usually I use double cream but I had some dairy free soya cream alternative left over so I used that and it was absolutely delish. Soya milk and cream are so much more creamy tasting that regular ones. I think I’ll be using them every time in the future- what’s more it’s great to have a dairy free ganache in your repertoire- don’t you think?
Print off the Chocolate Ganache Recipe here
Chocolate Ganache Recipe
Ingredients (this recipe is enough to sandwich and cover an 8″ cake
• 200ml double cream
• 250g dark chocolate- broken into small pieces
To make the ganache
- Place the cream in a bain- marie over a low heat making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water below.
- Heat the cream till very hot but not boiling – it will burn very quickly and you don’t need it that hot.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and add the chocolate pieces.
- Stir until all the chocolate and cream is melted and combined.
- Set aside to cool then pipe or spread over your cake with a palette knife.
Tips with Ganache
- You can add half as much chocolate again to your mix (ie another 125g) to make your ganache a thicker consistency. Much more chocolate than that and it will be very firm and won’t be easy to spread on a cake.
- For a dairy free ganache use dark chocolate (Bourneville is buttermilk free – most others aren’t) and a soya dairy free cream. Even if it is single cream the ganache will still taste fab – just add a few more squares of chocolate to thicken it up.
- Milk and white chocolate both work well with this recipe too.
- This recipe is great for making truffles. Simply add a tablespoon of flavour – alcohol always works well, once the cream and chocolate are combined. Set aside to cool then roll into balls. Cover in cocoa powder, icing sugar or anything your heart desire.
The Great British Bake off in numbers
I’m a big fan of infographics, aren’t you? So when I was sent this Great British Bake Off one earlier this week I just had to share it with you. I’m super excited to see the finale tonight (along with an estimated 12.29 million other viewers) but a bit gutted that I can’t watch it live- I shall be avoiding all forms of social media till I watch it.
Who do you think will win?
Lemon and Lime Madeira cake recipe
I’ve been wanting to test out this Lemon and Lime Madeira cake recipe for ages. I made it a few years ago for my sister’s charity cake morning but I didn’t measure the ingredients or take photos so when fellow Free Cakes For Kids volunteer Zowie had a Macmillian coffee morning this weekend I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make it again.
It’s a bit of a show stopper as this time I made it three tiers tall and I have finally worked out how to have a decent amount of buttercream between layers without it all squidging out from the sides.
Lemon and Lime Madeira cake recipe
- 170g Butter – at room temperature
- 170g margarine – at room temperature
- 400g caster sugar
- Juice 1 lemon and 1 lime (3 ½ tbsp cake, 1tbsp sugar syrup and 1 ½ tbsp buttercream)
- Rind of 1 lemon and 1 lime (½ for the cake, ½ for the buttercream)
- 7 medium eggs- at room temperature
- 510 plain flour
- 3 ½ tsp baking powder
- 7 tbsp water
Sugar syrup ingredients
- 40g caster sugar
- 40ml water
- 1 tbsp lemon & lime juice (taken from original fruit)
- 450g butter- at room temperature
- 450g sieved icing sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp lemon & lime juice (taken from original fruit)
- Lemon and lime rind
How to make the Lemon and Lime Madeira cake
To make the cake
- Line three 8″ cake tins with silicon paper and pre heat your oven to
180ºC (Fan oven160ºC). I use sunflower oil to grease the tins so the cakes stay soft. Butter tends to bake too quickly giving you a harder cake on the outside.
Start by creaming the butters together then add the sugar and beat till it’s pale and fluffy.
Very slowly add the eggs – a spoonful at a time. Add a spoon of the flour to prevent curdling if necessary.
- Grate all of the rind from the lemon and the lime then juice them both. Run the juice through a sieve so there are no pips or pith. These will be used for the cake, the buttercream and the sugar syrup so don’t put it all in the cake at once or you’ll end up with a very, very zingy cake! Put 3 ½ tbsp of juice into the cake mix and set the rest aside.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and have the hot water ready. Add the flour and water in three goes. This produces the fluffiest and most moist cake rather than adding all the flour then all the water.
Finally fold in half the zests.
- Spoon into the three cake tins. The mixture should be 565g for each tin – if you want really even cakes.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean.
Don’t open the oven door for the first 20 minutes. It will make the cake sink.
Place the cakes on a wire to cool.
- Make the sugar syrup while the cakes are baking.
To make the sugar syrup
- Place the water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer until all the sugar has dissolved then add the lemon and lime juice.
- Set aside and allow to cool.
- Once the cakes are out of the oven brush over the top of each cake with the sugar syrup. You only need to cover each area once. Don’t be tempted to put too much syrup on or you’ll end up with a soggy mess.
- Leave the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before turning them out of the tin to go completely cold before you arrange them with buttercream.
To make the buttercream
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. This will take 3-5 minutes. If using a stand mixer you can carefully place a tea towel over the mixer -around the outside of the bowl to prevent the icing sugar being thrown out all over the place. If using a hand held mixer loosely combine the ingredients before whisking.
Make sure the cakes are level by cutting off any domes from the tops
- Fill a piping bag with a wide nozzle with the buttercream. Pipe dots all around the bottom cake layer then fill the inside. Use a spatula to smooth it a little.
- Place the next layer on top then repeat with the next layer of buttercream finishing off with the top layer of cake.
- Place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes. This encourages the buttercream to harden up a little making it easier to spread buttercream on the outside edges.
- Use a little of the buttercream to spread a crumb coating on the top and outside edge – filling any gaps between the layers as you go, then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. The longer it’s in the fridge the harder the coating will get and the easier it will be to add the next layer. I’ve been leaving the crumb coating a little bit rough (rather than smoothing it completely flat) recently and it’s made adding the outside coating much easier.
- Once the crumb coating is firm add a thicker outer coating all over the cake. Use a serrated ruler to create a design in the buttercream across the top and then on the sides.
- Place any decorations on the top (these Daisies were from Poundand) and then chill again for 10-15 minutes.
From what I tasted – I never leave an off-cut uneaten, that’s what buttercream is for isn’t it? this is one seriously zesty, moist cake.
Merry-go-round birthday cake
I can’t believe little Belle is 4! I mean it was only yesterday I made these baby cookies when she was born and now she’s started school. That’s just insane.
I was asked to make Belle’s 4th birthday cake and as you can see it’s a Merry-go-round cake. I decided to make the ponies into cookies that could be pulled off. I’m glad she wasn’t five or I might not have had room for all the ponies to fit on.
How to make the ponies for the Merry-go-round birthday cake
- I searched high and low for a pony – or even a horse cookie cutter I could use but none of them were up to scratch, so I decided to make my own- gulp! Armed with a google search and a pen I found a look I liked and used it to base my sketch on. I then cut out the paper pattern (which you can download here) and used it to cut around the rolled out vanilla biscuit dough (Vanilla cookie recipe here)
- Bake the pony cookies and make more than you need- just in case a leg falls off or anything. That tends to happen to me! Make the royal icing up. – Royal icing recipe here.
- First pipe the outline of the body in pale pink.
- Fill in the pink body with runny Royal icing. Add a small amount of water to the icing till the trace line disappears in eight seconds. (just in case- a trace line is when you lift a spoon out of the icing and the icing that falls off the spoon leaves a line in the bowl of icing below. The trace line is the line of icing that falls. You need to count how long it takes for that line to disappear. Once it takes eight seconds you know that your icing is runny enough to flood the cookie but not too wet to never dry)
- With a darker pink icing outline the mane and tail then flood. Leave to dry for at least an hour – over night is even better.
- Using a brown icing outline and flood the saddle and straps. With a thick brown icing pipe the bridle across the nose and up to the mane
- Give the ponies horse shoes
- To give them pretty eyes pipe a black dot of royal icing and use a tooth pick to drag tiny amounts away from the dot – creating eye lashes and making the ponies look very pretty
- Leave the ponies to dry thoroughly before handling. 24 hours is optimal.
How to make the Merry-Go-Round cake
- To give the cake a base make a deep 8″ cake and a more shallow 9″ cake. Cover with sugarpaste, stack and set on the covered cake board.
- Add a detailed trim along the base of each cake. I use these Edge Cutters which I picked up at a cake fair. Use royal icing to make them stick or dampen the back of each trim with water.
- Each pony sits on a pole which is really a pink and white straw. I use these ones from Talking Tables as they’re strong – also there’s loads left over for drinks afterwards. It’s really hard to push the paper straws through the dense Madeira cake so I cut off the bottom of a straw and stick it onto the base of the cake with royal icing. Flatten the top of this straw before you attach it to the cake so the pony can sit flat against it. I then pushed the top straw into the cake in line with the small one – just as much as I could without the cake being distorted or the straw poking through
- Make lots of pretty flowers using plunger cutters. Layer up difference sizes and add a pearl in the centre to finish them off. Leave to dry over night so they are easy to handle without breaking.
- Each pony is stuck to the cake using Royal icing. The pony cookies are quite heavy so use toothpicks to hold them in place until the royal icing hardens and the ponies are completely stuck. Two underneath where no one will see the holes should do the trick.
- To finish off the merry-go-round place a taller white dowel in the centre of the cake add ribbons to it. I glued the ribbons onto the central dowel before placing it in the cake to save on fiddling near the cake. Cut each piece of ribbon to length then stick to each straw around the outside. Make toppers with white sugarpaste. It’s a good idea to make the tops ahead of time so they can easily sit on the straws without breaking. Make holes in the bottom before you leave them to dry and then stick them in place with royal icing. Make pretty little bows and stick them on the outside of each straw.
- Don’t forget to make a topper for the central post too.
- Add the flowers all over the cake around the base and in the ponies manes.
- Lastly add the name to the base and the age – with a few more flowers for good measure.
Happy Birthday Belle
Honey cake recipe for Rosh Hashanah
Every Jewish festival comes with a traditional cake. Rosh Hashanah – which is the Jewish New Year, is Honey cake. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated over two days and it’s one of the biggest festivals in the Jewish calendar. We get together and eat – a lot, gathering for big meals and lots of honey cake.
Traditionally honey cake is a really dense and heavy cake but I’ve been making lighter versions for years now. This one is made with syrup. Now I know what your thinking. If it’s made with syrup why is it called honey cake? Well, Syrup makes the cake a bit heavier than honey and that’s what my mum does and what her mum did and what her mum did. Get the picture? So I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t want my cake to be too heavy so I made it the Genoise way. Still light but with a superior moistness! Yummarge!
Honey cake recipe
- 90g plain flour
- 100g Self Raising flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 eggs (separated)
- 100g caster sugar
- 110ml syrup
- 110ml sunflower oil
- 110ml tea (the stronger the better)
- Line an 8″ baking tin well. This cake mix is more like batter than cake so it will run out of any cracks in a loose bottom tin. It’s also quite sticky once baked so I always bake in cake liners. It also makes it easier to give the cakes as gifts.
- Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
- Make the strong tea and set aside to cool a little.
- In a separate bowl measure out all the dry ingredients
- Measure the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl and place over a bain-marie. You want to warm the mixture not heat it up. If it gets too warm you’ll have scrambled eggs – yuck! Whisk the ingredients to add air and make the mixture double in size. Remove from the heat and carry on whisking with a hand held whisk or in a stand mixer. Stand mixer is easier.
- Measure the oil into a jug and while whisking the egg whites slowly add the oil in a slow and steady trickle. Add the egg whites and the oil and whisk further.
- Add the cooled tea and whisk again.
- Sieve the dry ingredients over the cake mix. Avoid pouring the dry contents into the bowl in one go as the weight of it will burst loads of air bubbles and we need them to give the cake lightness. Fold the dry ingredients into the mix until completely combined then pour the ingredients into the cake tin. The mix will resemble a very wet batter. It will rise into a deep cake so fill the case to ¾ full.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 45minutes or till the cake starts coming away from the sides. This cake is incredible light so if you press the top with your finger it will leave an indent even if the cake is baked.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a rack before removing from the tin.
This cake tastes great on the day of baking but even better the day after
Happy New Year to all my Jewish readers. Chag Sameach