Happy Easter

Wishing everybody a Happy Easter weekend!
No packed lunch but just sharing this lovely Easter Cake I made last week.

It is a chocolate cake covered in fondant. The nests are made with (chocolate flavoured) fondant and all the little chocolate Easter eggs are attached with melted chocolate.

Obviously I had to do my research beforehand and test out the best mini Easter chocolate eggs to be used on this cake 😘…..

 

I now also share more (food) photos on Instagram

Cake pops

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So what do you do with left over cake?

Turn them into cake pops!

Cake pops are literally that, a cake ball on a lollipop stick. If you google cake pops you will find the most creative designs and versions. Often people will bake a cake to make these and you can even buy a special cake pop maker or molds which will bake cakes in perfectly round balls.

It’s much easier though to use cake left overs, and better as well as you won’t waste anything 🙂

I don’t have a recipe, but normally you crumble up a cake and mix it with some buttercream/frosting. As I had made a dark chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, I used this for my version. The mixture needs to be moist but firm, you don’t want the cake pops falling apart.

First you roll the cake mixture into balls, approximately the size of a walnut/golf ball (I actually weighed them to make sure they were all equal). If you make them too large, they will get too heavy and will fall off the stick. Plus, you can’t really easily pop them into your mouth! After rolling the balls, I placed them in the fridge to harden up, this took about 45 minutes. I meanwhile prepped my drying board, a piece of foam in which I pierced some holes to fit the lollipop sticks.

I also melted a small portion of candy melts, I used these from Wilton which were supposed to be red but turned out pink! Not sure what candy melts are exactly, I suspect sugar with vegetable fats and colouring, but they smell and taste vaguely chocolaty as well. You can melt them in the microwave. Just take care to stir often and heat in short burst to avoid burning the candy melts!

Once the cake pop balls had hardened up, I inserted the sticks by dipping the top part in the candy melt mixture and inserting this halfway into the cake ball. This helps the stick to “stick” to the cake. Popped the tray bake into the fridge for another 30 minutes so that the candy melt “glue” could set.

I then melted some more candy melts for dipping the cake balls. Aside from the colour failure, I also felt that the mixture was quite thick. This was the first time I made these, so I wasn’t sure of the consistency, but I thinned it out with some Trex until smooth and a bit runny.  I had read somewhere that you should not dip an ice cold ball into a hot coating mixture, to avoid cracking. Makes sense, and I took out the pops from the fridge again and waited for another 10 minutes for them to warm up and the mixture to cool down before dipping the ball into the mixture and carefully tapping off any excess. Not really sure how to best describe it, but there are lots of videos on Youtube that show this. You sort of want a thin, smooth coating all around the cake ball.

After dipping, I either dipped the top half again in some hundreds-and-thousands before the glaze had set, or I stuck them immediately into the foam board to dry.  I had one or two accidents, when the ball threatened to slip of the stick, so I dried these upside down and used them for quality control check 😛

Finally, I wrapped them all up individually in little cellophane bags.

 

 

They look pretty, and are nice – if a bit sweetly- to eat, but also quite a faff to make, so not sure if I would make them very often. I guess I have to find some more ideas for using left over cake… any suggestions?

 

Happy Easter (cake)

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Made this Easter Cake this week for the office.

It is a standard Chocolate Victoria Sponge – my non fail recipe uses 225 gr butter and 225 gr castor sugar creamed together, with 4 large (UK size) eggs, 175 gr selfraising flour, 50 gr Dutch cacao, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder added. This cake mixture is divided over two 8 inch baking tins and baked (in preheated oven 180C) for 25 min.

To turn it into a Easter cake, I choose some chocolate finger biscuits*, mini chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and of course those two cute chicks.  I also made a double batch of vanilla buttercream (300 gr butter, 600 gr icing sugar, 1 tbs vanilla essence). This I divided over two bowls, approx 2/3 left plain, and to 1/3 I added a few drops of green food colouring.**

After the baked cakes had cooled down properly, I used the plain buttercream to sandwich the cakes together and to crumb coat the cake. Crumb coating is done to seal in any crumbs, usually before adding a fondant layer but even when not using fondant, I feel it makes it easier to decorate the cake further. I let this crumb coat “stiffen” up a bit in the fridge, before adding a second layer of buttercream to the sides of the cake, which I used to attach the chocolate fingers. Once the cake was completely surrounded, I tied up with a little ribbon.

For the grass I used a special grass piping nozzle (Wilton 233). I can’t pipe buttercream and make photos at the same time, but it’s pretty simple a matter of placing your filled piping bag at a right angle to the top of the cake, squeeze and lift – with releasing the pressure on the bag whilst lifting. Make sure you vary the “length” of the grass a bit for a natural effect (i.e. like someone was too lazy to mow the lawn…).

Finally I added some mini chocolate eggs and bunnies. Initially I was going to put the bunnies on top of the cake as well, but the container I used for transporting this cake isn’t deep enough, so now the bunnies are standing “guard” outside the cake – attached with a little left over butter cream.

They were rather useless guards though as they got eaten… as did the cake 🙂

 

*alternatively you can use Kit Kat. I used Cadbury’s chocolate fingers, 2 1/2 packs were needed for a 8 inch cake.

** this makes a lot of icing! You can store leftover buttercream in the fridge for a couple of days, or even freeze it. I used the leftover icing for another cake I had made for OH’s office.

 

Oh, and this is how the cake looked when cut

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Chocolate Crunchie Cake

More cake!

I know. This blog was initially set up to show my Korean-Japanese food inspired lunch boxes, but recently I have been doing a lot more baking.  Plus, I had some of this cake for lunch 🙂

The cake was made for a colleague’s birthday last month, and I knew he likes Crunchie bars, so I wanted a cake that was inspired by those flavours: honeycomb and chocolate.

This was the first time that I made  honeycomb, and even though the recipe looked very simple… the reality was a bit scarier. It took ages for the sugar/syrup to melt, and I was afraid to turn up the heat, in case it would burn. Luckily it turned out fairly ok, a bit less crunchie than I had hoped, but still very good 🙂

How I made this cake:

First I made a Chocolate Victoria Sponge: I tend to use a very basic recipe with equal quantities egg, sugar, butter and self raising flour (225 grams, 4 large eggs) but I replaced 50 gr of the flour by 50 gr unsweetened cacao powder.  Divide equally over 2 round tins and bake for 25 minutes in preheated (180 degrees) oven until springy to touch. Cool down.

Make Chocolate Ganache. I actually still had some in the freezer from the month before which I defrosted…can’t remember the quantities, but I always use equal parts double cream and good quality dark chocolate. If you make from scratch, you can read some good guidelines on how to make chocolate ganache here. Just cool down until thick but still spreadable.

Make honeycomb: I used this recipe from BBC Good Food. Instead of buttering a tin, I used magic non stick liner / reusable baking liner which I had greased very very lightly with neutral oil. Don’t use normal baking paper, I read that it will just stick to the honeycomb. This recipe makes quite a lot, and I only used about half of it for the cake …not that I minded…I just ate the rest 🙂

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Make Honeycomb buttercream: 125 gr soft butter, whipped until creamy. Add 200-225 gr icing sugar to it and continue to mix until pale and fluffy. Add honey comb dust, which you make by blitzing 100 gr honeycomb in a food processor until you have a mixture of dust/crumbs. Do this just before you mix it into the buttercream as otherwise your dust will all clog together.

Ensemble: please make sure the cake and ganache have cooled down!

  • Take one chocolate cake for the bottom layer (I “glued” mine to the board with some ganache to avoid it moving during transport)
  • Pile on the buttercream, you can see it has become a bit golden coloured because of the honeycomb mixture
  • Carefully add the top chocolate cake layer
  • Spread the cake sides and top with the chocolate ganache
  • Decorate with some chopped up crunchie bars

P.s. the photos which also show the fruit were made by a colleague of mine, although another colleague remarked she couldn’t understand why we even had bothered putting fruit next to the cake….

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Caroline from Shrinking Single. The theme is Treat Yourself.

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Baking not bentoing…

Didn’t have much time last week to make more bentos as I have been more or less baking every other day.  Lots of different reasons to make cake, like delicious British strawberries, meetings at work, visiting colleagues and friends, and of course just because I needed cake!!

Anyway, lots of cakes, so instead of a bento today, just an impression of the cakes made and the process…

The photos are in complete random order, but the cakes I made were:

  • Strawberry cheese cake: chocolate digestives base with a creamcheese/double cream filling topped with fresh strawberries and strawberry jam glaze;
  • A Schwarzwälder inspired Chocolate Sandwich cake, filled with home made cherry jam, smothered in chocolate Ganache and some fresh cherries (the name on top – a colleague- is made with white chocolate but me and the white chocolate icing bag had a bit of a disagreement…hence rather wonky… (the icing bag won by the way…);
  • Chocolate sponge tray bake with feathered/marble icing (as said, the white chocolate icing bag won the battle… so rather messy decorating);
  • Carrot & walnut cupcakes topped with a honey cream cheese frosting – remind me not to make cream cheese frosting when it is 25C and sunny….; and
  • A marmalade tray bake – using home made marmalade, drizzled with orange vanilla icing… This one smelled so gorgeous whilst mixing/baking…I wish I could convey the smell

This week I will be again busy…not with cakes…but a friend is visiting, not sure yet when I will be posting another lunch box…

Meanwhile take care & eat cake 🙂