Monday, 29 September 2014

Simple Chocolate and Orange Heart Cake

It's autumn time and you know what that means.... work and school have begun, but don't worry because i'm here to offer you some comfort, in the form of food, which is obviously the best comforter. 

When I think of chocolate cake, I always imagine that scene in Matilda, which I think most of us are like when we drown our sorrows or nerves with cake:

Right, on to the recipe: 
  • 200g margarine or softened butter
  • 200g brown sugar (preferably muscovado) 
  • 3 eggs
  • 170g self raising flour (sifted)
  • 50g cocoa powder (sifted) 
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1tbsp milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 & 1/2 orange rind (leave the other half for the top of the cake)
  • 170g icing sugar
  • 50g butter or margarine
  • juice of half an orange (or a little more depending on the consistency) 
  • 25g cocoa powder
1. Preheat your oven to gas mark 4, 180C
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth
3. Gradually add the 3 eggs and whisk
4. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix
5. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth
6. Gradually add the flour and stir until combined
7. Add the orange rind and depending on the consistency, the milk too
8. Stir in the baking powder until it is distributed among the mix
9. Put into the oven and bake for 45 - 1 hour or until the mix comes out clean on a knife
10. Leave to cool
11. Whilst cooling whisk the icing sugar and margarine together until creamy
12. Sift the cocoa powder in 
13. Add the orange juice until there is a moderately thick constancy that you can spread
14. Whisk until smooth
15. Spread the icing around the whole cake, edges included
16. Place the left over orange peel on top

There you have it, an easy orange and chocolate cake, which I happily think tastes like a terry's chocolate orange, Enjoy xx

Friday, 12 September 2014

Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium Review - Cat Cafe Shoreditch

I have much awaited the opportunity to be able to visit United Kingdom's first cat cafe, so when I managed to secure a place from a cancelled reservation I was delighted. So embracing the fact that I am a mad cat women, I took a trip to Shoreditch in the East End to spend a few hours surrounded by 12 cats and fellow feline fanatics whilst eating cake... if you're a cat lover this is heaven, right? Just a warning, prepare yourselves for some pictures of adorable cats, I'm sure there will be plenty of 'awhhh' s coming out of everyone's mouths. 

Just as I expected the place was incredible. As you walked you had to give the staff a £5 cat welfare charge, which is understandable to keep the cats free from worms and fleas. And then we were given a 'pep talk' on the house rules which are great as they allow the customers to respect the cats and so you aren't constantly being told what you can and can't do with the cats whilst sipping your tea: 
  1. Don’t pick up the cats  - very true as it could be irritating for them
  2. Don’t give the cats any food or drink - a polite way of saying they're getting chubby
  3. Don’t wake sleeping cats - otherwise they won't get a chance to sleep because of the constant customers
  4. Don’t use flash photography - no one likes flashing lights constantly in their face
Even my cat was intrigued by the Cat Emporium buisness card! 

The two floor layout felt so warm and inviting, the atmosphere was relaxed and all the people were extraordinarily friendly as you all bonded over the fact that everyone there loves cats. The seating arrangement was quirky yet comfortable, as it looked like a living room environment but had unique vintage chairs and chests (which I would happily have in my house) and was also equipped with a bundle of toys for the cats to play with.

There was a wide menu of lots of teas, coffees and cold drinks; I opted for a chai latte and pot of english tea (how typical), I'd definitely recommend the chai latte... 100% better than Starbucks, and that's saying something. There also was options for bagels, sandwiches, croissants, and a wide variety of cupcakes and cakes; which all looked incredibly appetizing, if I could, I would happily spend all eating cake there. 
Here are several pictures of the cats, all of them were gorgeous and most were related so they all shared the same characteristic of an incredible bushy tale. I hope you enjoy them, the cuteness of the cats actually brought one woman to tears whilst I was there, true story! 

I would definitely recommend a trip there, and would love to go back! To all you cat lovers out there, book to go here, you normally have to book 50 days in advance but there is always cancellations that the lovely staff at Lady Dinah's Cat cafe tweet here, so look out for that! If you do go, I hope you enjoy xx

This has not been sponsored

Monday, 25 August 2014

Vanilla, Chocolate and Almond Checkerboard Cake

I know that summer is unfortunately drawing to an end but there still may be the occasional garden gathering that you need to bake for and I think this recipe is perfect to impress your friends and family... it may look impressive and difficult but in reality you're only cooking 3 cakes and then putting them together! This cake also tastes incredible and if you're not the biggest fan of almonds (which are in the icing) you can leave out that flavouring. 

On to the recipe: 
  • 340g Butter
  • 340g Self Rasing Flour
  • 340g Caster Sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Grease-proof paper
  • 3 Victoria Sponge tins (or 2 and you could use the tin again after it is finished baking)  
  • Pink food colouring
  • Almond Extract (Icing)
  • 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder (1/2 Icing) 
  • 280g Icing sugar (Icing)
  • 120g Butter (Icing) 
  • Chocolate Flakes
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/ 350F / Gas Mark 4.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they are smooth.
3. Break the eggs in a separate bowl and lightly whisk
4. Now gradually whisk in the eggs to the butter mixture slowly so they do not curdle. 
5. Add the vanilla extract and stir.
6.Sift the flour in the mixture gradually and fold to aerate the mixture but be careful not to lob all of it in, in one go as it will not rise as well.
7. Grease and line the victoria sponge tins 
8. Add a bit of milk to loosen the mixture if is the wrong consistency. 
9. Separate the mixture evenly into 3 bowls, adding 2 tablespoons of coca powder to one, 2 teaspoons of pink food colouring to one and leaving one as it is. 
10. Place the mixture into the three tins
11. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool
12. Whilst cooling, whisk the icing sugar and butter together until it turns pale
13. Add a few drops of the almond extract and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. 
14. Once the cakes are cool, get a 3 inch and a 5 & 1/2 inch round cutter and cut the cakes into 3 circles with the sized cutters. 

15. Now place the different sized and coloured cakes inside each other with a layer of icing to stick, alternating the colours so there aren't two the same next to each other.
16. Do this for three layers until you have used up all the cake pieces. 
17. Place some icing on top of the cake and sprinkle with some chocolate flakes 

There you have it, a vanilla and chocolate checkered cake with almond icing! I hope you all have a lovely remainder of the summer, Enjoy xx

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cheese and Onion Tear and Share Loaf - Great British Bake Off - Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood

I have been excited for this season of The Great British Bake Off to come back for a long time,and finally, as of last week, the fifth series of the show started *cheers*.

 I feel as if the YouTuber Lucy Wood's tweets accurately describe my feelings: 

So today I dug out my Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood recipe books and wanted to bake an honorary recipe. My family are coming over so I decided to bake a bread which they all can share, rightfully called the 'Cheese and Onion Tear and Share Loaf'. 

On to the Recipe (which I altered a little)
450g wholemeal strong bread flour
1 &1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp caster sugar 
7g past-action dried yeast
300ml lukewarm water (may need a little more)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly slice and halved
150g mature grated cheddar cheese

1. Place the flour and sugar into a large bowl and make a well/hole in the middle.
2. Add the 1tbsp of the vegetable oil into the well.
3. Mix the water and yeast together until the yeast has dissolved and gradually add to the flour mixture until you have a soft but not sticky dough. 
4. Cover with clingfilm and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop.
6. Knead for around 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. 
7. Shape into a ball and place into an oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. 
8. Leave it to rise in a warm place for an hour until it has doubled in size. 
9. Punch down the dough and kneed it until it is smooth.
10. Divide it into 19 even pieces.
11. Shape them into disks around 7.5cm wide. 
12. Fill the disks evenly with the cheese (leaving some to put on top at the end) and onion. 
13. pull the dough over the cheese mixture and form into a ball with it in the center and is sealed completely. 
14. Arrange the balls on a prepared baking tray in a structure similar to honeycomb (3,4,5,4 length ways) and 3 horizontally 2 cm apart- or if that's too difficult or you don't have a big enough tray just spread them out so they are 2cm apart in any order as long as after proving they are touching. 
15. Let them rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. 
16. Towards the end of the rising time turn the oven to to 190C / 375F / Gas Mark 5. 
17. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the bread 
18. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

There you have it, a cheese and onion loaf, easy and mess free to serve. Enjoy xx

Friday, 11 July 2014

Jelly Orange Peel Boats

I've seen these Orange Jelly Boats around Instagram and Tumblr and thought that it was such a unusual idea I'd have to try it out. As it is summer these would be perfect for a summer garden party or even a fun idea to make with the kids... or by yourself if you'd like to be nostalgic about the simpler ice cream and jelly days. 

This recipe is super simple:
2 packs of Jelly (135g x2) - I used raspberry and Strawberry but you can use any one that floats your boat. 
Around 6 Oranges ( 12 halves) 

1. To start with Cut the oranges in half and run a knife around the flesh edge and scoop out (this could get a little messy but it is totally worth it!)

2. Place the orange halves in cupcake trays so they have support and do not fall over
3. Follow the instructions on the packet of the jelly to make it a liquid
4. TIP: Place the orange halves in the fridge before adding the liquid because if you are clumsy like me, they will spill everywhere on the way to fridge. Fill the oranges to the top with the jelly mixture.

5. Leave for 24 hours to set fully. 
6. Once set cut orange in half (to make a quarter wedge) which I found is the best size. 
7. You could serve these with some ice cream on the side but I love to eat them like you would do with an orange.

There you have it Jelly (Gelatin) Orange Peel Boats, Enjoy xx

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Wimbledon Triple Strawberries and Cream Sponge Cake

As avid tennis watchers begin to flock to Wimbledon over the next few days, I though that it would be perfect timing to whip up an ace British classic; a Strawberries and Cream Sponge Cake... served with a few tennis puns along the way. 

On to the recipe:
  • 1 PunNET of Strawberries 
  • 340g Butter
  • 340g Self Rasing Flour
  • 340g Caster Sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • Whipping Cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Grease-proof paper
  • 3 Victoria Sponge tins (or 2 and you could use the tin again after it is finished baking) 
1. To not be at a disadvantage and to be all set for cooking, pre-heat your oven to 180C/ 350F / Gas Mark 4.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until they are smooth.
3. Break the eggs in a separate bowl and lightly whisk
4. Now gradually whisk in the eggs to the butter mixture slowly so they do not curdle. 
5. If your going all out on this cake, then you could drop a shot of champagne in at this point in the recipe.
6. Add the vanilla extract and stir.
7.Sift the flour in the mixture gradually and fold to aerate the mixture but be careful not to lob all of it in, in one go as it will not rise as well.
8. Grease and line the victoria sponge tins 
9. Add a bit of milk to loosen the mixture if is the wrong consistency. 
10. Evenly distribute the mixture between the three tins.
11. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool.
12. Whilst cooling whisk the whipping cream until it has a firm consistency. 
13. Wash and finely slice the strawberries.
14. Evenly distribute the cream and strawberries among the three layers of cake, stacking each one a you go. If you find there is a fault in the cake and they are not even, trim them so the cake is straight.

Hopefully this was not a challenge to create. Now you're all wimbledone with the cake and i'm sure all your friends and family will love it. This would be perfect matched with a glass of champagne or even a cup of tea. Slam the tennis on the television and get into the Wimbledon spirit.