Simple Store Cupboard Chocolate Birthday Cake with 100's & 1000's

It's been awhile since I have blogged and I plan to remedy these long absences with a some baking projects/goals that I have set for myself for the remainder of the year. January and February for me are always a bit of a write off in terms of getting anything done. I'm a slave to my desk during these months as it's our renewal season and for me my new year starts at noon on the 20th of February (which is tomorrow... wooo!) along with the rest of the Marine Insurance Market. But as this year falls on a Friday, the "new year" including getting back to the gym and baking projects starts Monday!

I did however, want to share a cake I made for my housemate Tom's birthday at the weekend. I had several bags of 100's & 1000's sitting in my cupboard for a while now and I've been waiting for an occasion to make a cake and literally cover the whole thing with them.

He requested a chocolate caked as per usual and I decided to the make the Simple Store Cupboard Chocolate Cake recipe from Decorated by April Carter as I'm in love with this book... and it lives on my bedside table!

I made a complete mess of the kitchen and 100's and 1000's not only covered the cakes, but the whole kitchen floor. But it was totally worth it.

The mountain of chocolate icing...

Happy Birthday Tom!

Happy Baking x

Decorated by April Carter

A few weeks ago I was lucky to get invited to the book launch of Decorated by April Carter. Since then the book has kept its place next to my bed for nighttime reading and I've been pouring over the delicious recipes and stunning photography.

I finally decided to go with the recipe that first caught my eye, the Gingerbread Cake with Whisky Caramel. At the back of April's book are some handy tips on decorating, so what better an opportunity (excuse) to purchase a few new cake tools and try some new techniques.

April's instructions on assembling, icing and decorating cakes are easy to follow and with my new cake leveller I was very pleased with how precise my layers were.

I had a lot of fun putting this cake together and here's how it went... 

Firstly the levelling of the cake

Next the stacking of the layers


Then the crumb coat

And finally the drizzling of that heavenly whisky caramel

mmm delish!

I was a little obsessed with how uniform the inside of the cake looked; cutting in straight lines has never been my strong point (just ask my mum!) but with April's pearls of wisdom, and my new leveler, her Ginger Cake with Whisky Caramel has been an all round success.

And here it is, the final product... a perfect gingery/caramel/whisky treat just in time for Christmas.

Happy Baking x

Decorated by April Carter (Hardie Grant, £20.00) Photography: Danielle Wood

Pumpkin Pie

The cold snap has officially arrived in London; with a definite hint of winter. This is my favourite time of year and I have been anxious to finally christen ‘the pie dish’… I’ve only had it since April, and that was after technically ordering it in October last year. It’s been awhile.

This post is mainly for the benefit of my friend Craig; he asked me for the recipe and so I thought I would share it on my blog. However, it’s currently 38°C in Australia and pumpkin pie or any pie is that last thing I want to eat in that heat... unless it’s a chilled pie made of ice!!

Pumpkin Pie

from Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
Basic Pie Crust
No pre-baking required
260g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
110g unsalted butter

Grease a 23cm pie dish.

Put the flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
Add 1 tbsp water and beat until well-mixed. Add second tbsp water and beat until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for an hour.

Roll out on a floured surface and line the pie dish, trimming the edges.
Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

For the filling
1 egg
425g tin pumpkin puree (such as Libby’s)

235ml evaporated milk
220g caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp flour

Put everything in a large bowl and mix until smooth and well combined. Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the filling is set firm. I did find I had to bake it for a bit longer, but that is just my oven.

Leave to cool completely, and serve with a big dollop of whipped cream.

And finally have all your friends come around to eat it... I've tried and I can't eat a whole pie myself.

Happy Baking x

Decorated: Sublimely Crafted Cakes for Every Occasion by April Carter

This evening I was lucky enough to be invited along to the book launch for the latest book by April Carter, Decorated: Sublimely Crafted Cakes for Every Occasion at Books for Cooks in Notting Hill, London.

Me, April and her amazing cake

 I met April back in 2012 when I attended her Cake Pop class at the Make Lounge in London. Before that and ever since then I have enjoyed following her blog Rhubarb and Rose and also her adventures via Instagram. 

 I'm very excited to now have my hands on a copy of her new book and looking forward to trying out some of the fabulous recipes. I might start with the Gingerbread Cake and Whiskey Caramel... what doesn't sound amazing about that!

Apple, Parsnip and Rosemary Syrup Cake tasters 
Sea-Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

I recommend everyone should put this on their Christmas list or just go buy it now.

Happy Baking x

The Cake Book by Cupcake Jemma

I have always loved Crumbs & Doilies and so when I saw that the lady behind it all Cupcake Jemma had written a cookbook I was very excited.

I bought The Cake Book in the summer; but its been a crazy summer and the book lived in a box for a few months. Since I've moved into my new flat I have been a little obsessed with it and I have made numerous of the delicious recipes.

The recipes in the book are fresh, fun and easy to do. There is also Youtube tutorials which are very helpful (listed below). It definitely makes it easier to visually see when caramel change colour to the lovely amber colour and how quickly it happens.

A couple of treats of I have made recently...

Lemon meringue cupcakes

I must say, homemade lemon curd is something I wish I had made a long time ago. Its incredible and simple to make.

And when my friend Jane was visiting from Australia, we decided to tackle salt caramel and made these delicious Caramel Mudslide cupcakes! So decadent.

Jane was a great bakers assistant...

and took her duties seriously ensuring the quality was up to scratch!

I highly recommend you checking out her Youtube page... I definitely want to try the Chocolate High-Hat Cupcake next!

Happy Baking x