2013, bakery, cake, challenge, Chichester, Whipped&Baked

28.02.13


We opened yesterday.

And I’m still alive.

The eve of the opening, we took delivery of a radiogram, a bass cabinet, several valves and other things. These items were in the front of the bakery some 10 hours before we were due to open.

But we overcame in. We were busy. Lots of lovely friends and family cake to visit and I’m sure I has this insipid grin on my face for most part of the day.

Will write in more details but here are some pictures.

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2012, bakery, cake, Chichester

In Pursuit of Cake Revelry


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We are finally taking the plunge. For years, Slaveboy and I have tentatively talked about opening a business together. Over the years, I have been indulging myself with some prolonged market research by taking my cake stall to the Brighton Tattoo Convention and next year will be the fourth year running. Recently, I took up the challenge of setting up a pop up cake stall on a privately owned ground next to a shop that Slaveboy owns. I didn’t really know where it was going to take me but after almost six months of operating a stall for Saturdays, the general consensus is that there are indeed true cake revellers out there who are tired of the mass produced, margarine laden and artificially preserved baked confections which are dominating the cake market.

So, for the next few months, I’ll be chronicling our journey through the whole myriad local council that seem to be less than keen to support local businesses (I might be wrong), environmental health inspections, sourcing out local small independent suppliers and also bundle all that up with raising seven children.

See you guys on the other side. Don’t forget the sweeties.

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2012, cake, Chichester, Clandestine Cake Club, meringue

More than bite sized Iced Gem


I’m writing this in bed with The 7th Wonder fast asleep beside me. I still call her baby despite her being 2 years of age. The 7th Wonder has discovered the delights of independence and has taken to rearranging my baking cupboard. Any opened bags of marshmallows never stay full for very long with her around.

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It’s the day of my local Clandestine Cake Club meet and the theme is Little Cake. Big Cake and I must admit after being out for a rather lengthy lunch with my long time cranio-osteopath, Gabriel Konrad, the last thing I wanted to do was bake.

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I’ve known Gabriel since Izzy the Rockstar was 6 months old. I had gone to him after having spent a few months with limited movement from my neck down to my spine following 10 attempts to site an epidural which in the end was not effective. He basically fixed me using cranio-osteopathy in one session and I have been seeing him on an off ever since, the later being for my roller derby related strains and fractures.

We had juice and ate venison burgers and shared a bowl of peppered fries. We talked about love lives (his obviously as he’s single, I rarely hear married people talk about their love lives), sex lives (mine because it’s good to reassure single folks that married folks do get freaky with each other), midwifery (almost 4 years on, people still do ask me if I am going back – usually at this point, I imagine Hotel California playing in the background), cakes and the trickery of making meringues and also a brief moment of numerology where I’ve discovered that I am indeed a Wizard Alchemist and that that is why, SniffSnorters, I never got into role playing Dungeons & Dragons – I didn’t need to pretend to be a wizard because I was one in real life already. I also had a go at feigning über coolness when trying his Cuban cigar but failed miserably when my eyeballs felt like they were going to pop out of their sockets and that speech was failing me.

However. By around 9pm, I realised that if I didn’t bake this Clandestine Cake Club cake then, I would be running so behind with my other bakings the next day.

My plan was to make a giant (it’s all relative) Iced Gem. It was going to be a lemon cake base sandwiched together with lemon curd (I hope as I haven’t done this process yet) and to complete the look, I was going to make a pink meringue gem top.

I started off with making the meringue top. I got slightly sidetracked with Slaveboy and making a quick quiche that when it came to the time to put the meringue top in the oven, I forgot to reduce the temperature the oven momentarily. It was ever so brief but just enough to cause snake slithery patterns of cracks forming on the meringue top right before my eyes.

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And it ended up looking like this.

And to make matters a little bit trickier, it was far too big for the lemon cake base.

I divided my lemon drizzle cake batter into two makeshift cake tins – these claypots that my Mother brought for me from Malaysia. I’ve hardly ever used it but the inside of the pots is glazed and they are both oven and stove top compatible. They’re great for cooking the rice for Hainanese Chicken Rice, a favourite dish of mine.

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I sandwiched the two lemon cakes with homemade lemon curd and pretty much hoped for the best. The meringue top version no.2 had a crack in it but at least it didn’t resemble like a spent volcano like the original one.

I’m not going to include the recipe with this post as this isn’t the best way to bake the delicious lemon drizzle cake. That’ll be for another post but until then, here’s the finished product. I suspect it’s a bit too small for tonight’s cake club as we are expecting a really good attendance.

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cake, Clandestine Cake Club, lemon

Jubilee Cake



This is for the Homemade by Fleur, Blogging Jubilee Baking Competition, which is sponsored by Appliances Online


This recipe (not in its entirety, but nevertheless largely) came from Berry Lovely. It’s been really interesting researching the Internet for images and recipes with Jubilee Cake tagged to them. Besides the Union Jack reference, many tend to be based around using fruits, mainly strawberries and blueberries, to represent the blue, red and white.


This cake was also intended for my local Clandestine Cake Club meeting today and I wanted to complement the fruity cake flavours that will be there, and also be a contrast to the rich decadent chocolate cakes too. The chiffon cake is pillowy soft, and flavoured with lemon zest and juice. The lemon cream filling is light, zesty and not overly sweet. The white chocolate ganache benefitted of the lemon and elderflower. It lifted the white chocolate from being too heavy and creamy.



Chiffon Cake

160g sifted plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1/8tsp fine sea salt

125g + 50g caster sugar

3 large egg yolks

60ml sunflower oil

60ml water

Zest of unwaxed lemon

5 egg whites

1/4tsp cream of tartar

method

Preheat oven to 160C (140C fan) and grease two 20cm cake tins. I actually used my dreaded silicone ones, making sure i greased the edges well.

Place the flour, the 125g of sugar, salt and baking powder in your mixing bowl and mix well.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sunflower oil, water, lemon juice and zest.

Pour the fluid mixture into the large mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients and beat for a minute.

In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.

Add the cream of tartar and the remaining 25g of sugar and best until stiff and glossy.

Carefully fold this meringue mixture into the cake mixture. Make sure it is well incorporated.

Bake for 30-35mins. The cakes will hardly colour at all. When you open the oven they will be domed. They will level once they come to room temperature.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Then invert onto cooling racks.






Cake Glaze

4tbsp elderflower cordial, or a bit more


Lemon Cream filling

155ml fresh lemon juice

1 egg yolk

3 whole eggs

170g caster sugar

225g butter, cut into cubes

method

In a double boiler on medium heat, whisk continuously the lemon juice, yolk, whole eggs and caster sugar. You might find that the heat might be too much for a handheld mixer so use a balloon whisk if necessary.

Make sure you continue whisking unless you want scrambled eggy cream. I don’t need to tell you just how yukky that tastes.

If you have a cooking thermometer, you need to take the cream temperature to 80C. Otherwise, what you are looking for is a mixture that is reduced and thick.

Take it off the heat and leave the thermometer in (if using). You want the cream mixture to drop to 60C or cool a little. It doesn’t take that long.

Transfer it into a liquidiser and add the butter, one cube at a time.

Store in a bowl, covered and this will keep up to 5 days.

 




White chocolate & lemon ganache

200ml double cream

Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

2tsp lemon extract

2tbsp elderflower cordial

200gm white chocolate, chopped coarsely

method

Bring the cream and lemon zest to a gentle boil.

Take it off the heat and strain the cream. Discard the zest.

Add the chopped white chocolate and stir until melted.

Mix in the elderflower cordial.

Chill.


I actually whipped this ganache because I wanted that rough textured look to the cake covering.


Assembly

Brush the side of the cakes that you will sandwich together with elderflower cordial.

Spread the chilled lemon cream on the elderflower glazed side of the cakes and sandwich together. The cakes should be light enough that they would not weigh down too much on the delicate lemon cream.

Once sandwiched together, brush the elderflower cordial on the outside of the assembled cake. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Once 15 minutes is up, take it out of the fridge and cover thinly with the ganache. You might find that you need to whip the ganache to get it to a spreadable consistency.

Start with the sides first, and then the top. Smooth as much as you can. Then pop it back into the fridge for another 15 minutes.

Take the cake out and with a dry but hot palette knife, smooth the ganache again, wiping off with a kitchen paper the excess ganache on the palette knife from time to time.

The cake is now ready.



Decorations

This isn’t essential but since I meant this cake for a Jubilee celebration, I decided that I would go for a vintage look. I kept to the red, blue and white theme but I went pastel. The rosette is made out of fondant, I decided against using flower paste.

To start with I tinted 5 balls of white fondant varying shades of red, from light to dark. I also kept one ball white and coloured another baby blue.

These I rolled out and cut out into circles of varying sizes. You want to make sure that when you layer these circles, you do so by going from light to dark so make sure when you cut out the circles, the colours correspond appropriately. Using a foam pad, I laid the biggest circle down and with a cone ball tool, I rolled it over the edge of the circle. If you don’t have this tool, I think just light pressing with your thumb would work. Lay this on a lightly corn flour dusted surface and repeat again with the rest of the circles. With every smaller circle done, lay it on top of the ones you’ve done.

I brushed mine with an edible lustre but you don’t need to, it looked great matte too.

The fondant ribbons were made by cutting two length in one colour and a shorter and smaller length in another colour. Lightly brush on some water on the back of the two smaller ones and line then on top of the longer ribbons.

You need to allow these to dry so avoid moving them too soon.

Once they’re dry, arrange them how you see fit on the cake.

 

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2012, bake, beetroot, cake, chocolate

Chioggia Fudge Chocolate Cake


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I helped Bart and Debbie of Wayside Organics with their organic produce stall at the Southdowns Green Fair at the Sustainability Centre yesterday.  I was prepared for a visual and auditory overload of tie dyes and windchimes but was pleasantly surprised to spot some bombshells in vintage swing dresses and piped music which not once played dolphin songs.

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To those of you local to me and are getting vegetable boxes from large conglomerates like Riverford or Abel & Cole, you really ought to give these guys a try. Not only are they a family run business (my Thursdays and Fridays are made very enjoyable by the company of Bart’s father, Peter), they also grow their own vegetables on their smallholding and any produced sourced outside of the UK is carbon neutral and non-air freighted. They also offer a better than value-for-money vegetable boxes which measure up bigger than the nationally distributed vegetable boxes.

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One of the things that I have been introduced to since working at Wayside is the different varieties of beetroots that are available. So far, the chioggia is my favourite. On the outside, it looks like any normal beetroot. If you were to rub the mud off the skin a bit, you’ll discover that the skin Is this magnificent shade of dark fuchsia. Inside, the flesh is stripy pink and white, which to me is ever so frivolous looking.

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I’ve made beetroot chocolate cake before and much as liked it, some found the earthy flavour overpowering and you can’t help but feel that it was a tad too healthy and not decadent enough for the cake connoisseur’s liking.

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The chioggia beetroot tasted milder to me and I wondered how a chocolate fudge cake made with it would taste like. It would definitely be moist but I wanted to see if the end result would be more chocolate, and less earthy.

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Ingredients

200g dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa content)

50g Willie’s Cacoa (50g)

250g dark muscovado sugar

3 free range eggs

1tsbp vanilla extract

4tbsp acacia honey

40g self raising flour

40g plain flour

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

25g cocoa powder

50g ground almond

250g of grated finely Chioggia beetroot

100ml espresso coffee

30ml sunflower oil

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For the topping

75g dark chocolate

75g milk chocolate

3tbsp espresso coffee

3tbsp acacia honey

1tsp vanilla extract

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Method (the cake)

Preheat the oven to 160C (140C if fan-assisted). You need two 20cm tins, greased well with butter.

Melt gently in a double boiler the 200g of dark chocolate and the Willie’s Cacao. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, honey and vanilla extract until frothy and light. It won’t get fluffy but it should be quite runny.

In another bowl, mix the two flours,malt, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and ground almond evenly.

Fold this dry mixture carefully into the egg mixture.

Gently squeeze the excess moisture from the grated beetroot. You should get around 1/4 of a cup approximately.

Evenly fold this into the cake mixture.

Combine the oil, coffee and cooled melted chocolate and carefully fold this into the cake mixture.

Divide the mixture between the two tins evenly and bake for 30-40 mins. I suggest that you check at 30mins. You want it to be moist, with the ops just dry and a cocktail stick stuck into the cake would hold some moist crumbs.

Leave to cool for 1/2 hr.

Unmould onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

Method (icing)

While the cake is cooling, melt the two chocolates in a double boiler. Take it off the heat.

Add to the chocolate mixture the 3tbsp espresso coffee, vanilla extract and honey. Mix well.

Set aside to cool for 15mins.

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Assembly

When the cake is cool, spread approximately 4tbsp of chocolate icing onto one cake and sandwich it with the other.

Place the sandwiched cake on a plate and carefully spoon the remaining icing on top on the cake and spread the icing with a spatula.

For decorative purposes, I melted some white chocolate and drizzled it on top of the dark chocolate icing. I then used a cocktail stick to create a feathery effect.

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The result? ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! The cake is moist and incredibly fudgy. Slaveboy mistook the slight hint of beetroot flavour as being raspberry. Unlike many of the beetroot cakes I have tried, this one isn’t dense or overwhelmingly earthy. It is definitely a chocolate cake first, and healthy beetroot last.

I think this snail was counting its lucky stars that it landed on an English broccoli rather than a French bean.

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You can bag yourself some delicious broccoli (sans baby snail) or other locally grown organic produce from Wayside Organics. They’re local, they’re organic, they’re family run and they’re not going for world domination. It makes good sense. You know it.

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bundt, cake, Chichester, chocolate

Chocolate Almond Cake


All bakers know that all chocolate cakes are not created equal. The quest for the perfect chocolate cake is a never ending one and I suspect the criteria for what makes a perfect chocolate cake changes from person to person.

For me, a chocolate layer cake filled with a true vanilla flavoured light icing is my all time favourite. This traced back to when I was in primary school in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Our Holy Infant Jesus Convent School was opposite this traditional bakery shop and every day, after school, I would risk life and limbs crossing the busy main road to get to the bakery. I’d make my regular purchase of egg custard tart and a slice of an almost black forest cake. I say almost because you could hardly taste the cherry flavour. In fact, it was non-existent enough that to me, it was just a normal chocolate cake. I’d pretty much scoff the tart before joining my Father at the nearby Indian restaurant – my Father adored Indian cooking (my Mother didn’t) and he would sneak in a cheeky Indian meal lunch during his daily school run. It was definitely a case of what happens on the school run stays on the school run. I spoke nothing of his poppadum & roti escapade and he turned a blind eye to my addiction to flour confections.



This particular cake I am sharing with you today is a nothing like that almost black forest cake. That will be another tale to tell and I am already working on that recipe. For one, this cake is not a layer cake. I should think it also has a significantly more cocoa and chocolate in it, with proportionately less sugar. The most distinct difference is the almond extract used in it. It really does add an extra dimension of flavour to the cake. The texture is closed, but light. It is quite a crumbly cake, the sort that you ought to enjoy with a cold glass of milk.



Ingredients

320g plain flour

130g cocoa powder

2tsp baking powder

3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda

230g salted butter

300 g caster sugar

4 free range eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp almond extract

240ml double cream

175g mascarpone cheese

175g dark chocolate, melted



Method

Take the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix well in a large bowl. Set aside.

Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler and allow to cool.

Mix the butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs to the butter/sugar mixture gradually. The mixture will curdle.

Add the vanilla extract and almond extract to the mixture.

Mix the double cream and the mascarpone cheese to the cooled melted chocolate. Ensure that it is well mixed.

To the egg, butter, sugar mixture, fold in a 1/3rd of the flour/cocoa/baking powder/bicarbonate soda mixture. Mix well.

Pour half of blended chocolate into the cake mix. Make sure you turn the mixture over well.

Repeat with another 1/3rd of the flour mixture, and then with the blended melted chocolate mix.

The final addition should be the last 1/3rd of the flour mixture.

Spread this into a well greased bundt tin that has been dusted with cocoa powder.



Bake in a preheated oven for 50-60mins at 160C (175C if your oven is not fan assisted). Do check the cake at 50 mins with a cocktail stick. The stick should come out fairly crumb free.



Invert on to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.



Ganache

110g milk chocolate, chopped

55g dark chocolate, chopped

180ml double cream

2 tbsp maple syrup



Method

Bring the double cream to a gentle boil and take it off the heat. Place the two types of chocolates into the cream and stir until melted and well mixed. Add to this, the maple syrup. Set aside to cool.



Once the Cake is cool, carefully spoon the ganache on top of the cake. Decorate the way you see fit.


 

 

 

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2012, cake, Chichester, children, home education

The Small Shouty One Bakes Victoria Sponge


20120501-210444.jpg I suppose I don’t talk much about the large family that both Slaveboy and I have, or our experiences in home educating them. I’ve deliberated on blogging about it more but in all honesty, our home educating journey has been dictated by not popular home educating philosophies or some particularly well discussed parenting ethos. A lot of it has been governed by the need to exist and function given the amount of money we can plough into it (home educating is the biggest expense in our family), our abilities (Slaveboy and myself) to channel the energy, the child’s present demands, aptitude, ability, perseverance and attitude about their active role in the family, the space we have and we take all that, we bundle them all up and tie it with a rubber band and then multiply it by 9. Yes, 9. There are nine members of this family, not seven with a set of parents who hardly have any time to be their own person with their own pursuits. 20120501-210643.jpg There have been times in our lives when we have done pitifully little. The first six months of the 7th Wonder’s life, we almost went into hibernation. The 7th Wonder was quite ill and the whole family’s pace of life just slowed down tremendously. Instead of fighting it and trying to accelerate matters, we just adjusted to the pace. At times begrudgingly. 20120501-210732.jpg We are in our 9th year of home educating now (I think) and I feel we are pretty old skool. I’m not au fait with current trends in home educating, nor am I remotely interested to be honest. I suppose our present challenge is to consolidate the needs of four different age groups (mine included). I became aware of the fact that with seven children, I would be raising teenagers for far longer than most other parents I know, and for Slaveboy who have had children previous to our marriage, it’s been 32 years with a good 18 years to go. Hence my drive to make sure that we both have a well rounded relationship with each other as partners as old aged with mild incontinence is not the time to be fixing one’s marriage. That’s the time for M&S meal deals and sex without contraceptives. 20120501-210829.jpg Making these adjustments to accommodate all family members have been the hardest to date. Well, for me it has and still is. Having been raised by a mother who was never tactile and certainly not when I was a teenager, I have to remind myself that teenaged girls still like getting hugs from their Mother, never mind that this was alien to me as a teenager. I have to also remind myself that my teen children’s experiences are their own and many would be personal and private to them, but in no way am I lesser to them. I also have to remember how achingly lonely I was as the youngest child in a large family of older siblings who were busy living their social lives. You can know that you’re loved but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re lonely. 20120501-210930.jpg The Small Shouty One is gloriously SIX now. She’s still ethereal and sweet and larger than life. It’s been a bit of a struggle. The Small Shouty One has done a lot of growing up and I have been slow to realise it. She can swim lengths at her swimming club. Her over active little legs are long enough that she now can start drum lessons. Her hair still grows at an extraordinary rate and she berates everyone else about how their mess is making me feel sad. 20120501-211029.jpg Because the cooking is shared between Slaveboy, the three oldest children and myself, the Small Shouty One has been increasingly keen to contribute to the food production in the house. For today’s dessert, she had a go at making a Victoria sponge. I did the scooping out of flour and sugar and she told me to stop when the scales showed the right numbers. She poured in the eggs and folded in (rather vigorously) the flour. She also divided the mixture between the two tins that she had lovingly greased with her fair hands. 20120501-211146.jpg It was a little bit of a task to convince her that we couldn’t put the whipped cream on until the cakes were properly cool and she poo poo-ed Slaveboy’s suggestion that perhaps damson jam would be a nice alternative to Bonne Maman strawberry jam. 20120501-211231.jpg I have to admit the proportions of the Victoria sponge was a tad overwhelming. Slicing it was tricky and it was never going to lend to dainty morsels. But! But it was impressive. It was big and as far as the Small Shouty One was concerned, it was just like her, larger than life. 20120501-211311.jpg The flavour was acceptable. You couldn’t fault it, perhaps slightly rubbery but that was due to all the love she patted into it when she was spreading the mixture into the tins. And maybe a little bit of saliva and sweat. 20120501-211458.jpg The recipe if you want it is 400g of butter and caster sugar mixed well with a mixer. Add to it 8 eggs, one egg at a time. Mix in 2tbsp vanilla extract and fold in 400g self raising flour. Do not overmix. Divide the mixture between two 9 inch tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 40 minutes. Do check it at 30 minutes. Allow to cool and sandwich together with whatever you fancy. 20120501-211420.jpg

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