Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Ah, me!

Where's the cake post!? I hear you cry. Well, my friends, unfortunately there won't be one until further notice.

I'm back in hospital again. It's pretty serious this time too, so I'm likely to be here a fair while. Luckily I have my laptop and an internet dongle to keep me occupied when visitors cannot... but there is no cake! And no cake means no blog posts I'm afraid.

I'll try to get this back on track as soon as I'm out and able to bake again, but in the meantime, my friends, Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I Don't Want to Go as a Purse!

Disney Classic # 29 - The Rescuers Down Under

A few weeks ago when I posted about The Rescuers, I had to admit that I'd really struggled to come up with cake-y ideas for these two movies about the brave little mice who travel the world to rescue orphans from the clutches of the nasties. I accidentally stumbled across the idea to make one cake representing Bernard, and the other representing Bianca. Well, Bernard's Porter Cake came first when we watched The Rescuers a few weeks back, so now it's Bianca's turn. I decided that in honour of this thoughtful and sophisticated lady-mouse from Hungary, I'd make a delicious Hungarian classic - the dobosh torta.

I came across various recipes for dobos torta (or dobosh torte) whilst doing a google search for "Hungarian dessert", and it looked and sounded so delicious I knew I just had to make it! Multiple layers of light sponge with chocolate filling to me sounded irresistible - just like Bianca is to the boys in this movie! However... this cake took a lot of time and effort and was really finicky, which would usually be fine, except the finished product wasn't as outstanding as I'd hoped. This cake is definitely for those with a lot of time and a lot of patience!! The recipe below is based on a recipe found here.

Prep time: 1 hour         Cook time: 1 hour         Serves: 12

For the sponge:
225g unsalted butter
200g granulated sugar
4 medium eggs
100g self raising flour
2 tsps vanilla extract

For the filling:
100g dark chocolate
200g milk chocolate
450g unsalted butter
5 egg whites
200g granulated sugar

For the caramel topping:

200g granulated sugar
100ml water

  1. The first thing to do is to weigh your mixing bowl. I know this might sound strange, but there is a bit of maths involved in this recipe, and you'll need to make not of how much your mixing bowl weighs!
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Cut 7 circles out of greaseproof paper to line the base of a 7" spring form cake tin.
  3. Prepare the sponge mixture: beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, then the flour and vanilla until the ingredients combine to form a smooth batter.
  4. Here's the first bit of maths... weigh the cake batter, then subtract the weight of the mixing bowl from that weight. Divide this by 7, and it will give you the weight of how much cake mixture to use for each layer. (For reference, I was using around 100g of batter per layer, but I also misjudged mine I only ended up with 30g batter for my 7th layer... giving me only 6 usable layers, d'oh! Tip: don't forget to account for the bits of mixture you can't scrape from the bowl!)
  5. Line the cake tin with one of the greaseproof paper circles, and spoon in enough mixture for one layer. Spread the mixture to the edges, trying your best to make it even.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the batter turns spongy. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat this process for the next 6 layers.
  7. While the sponge layers are cooking/cooling, prepare the filling: Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a bowl over boiling water. Place this to one side to cool.
  8. Beat the butter until soft. In a separate bowl, over boiling water, gently whisk the egg whites and sugar until they reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (around 49 degrees Celsius). Remove from heat and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.
  9. Beat the chocolate into the butter, and then fold in the egg whites until all the ingredients are combined. Place the filling in the fridge until it is ready to use.
  10. Once all 7 sponge layers are cool, remove the greaseproof paper from the bottom and place the layers on top of one another; trim the edges so that all layers are the same shape/size.
  11. Take one layer and cut it into slices. Place the slices on a wire rack over a pan.
  12. Prepare the caramel topping: place the sugar and water into a saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil without stirring. Once the caramel begins to darken in colour, start to swirl the pan. Once the caramel is golden brown immediately pour over the sliced layer, covering each slice evenly.
  13. And now it's time to assemble the cake! Place one layer of sponge onto the serving plate, spread this with a thin layer of the chocolate filling, then add the next sponge layer. Repeat until all but the caramel covered layers have been used. Spread the chocolate filling around the outside of the cake, the put the remaining filling into a piping bag. Arrange the caramel-covered slices on top of the cake, and pipe a decorative pattern/border around the edges.
  14. Cut into slices using the caramel slices as a guide, and serve. ^_^

Next time it's my favourite Disney movie of all time, ever; Beauty and the Beast. I'll be making a very special tarte au chocolat with white chocolate mousse!

Happy Thoughts

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Les Poissons, Les Poissons, hee-hee-hee, ho-ho-ho!

Disney Classic # 28 - The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid was the first Disney movie I ever saw... it got me hooked! Unfortunately though, I struggled for ideas for a little while. My friend Becky asked me if I would be willing to make a wedding cake for her... so for a short while I decided that what I would do was make a plain sponge cake, ice it in fondant, and then decorate it with fondant sea-creatures, as a sort of practice wedding style cake. (Of course, when it came to the wedding cake, the sea-creatures would be replaced with fondant flowers, or butterflies, or something more weddingy.) Anyways, a couple of weeks before The Little Mermaid, Big Mike asked me what cake I was doing, and I told him. "Oh," he said, "I thought you'd do another jellyfish cake." AH!! How could I be so stupid!!

A little history on the jellyfish cake... my friend Helen LOVES jellyfish. Or rather, anything that lives under the sea. So for her birthday back in February last year I decided to make her a cake in the shape of a jellyfish. I made a stand with iridescent tentacles, covered the cake in iridescent glitter, and the inside... well the inside had to be rainbow cake.

A little more history for you - rainbow cake (cake with a multicoloured sponge) is like my speciality cake. Before starting the Disney nights, I made it all the time and my friends were always like "oh wow that's amazing!! I love it so much!" And I love it so much.. in fact, I'm thinking of having a rainbow wedding cake myself. How could you not love something that looks like this:

But anyways, I'm off topic. Jellyfish cake was such an obvious choice for The Little Mermaid, I was hitting myself for not thinking of it straight away. Big Mike came to the rescue, and jellyfish cake happened yet again.

I didn't think crab cakes would go down so well...

Not really any references for this one; it uses my usual vanilla sponge recipe, and the design came to me in a random stroke of inspiration when walking to Sarah's house one day.

Prep time: 30-40 mins           Cook time: 45mins        Serves: 10

300g margarine
300g caster sugar
300g self raising flour
3 eggs
2 tsps vanilla extract
various food colourings
150g unsalted butter
350g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
splash of milk
300g ready to roll white fondant icing
edible glitter (I used white hologram)

You will also need:
A cake board
A tall stand (I used a oil burner stand, but a pint glass would probably work just as well. Anything you can stand the cake on stably)
iridescent gift wrap (I bought mine from Clinton's)

  1. Before starting, make sure that your cake board is the same size that the cake will be. If it's too big, trim it down to size.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, and line a Pyrex (or ovenproof) bowl with foil.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the margarine and sugar until creamy. Sift in roughly 1/3rd of the flour and mix. Add one egg and beat into the mixture. Repeat this process until all of the egg and flour have been incorporated. Add 2tsps vanilla essence.
  4. Divide the cake mixture evenly between 7 bowls. Use the food dye to colour the bowls of cake mixture into different colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink.
  5. Carefully pour the red mixture into the Pyrex bowl, and level the top with the back of a spoon. Next carefully add the orange mixture on top of the red, again smoothing gently with the back of the spoon. Repeat until all the cake mixture has been used.
  6. Bake in the oven for around 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once cooked, remove from oven and leave to cool in the bowl for one hour before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Whilst the cake is cooking, it's time to get crafty and create the tentacles! Cut the iridescent cellophane wrap into strip, and stick these around the edge of the underside of the cake board. When you lay the cake board on the stand, these should be long enough to completely conceal the stand.
  8. Once the cake has cooled, prepare the butter icing. In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar, the vanilla extract and a splash of milk and mix until smooth. Add a little purple food colouring and mix well.
  9. Place the cooled cake onto the prepared cake board, and cover with the purple butter cream.
  10. Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar, and roll out the fondant icing to around 3mm thickness. Place this carefully over the cake and smooth down. Trim the edges a little longer than they need to be, then pinch, crumple and push up the edges to make the bottom of the cake look wobbly/jelllyfishlike. (That is a terrible description - but if you look at the pictures you'll see what I mean.)
  11. Make a little syrupy-icing mix, using 1 tsp icing sugar and 3tsps water. Use a pastry brush to brush the syrup all over the cake. Dip the pastry brush in the edible glitter and the dab this onto the cake, all over.
  12. Place the cake on the stand, and there you have your very own jellyfish! Cut into slices, ogle for a bit and then enjoy!

Next time we're watching The Rescuers Down Under, and I'll be honouring the classy heroine Bianca by attempting a traditional Hungarian Dobos Torte (or Dobosh Torta).

Happy Thoughts

Friday, 7 January 2011


Happy New Year everybody - I hope you all enjoyed the festive season!

I was a bit of a silly head this week!! This was my first week back at work after surgery, and I've been so busy in the evenings after work and had so much going on that I quite simply forgot to post about The Little Mermaid cake! OH NO!

Please do accept my sincere apologies. I promise to get the blog back on track asap starting with The Little Mermaid on Wednesday, and then continuing again every Wednesday after that.

Until then, my friends, happy thoughts.