Sunday, 11 November 2012

Banoffee Cake

FINALLY, I have actually made something on my To Bake list! I started the list to catalogue all the lovely things I see online that I want to try, but the list has just ended up getting longer and longer and actually multiplying because I also have a list in my notebook for things I've seen in magazines. Argh!

Anyway, for Mike's Dad's birthday in September I had a feeling that the Banoffee Cake I had seen on the Goddess' Kitchen might be just the ticket. I'm not really sure why, because he really will eat anything cake-wise, but I think he has a sneaky preference for fruit type cakes and this one just felt right! I believe the recipe is from Make, Bake, Love by Lilly Higgins which looks like a beautiful book and one that's gone straight onto the Christmas list.

This was such a great recipe - so quick and easy and no faffy ingredients, so a great one to make use of the sad looking bananas left in the fruit bowl! The cake was lovely and moist and banana-y and the toffee topping just finished it off perfectly - it wasn't too heavy or sickly. The only tricky element to the cake was the icing - the recipe did warn that it hardens quickly and that is no lie! Maria had obviously been quicker than me as she has lovely smooth icing and mine was quite rough - to be honest I didn't mind and once the cocoa was dusted over the top I thought it made for a nice textured effect. I won't bother typing out the recipe as it is available here.

Now I've got the first one boshed out I hope to make a bit more of an indent into the ever growing list! Do you see anything on there that you might like? If so and you know me in real life, please feel free to request something to chivvy me along!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Rocky road cupcakes

I've made three forms of Rocky Road in the past couple of months, and thought that I should post about them today, what with it being Bonfire Night and all that. Rocky Road just feels bonfire-y to me - I'm not sure if it is a Bonfire Night thing or not, but anyway, here we are.

The first was for my best friend's partners birthday back in September, who is a big fan of Rocky Road. I decided to make a cupcake version and after a bit of research went with this recipe from Baking Mad. Unfortunately, it was a disaster! I don't know if I was just a bit out of 'the zone' as I hadn't baking in over a month and had just come back from holiday, but the first batch just wouldn't seem to cook and by the time I was satisfied they were cooked, they were actually completely burnt. ARGH! So I reverted to my bog standard usual chocolate cupcake recipe and used the topping from the recipe and they worked a treat!

Sadly that's where the pictures dry up since I didn't get any photographic evidence of the other Rocky Roads, so I will have to ramble my way through the rest of the post!

The second batch was Actual Rocky Road - or not, depending on how strict you are with your criteria. Mike was going on a rally day with some friends in the deepest darkest forests of Wales so I thought Rocky Road would be a good snack for a group of hungry petrol heads, plus it would be easier to cart about than anything cakey and dainty. I melted up 500g of Dairy Milk and mixed in some chopped up Chocolate Fingers and some mini marshmallows - not sure how much, just enough so that it wasn't too runny. Poured into a lined square 20cm baking tin, chilled until set, and cut into squares. I know that any Rocky Road purists will be horrified that there was no nuts or cherries but we prefer our Rocky Road to be as sugary and sweet as possible!

The third lot was a batch of Rocky Road cupcakes for Mike's sisters Bonfire Birthday Bash last Friday night. Similar to the first lot, I used my usual chocolate cupcake recipe, topped with the fudgy icing from this recipe, stuck on some chopped up Chocolate Fingers and mini marshmallows and drizzled some Dairy Milk over the top. Again no nuts or cherries but the birthday girl hates her cakes being infiltrated by anything nutty or fruity!

After all that, I don't think I want to even think about Rocky Road again for at least another year!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Marble cake

After the resounding success of the mocha marble cake I decided to make another marble cake for Mike's Mum's birthday in August (yep, still a tad behind here!).

I really don't know why I haven't made this before because not only is it so simple, it is also one of my favourite types of cake. The only moment of stress with this cake was when I was deciding what to top it with. In the recipe, it was just a plain cake but I knew I wanted to ice it to jazz it up a little. I remembered eating marble cake with royal icing on when I was little, but I was torn between that and chocolate frosting.

A plea on Twitter added the potential of white chocolate into the mix (argh!!!) but as you can see, in the end I went with chocolate icing - fudgy chocolate icing, to be precise! I used the icing from this Mary Berry recipe which I'd seen Jo raving about on her blog a few weeks before. It was a definite winner. This was the scene in the kitchen moments after I let Mike loose on the leftovers...

Sadly, I didn't actually get to eat any of this cake. We had gone out for a meal, and knowing how Mike's family like their desserts, I didn't want to let on that there was cake back at ours as I didn't want them to feel like they had to forego dessert to keep room for cake! We were given a couple of slices to have the next day, but they mysteriously disappeared while I was at work....

Here's the recipe for a super simple, easy to whip up marble cake (from one of the mini Good Food recipe books)

225g butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 180c and grease/line a 20cm deep round cake tin.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
3. Fold in flour, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Separate half the mixture into another bowl, and stir the cocoa powder in to it.
5. Spoon the mixtures into the prepared tin, putting in alternate dollops of the vanilla and chocolate mixtures. Tap the tin on the surface to get rid of any bubbles, then swirl a skewer round the mixture briefly for the marble effect.
6. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Turn out and cool completely on a wire rack.
7. Serve as it is or add the frosting of your choice (I used the fudgy chocolate topping from this recipe)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Mummy cupcakes

Considering that I LOVE Halloween, I have been shockingly poor on the Halloween baking front in the past. Two years ago I made some spider cupcakes and last year I made.... nothing. I think I get so caught up in buying tacky decorations and any kind of chocolate or sweets in the shape of witch hats or pumpkins with faces that I end up overlooking the baking (and being unable to justify more sweet things in the house).

This year however it is a different story! I have restricted myself to two bags of chocolate eyeballs from Tesco and therefore must force myself to bake. A couple of years ago Mike bought me the Lily Vanilli 'A zombie ate my cupcake' book and I decided to go for something from there. It's a great book if you love your Halloween baking, some of the stuff looks so realistic that it actually turns me a bit! - click here for a few examples.

I decided on the Monstrous Mummy cupcakes - I must admit I went for the simplest one because I had a bit of a bake-a-thon on my hands yesterday for a cake for Mike's sister's birthday (which will be making an appearance soon). I just used my basic go to chocolate cupcake recipe for the cakes and then mummified them to the max! Here's how...

30g unsalted butter, softened
300g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp white powder food colouring
Red and black food colouring, or if you're lazy like me - red and black writing icing!

1. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth.
2. Add in icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt and beat on low speed until combined.
3. Beat on medium until smooth.
4. Add the milk and powder food colouring and beat until light and fluffy. I must say that I had to add a couple of tablespoons more milk as the mixture was so stiff - it is meant to be very firm but this was a bit extreme!
5. If you're using red and black food colouring, set aside 2 tbsp of frosting for later.

Use a number 47 tip to pipe on the frosting, as you can see from the pictures - in layered lines going straight across the top half of the cupcake, then in diagonal layered lines at either side to leave a triangular shape in the middle. Colour the frosting red and pipe on two eyes (number 8 tip), then colour the spare 2 tbsp of frosting black for the pupils (number 4 tip). Or be lazy like me and use writing icing. I think it's probably worth doing it properly with the colouring/right nozzles though, if you can.

I'm entering these Mummy Cupcakes to the Calender Cakes October Challenge, hosted by Dolly Bakes this month and Laura Loves Cakes.
Next year I do want to push the boat out on the Halloween baking - I've seen some amazing bakes this year so far but I think my favourite was this Zombie Graveyard cake from Butter Hearts Sugar.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Mint chocolate whoopie pies - United Bakes of America

Ever since eating my first whoopie pie from the Hummingbird Bakery back in April, and with the exciting discovery of marshmallow fluff in Asda, I have been itching to try making them myself. And finally, I have! I had a couple of bags of mint chocolate M&Ms hanging around that I had forbidden myself to eat as I wanted to bake with them, and with Halloween around the corner an idea started to form... I would make green slime whoopie pies! Due to lack of decent quality food colouring, green-tinged slime would be more accurate, though.

Not quite the smooth perfectly formed Hummingbird ones, but still quite tasty
For those of you who haven't heard of whoopie pies, they are like a spongey cookie sandwich with a fluffy marshmallowy filling. The basic chocolate whoopie pie recipe I used is from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book, and I added some crushed mint M&Ms to the sponge batter, and some peppermint essence and green food colouring to the filling. Mint and chocolate is definitely one of my favourite flavour combinations cake-wise now, it always goes down well and these disappeared quite quickly at work today even though I had thought people would have been put off by the size.

I was worried that they would be very fiddly to make, but as long as you plan time in for chilling of the batter and filling, and have some patience in dolloping them on to the tray, they are not too much trouble at all. Unless this was just beginner's luck of course. Here is the recipe if you want to try them yourself - the recipe states this makes 8-10 pies, and I got 9 out of it.

1 large egg
150g caster sugar
125g plain yoghurt
25ml whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
75g unsalted butter
200g plain flour
80g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2-3 bags mint M&Ms, bashed up (I got mine from Mr Simms sweet shop in Knutsford for anyone local)

1. Think! Have you got time/space to chill your batter? (Or are you lucky enough to have a bigger fridge than my mini-bar style one?! -it took me a while to get a configuration where it would fit!)
2. Cream the egg and the sugar until pale and fluffy.
3. Mix the yoghurt, milk and vanilla essence together in a jug, then add to the mixture. Melt the butter and mix in on a medium speed.
4. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients and add in two batches, mixing well on medium speed after each, then fold in the bashed M&Ms.

5. Put the batter in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 170c and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
7. Now for the fiddly bit. Spoon the batter on to the trays, there should be enough for 16-20 mounds (mine made 18). They need to be 3-5cm in diameter and spaced 2-3cm apart to allow for spreadage!

8. Bake for 10-13 minutes until springy to the touch (mine took more like 20 minutes as they were quite big I think!), then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling:

170g unsalted butter, softened
280g icing sugar
220g marshmallow fluff
1 tsp peppermint extract
few drops green food colouring

1. Mix together the butter and icing sugar on a low speed until blended.
2. Lightly mix in the marshmallow fluff, then mis on high until light and fluffy.
3. Add a teaspoon of peppermint essence and a few drops of green food colouring (if using) and mix in.
4. Put into the fridge for around 30 minutes to firm up.
5. To assemble the pies, sandwich two of the sponges together with about 1 tbsp of the filling to make a sandwich.

You can buy special whoopie pie tins like this one, which would probably be very handy if you want lovely smooth looking and all-the-same-size pies. Mine were quite beastly and not very smooth, but they really weren't too bad on the mis match front so as long as you take the time to spoon out the batter evenly you should be fine.

Obligatory seasonal photo!
It's not the greenist of slimes admittedly, so next year I will be getting some heavier duty food colouring!

I'm entering these whoopie pies into the United Bakes of America challenge hosted by Cupcake Crazy Gem.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Cakes Not From Kim: Betty's Tearooms

Another part of my 30th birthday celebrations (yes, I really did string it out!) was a trip to Harrogate in May with my best friend, who turned 30 back in February. We stayed in a gorgeous apartment with our own patio and were really lucky to have roasting hot weather while we were away... almost a bit too hot!

Anyway, no trip to Harrogate would be complete without a visit to Betty's and so we went along to check it out. We'd been past earlier on in the day and noticed that people were queueing down the street to get in, so went back about 5pm when it was a lot quieter.

It was a lot different to what I was expecting - a lot posher! It was very airy and light inside, and somehow felt like we'd gone back in time. I loved that you had to 'ask to see the cake trolley' and a waitress dutifully wheeled it over and gave us a rundown of what was on offer. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn't any 'proper' cakes on it (I was craving a slab of victoria sponge!) but everything on there did look so pretty and dainty even though it wasn't my kind of thing.

Delyth went for a meringue type thing...

... and I settled on a fat rascal, mainly because I liked the name! I wouldn't normally go for anything with fruit in, but I really was craving a big fat hunk of something and this definitely fitted the bill! Although I did feel guilty for not getting anything off the cake trolley.

I of course had tea and it was very traditional as you would expect - strainer and everything! One thing I don't get about these silver tea sets is how you are meant to pour the tea without getting third degree burns! The handles always get so hot - seriously how are you meant to do it - and look refined and civilised at the same time?!?!

It was very nice - and quite expensive - but well worth it for the old fashioned tea room experience. But if buttercream loaded cupcakes and red velvet is what you're after, you won't find it here!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Grandma's Gingerbread Cake

The theme for the Runcorn and Widnes Clandestine Cake Club in July was 'Inherited Indulgences' so I immediately knew I was going to have to bake something from my Grandma's cookbook collection, which I've blogged about before.

I also knew I wanted to make her ginger cake. It was always my favourite cake that she made, and it would also force me to find the recipe once and for all. Looking through her books before I hadn't seen anything I thought looked right and I thought that I would just have to make every gingerish cake I could see in the books, but on closer inspection, I came across a 'gingerbread' recipe that had a few tweaks scribbled on so I reckoned I had struck gold!

The recipe caused a bit of confusion -1 gill of milk and 1 egg reconstituted?!? Turns out a gill is 1/4 pint and a normal egg will do (I'm still not sure what a reconsituted egg is...). I had a practice go as I wanted to test the recipe out and run it past my Mum to confirm that it was the one. And it was!

It is a very plain and modest cake but packs a big ginger punch (depending on how generous your tsp of ginger is!), and is great with a cup of tea. It tastes even better the next day, too. It is also a good 'store cupboard' recipe - all of the ingredients are usually skulking away in my baking cupboard and since it only needs 1 egg is great for using up any lonely eggs!

4oz plain flour
4oz wholemeal flour
1 generous tsp ground ginger
4oz butter or margarine
1/4 pint milk
4oz golden syrup or treacle (I used golden syrup)
1 egg
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1.5oz brown sugar

1. Sieve all the dry ingredients (apart from the soda) into a bowl, and add the sugar.
2. Melt the butter and syrup together in a pan.
3. Warm the milk and mix with the soda (I didn't bother warming it myself).
4. Add the egg into the dry ingredients, followed by the butter/syrup, and the soda/milk. Mix together.
5. Pour into a greased and lined 8 x 10 inch tin and bake for 40-45 minutes at 190c.
6. Cool and cut into squares to serve.

I'm so glad I've managed to dig out this recipe - the parkin I made first definitely took me back to childhood but it was nothing on this one! I think it just goes to show the power of cake - I love how it can bring back memories and take you back to another time with just a whiff or a taste. I think my Grandma would have found it hilarious that I was taking her ginger cake along to a cake club to share with people - hopefully I did her proud with it.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Cheshire Food Festival and my first Cake Off!

I love me a good food festival, and today I went along to the Cheshire Food Festival at Walton Hall, Warrington. I'd previously been to the Great British Food Festival there over the Jubilee weekend and decided to be brave and throw my hat into the Cake Off ring this time!

I entered the Chocolate Delicious category where the brief was 'whatever you like as long as it's full of chocolate!' I decided to enter my chocolate and peanut butter cake, which has proved quite popular in the past and made a couple of appearances on the blog before (here and here). As soon as I got there and saw the other entries though, I knew I should have raised my game - they all looked great but some were magnificent!

So I'm a little bit gutted to have to report that I was in the bottom 3 out of the 7 entries. I'm not very good at losing (as anyone who have ever played any kind of game with me and witnessed my jutting bottom lip will testify!), but once I got over the initial disappointment I was still glad I had taken part. It's an excuse to bake a cake without the guilt of eating it, after all! The main thing was, I was happy with the cake and managed to have a little taste of it at the end when the free-for-all tasting ensued to check that it tasted OK - so at least I didn't put up something that I wasn't proud of. Better luck next time!

Luckily there was plenty of delicious food on hand to drown my sorrows with, and so the rest of the day was spent wandering around the various stalls, hoovering up free samples, browsing the craft stalls, quaffing fizzy wine and watching the live music.

I picked up some cheese from the Cheshire Cheese Company - this is the stall that I always make a beeline for, and today I got some caramelised onion and rioja cheddar plus some ale and mustard cheddar for my dad for his birthday. My cheese allegience was challenged by the amazing Pickle Power that I tried from the Snowdonia Cheese Company but I remained loyal (although I might have to order some online once I've eaten the rest...). After tasting what seemed like every chutney in the tents I went for the spiced carrot and garlic chutney from The Jammy Cow which will go lovely with my cheese.

I was also happy to finally pick up some Matcha tea from Vitalife which I had never got around to ordering online, plus a book of recipes to try out, so watch this space!

Despite the mud and drizzle it was a great day out, and I'm looking forward to the Christmas Food Festival in November already!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Mocha marbled loaf cake

Marble cake is one of my favourite cakes - when I was little we always used to get iced marble half moon cake from Somerfield - but for some reason I've never really bothered with making it myself.

I'd done a marbled mocha cake before and it was delicious so when I saw a recipe for a mocha marbled loaf in the August 2012 edition of Good Food magazine I knew it had to be made! Mike's boss has been giving us eggs from his chickens and so I thought I would give them back to him in cake form to say thank you.

Although the cake itself turned out lovely, I completely botched the white chocolate ganache. I've really no idea what I did wrong as I thought I followed the recipe to the letter, but it was runny and awful and full of little lumps of chocolate. For some reason I still dumped it on top of the cake when I should probably have left it off. This is why there are hardly any photos of this cake!

I think this is definitely one to save and eat the next day if you can, the flavour was much richer the next day.

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
250g self raising flour, sifted
30g cocoa powder, sifted
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water
2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

1. Beat the butter until creamy, then gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla.
2. Keep beating until light and fluffy.
3. Beat the eggs and add 1 tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 tbsp of the flour with the last two egg additions to prevent curdling.
4. Add the remaining flour and a pinch of salt and fold in.
5. Put half the mixture in a separate bowl, and add the cocoa powder and milk, and fold in.
6. Add the cooled coffee to the other half of the mixture and stir until combined.
7. Dollop alternate tablespoons of each mixture into a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin, scattering some chocolate chips in between each layer. Give the tin a couple of taps on the worktop to get rid of any bubbles, smooth the top, and then marble the two mixtures together by swirling a skewer through them.
8. Bake on 180c for 60 - 75 minutes until well risen and a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 20 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Now for the ganache...
100g white chocolate, finely chopped
80ml whipping cream
20g unsalted butter

1. Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl.
2. In a pan, heat the cream and butter until hot but not boiling, then pour over the chopped chocolate.
3. Leave to stand for two minutes, then stir until melted and smooth.
4. Leave to cool and thicken, then stir gently.
5. Spread over the cake and finish with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cocoa Boutique - a review

Well, this is my 100th post!!! I know usually people do giveaways for these kind of posts, but being the selfish brat that I am, I decided to indulge myself by accepting a box of luxury chocolates to review from the newly established Cocoa Boutique! (sorry loyal readers... but there is an opportunity to get a free box for yourself though, see the bottom of the post for details!)

Cocoa Boutique is an artisan chocolate tasting club, where after purchasing an initial 'introductory selection' box of chocolates, you can then have boxes of chocolates dropping through your letterbox on a monthly basis, for £19.95 per month. And they really are just the right size for your letter box, so no need for screams of dismay when you get home from work desperate for a chocolate fix to find a 'sorry we missed you' card telling you that your chocs are at the sorting office which closed half an hour ago. Each month you will get a different selection, all of which have been hand picked and taste tested for you.

I liked the design and packaging of the box, which definitely gave the chocolates a luxury feel. They also looked mouth watering! The chocolates are created by award winning chocolatiers and my box included chocolates from Pierre Ledent, Claire Hicklin and Barry Colenso - who also had a hand in making William and Kate's wedding cake! There was a good selection of chocolates, and I was really happy with the balance and variety in the box - milk, white and dark chocolates were evenly represented and there was a good mix of types of chocolate - creams and truffles plus more simple options like plain buttons, honeycomb, caramels and coffee beans.

My favourites were:
Rum Cafe Cream: this felt like a grown up version of the old Roses coffee creams (which were my favourites, why did they have to get rid of them?!).
Raspberry with a hint of orange: a very unique (I think?) and very delicious combination.
Vanilla Irish Cream: Smooth, light and creamy.
Cocoa dusted dark chocolate salted caramels: possibly my favourite out of the box, the caramel was rich and runny with just enough salt to give it that distinctive tang.

Mike also enjoyed the Pink champagne truffle and the White strawberry cream and we felt these were definitely the prettiest looking ones (oh yes he goes for the 'man chocolates'!) - I loved the pink, slightly glittery hue on the white strawberry cream and the petal-like effect of the raspberries on the champagne truffle.

A slight complaint was that there was some definite 'cross contamination' between flavours - the coffee beans were so strong that you could taste the coffee in the chocolate honeycomb next to them, the white chocolate buttons had a slight orange tinge and Mike felt like he could taste brandy in the milk chocolate truffles. I guess this is perhaps unavoidable where you have a selection box that includes strong flavours.

To be honest, another negative would be the price. At £34.95 for the introductory box and £19.95 a month thereafter, to me these chocolates are pricey and you would really need to love your chocolate to justify paying this. It is worth noting though that you don't have to have them monthly - you can choose how often you receive your chocolates.

The chocolates are clearly excellent quality and there are some extra touches such as the range of chocolates, packaging and the information you receive with the box that give them an exclusive feel and go some way to justifying the price tag. Having said that, these are probably chocolates I would be happy to give or receive as a gift for special occasions rather than sign up for, but if a chocolate tasting club is your thing then I don't think you'd be disappointed with the quality of these chocolates.

At the moment the 'introductory selection' is available at a special launch price of £9.95 - to take advantage of this offer, go here and the discount will be automatically applied - there's no obligation to continue with the monthly chocolates. You can also be in with a chance of getting your mitts on some free chocolates by entering this competition to receive a box to taste test. Details are here and entry closes on 31st October 2012.

Normal cake related service to resume shortly!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Dr Oetker and My First Bundt

Dr Oetker recently sent me some baking products to try out and I received alphabet sprinkles, orange and lemon slices, cake release spray and easy swirl cupcake icing.

As soon as I got the cake release spray I knew it was the perfect opportunity to try out my bundt tin. The poor tin had been festering away in the cupboard for over a year and I've lost count of how many bundt blog posts I've commented on claiming I was going to try the recipe! I think I was a bit scared of it really, but now I had officially ran out of excuses! The orange and lemon slices meant I was going to go for a citrussy cake and where else to find a recipe but the Bundt Queen herself, Rachel of Dolly Bakes?!

I used Rachel's lemon drizzle bundt recipe which also meant facing another fear: whipping egg whites! With all the cakes I've made by now you'd think I'd be over it, but eggs really do freak me out. I used my nifty new egg separator from Lakeland which helped me avoid jiggling the egg about in the shell, but even that was mildly traumatic as I didn't like how the yolk sat in the bottom of the separator like some sinister yellow eye looking at me!

Erm, anyway.... apart from the addition of oranges, I followed Rachel's instructions to the letter. Basically any part of the recipe that called for lemony stuff I did 50/50 with oranges and lemons. I noticed that Rachel recommended Dr Oetker cake release spray also, and I gave the tin a good spritz and a dusting of flour as instructed. One 'pressure point' (I've been watching too much Australian Masterchef) was I was worried it wasn't going to rise, it didn't look like much mixture in the tin so I nearly wore a dint in the floor going back and to while it was in the oven checking it was rising! Rise it did though, first big sigh of relief!
Risen, drizzled and cooling!
This is how the waiting feels!
After pricking the cake and spooning over the yummy citrussy syrup, the second 'pressure point' was - am I going to get it out of the tin in one piece?! I've seen a lot of people say that the hardest part of a bundt is waiting, as you let it cool completely in the tin before turning out, and this is very true as I couldn't relax until it was time to turn it out. Luckily I had the Olympics closing ceremony to distract me. The time finally arrived and again I followed Rachel's instructions - run a knife around, plonk a plate on top, turn it upside down and wait for the drop. As soon as I heard it I could finally relax!

Aaaaaaaand relax
I decorated with the citrussy icing and Dr Oetker's orange and lemon slices. We barely waited for the icing to set before tucking in, and it didn't disappoint! It was deliciously light and moist with zingy freshness from the oranges and lemons. The entire rest of the cake was guzzled down in work the next day. I'm definitely been bitten by the bundt bug and I urge anyone who has been considering having a go to give it a try, and this recipe is a great place to start!

On to the other products I tried... I wasn't sure how I felt about the cupcake swirl icing, since I turn my nose up at any kind of short cut cake mix or ready made frosting, and it's not something I would usually use in my baking. Unfortunately after trying it out my opinion does remain the same - it was very artificial in smell and taste. The nozzle was quite small so it was difficult to do much of a swirl on regular sized cupcakes, however, I'm sure it would be fine for small swirls on mini cupcakes or brownie squares. I don't think it is something that any serious baker would or should use though. I decorated the cakes with the alphabet letters which I really liked, there was a good selection of letters and colours in the jar so no stressing over not being able to spell things! I also thought they looked cute just sprinkled on the frosting.

Thanks to Dr Oetker for letting me try these products - the cake release spray is a definite winner, especially for bundt cakes and other novelty type tins. Check out the full range of baking products here.
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