The cakes who can travel: standby brownies 

Today it was Mcmillan charity cake day at work and naturally I offered to bake something for it. 
The problem was that in my head I was going to bake a quick fruit cake and ice with a nice funny phrase. What actually happened was the day of the bake sale I had to work 50 miles away from my office at another site and the day before I had to do a 100 mile round trip for work! Dilemma. 

I wanted to bake but they had to be something sturdy, easy to transport and ok to sit in my car whilst I drove around and attended a meeting. In the end I settled for chocolate brownies, the wonderful sturdy baked goods. Not fancy but very tasty and most importantly able to withstand my driving. 

The recipe I used was from Donna Hay: http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/15140/standby-brownies

I saw her bake this recipe on TV one day and then my auntie bought me her cookbook as a present when I was visiting in Australia.  Since first seeing it on TV I’ve never used another brownie recipe since, honestly this never fails and chocolate doesn’t keep in my cupboards (yes. I mean I eat it!) so this is perfect. 

I was going to put the chocolate chips inside but I kinda forgot so they became a good sprinkling. 

Although I didn’t get to go to this bake sale, I did hear that the brownies sold quickly so I’m glad I got to make a small but chocolatey contribution. 

And the place I went for work today had their own cake sale so I had cake for breakfast and lunch… Shh. 

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A very quick bake: Chocolate orange muffins 


Tonight is Great British Bake off night and for any aspiring baker from the UK it’s the program to watch. 

I love it which is why I had a dilemma – watch bake off or bake? 

In the end I managed to do both because I made a very quick batch of chocolate muffins and flavoured them using Sugar and Crumbs Jaffa Twist icing sugars.

I haven’t actually tried one of the muffins yet so I’m hoping they are ok. Its the first time I’ve swapped normal sugar for icing sugar but I thought I’d give it a go. 

This recipe literally only makes 6 average sized muffins so its good for just a few cakes around the house. They look right so let’s hope they taste good too. 


Chocolate orange muffins 

I used this recipe from the BBC good food: Chocolate muffins

I adapted the recipe slightly by adding in chocolate chips and using the same weight of flavoured icing sugar instead of normal sugar. 

They took exactly 20 mins in the oven.

The official photo of the naked wedding cake 

The bride and groom were very pleased with their naked wedding cake and so was I!

The cake managed to travel 50 miles in a car and a trek across a garden to a marquee. 

I thought I’d show you the photo by the photographer.

Could I have done better? Always but this will still be my first wedding cake I ever accomplished. 

Naked wedding cake

The last three days have involved some planning and baking as I was asked by my sister if I could make her friends wedding cake. 

My initial reaction (inside my head) was “no way in hell can I do this!”  but the story of her cake maker dropping out and her plan to go to Costco and buy a random cake was enough to get me straight into the kitchen.

As Sophie the bride had absolutely zero ideas on likes, colour schemes, flowers… Well, anything at all!  I sent her a couple of ideas. She liked them but said they were too fancy as she was having a rustic wedding in her parents back garden. 
Ah, rustic made me think of a style of cake I’d recently seen. A naked cake. She loved it and so the idea took off.

A naked cake is basically a layered sponge with no traditional icing around it so you can clearly see the cake and the layers. 

For the wedding cake I’ve kept it very simple, just a light vanilla sponge with buttercream and strawberry jam. 
I had an idea how I wanted it to look but it wasn’t until it was coming together that it finally took on its own style.  My mom isn’t convinced it’s very “wedding cake” but I like it. It’s different and fun and hopefully will taste bloody amazing! 

Good luck tomorrow Sophie and Joe xx


Naked Wedding Cake

For the cake:
18oz Caster sugar
18oz Margarine
20oz Self raising flour
9 eggs
2tsp vanilla extract

For the buttercream:
750g butter
1kg icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Plus:
1 1/2 jars of jam
Icing sugar to dust
Edible glitter

This recipe will look daunting when you look at the amount of ingredients, just remember, it’s very simple, just two big cakes! 

I made this in two cakes over two nights. The first I made as a 10oz cake and the second as an 8oz cake. 

Preheat the oven to 180c and line a cake tin. 

In a large bowl or mixer (I used my Kenwood mixer with a K beater) put the margarine and sugar. Beat until light and pale. Mix in the vanilla. 

Add in an egg and some flour. Keep doing this till all the eggs and flour are incorporated. 

Pour into a cake tin and bake until the top springs back. For the 8oz cake it took me 1 hour and for the 10oz it took 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from oven and let it cool. When cool cut the cake into layers. 

When the cake is very cool then make the the buttercream by mixing all the butter and icing sugar together with the vanilla. 

Keep mixing till the butter is lighter.

Pipe circles of buttercream onto each layers and fill in the circles with jam (as on the picture) 

Finally finish the cake with flowers, glitter, signs or whatever you need to make the cake your own!