Thursday, 29 May 2014

Chocolate Lime Marbled Bundt Cake with Daddy's Marmalade


This then, is the third and final of the lovely samples that sugar and crumbs sent me to try, it is a chocolate lime cocoa powder and I used it to make this Chocolate Lime Marbled Bundt Cake. I love a bundt cake, I used to think there was some sort of magic recipe that you had to use, but, you can just use an equal measures creamed cake mix and then the lovely bundt tin does all the hard work for you making your cake look extra special.

This mix is also known as pound cake. I heard once that this was because, commercial bakeries used a pound of each ingredient to make a large cake, but I always thought it was because the original mix was made with two eggs and four ounces of each ingredient so that the resultant mix weighed a pound. We would consider this a small cake, these days, but, my vintage cookbooks from the 1960s indicate that this was the standard size mix for a seven inch Victoria sponge!


If you have ever wanted a chocolate lime sweet in cake form, then this is the cake for you. The lime flavour in this cocoa powder, is very soft and almost sherberty, rather than a sharp acidic citrus taste. A very lovely flavour.


The other thing I was reminded of, smelling and tasting this cocoa powder, was this Rose's Lemon and Lime marmalade, which as you can maybe gather from the picture below, is my hubby's favourite thing to spread on his toast, so much so that my son refers to it as Daddy's marmalade.


I decided that it might be nice to stir this through some of the cake batter too. And do you know what? It was extremely delicious.

If you like the idea of a marble cake, you might also like my Two for one Zebra cakes


Equipment

A Bundt tin.

This tin, I  have used, is my favourite bundt tin, it is by Nordicware and gives amazing sharp edges to your cake. I also used the same tin last year for my Hubbys Berry Bundt Bithday cake


Recipe

Ingredients

5 eggs
About 250g margarine or butter
About 250g caster / superfine sugar
About 250g self raising flour
30g Sugar and Crumbs lime cocoa powder

30ml milk
Two or three heaped tablespoons lemon and lime marmalade (Optional)
Lime green food colouring (I used Squires Kitchen Sunny lime)

Method

Start off by treating your bundt tin to ensure that your mixture doesn't stick. I use a non stick baking spray that I get from my local sugar craft shop, you can also use cake release or do that thing where you use melted butter all over the pan, shake in some flour and tap the flour out again.

Preheat your oven to 160 C Fan / 175 C / 350 F

I find that I need a five egg mixture, to fill this tin. For the best results, with this recipe, you weigh your eggs, in their shells, and then use the same weight of margarine or butter, caster sugar and self raising flour. To give you an idea how much of the ingredients you will need, five standard eggs will usually weigh about 250g or 10 ounces. My eggs weighed 282 grams.


Once you have weighed your eggs, it is a good idea to note down the weight somewhere, in case of distractions and then crack the eggs into a mug or jug and whisk around with a fork, to break up the yolk.

Weigh out the margarine or butter and caster sugar straight into your bowl and cream together, in my school days, we used to do this with a wooden spoon, I can still remember how my arm used to ache, now, thankfully, I use my stand mixer with the "K" beater, a hand held mixer will do the job too.

When you have creamed the margarine or butter until lighter in colour and fluffy looking, you can add the eggs. I like to pour mine slowly down the side of the bowl with the mixer running.


When all the eggs have been incorporated, add the self raising flour and mix this in. It is usually recommended that you do this with a metal spoon or a rubber spatula, I like to do mine in my mixer on a slow speed. Stop mixing when just incorporated, if you over mix the flour it will spoil the texture of your cake.



Divide the mixture into three equal parts. You can either do this by eye and guesswork, or if you like to be more precise, your mixture will weigh four times the amount of your eggs. You remembered to note that down somewhere, right? Multiply the weight of your eggs by four, divide by three and then spoon that amount into two separate bowls.

Mix one of the bowls with the two to three heaped tablespoons of lemon and lime marmalade, if using and a little of the lime green gel colour. Spoon this into the bottom of the bundt tin.


Mix the chocolate and lime cocoa powder and the 30ml milk into the second bowl and spoon this on top of the lemon and lime mixture in the bundt tin


Spoon the remaining third of plain mixture on the top


Now for the marbling, take a spoon, reach all the way down to the bottom of the tin and then use an up and over motion to create the marbling effect.


Do this all the way around the cake, then use the back of the spoon to level the top a little. Before putting the tin in the oven, hold it firmly, with both hands, above a hard surface and give the bottom of the tin a few good hard taps on your hard surface. This will help eliminate any air bubbles between the cake mix and the tin to give the cake the best shape possible.

Put the cake in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.


Leave the mixture to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, then turn upside down and wait for the cake to drop out.


The cake is lovely just as it is, or enhanced with a little sprinkle of icing sugar.


I wanted a little more zingy looking va va voom, so I decided to coat mine with some Wilton Candy melts in vibrant green.This dries hard, like chocolate and gives the cake an additional texture. I melted about half a 12 oz / 340g bag of candy melts with a couple of tablespoons of vegetable fat (Trex / Crisco) to thin it a little. When all melted and stirred until smooth, spoon this over the cake and then give the cake a little wiggle to settle the candy melts move evenly over the cake.



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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream Cookies


Today's raspberry ripple ice cream cookies are made with the second of my lovely samples from Sugar and Crumbs (the flavoured sugar specialists). When I was a girl, not so long ago (!),  ice cream pretty much came in one flavour, vanilla. There was hard vanilla ice cream that was scooped from the tub, or the Mr Whippy sort of soft ice cream, that came from the ice-cream van, hopefully with a chocolate flake in the top and if you were really lucky a drizzle of strawberry sauce. Then, one day there was a newcomer on the block, raspberry ripple. Like the vanilla in many ways, but, with that lovely pink streak of bright raspberry flavour rippling its way through the tub. It was these childish delights I had in mind when creating these raspberry ripple ice cream cookies.


Raspberry ripple has that certain "je ne sais quois", about it, a special taste, not quite raspberry and vanilla, somehow, a little more and sugar and crumbs have captured this perfectly. This icing sugar is unmistakably raspberry ripple, not raspberry and vanilla, but exactly raspberry ripple. This is guaranteed to transport you to some other raspberry ripple time and place and if you decide to try these, it will take every ounce of will power you have not to lift that piping bag in the air and squirt it directly into your mouth.


These cookies are all made with a basic sugar cookie recipe, to see how to make, roll, cut and bake sugar cookies, have a look at this post.

You might normally expect a sugar cookie to be decorated with royal icing or perhaps using a fill and flow technique, but, I haven't really made friends with royal icing yet and fill and flow and I definitely don't get along. Because of this, I am always looking to find innovative and unusual ways to decorate a cookie using anything other than royal icing and that dreaded fill and flow technique

I am really pleased with the way these cookies turned out, I hope that you like them too, The raspberry ripple icing sugar really makes them extra special. If you do decide to pop over to sugar and crumbs to get some raspberry ripple for yourself or to see what else they have, don't forget to let them know I sent you.

Equipment

Waffle (or other) embossing mat. (I used one from Katy Sue)
Bow Mould (I used one from First Impressions)
Petal piping nozzle (I used Wilton 124)
Piping Bag

Edibles and Sundries

A batch of ice cream cone shaped sugar cookies
Sugar paste / roll out icing
Modelling paste or sugar paste treated with a little CMC, Tylose or whatever you like to use added
Gel colour (I used Squires Kitchen Rose)
Water, edible glue or piping gel
Batch of buttercream made with sugar and crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar. See here for my buttercream recipe, or here for the sugar and crumbs buttercream recipe.

Method

Start by colouring your sugar paste pale pink and your modelling or treated sugar paste a darker pink. Both these colours have been achieved with Squires Kitchen rose gel colour. A little to get the pale pink colour and a lot more to get the darker pink. I like to use two tones of the same colour, just because you know that your colours are going to go together.

Mould a bow for each of the cookies using the darker pink colour. If you don't have any modelling paste or treated sugar paste, then use ordinary sugar paste and freeze it in the mould for about 20 minutes before popping out. You will then need to leave the frozen bows at room temperature for about 24 hours before using as they go a little sticky when they have been frozen.


Take a freshly baked and cooled sugar cookie ready for decorating. This one was cut out using an ice cream cutter from Ecrandal.


Make the ice cream cone part of the decoration before piping the butter cream. I used this waffle mat from Katy Sue  (UK site, US site). I love the fact that this mat looks so ordinary and innocuous, but magically transforms sugar paste into something rather special. Any embossing mat would work well here, lace, in particular, would give a lovely vintage feel.


Roll our your sugar paste to about a half centimetre thick, then put on top of the waffle mat, press down with your fingers then roll, with a rolling pin on top to emboss the pattern. My paste doesn't usually stick to this mat, should your paste stick, use one of those cornflower pouches to dust it with cornflower or rub a small amount of vegetable fat (Trex / Crisco) onto the sugar paste before putting it on the mat.


Turn over and lift the mat off.


How such an ordinary looking mat produces such a beautiful effect is a mystery! Use your cookie cutter to cut out the cone shape from the waffle embossed sugar paste.



To get a nice shape to the top of your cone, use a large cookie cutter, to cut off everything above the cone.


Carefully lift off your cone and attach in place on your cookie. Use a little water, edible glue or piping gel to make it stick.


The first cookie, I made with the waffle pattern, the square way round, then I decided to try it the diamond way round. I decided I liked the diamond pattern better, so continued with this for the rest of the cookies.


Now for the star of the show, my butter cream icing interpretation of Mr Whippy ice cream, made with this delightful raspberry ripple icing sugar from sugar and crumbs.


The ice cream swirl is piped in ruffles using a petal nozzle. I used a fairly large one - the Wilton 124. You pipe ruffles with the wide end of the tip on the cookie and the narrow end pointing upwards, you just need to pip back and forwards in a zig zag motion to make a ruffle.


After some experimentation, I found the best way to pip these, was from bottom, almost to the top on one side


From the bottom almost to the top on the other side


From the bottom all the way to the very tip of the cookie next to where you piped the first ruffle


And then fill in the remaining gap. If your piping should go horribly wrong, just carefully scrape it off and start again.


Finally, add the moulded bow, attaching it with a little water or edible glue and you are finished.



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Your Best Ever Sugar Cookie Recipe


This simple sugar cookie recipe forms the base of pretty much every cookie I decorate, today, I am going to share the recipe and some tips on how to get even and consistent cookies. This recipe is simple to make and the results are consistent and reliable, the cookies have a softish texture and bake smooth on top, just right of decorating.

Equipment

A stand mixer 
A worktop for rolling out on
A large rolling pin (I like to use a traditional wooden one for cookies)
Marzipan spacers (Or one of those rolling pins with spacers on them)
Cookie cutters
Cookie sheet / Baking tray lined with baking parchment or a re-usable silicone sheet

Ingredients

200g / 7 oz unsalted butter or block margarine (I usually use a block of stork)
200g / 7 oz caster / superfine sugar
1 egg
400g / 14 oz plain / all purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla bean paste of other flavouring of your choice.
A little extra flour for dusting

Method

Recently I have been sharing some cupcake recipes with you, where you start by making a crumby mix, so just to show what a topsy turvy world we live in, these cookies are made using the creaming method, usually used for making cakes. 

Start by putting the 200g / 7oz of sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the 200g / 7oz of caster sugar and the teaspoon of flavouring. Using the "K" beater, mix on a slow speed, until just mixed together. You are not looking to incorporate air, just to mix the butter and sugar together.



Next, put the egg in and again mix on a slow speed until all just mixed together.



The mixture will be quite thick and stiff ...


... And will cling to the beater when you lift it. Can you see all those tiny black seeds from the vanilla bean paste?


Now for the flour. Add the 400g / 14oz and mix again. You may want to cover the mixer initially.

It is quite hard work, for the mixer here, I mix on slow speed and then turn the speed up a little when the mixer starts bouncing around. If the bouncing around mixer worries you, maybe try adding the flour in two batches instead.


You don't want to over work the flour, so stop mixing as soon as the mixture has come together. You can use your hands to press it together too.


The mix should be dry and feel soft to the touch


Ready to Roll

This beautiful ice cream cookie cutter is from Ecrandal, who have just the loveliest range of unusual and unique cutters.


I usually work a handful of cookie dough at a time, this reduces re-rolling which minimises cracks in your dough and provides a better texture for your cookies.

Sprinkle a little four over your work surface, position your marzipan spacers either side, plonk a good handful of cookie dough in the middle, sprinkle a little more flour over the top and roll, with your rolling pin over the marzipan spacers, until even and flat.

If you don't have, or don't want to use them, roll the cookie dough out until about 1 cm thick.


Use your cookie cutter to cut out the shapes, avoiding any cracks that may have formed in the cookie dough.


Lift the cookies on to your baking sheet. It can be helpful to use a palette knife if they are large. If you find it difficult to transfer the cookies to your baking sheet, perhaps because they are very soft, then try rolling them out of top of the baking sheet and then remove the excess cookie dough from around them.


Gather up the dough from around your cut outs and add a handful of fresh dough before rolling out and cutting again. If you want the very best results, you can put your cookies in the fridge or freezer here, which will discourage them from spreading as they cook.

Bake the cookies at 200 C / 400 F Gas Mark 6 for 8 to 12 minutes.

When the cookies are cooked, the centres will feel dry to the touch and they will be just beginning to brown around the edges.


The cookies will still be soft when just baked, so leave them to cool on their trays before lifting. Once cool they should keep, if stored in an air tight container for a month or so.


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