Thursday, 30 October 2014

Spooky Ghost Cake Pops

Halloween is almost here - are you ready? I try to bake a few things for Halloween each year but this year has been exceptionally busy so I've not been able to bake as much as I would have liked to. I am going to bake some muffins and cookies if I have time for the trick or treaters. As I've just moved house, I have no idea how many trick or treaters to expect. There may be none in which case there will be a lot of leftover goodies! Do you buy candy or make something for the trick or treaters or do you avoid them altogether? 

Dr Oetker sent me some goodies to create these Ghost Cake Pops. The recipe is in collaboration with Juliet Sears and she has a very clear, detailed video showing you how to make them. I forget how fiddly cake pops are and these don't look as good as Juliet's but luckily at Halloween ugly and scary is good!! They are actually really simple to make but quite time consuming as there are several steps involved and required chilling time and drying time.

 Dr Oetker ingredients for this recipe

I followed the recipe exactly apart from using jam instead of icing to stick the fondant to the cake pop. I also added a little buttercream to the mix as it was really crumbly and I found it difficult to roll into a ball. Luckily I had some leftover coffee buttercream to hand and I quite like the chocolateand coffee flavour combination.

I'm entering this to Treat Petite hosted by Kat from the Baking Explorer and Stuart from Cakeyboi. The theme this month is Trick or Treat. These are perfect for Halloween and I'm grateful to Kat for including my extremely late entry.

I am also entering it to Let's Cook for Halloween hosted by Nayna from Simply Food. 

 luckily I'm crumbling this up for cake pops as a bit of it stuck to the pan. 

 melted white chocolate, crumbled brownie and lollipop sticks

 ready to go in the freezer

 My rather large and ugly looking cake pops. I bought the cake pop stand at the BBC Bake and Cake show 

 starting to look like ghosts 

 spooky ghosts especially with the shadows! 

Preparation time: 2 hours plus cooling and chilling
Cooking time: 40 minutes plus 10 minutes to melt 2 lots of chocolate

For the cake balls:
120g Dr. Oetker 72% Cocoa Extra Dark Fine Cooks Chocolate
150g soft unsalted butter at room temp
200g Light Muscovado Sugar
3 medium free range eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla extract
125g Plain FlourFor the cake pops:
2 X 100g bags of Dr. Oetker White Chocolate Chips melted for sticking the balls onto the sticks & coating the cake pops
Teaspoon of vegetable oil

To decorate the ghosts:
1 x pack of Dr. Oetker White Regal Ice
Icing sugar for rolling out
Dr. Oetker White Designer Icing for sticking the regal ice to the cake pops
Dr. Oetker Jet Black Gel Food Colour

  • Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F, gas mark 1). 
  • Grease and line an 18cm (7 inch) square cake tin
  • To make the fudge brownie mix melt the extra dark chocolate in a microwave on medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time until melted, or in a heat proof bowl on a gentle heat over a bain marie. Leave to cool.
  • Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with paddle attachment or electric hand beater for approx. 2 minutes until pale and fluffy. If you haven’t got an electric mixer you can do this with a wooden spoon in a bowl .
  • TIP: if you are in a rush or the butter is quite cold, the addition of a couple of tablespoons of boiling water at this stage, beaten on slow until mixed will speed up this process.
  • Add your eggs on a slow speed about a third at a time, mixing until combined.
  • Add your cooled chocolate stirring continuously. Add the vanilla Extract and stir. On slow speed mix in the flour until just combined. Do not over beat. Alternatively fold in by hand.
  • Pour the mix into your cake tin and bake for approx 40 mins. Check it with a sharp knife or metal skewer. You want this to be slightly under baked, so the knife should come out pasty, with a nice paste on the knife.
  • Leave to cool, then turn out into a bowl and crumble with your hands to fine fudgy crumb.
  • To make the cake balls, take a handful of fudge cake mix and squeeze together tightly - you are aiming for little balls about the size of a large walnut, approx. 30g each. If the mixture is dry, the addition of a little chocolate or vanilla butter cream will help the mixture stick
  • Once you have all of your balls ready, dip the end of your stick into the melted chocolate chips and push the stick into each ball, about half way in. Hold the ball to stop it splitting open when the stick goes in
  • Once all the cake pops are ready, refrigerate them for 1-2 hours before dipping them, or pop into the freezer for 30 mins, so the balls are firm enough to hold when dipping in the coating
  • To coat the cake pops melt Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks White Chocolate on low power in a microwave bowl until just melted - stirring occasionally or over a bain marie on a gentle heat
  • Plunge each cake pop into the chocolate coating until completely covered. Tap the cake pop gently on the side of the bowl to shake off the excess. Once all are covered, dip each cake pop again
  • To decorate the ghosts roll out half the white regal icing into a large rectangle using plenty of icing sugar and a large plastic rolling pin. Roll fairly thinly – 2 to 3mm thick. Squeeze a little Dr. Oetker White Designer Icing onto the tops of the cake pops or brush with some melted white chocolate, to aid sticking of the sugar paste
  • Using a cake cutter or small bowl, cut out circles of regal icing and place on each of the pops, smoothing down with your fingers to create the white sheet effect. Allow a little wavy movement by using your fingers to create smooth creases around the sides. Leave to set for a few hours to dry.
  • To add the ghostly expression take some Dr. Oetker black gel colour and squeeze out the eyes and mouth shapes. Leave these to dry overnight.
  • TIP: if you want these to look very neat and more painted on rather than squeezed onto the ghost, you can squeeze some gel out on to your surface and use a brush with a tiny bit of water.
Disclaimer: I was sent ingredients from Dr Oetker to create this recipe. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post and I paid for the remaining ingredients myself. 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pumpkin Pecan Roll with Maple Cinnamon Glaze

This is one of  my rare forays into bread baking. Possibly inspired by the Great British Bake off but mainly inspired by a jar of Pecan Pumpkin Butter I bought from America. I debated about what recipe to use it in and came up with pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies or pumpkin cake but in the end I decided to make a version of cinnamon rolls using pumpkin, pecan and maple syrup. I have to admit that I threw the first lot of dough away as I was not happy with it and it just wouldn't come together. I made it the second time with the same ingredients and it worked beautifully. It definitely takes a little time to make your own dough but it's absolutely, totally worth it. The bread was so soft and light it felt like cotton wool on the inside. The pumpkin pecan filling was absolutely delicious and you can clearly taste the pumpkin with a hint of apple and spice. The maple cinnamon glaze complemented the flavours and my kitchen smelt heavenly whilst baking this. This is my first time trying the Clarks Pure Canadian No1 Light Maple Syrup. It comes in a lovely glass flask and tastes better than the regular maple syrup. The taste is purer and it smells divine! 

These rolls are perfect for a weekend breakfast or even at a Halloween party as it has very autumnal flavours. You can easily add some Halloween sprinkles or make an orange glaze (with orange colouring) for a more Halloween feel.  This success has now inspired me to try making more of my own bread so look out for more bread recipes in the future. 

I'm entering this to Treat Petite hosted by Kat from the Baking Explorer and Stuart from Cakeyboi. The theme this month is Trick or Treat. The deadline has past but Kat has kindly agreed to include this in the round up - thank you. 

I am also entering it to Let's Cook for Halloween hosted by Nayna from Simply Food.

 my lovely jar of pecan pumpkin butter

 I used my new (ish) Lekue bread maker which I bought from Lakeland - it's silicone and you can weigh and mix the ingredients in there and knead the dough...

 ... then close it up and leave it to prove! 

 it more than doubled in size yay! 

 roll out the dough

 add chopped, roasted pecans to the pecan pumpkin butter

 spread mixture evenly all over the dough

 roll up the dough like a swiss roll and slice 

 arrange in a tin leaving a small gap between each roll. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave it for another 30 minutes or so 

 you can see that the dough has expanded further to fill all the gaps. Brush with a beaten egg before baking

 drizzle maple cinnamon glaze on top 


 The bread is really soft and delicious and the filling is very tasty! 

Bread recipe from BBC Food

For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
50g brown sugar
1.5 teaspoon dried yeast
75g butter
200ml milk
1 egg

For the filling
1 jar of pecan pumpkin butter
100g pecans - lightly roasted and roughly chopped

1 beaten egg to brush on top of the the dough before baking

For the maple cinnamon glaze
60mls maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (adjust to taste) 
250g icing sugar
few tablespoons of milk (optional) 

  • Start by making the dough - place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix. Add in the yeast and then rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. 
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and crack in the egg.
  • Mix together with your hands - don't worry if it's sticky, be patient and it will come together.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean surface ( I used a silicone mat) and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This can take up to 10 minutes! 
  • To test if it's ready, take a small piece of dough and stretch it as then as possible - you should be able to see the light through it and it should not break easily.
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl or in a silicone bread maker if you have one. Cover and leave to prove for about 90 minutes. 
  • Prepare the filling by lightly roasting the nuts and then roughly chopping them.
  • Scoop out the pecan pumpkin butter and add the prepared nuts. 
  • When the dough is ready, punch it a few times with your knuckles to knock the air out 
  • Roll the dough out to a rectangle as shown.
  • Spread the filling evenly making sure to go right to the edge.
  • Starting with the long side, roll the dough up into a sausage shape as you would a swiss roll.
  • Cut into 12 equal slices.
  • Place the slices with the spiral facing up in a lined square tin.
  • Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for a further 45-60 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C.
  • The buns should have expanded and will feel springy to the touch.
  • Beat an egg in a bowl and brush the tops of the buns.
  • Bake at 200C for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 180C and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. 
  • Make the maple cinnamon glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the ground cinnamon. Pour in the maple syrup and mix until smooth. 
  • Add a few drops of milk if required. 
  • Once the buns are ready, remove from the oven and drizzle the glaze on top.
  • Best served warm but it kept well for a few days in an airtight container. 
Disclaimer: I was sent some Clarks maple syrup for review purposes including this Clarks Pure Canadian No1 Light Maple Syrup. This is not a sponsored post and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Crystallised Ginger and Beer Cake

I've missed joining in Random Recipes for a few months now for various reasons so I'm really pleased that I managed to bake something for it this month. Dom from Belleau Kitchen set us the task of using the internet to do a random recipe search and his only criteria is that the recipe is something sweet. I  knew what ingredient I wanted to start with as I found 2 bags of crystallised ginger which I bought ages ago and it seems the perfect time of the year for a ginger cake. I also wanted to incorporate beer as Kate from What Kate Baked recently posted a Honey, Ginger and Beer Cake which I've bookmarked to try. So with that in mind, I typed "crystallised ginger and beer cake" into google and this is the first image result. My cake looks nothing like the picture but it definitely tasted good. 

I made a few changes to the recipe - I used black treacle instead of light molasses and I added in chopped crystallised ginger to the cake for extra flavour and texture. I didn't get to try any of the cake as J took it to work and I'm not a huge fan of ginger. His colleagues claim that this is the best cake so far which is high praise indeed. The cake was moist, sticky and very gingery. They particularly liked the bits of ginger in the cake and in the icing itself. They couldn't really taste the beer as the predominant flavour was ginger so I may have to tweak the recipe a little. Overall, a huge success and I am sure I'll be baking this again particularly in the colder, winter months. I am also quite keen to try a slice despite my dislike of ginger after the positive comments! 

As mentioned, I'm entering this to Random Recipes hosted by Dom from Belleau Kitchen. The theme is random internet search for something sweet. 

It also fits in nicely with Love Cake hosted by Ness from Jibber Jabber UK as the theme this month is 'dark'. 

 adding the dark treacle 

 adding chopped crystallised ginger 

 lovely dark cake - you can see the bits of ginger in it

 add whipped cream frosting 

 decorate with more crystallised ginger 

Recipe adapted from bon appetit

For the cake
225g butter
200g brown sugar
315g plain flour
2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
350g dark treacle 
250mls Guinness stout 
150g chopped crystallised ginger 

For the frosting
3 x 300mls whipping cream
45g icing sugar, sifted
approximately 10 pieces of crystallised ginger, chopped and extra for decoration

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing between each addition.
  • Add in the treacle and mix.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  • Pour 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by the stout and continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients until it's all incorporated.
  • Finally stir in the chopped crystallised ginger.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between 2 sandwich tins and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (I couldn't find my second tin so I baked mine in 1 large tin which took about 75 minutes to cook) 
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
  • Make the frosting by placing the whipping cream and icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  • Mix until the cream holds it's own shape - this takes quite a while due to the volume of cream. 
  • Stir in the chopped crystallised ginger.
  • Place 1 cake on a cake board or serving plate and spread a generous amount of frosting on top. Place the second cake on top and cover the top and sides with remaining frosting. 
  • Decorate with chopped crystallised ginger as shown or as desired. 

Friday, 24 October 2014

Chocolate Candy Cake

Floating M&M cake

This is a choc-a-holic's dream cake. It's a 2 layer chocolate sour cream cake covered with chocolate ganache with a layer of chocolate ganache in the middle. It is surrounded by Kit Kat's and topped with Maltesers and peanut M&M's. The best part is that it is designed to look as if the chocolates are pouring down on to the cake. The inspiration was actually a challenge by my friend who saw it on the internet and challenged me to make a similar cake. It was a work colleague's leaving do and it's getting close to Halloween so I decided to give it a go. 

I had fun constructing this cake even though it was a little frustrating at times. I used drinking straws to suspend the chocolate wrappers but you can also use long lollipop sticks. I used chocolate ganache as my 'glue' to stick the sweets to the straw and to hold the wrappers in place. The malteser half was very easy to build in comparison to the peanut M&M's. I think they are too heavy and too awkwardly shaped. I'll try regular M&M's next time or Mint Aero's. 

Everyone was really impressed with the cake, myself included! It was tricky to slice as the maltesers and M&M's scattered everywhere so make sure you are prepared. The cake was rich and chocolatey and the chocolate ganache was absolutely divine. 

I'm entering this to We Should Cocoa hosted by Hannah from Honey & Dough on behalf of Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog. The theme this month is Halloween and this would be perfect for a Halloween party. It's not scary but it's definitely very chocolatey and perfect for a celebration. 

For a similar reason, I am also entering it to Let's Cook for Halloween hosted by Nayna from Simply Food.

It's also going to Bake of the Week hosted by Helen from Casa Castello. 

Finally to Cook Blog Share hosted by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes.

 I ended up using 32 Kit Kat fingers, 500g peanut M&M's, 360g Maltesers and 660g of chocolate for this recipe! 

 cook chocolate, butter and cocoa powder with some water

 whisk chocolate mixture into the flour mixture

 add in the eggs

 whisk in the sour cream

 sandwich and cover with chocolate ganache - don't worry if it's messy, it will all be covered

 arrange the Kit Kat fingers around the outside leaving a gap in the front 

 place 2 drinking straws and adjust the height if needed (I had to push my straws in as it would not fit into my cake box otherwise) 

 Building up the cake 

 almost there...

floating malteser cake Looking good

Floating Malteser cake It survived overnight! 

For the cake 
250g plain four
45g cocoa powder
60g dark chocolate pieces
225g butter
1 cup water
300g sugar
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup water
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate ganache
300mls double cream
600g dark chocolate 

For the decorations
32 Kit Kat fingers
360g Maltesers
500g Peanut M&M's
2 drinking straws
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Grease and line 2 sandwich tins. 
  • Place the butter, cocoa powder, chocolate and water to cook over a medium heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar together.
  • Carefully add half the melted chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time and continue whisking. 
  • Then add the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  • Divide the batter between the two cake tins (I weigh mine to make sure that it's even) and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before decorating. 
  • Make the chocolate ganache by heating the double cream in a small pot.
  • Once it's almost boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate.
  • Continue stirring until the chocolate has melted.
  • Whisk the mixture until smooth and glossy. 
  • Allow it to set at room temperature before using. If it starts getting solid then just warm it in the microwave to the desired consistency.
  • Decorate the cake as shown above.