Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cookie Dough Cake

It's been a very long time since I've been on my blog, too long in fact. The combination of recovering from my operation (all back to normal now), working on my thesis (deadlines looming) and hunting for jobs (money running out) has meant that I haven't really had the time to spend making many interesting things let alone blog about them. Fortunately it was cake club in Reading last week and I wouldn't have missed that for anything, two reasons why, firstly I love going out for an evening to talk about cake, baking and anything else that pops up and secondly, our group organiser picked an amazing theme for this month ... Ben & Jerry's themed cakes! I was so excited when I saw the announcement and knew that I had to do something with cookie dough. It might not be the most adventurous flavour but it's the favourite in our house and I thought I could have some fun with it.


I spent a bit of time thinking about how I could actually make this cake and in the end settled on a vanilla sponge filled with a layer of vanilla buttercream and a layer of cookie dough, all finished off with a generous coating of vanilla buttercream. Sounds absolutely wonderful and trust me it was despite my frankly shoddy efforts at decorating this time. I was in a rush to get the buttercream and cookie dough filling made after being at uni all day and so the finish isn't as good as I would have liked, but cake club isn't competitive, we're always more interested in how the cake tastes than how it looks. To me and everyone else, this cake came a very close second in terms of taste to a tub of Ben & Jerry's. Be warned though this is a very sweet rich cake and I could only manage a small slice but judging by my boyfriend's reaction I'll be making this cake again, he couldn't get enough of it.

The buttercream is wonky and full of crumbs as I rushed
For the cookie dough filling I used an American recipe that I found here. I'm afraid I can't give you any conversions from cups into grams as I ended up having to add extra flour and I don't know how much extra I added, but as a general idea of what to aim for I think it's worth looking at. There is no egg in the cookie dough recipe meaning that it's fine to eat raw. If you have a favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe then that would probably work well for this if you leave the egg out and add a drop if milk so it isn't too dry. The cookie dough filling ended up being similar in consistency to the buttercream, not quite sure if that was right but it tasted good and made a lot more than I needed. The leftovers were used to decorate some chocolate muffins for my office and they went down very well too.





Ingredients

For the cake:
8oz caster sugar
8oz unsalted butter
8oz self raising flour
4 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
80ml milk
pinch of salt

For the buttercream:
250g unsalted butter
500g icing sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract - depends how strong you want the vanilla flavour to be
splash of milk

For the cookie dough filling - see paragraph above.

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and flour two non stick sandwich tins.
  • Use the all in one method to make the cake batter, i.e. everything in a mixing bowl and whisk until you get a smooth batter. Divide the batter evenly between the tins and bake for 25-30 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool. 
  • To make the buttercream, beat the butter until smooth and then add a splash of milk and pour in the icing sugar gradually so you don't coat the kitchen in white powder. When all of the sugar has been incorporated add the vanilla extract and beat again until smooth. 
  • Spread some buttercream on the bottom halves of both cake layers then add a generous layer of the cookie dough filling. Cover the cake with the remaining buttercream using a palette knife. 
If you want to see all of the other cakes from the evening, head over to Lisa's blog United Cakedom where she has a round up and a recipe for her cherry garcia cake

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Giveaway: Win a Pie Party With Higgidy!

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

Everyone loves a good homemade pie and to celebrate British Pie Week from 3rd-9th March, Higgidy are hosting a pie party. I'm a big fan of Higgidy pies and I'm very excited to be sharing this giveaway with you. All you need to do is enter below for a chance to win a Higgidy Pie Party. What better excuse to get some friends round to share a home-cooked meal, and celebrate one of the most delicious weeks of the year?



Higgidy believe there is nothing better than homemade, which is why they freshly bake their pies by hand every day, and fill them with delicious ingredients just like you would use in your kitchen at home.

Each party pack contains everything you need to make your home pie-themed for the event including party hats, balloons, place cards, and of course, enough meat and vegetarian pies for 12 to enjoy for dinner (or lunch if you’d prefer). Don't worry if you can't fit 12 people around your table, it just means there will be more pie for everyone else!


To enter this giveaway just answer the following question as a comment on this blog and click the green button on the rafflecopter widget to validate your entry. 

What is your favourite pie?

Terms and conditions

  • This giveaway is open to UK residents only.
  • The giveaway closing date is 24th February 2014 and the winner must respond within 24 hours of being contacted in order to arrange pie delivery with Higgidy.
  • A comment on this blog post is a mandatory entry method, any additional entry methods e.g. tweeting etc are optional but will give you more chances to win. All entry methods made via the rafflecopter widget will be validated so please don't say you've tweeted etc if you haven't as the entry will not count. 
  • The winner will be chosen using the rafflecopter random number generator. 
  • The winner will be contacted by Blue Kitchen Bakes via the email address you used to access the rafflecopter widget with. 
  • There is one prize available of a Higgidy pie party pack containting party accessories for 12 and 12 pies. Higgidy and Blue Kitchen Bakes accepts no responsibility for any costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize.
  • The prize pies will be a mix of meat and vegetarian products.
  • The prize will be delivered on Thursday 6 March from Higgidy via a courier. 
  • The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable, and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes. 
  • Higgidy retains the right to substitute the prize, or any of its contents, with another prize of similar value in the event the original prize offered is not available.
  • The winners names may be promoted on Higgidy's website or social media websites
  • Blue Kitchen Bakes accepts no responsibility for any delivery problems encountered. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Courgette & Chamomile Cake & Happy 2nd Blog Birthday

It has been ages since I last posted anything here, I wish I could say I've been off doing fun and exciting things. The reality is that I've been recovering from an operation on my leg that I had around 10 days ago, don't worry it wasn't anything serious. This has meant that I've not been able to spend any time in the kitchen so I haven't had anything to write about, plus as anyone who's had a general anaesthetic will know, it leaves you feeling tired and useless for a few days afterwards, even paying attention to the TV was a challenge some days. I've ended up having a slower recovery than anticipated by me or my surgeon as the wound has decided that it wants to take its time healing over (I'll spare you the gory details) which means that I am still largely confined to the sofa. Therefore it will be a little while longer before I am back to posting lots of recipes. Fortunately I still had a cake from last month's Clandestine Cake Club that I hadn't written about so this can be the birthday cake for my blog this year. Not as fancy as last year's chocolate and ginger torte but delicious nevertheless. Today is my blog's birthday and tomorrow is my birthday but this year I don't have any homemade cake to eat as I can't stand up long enough to make one and my boyfriend has never baked a cake before. However my parents are coming to visit next week and I'm hoping that I will be able to spend just enough time on my feet to make a cake that we can all enjoy even if it's not very fancy. If not I could just always show Mum the baking cupboard and leave her to it, she does make very good cakes.


The theme for January's cake club was 'healthy start' with the aim of making cakes that had less fat, sugar or were in some way slightly healthier than normal. Lisa from United Cakedom posted a full round up of all the cakes if you want to see what everyone else came up with. I hadn't originally planned on blogging about this cake as I was a bit disappointed by how it looked when it came out of the oven. But everyone at cake club including me really enjoyed this cake and they all wanted the recipe so here it is. Sadly I only managed to take photos on my phone so apologies for the crappiness of the pictures. The recipe for this cake was adapted very slightly from the courgette and chamomile cupcakes recipe in 'Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache', all I did differently was bake in a 2lb loaf tin instead of cupcake cases. I also swapped the rice flour and baking powder for self raising flour, though in hindsight I think an extra pinch of baking powder may have helped as the cake ended up being quite shallow. It was a very moist cake from the courgette and despite the seemingly large quantity of chamomile tea used in the cake batter, the flavour was subtle and the lemon in the cake and the icing complemented the other flavours beautifully. This is quite a summery recipe and it's one I had wanted to try for a long time but I knew that my boyfriend wouldn't be keen so I'm glad cake club gave me an excuse to bake it. If you're wondering why I think this counts as a healthier cake (it does have a lot of icing), it's because there is no butter in the recipe and there is courgette in the cake which must give it a few healthy bonus points despite all the sugar. For the icing I found that I had to use a lot of extra sugar as I blindly added all the liquid at once, I'd recommend mixing the tea and lemon juice and then adding to the sugar gradually until you get a thick icing.

The courgette gives the cake a pale green hue, quite pretty really
Ingredients  (Adapted from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood)

For the cake:
2 medium eggs
120g caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
200g topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated courgette (zucchini) - use the finest setting on a box grater
5 chamomile teabags
150g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt

For the icing:
3 tbsp strong chamomile tea - made with 1 teabag and 100ml boiling water
2 tbsp lemon juice
160g icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 160C and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar in mixing bowl using an electric mixer for about 3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and the courgette then rip open the teabags and pour in the contents along with the flour, almonds and salt. Mix well and then pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 60 minutes (check after 45 min) until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
  • For the icing mix the lemon juice and tea together and then pour into the icing sugar until you get a thick icing, use a palette knife to spread over the cake and leave to set before serving. 
I'm entering this cake into Made With Love Mondays,  Alphabakes where the chosen letter is 'Z' for zucchini, this run by Ros and Caroline (this month's host), and also into Bookmarked Recipes as this is a recipe I've wanted to try for a long time.

Finally I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has been reading my little blog for the past 2 years :)