Happy summer solstice everyone! It’s the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, which means more hours of daylight (and hopefully sunshine) and as far as I’m concerned that’s cause for celebration. One year (a really, really long time […]
I’m a bit funny about frosting, I find it can be a bit hit or miss. All too often it’s too sweet and sugary or it can be grainy rather than silky smooth, or worst of all it can become crusty with a hard sugar shell forming around a squishy middle.
Swiss meringue buttercream is wonderful and avoids all of these pitfalls but it does take rather a lot of time and effort, not to mention egg whites!
This recipe is my new favourite. It solves all of my frosting issues in one. It’s rich and silky, without even a hint of graininess and it isn’t overly sweet. It also feels seriously luxurious in spite of the fact that it requires less butter than some other frosting recipes. It really is an all round winner!
I baked up half the quantity of the sponge from my chocolate caramel fudge cake to pipe this on, let’s face it if you’re making the best chocolate frosting ever then you want to serve it with equally amazing cake!
makes enough to frost 6-8 cupcakes but multiplies easily
15g plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
50g dark chocolate
100g butter, room temperature
Place the sugar, flour, cornflour and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and whisk together to combine. Stir in the milk and then set the pan over a low heat. Gently heat the mixture, stirring continuously, until it starts to bubble and forms a very thick custard. Set aside to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate and let this cool too.
Put the custard mixture in a bowl and beat it with an electric mixer until it become a little more pale in colour. Beat in the melted chocolate and then follow this with the butter, adding a little at a time until it is all incorporated and you have a light, thick, fluffy frosting which is perfect for piping.
It wasn’t until I travelled to Charleston SC that I thought of praline being anything more than the chocolate seashells that Mr Colonial Cravings receives for Christmas every year. But in Charleston we tried some very tasty crunchy little clusters of caramelised pecans. I think […]
This is my fruity summer twist on a traditional battenburg, which is a very British cake. Much as I love marzipan I do think that this makes a lovely change. I’ve used fruit purees to create the different colours and flavours for the sponges. I was quite surprised at how pronounced they were, it really is a very fruity tasting cake. It’s fabulously moist too and the white chocolate ganache is incredibly indulgent.
Obviously you can use shop-bought jam to cement the sponges together, I made my own because I had some very ripe strawberries which I knew would taste amazing but weren’t really looking their best. I also really like the idea of making the whole cake from scratch, I find that sort of thing very satisfying!
110g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
200g white chocolate
70ml single cream
extra berries to decorate
Kick things off by making a quick simple jam to cement the sponges together. Hull and chop the strawberries and then put them in a pan with 20g of sugar. Bring this to boiling point and then let it gently bubble away until it has become very thick and syrupy. I like to crush up the fruit a little bit with a fork so that there aren’t any big lumps in it but be careful when doing this with the hot jam. Put this to one side to cool.
In separate pans heat the blueberries and raspberries (or in bowls in the microwave) so that they begin to release their juices. Push the fruit through a sieve so that you are left with a raspberry puree and a blueberry puree. Put these to one side too.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line your cake tin. I have a fancy tin with moveable dividers in it which is perfect for making battenburg but the next best thing is to use a square tin and divide it with a piece of thickly folded foil down the middle. That way you can cook both sponges simultaneously but separately.
Cream together the butter and sugar until they are thick and fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs and beat these into the mixture, one at a time, following each addition with a spoonful of the flour to prevent it from curdling. Sift in the remaining flour and the baking powder and then very briefly beat it to combine everything. Divide the batter evenly between two mixing bowls and then stir the raspberry puree into one half and the blueberry puree into the other, mixing until you have uniform colours.
Pour the batters into the prepared tin, keeping them separate and ensuring that they are even. Bake the sponges for 25 minutes, until they are a little brown on top and a cake tester comes out clean when you poke them. Leave them to cool completely in the tin.
To make the ganache chop up the chocolate and put it in a dish so that it creates a shallow layer. Heat the cream so it is quite hot but don’t let it boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit and melt for a minute or two. Stir it until it is completely smooth and combined and then pop it in the fridge to thicken and cool. Beat the ganache just before using it to cover the cake to make it a bit fluffier.
Now time to pretend to be a bricklayer and assemble the cake. Turn the sponges out of the tin and carefully slice each one in half lengthways. Alternating the flavours of sponge to create a checker-board, spread the jam on one side each of the bottom two sponges and push them together. Spread jam on the top of this and then on one side each of the remaining sponges, placing them on top. Use the ganache to cover the top and sides (but not the ends) of the assembled battenburg, spreading it as smooth as you can. Decorate the top with a few berries before serving.
These are so insanely good. Mr Colonial Cravings calls these Aztec rolls, which I suppose is a little bit less of a mouthful than ‘chocolate-chili-cinnamon-rolls’. Just as well, because if you make these your mouth will be way to busy scoffing them to do anything […]
BIRTHDAY! Birthday, birthday, birthday! Hurrah for me! I’m probably at the age where I should be dreading birthdays and worrying about entering a different age bracket on surveys, but the thing is…I REALLY like cake.
Is it weird to get excited about making your own birthday cake? Maybe it’s because a lot of the other things that I make end up being eaten by other people (I’m definitely a feeder!) and birthday cake is something that I can totally justify tucking into myself.
Don’t worry if you aren’t the worlds biggest fan of coconut, the flavour in this is very mild. In fact if you do want to boost it a bit you might want to consider adding a few drops of coconut extract. I’ve primarily used the coconut milk for moistness and texture in the sponge. It’s really good.
The frosting’s super yummy too, really rich and creamy without being too sweet, it really shows off the delicate citrus flavours.
pinch of salt
200g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 eggs, seperated
150ml coconut milk
3 egg whites
200g butter (room temperature, cut into small cubes)
zest of 2 limes and 2 soft citrus (I used minneolas but tangerines are also good)
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a pair of sandwich cake tins.
Cream together the butter and 100g of the sugar. Beat the egg yolks into this. Sift together the flour and baking powder and then mix this in too. Beat in the coconut milk.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the salt until they are nice and stiff. Sprinkle in the remaining 75g of sugar and whisk again until you have a glossy meringue. Mix a large spoonful of the this into the cake batter to lighten it and then gently fold in the remaining meringue.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake tins and bake the sponges for 30 minutes, or until they are golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Leave them to cool in the tins.
To make the Swiss meringue buttercream you need to start with a mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water. Put the egg white and sugar in the bowl and gently whisk it to keep it moving whilst it heats up. It needs to be quite warm and the sugar needs to have dissolved into the egg white. Just rub a little between your fingers to check the temperature and that it isn’t grainy. Once you’ve reached this stage you can take the bowl off the pan and whisk the egg white until it is stiff (like meringue) and cool. An electric mixer is best here.
Once it is very cool you can beat in the butter, a little piece at a time. If the mixture is too warm then the butter will simply melt so make sure it’s cool before you start. If you need to you can pop it in the fridge for a few minutes. Continue to beat the buttercream until it has become lovely and smooth and creamy, it’s quite forgiving as long as it doesn’t get too warm. Finally mix in the zest.
Spread one third of the buttercream onto whichever sponge you want to use as the base and then place the other sponge on top. Spread the remaining buttercream on the top and down the side of the cakes, to completely cover it. Let the cake sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you serve it so that the buttercream can firm up a little.