A Bake in the Life: Salted Caramel Chocolate Marble Cake

Last week one of my oldest friends celebrated her birthday, and naturally I wanted to make her a special, overindulgent mouthwatering birthday cake! A while back I took her a few of my Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies and she really enjoyed them, so I decided to base this cake on their salted caramel chocolate flavour but as a traditional sandwich cake. This recipe is based on one I came across a looong time ago inside a packet of Stork butter, printed on the foil, that I have been saving for the right occasion. So what better than a best friend’s birthday 🙂

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Marble Cake

You will need:

For the cake

6 oz/175g Butter

6 oz/175g Caster Sugar

6 oz/175g Self Raising Flour

3 Eggs

1 Tsp Baking Powder

2 oz/55g Plain Chocolate

2 oz/55g White Chocolate

For the salted caramel icing

9 oz/250g Light Brown Sugar

5 fl oz/150ml Double Cream

4½ oz/140g Butter

½ Tsp Salt

Sprinkle of Chocolate Chips

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5/190ºC/373ºF then grease and line two 8″ (20cm) cake tins with grease proof/baking paper.
  • Beat together butter, caster, self raising flour, eggs and baking powder until smooth.

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  • Melt the chocolates separately, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or carefully in the microwave (Be careful not to let the chocolate burn!)
  • Split the mixture into two bowls, then add melted plain chocolate to one and melted white chocolate to the other.
  • Alternative spoonfuls of both mixtures into the prepared cake tins, gently swirling a skewer through the mixture.

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  • Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the icing combine light brown sugar, double cream and salt in a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan.

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  • Heat until the sugar dissolves, then bubble for 3-4 minutes not stirring.
  • Cool for 10 minutes, then beat in the butter then chill in the fridge until firm.
  • Sandwich together the two cakes with the half of the salted caramel icing, then cover the top of the cake with the rest of the icing.
  • Sprinkle over a handful of chocolate chips to decorate.
  • You are all done 🙂

What a decadent treat of a cake!! By far my favourite part of this recipe is the salted caramel icing, which is fast becoming one of my favourite combinations. Once you cut into the cake the beautiful swirls of white and plain chocolate become visible which adds an interesting twist on a traditional chocolate cake. I decided to make two cakes and sandwich them together with the salted caramel icing, however you could bake one large cake and cut it in half or keep it whole and just top which the icing.

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This recipe would also work well for cupcakes, swirling the white and plain chocolate in mini individual cakes, topped with the salted caramel icing and a handful of chocolate chips. You could of course top this cake with something more extravagant than chocolate chips, like homemade chocolate truffles or a combination of white, dark and plain chips for a twist of colour 🙂 The final cake definitely met with approval and I would recommend making it for your next special occasion!

A Bake in the Life…

A Craft in the Life: Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight is definitely one of all time favourite sweets! The deliciously soft, blush pink rosy squares coated in powdery icing sugar and cornflour, always reminds me of family holidays abroad and Christmases at home. I have wanted to make my own for a very long time, and after being inspired by the latest episode of Sweets Made Simple I decided to give it ago 🙂

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Turkish Delight

You will need:

Sunflower Oil for Greasing

3 oz /90g Cornflour (Plus 2 Tbsps for coating)

2 Tbsps Icing Sugar

1lb 6 oz /750g Caster Sugar

1 Tsp Cream of Tartar

1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Rose Water

Pink Gel Food Colouring

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Let’s get started!

  • Grease a 17cm x 17cm tin with sunflower oil and line with cling film (Make sure to also lightly grease the top of the clingfilm too).
  • Mix together 2 tbsps of cornflour and icing sugar in a small bowl. Sift a few tbsps over the greased clingfilm to coat and return the excess to the bowl.

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  • Combine the caster sugar, lemon juice and half the cream of tartar in a medium sized heavy based saucepan and add 350ml water.
  • Over a medium heat, dissolve the sugar then bring to the boil. Insert a sugar thermometer into the sugar syrup, and heat gently until it reads 125ºC/257ºF.

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  • Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  • In another medium sized heavy based saucepan, combine the cornflour, remaining cream of tartar and 400ml water.
  • Whisk together until smooth then bring to the boil until the mixture thickens rapidly turning into a thick, white paste.

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  • Simmer for 15 seconds then carefully pour one quarter of the hot syrup into the pan while whisking constantly.
  • Add the remaining hot syrup in three batches, whisking continuously to prevent it sticking on the bottom of the pan and to ensure the mixture is smooth and lump free.

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  • Bring back to the boil and cook gently over a low heat for around 30 minutes, stirring continuously, until thick and glossy.
  • Take the pan off the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl before adding a dash of pink food colouring and the rose water.

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  • Beat until smooth then pour into the prepared tin, ensuring it is spread level.
  • Allow to cool completely, before covering with clingfilm and chilling overnight in the fridge.
  • Tip the saved cornflour/icing sugar mixture onto a large baking tray, then turn out the set Turkish delight and carefully remove the clingfilm off the bottom.
  • Using a lightly greased knife cut into squares, dusting each piece in cornflour/icing sugar mix as you go.
  • You are all done 🙂

I decided to only make pastel pink rose flavoured Turkish Delight, as this was my first attempt! Although it did take a while I was surprised at how relatively easy it was to make. The most difficult parts were simultaneously pouring the hot syrup and whisking, and then continuously stirring for 30 minutes. However, it is completely worth it for the soft, smooth jelly texture of the final sweet.

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As well as flavouring the Turkish Delight lemon instead of rose, you can also add pistachios/almonds for an interesting combination of smooth/sweet and crunchy/savoury. The final dusted pieces can be kept for up to 10 days between grease proof paper in an air tight container. You can leave the pieces plain or you could coat each piece partly or completely in melted chocolate. If you are as much of a lover of Turkish Delight as I am, definitely try out this recipe!

A Craft in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Chocolate Marbled Cheesecake Muffins

Cake tends not to last very long in my house, so I am always looking out for quick and delicious recipes that are easy to eat or pack for lunches at work. This basic chocolate muffin recipe is one of my favourites and muffins are the perfect portable cake! The addition of bicarbonate of soda gives them a light texture, and the simple recipe means you can adapt the muffins according to your own tastes 🙂 I chose to combine the original chocolate muffin with a cream cheese marbled filing along with white chocolate chips to create these Chocolate Marbled Cheesecake Muffins.

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Chocolate Marbled Cheesecake Muffins

You will need:

9 oz/255g Self Raising Flour

½ Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

½ Tsp Salt

5 oz/ 150g Caster Sugar

3 Tbsps Cocoa Powder

1 Egg

8 fl oz/ 240ml Milk

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

3 fl oz/ 90ml Vegetable Oil

3 oz/85g White Chocolate Chips

4 oz/110g Cream Cheese

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5/190ºC/375ºF and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases.
  • Begin by combining cream cheese and 3 tbsps of caster sugar together in a bowl, set aside.

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  • In a large bowl sift together flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, sugar and cocoa powder, add the chocolate chips.

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  • Beat together the egg, milk, vegetable and vanilla in a measuring jug.
  • Pour all the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.

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  • Fill up each muffin case about half full with batter, drop about a teaspoon of the cream cheese/caster sugar filling on top and then finish with the remaining chocolate batter.

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  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen and the tops spring back to the touch.
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • You are all done! 🙂August 2014 056

I’m really pleased with how these muffins turned out! The light chocolate is complemented well with the soft cream cheese and sweet white chocolate. When you break open the muffin, the beautiful marbled layers become visible as do the chocolate chips. While the bicarbonate keeps the muffins light and airy, the cream cheese ensures they stay moist and moreish. If you like you could top them with a matching cream cheese frosting, however this could be a little messy so you could always just use a light dusting of icing sugar 🙂

A Bake in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Gingerbread Traybake

This gingerbread traybake is definitely a childhood favourite of mine! My mum would bake it a lot especially around autumn and winter time, so the smell of it baking always reminds me of Christmas. Another one of my favourite gingerbread recipes is for Gingerbread Muffins, however the consistency of the batter is much thinner resulting in a lighter more syrupy muffin. In comparison, this recipe is more of a traditional gingerbread, dark brown, treacly and spotted with pieces of crystallised ginger which works well with sweet icing drizzled on top – delicious and very moreish! 🙂

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Gingerbread Traybake

You will need:

For the cake

10 oz/275g Golden Syrup

10 oz/275g Black Treacle

8 oz/225g Light Brown Sugar

8 oz/225g Butter/Margarine

1 lb/450g Self Raising Flour

2 tsp Mixed Spice

2 tsp Ground Ginger

2 oz/50g Crystallised Ginger Pieces

4 Eggs

1 tbsps Milk

For the icing

8 oz/225g Icing Sugar

2 tbsps Water

2 oz/50g Crystallised Ginger Pieces to decorate

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat your oven to 160ºC/Gas Mark 3/325ºF. Grease and line a 12 x 9 in (30 x 23 cm) roasting tin with grease proof/ baking paper (This recipe does make quite a large traybake, so if you want to make a smaller cake I would half the recipe to start with and see how much batter it takes to fill your desired tin).
  • Measure the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter/margarine into a large saucepan and heat gently until melted together (Be sure to heat the ingredients slowly, or allow to cool once melted to prevent a lumpy batter).

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  • Sift together the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl, pour the cooled wet mixture into the bowl and add the crystallised ginger pieces.

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  • Beat together the eggs and milk in a mixing jug before combining with the batter and beating until smooth and lump free (I decided to use an electric hand mixer to ensure a very smooth batter).
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake in your pre heated oven for 45-50 minutes until well risen and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the traybake.

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  • Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out and continuing to cool on a wire rack.
  • Prepare the icing by shifting the icing sugar into a bowl and adding water a tbsp at a time until smooth but not so runny that it just runs off the edge of the cake.

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  • Once the traybake is cool spoon the icing over the top, sprinkle with crystallised ginger pieces to decorate and leave to set.
  • You are all done 🙂

I love this gingerbread so much I could eat the whole traybake! The combination of treacle, mixed spice and ground ginger baking in the oven always smells amazing. The final gingerbread is dark brown in colour, sticky on top and has a delicious spiced flavour that tastes good with vanilla ice cream 🙂 You can of course leave it plain, but I decided to top the traybake with plain icing sprinkled with crystallised ginger pieces which I think looks great and gives an extra sweet ginger flavour. Try not to be too put off by the rather excessive amounts of golden syrup and treacle in this recipe, it really is worth it for the amazing taste of this gingerbread – definitely try it out!

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A Bake in the Life…

A Craft in the Life: Spiced Courgette Chutney

Now I am back home in Oxfordshire I have been able to return to volunteering at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. I started volunteering last year, alongside my mum who has been helping out there for almost 4 years! This week we headed up on Friday to help out with weeding, harvesting and watering in the beautiful walled garden beside the manor house. We arrived just after 9am in order to avoid the very hot weather we have been enjoying this week, as it gets incredibly hot in the walled garden especially when you are working hard! After a catch up with the other volunteers we got the fun job of harvesting the vegetables that were ready to be eaten 🙂 One of the best parts of volunteering in the walled garden is getting to bring home some of this fresh produce, which this week included – courgettes, cucumbers, carrots, beetroot and lettuce! In order to use up all this delicious produce we decided to make some chutney!

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Spiced Courgette Chutney 

You will need:

7 oz/200g Onions, chopped (Around 2 large white or red onions should be enough)

1lb 10 oz/500g Tomatoes, chopped

1lb 10 oz/500g Courgettes, chopped

8 ½ fl oz/250ml White Wine Vinegar

14 oz/400g Cooking apples, chopped (Granny Smith work very well!)

9 oz/250g Brown Sugar

2 tsp Mixed Spice

1 tbsp Mustard Seeds

Thumb sized piece of root ginger, grated

4 Cloves of garlic, crushed

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Let’s get started!

  • Add all chopped vegetables, sugar, white wine vinegar and spices into a large stock pan and place on a low/medium heat.

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  • Stirring regularly to prevent sticking, bring gently to a simmer.
  • Continue to simmer uncovered for around 2 hours until dark and thickened.

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  • Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 1/140ºC/275ºF. Carefully wash and dry your jars (I used a collection of 6 re used jars that were a variety of sizes. You can use large curry/pasta sauce jars or smaller jam/condiment jars depending on what you have! You can of course buy new glass jars, Steamer Trading Company sell 6 400ml jars with lids for £6. Lakeland also sell 6 110ml jars for £5.29, however you often are required to buy the lids separately).
  • Place the jars and lids separately in your preheated oven and allow to sterilise for around 30 minutes.

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  • Carefully remove the jars and lids from the oven. Spoon the chutney into the jars while it is still hot, before topping with a wax disc and replacing the lids.

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  • Label with it’s name and the date before leaving in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks before opening.

Although my mum has made quite a lot of different jams, jellies and chutneys, this is actually the first time I have ever made some myself! This recipe was really easy to follow, and the only thing that takes time is all the careful chopping of the vegetables, as you need to prepare them the size you want them in the final cooked chutney. Once it’s on the hob all it needs is a gently stir every 15/20 minutes and a few hours good cooking so that it ends up being that thick delicious chutney texture.

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As the chutney takes 3 weeks to mature we haven’t tried out the batch made here, however I have tasted this particular chutney before once it’s finished and I think it has a good taste and texture. The addition of the mustard seeds gives the final chutney a really interesting look and the combination of spice and vegetables (Especially the courgette!) works well together. If you haven’t made a chutney before I would definitely recommend this as a good beginner’s recipe. It is also a great way to use up any fresh vegetables you have from the garden/allotment or weekly shop!

A Craft in the Life…