Hobbits are well known for their love of food. So is my family. As the Hobbit is one of my Dad’s all time favourite books it seemed pretty fitting to have a birthday cake themed around the part of the Hobbit; although the execution of it was something of a lucky fluke. Fortunately although it is not an exact replica of how Smaug or his hoard looking in the film, or how I imagined it in the book, it is a pretty good approximation.
This cake is a perfect birthday cake for any chocolate lover. You wouldn’t necessarily have to make this exact cake, you can adapt this around other themes as you wish.
To make this cake you will need:
170g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
For the filling
100g white chocolate
50g double cream
For the ganache topping
200g dark chocolate
200ml double cream
50g milk chocolate
3-4 packs of chocolate fingers
Chocolate such as Malteasers, Minstrels or similar
Kinder Eggs (basically I wanted a Minion from one)
Gold lustre cake spray
Gold cake decorations
To make the cake preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 medium cake tins. Whisk your eggs and sugar until light and fluffy so they leave a trail on the surface of your cake mix. Melt your butter and fold this into the mix, along with the flour and cocoa powder. Bake for around 12 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the cake clean and the cake is springy to touch. Once cooked set aside to cool down. It is nigh on impossible to decorate a warm cake.
While the cake is cooking make the chocolate ganache and filling. To make the white chocolate filling melt the white chocolate and cream together. Set aside to cool. Take the same approach with the darker and milk chocolate and cream to make the ganache topping. Melt the chocolate and cream together until thick and glossy and then leave to cool before putting on the cake.
Once the cake and ganache are cold sandwich together the 2 cakes using the white chocolate filling. Cover the cake and the sides with a smooth layer of ganache. Line up the chocolate fingers on the side of the cake (this looks attractive and hides the fact that decorating cake sides tidily is a chore). Half the Kinder egg and place on top of the cake as a cracked egg. Add the chocolates as treasure at random, however bear in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect and most people will want a bit of chocolate topping on their cake. Spray with gold lustre spray and add your cake decorations.
Put in the fridge to chill to firm for several hours before serving. Add a dragon if one is available.
Serve as part of second breakfast, elevenses or similar. Hobbits need to know there is decent fare in the pantry at all times.
I admit I am a sucker for a baking gadget or novelty baking tin. As such I was delighted to try a Fill n Flip Pan from the Create and Craft company. I keep seeing all of these beautiful cakes with a deep layer of filling so I was keen to try a recipe for myself. For my first attempt I tried a brownie recipe – heavier cake recipes tend to work better in more unusual shaped tins. (Also, who doesn’t love cheesecake brownies?)
I know my cake isn’t the most well decorated masterpiece but I always like to think my baking is pretty rustic. Dane actually made a point to tell me how much he liked his cake and it was pretty popular when I took it into work – I think the deep fill means you can add contrasting flavours and really experiment with your baking. I found the cake tins so easy to use and my two cake pieces fit together really well. The tins themselves are incredibly well made. Although you need to grease them to make them non stick, the cakes come out really easily which I suppose is exactly what you want from a cake tin.
To make your cheesecake brownie you will need:
For the cake
315g soft brown sugar
250g dark chocolate
35g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
Cake release spray or extra butter for greasing
For the filling
280g light cream cheese
50g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam
Grease your cake tins. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Beat your eggs and sugar together until fluffy and leaves a trail on top of the mixture. Use a sieve to add in your flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Melt your chocolate and butter together and slowly fold into the batter.
Pour into the cake tins and bake for about 30 minutes until a skewer comes out of the thickest past of the cake clean. Remove from the cake tins and set aside to cool.
To make the filling beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. Spread a thin layer of jam onto the bottom layer of the cake. Add the cream cheese filling into the inner hole of the cake. Press together the two lake layers. Serve to anybody who deserves a treat (including yourself).
Thank you to Love Cooking for sending me such an amazing produce. I will definitely be using this again in further baking ventures.
The Fill n Flip Pan is available here.
I was sent the Fill n Flip Pan to review but all opinions are my own.
I was recently offered the opportunity to review a Love Food subscription box. The idea is simple in that you get sent ingredients to bake some seriously delicious (and instagrammable) treats in the exact quantities needed to prepare each recipe. You will, of course need to provide your own chilled ingredients such as eggs and butter. However, I find it a beautiful idea for people looking to start baking or for those who enjoy cakes fresh from the oven, but who want to make it a treat to have and really enjoy once in a while rather than a staple in their diets.
My box contained ingredients for S’mores Brookies. A brownie/cookie hybrid sandwiched together with melted chocolate and marshmallows. A most excellent way to end a busy Monday (and something nice to take into work on a long Tuesday). I found the recipe really easy for my tired brain to follow and I thought it was nice that it was something new and a bit different that I had not tried before.
I have actually has this box for a few weeks as I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity and you know what? I love them – as well as being simple for bakers of experience levels, the food looks so decadent and tastes amazing (I might be on something of a chocolate high right now). I can imagine the boxes being something you could make with your friends on a cosy night in, or give to an older child with minimal supervision. They’re probably also the sort of activity that some would find enjoyable as part of some sort of home based date night.
So here are the practical bits of information: when you subscribe the money will be take out of your account on the 1st of each month and the box will be delivered on 21st. The subscription can be cancelled at any time and the code FIRSTBOX can be used to get 50% off your first box.
I was sent a Love Food subscription box to review the service but all opinions are my own.
I’m ready to admit it. Blogging can be a funny business. While some people do really well cooking up elaborate meals and writing about them, I always find the most success in terms of number of visitors based on recipes that are straightforward to make at home with ingredients with easy to substitute ingredients; rather than the much more elaborate cooking I originally did when writing this blog.
On that note, I can spend hours making and decorating a cake and, yes, quite a lot of people will show interest. Then on another occasion I can make a giant scone cake due to burning something else, which takes all of 45 minutes to make, bake and decorate and it gets the most interest of any cake recipe I have made. You really cannot predict blog views!
This cake recipe as mentioned before is really quick to make. Nobody expects a pretty scone so it doesn’t need hours of elaborate decoration. This recipe is also eggless, pretty low on sugar and can be easily adapted into a vegan recipe if you switch the milk and butter for non dairy substitutes and use this gem instead of whipped cream. Pretty much a winner for several dietary requirements then.
To make a large scone cake you will need:
450g self raising flour
100g salted butter
85g caster sugar
Approx 300ml milk
2-3 tablespoons raspberry jam
200ml double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
Heat your oven to 200°C. Line 2 cake tins with grease proof paper. In a large mixing bowl use your fingers to rub the butter into your flour. Add your sugar and sultanas. Pour in about 2/3 of your milk and then gradually add the rest of your milk until just before the point when the mixture goes too sticky and soggy. If this happens add a little flour to stiffen up.
Diving your scone mix between the two cake tine and spread the mix to the edges as scones do not really spread during baking. Bake for about 11 minutes until the scones go golden brown. Allow the scones to cool.
To decorate whip the icing sugar and cream until thick and spreadable. Spread jam on one half of the scone and spread cream on the other half. Sandwich together et voila. A giant scone!
This is a great crowd pleaser, especially amongst my Yorkshire friends. My grandma served this cake with champagne (this cake was a moving present for her and my grandpa) but it also goes really well with tea of coffee – as scones are traditionally served with tea.
In some ways this cookie might be considered dangerous – it took me less that 20 minutes to whip up a batch. However, being able to create something so delicious in such a short time makes me feel something of a domestic goddess – these are perfect for those times when you need to produce baked goods at short notice (think work charity bake sale or mum’s coffee morning). They are also made from ingredients most people have in their cupboards – bananaphobes please note that you can substitute the banana chips for raisins should you wish to do so.
Anyway, the key with these cookies is to be cautious on the timing. Once the edges of these go golden brown remove them from the oven and allow them to cool, rather than letting the whole cookie brown, that way you have the nice contrast between crispy and soft in the cookie.
To make approx 26 cookies you will need:
1 mug soft brown sugar
125g salted butter, softened
1 mug self raising flour
50g banana chips
2 tablespoons chocolate spread
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line 2 baking trays (you will probably still need to take the cookies in batches). Using an electric whisk, wooden spoon or food processor beat together the sugar and butter until it is thoroughly mixed. Beat in the egg. Add the flour and crumble in the banana chips. Last, whisk in the chocolate spread so that it has a marbled effect.
Using a teaspoon place small amounts of the cookie mix onto your lined trays. Make sure you leave room for the cookies to spread; even if you have to bake in batches.
Bake for around 11 minutes, until the cookies are golden. They will come out of the oven very soft so be careful removing them from the baking tray. Allow to cool so the cookies can harden.
These cookies can be kept for several days in an airtight container.
I’ve really started enjoying fruit recently. I have a (somewhat deserved) reputation as a chocoholic within my friendship group, but I feel my fruit consumption of late might have redeemed me. I got sent a selection of Nature’s Finest fruit pots a little while ago and it was just a bit too easy to take the majority of them to work for lunch. I also appreciate anything that stops me having to wrestle with a pineapple, or decipher when a mango might be ready.
Anyway, we always have a stash of bananas in the house and I sometimes think simple is best I made a more tropical themed banana loaf (especially in time for the first week of the Great British Bake Off cake week). It turned out pretty beautifully because the banana and pineapple kept the cake soft, even after 40 minutes of baking. I made this last night and D has been eyeing it up for hours while he was waiting for me to get in from work.
To make a banana and pineapple loaf you will need:
140g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 bananas (slightly over ripe is best)
140g self raising flour
200g pineapple chunks (keep back the juice)
50g icing sugar
Approx 20g dessiccated coconut
Heat the oven to 180°C. Line a loaf tin. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the bananas and eggs (if doing it by hand mash the banana first). Once the wetter ingredients are mixed beat in the flour to form a creamy mix. Finally, add the pineapple chunks.
Add to the loaf tin in a smooth layer. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out of the cake cleanly. Allow the cake to cool.
To prepare the icing add about a teaspoon of the juice the pineapple came in to form a smooth paste and thinly cover the loaf with this. To finish, sprinkle over the coconut.
Usefully, this cake keeps for several days in an air tight tin, if you can keep the people you live with’s hands off it for long enough!
Natures’ Finest fruit is available in most big supermarkets. It comes in coconut water or fruit juice, rather than syrup so it makes it a preferable baking ingredient and a healthier snack when you’re on the go. I was sent samples of this to try. For more recipe suggestions visit here.
Anyone who knows me know’s I have a weakness for chocolate spread. I think its one of those foods that turns me a bit greedy to be honest. In fact, I often think if I had to eat my way out of a vat of food I would definitely hope it was some sort of chocolate theme spread..anyway I was very kindly sent some JimJams chocolate spread it was love. With 83% less sugar, this is kinder on children’s (and 28 year old lady’s) teeth than the leading brand. (Which I know also makes it a bit lower in calories but I believe it was developed with dental care in mind).
Anyway, I was also sent some recipes to try out along with milk chocolate and hazelnut spreads to try so I think it was only polite to test one of them out.
To make a a Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake you will need:
200g rich tea biscuits
80g softened butter
350g JimJams Chocolate Hazelnut spread
500g cream cheese
200ml double cream
Any decoration you fancy – I used chocolate stars
Break the biscuits into crumbs in a food processor and blend in the butter. Press this mixture down into a loose bottomed tin measuring approx. 9 inches in diameter. Set this aside to chill in the fridge.
Whisk your cream until it forms stiff peaks. Melt the chocolate spread in a microwave and whisk into the cream along with the cream cheese. Spread this into a thick, smooth layer over the buttery biscuit base (you can’t write a cheesecake recipe without using this term!)
Decorate as desired. Place in the fridge for 4 hours to set before serving.
I actually enjoy cheesecake best on its own, but it would also taste great with some fruit, cream or ice cream.
As mentioned above I was very kindly sent JimJams to try, but it is available in Holland and Barrett, Tesco and Ocado. See other retailers here. I will certainly be buying more.