Friday, 28 June 2013

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream

I made this cake for the first time on St. Patrick's Day ealier this year. It was so yummy that it I knew I would be making it again for the Charity Cake Sale I held recently. Safe to say, it all sold out at the sale! This cake has the perfect moist chocolate sponge, and the Baileys buttercream is to die for! I could swim in a vat of the stuff! This would go in my top five favourite cakes of all time without a doubt. I have also pretty much decided that this is going to be my birthday cake, or one of my birthday cakes!

First I creamed together 200g dark brown sugar and 250g butter until pale and fluffy. Then I added 100g melted dark chocolate and mixed in. I then added 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing well.

I measured out 200ml Guinness and added it bit by bit, mixing after each addition.

Using a sieve I added into the mixture 275g self raising flour, 30g cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, and folded in.

I poured the mixture into a lined and greased circular loose-bottomed 22cm cake tin.

And baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35-40 minutes. I always use my cake tester (a very thin skewer) to check my cakes are done in the middle. I left it to cool on a wire rack.

To make the Baileys buttercream I mixed together 85g butter, 210g icing sugar and 3 tbsp Baileys irish cream. Try not to eat it all before you put it on the cake!

I smoothed it on top using a palette knife. I made a cardboard stencil of the Guinness harp logo by tracing an image from my laptop onto paper, sticking it onto a piece of card, then using a craft knife to cut it out. I held the cardboard over the cake and sprinkled cocoa powder over it. I was so pleased with how this looked! I will be keeping hold of my homemade stencil for future use.

I secretly wanted some of this to be left over at the cake sale so I could eat some, but no such luck! I will have to make this again soon as I still have two cans of Guinness in my cupboard. Let me know if you make this and what you think of it! Would it make your top five best cakes of all time list?

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Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream
  • 200g Dark brown sugar
  • 335g Butter
  • 100g Dark chocolate, melted
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200ml Guinness
  • 275g Self raising flour
  • 30g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 210g Icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp Baileys
Cream together the dark brown sugar and 250g of the butter until pale and fluffy. Then add the melted dark chocolate and mix in. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing wellAdd the Guinness bit by bit, mixing after each additionUsing a sieve add the self raising flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and fold inPour the mixture into a lined and greased circular loose-bottomed cake tinBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35-40 minutes. Check the cake is done in the middle by inserting a thin skewer, when it comes out clean the cake is done. Leave it to cool fully on a wire rackTo make the Baileys buttercream mix together 85g of the butter, the icing sugar and the Baileys. Smoothed it on top using a palette knife and decorate as you wish

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The June Lust List

June brings us half way through the year - can you believe it?! It has gone so fast already. We've had some really nice weather recently and it finally feels like summer is settling in. Although it remains to be seen how long it will last! June is also the start of 'wedding season'. An interesting fact about June is that it is named after Juno, Roman goddess of marriage. I'm not attending any weddings this year, but I've decided to theme this month's lust list on it because weddings are such a special time and of course the perfect occassion to eat cake!

Wedding Cake Toppers 1 | 2 | 3 | 4, from £15
There are a huge selection of personalised wedding goodies on this website. From cake stands to cheeseboards, all the products are gorgeous and great quality. I couldn't pick just one cake topper so I had to feature a selection!

Silverwood Croquembouche Mould
Lakeland, £19.99
A croquembouche is traditionally served at weddings in France, although a tower of beautifully decorated profiteroles would make a stunning feature at any wedding dessert table! This cone also folds flat for storage.

Nordic Ware Mini Tiered Cakelet Pan
John Lewis, £38.00
Nordic Ware are well known for their unusual shape pans, and this ones makes the cutest mini tiered wedding cakes! Because they're so small you could do different flavours and really experiment with decorations.

Couture Wedding Cakes by Mich Turner
Amazon, £19.20
If you are looking for inspiration for your own wedding cake, whether you are making it yourself or not, this book will give you so many ideas. There are also templates, recipes and full instructions included if you are making a wedding cake. I am going to be such a nightmare picking my wedding cake - far too many beautiful designs to choose from!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Lemon, Blueberry & Blackcurrant Swirl Loaf

I was recently approached by Scottish preserves manufacturer Mackays to try out some of their jams and preserves in my baking. Baking is the main place that I use jam, although this tends to be mainly spreading it in the middle of sandwich cakes! I end up with half a jar of jam left in the fridge that I never end up using (I found two before writing this post) I've never gotten that creative with jam so this was a great opportunity for me to try out new ways of using it in my baking. I made this loaf twice and used up the whole jar of jam, finally an empty jar!


The jam I used for this bake was Mackay's Blueberry & Blackcurrant Preserve. You can find out more about this preserve or find where to buy it by clicking here.

To make the loaf I creamed together 175g caster sugar and 175g butter. I then added 3 eggs and the zest of one lemon and mixed well. Finally I folded in 200g self raising flour and 25g ground almonds.

I put the mixture into a lined loaf tin, then spooned the jam on top. Using a knife I swirled the mixture around.

I baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 (turn up to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 if not using a fan oven) for about an hour.

I love the look of the swirl effect on the top of the loaf! This cake was eaten up quickly and the fruity flavours all compliment each other well. It was really delicious and I found myself going back for more. I only had one complaint - more jam next time! The jam was the real star of this bake. This is a great first time bake if you want to try out a new way of using jam in baking. Look out for more posts as I continue my jam adventure!

I am entering this bake into this month's Calendar Cakes challenge - Pump Up The Jam! by Laura Loves Cakes and Dolly Bakes.

And into the first Feel Good Food challenge by Victoria at Kick At The Pantry Door. The ingredient this month is blueberries. I'm hoping a blueberry jam will count!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Leeds Food Festival

Last weekend I headed to Millennium Square in Leeds city centre to check out the bustling markets, fun music and chef demonstrations of the Leeds Food Festival. Now in it's 7th year, the festival is all about showcasing the delicious and tasty food and drink of local Yorkshire businesses. With the gorgeous weather at the weekend the square was full of people and had a great atmosphere!

After watching the Punch & Judy show and having a good giggle, the exotic smells of Musti's Kitchen wafted towards me. They make traditional Turkish food using Yorkshire suppliers, and the food is prepared and cooked fresh daily at their cafe in Halifax.

My boyfriend headed straight to The Crepe Escape for a banana and cream crepe!

Fish& serve sustainable fish and chips with a twist such as; masala spiced fish that is marinated overnight with sweet potato chips, grilled mackerel baps with lemon horseradish mayo, calamari with lemon and chilli batter and hand-rolled sushi. You can find their food van on Commercial Street in Leeds most days.

Sweet Sensations had a huge array of delicious looking cakes with some really interesting flavours. The sponges looked light and the decorations looked sweet and fresh. The presentation of these gorgeous cakes was the only thing that needed some work.

Lulabelle's stand was absolutely gorgeous! Very vintage and girly, I loved the camper van and the presentation of the biscuits in the large glass jars. Their elegant flavours like white chocolate, rose water and cardamon, and white chocolate and orange blossom matched the theme of the stand perfectly. Lulabelle is available for weddings and parties.

Sandinista is an award winning cocktail bar and tapas restaurant with locations in both Leeds and Manchester. I had a frozen pina colada and it was absolutely delicious! I hope they serve them at the restaurant because I need another one of those soon!

The Sawley Kitchen are a independent Yorkshire company specialising in hand-crafted delights such as the giant meringues in the photo above! They use family recipes that are over 200 years old to make some of their products which include biscuits, cakes, pastries, chutneys, relishes, dressings and celebration hampers. They are a real traditional company with a history, and I like that a lot.

I'm not sure of the name of the company that produces these hilariously named real ale's as there wasn't a sign, but both myself and my boyfriend thought it was so funny! Great present for Dads and Grandads!

Brown & Blond are a bakery tucked away in the North Yorkshire countryside that produce brownies and blondies in over 30 flavour combinations. The flavours sounded great, almost too many to choose from such as nutella, marshmallow, Crunchie, Oreo, Malteasers, macadamia... oh and one I'll be avoiding - chilli!

I love a piece of crusty fresh bread dipped in a bowl of oil and balsamic, to me that is heavenly! I also think oil is essential in cooking and adds great flavour. A family run company, Yorkshire Drizzle make an Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil that they blend with essential oils, dried herbs and spices to create seven different varieties of the oil. Check out their website for recipe ideas!

Spiffing Flour and Frumenta are European companies, I saw their range of flours at a stand and was interested in purchasing the pizza and pasta versions, that was until a woman stood next to me pointed out that the instructions on the bag are in Italian! That being said, if you already know what you're doing, for making Italian staples, surely a flour from Italy is the best to use!

There was no sign for this stand but I just had to show you how giant these 'rock' road cakes were! Not sure why they were rock instead of rocky, but they look good!

The Dumouchel stand immediately attracted me because of these gorgeous macarons in bright summer colours! Based in Leeds, Dumouchel is a boulangerie, patisserie and chocolaterie ran by Thierry Dumouchel who trained at the renowned food college in Rouen, France, and has worked in Paris, London, Sydney and Tokyo before opening the patisserie. On their website you can order bread boxes which arrive part baked for you to freeze or finish in the oven for fresh bakery bread anytime! I love this idea! Thierry also recently published a book called 'I Chocolate'.

There are four Sukhothai Thai restaurants in Leeds and one in Harrogate, the restaurants have received rave reviews, numerous awards and 6 consecutive appearances in The Good Food Guide since they opened in 2002. The owner and head chef worked in Bangkok for 8 years and continues to import fresh ingredients from Thailand. The food they had on offer looked stunning and super fresh!

I headed over to Tapas On Wheels for my lunch, I can never resist the big pans of paella at food festivals! There was also a chorizo stew that looked really good.

My huge portion of yummy paella!

There were demos on all weekend from chefs and local restaurants such as chef Brian Turner, Argentinian restaurant Gaucho, Masterchef finalist Tom Rennolds, Masterchef contestant Afsaneh Kaviani, patisserie Dumouchel, and Yorkshire chef Steph Moon.

The sponsor of the event, Asda, were championing local food. The photos above show a selection of the products from local businesses that Asda stock in their supermarkets. It's nice to see a big corporation like Asda supporting small independent businesses.

Leeds is a great city that I spend a lot of time in and I loved seeing, learning and tasting what local food and produce it has to offer!