The long Easter weekend is finally here! I have been baking lots lately and have loads to share with you over the next few days. I have also been experimenting with my new DSLR camera so hopefully you'll like the new photography (but remember I'm still learning!)
In the meantime I thought I'd share some quick iPhone snaps of this morning's family Easter activity - cornflake cake making! We melted Casbury Dairy Milk chocolate and added a few teaspoons of honey (you could use golden syrup) to make the chocolate a little thinner and to provide a glue element. Once cool we poured over the cornflakes and mixed until thoroughly coated. Eloise had her own mixture, bowl and spoon but most of her cornflakes ended up in her mouth rather than the cupcake cases!
Once we had finished mixing we popped them into bright butterfly cases and added a couple of mini eggs to match the Easter theme. A few hours in the fridge should set the mixture... and off to an Easter hunt we go!
My closest friends will tell you there are a few things which really bug me. There now only being 4 members of the band 5ive, Sky Sports News and Daniel Radcliffe are up there, but when it comes to a rant there is one subject which beats them all - chocolate bombes.
I am very specific about what a chocolate bombe should be and variations on the classic bombe don't sit too kindly with me. A chocolate bombe should have a core of rich chocolate sauce wrapped in a layer of cold vanilla ice cream. The whole thing should be encased in a thin, glossy chocolate shell which should crack nicely when tapped with your spoon. This is the pudding of my childhood I always ordered when we went to a restaurant called Pizza Piazza in Farnham, may it RIP.
Nothing winds me up more than a dessert masquerading as a bombe or restaurants deciding to mess with the classic vanilla and chocolate combination. I once had the displeasure of being served a mint bombe (yes, you read right, a mint bombe) which to the naked eye looked like a perfectly acceptable bombe until the first bite revealed mint ice cream. This plagued me everytime I visited this establishment as they clearly had not marked up which bombes were which in their freezer.
I also regularly question the need for triple chocolate bombs (chocolate core, chocolate ice cream and chocolate shell) Where is the contrasting taste? Why not just order chocolate ice cream with a flake and be done with it.
I hesitantly ordered the chocolate bomb in my local Italian restaurant a few weeks ago. It looked promising when it arrived and I could cope with the dusting of cocoa and crushed hazelnuts on top as they were not interfering with the structure of the bomb itself but I struggled with the interior. Instead if ice cream it was a semifreddo which is half ice cream, half whipped cream so it is only semi frozen. It was passable as a bombe. Just.
So, imagine my horror when last night I was told about a restaurant serving a chocolate bombe which isn't a sphere, involves no ice cream and includes sponge...
My friend Alex sampled this dessert and claimed it was delicious. It clearly started life as a dome shape which they cut into and served as a slice. This in my eyes makes it a cake not a bombe but we'll come back to that later. The base was a vanilla sponge which was piled high with a cold chocolate cream which may be a semifreddo (unconfirmed) the top appears to be dusted with cocoa powder.
Whilst i recognise they have stuck to the chocolate vanilla combination rule I have found several major flaws in this bombe. Firstly, a bombw should be presented as a whole bomb not in a slice. This completely defeats the point. Secondly, sponge in a bombe... one word. No. Thirdly, dusted cocoa powder is a very poor substitute to a poured, crackable chocolate shell.
I have no doubt this dessert tasted delicious, however, I would accuse the establishment of false advertising over the bombe description.
So there you have it, possibly my most passionate blog post. Think twice before you order a bombe.
After the disasterous house warming cake of last week we did finally visit Jon and Shelley's new home (well at least Chris and Eloise did as I was making a wedding cake - blog post to follow!)
This time I went for some luxury chocolate muffins! The chocolate sponge had a secret chocolate ganache core which I injected after baking using a medicine syringe and were topped with a silky vanilla buttercream icing.. Melted ganache was drizzled over the top for decoration.
Jon has reported that all the muffins did make it to the new abode. I was a little nervous Chris and Eloise may have got hungry on route!
Sorry for the slack update on the butterscotch tart but it was probably my least favourite dessert ever (excluding anything banana flavoured) so i have not been in a hurry to report my findings. However, feedback reveals it tasted exactly how it is supposed to taste, so i guess it was a success. In fact everyone cleared their plates... beyond me as to why. Apparently it has something to do with school dinners. As i was always a packed lunch child his could explain the mystery.
So to recap the pastry case was a bit of a disaster because the sides shrunk down and i did slightly over bake it so it was more like a biscuit than pastry - but no soggy bottom so Mary should be proud.
I then heated up butter and milk and when it was boiling added soft brown sugar and a little flour. After a severe beating and much head scratching i allowed it to cool then spread over the pasty case and refrigerated.
A little gold shimmer just before serving finished it off along with the obligatory birthday candle. After Chris the kiddies had a turn to blow out the candle and I served with whipped cream (although i was informed custard would have been more appropriate and may have helped warm up the rather cold butterscotch) Suffice to say i will not be rushing to make this tart again!
A few weeks back you may have read my post featuring the new craze taking the US by storm... cake cups. I decided to have a go at them myself for a friend's birthday using leftover lemon cake, vanilla buttercream icing, fresh raspberries and raspberry jam.
Funnily enough i didn't have any spare whiskey glasses hanging about so, being the classy gal I am, I decided to use plastic wine glasses. I crumbled the sponge and added a layer to the bottom of the glass then added a layer of raspberry jam followed by a layer of buttercream and some fresh raspberries.
I then sprinkled another layer of crumbled cake on top and finished it with a fresh raspberry and some grated dark chocolate.
The result looked a lot better than i expected and the layers looked very appealing.
The novelty of the wine cups was very well received by the tasters (my trusty work colleagues!) and the general feedback was the ratio of filling to sponge was much better than a normal muffin/cupcake where you struggle to get cake and filling every bite. They were also a big hit with Eloise who got involved and made her own version which looked slightly different to mine but just as fun. The jury is still out over the cake/dessert classification...
A couple of major cake projects on this week. One is a golf course and here are some fondant trees I have been working on tonight for the landscaping. The cake will also have sugar bunkers and a piping gel lake so watch this space!
My blog's biggest fan, Jon, and his fiancée Shelley moved into their new house in East Grinstead this weekend. Chris suggested popping over this afternoon to see the house and to wish them well. Perfect opportunity for me to make them a cake. So this morning I knocked up a Victoria sponge filled with a cherry berry jam and iced with vanilla frosting. A sprinkle of glitter and a few pearl sprinkles finished it off.
What Chris didn't tell me was that he hadn't checked if Jon was working today... Of course he was! So we had to eat the cake instead, couldn't let it go to waste could we?!?
Eloise enjoyed her slice with a cup of tea in front of Escape to the country.
Sorry no cake came your way guys but congratulations on your new home xx
Mum. Wife. Artist. Baker.