Sunday, 30 October 2011

Halloween: wicked web cakes

Halloween: originally a Celtic Festival – Samhain, meaning summers end, is a time to acknowledge a change in season, weather and light.
Crucially for us foodies, it is also a feast day. In medieval times it was a time when the poor would go ‘souling’ (the original Trick-or-Treating) in which they would beg door to door for food. In return they offered to say prayers for the dead.

So, let’s not make them beg this Hallows Eve, whip-up these simple spidersweb cakes – they’re great for little trick-or-treaters.

You will need:
  • to make vanilla flavoured buns or cupcakes using your favourite recipe. The buns will need to be flat, so if yours rise into a peak as mine did, let them cool and then cut off the tops.
  • white icing (mix a few drops of water at a time into icing sugar until you get a smooth medium/thick mixture)
  • green icing - made as above. This will need to be slightly thicker.
  • a piping bag (or make a simple cone from baking paper and snip off the end)
  • a cocktail stick (the point of a knife would do if you don't have any)

The important thing when icing these, is to only do one or two at a time otherwise you wont get the same effect if the icing goes too hard.
Put a teaspoon of white icing onto the middle of a cake. Tilt the cake gently to encourage the icing to spread evenly until it looks like this:

Next comes the piping. Put the green icing into the bag and squeeze it down to the end. Fold over the top. 
Pipe a small circle of green icing in the center of the bun. 
Then pipe 2 larger circles around the first.

Then take your cocktail stick and, starting from the middle of the bun, drag it lightly out to the edge. Wipe off any excess icing and repeat several more times to create around 5 spokes. 

And there you have it! 

Spiders web cakes that will make any little ghosty, vampire or goblin happy. 


P.S. You could try these with pale orange icing and pipe on a black spiders webs. Either way, they'll taste ghoulishly good.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Victoria Sponge

Hello again foodie peeps,
Having had a mini-moan about the rubbish British Summer last time, someone seems to have been listening because the last week has been hot Hot HOT!
So today I decided to mix a British summer classic and give it an autumnal twist for this strange summer/autumn weather.
Having made blackberry jam, I decided to use it to fill a Victoria Sandwich. 

Well, here is the basic principle of a Victoria Sandwich...
You can make it in various sizes/amounts depending on the size of your tin or how many eggs you happen to have in your fridge.
The important thing to remember is that your flour, butter and sugar should each weigh the same as your eggs. So, if the 2 eggs you’re using weigh 100g, then you need to weigh out 100g of butter, sugar and flour too. 
Your average medium sized egg weighs around 110g. So bearing that in mind...
110g butter (room temperature)
110g caster sugar
110g self-raising flour
2 eggs
  •          Preheat the oven to 170 c.
  •          Grease or line 2 sandwich tins (18cm)
  •          Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  •          Then continue to whisk/beat the mixture and add 2 eggs a tiny bit at a time.
  •          As you add the egg also add small amounts of the flour too (no more than ¾ of it)
  •          Use a metal spoon and gently fold in the remaining flour until combined
  •          I’d also recommend adding a few drops of vanilla too
  •          If the mixture is a little too thick (it should easily drop off the spoon) then just add a  
        desert spoon of milk
  •     Bake for around 25mins
  •     Once baked leave for 2 mins to cook slightly. Then turn them out onto wire racks to

Once cakes are completely cool you can add jam and/or cream and sandwich them together.
·         Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.