Hidden Batman Cake

So last week I was asked to bake for a board games day in our village (yes, that’s as wonderfully nerdy as it sounds!), so I decided to make something that might appeal to those bakers/ lovers of cake that are a little more on the nerdy side. This being said, if nerdy isn’t quite your style, Batman can be replaced with another shape and you’re away! Surprise (or ‘hidden’) cakes are an amazing concept to me- I love the fact that, from the outside, the bake looks just like a normal loaf cake, but then you cut into it and BAM- there’s a cool design! The downfall with this of course is that this can render the baker a nervous wreck, as you don’t know whether it’s worked until you cut into it. Despite having made this recipe beforehand at uni, not knowing whether the pattern had worked until 5 minutes before the cafe at the games day opened was a little nerve-wracking to say the least! Having seen other hidden pattern cakes online, I’ve found that many of them use the same sponge mix in the middle (for their shape) as they do for the surrounding sponge. I found this a little dry, so my recipe uses a chocolate sponge in the centre to give it that little bit of variance and richness which is needed when you’re lacking a jam or buttercream layer in the middle of your slice.

Hidden Batman Cake

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients

2lb Loaf Tin (23 x 13cm/ 9″ x 5″)
Brownie Tin (35 x 25cm)

For the Batman centre:

1 Batman cutter (such as this one)
6oz Butter
6oz Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
4.5 oz Self-Raising Flour
1.5oz Cocoa Powder

For the sponge:

8oz Butter
8oz Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
8oz Self-Raising Flour

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C, grease the two trays and line them with greaseproof paper (this makes it SO much easier to remove from the tin!)
2. To make the Batman centre: soften the butter in the microwave and beat with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour and cocoa powder and mix until fully incorporated.
3. Spoon the chocolate sponge mix into a brownie tin and spread evenly. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside, preferably on a wire cooling rack, to cool.
4. To make the sponge: soften the butter in the microwave and beat in the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour and vanilla essence and beat until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Spoon a little under half of the mixture into the loaf tin, place in the oven and bake for around 10-15 minutes.
5. While the bottom half of the loaf cake is in the oven, take the cutter of your choice (in this case, Batman!) and press out 12 shapes from the chocolate mix. You want these shapes to be as accurate as possible to the cutter, so make sure to be careful when removing the sponge from the cutter!
6. Remove the bottom half of the sponge mix from the oven. The mixture should be spongy, but should not feel fully cooked (it will not yet be golden in colour).
7. In a line along the centre of the loaf tin (along the tin rather than across the tin, so that each slice will have a shape in it), place the shapes onto the partly-cooked sponge mix. Press the shapes tightly together and make sure that they are lined up as closely as possible.
8. Next, add the rest of the sponge mix around the sides and top of the shapes (making sure that the mix reaches the bottom half of the sponge at the sides and completely covers the shapes at the top.)
9. Place back in the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes until golden, and until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
10. Leave to cool, decorate with some buttercream (remove the mint from the buttercream in this recipe if you’re not sure how) and lift out of the tin onto a plate. When you’re ready to serve, cut the cake in half and pray that you lined your shapes up well enough/ that your oven cooks evenly enough for them to show through!

Handy Hints

Shapes– despite doing this myself, I would recommend that if you’re doing this for the first time and aren’t a particularly confident baker, you use a more simple shape than a batman cutter! The best thing is something with not too many edges. Make sure to line up the shapes as best you can!
Cooking the sponge– Don’t do what I did the second time I made this and leave the bottom half in for too long! It still turned out fine, but the bottom half of my mix was a little overcooked, and you could see a line where this happened!
Ovens– If you know that your oven doesn’t quite cook evenly, make sure that you turn your cake around half way through cooking, otherwise you’ll have wonky shapes through the middle.
Buttercream– This can be bought already made, or made very easily yourself, but it really does need to be added, as it brings a little moisture to the mix. Maybe decorate it with a clue to what’s inside?! I piped my first one with the words “Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na…”
Sponge mix– Don’t worry if the sponge mix takes longer for the top half to cook than the bottom half, it does take longer in a loaf tin for the top to cook.

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Ice Cream Cake

Summer is here!! For all you students and year 13s out there, that means you’re finished with exams- congrats! Take advantage of your time off to go and do fun stuff (maybe even bake something new…) I feel like I actually have a right to say that now that I’m working on my dissertation through summer. And yes I know, I brought that upon myself by doing a Masters degree, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sit here and feel sorry for myself, ok? But anyway,from the midst of my pity-party came a great idea- a combination of my favourite thing (cake) and summer (represented here by ice cream).

Although summer seems to be manifesting itself largely in the liquid sunshine form here in the UK so far, I feel that it’s summer-y enough to start consuming large quantities of ice cream.  I briefly toyed with the idea of making a baked alaska for my first summer post, but quickly realised that a) although it’s impressive, it seems like far too much effort and b) I don’t have the freezer space for a cake like that. Also, we all know how making baked alaska in the summer goes- especially if you’re in a very warm tent with other bakers… (too soon?!) The idea behind my ice cream cake seems to me to be much simpler, and also fit better in my shared freezer shelf! It has a brownie base, ice cream middle and chocolate ganache topping, which makes for a nice combination and isn’t too rich.

Ice Cream Cake

Baking time: 20 mins

Preparation time: 30 mins (not including cooking time)

Ingredients

200g Dark Chocolate
100g Butter
250g Caster Sugar
4 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
60g Plain Flour
60g Cocoa Powder
900ml tub of Vanilla Ice Cream
100g Milk Chocolate
200ml Double Cream

I baked this in my 23cm diameter springform tin.

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Break up the dark chocolate and melt in the microwave until smooth. Set to one side.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, mixing a little after each one, then add the vanilla essence and mix until the eggs are fully combined.
3. Add the melted dark chocolate to the mixture and stir until combined. Next, add the flour and cocoa powder and mix until all the ingredients are well combined.
4. Spoon the mixture into a greaseproof paper-lined cake tin and spread evenly. Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the brownie base from the oven and set aside to cool. Once it is cool, take the ice cream out of the freezer to melt slightly.
6. Once the brownie base has cooled completely, spread the slightly melted ice cream onto the brownie base, spreading as evenly as possible and making sure to cover the brownie base. Once the ice cream has spread, place the cake tin in the freezer.
7. Whilst the ice cream re-sets in the freezer, make the chocolate ganache. To do this, first break the milk chocolate into pieces, then heat up the cream in a saucepan until boiling.
8. As soon as the cream reaches boiling point, add the cream to the broken up milk chocolate and stir until the chocolate melts and combines with the cream.
9. Once the cream and chocolate are combined, take the cake from the freezer and pour on the ganache. Spread the ganache evenly over the ice cream layer. It is important to do this quickly as the ice cream will start to melt due to the heat of the ganache, so as soon as it is spread, place the cake back in the freezer.
10. Store in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy it!

Handy Hints
Ice Cream- Although I made this with vanilla ice cream, I think it would also be great with other flavours, such as mint or cherry (two of my favourites!) I would avoid anything too sweet though as it may make it too rich overall!
Cooking- These brownies are quite fudgy, but should still pass the knife/ cake tester test (i.e. the knife should come out clean after sticking it in the brownie)
Spreading Ice Cream- This process can be a little tricky. You want the ice cream to have melted enough so that you can (roughly) spread it, but not so much that it becomes soup! If it’s easier, cut chunks of ice cream and fit them together like a jigsaw on the brownie base!
Ganache- When making the ganache, keep stirring the cream and chocolate at all time until they’re combined. If you let it cool too much, it’s still fine but it will have a thicker consistency, if you want a smooth, glossy finish then you’ll have to add the ganache whilst it’s still quite warm.
Serving- If you are serving the whole thing at once, then defrost for 5-10 minutes before serving. If you want to cut a slice or two, this is more difficult but I found that for the most part it cut ok, even when I’d just taken it out of the freezer. Don’t leave it too long or the ice cream will melt everywhere!

 

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P.S. The apples totally offset the huge slice of cake, right?!

Chocolate Orange Cake

Chocolate Orange has always been a bit of a thing in my family. It started with my mum being given a Terry’s chocolate orange every year for Christmas and just expanded into a family favourite. I feel like chocolate orange is also the perfect flavour to experiment with if you’re a new baker, or a student baker, because it’s so cheap and easy to create.

The inspiration for this recipe came from a rainy day on holiday in Scotland. Being Scotland, it had started to rain as soon as we’d arrived at the town we were intending on looking around so we decided, in a very English fashion, to go and hide in a cafe until the rain eased. I ordered a slice of chocolate orange cake, which was very nice (and they weren’t stingy with the slice size either!) and lead to me thinking that maybe I should try and re-create it at home. This is the result!

The recipe for the sponge came from my Grandma’s recipe (aren’t grandmas just the best for baking?!) and I love it because it creates a really good flavoured sponge without being too dry. It’s a great recipe too because it’s a fully hands-on kind of recipe- none of this using an electric mixer nonsense! There’s no orange flavour in the sponge because I didn’t want the orange to be too overpowering, so the orange comes from the curd and icing.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Preparation Time: (sponge) 15 mins, (icing) 5 mins (curd) 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins

Ingredients
For the sponge:
175g (7oz) Self-raising Flour
200g (8oz) Caster Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
25g (1oz) Cocoa
100g (4oz) Margarine
2 Eggs
5 tbsp Evaporated Milk
5 tbsp Water
Few drops Vanilla Essence

For the curd:
(this was adapted from a recipe by http://africanbites.com/?p=6021 which is amazing- really clear and easy to understand- even for a beginner like me!)
1/2 cup (4oz) Butter, softened in the microwave
3 Eggs
Juice of 2 Oranges
3 Tablespoons Orange Zest
3/4 -1 Cup of Sugar (depends how much of a sweet tooth you are!)

For the Icing:
2oz Butter
20g Cocoa Powder
A dash of Milk
Icing Sugar (start with 2oz)
Grated zest of 1/2 an Orange (but can change depending how orangey you want it)

Method

For the sponge:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Mix the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder together.
2. Rub the margarine into the dry ingredients using the tips of your fingers until you have a consistently crumb-like mixture.
3. Stir in the eggs, vanilla essence, evaporated milk and water then beat well until combined and smooth.
4. Grease and sprinkle some flour on 2 x 8 inch cake tins (NOT loose-bottom ones). Divide the mixture between them.
5. Bake for 30-35 mins until the sponge springs back.

For the curd:
1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a large, microwave-safe bowl until smooth.
2. Place in the microwave for one-minute intervals, stirring after each interval. After around 4-5 minutes the mixture should have thickened up. It’s done when it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon without running off into the bowl.
3. Remove from the microwave, cover and cool.

For the icing:
1. Soften the butter slightly in the microwave.
2. Add the other ingredients, then whisk with a hand-mixer until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add icing sugar until it thins out. Keep adding icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Once the sponges have cooled, sandwich together with the curd, then spread the icing over the top and sides.

Handy Hints
Sponge- Don’t worry that the mixture is really runny before it goes in the oven! This is why you shouldn’t use a loose-bottomed tin, as it will run out the bottom.
Curd- Make sure that the butter is softened before you whisk the ingredients as if it isn’t it will result in a lumpy mixture.
Icing- You can add as much icing sugar and orange as you like to suit your preferences. Everyone likes different consistencies and different amounts of zesty-ness!
Decoration- I’ve decorated mine with mini Terry’s chocolate orange pieces.

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Minion Madness!

Hi everyone! This week I’m attempting to actually write this post earlier on in the week for a change, and be organised in my writing. I say this but in actual fact I’m just writing this as a way of procrastinating from writing my essay! So, Christmas is coming, which for students means only one thing… deadline madness! Because, obviously, as a student you’re not allowed to enjoy work-free holidays in order to account for the mega-long summer we get, you know kind of like karma. I’ve been set a fair bit of work over the past few weeks, which means that, naturally, I’ve been begging for any excuse to procrastinate. And what better way to procrastinate then by baking 24 minion-themed cupcakes and a 3D minion cake! I mean that’s pretty standard right? No? Must be just me then.

Really though there was a reason behind this, as it came in the form of another baking request for a birthday, this time for a flatmates’ girlfriends’ 21st. So, procrastination with a great cause- how could I resist? I took a day out of working and actually spent from 3-11pm baking like a crazed person with stuff all over the kitchen (sorry flatmates!). It was great fun though and I enjoyed the challenge of baking it all with limited resources in a uni kitchen, and with the others giving me a hand too (thank you flatmates!). I wanted to share the instructions here for how I made the cupcakes as they were actually really simple, but looked so cute!! If any of you would be interested in me posting a tutorial on how to decorate the cake, then comment and let me know and I’ll see if I can describe how I improvised it.

Minion Cupcakes

Decorating Time: 30-40 minutes (but could probably be done much faster if you don’t faff)

Ingredients:

Yellow Sugarpaste
White Sugarpaste
Black Sugarpaste
Tap water
Buttercream

Tools:
Small paintbrush (/hands)
Circle cutters/ objects with circles bases you can draw around
A small but fairly sharp knife

Method:
1. Cut a circle for each cupcake out of the yellow sugarpaste. It should be just a little bigger then the surface of the cupcake, as the top is rounded so it will be a bit smaller then it looks.
2. Stick the circles to the cupcakes using buttercream. Spread a layer of buttercream on the cupcake, then gently press the circle onto the cake, smoothing as you go.
3. Using a pea-sized amount of black sugarpaste, mix a grey sugarpaste by folding the black sugarpaste into the white and kneading in until the colour is fully mixed and isn’t streaky. Don’t use all your white for this, as you’ll need white later.
4. Cut grey circles to form the goggle rims. These need to take up about 2/3 of the cupcake in height, making them possibly slightly bigger for the minions with one eye than the ones with two eyes. Cut out one or two for each cupcake.
5. Using a cutter that is one size down from the grey cutter, press out white circles to make the eyeballs of the minions. Stick these on top of the grey circles using a little bit of water. Water acts like glue with sugarpaste, so you only need a tiny bit, spread evenly across the back of the white circle, to make it stick.
6. Cut small black circles out to form the pupils of the eyes. These don’t want to be too small, ideally about 1/4 or 1/3 of the eye in height. Stick these onto the white circles using water.
7. Stick the completed eyes onto the yellow base of the cupcake using water. Place them about 2/3 up the cupcake, so there is room to place a small mouth later.
8. Using the black sugarpaste, cut out mouth shapes that you want your minions to have. Roll out the sugarpaste and cut these with a sharp, small knife. Some easy expressions are shocked (just a circle shape), really happy (a bit D shape, and you could stick little white squares in for teeth) and a smile (cut a semi-circle and then cut the outside curve into a thin strip). Let your imagination run wild!
9. Stick the mouths onto the yellow bases on the cupcakes using water.
10. Using any leftover black, cut thin strips to make the straps of the goggles. Use the knife for this, and hold up against the cupcakes to make sure you have the right length before cutting and sticking down onto the yellow base. You want to strip to stretch from the grey circle (the goggle) to the outside edge of the cupcake, all the way down to the edge of the yellow base circle.

Handy Hints:
Sugarpaste- When using sugarpaste, it’s really important that you leave any sugarpaste you’re not currently using in an airtight bag, fully covered. Sugarpaste becomes unusable incredibly quickly, so keep everything except already cut pieces and the sugarpaste you’re currently rolling out and cutting in an airtight bag.If you don’t think you’ll work quickly enough, stick the grey goggle circles onto the yellow as soon as they’re made, then add the white and black as you go, instead of assembling them off the cupcake, then sticking them on.
Cutters- Use cutter sets which have many different circle sizes in them, or simply use the base of a round object and cut around it. We used a bottle top, a shot glass and a cup base to get the sizes we didn’t have in the cutters!
Black colouring- Black sugarpaste is a nightmare!! Make sure that you use a separate part of the counter to roll out the black, because if you get any on the other colours, it runs really easily and is very noticable, trust me.
Sugarpaste colouring- To get your colours, you can either buy pre-mixed colours (Asda now does a really good range, which we bought and can be found here), or you can hand mix them by buying a pack of white sugarpaste, then adding paste colourings to them.
Sugarpaste- Sugarpaste is also called ‘Ready to roll icing’ in a lot of places, just to save confusion!

minions

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minions4

minion family

minion family 2

minion cake abovePhotography, as usual by Nitya Kanoria. Click here to check out her blog, which has more amazing photos and some great travel experiences.

Birthday Cakes!

Hey everyone! Sorry this post is a bit late- it’s been one of those weeks where all your work seems to hit you at once, and I was away for the weekend! Last week for me was a week of many birthdays- it was my flatmate’s and my grandma’s birthday on Sunday, and on Monday it was my cousin and one of my English Language friend’s birthdays! I think most people would agree that the best thing about birthdays that aren’t your own is definitely birthday cakes. I LOVE birthday cakes- I love making them for people, I love eating them for sometimes days afterwards, and I love the fact that you can make fancy cakes that you wouldn’t usually make.
We have a bit of a tradition in our flat of collectively making cakes for another flatmates birthday (a great tradition if you ask me!). The funny thing is that we also make these cakes as a ‘surprise’, even though each flatmate knows they’re going to get a cake- who knows why, it’s just more fun that way. So, after many hushed conversations behind closed doors, we decided on a recipe. The recipe was good, but the real star of the show here was the frosting, which is the recipe I’m sharing with you all today.
Over the years our flat’s birthday cakes have had some interesting designs, but I think this one is definitely our pride and joy. This years cake baking has reached new heights (maybe because I threatened to put pictures on my blog?!), so I’m actually very proud of the result! The recipe is taken from the Hummingbird book ‘Home Sweet Home’ from their recipe ‘Mississippi Mud Cake’. We then added mini marshmallows, grated dark chocolate and some chocolate sprinkles.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Preparation Time: 5-10 mins
Price: £4.74

Ingredients:
800g Icing Sugar
120g Cocoa Powder
150g Butter
600g Cream Cheese
Dark Chocolate (probably around 20g in all)
Mini Marshmallows
Chocolate sprinkles

Note: This recipe actually made enough to cover a 20cm diameter cake, and as a topping for a tray of brownies.

Method:
1. Mix the icing sugar, cocoa powder and slightly melted butter together on a low speed until fully combined. The texture will be a bit sandy but there shouldn’t be any lumps of butter.
2. Add a bit of the cream cheese (about 200g) to loosen the mixture and beat until smooth.
3. Add the remaining cream cheese and mix on a slow speed until fully incorporated, with no lumps and a smooth texture. Turn on a high speed and beat the frosting until light and fluffy.

Handy Hints:
Texture- Although ours may not be the neatest icing ever applied, you can create a nice texture once you’ve spread the frosting all over the sponges, by running a serrated knife around the cake to create a lined effect. You only need to press very lightly to achieve this, or you’ll just be scraping the frosting off.
Covering- This recipe has a lot of frosting, so I covered the sides of the sponges too- if you don’t want to cover the sides then reduce the recipe slightly.

shreeman cake2

shreeman cake

The Best Cupcake Recipe

Before I start this post I want to apologise for not posting this week- it’s all been a bit busy with packing, moving back home for summer and unpacking again! But now I’m at home, so will have plenty of time for baking and blogging recipes- yey! This does mean that some of the recipes appearing here may have more recipes included and may be more expensive as I can raid the cupboards in the kitchen, but I will still be adding up the cost of each recipe for you all. I will try and keep them simple and resist the temptation to get too carried away! That’s enough ramble though, so here’s my actual post:

Cupcakes are something that everyone can appreciate and range from very simple ones to very intricate complicated ones. Decorating cupcakes is one of my favourite baking things to do, but it does take time and effort so when I’m at uni all I ever do is shove some frosting on them (the student laziness strikes again). In this post I’m going to share with you the cupcake recipe, and in the next post I’m going to discuss and give recipes for different frostings, some more complicated than others. In my years of baking (that makes me sound about a million years old) I have tried so many different cupcake recipes, but the one I’m going to post today is the best one I’ve ever found, and possibly the best one ever. The recipe comes from the Hummingbird Bakery and is in all of their recipe books. I love it because I find a lot of cupcake recipes quite dry, but this one creates the perfect texture for me, and I’m yet to find a person who doesn’t like them! For those of you who haven’t heard of Hummingbird Bakery, research them. Now. They have the most amazing bakes ever, and they have a way of making every bake look amazingly tasty. Unfortunately they only have shops in London in the UK, which makes me very sad, but they do have a great blog and four great recipe books. This is beginning to sound a bit like I’m sponsored by them or something now, so I’m going to stop talking them up and get on with the recipe, but seriously check them out- this is their website :
https://hummingbirdbakery.com/
(and Hummingbird Bakery, if by some chance you’re reading this- a shop in Manchester would be amazing!)

The Recipe:
This recipe makes chocolate cupcakes.
Overall price to make: £1.88
Baking Time: 20-25 minutes
(I haven’t put a preparation time as it can take me between half an hour and an hour depending on how much singing/dancing round the kitchen I do, if I have an electric mixer, if I’m chatting to someone etc.)

Ingredients:
70g Unsalted Butter
170g Plain Flour
250g Caster Sugar
50g Cocoa Powder
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
210ml Whole Milk* (see Helpful Hints)
2 Eggs

Method:
This recipe makes around 16 cupcakes.
1. Preheat the oven to 170 C (325 F or Gas Mark 3) and line the muffin tins with cases (I find it makes 16 cupcakes).
2. Soften the butter- I tend to just stick it in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds depending on how high power your microwave is.
3. Mix the butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together. You may want to add these and give it a little mix after you add each or you’ll find the dry ingredients just explode everywhere when you start to mix it and it all gets very messy! The ingredients that haven’t ended up on the kitchen counter, you or the floor should form a crumb-like consistency.
4. In a separate jug, mix together the eggs and milk with a fork.
5. Mixing slowly, pour half the eggs and milk mixture into the crumb mixture and stir until it’s all combined. Mix more quickly when it’s combined to form a smooth and thick batter-like mixture. When any lumps have gone (try squishing them a bit with your spoon or whisk), add the rest of the milk and egg mixture and mix until the mixture is combined and smooth.
6. Make sure that there isn’t any flour or other dry ingredients at the bottom of the mixture- a really floury cupcake is not what you want!
7. Spoon the batter into the cases- they should fill about 2/3 of the case.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes in the oven, or until the sponge bounces back when you touch it (give it a poke and see if it springs back).
9. Leave to cool completely before frosting if you’re going to decorate them.

Helpful Hints
Baking Powder- This looks expensive for what it is but trust me it’s worth having- it keeps for ages and you can just store it until you need it, you never need much of it in each recipe.

Whole Milk- Most students won’t have whole milk just lying around in the fridge, however if you’re a tea or coffee fan you might have semi-skimmed milk in the fridge. Instead of whole milk you can use semi-skimmed milk and a little bit of butter, which is way easier and I can’t taste the difference! For this recipe, you’ll need about 1.5 tbsp of melted butter (just add it to the semi-skimmed milk). Overall, you need 2 tablespoons of melted butter to 1 cup (237g) of semi-skimmed milk to create a whole milk alternative.

Vanilla cupcakes- if you want to make vanilla cupcakes instead of chocolate ones, then swap the cocoa powder for more Plain Flour (210g) and add a teaspoon of Vanilla Extract. Otherwise, the recipe is the same.

If you want to decorate your cupcakes watch this space for next week’s post on frosting!

The finished product looks something like this (although these have frosting on):
Cinder Toffee Cupcakes

Starting Simple- Cake in a mug

All this week I’ve been wracking my brain for the perfect first bake to post on here. I wanted to start with a bake that was simple, cheap and didn’t take much time, basically so it suited students perfectly. I had loads of ideas, but it was actually a birthday present from my family that gave me the idea in the end. If there’s one bake that perfectly defines the student lifestyle, it’s the cake in a mug. For those of you that haven’t come across this wonderful creation before, it’s exactly as it sounds- you bake a cake in a mug! For the student baker, the mug cake is a blessing- they require minimal washing up, contain cheap ingredients and are fully baked in a few minutes. This isn’t the best thing about them though- the best thing is that all this can be accomplished in the microwave. For many students (sometimes including myself) the microwave is where all meals are cooked, so why not cook pudding in there too?

I realise for all you more experienced bakers out there, this may seen a little too basic, but I wanted to start small with the ultimate lazy bake. Much though I love baking, sometimes we all feel lazy or don’t have much time, so for me this is the ultimate bake for those occasions. If baking was a sport, this would be the warm-up, or maybe even just the walk to the gym. For anyone that’s not used to baking, this is the perfect start. This recipe is also perfect for students as you can buy mugs specifically for making mug cakes, which have the recipe written round the outside, and have lines inside marking how much of the ingredients you need. Not surprisingly, this is the birthday present that inspired this post. The one I have is from Lakeland and can be found in their stores or online at this link: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/43746/Cake-in-a-Mug

This year I have tried many recipes for mug cakes, all of which have ended in disaster. One particular attempt looked like this and exploded all over our microwave, which took a lot of cleaning up! Not what you want when you were just after an easy bake.

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The best recipe I’ve found in all my efforts is by far the one on the cake in a mug from Lakeland, so I worked out the amount of each ingredient you need and the price. So, here it is!

Cake in a mug
Overall price to make: 58p (yep really)
Time taken: Overall= 6 minutes
Preparation= 3 minutes
Baking= 3 minutes

Ingredients:
50g Self- raising Flour
52g Caster Sugar
18g Cocoa Powder
One egg
9tsp (45ml) milk
9tsp (45ml) oil (I used vegetable oil)
2 Squares of milk chocolate

Method:
1. Put all the dry ingredients into the mug (the flour, the sugar and the cocoa powder)
2. Add the egg (I found it was easier if the egg was beaten first) and mix around. At this stage it’s easiest to incorporate all dry ingredients so make sure you get right to the bottom and mix it all in- the last thing you want is a mouthful of flour when you get to the bottom of the mug!
3. Add the milk and the oil and mix again until all the ingredients are well mixed. I found that mixing with a fork was easier than a spoon as you could mix the ingredients more easily.
4. Push the pieces of chocolate into the middle of the mix (this gives the cake a gooey centre, which is amazingly tasty!)
5. Put the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on the highest setting (not on defrost which I accidentally cook things on all the time).
6. Voila, your easy-peasy bake is done!

Handy Hints
Firstly, when baking with cocoa powder, I like to get the Bournville one, so you can bake this for slightly cheaper then I’ve put. Also, because this is my first post I’d like to point out now that the price is worked out by the grams needed of each ingredient, so to buy say, a whole pack of flour will be more expensive, but the price when you have all these ingredients is the one above. I hope that makes sense, please comment if it doesn’t!
A note about cocoa powder: I rarely have cocoa powder in stock, so if you can’t get your hands on cocoa powder you can use hot chocolate, or so I’ve been told. If you do however, you need to reduce slightly the amount of sugar that you add to the recipe. The maths can be worked out by the fact that hot chocolate powder is usually 2/3 cocoa and 1/3 sugar. So, you need to add one and a half the amount of cocoa powder in this recipe (so 27g) and reduce the amount of sugar by half the amount of cocoa (so reduce by 9g in this recipe, making the overall total sugar amount needed 43g).
Finally, this cake with ice cream would be amazing! (Ben and Jerry’s is currently £2 in Asda- stock up while you can!)

The finished bake looks like this:
cake in a mug3cake ina mug1Cake in a mug

 

Sorry this post has ended up quite long, it seems to have become a bit chatty, future recipes will usually be shorter, sometimes with just the recipe and sometimes with some added chat at the start or end. Let me know by commenting if you think the chat is useful or interesting, or even just kind of amuses you or whether you think I should cut down on it- I welcome constructive criticism! I hope you enjoy baking this recipe!