Search Results for: Cinnamon

Cinnamon Peach and Ice Cream Waffles

For those of you that have been following my blog since the very beginning, you may remember one of my very first posts, which also happened to be about my first entry in the Iron Cupcake London competition (which was sadly cancelled a couple months later).

The theme for my first contest was fruit, which meant that every cupcake entry needed to incorporate fruit into it in some way.  I choose to do a cinnamon and peach cupcake because the combination of cinnamon and peaches was a favorite ever since I was a little kid back in Canada.  Shortly after arriving at the Iron Cupcake competition I discovered that cinnamon and peaches weren’t a very common combination in the UK, so I had convinced myself that the people there that night wouldn’t like them.  Well…. I was wrong!  My cinnamon peach cupcake ended up winning the Runner Up prize for best cupcake that evening, and I was glad to have introduced so many people to the wonderful flavor combination of cinnamon and peaches.

My Cinnamon Peach Cupcake (slightly smooshed)

Peaches with cinnamon still remain one of my favorite combinations, and I look forward to peach season every year, although I do find it hard to get a nice ripe peach in most supermarkets these days.  (If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have seen me tweeting about my search for the perfect peach!) 

One of my favorite desserts that I’ve been making for years is my cinnamon peach and ice cream waffle.  The hot waffle with cold ice cream, cinnamon and peaches makes for a truly delicious flavour combination.  And best of all, they’re incredibly easy to make!


To make this yummy dessert you’ll only need a few things: peaches, cinnamon, sugar, ice cream and waffles.

Now, I’m not going to lie – sometimes I cut corners when I can, so rather than taking the time to make my own waffles (not that it’s hard) I choose to use an instant waffle mix from Cost-Co that only requires a bit of added water and a tablespoon of oil.  Even though I cheated on this occasion, I’m going to include my favourite waffle recipe that I use regularly because not everyone has (or wants to have) instant waffle mix at home.  If you don’t have a waffle iron you can also use store bought ones, it’s totally up to you! 

Waffles With Peaches, Cinnamon and Ice Cream 

1 – 2 Peaches
1/2 – 3/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Sugar
Waffle (recipe follows)
Ice Cream 


1.  Since peaches have a fuzzy skin on them that’s not very nice to eat, you’ll need to peel them.  Peeling the skin off a peach is really simple if you use one little trick – boiling water!  Bring a small pot of water to a boil and submerge your peach in it for about 30 – 45 seconds.  Remove the peach from the boiling water and place it on a cutting board for about 30 seconds, just so it cools down a bit.


The skin on the peach should be very loose when you touch it.  If you gently pinch the skin between your fingers a part of it should tear upwards, allowing you to start peeling the rest of the peach.  The skin should be so loose and slippery that it peels off the entire peach with out any effort, often in one big piece.  You should end up with a juicy slippery skinless peach. 

 

Cut your skinless peach into slices, and put them in a bowl along with the cinnamon and sugar.  Stir them around and set them aside for at least 5 mins to allow a nice juicy cinnamon syrup to form.

2.  Next you’ll need to make your waffle.  If you’re making your own, pre-heat your waffle iron and follow the waffle recipe below (or the manufactures instructions if you’re using a mix).  ** Because I add peaches and ice cream on top of my waffle I purposely fill my waffle iron only about half full so I get a smaller waffle.  Alternatively you can make the full sized waffle and only use 1/2 of it.  Now’s also the time to leave your ice cream out to soften up a bit. so it’s easy scoop.

3.  Once your waffle is done cooking and your ice cream has softened up a tiny bit, all that’s left to do is assemble your masterpiece!  This probably doesn’t need explanation, but start out by placing your waffle on a plate.  Next, add a scoop of ice cream (I prefer vanilla or something with a caramel swirl in it), and then spoon the peaches and cinnamon syrup on top.  That’s it!  Really simple, but really delicious!


Waffles 

Ingredients:  

1 Egg 
1 Cup (125g) Flour 
3/4 Cup (175ml) + 1 Tbsp Milk
1/4 Cup (60ml) Vegetable Oil 
1 1/2 tsp Sugar 
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt 
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

1.  Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in all remaining ingredients (flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and vanilla), until just smooth. 

2.  Grease your preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the mix onto your hot waffle iron, and cook until golden brown. ** Because I add peaches and ice cream on top of my waffle I purposely fill my waffle iron only about half full so I get a smaller waffle.  Alternatively you can make the full sized waffle and only use 1/2 of it.

The combination of cinnamon and peaches is one of my favourites,  It’s so good that I’ll often eat a peach (or two) in the evenings with a bit of cinnamon on sugar on it, just as I described in step 1.  In all honesty, they really don’t need any added extras like whipped cream or ice cream, but if you’re feeling rather indulgent then adding a waffle and a bit of ice cream is definitely the way to go!

Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate Muffins

I’ve got a bit of an obsession with cookbooks.  One that’s been ingrained in me since I was little.  You see, my mum is also a cookbook-olholic so it’s in my blood.  She’s got shelves and shelves of them, but the ones I remember the most were the ones from the spiral bound Companies Coming series.  Company’s Coming was a hugely popular Canadian recipe book series in the 1980’s and 1990’s comprising of nearly 90 books in the original series (over 200 books in total).  Each book was spiral bound and came in a different colour.  I distinctly remember organising them on the shelf by colour, always having a soft spot for the pretty pastel covers without really caring about the recipes inside. 


The Company’s Coming books were so successful that they spawned a chain of cafes under the same name selling coffee, cinnamon buns and muffins among other things.  We had a Company’s Coming cafe in our local mall which has long since closed down, but I still think about their delicious raspberry muffin mini loafs that were accompanied with a big dollop of cream cheese frosting on the side.

I set out to try and re-create the raspberry muffin mini loafs that I’d so longed for, but after considering other potential flavour combinations I decided not to try and replicate them.  Instead I took inspiration from the raspberry mini loafs and made up my own muffins using some of my favourite flavour combinations which worked really well together.  


I combined fresh lemon juice and zest with raspberries and white chocolate chips for a utterly delicious little muffin loaf.  These turned out great, and really helped to fill the void left by the demise of the Company’s Coming mini loafs. 

Of course these can also be made using regular paper muffin cases, but they won’t be nearly as cute as these pretty patterned mini loaf cases that I received from DotComGiftShop.  I’ve just noticed the pink ones aren’t available anymore, but they’ve got plenty of other designs and sizes to choose from. The lovely folks over at DotComGiftShop also sent me some of their patterned paper tape that’s so popular right now.  I attached the tape to the ends of some cocktail sticks to make some cute little flags.  


As you can see DotComGiftShop also sent me some slightly larger loaf cases which I used for a second batch of muffin / loafs.  I’ll explain more about this second batch in another post a bit later.  I’ll give you a hint though – the recipe comes from a new cookbook that I recently added to my ever growing collection.  I just couldn’t help myself!


Lemon Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins 

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup (125ml) Lemon Yogurt  
3 Tbsp (45ml) Vegetable Oil  
Tbsp (30ml) Lemon Juice  
1 Egg   
1 tsp (5ml) Lemon Extract   
1 1/2 Cups (188g) Flour (plain)
3/4 Cup (170g) White Sugar  
2 tsp Baking Powder  
1/4 tsp Salt  
1 Tbsp Grated Lemon Zest  
1 Cup Frozen Raspberries  
1/3 Cup White Chocolate Chips
Tbsp Coarse Sanding Sugar for decoration (I used India Tree brand)

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Arrange loaf cases on baking tray, or grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan. 

2.  In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, egg, and lemon extract. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, and mix until just combined. 

4. Gently stir in the frozen raspberries and white chocolate chips. Fill the prepared muffin cups so they’re about 3/4 full.  Sprinkle the sanding sugar over the tops for decoration. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Let cool before serving.


Check back soon to read about my second batch of muffin loafs!

Kids Handprint Cookies For Mothers Day


I learned to bake when I was a kid, back in the day before there were blogs and celebrity chefs.  Like many young girls, I learned to bake from the women in my life – my mom and my mom’s mom.  I loved helping out in the kitchen whenever I got a chance.  I learned how to bake cinnamon buns, donuts, cookies, chocolate truffles, and the most amazing cakes ever.  Many of my fondest memories happened (and still do happen) in the kitchen.  

I can only hope that Jayden will enjoy helping me out in the kitchen as much as I enjoyed helping my mom out.  But for now I’ve got him practising his “mixing skills” with a wooden spoon and a soup pot.  And he’s doing a pretty good job if I so say so myself! 

Although he can’t officially help me out with my baking yet, he did play a crucial role in these funfetti sugar cookies.  I used his little hand as a template and then cut out the dough around the template using a sharp knife.  

The idea for these cookies actually came from my mom when she forwarded them to me in a Martha Stewart email last week.  You see, a couple of weeks ago we were supposed to fly home to Canada to visit our parents.  It had been over a year since Jayden last saw his grandparents, but unfortunately some dishonest and manipulating people ended up preventing us from taking our trip home to see them.  It still amazes me how certain people can live with themselves despite the promises that were previously made.  

In the end my mother in law ended up making the trip over to the UK to see us instead.  I figured since my parents couldn’t see how much their grandson had grown since they last time they saw him, I’d send his little handprint to them in cookie form.  I made these at the last minute, the night before my mother in law left so I only managed to take a few pictures on my iphone.  Apologies for the poor photographs.

Seeing as today is Mother’s Day in the UK, I figured what better way than to celebrate with these fun and creative cookies that you and your kids can make together.

Although the idea for these cookies came from Martha Stewart, I used Peggy Porschen’s trusty sugar cookie recipe which is the only sugar cookie recipe I use.  I’ve had nothing but success with it.  I don’t even bother trying new recipes, especially when they call for baking powder which causes the cookies to rise and loose their shape.


Mummy’s Little Helper Handprint Cookies

1.  Start out by tracing the outline of your child’s hand on a heavy piece of cardstock – I used the back of an old cereal box.  Cut out the handprint and set aside.  

2.  Make one batch of Peggy Porschen’s sugar cookie dough – recipe here.  Add in 1 – 2 tablespoons of coloured sprinkles to the cookie dough near the end just as the mixture is forming a dough.  Chill for at least an hour.

3.  Roll the dough out according to the directions in my original sugar cookie post here.  Place your child’s handprint template on the dough, and trace around it with a sharp knife, and repeat with the remaining dough.

4.  Chill the cookie cutouts in the freezer for 10 minutes, before baking in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 8 – 10 minutes.   

I packaged Jayden’s little handprint cookies in a plastic container with lots of bubble wrap, so I’m hoping they made it home to my parents safely with all 5 fingers present and accounted for!


Mission Style Stained Glass Cake

Last week was my dad’s 65th birthday.  It’s quite a milestone you know – I’ve been informed that in Canada once you hit 65 you’re entitled to a bunch of free stuff including free weekday rides on the BC Ferries, free coffee at various restaurants, no fee bank accounts and free flu shots.  Pretty exciting stuff huh!?  

I felt that turning 65 deserved some kind of celebration and acknowledgement, and I wanted to get my dad a gift, but he always seems to have everything.  And besides, he’s always saying that he has too much “stuff”, so has been trying to de-clutter their house for ages. So instead, I decided to bake him a cake.  But since I wasn’t able to fly home to Canada to bake my dad a birthday cake, I decided to bake him one here in England.  The only downside is he won’t be able to taste it, but I’m including the recipe below, so hopefully my mom will make it for him instead (hint hint).  


I wasn’t sure what type of cake to bake, but I figured something more visually appealing would be better given the fact that he wouldn’t be able to taste it.  So I thought about the things my dad liked (espresso, arts and crafts style stained glass, and wood), and then combined them into a cake.  OK, I actually just set the cake on a wooden cutting board – you didn’t actually expect me to bake wood in my cake did you?

I decided to bake a Cappuccino Chiffon Cake, and it was delicious.  I’d never made a chiffon cake before, but it turned out great!  So light and fluffy. And very similar to an Angel Food Cake, except it included egg yolks.  Each layer of cake was doused with espresso syrup and then topped with a layer of vanilla whipped cream and a sprinkling of cocoa and cinnamon to simulate a cappuccino.  

Baking the cake was the easy thing.  The stained glass panels…. those are a whole other story.  


I had originally tried to make the stained glass panels out of fondant, but after trying to cut out only 3 of the small rectangles I decided that fondant wasn’t the way to go and opted to make the panels out of royal icing transfers instead.  I found a design that I liked online (from here) and drew out a template on some paper.  Then I placed some plastic page protectors over top of my template and piped the outlines with black royal icing.  After allowing the outlines to dry overnight I filled each section with coloured royal icing and left them again to dry for 24 hours. 




Unfortunately they still weren’t totally dry, and I lost one of the panels because it cracked in several spots when I tried to remove it from the plastic.  I googled what the best way to dry royal icing quickly was, and came across several sources that recommended I leave the panels in an oven with only the light on.  I did that, but unfortunately I don’t think that was the best decision because the black ink really bled into the some of the coloured panels over the coarse of the day while they were in the oven. –> Insert frowny face here :-(

 

The next day when the icing was fully dry I was able to carefully peel the plastic backing away from the icing transfers and place them around the cake using some leftover icing as glue. 


In order for the royal icing panels to dry before I put them on the cake I had to pipe them several days before I actually baked the cake.  This meant I had to take a guess at the height my cake would be.  I guessed wrong.  My panels were a bit taller than the cake (although I do think my cake shrunk down when it settled overnight), but I actually didn’t mind it at all.  My husband on the other hand thinks it looked awful and that it was poor planning on my part.  I think he’s lucky I even let him have a slice of it after he voiced his concerns 😐


The recipe for this cake comes from the book Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. This is the third recipe I’ve made from Sky High Cakes and they’ve all been fabulous, so I highly recommend this book.


Cappuccino Chiffon Cake 

Ingredients:

Chiffon Cake:

1/4 Cup (60ml) Vegetable Oil
6 Eggs, separated 
6 Tbsp (90ml) Espresso, freshly brewed and cooled to room temperature 
2 tsp Vanilla Extract 
1 1/3 Cups (167g) Cake Flour (or cake flour substitute – see here)
1 1/2 Cups (340g) Castor Sugar 
1 tsp Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp Cinnamon 
1/2 tsp Salt 
1/2 tsp Cream of Tarter 

Espresso Syrup (recipe below)
Vanilla Whipped Cream (recipe below)
Cocoa powder or ground cinnamon, for dusting

Instructions: 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment or waxed paper but do not grease.  

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, espresso and vanilla; whisk lightly to blend. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set the dry ingredients aside.  

3.  In a large mixer bowl with an electric mixer, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium-low speed until frothy. Raise the mixer speed to medium-high and gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form; do not whip until stiff or the cake will shrink excessively upon cooking.  

4.  Add the espresso-egg yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together just enough to combine. Add one-fourth of the beaten egg whites and fold them in to lighten the batter. Fold in the remainder of the whites just until no streaks remain. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.  

5.  Bake the cakes for about 18 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool upside down completely in the pans. When cooled, run a blunt knife around the edge of the pans to release the cakes. Invert onto wire racks and remove the paper liners.  

6.  To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Soak the cake with 1/3 cup of the Espresso Syrup. Spread about 1-1/3 cups of the whipped cream evenly over the top of the layer. Repeat with the next layer and more syrup and whipped cream. Finally, top with the third layer. Soak it with the remaining syrup and frost the top and sides with the remaining whipped cream. (I didn’t use nearly the whole amount)

7.  To decorate the cake, smooth out the cream as much as possible on thop with an offset spatula. Lay a paper lace doily over the top of the cake and sift cocoa or cinnamon over the doily. Carefully lift off the doily to reveal the lacy stencil on top of the cake.

Espresso Syrup:

1/3 Cup (78ml) Espresso, hot & freshly brewed

1/3 Cup Dark Rum (I used plain water instead)
1/3 Cup (83g) Sugar

Instructions:

In a bowl, stir together the espresso and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rum and let cool to room temperature.

 
Vanilla Whipped Cream: (I only used half the recipe for a 6 inch cake)

3 Cups (750ml)  Double Cream or Whipping Cream
1/3 Cup (83g) Sugar 
2 tsp Vanilla Extract  

Instructions: Put the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large chilled mixing bowl with chilled beaters. With the whip attachment, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. 
 

This cake was so nice and spongy I’d definitely make it again, but the stained glass panels took forever to do.  To be honest, I probably wouldn’t make them again if you paid me.  I would however suggest trying the royal icing transfer technique for something smaller – I will! 

Chocolate and Vanilla Layer Cake

Firstly let me just say I totally get that Halloween has passed, and that we’re now quickly approaching Christmas but I just had to post the Halloween cake I made a few weeks ago.  I know it’s late, but please don’t let the black and orange scare you!  You can totally customise this cake for Christmas, and I’d recommend doing so by switching the orange coloured icing to a milk chocolate one, and then sprinkling on some edible gold flakes on top of the ganache instead of the Halloween sprinkles.


That being said, I’ve wanted to make a big tall layer cake like this for a really long time now but I never really had a good excuse to make one until the other week.  The thing with cakes like this is that they’re big. Like really BIG. So when I found out my cousin was having a little get together at her place, I knew there would be plenty of mouths there to help eat it.

I knew I wanted to make an orange and black triple layer cake for Halloween, but I’d need to use a recipe that produced a cake dense enough to stack and support all three tiers.  I turned to my copy of Sky High Cakes in order to find a suitable recipe since triple layer cakes feature prominently in the book.  I settled on the Vanilla Buttermilk Cake which I dyed orange, and the Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake which I died black.  I had originally wanted to swirl the two cakes together, but since I was using two different recipes I figured it was best to cook them separately just incase they required different baking times.

Since I was baking the two cakes separately I decided to try something else new in order to try and avoid having to level off my cakes. I hate levelling cakes! I can never seem to get them level or all the same height.  BUT – I found a solution to this, and best of all it’ll only cost you pennies!  At first I thought about buying these Wilton Cake Strips, but I didn’t want to fork out £10 for them, and then wait for them to ship.  So I had a bit of a search on google and discovered that I could make my own using an old towel and some safety pins.  All you need to do is take an old towel and cut it into strips that are long enough to wrap around the outside of your pan. You also want the strips to be about double the height of the pan so you can fold them in half length ways so they become the same height as the pan.  One you have your towels cut to the proper length and width, then simply soak them in cold water for a minute or so and gently wring them out so they’re still quite wet, but not dripping wet.  Put them in the fridge to chill until you’re ready to pour your batter in the pans.  At that point, take the towels out of the fridge and wrap them around the outside of the cake pans.  Secure the towel with a safety pin, and then pour your batter in and cook as you normally would.  Your cakes will likely need to stay in the oven longer than they would normally since the wet towels slow down the cooking process, allowing the cakes to cook more evenly.


After I prepared my towels and got them chilling in the fridge I set out to make my cakes.  The first one I made was the Vanilla Buttermilk cake which I tinted orange.  I was really impressed with this recipe.  The cake had a nice tight crumb, and was perfect for stacking one on top of the other.  I scaled down this recipe so that it made two cakes instead of three since I was making a 3rd layer from a different recipe.  And that different recipe used mayonnaise.  YUCK!  I hate mayonnaise with a passion.  It’s my nemesis, and the main reason why I don’t eat the store bought sandwiches that are so popular here in the UK.  Almost every single one contains mayonnaise.  Thankfully the chocolate in the cake camouflaged any mayonnaise flavour that may have come through.  I do have to say that the mayonnaise in this cake really helped to keep it incredibly moist, because in reality mayonnaise is mainly eggs and oil.

The wet towels really helped to keep my cakes nice and level so I didn’t have to flatten them at all before layering them and assembling my cake.  Once my cake was ready to ice, I covered it in a layer or orange buttercream.  In situations like this most people would use an Italian Buttercream which is something I probably should have done, but I didn’t want to mess around with the egg whites.  So in order to get my buttercream perfectly smooth I used a large flat edged metal cake lifter that I’d heated in warm water to help achieve a really smooth finish on my cake.  Lastly I made a chocolate ganache that I poured directly on top of my iced cake, pushed it towards the edges and really just hoped for the best. I was really pleased with the way my ganache “drips” turned out.  I added some Halloween sprinkles using my fabulous new sprinkle shakers courtesy of Brabantia, which I blogged about here.    I’m really picky about stuff like that, and admit to placing sprinkles on one at a time in order to get them just right, so I was pleased with the fact that these shakers really distributed my sprinkles so evenly.


I loved the way this cake turned out, so do yourself a favour and bake it for your friends and family this Christmas.  Leave out the orange and black food colouring, add on some golden glitter and you’re set!

Vanilla Buttermilk Cake 
Slightly adapted from Sky High Cakes

Ingredients:

4 Eggs + 2 Yolks, room temperature  
1 1/4 Cups (295ml) Buttermilk, room temperature 
2 tsp (10 ml) Vanilla Extract 
3 Cups (360 g) Cake Flour, sifted 
2 Cups (475 g) Sugar 
4 1/2 tsp Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp Salt 
1 cup (227 g) Butter, room temperature
Orange Food Colouring (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F (175ºC).  Grease two 8 inch (9 inch will work as well) round cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment paper. 

2.  In a medium bowl, combine the whole eggs and yolks, along with 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, the vanilla and the food colouring and mix until well combined. Set aside.

3.  In a separate large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixer bowl and whisk to blend. 

3.  Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup of buttermilk to the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Pour the egg mixture in 3 equal parts until thoroughly incorporated. 

4.  Divide the batter evenly among the two prepared pans, and bake the cakes for 30-40 mins for the 8 inch cakes, or 28-34 minutes for the 9 inch cakes.  If you wrapped your cake pans in the wet towels like I did, then they may take longer to bake so just make sure your cake tester or wooden toothpick comes out clean and that the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans before you remove them.


Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake
Halved from the original recipe in Sky High Cakes

Ingredients:

1 Cup + 2 Tbsp (150g) Flour 
1/2  Cup (60g) Cocoa Powder 
1 1/8 tsp Baking Soda 
1/2 + 1/8 tsp Baking Powder 
1/2 tsp Salt 
1/4 tsp Cinnamon 
1 1/4 oz (36g) Dark Chocolate, chopped 
1/2 Cup (125ml) Whole Milk 
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp (185ml) Hot Strongly Brewed Coffee 
1 Egg 
1/2 Cup (110g) Mayonnaise* (NOT low fat or fat free) 
3/4 tsp Vanilla Extract 
1 Cup + 2 Tbsp (255g) Sugar
Black Food Colouring (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Grease one** 8 inch (9 inch will work as well) round cake pan, and line bottoms with parchment paper.  

2.  Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together and set aside.  

3.  Put the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring the milk to a simmer. Pour the hot milk and coffee over the chocolate and let it stand for a minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly.  

4.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, mayonnaise, vanilla and black colouring together until well blended. Gradually beat in the sugar. Then add the dry ingredients and mocha liquid alternating in 2 or 3 additions, beating until smooth and well blended. Pour into your prepared pan(s)

5.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pans before you remove them. 

Notes:  *Do not use Miracle Whip or low fat mayo – you must only use full fat mayo due to the oil content.  ** I cut the original recipe for this cake in half – the full recipe made three 8 inch cakes, but I used all of the recipe above to fill one 8 inch pan so it was quite thick.  I would recommend wrapping the pan in a wet towel as I explained in the previous Buttermilk Cake recipe to help the cake bake evenly.  If you decide not to wrap the pan in wet towels then I would suggest either dividing the batter between two 8 inch pans, or using some of the batter to make six cupcakes so that the 8 inch cake isn’t too thick. If you look at the pictures you can see that the middle chocolate layer of the cake has sunk down in the middle slightly.  This happened after the cake was done baking because it was so moist.


Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients:

1 Cup (250g) Butter, room temperature
5 3/4 Cups (700g) Icing Sugar, sifted
2 – 4 Tbsp Milk
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
Orange Food Colouring

Instructions:

1.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter on high until creamy (approx 1 – 2 mins).  

2.  Add the icing sugar one cup at a time, beating on medium speed until each cup of icing sugar is fully incorporated before adding the next.  When the icing starts to stiffen, add in the orange colouring, vanilla and half of the milk, continue to mix.  Continue adding the remainder of the icing sugar bit by bit, alternating with the remainder of the milk as necessary. If you find that the icing is still too stiff, add an additional tablespoon(s) of milk until the icing is a nice soft and fluffy consistency.


Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

6 oz (170g) Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz (120ml) Whipping Cream
1/2 oz (14g) Castor Sugar
1 tsp Butter

Instructions:

1.  Place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl and set aside.

2.  Combine the whipping cream and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until it has reached a simmer.  Remove from the heat, add in the butter and stir to combine.

3.  Pour the hot cream mixture directly on top of the chopped chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.  Stir from the centre until completely smooth.  Let the ganache sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes, or until it reaches a thick but pourable consistency.

While the ganache is setting, follow the directions below to assemble the cake.


To Assemble The Cake:  

Tools:  

8 inch cake drum (or drum the exact size of your cake) 
Small offset metal spatula 
Wilton Cake Lifter (or large metal scraper) 
Large bowl of very hot water (wide enough to fit the edge of your cake lifter) 
Decorating turntable 
Sprinkles of your choice  

1. Once cool, remove your cakes from the pan and set aside.  Place the cake drum in the center of your turntable.  Smear a dollop of buttercream across the top of your cake drum (this will ensure your cake does not slip off of the drum).  Then place the first layer of your cake on top of the buttercreamed drum ensuring that the flattest side of the cake is facing upwards.
2. Spread a layer of buttercream across the top of your first cake making sure that the icing is pushed all the way to the top edge of the cake.  Place the second layer of the cake on top of first so the buttercream is sandwiched in between.  Follow the same steps above until you’ve got all three layers nicely stacked on top of each other.  

3. Start covering the cake in buttercream by using your offset spatula to coat the top and sides of the cake.  Use quite a thick coating on the sides, and don’t worry about it being messy – we’ll fix that later.  I found the best technique for coating my cake was to start with the top and spread the icing across the top of the cake, and out past the edges.  Then do the sides by taking a big dollop of icing on the top of your offset spatula and coat small side sections before going back for another dollop of icing (make sure to scrape off your spatula each time you go back for more icing to avoid getting crumbs mixed in).  Repeat this until the cake is fully covered, making sure to also cover the edges of the silver cake drum.

4. Once your cake is fully covered, smooth out the top so it’s nice and level by holding a clean offset spatula in place on top of the cake at a 45 degree angle, and rotate the turntable so the cake is turning but your spatula is not.  This should get the top of your cake fairly smooth, but don’t worry If it’s not perfect.   

5. To get the sides of your cake nice and smooth you’ll need to use the metal cake lifter or scraper.  Start off by dipping the end of the lifter in a bowl of hot water.  Remove the cake lifter from the water and quickly dry it with a towel.  Hold the scraper with the bottom edge resting against the turntable, and the widest end edge against the side of the cake at a 45 degree angle.  Slowly rotate the turntable a full 360 degrees.  The heat from the metal scraper should warm the icing enough to give a smooth finish.  Do not stop rotating the turntable until you’ve made one full turn in order to avoid messing up your smooth finish.  If you’re not happy with the finish you can always go back and repeat the process until your happy with it.

6. To finish off the top of the cake use a clean offset spatula held at a 45 degree angle to smooth down any edges around the top.  Start from the outside edge and work in towards the center ensuring that your top is now as smooth as possible.  Your cake should be very smooth, but don’t worry if the top or edges aren’t perfect because they’ll be covered with the chocolate ganache.  Place the cake in the fridge and chill for 30 minutes, or until the icing is firm.  

7. If you plan on displaying your cake on a cake stand, use a clean cake lifter to carefully slide the chilled cake onto the stand.  Now you’re ready to decorate the top!  Make sure your chocolate ganache is a thick, but flowing consistency.  Carefully pour about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the ganache directly in the center of the top of your cake.  Use a clean offset spatula to help spread the ganache to the very edges, and then corss your fingers and hope for the best as it drips it’s way down the cake.  The key here is to use just enough ganache so that the drips stop within the top half of the cake.  If you use too much ganache you risk having it drip down and pool at the bottom of your cake.

8. While the ganache on top of your cake is still melted, add on your sprinkles of choice.  I used a selection of mini white bones and some orange and black sprinkles that I shook on using my new sprinkle jars.  The jars were brilliant at evenly distributing just the right amount of sprinkles on top of my cake.    


Like I mentioned above, I think this cake would look amazing if the orange icing was replaced with a milk chocolate icing, and chunky gold fakes were used on top rather than the Halloween sprinkles I used.  A perfect treat for Christmas!