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Royal Wedding Cupcakes

With Royal Wedding fever now in full swing, and only 4 days left until the big day I thought I’d share a few cupcakes decorating ideas I put together.  Here in the UK we’ve been lucky enough to be given the day off as a national holiday (thanks Will & Kate!), so there will be thousands of viewing parties and the occasional street party going on so we can all help share in the celebrations.  But – those parties just don’t apply to the people living in the UK.  That’s right, all across the world friends will be getting together to watch the Royal Wedding and share in the festivities.  And what better way to celebrate than with cupcakes! 



For simplicities sake I decided to use Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes, but really – is there any other way to celebrate than with chocolate cake???  These cupcakes are super easy to bake, and since they only use one bowl you can use the extra bit of time to spend decorating rather than washing up.

The best thing about these cupcakes (aside from the fact they taste amazing) is that you can make all of the decorations yourself – even the little flags!  I’ve included a printable template for those below.  Instructions for the flowers and glittery balls are also below.


Martha Stewart’s One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup (94g) Cocoa Powder 
1 1/2 Cups (188g) Flour 
1 1/2 Cups (338g) Sugar 
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda 
3/4 tsp Baking Powder 
3/4 tsp Salt 
2 Eggs 
3/4 Cup (178ml) Warm Water 
3/4 Cup (178ml) Buttermilk 
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Buttercream recipe of your choice – I just used plain vanilla


Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).  Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 2 – 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

2.  Divide the batter evenly among 2 lined cupcake pans (24 individual cupcakes), filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before icing and decorating.

3.  Pipe big swirls of buttercream icing onto the cupcakes and decorate using one of the below ideas.

Royal Wedding Sugarpaste Flowers


These flowers look a lot harder than they actually are – in fact they’re super easy, but you will need a special silicone mold and flower cutters to make them.  I bought my cutter and mold set a year or so ago, but unfortunately I can’t find the mold on the company website anymore.   The mold is called the 5 petal blossom veiner, so I’d suggest having a look around your local sugar craft supply store or eBay to see if they have it.  The cutters are a set of 2 different sized petunia cutters – available here

You’ll also need a few other things pictured below – edible pearls for the centers of the flowers, edible pearl lustre dust, and sugar floral paste & gel colours – both pictured here.


First you’ll need to colour your floral paste with a gel paste, and then roll it out so it’s nice and thin before (see here for an example) using the petunia cutters to cut out your flowers.  Next you’ll need to dust your flower silicone mold to prevent the flower paste from sticking – if you want your flowers to have a subtle sparkle to them dust the mold with silver lustre dust.  If you’d prefer them not to have any sparkle then lightly dust your mold with cornstarch (corn flour).  Place the flat floral paste flower cut out into the bottom of the mold, then place the top half of the mold on top of the bottom half and press firmly and evenly to create your flower shape.  Carefully lift off the top of the mold, and then gently peel the floral paste flower from the bottom half making sure you keep it’s newly formed shape.  Dry them upside down for at least half an hour to ensure they keep their shape.  Lastly you’ll need to give your flower a center by adding an edible pearl (or silver ball).  You can glue the pearls into the centers by using a tiny dot of icing.

Once your flowers are dry and your centers are stuck in place you can place them on top of your cupcakes to give them an elegant Royal Wedding look.  


Glitter Covered Balls


Another one of my favourite decorations are glittery balls.  These are so easy!  Simply roll a tiny bit of sugarpaste into a ball using your hands.  Next, brush each ball with a bit of edible glue (not pictured, but available at sugar craft stores & Hobby Craft in the UK).  Once the balls are coated in edible glue, simply drop them into a jar of edible glitter and roll them around until they’re entirely coated in glitter.  Use tweezers to carefully pick up the glitter covered ball, tapping off any excess glitter so it falls back into the jar, and then place them on your cupcakes.


Union Jack Cupcake Flags


Now I understand that not everyone has time to order the flower mold before the Royal Wedding, or even the desire to spend the time making those little flowers.  So, if you’re one of those people, then these Union Jack flags are for you!  They’re seriously easy to make.  I’ve done the hardest part for you be creating the flag template, which I’ve attached below so you can download and print it yourself.


** To download – click the orange download button on the top right hand corner of the PDP preview above.


After you’ve printed off the cupcake flags, simply cut them out along the faint dotted line, use a glue stick to cover the plain back side with glue and then place a toothpick in the middle of the paper & fold the paper over to form the flag.  See!  Told you they were simple!  Now all that’s left to do is sit back and enjoy the Royal Wedding!


This post also appears on the fabulously delicious website Cupcakes Take The Cake

A Royal Wedding Victoria Sponge Cake

I don’t know of a cake that’s any more British than the Victoria Sponge cake.  When I first moved to the UK and started visiting cute little coffee shops I noticed the Victoria Sponge cake everywhere.  It jumped out at me for 2 reasons.  Firstly, because I’d never seen it before, and secondly, becasue it wasn’t covered in a thick layer of rich buttercream icing like all the cakes were back home.  When I started talking to people about my love of baking I’d often ask them what their favourite cake or dessert was, and Victoria Sponge was the one mentioned most often.  I didn’t really get it.  I mean, the Victoria Sponge cake looked rather plain and unimpressive, and I’d seen plenty of other cakes that were more rich and decadent that I’d rather try.  But then I realised something – UK tastes are totally different than North American tastes. Overly sweet things just aren’t as popular here.  Sure, they have loads of sweet and delicious desserts here, but the Victoria Sponge cake is considered more of a lighter option.  Something that you could enjoy with a cup of afternoon tea, and that wouldn’t leave you feeling overly heavy after you’ve eaten it. 


I’d always dismissed the “boring” looking Victoria Sponge cake in favour of other sweeter options until one day last summer I gave in and decided to see what all the hype was about.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was actually really nice, and not overly sweet which left me feeling much lighter than a heavy piece of chocolate cake would have on a hot summer day.

For those of you not familiar with the Victoria Sponge cake it’s basically two un-iced vanilla cakes sandwiched together between a layer of buttercream icing (or double cream – which is similar to whipped cream), and a layer of strawberry or raspberry jam.  Pretty simple huh?

The recipe for a Victoria Sponge cake is equally simple, and is probably another reason why this cake is so popular.  Anyone can make it!  

I had originally intended to use the recipe from Royal Wedding cake baker Fiona Cairns’ book Bake and Decorate (which I reviewed here), but as I read through the instructions I was a little dubious as they said to basically combine everything in the mixer and beat them until they were well mixed.  I’d always been taught not to beat flour, so I started to research a few other Victoria Sponge recipes.  After looking at at least 6 different recipes from various recipe books and online sources, the main thing I noticed what that the majority of them called for equal amounts of butter, flour and sugar.  In the end I decided to come up with my own recipe, and I was quite pleased with the way it turned out.  Because there is no liquid in the recipe (aside from eggs), the batter will be very thick, so make sure you spread it around the cake pans equally and evenly to ensure you have a nice looking cake.  Remember – you can’t fix any mistakes by covering them in a thick coating of buttercream!!  My top layer came out slightly lopsided, never the less it tasted delicious.  I choose to use buttercream icing and strawberry jam as my fillings, and I used castor sugar (granulated sugar in the US) to garnish the top of my cake.



Traditional Victoria Sponge Cake
Ingredients:

3/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp (200g) Castor Sugar
3/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp (200g) Butter, room temperature
4 Eggs
1.5 tsp Vanilla extract
1.5 Cups + 1.5 Tbsp (200g) Self Raising Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Vanilla Buttercream Icing or Whipped Double Cream – enough to cover the top of 1 cake in a thick layer
1/4 Cup (approx 70g) Strawberry or Raspberry Jam 

Castor Sugar or Icing Sugar to finish (2-4 Tbsp)



Instructions:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).  Grease (and if you choose – line with parchment) two round 8″ (20cm) cake pans.  Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

2.  Add in eggs 1 at a time to ensure they don’t curdle the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat well before adding each following egg.  Beat in the vanilla extract.

3.  Gently fold in the self raising flour and baking powder into the butter, sugar and egg mixture until just combined.  Don’t over mix.  Divide the batter equally between the two pans, making sure that the batter is as flat and even as possible.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

4.  Let cakes cool in their pans at least 1/2 an hour before turning out on a rack to finish cooling. *Make sure that the bottoms of the cakes rest on the rack, and not the tops, otherwise you’ll have ugly lines going across the top of your cake!  Once your cakes have fully cooled, coat the top of one of the cakes with a thick layer of buttercream icing or double cream, and then spread your strawberry or raspberry jam over top.  Next, place the second cake on top of the other cake so that the buttercream icing and jam are sandwiched in between the two cakes.  Finally, sprinkle with a generous layer of castor sugar or icing sugar to finish off your cake.  


*If you used buttercream as your filling your Victoria Sponge Cake will keep at room temperature for about 4 days in a sealed container.  If you’re using double cream, then store your cake in the fridge so it doesn’t spoil, although keeping a cake in the fridge will cause it to go stale faster than if you were to keep it at room temperature.


And since the world is gearing up for the Royal Wedding taking place on Friday April 29th, I thought the Victoria Sponge cake would be a perfect cake to bake in celebration of William and Kate’s special day.  Here in the UK we’ve been lucky enough to be given April 29th off as National holiday, so the majority of UK residents will be off work and out of school.  All sorts of Royal Wedding celebrations will be taking place on April 29th so the public can share in the wedding celebrations.  Street parties and picnics are being organised all across the country, and what better way to celebrate the Royal wedding than to bake and share a Victoria Sponge Cake with your friends and family.  


I made some very simple hanging Union Jack flags (called bunting here in the UK) out of paper and attached them together with some thread (ok – I used mint dental floss!) and then tied them to some bamboo skewers that I then stuck in my cake to decorate it and give it a bit of a celebratory feel.  If you’d like to celebrate the Royal Wedding by decorating your own Victoria Sponge cake with these little flags, I’ve included a printable PDF below so you can make your own.  ** I’ve also included 3 additional flags in the PDF incase you’d prefer to celebrate the following 2011 holidays:

St. Georges Day – Saturday April 23rd (England’s national day)
Canada Day – Friday July 1st (Canada’s Birthday)
Independence Day – Monday July 4th (America’s Birthday)


** To download – click the orange download button on the top right hand corner of the PDP preview above.

Simply cut the little flags out and lay them face down on a flat surface.  Take a piece of thread (or in my case dental floss) and lay it across the back of the flags near the top.  Fold the top part of the flag over the thread and fasten with a piece of tape or glue.  When you pick up your thread from both ends each of the flags should be hanging down as shown in my picture above.  Tie each end to a bamboo skewer and insert them into the cake.  Ta Da!!!  A perfect and simple way to decorate your cake – whatever occasion you choose!

Diamond Jubilee Dome Cake


The other day I posted my review of Peggy Porschen’s new Boutique Baking book.  I was so excited when it arrived, I couldn’t put it down.  I flipped through the pages over and over again, examining every recipe trying to decide what to make first.  


The recipe that stood out the most to me was a very simple, yet elegant dome cake that Peggy calls her Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake (pictured below from her book).  This cake isn’t your typical cake – it’s made up of a thin layer of jaconde sponge and then filled with a delicious custard butter cream that’s been studded with raspberries.


I’m not going to lie – this cake is fairly labour intensive.  There’s a lot of steps involved and it’s best to do them over two days, but the step by step pictures are a huge asset and really do help to reassure you that you’re doing things correctly.


Peggy’s version of the Raspberry & Rose Dome Cake (above) is covered in pastel fondant and decorated with pretty sugar paste flowers.  I choose to decorate mine in a royal theme to help celebrate the upcoming Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I used the same sugar paste flowers that I made last year on my Royal Wedding Cupcakes, and I also made some cute little crowns from a mould that I picked up a few months ago at the Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating Exhibition.
  


I’ve decided not to post the recipe for this cake because it’s very long (approx 4 pages in the book) and requires a lot of steps (see the pictures above).  I don’t want that to detour you from making it though.  It’s not hard to make – especially the jaconde sponge (I made a similar one here, and they only take 8 minutes to bake!), it’s just the assembling of the cake that takes the time.  So if you think you’d like to try baking your own dome cake, then please buy Peggy’s Boutique Baking book – you won’t regret it!


To make the crowns you’ll need a mould like this one here from Squires Kitchen that I used.  First I took some Mexican modelling paste and tinted it a light golden colour (I used golden yellow from Wilton).  Next I brushed some gold metallic lustre dust inside my mould which helped to give it the golden colour, but also to prevent the modelling paste from sticking.  


Firmly push the modelling paste into the mould and trim off any excess with a sharp knife,  To remove the crowns simply turn the mould upside down and tap the back of the mould firmly with the handle of a knife to help shake them out.


To give the crowns their nice golden colour I mixed a bit of the gold lustre dust with a tiny bit of vodka to create a shiny gold paint and used a paintbrush to coat the surface of the crowns.  The red and blue gems in the crowns are actually just shimmery sugar sprinkles that were given to me by Waitrose in a goody bag a few months ago.


This cake calls for a dome mould (Peggy uses half of a ball pan) to give the cake it’s perfect shape, but I didn’t have a dome mould, so instead used a bowl.  Although the bowl worked, it didn’t turn out exactly as I’d imagined.  It was a bit deeper and not as perfectly domed as I’d hoped, but I think I could have done a better job of lining my bowl with the jaconde sponge to get a better shape.  I get a bit annoyed when my baking attempts don’t turn out exactly as they do in the pictures!

This cake, like most traditional UK cakes is covered in both a layer of marzipan, followed by a layer of fondant.  I’m not a huge fan of marzipan, and I honestly don’t see much of a point in using both layers of covering (other than the fact that the marzipan layer makes the fondant layer a little easier to smooth out).  I almost did’t bother using the marzipan, but I wanted to make the cake exactly as it’s shown in the book.


I had intended on using the same fondant boarder around the base of my cake that was shown in the book, but the red fondant (Renshaw brand) I’d bought a month earlier had dried into a rock hard block before I even got a chance to get it out of the package!  Instead, I kept things simple and just used some red and blue ribbon.


Overall, I was quite pleased with my dome cake – even if it didn’t turn out perfect.  Although I’ve done a few, I’m still fairly new to covering cakes in fondant, and really just enjoy tinkering around in my spare time making flowers and sugar paste decorations.  I’ve always wanted to improve my cake decorating skills, and I’m very pleased to announce I will get that opportunity this week!  


You see, last summer after I made my Peggy Porschen Baby Shower Cookies I was absolutely thrilled to receive an invite from the Peggy Porschen Academy inviting me to attend one of Peggy’s cake decorating courses!!!  The only thing was, they had invited me to a course that was taking place 3 weeks after I was due to give birth to baby Jayden.  I knew there was no way I could attend a cake decorating course and leave my 3 week old at home. Luckily, Peggy’s team was very understanding and told me to contact them when I was ready to take one of her courses.


A few months ago I got back in touch with Peggy’s team and we decided on my course.  I’m so excited to tell you all that this Tuesday I will be spending the day with Peggy learning how to make this absolutely stunning Black and White Anemone Cake!!


I’m sooo looking forward to learning how to make this stunning cake and picking up tips from the master herself.  I can’t wait to share my cake with you all when I’m done, so keep watching, and I’ll post it soon!

Authentic Belgian Waffles

Photo courtesy of Nancy Brown


Ok, I have a confession to make.  Even though I was really excited about the Royal Wedding and chose to bake a few things to help celebrate it, I wasn’t even in the country to watch it!   Why?  Because I had booked a 3 day trip to Brussels instead!  In hindsight I should have booked my Brussels trip to leave a day earlier so I could be back on UK soil to watch and celebrate the Royal Wedding live with everyone else, but I choose to use my Airmiles for the flights in order to fly for free, so flight availability was a bit tight.  Instead, I recorded the Royal Wedding and watched it on Friday evening when we got home.  Didn’t Kate look amazing?  And did you see their cake?? 

It turns out that we went to Brussels at the perfect time.  The weather was almost perfect (except for a torrential downpour during our day trip to Brugge – but that only lasted half an hour before the sun popped out again), there were minimal crowds, and the food was delicious. But the best thing of all were the waffles!  Oooh the waffles!  I’d always thought Belgian Waffles were just a larger thicker waffle with whipped cream & berries on top – nothing really different than a regular waffle, but boy was I wrong!  The waffles that we were eating in Belgium weren’t like anything I’d ever had before. They were crispy and caramelised around the edges, and the actual waffle was chewy and yeasty and full of vanilla flavour.  As far as toppings go, we had a choice from the simple yet always delicious Nutella, or the Belgian specialty Specaloos to strawberries piled high with whipped cream.  I opted for Nutella, because after seeing the ridiculously tiny fork they give you to eat your waffle with, there was NO way I could manage eating one covered in strawberries and whipped cream.  After biting into my first Belgian Waffle I just knew I had to recreate them at home.  After getting back to our hotel room and quickly googling an authentic Belgian waffle recipe I discovered that the waffles I’d fallen in love with were actually called Leige Waffles or “Gaufres de Leige” in French – but for the simplicities sake I’m just going to continue calling them Belgian waffles ok?


See those silly little forks!

The main differences between Belgian Waffles (aka Leige Waffles) is that they use yeast as a rising agent in them, and the batter is more like a very sticky dough rather than a runny batter like North American waffles are.  They also had something completely different in them that resulted in their caramelised edges – pearl sugar!  I’d never seen or heard of pearl sugar before, and instead of looking like little pearls it actually looked more like white the white little rocks you’d find in a fancy planter or walkway.  I did manage to find some pearl sugar in a Belgian grocery store.  


I’ve read that it can be rather hard to find outside of Belgium, but crushed up sugar cubes can be used in place of of pearl sugar if you can’t find it.  The recipe I used called for 1 cup of pearl sugar, but after making the waffles I would suggest reducing that amount down to 1/2 a cup.  I thought the pearl sugar would have melted while the waffles were cooking in the iron, but most of it didn’t which did result in nice little crunchy bits in the waffles, but I thought 1 cup of pearl sugar was just too much.  I opted to top my waffle off with Nutella (my favourite), even though I did have some other specialty Belgian toppings that I brought back as well.  The waffles were delicious, and very very similar to the waffles we had in Brussels.



Belgian Waffles (aka Leige Waffles)
Adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:
1 (1/4 ounce or 6g) package yeast
1/3 Cup (80ml) Lukewarm Water
1 1/2 Tbs Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
2 Cups (250g) Flour
2 tsp Vanilla Extract or Vanilla Bean Paste
3 eggs
1 Cup (225g) Softened Butter
1/2 Cup (approx 1-2 handfuls) Pearl Sugar or Crushed Sugar Cubes

Instructions:
1.  Mix yeast, water, sugar and salt, and let develop for 15 minutes.
2.  Place flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center.  Pour in yeast mixture and vanilla and begin to knead.  Continue to knead while adding the eggs one at a time, along with approx 2-3 Tbsp of the soft butter at a time.  Make sure the dough is mixed well.
3.  Leave the dough in a warm spot to rise in the bowl until doubled – approx 1.5 – 2 hours.
4.  Gently mix the pearl sugar into the dough, and let rest for 15 minutes.  Heat waffle iron.


5.  Place about 1/3 cup of the waffle dough into the middle of your hot waffle iron and spread out slightly with a fork or spatula.  Cook the waffles on low heat for 3-5 minutes, until waffles lightly brown on top.

My waffle iron – sorry it had too many crumbs to take a photo of the inside!

6.  Serve the waffles warm with your choice of topping such as Nutella, Fruit, Whipped Cream, Specaloos, etc.



There’s that tiny fork again!

I don’t think I could live without my waffle iron.  Thanks to some good friends back in Canada, it was one of the first appliances we got when we moved to the UK as we got it for a wedding gift.  Waffle irons aren’t nearly as common here in the UK as they are in North America, so finding a waffle iron in physical store can be kind of hard. Often if a store does carry waffle irons in stock, they will only have 1 or 2 brands or designs.  The waffle iron I have is no longer available, but if you’re looking to purchase one I’d recommend the one below.

A Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake That’s Fit For A Queen – Well, Kinda


Way back in February I received a copy of the book Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns.  I’d never heard of Fiona at the time, but quickly learned from the inside cover of her book that she’s been baking and decorating cakes for over 25 years.  Fiona started selling cakes from her home, and now supplies them to major stores including Waitrose, Harrods and the iconic Fortnum & Mason.  And get this – she’s recently be given given the prestigious task of making the royal wedding cake for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  So if you’re like me, and had never heard of Fiona Cairns before, I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot more about her in the weeks to come.



When I received my copy of Bake and Decorate I did what anyone would do and had a quick flip through to see which recipes caught my eye.  I really liked that fact that each recipe was accompanied by a full color picture of what the finished cake should look like – I can’t stand when recipe books don’t do this!  There were a few, recipes that jumped out at me, but the one that really stood out was the Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake.

I’d always wanted to make a flourless cake.  I’d had them many times in restaurants  and they were always so rich and moist.  For those of you who haven’t tried a flourless cake, they’ve got a much denser consistency than a regular cake, and they’re packed full of chocolate flavour.  

Fiona’s Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake was one of the easiest and most delicious cakes I’d ever made.  Seriously!  Give it a try!


Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chocolate Ganache

6.5 Tbsp (90g) Butter
2.10oz (60g) Roasted Hazelnuts – skinless
5.3oz (150g) Dark Chocolate – 70% Cocoa
1/3 Cup + 2 Tbsp (90g) Sugar, separated
3 Eggs, separated 
Chocolate Ganache (my own recipe, not Fiona’s)

4oz (120ml) Heavy Cream
1/2oz (14g) Sugar
1/2 Tbsp Butter
6oz (170g) Dark Chocolate – 70% Cocoa

Fresh Raspberries to garnish
1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and grease a 7.5 inch (20cm) round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment / baking paper.

2.  If your hazelnuts aren’t already toasted, now’s the time to do it.  You’ll need to roast them in the oven on a sheet pan for 5 – 10 minutes watching carefully so they don’t burn.  Set the roasted hazelnuts aside to cool, and then grind them finely using a food processor.

In a double boiler place the chocolate, butter and just under 1/3 cup (70g) of the sugar together and melt together gently.  Remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnuts.  In a smaller bowl, beat the egg yolks together until they change to a pale yellow colour, and then mix them into the cooled chocolate mixture.

3.  In a separate bowl (make sure it’s very clean with no grease!) whisk the egg whites until frothy, slowly add in the remaining sugar and continue whisking until the egg whites form soft peaks.  Take a large spoonful of the egg whites and gently fold them into the chocolate mixture to lighten it up a little.  Now very gently fold in the remaining egg whites until combined into the chocolate mixture.

4.  Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Set aside to cool for 10 – 15 minutes, and then gently run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan.  Once the cake has cooled, flip it onto your serving plate so the base of the cake is now the top.

5.  To make the chocolate ganache, break up or chop chocolate into small pieces and put into a small to medium sized stainless steel bowl.


6.  Pour cream and sugar into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until almost boiling. Stir frequently to prevent any burning.

7.  Once the cream and sugar has come close to boiling, pour it over top of the chocolate pieces (the chocolate should be mostly covered by the cream).  Let the cream sit on the chocolate for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, start to stir the chocolate and cream together using a metal spoon.  Start from the inside and stir clockwise working your way to the outer edge of the bowl.  Stir until the chocolate and cream mixture is smooth and combined.  There shouldn’t be any lumps of chocolate left.  Leave the chocolate ganache mixture to cool for about 5 – 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  

8.  Pour the ganache on top of the cake and spread it around using a spatula or knife until it evenly covers the top.  Don’t worry if it flows down some of the edges.  Garnish the top with fresh raspberries and serve. 

So shiny!

There you have it!  A fabulously rich, moist and dense chocolate cake that’s worthy of being on any top restaurant’s menu.  Seriously – give it a try!

And what did I think about the rest of the book aside from the Flourless cake?  Well,  to be honest my initial thoughts were that there was a lot of nice looking recipes in the book, but the decorating techniques weren’t quite what I was expecting. I had expected there to be more decorating techniques in it such as those using fondant etc, but I don’t think this is what Fiona was aiming for in her book.  The decorating techniques are really more decorating ideas.  There’s nothing fussy or intimidating about them.  They’re simple, and perfect for a beginner – things like candied flowers, ribbons tied around cakes, and candy arranged in pretty patterns.  As for the recipes – I found most of them to be fairly traditional English recipes.  Things like Victoria Sponge Cakes, Fruit Cakes, Battenberg Cakes etc.  They’re not covered in sweet icings like most American cakes are, which makes them much lighter tasting than what I’m used to making.  I needed a good book with some traditional English basics.  After all – I’ve only ever had a slice of Victoria Sponge cake once!  For those people outside of the UK, I would say that the Victoria Sponge is probably the most popular cake in the UK, but it’s virtually unknown in North America.  It’s a true classic, and I’ll be baking Fiona’s version of it very soon.