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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Top With Cinnamon’s Cappuccino Cake

I just adore Izy Hozack’s blog: Top with Cinnamon. I love it! And her new book (cleverly) titled … ‘Top With Cinnamon: Stylish Sweet and Savoury Recipes’ is a masterpiece. Every recipe created by the gal herself has a beautiful accompanying page of gorgeously styled food photography. 

There's a great mix of familiar recipes with a slight twist and a few 'out-there' ones like courgette, cornbread pancakes. I actually quite like the sounds of that but who knows if I will ever get round to having courgettes for breakfast, that's another matter!   

As I flicked through the pages deciding what to make, straight away I was drawn to one thing - calling my name out "Frances, Frances bake me, Bake me!!" It was cappuccino cake of course. 

I think I can safely say that this was one of the best coffee cakes I have ever made. It's a great idea from Izy to have a buttercream in between layers and on the sides, but an additional generous topping of coffee flavoured cream which just takes it to the next level. (Note to self: 2 different types of icing are always better than 1!) (Also, I had never thought to use a spoon before to create swirl-like 'C' shapes in the cream to produce that beautiful pattern.) 

The deliberate crumb coating effect is also something I hadn't considered doing before, apart from when I actually run out of buttercream... I generally resort to just making more. But I have been won over! As I now like how you can see the layers peeking through. I don't think it would be as effective if it was just a 2 layer cake. Meh!

The texture somewhat reminds me of an opera style cake, as this is a 3 layer cake, with only 3 eggs - you can work out the math to come to the conclusion that there won't be a great deal of rise to these individual sponges. But when you layer them all together it just works and you instantly feel like this isn't just any old coffee cake! 

Cappuccino cake from Top With Cinnamon

 (serves 9-12)


250g plain flour
3 tsp ground almonds 
220g granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
110g unsalted butter
3 tbsp instant coffee granules
80ml milk
3 eggs

Frosting and filling:
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
125ml whipping cream
360g icing sugar, plus 2 tbsp extra
110g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tbsp cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350° F/  Gas 4. Line, grease and flour three 20cm (8 inch) cake tins. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, sugar and salt. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until no large chunks of butter remain. 

Dissolve the coffee in 80ml of hot water and pour into the flour mixture, along with the milk and eggs. Mix together using a wooden spoon or a hand-held electric beater.

Divide the batter between the lined cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cake springs back when poked with a finger. Let the cakes cool in their tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Remove the baking parchment and turn the cakes right-side up. Leave to cool completely before using a serrated knife to level any domed cakes. 

To make the filling and frosting, combine 2 tablespoons of boiling water and the instant coffee in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the cream until it just starts to thicken. Add the 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of the dissolved coffee. Continue to whisk until it forms soft peaks (if it starts to look grainy, immediately add 2 tablespoons of extra whipping cream and gently stir it in). Chill in the fridge while you make the buttercream. 

Make the coffee buttercream by creaming the butter, remaining dissolved coffee and the icing sugar together in a separate bowl until smooth. It should be the consistency of cream cheese so add a splash of milk if it seems too thick.

To assemble, place 1 cooled cake (cut-side down, if levelled) on a cake stand or large platter. Place one-third of the buttercream on top of the cake and use a spoon or butter knife to spread it over the surface of the cake, stopping just shy of the edge. Top with the second cake (again, cut side down) and press down lightly so that the buttercream is pushed to the edge. As before, cover with buttercream and then top with the third cake (cut-side down). 

Use the remaining buttercream to very thinly frost the side of the cake (this is known as a crumb coating). Use the coffee-whipped cream to frost the top of the cake. To create the effect shown in the photograph, use a palette knife to create C-shapes in the whipped cream, starting at the top of the cake and moving towards the centre. Do this all along the edge of the cake until you've covered the entire surface, then dust with cocoa powder. The cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days; bring it to room temperature before serving.  

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Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Liebster Award Nomination!

Since starting my blog in the early midst that is July 2014 I never thought that it would be easy getting my blog noticed by all you lovely people. So when I got nominated recently for The Liebster Award by Lucy Loves to Eat I was thrilled. 

The Liebster Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers, it works like an online chain, given by bloggers and passed on by bloggers. It's a great way to get recognised and as blogging is all about building up an online community it's an awesome way to connect and help pass on the word! 

An interesting fact: 'liebster' is german for sweetest, kindest and welcoming. So very fitting for the purpose of this blog award. 

Listen up...the rules are as follows:

1. Link the person who has nominated you
2. Answer all the questions given by the nominator
3. Nominate 11 other blogs that you think deserve it
4. Create 11 questions for the nominees to answer
5. Then notify all nominees through social media/their blogs

(I don't know why everything is 11?! An odd number to pick but that's the rules so can't argue with that.)

Here's my answers to the questions Lucy asked me:

1. What is your favourite macaroon flavour?
To be brutally honest- I don't like macaroons. I know. It's sad. I really do want to like them but I just don't because no matter how much other flavourings you put into them, I can always taste almonds and hate almonds. 

2. What is your favourite perfume?
The best perfume that I always like to use is Ghost- Deep night. 

3. If you could have one final meal/foods of your choice what would it be?
I think I would have to go with cake! Cake is my favourite thing and I don't care that it's not a proper is in my eyes. My favourite flavour has got to be coffee and walnut but I don't think I'd be able to have it without a good cup of tea. 

4. What are your top 3 travel destinations that you have been to and why?
Barcelona - The city is amazing, so much to do and see, the Gaudi is breathtaking and I wouldn't mind going for a walk around Park Güell again!
Orlando Theme Parks- Hey, I know it's a bit childish to say this but I'm only 16 and I haven't had the time to visit many countries yet. I went once when I was little and have many great memories from there. I love the dolphin shows at Seaworld.
The city of Rhodes- So scenic with the huge castle, it's like an old town and you feel as if your walking on a film set. Gorgeous food too.  

5. Do you like to chill out on holiday or cram in as much as possible?  
Is it alright if I can choose both?! I like to go on holiday and have a couple of days just relaxing on the beach but then I also like to get the most out of a place and explore! Shopping has always got to be one activity, of course. 

6. What are your favourite topics when following a blog you love?
Food mostly, but then if I spot an art blog I like, that gets me inspired with my art A level. 

7. What is your favourite colour and why?
My favourite colour is lilac, my first pair of converses was in this colour. It reminds of lavender for some reason and that gets me thinking about spring/summer time!

8. What are your dreams and ambitions?
The main ambition I have is to become a food stylist and food writer. My dream would be to work for the likes of a famous tv chef on the set of their tv cookery programmes. I would also love to go to Paris and experience the best patisserie. 

9. Which is your favourite dress that you own?
My favourite dress changes frequently, normally it tends to be the newest in my collection. At the moment I like wearing my classic black shift dress with white collar from Zara. 

10.  Name a blog that inspires you?
Top With Cinnamon inspires me. She started like me - in her teens, and has progressed onto releasing her first cookbook which would be a dream for me too.

11. What are your top 3 favourite high street/online shops?
Topshop, Ark and River Island.

Here's my nominations:

The Peppermint Pencil
Hannah Bakes Things
Coriander Queen
Ever So Tasty
Sophie Denise
Little food goose
A Dash Of Ginger
Butter and Brioche
Little Alice
The Indie Broccoli
Figs and Pigs

My questions:

1. What is your favourite flavour of cake?
2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
3. Do you automatically choose sweet or savoury?
4. What was your motivation to start your blog?
5. What's your favourite go-to cookbook and why?
6. Would you rather eat out or eat in?
7. What's your favourite season and why?
8. Who inspires you?
9. What's your favourite flower?
10. If you were a food/meal what would you be?
11. What is the best thing about blogging for you?

I can't wait to hear your answers! Please let me know when you write them. And thanks Lucy.
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Friday, 9 January 2015

Cherry Oat Cakejacks

Cakejacks. Otherwise known as alternatives to cake dowels, however there is now another meaning to this word. I have created a new hybrid...a cross between a cake and flapjack. With added deliciousness of cherries and a chocolate drizzle.

It could almost be considered a breakfast food right?! It's got oats and fruit in, so in my mind it's okay! And I know with the new year comes the resolutions and we're all (well trying) to get healthier again, but just tell yourself this (like I am) that they are healthy! Oats are good at lowering cholesterol and suppresses your hunger for longer. Convinced now? 

They are speedy to whip up in less than hour of your time which has gotta be a bonus. Plus they are easy to make in larger quantities, just double or even quadruple your mixture and put into a larger tin. I can imagine these going down pretty well at a coffee morning bake sale.

Ingredients (makes 9)

100g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
175g porridge oats
1 egg (beaten)
100g glacé cherries
140g melted butter
50g milk chocolate


Preheat your oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4/ 350°F. Grease and line a 22cm square cake tin. Mix together the flour, sugar and oats in a bowl. Then add the beaten egg, melted butter and cherries (don't halve them unless they are huge) and mix altogether. Put into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden brown. 

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack. Melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cakejacks. When set, cut into 9 equal squares. Enjoy!

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Sunday, 4 January 2015

What I'm Looking Forward to for 2015: My Top 3 Good Reads

Hello again. Writing the first post of this year... 2015 baby! Hope everyone had a good Christmas! I certainly did - as you know I had a little (well big if you think about it)  - break from blogging but I'm back to it now. 

Anyway, I thought for a change (with it being the new year an' all) I would tell you about my top 3 cookbooks to be released this year! 

1. Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook

Rachel Khoo is one of my all time favourite tv personality chefs. I think what did it for me was when I watched her for the first time on her tv programme - The Little Paris Kitchen. Even the title got me interested and from then on she got me hooked! But it was only a 6 episode'r so you could only imagine how thrilled I was when she came back to our screens last Summer in the UK (and in fact aired all over the world, just woah!

In the series she encountered a colourful and energetic tour around some of Europe’s most exciting cities and towns including our bustling capital London. So her latest book encapsulates 100 standout recipes, including those much anticipated recipes from the series which I can't wait to get my hand on!! As an art student I also really appreciate all her little sketches which will be flourishing the book throughout - from her very own notebook of the food and places she encountered, and I just know there is going to be some stunning food photography. 

With delicious fare including Ham Hock Tiffin Box to Turkish Creams (pictured above), and Rhubarb and Custard Millefeuille, Rachel Khoo's Kitchen Notebook will inspire even the most jaded cook to try something new. Due to be released on 12th February, 2015.  You can pre-order it here!

2. How Baking Works ( and what  to do if it doesn't ) by James Morton

James Morton is a Scottish baker who rose to fame by coming runner up in the third series of that oh so little favourite tv show of mine called The Great British Bake Off. (Can you sense the sarcasm as I type?) This is second in line to add to James Morton's collection, the follow up from Brilliant Bread. This second book doesn't just look at bread but in fact explores the whole baking repertoire that all of us yearn to perfect. I'm talking cakes, biscuits, macaroons, pastry, muffins, tortes and more....yes! Yes! And Yes! 

But this isn't just any old cookbook this seeks to answer such questions like: does your Victoria sponge always sink in the centre? Does your choux pastry end up flat and dry? Are your brownies more soggy than squidgy? James Morton aims to gently guide even the most novice of novices to achieve the perfect bake every time! With step by step instructions and photographs he takes us through the essential processes, timings and techniques - and how you can adapt and customize to suit your own tastes. 

I can't wait to have a look at this book because even though I don't exactly like to call myself a 'novice' and in fact I'd say I'm actually a rather good baker...but, let's just admit it: there is always something that will bug me and I like to know that it's not just me who gets it wrong. I'd feel pretty smug to think even someone who came runner up on The Great British Bake Off has encountered the same problems as I. So what's not to love about a cookbook with troubleshooting tips included?! How Baking Works (And What To Do If It Doesn't) will be released on 12th March 2015. You can pre-order it here!

3. The Painted Cake by Natasha Collins 

I hadn't actually heard of Natasha Collins before but after doing a little bit of research I could just tell that this sounds like a book for me. Natasha is a leading British cake decorator and just by starting out as a hobby, she ended up creating her own business called Nevie-Pie Cakes and creates the most exquisite cakes with her hand painting skills. 

I know that your going to say that it's not your everyday kinda- baking book but it is the sort of thing that you pull out when you have the time and perhaps want to create a showstopping creation for a celebration that would most definitely impress! I love art and I love cake so this book is a match made in heaven for me. 

The book includes detailed step-by-step instructions for more than 20 projects using fondant painted with edible colours. It's not all about cakes either, there are mentions of cookies too! And there are some template design elements if your not so good at free-hand painting they are pretty damn handy.  

Due to be released on 12th March 2015. You can pre-order the book here!

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