Clandestine Cake Club – Chocolate Fudge Cake

Chocolate Fudge Cake filled with Chocolate Meringue Buttercream, iced with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Chocolate Fudge Cake filled with Chocolate Meringue Buttercream, iced with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Wow, long time, no see. What can I say? I have been busy? I haven’t baked very much? All of the above basically… I’ve been tired and haven’t felt very inspired to bake things the last few months. But, then there was a meeting of Clandestine Cake Club a few days ago in Bracknell. I had only been once before as somehow it tends to fall whenever I have to work in the evening. But I could make it this time and the theme was Celebration Cakes as it was the first birthday of the Bracknell club.

So, I made a special cake. And it was scrumptious. The result was a rich cake with a light filling and although it could’ve been really sweet, it wasn’t. I made the chocolate fudge cake that was part of our wedding cake last year. But I decided to learn how to make a new kind (well, new to me anyway) buttercream and use that to fill the cake. I used my trusty Leith’s Baking Bible and made a cooked buttercream, which basically makes it like a soft meringue. I then iced it with salted caramel buttercream. A few people asked for the recipe, so here goes.

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Gateau Breton


It’s been a while! Sorry. It’s been busy here, I’ve worked a lot, have been away to see my family, and it’s left very little time for baking things.

So today I made one of my favourite things: Gateau Breton, or butter cake, or if you’re Dutch boterkoek. I haven’t had this in many years and a few weeks ago I was in a restaurant in Amsterdam and they had it on their dessert menu and I just knew I had to make it. It’s undoubtedly one of the most unhealthy things you ever put through your mouth, and you should only have small servings as it’s rich!

It’s basically butter, sugar, flour and egg yolk. Sound nice? This is the recipe (from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess):

Gateau Breton

225g plain flour, preferably Italian 00
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter cut into cubes (get the best quality you can afford, it will make a difference)
6 large egg yolks

1 x 25cm springform tin, buttered well (and I would put some baking paper on the base; I didn’t and it’s now stuck to the tin, whoops)

1 teaspoon of yolk from your 6
1 tablespoon of water

1. Preheat oven to 190°C/gas mark 5. Mix the glaze and put aside while you get on with your gateaux.

2. Put the flour in a bowl (I never bother to sieve 00 flour because it’s so finely milled, but if you’;re using regular plain flour then do so), stir in the sugar and add butter and yolks.

3. With the dough hook attachment of the mixer, slowly whirr till you’ve got a smooth golden dough. If you’re making this by hand. make a mound of the flour on a worktop , then make a well in it and add the sugar, butter and eggs and knead to mix.

4. Scoop this dough into the tin, and smooth the top with a floured hand: expect it to be very sticky; indeed it should be.

5. Brush gateau with the glaze, and mark a lattice pattern design on top with the prongs of a fork. For a reason I am not technically proficient enough to explain, sometimes the tine marks leave a firm, striated imprint; at others, they barely show once the cake’s cooked (mine didn’t show, oh well).

6. Bake for 15 minutes then turn the oven down to 180 C/gas mark 4 for 15 min and give it another 25 minutes or so until it’s golden at the top and firm to the touch.

7. Let it cool completely in the tin before unmoulding it. It will keep well if you’ve got a reliably airtight tin. when you come to eat it, either cut it in traditional – though slightly narrower – cake-like wedges or, as I prefer if I’m eating it at the end of dinner, criss-cross making irregularly shaped diamonds.

Serves 8-10 (It will serve probably double as it’s so rich!)

Making it and eating a wedge, brought me right back to my childhood. The ultimate comfort food on a wet day like this. It was accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate in the new mug and wee plate MrFoxyBakes bought for me in Amsterdam. It’s by Blond, in case you like the funky drawings…

Let the cakes begin

Wedding cake, pre baking

A crate load of unhealthy stuff

Tonight MrFoxyBakes and I went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients for our wedding cake. As you can see, it’s a crate full and this doesn’t include some of the icing I already have and I realised I also need lemons and raspberry jam. That will have to be bought next week then.

In the crate is 2kg of white chocolate, 3 kg of flour, 1.5 kg of sugar and 800 gr of dark chocolate, amongst other things. Oh, and almost 2kg of butter. Basically, a heart attack in a crate.

This crate of bad goodies means two things: 1) our wedding is approaching fast, 2) I really now have to make this cake. So, Sunday will see the start of the hydrangea petals being made and then next weekend I will start the actual baking and decorating. I will post photos of my progress and I might give you a sneak peek of the end result before the wedding…

The Crossing-Border Cake – Part II

Remember my post from a few weeks ago to make cake for my friends’ wedding? Well, the wedding is next week and I’ve thought about practicalities of this. It turned out I can’t use the venue’s kitchen to assemble the cake and the lack of icing means the filled cakes won’t really be stable enough to transport them in a car.
So, after talking the the happy couple, I have decided to make some load cakes; they’re easier to transport and need less filling. I will be making them over the next few days!

Week word: Treat


Marble cake treat

So, I’ve joined in a Week word. This week it’s hosted by the lovely Jen over on Timballoo. I’m new to it, but here goes.

For me, a treat is usually food-related. I have treats too often, as evidenced by my waistline, or lack thereof. But hey, it’s tasty right?

Last week I hosted a network meeting at work and as I like playing host, I made cake and biscuits. The cake was amazing and went down a treat (boom tish). It was Peyton and Byrne’s Marble Cake with white chocolate icing. It was bloomin’ delicious and has kept really well. The white chocolate icing melts quite quickly, so it’s best kept in the fridge.

The recipe I found online and do try it. I’ve always used the recipe my mum always used, but I often found it too dry. The Peyton and Byrne recipe has yogurt in it, which keeps it from going dry (I refuse to use the word ‘moist’),

The recipe:

For the cake:
170g self-raising flour (I used GF self-raising flour and that worked well)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
200g caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
150g plain yoghurt
40g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the white chocolate icing:
75g good white chocolate
150g icing sugar
2tbsp milk

1. Butter and line a 900g loaf tin. Or do what I do: butter the tin and coat it with flour, work a treat! Pre-heat oven to 180oC.
2. Sift together the flour and bicarb. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, butter and salt. Add in the vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating into the mix.
3. Add half of the flour mix, then half of the yogurt, then the rest of the flour, and finally the last of the yoghurt. Give it a final mix.
4. Separate a third of the batter. Whisk 40g cocoa with 60ml boiling water to form a thick paste, then add into the separated third, folding it through.
5. Spoon dollops of the batter into the tin, alternating the two batters (see picture). I ended up with three layers of this. Drag a knife through the batter in a swirling motion, but not too much or you’ll ruin the marble effect.

6. Bake for 45-55 mins until springy to the touch. Cool.
7. To make the icing, melt the chocolate and add into a mix of the icing sugar and 2tbsp milk (already combined). Whisk until smooth and pour over the cake immediately. Although I personally prefer the ganache to be a bit thicker so it covers better, but that’s just me…
For more Week words, head over to Timballoo and The Gift Shed.

The Crossing-Border Cake: Part I

Tonight I was asked by friends of mine to make a cake for their wedding for about 50 people. The wedding is in 6 weeks’ time, so plenty of time to prepare myself. There’s a, albeit lovely, snag: the wedding is in Spain. This brings a whole new level to cake-making logistics.

It was hinted a few days ago they wanted to speak to me about cakey things, so me being me, I already thought about A Plan. I rang the airline today asking if I was even allowed to bring home baked goods with me and the orange airline said yes. Win! So, after a Skype chat with my friends, we have decided that I shall be making the cakes here, in my house, in my own, slightly  unreliable oven (although it always comes up trumps since I’ve had an oven thermometer!) and I will finish them in the kitchen of our holiday villa in the undoubtedly beautiful Spanish countryside.

We’re yet to finalise flavours, but my suggestion was a lemon cake with lemon curd and white chocolate buttercream and a chocolate cake with a salted caramel buttercream. I’m guessing Spain will be home to some amazing tasting lemons, so I shall make the lemon curd there. I’m hoping that the buttercream will be ok in the Spanish heat, as long as the cakes can be in a fridge for most of their pre-eaten life. My friend will make sure the ingredients for buttercreams and lemon curd will be waiting for me upon arrival at the house, which is amazing!

So, I shall check in a suitcase (I wrote suitcake initially, now wouldn’t that be cool?) with two cakes, an electric hand whisk, a lemon grater and with all my digits crossed it will all be fine!

I shall keep you all posted on the journey of the border-crossing cake.