Monday December 11th 2017.
Gosh, this seems like a long time ago now but the last two weeks before Christmas were so busy. I didn’t have time to get updated with my blogging. Anyway, here we are just after Christmas and I’m sat on the sofa typing this feeling like a beached whale. I haven’t stuffed myself silly full of Celebrations and mince pies but I’ve not eaten well all through December. Roll on the New Year! Though when I go along to one of my Clandestine Cake Club events I don’t feel guilty about eating and enjoying cakes.
The aforementioned Clandestine Cake Club recently celebrated its seventh birthday at a special event in Leeds. The event was held in the restaurant on the top floor in the new John Lewis store. I always like going to cake club events there because of the car park next door so that I haven’t got to cart my cake too far through the city centre. This time, though was funny as I had my cake in a clear plastic container so various people were looking at me walking through the store carrying a cake. I was so worried I was going to trip up on the escalator!
The cake I chose to bake was yet another recipe from The Great British Bake Off Christmas recipe book which was one of John Whaite’s own creations. John won series three back in 2012 and his Peanut Butter, Popcorn and Chocolate Fudge Torte sounded absolutely mouthwatering. The recipe introduction says: “Christmas is undoubtedly a time of indulgence or rather overindulgence (you’re telling me!) This torte is not only a feast for the stomach with its layers of soft cake, sweet mousse and decadent fudge but because of those defined layers, also a feast for the eyes; perfect for a Christmas Eve treat,” We tend to go out for dinner on Christmas Eve but usually there isn’t cake involved, we’re far too full up!
Although there was a lovely photo of John himself in the book posing with what looked like a peanut butter cake, there wasn’t a photo of the whole cake. I had to guess from the recipe instructions to see how it would turn out like.
So, on with the actual baking. Mr SmartCookieSam had gone off to work and my son had left for college, it was just me and the animals. My dog sloped off to have a snooze in his bed and I put the radio on to listen along while I was baking. I felt really happy and content as I got out my ingredients and the cake tin needed for the recipe.
The main part of the cake is a chocolate genoise. I am not that familiar with baking genoise cakes but I know that they involce whisking eggs and then sugar together to get the air into the cake, I did whisk for the full five minutes as the recipe asked me to do, even looking at the clock to check.
After the eggs and sugar had been whisked together I sifted in some plain flour and some cocoa powder along with some melted butter. I’m glad I remembered about the melted butter. Last time a recipe asked for melted butter I melted it in the microwave and then forgot about it. It wasn’t until the cake was in the oven baking that I realised I’d forgotten to add the butter! Eeeek!!
The cake mixture was then poured into a springform cake tin and put in the oven for 25 minutes to bake. I then took it out of the oven and let it cool down on a wire rack until it was completely cold.
Meanwhile, I got the filling for the cake ready. This was where all the calorific and indulgent ingredients came out. I started with blitzing some Butterkist Toffee Popcorn in my blender until they became like coarse sand. I then added in double cream until it started to thicken up slightly. After this, in went some smooth peanut butter, some condensed milk and some mascarpone cheese. How does this taste sooo good? Once this was mixed again so it was thickened up but not so much that it couldn’t be spread with a pallette knife. It was then put aside in a bowl and left until the cake was ready to be iced.
The topping was a chocolate fudge affair and was made with even more condensed milk, more peanut butter, more double cream and some dark chocolate. I can’t remember what sort of dark chocolate I used, probably what was on special offer in Morrisons that week.
Now this is where I’d fail miserably if this had been a Bake Off Technical challenge. I didn’t read the recipe properly and missed out the step where I was meant to put the cake back into the tin once I’d cut it in half horizontally, filled it and then added the fudge topping when it was in the tin. I didn’t do that. I took the cake out of the tin and then put it onto a cake board to decorate. When I’d decorated it, it went into the fridge to set but not in the tin. It did make the finish of the cake a bit messier.
When the cake was setting in the fridge for an hour, it was lunchtime by this stage. I sat down and had some soup while the remaining toffee popcorn had been put into a pan with some brown sugar to caramelise. It took about 10 minutes to do this and then I let them cool down completely before putting them on the top of the cake. To finish I found some champagne bottle candles left over from a birthday cake and stuck them on the top of the cake.
The cake was very big and rich so a small slice was all that was needed. It seemed to go down well, along with the other cakes at the event. I went home with one of my sugar rush headaches feeling that I could never eat another cake again. This was very short lived as the following day I was out having Afternoon Tea with my friends!
Love Sam xx