Amazing Cakes #22: Angel Cake Slices

As I mentioned before in my previous Cherry Cakes post, there are a couple of recipes I’ve already baked which I can tick off my Amazing Cakes recipe book challenge.

Angel Cake as from a British point of view is the traditional cake you buy in slabs which contains a triple layer of sponge in three different flavours. Not to be mixed up with another type of Angel Cake which is a light, pale cake baked with egg whites and made in a special ring like tin. This version was the former: using three genoise sponges and cut into dainty slices. It was a technical bake in the 2019 Great British Bake Off series from one of Prue Leith’s recipes. I must admit at that time I’d never baked a genoise sponge before and I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure what one tasted like. All I know is that the sponges came out flat and looked like rubber! In the end I decided to adapt the recipe and created three layers of a traditional creamed sponge, colourung and flavouring them accordingly with lemon and raspberry extract and gel colouring.

This worked out much better and I was much happier with the result! At the time I made the Angel Cake, I didn’t write a blog post as I was busy at work. The remains of the cake ended up being taken to work to share with my work colleagues. It was baked in three circular 20cm/ 8″ tins instead of a giant traybake tin split into three.

Looking back at the pictures on my phone, I must have deleted or not taken photos of the cake disaster but kept the ones of the new cake. I also entered it in #TwitterBakeAlong for that week, hence the handwritten note. Looking back at the cake from the outside you can’t really tell it’s a three coloured Angel Cake. But when you cut into the cake, it’s a different story altogether.

I must try and have a go at a génoise sponge again. I mastered one on my Patisserie Course evening class I did at college before the pandemic started and I feel confident to have another try.

Happy Baking!

Love Samxx

Coffee Cake

It’s my husband’s birthday today. It’s always very difficult when there’s a birthday during the week. How do some people manage to have the day off when it’s their birthday, I don’t know. It never works out that way for me. The same goes for my hubby. We celebrated over the weekend by going out for a meal and being treated to a tour of a local craft brewery and vineyard. Yesterday we gave him his birthday presents and I baked him a cake. Mr SmartCookieSam doesn’t have a sweet tooth but he likes fruit cake, carrot cake and coffee cake. This year I chose to make him a coffee cake as I had some Coffee Nut M&Ms as well as a tub of chocolate covered coffee beans to use up.

Yesterday I had a helper in the kitchen- my mum! She had come up to stay for the weekend and offered to do the washing up! She loves baking herself, when she gets chance.

I bought these Coffee Nut M&Ms when I was in Canada last September. I’ve not seen this flavour before and thought they would be great to bake with. I actually bought two packs but the fairies had been at them and I could only find one packet in the cupboard! Funny how my son said they tasted disgusting so it must’ve been him who troughed them!

To get the coffee flavour in the cake I had to mix two tablespoonfuls of coffee powder with a tablespoonful of water. This made a great paste.

I use the all in one method for my sponges wherever possible so I put all the ingredients into the mixing bowl at the same time. I used Pure Dairy Free Baking Spread as it makes really light sponges, caster sugar, self raising flour, baking powder and free range eggs.

I had to buy a new electric mixer before Christmas and it got another outing this afternoon beating the sponge mixture together.

I then folded in the coffee paste so that it was evenly blended. Then the cake mixture was ready to be divided between two greased and lined sandwich cake tins. I used 20cm/ 8″ diameter ones. My mum had very kindly greased the tins for me. I use ready made parchment circles as they are so much less faff than drawing round the tin and cutting out the circles from a roll of baking parchment. Once the cakes had been divided equally between the tins they went straight into the oven and baked for 20-25 minutes at 160oC.

The M&Ms and chocolate covered cocoa beans I used to decorate the top of the cake with.

To prepare the coffee buttercream for the cake I needed some butter but it was a bit hard despite being out of the fridge for a couple of hours. I cut the butter up into cubes and gave it a quick blast in the microwave for about 20 seconds to take the edge off it.

Here are the finished cakes cooling on the rack. One of them had slightly cracked on it as I had poked the top of them to check if they had been cooked and whether the sponge bounced back when touched. At that time it didn’t, until I had put it back in the oven for another five minutes!

Making the buttercream was simple in that the butter was creamed first, then milk and some more coffee paste was added. Finally I carefully added some icing sugar bit by bit to the mixture. It still didn’t stop the puffs of icing sugar clouds descending all over the work top!

The cake was decorated simply by spreading half the coffee buttercream on the top of one of the cakes and then putting the second one on top. The remainder of the top was spread on the cake with a pallette knife. To finish off I put the coffee M&Ms and cocoa beans around the edge of the cake.

Mr SmartCookieSam had some champagne bottle candles on his cake. Very fitting as we had been to a vineyard tour the day before.

We lit the candles and had a piece of birthday cake with a cup of tea yesterday afternoon. The cake was delicious and there was plenty left over for Mr SmartCookieSam to take to work the next day.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches Cake- my own recipe featured in The Clandestine Cake Club A Year Of Cake Book.

As mentioned in my previous blog post I’ve got two recipes published in the latest Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook “A Year of Cake”. Along with my Welsh Honey and Camomile Bara Brith I also had my Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches Cake featured in the May chapter of the book.

I am a regular member of the Pudsey and West Leeds branch of the CCC.  Each event along with other cake club branches has really great themes which inspires you to get your baking thinking caps on.  Last year back in June 2014 Pudsey cake club had an event with an Around The World Theme.  I’m a huge Mojito cocktail fan (though I’m trying to steer clear due to going to Weightwatchers at the moment) and also love the way it works well with coconut and cream. So this is where the inspiration for my Tres Leches cake came from.  It was one of those cakes I’d tried baking before and although hugely calorific, it was one I enjoyed tasting the most.  So I tried baking my own version of a tres leches cake and hoped it would go down well at cake club.

I originally baked my cake as a triple layer cake but the recipe testers felt it worked better as a two layer one.  I’ve since baked it with 2 layers and I’m happy to agree with them. It holds up better, from looking at my original picture it looks like it could topple over at any time!

My original triple layered Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches cake.  I added a sugarpaste cactus to the top of it as a tres leches cake is traditionally from Mexico.
My original triple layered Coconut and Mojito Tres Leches cake. I added a sugarpaste cactus to the top of it as a tres leches cake is traditionally from Mexico. 

The recipe introduction says: “Cocktail and Mocktail themed events are very popular with Cake Club members who shake and stir all manner of ingredients to turn their favourite tipple into a cake.”  (well Mojito is one of my favourites apart from gin!) “Sam has created a South American-inspired tres leches cake- sponge soaked in three milks: condensed milk, evaporated milk and double cream- which is infused with the punchy flavours of the traditional Cuban rum cocktail, the mojito.  It’s perfect for sharing on World Cocktail Day which celebrates the day in 1806 when the word “cocktail” was first put into print, thereby officially recognising the alchemy of mixing spirits”.  

Here is the top part of my recipe as featured in the new Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook A Year Of Cake. It's on page 82.
Here is the top part of my recipe as featured in the new Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook A Year Of Cake. It’s on page 82. There isn’t a picture to accompany this recipe due to cost.

The Tres Leches cake is ideally best to be made and soaked the night before you need to bake it as you need to give time for the flavours to develop in the cake.

To bake the cake itself you need to first sift plain flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  In another bowl you need to beat softened butter and sugar together until it gets light and fluffy.  Then one by one you add in eggs and a little bit of the flour mixture to stop any curdling.  When the remaining flour is added in, you then add in some natural coconut extract and some lime zest.  The natural coconut extract I swear by is one that comes from a range in Lakeland Ltd.  It comes in a small bottle and a few drops transform the flavours of your bakes.

Once all the mixture is combined well, it is divided into two loose bottomed sandwich tins and then baked in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

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These are the original photos I took last year before I submitted the recipe, hence there being 3 cake layers instead of two. Here they are just out of the oven and cooling.
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This is the tres leches glaze all mixed up and ready for soaking. Evaporated milk, condensed milk, double cream and some ready made up Mojito cocktail are mixed together. I use the Bacardi one found in most big supermarkets.
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Now this is a bit of a messy job and I learned the hard way that it’s best to keep the cakes in the tin when you are pouring the tres leches glaze on top of the cake. Then put the tins in the fridge overnight and remove them the next day. I didn’t and ended up with baking parchment catching the drips.

Don’t be alarmed when soaking a tres leches cake.  It looks like you have loads of soaking syrup and you do wonder how all of that will go into a cake and not fall to pieces in a big soggy mess.  I felt like that the very first time I baked one and I panicked. But I was reassured not to worry and it was fine. I took my time carefully with it, spooning the glaze carefully onto the cakes, letting it do the soaking then adding more.

Then, leave your cake overnight in the fridge to let the flavours develop.  The next morning or whenever you need to assemble it, make up the topping and filling.  This is made with double cream and icing sugar whipped up together. Sometimes I choose to decorate the sides of the cake with the topping as well, depends on what I feel like doing at the time!

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Here is the version of the Tres Leches cake I baked for the A Year Of Cake Launch party in Leeds last weekend. I tried to decorate the side of the cake with it but I am such a messy decorator.

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The first slice ready to be cut at the launch party.

 Since first creating the recipe I have discovered Sugar and Crumbs Natural flavoured icing sugars  and I am a huge fan of their products.  I’m always thinking of good excuses to use them. I used some of their Key Lime flavoured icing sugar in the topping instead of plain icing sugar to give it an extra kick.  I think it worked extremely well and will be doing that again when I bake the cake in the future.

I’m sorry that I can’t give you the whole recipe here but I am not allowed to by the publishers of the book.

Apple Pie Cake From The Boy Who Bakes

Not another apple related blog post?! Well it certainly feels like it at the moment but then again I have been inundated with apples.  The other day my next door neighbour came round with some apples.  He gave us two huge carrier bags full of apples from his tree in his garden. One bag of smaller apples is being eaten by my daughter’s horse, the others by me and my family here in North Yorkshire.

The other day I posted about baking a Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding nearly two weeks ago from the latest Great British Bake Off book but I still had loads of apples to use up.  I had been ill with a nasty cough so I hadn’t baked anything for nearly a week (a record for me!) But to me, Sunday lunch isn’t Sunday lunch without a pudding to finish it off especially in the colder weather.  So it had to be something with apples but what could I bake? I’d made apple cakes, apple crumbles, apple pies and was running out of ideas. I looked through my recipe books and although it looked very big for a Sunday lunch I couldn’t resist having a go at the Apple Pie Cake which is from Edd Kimber‘s recipe. This cake recipe is featured in his “The Boy Who Bakes” book.

I have always liked Edd and his style of baking ever since we first saw him on the very first series of The Great British Bake Off back in 2010.  His Red Velvet Cake from The Boy Who Bakes and his chocolate cake from his second book “Say It With Cake” are two of my favourite large cake recipes which I use time and time again.

Here’s how I made the Apple Pie Cake:

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I needed to use three 20cm/ 8″ sandwich cake tins to make the apple pie cake. Here they are greased and lined with baking parchment circles from Lakeland.

The cake itself is actually created using a whisking method where the eggs are separated.  The air gets into the cake by whisking the volume into the yolks and then into the egg whites. I’m not as experienced at this method so I did wonder how it would turn out.

Flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon were sifted into a large bowl.
Flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon were sifted into a large bowl.
Butter and half the sugar were creamed together.
Butter and half the sugar were creamed together.
One by one four egg yolks were added and beaten in to the mixture.
One by one four egg yolks were added and beaten in to the mixture.
Then some vanilla extract was added in.
Then some vanilla extract was added in.
The egg whites were whisked together.
The egg whites were whisked together.
Hoping to achieve soft peak status!
Hoping to achieve soft peak status!
Adding the remains of the caster sugar to the mixture bit by bit.
Adding the remains of the caster sugar to the mixture bit by bit.
Folding the egg whites into the cake mixture.
Folding the egg whites into the cake mixture.
Then adding the dry ingredients.
Then adding the dry ingredients.
Sharing out the mixture equally  between the three tins.
Sharing out the mixture equally between the three tins.
Making the caramelised apples for the top and filling of the cake; butter, sugar, cinnamon and sliced apples heating slowly in the pan.
Making the caramelised apples for the top and filling of the cake; butter, sugar, cinnamon and sliced apples heating slowly in the pan.
Two out of three layers of apple cake!
Two out of three layers of apple cake!
The final one!
The final one!
The apples were then taken out of the sauce so that the sauce could thicken and caramelise.
The apples were then taken out of the sauce so that the sauce could thicken and caramelise.
The apples in their bowl cooling down
The apples in their bowl cooling down.
Building up the cake layer by layer, spreading on a layer of cinnamon cream cheese icing, topped by a layer of apples.
Building up the cake layer by layer, spreading on a layer of cinnamon cream cheese icing, topped by a layer of apples.
Two of the cakes turned out onto the cooling rack.
Two of the cakes turned out onto the cooling rack.
Ta[dah! The finished cake.  It tasted delicious- all the flavours of apple pie in cake form!
Ta[dah! The finished cake. It tasted delicious- all the flavours of apple pie in cake form!

Despite still feeling rough from my cough after last week I was delighted that the cake turned out well.  It tasted absolutely delicious and everyone enjoyed it. Even my son who complains he “doesn’t like apple cooked in anything” ate a second slice!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx