My husband doesn’t really care much for birthdays. To him they’re just another day on the calendar. Until he met me, that is! He says he doesn’t like a fuss and big celebrations but I think you should mark the day in some way or another.
A few weeks ago we were talking about birthdays and my hubby said “Don’t bother making me a cake,” But I bet if I didn’t serve him one up he would feel upset. So I try a compromise, I make him a small cake which is big on the flavours he loves and not swamped in sugarpaste or fancy decorations.
So why a Mojito cake? Both my husband and I love Mojitos especially since we first drank one in the Australian restaurant Reef n’ Beef in Copenhagen a few years back. The mixture of white rum, lime and mint was just simply gorgeous. By the way, the meal was lovely as well! Ever since then we have tried to make them at home, especially in the summer. We also love drinking them on holiday.
So, I baked a simple Victoria Sponge recipe and added some white rum (sorry dear hubby I nicked the rest of your Bacardi to bake your birthday cake), lime juice and zest as well as some chopped mint to the basic mixture. The icing was a lime flavoured buttercream and to decorate I used chopped pecans and hazelnuts round the edge of the cake along with lime slices for the top.
My hubby was pleased with his cake and enjoyed it even though he originally asked me not to make a cake. Everyone enjoyed it and I was pleased with how the Mojito flavours all worked well together in the mixture. He didn’t even bat an eyelid when I confessed to using up his Bacardi!
I got the idea of the Mojito cake from Lorraine Pascale’s first book “Baking Made Easy” Her recipe uses a Genoise sponge, mine was an ordinary Victoria Sponge like mixture. I used her decoration idea as well, although hers was just using pecan nuts. I didn’t have enough pecans so I added hazelnuts to mine as well.
Last year when the Great British Bake Off was on I was tempted by the Rum Babas that the contestants were asked to make for their Technical Challenge in the very first week. Who can remember John Whaite accidentally putting salt in the rum babas instead of sugar because the glass jars weren’t labelled? Luckily though it worked out for him in the end becoming the series winner! I was keen to try out making rum babas, they are something I think of as a 1970’s dessert trolley invention. I had only tasted a rum baba once, about three years ago when my hubby bought one. It was stale and tasted funny. I only had one mouthful of it which is rare for someone like me who is a sugar addict!
I noticed that Lakeland started stocking them after the Bake Off had been on which is great. They came in packs of 4. They have also started stocking the silicone chocolate dome moulds which are for making the chocolate teacakes which were another very tricky technical challenge bake from Series 3. As a regular shopper at my local stores (either Harrogate, York or Northallerton) I was pleased as I knew my hubby would want me to try them.
But did I get round to using them? No I didn’t! Well over a year later I had forgotten about the moulds and found them in my cupboard still in the packaging. Guilt overcame me and I thought I must try them out as promised. My hubby talked about rum babas saying he would love to have one for pudding. We had rum, I had yeast so I decided to get baking.
Last Sunday morning was a quiet day at home at the beginning of half term week. I had all day to spend on the rum babas between other jobs but there was lots to do. I’m still underconfident when it comes to anything involving yeast.
Here’s how it was made and what happened:
At this point I began to panic. The dough was very wet and I really struggled to knead it by hand. In the end I had to stick it in the mixer as I just couldn’t work with it. It just stuck to my hands and the more I tried to knead, the more it stuck. I don’t know if I was meant to use the mixer but I thought it would be better than my hot hands touching the dough. I managed to get it into the bowl, I washed my hands and then tried to search on YouTube to see if they had the original episode where they made the rum babas. Then I could watch it back and see where I was going wrong. Lo and behold there was a clip showing the rum babas and it was mentioned that the dough did appear wet. Thank heavens for that!
If you want to see the original clip, then here is the link to it here:
After all this messing about my kitchen surface looked like a scene of destruction. It took some scrubbing to get the dough of the surface, it felt stickier than Superglue, if that’s possible! I left the dough to rise in the bowl for about an hour and a half which was enough time for me to get on with the ironing.
Then for a second proving, this time in the savarin moulds. They had to rise to the level of the hole but not be too overproved. This was easier said than done!
So, would I make the rum babas again? Yes, I would. Despite them being quite labour intensive in short bursts they were a massive hit with the family and a perfect treat. Very naughty but nice!