Saturday, 7 November 2015

Banana Llama Cake

A delicious mini llama cake for my favourite lady in the world. My Mum. Happy Birthday!

Ingredients for the cake
50g butter, softened
50g muscovado sugar
50g ripe banana
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
50g self raising flour
50g pecans, chopped
For decorations

25g chocolate spread
125ml double cream
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1 hard banana chip
1 boiled toffee sweet
1 bourbon biscuit
a little melted chocolate

1. Preheat the oven. Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is very light and creamy. Break the egg into a jug, add the vanilla and beat together with a fork. Gradually add the egg to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Add the flour and fold in until it's combined. Finally add the mashed banana and nuts.
2. Spoon the mixture into a lined and greased 10cm tin or pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Level the top of the cake with a bread knife and then cut into two equal layers. Set the bottom cake layer onto another plate. Spread with chocolate spread over neatly.
4. For the decoration, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and pour in the cream. Whip the cream with a hand mixer until it forms soft-to-medium peaks. Spread 1 tbsp of cream over the top of the cake. Transfer the rest of the cream to a piping bag, fitted with a star nozzle.
5. Take a thin piece of cardboard and draw the outline of a llama's head. Place it on the cream covered surface. Sift the cocoa over the cocoa, then remove the card template leaving the silhouetette. Pipe the cream into the llama shape in blobs, holding the bag directly over the cake and pulling the bag away as you pipe each blob to create a fluffy finish. Pipe a second layer of cream within the llama's face to form a face and a nose peak.
6. Pipe the remaining cream on top of the chocolate spread, on the bottom cake layer. Gently set on top of the decorated top layer.
7. Break the banana chip in half to make ears. Cut little triangles out of the toffee sweets to go inside the ears. Break up the biscuit to make the eyes, nose and muzzle. Paint on the smile using melted dark chocolate and a fine paintbrush, or a toothpick, like me!

I was so pleased with how this dinky little cake turned out and oh my - it tastes amazing! X Bo

Bonfire Cupcakes

I love this time of year. The cosy jumpers come out of the wardrobe, candles get lit, leaves turn golden and begin to fall. Autumn wouldn't be complete without a firework display... or two! This year I went to my local cricket club on Halloween and my friend Campbell's last night to see wonderful displays of fireworks. I took these cupcakes along to share with everyone as we ooo-ed and ahh-ed.

Ingredients for the cakes
150g butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
150g golden syrup
150g black treacle
150ml whole milk
3 eggs
3 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp ground mixed spice
150g self raising flour
For the ganache
150g dark chocolate
1 1/2 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
150ml double cream
For the bonfire decorations
12 marshmallows
75g Mikado
130g orange Matchmakers
50g pretzel sticks

1. Preheat the oven to 170. Put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and treacle into a saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until the butter has melted and sugar has dissolved. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and leave to cool.
2. Line a muffin tray with 12 cases. Measure the milk in a jug, add the eggs and beat together. Pour the milk and egg mixture into the warm syrup mixture and beat to combine. Add the spices and flour and mix until you have a very wet, smooth batter.
3. Pour into a large jug and then into the cases. Bake for 25 minutes until the cakes have risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
4. To make the ganache, put the chocolate into a medium sized bowl with the golden syrup and vanilla. Gently heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat. When the cream has just come to the boil, pour it over the chocolate and stir gently until melted, smooth and shiny. Leave to cool, until it has a soft spreading consistency.
5. Spread the surface of the cupcakes with half of the ganache mixture. Press a marshmallow, wide base down, into the ganache on top of each cake. Cover the marshallow sides and top with the remaining ganache. Break the chocolate sticks and pretzels into pieces and press them into the ganache topped cakes to create a bonfire, around the marshmallow centre.

The original recipe from Frances Quinn's book has caramel flames sticking out the top of the cakes. However, my attempt was unsuccessful so I stuck matches and candles in the top of my cakes, so we had real flames, rather than edible ones! X Bo