So, this isn’t the first time I’ve incorporated cookie dough in to a cake. The first time I did it, I put a layer of just baked cookie dough at the bottom of an alternating chocolate and vanilla layer cake with salted caramel frosting. That was a great cake. This time I thought I’d try something different… I baked cookie dough in to the chocolate cake layers. Sounds plausible right? I’m quite happy with the way it turned out actually, and if i were to do it again I’d only make the cookie dough chunks slightly smaller. The whole thing was held together with the SMOOTHEST nutella frosting you can imagine. It was like a cloud made out of nutella. It added a nice dimension to the cake, though if you’re not in to much sweetness then perhaps make a swiss meringue buttercream which would also go really well with this cake.
I made this for my housemate’s birthday. Well, belated birthday (his birthday was on the 1st Jan but oh well). I don’t think I’ve ever made two cakes that look the same and there are probably a couple of reasons for this. First, I like to tailor my cakes to the individual, what they like and how they like it so it’s really THEIR cake. Otherwise it’s just any old cake and it’s not as personal, you know what I’m saying? Secondly, I really don’t think I can recreate cakes – I completely wing it most of the time so an exact duplicate would just never happen! I definitely don’t have a signature cake flavour or filling but I do think that after all this time I’ve developed a style. I hate fondant. I hate working with it and it tastes horrible so I always work with some kind of buttercream or frosting. It’s all well and good having a massive cakes that looks amazing but what about taste? For me it’s all about the taste. Taste > Style.
I’ve had a really hectic first few weeks back at uni this term, soooo many assignments (8,500 words worth WHAT)! After handing in my last one on Monday, I had to take a step back and sleep for about 12 hours and only then did I start feeling like myself again! Naturally, the second thing I did was bake. I wanted this cake to have a rustic kinda look but still have a bit of a wow factor and personally, I think it did just that. So far, all my housemates agree! I didn’t deviate too much from a normal chocolate cake, bar the whole cookie dough distraction so it was really simple to make and from start to finish only took about 2.5 hours. Considering I only have one 7in cake tin, I was pretty impressed with that kind of time!
I called this cake a Giant Doughnut Birthday Cake, but it really is so much more. There are four layers of light chocolate coffee cake delicately fragranced with a pinch of cinnamon, sandwiched together and covered with caramelised biscuit spread frosting and topped with a giant doughnut. The doughnut is made from vanilla cake with a white chocolate ganache filling topped with dripping dark chocolate ganache and covered in sprinkles. An adequate cake for my brother’s 24th birthday in my opinion!
I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread house… I just never got round to it. This year I was determined to do it. And I mean properly do it so that included measuring out all the templates and relying on simple maths to create a construction that would actually hold itself up. It was actually a very pleasant experience and a really nice and relaxing way to spend a weekend. I was home for the weekend with access to a KitchenAid and I really didn’t want to waste that opportunity so I pottered about on Saturday evening preparing my gingerbread ready for construction and decoration the next day. The whole process sort of humoured my (very talented) parents as they have almost finished a huge redesign and construction project of our family home, except their templates were drawn to scale and designed on CAD software. My 30cm ruler and plain paper wasn’t quite on their level but I felt like they enjoyed watching me do it anyway.
The chocolate gingerbread I used to make the house actually tasted so nice, surprising as gingerbread really isn’t my favourite type of biscuit (quick research in uni showed that no one under the age of 50 is really a fan of the stuff). However, this particular recipe was mild and sweet. It didn’t have any of that spice or heat from traditional gingerbread and the chocolate really balanced it out. In fact it was so mild that I’m pretty sure you could convince a small child that they were eating a plain chocolate biscuit. The tablespoon or so of ground ginger gives the smallest hint of warmth and the lack of treacle keeps the biscuit buttery and light.
So I’ve been playing around with this thought in my head for a while now, and I thought now was as good a time as any to give it a shot. I knew what I wanted: a simple chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and a swirl of nutella with one of those tiny breadsticks in. But (there’s always a but) for some reason or another I decided to use a different chocolate cupcake recipe to my usual failsafe recipe and the Primrose Bakery Cookbook was sat on my kitchen counter staring at me. Part of me decided to go with a new recipe out of guilt, I’ve had this book for months and haven’t made a single thing out of it yet. Low and behold I found myself flicking through looking for the chocolate cupcake recipe. Let’s just say I looked at it and groaned. It was unnecessarily complicated. I had all of the ingredients so I made a start anyway despite how unappealing and convoluted the process looked. Complaining aside, they were super light and fluffy and everyone liked them so here’s the recipe anyway.