I always seem to be running late with these posts. It seems inevitable that on the last day of the month when I’m supposed to write these, I am busy doing something else. This time it was preparing for my trip to Stockholm (tomorrow!)
So my second Foodie Penpals parcel was from Cara. I got my parcel quite early in the month, thanks to Cara’s apparently far better level of organisation than mine. Having requested baking related items, Cara put together a lovely parcel for me – it contained: butterfly cake cases, edible butterfly decorations, lemon cake mix, a book of Favourite Norfolk Recipes, and most importantly, fudge!
I finally got around to using the cake mix the other day, and made a delicious lemon cake, topped with lemon buttercream icing, and of course, the butterfly decorations. I haven’t got around to using the recipe book, but hopefully on my return from Stockholm I will be making more time for baking, and therefore have time to use some of the recipes from it. I like that I’m getting locally themed things from my Foodie Penpals so far, it’s nice to receive things which are specific to certain parts of the UK.
Last night I made my third cake for Outspoken Delivery, thanks to the kindness of my friend Catherine. This time a guinness cake was requested, and I happened to find a recipe for such a cake in my Scandinavian baking book, Scandilicious, by Signe Johanson. I was disappointed that I’m not going to get the chance to eat any of this cake, because it smelt fantastic, and can only imagine it will taste just as good. Unfortunately my oven was being its usual unreliable self yesterday, which meant the supposed 35-45 minute cooking time turned into 1hr 15. Not overjoyed with that. But contemplating the possibility of baking it in two tins next time which will hopefully mean it will cook quicker. Or of course I may have moved in to a new house and will have an oven that actually works. This recipe calls for a special Norwegian cheese called brunost – the only place I could find it was in a Scandinavian store in London, and to buy 250g of it when I only needed 30g seemed a bit pointless, as it was fairly expensive. The recipe says you don’t have to use it, so I have opted not to.
75g dark chocolate
50g cocoa powder
30g grated brunost (optional)
30ml espresso or strong coffee
150ml soured cream
2 medium eggs
350g light brown muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
275g plain or spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
125g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
150g full fat cream cheese
3-4 tbsp whisky
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 4 and grease a 23cm round cake tin.
2. Warm the Guinness, butter, cocoa, chocolate and brunets in a medium saucepan over a low heat until melted together and foamy. Remove from the heat, stir in the espresso and soured cream and set aside.
3. Beat the eggs, sugar & vanilla in a bowl until pale golden & fluffy. Mix the flour, raising agents and salt together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk the Guinness mixture and dry ingredients in to the beaten eggs in stages, alternating between wet and dry and whisking as you go until everything is mixed together in a dark, smooth cake batter.
4. Pour the batter in the tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 35-45mins (or 1hr15 if your oven is completely rubbish), or until the top of the cake feels springy and firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out cleanly. Allow to cool in the tin for 15mins then remove from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.
5. Cream the butter and icing sugar together until fluffy, then add the cream cheese, 3 tbsp of the whisky and a tiny pinch of slat and beat until smooth. Taste to see how strong the whisky flavour is and add more to taste. (I thought 3 was plenty). You can either ice the cake straight away or put the icing in the fridge to firm up before spreading evenly over the top of the cake.
Time to sleep now. Airport in 7 hours. Stockholm in 10. Back soon…