Sunday, 25 April 2010

Soured cream rhubarb squares (with a cinnamon nut topping)

Ok, so it’s maybe not the catchiest name for a cake you’ll ever come across but I don’t like to leave out important details that might sway you into making it!

The CCD’s rhubarb plant has sprung into life quite spectacularly, as indeed it does every year, so I spent some happy time perusing my recipes deciding on how to put it to best use.
I’ve baked many rhubarb cakes and tarts and just can’t get enough – forced or garden, I don’t care! As you can see, it’s an impressive plant:

Here, I’ve parted just one section of leaves so you can see the stalks.
There are many, many more than this photo can encompass:

This recipe is made in a small roasting tin or traybake tin and can be served warm with custard or ice cream for dessert or at room temperature with thick spooning cream for a tea time treat.

The juicy, bread pudding like, texture is very comforting and I loved the way that some pieces of rhubarb retained their sharpness as it provided a contrast in flavour.
This side view photo shows how moist the cake is:

Many recipes combine rhubarb with orange juice and I find this can overpower the rhubarb a little.
This recipe teams the rhubarb with toffee-like dark sugar and the spiced nut topping adds crunch and an extra punch of flavour. I loved the combinations.


For the topping:
15g unsalted butter
50g golden caster sugar
100g mixed nuts, roughly chopped – any nut combination will work, I used a bag from the supermarket containing almonds, walnuts and – oddly - peanuts)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake:
85g unsalted butter
250g dark muscovado sugar
1 egg
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
248ml soured cream
300g rhubarb, cut into 1cm chunks


Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/Gas mark 4

Line a 30cm x 20cm roasting tin with baking paper. If you are going to serve the cake straight from the oven, as a dessert, simply grease the tin with butter.

Start by making the topping: melt the butter and stir into the golden caster sugar, nuts and cinnamon. Put to one side.

Now make the cake: Beat the butter with the muscovado sugar and egg.

When the mix is smooth and creamy, stir in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and soured cream.

Lastly, stir in the chunks of rhubarb.

Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle with the cinnamon nut topping.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Have to warn you that mine took much longer – almost an hour; this could be because I was baking two at the same time and this impacted the cooking rate.

If using for dessert, serve immediately with custard, ice cream or cream. If serving as a tea time cake, leave to cool on a wire rack.

When cool, cut into squares. It will keep in an airtight tin for up to 5 days.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Iron Cupcake London – Challenge X: Fruit

The theme: FRUIT - if your cupcake contains fruit it meets the theme. Simple as that! You can use one fruit or a hundred fruits (or anywhere inbetween!), use it in the cake, in the frosting, use fresh or dried, jams or syrups, anything at all as long as it’s fruity – if it can contribute to our ‘five a day’ we’re happy!

All challenge rules and requirements, along with details as to times and locations can be found here

As always, please email me to confirm if you’re entering, and tell me which contest i.e. professional or amateur you wish to compete in.

Event details:

Monday 10th May 2010

6.00pm – 9.00pm

Still uncertain as to whether you want to come along…why not take Marie Catoinette’s advice:

See you there!

Iron Cupcake London – Challenge details

Set out below is all the information you should need to come along to an event as a baker or an eater. If you have any questions please email me (you’ll find an email button down the right hand side of my blog)

Requirements: Make a minimum of 18 cupcakes that meet that challenge’s theme – if you can make more please do…the more you make, the more people can taste your delicious creation (and vote for you!) Please feel free to enter as many types of cupcake as you wish, I only ask that you have at least 18 of each.
Please cut at least 6 of your cupcakes in half, so that smaller tables can still sample everything.

Voting: Bakers and Judges will vote individually, each table of eaters will also have a vote too.

Bakers - please let me know if you plan to enter either of the competitions so we can gauge numbers.

There are now two competitions – one category for professionals*, one for amateurs**. Please indicate which competition you are entering.

*You are a professional entrant if you have a cake business, if you regularly sell cupcakes or any other cakes for profit (i.e. not charitable events or fetes) or you are a professionally trained chef/baker.
**You are an amateur entrant if you have, once or twice, taken a small commission from friends or family for a wedding etc and have received a fee to cover your costs or are a home/recreational baker.

Event details:

6.00pm – 9.00pm

Venue – The Cuban Bar, Citypoint, One Ropemaker Street, EC2Y 9AYFor a map click here

Although the address is Ropemaker Street it’s actually on the Citypoint plaza. Just behind the Moorgate tube station entrance that’s in the row of shops including HMV, Hotel Chocolat, Eat and Clinton Cards, you’ll see a very tall building. That’s the Citypoint Tower. Head towards it and you’ll see a paved plaza-type area. Near the base of the tower you will see a small newsagent kiosk and a Costa, to the left of these (if looking at the tower) are The Rack & Tenter, then Prets. Head towards Prets into a covered walkway at the base of City point. This is where the Cuban bar is. We’ll be in the basement.

Entry fee for eaters: £5 (Entry fee includes tea or coffee). Bakers enter for FREE!

Timetable of events:

6.00-6.45pm – Entries are labelled and plated up

6.45 onwards – Eating and voting commences

Incidentally, The Caked Crusader and, consequently, ICL are now on Facebook and Twitter. Why not befriend Samantha Cake on Facebook – it’s me!!!! And then become a fan of the Caked Crusader page. We will be using this to post news of upcoming events, have discussions, in fact anything fun involving cake. To make it even easier here’s a link. On Twitter you can find me as CakedCrusader. So there’s no excuse not to stay in touch.

As the event expands it has become necessary for us to set out some disclaimers relating to the event namely that, as we are hosts of the event and don’t actually oversee any of the baking, we take people at their word as to the ingredients of the cupcakes and the environment in which they are prepared. It is unlikely that any entries are prepared in nut-free kitchens and anyone with allergies or intolerances should bear that in mind. Similarly, if an entrant tells us that an entry is vegan-friendly we believe them – feel free to chat to them on the night before sampling if you have any concerns. Your entry fee entitles you to free tea and coffee. Of course you can also sample all the cupcakes, for which we accept no liability.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Hot Chocolate Soufflés with Chocolate Cream Sauce

This week's post is brought to you by Mr. CC. Take it away Mr CC......

Being lucky enough to have a constant supply of wonderful cakes provided for me by the delightful Mrs CC, I thought it was about time that I gave her the weekend off and cooked something for her for a change.

I've always fancied trying to make a Soufflé and happened across a recipe for Hot Chocolate Soufflés with chocolate cream sauce on the BBC Good Food website. There are always the usual stories of how they are prone to collapsing or might not even rise in the first place, but I thought it would be an interesting challenge.

The recipe serves 6, but the ramekins supplied to me by Mrs CC were quite large and we ended up using most of the mixture in just three of the ramekins. This had the bonus of each soufflé containing approximately 1000 calories!!!

Once they were in the oven, we watched eagerly to see if they would rise…

We needn't have worried, they just kept climbing!!

On opening the oven, they still kept their height and had a nice crisp texture on the outside. A small flap was made in the top and the chocolate cream sauce was poured in.

The flap was closed and icing sugar added….

As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and they tasted fantastic, crisp on the outside but gooey on the inside.

Caked Crusader footnote: If the thought of a 1,000 calorie dessert has spooked you, fear not – if you make them in a standard ramekin they will be a mere 500 calories.
Plus, think of all the exercise you’ll get from doing the washing up!


For the soufflé:
melted butter for greasing
50g Caster sugar plus 2 tablespoons extra
175g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 tablespoons double cream
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites

icing sugar to serve

For the sauce:
142ml pot of single cream
25g caster sugar
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
25g butter


Pre heat the oven to 220C fan assisted or 200C/gas mark 7 and place a baking tray on the top shelf to warm up.

To make the sauce, heat the cream and sugar until they boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate (having broken it into small pieces first) and butter until melted and then keep warm.

Brush your ramekins with melted butter and then sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, tipping away the excess.

Melt the chocolate and cream together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring them together well.

When they are fully mixed, cool and then mix in the egg yolks. At this point I got slightly worried as the mixture had the consistency of wet concrete, all will be OK though!!

Whisk the egg whites until they hold their shape and then gradually add the sugar whilst whisking to hold the consistency.

Mix a spoonful of the whisked egg whites into the chocolate mix and then gently fold in the rest. The consistency should now be much lighter and fluid.

Fill the ramekins quickly and make sure to wipe the rims clean and run your finger around the edges. This helps stop the soufflés sticking to the side of the ramekin and will give the nice dome shape when they rise.

Turn the oven down to 200C fan assisted or 180C/gas mark 6 and place the ramekins on the baking tray.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes until the soufflés have risen. When fully cooked they should have a slight wobble. Opening the oven door too early may cause them to collapse!!

When the soufflés are ready, scoop a small flap in the top and pour in some of the chocolate sauce. Close the flap and dust with the icing sugar.

Eat and Enjoy!!!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Coconut cake

For the life of me, I cannot recall what triggered my need for a coconut cake this weekend but all I know is that the need was deep!
The cake I was craving was simple – no fancy buttercream – just a good slab of sponge. Unlike Bono, I found what I was looking for.

When I perused the quantities in this recipe and then the recommended cake tin size I assumed that the cake maybe wouldn’t rise as much as the ingredients suggested; maybe the inclusion of the coconut cream would somehow prohibit the cake rising.
Wrong! Look at the height of this cake – I love it! If you wanted a more normally proportioned cake I would suggest going up a tin size.

I’ve never used solidified coconut milk in a cake before and found it a fascinating ingredient.
It looked pretty unappealing – like a block of Trex or Cookeen but smelled divine. As soon as it starts to warm i.e. even room temperature, it softens and you get a sense of the creaminess of the coconut. I grated it in a mini chopper as I think handling it too much might result in a mushy mess. The coconut milk was in the Indian, Thai, and Caribbean products aisle of my supermarket – it comes in a cardboard box shaped exactly like a block of butter.

Coconut cakes usually use desiccated coconut which adds flavour and texture to the sponge.
The coconut milk added an extra layer of flavour – a rich creaminess, somehow making the sponge fuller flavoured in a way that made my mouth water.

The glace icing was delicious and benefits from the addition of a tiny amount of butter. The original recipe used water but I decided on a touch of decadence and used Malibu!

The recipe also provided measurements in cups, so for the benefit of my readers across the Pond I include them in the recipe below.

I’m now off on travels for work – I will try to visit as many of your lovely blogs as usual, but it might not be until next weekend!


For the cake:

440g (3 ½ cups) plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
250g (2 sticks) unsalted butter
315g (1 ¼ cups) caster sugar
60g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
35g (1/3 cup) solidified coconut milk, grated
4 eggs
185ml (3/4 cup) milk

For the glace icing:
15g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Malibu, or water if you prefer
250g (1 ½ cups) icing sugar
Additional water, if required

To decorate: I used crystallised coconut from my local sweet shop but shredded coconut would be just as nice


Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/Gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper making sure the paper comes up 3-4cm above the height of the tin. If you want a flatter cake, consider using a 23cm round springform tin.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. You can do this in a food processor, if you prefer.

Stir in the sugar and both types of coconut.

Gradually beat the eggs and milk into the batter.

Transfer the batter (it will be thick but pourable) into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 1 ½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. I checked mine after 1 hour 10 minutes but it needed the full 1 ½ hours.

Place the tin on a wire rack and, when the tin is cool enough to handle, remove the cake and leave on the wire rack to cool completely. You can make the cake a day in advance and store in an airtight container.

Now make the glace icing: place the Malibu (or water) and butter into a dish and microwave for 10 seconds or so, until the butter is soft enough to stir into the liquid.

Place the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually whisk in the butter and rum.
You may need to add additional water to reach the right consistency; ideally this will be thick, glossy but spoonable and spreadable.

Spoon the icing onto the top of the cake and spread gently. Work quickly as it will set. I spread it just over the sides but you can spread it all over if you wish.

Decorate with either shredded or crystallised coconut.

Leave to set for 10 minutes before serving.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Chocolate mousse millefeuille

For a real ‘hit’ of cocoa you can’t go far wrong with this one!
The chocolate mousse is rich, creamy and almost on its way to being chocolate truffle-like. It was one of the nicest chocolate mousses I’ve made – a perfect balance of cocoa and richness but without being bitter.

I was less convinced by the millefeuille aspect of this dish, as you cook the puff pastry weighed down by a baking sheet so it can’t rise.
I thought the whole point of millefeuille was that you got a thousand leaves! Next time I make this mousse I’d be tempted to put it on a cheesecake-style crushed biscuit base.

Here’s the cooked sheet of puff pastry:

The chocolate mousse contains uncooked egg so be aware of this and serve it to an appropriate audience only.
The chocolate mousse also contains lots of whipped cream...which should please most people!


375g all butter ready-made puff pastry
250g chocolate 50% cocoa content (I couldn’t find any 50% so used half 70% and half 34% and this roughly came out at 50%)
6 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons black coffee or rum (I omitted this)
150ml whipping cream
30g icing sugar

To decorate: cocoa powder and any decorations of your choice


Preheat the oven to 200˚C/fan oven 180˚C/400˚F/Gas mark 6.

Roll out the puff pastry so that you can cut two 30cm squares.

Place a square of puff pastry on a baking sheet (lined with baking paper) and sit another baking sheet on top of the pastry; this is to stop it puffing up too much when it cooks.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes until crisp and golden.

Repeat the process with the other sheet (if you have enough baking sheets you can cook both at the same time)

Leave to cool.

When the puff pastry squares are cool use a 20cm round loose bottomed cake tin or a pastry ring to cut out 2 discs.

Take the plate you intend to serve the dish off and place the pastry ring or the ring (not the base) of the cake tin in the centre of it. Sit one disc of pastry in the bottom.

Now make the chocolate mousse: break the chocolate into chunks and melt, either using the bain marie method (i.e. in a bowl over a pan of simmering water) or microwaving. I’ve really come around to microwaving chocolate as I feel I have more control over it.

Leave the melted chocolate to cool, then stir in the egg yolks.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then fold into the chocolate mixture.

Whisk the cream and icing sugar to stiff peaks and then fold this into the chocolate mixture.

Pour the mousse onto the pastry disc sitting at the bottom of your mould.

Top with the other pastry disc, trimming with scissors if it won’t fit easily.

Sieve a tablespoon of cocoa powder over the top, then cover and refrigerate until you wish to serve.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.


Easter (possibly whoopie) pies

You can’t really read a food magazine at the moment without being told what the “new cupcake” is. Apparently, macarons are the new cupcakes but then I’ve also read lately that whoopee pies are the new maybe they’re actually the new macarons? It’s all very confusing.

Anyway, I think these qualify as whoopie pies as they’re cakey biscuits sandwiched by a suitably gooey filling.
As it’s Easter I added some chocolate glaze and chocolate eggs...I have no subtlety at all (if there’s a way of adding more chocolate to something you can rely on me to do it!)

The marshmallow filling was sticky and chewy
and made a nice alternative to buttercream. I was delighted to see on the marshmallow packet that they are fat free! Who knew that marshmallows were a health food...they beat celery any day!

Eating a biscuit sandwich means you’re actually eating two biscuits at a time.
This appealed to me as a very efficient way of eating biscuits! Here’s one biscuit fresh from the oven:


For the biscuits (this quantity makes about 14 finished pies i.e. 28 biscuits):

120g unsalted butter
240g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
40g cocoa powder
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons milk

For the marshmallow filling:

2 egg whites
150g caster sugar
2 tablespoons double cream
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
10 white marshmallows, cut into quarters

For the chocolate glaze:

200g chocolate 50% cocoa content (I couldn’t find any 50% so used half 70% and half 34% and this roughly came out at 50%)
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons double cream

To decorate: chocolate sprinkles and any decorations of your choice


Preheat the oven to 200˚C/fan oven 180˚C/400˚F/Gas mark 6.

Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Start by making the biscuits: cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined.

Beat in the eggs.

Sift the cocoa, flour and baking powder over the butter mixture and beat in.

Beat in the vanilla and milk; the batter will be softer than a traditional biscuit mix but firmer than a sponge batter.

Drop rounded teaspoons full of the batter onto the baking sheets. Space them about 6cm apart as they spread. I had to bake half the mixture at a time and use each baking sheet twice.

Bake the biscuits for about 14 minutes or until they are firm but not crisp – they should retain a certain cakey-ness.

Leave to cool on a wire rack. They will store in an airtight container at this point if you’re not making them up straight away.

Now make the marshmallow filling: Whisk the egg whites, sugar, cream and cream of tartar.

Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture has turned thick and glossy – almost like a mousse; this took ages by which I mean about 20 minutes! It should stand in peaks.

Stir in the chopped marshmallows and whisk until they have melted and mixed in.

Remove from the heat.

Match up the biscuits in pairs as best you can – they will all be different sizes and shapes.

Sandwich using a generous teaspoon of the marshmallow filling.

Put to one side for 30 minutes or more, until the marshmallow filling has set.

Now make the chocolate glaze: break the chocolate into chunks and melt with the butter, either using the bain marie method (i.e. in a bowl over a pan of simmering water) or microwaving. I’ve really come around to microwaving chocolate as I feel I have more control over it.

Stir in the cream.

Leave to cool and firm up a bit before spooning it over the sandwiched biscuits.

Decorate with crushed flake or other chocolate sprinkles.

Leave to set.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.