Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Whiteout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Frosting

Whiteout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Frosting

I must apologise for the lateness of this blog, I try to post every Sunday but unfortunately this week I got a nasty case of food poisoning from some mussels! Boo to them, it's definately put me off shellfish for a little while! Is it completely sad that the main reason my food poisoning upset me was because I couldn't blog? Hmm... shall I grab the geek glasses and scrunchie now?

I think I was mainly disappointed as I have been looking forward to trying this recipe ever since I bought BAKED - New Frontiers In Baking by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito. Flicking through this book you can't help to salivate at all the gorgeous looking recipes and beautiful photographs. Next on my list to try is the Root Beer Bundt Cake with Root Beer Fudge Frosting - my man is a real root beer enthusiast and I've never made a bundt cake before - how exciting!

Now anyone that knows me well will be able to tell you I have a slight white chocolate obsession. I just love that super sweet creamy taste but I have found it is often drowned out by other flavours in baking even if that's by accident. This cake really is the opposite. The cake is just a vanilla cake with a bit of a twist in the baking but the frosting is a white choccy lovers dream! I think that is the main thing that drew me to this book, the recipes all use very different techniques than I am used to - I am sure that my whole life will be spent looking for the perfect cake recipe.

Just a warning - do not leave the frosting unattended for long while it's cooking - I did and had to deal with the consequence of scrubbing burnt sugary goop from the bottom of my saucepan!

Whiteout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Frosting

Whiteout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Frosting
Adapted from
BAKED - New Frontiers In Baking by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito

Whiteout Cake Ingredients
350g cake flour (please see below notes for how to make this if you cannot buy it in bags)
35g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
110g butter, softened
110g vegetable shortening (such as Trex)
350g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
360ml ice cold water
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

White Chocolate Cream Frosting Ingredients
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
300g caster sugar
35g plain flour
375ml milk
80ml double cream
330g butter, soft and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whiteout Cake Method
Preheat the oven to 190C / 325F.

Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with greaseproof baking paper. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy for about 3 to 4 minutes, then add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about another 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add the egg, and beat until just combined. Mix on slow speed and add the flour mixture, alternating with the ice water, in three separate additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then beat for a few more seconds to make sure everything is well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form making sure not to overbeat and then gently fold them into the batter.

Divide the mixture into the three pans and smooth off the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.

Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.

White Chocolate Cream Frosting Method
Melt the white chocolate and set it aside to cool - I use a microwave but you can do it over a double boiler if you prefer.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together with the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 20 minutes - keep your eye on it or you'll get a burnt brown goop!

Transfer the mixture to a metal bowl and beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium/high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy - about 3-4 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract and cooled white chocolate and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is loose enough.

To Assemble The Cake
Refrigerate the frosting for a few minutes until it can hold its shape well.

Place one cake layer on a serving platter, use a knife to flatten and smooth out the top then spread a good amount of the frosting on top. Add the next layer, cut and frost it the same way, and then add the third layer. Coat all over with a thin layer of frosting and then place the cake into the fridge for 15 minutes to set.

Now frost the sides with two thirds of the remaining frosting, smoothing to a nice rustic finish. Spoon the remaining frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large closed star nozzle and pipe little stars of frosting all over the top of the cake. Sprinkle with a bit of edible glitter if, like me, you are easily pleased by sparkly things.

Whiteout Cake

This cake will keep in a tin at room temperature for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the covered cake in the fridge for up to 3 days, removing it to warm up slightly about 2 hours before you plan on serving it.

If you cannot find cake flour you can make your own -
120g /1 cup cake flour can be substituted with 85g plain flour plus 2 tbsp of cornflour.

I buy most of my cake decorating items such as edible glitter and cupcake cases from the following online stores - and

Whiteout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Frosting

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Curried Potato and Onion Pasties

Curried Potato and Onion Pasties

I always find Fathers Day a bit tricky. My dad is notoriously hard to buy for, but as he is a food lover like myself I did a little baking for him. He's from Birmingham, the curry capital of the UK, so I thought it only right to cook him up something lovely and aromatic and spicy, but it needed to be portable too.

Samosas were a little too obvious, and bhajis and pakoras tend to go a bit soggy after fried if you don't eat them straight away, so I decided to mess around with that most traditional of UK convenience foods - the pasty.

Curried Onions and Potatoes

Of course the traditional pasty is made with minced meat, which I could easily have incorporated into these treats, but my dad and I both tend to enjoy vegetarian Indian dishes rather than those using meat - cauliflower curries, mutter paneer (peas and an Indian cheese in a mild aromatic sauce) and tarka dahl are some of our favourites along with Bombay aloo which is what the pasties are based on.

Believe me when I say that making your own curry powder blends is so so worth it. It really isn't a big hassle and you make up lots of different flavour combinations with just a few staple spices - cumin seeds, ground coriander, turmeric, ginger, garlic and cayenne pepper.

Homemade Curry Power

Bash together as many or as few as you wish in a pessel and mortar and add to curries with some stock and any meat or vegetable combinations you fancy to make a delicious quick meal.

I wrapped these beauties in greaseproof paper and tied them up with some nice ribbon to give as my Fathers Day gift and it seems that they went down a storm.

Curried Potato and Onion Pasties

Curried Potato and Onion Pasties
Makes 8

Pastry Ingredients
500g plain flour
2 tsp ground turmeric
250g cold butter, cut into small cubes
150ml cold water

1 small egg, beaten, to glaze the pasties before cooking

Curried Potato and Onion Ingredients
900g white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
250g white onions, roughly chopped
1 tbsp maldon salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garlic granules or 1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
3 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

Pastry Method
Place the cubed cold butter, flour and turmeric into a bowl and rub together with your finger tips. When well combined add in the cold water and mix quickly with a knife until it comes together. Give it a quick knead with your hands until thoroughly combined, then wrap in cling film and place in the fridge while you make the filling.

Filling Method
Place the cubed potatoes into a large pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil, then cover and boil for 4-5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Put all the salt and spices into a pessel and mortar and grind them together until you get a nice smooth powder. Fry with the onions in the olive oil for 5 or so minutes until soft and fragrant.

Add the par-boiled potatoes and cook on medium for a further 10 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool completely.

Putting The Pasties Together
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F.

Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each one out until it about 5mm thick and cut into a roughly 6.5" circle, I used a small side bowl as a template.

Place about 2 tbsp of the cold potato and onion mixture into the centre of the pastry circle, then brush a little of the beaten egg around the edges. Fold the two sides together and squash the edges together with a fork leaving a pretty indent in the dough. Place on a baking sheet and brush all over with more of the egg mixture so they come out nice and shiny.

Cook for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and shiny, then remove from the oven and either eat straight away or leave them to cool before wrapping or eating cold.

Curried Potato and Onion Pasties

These taste even better dipped into some cool minty raita you can find a recipe here or you can buy some good premade ones from the chilled section in most supermarkets.

You can eat the potato and onion filling on it's own or use it as a side dish - I really like it wrapped in lettuce leaves with some natural yoghurt.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Spicey Honey Rum Barbecue Sauce

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork - The Inky Kitchen

I love Southern American cooking and music and barbecue is one of the quintessential southern tastes, they take it to almost fanatical lengths with many hugely popular barbecue competitions and restaurants across the country. Over here in the UK we seem to be lacking them - I have heard of one London based place but that's about it, so to get my fix I have to do it home made. Having no garden makes this a little difficult but lately I've seen several recipes floating around for indoor cooked bbq style food.

One recipe I have seen a lot of but never actually tried is pulled pork - slow cooked pork butt/shoulder that becomes so tender you can literally ease it into shreds with two forks. This is usually made in a smoker on the barbecue but can be done in a slow cooker to great effect - I confess I don't actually own one, I've never seen a slow cooker recipe I've ever wanted to make before, so I borrowed one from Pete's mum.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork - The Inky Kitchen

The pork came out beautifully, I had a 1.5kg piece of pork shoulder which I but into three and cooked for 5 hours on high. When the timer went I grabbed two forks and tried to pull out a piece but it literally fell apart as I tried - perfectly succulent and tender! I probably could have squeezed another 1.5kg in the slow cooker I had, but then I recon the cooking time would have been 8 or 9 hours at least. My piece made enough pork to fill 8 bread rolls generously - I could only manage to eat one roll it was so filling!

This would be really great to have as part of a bbq buffet, and as you do it in the slow cooker it doesn't take up any more room on the grill. It is sure to impress, especially with homemade honey rum barbecue sauce - I think I'm going to have to bottle up a supply so we never have to buy any again!

Served up in some tasty seeded buns with a good dollop of creamy coleslaw this is a perfect meal - remember to put out a bowl of extra sauce, people are sure to want some! (It's great on chips!)

Smoked Paprika and Honey Rum

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with Spicey Honey Rum Barbecue Sauce
Makes 8 generously filled rolls

Pulled Pork Ingredients
1.5kg pork shoulder/butt

25g dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsp maldon salt
3/4 tbsp garlic granules
1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp coarse grain mustard
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp maggi liquid seasoning / liquid smoke
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 medium onions, sliced into think rings
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

Spicey Honey Rum Barbecue Sauce Ingredients
250ml honey rum
250ml tomato ketchup (low sugar if possible)
60g dark muscovado sugar
60ml cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp maggi liquid seasoning
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
60ml full fat coca cola
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp english mustard
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
20g butter
salt and pepper

Pulled Pork Method

Cut the pork shoulder into three roughly equal sized pieces and place into a strong ziplock food bag. Mix all the ingredients except the onion and garlic cloves in a bowl and then pour into the bag with the meat. Seal the bag and squish it around a bit so everything gets nicely coated, then place in the fridge to marinate overnight.

Remove the marinating pork from the fridge and set to one side. Chop the onions and garlic cloves and place in the bottom of the slow cooker followed by the pieces of pork. Next pour over the marinade from the ziplock bag and place on the slow cookers lid.

Cook on high power for 5 hours, then remove the pieces of meat to a plate or tray and shred with two forks - if the meat does not shred easily it will need more cooking so place it back into the slow cooker for another hour and try shredding again.

Discard the liquid and onions (you do not need these) and place the pork back into the turned off slow cooker until serving time.

Barbecue Sauce Method
Place all ingredients into a saucepan (preferably non-stick) and mix well. Simmer over a medium to low heat for 20-25 minutes until the sauce has thickened, remove and throw away the pieces of onion, and place in a bowl or bottle until needed.

Once simmered down and thickened I had around 400ml of sauce.

To Serve
Pour two thirds of the barbecue sauce over the shredded pork and mix until it is all coated. If needed, cook on medium for a further 15 minutes until heated through.

Place a generous mound of meat into a seeded roll and serve with some good quality creamy coleslaw and a pickle on the side.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork - The Inky Kitchen

This recipe is great value as it will feed about 8 people with a piece of meat that costs around £5.00.

We were given our honey rum as a gift last time Pete's parents went on holiday but I have seen it in several off licenses and a few supermarkets. Any nice sweet spirit will do - bourbons are always good in barbecue and I think a dark rum would work well too.

Maggi liquid seasoning is available in many supermarkets in the world foods section, it is a little bottle with a bright yellow lable so you shouldn't miss it.

If you want to save time, you can use a store bought barbecue sauce - we like the Jack Daniels range that you can buy in most supermarkets.

Triple Chocolate and Mocha Cupcakes - Nancy's Sweet Treat Boutique

And this is just a photo of some cupcakes I made for Pete to take in to his colleagues at work. The ones with the red chocolate hearts are triple chocolate and the others are double chocolate mocha.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Mad Hatter Cupcakes and Free Downloadable Toppers

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for being absent for a few weeks. It's been a bit of a crazy one at work and at home and then we had to spend last weekend in Liverpool. Don't ask me about it, we had an awful time and I may explode with anger when ranting about it. The only good things to come of it were buying a sprinkle covered pretzel, visiting Tate Liverpool and the Picasso exhibit, M&S chocolate brownie dessert and finally, finding this postcard in Paperchase.

Postcard from Paperchase

See that cake that the birds are sitting in? That's a Saint Honore cake from legendary french patisserie Laduree. That's a pricey cake right there. So who the hell would think to cut it open, drain out the rose creme patissiere and stick some fake birds in it? That's the kind of imagination I could only wish to have. Props to you crazy bird cake person, whoever you may be.

FYI the pretzel tasted pretty lame, but boy was it pretty. I'm a sucker for anything with sprinkles on, although to be honest I'm not big on the taste.

Sprinkle Pretzel

But anyway, back to the cupcakes. I had been pretty stuck on what recipe to do this week, I wanted it to be a goodie as I've missed a few weeks and when the lovely Tara called to order some cupcakes for a Mad Hatters Tea Party my mind got a whirring. Of course they'd have to be a little crazy, but not so crazy that they tasted gross. Visual kookiness was key and I think I hit that combination of looking pretty but tame from the outside and containing a lovely surprise inside.

I ended up trying Hummingbird Bakery's standard vanilla cake recipe which is a good standby, not as good as my go to vanilla but still tasty and pretty moist. The frosting was a combination of vanilla flavoured white and strawberry flavoured grey swirled together. And what was the surprise inside? Well here you go...

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

Mad Hatter's Rainbow Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 standard American size cupcakes
Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf

120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter at room temperature
120ml milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp each of blue, red, green and yellow food colourings
extra plain flour for thickening the coloured batter if needed

Preheat the oven to 170 C / 325 F.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter until it reaches a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and mix until well incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk in a seperate bowl and then add to the flour mixture. Beat until well combined, scraping down the bowl sides if needed and then mixing for a further few minutes until the mixture is thickened and smooth.

Divide the mixture equally between four bowls. One at a time tint the batters with the food colourings, the strength of colour varies depending on which make of food dye you use. Gel colourings are best as they are more concentrated and therefore need less adding to give a good bright hue.

Add one teaspoon of colouring at a time, you want a really vivid colour to the batters. If when the correct colour is achieved the mixture is quite thin add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it is back to the consistency it was before adding the dye.

Split each colour of batter between twelve standard American cupcake cases so that there is a little of each of the four colours in each one - you should end up with something like the image below.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are slightly browned and the cake springs right back when touched. Leave to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

Vanilla and Strawberry Monotone Frosting
Makes enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes with a little leftover

500g sifted icing sugar
160g unsalted butter at room temperature
50ml milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1-2 drops concentrated strawberry flavouring oil
1-2 tsp black food colouring

Large 14" piping bag
Extra large closed star tip
Card suit sugar sprinkles
Gold edible glitter
12 Eat Me cupcake toppers - link below

Beat the butter and half the icing sugar until well combined, then add the milk and remaining sugar. Mix until smooth and thoroughly combined and then divide between two bowls. Add the vanilla to one and mix thoroughly. Next add the black food colouring to the second bowl along with the concentrated strawberry flavouring oil and beat until smooth and there are no streaks in the colour.

Put both the colours of frosting into the piping bag trying to keep one colour to each side of the bag in order to give a good stripe. Squeeze the icing out of the bag until you start to see the stripe in the icing and then frost the cupcakes squeezing the bag gently and using a circular motion so as to cover the cakes completely.

Sprinkle or place on the card suit sprinkles as quickly as possible so they stick before the frosting starts to set and then add a little shake of gold edible glitter to each. Stick an Eat Me cake topped into the centre of each frosting swirl and arrange on a lovely platter ready for a wonderfully mad tea party.

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen

I use a brand of gel food colours called Americolor which I order from an amazing US website called Bake It Pretty - click here for a link to the product on their website. You should browse anyway, it's such a gorgeous site!

You can also buy the concentrated flavouring oils from there site - click here for a link. You can use them to flavour just about anything - cakes, frostings, chocolate, fudge, candy, drinks, cookies and much much more.

Eat Me Cupcake Toppers - Ok guys, click here or on the image below for a link to the downloadable cupcake topper templates.

Eat Me Cupcake Toppers - The Inky Kitchen

I cut mine out using a 2" scalloped circle paper punch which you can get from several online craft shops and stuck them together with a cocktail stick between using double sided tape.

I bought my card suit sprinkles from eBay along with the gold edible glitter and my black cupcake cases.

If any of you give them a try do send me photos of your results!!!

Mad Hatter Cupcakes - The Inky Kitchen