Sunday, 25 September 2016

Aperol Spritz Bundt Cake

Aperol Spritz Bundt Cake
Another day, another round of bundt alchemy. This time, my friend Vicki had challenged me to an Aperol Spritz cake, which meant all the orange! Of course, my creation was never going to be an understated number, not a chance. Look at Aperol though, it's bright orange and is generally served with fizz; this does not scream 'keep me conservative' in any way.

I was plotting to bring out the big guns... coloured gel, glitter, and the naffest of cocktail umbrellas. The actual cake is Aperol flavoured, and the icing is made from a mixture of Aperol and Prosecco to give the cake that much needed 'Spritz'. I declared I was binning off the soda water element as it tastes like fizzy nothing.

This cake is actually gluten free, but can be made as a standard bundt very easily (see the recipe variation below). I was hugely impressed with the Doves Farm gluten free flour. It made a beautifully light cake which released like a dream.

Cake:
    Aperol Spritz Bundt Cake
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g Homepride plain flour or Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 250ml low fat plain yoghurt
  • Zest of a large orange
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 5 tbsp Aperol

Topping:
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp Aperol
  • Prosecco
  • Orange food colouring gel
  • Naff cocktail paraphernalia 

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with melted butter and dust with flour.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ginger.
  6. Pour the yoghurt into a jug, and add the Aperol and orange zest and juice.
  7. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. 
  8. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  9. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  11. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  12. When completely cool, mix the icing sugar with the Aperol, and enough Prosecco to make a thick yet runny icing. 
  13. Add enough orange food gel to make your eyes burn.
  14. Tip it over your cake.
  15. Decorate with baking glitter and the most garish cocktail decorations you can find. If you're thinking 'less is more', get outta town. 
Bloggers: Please respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and basic recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Kinder Egg Bundt Cake

Kinder Egg Bundt Cake
Kinder Eggs remind me of going to Brownies, back in the day when everyone was trying to collect the elusive 'Teeny Terrapins' from inside them. It was 1991 and there wasn't much else to do other than try not to set yourself on fire by moving too fast in your shell-suit, and gelling your fringe back with green gunk from a tub. We were convinced that we could tell a winning egg from its weight and general demeanour, whereas in actual fact, many of us still ended up with some pants plane which needed constructing from bits of plastic.

Fast forward to 2016... It was my friend's boyfriend's birthday, and he bloody loves a Kinder Egg, so it seemed a fitting challenge. Not content with decorating the cake with a full suite of Kinder products (note the Beunos and Hippos were deemed too cumbersome and binned off - by me), I decided that it was essential that the cake also tasted like 'Kinder'. You can get them in bar form these days, so I blitzed a few in the trusty Nutribullet, and stirred them into my mix. Magic.

This one was a pleasure to make, and got lots of attention in work before it was united with its owner!

Ingredients:
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 350g Homepride plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 bag of white chocolate chips
  • 200ml plain yoghurt 
  • 10 mini Kinder Egg chocolate bars - blitzed to crumbs in a Nutribullet, food processor, or cut up reeeaaal small
  • 8 Kinder mini chocolate eggs (optional)
  • I jar of chocolate spread - not the hazelnut type
  • A selection of Kinder products to decorate
Kinder Egg Bundt Cake
Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with Cake Release spray and dust with flour. 
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and white chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the yoghurt into a jug.
  7. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. The chocolate chips will be left in the sieve - stir these into the mix. The flour prevents them from sinking. 
  8. Stir in the blitzed Kinder bars.
  9. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  10. Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin.
  11. Push in the Kinder mini eggs and cover with cake mix.
  12. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  13. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  14. When the cake is fully cool, loosen the chocolate spread by warming it in the microwave, and tip over your cake.
  15. Decorate with assorted Kinder goodies!
Bloggers: Please respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and basic recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What's your poison?

Coffee
Every morning we arrive at our desks with our preferred brew. For me, it's always a cup of tea, but for my colleagues, it has to be coffee. Our cafe at work has a reward scheme where you get your sixth free, but we worked out that on average each person spends between £15 and £20 per month on takeaway coffee. 

One has brought in a cafetiere, another has moved to the decent instant stuff (and is fully hating it in quite a vocal manner), and a couple have started bringing in their own made in a coffee machine at home. After I was sent some coffee pods to review, we decided to do an impartial comparison of all the options available rather than just one. 

Takeaway coffee from the work cafe:
  • Cost - £1 with the sixth free
  • Taste - It's better than instant, and you can pick from filter, latte or cappucino. I'm going to be honest with you, it's not terrible, but it's not the best either. Can taste burnt at times.
  • Consistency of product - It's pretty consistent as they're using a decent coffee machine, however it sometimes smells of perfume, for unknown reasons...
  • Summary - We buy these for sheer convenience.

Coffee pods - Nespresso:
  • Cost - About 25p per capsule, which makes one cup
  • Taste - Lots of flavour options, but my tester prefers the Brazilian ones. Tastes just like filter coffee without all the faff. 
  • Consistency of product - Consistent as long as you're cleaning the Nespresso machine regularly. 
  • Summary - we buy these primarily to enjoy at home, but save us money if we bring them to work in a little thermos mug.

Coffee pods - Gourmesso:
  • Cost - They claim to be on average 30% cheaper than the Nespresso branded pods. The Brazilian counterpart is 21p per pod. 
  • Taste - Very little difference between these and the ones mentioned above; if anything, these are a little smoother.
  • Consistency of product - As above really, they behave in exactly the same way as the Nespresso ones, but come in plastic pods, not foil. 
  • Summary: Depends how many you buy, but this could save you quite a bit of cash if you drink them regularly. 

Cafetiere - Loose coffee:
  • Cost - Generally these cost around £3 for 30 cups, so 10p per cup. 
  • Taste - Some are just as good as the pod types, but were described by one person as 'a bit dusty!' They smell great though.
  • Consistency of product - As mentioned above, can sometimes be a bit dusty, and even with a decent cafetiere, you sometimes get bits of ground coffee in your drink.
  • Summary - A tasty, cheaper alternative, but a real pain to clean afterwards.

Azera Americano Instant Coffee:
  • Cost - £4.99 for 50 cups, so about 10p per cup.
  • Taste - Not bad for instant coffee, but you cannot compare this to the others in all fairness in terms of taste. I can't see this one lasting long.
  • Consistency of product - Not hugely consistent, but more down to human error in terms of measuring the coffee when tired!
  • Summary: It's a much cheaper option, and better than a standard instant, but cannot replace that real coffee taste. 
I can't see our team giving up caffeine any time soon, but I can see us getting a coffee machine for at work!

Disclaimer: I was sent some of the Gourmesso pods to try, but we bought the other products. All my comments are my own.
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