Posted by Lou. The time is 9:00am here in London UK.
Tell us about some recent baking expeditions
I've decided that today's actual topic is lame, so am instead catching up on my baking posts, including an accident involving too much baking soda and a Chocolate Guinness Cake (recipe from Nigella), and a happy experiment making Cookie Monster Cupcakes (no recipe).
Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake
Nigella is one of my fave chefs as she is a woman who appreciates the importance of indulgence being indulgence - none of this "low-fat" and "sugar-free" guff when it comes to making decadent cakes and desserts. I've been wanting to make her Chocolate Guinness Cake for a while, so used Cara's 30th Birthday as my excuse.
Basically it is a very dense chocolate cake containing Guinness. The Guinness makes it a very dark brown which, when topped by cream cheese icing, gives a visual nod to a pint of Guinness.
But I made probably the worst amateur error of my baking life - I mistook teaspoons as tablespoons. In relation to baking soda. The worst possible accident to make. BUT I fixed it! Luckily I had no yet put the cake mixture into the cake tin when I realised (I had tasted the raw mixture as a last-minute check, and knew instantly what I had done), so was able to fly into recovery mode.
I quickly figured out how much extra mixture I could make based on my ingredient stock. Butter was my item in lowest supply, so I took the maximum amount of butter available to me and adapting all the other ingredients to match the correct ratios, and created a batch of mixture minus baking soda. At this point I should have taken out as much of the faulted mixture as I had replacement for, but I didn't think of that till later on. Instead I added my baking-soda-less mixture and hoped it would diffuse the mistake enough to cover the taste. Luckily it worked and the cake tasted fine.
Feeling quite happy with the result I bunged on some candles and carried it up the street and round the corner to Cara's flat. Colleen and I then completed the fun by giggling to ourselves outside her front door as we tried to light the candles. When we finally knocked Cara opened the door upon a surprise visit of two friends and a lit Guinness Cake.
Cookie Monster Cupcakes
A while ago I saw a photo of some Cookie Monster Cupcakes and of course instantly fell in love and felt the over-whelming need to make them. There is no recipe available that I was able to find, which is great as it leaves it open to creative license.
For the eyes I held milk chocolate chips against the fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin tray to get the base melting a tiny bit, then pressed them on to white chocolate buttons to create a variety of expressions:
I used a basic chocolate chip muffin recipe for the cupcake base, and then cut the tops off to create a flatter surface on which to put the faces:
The icing was chosen for taste (cream cheese - my fave!), but turned out not to be best for appearance. I had wanted to be able to create a more textured top (like the Cookie Monster's fur) and I think in retrospect butter cream icing would have worked better. But they turned out fine and ohmygod tasted delicious! (if I do say so myself...)