dream.....dream dream dream

Very long (week-long...it's a big ask, I know) drumroll please.... as next week I'm going to finally have a proper Cake of Dreams website up! To celebrate I'll be popping a recipe up for my Mexican Chocolate Cronuts. YUP. They are pretty spectacular.... so make sure you check back or your tastebuds will never forgive you. Ever. 

'hot day at the beach' cake by Cake of Dreams

'hot day at the beach' cake by Cake of Dreams

In the meantime if anyone's got an excuse for a party, however weak, check out some recent work on the Facebook page or get in touch via hello@cakeofdreams.co.uk. I would love love love to bake you a cake. Or a cronut. Or ten. Your call.

A lemon cronut and a blueberry bakewell walk into a bar...

A lemon cronut and a blueberry bakewell walk into a bar...

We made doughnuts...

Sickeningly easy, and luckily we had a BBQ to attend so a good excuse to gift them to someone else before we ate them all... 

If you're hunting for a good recipe for raised doughnuts I highly recommend Lara Ferroni's. Or you can make yummy English jam doughnuts via this post on my blog... 

an apple a day

Pablo's much loved childminder, Lucinda, moved away a year ago and we were very excited when she asked if she could pop down for a visit. Obviously we had to make a cake, but with a miserably poorly baby a trip to the shops was not going to happen. I scoured the cupboards and we had just the right amount of this and that to make this delicious apple cake. It was extremely easy and Pablo helped me lots. Indy did the opposite by tugging on my leg and looking pathetic throughout, but we got there in the end...

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Caramelised Cinnamon Apple Cake

100g butter + 1 tbsp
175g brown muscovado sugar + 1 tbsp
2-3 dessert apples
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
100ml milk
TOPPING:
25g flour
85g demerara sugar + 1 tbsp
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
50g butter
3 tbsp toasted sliced almonds

recipe adapted from BBC Good Food 

Heat oven to 160C. Mix the topping first - flour, demerara sugar, cinnamon butter with your fingertips to make sticky breadcrumbs. Pablo did half of this, but once he began threatening to eat hunks of sugary butter from his fingertips I chucked it all in a food processor. Stir in 2 tbsp of the almonds and set aside. 

Cut the apples into 1.5cm-ish squares. Melt the 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp sugar in a non stick frying pan and then add the apples and cook for about 5 minutes until everything is brown and gooey and yummy smelling.

Make the cake by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well, then add the vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients and alternate adding them and the milk until all is well combined. Grease a springform 8in/20cm tin and line with a circle of parchment on the bottom. Spoon in your cake mix and then sprinkle with the topping. Mix your remaining 1 tbsp demerara and almonds together and sprinkle these on top. Bake for 45ish minutes. Cool ten minutes in the tin before removing, then cool on a wire rack until it's time to indulge.

Actual best cookies ever

In my hand-scrawled recipe book (started circa 2001) I have this recipe down as "Best Choc Chip Cookies (Actual Best!)" and as far as I've experimented over the decades they really are. I have absolutely no idea where they came from, but what a find! On Sunday Konch's oldest pal Mark popped over to see his little god-daughter and I realised at the very last minute that we barely had a withered carrot in the house to offer him. These took about 15 minutes to whip up and were gone again almost as quickly. One batch makes a LOT o' cookies but the dough refrigerates like a dream and freezes great too.  They are crunchy *and* chewy and everything they should be. I've made it so many times, often with way less chocolate than the recipe calls for and they still turn out scrummy, so they are great for just making at the last minute with whatever chocolate...nuts...etc... you've got. On Sunday I used choc chips, raisins and chopped pistachios in place of just chocolate and it was a magical combo...

eeeeeeat meeeeeee

eeeeeeat meeeeeee

225g butter, room temp (soft)
200g caster sugar
220g packed brown sugar
2 eggs
10ml vanilla extract
375g flour
5g bicarb of soda + 10ml hot water
3g salt
335g chocolate chips (I find chopped up good quality dark choc works better)

Heat the oven to 175C. Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then add the vanilla. Dissolve the bicarb in hot water and add along with the salt. Stir in the flour and chocolate/nuts/raisins/whatever you fancy. Bake for 8-10 mins, then leave to cool a bit before trying not to eat all in one sitting.

book bakes

Pablo & I have decided to start making some of the incredible edibles from his many bedside stories. So many feature food, and we love to cook together and need some wintery indoors things to do between school and weekends. Our kick off was a bit ambitious since it's a taste I have in the back of my mind and memory from my own childhood, and also since the recipe is a bit confusing ("three squares of chocolate" = what size squares?), but it was cold and grey and we had all the ingredients and so we began... 

Transient

Happy Winter Fudge Cake

from the book Happy Winter by Karen Gundersheimer

This book was my absolute favourite when I was a cub and still has my name and address at a house we left when I was eight scrawled inside the front cover. Because it is amazing Pablo loves it too, and because it's nice and rhyming it's an excellent bedtime story. In the middle of the book is a lovely poem about baking a wintery cake, complete with recipe:

3 squares semisweet baking chocolate (more on this later...)
225g/9oz flour
200g/8oz sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 eggs
50g/2oz soft butter cut into small bits
1 teaspoon vanilla
620ml/24 fl.oz plain yogurt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Grease a tube pan - 250x75mm. We don't own a tube pan, so thought we would make two loaves instead. This was perhaps our first mistake...

Cut up the chocolate and melt in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. I didn't know how large the "3 squares" should be, so we used a row (10g) Green & Blacks 70%, which in hindsight was not enough. This was perhaps our second mistake...

Mix the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Mix the wet ingredients with an electric mixer (including the cooled melted chocolate). Our butter wasn't particularly cold but it didn't mix up brilliantly with the wet ingredients (third mistake??). Slowly add the dry to the wet, stirring with a spoon to blend. Stir in one cup of chocolate chips (we used 100g bar Green & Blacks, broken into bits). 

Pour batter into greased pan (in our case, pans...) and place in a preheated oven. Bake 45 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I checked our smaller loaf tins after 30 (mistake number 4???) and removed them at about 40 mins, when a toothpick came out clean. But then they sank.) Let cool 30 mins before turning out onto a plate.

Our cakes were...not good. They sank and were a bit dense and completely un-fudgy. I had a quick google and someone has had what appears to be more success with this recipe. Was it our daredevil pan changing, our not using enough chocolate, our uncertainty over cooking times and consequent cake checking before it was done...? All three? Oh well. Obviously it was completely delicious regardless, and we had a lovely time making them and then munching slices with a cup of tea & a marshmallow milk. Am determined to get this right so we WILL be trying this one again. Watch this space...