Coffee coffee coffee caramel cake

This is the birthday cake I made for the Penguin 2 years ago, which he specially requested a repeat of. I changed it up with coffee-caramel instead of coffee glace icing. I didn’t have a Penguin Taste Tester at my side for the various stages this time, but the end result was pronounced perfection.

Coffee cake
200g / 4oz butter (Cunningly softened by sitting it on top of the boiled kettle)
200g / 4oz sugar
4 eggs
200g / 4oz self raising flour
3 tbsp coffee dissolved in 3 tbsp hot water (this is an increase on the first time I made it – my recipe note states “not enough”)

Heat oven to 180C.
Grease 3 tins and line bases with greaseproof paper (this is important – the tops of my cakes stuck this time, because I left out the paper).
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one by one, adding some flour with each. Fold in any remaining flour.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (15 in a fan oven).
Prick the hot cakes and pour Coffee Syrup* over them. Leave to cool in tins until completely cool.

*Coffee Syrup (for 3 cakes)
3 tbsp coffee
6oz / 50g demerara sugar
165ml / 6 l oz boiling water
Pour the water over the sugar and coffee and stir until dissolved.
The syrup makes the cake really lovely and moist. You can see the dark areas where the syrup has soaked in below.

Coffee buttercream
100g / 4 oz butter
200g / 8 oz icing sugar
4 tsp coffee (Or 5/6?)

Cream the fat, gradually adding the icing sugar.
Add the coffee.
Spread onto cake between layers. Reserve a small amount.

Coffee caramel
Half a can of caramel (condensed milk tin size)

Place the caramel in the buttercream bowl, mixing with the remaining buttercream for the coffee-y flavour. Spread over the top of the cake after crumb-coating.
Top with mini-smarties and chocolate penguins (made with the chocolate left over from 2 lava puddings… there was just enough for 3 penguins).

The original glace icing, for reference
100g / 4oz icing sugar (or maybe double)
1 tbsp warm water (half and half water and coffee to taste)
Spread onto cake and leave to set.

Another alternative, not yet tested
500g mascarpone
85g muscavado sugar
4tbsp tia maria
Beat until smooth.

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Birthday dinner for Penguin

Marinaded halloumi
Slice the halloumi and rub each side with spice mix.
Fry until browned.

Spice mix (Penguin’s recipe)
Rosemary (lots)
Thyme (less)
Cumin Seed (not too much)
Coriander (not too much)
Salt (a fair amount)
Pepper (not too much)

Pesto Peppers
Slice the peppers longways, and fry in olive oil until browning.
Stir in pesto and cook a little longer.

To compile:
Tossed onto fresh tagliatelle, drizzled with olive oil.

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Creamy tofu & coriander curry with extra chapatis

Now with “In Progress” pictures!

Curry Concocted By Penguin
200g tofu, marinaded in oil, salt, onion powder, coriander, paprika, etc. (thankyou Tesco).
1 onion, finely chopped
150 ml cream
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp each of turmeric, garam masala, cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsps fresh coriander

Fry the seeds and onions in olive oil until the onion is soft.
Add the tofu and fry until it starts browning.
Move everything into saucepan from frying pan.
Add cream and spices, stir and simmer.

Chop the coriander finely and use to garnish.

Chapatis are the same as from this post, but I made double the quantity, since the curry was potato-less this time.

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Fail-safe molten chocolate lava cakes

Photo taken the second time I made these, for a birthday lunch. Photo taken by E.

I was reminded of this recipe by Tastespace‘s post, although I think I also have it saved from Pioneer Woman, and instantly promised the Penguin a tasty surprise the following day.

I call it fail-safe, because I was convinced it was not going to go well. Firstly, the recipe is American and thus in cups. My cup measures are in one of the two huge “Baking Boxes” in Oxford. So I had to convert the measures. And the quantities for 2 cakes are relatively small, which makes weighing on the scales here difficult. I was convinced at the supermarket that I needed cream but couldn’t justify buying a large container (which is just as well, since I returned to realise that the cream was for an entirely separate icecream recipe that I was interested in, and not for the cake at all. Then the eggs were Best Before 2 weeks ago (this is nothing to do with me). And then I was convinced that the mixture would fill four ramekins and was far too much for two…
But I roughly weighed my ingredients, tossed them together, filled up my original two ramekins, and stuck them in the oven with all my fingers crossed.

And they came out beautifully. Penguin Taste-tester of Chocolate goods Extraordinaire said so. Firm on the outside and gooey in the middle. :) And so easy! Even in the midst of potential disaster. Definitely fail-safe.

Molten chocolate lava cakes (makes 2 ramekin-sized cakes)
2 oz chocolate (I used plain cooking chocolate)
55g butter (1/4 cup)
60g icing sugar (1/2 cup)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp flour

The oven was on from the fish-cooking… I think at 200-220C. Original recipe reckons 425F.
Grease 2 ramekins and stand on something (I used the base of a springform tin)
Microwave butter and chocolate for 1 minute on high (the butter will be melted, stir until the chocolate is fully melted).
Stir in the icing sugar.
Whisk in the egg and egg yolk.
Stir in the flour.
Pour the batter into the ramekins.
Bake for around 13 minutes until the sides are firm and the centre is soft.
Here you should let the cakes stand for 1 minute, then invert them onto dishes.
I left them while we ate our first course, and then served one in the ramekin, since it had made such a nice dome. It was less gooey in the centre than if served at once, but still good. Definitely a nice way to round off a 30 minute supper.

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30 minute supper

Sometimes even though you’ve had the whole day to conjure up a tasty and welcoming meal for your loved one’s return from work, suddenly the ample time has vanished, and you have 30 minutes to come up with something for supper, before you go out to a friend’s birthday party (this is my excuse for the blurry photo). And you promised a surprise treat for pudding.

At this point, it’s the little bits of creativity that count. Our staple of battered fish, pesto sauce, boiled potatoes and veg got a bit of a makeover, so that as the Penguin walked dripping through the front door, supper was just being brought out of the oven (although he had to wash the plates for it to be served on. Bad Lina).

Sweet Potatoes
Microwave in the plastic wrap as per directions, then split open, sprinkle generously with pepper, salt, olive oil and nutmeg and place on the the oven tray with the fish.

Instant “White Sauce”
The remains of the creme fraiche from the curry… simply heated and pesto added. This was quite sharp… it could probably have done with more pesto, but went quite well against the sweetness of the potato.

And there was even pudding…..

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Potato not-methi curry and chapatis

This supper started off as an intended Potato and Feta warm salad, but I then realised that the recipe that had prompted the thought of the salad sounded good and the Penguin agreed. The recipe was for a Potato methi (fenugreek) curry on 6bittersweets. We went to Tesco on the basis that if we could find fenugreek we would make the curry, and if not, we’d stick with the salad. No fenugreek, but we found some fresh coriander, and then I suggested we make chapatis to go with the curry.
Then the Penguin informed me that the curry was very hot and nobly dashed across to the pay-as-you-go-pantry (Tesco-over-the-road) for creme fraiche, which I stirred liberally through my now-nothing-like-the-original-recipe curry.
The chapatis also involved an adaptation, as none of the shops around here seem to stock wholemeal flour, let alone chapati flour, so I used plain flour in a Good Food Channel recipe. I also halved the quantities.

Potato coriander and creme fraiche curry (serves 2)
1/2 a bag of baby new potatoes (left over)
1 medium onion
A little under half a handful of fresh coriander (most of a ramekin-full)
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
Creme fraiche to taste

Chop the potatoes and boil until soft.
Dice the onion, chop the coriander and measure out the spices.

Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the spices.
Then add the onion and coriander and mix well. Cook until soft.
Stir in the potatoes.
Serve, stirring creme fraiche through to taste.

Chapatis (makes 4 chapatis)
100 g plain flour
40 ml warm water
2 tbsp butter

Make a well in the flour in a bowl, pour in the water and mix into a dough. I added a little extra water.
Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic (or bored).
Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes (while chopping the onions).
Divide the dough into 4 balls and roll each out very thinly on a floured surface.
Heat a dry frying pan until hot over a medium heat.
Cook each chapati for 30 seconds on one side, then on the second side for 1 minute until it starts to puff up, then around 30 seconds on the first side again, pressing it with a spatula.
Smear the chapati with butter.

The Penguin did most of the curry-preparation and took the photo.

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Penguin Birthday Cake

penguin cake

It’s coming up to a year since I baked this cake for the Penguin for his birthday… I already have some ideas for this year. And yes, coffee is involved…

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First Post!

This is a page for posting things I’ve baked. :)

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