Autumn has arrived in my kitchen! This is one of my favourite times of year and I just love the abundance of fruit that fall brings with it. This apple and caramel cake is a perfect everyday cake made super special topped with apple cider caramel and roasted Pink Lady crisps!Read More
This week I've been working my way through my enormous collection of cookery books looking for different dinner inspiration. (Ideally) healthy but hearty for the cold weather. Finding a keeper is so satisfying and we particularly enjoyed Jamie Oliver's Mexican Fish Tacos - well worth going to the effort of making the pineapple salsa :)
Yesterday we had Nutella Macarons and Vanilla Macarons with Love Hearts. But today it's Friday and we need a little cake love. I wanted to make some little Sticky Toffee Cakes with Dulce De Leche Frosting and Salted Caramel Sauce. The cake itself can be a cupcake but I made little round cakes. They are filled with pieces of dates and made with dark muscavado sugar to give a real intensity of flavour. The topping itself is extremely indulgent. Added to the icing sugar, we have cream cheese, butter and dulce de leche and this makes a beautifully soft, creamy and rich buttercream. Then the cakes are finished off drizzled with salted caramel which is so delicious, you can eat it with a spoon straight from the bowl (shhh...nobody needs to know, right?)
To make the cakes, I used a mini sandwich tin so each cake has a straight side. You could make one large cake and cut out rounds to get the same effect or bake them as cupcakes if you prefer. Firstly, the dates need to be soaked for around 15 minutes to make them lovely and soft so your bowl of dates needs to be covered with boiling water, then the dates broken into small pieces. The cake batter is made in the usual way (method below) and once the flour has been added, the dates are stirred through. It is easy to overcook these so err on the side of caution and check them after 15 minutes, then keep an eye on them if they're not quite ready.
Whilst the cupcakes are cooking, we make a sugar syrup. You can miss this stage if you like but I think it helps adds a moistness to the cake. It's a simple sugar solution made with caster sugar and water and this is brushed over the top of the cakes whilst they're still warm in their tins.
The cakes are topped with a rich buttercream. The icing sugar and butter are beaten together and then the cream cheese is added. When this is beaten to a smooth consistency, the dulce de leche is stirred through until just combined. This needs time to set a little in the fridge - I've made cream cheese frosting before which is too soft to pipe and setting it in the fridge for a half hour really helps. You will need to beat the buttercream again when it comes out of the fridge and then it can be piped or spread on to the top of each cake.
The salted caramel needs to cool down before being added to the top of the cakes otherwise it will melt the frosting so you can make it at the same time as the cakes and leave it at room temperature. The golden syrup and sugar are melted in a saucepan and then the butter, cream and salt are stirred in. And allowed to cool to room temperature. Delicious does not do this justice!
The salted caramel is best poured over the cakes as you're ready to serve them - and then the cakes served with a bowl of the caramel sauce on the side for extra helpings (it's that good). The frosting really is rather sweet and rich but pairs well with the cake itself.
The boys had friends over tonight and they inhaled a cake each. They would have had seconds.
I think it was the frosting and caramel sauce that really made these - they didn't realise there was something as healthy as dates in them :)
Sticky Toffee Cakes
Makes 18 cakes
Sticky Toffee Cake
- 150G DATES
- 1 1/2 TSP VANILLA
- 130G BUTTER
- 240G DARK MUSCAVADO SUGAR
- 290G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 1 1/2 TSP BICARBONATE OF SODA
- 1/4 TSP CINNAMON
- 1/4 TSP PUMPKIN SPICE (you can use allspice if you don't have this)
- 3 LARGE EGGS
Sugar Syrup Ingredients
- 75g CASTER SUGAR
- 75ML WATER
- Place the dates in a bowl and cover them with boiling water until they're just covered
- Lightly grease the cavities of the cake tin
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- After 20 minutes, cut the dates into small pieces
- Place the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer and beat until smooth and pale
- Whisk the eggs lightly and add them slowly to the mixture with the mixer on medium speed
- Sift the flour, bicarb and spices over the top of the bowl and then fold in gently with a spatula
- Stir through the dates
- Fill each cavity until it's 2/3 full
- Bake for 15 minutes and then check them - you want a skewer inserted in the middle to come out clean - they may need a few minutes longer but be careful not to overcook them
- Whilst they're in the oven, make your sugar syrup
- Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small saucepan and then leave to simmer for a few minutes until all the sugar has dissolved
- Leave to cool
- When your cupcakes are out of the oven, leave to cool in their tins for 10 mins
- Then brush the top liberally with the sugar syrup, remove them from their tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack
Dulce De Leche Frosting & Salted Caramel Sauce
Dulce De Leche Frosting Ingredients
- 200G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 500 ICING SUGAR, SIFTED
- 200G FULL-FAT CREAM CHEESE (don't be tempted to buy the light varieties here)
- 140G DULCE DE LECHE
Caramel Sauce Ingredients
- 100G LIGHT SOFT BROWN SUGAR
- 50G GOLDEN SYRUP
- 75G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 75ML DOUBLE CREAM
- 1 TSP SEA SALT
Dulce De Leche Frosting & Caramel Sauce Method
- To make the frosting, beat the unsalted butter and icing sugar until smooth and creamy
- Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth
- Stir through the dulce de leche until thoroughly combined
- Place in the fridge for 30 mins before using
- To make the salted caramel sauce, place the sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan with a tablespoon of water
- Bring it just to the boil and then simmer for 3 minutes
- Add the butter, cream and sea salt in one go and stir for another minute until everything is melted and fully incorporated
- Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature
- When the cupcakes are cool and the frosting chilled, remove it from the fridge and beat it again
- Either pipe the frosting or spread it on the top of the cakes
- Top with drizzles of the salted caramel sauce (attempting not to eat spoonfuls of it along the way!)
The sun is shining today and summer feels like it just might finally be on its way. As I write this, I know I'm tempting fate and that a downpour will arrive at any moment! This has been a busy week of cake prepping and admin so we definitely need a mid-week treat to tempt the taste buds, but something that embraces the summer sunshine today.
I've seen a number of crêpe cakes on the internet, but most of them are filled with nutella and syrup and since those two toppings are at the top of our favourite list for our weekly pancakes (I say weekly but our youngest would campaign for them every day of the week given the choice), they've never tempted me. Then I saw a lovely, fresh alternative on Call Me Cupcake which seemed perfect for a summery day and a need for something sweet - Dulce De Leche & Mascarpone Crêpe Cake.
The crêpe batter is sprinkled with orange zest (lemon, if you prefer) and adds a touch of freshness to the cake (and a subtle but beautiful aroma of orange when you're cooking them). You need to get into a rhythm producing the crêpes. Now I don't claim to be an expert pancake maker (I leave that to my hubby) but after the production line needed for this cake, I definitely got better! I made 20 crêpes from the batter using a six inch pan (although one of these sadly met an untimely demise with maple syrup and my mouth during cooking). It's important to separate the crêpes after cooking (either spread out or using greaseproof paper between the layers) otherwise they'll stick together whilst they're cooling.
It doesn't take long for them to cool down - just the length of time it took to make the mascarpone filling (I chose this over the ricotta in the original recipe). To make sure I had enough filling for the alternate layers, I divided the pancakes in two and spread half of them with ricotta and half of them with dulce de leche. It works better to spread the fillings on them when they're separated as when they're stacked and you press down on them, the filling squeezes out. When they all had their toppings, I stacked them, topped them with fruit and then a light sprinkling of icing sugar. After it was made, the kitchen was quite warm and the dulce de leche started to ooze out, so I kept it refrigerated and that also made it easier to cut.
The resulting crêpe cake is delicious and light, although the ricotta is very creamy so it feels more indulgent, especially paired with the dulce de leche.
This cake is best eaten the day it's made so it's probably an afternoon tea or dinner treat. I know this sounds quite fiddly, but it's very straightforward to make and is a lovely alternative to a usual baked cake so it's definitely one to try.
It does only make a six inch cake though, so make sure you don't invite too many friends around to enjoy it with you :)
Dulce De Leche & Mascarpone Crêpe Cake (recipe from Call Me Cupcake)
- 4 LARGE EGGS
- 1½ CUPS MILK (350 ML)
- 2 CUPS PLAIN FLOUR (260G)
- 1/4 TSP SALT
- 1½ TBP SUGAR
- ZEST OF 1 ORANGE (FINELY GRATED)
- 1 CUP WATER (235 ML)
- 75G BUTTER
- ½ TIN DULCE DE LECHE
- 170G MASCARPONE
- 1 TBSP ICING SUGAR
- ZEST OF ½ ORANGE (FINELY GRATED)
- EXTRA ICING SUGAR (FOR SPRINKLING ON TOP)
- MIXED FRUIT FOR TOP
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, flour, salt, sugar and orange zest until the batter is lump free
- Stir in the water and leave it to thicken at room temperature for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes, melt the butter and stir into the batter
- Using a 6 inch frying pan, melt a little butter in the pan and cook the pancakes one by one trying to make them as thin as possible (I used around ½ ladle batter for each crêpe)
- Lay each crêpe to cool on greaseproof paper making sure that you separate them with more greaseproof paper if you plan to stack them for cooling
- Leave to cook completely
- Combine the ricotta, tablespoon of icing sugar and orange zest
- Spread half of the crêpes with the ricotta mix and the other half with dulce de leche
- Then stack the pancakes on top of each other
- Top with your choice of mixed fruit and dust with icing sugar just before you plan to eat them
- And enjoy the fruits of your crêpe production line!
Deliciously indulgent gateau with almond cake, dulce de leche, caramelized banana, chocolate mousse and ganache | recipe from Will Torrent's Patisserie At Home | www.serendipitybakes.co.ukRead More
Back to school, back to waking up to an alarm clock, back to earth with a bump! This week I am pretty busy with planning and creating - and in need of a bit of time to myself without having to entertain young children, but I always miss them when the house is so quiet. I have a couple of batches of birthday cupcakes for friends this week and have been working on the decorations for my very first (yes, I said very first - eek!) wedding cake due in a couple of weeks time. These things always challenge me but that's good, right?
So we have arrived mid-week and I hadn't even had a moment to contemplate blog baking this week - but then I found a lovely looking recipe for Dulce De Leche Brownies from Butter Baking which was adapted in turn from David Lebovitz. My go-to recipe for chocolate brownies has always been Hummingbird Bakery's but I loved the sound of the dulce de leche with Lebovitz's version. Now this recipe suggests it makes nine to twelve brownies. I took one bite and I'm honestly not sure who could make it through an entire one of these as they are super-rich and very sweet - but cut up into one-bite brownies they are kind of cute and do-able (although I served the boys a brownie bite with ice cream for dessert tonight and they wanted one, then another, then another...I think faced with a whole big one, it's too much but sitting in front of a plate of little ones, you want to keep eating and eating them!)
The recipe is very straightforward and although I've used David Lebovitz's recipe, I added the digestive biscuits that Natasha (Butter Baking) included in her version as I thought they may cut through the intense chocolate. The brownie mix is simple to make but it does make a very heavy, thick mixture which is trickier to spread - so once you add the base of biscuits and dulce de leche and then have to spread the brownie mix on top, it takes a little moulding and was very reminiscent of plastering! But totally worth it as the resulting brownies were squidgy, chocolatey and very yummy :)
Dulche De Leche Brownies (recipe from David Lebovitz & Butter Baking)
- 115G BUTTER
- 170G DARK CHOCOLATE
- 25G COCOA POWDER
- 3 LARGE EGGS
- 200G SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 140G PLAIN FLOUR
- 6 DIGESTIVE BISCUITS (CRUSHED)
- 1 CUP DULCE DE LECHE
- Line an 8 inch (20cm) square pan with aluminium foil and grease the bottom and sides (I greased my pan and lined it with baking parchment).
- Melt the butter in a medium pan. Add the chocolate and stir constantly over a low heat until the chocolate has melted.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.
- Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.
- Then stir in the sugar, vanilla and flour.
- Sprinkle half of the digestive biscuits over the base of the pan and then add half of the brownie mix, spreading the mix evenly over the whole base.
- Then using half of the cup quantity, drop teaspoonfuls of the dulce de leche across the brownie mix, evenly spacing it.
- Sprinkle the remaining half of the biscuits over the mixture and then spread the remaining brownie mixture evenly across the pan.
- Finally, add the remaining dulce de leche in teaspoonfuls and swirl it lightly with the brownie mix.
- Start by baking it for 25 mins but it could take up to 45 mins (the two recipes have different timings). You're looking for the centre to feel just slightly firm and then remove them from the oven. My brownies took 30 mins.
- Allow to cool in their tin and then cut up into whichever size brownie chunks you think you can handle!