I’ll admit it: I need cake. If I have to go too long without a cake fix, I get irritable, tearful, blow hot and cold, start licking pictures in magazines and generally don’t function well in day-to-day life. This week has been bordering on and, in fact, rampaging into the lands of the ridiculous. I’ve made ‘emergency cake’ three times, on an after dinner whim. The trouble is, the more that you do this kind of thing, the more it becomes normal. It’s also catching – the last emergency cake was made by the G man, last night. It was a most delicious banana loaf, which we couldn’t resist even long enough for it to cool, and devoured in softly crumbling, hot slices, slathered with guilty pleasure shop-bought chocolate spread.
Sorry, I went a bit Nigella then… The recipe is here and it seems to be foolproof. Not that the G man is a fool. I’ve added this bit after he stopped reading the start of the post over my shoulder, this’ll show me if he ever goes back and reads the rest… Heh heh heh… It’s really, really good banana loaf – moist, lightly spiced and if, like the G man, you add a sprinkling of muscovado sugar to the top you also get a lovely crunch to it. Good thinking, that man.
Next week will have to be better behaved if I’m to maintain anything like a healthy weight and healthy levels of cake addiction. There will be a ‘congratulations you’ve had a new baby’ cake on Monday, which I have some possibly too-great plans for, and after that I’ll just have to keep it together and go cold turkey on the cake front. It’s funny that, even though I’ve been baking to some degree since I was in the Brownies when I was about seven, there is only one occasion (before this week) that I can remember making something just because I wanted it. On that occasion it was chocolate truffles, and I just had an overwhelming urge for them. The way I have made chocolates so far is exceedingly easy and involves no more than microwaving chocolate, stirring in some booze then rolling into shape and chilling, so it seemed worth the effort. I”m interested in learning new and exciting chocolate skills, and I have plenty of recipes, but the simplicity of booze-infused chocolate spheres is a bit of a winner. Yes, spheres. Thanks, South Park.
The first emergency cakes were chocolate orange muffins, and came after I’d made a big batch of chocolate orange cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing to celebrate a work birthday. The chocolate-orange balance was so perfect, and the recipe so straightforward, that I found myself deciding to make some more on Tuesday night, after a big feast of chili, nachos and cheddar-jalapeno cornbread. You may be wondering why I chose to alter the colour levels in the picture on the left, as it’s left the guacamole looking a bit grey. Unfortunately, that is the actual colour that the guacamole was. I forgot to put the avocado stone in with the finished result to keep the colour fresh, although I would offer in my defence that the avocado itself was possibly a little over-ripe. I bought it in a two-pack, and the other one was a lost cause altogether. Not sure if I can pass the buck for the colour of the guacamole on to the fruit itself – I’m doing my best though. Stupid avocados… It tasted fine, for the record, although not up to my usual standard since I made it with sour cream and not yogurt, and also made it in a bit of a hurry. Still, not a bad effort. I love nachos; it’s that mix of textures thing. The crunchy, sometimes slightly singed tortilla chips, the melty cheese, the crunchy jalapenos and tomatoes and then the soft, cold sour cream and guacamole on top of it all. Mmmmmmmm… Texture…
To get back to the cake, I would hughly recommend the chocolate orange cakes. That was a typo, but I’m leaving it in because it represents the fact that I wanted to say I’d highly recommend them andI’d give them a huge recommendation. Funny old thing, the brain/keyboard interface. I’d especially hughly recommend the chocolate buttercream, which is the best and possibly simplest chocolate buttercream recipe I’ve found, and one I intend to fashion into the centre of future chocolate truffles. It sets solid when chilled, but leave it at room temperature and it really melts in the mouth. That’s kind of an over-rated term of praise, given that a lot of things will melt in the mouth due to the laws of physics, but it’s an apt phrase nonetheless. I also fashioned a tiny birthday cake for the birthday girl herself, using the same recipe and just adding some white chocolate stars and writing icing for decoration.
I did have a comedy cake moment on Tuesday, when one made a bid for either freedom or just freedom of expression, by extending itself outwith the confines of the paper case and reaching for the edge of the muffin tray. It wasn’t pretty. It had to be destroyed (read: eaten) for its own good. Its career in the field of interpretive dance would never have taken off, it’s only have ended up being a dissatisfied waitress with pineapple earrings.
The next emergency cake was a lot more attractive to look at – on Wednesday I made chocolate fondant puddings. I attempted them, at least – I couldn’t quite get them out of the ramekins so they ended up staying in the oven an extra couple of minutes, so that they wouldn’t just crack into a million pieces in the bowl. It’s a Ramsay recipe, and it’s here if you want to try it. Easy to make and really hit the ‘I need emergency cake’ spot. I used amaretto instead of Tia Maria, I think your favourite liqueur will work just fine, unless you count Jagermeister as a liqueur. If you do, let me be the one to tell you that you’re kidding yourself.
Even though the puddings weren’t fondant as they should have been, they were very soft on the inside – very *nearly* fondant, really. There was a suggestion of fondant-ness around the bottom. This has been one heck of a post for unintentionally rude sentences. As ever, they tasted all that much nicer for being eaten with my adorable heart-shaped spoons.
So, the three episodes of emergency baking are behind me. I intend to keep it that way – I can’t go about baking every time I fancy a cake. Well, in reality I *can* if I want to, but it’s really not good for me; I fancy a cake a lot of the time. Still, its been a fun week…