It’s two years this week since I started blogging so to celebrate I’m sharing a fantastic egg-free chocolate cake recipe with you. I’ve spent all week baking and still have loads more to do for an event on Wednesday but currently stuffed full of trifle and lazing on the sofa.
I’ve lost count of the amount of butter, eggs, sugar and flour that have passed through my kitchen this week. Luckily I got a huge delivery of flour to keep me going, thanks to my friends at Homepride. My bake fest started with my wife Sarah’s birthday. As she happened to mention a few times, I’d never actually made her a birthday cake before. In my defence, last year we spent her birthday with the team at Les Miserables sampling all their 30th anniversary cakes, and the year before was the final of Bake Off and we got my Extra Slice cake. But this year I made the orb cake at the top of this post, in honour of a recent trip to the Tower of London Sarah had with our daughters. The girls were transfixed by the Crown Jewels, especially following their appearance in the Minions movie. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been to the Tower of London myself, but if you do go, try to get on a tour with the fantastic Billy Beefeater, who Sarah and the kids were lucky to meet. He’s a bit of a YouTube sensation (watch the clip below, it’s hilarious).
While on the subject of history, I’m really looking forward to Tudor Week on the Great British Bake Off this Wednesday. I love food history and have some cracking medieval bread recipes here and here that I’ve demoed a few times before, including at Caerphilly Castle above. If you’re particularly interested in Tudor history, I’d recommend visiting Kentwell Hall in Suffolk. We went last year and can’t wait to go back for their next Tudor reenactment. I’m a bit gutted we didn’t have any historical weeks on our series as they must be so interesting to research and prepare for. This week’s showstopper is a marzipan centrepiece so I reckon it’ll be pretty creative. Marzipan is so easy to make at home – there’s a simple recipe for it in my 5-star rated book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself.
I was sad to see Tom leave this week’s Bake Off but delighted for Andrew getting his first star baker (check out his mini-showstoppers here). I can honestly say I have no idea at all who of the Fantastic Five left will make it to the final. All five of them have been consistently strong. Jane‘s showstoppers this week looked amazing. It’s worth remembering what Paul Hollywood always says though: only he and Mary experience the tastes and smells of the bakes so trust their judgements when it comes to Star Baker awards (I would say that though)! In Tom’s honour, I made the fougasse above last night. It might be my new favourite bread. Absolutely delicious. I think it’ll be all the rage in cinemas in 2017!
This week I’m making an enormous cake for an event on Wednesday so I have a kitchen full of huge sponges, and still more to make. Follow me on Twitter and on my Instagram to see what it is going to be. I’m really looking forward to the event too. But I also made the Peppa Pig chocolate and cherry cake above for one of Daughter 2’s little friends on Friday. It had to be egg free so I got a recommended recipe from one of the mums at school (thanks Bhavisha!) and have adapted it below. I can’t tell you how fantastic this sponge recipe is. It’ll be my go-to cake for all our daughters’ birthday cakes in future as both of our older girls have classmates who don’t eat eggs, so this is a cake that can be enjoyed by everyone.
Once Wednesday is out of the way I’m going to be starting on my Christmas cake. The one from my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, only £7.99 here, is pictured above. There’s still plenty of time to think about starting your cake but I was really pleased that my cake was so well-received in today’s Washington Post article, where I was interviewed too. There’s a link to my Christmas Cake in the article but you’ll find loads more fantastic Christmas baking recipes in my book.
I can’t believe it’s now two years since I started this blog and I’ve posted pretty much weekly since. Thanks so much to all the people who give me feedback or leave comments on the blog. I really appreciate it and it’s nice to know my weekly rambles are well received. I particularly like analysing my blog stats and seeing which links people click on each week as it’s helped me tailor the blog to what I think people are most interested in (usually cake!) But if there’s anything you’d particularly like me to blog about, do let me know. It’s become a Sunday night tradition for Sarah and me to talk through the week we’ve had and what I’m going to write about, and it’s encouraged me to be much more active with my time too. To be honest I’d probably still blog even if no one read it but I’m happy to see the visitors really grow and grow each week, particularly from the US because of Netflix. So thanks to all of you for reading and until next week, Happy Baking!
Egg-free Chocolate Cake Recipe
For the cake
- 250g plain flour
- 4 tsp baking powder (trust me, you need this much)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 60g cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tin (approx 400ml) of condensed milk
- 250ml warm water
- 100g unsalted butter (melted)
- 1tsp vanilla paste or vanilla essence (I usually use this one)
For the chocolate buttercream and filling
- 250g icing sugar
- 2tbsp cocoa powder
- 125g unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 50g milk chocolate (melted)
- Approx 2tbsp cherry jam
- Fondant (optional)
- Grease and line two 8 inch / 20cm springform cake tins (like these) with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 180oC / fan 160oC / gas mark 4
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, mixing thoroughly with a spoon
- In a separate bowl, mix together the condensed milk, melted butter, vanilla paste and a quarter of the water. Pour this into the dry ingredients and fold together with a silicone spatula or spoon until fully incorporated and smooth (no lumps)
- Fold in the remaining water and divide the batter between the two tins (there should be about 450g per tin)
- Bake for 30 minutes then remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack
- To make the buttercream, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of water (do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl) and heat until the chocolate melts. Once the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes
- Using a handheld electric whisk, beat together the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder until smooth
- Beat the melted chocolate into the buttercream then load this into a piping bag
- When the sponges have cooled completely, construct the cake by smoothing buttercream onto the first sponge, then pipe an additional ring of buttercream around the edge of the first sponge. Spread 2 tbsp of cherry jam (or raspberry if you prefer) in the well made by the ring. The buttercream ring stops the jam from oozing out of the cake
- Smooth more buttercream onto the bottom of the second sponge and sandwich this on top. You can present the cake like this, coat the whole cake in buttercream, or coat the cake with buttercream, smooth around the edges and cover with fondant / decoration of your choice