“Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake” from “The Violet Bakery Cookbook”

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It was a dark and stormy Sunday, and what was needed was cake. Preferably chocolate.

When he first paged through the book, Nicholas (age 12) tagged this recipe as one he definitely wanted me to make. I’m always happy to try another chocolate cake recipe. Though there are many that I’ve made that have been quite successful, we’re always happy to eat chocolate cake.

Yet again, this was another variation of a classic baked good, in this case, chocolate devil’s food cake. The verdict? Well, I have to be honest and say it was mixed. Seventy-five percent of the family thought it was fantastic. The remaining 25 percent– that was me– thought while it was good, it wasn’t Blow The Doors Off good.

Maybe I was being too picky. I was disappointed that it sunk pretty badly in the middle, which, according to the Internet, was down to having too much rising agent in the cake. (You use both bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in this recipe.) The icing covered the problem pretty well, but it still bothered me.

Also, I’m not sure I did the icing quite right. I did, actually, make a shortcut by using pre-made caramel sauce, rather than going to the trouble of doing it myself. In my defense, the caramel sauce was high-quality stuff. But maybe the icing would have been better if I’d made my own. (Doubtful. I find making caramel incredibly stressful, and I don’t think I’m particularly good at it.)

Like the rest of my family, you may agree to disagree. I may make this again, I may not. I’m not sure. What cannot be disputed, however, that dark and stormy Sundays are always improved with the addition of chocolate cake.

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“Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake” from “The Violet Bakery Cookbook”

“Salted Caramel Cupcakes” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home”

Do you want to make this? Go on. They are amazing. The recipe can be found on Red Online by clicking through this link.

Maureen: These are outrageously good.

Tim: Agreed.

Maureen: My obsession with all things caramel really started when we went to Normandy for Easter. I loved how there were different pots of caramel nearly everywhere we went. Yum.

Tim: We managed to bring a fair few of those pots back with us.

Maureen: I know. I’m hoarding them because they’re so good. Since I never had made this recipe before, I didn’t want to use one of the special Normandy caramel pots for it, so I used just bog-standard tinned caramel for it instead.

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Tim: It’s not bad caramel, but it’s not as good as the French stuff.

Maureen: Yes, you’re right. But now that I know this recipe works and is good, I’ll use the good French stuff next time.

Tim: You might want to stick with the regular caramel that we can source here, if you’re going to bake it into the cupcakes and save the good stuff when we’re just spreading it on to bread.

Maureen: I have to say this recipe was a bit of a faff, given that you have to make the cupcakes, core the cupcakes, add caramel inside, make the frosting and then apply the frosting. But the results are worth it. These are delicious.

Andrew (13): I like how when you bite into them, you get a mouthful of caramel. It’s like a caramel surprise.

Maureen: Yes, I like that too. This is not your typical cupcake.

“Salted Caramel Cupcakes” from “The Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home”

“Apple Crumble” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”

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I am not going to add any dialogue to this recipe. I can say however, that this was the most delicious apple crumble I have ever tasted. The caramel combined with the different textures of apples and the granola topping were absolutely perfect. There were all sorts of little tips, like putting the pie dish on the hob and letting it bubble up before putting it into the oven.
I will definitely be making this again!

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“Apple Crumble” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”

“Triple Layer Caramel Cake” from “The Primrose Bakery Cookbook”

Kirstin: The cake looks amazing Anna!

Anna: I’m glad you think so… it feels like it’s been a nightmare to cook.

Kirstin: But it looks AMAZING!

Ella: I can’t wait to try it.

Anna: Thank you Ella. I hope it tastes good after all that…..

Kirstin: Why was it so difficult?

Anna: Maybe I’m not a natural baker. But it didn’t help that the recipe for this cake is actually on 3 different pages of the book. In fact there is no recipe on the actual recipe page. The sponge is the same as the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes, and the icing is on the next page. So you spend a lot of time flicking back and forth, which is a tad time-consuming.

Kirstin: So if the sponge was the same as the cupcakes, did you have the same issues as Maureen?

Anna: She was not lying when she said that she used every bowl in the kitchen. This isn’t a quick cake to rustle up.

Kirstin: I can see that.

Anna: But this is Peter’s late birthday cake…..

Peter: …. With no candles…….

Anna: So we should eat it! Actually, this tastes delicious.

Kirstin: You sound suprised! The sponge is really moist. I could have taken more icing actually.

Anna: I would have put more on if it had been easier to ice. It set super quickly so I had to keep reheating it in the microwave in order to get the whole cake iced. I had to smoodge it a bit on top too. It’s supposed to be runny and ‘cascade’ over the cake so I obviously got that wrong.

Tom: It’s yum!

Anna: I’m just amazed at how lovely the sponge is! After all that work, this is truly lovely. And thank you for my flowers Kirstin!

“Triple Layer Caramel Cake” from “The Primrose Bakery Cookbook”

“Caramel Slice” from “The Primrose Bakery Book”

Maureen: These are outrageously good.

Andrew (12): It’s almost like Millionaire Shortbread, which we love.

Nicholas: I really, really, really like these.

Maureen: Yes, I know we love millionaire shortbread. This is why I never make it, because I fear I will eat the whole tray myself.

Tim: How much butter do you think is in this?

Maureen: I don’t know, but I would guess a lot.

Tim (finding cookbook to confirm the copious amounts of butter used): 313 grams! That’s insane.

Maureen: Umm… butter! This is why they’re so good. I notice that you cut them very small.

Continue reading ““Caramel Slice” from “The Primrose Bakery Book””

“Caramel Slice” from “The Primrose Bakery Book”

Guest post: “Salty Caramel Ice Cream” from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”

Kirstin: So tonight, I am trying something new, thanks to the wonders of technology. For weeks now, lovely Sam has been tempting me with yummy recipes from this book and finally we decided on a recipe that we could both make, in our own homes, across the Atlantic from one another. We chose Jeni’s Salty Caramel Ice Cream and chatted using Facebook to talk about the recipe. I should add that Sam took all the gorgeous pictures. There’s nothing like Sam’s lovely view of the world in macro. 

Kirstin: What did you think of this recipe? Because this ice cream was your idea and if it hadn’t been for all your help I would have messed up the caramel, for sure.

Sam: I was looking for an ice cream that my husband and son would like….they seem to be opposed to anything that is not either vanilla or mint chocolate chip. I really loved it, to be honest, and could have eaten the entire bowl of it myself. I was very surprised because I am not a fan of caramel flavored anything. My son was unimpressed. He strangely said ‘not a fan of caramel’. Ha! Must be genetic. How about you guys?

Kirstin: But salty caramel is different. It’s the business. I couldn’t believe I had made it, it was so delicious.

Sam: You are correct. It is the business. I didn’t get the whole ‘salt’ part of the salty caramel, though.

Kirstin: Do you get it now? I deliberately left quite large bits of salt in because I like the salty caramel thing. Actually, to be fair, I love caramel in every shape and form. It helps me get through winter, summer….and really, every season when I think about it!

Sam: After reading the recipe again, I now discover that I didn’t put the right amount of salt in there….perhaps that would explain my lack of ‘salty’ in the caramel.

Kirstin: Aha! So you will have to make it again, then!

Sam: No matter. It was delicious. I would put chocolate chips in next time, personally.

Kirstin: Oooo….chocolate chips. Or drizzle with warm chocolate sauce…

Sam: I was also thinking it would be delicious with some coffee flavor in there… you would have to steep the milk in coffee at some stage I suppose. But yes. warm chocolate sauce. Yum. I’m usually up for anything with chocolate.

Kirstin: Could you do it affogato style where you pour the coffee over the ice cream?

Sam: I’ve never done the affogato thing before. Hmmm…

Kirstin: It’s best with vanilla ice cream and an espresso. Perfect after a long boozy lunch/dinner…

Sam: And yes, I will have to definitely make it again and put the proper amount of salt in. Leave it to me to goof up the recipe.

Kirstin: I almost forgot the cheese part at the end. I had the whole thing in the bag, in the ice bath, was clearing up and realised I had left it behind….

Sam: Oh my… sounds like me. I am forever doing something like that. This particular ice cream was a little trickier than the others, but totally worth it.

Kirstin: Sam, I can’t wait to meet you….we will just drool our way around New York!

Sam: A person-to-person ice cream throwdown is definitely in order!!!

Guest post: “Salty Caramel Ice Cream” from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”