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Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

I’m a big fan of Birthdays, especially other people’s as its the perfect excuse to make a giant delicious cake! It was my Mum’s birthday last weekend, and I was really keen to create something that included her childhood love of honeycomb. So, ta dahh! The chocolate honeycomb genoise was born 🙂

My mum used to tell me about her and my uncle’s trips to the cinema when they were little. They’d go to the ‘pictures’ on a Saturday morning, my Nan would give them 2 and 6 pence in old money (12.5p to you and me!) and that’d see them to/from the cinema, buy them both a ticket AND sweets! Its just crazy when you think about it now. I really remember that Mum’s sweet of choice was always a block of honeycomb. No chocolate coating like in the Crunchie you get today, just pure honeycomb.

What’s actually weirder than the crazy low prices is that they would walk into a film halfway through! Films played on a loop back then, so you would watch the film to the end and then watch the start that you’d missed when the film begun again. SO WEIRD.

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

I wanted to keep the sponge quite light, so I decided to make a genoise sponge. A genoise has hardly any fat and instead includes a lot of heavily whisked eggs to create an airy sponge that can be sandwiched with richer fillings! I wanted to make a more traditional buttercream this time, rather than my fave swiss-meringue, so the lighter sponge seemed perfect. The key to a good genoise, is whisking your eggs enough to get to the ribbon stage where a thick ‘rope’ of mixture falls and dissolves slowly on the surface of the mixture. This required about 6-7 minutes of intense whisking, so I’d definitely recommend an electric whisk otherwise it’ll take you much longer! Who needs the gym right?

The honey buttercream is a proper back to basics recipe – butter and icing sugar. Bam. Done. Except I added a squirt of honey to add to the honeycomb theme. I definitely recommend making this in a stand mixer if you have one, and leaving it to beat for a good 5 minutes at least. It turns so deliciously creamy, obviously you can do this with a hand mixer or just a spatula! Though your arm might be dead after the egg whisking for the genoise…

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

The honeycomb is actually my favourite part to make, as the science behind it is just so cool! Geek glasses on please; when the bicarb is added thermal decomposition occurs meaning that the bicarb releases carbon dioxide. This is then trapped in the viscous mixture, leaving behind the lattice structure that sets hard. I just think its fascinating! It does mean you have to be pretty quick though, as it starts to set!

I crumbled up the honeycomb and sprinkled it over the middle layer of buttercream which added a really nice texture. The best part about this cake is that even with the honeycomb decoration on top, you’ll be left with a bag full of honeycomb for yourself! You could go wild and chuck it all on top of the cake, or you could melt some chocolate and make your own Crunchies! The possibilities are endless, and as long as you keep it air-tight it’ll last you months. Providing it lasts that long anyway…

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

The final touch I added was a sugar syrup to keep the sponge moist and light. I didn’t add any flavour to the syrup, though you absolutely could! I really do think it added to the finished cake.

This chocolate honeycomb genoise is a real crowd pleaser and perfect for a celebration! Check out my timelapse video below of how I assembled it!

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

Yield: 12

Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

Ingredients

    Honeycomb
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 5tbsp golden syrup
  • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Chocolate Genoise
  • 40g vegetable oil
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 65g plain flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 2 pinches sea salt
    Sugar Syrup
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml caster sugar
    Honey Buttercream
  • 300g unsalted butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 100g clear honey

Instructions

  • Firstly, to make the honeycomb, line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and grease the paper with butter.
  • Mix the sugar and golden syrup in a deep saucepan and place over a medium heat. Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and simmer until the caramel turns the shade of a copper penny. Immediately add the bicarb, and beat with a spatula to fully incorporate. The mixture will be foaming and very hot, so be careful! Scrape straight away into the prepared tin and leave to harden at room temperature. This will take about an hour. Then smash into pieces ready to sprinkle over the cake.
  • To make the genoise, line the base of two 8" baking tins making sure not to grease the sides. Then preheat the oven to 175C.
  • Sift the cocoa and plain flour into a small bowl and set aside. Add the eggs, sugar and salt to a large bowl and using an electric whisk or stand mixer whisk for 6-7 minutes until tripled in volume, light coloured and a thick rope of mixture falls and dissolves slowly on the surface.
  • Add a third of the flour mixture to the eggs and fold with a spatula until almost combined. Then repeat with the other third of flour, and then the final third. Place the oil into a small bowl, and fold in a quarter of the flour/egg mixture ensuring its fully combined. Pour this mixture back into the flour/egg mixture and fold again until all just combined.
  • Evenly pour the mixture into both baking tins and bake for 20 minutes until the cake has risen and feels firm to touch.
  • Cool for a few minutes in the tin, and then using a knife scrape around the edges of the cake taking care not to tear the cake. Then invert the cakes out of the tin and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the syrup, place the water and sugar into a small saucepan over a high heat. Simmer until all the sugar has dissolved and set aside to cool.
  • To make the honey buttercream, place the butter into a bowl of a stand mixer or use an electric whisk to beat until smooth and lightened in colour. This will take a few minutes.
  • Add the icing sugar in stages, ensuring it is thoroughly combined between each addition. Finally, add the honey and continue to beat for a further 4-5 minutes until smooth.
  • Finally, to assemble place one of the genoise sponges onto a cake board or serving plate and using a pastry brush dab over half of the sugar syrup.
  • Then spread half of the buttercream onto the cake, and sprinkle a layer of honeycomb. Add the second genoise sponge on top, and dab the remaining sugar syrup all over the sponge with the pastry brush.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream on top of the cake, and decorate with more honeycomb.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/10/15/chocolate-honeycomb-genoise/

    Brushstroke Layer Cake

    Brushstroke Layer Cake

    The brushstroke layer cake trend has been everywhere the past few months. With incredible creations on multi-tiered cakes and gorgeous colours, there was no way I couldn’t try my hand at it. Russian bakery Kalabasa pioneered the trend with their ‘painted chocolate feathers’ and its taken by storm over Instagram. Its surprisingly easy to recreate and brings out the artist within you!

    brushstroke layer cakebrushstroke layer cake

    I decided to make the brushstroke cake for my sisters birthday, she’s a phenomenal artist (check out her Instagram here!), so it seemed only right that I incorporated her love for art into her birthday cake. I actually had high hopes for the inside of the cake too, with loads of strawberry and chocolate cake balls that I would bake into the three vanilla sponges. I’d have the oohs and aahs for the gorgeous brushstrokes and THEN the surprise polka dot middle!

    So there I was, dutifully baking my strawberry and chocolate cake balls the night before, trying to get ahead and save time. I even bought a special cake pop mould to get them the perfect size! But me being me, the next day when I came to bake the vanilla sponges I COMPLETELY forgot about the cake balls until I’d already baked the sponges. I was literally gutted. I had to go and lie down on my bed for 30minutes just to calm down – baking can be stressful guys! (The prepared cake balls did all go to good homes if you were wondering, haha!)

    brushstroke layer cakebrushstroke layer cake

    It also meant that I now had a three-layer vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream AND vanilla flavoured chocolate brushstrokes…. Now I love vanilla, but even I felt that was overkill! Luckily I had a fresh batch of homemade strawberry jam that came to the rescue, making it a proper old-school birthday cake. And actually, I really loved the taste of it. The thick jam complemented the sponge and the light swiss meringue buttercream perfectly! It took me back to my childhood days, though back then the thicker and denser the icing the better!!

    brushstroke layer cakebrushstroke layer cake

    As you can see above, we take birthdays very seriously in my family even in our late 20’s – bunting, banners and confetti tablecloths all come out!

    So, I should now explain and tell you how exactly the brushstrokes are made. It really is so simple! All you’ll need is some baking paper and a pastry brush. You could even use an unused (or well washed!) paintbrush if you wanted. You’ll also need either candy melts or chocolate of your choice. I went for candy melts as I knew I wanted pastel colours, and its so much easier than tempering and colouring white chocolate! Once you’ve decided that, you’ll need to prepare a sheet of baking paper on a flat surface and melt your chocolate/candy melts. Then simply dollop some of the melted mixture onto the baking paper and using your brush, ‘brush’ the mixture out to achieve a brushstroke.

    You can make each brushstroke as short/fat/tall/thin as you like! The more different sizes you get the better, as you’ll be able to achieve different effects. I found this video by Cake Style really helpful – though they use a palette knife to create the strokes rather than a pastry brush.

    brushstroke layer cake

    I do hope you give the brushstroke trend a try, its super simple but really effective! Check out my timelapse video below of the cake assembly and if you want to see the birthday cake I made Katie last year you can check that out here. Less arty and more flowery, its my take on a buttercream flower wreath cake!

    Brushstroke Layer Cake

    Yield: 12-15

    Brushstroke Layer Cake

    Ingredients

      Vanilla Bean Butter Sponge
    • 425g cake flour (If you can't find that, use 425g plain flour, minus 6tbsp plain flour, plus 6tbsp cornflour)
    • 1tbsp plus 1tsp baking powder
    • 3/4tsp salt
    • 225g unsalted butter
    • 400g caster sugar
    • seeds from 1 vanilla pod
    • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
    • 6 large egg yolks
    • 360ml whole milk
      Brushstrokes
    • 100g pink candy melts
    • 100g blue candy melts
    • 100g green candy melts
    • 150g white candy melts
      Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
    • 150ml egg whites
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 450g unsalted butter
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
      Filling
    • 150g strawberry jam

    Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat the oven to 175C and grease and line three 8" baking tins and set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on a medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on high until light and fluffy, this should take 3-5 minutes. Then turn the mixer to medium-low and add the vanilla pod seeds, vanilla extract and the egg yolks one at a time. Make sure to scrape down the bowl between each addition.
  • Then with the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three batches alternating with the milk. Ensure you begin and end with the flour mixture. Only mix until all is just combined and you can no longer see any streaks of flour.
  • Evenly divide the mixture between the three prepared tins and bake for 25-28 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from their tins to cool completely.
  • For the brushstrokes, prepare a sheet of baking paper on a flat surface and set aside.
  • Melt the pink candy melts with 50g of the white candy melts over a bain-marie until smooth. Dollop some of the mixture onto the baking paper and using a pastry brush, 'brush' the mixture out to create a brushstroke. Repeat this with all the mixture and set aside to set.
  • Repeat these steps with the blue candy melts and 50g of the white candy melts, and then the green candy melts with the remaining 50g of white candy melts.
  • For the buttercream, place the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk them together by hand to combine. Place the bowl over a bain-marie and whilst whisking intermittently heat the mixture on a medium-high heat. Keep whisking until the mixture reaches 160F/70C on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch. Then, carefully place the bowl into the stand mixer.
  • With the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white mixture on a high speed until it reaches medium-stiff peaks. This should take around 10 minutes and the bowl should return to room temperature. Once the mixture is cool and stiff, replace the whisk attachment with the paddle.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the butter in a few tablespoons at a time, then add the vanilla. Once all incorporated, turn the mixer up to a high speed and beat until the buttercream is smooth and silky. Place 1/4 of the buttercream into a piping bag and snip off the end to have a plain round nozzle, then set aside.
  • To assemble, place one of the sponges onto your serving plate and using the buttercream in the piping bag, pipe a 'dam' around the edge of the sponge. Then fill the gap with half the jam. Repeat this process for the next layer, and then add the final sponge on top.
  • Using another 1/4 of the buttercream, crumb coat the entire cake and place into the fridge to set for 20 minutes. Then cover the cake with a thick layer of the remaining buttercream and using a bench scraper, scrape off the excess to leave a smooth exterior.
  • Finally, place your brushstrokes on and into the cake to create your desired effect.
  • Notes

    Sponge and Buttercream recipe adapted from Tessa Huff's Layered.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/09/29/brushstroke-layer-cake/

    White Chocolate, Raspberry & Macadamia Nut Blondies

    White Chocolate, Raspberry & Macadamia Nut Blondies

    white chocolate raspberry and macadamia nut blondies

    I made these blondies one Sunday a while back and took them into work on the Monday, where they went down an absolute treat. They’re the perfect combination of nutty, fruity and chewy and go excellently with a morning coffee. White chocolate, raspberry and macadamia nut blondies – they are what it says on the tin! But lets go into the detail.

    White chocolate and raspberry as everyone knows is a match made in heaven. But to keep the blondies from going cakey with the moisture of fresh raspberries I used the freeze-dried version instead. They give such an intense flavour and mean you can store the blondies much longer…though they may not last that long! The sweet white chocolate drizzle cuts through the tartness so well too, and makes them incredibly moreish.

    white chocolate raspberry and macadamia nut blondieswhite chocolate raspberry and macadamia nut blondies

    The actual blondies taste so buttery and chewy, like a slightly lighter cousin of the fudgy brownie we all know and love. I use a combination of light brown sugar and regular caster which adds a really lovely caramelly flavour. The macadamia nuts add a slight crunch giving a really interesting texture from the soft blondie base and creamy white chocolate chunks.

    I’m all about the convenience baking when it comes to treats like these and these blondies can be whipped up so quickly! They only need 25 minutes in the oven till they’re nicely golden too. As ever though, the hardest part is waiting for them to cool before you can tuck in!

    white chocolate raspberry and macadamia nut blondieswhite chocolate raspberry and macadamia nut blondies

    I’m a big blondie fan and these are definitely one of my favourite flavour combinations I’ve ever tried. The recipe makes 16 small squares, or 8 large pieces if you’re feeling gluttonous! Though if raspberry & macadamia nuts aren’t your thing, try my white chocolate and pistachio blondies here instead!

    Now its getting a bit colder and the darker nights are drawing in, these kinds of treats are perfect with your afternoon hot drink. Your choice whether its a tea, coffee or hot toddy…I won’t tell!

    White Chocolate, Raspberry & Macadamia Nut Blondies

    Yield: 16 small squares

    White Chocolate, Raspberry & Macadamia Nut Blondies

    Ingredients

      Blondies
    • 125g plain flour
    • 1/2tsp baking powder
    • 1/8tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/4tsp salt
    • 75g unsalted butter, melted
    • 150g light brown sugar
    • 50g caster sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 135g white chocolate chunks
    • 65g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
    • 3/4 of 7g freeze dried raspberries pack
      Topping
    • 60g white chocolate
    • 20g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
    • 1/4 of 7g freeze dried raspberries pack

    Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 175C and line a 8x8in baking tin with baking paper on all sides.
  • In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt together, then set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and caster sugar. Once combined, add the egg and vanilla extract whisking vigorously. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, being careful not to overmix. Then fold in the chocolate chunks, macadamia nuts and 3/4 of the freeze dried raspberries. The batter will be thick.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Allow the blondies to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack.
  • For the topping, melt the white chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave stirring at 30second intervals. Drizzle over the cooled blondies and scatter the remaining macadamia nuts and freeze dried raspberries over the chocolate.
  • Once the chocolate has set, cut into squares and serve.
  • Notes

    Will last for up to one week in an airtight container.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/09/10/white-chocolate-raspberry-macadamia-nut-blondies/

    Chocolate and Hazelnut Dipped Shortbread

    Chocolate and Hazelnut Dipped Shortbread

    chocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbreadchocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbread

    I’m finally back in the blogging game, with no real apology except that I come bearing a recipe for chocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbread! Life has been busy, but I’ve got three recipes ready to share with you all soon! So stay tuned 🙂

    This recipe requires little to no effort, and is pretty quick! So you can have freshly baked biscuits in time for an afternoon cuppa. Also the dipped ends REALLY remind me of a Feast lolly – anyone remember those?? But the real beauty of these chocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbread biscuits is their customisation. Don’t like dark chocolate? Switch it to milk! Hazelnuts not your thing? Try macadamia or pecan’s! Or you could add sour cherries into the mix. The possibilities are pretty endless!

    Shortbread is up there with cookies as my very favourite biscuits (that and a classic shop-bought malted milk!). There’s something very comforting about the simple ingredients and crumbly texture of a shortbread. They remind me of Christmas too, when you’d get a tartan emblazoned tin full of it in different shapes which would then be kept and used to store pencils or hundreds of felt tips.

    chocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbreadchocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbread

    Chocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbread, is a recipe that sort of does what it says on the tin. The basic shortbread is a super simple combination of butter, sugar and flour. I’ve then added in some chopped chocolate and then once baked dipped in more chocolate and rolled in nibbed hazelnuts. It couldn’t be simpler.

    I used a rectangular fluted cutter as I like the shape, but you could use any of your choosing. Just try to ensure all your biscuits are the same size and width so they all bake evenly. It can be a little tricky to cut the shapes if you’ve used chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips like I did, but a bit of brute force gets it done! The most important step of the recipe is to make sure you chill your shortbread biscuits before popping in the oven. This way your shortbread won’t spread so much in the oven, and you won’t have one giant shortbread biscuit! Unless thats what you want, then full steam ahead!

    These chocolate and hazelnut dipped shortbread biscuits are the perfect teatime treat, and I hope you enjoy them!

    Chocolate and Hazelnut Dipped Shortbread

    Yield: 12 biscuits

    Chocolate and Hazelnut Dipped Shortbread

    Ingredients

    • 125g unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 55g caster sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    • 180g plain flour
    • 100g dark chocolate, chopped (or dark chocolate chips)
    • 150g dark chocolate
    • 100g hazelnuts, nibbed/chopped

    Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5 and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Then add the flour until it resembles a smooth paste. Add in the chopped chocolate or chips and mix together until evenly combined.
  • Roll out onto a lightly floured work surface until roughly 1cm thick. Using a rectangular cutter, cut out biscuits and place onto the prepared baking tray evenly spread out. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar, and then chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once the biscuits are completely cool, melt the dark chocolate over a bain-marie ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whilst melting, spread the nibbed hazelnuts evenly onto a plate.
  • Once the chocolate has fully melted, dip the biscuits in halfway and then lay either side flat onto the nibbed hazelnuts, ensuring they stick to the chocolate. Then place on baking paper to set.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/07/09/chocolate-and-hazelnut-dipped-shortbread/