Category: Cakes

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/

    Caramel Macchiato Cake

    Caramel Macchiato Cake

    Tea and toast. Cheese and crackers. Coffee and cake. Some pairings are just meant to be. But caramel makes everything better right?

    If I’m not keeping it simple with an americano, my Starbucks order is always a caramel macchiato. The strong coffee mixed with vanilla and caramel just works so well. And why not turn the things you love into cake?!

    caramel macchiato layer cakecaramel macchiato layer cake

    I think coffee cake is really underrated. Usually paired with walnuts and a sickly sweet buttercream, it just doesn’t do it justice. This cake though is paired with the dreamiest silkiest buttercream you ever did taste. Its a classic swiss meringue buttercream with 175ml of glorious caramel. AHH. I could just eat the buttercream from the bowl. It was my first time using my KMix to make buttercream and oh god the difference. It just made it so light, and even easier to spread on the finished cake.

    caramel macchiato layer cakecaramel macchiato layer cake

    But, back to the cake! The sponge has instant coffee, a full cup of freshly brewed coffee AND a coffee soak to add when baked. So you could say I like coffee… though the caramel SMB cuts through it all to balance the bitterness out. Now I couldn’t call it a caramel macchiato cake without the signature caramel topping could I? I popped some caramel into a piping bag and went to TOWN. I promise you though, the cake really isn’t as sweet as it sounds with all that caramel flying around. I think thats why I love swiss meringue buttercream so much. It may be richer than regular buttercream with the additional butter, but its so much less sweet! No teeth-grinding icing sugar round here thank you very much.

    caramel macchiato layer cakecaramel macchiato layer cake

    The whole cake was actually surprisingly quick to make, I made it in an afternoon last weekend and I was enjoying a slice after dinner. I also didn’t make my own caramel for once, as it was a spontaneous bake and that sped the process up! I used a jar of Bonne Maman’s caramel and its really delicious if you fancy being lazy too. If not, my recipe for salted caramel here would work really well, just remember to omit the salt. Although salted caramel buttercream with coffee would be delicious too!

    caramel macchiato cakecaramel macchiato cake

    Let me know if you try it, it’s the perfect Sunday afternoon treat with, you guessed it, a cup of coffee!

    Caramel Macchiato Cake

    Caramel Macchiato Cake

    Ingredients

      Cake
    • 390g plain flour
    • 2 1/2tsp baking powder
    • 1/2tsp salt
    • 1tsp instant coffee granules or espresso powder
    • 225g unsalted butter
    • 300g caster sugar
    • 67g soft light brown sugar
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 eggs, room temperature
    • 188ml whole milk
    • 188ml strong, hot coffee
      Coffee Soak
    • 125ml water
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 1tsp instant coffee granules or espresso powder
      Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
    • 150ml egg whites, room temperature
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 450g unsalted butter, room temperature cubed
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 175ml caramel (plus extra for drizzle)

    Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat the oven to 175C/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line three 8-inch cake tins.
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder and set aside.
  • Then using an electric mixer, beat the butter for a few minutes until smooth. Add both the sugars and increase the speed to medium-high. Keep mixing until the butter and sugars are creamed together and the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the vanilla extract followed by the eggs one at a time making sure they are each fully incorporated.
  • Then in alternating batches, add in half of the dry ingredients, the whole milk and the remaining dry ingredients mixing on low in between. Only mix until the batter is just combined. Then with the mixer on low, stream in the hot coffee and mix until smooth.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between the three pans, and bake for 24-26 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the tins for 10 minutes on a wire rack, before removing the cakes from the tins.
  • For the coffee soak, pour all the ingredients into a saucepan and place over a medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a slight boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool until ready to use.
  • For the swiss meringue buttercream, place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and gently whisk by hand to combine. Then place over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Whisking occasionally heat the egg mixture until it reaches 160F (70C) on a candy thermometer. Once you've reached the right temperature, take the bowl off the heat and fit onto a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture for 8-10 minutes until it holds medium-stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the bowl should have reached room temperature. Stop the mixer and swap the whisk attachment out for the paddle.
  • Then with the mixer on low, add in the butter a few cubes at a time, then the vanilla and finally the caramel. Once all incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for 3-5 minutes until the buttercream is silky smooth.
  • To assemble the cake, place one of the sponges onto your serving plate, brush liberally with the coffee soak and spread on 1/4 of the buttercream. Repeat with the next sponge, and then place the final sponge on top brushing with the remaining coffee soak. Cover the entire cake with the remaining buttercream, smoothing or swirling as desired. Finally place the remaining caramel into a piping bag and drizzle over back and forth.
  • Notes

    Can be kept air-tight for up to one week.

    Adapted from The Cake Blog's Caramel Cuppuccino Cake.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/02/05/caramel-macchiato-cake/

    Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers

    Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers

    I’m backkkkkk! Sorry for the month hiatus, it wasn’t intentional! Who knew January was so busy!? I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year though! I’m back with a french classic and one of my favourite treats ever! A pistachio & raspberry financier.

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    I first came across the financier when I worked in London Bridge. I used to walk through Borough Market on my lunch break and would have to fight the urge to buy everything!! My favourite stall there was called Comptoir Gourmand and they sold the most wonderful array of french cakes and pastries, including a vibrant green pistachio financier. It was the best thing, my mouths watering even thinking of it!

    I love the dense moist texture, and the pistachio flavour just works so well. I’d always had it on my mental ‘to-bake’ list and I finally ticked it off last week! So a little history lesson for you here, the financier was created by a Parisian baker who worked in the financial district of the city. He wanted to create a bake for his customers that they could eat on the go and wouldn’t be crumbly and messy like a croissant. And so the financier was born. The name makes sense now right? Just to add to their banking background they are also traditionally made in a rectangular shape to resemble a ‘gold bar’. Obviously, this only really works if you stick to the original recipe and don’t turn them green!

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    Pistachio and raspberry is one of my favourite flavour combinations, and the fresh raspberries in these financiers give such a tart hit. Financiers are actually really easy to make, and you can keep the dough chilled in the fridge for up to three days which is perfect if you want to prep ahead. And means you can impress visitors by having a fresh batch of cakes whipped up in minutes! I made 12 small cakes, but you could make 6 large instead – and actually I think next time I would just make the 6. Quality over quantity ya know?

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    For the recipe I used a 50:50 ratio of ground almonds and ground pistachios. As I was adapting a recipe I didn’t want the pistachio’s higher fat content to change the bake too much. Now I’ve not seen ground pistachios in any supermarkets round me (though I have seen Sainsburys stocking ground hazelnuts which is exciting!), so I just blitzed my own. I was worried that the nuts might release too much oil as I blitzed, but actually it was fine and got to the same consistency as supermarket ground almonds really quickly.

    One key step to the financiers is to brown the butter, which essentially means to heat the butter in a saucepan until it turns a golden brown colour. This gives a wonderfully nutty flavour to the bake which I think is so unique.

    pistachio & raspberry financiers

    I think these are a delight with a cup of tea on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The perfect bake for the miserably cold days we’ve been having recently!

    Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers

    Yield: 12 small or 6 large

    Pistachio & Raspberry Financiers

    Ingredients

    • 120g unsalted butter, diced
    • 50g ground almonds
    • 50g ground pistachios
    • 25g plain flour
    • 125g icing sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 4 large egg whites
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 12 raspberries, quartered
    • 20g pistachios, chopped

    Instructions

  • Heat the butter in a small pan over a medium heat and cook until the butter has foamed and then turned golden brown. This will take a little while, so stick with it. Pour the browned butter into a small heatproof bowl and set aside.
  • Put the ground almonds, ground pistachios, flour, icing sugar and salt in a bowl and mix together until combined. Then add the egg whites and vanilla extract and stir to form a thick paste. Pour in the slightly cooled butter and stir until you have a smooth batter. Press a sheet of clingfilm onto the surface of the batter and put into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours before baking.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6 and lightly grease your mini-loaf pans or place your mini-loaf cases onto a baking tray. Spoon the batter evenly into the pans/cases, filling them half full. Press 4 quarters of a raspberry into each financier and top with chopped pistachios. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they have started to brown around the edges. Leave to cool in the pans for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely, or just place the cases onto the wire rack straight away to cool.
  • Notes

    Batter can be kept covered in the fridge for up to three days before baking.

    Financiers keep up to two days in an air tight container, but taste best on the day of baking.

    Recipe adapted from Edd Kimber's Patisserie Made Simple.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/01/23/pistachio-raspberry-financiers/