Tag: cake

Christmas Wreath Layer Cake

Christmas Wreath Layer Cake

christmas wreath cake

christmas wreath cake

I’ve never been a fan of the traditional rich Christmas fruit cake, but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without a cake! So every year I whip up a big ol’ layer cake for the family to enjoy that’s a bit more modern in style. This year I decided to emulate my buttercream flower wreath cake and create a wintery version as I loved that cake so much!! Its the proudest I’ve ever been, so I knew I wanted to try the style again. I did downsize slightly and kept the flowers to one side. I love how it makes it look a little more elegant and so so festive!

So that’s how my Christmas wreath cake was born.

Flavours wise I decided to create an earl grey sponge with a vanilla swiss meringue buttercream. The bergamot flavour from the tea gives it a lovely subtle festive note, without being too overpowering. I also created an earl grey cake soak to enhance the flavour and ensure the cake stayed moist and flavourful throughout. I really think cake soaks are worth taking the extra time to create, especially if you’re not serving the cake on the day you baked it.

christmas wreath cakechristmas wreath cake

The earl grey sponge is really the star of this christmas wreath cake, but swiss meringue buttercream is my absolute favourite for layer cakes. It’s so luscious without being too sweet, and is so smooth making it the easiest buttercream to get a crisp finish. It also works really well for piping flowers as they keep their shape so well. I always pipe mine onto small squares of parchment paper attached to a flower nail, that way you can then place them in the freezer to harden which makes your life ten times easier when placing them on the cake.

For decoration I also added cinnamon sticks to look like twigs, and small dots of buttercream to act as holly berries. I really love the look and taste of this Christmas wreath cake, its subtly festive and super pretty.

christmas wreath cake

Christmas Wreath Layer Cake

Christmas Wreath Layer Cake

Ingredients

    Earl Grey Cake
  • 6 earl grey teabags
  • 6tbsp just-boiled water
  • 160g unsalted butter
  • 560g caster sugar
  • 480g plain flour
  • 2tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 400ml whole milk
  • 4 large eggs
    Earl Grey Cake Soak
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250ml water
  • 2 earl grey teabags
    Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 150ml egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 450g unsalted butter
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • dark green food colouring
  • light green food colouring
  • brown food colouring
  • dark red food colouring
    Decoration
  • 4 small cinnamon sticks

Instructions

  • Firstly preheat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5 and grease and line three 8" baking tins.
  • In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the mixture is the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
  • Pour the milk and eggs into a jug, and whisk until combined. Then add the brewed tea squeezing each tea bag to extract all of the moisture.
  • Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low-speed until combined. Add the remaining milk mixture and mix again until smooth and thick.
  • Divide the mixture between the three prepared baking tins and bake for 22-25 minutes or until springy to touch. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes, before removing from the tins and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the cake soak by placing the sugar, water and tea bags into a small pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to steep for 10 minutes. Then remove the tea bags and set aside.
  • Whilst the cake soak is steeping, begin the swiss meringue buttercream by whisking together the sugar and egg whites in heat-safe bowl until combined. Then over a bain-marie, heat the mixture, stirring occasionally until it reaches 155-160F on a candy thermometer. The mixture will be very hot and the sugar will have dissolved.
  • Once the mixture has reached the right temperature, take the bowl off the heat and using an electric mixer whisk the mixture on high speed for about 10 minutes until you reach medium-stiff peaks and the mixture has returned to room temperature.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the butter a tablespoon at a time ensuring each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next. The butter must be at room temperature for it to be properly incorporated.
  • Once the butter has been mixed in, add the vanilla extract and mix again for a few minutes until the buttercream is silky smooth and light.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of buttercream into a small bowl and mix in the light green food colouring, and then another 2 tablespoons into a separate bowl and mix in the dark green food colouring. Then put 1 tablespoon of buttercream into another bowl and mix in the brown food colouring, then finally put another tablespoon of buttercream into a separate bowl and mix in the dark red food colouring. Set aside the remaining buttercream to use later.
  • Using a flower nail and piping tips create an array of flowers and leaves on squares of baking paper, then place the squares onto baking trays and place in the freezer to harden.
  • To assemble the cake, place one sponge onto the cake board, brush on half of the cake soak and a layer of buttercream. Repeat with the second sponge layer and then place the final sponge layer on top.
  • Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of the buttercream and then place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set.
  • Then cover the cake with the remaining buttercream and using a bench scraper, scrape off the excess to leave a smooth exterior.
  • For the decoration, put the brown buttercream into a piping bag and snip off the end so you have a small nozzle. Then pipe lines in a crescent shape to create 'twigs' for the flowers to sit on.
  • Remove the buttercream flowers and leaves from the freezer, and peeling off the baking paper squares arrange them on the cake with the cinnamon sticks.
  • Finally, put the dark red buttercream into a piping bag and snip off the end again so you have a small nozzle and pipe 'berries' onto the cake.
  • Notes

    I used Wilton tips 104 and 70 to create the flowers and leaves. Tips on piping the flowers can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLyDaS4napa7fgQ-pdZ68ifGMIRmWC9JRL

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/12/13/christmas-wreath-cake/

    Salted Chocolate Rye Cake

    Salted Chocolate Rye Cake

    salted chocolate rye

    This salted chocolate rye cake is the densest, fudgiest and most indulgent cake I’ve ever made in all the best ways! It does mean you can’t eat too many slices, but means its perfect for a celebration or an excuse to get your friends over. As who’s gonna turn down cake?!

    Salted chocolate rye is a combination that I first tried in Edinburgh two months ago, when I took my sister for a birthday weekend surprise. I had booked for us to go to the Luna Cinema to see La La Land in the Royal Botanic Gardens. I had visions of the sun setting over a glorious backdrop whilst we sipped gin&tonics and ate a delicious picnic. Now whilst we did sip gin&tonics and eat delicious food, it was all within the space of 15 minutes before the heavens opened and we struggled through 2 hours of non-stop rain all the while watching the splendid LA sun… We were true Brits that day, with soggy crisps and sodden sausages rolls surrounding us.

    But what I did manage to eat relatively drizzle free was the best chocolate cake ever to exist. We found a cafe called Lovecrumbs, that is exactly the kind of cafe I’d love to own one day. The decor was gorgeous and oh god the cakes. They just looked insane, but their salted chocolate rye cake spoke out to me. The depth of flavour that the rye flour provided was so delicious and salting the chocolate ganache counted the richness perfectly. I just loved it! And knew I had to recreate it, simply just so I could eat it again as Edinburgh is sadly far far away from me.

    salted chocolate rye

    salted chocolate rye

    So my recreation journey began with research into rye flours; nerd glasses on! You can get light, medium and dark rye flours. The darker the rye the more bran is used which gives you the distinctive colour and flavour of a deep rye loaf. In cake form, the darker the rye the denser and fudgier your sponge will be. Its abit of personal preference really, but I opted for a medium rye for this cake.

    For the filling and decoration I opted for a simple ganache with a generous sprinkling of salt. In the middle layer I also added some dark chocolate chunks for added texture, and more chocolate because sometimes if you’re gonna go in you should go ALL in.

    In the sponge I added 240ml of coffee, which helps to keep the sponge super moist and really deepens the chocolate kick.

    salted chocolate rye

    I really love this cake. Its such a different take on the usual chocolate cake and is way better than eating a loaf of rye bread, right?? Let me know if you give it a go 🙂

    Salted Chocolate Rye Cake

    Salted Chocolate Rye Cake

    Ingredients

      Cake
    • 157g plain flour
    • 157g medium rye flour
    • 95g cocoa powder
    • 2 1/2tsp baking powder
    • 3/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1tsp salt
    • 150ml vegetable oil
    • 400g caster sugar
    • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2tsp almond extract
    • 360ml whole milk
    • 240ml hot strong brewed coffee
      Ganache
    • 370g dark chocolate
    • 240ml double cream
    • 1tbsp maldon sea salt flakes + more for decoration
      Filling
    • 50g dark chocolate chips

    Instructions

  • For the cake, firstly pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease and line two 8" baking pans.
  • In a small bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Then set aside until needed.
  • Using a hand mixer beat together the oil and sugar for about two minutes. With the mixer still running, add the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract ensuring you scrape down the sides to incorporate all the mixture.
  • On a low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Again, ensure you scrape down the sides to incorporate all the mixture.
  • Remaining on a low speed, stream in the coffee until just combined.
  • Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and the sponges bounce back.
  • Let them cool on a wire rack in the pans for at least 10-15 minutes, before removing them from the pans to completely cool.
  • For the ganache, break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof bowl. In a pan heat the cream until just beginning to simmer, then pour this over the chocolate. Leave for a couple of minutes and then stir until smooth. Add the sea salt flakes and stir again. Then set aside until its a spreadable consistency and is cool.
  • To assemble the cake, place one of the sponges onto a cake board or serving plate. Then top with half of the ganache and the chocolate chips. Place the other sponge on top, and spread on the remaining ganache. Sprinkle with some more sea salt flakes if desired.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/11/16/salted-chocolate-rye-cake/

    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/

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    raspberry and almond Layer Cake

    Cake, Cake, Cake, Cake. Is there anything better? I mean even Rihanna released a song about it….! But Birthday Cake probably tips the scale! I made this raspberry and almond layer cake for my mum’s birthday last weekend. Fresh raspberries gave the tang, ground almonds made it super moist and the buttercream and sprinkles made it extra birthdayish! Who says sprinkles are only for kids?!

    raspberry and almond Layer Cake

    Almond and raspberry is SUCH a classic combination and one of mums favourite flavours so I knew I wanted to incorporate that in the cake. I ended up baking fresh raspberries in the sponge, which gave such a good tart hit. I added ground almonds too which made the sponge extra moist, AND I added two teaspoons of almond extract to give it that extra punch. I can never have enough almond, but feel free to reduce it to one teaspoon if you’re not as obsessive as I am!

    I’m still so obsessed with swiss meringue buttercream and the silky effect it creates. I love how the swirls on top almost look like a 99 ice cream you’d get when you were little! I went for vanilla to complement the raspberry and almond but not overpower it. Though you’d be forgiven for thinking the buttercream was mint or pistachio flavoured with the mint green hue. That was just a mistake! I was trying to make my buttercream whiter, so I added in (what I thought was) a tiny drop of blue food colouring. As you can tell, that plan didn’t quite work out. But, I’m actually pretty happy with the colour in the end! It encapsulates the childhood birthday cake style I was looking for!

    raspberry and almond Layer Cakeraspberry and almond Layer Cake

    Filling wise, I decided to go classic birthday cake and use jam and buttercream. I used the buttercream as a dam around the edge of the cake, and then filled the centre with raspberry jam – Bonne Maman to be exact, only the best! I’m so glad I did to, as the tartness of the jam worked so well in cutting through the rich buttercream.

    raspberry and almond Layer Cake

    The sprinkles were much harder to add on than I imagined, so learn from my mistake and if you have a tilting turntable use it to its full advantage to stick them on! I on the other hand ended up essentially chucking the sprinkles at the cake and finding them all over my kitchen instead….!

    All in all, taste wise this is one of the best cakes I’ve made (if I do say so myself)! So if you’re a fan of raspberry and almond definitely give it a try! Also, give my timelapse video below a watch where you can see me assemble the cake 🙂

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    Yield: 1 three-tier 8" cake

    12 slices

    Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

    Ingredients

      Sponge
    • 305g cake flour (if you can't find cake flour use plain flour, and substitute 4tbsp of the plain flour for 4tbsp cornflour)
    • 100g ground almonds
    • 2tsp baking powder
    • 1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
    • 1/2tsp salt
    • 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 400g caster sugar
    • 2tsp almond extract
    • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
    • 300ml buttermilk
    • 220g raspberries
      Buttercream
    • 150ml large egg whites
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 450g unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2tsp blue gel food colouring (if using)
      Filling
    • 200g raspberry jam
      Decoration
    • multi-coloured sprinkles

    Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat the oven to 175C/ Gas Mark 4 and grease and line three 8" baking tins.
  • In a small bowl sift together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarb and salt. Toss the raspberries in one tablespoon of the flour mix, and set both aside.
  • In a pyrex bowl beat the butter with a hand mixer until smooth and lightened in colour. Then add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, this will take a few minutes. Add the almond extract and then add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating between each addition. Then with the mixer on low, add the flour mix in three batches alternating with the buttermilk. Ensure you begin and end with the flour mixture. Do not over mix at this stage, stop mixing as soon as the last streaks of flour are incorporated. Gently fold in the majority of the raspberries, then evenly divide the batter between the prepared tins. Sprinkle the remaining raspberries on top of the batter, pushing them down slightly.
  • Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, before removing them from their tins to cool completely.
  • For the buttercream, whisk together the sugar and egg whites in heat-safe bowl until combined. Then using a bain-marie, heat the mixture, stirring occasionally until it reaches 155-160F on a candy thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer the mixture will be very hot to the touch and the sugar will have dissolved.
  • Once the mixture has reached the right temperature, take the bowl off the heat and using an electric mixer whisk on high speed for about 10 minutes until you reach medium-stiff peaks and the mixture has returned to room temperature.
  • With the mixer on low, add in the butter a tablespoon at a time ensuring each piece is fully incorporated before adding the next. The butter must be at room temperature for it to be properly incorporated.
  • Once the butter has been mixed in, add the vanilla extract and mix again for a few minutes until the buttercream is silky smooth and light. Then add the food colouring if using, and mix for a few minutes until fully incorporated. Add 1/4 of the buttercream into a piping bag and snip off the end to have a plain round nozzle. Add another 1/4 of the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used the Wilton 2D).
  • To assemble, place one sponge onto a cake board and using the buttercream in the plain piping bag, pipe a circle 'dam' round the edge of the cake. Then fill the gap with half of the jam. Place the second sponge on top and repeat with the buttercream and remaining jam.
  • Next, crumb coat the entire cake with buttercream and place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Then cover the cake with a thick layer of buttercream and using a bench scraper, scrape off the excess to leave a smooth exterior. Using the piping bag fitted with the star tip, pipe swirls around the edge of the top of the cake. Then finally, add sprinkles to the swirls and the bottom half of the cake.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2016/10/17/raspberry-and-almond-layer-cake/