Tag: Cakes

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 cakeย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    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/