Friday, 21 September 2012

Harry Potter Butterbeer Cake

Most people that know me know about my obsession with everything Harry Potter, and after my sister suggested to the organiser of Oxford Clandestine Cake Club that we have a movie theme for our next meeting, I knew I wanted to do something relating to the films. I immediately thought 'BUTTERBEER!' I did try some at the Studio Tour which I visited in April (and am visiting again in November!) but wasn't too keen as I found it too sweet, but I decided I wanted to have a go at a cakey version.

This is my own recipe and I am really pleased with how it turned out, the cake pictured was a practice I did last weekend. I will be making it again next week for cake club and I'm excited to see what everyone thinks!

For the cake
225g unsalted butter (room temperature)
225g soft brown sugar
225g plain flour (plus a few extra tablespoons)
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large free range organic eggs
1/2 teaspoons butter flavouring
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons butterscotch flavouring
3/4 cup cream soda

For the frosting and topping
500g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
250g full fat cream cheese (cold)
1/4 tin of Carnation caramel


1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Grease and line two 20cm cake pans.

2. Beat the butter with the sugar for a couple of minutes, until it's light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the butter flavouring, vanilla extract and butterscotch flavouring. Next beat in the plain flour and baking powder until combined. Finally on a slow speed, mix in the cream soda. This may cause the mixture to separate. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix until it comes together again (it may take a couple of tablespoons).

3. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until the sponge is golden and a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove and continue to cool on a rack.

4. To make the cream cheese frosting beat the icing sugar and butter together until the mixture comes together. Then add the cream cheese and beat until it is smooth. Do not over-beat as it has a nasty habit of becoming runny!

5. Spoon 1/4 of a tin of Carnation caramel into a bowl and mix until it becomes runny. Spoon into a piping bag and set aside.

6. To assemble the cake place one layer on a stand and spread with the cream cheese frosting. Take the caramel piping bag and snip a tiny bit off of the end. Pipe in a criss cross pattern across the frosting. Place the second layer on top and cover the top and sides with the frosting. Finally pipe more caramel back and forth on the top.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

S'Mores Brownies!

I don't make brownies all that often to eat at home, they tend to be something I make for other people. My hairdresser, for example! I pay him mainly with cake - seriously! He asked for brownies this time, so I said I'd make S'mores brownies. He had no idea what S'mores were!

This recipe comes from one of my favourite bloggers/writers Joy the Baker. Joy is an American baker and blogger. When she writes her recipes are warm, chatty and easy to follow and her book is no different. It's full of American comfort baking, with a good mix of sweet and savoury.

180g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder
226g unsalted butter
170g dark chocolate
266g light brown sugar
198g caster sugar
5 large free range organic eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
142g crushed digestive biscuits
1 bag mini marshmallows


1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C and grease and line a 9x13 inch pan.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a bowl and set aside.

3. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over some boiling water, stirring until it is melted. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.

4. Once cooled, mix in the eggs one at a time. The mixture will become really shiny and sticky. Then mix in your vanilla extract.

5. Next fold in your bowl of dry ingredients until combined. Then carefully fold in the crushed digestive biscuits.

6. Pour the batter into your cake pan and sprinkle with the mini marshmallows until there is an even covering. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 30-40 minutes. The brownies are done when a skewer is inserted and comes out with a few crumbs. During the cooking you may need to cover the brownies with some tin foil as the marshmallows can catch very easily.

I was in a bit of a rush but for the best results, Joy suggests running your knife under hot water before cutting as this helps to stop the marshmallows sticking.

Needless to say I am in my hairdressers good books with these brownies. They are even yummier when they are warmed up with a couple of scoops of good vanilla ice cream.

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