Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Madame Squirrel Bakes A Cake

Hello World.

I thought for my first blog post that I would tempt you all in with some "beautiful" pictures of cake. 
Blueberry Cake in fact.

The recipe I used is from: 'The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook' or My Bible as I tend to call it. I love The Hummingbird Bakery; I wish there was one on every single street across the entire world. Yes I would get incredibly fat as resistance would be futile but it would be worth it, I promise you it would be worth it.

Now that I've revealed my obsession with The Hummingbird Bakery and cake in general I'll get on with showing you what I baked shall I?

The Photographic Evidence:

Straight out of the oven and looking a bit terrifying:

At this point I had completely forgot that I had to turn the ring tin upside down, I was trying to figure out how the hell I'd ice this thing.

But I did turn it upside down and look how cake looking it is:

Ice(d), Ice(d) baby (yes there is a lot of edge blur going on).

Mmm...moist and delicious.

Now the recipe called for 6 eggs. Which I think is a hell of a lot of eggs; I also used particularly rich tasting ones, so the next time I may only try this recipe with 4 and hope for the best.

The recipe also calls for "2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder" which I thought was a lot of baking powder. I only used the 2 teaspoons assuming a misprint but after looking online at other peoples attempts; no one mentions it. Next time I will add all the baking powder and see if it makes the cake lighter (or simply rise for the heavens).

I also baked the cake for *ahem* 15 more minutes than it should have been baked for ... every time I put the skewer in to test the cake it came back out covered with runny cake mix. I now think I may have been putting the skewer too near to the blueberries, so the mixture was coming out still runny due to blueberry moisture leakage (that sounds appetising). Really I should have just obeyed the recipe and used their technique of testing for golden bouncy sponge with a finger instead of skewering the cake in a murderous fashion.

All in all this cake is nomtastic but make sure you have lots of people to feed it to as it is so rich (in an incredibly delicious way). 

The Recipe:

Blueberry Cake (taken from 'The Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook')

350g unsalted butter at room temperature (always room temperature people or it just won't work)
350g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
450g plain flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
280 ml soured cream (bringing the moistness)
250g fresh blueberries plus extra to decorate
2 quantities Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)
Icing sugar, to decorate

A 25cm ring mould, greased and dusted with flour

Makes 12-16 slices.

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, flour and baking powder until well mixed. Add the soured cream and mix well until everything is combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.

Gently stir in the blueberries by hand until evenly dispersed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared ring mould and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the mould before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cold, put it on a serving plate, cove the top and sides with the Cream Cheese Frosting and decorate with more blueberries. Dust with a light sprinkling of icing sugar.

Cream Cheese Frosting

300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Makes enough frost 12 cupcakes
(double the recipe for 20-cm cake)

Beat the icing sugar and butter together in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

At this moment in time The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook (Ryland, Peters & Smallis available from for only 10 whole British Pounds.

What are you favourite recipes? Any tips for baking a perfect cake?

Madame Squirrel.