Drip cakes are becoming more and more popular with you guys, but what are they, exactly?
Not to be confused with Dripping Cake (a traditional British bread which has dried fruit spices, and beef dripping in the ingredients - check out this blog from Glamourous Glutton), a drip cake is simply a cake with a drip effect on the top. The drip is normally a chocolate ganache with a cream base, but I have made it with white chocolate and strawberry rose before. I've made vegan drip cakes before, and they're oil-based instead of using cream.
The creme egg drip cake pictures to the left was a treat I made for friends at Easter. Check out my 'How to cut a creme egg in half' blog, inspired by that cake!
The cake above left is a birthday cake for one of my regulars - she's vegan but her husband loves white chocolate, so his lovely wife asked me for a white chocolate drip cake and sacrificed her own need for a slice of cake! I kind of liked how unpredictable the white chocolate ganache was in terms of the shape it help when dripping.
The strawberry cake is a tequila rose cake, made with stacks of tequila and lots of chantilly cream. This was the runniest drip I've ever done, but it worked really well on the cold cake. YUM!
Chocolate or fruity, drip cakes are always totally delicious and a great centrepiece for a party. Order yours today!
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As a busy mum, A freezer is one of my best friend s! It helps save on waste and therefore cost of food, And having frozen baked items ready to bake can save you so much time!
Here are my top hacks for freezing baked goods in dough form...
With all batter/dough types, I would recommend squeezing our an extra air in the package, allowing some headspace, and sealing it well - an airtight box is fine. Freeze items for a maximum of three months for best tasting baking!
Please note: I always bake fresh and I DO NOT freeze cake batter before baking - this blog is purely for interest and hopefully to help someone with their own baking/time management.
Can you freeze Cake batter?
You can, it's totally possible, but you may have to experiment with which recipes work best. Traditional cakes which need a good rise (e.g. Victoria Sponge) don't work so well - stick to muffin mix - and avoid recipes with creamed butter and sugar; your cakes may be a little deflated upon baking, if you don't. Avoid recipes using whipped egg whites - no chiffon cakes!! Also, oil based (as opposed to butter based) cakes freeze better, and be sure not to add any ingredients to the thawed mix before baking as this can also affect the rise.
Top tip: Use a disposable paper liner to line the tin or a foil tray you can recycle after use, as freezing mix straight into a tin makes it hard to pop out for thawing and baking later.
On a similar note: I don't recommend making up the batter and leaving it in the fridge for baking later. The cake will be so much better for baking immediately, and it will prevent separation.
I may only bake cakes for you guys, but I do bake cookies and bread occasionally for family. If you need some tips on freezing this kind of batter, keep reading!
Can you freeze cookie dough?
Maybe your recipe is ENORMOUS and you want to freeze some cookie dough for quick access at a later date? Great idea!
Stay away from liquidy batter, and wrap the dough in greaseproof paper. If freezing in balls or shapes, make sure the portions don't touch each other in the container.
Top Tip: Shortbread mix freezes especially well, as does peanut butter or chocolate chip cookie dough.
Can you freeze bread dough?
Sometimes it's very handy to have bread dough ready to bake 'as fresh' in the freezer...
Freezing bread dough does however affect its texture. Once baked, it can either be fluffy and soft, or a dense, flat bread, as is the cased when some of the yeast is killed off in the process.
Bread dough can freeze a little longer than cake or cookie mix, up to four months, but no longer, and unlike the other two mix types, you can store it in the fridge before baking it. Make sure you shape the bread into your desired style before freezing, and again, don't add any ingredients after thawing. Wrap in greased clingfilm or greaseproof paper and, when needed, allow to thaw slowly for several hours (ideally overnight).
Top Tip: Add extra yeast to the mix to help with the rise when baking.
I hope this helps - don't blame me if you now have no space in your freezer because it's full of batter and dough!
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How do you know when your cake is ready to come out of the oven? Here are my 5 top tips!
Watching that oven like a hawk... This photo could have been a picture of my daughter really, she's annoyingly drawn to the hot, lit-up oven!
These are my five sure-fire ways to tell your cake is ready. Knowing when a chocolate cake is baked properly is especially difficult, so I hope these tips help.
Picture from WestEnd61
Your cake is ready when...
1. The edges of the cake will start to pull away from the sides of the tin.
2. Your kitchen smells divine!
3. A toothpick or skewer comes out clean - my favourite tip, test in the middle of the cake.
4. The cake springs back when gently poked (not always the case for vegan or gluten free cakes, be warned).
5. Light coloured sponges are golden brown, or chocolate cakes are matte, not shiny.
Pretty soon these signs your cake is baked will become second nature for you to recognise. And if you can't be doing with all this, I'm always here (South Wales) for a delivery!
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Having recently moved to wales, my first bake in my new kitchen had to be a TRADITIONAL welsh recipe!
A good friend of mine gave me a Welsh recipe book as a house warming gift - she knows me so well - and this gem of a recipe was in the cake section. I baked it back in April (and again since, it's so good) but wanted to share the recipe with you, as I love a regional bake.
The sponge is firm but not heavy, a perfect cake. Funnily enough, as you see, there's no ginger - ground or fresh - in this gingerbread, but the zesty fruit peel gives it a zing.
You could even tweak it to make it vegan: Use dairy free 'butter' and soya milk instead of the dairy versions.
Top Tip: Make sure you have all the ingredients before you start, as obvious as it sounds. I had to buy in some cream of tartar powder, as I don't think I've ever used it before.
It's utterly delicious. Why don't you try the recipe yourself - or get me to deliver one for you!
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...and we celebrated In style this weekend!
El Husbandio and I threw our little one a "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" party with her friends - cue the bear shaped cake and teddy bears all over the garden - and had family over for the big day itself for a toddler friendly curry. The floral cake went to Nursery so she could share with her friends and keyworkers - hope you enjoyed it, guys!
What a wonderful weekend, love you loads, baby!
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Having launched my new facebook group 'Low sugar life' last month, i thought a not-so-sweet blog was in order...
Eating too much sugar is a terrible thing for your body, even if you're not medically advised to watch the levels you consume. We all know, really, that it has been shown to contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and tooth decay. It can have so many negative effects on your health, so I'm going to who you ten simple ways you can eat less sugar.
While sugar is naturally found in foods like fruits and vegetables, this type has a small effect on your blood sugar and is considered healthier than refined sugar. The danger is from added sugars in processed foods.
Here are my top tips that work for me!
1. Cut back on fizzy drinks. Try water (free and zero calories!), tea infusions, coffee, tea, water with lemon, lime or cucumber, tonic water, sparkling water...
Doesn't this tonic and lemon look inviting???
2. Avoid sugar-loaded desserts. Fresh fruit, natural yoghurt, baked fruit with cream, dark chocolate and dried fruit all give you a little healthier sugary boost.
3. Eat full-fat foods. We've kind of been conditioned to choose low fat options, and it's so easy to reach for these on the shelf when you're trying to lose weight, in particular. However, be warned, is they usually contain more sugar and often more calories than the full fat versions.
4. Eat whole foods - not processed or containing any additives. Cooking from scratch is a good way to avoid processed foods.
5. Be wary of 'healthy' snacks - those packed with dried fruit are often high in sugar, more than some chocolate bars even. For example, a strawberry Nutrigrain bar contains 12g of sugar in a 37g bar. That's 1/3 sugar, and six times the 5% I aim for myself when choosing low sugar snacks!
6. Don't default to cereal in the mornings - they are often packed with sugar. Stick to fruit, yoghurt, pancakes (with no sugary toppings!), eggs, ham and cheese... I also love mashing a banana, mixing it with two beaten eggs and frying it like a pancake.
7. Eat more protein (e.g. eggs, meat, nuts). This will satisfy cravings and help you feel more full.
8. Don't keep sugary things in the house! Simple, but effective - out of sight, out of mind.
9. Try making your own bread. You'll need to be around to knead, prove, bake when needed, but as a lot of us are working from home more now, it's possible, and a better option of some of the sugar packed loaves in the stores.
10. Enjoy cake as a treat - everything in moderation! - but consider eating bakes with 'healthier' sugars in the ingredients. Fresh fruit, sweeteners, dried fruit and coconut sugar are great ways to boost the taste.
Read more about how to manage your sugar and avoid unnecessary health problems here, on the trusty NHS website. I am not a medic or a dietician, so please seek professional advice - this is just my experience.
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Don't forget dad this Fathers Day - order him a surprise cake to show your appreciation!
Welcome to the For Goodness Cake blog! Most posts are by myself, Louise, but if you fancy guest blogging, give me a shout!