Chocolate & Orange Drip Cake

Chocolate orange drip cake

Drip cakes truly burst into the celebration scene last year and are set to be one of the bigger cake trends of 2016…so I thought I’d better get to grips with them.

Over the top decorations

I love this style of cake – there’s a cartoony visual appeal to the dripping ganache, and the over-the-top, pile it on approach to the decorations is so much fun.

choc orange and gold drip cake

Multi layers of sponge cake covered with chocolate Italian meringue buttercream and drip effect chocolate ganache; finished with orange chocolate cigarellos, gold tinted rolos, mini chocolate orange segments, orange, red and gold sprinkles, hand crafted chocolate shards and hand made chocolate lollipops


Inside we have alternating layers of chocolate and orange flavoured sponge, sandwiched together with orange curd and chocolate Italian meringue buttercream.

Choc orange drip cake

This was my first effort at a drip cake (which requires more skill than would be immediately apparent) and I’m quite  pleased with how it turned out – not 100% happy with it, but not ashamed either!

I’m really pleased with how my buttercream finish is improving and am now full of knowledge that will make the overall finish of the cake so much better next time around.  All in all, a good cake experience.

There most definitely will be a next time around for this type of cake; imagine it in multi colours for a kid’s party…or in pastels and tiered for a bridal shower…or…well, let’s just say it’s a very versatile cake style 🙂

What do you all think?  Do you like it?


Sunday Brunch: Pastrami Hash Patties and Fried Egg, followed by Honey Baked Figs with Orange Yoghurt

Over the past few weeks you may have noticed a failure to mention Petit Man in blog posts; fear not, he’s not buried under the patio – he’s moved in with Mme. E.

This weekend he was back for fridge raiding a visit so once again I had my kitchen buddy with me for the making of Sunday brunch – cue much happiness!  Not only does he have all the skills necessary to pull off a successful Cupboard Challenge (proud Momma taught him how), but, perhaps more importantly, his egg frying prowess was an invaluable asset in the making of this meal 😉

Ah, yes…now is probably a good time for me to apologise for the gappy photo narrative of this post…I was enjoying Petit Man’s company so much I forgot to take pictures at several stages of the food preparation.  Sorry if it’s not clear what’s going on!

Serves three (makes six good sized patties)

Hash Patty Ingredients
3 medium sized potatoes, coarsely grated
1 medium onion, coarsely grated
200g pastrami
7 eggs (one for the patty mix, the remainder for frying and topping patties)
A handful of fresh, chopped chives
Approx. 3 tablespoons single cream
1 teaspoon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Oil for shallow frying

Honey Baked Figs Ingredients
6 fresh ripe figs
1 teaspoon(ish) ground cinnamon
4-6 tablespoons honey
1 small tub natural Greek style yoghurt
Finely grated zest of half an orange

All set? Let’s kick off Day 3 of the Cupboard Challenge

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200°C/400°F

Squeeze as much water as possible from the grated potato by rolling it up in a clean tea towel, then wringing it out.

Grated potato and onionPut squeezed potato into a bowl with the grated onion, salt and pepper.

Pastrami, before it was stripped
Pastrami, before it was stripped

Slice pastrami into thin strips and add to the potato and onion mix.

Add one beaten egg, the cream, the chives and the mustard; mix everything together really well.

Heat oil in frying pan over a medium heat and spoon in dollops of the mix.  Use the back of the spoon to push the dollops into patty shapes.

Flip them once, making sure both sides are beautifully crispy and brown.  They might lose their shape and structure a little when you turn them – just push them back together with your spoon.

If you have a second frying pan, fry up the eggs while the second side of the patties are browning.  If you don’t, pop the patties into the oven to keep warm while you take care of the eggs.

Pastrami Hash Patties with Fried Egg and Onion MarmaladeLay one fried egg onto each patty (keep those yolks runny!) and serve with the condiment of your choice.  I had caramelised onion marmalade, Petit Man went with HP and Barn just had lots of black pepper.

Blond Witch BeerPetit Man and I decided to have this locally brewed ale with ours. I’m no beer aficionado but it was pretty good – crisp and fresh, with none of the horrid after taste I often get with beers. Barn had some kind of hyper-powered fruit juice blend – it was dark red and looked smugly vitamin packed next to the beer 😉

Figs sprinkled with cinnamonJust before you serve the hash patties, cut the figs in half, set them on an oven proof dish, sprinkle with cinnamon, drizzle with honey and bang in the preheated oven.

Greek style yoghurtMix orange zest with yoghurt and leave to infuse.

Go and eat your patties and eggs.

Baked figs with orange yoghurt
About 15-20 minutes later, you will have finished your pastrami and eggs, and your figs will be perfectly baked.

Serve with the orange yoghurt; drizzle with the juices from the baking dish.

This was very close to our idea of perfection for Sunday brunch.

How about you, what makes your perfect lazy day fare?


Chocoholic’s Dream Cake

Box of chocolatesIf life is like a box of chocolates, this cake represents the kind of life I’d like to have!

Dark chocolate and white chocolate cake layers, with salted caramel frosting. Covered in chocolate fondant, decorated with chocolates and modelling chocolate.

This cake involved several firsts for me…first time using modelling chocolate (expensive but fabulously malleable and easy to use), the first time tempering chocolate, the first time using chocolate transfers and the first time I covered something other than a straightforward, flat cake.

chocolate lidThe lid was made using a lined, loose bottomed cake tin as a mould.  The sheets transfer was laid onto the bottom of the tin before the orange chocolate was poured on top.  There was then an interminable wait for it to completely solidify before the heart stopping moment of removal.  I was worried it would crack but luck was on my side and the whole thing came out very easily, albeit with some scratches on the transfer design.

Chocolate selectionCovering the cake was really difficult, not least because I didn’t have quite enough fondant and therefore had to roll it too thinly.  I think it turned out not too bad in the end though.

The discs on the sides of the box were made by pouring a thin layer of melted chilli chocolate onto a transfer sheet, then cutting out the shapes with metal cutters just before it had set (too soon and it runs back together, too late and it cracks).  The box is filled with a selection of Hotel Chocolat chocolates, ‘cos we all adore Hotel Chocolat, don’t we?

lifting the lidThe bow, ribbon and trim around the base of the box were made with orange flavour modelling chocolate.  I subsequently realised that I could have rolled this a LOT thinner, and it would still have held its shape…as it’s costly stuff, that’s a good thing to have learned!

Clearly, to enjoy this cake you would need to like chocolate.  A lot.  Fortunately, the friend it was made for really, really does, although it took some time before she and her family could bring themselves to break it all up.  It’s a CAKE guys…its whole raison d’être is to be eaten!



Where have you come from?

While there will undoubtedly be ramblings about many things within this blog, primarily I want it to serve as a record of my progress with regard to cake making and party planning.  With that in mind, for this and the next however many posts, I’m going to go back to when it all began…

(…cue ‘back in time’ music…the picture goes wavy, then sharpens up again…)

We find ourselves in 2011 in my kitchen…

Having adopted a gluten free diet earlier in the year (and finally become free of pain when eating) I was becoming increasingly fed up with the extortionately priced, flavourless and heavy cakes available to buy.  I’d researched a lot and tried out several not-wildly-successful recipes but had not yet been able to satisfy the household cake cravings.  It seemed to me that the most obvious solution would be to create my own recipes.

This chocolate orange cake was the very first effort:

GF Chocolate Orange Cake

The sponge was too crumbly and the texture was too dense, however, it was good enough to encourage me onwards with my experimentation.