Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Josh

 A big Happy Birthday to my little man Joshua, cant believe he has turned 1 now!  To celebrate we had a big bash on the weekend as well as some cake on his birthday during the week.  Luckily it was baked theme for the Cookbook challenge this week as both ovens were working overtime.  I managed a couple of snaps of the cakes but didnt get any of the savoury dishes.  I had an Italian themed party & made huge trays of lasagna, cheese & spinach cannelloni, osso bucco & chicken cacciatore, with some salads & potatoes on the side including a yummy panzanella.   Desserts at the party were the big chocolate birthday cake plus some cup cakes, caramel slice & a lovely boozy tiramasu for the adults.

Cake number one on Joshie's actual birthday was a classic Victoria Sponge, I didnt want anything too rich as I knew how much chocolate would be going around at the party.  I used Nigella's recipe from Domestic Goddess, as always it was incredibly simplified, everything is pretty much bunged into the food processor before being baked.  The sponges are sandwiched with jam & berries, I chose strawberries & then they are glued together with lashings of whipped cream.  I used light cooking cream which despite the promise on the jar just would not whip properly, next time I will go the real deal.  The cake was lovely though I dont think it was as light as a sponge should be, this may have been the processor method's fault or it could have been mine, I will have to try another recipe & see what the difference is.

Victoria Sponge - Nigella Lawson - How to be a domestic goddess

225g unsalted butter, very soft
225g caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
25g cornflour
1 tspn baking powder
3-4 tablespoons milk

2 x 21cm sandwich tins (about 5cm deep), buttered

2-4 tablespoons raspberry or other berry jam, depending on the berries
1 punnet raspberries or berries of choice
125ml double cream

1-2 tablespoons caster sugar (I used icing sugar instead)

Preheat the oven to 180c.  If the tins are loose-bottomed you dont have to lone them, otherwise do.

Put all ingredients apart from the  milk into a food processor & pulse until you have a smooth batter.  Then pulse, pouring the milk gradually through the funnel till your cake mixture's a smooth, soft, dropping consistency.  Pour the batter into the 2 tins evenly and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes are beginning to come away at the edges, are springy to touch on top and a cake tester comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

When you'r ready to eat, put one layer on a plate, spread with jam and scatter the fruit on top.  Whip the cream til it's thickened but still soft, spread over the jammy fruit.  Put the other cake on top & sprinkle with the sugar of your choice.

Here is a photo of the cupcakes I made.  I used Jamie Oliver's Tea party fairy cake recipe from Cook with Jamie.  The recipe is pretty basic so I wont bother giving it, I then iced them with chocolate icing, lots of colored sprinkles & some minty green & jaffa orange m and m's. After having kids for 3 years now I have worked out this is what they want, cupcakes, chocolate icing & bright decorations, doesnt need to get any more fancy than that.  Although Chloe seemed to not care too much about the actual cake, she was just burying her face in the icing & coming up black refusing to eat any of the cake, was very funny!

And for the sing a long I made this cute chocolate cake with chocolate icing, again lots of sprinkles, some writing icing to help with the name & colored m and m's.  I thought it looked really cute.  The cake itself was light, fluffy & not too sweet with lovely choc-butter icing, I could have done with seconds however it didnt stretch quite that far.  I will give the recipe for this one as it was similar to Nigella's methods though everything was thrown into the trusty kitchen aid this time, no creaming, whipping, etc & I was really pleased with the result.  It also makes quite a large cake which is good for parties.

Never Fail Birthday chocolate Cake with Chocolate Icing - Bill Granger - Holiday

Serves 16

250g unsalted butter, softened
440g/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
250ml/1 cup milk
310g/2 1/2 cups plain flour
5 tspns baking powder
4 tblspsns cocoa
1 tspn vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180c.  Grease and line a 20 x 30 cm cake tin.

Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, cocoa and vanilla with electric beaters for 8-10 minutes until the mixture is pale and well combined.  Pour into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.  Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, before turning out and transferring to a wire rack.  Ice with chocolate icing when completley cool.

Chocolate icing

300g Icing sugar
4 tblspns cocoa
2 tblspns softened unsalted butter

Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa.  Add the butter and 3-4 tablespoons of warm water and beat until smooth and fluffy, adding more water if neccessary.


What's For Tea? said...

What a lovely birthday spread for your little one! It all looks delicious :)

Happy first birthday to Josh!

Poornima said...

Just stumbled upon your blog.Am enjoying it.Wish your sweet Josh a very happy birthday!!

April @ My Food Trail said...

Happy 1st birthday to Josh! What a smart looking boy he is! :)

I think a cake is affected by putting all ingredients in a food processor (ala Nigella style). I've made her food processor cupcakes before and they aren't as light and fluffy as using a mixer to cream eggs and sugar.

Ange said...

April, I agree, for some things it doesnt matter & bung it all in I say but for others I think the traditional method is best stuck to

Megan said...

Great job with all the cakes! They are all lovely. And you're son is truly adorable too. Belated Happy birthday to him!
Hrm, I never tried doing cake in a processor before. And looks like I never will. Thanks for the tip.

Cakelaw said...

Happy belated birthday to Josh! These are all great cakes. I still like the pumpkin and prune one from a couple of years back.

Ange said...

Cakelaw - I still love the pumpkin and prune cake too and almost made this for Josh too, just had a hankering for sponge for some odd reason!

h&b said...

Happy (belated) Birthday Josh !
( he is sooo cuuute, Ange !! :D )