Football Cake

It might be a bit strange to post now about a cake I made over a month ago but With work and my computer playing up, it is only now that I am managing to post about my 2nd son’s birthday…. The idea came to me 2 weeks before the due date, at night as sleep eluded me: he hadn’t asked about his cake yet ( the usual being whatever cake with an icing cake topper picture) and I was thing, he loves football so what about…..

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I am sharing this with you to show you that anyone can do that sort of thing: I had never attempted anything of the sort before and I am no professional! All you need is to get organised, this was done over 3 days!

  • Day 1: bake a chocolate cake, simple 8″ round cake and once cooled put it in the food processor to make it into breadcrumbs. Mix in a chocolate fudge made to taste and enough to bind it all together into a ball

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  • Day 2: I bake another chocolate cake, rectangular this time, as my hubby pointed out the ball had to be perched somewhere! That’s when I came up with the idea of a “pitch”…. Covered with chocolate buttercream

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  • Day 3: I spent the morning just decorating…. I had cut out polygon shapes on icing paper to create an exact football but quite frankly it became too fiddly and geometrical for my liking…. did you know that on a football, the white shapes have 6 sides and the black ones only 5? you do now!

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And it doesn’t have to be to size either! That was just enough to feed about 10 hungry boys!

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Nutella Brioche Star

Otherwise known as “Pizza with a twist” revisited, on the sweet side! What can I say about it? 3 letters: OMG!

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Brioche dough:

As per the twist, in my bread machine, dough setting, mine is liquid in first:

  • 2 tbsp milk + 2 eggs
  • 225g strong bread flour, sprinkled over the liquid to cover it
  • ½ tsp salt + 1 tbsp sugar + 50g melted butter + 1½ tsp easy-blend dried yeast in separate corners

Once cycle over, I knocked it back gently onto a floured surface and divided the dough in 4 rolls, working one at a time, covering the others aside.

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This time I rolled the doughs and used a plate 20cm/ 8″ wide to cut them into neat discs, actually smaller than the pizza as not meant to be a meal onto itself!

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Make sure the chocolate spread is of a almost melting consistency to spread over each layer as you don’t want it to “move”. Layer them onto your baking sheet so you can slide it on your baking tray with ease.

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Cover with the 4th layer and centre a glass in the middle in order to make your first cuts. At that stage I put my pizza stone in the oven, preheating at 220°/ 200°fan, to warm up

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Remove the glass and using a pair of scissors, do the remaining cuts, 16 in all, then start twisting!

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Take 2 slices in each hand and twist twice, going opposite way ( right hand goes right and left hand goes left) and tuck in

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You should end up with something that looks like this:

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I baked it in the oven for 20mn the removed it from the stone and baked it on the sheet for a further 5mn

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It was a resounding success and disappeared in 10mn!

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In the end I had to save myself 2 “petals” in order to quality control the result, of course!

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Chai Tea Biscuits

These were baked as part of an experiment as I have defected to Chai lattes to cut down on my coffee intake! As you can imagine they taste “different” but they are very moreish! Alexandar (my little baker assistant) can’t get enough of them, but that’s alright: low in fat and sugar, what more can you ask for!

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Ingredients:

  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dry chai tea, about 4 tea bags: here you can experiment, I have used my spicy ones, cardamom, vanilla…. mixed up too!
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 125g wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp rose water, if you don’t like the taste, use vanilla extract
  • 115g diced chilled butter

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and line 2 baking trays: this makes about 30 biscuits
  • Process the sugar, tea and salt together until the tea has been ground to a fine powder
  • Add the flour, rose water or vanilla and butter and keep processing until the mixture begins to hold together
  • Add a little cold water (you shouldn’t need more than 2 or 3 tbsp) until the dough just comes together
  • Turn it out onto a floured surface (I used plain flour) and shape into a log
  • Wrap into clingfilm and refrigerate for 15mn
  • Roll out to a thickness of 3mm (1/8″) and cut out rounds using your favourite biscuit cutter
  • Transfer onto your trays, I sprinkled mine with coloured granulated sugar, I think the lilac works best
  • Bake them in the oven for 18 to 20mn until they begin to colour
  • Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely and get dunking!

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Chocolate Crumble Square

I made these when the boys were on holidays. It ticked all the right boxes: chocolate, custard and crumble! And they look luscious! Not only that, they are dead easy to make!

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Ingredients:

  • Cold custard made with 200ml of milk
  • 175g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 25g cocoa powder, sifted

Topping:

  • Rub together 50g flour+40g diced butter, at room temperature
  • Stir in 15g vanilla sugar (2 sachets) + 1tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a baking pan 30cm×20cm / 12″x8″
  • Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl and beat until smooth and creamy
  • Spoon into the prepared pan and level with a spatula
  • Drop small dollops of the custard over the top, swirling into the chocolate mixture
  • Scatter the topping over the top
  • Bake for 30 to 35mn and leave to cool in the pan
  • Dust with icing sugar and cut into 12 generous squares!

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