It was my Mum's birthday last week and I made her birthday cake.
I decided to make a 4 layer lemon cake and fill it with a fresh raspberry curd. I also wanted to bake a heart into the centre of it. I found a tutorial online, but was sceptical of the process. I followed all the instructions and put the cake together hoping it would be successful.
Since I wasn't with Mum on her birthday I didn't get to try the cake, but they told me it was delicious. I know that it was a super moist cake, but it was also firm enough to carve. Once Mum cut into the cake, she said you couldn't really tell it was a heart, bit of a shame, but I'm glad it tasted amazing.
I want to carve a shape into a cake again, but next time I'm following my own instincts and doing it differently.
In other news, I'm feeling slightly more positive about Uni this week. Monday was the first day I came home and didn't cry... so that's good.
Autumn fashion has arrived in the shops! Hooray :) Autumn has to be my favourite season, I love the colours. I really needed warmer clothes as I only had Summer clothes that fitted me so on Saturday we went into town so I could get some new clothes.
Big mistake. There was some circus thing going on in the middle of town and it was packed. Absolutely awful. You could barely move for people lining the streets gawking and they were just stopping in front of us without taking note of what was actually going on around them.
Listen up people, I don't like shopping at the best of times, let alone when it's heaving and I have no patience with people who take up the entire path when they don't need to, people who amble around nonchalantly not having a clue about anything going on around them and people who just stop in front of me.
For Pete's sake, just be aware of the world around you and stop being an idiot. I end up getting stressed out shopping and leaving without half of the things I need.
I'm aware I sound like a grumpy old woman, but oh well. My parents always said I came out 40. I've become less tolerant as I've got older as well. Now I honestly don't care if people can hear me when I make sarcastic comments about them stopping in front of me. One day I'm sure my mouth will get in trouble, but until then the boyfriend and I will continue to laugh at my outbursts.
There was one woman in Sainsbury's a while back who kept weaving about and wouldn't let me past and then she just stopped so, and I really don't know why, it was just the first thing that came to mind, I growled at her.....!
Afterwards my other half and I just cracked up, it was hilarious!
I did manage to get some new clothes once I'd fought my way from one end of town to the other. I'm loving Dorothy Perkin's jeans at the moment. I always used to, but then I went off them for a bit. Now they have a gorgeous coloured range and I'm slowly getting pairs in almost every colour. A green pair arrived yesterday and they are gorgeous. I'm not usually one for being adventurous with colour. It's usually black or dark blue jeans. I now have a purple pair, grey, green and different shade of blue. I'm also eyeing up a lovely burgundy pair and a red pair. Red?! Still not entirely sure I can pull them off, but I want to try them on as strangely I think they look quite nice.
Anyway onto my Mum's birthday cake. I made a 4 layer cake, but made it in 2 batches as I'm sure you're aware just doubling recipes doesn't always work out!
Recipe adapted from Step-by-Step Baking
Makes 2 7" cakes. I made 2 batches.
Ingredients For The Cake:
> 175g butter
> 175g caster sugar
> Zest of 1/2 a lemon
> 1 tbsp lemon juice
> 3 eggs
> 175g self-raising flour
> 1tsp baking powder
Ingredients for the Raspberry Curd:
> 500g raspberries, fresh or frozen
> 1tbsp water
> 225g granulated sugar
> 60g butter
> 2 eggs
> Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line 2 cake tins.
> Place the butter, sugar and zest in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.
> Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
> Add in the eggs and lemon juice.
> Beat until light and fluffy. Sift in the self raising flour and baking powder.
> Mix until well incorporated and smooth, about a minute on med-high speed.
> Split the batter between the 2 cake tins and level the mix off as best you can.
> Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
> Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
> If you're making a 4 layer cake like me, then repeat and make another 2 cakes.
> I find it best to put the cakes in the fridge overnight if I'm going to be stacking them, so I wrap each layer in cling film and place them in the fridge.
> If your raspberries are frozen, leave them to defrost in a covered bowl overnight.
> The next morning, a few hours before you need to stack the cakes, make the curd.
> Place the raspberries and water in a medium sized saucepan.
> Bring to the boil on a medium heat. Once boiled, turn the heat down to simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until all the fruit is soft and mushy.
> Measure out your sugar in a small bowl.
> Measure out your butter, it needs to be slightly softened so I placed mine in the microwave for 10 seconds.
> Place a sieve over a heat proof bowl and pour the raspberry mush into it.
> Using the back of a spoon, push the raspberries through the sieve until all you are left with is the pips. It takes quite a while to push it all through as you think it's done, but there's still loads left, but caught around pips!
> Place a couple of inches of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiled turn down to the lowest heat to simmer, make sure the water will not touch the bottom of the heatproof bowl.
> Whilst the water is boiling you need to make an ice bath for the curd. I used a massive saucepan and placed ice cubes in cold water and then placed 4 freezer packs around the edge.
> Once all the raspberries are pushed through into the bowl, add in the sugar, butter and eggs and place above the simmering water.
> Stir continuously with a whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. After the sugar is dissolved, switch to a wooden spoon and continue to stir continuously so the mixture won't stick to the bowl.
> The curd must not come to the boil. As soon as you start to see bubbles around the edge, remove from the heat and place in the ice bath.
> You can now leave your curd for a few minutes, only stirring it occasionally and checking to make sure it's thickening. It will thicken as it cools. Once it coats the back of the spoon it's ready. You want it to be completely cooled before you use it on the cake.
> To stack the cakes, I first levelled off the layers with my cake wire. Then I stuck the bottom cake to a board with a blob of royal icing. I spread the raspberry curd between each layer of my cake until all 4 layers were together. You will have some curd left, it tastes great so I doubt it will last long!
> Since the heart in the middle wasn't 100% successful I won't give a tutorial, maybe when I develop my own way of doing it. I covered my cake in white fondant and decorated it with leaves and flowers. You can decorate it however you like, I went for something quite simple, but my Mum loved it :)
> Cake will keep well wrapped for up to a week, (probably longer if you don't cut into it and it's all covered in fondant!)