Today is Alans 11th birthday and with all birthday’s in the house I make or try to anyway make the birthday persons choice of birthday cake. After all if you can’t have that on your birthday when can you.
Alans choice for his birthday today was a chocolate and coffee cake decorated with some of his favourite chocolate.
This recipe comes from two different recipes both by Mary Berry. I’m a fan of her recipes as they always come out tasting so delicious and are quick and easy to make. This chocolate cake recipe is also my favourite and the only one I tend to eat.
Chocolate Coffee Cake
For the Cake:
- 50g cocoa powder
- 6tbsp boiling water
- 3 large eggs
- 50ml milk
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 rounded tsp baking powder
- 100g softened butter
- 275g caster sugar
For the Coffee Butter Cream Icing:
- 75g softened butter
- 225g sifted icing sugar
- 2 tsps milk
- 2tsps instant coffee
- 2tbsps boiling water
- Whatever chocolate you desire, I used flake bars and rolos.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/ Gas 4. Grease two 8inch loose bottomed deep sandwich tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
- Measure the cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl, add the boiling water and mix well until is has a paste like consistency. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, yes isn’t that so easy trust me it works, beat until just combined. I use my hand-held mixer for this. The mixture will be a fairly thick batter and be careful not to over beat.
- Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and gently level the surface. Bake for 25-30 mins in the centre of the oven until the cakes are well risen and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes then turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper. Leave to finish cooling.
- To make the icing, mix the instant coffee with the boiling water in a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients except the apricot jam. Beat together just until you have a smooth butter cream, again I use my handheld mixer for this.
- Spread a thin layer of apricot jam over the cake, this prevents crumbs coming into your butter cream. Use a third of the butter cream between the layers of cake and sandwich together.
- Break up the flake bars onto a plate. Spread another third of the butter icing round the edge of the cake giving it an even layer of butter cream all round the sides. Carefully holding the cake top and bottom turn the cake onto its side and dip into the broken flake. Continue until the edge is covered in the broken flake.
- Use the last third of coffee butter cream to spread over the top of the cake. For grown ups to have with a cuppa it would need no further decoration but as this is for a birthday I decorated the top with rolo sweets.
Enjoy. Ruth x
This year, March 30 marks the date we celebrate the most important woman in our lives. This corresponds to the day when Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday is commemorated in the UK, a close neighbour of Ireland. The dates might be different around the world but just like in other countries; the Irish people honour their mothers for all the love and support they have received over the years, on this special dedicated day.
The entire country is expected to be flooded with flowers on the 30th. Some of the most popular flowers given on Mother’s Day are callas, freesia, gerberas, hydrangeas, irises, lilies, orchids, roses and tulips. Pink is the traditional colour for this special day but nowadays, people are opting for bolder colour combinations for flower arrangements. A famous online retailer offers some advice to people who want to experiment with more sophisticated combinations. According to Simon Richards, M&S flower specialist, trusting your own judgement when it comes to colour is very important. “Two simple rules are to either combine tonal shades of one colour or choose vibrant clashes such as cerise, purple and yellow. I do not mix red and white as this can look harsh,” explains Richards.
If you think flowers aren’t enough to show your mum how much you cherish her, you can also whip up a simple appetizer for your Mother’s Day dinner provided that you are dining at home. This is a simple but remarkable recipe from Food Network celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis: Sweet Pepper Crostini. It is so easy; you can do it in as little as 17 minutes.
6 slices baguette (1/2-inch thick)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup roasted red bell pepper strips
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella cheese or fontina
First, preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF). On a baking sheet, arrange the bread slices. Brush some oil over the bread slices. Bake for about 15 minutes until pale golden and crisp. Arrange the bell pepper strips on top of the bread. Sprinkle with mozzarella. For about 2 minutes, grill until the cheese melts. Makes 6 servings.
Happy Mothering Sunday
This week has gone by in a flurry of family activity and very little craft work.
It took me all week to finish a Rose Burrow I was making in acrylic yarn. I was changing the eyes and just generally working with her in different materials to see the effect I would have. Thank you for your answers last week on the cotton v acrylic for ami’s.
My thoughts so far that although you may get a better stitch definition with the cotton I feel it will pill but perhaps at a slightly slower rate than the acrylic. I also find the cotton incredibly tough to work with over a prolonged period and some weeks I’ve been making ami’s non-stop so my hands and fingers are finding it tough. With the acrylic you will have pilling and probably much quicker than the cotton but when it comes to cuddly toys this I can’t help feeling gives them a loved, snuggled and cuddled look to them. The range of colours is huge in the acrylic and for making ami’s it is more cost effective. It is also easier to work with and more pliable. With ami’s in the house made from both cotton and acrylic I shall see how both fair out at the hands of little ones and then decide on the Cotton V Acrylic.
I also worked on my hat a little. It is my take out and about project and with meetings, quizzes and hair appts this week it was what I worked on here and there. I’ll take a picture for next week.
As for the blanket, I’ve been finishing threads. I was doing them as I went along in stages so haven’t got quite all of them but I have the last rounds of pink to tidy up. I’ve also decided to join with just a dc along the front, this if I’m remembering right from my cushion cover will give the squares a raised border round them, adding texture and dimension to the finished blanket. Let’s hope I get those pesky threads out of the way this week.
This week I’m also hoping to write up a pattern or maybe two. I need to order a few colours today so while I wait for those I shall write patterns. That’s my main goal for this week.
This past week has been mid term week. The younger children were only off the last two days in the week so it didn’t really feel like a break but I suppose two days is better than none. We spent the last of the week getting rid of the remainder of bugs and I think we may be over them now, maybe, hopefully…
But enough about bugs, what projects have I worked on, well
I finished all the squares for the blanket and while doing it have been thinking about how I was going to join them. I’m not fully decided so I may do a few and see which I like best, so really the picture is the same as last week.
I didn’t work any more on the hat preferring to work on the blanket and get it finished. I’m thinking of doing one for each of the girls and probably boys so I might just wrap this in tissue and give them to the children this Christmas, yes yes I know I mentioned the C word but when you’ve 8 and the thought of lapghans for each you have to start early!
If I’m hooked up with you on facebook you may have noticed that on a new design project I was working on legs for most of the week, fiddly things that they were. Well I finished them, attached them to a new design and although I can’t show you new design just yet I can show you the legs.
For these legs I was using an acrylic yarn and I went down to a 3mm hook size to have a tight stitch. The project I was working on needed the pliability of the acrylic that wasn’t there with the cotton which as you know can be quite stiff and it got me to thinking about why ami’s are worked in cotton more than acrylic or are they? The colour choice is much vaster in acrylic but I suppose the stitch definition is not there. I wonder which holds up better over time?
Work this week will proceed on the blanket and I need a sample of Rose and Sam to take to a course with me later in March so I might work on those, who knows.
Dominic our second eldest though does make his confirmation later this week and Dominic, Alan and Caoimhe are all in the next stage of a nationwide table quiz for school children. Dominic is on the older team of 4 and Alan and Caoimhe on the younger team of 4 and both of their teams qualified. So crafting time may be a bit sparse but no doubt a project will go with me in my bag to the quiz.
Just a quick update this week on yop projects as we are now dealing with a cold bug going round and I can’t concentrate on the computer screen for long with it. It has also hit some of the children as well so everyone is feeling tired and miserable but you don’t want to read about my whining so lets cheer ourselves up with some projects.
I’ve been finishing off my last order for a wee while, it was a Sam Burrow, this will hopefully free up my time now to design some of the other characters many of which are in different stages of design, either an idea in my head, to a vision I see, to being down on paper ready to work out the calculations on. I’m also going back through notes on patterns and will write them up for release.
Seeing as I can’t show you any designs just yet and this being a yop year and my designs only one part of my yop list I hauled out some of the projects already on the go.
I worked some more on my hat. The picture doesn’t show the colours properly but I’ve a new camera, my bigger one needing to go be repaired, and I just don’t have the energy to play around with it today to get true to life colours. I’m using some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino for this in a royal purple, golden yellow and burnt orange. This doesn’t have a pattern as it’s one I’m designing, it seems I can’t step away from the designing table this week.
I also worked some more on the squares for my blanket, it got put aside momentarily and it is nice to get back to it. I’ve only a quarter of the squares to finish and then I can start to join them up. Again I don’t seem to have a patter for this and I’m just combining stitches.
Work this week is going to continue on these above projects, starting just now. I’ve managed all the energy I can to update. I will be back later to catch up with fellow yop’ers
I sat to write this update and had to think hard about what I was working on this week, that is bad.
I did work on a Flora McBunny as well as a Rose Burrow. Flora was finished and posted off and Rose will be heading to her new home early this week.
Here is a look at the Flora McBunny I was working on.
I did have a meeting earlier this week about the development of my ideas and designs and for the next couple of months I’m taking time off from orders to do this, this should free up my time to develop my designs some more. I’m not sure what if any for the moment I’ll be able to share but there will be a big reveal when I can. So I will take out some of my smaller knitting pieces to work on for my yop year. I have a few that need finishing and with us being in the second half of this yop year its time I started to work on them.
So there you have the sum total of my crafting week, not a whole lot going on in terms of end products but lots going on with ideas and that part has to happen first in order to have end products.
This week has also seen the return of bugs, the chicken pox left the younger children open to catching other bugs and have picked up a mild vomiting bug and headaches and aches and pains one so I still have my Florence Nigthengale hat on.
Looking forward to catching up with you all this week.
This week has flown by in a flurry of activity with moments snatched here and there to work on some crochet.
On one occasion this week I grabbed my wip bag with my hat in it and never got to do any work on it and I realised it has been a month from I have had some knitting needles in my hands, lately it seems to be a hook of one size or another and yet I don’t consider myself a crocheter but a knitter?
If you can figure that one out you are better than me
Anyway this week as you will have guessed work has been done on some Rose Burrow’s. These are in fact finished and heading off to a new home where I hope they will receive much love and attention.
They both have been worked in original colours but they are just so perfect and suit her I think.
I’d like to say I’ve been working on loads more but I’ve not. It has as I’ve said been a busy week more of which I’ll hit on later this week with our monthly catch up where you can read up on our adventures for the last month.
This upcoming week I’ve plans to work on a Flora McBunny and a Rose Burrow. I’m also hoping to confirm this week whether I will be continuing down the making and designing path I’m on or if I may be branching off that path. Exciting times ahead with lots going on in the background that hopefully I will be able to confirm over the next weeks.
Looking forward to catching up with fellow yop’ers on what has been happening this week.