Saturday, 7 February 2009

Chocolate heaven

As listed on my last post, this is the BEST chocolate cake recipe I have ever made.

It is soft, moist, rich and yummy - what more do can you ask for?

I first made this cake when I was at school and by the look of the handwriting on this card, I think I must have written it down in this form way back in 1981 or so! Any recipe which is faded, splatted and generally a bit manky MUST be good! Like I said, I can't remember whose cake it was originally but I suspect that it might have come from Jean. But it was most certainly a favourite in our group as friends, as backed up by Sarah on my last post!

So, for those of you who love chocolate cake as much as I, here is the recipe.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

The cake
  • 4 oz butter
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 8 oz golden syrup
  • 1 level tsp bicarb of soda
  • 5 fluid oz milk
  • 8 oz plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 oz cocoa
The fudge icing (not used on my cupcakes in previous post - that was plain old butter icing)
  • 1/2 oz cocoa
  • 6 oz icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 oz butter
The method
  • Preheat oven to 375° F
  • Melt butter, sugar, syrup and milk together gently until the sugar is fully dissolved
  • Sift cocoa, bicarb and flour into large bowl
  • Add melted mixture to dry ingredients
  • Mix well together
  • Add egg a bit at a time and mix thoroughly
  • Pour into cake tin(s) and into oven for 20 - 30 mins or until firm and spongy to the touch
  • For the fudge icing, melt the water and butter together
  • Sieve cocoa and sugar together
  • Add to the melted mixture
  • Pour over cakes when they are fully cool and allow to dry

Now there are a few provisos I would like to add here:
  1. This is the original recipe as I have written it down here but these days, after making it for nearly 30 (!!!) years, I make it a little bit by instinct.
  2. I think that the icing is never enough and I often make double.
  3. I also remember adding more icing sugar in if it feels a bit runny.
  4. In the past, we used to put the icing on the cake while it was just warm and then the icing would melt into the cake a bit - soft and gooey!
  5. I only have the original Fahrenheit temperature but I suppose I use about 180° or 190° degrees today in my Celsius fan oven and I don't really time it - just by eye.
  6. I used to use this amount for a 7" cake tin and I am not sure if I made two and then layered them. I know that when I made cupcakes with it, it was enough for 6 large muffin cases.
  7. The cake has a tendency to rise very high in the middle and even "break" out. If I was coating it with icing, I would always just cut that off and eat it straight away!
  8. And of course, the quantities are all British Imperial (I made sure I brought scales with me from the UK for just such recipes but I suppose I could covert it to grams if I made the effort!)
And the result is always a winner - try it out and let me know!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Scrappy Happiness!

We have all been a bit behind on our work with the *wonderful* Bellaboo February kit "Be Still My Beating Heart" but yesterday and today was great as I had time to sit down and really use it to create some layouts that have been on my mind for some time.

I have to admit that I have to get more organised with my photos as I lost a lot of time searching for the photos I wanted to use and then getting them printed out. I don't know if you remember, but last year I joined the BPS Stacy Julian class Library of Memories. Well, we get admission as alumni again this year so maybe this will kick start the good habit of organising, printing and storing my photos so that they are accessible again! I managed in the end but it was a bit frustrating! At the same time, it was lovely to go through some of my older photo files and catch glimpses of some I had forgotten all about!

The kit was a dream. I know that I say this all the time, but you have to believe me and try it out for yourself. I created and created and created and still there seemed to be kit left over. I am sure I could have squeezed out a few cards and tags but decided to leave the scraps to one side now and maybe move onto the PILES of papers I have all over the place here. After all, I have to clear some space for when I come over to the UK and go serious shopping.

Did you know that Bellaboo is having a stock clearing sale? I NEED to get some shopping done but so do you! Get over there and have a look.

I was a little surprised to see how difficult I found it transferring some everyday inspiration I had seen in Starbucks (a poster advert) into a layout and have to confess to being a bit disappointed with myself. The poster was so lovely that it just did not seem to translate. Perhaps I will have to try that one again. Here is it and I think it is a bit "nothing".

Of course, no February loved up kit would be complete without a full complement of layouts about my beloved...
And the embellishments in the kit needed a double loving one at least...
And the rub-ons screamed chocolate and cupcakes so that got me thinking (have to admit to being inspired by Libby here too after she expressed surprise that I had not automatically done a mini book for R about chocolate! She knows us too well!) So scrumptious chocolate fudge cakes were featured and I have just had an idea that I should have included the recipe somewhere. I have had this particular recipe since school (WAY too long to remember!) and we used to make it over and over. Was it a recipe from Mrs Lycett our HE teacher or was it my friend? I can't remember but whoever it was, Thanks! This has to be the best chocolate cake EVER! And this was the first time I made it into cup cakes.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Shhh.. don't tell Ralph

Love is most definitely in the air!

It's February.

Such a lovely month - I really do not really like January so I always welcome February in with open arms. It is still usually another great wintery month as far as weather goes and yet, the days really start getting noticeably longer, and it's nice and short too! And true to form, we woke up this morning to bright blue skies and a smattering of snow crystals everywhere (can't really call it proper snow)

Four short weeks until March which can be such a gentle spring like month.

Yes, I like February a lot.

And of course, it is really a month of love with Valentine's day right in the middle. And this year, Valentine's day is extra special for me as I am going to go to the UK for a whole week to catch up with everyone and everything. A whole week! By car! Exciting stuff. I haven't been "home" now for almost 5 months and it feels like a long time so I am looking forward to having some time amongst family and Libby's scrapping supplies! ;-)

Of course, this does mean that I will not be "home" with Ralph on Valentine's day (well only until 8am!) so I need to prepare ahead and make some love notes to leave behind for him.

I do not know if you remember last February? The Bellaboo kit made me catch my breath it was so full of scrumptiousness. I literally fell in love with that kit and made lots of romantic layouts full of emotion and tenderness. So I was really interested to see if Libby could top it with this year's. And you know what? She did!

This year's "Be Still My Beating Heart" arrived on Thursday and I was immediately bowled over by the pinks, browns, creams and overall soft feeling of the kit. I know that I could use it for all sorts of topics on my layouts but feel sure somehow that I will end up limiting it to mostly schmulzy stuff about me and my man!

To start things off, I created a little mini-book that I will give to him instead of a card. I love it. The Maya Road mini-book was perfect as it has 6 pages and I wanted to do something featuring our 10 years together. One page per year and then a front and back cover - perfect. Keeping it simple and just using a similar design on each page and a tiny photo of the two of us, it came together really quickly.

I have loads more ideas of what to do with this kit, but I am running a bit late so you will have to check back in again to see what else I have created!

And I am sure that I do not need to tell you that this one is going to sell out fast (if it has not already) so I suggest you get on over to Bellaboo (kits here) and nab yourself one. NOW!


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