My love for baking is really surprising to me because I have never considered myself to have a natural talent for baking. I still scream, running in the opposite direction when I encounter a recipe that uses yeast. Yeast makes me panic; I can’t explain it.

However, which each passing day, I seem to dream more and more in cake. I think in cake, I want to make cakes. I want the cakes to be stunning, unique and delicious. Come to think of it, it is beyond cakes, I want to make the best entremets. I want my desserts to be amazing……as I said, it’s weird.

wedding desserts spread

Weird as it is, I have taken, little wobbly steps towards achieving my goals. Last year, I would only cover my cakes in whipped cream or nothing at all. Once or twice, I tried a few butter cream cakes…….I wasn’t crazy about the results. They were fine; at least the cakes disappeared into approving bellies without a trace, but for me it could be better.

Then in November, my friend, Darbuni, asked me to make her husband’s birthday cake. The request left me in cold sweat. Now I was having nightmares in cake and butter cream land!

I started by sketching a cake for her which she loved. Phew, that hurdle was easy. Next I had to figure out how to make a two tiered cake that would look elegant and not topple over on its way to her house……more cold sweat.

Darbuni’s Custom Birthday Cake Sketch November 2015

In the end, it turned out well. She loved it and her husband avowed that it was the best cake he had ever eaten. I was teary eyed and VERY relieved.

It translated well from the sketch wouldn’t you say?

This cake is my “Adam” if you will because it inspired subsequent cakes with a constant evolution in the design and finish for each.

By the time my first son’s birthday came round in January, I had started experimenting with mousseline butter cream which I loved. The texture was perfect and it wasn’t sickenly sweet.

He got two cakes; since his birthday fell on a Saturday, he got a cake to share with the family at home and a big four layered one to take to school the following Monday to share with his friends and teachers.

His cakes were huge hits, the playful application of butter cream made it age appropriate and beautiful. With my new love for all things moussey, I made some meringues and it was a superb addition to the cake pops and lollipops adorning the cake.

These cakes went on to beget a birthday cake in February that I made for a good friend and ardent client. I had made her birthday cake last year; it was a Tuxedo cake covered in whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries.

This year’s cake was a little more complex with macaron and meringue toppings for extra sophistication. It was also my first attempt at a water-colour effect butter cream application.

These water-colour cakes begot birthday cake that coincided with the Valentine’s Day weekend. A client called and said he wanted a death-by-chocolate-cake for his wife.

For this creation, I made layers of decadent chocolate cake filled with lemon curd (to cut the chocolateyness of it all) and the it was all covered in chocolate italian meringue butter cream (imbc); again this was a first for me and I loved the way the chocolate gave the butter cream more depth of flavour. I decided on red chocolate drip effect to add a wow factor and for contrast against the dark butter cream.

Now, the month of March was filled with much festivities and celebrations. For a fiftieth birthday cake (it was a last-minute emergency cake) I opted for a simple but effective finish. The cake was studded with 50 Ferrero Rocher chocolates; the effect was quite lovely too.

 

The crimson beauty from February, begot another striking green number a few weeks after; yes FFF cakes are pretty prolific.

I received a request to make a birthday cake for a young-at-heart forty-year old lady. The fun factor had to come out and  I went for fresh roses and fruits with a bright green chocolate ganache finish.

By putting a youthful twist on our bright drip cakes, I made a girlie version for a young girl finishing it off with fress strawberries, Ferrero Rocher and Raefellos.

 

My second son was born in March and I wanted his cake to be special but on the eve of his birthday, I also had a client’s cake due the following day. So there I was till about 2 am doing my best to finish both cakes.

Eventually, I pared down the plans I had for his cake and kep the designs for the cakes simple; the fatigue was REAL!

For my son’s cake, I drew inspiration from the two tiered cake I had made last November but his was bigger….I almost regretted this decision because hoisting and stacking the cakes unassisted was not exactly the highlight of my night. But it all came together in the end. Both cakes were well received and duly inhaled 🙂

 

The white chocolate drip cake above begot the cakes below. Although none of the cakes appear the same on he outside they are exactly the same on the inside; 3 layers of luscious lemon blueberry cake filled with lemon curd, topped with a variety of fresh fruits. These cakes also come from the lineage of the pink water-colour cake from February.

Ombre butter cream also featured strongly thid month, thus, the green ombre cake from January begot designs for the following cakes. And the chocolate imb red drip cake as well as the 50 Ferrero Rocher cake begot a grand chocolate cake that I delivered to a special lady on her birthday at the end of March.

The pink ombre, raspberry and strawberry cake (picturedin the middle above) was ordered again by the same client within a week of the first one. And this time, I decided to keep the flavours the same inside but changed up the outside and  attempted the upside down drip technique for the first time.

I had seen the technique on @cakesbycliff’s Instagram’s page. I nearly had a coronary but it turned out ok. I also applied the same technique to my mum’s birthday cake in early April.

The 50 Ferrero Rocher birthday cake begot another cake for a very elegant lady who turned 50 but did not look a day over 30!

In the spirit of creativity I made a “stripe” cake which turned out well considering that my medium is butter cream.

The stripe cake begot another stripey descendant which had more colour and embellishments. The clients were head over heels for this creation.

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Making children’s cakes can be complicated especially when the child knows what he or she wants. I prefer cakes that have compleely edible elements on them, so when I was charged with making a birthday cake for a 7 year old who’s mum wanted lots of fruits on it, I needed to dig deep.

Drawing from my 2nd son’s birthday cake and the chocolate imbc chocolate drip cake, I came up with these two fun cakes creating hedgehog cake toppers from fresh fruits.

The 7 year old wasn’t sure about having hedgehogs on his cake but his parents and everyone else were thrilled with it. 🙂

In the spirit of keeping things interesting, I flipped the script on our cake making ways in May and made a series of upside down drip cakes in quick succession whuch made them easier to flip.

The yellow sunshiney one was a wedding anniversary cake, the red was a birthday and the biggest cake I have ever dared to flip was Femi’s cake. His birthday was yesterday. I wanted something that stood out. It stood out and stood tall. 🙂

 

Here ends the FFF cake geneology for now. Although there will be a post dedicated to cheese cakes which I can’t wait to share.

I leave you with aeriel views of our creations.

 

 

Yes, it is I;  the one with the blog post titles that never really make much sense. But let me assure you then when you are done reading this post that you will come to full comprehension as to why I have opted for this heading.

As I do, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Caramel Apple cake and the writer waxed lyrical about the amazing flavours in the cake and how it was the best thing since this, that and the other......I just rolled my eyes and said to myself "yeah right". Then I did some more research and found other blogs where this recipe had been made in one form or shape or the other. Yet again more lyrics, more swooning and more attestations as to the wonder of this cake. 

At this point I had had enough! It's just cake! A really tall cake for goodness sake!!! Or is it?......hmmmmm let's just say that I can feel a sonnet coming on!!! 

This cake is ethereal! Yes I said it! Every single human being who put this cake in their mouth was astounded by the delicate texture and amazing flavour profile. Mind you, the recipe I adapted calls for a dense heavier cake but I switched things up a bit. 

  

This cake started it's journey into existences a day before Good Friday and has since sojourned from my home in Nigeria to homes in the United Kingdom!

If you ever plan to make this cake, you can't decide to do so on a whim. It must be a conscious, deliberate decision. It took the better part of two days to put it all together and it was ready just in time for the beginning of the Easter festivities and on  Good Friday we cut it.

The star elements of the cake are the apple sauce and the caramel butter cream. If you are making these from scratch, like I did, then you need some time to prep them individually before using them in the cake. So without further ado; here goes!

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE  

For The Applesauce

Ingredients

8 medium Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices

1 cup Apple cider vinegar ( you could use apple juice or apple cider and cut down the brown sugar to 1/2 cup)

 Juice Of 1 Lemon

3/4 cup Brown Sugar, Packed

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

The "How To"

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender and broken up. This could take anywhere from 20 - 25 minutes depending on the type of apples you use.

Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree to consistency of your choice. I made mine to be quite smooth. Remember that it is still hot some be careful at this stage.

Let it come to room temperature before storing in closed container the fridge.

For The Apple Cake

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

340 grams unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature 

2 1/2 cups sugar 

3 medium eggs 

3 cups homemade applesauce (see recipe above) (if you can't be bothered with the hassle then by all means use a store-bought unsweetened applesauce)

3/4 cup milk (skip this if you would prefer a denser cake)

The "How To"

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, and the. butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour: set the pans aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl and set aside.

Place the butter in a bowl and beat until creamy using an electric whisk or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer for about about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy for another 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Then add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely. 

Phew! We're almost there. This labour is worth it I promise!

For The Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar 

1/4 cup corn syrup 

110 grams of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1 ½ cups heavy cream

Method

In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t splash any of it up the sides of the pan (this will cause sugar crystals to form and you do to want that trust me). Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined. Please be careful, because when you add the cream and butter it will bubble up and it is extremely HOT!!

For the Caramel Butter Cream

Ingredients

1½ cups sugar 

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cups whole milk 

1⁄3 cup heavy cream

340 grams unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature 

The "How To"

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using and electric whisk beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. 

Then add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Surprisingly, the entire process wasn't as messy as I had anticipated! Yay! For butter cream...........errrrrrrrrr emmmmmmm in moderation of course........ahem!😀

  

Now to make the magic happen! Putting the cake all together!

Place one of the cake layers on the cake base and level off the top; mine bake relatively flat so I didn't bother to level. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on the layers and then spread caramel buttercream on top. Next, add another layer of cake and level and frost as you did with the first layer. Trim the top of the last layer and then place it on top of the cake bottom side up. 

  

Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb coat) and place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

  

 

Remove the cake from the fridge and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides.  

   

Add toasted flaked almonds or chopped peanuts. 

  

Peanuts are traditionally used when making caramel apples but I preferred the mild nuttiness of the toasted almonds on this occassion. Carefully drizzle the caramel over the cake, slice and enjoy. It might be easier to slice the cake when it's been chilled for a few minute in the fridge.

  

I have tried to add as a any photos I can that will allow you experience this baked awesomeness electronically 😀. You can thank me later😉

   

   

I was inspired by a combo of the following blogs

Brown eyed baker

The great cake company

The pioneer woman

Snixy Kitchen

Yes, it is I;  the one with the blog post titles that never really make much sense. But let me assure you then when you are done reading this post that you will come to full comprehension as to why I have opted for this heading.

As I do, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Caramel Apple cake and the writer waxed lyrical about the amazing flavours in the cake and how it was the best thing since this, that and the other......I just rolled my eyes and said to myself "yeah right". Then I did some more research and found other blogs where this recipe had been made in one form or shape or the other. Yet again more lyrics, more swooning and more attestations as to the wonder of this cake. 

At this point I had had enough! It's just cake! A really tall cake for goodness sake!!! Or is it?......hmmmmm let's just say that I can feel a sonnet coming on!!! 

This cake is ethereal! Yes I said it! Every single human being who put this cake in their mouth was astounded by the delicate texture and amazing flavour profile. Mind you, the recipe I adapted calls for a dense heavier cake but I switched things up a bit. 

  

This cake started it's journey into existences a day before Good Friday and has since sojourned from my home in Nigeria to homes in the United Kingdom!

If you ever plan to make this cake, you can't decide to do so on a whim. It must be a conscious, deliberate decision. It took the better part of two days to put it all together and it was ready just in time for the beginning of the Easter festivities and on  Good Friday we cut it.

The star elements of the cake are the apple sauce and the caramel butter cream. If you are making these from scratch, like I did, then you need some time to prep them individually before using them in the cake. So without further ado; here goes!

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE  

For The Applesauce

Ingredients

8 medium Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices

1 cup Apple cider vinegar ( you could use apple juice or apple cider and cut down the brown sugar to 1/2 cup)

 Juice Of 1 Lemon

3/4 cup Brown Sugar, Packed

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon Nutmeg

1 teaspoon cloves

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)

The "How To"

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender and broken up. This could take anywhere from 20 - 25 minutes depending on the type of apples you use.

Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree to consistency of your choice. I made mine to be quite smooth. Remember that it is still hot some be careful at this stage.

Let it come to room temperature before storing in closed container the fridge.

For The Apple Cake

Ingredients

4 cups all-purpose flour 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 

340 grams unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature 

2 1/2 cups sugar 

3 medium eggs 

3 cups homemade applesauce (see recipe above) (if you can't be bothered with the hassle then by all means use a store-bought unsweetened applesauce)

3/4 cup milk (skip this if you would prefer a denser cake)

The "How To"

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celcius. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper, and the. butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour: set the pans aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl and set aside.

Place the butter in a bowl and beat until creamy using an electric whisk or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer for about about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy for another 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.

Then add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely. 

Phew! We're almost there. This labour is worth it I promise!

For The Caramel Sauce

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar 

1/4 cup corn syrup 

110 grams of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 

1 ½ cups heavy cream

Method

In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t splash any of it up the sides of the pan (this will cause sugar crystals to form and you do to want that trust me). Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined. Please be careful, because when you add the cream and butter it will bubble up and it is extremely HOT!!

For the Caramel Butter Cream

Ingredients

1½ cups sugar 

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cups whole milk 

1⁄3 cup heavy cream

340 grams unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature 

The "How To"

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using and electric whisk beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. 

Then add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Surprisingly, the entire process wasn't as messy as I had anticipated! Yay! For butter cream...........errrrrrrrrr emmmmmmm in moderation of course........ahem!😀

  

Now to make the magic happen! Putting the cake all together!

Place one of the cake layers on the cake base and level off the top; mine bake relatively flat so I didn't bother to level. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on the layers and then spread caramel buttercream on top. Next, add another layer of cake and level and frost as you did with the first layer. Trim the top of the last layer and then place it on top of the cake bottom side up. 

  

Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb coat) and place the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

  

 

Remove the cake from the fridge and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides.  

   

Add toasted flaked almonds or chopped peanuts. 

  

Peanuts are traditionally used when making caramel apples but I preferred the mild nuttiness of the toasted almonds on this occassion. Carefully drizzle the caramel over the cake, slice and enjoy. It might be easier to slice the cake when it's been chilled for a few minute in the fridge.

  

I have tried to add as a any photos I can that will allow you experience this baked awesomeness electronically 😀. You can thank me later😉

   

   

I was inspired by a combo of the following blogs

Brown eyed baker

The great cake company

The pioneer woman

Snixy Kitchen

If you’re a sweet tooth or a chocoholic or both then chances are high that you indulge in the fudgy comfort of brownies frequently.

When I was approached by a client to make desserts for 50 guests at her birthday party,I had grandiose ideas. The party held at a trendy art gallery and she wanted something that was “arty” and “architectural”. I was buzzing with excitement at the prospects until I was brought crashing down to earth when I was informed that
A. There would be limited access to refrigeration; in fact there was no fridge at the facility just a poky freezer.
B. During the event I would be located in an adjoining room, which would not be air conditioned, and
C. The budget was not unlimited; I hastily cancelled my order for edible gold leaf! Yikes!

This left me in a quandary because I had to figure out how to prepare a beautiful dessert that would not perish in the Lagos warmth and humidity and one that did not rely on refrigeration.

Then it hit me! Brownies! Of course! I quickly decided to incorporate flavours and textures that would complement one another, look beautiful and create a wow factor. This is how I ended up with my gourmet brownies served with raspberry coulis, orange syrup, cream cheese frosting, dankwa and sugar caramel.

The prep work was insane but the results and reactions made it all worth it.

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Here’s a quick guide if you would like to attempt this delightful dessert.

Ingredients for brownies.
1/2 cup butter (113 grams)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

The “How To”
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and then grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan; be sure to use a spatula to even it out in the pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook; what you are looking to achieve is a cakey exterior with a moist fudgy interior.

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I find that it is always better to slice the brownies in your desired portion size when it’s still hot then allow to cool completely before taking it out of the pan.

Ingredients for the raspberry coulis
250 grams fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tbs icing sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon

The “How To”

This recipe is dead easy and works well with any soft fruit you can find.

Place all the ingredients in pan and cook until the fruit breaks down.

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The transfer the contents to a blender or food processor and blitz until you get smooth consistency.

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The sieve the sauce to get rid of the seeds. You should have a beautiful glossy ruby sauce that is sweet with a touch of tartness.

Ingredients for the orange syrup.

4 oranges
2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cups water

The “How To”

Wash the oranges thoroughly and slice them.

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Place all the ingredients in a thick bottomed pot and cook until the oranges are translucent and a thick syrup has developed.

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Carefully take out the orange slices (which may be used as a garnish) and allow the syrup to cool; it will get thicker as it cools.

Sugar caramel is essential granulated sugar that has been melted down. Until is molten and golden brown. Pour it into a greased heat proof container and let it set. Then shatter it and use the shards.

Note: molten caramelised sugar is extremely hot and must never be handled with bare hands!

The major prep work is complete and now you are ready to plate! Simply spread cream cheese frosting on the brownies (I used store bought this time) top with dankwa and sprig of mint accompanied by the raspberry coulis and orange syrup.

For more about dankwa, please read this post.

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The dessert was well received; the guests were delighted and surprised which was great for me.

A massive shout out to the best sister in the world; Moe – she hot footed it down to the party to help me amidst the sea of brownies and cream cheese frosting.