I’m sorry my blog has been a bit bare lately.
I may have told you… we got a kitten.
A sweet little black one from the SPCA, whom we named Lorenzo.
He’s adorable, and therefore I want to spend every second minute cuddling him, dangling pieces of string for him, and watching him wriggle his bum in order to pounce on a plastic clothes peg.
The minutes in between are spent cleaning his litter box, taking him off the bench (on which he annoyingly jumps back up again), and filling his bowl with warmed kitten milk. Yes, he has us wrapped around his little finger (or paw).
And then there’s work. That eight-hours-a-day, five-hours-a-week thing that gets in the way of baking, and blogging.
But it’s okay, because I love my job. And really love my workplace – where there seems to be an endless supply of sausage rolls, Havana coffee and red wine. And we celebrate whenever we have an excuse.
It just happens to be, that last week we had a really good excuse – the CEO’s 45th birthday.
I was put in charge of the cake making and, because of the sausage roll office tradition, I was asked to make a sausage roll cake.
And when someone asks you to make a sausage roll cake for the CEO’s birthday… you make a sausage roll cake for the CEO’s birthday.
I made Nigella’s Guinness chocolate cake, because it’s delicious, and added pecans to look like onions (gross, right?).
I split the cake batter into two bread loaf tins, and when they had finished baking I sandwiched them together with chocolate ganache.
After a little shaping round the edges with a knife, I then covered the outside of the cake in chocolate ganache too.
I wrapped it in Pettinice fondant, and used pastry brushes to paint a mixture of yellow food colouring, cocoa powder, and vanilla essence onto the icing to make it look like pastry.
Oh, and I made a strawberry coulis as the “tomato sauce”.
In case you ever need to make a sausage roll cake, the recipe is below. Or, you can just make Nigella’s chocolate Guinness cake in a normal cake pan. Because, like I said, it’s delicious.
Here’s the recipe I used for the strawberry coulis.
- 250 ml guinness
- 250 grams unsalted butter
- 75 grams cocoa powder
- 400 grams caster sugar
- 142 ml sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 275 grams plain flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- 1 114g bag of pecan pieces (optional)
- Chocolate ganache:
- 250g good quality dark cooking chocolate (I used Whittaker’s)
- ⅓ cup fresh cream
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line the bottom of two loaf pans.
- Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter – in spoons or slices – and heat until the butter’s melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and whisk in the flour and bicarb. Pour in the bag of pecan pieces (if using) and gently stir to combine.
- Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tins and bake for 40 minutes – or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a moist cake.
- Make the ganache by melting cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir with a metal spoon until smooth. Remove bowl from heat. Set aside until cooled, and thick and spreadable.