Hello! You may have noticed that I seem to have been posting a lot of recipes over the past couple of days, well being away from the usual day-t0-day things give you the chance to catch up with things like blogging. Being on holiday didn’t even stop me watching the GBBO final on Wednesday – well done Nancy! She was my favourite to win from the start, and she seemed to be the most down-to-earth contestant on there.
Yesterday we journeyed to Timanfaya National Park, starting with a camel ride! I hadn’t been on a camel since I was 5 years old, so I enjoyed it a little more this time. I never realised how tall they are, we affectionately named ours Bertie, whom was well behaved and not moaning like some of the other camels. After that, we traveled further into the national park, enjoying the stunning landscapes of the volcanoes and their destructive eruptions over a six-year period in the 18th century.
It was a fantastic trip, only costing 33€ each. Our coach driver took us along roads up the volcanoes, of which were vertigo-inducing! After having lunch (this wasn’t great but nevermind) we drove to the wine region, sampling Lanzarote’s gorgeous sweet and dry wines. Finally, we visited the Green Lagoon, of which was, according to our tour guide ‘strange and why people fall in love with the island’.
Yesterday was also special because we celebrated my Grandad’s 70th birthday; it is incredibly difficult to find a birthday cake, or rather, what you know to be a birthday cake, on a Spanish island. After browsing online, we found Le Moka, a patisserie opened by an English couple, 10 minutes taxi-ride from where we are staying. I ordered the cake over the phone, and when picking it up early yesterday morning, I was shocked by how lovely it looked. Fantastic value too at 19€, the cake was a vanilla sponge, layered with creme pat and jam, frosted with a vanilla cream icing. Lovely!
Now, onto my cake. I have no idea why I picked this one to make, I think it was something to do with having a bit of a craving for chocolate…the cake itself is delicious and light. However, combined with the frosting, it may be a bit sweet for some. The frosting was also something I had to make twice as it didn’t go quite according to plan the first time. Key thing here is patience. Mary says to whisk it for 10-12 minutes, and that is exactly what you must do! I thought it was fine after 5 but unfortunately it became clumpy and would not spread. After starting again and following her instructions, the frosting resembled meringue. Also, it does set incredibly quickly and so you have to try and work as fast as you can.
- 50g cocoa powder
- 225ml water
- 100g butter, softened
- 275g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 175g plain flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the frosting:
- 175g caster sugar
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tbsp hot water
- A pinch of cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4. Grease 2 8″ sandwich tins then line the base of each with baking parchment.
- Blend the cocoa powder and the water until smooth then set aside; put the butter in a bowl and gradually beat in the sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Lightly whisk the eggs, then gradually beat into the creamed mixture until evenly blended.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and fold into the creamed mixture alternately with the cocoa and water. Divide the mixture between the two tins and level the surface.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 mins or until well risen and the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tins for a few mins, then turn out, peel off the parchment and allow to finish cooling on a wire rack.
- To make the frosting, measure all of the ingredients into a bowl set over a pan of hot water and whisk for 10-12 mins until thick. Sandwich the cake layers together with a little of the frosting, then use the remainder to cover the top and sides of the cake, swirling the icing to form soft peaks. Work very! quickly as the icing sets rapidly. Leave to set in a cool place but not in the fridge.