It’s forecast for rain today.
Somehow, though, with the doors open, the sun beating down, sailing boats out in the harbor, the sea lazily lapping the beach and a blue, blue sky, flecked with pillowy clouds, I can’t imagine how.
We don’t often get truly beautiful days here that are constant. It’s all to do with the two weather fronts that battle over the North East, conflicting with each other. That’s why it can be so changeable. We had a siberian winter about two years ago, hitting minus 12. That was due to a kink in one of these weather fronts dipping further down than normal and bringing with it it’s icy grip. But today, it seems the opposite side has kinked!
So, sitting inside on a deliciously warm evening just seems absurd, doesn’t it?
Let me pose a question…
Would you rather sit in your back garden with a glass of white wine and gaze out over the sea whilst the sun bathes everything in a warm glow, or would you rather stay inside and watch the first episode of Great British Bake Off?!!
I KNOW!!! I did too!! Sod the bleedin’ weather – I needed to watch Mary Berry offer jewels of wisdom, gently imparting them whilst somebody nearly cried over their steamed Rum Babas…. I needed to watch Paul Hollywood cast his steely gaze over a tomato upside down cake (What???!). I HAD to watch Mel and Sue gently ribbing one of the contestants over using salt instead of sugar…
Next year, I’m SO entering!
It made me feel like baking something nice and basic, using a flavour I perhaps wouldn’t normally… I’ve been doing lots of celebration cakes recently, so I scoured the recipe books for inspiration and settled on these Cappuccino Squares. Coffee is not my favourite flavour, but it was worth attempting something that wasn’t within my comfort zone. I know that the cakey bit is easy, but sometimes baking with flavours that don’t have you diving for the mixer is a challenge and instead of sticking to flavours I know will always work, I wanted to try something else. Maybe something a bit more grown up than zombie chocolate cakes or basic madeira cakes!! Although tomato upside down cake was taking it a bit too far, wasn’t it?!!! I have to be prepared to do this sort of thing when I enter Great British Bake Off next year, right?!! :p :p
Be prepared for some less-than-comfort-zone-cooking with Moo Eleven … starting soon. Next recipe? A cake within a cake, just like they did on Great British Bake Off!
Admittedly, this recipe is EASY. And pretty yummy.
(Taken from ‘Chocolate: a collection of over 100 essential recipes’)
225g (1 cup, plus 3/4 cup plus one tablespoon) self-raising flour
* for all-purpose flour, add 1 tsp baking powder to every 100g flour
1 tsp baking powder (if using self-raising flour)
1 tsp cocoa powder
225g (1 cup MINUS 1 tablespoon) butter, room temperature.
225g (1 cup plus 2 tbsp) golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp good quality instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water.
115g (3/4 cup) white chocolate, broken up
55g (1/4 cup) butter, softened
3 tbsp milk
175g (1 and 3/4 cup) icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
* Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.
* Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl, then add the butter, caster sugar, eggs and coffee. Beat well until well incorporated and smooth.
* Grease and line a shallow 28cm X 18cm (11″ x 7″) tin and smooth over the top.
* Bake for 35 minutes, or until risen and firm.
* Turn out onto a wire rack and cool.
* To make the white chocolate icing (frosting), place the chocolate, butter and milk in a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir until ALL of the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from the pan and sift in the icing sugar. Beat until smooth and spread on top of the cold cake. Dust with cocoa and cut into squares.