A Leaving Cake that Wasn't for Me!

I've had quite a few leaving cakes recently, but this time it wasn't for me! One of the women from my work left on Friday to take on a new marketing role, and whilst she wasn't the first to leave in the three and a half months I've been there, she was the closest to my age and we had some good times even in such a short stint! I have been wanting to make this cake for a while and I thought that she deserved something a little special so I used my last jar of marshmallow fluff (so sad, I need to get some more from Australia or the States!) and based my cake on this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. It turned out pretty well even though it swelled to about twice the size of my cake tin size when I was baking the cakes! My flatmate helped me out with the icing because I was exhausted by that stage but it was very enjoyable and see the results for yourselves.

Snicker's Cake

2 1/2 cups plain flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Dutch-process (or other dark) cocoa powder
1T baking soda
1 1/2t baking powder
1 1/2t salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups strong black coffee
3/4 cup vegetable oil
4 1/2t vanilla extract

4T unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped

2 cups sugar
60g butter, softened and cut into pieces
1 cup cream, at room temperature
1T sea salt

115g butter, softened
115g cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce
2 cups icing sugar


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line 3 20cm cake tins. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or large mixing bowl if you're using a hand mixer), sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin). Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Nougat Filling:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Fold in the peanuts. Let the nougat mixture cool to room temperature before using it in the cake. You can do this leaving it at room temperature or you can pop it into the refrigerator to speed up the process. Be sure to give a stir occasionally as it cools otherwise it may get too hard and unusable.

Salted Caramel Sauce:
Add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan, medium sized. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. You'll see that the sugar will begin to form clumps, but that's okay. Just keep whisking and as it continues to cook, they will melt back down.Stop whisking once all of the sugar has melted, and swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar cooks. Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slight toasted aroma. This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. If you are using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar until it reaches 180°C. As soon as the caramel reaches 180°C, add the butter all at once. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously. Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the sea salt and whisk to incorporate. Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into a glass jar or storage container and let cool to room temperature. You can refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 weeks. The leftovers are great on ice cream according to my flatmate!

Salted Caramel Frosting:

Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes (I like to use the whisk attachment, but it's not necessary). Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the icing sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

Cake Assembly:
If your cakes baked up uneven or have domed on top, level off the tops. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with half of the nougat filling and then spread a couple spoonfuls of the salted caramel sauce over top to evenly cover the nougat filling. Top with a second cake layer and cover with the remaining nougat filling and top with caramel sauce. Place the final cake layer on top face-down. Frost the cake with the salted caramel frosting, finishing it as smoothly as possible. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour, until the frosting is set (or use the garage or another cold place in your house overnight, that's what we did!).


A Long Hiatus

I'm unsure how to start this post, as it has been a really long time. I do want to say sorry for not posting since April, but I think I really needed a break to try and do other things in my life, but don't worry, I have still been baking! I think I'm really just starting to get back into it now (which is great because exams are coming up!) but for a while I had so many other stressful things that it was difficult to fit this in as well. Just to give you a snapshot of what has happened: moved flats with my current flatmates and we now have an amazing brand new place just around the corner. I changed jobs from nannying and working at Compass (two jobs was really starting to become a pain!) and now I'm working for a commercial real estate company in the research department as well as still doing my studies. I've taken on more responsibility with AFS by becoming a pseudo committee member and ambassador for the Wellington region. I gave up umpiring for the year because I just couldn't commit to it and I didn't want to let people down and I'm considering whether I'll go back next year or not. Just general life stuff like turning 20 and no longer being a teenager, yay! So I have a few photos here, as well as heaps of new recipes, but the recipe that I want to share today is one that I have made many time but unfortunately they all seem to disappear from our place before I can get any decent pictures! So sorry for the not-so-good one, I'll keep trying to get a better one before they all get eaten by the boys!

I made this just before leaving Compass - S'Mores Cake!

Madeira Cake with lemon frosting made for my friend's workplace.

Today's recipe... Muffins! See the variation for these chocolate and oreo muffins below the recipe.

Bakery Style Muffins

3 cups plain flour
1T baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
150g butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain or vanilla yoghurt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup any sort of frozen berries

Preheat the oven to 200°C and either line two muffin tins with paper liners or grease them really well. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well. With the mixer on a low speed, add the dry ingredients in around 3-5 batches, alternating with the yoghurt each time. Add the chocolate and the berries and mix through with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to overmix here, not only so the muffins aren't hard as a rock but also so that the berries don't colour the mixture too much. Scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins, making sure to fill them all the way to the top do that they dome like bakery muffins. Bake for 5 minutes in a 200°C oven, then reduce the temperature to 190°C and bake for a further 15 minutes or until browned on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These muffins taste amazing, a testament to that fact is that 24 only last about 3 days in our 4 person flat! Yum!

Use only 2 1/2 cups of flour and add 3/4 cup of cocoa powder, whisk it in with the dry ingredients at the beginning. Also substitute 1 cup of oreo crumbs for the frozen berries for an extra surprise!

These are the traditional muffins with this recipe but they look a little burnt because the oven in our old place burnt stuff all the time... They look much better made in our new oven in our new flat!