Table Scraps

I love scrapbooking!! That doesn’t mean to say that I am any good at it, but I enjoy it so much that this doesn’t really bother me. Once a month us girls meet and share our stories, scrapping goodies and good food, so it’s always something to look forward to.

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Last year, just before the festive season erupted, we had planned a bit of gift-swapping for our last Sunday of 2012 and I really wanted to make a cake inspired by the beautiful artwork created by these talented ladies. At the same time I had also made vast quantities of cream liqueur (that recipe will come too…), far too much even after forcing bottles on everyone I know and dosing it into every cup of coffee (I accidentally added it to a morning coffee, on the day I was due to present ALL DAY to a large audience. Fun times).

{drunken giggle-snort}

{drunken giggle-snort}

I was hoping to capture the subtle taste of the liqueur in the cake, but I had a guest over while I was preparing the batter and wasn’t paying much attention to the amount of cocoa that had gone in until I noticed that there was, in fact, a chocolate cake happening in my oven… by then it was way too late to fix, but what resulted can’t really be called an oopsie since it’s the MOISTEST and MOST OUTRAGEOUSLY CHOCOLATEY chocolate cake I’ve ever baked or eaten. If it had been any moister it would have been served in a cup. (There were other liqueur cake recipes on the Net that do not contain cocoa – next time.)

There’s (somewhat unfortunately) no alcohol taste – the heat burns off the booze, so it’s safe for kiddies and old folk. That said, don’t feel obliged to share :-).

I had one last blob of plastic icing mooching around the back of the cupboard, which lends itself well to a theme-y cake. I used the butterscotch icing from a previous post; it’s got a nice distinctive flavour which I needed to help mask the taste of the plastic icing. A gripe – I know that plastic icing is used to make beautiful decorations but it makes me so cross when TV cake-celebs plaster it on and call the embellishments “edible” – any owner of a functioning set of tastebuds knows that this is a blatant and shocking lie. It tastes like what hospital corridors smell like. Have fun with it, colour it and shape it, but keep it in little bitty pieces that won’t ruin the cake.

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$RVJ6GYGFor one luscious liqueur cake:

2 cups of cake flour

1 and 3/4 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of cocoa (duh! how did I not notice that??)

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda – indispensable stuff

1 egg

2/3 cup of sunflower oil

3/4 cup of buttermilk (or soured milk, which is what I use)

1/2 cup cream liqueur, such as Baileys or Amarula, or the unmarked bottle of potent yumminess you made too much of

3/4 cup strong black coffee (I upped the liqueur and downed the coffee… feel free to change the ratio. 100% liqueur:0% coffee could work…)

Righty-o. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease an appropriate cake-baking vessel. Then sift the dry ingredients together. Or not. I never do, and my cake turned out fine anyway.

Beat the egg, oil, liqueur and coffee together. Add to the dry ingredients and beat for about 3 minutes. Seriously, that’s all there is to it! Pop the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes or until done. It won’t rise much, which will make decoration easier. Turn the cake out of the pan onto a cooling rack and allow to chill out for a bit.

While that’s happening, have some fun with the plastic icing; for the “paper scraps”, I cut rolled-out icing with pinking shears and dropped and draped them into little piles; for the buttons, I used the back end of a piping nozzle and a toothpick. No special fidgety tools required. For the “scrapbook paper”, I rolled out a rough square in blue icing, then cut out flowers from pink icing, placed them on top of the blue square with small blobs of yellow and green, then gently rolled the whole lot together til smooth. Remember to roll in both directions otherwise the shapes will become elongated. Trim it into a neat square using a sharp knife.

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When the cake is cool, smother it in the butterscotch icing, then go wild with the edible embellishments (use icing to stick bits on top of each other).

scraps

On the morning that the cake was to be presented, I was running horribly late due to the gift-wrapping having been left to absolutely the last minute. The plan had been to make the icing as smoooooth as possible, then carefully place the plastic icing embellishments on top, and then pipe out neat wording in royal icing. Things did not go according to plan. I threw the icing in the general direction of the cake, swiped a butter knife over it, broke several embellishments, then tried to make glace icing look like royal icing. I figure it’s kind of ironic that the cake came out kind of squiff and not quite right – a lot like my version of scrapbooking which Jenny so kindly refers to as “organic” :-).

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