Stockett and Marbles

Just a quick one to drop by and update you on my exploits of late. I would stay longer, but I’m watching Tideland (Gilliam, 2005) and it’s awfully engrossing! A few weeks ago it was my friend’s birthday, and of course I couldn’t let this momentous occasion pass by without a little celebratory cake. Now this wonderful gentlemen was my first honeycomb customer, so I knew what sort of thing to go for. Caramel everything.

I started off with the basic choices, what kind of flavour do I want from this cake? I knew I wanted caramel somewhere in the cake, without it being sickly, so I went for a vanilla sponge. To get the lovely sweet caramel-goodness I chose a sort of random recipe. It might need a bit of an explanation to make much sense. Don’t worry, it won’t be my usual ramblings I promise!

If you have ever read the book “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett you’ll know all about Minny and her infamous cooking skills. Well, the caramel sauce I made was from a collection of recipes Mrs Stockett released after a massive spike of interest amongst the food-blogging community. I’m so glad she did, it’s little additions like this that make me smile, much like when I found out that some valiant fellow had spent hours upon hours making a Lord of the Rings online recipe scrapbook (It’s here by the way, you know you want to look). But yes, this wonderful woman, in full style created a classic southern-style caramel sauce, which I used…and may have eaten much of when I was icing this cake. It was freaking delicious. It was all smooth and vanilla-ey and rich. Damn I wish I had more right now! I mixed some of the caramel sauce with whipped cream and marscapone cheese for the outside coating and I added the honeycomb because I love making honeycomb at the moment, it’s my new favourite fad.

Moving on a little, to another wonderful cake. I can’t help myself I’m sorry, I’m determined to either create the perfect super cake, or give myself diabetes. Could swing either way. This cracking little cake was a bit of a time filler, I was actually making a lasagne at the time, and whilst waiting for the behemoth dish I made of it to cook, I decided to make something sweet. I actually ended up making a batch of oatie butter biscuits from my Women’s Institute cookbook as well as the marble cake, but I sort of ate them all before taking a decent photograph, my apologies.

Marble cake is one of those cakes that is incredibly dependent on the ingredients you use. I know I say this about most of the things I make, but this one really, really is. Too many afternoons I have spent, frustrated that my baking has turned out badly, or even worse, boring. Too many afternoons I have spent mourning the failures of marble cakes. Until I started using good ingredients – cue the uplifting key change to minor to encourage hope and optimism. But I really can’t stress this enough. Please, please, use nice vanilla and nice cocoa. I think the mindset is that because it’s got twice the amount of flavours, that you can get away with using half the quality ingredients. I’m sorry my lovelies, it just doesn’t work like that, you can’t cover up half-arsed attempts with this cake. It’s quite rare that it will turn out bad, but it will sing if you spent an extra pound or two on cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Not literally, that would be awesome, but you know what I mean. Plus, on top of investing in good quality stuff, you won’t need to use quite so much of it to get the flavour, and the flavour you do get, won’t taste like chalk, or sugar. Win!

Sorry, apologies for the rant.

I’m not going to lie, part of the reason I chose this topic today was to show off some of my new photographs. I’ve really been trying hard recently to up my game in some food styling and whatnot, to keep up with the other wonderful bloggers out there, but also to try and help convey my love for the beauty of food. I’m not quite there yet but I thought it might be nice to see my transition from the rubbish old ones I took on my phone, to the ones taken with a pretty DSLR.

I think that’s enough from me today, I will be back over the next few days with a new recipe for you guys to try!