Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Chocolate Orange Cake

My sister's birthday was at the begining of this month - 1st April. She's not an Aprils Fool baby though, she was born after 12 noon :) I usually make people a cake or some such when it is their birthday. When we were kids Mother Mary always used to do them, so they were iced and decorated all proffesional. I'm NO WHERE near that standard. I can do the cake, just not the decorating.

For a week prior to the sister's birthday, I had been bugging her asking what type of cake she wanted. She wouldn't give me a straight answer, always saying to surprise her, or giving me a list of three or four different flavours. In the end I surprised her, with a chocolate orange cake.

I'm reknowned for chocolate cakes in my family, they have even been said to better than my Mum's at times (But shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don't tell her :D ), but I didn't just want to do your average run of the mill chocolate cake. I had a look on the interwebs for some ideas, and narrowed it down to two - a chocolate and vanilla Zebra Cake, using American style cake batter, or a chocolate orange cake, using a low fat batter. Having never made an American style cake before, I decided to go with the chocolate orange cake. I used my basic cake mix, rather than faffing and trying a new mix, and altered it slightly.

I made a bit too much mix for the cake tin, so the inside of my cake was a bit gooey, and the cake it's self collapsed quite a bit back onto itself as it cooled. This didn't alter the taste in anyway though. The weights below are correct for an 8" round cake tin.

Chocolate Orange Cake


200g Eggs (This is normally about 3 large eggs, however, before weighing out the rest of your ingredients, weigh your eggs (IN THE SHELLS!) to get the right amount.)
200g Butter/Marge at room temperature
200g Caster Sugar
150g Self Raising Flour
50g Cocoa Powder
Zest of 2 Oranges
Juice of 1 Orange

Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas mark 4

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. The more you beat these two together the better, you'll trap more air and the cake will be light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, zest and juice until thoroughly combined.

Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl, and carefully fold in. Don't beat at this stage, as you have already got air into the mix.

Grease and line an 8" cake tin. carefully spoon the cake mix into the tin and spread out using the back of a spoon or a spatula. Don't bang or tap the tin to level the batter as this causes the air to escape.

Put into your preheated oven for around 30-40 minutes, until risen, and the top springs back when pressed lightly, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes or so, then turn onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

I only did a single layer cake, however you can easily slice this cake into 2 to fill in the middle.

I decorated it using Betty Crocker's chocolate toffee icing, and Terry's Chocolate Orange segments. Sit back and NOM NOM NOM!

I forgot to take a picture of the thing before the sister cut it. FAIL!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


So, I have a wedding this weekend. Well, actually, it's Mum's friend who is getting married. We're off for the weekend from Friday. I've known what I'm going to wear since the beginning of February, Mum on the other hand, has changed her mind more times than I've had Gingerbread Lattes. About two weeks ago, she FINALLY decided what to wear. Great! we say. Huzzah! They cheer. BUT! The shoes she wanted to wear, which are TOTALLY rad, she didn't have a bag to match.

Now, these shoes are boss. I mean, they are AH-MAY-ZING! Iron First, turquoise and blue leopard print, peep-toe mid heels. They are beautiful. Now, turquoise. SURELY that shouldn't be so hard to colour match right? WRONG! We must have gone to EVERY SINGLE shop we could think of near us. I even got to the stage where I was trying to find fabric or yarn, or hell, bedding, that I could attempt to knock something up from. The only problem? These shoes are a BLUE turquoise. Everything I could find was a green turquoise, or an aqua-turquoise. Complete bust.

In the end, we gave up. Mum ordered a bag of Amazon on Sunday, that claimed to be turquoise. There was arguments over whether or not she owned a bag that matched a pair of emerald green shoes. I was adamant that she didn't, she claimed she did. (Guess who is right...)

The Amazon bag turned up yesterday. The Amazon bag is an ever so slighter shade of emerald than the green shoes. It has never seen turquoise. Damn, Mum says. Fine, she says. Looks like I'm wearing the green shoes.

Guess what. Today I managed to find a pillowcase that was ever so slightly a different shade of blue turquoise than the shoes. But dammit, it's the closest I've seen, I'm getting it. I knocked together a bag, really simple clutch style.

The photo doesn't really do the colour justice. I SHALL try to get better photos this weekend.

The edge of the flap was the edge of the pillowcase. It had some stitching that I figured I'd use to try and add interest to it. Boxed corners. Lined in the same material. Zip closure (which I totally forgot to photo. But it's a zip. You know what a zip is right?)

The embroidery is a transfer from The Stitch It Kit, by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. I love that kit.

It says "True Love" underneath it. I wanted to try and tie the bag in with the rest of her outfit.

What have I learnt from making this bag? That I really shouldn't try to botch stuff together. I really should start making patters, or at least measure stuff BEFORE I start cutting.

It's not interfaced or anything, which I'm really bummed about. I did plan on it, but I couldn't find my interfacing earlier, and can't afford to buy any more. It'll be right though. It just needs to do it's job.

Oh. And then an hour ago, I realised that the dress I made Mum last year for a company do, was THE EXACT colour of the the shoes. AND I remembered that I had some fabric left. So I went and dug it out. And guess what? In that bag, there was also my interfacing. Dammit.

Monday, 11 April 2011


I *AM* going to resurrect this. Don't know how yet. But stay tuned.