Apple layer cake with Rhubarb and Vanilla bean marscapone filling

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December is a busy time for us all. start of the festive season, the work Christmas parties start and every second day seems to bring more social catch ups. Our December is always a bit hectic from the start as we have my Dad’s birthday and my husbands in the first week. Dad is a super tough cookie to buy for as he has a million hobbies but has everything he would ever need for them! And when I say a million hobbies….slight exaggeration, but only just. Bee keeping, American BBQ, garden, booze making, all things foodie, gadgets, photography…it goes on and on. I think it’s where I get my dabbling nature.

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So to go along with a little gift, I decided to make him a cake. No just any cake, but one that combines two things that we both love; Rhubarb and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Weird mix? Oh yea. In fact, I can put my hand up and say that I believe that this is the only Terry Prachett’s Discworld themed rhubarb cake to ever exist. But hey, the coolest things are all obscure right? Geek is the new chic?

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This cake is a winner for flavour. I used a great recipe from Sylvia’s Kitchen (http://sylviaskitchen.co.uk/bramley-apple-cake-with-rhubarb-vanilla-mascarpone/) and tweaked it a little. I’ve added frosting as I was topping with fondant accents- this would be just as lovely unfrosted and dusted with icing sugar or frosted on the top only with fresh berries and edible blooms.

Cake
225gms soft salted butter (or margarine)
225gms light soft brown sugar
3 medium eggs
225gms SR flour
2 tsp baking powder
3tsp vanilla extract (with seeds is best if you can find it!)
400gms peeled, cored and grated Granny Smith apples- go for the tart apples here!

Filling
450gms rhubarb
100gms caster sugar
1 x 250gm tub of Mascarpone
1 good tsp vanilla bean paste
1tbsp caster sugar

Frosting
500g icing sugar mix
125g butter, softened to room temp
3 tbs heavy cream
125g mascarpone
1 tbs vanilla extract

Method
Pre-heat your oven to 180ºc/350ºF/GasMark4.
Rinse the rhubarb then trim and cut into 1” chunks and place in a shallow glass or china oven proof dish.  Sprinkle on the 100gms of caster sugar and cover with foil.

Roast your rhubarb for half an hour then leave to cool. You should have a beautifully flavoured sugar syrup pooling in the bottom of your dish. Strain, but reserve both the syrup and rhubarb pieces.

Line two 8” sandwich tins with baking parchment and set to one side.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla essence together in your mixing bowl and beat until nicely creamed and blended, for a couple of minutes.  Add the grated apple and mix well then divide between your two lined tins. In the images below, I’ve separated into three layers- I recommend sticking to two for this recipe as the layers are quite dense and I found them easily cracking when assembling.

Bake both cakes in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, until your skewer comes out of the cake cleanly. Leave in their tins on a cooling rack until completely cool.

Whilst your sponges are cooling make your filling, mix your mascarpone into a bowl and add the caster sugar, vanilla bean paste and 2/3rd of the roasted rhubarb.

Place the bottom sponge on to your serving plate, brush lightly with a small amount of rhubarb syrup.  Spread your mascarpone filling over the entire sponge then dot most of the remaining pieces of roasted rhubarb over the filling and push them in to the filling. Keep 4-5 pieces and some of the sugar syrup aside.

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Place the cake top on to the filling, sandwiching the two layers between the rhubarb filling and place in the refrigerator.

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For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth and slowly add the icing sugar. When combined, add in heavy cream, mascarpone, remaining rhubarb vanilla and beat for 1 minute; be careful not to overwhip! Generously ice the sides and top with the frosting. This would be lovely topped with fresh edible blooms as opposed to obscure book references, but hey, where is the fun in that?

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Store your cake in the fridge- this will keep up to 3 days.

Happy baking,

Snoz xx

Ginger Lovers Dream Fudge

Ginger is a pretty decisive flavour. And hey, I’m not just talking spice ginger. Ginger cats? Ginger guys? Decisive. Personally I happen to love all things ginger. From my darling ginger bear Conan to the super delicious red haired Outlander Jamie(Sam Heughan…I totally had to google that though), is definitely allllll good in my books.

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I digress though. The ginger I’m talking about here is that refreshing, zingy spice and plant that everyone either seems to love or hate. My husband so kindly and eloquently stated that he wasn’t such a fan of the flavour as it’s “just a thing old people use to poop’. Yep, I kid you not. That was an actual conversation in our house this week. Personally, I’m a little concerned about his not so great medical knowledge, let alone his down right lack of tastebuds.

My close girlfriend is a huge ginger fan. In fact, for her 30th birthday this week our group of friends brought her an entire boxful of all the most delicious ginger treats we could find. Which, when you are shopping in a fancy gourmet super market turns out is quite a lot! As a little something extra from me, I decided that another ginger treat was needed….and so, here was born the “Ruth” fudge; or as it will hence forth be more colloquially called, Ginger Lovers Dream Fudge. We are talking a spiced gingerbread fudge with chopped dark chocolate glace ginger and crushed ginger nuts for a crunchy topping.

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Ginger fudge all set and ready for gifting

This fudge is beyond easy. So easy that I could barely take any progress pics to give you, it’s pretty much; melt, stir, chop, chill and indulge! I’m pretty tempted to “Christmasify” (it’s a word…surely…nope? Oh well, it stays) the fudge as it borders on Christmas cookie territory and would be so super easy to make in bulk. I’ve adapted the recipe from www.sweet2eatbaking.com so full props to them for such a simple and easy base recipe.

GINGER FUDGE RECIPE

Ingredients

¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
340g white chocolate, chopped ( I used dream- steer away from the cheaper stuff for the best results)
2-3 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1tsp vanilla extract
½ packet of dark chocolate glace ginger
5 gingernut cookies, crushed into large pieces

Method

  1. Combine the white chocolate and condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 2-3 minutes, checking at the two minute mark. Heat until the white chocolate chips are almost completely melted. Be careful not to overheat; chocolate can burn so easily! Once removed from microwave, stir until completely blended, melted and smooth.
  2. Immediately add the spices and vanilla and combine.
  3. Transfer to a 8 x 8 inch baking pan, lined with baking paper. Roughly chop your choc coated ginger and scatter into the top of the fudge then sprinkle the entire top of the fudge with the crushed gingernuts.
  4. Pop into the fridge to cool. This sets quite rapidly and you can have ready to go in about 4 hours, I did leave mine to set overnight for good measure.Happy Baking!

Snoz xx