Well so much for a long weekend away. One look at met service forecast put pay to that. Rain, Rain, and more rain for Northland and Bay of Plenty and the rest of the North Island. Usually in the Bay if it rains before 7am it is fine by 11am, But not with a eastily – rain sets in for 3 to 4 days and we have 2 big storm fronts coming. A quick share about the Bay’s “rain before 7 fine by 11” saying. When the MOTH went to the Boys College lads who didn’t like physical education would wake up to rain and go HURRAY! NO sport today!! And not pack their gym gear. However it would be fine by 11. No sport gear meant running around the large school field in your undies! The sports field is very public with main roads running around 3 sides of it. Then the added bonus of putting your shorts back on over wet pants. The MOTH was never caught out- but as he said some boys never learnt. And in case you wondering NO. This no longer happens.
But winter has arrived!! No point paying money to stay at a hotel trapped in small bedroom while the heavens open and the roads flood. Can just as easily stay trapped at home but with comfort – wood burning fire, a couple of furry friends for company, big picture window to watch the lightning storm, and a cake mixer! Cake making weather. Movie watching weather and curling up with a good book weather. MOTH bags the TV so he could watch fishing programs which left baking for me. What to bake??
I gave the MOTH a couple of choices – Hummingbird Cake, Cornish Pasties, Chocolate Orange Cake, Chocolate Fudge Cake (seems like a lot of chocolate cakes to me!!) Apple Plum Cake with Hot Rum caramel Sauce or Salted Caramel and Apple Rolls. He said “all of the above.” When I said “really??” with the look – he relied “yes dear”! Not useful answers!
I settled on Chocolate Mint Cake and Salted Carmel and Apple Rolls. One was a success the other – mmmmmh not so much.
Think large triple layer After Dinner Mint. Think moist gooey rich chocolate cake with a peppermint Italian meringue butter cream filling, covered in chocolate ganache with chocolate leaves for decoration. A very rich, decant cake! Triple layer – yes you heard me right – Triple layer cake! Since I had no matching cake tins (plu they are all too big) it was off to the Farmers to buy 3 x 20cm (9 inch) tins. No excuse now for uneven lopsided cakes.
The best bit was the Italian Meringue which I have never made before. The instructions called for a candy thermometer. Don’t have one. Nope, no meat one or a human one either (neither recommended for sticking into hot syrup!) However I do have google! According to Google sugar syrup is the right temperature when it makes soft squiggles in cold water. It did and it was. Italian meringue tastes good too! I could have eaten the whole lot and the raw chocolate mixture?? To die for!! The MOTH has no idea of the sacrifice I made by cooking the cake. But cook it I did. The MOTH has already eaten half of it! One happy MOTH.
The Salted Caramel and Apple Rolls didn’t really work. I am not sure why. I know that I lost my temper over the caramel sauce. First effort – burnt caramel!! (Dark mutterings under my breath, saucepan thrown into the sink where it received an brisk scrubbing).
Second effort – sugar crystalized! More muttering, a foot stamp and sign. While I was staring at the crystalized sugar I remember various contestants on the Great British Bake Off who had also had this happen. What did they do?? Apart from looking frazzled and brows covered with sweat (think time pressure) they started again! I refuse to start again.
Lets go back a step. The instructions clearly state not to stir the sugar – I wanted to but I didn’t! Hands firmly clasped behind my back to prevent impatient me from reaching for the spoon and taking a 3 steps away from the stove, I held my breath while peering into the pan of sugar. Result a crystallised mess!! What the…… ???!!! As I refused to start again I decided to try jigglingsthe pan. Would jiggling help?? I jiggled that pan and jiggled my whole body (raised eyebrows from the MOTH) sending murmuring positive thoughts down the pan handle. And waaaala (the Onomatopoeia: The sound we make and how to spell them, didn’t have the spelling for this one – so read as written!)!! A minor miracle occurred. The crystals started breaking up! The more I jiggled the pan and me the smoother the sugar became while turning a lovely caramel color. Off the heat, cream whisked in, and there DONE! One pot of caramel sauce. Why didn’t the recipe tell me to jiggle? The jiggle needs to be added to all caramel recipes.
The rest of the roll was a disappointment – bread too tough! ??Over kneaded or over proofed – probably both! If this had been a technical challenge set by Paul or Mary I would have been at the bottom of the pack. Amazingly the MOTH still ate two, dunking them in his tea to soften the rolls so they didn’t reak his teeth and sharing pieces with Pansy (she’ll eat anything except raw onion and green peppers). I love my MOTH. And I love my Pansy. Happy Baking.