... And this morning I got up at 6.30am to ice them all. They're for a work Comic Relief fundraising thing where I hope the charitable instinct will kick in because these cakes aren't entirely my best work (I did try, but it's been a long, long, week, last night wasn't the best time for an epic baking session). I set out to make red velvet cakes - and here's some product information; the Dr. Oetker natural red food colouring is made from beetroot, it smells, and tastes, strongly of beetroot. No amount of sugar or cocoa in the cake masked the taste of beetroot, nor did a generous dollop of vanilla flavoured icing. I don't dislike beetroot but it isn't the chocolatey flavour I hoped for, and furthermore whilst the cakes were an attractive red on the outside a sample cake revealed that they were chocolate brown on the inside which means the beetroot didn't even do what it was meant to - not a colouring I'll use again.
The second lot of cakes were meant to be minty green velvet as a sort of nod towards St Patrick's day but it turned out to be an inauspicious moment for innovation, it was clear from the moment that I added the colouring that khaki was the best I could hope for. So the renamed mint chocolate swamp cakes got their minty icing, where it turned out it wasn't a good time to improvise either. I had made a lot (A Lot) of cream cheese icing assuming that if vanilla and lemon worked in it so would mint, turns out it tastes and feels a lot like toothpaste which may be why it's years since I've used mint flavouring (when I grow mint I like a really peppery one so hopefully this is a personal quirk and the swamp coloured toothpaste cakes will be more appealing than they sound).
The final lot of cakes were chocolate Guinness ones from a Nigella recipe which was both a very definite nod to St Patrick's day and also to my job. I've wanted to do this recipe as cupcakes for ages but never had an occasion until now so here's a bit of a warning: there is a lot of very runny batter involved, really a lot, in fact something like 3 pints of it. I had blithely assumed it would make 12 good sized cupcakes (the sort that go in muffin cases and not the much smaller fairy cake) it actually made 24 which was inconvenient because my oven doesn't like to multi task, taking a strictly monogamous view of one cake tray at a time - as punishment it encouraged the second tray to erupt and escape (by which time I was really tired). Despite this the Guinness cakes are good. The Nigella recipe uses frightening amounts of butter and sugar, however you make this cake it's one that needs to be shared around. The Guinness gives a rich depth that's most appealing and stops it being too sweet, I like a crème fraiche based topping which helps to hint at the tang of a good pint but used a vanilla icing this time which works well on the smaller size. I was really pleased when I found some black paper cases because with a bit of a squint these almost look like mini pints...
The rest of the day has been dominated by Rugby which I don't understand but is mesmerising anyway.