Thursday 2 April 2015

I give you ... the Ultimate Crowdsourced Cake !

With this showstopper, you really can have your cake and eat it - five times over ! Following research revealing the nation’s favourite fillings and flavours and a whopping 31 hours of baking, Aldi has created Britain’s first ever crowdsourced cake, featuring 5 layers and a whopping 39 ingredients.

Over a third (36%) of Brits said that chocolate sponge was the most likely to get their taste buds tingling, followed by cheesecake (33%), fruit cake (30%), carrot cake (29%) and Victoria sponge (24%) – which is reflected in the intricate creation. When it comes to filling, cream came up trumps with over half of those surveyed (53%), followed by chocolate (37%), strawberry jam (25%), and raspberry jam (23%), and almost half preferred their cake embellished with chocolate eggs (48%). Decoration also scored highly on the cake wish list with more than 1 in 10 (12%) wanting to see edible decorations adorn their perfect cake.

The crowd-sourced Easter cake was created using the Aldi Specialbuys kitchen range and crafted by Great British Bake Off finalist and cookery book writer Miranda Gore Browne. If you fancy giving it (or maybe just one layer of it!) a go, here's the recipe :

Baked Cheesecake

For the base:
170g Greenvale unsalted butter, melted
280g Belmont Original Digestive Biscuits, finely crushed
2 tablespoons of The Pantry caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Put the biscuits into a large bowl and crush with a rolling pin (or whizz in the food processor)
3. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the biscuit crumbs and sugar to combine
4. Line a 23cm / 8inch deep spring-form cake tin with non-stick baking parchment – the bottom and sides need to be lined
5. Press the biscuit crumb mixture into the bottom of the tin and bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and leave to cool.
6. Turn the oven up to 200 degrees in preparation for the filling

For the filling:
900g The Cheese Emporium soft cheese
250g The Pantry caster sugar
3 tablespoons of The Pantry plain flour
½ teaspoon of Stonemill salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of The Pantry lemon juice
3 large Merevale eggs and 1 yolk
200ml Cowbelle soured cream

1. Put the cream cheese in a mixer and beat on a low speed for about two minutes, or beat with a wooden spoon. Add the sugar, flour and salt and mix gently to combine
2. Use a balloon whisk or the whisk attachment on your mixer or hand mixer to add in the vanilla and lemon. Then add the eggs and yolk one at a time, whisking well after each addition
3. Gently mix in the soured cream
4. Brush the insides of the lined tin with a little melted butter
5. Place the tin (with prepared base) onto a baking tray and carefully pour in the filling
6. Put into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for ten minutes. Reduce the temperature to 100 degrees and bake for a further 35 minutes. The mixture should be set but have a slight wobble if you move the tin.
7. Leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool for two hours
8. Remove from the oven and put in the fridge to cool overnight (or for at least 8 hours)

Victoria Sponge

225g Greenvale unsalted butter, softened
225g The Pantry caster sugar,
4 large Merevale eggs
225g The Pantry self-raising flour
2 tsp The Pantry baking powder
4 tablespoons of Grandessa Strawberry Jam

Cream together the butter and sugar using a balloon whisk or an electric mixer. Once the mixture is pale and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
On a lower speed, gently add the flour and baking powder. Mix until combined
Scrape the mixture into two lined 8 inch loose bottomed cake tins and bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 mins
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 2 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack
Once the cakes are completely cold, sandwich with a little buttercream and the strawberry jam

Rich Chocolate Cake

125g Greenvale unsalted butter
125g Aldi’s Moser Roth dark chocolate
50g cocoa powder
3 Merevale eggs
75g The Pantry caster sugar
75g The Pantry light brown soft sugar
125g The Pantry plain flour
Pinch of salt
200ml Cowbelle double cream

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4
2. Line two 20cm/8inch shallow cake tins with baking paper
3. In a small saucepan gently heat 75g chocolate and the butter
4. Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt and a teaspoon of caster sugar until they are stiff
5. In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar and light brown sugar until pale, then fold in the cocoa powder, flour and the baking powder and finally stir in the melted chocolate mixture
6. Fold in the egg whites and then divide this mixture between the two tins
7. Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until firm
8. Allow to cool
9. Whisk the cream until it just holds its shape
10. Grate the remaining chocolate and mix into the cream
11. Use this cream to sandwich the two cakes together

Fruit Cake

2 large Merevale eggs separated
200g The Pantry plain flour
100g The Pantry caster sugar
125g Greenvale unsalted butter
60g The Pantry Walnuts
150g The Foodie Market fruit mix
70g Grandessa honey
60ml Cowbelle semi skimmed milk
1 x tsp The Pantry baking powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4
2. Break up the walnuts, mix together in a bowl and add the rest of the dried fruits
3. Take a dessert spoon of the flour and mix in with the fruit and nuts
4. In a large bowl cream the butter with the sugar and honey
5. Beat in the eggs and the milk
6. Then fold in the flour and baking powder
7. Mix in the dried fruits and walnuts
8. Put the mixture into a round cake tin which has been lined
9. Bake for 45/60 mins, until risen and golden brown.
10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool

Top tip: check it’s ready by putting a cocktail stick into the cake it comes out clean

Carrot Cake

2 cups of The Pantry plain flour
2 teaspoons The Pantry baking powder
2 teaspoons The Pantry baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoonsground cinnamon
2 cups The Pantry white sugar
4 Merevale eggs
1/3 cups Solesta vegetable oil
4 cups grated Wood Farm carrots
3/4 cup chopped The Pantry walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees
2. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside
4. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs until thick and pale
5. Stir in the oil, then gradually mix in the sifted dry ingredients. Fold in the carrots and nuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan
6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
7. When cool, frost with your favourite cream cheese frosting


Butter Cream :
500g Greenvale unsalted butter, softened
1kg icing sugar
4-5 tablespoons of Cowbelle semi skimmed milk

Beat the soft butter with half of the icing sugar and 4 tablespoons of milk, in a mixer or fiercely by hand
Once this is all combined, add the remaining ingredients and beat again
Use an electric mixer and beat it on the highest setting for 2-3 mins to make it smooth and creamy

Other decorations:
Dairyfine Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs

Sugar Flowers & Butterflies (optional decorations)
3 small packets of pastel coloured sugar paste
500g pack of royal icing sugar (mixed according to packet instructions)
Butterfly, blossom, daisy or flower shaped icing cutter
Piping bag and No.2 nozzle

1. For the sugar flowers and butterflies, roll out the sugar-paste as thinly as possible on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar
2. Use the icing cutters to stamp out lots of flower shapes and butterflies.
3. Leave the flowers to dry on a piece of baking paper and dry the butterflies over the edge of a square tin or container – so they dry in a butterfly position
4. Put the royal icing into your piping bag and pipe a dot in the centre of each of the sugar flowers and a line in the middle of the butterflies wings
5. Remove and set aside to dry

Top tip: The flowers & butterflies can be made up to a month in advance and stored in an airtight container

Which layer would be your favourite? I'm tempted to go for Baked Cheesecake but you can't beat a classic Victoria Sponge either !


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