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Casino Cakes & Elder-Rose Spritz

by - Saturday, June 08, 2013

Hello friends, old and new!

My inspiration for these two recipes below came from a pack of playing cards that I bought at a 'Marche des Puces' (flea market) in Montsoreau, France a few years back. They came in their original paper sleeve, but are so old that they weren't even printed with numbers on! I just love them. Think of all the games they've seen!

Now, I've played poker before, and I feel it can be very much a man's game. So, I decided to make it a little bit more girly... and what could be more girly than cocktails and cake!?

So you'll find two recipes here... Casino Cakes & Elder-Rose Spritz. The cakes can be made any shape you like, but the food rings I had were a round one and a heart one. If you can find diamond, spade and club ones, even better!

The drink can be made with or without alcohol, so it works nicely for any occasion.

The circular food ring that I used was from Steamer Trading and the heart one I got at a different kitchen store that no longer exists, but Steamer do their own heart shapes too. I'd been desperate to try actually baking inside the food ring that I used as a cutter for my Chocpot Crispy Cakes, so I had a lot of fun making these!

  Red & Black Velvet Casino Cakes  

Makes 2 towers & 2 hearts
Prep 30 mins
Cook 30 mins

What you will need:

For the cake:
6 oz golden caster sugar
6 oz margarine
3 medium free-range eggs
6 oz self-raising flour

2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp red food colouring
1-2 tsp black food colouring

For the icing:
2 tbsp icing sugar
50 g red ready-roll icing
50g black ready-roll icing

What to do:

Start by pre-heating your oven to 180°C (350° F, Gas Mark 4) and grease the inside of each of the food rings. Place them on greaseproof paper or opened muffin cases on a baking sheet, ensuring they are as flat as possible.

I only had the two rings, so made two cakes at a time and reused the rings once the cakes had cooled.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the cocoa powder with 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, and the red or black food colouring. If it doesn't turn into a thick, coloured paste after stirring, add in water, a small amount at a time. I found that I needed a tablespoon of water to create my paste.

Repeat this again with the remaining cocoa, vanilla and colouring, so that you have a red paste and a black paste in separate bowls.

In a large mixing bowl and with an electric whisk, mix the sugar and margarine together until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the eggs together with a fork or hand whisk, until well combined.

Next, whilst whisking the sugar and marg mixture once again, gradually pour the egg in, a bit at a time.

When all the egg is mixed in, gently fold the flour in by hand, using a wooden spoon or spatula.

Now, carefully spoon half of the mixture into a separate bowl. Add in one of the coloured pastes and fold once again, until it all becomes the same colour. Repeat with the remaining mixture in the other bowl, using the other colour paste you made earlier.

Do not over mix it, fold the paste in just enough to colour the mixture. You want to keep that fluffy texture!

Next, spoon the mixture into the food rings, making sure that they are still sitting flat. Fill them to about three quarters full. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

As you can see I filled the heart too full on the first round!

Once fully cooked, remove from the oven and leave as they are to cool down. If the cake mixture has spilt out, cut off with a sharp knife while they are still in the rings. Once cooled, run a thin knife around the inside of the food rings and slide the cakes out onto a plate.

If need be, wash and dry the rings and refill with the remaining cake mixture. Bake again as before.

To make the runny icing, combine two tablespoons of icing sugar with a couple of drops of water, and stir. Only add the water a drop at a time, as it will suddenly turn to icing while stirring. If you put too much water in, you'll have to add unbelievable amounts of icing sugar to stop it from being too runny! Sometimes it's just best to start again if this happens.

Once fully mixed, drizzle a teaspoon of icing over each cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. You can encourage the drips to go where you want by getting their direction started off on the top of the cake, by gently easing the teaspoon towards the edge.

Next, roll your coloured ready-roll icings out onto a flat surface, and carefully cut the suit shapes out with a sharp knife. I cut one out in red, then stuck it onto black and cut out around it again, to create a two-tone shape, and vice versa. If you find your icing shapes aren't sticking to one other, dab them with a little water on your finger to fuse them.

If you're not so confident about the fiddly cutting for these, you can always print off the suit shapes from the internet and use them as templates.

Now press each of the shapes onto the relevant cake and sprinkle with a little edible glitter, if desired.

And there you have it! P said that they had a certain pop-arty charm, which is great! They taste wonderful and are the perfect accompaniment to card games with the girls.

  Elder-Rose Spritz  

Prep 5 mins

What you will need:

1 part gin (leave out for non-alcoholic drinks!)
1 part elderflower cordial
2 drops rose water
4 parts lemonade (or your own serving, depending on preference of strength)
sprig of mint (optional)

What to do:

Pour the elderflower cordial, rosewater and gin (if using) over ice into a fancy cocktail glass. Top up with lemonade, give it a good stir and garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.

If rosewater isn't to your taste, you can always leave it out. The elderflower works beautifully with the lemonade so it works as a simple drink anyway, without the frills!

This is a fab drink to accompany the Casino Cakes for a poker game, as it is incredibly quick and easy to make. The cakes can be made in advance and the cocktail whipped up on the spot when your guests arrive.

As I discovered while doing this shoot, there is something more girly than cocktails and cake... a poker game with lace, sweet peas and elegant white dinnerware is incredibly feminine... and classy!

I hope you've enjoyed today's post and perhaps it's even inspired you just a teeny bit, to spruce up that games night you might be planning! ;)

Thanks a million,

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