Recipe: Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes.

Taterly Delicious

Taterly moreish

You read it right, Ogglers: today I’m baking with Mashed Potato.

And you know what? The results are ruddy delicious: not heavy or starchy, but firm – with a gorgeous bite.

Indeed, this is more of a textural thing – you can’t really taste the Tater.

What you will taste, however, is sweet, delicious Cinnamon by the bucketload. And it will BLOW YOUR MIND.

So then. Got some Potato? Fancy something a bit different?

Then what are you waiting for?

BAKE!

Mashed Potato and Cinnamon Spudcakes (makes approx 18)

Ingredients:

  • 260g sugar
  • 200g softened butter/margarine
  • 180g finely mashed (or puréed) potato
  • 260g self raising flour (or 260g plain flour with 2½ tsp baking powder)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • PLUS 350g of your chosen icing

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan assisted) or gas mark 4, and lay your cupcake cases out on however many baking trays you need
  2. Cream sugar, syrup, fat and potato with a wooden spoon (easier to do if the potato’s still warm, though it doesn’t really matter either way)
  3. Add the eggs and beat thoroughly
  4. Fold in the flour and cinnamon, keeping things light and airy
  5. When all the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour the mix into your cupcake cases (to about ¾ full)
  6. Lick the bowl (the batter is AWESOME) – and try not to get salmonella
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. If you prick them with a knife and it comes out clean they’re ready to come out
  8. Allow to cool on a wire rack
  9. In the meantime, prepare whatever icing you see fit (I used a simple vanilla buttercream, but would also recommend something of the cream cheese variety – such as the white chocolate frosting in my favourite Chocolate Berry Cake)
  10. Smear it all over the tops of your cupcakes (but not until they’ve cooled right down)
  11. Gorge (and then gorge some more)

Happy Hogging!

P-H x

The St Bart’s Body Parts Bake-Off.

Those of you who follow the Pud-Hog on Twitter might remember, way back in October, me mentioning a special little Cake sale here in London.

Held on the St Bart’s campus by a pop-up bakery movement called Eat Your Heart Out, it drummed up lots of web-based attention, and no wonder: it was full of medical edibles.

Lung Sponges, black with emphysema; kidneys, frosted with polycistic Icing; Cupcakes covered in STDs.

For the squeamish, no doubt it was gag-worthy.

But for pud pioneers like the Man and I, it was the chance to boldly go where no Hog had gone before…

Into the world of the edible Carbuncle!

… in to the world of the edible Carbuncle

With almost six months having passed now since the actual event, I’m aware that I’m rather behind in terms of reporting.

In my defence though, Ogglers, I was rather overwhelmed. With a whole file full of photos, and several tastings of note, my first drafts were several pages long.

My plan, you see, was to give you a thorough review; to impart my newfound knowledge on the taste of what we bought for a mere £3 a piece: a colourfully Wounded Bakewell (meh), a Macaroon Heart (crisp and creamy with buttercream innards), a fleshy pink Cupcake complete with rum-filled syringe (surprisingly dry), and a bar in the shape of a Carbuncle (Maltesers + Condensed Milk + dyed White Chocolate + Icing Sugar = waaaaay too much for even the sweetest sweet tooth).

After months of deliberation, however, I realised life’s too short for blog posts that long. And besides, you don’t buy goodies like these for the flavour; you buy them to wow your friends (and quite possibly make them feel sick).

So here you are Ogglers, without further ado: the photos you’ve all been waiting for.

Prepare to be awed and appalled, by…

THE WOUNDED BAKEWELL TART:

Bam!

Boom!

THE SKIN CAKE:

She'll have you in stitches!

She’ll have you in stitches!

THE ANATOMICALLY CORRECT HEART MACAROON:

Put THAT in your valves and smoke it!

Impossible to beat!

THE FLESH CUPCAKE:

STI Cupcake

A boost for your flesh AND your stomach!

THE LUNG CAKE:

A breath of fresh air!

A breath of fresh air!

THE ANATOMICAL WAX MODEL CAKE:

Head Tissue

Really gets under your skin!

THE POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE CAKE:

Polycistic Kidney

How could you re-cyst!?

And last, but by no means least, what looks to me like

A BURNT LEG SPONGE CAKE:

INTO THE HOME OF DE-LEG-TABLE TREATS

De-LEG-table!

And with that, I’m all out of puns and photos.

I just hope you’re not out of sick bags…

Cake Pops and PopKakes.

Top of the Pops?

For what seems like years the question on so many lips has been: what’s going to be the new Cupcake?

Will it be Macaroons, they speculate? Whoopee Pies? Gourmet Eclairs?

Not that it really matters, but if I’m totally honest, I’m not sure that Cupcakes were ever that excellent anyway (a lot of the time that icing is way too sickly). Nevertheless, they are kind of fun – and, like it or lump it, they’ve made a lot of people lots of money.

So. What will happen when people get bored with over-coiffed Sponges?

Well, one potential candidate is the Cake Pop: a tasty ball of Cake crumbs covered in Chocolate or Icing and perched on the end of a stick.

The first one I tried was at Global Feast – homemade by MsMarmiteLover – and made a very nice intro indeed.

Since then I have seen them in lots of places – and sampled some more of them too. They’re not everywhere yet, like Cupcakes have been, but they seem to be on the up.

Until fairly recently, however, the ones that I’ve had have been reasonably samey: just a fairly plain Sponge with a colourful coating.

Thankfully, though, some folks are branching out. Like the guys at PopKakery, whose selection of flavours currently numbers ten.

The box they sent me contained four kinds from their range, with pretty good-looking exteriors to match: the MochaPop (Coffee Cake with Dark Chocolate); the Red Velvet (Chocolate Cake with dyed Sugar and White Chocolate); the Krumbles ‘n’ Kreme (Cookie Cake with a sweet Crumble) and the PopNoir (Dark Chocolate inside and out).

They were pretty darn tasty too, I can tell you.

Like Truffles, each filling was wonderfully moist, with a lovely Chocolatey crunch.

*CHOMP*

The MochaPop was particularly good, especially given I’m normally not keen on Coffee: whatever they mixed those Cake crumbs with was seriously moreish.

The Dark Chocolate Cake, meanwhile, was super rich – kind of eggy, but in a good way – while the patches of Cookie inside the Krumbles ‘n’ Kream weren’t quite as crunchy as you might expect (though the bits on the outside were more than enough compensation).

In the end, the only one that didn’t bowl me over was the Red Velvet – maybe because it was what I’d looked forward to most.

Sadly, it lacked that great zing of Cream Cheese, being more like your average Chocolate Cake – only jazzed up with a layer of red Sugar.

Still, on the whole, they were better than most Cakes, mainly because of that excellent Chocolate/Crumb ratio.

So. Could Cake Pops be the new Cupcakes?

Well, if you believe in things like Dessert trends, then perhaps.

But I don’t.

In this Pud-Hog’s humble opinion, a Cake is either tasty or it isn’t.

A better question would be: are Cake Pops more delicious than most Cupcakes?

And my answer? Yes. Yes, they are – especially those from PopKakery.

Though smaller they’re far less sickly, they taste great wrapped up in Chocolate, and they’re super moist all the way through.

The only downside is the thing that makes them stand out – quite literally, as it happens.

In short, I don’t like the sticks.

Plastic or wood they’re always inedible – and seem like a waste of resources. Why not sell the Cake Balls as Truffles, like Lucky’s? Why add any more to the landfills?

It’s not even like the insides cling on to the stick very well. If you try to eat them like lollies – like I have – you’re almost guaranteed to drop a few chunks on the floor.

A minor quibble? Maybe. But when they taste as good as those PopKakes did, you’ll want to eat every crumb.

The Congo Bar.

What a good week for puddings it’s been so far! Not only have I sampled the most mouthwatering of Chocolate Brownies and my first London Bun, but ALSO the tastiest Choc Ice that I’ll probably ever encounter.

And now this:

All together now: Ooh! Aah! Mmm!

For your information, folks, this fairly unassuming square of cake is none other than a Congo Bar from Outsider Tart (yes, they who make the veggie Pop Tarts) and is, quite frankly, yet another strong contender for the Pud-Hog’s imminent Pud of the Year competition.

Those guys keep pushing my buttons, I tell ya. In a very good way indeed.

You see, this is one of those dream desserts – something thoroughly exciting which made me squeal out loud not only before, but also during, and after its consumption.

So what is it?

Brace yourselves…

It’s a Cookie Dough bar, crammed with CHOCOLATE-COVERED PEANUTS!

Now, there I was thinking that I’d have to go to Illinois for a no-holds-barred Cookie Dough experience. But no: the crazy fix I fancied was right next to the Thames all along.

That £2.50 I paid for it saved me a pretty hefty plane fare, I can tell you.

Oh, it was certainly money well spent: a very lightly baked exterior between which was a goo-tastic wad of Cookie Dough deliciousness.

There were a heck of a lot of Chocolate Peanuts in there too and, as a result, every mouthful was a BEE-YOO-TIFUL blend of softness, crunch, salt and sweet.

So naughty, it was – and SO NICE!

This streak of great puddings is starting to worry me though: if I don’t try a bad one soon my Caps Lock button will probably go on strike – and judging the Pud of the Year next month is going to be impossible.

Deary me. It’s hard work being a pig sometimes.

I’ll probably make it through though, Ogglers. Somehow…

Pumpkin Pie.

My, oh, my – it’s Pumpkin Pie!

Thanksgiving might be a little while off yet, but, in a few select places, Pumpkin Pie is already on the scene.

One of these places is London’s Konditor & Cook, home to those extraordinary Brownies I raved about back in June. There, for less than £3 a slice, you can nab yourselves a taste of the American institution: a Pastry crust filled with soft-set Pumpkin Custard.

In the States, of course, you can buy Pumpkin Pie all over the place. In England, however, they are sadly few and far between.

Indeed, despite hearing its praises for yonks (mainly through the medium of imported U.S. TV shows), my first opportunity for a taste of Pumpkin Pie was only a couple of years ago – at an annual market in Oxford, no less.

Alas, it didn’t live up to the hype: the Pastry was stale, and the filling almost flavourless.

Still, convinced I’d got a dud, I tried it again the next time I saw it – while on holiday to the States last November.

I was sure this one would be so much better: not only was it American-made, but it had also come from Whole Foods, the rather upmarket chain that supplied those nice vegetarian Toaster Pastries.

But, once more, I was to be disappointed.

Again, the Pie wasn’t unpleasant – it just wasn’t at all that exciting.

I’d expected unusual flavours and textures; spices flitting across my palate; a taste that epitomised Autumn. Instead, it was fairly bland – nowhere near as delicious as the homemade Pumpkin and Chocolate Cheesecake that was served on the table beside it.

At that point, I started to think I might not be a Pumpkin Pie person – that no Pumpkin Pie could come close to the one I’d been imagining for the last ten years.

So when I heard that Konditor & Cook were selling them I was intrigued, but not sure I wanted to risk further disappointment.

After some deliberation, I decided that, if I came close to one of their shops, I would probably take a look but stick with the tried and tested: a Boston Brownie or a slice of Curly Whirly Cake.

Sorted, then – until the Man bought one in his lunch break and surprised me with it at home.

I wasn’t thrilled to see it, I admit. At first glance, I was hesitant: it didn’t look spectacular. In fact, it looked a lot like the Pie from Whole Foods.

As I leaned in closer I smelt Nutmeg – a promising sign, I thought – but was reluctant to let down my guard until it was safely in my mouth.

After one bite, I was a convert.

The Pastry was soft and buttery; the filling moist and beautifully spiced. The taste of Pumpkin was in there too – though slightly obscured by the Nutmeg.

More of the pulp was detectable in the texture, which was smooth and ever so slightly fibrous.

In short, it was how I’d imagined Pumpkin Pie ought to taste: like an Egg Custard Tart, only better. Not bland, but full and aromatic.

At last I could see what the fuss was about – I just got there via a couple of wrong ‘uns.

Of course, in hindsight, it was foolish of me to write off Pumpkin Pie after only two small samples – especially when one was stale and the other shop-bought.

As all respectable Pud-Hogs know, almost nothing tastes good stale. And even the finest Cream Teas are dull when they come from a supermarket shelf.

I should not have been surprised when, as usual, fresh and handmade came up trumps.

If, like me, you’re intrigued by the concept of Pumpkin Pie, be sure to learn from my mistakes: none of that staleness or mass-market nonsense.

Head for Konditor & Cook if you’re near one – you can even buy Pumpkin Cheesecake while you’re there. All I ask is you save me a slice as a finder’s fee…

You see, I think I’m a Pumpkin Cheesecake fan, but I’ve only ever had the one.

Two more and I’ll be certain.

Cakes at the Primrose Cafe.

Last weekend, the Man and I went to Bristol, in search of new land (and new puds).

Within an hour of arriving, we spotted the Primrose Cafe, a bustling joint in the civilised suburb of Clifton.

Within thirty seconds, I’d already chosen my cake.

Described as a ‘Milk Stout and Ginger Slab’, it looked like a pudding with top Pud-Hog potential.

Milk Stout and Ginger Splodge

Indeed, not since Honey & Co’s Chocolate Loaf had I been faced with so much goo. When I came to place my order, it was so sticky and wet that it had to be scraped from its plate with two knives – contracting like a snail going into its shell.

Just the kind of thing that makes me grin.

The Man quickly saw what he fancied too: a Blueberry and Lime Cake; something rather more refined for a midday treat.

i.e. a lot less messy

Going by the rules of Chocolate Tasting, I thought I’d sample a piece of his first, leaving the stronger flavours for later. How did I know they were strong, do you ask? Because I could smell the Stouty goodness in the air, that’s how.

Anyway, back to the Blueberry and Lime.

It. Was. Delicious.

A light sponge with plenty of sweet, zingy icing. Not too sweet, mind: the smattering of Blueberries helped to tone the sugar down, livening up the texture in the process. A few more Berry bits would have been even better, but I suppose you can’t have it all…

Appetite whetted, I turned back to my own plate, preparing myself for imminent stickiness.

It certainly was a sloppy one. It might as well not have been baked, it was so wet.

Now normally, this amount of sweet sludge would have had me making a mess of my own (by which I mean a mess of dribble, in case any clarification were needed).

However, something about this ‘Slab’ wasn’t quite working out (‘Slab’ being a misnomer by the way – ‘Splodge’ would have been more like it).

I think it was the lack of different textures. There was nothing to bite down on – even the chunks of Ginger were soft and wet – and without any contrast it all felt rather flat.

On Shortbread or Pastry – or with chunks of roasted Nuts – the cake might have worked like a dream. Instead, it was more like a filling without any base; the Treacle without the Tart.

The taste was pretty monotonous too: despite smelling of Stout (a flavour that usually adds so much depth), none of it reached my taste buds through the Ginger.

It was quite full on, even for me – and that’s not a thing I say often.

On the plus side, I expect I ingested enough Stem Ginger to kill off all prospect of car sickness.

If only I’d had a car to test my theory.

Although, a second slice of Blueberry and Lime would have been much more exciting…