Experiments in Baking

This is a post by Archive

Hello there!

This is the first post that I’ve written for the Cult, but as we are the Cult of Tea and Dice and a slice of cake goes perfectly with a mug of tea, I thought I should share some of the baking that we’ve done.

First to be discussed is the cake I made for the beginning of the last Cthulhu campaign that Mawdrigen ran for us. You can see that he is sitting on Cthulhu’s wing, and the players are all wrapped in tentacles. I wanted to go for something fairly simple, so I went with a “Hello Cthulhu” style approach that I’d used previously.

Cthulhu
Cthulhu

Cthulhu is made from ready-to-roll fondant icing which I dyed green by kneading in a small amount of food colouring. His eyes are white fondant icing and his pupils are chocolate chips. The cultists were also cut from fondant icing, and then decorated with squeezy tubes of coloured icing. The decorations were stuck to the cake by dabbing them with water.

The cake itself was also very simple. I took the chocolate fudge cake recipe from the BBC Good Food website. This is a cake you can easily throw together in an evening without really thinking about it. I wanted something quick so I could make and ice the cake in one evening, leaving the few hours before the cult meeting the following day to make the decorations.

200g dark chocolate
200g butter
200g light brown sugar
100ml water
100ml sour cream
2 eggs, beaten
200g self raising flour
5 tbsp cocoa powder

The chocolate, butter, sugar and water were placed in a large saucepan and heated with occasional stirring until everything was melted and smooth. It was then removed from the heat and allowed to cool for 2 minutes. The sour cream was added and mixed in, then the eggs. The flour and cocoa were then stirred into the mixture. It was then transferred to a greased 20cm round cake tin (this is probably a little bit smaller than ideal, but it’s the size I had available), and baked at 160oC for 50 minutes.

For the icing, I deviated from the BBC Good Food recipe. I can’t remember the precise details, but I melted some dark chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. I then played about with adding icing sugar, cocoa powder and water to this until I had something of the right volume and consistency to cover the cake.

The same chocolate fudge cake recipe was used for the cake that Hardwick and I made for the Game of Thrones campaign. This was based on a remark that our House symbol should be a squid with an axe in its head, because we just hate the Iron Islanders that much.

Squid
Squid

The squid was made with fondant icing and decorated with squeezy icing. Hardwick came up with the rather excellent scheme of squidging all the tentacles slightly so they were a bit more 3D than those of Cthulhu. We made the axe with gingerbread.

75g light brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
95g butter
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g plain flour

The sugar, golden syrup, black treacle, water, cinnamon and ginger were placed in a saucepan. This mixture was brought to the boil while stirring, then removed from the heat. The butter was cut into cubes and added, the bicarbonate of soda was added, and finally the plain flour was gradually stirred in. The resulting dough was left to cool for 30 minutes then rolled out to about 3mm thick and cut into axe shapes. These were cooked on baking paper at 180oC for 10-15 minutes.

When the axes were cooled, we used melted white and dark chocolate to decorate the blades and the handles. Chocolate sprinkles were also added to the handles before the melted chocolate on these had set. Although we only actually used on axe in the cake, we wanted a spare in case of disaster.

We carefully cut slots into the cake, matching up to where the blade and the handle of the axe would rest. There was a little bit of trial and error involved here, but we did manage to get the axe standing upright in the cake. This step was carried out at Cult Headquarters so we wouldn’t have to transport the cake afterwards. We then added some blood (blue squeezy icing) around the wound and dripping from his tentacles.

Finally, I recently recreated my first Cthulhu cake I made to bring to my last Cult gathering before Christmas! This is an orangey cake, adapted from a Victoria sponge recipe and covered in chocolate. As above, Cthulhu and his hat were made with fondant icing.

Christmas Cthulhu
Christmas Cthulhu

3 large eggs, weighed in their shells
The same weight of butter
The same weight of caster sugar
The same weight of self raising flour
1 large orange, zest and juice
1 tsp baking powder
40g dark chocolate chips
40g white chocolate chips
1 Bramley apple, peeled and chopped
100g dried apricots, chopped
150g dark chocolate cake covering

The butter and sugar were creamed together until pale and fluffy, then the eggs were beaten in one at a time. The flour, orange zest, and baking powder were folded in, followed by the chocolate chips. At this point I also added a few drops of red and yellow food colouring to give the cake a suitably monstrous orange glow. The cake was cooked in two greased 20cm sandwich tins for 25 minutes at 180oC.

The apple and apricots were placed in a saucepan with the orange juice and heated with regular stirring until soft and squishy. The fruit was then pulverised with a whizzy stick (AKA a hand blender). Depending on how sweet the apple is, you might want to add a little sugar at this point. I’d added a little extra water during the initial simmering stage, so I kept heating it a little longer until this had evaporated and I was left with a thick, sticky gloop.

When the cake had cooled it was assembled, with the gloop spread between the two sponges. The chocolate cake covering was melted and spread over the top, then this was left to set before decorating.

The first time I made this cake was so long ago that I pretty much made the recipe here up based on what I remembered and a few Victoria sponge recipes I found on the internet. I think if I made it again, I’d probably use less sugar in the cake mix, and maybe more than one orange.

Anyway, this has been a lot of wittering about cake, so probably best to stop here and let some people talk about tea or dice instead!

One Response to “Experiments in Baking”

  1. bloodied Says:

    I can confirm that all of Archive’s cakes are paragons of deliciousness. Also, guess who’s who on that first cake…

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