Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cake

BBC Good FoodWhen BBC Good Food called this Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cake ‘decadent’, they really meant it! I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much money on ingredients to make a cake before, but this might just have to be one of my very own proudest bakes.

I’m not going to lie though, this wasn’t one of the easiest cakes to execute so I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who hasn’t got that much experience (especially considering how I’m away from home and had to conjure this beast up without my beloved electronic scales, absolute #nightmare)!!!

Now on to the actual recipe review. This recipe does not, I repeat, does not, need nearly as much light brown soft sugar, cocoa powder or finely chopped dark chocolate (for the ganache) as it suggests. Unless, of course, you’re hoping to live a short but happy life. 500g of sugar is just ridiculous and I’m sure I only put in about half of this and my cake turned out fine, same goes for the cocoa and chocolate.

Chocolate and Caramel Cake

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse Cake

My one disappointment with this cake was that I couldn’t taste the salted caramel. Even though the recipe overindulges in regards to the cake mixture and ganache, it leaves you having to spread across your caramel rather sparingly. More caramel is a definite must if you want to try baking this beauty. Otherwise, you will end up wasting your time patiently standing by the cooker to make sure your sugar doesn’t burn, for absolutely nothing.

Overall though, I have to say this was the ultimate guilty pleasure and it’s so enormous that I still have leftovers four days later (and it hasn’t even gone as dry as a boot yet)! It stays moist, it’s full of chocolate and double cream, and it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. If only I knew, I would’ve saved it for Easter lunch to have with friends and family (and to show off, of course). Oh well, I guess I’ll have to finish it off all on my own!

If you baked something you’re particularly proud of, tweet it @FongtasticFood with the hash-tag ‘#proudbakes‘.

Trago Lounge

(L-R) Falafels with red onion and coriander yoghurt dip, hummus with extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika, crayfish and prawns with tomato and chilli, honey glaze shredded 5 spice pork, roasted sweet potato and butternut squash with goats' cheese.

(L-R) Falafels with red onion and coriander yoghurt dip, hummus with extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika, crayfish and prawns with tomato and chilli, garlic and parsley mushrooms with smoked paprika, honey glazed shredded 5 spice pork, roasted sweet potato and butternut squash with goats’ cheese.

Trago Lounge is just one part of a large chain of cafés/bars called ‘The Lounges‘. It is the ideal place for an impromptu, upmarket meal, without having to go through all of the fuss of making a reservation, having someone constantly waiting on you and then worrying about who’s turn it is to pay the bill.

The restaurant reminds me of a smart, but friendly, gastropub with its classic leather and solid wood furniture. Just enough character has been splashed across the room to make it interesting and individual, I especially like the vintage wall hangings and large blackboard-style menus.

Opting for their signature tapas (a choice of 3 for for just £7.95), I hesitantly waited for it to arrive at my table after I was left incredibly disappointed when I first tried it on a trip to Seville, Spain, last year.

Fortunately, the UK’s take on the traditional Spanish cuisine seemed to do the trick. The six mini dishes arrived at the table looking vibrant as ever and were served with a nice helping of ciabatta bread.

On to the critique. I definitely enjoyed the hummus, pork, and mushrooms but I wasn’t too keen on the falafel or the crayfish (I’m undecided as to whether or not I liked the roasted veg because I think it could’ve done with a little bit longer in the oven!). The shredded pork was my favourite, it was beautifully tender and melted in the mouth, and you can never go wrong with garlic mushrooms. The tomato and chilli sadly overpowered the seafood and you couldn’t taste the subtle flavours of the crayfish at all and the falafel is just plain difficult to perfect so I’m sure I can find it in my heart to forgive them for that minor dry blunder.

All in all though, I honestly think the Lounge has one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat in, and the food was delicious considering how affordable it was. I will definitely be making another visit sometime soon and you should too!

The Verdict:

  • Food: 7/10
  • Service: 7/10
  • Atmosphere: 10/10
  • Value: 8.5/10
  • Overall: 8.1/10

Did you enjoy your last visit to one of the Lounges? Tweet your feedback @TheLoungers

The Terminator Speaks

Arnold Schwarzenegger

I love Thanksgiving turkey, it’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts.

Arnold SchwarzeneggerAustrian and American Former Professional Bodybuilder, Actor, Producer, Director, Businessman, Investor, and Politician.

Tate & Lyle Unveil Cake Hotel

Hand-Stitched Meringue Rug

A hand-stitched rug made of meringues.

A team of 14 cake-makers has spent almost 3,000 hours baking and decorating over 100 pieces of edible art to fill a three-storey luxury hotel in Central London.

The edible project has been set up to promote a new line of Tate & Lyle Sugars, inspired by regions from around the world. Over 600 kilograms of this sugar was then used to reflect each different region across eight separate rooms.

A pirate room contains a giant treasure chest filled with pearls and gold coins.

A pirate room contains a giant treasure chest filled with edible pearls and gold coins.

The eight tasting rooms include (from press release):

  • A Mediterranean-inspired bedroom, with edible furnishings, a caramel popcorn-filled bathtub, floating meringues and edible pearlescent popcorn bunting, all created using Light Soft Brown sugar.
  • A Pirates of the Caribbean room, with a giant treasure chest full of edible pearls, ginger spiced doubloons and cutlasses, which visitors can spray gold themselves, and rum and raisin chocolate brownies and tea cakes – all made from Taste Experience Caribbean-inspired Light Muscovado sugar.
  • A British-inspired Golden syrup sugar room, with a giant golden-syrup lion, patriotic treacle tarts in the shape of the British Isles and a giant tower of doughnuts.
  • A Mayan-inspired room hidden in the cellar featuring a Mayan fudge temple, complete with floating meringue ‘clouds’, ‘sacrificial’ salted caramel and chocolate hearts, and Mayan-inspired carved gold cookies all made from Taste Experience Mayan-inspired golden caster sugar.
  • A Mississippi-inspired ‘Mardi Gras’ room featuring a five foot long rainbow cake in the traditional colours of green, yellow & purple, gold baby heads and of course King Cakes.
  • A Barbados-inspired library, with edible shells, and beautiful hand-painted cookies, fruit cakes and florentines showcased as museum features inside vintage glass jars, all made from Barbados inspired Dark Muscovado sugar.
  • A Guyanese-inspired room, complete with a sea turtle cake, and cake ‘turtle eggs’ buried in mounds of Demerara sugar.
  • A South Pacific-inspired room with a huge two metre high Easter Island statue, made entirely from chocolate mud cake baked using Golden Granulated sugar.
Giant edible sculptures include a 2-metre long vanilla sponge turtle cake.

Giant edible sculptures include a 2-metre long vanilla sponge turtle cake.

In the Barbados-inspired library, edible shells line the shelves.

In the Barbados-inspired library, edible shells line the shelves.

James Whiteley, Tate & Lyle Sugars Senior Brand Manager said: “We think the cake hotel perfectly captures the excitement, inspiration and expertise behind the creation of our new range of golden and brown cane sugars. The Taste Experience range is about more than just adding sweetness; it’s about subtle flavour differences, texture and appearance. We hope that through the cake hotel we can showcase the versatility of golden and brown cane sugars and inspire people to get creative in the kitchen.”

The Soho-based hotel is open from now until Wednesday, March 27. For bookings, tweet @welovebaking saying why you want to stay over in the first cake hotel, including the hash-tag ‘#TastingHouse‘.

For more information, please contact Mischief PR at Tate&Lyle@MischiefPR.com

Carrot and Coriander Soup

BBC Good FoodFollowing on from Jay Leno‘s quote about soup not being considered a real meal, I decided I had to put it to the test by following this BBC Good Food recipe for a very traditional Carrot and Coriander Soup.

As the recipe only really contains the most basic of ingredients, (a few carrots, a potato, and an onion), you would expect the soup to end up being really bland and boring but this couldn’t be further from the truth!

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Carrot and Coriander Soup

The soup was jam-packed with flavour and it was actually quite filling! I’m not going to lie though, I had to have some garlic bread with it, because like Jay Leno, I’m not a big believer in having just soup for dinner. For a second though, I might have been convinced…

The soup was absolutely delicious but I still think I would have preferred it as a starter before sitting down to a nice full plate of steak and chips. Or something like that.

I promise I’ll keep trying though, watch this space for Butternut Squash Soup, Pea and Mint Soup, Tomato Soup, and many, many more.

PS: If you don’t have a nice big fresh crusty loaf on hand to soak up the goodness, you should try this last-minute tip on how to make your own garlic bread:

If you know of any other wholesome soups that might tempt me away from “real” dinners, please tweet them @FongtasticFood