Raspberry & White Chocolate French Toast

I was once a weekendless soul.  I'd lie and convince myself that time off through the week was worth much more than a measly weekend but when I thought no one was looking I would gaze at those who sit in their dressing gowns, drinking endless cups of tea and reading the weekend supplements with pure envy, deeply wishing I could be among them.  Now, thanks to the shop, I am!  I am now the person sitting in her dressing gown, cuddling cats and struggling through the times crossword.  Even better, I can now bathe in the sanctity that is the Sunday breakfast.  Something special you couldn't possibly have during the week, something time consuming and ridiculously indulgent.  

This raspberry and white chocolate french toast certainly ticks all of the above boxes.  Delicious, sinful and highly calorific.  Perfect for the first Sunday of Autumn.

Raspberry & White Chocolate French Toast
(adapted from Martha Stewart)

3 large free range eggs
100ml milk
Juice of 1/2 an orange
Zest of 1 small lemon
1tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Butter for frying
100g good quality white chocolate, melted over a pan of simmering water
Handful of raspberries
Whisk together eggs, milk, juice, vanilla, zest, syrup and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Melt a knob of butter in a non stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Dip one slice of bread in mixture and allow to soak for 20 seconds, pressing the dry side like a sponge to allow it to suck up the mixture. Place slice dipped side down in the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. While frying, spread a layer of melted white chocolate on the top side of the bread and place a small handful of raspberries over the chocolate. Dip another slice of bread in mixture and press the dry side gently to soak up the mixture. Sandwich this slice over the raspberries, dipped side facing up and press down to seal sandwich together slightly. Carefully flip over and fry the other side of the sandwich for the same amount of time, until golden brown. Repeat with remaining slices of bread, adding another tbsp of butter to the pan for each sandwich. Serve immediately, dusted with a light coat of icing sugar.

GBBO Showstoppers: Chess Board Cake

Oh blog dearest, how I have missed you.  First of all allow me to explain my absence.  If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you'll understand why I have been so darned quiet. For the last few month I've been the busiest I have ever been in my whole life.  I opened a cake shop named Pet Lamb in the heart of Newcastle with my best friend and partner in crime, this would be enough to keep any normal person occupied but not me.  While pouring all of my heart and soul into my fledgling business I have also been spending every second I had away from the shop writing my book.  To say it's been tough would be a massive understatement but I battled through and I made it through to the other side.  My manuscript is now in the hands of my publishing house and the shop is thriving and growing every day.  I am a very lucky girl indeed!

Now, onto the main event, cake!  You'd think that being a baker by trade I'd be sick of the sight of sponge, I'm not.  Not even slightly, if anything the shop is pushing us harder to keep coming up with new and fresh ideas.  When I was asked if I'd like to receive a copy of the new GBBO Showstoppers book I jumped at the chance.  Show stopping cakes are just what I need for some delicious inspiration.  Upon my first flick through the book this Chess Board Cake caught my eye.  It looked so impressive and so complex but reading through the recipe I was surprised at the simplicity behind it.  

This is the perfect conversation piece that will have people gasping with delight.  Take this darling to a party and you'll have everyone believing your a baking extraordinaire.  Only you will know how simple it really is.

Chess Board Cake
(From GBBO Showstoppers)

350g butter, at room temperature
350g caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla
6 eggs
350g self raising flour
pinch of salt
50g cocoa powder
4 tbs milk

300g Dark Chocolate
300g Whipping Cream
Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C and line 3 eight inch pans with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together for several minutes until creamy.

Add the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.

Sift in the flour and salt and fold by hand to combine. Put half the batter in a separate bowl and sift in the cocoa powder and two tablespoons of the milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons of milk in the vanilla batter.

Put the two batters into separate piping bags. Pipe a ring of chocolate around the outside of two of the tins, then pipe a ring of vanilla. Keep alternating until the pans are full. In the third pan start with the vanilla first.

Bake for 22-25 minutes (12-15 minutes for a small cake). Run a knife around the edge of the cakes and invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the ganache heat the cream until near boiling and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Leave for a few minutes then fold the mixture until all of the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy.  Leave to cool until spreadable and use to fill and frost your cake.
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