My self publishing journey

It’s taken me a while to write this. Not really knowing how to start or what to write; there are no bakes, no recipes. Just a plain old story, my, plain old story. So here goes…

Of course, I couldn’t continue without a picture of my gluten free cookbook 😀 available here – Cakes by Noah | LOVINGLY MADE & GLUTEN FREE

I guess there is a lot of procrastinating that goes on when you choose to make a decision to write a cookbook. When shall I start? How many recipes shall I create and write, who takes the photos, who will read it and what will they think? How do I go about designing the layout when all I have is Office 365 and I can barely write a letter!! And as I progressed there were a whole bunch of questions I hadn’t even thought of!!

But as you can tell – spoiler alert – I wrote the book – I started the process.

Way back, in what now seems a lifetime ago, in 2018, I made the conscious decision to go ahead and start compiling the recipes at the start of the New Year – 2019. It seemed like a good place to start; a new year and a fresh start. Although I had started to make some head way a few years before, the magnitude of the task back then was too much. I got bored of writing and really had done no research what so ever as to the size of the task – my mind then, was not up to the task, so what ever recipes I did have meant nothing and I started from fresh.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, every recipe I have developed over the past 9 years of starting Cakes by Noah, are all in several notebooks, but are not in a form I can use and besides, I feel they represent the journey as does the blog. The blog. Yes. What should I do with it? Do I keep it? On the later, yes I am keeping it for now. It shows the journey, it shows where I have come from, it shows Noah’s story and the progress he is making and continues to make as he grows older. There are still lots of people out there to hear and read the story, people that are still struggling silently, unaware of the help and support out there.

Its not the fanciest of blogs and websites, I don’t think I ever wanted it to be. I don’t have the time or relentless energy to keep it updated as some, perhaps more professional bloggers can and do. Its hard enough keeping a full time job and managing and loving our little growing family 🙂

The book, yes, the book.

The mind was set and the story can re-start. In fact the layout of the finished cookbook begins to tell the story itself, as the first few recipes were the ones that pretty much chose themselves. The ones that were Noah’s favourites! But what next and where to begin? I think then at that point I think I then needed to decide what the book was going to be and who it was for. Have I got that right? Who knows. But the original working title of the cookbook, was something like ‘Back to Basics – Gluten Free Baking by Cakes by Noah’. A gluten free cookbook that gives the cook and reader a base to start from. Some basic recipes – pastry, choux pastry and Victoria Sponge, then some traditional bakes like Bakewell Tart, Brownies and Flapjacks and so on. It was also important for me to share, again, Our Story. How we came to this point and the pain we suffered. I felt I had a platform – albeit a small platform – so I felt I need to use it wisely. Plus some insight to ingredients and some more sage words of wisdom.

Cakes by Noah Cookbook – behind the scenes

So the recipes slowly but surely began to get written up and the photos (literally hundreds of them and dozens of the same cake and bake) were patiently taken. A little shout out to Jane from @LoveYourLens – whose food photo workshop I had attended at least a year before. At the workshop it became fastly evident that back then I had some work to do, I knew that, and quickly understood that the little camera I had a) wasn’t up to the task and b) I could do so much more with my phone camera!! I have continued to shoot all my photos on my phone camera. I get better with each shot, but to be honest I do get impatient. After all its a cake! There are some great photographers out there, who take some really inspiring shots, but to get a photo done between getting up and going to work, you take what time you have and do your best. So ‘thank you’ Jane for letting me think just a little bit more about the shot and make my time more effective 🙂

So yes, the photos in the book were all taken by the camera on my phone – a Samsung, something or other. Which only became a small problem when it came to printing and design… The photo studio was floor by the back door, a stool to prop up the backdrops and as much natural light as was available. And that was another small hurdle that had to be overcome. The clue was in when I decided to start making and baking the recipes – January – when light was at a premium and I was working during the day! So very quickly, after some negotiating…. I had to make and shoot the recipes over the weekends. No ‘lets order in all the ingredients and do all the recipes in a week’ here. Oh no, knowing that this was a self funding project, one with no agent or publisher and with little or no budget, it was all done with the weekly shop! The first 4 months of weekends of 2019 were taken up testing, cooking, shooting and writing up recipes. I think the neighbours did pretty well over those months with the excess cakes and bakes – nothing was wasted!

And so the book, slowly began to take shape and it was time to do a little more research on publishing. There is quite a bit on line on self publishing and indeed getting a book published, but not very much on publishing a cookbook. Advice varies, but the strong piece of advice was to get an agent and publisher. For which I needed a vast amount of followers; a reasonably large and established social media presence…. Hurdle 1 through 99… More research established that (and this won’t come as a surprise) I needed an editor – someone with a grasp of the English language and associated grammar…. So with as much of a manuscript (I can call it that at this point – sounds very professional) as I had at that point, I sent it over to my little sister who has some relevant qualification, to have a read and make some grammatical amends. This took a while – as she too had a full time role as a mum to Noah’s cousin – life just gets in the way and that is the wonder of this story. There really was no specific time line, no deadlines to meet. OK I had set myself some timelines and deadlines (each failed to hit by the way) but I never shared these with any one. For my sister, I was just grateful for the time.

Duly edited, corrected and saved – I think I had saved 4 separate copies in various files – almost losing the lot at one point and to this day I have no idea how, my heart fell that day make no mistake!! I was still several recipes short of what I felt I needed. I had done some homework that alluded to the fact that, in order to have a spine on the book it needed to be thick enough, which decreed it needed more content. So further baking and photo’ing was required.

Next on the list, how can I make this into a book? A publishable, printable cookbook, that is worth reading. More research revealed I needed a degree in graphic design!! Which I don’t have and knew no one who did. I started asking around…. now baring in mind I had pretty much no budget… quotes were wild – from the crazy to the ridiculous. But I found someone through a chance discussion, someone with a quote that made sense and one I finely knew I had to dig deep and put some money where my mouth was. If this project was to go anywhere, if it was really going to happen, it needed the investment to make it happen. So Sam H, who as part of the initial quote, created a cover design that made me feel confident to progress further with – thank you 🙂

We are now pretty much 16 months down the line from making the conscious decision to weigh the first ingredient and bake the first bake – The Gluten Free Caramel Shortbread. We now need to through into the mix Lockdown and Covid-19… There was a brief moment where I needed to now press ‘pause’. So close; the manuscript was ready to get its design makeover, ready to make a word document into the makings of a cookbook. But with the prospect of no money coming in, it wasn’t really practical to go forward. And then this new word appeared; ‘Furlough’.. I called Sam and we were back on again. But there were now new questions, layout, content, design, colour, shape etc… And I think at this point – I had no idea. I hadn’t really thought this far and I had to put a certain amount of trust in Sam to come up with the goods. I’m glad I did. Feedback has been really positive.

So next on the list – physically publishing the cookbook. More research. And rewind back a couple of years to a conversation I had with Val Stones – Great British Bake Off contestant, who has herself written a cookbook. I just asked for some advice on publishing and Val was fantastic. We had a great discussion via the DMs on Twitter, she was incredibly helpful and the insight in her journey as a writer was incredibly useful. Now in a position to recall some of this conversation, I needed to make a call as to how many book I was going to get printed! Its like a ‘million dollar’ question. How many is enough? I really had no idea. One thing for sure it wasn’t going to be the levels that Val had produced! I just didn’t have that kind of following, but I did need to be able cover the costs at the very least. So I set about finding a UK based company that could print a book! Again wild differences in cost and the mere ability to print to requirements. Then came new questions – book size. Who knew there were so many choices! And taking a look at your own bookshelf will show you, that actually there really is no format for this sort of thing. Its almost anything goes.

Another step back for a moment. What did I want from the cookbook in the end? What I wanted for for those suffering from Coeliac Disease, or those suffering from a gluten intolerance was for them to be able to cook for themselves. To be able to cook simple, honest and traditional cakes and bakes that most people were enjoying without even having to think about it. Baking made as simple as I could make it, not over complicated and yet easy to read and understand. A cookbook that just sits on a website or as an eBook waiting to be bought as and when required. No pressure; it’s there when you want it. So when it came to choosing a book size that would go to print….! And now a spot of advice – have this discussion with your designer in the beginning. Sam had been designing to A4, so we went with A4. Simple really, plus, A4 fits nicely through most letterboxes in the UK! Yet something else to be considered – postage and packaging. This would also have to be managed from the home office – no warehouse distribution centre here! Just the Kitchen/Diner. Just as an aside, I did consider other print on demand services, like Ingramspark, but they just didn’t fit well with me and my situation. There were other costs and payments that again, didn’t fit.

Manuscript – graphic designer = tick

Designed layout – printer = tick – Mixam

There were a couple of other things to consider around this point. Its all very well writing recipes and then getting that text grammatically corrected. But does it actually makes sense? To me; of course it made sense, but I am more than aware that what makes sense to you does not always make sense to someone else. its all down to the interpretation of the text. So once the book had been graphically designed and the layout agreed, it needed a small army of close family (that could be trusted… :)) to proof read the recipes and content. This could possibly have been done before sending to the designer but, hey ho. It would take a few more weeks to get this turned around and amended before finally being in a position to send to the printer for printing. And then it comes to Amazon..

Gluten free Victoria Sponge – Cakes by Noah

Getting the book to the printer was a massive step, a huge piece of work done and a proud moment. Another slightly tricky bit was to follow. What did I want from Amazon? Well an eBook for sure, again keeping it simple. But now I had a print-on-demand solution as well to put in the mix. So whilst the cookbook was being printed and delivered we worked on the e-solution. Using Kindle Direct Publishing does take a little getting to used to, but its not insurmountable. The programme they use to upload a book for eBook/Kindle reading is fairly easy to use and with hindsight I think we could have designed the eBook slightly differently to use up less memory; easier to read and upload. But the e-reader now gets the same book whether in eBook or hard copy. And then there is the option to use have eBook as a print-on-demand solution. To cut a very long story short, we ditched this solution. Its an exacting solution and required too many tweaks and amends to cut the eBook into the required Amazon standard. The other reason for ditching this solution is that Amazon does take a very hefty cut! I would have almost been paying Amazon to print the book! Plus it would have ended up more expensive to purchase than physical book I now had had delivered! Coincidently we had ordered a cookbook on Amazon via what would have been the print-on-demand solution for this particular author, only to discover how the delivered product did not live up to expectation….

Website solutions in order to actually sell the book…. With Amazon now set up and ready to go; how do I sell, safely, the hard copy? Again there are various solution on line and all have their varying costs, but I did actually already have the solution at hand. I just needed to work out how to do. As many readers and visitors to the site will profess, its not perhaps the brightest and most inviting of websites/blogs – it does what it needs to do and that is to give you the reader what you need. Its functional and no-frills. None of the long winded wording and back story to each ingredient (that I completely understand the need for, for the professional blogger – its how they earn their living), mainly because I still haven’t got to grips with all of the functionality of the blog admin. I blame time… This was the platform to safely and easily sell the hard copy. In the end, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, but then, it never is. Just have a go, what’s the worst that can happen??

Book delivered, eBook ready to go, print-on-demand ditched; it was time to think about a publishing date and for no other reason than a date as close to my birthday as I could think – October 2nd 2020. Happy near-birthday to me! Books were ordered in the run up to the date and since; personally put in envelopes, personally hand written addresses and personally queued at the Post Office to have them then hand delivered to you by your Postie through your own letterbox. A unique and friendly personal service, to all parts of the UK, Europe, USA and beyond. And now with an added donation from each sale of the cookbook to Coeliac UK, supporting the work they do.


So what next? Who knows. I’ll take suggestions. I continue to try different things, to explore new cakes and bakes, to boldly go where no gluten free baker has gone before. Spread the word..

Gluten free Viennese Whirls

Hold your breath, I’m going in!

It’s been a while since my last post; which almost feels like a confession! 

 

I’ve toyed with the idea of a summary of 2020, but I think most people probably want to see the back of last year and want to look forward to what the future may hold. I would though like to take a minute to thank all those who have purchased my gluten free cookbook (still available on this site if you haven’t bought yours yet!).  As I think I’ve said before; I don’t think I ever set out to write a cookbook.  It certainly took way longer than I thought; and I enjoyed every minute of it.  A huge learning curve and one I may write about in a subsequent post.  Its said everyone has a book in them, but do they have the time or inclination?

Do we have two books in us……?

I have not stopped creating recipes though; they may not becoming as thick and fast as to when I started this blog about 6 years ago, but the enthusiasm for recreating everyday bakes into gluten free alternatives is still there.  After all, I have something like 6 notebooks worth of recipes; some work, some need work and some won’t be tried again!  Now is certainly the time to look at revisiting some of the contents within those pages.

And so here is one of those recipes. Possibly not on top of everyone’s to bake list, but they are relatively easy to make and bake.  I really don’t like complicated.  Oh and to help a recent conversation, are they ‘swirls’ or ‘whirls’?  I’ve included 2 photos to give you a couple of ideas of how to finish your bake prior to cooking; larger biscuits dipped in chocolate or smaller ones; stuck together with jam and buttercream.  I’ll let you decide.  You could also flavour you base mix with lemon or orange rind or add in some cinnamon or similar spice.  Or just keep them plain and simple.

As with other recipe creations, swopping out ‘normal’ flour for gluten free flour does not always work.  The flour acts very differently.  Traditional Viennese biscuits have equal quantities of fat and flour, not here.  In fact this is the 4th iteration of this recipe and as I started to write this post, I changed the ratios again to get a firmer spiral once piped.  Needless to say swopping one for another, initially just gave me a tasty puddle of biscuit.  The sacrifices I make to create a tasty bake for you 🙂

Enough of the waffle.

190g soft butter

1/3rd teaspoon Xanthan Gum

180g Rice Flour

60g Cornflour

50g Icing Sugar

I used a stand mixer for this, but you can equally use and hand held electric whisk or beat by hand with a wooden spoon. You’ll need a piping bag and either a star nozzle or 1M nozzle to pipe with. Remember that the finished mix/paste will be quite stiff to pipe.  So your piping nozzle only needs to stick out of the bag a little bit – just enough for the nozzle to pipe out. Too far out and the mixture in the bag will be forced out along with the nozzle, as you need a little more pressure squeezing the bag to pipe than say, piping buttercream.

Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and prepare your piping bag. We’ll turn the oven on in a bit.

Place all the ingredients into the mixing bowl, bring the mix together first (so as not to create a dust cloud) before beating well for a minute or 2 to combine all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. 

Fill your piping bag with half the mixture. Too much in the bag and it’ll be difficult to pipe and you’ll possibly burst the piping bag.  It will also be easier to control the piping.  Dependant on how you want your finished biscuits, either pipe in small swirls around 4 – 5cm wide or larger ‘swishes’ if you want a larger biscuit. If a larger biscuit you should get around 15 biscuits, or c30 smaller ones.

Place the piped biscuits in the fridge to firm up, for around 30 minutes. Now you can pre-heat your oven to Gas 5/190c/170c fan.

Once ready, place the trays in the oven 1 at a time on the bottom shelf and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a light golden brown.  Remove from the oven to cool completely before even thinking of removing from the tray.  They will cool quite well without placing onto a cooling rack.

 

Once completely cool (best over night) – the biscuits will firm up – either dip in melted chocolate (c200g of your chosen chocolate) or sandwich with buttercream (50g soft butter/100g icing sugar), jam or curd or just eat them plain.

And I’ve just realised I’ve piped the jam and buttercream the same as the Jammie Dodgers. My last recipe on the blog…. 

Thank you too, to those who continue to support me through the purchase of my cookbook and to those who make a contribution to Cakes by Noah (via the blog), it’s all very much appreciated. X

 

A new normal

I’ll try and not make a habit of this; a blog post!

I know it’s been a while and I thank those who have been visiting the site over the last few months. Whilst the World is on pause for a while, whilst a solution or solutions are being sort for the virus, there have been a lot of people searching the internet for recipes. Baking at home has become a new normal for most across the world. I hope those that have visited this site have something that has inspired them or has been useful. After all, that’s what I set out to do. I hope to be able to continue to provide something for you, for as long as I can.

I also feel fortunate enough to have been able to source ingredients. I know some people have been having difficulties and now, some 10 weeks or so since lockdown began in the UK, groceries across the country are beginning to appear more regularly in supermarkets. So hopefully you will be able to recreate these recipes once again very soon. And if not, the page isn’t going anywhere; so when you can, you’re welcome back any time.

If you feel you can afford to buy me a coffee, to contribute to the site, please do so via the ‘contribute’ page. It will be very much appreciated.

And I’m not one for these long intro’s into a recipe, on the why’s and wherefores of mixing it this way or that, that ingredient over that or any such dribble, that no one really wants to read… just give me the ingredients and recipe.  But while i’ve got you………

An actual crisp biscuit that is gluten free! It took a couple of goes but I got there in the end. Especially after the first go had no vanilla essence in!

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5, 180c fan, 200c and line 2 or 3 Swiss roll trays with greaseproof paper

50g soft butter

60g caster sugar

1 medium egg

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

150g rice flour

50g gluten free plain flour (if your flour contains xanthan gum, DO NOT add any more)

half a level teaspoon of xanthan gum (only if it’s NOT in the flour)

1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

For the buttercream;

60g soft butter

130g icing sugar

splash of milk to make it pipe-able

80g raspberry jam ( or your favourite jam)

Simply beat the butter and the sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk until, light and fluffy, no more than a minute. Then add the egg and the vanilla and continue to beat until you have a smooth batter.

Sift in the gluten free plain flour, rice flour, bicarb and xanthan (if using) then using a spatula just mix this in until all the flours etc are fully mixed and the mixture forms a soft, ‘pastry’ dough ball.  Using your hands continue to bring together by ‘kneading’ for a few moments. You can’t really over work this dough, but it will help in the rolling out and keep it from crumbling.

Leave the dough for about 10 minutes in the fridge to firm up.

Remove the dough from the fridge and using a scattering of gluten free flour on your kitchen surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a one pound coin (2 – 3mm).

Then, using a specific jammie dodger cutter, or similar 5cm flutted cutter, cut out roughly 36 – 40 discs, placing them on the lined baking trays in rows of 4. You will need to gather up the remaining dough, bring it together again into  a ball and re-roll, in order to get the desired amount of biscuits.

Then using a smaller cutter ( a small heart shaped cutter that allows for the jam to be seen, once the biscuits are assembled) cut out the middle of half the biscuits. One will form the base the other the top.

Place one tray in the fridge and place one in the oven to cook for 6 – 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool; then repeat with the second tray and cook that for 6 – 7 minutes as well. Allow both trays to cool and you can start to make the buttercream.

Beat the butter with the icing sugar until you have a smooth paste. At this stage you could also flavour the buttercream; I’ll leave that up to you.

Once the biscuits are completely cooled, and using a piping bag filled with the buttercream, pipe a ring of buttercream on the half of the biscuits without the hole in the top.

Then with a couple of teaspoons, place in the middle of the ring, the raspberry jam. Top with the ‘holey’ biscuit and you’re done. You should have around 18 biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No time like the present..

You may need to take a seat. 😀

And, yes, there is a recipe attached to this post!

I thought it about time to both update and and write a new recipe.  As you will have noticed from some of my social media posts recently, it’s been a difficult couple of months and you begin to see things through a different lens. You pull together, close in and heal each other. Share the pain, the grief and the sorrow. You also turn the corners and build each other up; you become a little stronger.  But it does give you time to reflect.

The Book? Yes, well. Who knew these tings could take so long!? Probably a lot of people. It’s been an interesting journey and I can safely say that I have written the recipes and taken the photos. The manuscript is in some semblance of order and I think I’m fairly happy with the end result. The next steps are to find a graphic designer (that doesn’t cost the earth!) to create a new document that can be turned into something that can be published. A little exciting ? Yes, I guess it is 😀

Back to the recipe. A lovely cake (if I do say so) and made in 3 stages. Look to make the jam first, so it cools and so that you have time to enjoy the sweet smell of the raspberries cooking. Then the simplicity of the lemon sponge, followed by the making of the rather light and refreshing Cheesecake frosting.  All in, and quite mornings’ project. Ideal for anytime or even for Mother’s Day or even Easter.

Plus I’m now writing this in a pair of glasses being held together with Gorilla Glue. Because time is of the essence, 😂

Begin by making the jam;  place 250g of raspberries into a large enough solid base saucepan, with 200g granulated sugar. Place over a low heat to slowly dissolve the sugar and use a potato masher or fork, to crush the raspberries into a pulp.  Stirring as you go with a spatula, bring to a slow boil, turn up the heat and fast boil for about 4 minutes – keep stirring so the jam doesn’t stick to the base and burn. After 4 minutes turn off the heat and allow to cool in the pan. Put this to one side for now.

Preheat the oven to 160c fan/180c/Gas Mark 4 and line 3 x 7” cake tins with greaseproof paper.

5 eggs

230g sunflower oil

250g caster sugar

zest of 3 lemons

300g gluten free self raising flour

Place all the ingredients into a large enough mixing bowl and whisk (using an electric whisk or stand mixer with a whisk attachment) until light and fluffy and well combined – about 2/3 minutes. Remember to scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl half way though whisking.

Stop the machine and divide the cake batter between the 3 cake tins, place into the preheated oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before removing from the tin tins and lacing on a wire rack until required.

For the cheesecake frosting:

360g full fat cream cheese

210ml double cream

juice of 1 of the lemons

150g lemon curd

Additional raspberries for decoration

Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until firm and pipable. You won’t be piping but it’s a good indicator  of firmness in texture.

To assemble the cake, place one sponge on your cake plate, smoother with half of the raspberry jam, place a second cake on top and cover this with the  remaining jam. Taking your cheesecake frosting, cover the tops and sides of the cake, as in the photo. For the lemon curd drizzle, place the lemon curd into a small microwaveable container and  just warm it through, on full power, in 2 short power bursts of 10 seconds.  Then either using a disposable piping bag or spoon, drizzle the top and sides and slightly the cover the top of the cake as shown.

Finish with the additional raspberries, place in the fridge for at least an hour or so before serving. Serve within a couple of days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten free Spiced Chocolate Cake

Here is one I made earlier.

After another fantastic Foodies Festival appearance, its about time the recipe for the cake got written. So without further ado and much waffle…..

For the dehydrated orange –

2 oranges sliced approximately to 4mm thick

For the Truffle balls –

200g dark chocolate broken into small pieces

180ml double or whipping cream

20ml mulled wine

40g cocoa

For the cake –

5 eggs

240g vegetable oil

240g caster sugar

280g gluten free self raising flour

40g Food Thoughts Cocoa

2 teaspoons orange essence

1 teaspoon baking powder

30ml water

For the buttercream –

150g soft butter

35g Food Thoughts cocoa

270g icing sugar

approx 30ml mulled wine

for the chocolate filling –

140g dark chocolate broken into small pieces

100ml double of whipping cream

Planning is key here as the oranges will take at least 3 hours to dry out in a typical oven. Pre heat the oven to cool, so around 90c in a fan assisted oven.

Once you have sliced the oranges into slices, place them onto a greaseproof lined baking sheets, large enough to accommodate all of the orange slices, placed together, but not on top of each other. Allowing for the heat to get around them. Place into the pre heated oven for 1 and a half hours, before turning the slices over and returning to the oven for a further 90 minutes, or until completely dry. Remove from the oven to cool and finish drying out. Leave to one side.

To make the truffle mix, place the cream (double cream will give you a thicker, richer texture; whilst whipping cream will be lighter) into a large enough saucepan and place the chocolate pieces into a glass bowl. Gently bring the cream to a simmer, stirring occasionally so as stop the cream catching and burning. Once the cream is simmering, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave this for about 30 seconds to allow the chocolate to start to melt. Then stir so as to melt the chocolate and create a thick chocolate sauce. Add the mulled wine and stir to combine all the ingredients. Once cool enough place into the fridge to set.

Once set, remove the truffle from the fridge and roll into balls, using a teaspoon as a guide for size. Once made, roll the balls in the cocoa and place back in the fridge to set further.

For the cake.

Preheat the oven to gas 4/180c/160c fan and line 3 x 7” cake tins.

Place all the cake ingredients into a large enough bowl (I used a stand mixer) and whisk it altogether for about 3 to 4 minutes until you have an amazing cake batter, ready to pour into the 3 cake tins. Place into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, before removing from the tins and placing on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Whilst cooling, you can make the filling. As for the truffle mix, heat the cream to a simmer and pour over the broken chocolate pieces, leave for 30 seconds again before stirring to combine the cream and chocolate and then add in the mulled wine.

 

You can also begin to make the buttercream. By adding the cocoa and icing sugar and mulled wine to the butter in a large enough mixing bowl and beating to a smooth paste. Scrap the sides of the bowl once and beat again for a couple of minutes.

To assemble, place one of the cakes on the cake board/cake stand and pour over half of the sauce, top with a 2nd cake, pour the remaining sauce over and then top with the 3rd cake.

Cover the cake sides and top with the buttercream and using a fork create the look as per the photo. As you would when making a Yule Log.

Decorate as you please using the truffle balls and dehydrated oranges (and an indoor sparkler if you want)