At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

An AUTHENTIC NEO cake (even Benny and Maisy want a wee slice... ;) )

Do you recall my much, much earlier post with the rather grand title of NEO cake, which I wrote a few months back during the summer? Now I'm not saying that I was unhappy with the cake, or anything - it was everything a good chocolate cake should be; so no problems on that score. Though it has to be said, as I published that particular post, I felt a teeny-tiny sense of guilt...why? Well, I suppose I thought the post title was a little misleading. Due to the fact that, despite being adorned with Neos on its top and sides, the actual sponge of the cake - light, chocolatey and utterly scrumptious as it was - was sadly devoid of all trace of these beautiful little biccies.
 BUT today yet another development took place in the never-ending saga of Ganache-Elf's bakery. That being, of course, the infiltration of approximately a hundred grams of Neo into a divine vanilla and chocolate marbled sponge. So yes today, I am feeling rather smug indeed. I'm just kicking myself for not having made such an attempt before now...but trying out your own recipe for the first time ever is always - for me anyway - both an exciting and extremely nerve-wracking experience. Hwat if the Neos all sank to the bottom of the sponge? Or if they all stuck to the sides and bottom of the cake tins? Or if they went hard and brittle or squidgy and soggy? The very thought of permitting my beloved Neos (for yes, as I have specified before, Oreos and any biscuit in the guise of an Oreo (J-Os, Neos, etc.) are most definitely on my top 10 list of biscuits and anything of dunking potentiality. ) to such a terrible fate makes me shudder with repulsion. So I suppose yes, I did have some sort of, erm, excuse for not endeavouring to make an AUTHENTIC NEO CAKE sooner. Anyhow, today, my stash of Neos were destinied for a somewhat more spectacular fate than just being dunked in hot choc, as I believe the pics below fully testify. ;) 

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you - those little black specks in that sponge are indeed chopped Neos. ;) I chopped them into little pieces the size of my little fingernail. Just be careful when you do this of course, for as with all culinary tasks that require knives; but also because the Neos seem to have a whole mind of their own when they are being broken up in this way. Or maybe it was just the way I was cutting them (rather tenderly, as I almost felt bad breaking up them up..) but with each chop the broken up chunk of Neo often would go halfway across my chopping board. A couple fell upon the floor, much to my disconcertation. (but not to my two little furry friends'...who saved me the trouble of picking them up, needless to say. ;)

(well they were also awaiting their dinner too as I just happened to be making my Neo Cake around doggy feeding time so hence the cow eyes and the pitiful countenances...but they weren't going to turn their noses up to a wee bit of Neo of course. ;) ) 
And so, I had finally succeeded into getting my all-time favourite biscuits actually into my baking in the very literal sense of the word. But of course, to be completely Neo-fied, another 100 g of Neos were applied to the exterior of the cake too. And so, if your Oreo (or equivelent of. ;) ) addiction is as serious as mine is, I think you are going to like this cake. So please feel free to try out the recipe for yourself as outlined below. ;) 

To make an authentic, no-nonsense NEO Cake (or even perhaps, you are using actual Oreos, so that should be OREO Cake? ;) you will need...

  • 225 g softened butter/margarine
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 225 g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp full-fat milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
  • 100 g Oreo/Neo/J-O biscuits (I used original, but of course, there is absolutely nothing to stop you from using Double Stuff, Double Choc, Vanilla, Chocolate Creme...etc/ ;) (they are all the Oreo flavours I have thus discovered so far...are there any others in existence? If so please do let me know...partially for the spreading of baking ideas amongst my readers of course...but also, of course, because Ganache-Elf would dearly love to try them out for herself. ;)

  • 200 g plain chocolate, broken into chunks.
  • 200 ml single/double cream
  • 100 g Oreos/Neos/J-Os etc. :) (This amount is a guide only...don't be shy, add more if you think more is required. :)
Method. :)

  1. First, make the sponge. Preheat the oven to 180 c/fan oven 160 c. Grease a 20 cm sandwich cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Chop 100 g of the Oreo biscuits carefully into pieces about the size of your fingernail.
  3. Put the softened butter, the sugar, baking powder, flour and eggs into a bowl. Beat well with an electric mixer until smooth and well blended. Add a few drops of water, if necessary, to create a soft dropping consistency.
  4. Transfer half of the cake batter into a separate big bowl. Sieve in 2 tbsp cocoa powder and stir in the milk. Fold gently in with a metal spoon.
  5. Add the vanilla to the plain cake batter and fold in.
  6. Distribute the chopped biscuits amongst the two different cake mixtures. I put slightly more Neo in the vanilla batter, simply because I think the black pieces against the yellowy sponge looks ever so pretty. :) )
  7. Fold the biscuit pieces in with a metal spoon. 
  8. Transfer large spoonfuls of each mixture into the prepared tins. Dot the spoonfuls alternatively around each tin until each mixture is used up completely. Then use a skewer to swirl around the surface of the uncooked sponge to create a pretty marbled effect.
  9. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes in the preheated oven until the sponge is well-risen and springs back beneath the fingertip when pressed gently on the top. If an indent is left when you do this, bake for a few minutes more before testing again.
  10. Leave in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack, peeling off the paper and leaving to cool.

  • Next, make the dark choc ganache by melting the 200g plain chocolate with 200 ml single cream, on a very low heat in a small saucepan. Stir until smooth and then refrigerate for about 1 ½ - 2 hours, checking after 1 ½ hours…you don’t want it very hard, just a nice spreadable consistency.
  • when the sponges are completely cold, place one on a plate spread a thick layer of ganache on the top. Place the other sponge on top of it and the cover its top with another layer of ganache.
  • Spread the remaining ganache around the sides of the sponges, so that the whole cake is coated in a gorgeous thick layer of chocolate ganache. ;)
  • Use the remaining 100 g (or more..) of Oreos etc. in order to ensure you have absolutely no scruples whatsoever in claiming your cake as being, well and truly, a real Oreo Cake in every sense of the word . As you can see from the pic, I scattered a load of crushed Neos on the top of my cake and then applied whole ones to the sides as well (I split them in half so that you end up with two flat black discs which more easily stick to the sides. ) And then...? get a spoon, a knife and a big, big bowl...and try to decide what is going to be the est way to eat your well-deserved slice of Oreo/Neo etc cake. Which part to tackle first...the soft sponge, to silky ganache layer, or perhaps the actualy crowning glory of Neos itself? Or maybe even you are like me and like to remove your whole Neo piece from your piece and save it till the very last. ;) Anyway, whichever way you choose to have your cake and eat it,enjoy. I feel safe enough in saying that you are going to.  ;) xxxx

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