Moist Rich Indulgent (MRI) Cake

Moist Rich Indulgent (MRI) Cake

In which I post a really late cake...

Apologies for further lack of tea - reviews will be coming next week I promise :)

MRI Cake

2 years ago, just as I had started this blog*, I had to go to a departmental barbecue and they asked people to make cakes - this is what I did!

*before I posted regularly.

The Cake

  • I used a simple sponge recipe to make two 9" round chocolate cakes. 
  • I used a round cookie cutter to remove the centre of one of the cakes.
  • I stuck the cakes together with jam.
  • I used ready roll icing to cover the cake pushing it down around the edges.
  • And trimmed the icing to make a hole and give it nice edges.
  • I then made a scanner bed out of icing.
  • And put the correct writing onto the 'scanner'.

2012 in Review & New Year's Resolutions

In which I look back on a year (ish) of blogging and look ahead to 2013...

That Was The Year That Was!

Firstly WordPress have provided this nice summary of my year in blogging: http://tinkertailorsoldiersponge.com/2012/annual-report

So this is my first proper year of blogging (I posted a few things before but wasn't really regular at all). It's been a lot of fun and I'm definitely here to stay :) I've managed the majority of my 3,000 odd views this year :)

Let the summarising commence!


I've messed about with Linux and Windows. I upgraded to Windows 8 and enjoyed it (it hasn't pissed me off yet!). I've also spent a fair amount of time learning $latex LaTeX$.


The main event was Project Thor which was a lot of fun and helped keep me in shape.


I didn't do much in the way of Airsoft this year :(


Due to foolishly agreeing to bake a cake for every CAOS rehearsal in order to become Social Secretary I have baked a lot of cakes this year. Also there was the annual Pudding Party!


I've had a placement at AstraZeneca which has been very useful and is still on going. I've also started looking into PostDoc options.


I reviewed a board game based on a TV show you might just have heard of. I also made an advent calendar full of alternative Christmas songs :)


I drank lots of tea and so it was a good year :)

I got featured on http://www.reddit.com/r/tea/ which was awesome! This is thanks to the Great British Tea Test 2012 :)

On to 2013!

Having survived the apocalypse let's have a few New Year's Resolutions:


I'll keep tinkering. No particular promises here but expect some more $latex LaTeX$ and Linux stuff along with anything interesting I find out :)


  • There will be some cryptic updates to Project 0 soon!
  • ManSSAGO is hosting the Manchester 2013 Cartoon Rally in February which I intend to have a costume for (I'm thinking Inspector Gadget).
  • Project Reynolds has a slight delay due to the party being moved back. This Project will be finished by mid-February.
  • I intend to get down to 13 stone for Project Reynolds and then down to 12½ stone by October.
  • There will be more sotumes later in the year :)


  • I will definitely airsoft more next year!
  • There will be some site reviews!


I'm 'contractually obliged' to make cakes until March sometime once a week so expect more cake making. It'll give me an excuse to use my new Mason Cash mixing bowl and silicon utensils :D


  • I'll finish my placement at AZ.
  • I will get a paper written (and hopefully published).
  • I will collect all of the data!
  • I will probably decide on PostDocs/future plans.


I'm expecting to get the following things* to review next year:

*I should go on KickStarter less!


Armed with my trusty new leaf tea, teapot and a new review style I will continue to drink lots of tea!

Tom Out!

Vanilla & Chocolate Cheesecake

In which a vanilla and chocolate cheesecake is made ahead of tea testing...

Obviously tea testing requires suitable cake (someone else was already making scones for it) so a decadent cheesecake was required :)


  • 175g caster sugar
  • 450g cream cheese
  • vanilla pod
  • 75ml lemon juice
  • 175ml crème fraiche
  • 625ml double cream
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 25g butter
  • 12 dark chocolate HobNobs


  1. Crush your biscuits of choice (HobNobs :D ) with a rolling pin.
  2. Melt butter.
  3. Mix.
  4. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch cake tin.
  5. Chill in fridge while preparing filling.
  6. Cut the vanilla pod open and scrape out the seeds.
  7. Mix the sugar, cream cheese and vanilla seeds together.
  8. Whisk lemon juice, 475 ml cream and crème fraiche until they form soft peaks.
  9. Fold the mixtures together.
  10. Melt dark chocolate into remaining cream.
  11. Cool until you can make a trail with it.
  12. Put a third of the cheese mix into the base.
  13. Swirl chocolate mix on top.
  14. Repeat until all the filling has been used.
  15. Use a sharp knife/long cocktail stick to swirl the mixtures together.
  16. Chill for approx 5 hours (I did overnight).
  17. Enjoy!

Tom Out!

P.S. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/11296/gordons-cheesecake

Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake

In which I make a ridonculously chocolaty cake from a possibly recognisable children's book...

I'm sure many of you will have read/seen Matilda by Roald Dahl. There is a famous scene in which Bruce Bogtrotter having stolen some of the Trunchbull's personal cake is forced to eat an entire chocolate cake.

Luckily Gary Rhodes (you know that TV chef you haven't seen in a while) wrote a recipe book called Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes which tells you how to bake a slightly smaller version of the cake.*

*The cake in the book is "fully eighteen inches in diameter". The original recipe makes a 9" cake so I doubled the ingredients and made it twice as high!


  • 450g plain dark chocolate
  • 350g butter
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 120g self raising flour
  • 12 eggs (separated)


  • 450g plain dark chocolate
  • 450ml double cream


Mixing choc and butter

  • Melt the chocolate and butter together.
  • Allow to cool (so it doesn't cook the eggs).
  • Mix in sugar, flour and egg yolks.

Stiff peaks in the egg whites

  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.

Mixing the eggs into the chocolate

  • Fold half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
  • Fold in the other half until just combined.
  • Grease two 9-inch (21 cm) cake tins.
  • Bake at 150°C for 35-45 minutes (keep checking with a knife and don't burn it!)
  • Leave to cool on a rack while you make the icing.
  • To make the icing simply melt the chocolate into the cream over a low heat.
  • Leave the icing to cool (~2 hours unless you speed it up in a fridge)
  • Ice the cake (you should have around half an inch of coverage all over)
  • Serve
Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake

Tom Out!

P.S. Pudding party pics to follow!

Christmas Puddings

In which stir-up Sunday comes early and on the wrong day of the week...

Although I realise stir-up Sunday is later than this week (and that I made these on a Monday night), it is always good to make your puddings early so that you can top them up with lots of of brandy (feeding the pudding.) Also I always used to make Christmas puddings on Remembrance Day with my school choir.

My mum has always made the best Christmas pudding (as far as i'm concerned) and here is the recipe. This recipe is designed for a Slow cooker.

Apologies to members of CAOS expecting a recipe for tonight's cake but the recipe for mincemeat tart is:

  1. Obtain mincemeat and pastry.
  2. Place pastry in dish.
  3. Fill with mincemeat.
  4. Bake.

UPDATE: Mincemeat tarts came out like this :)

Mincemeat Tart


  • 50g plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 100g currants
  • 100g sultanas
  • 100g raisins
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 100g shredded suet
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g fine white breadcrumbs
  • 50g chopped blanched almonds*
  • grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2x15ml spoons black treacle
  • 1x15ml spoon brandy
  •  a little stout/ale or milk for mixing†

*The nuts are really important, it's what makes this pudding that bit better than anyone elses :P

†I change the stout every year, this year I went for Marston's Oyster Stout


  • Put basins in a slow cooker and pour 1 pint of hot water around them.
  • Heat on high for 1 hour then low for 12 hours or alternatively on high for 7 hours.
  • To reheat heat on high for 3 hours.

In the slowcooker

Almost done!

It's double recipe week this week as on Thursday there is the World Famous ManSSAGO Pudding Party!* Stay tuned on Thursday for the desserts and the recipe!

*May not be actually famous worldwide!

Tom Out!

Regular 4-sided polygons flavoured with the seed of Theobroma cacao (aka Brownies)

In which I bake brownies and try to imitate the inimitable Wade...

On Sunday I tasted a brownie and it was good. I asked Wade for the recipe. For those who have never enjoyed a Wade email (he was ManSSAGO secretary) I will try to write this in a similar way to this wonderful worldly wordy wordsmith!

Culinary Necessities (some optional)*

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
  • 200g self raising flour
  • an arbitrary amount of cocoa (1-2 tbsp)

*The chef points out that this recipe scales linearly if you want more or less of it

Mostly Non-arbitrary Techniques to Employ in Some Form of List-like Order


  • Apply heat in a manner which causes gentle merging of constituent parts (Melt)
  • Enjoy in an olfactory manner
  • Agitate (whisk) the ovoid ovums (eggs)
  • Mix in the chocolate ecstasy (allow to cool first, you don't want to cook the eggs)
  • Sieve in ground wheat (flour) and the seed of Theobroma cacao (cocoa)
  • Fold it in
  • Apply grease resistant flat tree matter (greaseproof paper) to a containment device (It's a TRAY!)
  • Chuck in the oven at an arbitrary place on the Celsius scale (~200°C)
  • Allow the passage of multiple time units (30-40 mins) until stodgy (knife not entirely clean when stabbed through)
  • Let it return to near room temp


  • Enjoy with your sense of gustatory perception

Remember, Remember

On the subject of verbose verbiage we're only a day late for one of the best speeches ever:

"Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villian by the vicissitudes of Fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a by-gone vexation, stands vivified and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengence; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V."

Tom Out!

P.S. V for Vendetta: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta_(film)

Red Velvet Cake

In which I shamelessly bow to the whims of the masses (one person who replied) and make red velvet cake.


  • 650g butter
  • 650g caster sugar
  • 10  eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 650g self raising flour
  • 75g cocoa powder
  • 70ml red food colouring
  • 300g icing sugar [icing]†
  • 500g butter [icing]†
  • blue food colouring [icing]†

†I generally just make the icing by eye so these aren't accurate measurements.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together.*
  3. Beat in a ⅓ of the eggs, a ⅓ of the flour and the vanilla essence.
  4. Beat in the second third of eggs and flour.
  5. Beat in the cocoa and remaining eggs and flour.
  6. Add the food colouring.
  7. Mix thoroughly. 
  8. Grease two 9'' round cake tins.
  9. Place half the mixture in each tin.
  10. Bake for 1 hr 15 mins (use your judgement mine took a little longer).
  11. Leave to cool on a wire rack.


  1. Cream the icing sugar and butter together.
  2. Add blue food colouring.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Iced red velvet cake
  5. Apply liberally to your cake.
  6. The red velvet cake cut to show the colours
  7. Enjoy :)

*You will need a LARGE bowl!

Tom Out!

P.S. Based on: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/three-tier_red_velvet_17795

Pumpkin Pie

This week I bought many pumpkins and made pumpkin pie :DDue to the cheapness of ASDA pumpkins (2 for £2) this week I bought 12 pumpkins (mostly for carving!).


  • 1lb prepared pumpkin flesh
  • 3 oz brown sugar
  • 1 large eggs plus one yolk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 10 fl oz double cream
  • sweet short crust pastry case*

*Yes I had to cheat this week and get ready-made


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  2. To make the filling, steam the pumpkin then place in a coarse sieve and press lightly to extract any excess water.
  3. Whisk the eggs and extra yolk together in a large bowl.
  4. Place the sugar, spices and the cream in a pan.
  5. Bring to simmering point
  6. Give it a whisk to mix everything together.
  7. Pour it over the eggs and whisk it again briefly.
  8. Now add the pumpkin pureé.
  9. Whisk to combine everything thoroughly.
  10. Pour the filling into your pastry case and bake for 35-40 minutes.
  11. Leave to cool

The Finished Article

Sadly this week I made my icing way too runny but here's a picture I took last time I got this right :)

Giant Party Ring

Giant party rings! This week in metric!


  • 90g butter
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar*
  • 1 medium egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • approx. 150g icing sugar
  • food colourings of your choice

*I used brown sugar because it was all I had and that worked pretty well :)


  1. Cream butter and sugar together.
  2. Add egg and vanilla essence.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Sieve flour into mixture.
  5. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Add flour if dough is too sticky.
  7. Wrap dough in foil and leave in fridge for an hour.
  8. Preheat oven to ~ 180°C
  9. Roll dough out into a large round shape (pizza trays are a good size guide).
  10. Cut a hexagonal hole out of the centre (yes, hexagonal!).
  11. Use any spare dough to make smaller and smaller party rings.
  12. Bake for ~ 30 mins.
  13. Leave to cool


  1. Sieve icing sugar into bowl.
  2. Add food colouring.
  3. Add a small amount of water (be very careful or you're going to need a whole kilo of icing sugar to make it less runny!)
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Use the back of a spoon to cover your biscuit.
  6. Make up another colour of icing.
  7. Use knife to place it in lines across the biscuit.
  8. Use you knife to draw out the lines into a party ring pattern.

The Finished Article

Sadly this week I made my icing way too runny but here's a picture I took last time I got this right :)

Wilkinson Family Fruitcake

My Grandma's old fruit cake recipe - simple and tasty!


  • 16 oz (450 g) self raising flour
  • 8 oz (225 g) caster sugar
  • 8 oz (225 g) margarine
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 24 oz (675 g) mixed fruit
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) Mixed spice
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla essence
  • Milk

*This makes a double sized cake suitable for feeding the Choir & Orchestra. Half these quantities for a normal loaf tin :)


  1. Preheat oven to ~160°C
  2. Sieve the flour and mixed spice together into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Melt marge in a saucepan.
  6. Add to dry ingredients.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Add vanilla essence and eggs.
  9. Mix thoroughly.
  10. Add milk if necessary to achieve a good consistency.
  11. Place in a large, greased loaf tin.
  12. Bake for ~2 hours.*

*You'll need to use your skill and judgement depending on your own oven. I tend to check after 90 minutes and adjust times accordingly.

Wilkinson Family Fruitcake
Wilkinson Family Fruitcake

Tom Out!

Giant Jaffa Cake


  • 12 oz self raising flour*
  • 12 oz caster sugar
  • 12 oz margarine/unsalted butter
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 2 packs orange jelly
  • 1 pint water
  • 300g chocolate


  1. Cream the sugar and marge together in a big bowl
  2. Add in the flour and eggs slowly.
  3. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Bake in a frying pan at 180°C for ~30 minutes (or until cooked through)
  5. Leave to cool.
  6. Dissolve two packets jelly in ½ pint boiling water.
  7. Make up jelly to 1 pint by adding ½ pint cold water.
  8. Leave to cool in a small bowl (pick one the correct size and shape for a good jaffa cake look).
  9. Carefully slide a knife around of the jelly and then upturn on top of your cake base.
  10. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (small ceramic/glass bowl in a saucepan of hot water).
  11. Coat the (top of the) cake in chocolate.
  12. Allow to cool
  13. Apply a pattern in any remaining chocolate to the top.
  14. Jaffa Cake from above
  15. Allow to cool.
  16. Enjoy :D

*The original recipe said that baking powder was required then their cake overflowed. It really isn't required.

Tom Out!

P.S. Original recipe: http://www.pimpthatsnack.com/project/332/

Decadent Chocolate Ginger Torte!

Happy Weekend! Here's a cake recipe!

This is my adaptation of a chocolate torte recipe to make it even yummier (just add ginger).*


  • 250 g Dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 568 ml (pint) double cream
  • a handful of glacé ginger
  • as much ground cinnamon as you can handle :p
  • coca powder (for dusting)


  1. Break the chocolate into a bain-marie along with the golden syrup and about a third of the cream.
  2. Heat over a low heat until melted (~15 mins).
  3. Wait for the chocolate to cool to 'just warm' (I forgot to do this so it didn't work out as well as hoped).
  4. While the chocolate cools put the remaining cream, the cinnamon and ginger in a bowl and whisk until the cream takes a few seconds to lose its shape.
  5. Mized mizture
  6. Fold the chocolate mixture into the cream.
  7. Mixture in the tin
  8. Pour the mixture into a cake tin and allow to set in the fridge (I had to use the freezer because I messed up the earlier step).
  9. Torte frozen and cut into a heart shape
  10. Dust with cocoa.
  11. Decadent Ginger Chocolate Torte
  12. Serve :)

Tom out!

*Apologies to people who don't like ginger - you won't find this tasty.

P.S. The original recipe: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1357/decadent-chocolate-truffle-torte