GBBO Bake Along: Very Messy Chocolate Cake



So it's week one of my The Great British Bake Off bake along challenge. 
This weeks showstopper challenge was baking a chocolate cake. 

I'm not the great fan of chocolate cake (please forgive me) but I knew my brother would love it. Therefore I decided to bake this cake in celebration of my brother's GCSE results.

The challenge stated they wanted a huge over the top cake, using as many different types of chocolate as possible. My attempt is definitely nothing fancy but does contain plain, milk and white chocolate, so extra points from Mary for me.

I took the opportunity to use my Ghirardelli recipe book I bought in America, along with a standard chocolate cake recipe by Martha Stewart.

Recipe
Chocolate Cake 
Recipe Found here

1 Cup        Cocoa Powder
3/4 Cup     Coffee
1 Cup        Milk
2 3/4 Cup  Plain Flour
1 tsp          Baking Powder
1/2 tsp       Salt
1 1/2 Cup  Butter
2 1/2 Cup  Sugar
1 tbsp        Vanilla Extract
4                Eggs


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 fahrenheit) then line and grease two 8" tins.

2. Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the milk and coffee, let cool.

3. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl.

4. Mix together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Add into chocolate mixture.

5. Add chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until fully combined.

6. Pour the mixture into your two tins equally.

7. Bake for 35 minutes then let cool for 1 hour on a cooling rack.


White Chocolate Filling

1 cup of whipping cream
6oz of White Chocolate


8. Start to whip the cream with an electric mixer until almost forming peaks.

9. Melt the white chocolate. Let cool.

10. Stir in the cooled white chocolate.

11. Use a pallet knife to spread onto the cake.

12. Sandwich the two cakes together.


Chocolate Icing
Found here

6oz Plain Chocolate
6oz Milk Chocolate
1 cup whipping cream


13. Melt together the plain and milk chocolate. Let cool.

14. Start whipping the cream until almost forming peaks.

15. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture.

16. Using a pallet knife, smooth over the cake as desired.



There you have it! A very messy and very chocolatey chocolate cake.

Bring on week 2!


Bake Along with The Great British Bake Off



So tonight on BBC 2 The Great British Bake Off series 4 begins!
I'm extremely excited about this and currently counting down the hours until 8pm (6 hours).

I've decided this year I'm going to do my best to bake along with the show. Each week I'll bake the 'Showstopper' from that episode, maybe with a few signature and technical bakes thrown in.

Keep your eyes peeled for my first showstopper attempt in the next few days.

On your marks, get set...bake!


What to take to University: The Full List



So just to round up this "What to take to university" series, I thought I'd consolidate the list so it's all in one place.


Bedroom
  • Bedding - Most halls have single beds. Don't forget a spare set for when you're washing the other!
  • Duvet and pillows
  • Mattress Topper - I bought an amazing mattress topper in my second year and it's the best thing I've done. Although be warned, you won't want to get out of bed and your bed will be where everyone gathers after a night out to discuss gossip.
  • Blankets - For cuddling up on the sofa whilst watching films in the living room and for when your beer jacket wears off after a night out.
  • Cushions - Every room looks more homely with a few cushions scattered on the bed.
  • Towels - Of the bath and hand variety. Also don't forget spares for when the others are in the wash.
  • Laundry Bag/Hamper - Dirty washing in the corner never looks good, plus you need some way of carrying all that washing down to the laundry.
  • Coat Hangers - Lots of people forget these! 
  • Teddy - Just because you're at university doesn't mean you have to leave behind your favourite cuddly toy. Trust me, everyone has them.
  • Sleeping Bag - Always a good idea for if you have friends come to stay.
  • Small bin - I didn't have a bin in my bathroom in halls so I bought my own.
  • Wrapping Paper - Bit of a strange one but most rooms in halls have a cork board. I covered mine in wrapping paper which made it looks much less boring and my room looked much more homely.
  • Decorative Items - Take some things to brighten up your room. I took an orchid for on my window sill, some pictures to put on my cork board and a few other bits and bobs to scatter round my room. (Take a look at Dormify on Pinterest. They have all sorts of tips on how to decorate your room.)
  • Photos from home - I made myself a photo album before I left.
  • Alarm clock - Just because you have an alarm on your phone, doesn't mean you will wake up.
  • TV - Lots of people take TV's to uni but don't forget to check about TV licenses.
  • DVDs - Take a good selection, there's always time for movie nights! 
  • Extension lead - There aren't always enough plugs in halls. Best to take an extension lead so you can watch the TV, do your hair and charge your phone all at the same time.
  • Books - I always have a few different books on my bookcase at uni. Just a few easy to read, girly books to read before bed. 
  • Hot water bottle - I love my Cath Kidston hot water bottle. You'll appreciate it if your halls get cold in the winter!
  • Door stop - Keep your door open! That way your flat mates know you're in the room and can come and say hi. Alternatively you could use a crate of beer like my flat mate.
  • Box of sweets - I took a box of haribo along with me when I first moved into halls. It's a great way to get chatting and also wins you bonus points for providing sweets.

Kitchen
  • Crockery - Bowls, Plates etc
  • Cutlery - Knives, Forks, Spoons. Take plenty, they have the tendency to disappear.
  • Glasses - Normal, Pint, Wine and Shot
  • Kettle/Toaster - These are sometimes provided and if not I'd still wait before you buy them. If you all decide to buy one you might end up with 6 toasters and 6 kettles in your kitchen. 
  • Toastie maker - Again an amazing purchase I made in second year. Everyone in my house ended up using it! We highly recommend Nutella toasties or Cheese with sweet chilli sauce. Endless possibilities.
  • Saucepans
  • Frying pan - A must have for full english breakfasts and pancakes.
  • Baking tray
  • Cupcake tray/Cake tin - We baked a lot. It's a fun and relatively cheap way to spend an evening.
  • Tin opener - Top tip: If buying new, learn how to work it before you leave. I bought a fancy new one to take to uni and no one in the flat could work out how to use it. On the plus side it was a great bonding experience.
  • Corkscrew - Wine is cheap, this will be used.
  • Bottle opener - Guys will always need one of these during pre-drinks.
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cheese grater - I have this amazing cheese grater from Ikea. Another favourite in our house.
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatular
  • Egg cup - Dippy egg and soldiers. Also great alternative to a shot glass.
  • Masher
  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Mixing Bowl - Great as a bowl for cocktails at pre-drinks
  • Scales
  • Sieve
  • Colander
  • Whisk
  • Chopping knives
  • Chopping boards
  • Tea towels
  • Washing up liquid - Bring at least one of the jumbo size bottles. You'll be fed up of buying this by the end of the year.
  • Sponges - Bring a pack or two. 
  • Tupperware - Perfect for storing left overs.
  • Sandwich bags
  • Cling film and Tin foil - I bought a massive 50m long pack of these cheap and it's still going strong 3 years later.
  • Bin bags - Again, something to stock up on.
  • Recipe Book - No point bring all this if you've got nothing to cook. My mum wrote down the recipes for some of my favourite meals at home so I could recreate them. 

Clothes

  • Casual Clothes - Those suitable for leaving the house
  • Lounge around clothes - Joggers etc for lazy days
  • Going out clothes - I'd suggest a range of skirts and tops you can mix and match.
  • Smart clothes - Suitable for a job interview. Sometimes on business courses you're required to wear smart clothes for presentations.
  • Underwear 
  • Socks
  • PJs - Take nice ones, everyone is going to see them at those lovely 3am fire alarms.
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers - Imperative for those fire alarms
  • Swimwear 
  • Gym clothes

Shoes

  • Going out shoes - Heels and cheap flats you don't mind getting dirty
  • Flip flops
  • Casual shoes
  • Waterproof shoes/Wellies - It snowed A LOT during my first year and I had no suitable shoes

Handbags

  • Night out
  • Day time
  • University bag - Big enough to fit your books/laptop etc
  • Gym bag

Fancy Dress

  • White sheet
  • School tie and white shirt
  • Any 'props' you may have (Great for Carnage nights)

                    -Nurse
                    -Barbie
                    -Emergency Services
                    -Cave woman
                    -Pirate

Skin Care
  • Cleanser - Hard work and late nights can take toll on your skin so make  sure you have a good cleanser.
  • Moisturiser - Same goes with moisturier, your skin will like you that bit more after those cocktails and late night.
  • Make up remover - Try to remember to take your make up off after a night out, no matter how tired you are.
  • Wet wipes - Taking your make up off with wet wipes is better than nothing in my opinion.
Make Up
  • Mascara
  • Eye liner
  • Eyeshadow palette - Not only great for nights out but also great for fancy dress 
  • False eyelashes 
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Blush
  • Bronzer
  • Lipstick
  • Tan mitt
  • Perfume
Hair care
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Conditioning mask
  • Dry Shampoo - If I had to recommend one thing to take to uni, this would be it.
  • Hair products - Hairspray, mousse etc
  • Heat protector - Styling your hair for those nights out will take its toll, protect your hair.
  • Hair dryer
  • Straighteners
In Shower
  • Shower gel
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Deodorant
Dental Hygiene
  • Tooth Brush
  • Tooth Paste
  • Mouth Wash
  • Floss
  • Retainer
First Aid Kit
  • Medication
  • Painkillers
  • Cold/Flu stuff - Freshers Flu will get you.
  • Antihistamines
  • Plasters
  • Gaviscon
Extras
  • 'Monthly Essentials' - Pads, Tampons, whatever your personal preference
  • Manicure set
  • Glasses/contact lenses
  • Toilet Roll - Bring as many of those jumbo packs as you can.
  • Books - Don't rush out to buy the books on your book list. Chances are they'll be in the library, save yourself the money.
  • Notebooks - Lots of them to make notes in your lectures and seminars.
Lectures
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Sharpies - good for writing on t-shirts at Carnage and t-shirt events too

  • Laptop
  • Ipad - Obviously not essential
  • Kindle - I put pdf versions of my module guides on mine
  • Highlighters
  • Dictaphone - Perfect for recording 9am lectures when you're half asleep. If you want to splash out have a look at Livescribe.
  • Memory stick

  • Rubber/Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Pencil sharpener

  • Printer - Worth buying 100%, will save you money on printing at the library. 
  • Paper
  • Ink

  • Note Cards - Great for using in presentations and revision.
  • Post it notes
  • Page markers - I prefer these to post its for marking pages.
  • Pins
  • Paper clips
  • Stapler
  • Hole punch
  • Cellotape
  • String


  • Pen pots
  • Blu-tac
  • Scissors
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Calculator - Even if you're not doing maths!
  • Spare batteries

  • Magazine files - I use these to organise all my work for each module
Boring Stuff
  • Passport Photos - I didn't need mine but every list I've read recommends them. Has anyone actually needed them?
  • Driving License
  • Any documents you may need for enrolment - read carefully
  • National Insurance Number - If you get a job you don't want to be caught out if you've left yours at home.
  • Student Finance Information - Even if you don't need it, it's nice to see when you're getting your next bit of loan through.
  • Cheque Book
  • Railcard - Lifesaver! I got my railcard free with a Natwest student account but you can also buy them here. I've saved so much money on my 200mile+ journeys too and from uni.
  • Washing Powder 
  • Fabric Softener - I went to Costco and got a huge bottle (You can always decant it). Heavy things like this are a pain to carry back from the supermarket if you run out. 
  • Change for washing machines - Best to keep some change aside for this, that way you can't spend all your change on nights out!
  • Drying Rack
  • Cleaning stuff - You'll need all this when it comes to inspections!
              -Bleach
              -Dettol
              -Anti-bacterial wipes
              -Multi-surface cleaner
  • Safety Pins
  • Sewing Kit
  • Screwdriver - You won't believe how many times I've had to use a screwdriver in 3 years
  • Cards - Ring of fire! (Best get waterproof ones)

What to take to University: The Boring/Important/Miscellaneous Stuff


  • Passport Photos - I didn't need mine but every list I've read recommends them. Has anyone actually needed them?
  • Driving License
  • Any documents you may need for enrolment - read carefully
  • National Insurance Number - If you get a job you don't want to be caught out if you've left yours at home.
  • Student Finance Information - Even if you don't need it, it's nice to see when you're getting your next bit of loan through.
  • Cheque Book
  • Railcard - Lifesaver! I got my railcard free with a Natwest student account but you can also buy them here. I've saved so much money on my 200mile+ journeys too and from uni.
  • Washing Powder 
  • Fabric Softener - I went to Costco and got a huge bottle (You can always decant it). Heavy things like this are a pain to carry back from the supermarket if you run out. 
  • Change for washing machines - Best to keep some change aside for this, that way you can't spend all your change on nights out!
  • Drying Rack
  • Cleaning stuff - You'll need all this when it comes to inspections!
              -Bleach
              -Dettol
              -Anti-bacterial wipes
              -Multi-surface cleaner
  • Safety Pins
  • Sewing Kit
  • Screwdriver - You won't believe how many times I've had to use a screwdriver in 3 years
  • Cards - Ring of fire! (Best get waterproof ones)

Meet Marzie!



I feel the need to show off my new puppy, everyone meet Marzie.
I'm in love.


Expect a lot more photos of this little bundle of fluff.

What to take to University: Lectures


  • Books - Don't rush out to buy the books on your book list. Chances are they'll be in the library, save yourself the money.
  • Notebooks - Lots of them to make notes in your lectures and seminars.

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Sharpies - good for writing on t-shirts at Carnage and t-shirt events too

  • Laptop
  • Ipad - Obviously not essential
  • Kindle - I put pdf versions of my module guides on mine
  • Highlighters
  • Dictaphone - Perfect for recording 9am lectures when you're half asleep. If you want to splash out have a look at Livescribe.
  • Memory stick

  • Rubber/Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Pencil sharpener

  • Printer - Worth buying 100%, will save you money on printing at the library. 
  • Paper
  • Ink

  • Note Cards - Great for using in presentations and revision.
  • Post it notes
  • Page markers - I prefer these to post its for marking pages.
  • Pins
  • Paper clips
  • Stapler
  • Hole punch
  • Cellotape
  • String

  • Pen pots
  • Blu-tac
  • Scissors
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Calculator - Even if you're not doing maths!
  • Spare batteries

  • Magazine files - I use these to organise all my work for each module

What to take to University: Bath and Beauty


Skin Care
  • Cleanser - Hard work and late nights can take toll on your skin so make  sure you have a good cleanser.
  • Moisturiser - Same goes with moisturier, your skin will like you that bit more after those cocktails and late night.
  • Make up remover - Try to remember to take your make up off after a night out, no matter how tired you are.
  • Wet wipes - Taking your make up off with wet wipes is better than nothing in my opinion.
Make Up
  • Mascara
  • Eye liner
  • Eyeshadow palette - Not only great for nights out but also great for fancy dress 
  • False eyelashes 
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Blush
  • Bronzer
  • Lipstick
  • Tan mitt
  • Perfume
Hair care
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Conditioning mask
  • Dry Shampoo - If I had to recommend one thing to take to uni, this would be it.
  • Hair products - Hairspray, mousse etc
  • Heat protector - Styling your hair for those nights out will take its toll, protect your hair.
  • Hair dryer
  • Straighteners
In Shower
  • Shower gel
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Deodorant
Dental Hygiene
  • Tooth Brush
  • Tooth Paste
  • Mouth Wash
  • Floss
  • Retainer
First Aid Kit
  • Medication
  • Painkillers
  • Cold/Flu stuff - Freshers Flu will get you.
  • Antihistamines
  • Plasters
  • Gaviscon
Extras
  • 'Monthly Essentials' - Pads, Tampons, whatever your personal preference
  • Manicure set
  • Glasses/contact lenses
  • Toilet Roll - Bring as many of those jumbo packs as you can.

What to take to University: Clothes


Clothes

  • Casual Clothes - Those suitable for leaving the house
  • Lounge around clothes - Joggers etc for lazy days
  • Going out clothes - I'd suggest a range of skirts and tops you can mix and match.
  • Smart clothes - Suitable for a job interview. Sometimes on business courses you're required to wear smart clothes for presentations.
  • Underwear 
  • Socks
  • PJs - Take nice ones, everyone is going to see them at those lovely 3am fire alarms.
  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers - Imperative for those fire alarms
  • Swimwear 
  • Gym clothes

Shoes

  • Going out shoes - Heels and cheap flats you don't mind getting dirty
  • Flip flops
  • Casual shoes
  • Waterproof shoes/Wellies - It snowed A LOT during my first year and I had no suitable shoes

Handbags

  • Night out
  • Day time
  • University bag - Big enough to fit your books/laptop etc
  • Gym bag

Fancy Dress

  • White sheet
  • School tie and white shirt
  • Any 'props' you may have (Great for Carnage nights)

                    -Nurse
                    -Barbie
                    -Emergency Services
                    -Cave woman
                    -Pirate

What to take to University: Halls and Bedroom



Bedroom
  • Bedding - Most halls have single beds. Don't forget a spare set for when you're washing the other!
  • Duvet and pillows
  • Mattress Topper - I bought an amazing mattress topper in my second year and it's the best thing I've done. Although be warned, you won't want to get out of bed and your bed will be where everyone gathers after a night out to discuss gossip.
  • Blankets - For cuddling up on the sofa whilst watching films in the living room and for when your beer jacket wears off after a night out.
  • Cushions - Every room looks more homely with a few cushions scattered on the bed.
  • Towels - Of the bath and hand variety. Also don't forget spares for when the others are in the wash.
  • Laundry Bag/Hamper - Dirty washing in the corner never looks good, plus you need some way of carrying all that washing down to the laundry.
  • Coat Hangers - Lots of people forget these! 
  • Teddy - Just because you're at university doesn't mean you have to leave behind your favourite cuddly toy. Trust me, everyone has them.
  • Sleeping Bag - Always a good idea for if you have friends come to stay.
  • Small bin - I didn't have a bin in my bathroom in halls so I bought my own.
  • Wrapping Paper - Bit of a strange one but most rooms in halls have a cork board. I covered mine in wrapping paper which made it looks much less boring and my room looked much more homely.
  • Decorative Items - Take some things to brighten up your room. I took an orchid for on my window sill, some pictures to put on my cork board and a few other bits and bobs to scatter round my room. (Take a look at Dormify on Pinterest. They have all sorts of tips on how to decorate your room.)
  • Photos from home - I made myself a photo album before I left.
  • Alarm clock - Just because you have an alarm on your phone, doesn't mean you will wake up.
  • TV - Lots of people take TV's to uni but don't forget to check about TV licenses.
  • DVDs - Take a good selection, there's always time for movie nights! 
  • Extension lead - There aren't always enough plugs in halls. Best to take an extension lead so you can watch the TV, do your hair and charge your phone all at the same time.
  • Books - I always have a few different books on my bookcase at uni. Just a few easy to read, girly books to read before bed. 
  • Hot water bottle - I love my Cath Kidston hot water bottle. You'll appreciate it if your halls get cold in the winter!
  • Door stop - Keep your door open! That way your flat mates know you're in the room and can come and say hi. Alternatively you could use a crate of beer like my flat mate.
  • Box of sweets - I took a box of haribo along with me when I first moved into halls. It's a great way to get chatting and also wins you bonus points for providing sweets.

Kitchen
  • Crockery - Bowls, Plates etc
  • Cutlery - Knives, Forks, Spoons. Take plenty, they have the tendency to disappear.
  • Glasses - Normal, Pint, Wine and Shot
  • Kettle/Toaster - These are sometimes provided and if not I'd still wait before you buy them. If you all decide to buy one you might end up with 6 toasters and 6 kettles in your kitchen. 
  • Toastie maker - Again an amazing purchase I made in second year. Everyone in my house ended up using it! We highly recommend Nutella toasties or Cheese with sweet chilli sauce. Endless possibilities.
  • Saucepans
  • Frying pan - A must have for full english breakfasts and pancakes.
  • Baking tray
  • Cupcake tray/Cake tin - We baked a lot. It's a fun and relatively cheap way to spend an evening.
  • Tin opener - Top tip: If buying new, learn how to work it before you leave. I bought a fancy new one to take to uni and no one in the flat could work out how to use it. On the plus side it was a great bonding experience.
  • Corkscrew - Wine is cheap, this will be used.
  • Bottle opener - Guys will always need one of these during pre-drinks.
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cheese grater - I have this amazing cheese grater from Ikea. Another favourite in our house.
  • Wooden spoon
  • Spatular
  • Egg cup - Dippy egg and soldiers. Also great alternative to a shot glass.
  • Masher
  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Mixing Bowl - Great as a bowl for cocktails at pre-drinks
  • Scales
  • Sieve
  • Colander
  • Whisk
  • Chopping knives
  • Chopping boards
  • Tea towels
  • Washing up liquid - Bring at least one of the jumbo size bottles. You'll be fed up of buying this by the end of the year.
  • Sponges - Bring a pack or two. 
  • Tupperware - Perfect for storing left overs.
  • Sandwich bags
  • Cling film and Tin foil - I bought a massive 50m long pack of these cheap and it's still going strong 3 years later.
  • Bin bags - Again, something to stock up on.
  • Recipe Book - No point bring all this if you've got nothing to cook. My mum wrote down the recipes for some of my favourite meals at home so I could recreate them. 

What to take to University Series



So over the next month I'm going to be doing a university series on my blog.
I know before I was started university I was scouring the internet for packing lists and advice on what to take away with me. 
I'll be starting my fourth and final year of university this september (sniff), so I'm going to share the products I could not have lived without.

There will be several posts including the 'must have' items for your room in halls, lectures, beauty, clothes and more.

If there are any other things you'd love to see in this series, please comment below and let me know!

Quick Links

Halls and Bedroom
Clothes
Bath and Beauty
Lectures
Boring Stuff

I'm Homeeee!



So after spending the past 2 weeks in Florida I'm back in the sunny UK. For once we can actually say that without being sarcastic! It seems like the weather has been as good at home as it was in Florida.

I spent the flight home planning some new blog posts, so keep your eyes out for those!