Thursday, 25 September 2014

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

OK. Forgot I made these but had to share. They're basically everything cake should be. Recipe taken from the Hummingbird Bakery (obvs).

Chewy brownie topped with cheesecake (really basic don't let that put you off) and topped with whipped cream with raspebrry (again reeeeally easy).

So basically they look fab with not much effort. Really worth making. They are quite sweet though, so as nice as they are you wouldn't be wanting more than one!

Also worth noting it's quite tricky to get the timing just right so that you bake the brownie enough while not burning the cheesecake. I found baking them at a slightly lower temperature than specified and for longer worked better in my really hot oven.



Peanut Butter Blondies

It's been a while... sorry!

Anyway, work have been doing their own version of the 'Great British Bake Off' recently. For my entry into this prestigious event I decided to make a take on blondies. I was originally going to plum for regular brownies (as who doesn't LOVE those?) but decided to be a bit more adventurous and so made these. They're chewy, buttery, chocolatey, nutty pieces of heaven. Think it may have been a slight tactical error however as not everyone really loves peanuts!

I do think they turned out really well, and can't tell you how easy they were to make :)

The recipe I used was from Series 2 of Channel 4's Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard. (recipe can be found on-line).



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Saturday, 31 August 2013

Rainford Show 2013

After coming second last year I thought I might be in with a chance this time... Alas, it was not meant to be as I didn't even get placed! :( The category I chose was Carrot Cake. As is usual there was no info as to how you should interpret this so it was left to the baker to interpret wisely. I, it seems, did not! Tray bake! 

I used my trusty and massively well tested Hummingbird recipe but in hindsight I probably should have used a more traditional one. 

Anyway here's my effort, and pictures of the winners too! 


I originally wanted to to cover the whole cake with frosting but I got tired and just did the top. I actually think it looked quite lovely like this, though definitely not my best carrot cake offering.


It took keen precision to get those layers equal! Cue scales


The village hall.


The carrot cakes. 


1st Place.


2nd Place.


3rd Place.


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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cranberry and Pistachio Cake

Something a bit different created for a coffee and catch up with a friend. Not something I'd usually try as it seemed a bit faffy but it paid off. Some really wonderful flavours and looked pretty too.




The flavours are definitely not the usual due to the large amount of ground pistachio and orange blossom water in the icing but don't be put off! This is wonderfully moist and satisfying cake. 

Recipe 

Ingredients

  • 8oz/225g very soft unsalted butter
  • 8oz/225g caster sugar
  • 5 medium free-range/organic eggs, at room temperature
  • 6oz/185g plain flour, sifted
  • 4oz/115g unsalted pistachios, finely ground
  • 4oz/115g dried cranberries
  • 2tbsp orange flower water
  • Grated orange zest   
  • Butter for greasing tin

For the icing

  • 4oz/115g white icing sugar, sifted
  • Flat tspn butter
  • 2 tbsp orange flower water

To decorate

  • 1 tbsp whole pistachios
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

Grease a deep cake tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.

Separate eggs and put the whites in a spotlessly, grease-free bowl and put the yolks into a heatproof bowl (this is the start of the faffiness).

Place the bowl with the yolks over a pan of hot water (not boiling); whisk with an electric hand whisk until they pale, thick, foamy and the mix falls back into the bowl leaving a ribbon-like trail. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water otherwise you’ll end up with cooked egg.

Remove bowl from the pan and whisk for a few minutes more until cold, otherwise if it is too hot it will melt the creamed butter.

Combine the thickened eggs into the creamed butter and then gently fold in the flour, ground pistachios, cranberries, grated orange zest and orange flower water.

Whisk the egg whites until firm but not stiff. Add a large dollop of whites into the cake mix and stir to slacken. With a large metal spoon, gently fold in the rest of the whites in 3 batches. When thoroughly combined, spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin, level mix making a small dip in the centre so it rises evenly. Bake for about 1 to 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (check after an hour). If the cake looks as if it’s browning too quickly, cover with either a piece of foil or some greaseproof paper.

Remove the cake from the oven, put the tin on a wire cooling rack and leave for 5 minutes before unmoulding the cake. Leave it to cool completely before icing.

Icing:

Put all icing ingredients into a small pan. Heat gently and stir until smooth and the butter has melted. If the icing is stiff add a little water. Pour the warm icing over the cake.

Crush pistachios, sprinkle over cake and dot with cranberries.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Peppa Pig Cake

So for my little girls 2nd birthday it was decided she would be getting a Peppa Pig cake. She's obsessed so seemed the obvious choice!

Good strong Madeira cake needed for this. I used one featured on Lindy's cakes (just google Lindy's Madeira cake). It's definitely the best Madeira cake recipe I've found and works fantastically for celebration cake making. If you want more details just PM me. Word of warning about the recipe though, you NEED to add the glycerine to stop it going dry and a couple of days standing time will help with the moistness too.
I layered mine with raspberry jam and buttercream. Add lots.


A good layer of well whipped butter cream before the fondant goes on. 


And then I forgot to take more pics but here it is!

 

I just coloured ready rolled fondant / royal icing to what I needed and cut out to Peppa shapes. A few ready made flowers and there you go! I did use a tappit set for the lettering with some flowering paste / gum paste which was fiddly too. Oh and a cake polisher is essential for getting a more professional finish! 

Oh and I might have sprayed with shimmer too! Got a bit carried away...

 







She loved it :) x








Lemon drizzle cake

Here's a pic of a lemon drizzle came I did recently (Hummingbird). A little 'bowed' around the sides but tasted good, though could have done with more lemony syrup throughout the sponge.


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Lavender Shortbread

Here's some shortbread biscuits I decided to do as a last minute idea for a teachers present. I had absolutely no time left to run to the shops but did notice an abundance of lavender in my garden and butter in my fridge!







They couldn't have been easier and when wrapped up in some brown paper and ribbon they looked just lovely. Far better than anything I could have bought last minute in Tesco! 

All butter Lavender Shortbread

Ingredients

  • sprigs lavender (no flowers)
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 150 grams butter
  • 75 grams caster sugar (extra for sprinkling)
  • 200 grams plain flour

Method

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Cakes 2012

For the past three years I've been making Delia's classic Christmas Cake. This year I did the same, only I made 4 individual ones instead of one big one. The intention being to put them in some hampers I've made this year.

As usual, all the ingredients for this sturdy cake are quite costly. Lots of bags of dried fruits, spices and sugars doesn't actually come that cheap (and that's before you add in the good brandy) but it's totally worth it. Every year I've done these they've never failed to impressed and the homemade element of something at Christmas is something you can't buy.

I will say though, this year didn't quite go to plan, as this cakes relies heavily on a trust worthy oven and lots of faith, given my very un-reliable beast of an oven I had a few complications... The first cake I made, I placed in the oven for the specified 4 hours at the temp Delia suggested - burnt to an absolute crisp. She suggests not even looking at it until at least 3 and a half hours have passed, I would certainly suggest otherwise and perhaps taking a wee peek at about 2.5 hours in. Also, I can't stress enough how important wrapping your cake in brown paper before it goes into the oven is, especially on the top of the cake. This protects it from the prolonged heat.
Anyway, after disaster no.1 (very annoying when you consider I havent changed my method with this the past three times!) I made the cake again and only cooked it for 3 hours. It was a lot lighter in colour than previous years but I found that actually, the taste of the fruit it much nicer this way so it's something I may continue.

So, I used a large square tin, baked, fed it brandy for 4 weeks then divided into four individual cakes. Covered in marzipan (mmmmm) and then royal icing. Wrapped in brown paper with a pretty bow.
(also, with the remains of the previous burnt cake I managed to use the very middle to make a couple of mini mini ones too)


Then I put them into some mini hampers :)




Sunday, 28 October 2012

Halloween Cheesecake

I made this for a Halloween party yesterday (a daytime, lunch thing for the kids mainly!). It's a basic vanilla cheesecake with some dark chocolate on top made to look like a spiderweb (?). Not sure it's exactly my best work but tasted gooood!
Also, this recipe contains gelatin, something I find a little hard to gauge. The recipe stated to use 4 'sheets' but all I had were packets. I did as the packet said and dissolved the packet in 1pint of water and used about a quarter of this, think in hindsight could have made it a little more concentrated though to help make the cheesecake a bit more stable. Will put the recipe up on here shorty with this fact added!





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Monday, 22 October 2012

Anniversary Three Tier Coffee and Walnut Cake

I went to my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary at the weekend, 50th!! Hadn't a clue what to buy though and certainly couldn't afford anything gold related, so decided to make my aunts favourite, coffee cake, instead!

I only have one picture if it in it's tin as she didn't want to cut into it at the party. In her words 'I'm having this cake to myself at home!'. So I'm hoping it all worked out and she like it :)
I did an adaptation of a Nigella coffee cake which I've done before. It's great, though you might want to lower the caffeine if you intend to give this one to the kids!


The Recipe:

Ingredients

For the sponge
75 gram(s) walnuts (pieces)
337 gram(s) caster sugar
337 gram(s) unsalted butter (soft (plus some for greasing))
300 gram(s) plain flour
6 teaspoon(s) espresso coffee
3 1/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon(s) bicarbonate of soda
6 medium eggs
3 tablespoon(s) milk
For the buttercream frosting
525 gram(s) icing sugar
260 gram(s) unsalted butter (softened)
3 1/4 teaspoon(s) espresso coffee
1 1/2 tablespoon(s) water (boiling)
40 gram(s) walnuts (crushed)
20g dark chocolate shavings

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
Butter the 3 sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.
Put the walnut pieces and sugar into a food processor and blitz to a fine nutty powder.
Add the 337g butter, flour, 6 teaspoons espresso powder, baking powder, bicarb and eggs and process to a smooth batter.
Add the milk, while still mixing to loosen the cake mixture: it should be a soft, dropping consistency. (If you are making this by hand, bash the nuts to a coarse powder with a rolling pin and mix with the dry ingredients; then cream the butter and sugar together, and beat in the dry ingredients and eggs alternately and, finally, the milk.)
Divide the mixture between the 3 lined tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy to the touch.
Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking parchment.
When the sponges are cool, you can make the buttercream.
I find this best to do using a hand-held mixer rather than a food processor, though you can obviously do both or even by hand. Place the icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and add the soft butter, mix with thoroughly with the electric mixer until smooth and lump free.
Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 2 tablespoons boiling water and add it while still hot to the bowl, mixing to blend into the buttercream. Mix for a good 5 minutes at least to get it nice and fluffy.
Place 1 sponge upside down on your cake stand or serving plate.
Spread with some of the icing; then place on it the second sponge, right side up and cover the top with more icing placing the last sponge on top. Now carefully spatula the remaining icing onto the sides of the cake and on top. This can be a little tricky, especially if you're cake is quite crumbly (which mine was) but don't worry if you gets crumbs of cake in the mix, your chopped walnuts and chocolate will hopefully cover this.
Now sprinkle with the chopped walnuts and chocolate.

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Monday, 15 October 2012

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

As part of pregnancy number three (omg) I've occasionally craved salty sweet things. (See the post from the other week about the Snickers cupcakes!!) So, I saw the recipe for these, with their heaps of cocoa and peanut butter and thought these seemed about right!

They included some interesting ingredients too, like marshmallow 'Fluff'. Weird stuff... Tastes nice but really couldn't think of what you'd use it for generally!


Mmm bad bad ingredients...






The 'pie' bit was a mix of egg, melted butter, flour, cocoa, natural yoghurt, bicarbonate and peanut butter. The filling was butter, icing sugar, marshmallow 'fluff' and peanut butter. Naughty? Much?

The recipe is from a certain book I like, can you guess? If not, pm for it!

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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Breakfast bars

I've just made these ready for a week of, as Nigella puts it, breakfast on the hoof. And for William's lunch boxes too :)

They couldn't be simpler, you just mix a warmed tin of condensed milk with 250g rolled oats, and lots of your favourite berries, nuts and seeds. Bake for one hour, et voila!








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Location:Home sweet home

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Lucy's Christening

It was my little girls Christening today so I made 22 (should have been 24...!) cupcakes to place on the table at dinner. I plumped for the same as my little boy's Christening, vanilla and jam. They turned out well, and looked soo pretty.









The recipe:
Was a basic vanilla sponge recipe but using lots of rapeseed oil as opposed to butter (see recipes).
Filled with smooth strawberry jam, topped with basic butter cream (a la Hummingbird) whipped for aaaages! Topped with a pre-bought rice paper rose (was going for speed here!)

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Location:Rainford

Friday, 5 October 2012

Cake trip!

So I was working from London today. On the way down this morning I saw my favourite bakery post a link to their 'daily special' on Twitter. It was a Snickers peanut butter cupcake. YUM. (have a massive thing for salty sweetness at the min) So on my way back to Euston I made a mad dash to grab a couple! I'm blaming the pregnancy hormones... :P



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Location:London, Wardour Street, Soho

Monday, 24 September 2012

Carrot cake

Here's what's left of a carrot cake I made last week for a colleague's birthday at work. It was an absolutely massive affair but still got devoured in it's entirety. So guess it must've been good! I've made this one a lot before and it never fails (so long as you get the frosting right and whip it enough), it's from you guessed it... The Hummingbird bakery cookbook.



Sorry this is the only pic I have!

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Location:BBC Media City