Saturday, 14 March 2015

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake

Finally, a post which is sweet, but not a cake. I am challenging myself this year, to at the very least, not bake a cake so often and explore other sweet bakes. This is the first of a non-cake sweet bake: Rum and Raisin Cheesecake. If my memory is correct, this cheesecake was made by Jo Wheatley from Season 2 of The Great British Bake Off. I loved the combination of rum and raisins in-cooperated in a luxurious, rich and delicious cheesecake. This recipe has been on my bake list for 3 years (I know its such a long time), so one lazy Saturday, I had a sudden change of heart and instead of making my usual chocolate cake, I decided on making this cheesecake. 
I feel as though I have slightly robbed myself as making a cheesecake was incredibly easy and for relative simpleness, the results are beautiful. I loved the slight ferociousness that the rum brought to this cheesecake, alongside the sweet and plump raisins, made this a wonderful dessert. I had to tear my way from the cheesecake after the third slice .......
Here is how my Rum and Raisin Cheesecake turned out:
Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake in the making. 

Rum and Raisin Cheesecake baked.
Recipe for Rum and Raisin Cheesecake.

Serves 6 -8
10 digestive biscuits
50g unsalted butter,  melted
600g full fat cream cheese
2 tbsp plain flour
175g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
285ml soured cream
40g large raisins,  soaked overnight in 2tbsp rum,  then drained.

1 x 20.5cm spring clip tin,  greased;  a baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Crush the biscuits in a food processor,  then mix with the butter.  Press onto the base and halfway up the sides of the prepared tin. Bake for 5 minutes,  then cool.
Using an electric mixer on low speed,  beat the cream cheese with the flour,  sugar,  vanilla,  eggs,  egg yolk and half the soured cream until thoroughly combined.  Don't let the mixture becomes frothy as this will spoil the creamy, even texture of the cheesecake. Stir in the raisins reserving a few for decoration,  if you like. 
Pour the mixture into the tin on top of the biscuit base. Set the tin on the baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes. Stir the remaining soured cream,  then carefully pour it over the top of the cheesecake. The top will still be fragile so if you need to spread the soured cream,  do this gently.  Bake for a further 15 minute or until the cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in the centre.
Remove from the oven and run a round bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cheesecake. Leave to cool in the tin,  then cover and chill overnight before unmoulding for serving and scattering with the reserved raisins. 

I am sharing this recipe to a couple of blogging challenges, the first from Ness at JibberJabber this months theme is It's In The Book  and I was very inspired by the Great British Bake Off Book. 

I'm also sharing this with Jac from Tinned Tomatoes who hosts a monthly challenge Bookmarked Recipes , this months these is vegetarian and vegan bookmarked recipes. 

Dom from Belleau Kitchen  who is hosting a new monthly challenge called Simply Eggcellent, this month's theme is just to use a recipe that contains free-range eggs, which my cheesecake does, so qualifies.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Oat and Raisin biscuits.

Fancy a healthy take on biscuits? Well my oat and raisin biscuits are a lovely healthy (ish) treat away from the usual full fat goodies that are available at this time of the year. This is a really simple biscuit mixture and perfect for kiddiewinkles to make.
Here is how my oat and raisin biscuits turned out:

Ingredients for oat ans raisin biscuits
Makes 30
125g unsalted butter, softened
150g light brown muscovado sugar
1 large free-range egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
100g self-raising flour
75g raisins
150g porridge oats
(I added a tablespoon of coco powder)

1-2 baking tray greased.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until pale and fluffy in texture. In another bowl beat the egg with the milk and vanilla until just combined, then beat into the butter mixture. Add the flour, raisins and oats to the bowl and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking trays spacing well apart to allow for spreading. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are lightly browned around the edges.
Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits to cool and firm up on the sheets for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Store the biscuits in an airtight container and eat within 5 days.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

Cherry Bakewell cupcakes

I, like so many am a big fan of the Great British Bake Off series, and am in awe with the wonderful bakes. I was slightly surprised with this year's winner John, as  though Brendan would have gone all the way, but everything really can come down to your last bake.
I have refrained from buying the latest edition of the Great British Bake Off "Showstoppers" as I have only baked around 20 recipes from the second GBBO book and probably around 7 recipes from the first Great British Bake Off entitled "The Great British Book of Baking".  I have a habit of buying a new cook/baking book and bookmarking several recipes, bake a few and then buy another book. But, I have decided to put a stop to this (for the rest of the year) and return to an old favourite the second book from the Great British Bake Off.
Although series 3 have come to an end, who can forget the lovely Jo, Holly, Mary-Ann, Jason and Uvashi? I certainly do, and the recipe that I baked for my church anniversary service came from the lovely Holly Bell who was a finalist last year. If you love bakewell tart, you will love this cupcake - a sponge batter with the compulsory ground almonds and topped with butter icing with almond flavouring and glaced cherries. I felt it was the perfect showstopper cupcake and not only was it one of the easiest bakes I have made thanks to my free standing mixture, the cupcake tasted delicious. I made 20 of these cute cupcakes, they were gone in ten minutes.
Here is how my cherry bakewell cupcakes turned out:

Cherry bakewell cupcakes close up

Inside my cherry bakewell cupcake
This cupcake mixture is an all one in method. You just place the butter with an electric mixture until creamy and add all the ingredients, except for the jam and combine.
Cherry bakewell cupcake mixture
I placed the mixture into cupcake cases and baked for 20 minutes.
Cupcakes pre baking
I like my cupcakes to look slightly golden, and after they were baked I left to cool completely.
Cherry bakewell baked.
I then combined the ingredients to make a butter icing. The recipe given in the book is for a glace icing, but I thought a butter icing with glaced cherries and cupcake toppers would have more of an wow factor.
Recipe for cherry bakewell cupcakes (to make 12)
150g unsalted butter, very soft
150g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
60g ground almonds
1 tablespoon of milk
4 tablespoons raspberry jam

For the icing (I used a butter icing, but this is the recipe for the icing in the book)/
250g icing sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
12 glace cherries

1 x 12 - hole muffin tray

Preheat the oven to 190c/375F/gas mark 5. Beat the butter with an electric mixer until creamy. Add all the other ingredients for the cupcakes, except the jam, and beat until light and creamy.
Spoon the mixture into the cup-cake cases, dividing it evenly. Level the mixture in each case using your finger tip. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and firm t the touch,  and a skewer inserted into the centre of a cup cake comes out clean. Remove each cupcake from their tray and place on a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl and work in the strained lemon juice to make a thick, but spoonable and runny icing. Set aside.
Using an apple corer, remove the centre from each cup cake, cutting only two-thirds of the way down. Stir the jam with a teaspoon until it is a little runny, then carefully spoon into the holes in the cup cakes until the jam just reaches the top.
Beat the icing using a teaspoon, then spoon it over the top of each cupcake to flood the surface until the icing reaches the sides of the paper case. Take care that the jam doesn't become mixed into the icing. Add a cherry to the middle immediately and leave to set.

Cherry bakewell cupcakes

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Devils food cake with marshmellow frosting.

I love a good goey chocolatey birthday cake, nothing quite beats having mouthfulls of homemade chocolate cakes. One of my closest friends asked me to make her a cake for her 25th birthday. Whilst I love and enjoying making cakes, and cooking meals, it is more daunting when it is for someone else, especially for such a milestone birthday. My friend said she didn't mind what cake I made, as like me, she will try anything.
I browsed quite a few of my books, Readers Digest "Baking Bible", Lorraine Pascale's "Baking Made Easy", Nigella's "How to be a Domestic Goddess" and the Great British Bake Off "How to Bake" (series 2). I decided on making a cake from the Great British Bake Off (series 2) book, as I have set myself a challenge of cooking more recipes from this book before I buy the third series of this book.
As I am quite a fan of devil's food cake, I chose this recipe again, but instead of the normal chocolate frosting I decided on making a marshmellow frosting as this would contrast with the dark chocolate cake. The frosting didn't turn out as I quite would hoped and was runny after I placed in the fridge to cool for 45 minutes.  A quick dash to Morrisons for cake frill managed to camouflage the less than perfect application of frosting to cake. I decided on adding white chocolate drops on top of the cake, again to contrast with the dark chocolate cake.
Here is how my cake turned out:
I was unsure how the cake turned out, but once we cut into it, the cake went down a storm.
Devil's food cake 

I initially added the banner to make the cake look pretty, but after we dived in there was no need to.
Devil's food cake with cake frill and chocolate drops
Recipe for devils food cake.
For the sponge
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
175ml boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100 g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter
350g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
300 g plain flour
125ml soured cream, at room temperature

For the filling and topping
 2 eggs
350 caster sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tea spoon vanilla extract
125 ml cold water
2 x 20.5 cm sandwich tins greases and the base lined with baking paper

Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/ gas mark 4. Put the cocoa into a heatproof bowl and mix to a smooth liquid with the boiling water. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and leave to cool.
Break up the chocolate into another heatproof bowl and set over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water (don't let the base of the bowl touch the hot water). Leave to melt gently. Remove the bowl from the pan. Stir the chocolate until smooth, then leave to cool.
Put the soft butter into a large mixture bowl and beat for a minute with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, then beat thoroughly for 4 to 5 minutes or until very light. Beat the eggs and vanilla with a fork until broken up, then add to the butter mixture a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.
Fold in the flour in 3 batches, alternatively with the soured cream. Mix the cocoa liquid into the melted chocolate, then fold into the cake mixture. When thoroughly combined - no streaks visible-divide the mixture between the 2 tins and spread evenly.
Bake for 30 minutes or until risen and just firm, and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Run a round-blanded knife around the inside of the tins to loosen the sponges, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool. When cold, slice each on horizontally in half, to make 4 layers.

To make the filling put the egg white and sugar for the icing into a large heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Using an electric mixer, immediately whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, water and a pinch of salt. Whisk on full speed for 7 to 12 minutes until thick, glossy and  meringue- like: the mixture should hold a soft peak when the whisk is lifted.
Remove the bowl from the pan and keep on whisking for 15 to 20 minutes or until the mixture has cooled, turned white and very thick and is starting to stiffen up.

Slice each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Put a dab of fluff mixture onto the centre if a cake board and set one layer of the first cake cut side up, on it. To make sure that the dark chocolate crumbles don't  migrate to the white fluff take out a third if the mixture and cover the rest. Use the smaller portion to sandwich the layers. Then  using a clean rounded-bladed knife or icing palette knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with a very thick layer of fluff, swirling it evenly. The fluff will cover up any dips, dents, cracks or imperfections in the sponge and glue together any lose edges. Leave the cake to set overnight.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Gorgeous Lemon Cream Cake

My last day on placement was a few weeks ago, and I felt it would be nice to bring in a lovely homemade cake. When I purchase a new cookbook I promptly write a "to bake and to cook" list, and this cake, the Gorgeous Lemon cream cake was quickly on my to bake list. The Great British Bake Off have some fabulous bakes, and to all my fellow beginner bakers, it is The book to buy. 
I have only made a Genoise cake once (Mojito cake), and this turned out to be delish, so had high hoped for this cake. I learnt a good trick from a fellow colleague on placement, which is bake a cake then freeze as the cake is easier to cut into two if it's defrosting. This was ideal as I did not have a whole entire evening to bake and assemble so I made the cake 5 days before I shared with my colleagues, then froze the cake straight away.

Here is the results of my Italian Genoise cake:

I couldn't help but try a tiny slice to make sure the cake was ok - it was beautiful.


Recipe for cake (Makes 1 large cake)

For the sponge
6 large eggs, at room temperature
175g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
175g plain flour

For the lemon syrup 
100g caster sugar
2 large unwaxed lemons

For the filling
250 ml double cream, well chilled
2 tablespoons caster sugar
500g lemon curd
400g ricotta

To finish
50 flaxed almonds
2 tablespoon lemon curd.

2 x 20.5cm sandwich tins

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Brea the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Whisk using an electric mixer until frothy, then whisk in the sugar. Continue whisking on high speed for about 5 minutes or until very thick and pale in colour and the whisk leaves a ribbon-like trail. The mixture will massively increase in volume.

Stir one-third of the flour onto the mixture and carefully fold in with a large metal spoon. Repeat to add the remaining flour in 2 batches, folding until there are no visible streaks for flour. Divide the mixture between the tins and spread evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes or until well risen to the tops of the tins, a good golden brown and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tins to loosen the sponges. Cover a wire rack with a sheet of baking paper and sprinkle with a little caster sugar. Carefully turn out the sponges onto the paper and leave to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup. Put the sugar and 100ml water into a small pan. Grate the zest from 1 lemon and add. Carefully peel the zest from the second lemon and cut into fine shreds; cover and set aside for decoration. Halve both lemons and squeeze the juice. Add 3 tablespoons to juice to the pan. Heat gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes to make a light syrup. Leave to cool.

To make the lemon cream filling, whip the cream until thick. Add the sugar and whip until soft peaks form. Stir the lemon curd gently, then mix one third of it with the ricotta. When thoroughly combined, fold this into the whipped cream to make a very smooth, thick mixture. Cover and chill for at least 30 minute but no more than an hour.

When ready to assemble the cake, slice each sponge in half horizontally to make 4 thin layers. If necessary trim the sponges to neaten. Set one layer cut surface up, on a serving plate. Brush or spoon one-quater of the lemon syrup over the sponge and leave to soak in for a couple of minutes.


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Chocolate fudge cake

I am having to repost my posts from the last few months, as I decided to change my blog name, and automatically presumed all the blogs will be relinked to my new address but how wrong was I. Anyway, this is my first ever blog in November, and although I have not made this cake since, I have made several variations. 
I have uploaded a picture of my chocolate fudge cake, which I must admit has triple chocolatiness as I used milk, dark and white chocolate. This cake is fairly easy to make, is ideal for beginners or more experienced bakers who fancy something simple. I had to really stop myself having more than three slices (to some that may seem a lot, I assure you, for me it's not) as the French say "everything in moderation, even moderation". The recipe is based upon the Great British Bake Off cookbook.
Makes 1 large cake
For the sponge
100 g walnuts (or other nuts you have available)
100g self raising flour
1 very small pinch of baking powder
50 grams of dark chocolate
25 grams of milk chocolate
40 g white chocolate
2 tablespoons of coco powder
200g dark brown sugar
100 ml hot black coffee
2 large free range eggs (beaten)
175g unsalted butter (softened)
125ml soured cream
For the icing
50g dark chocolate
25g milk chocolate
25g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons of black coffee

Preheat the oven to 160c/ gas mark . Arrange the nuts in a tray bake or cake tin.
Put the chocolate, alongside the coco and sugar in a bowl (or free standing mixer) and whisk until sandy. Add the hot coffee and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Add the eggs (one at a time) and the butter. Add the sour cream and fold the flour into the mixture.
Spoon the chocolate mixture over the top of the nuts in the cake tin, and then place the white chocolate chunks strategically throughout the cake mixture and bake for around 45 minutes. Test to see whether the cake is cooked and then leave to cool completley
For the icing, melt the chocolate in a bowl above a pan of hot water, add the butter, icing sugar and coffee. Leave to cool slightly, at which point the mixture should thicken and then apply generously over the cake.

Adapted from the fantastic Great British Bake Off book.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Banana Fudge Layer Cake

It was my lovely Colombian housemate birthday last week and as he loves cake, I thought I would make a celebration cake. I was spoilt for choice when attempting to decide what I was going to bake and looked at several of my Nigella books (Feasts, How to be a domestic goddess and Kitchen) for inspiration. However, I decided on making a cake from the Great British Bake Off (Series 2) as they have a lovely section on cakes and as I previously made a celebration cake from this book for my last placement I thought I would give the banana fudge layer cake a try. It was the first time I've baked using sandwich tins as usually I make a large cake then slice horizontally. Anyway here is how my there layered banana cake turned out:

I did have a tiny slice and it gets a thumbs up from me.

Recipe for banana fudge layer cake
For the sponge
175g unsalted butter softened
150 g caster sugar
25g light brown muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
1/2 tea spoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon milk, at room temperature

For the filling and topping
175g light brown muscovado sugar
150g unsalted butter
75g double cream
2 ripe medium bananas

Preheat the oven to 180c/ gas mark 4/ Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the 2 sugars and beat well until the mixture turns paler in colour and becomes light and fluffy in texture.
Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition; add a tablespoon of the flour with the last portion of egg to prevent the mixture from curdling. Sift the remaining flour into the bowl and fold into a mixture with a large metal spoon. Combine the vanilla extract with the milk and fold in.
Divide the mixture equally among the 3 prepared tins and spread evenly. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown and just firm to the touch; if necessary, rotate the tins after 15 minutes in the oven so the cakes cook evenly. Run a round-bladed knife inside around the inside of each tin, then turn out the sponges onto a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the fudge mixture. Put the sugar, butter and cream into a medium pan and set over a low heat. Stir frequently until the butter has melted. Ten up the heat slightly and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture from catching on the base of the pan.
Remove from the heat and stir vigorously seconds. Leave to cool, occasionally giving the mixture a gentle stir. It is ready to use once it has become spreadable (may need to put it in the fridge to thicken the mixture).
Spread one-third of the fudge mixture on top of each cake; select one to be the top layer and swirl the fudge decoratively with a round bladed knife. Slice the bananas very thinly and arrange on top of the fudge on the 2 other layers. Sandwich the layers together with the swirled fudge layer on top. Store in an airtight container and eat within 4 days.


Monday, 6 February 2012

Coffee cream eclairs and weight watchers lemon meringue pie

I thought I'd share my last two Sunday desserts. These desserts could not be more different if I tried, rich coffee cream eclairs and low fat, low calorie lemon meringue pie. I did not intend to make eclairs to begin with, oh no, I had my eyes set on attempting the Jo Wheately, rather flamboyant limoncello and white chocolate croquembouche from the Great British Bake Off for my Sunday dessert. The plan was to make the profiteroles in the week, freeze, defrost on Sunday and then assemble. Unfortunately with an ever nearing dissertation deadline i felt out of my depth recreating this masterpiece so settled on eclairs which I thought would be easier. How wrong was I? It was easy in the sense of making the pastry piping etc, but had to make in two batches due to me popping out and it was all very rushed. Anyway, my eclairs turned out ok, although next time I would attempt to use the right piping nozzle .....
Here is how my coffee cream eclairs turned out..... it's the first time I have made French patisserie.
I made a Weight Watchers lemon meringue pie, i've never made lemon meringue pie but at 5 points and 300 calories per quarter I thought I would try this out. I made the pastry first (using a cake tin and not a flan tin as my flan tin was far to big for a very small weight watchers pie.

A very unappetising mixture
Low fat meringue pie
This pie looks nothing like say a Nigella lemon meringue pie but I suppose it is low fat so I can hardly moan about the appearance.
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