Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Coconut and lime chocolate brownie meringue cake topped with honeycomb.

As many in the UK are aware the popular baking show, The Great British Bake Off has finished it's fourth series and Francis from Leicestershire was crowned the worthy winner. The Great British Bake Off has churned out at least 6 books, the first two were on a yearly basis and then there have been other GBBO baking books. There is even a Great British Bake Off Winter Kitchen scheduled to be released 21st November 2013, I however only have the first two books from the franchise and only baked a handful of the recipes.
The recipe that I am sharing is taken from the first GBBO baking book and was submitted by Miranda Browne who became known for her decorative biscuits. Prior to this recipe I never made a meringue before but thought it would be a good cake for me to bake and as it contained chocolate I was immediately sold. My version of this cake differs somewhat to the original recipe, as I added coconut and lime to the brownie mixture and instead of using a raspberry cream filling I made a lime buttercream filling. That's what I love about baking is that you can adapt to suit your own taste buds. Although the cake was simple enough I did struggle to release the topping of the cake without breaking the meringue, but besides that it is a lovely freshing, gooey, crunchy, chocolate cake :-)
Here is how my coconut and lime chocolate brownie cake turned out:
Coconut and lime brownie meringue cake.

Coconut and lime brownie meringue cake.
Coconut and lime brownie meringue cake.
I first started by melting the chocolate, not in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pan of water but in the microwave in 30 seconds blasts, with a quick stir.
Chocolate pieces.
Chocolate melted
I then whisked the butter and icing sugar together.
Butter and icing sugar.
I also added the eggs and the flour and stirred until everything was combined.
Flour added to butter and icing sugar.

I in cooperated the chocolate at this stage alongside the lime and coconut.
Chocolate added.
Lime added.
I placed the mixture into two sandwich tins and baked for around 8 minutes. Meanwhile I got on with the meringue. I whisked 4 egg whites until frothy and added the sugar. Once almost meringue style (I've never made meringue before) and removed from the brownies from the oven and added the meringue mixture.
Not a stiff meringue mixture!

Meringue added to the brownie.

Here is the link to the original chocolate brownie meringue cake. I have made amendments to in-cooperate coconut and lime.
For the coconut and lime, add one grated zest of 1 lime and 50g coconut to the mixture after the chocolate has been added to the mixture.
For the coconut and lime buttercream follow the link here.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Lemon Drizzle

I am trying my hardest to branch out with different flavours for my cakes besides my favourite chocolate cake. I definitely think being part of The Cake Slicers have helped me bake things I would have otherwise stayed away from. This lemon drizzle cake is an example of me branching out and making more citrus based cakes. This is the first of quite a few upcoming blogs about lemon and orange based cakes, I may even make some lime cakes. Now, I thought this cake was ok, I really missed an addition of a buttercream or icing, but I'm glad the drizzle is there as it caters to my sweet tooth. I understand there are many different recipes for lemon drizzle, this recipe comes from the fantastic book The Great British Book of Baking, the first series from The Great British Bake Off.

For the cake
200g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
2 lemons (rind/zest)
250g self-raising flour
100ml milk

For the drizzle
100g caster sugar
2 lemons juice

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4.
This cake uses the all in one method, place the butter into bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add them to the butter, then add the sugar. Grate the lemon and place the zest to the cake mixture, then sift in the flour and finally add the 100ml milk. Once all the ingredients in-cooperated place in a greased deep cake tin and pour the batter in, ensuring you smooth over the top.  Place in the oven and bake between 50-60 minutes.
Meanwhile make the drizzle. Mix the sugar and lemon juice to make a runny glaze. Once the cakes are cooked pierce holes in the cake (with a skewer for example) then pour over the drizzle.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Red Velvet cake with Jamaican Rum buttercream icing.

This months selected cake from my online baking group, The Cake Slice Bakers, was a Red Velvet Cake with mascarporne cheese frosting. This was not the cake I originally voted for, but that's the good thing about trying something new, trying new cakes can turn out to be firm favourites.
Now, I'm not a big fan of cream cheese frostings so decided to use a rum flavoured buttercream frosting, which I have never made prior to making this cake, but I think worked out lovely. I had one of those "I should try ...." moments which paid of. In fact my family said that this was their FAVOURITE cake I have ever made, since I got into baking 2.5 years ago. That is some compliment and on that note, here is how my Red Velvet Cake with rum buttercream frosting turned out.
Red Velvet Cake
Red Velvet covered
Red Velvet cake pre sprinkles
Slice of Red Velvet cake
I first started by combining all the dry ingredients together, the flour, coco, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, I creamed the butter and sugar together until combined.
Butter and sugar
Butter and sugar combined

I then added the oil, with one tablespoon of Christmas red food colouring to the butter and sugar mixture.
Oil and food colouring

I then added the the eggs, one at a time to the flour mixture and part of the butter and sugar and oil mixture.
Finally, I added the buttermilk and ensured everything was combined.
Red velvet mixture
I then placed the mixture in heart shape tins, perfect for Valentines day weekend.
Cake mixture pre baking
The cakes took around 30 minutes to bake and once baked I left to cool and got on with the icing.
Red Velvet baked
The given frosting for this cake was mascarpone cream cheese frosting but as stated earlier I'm not the biggest fan of cream cheese frosting so made a rum buttercream. I have used this basic buttercream recipe taken from The Great British Book of Baking.
I whisked the butter until light and fluffy and then added the icing sugar alongside 4 tablespoons of Jamaican rum which is 60% proof, but if you do not have this in our store cupboard, I suggest using white rum (not Malibu or any rum with coconut flavourings).
Butter whisked
Icing sugar and rum
I whisked for around 6 minutes until the buttercream was light and fluffy and left to in the fridge for 30 minutes (I also placed the cakes in the freezer for 20 minutes to prevent the crumbs falling off when the buttercream is added.
Buttercream whisked
I placed a dollop of buttercream on a layer of cake and added the other layer cake and added more buttercream. I decorated with sprinkles :-)
Red Velvet layer
Red Velvet cake

Ingredients for Red Velvet Cake
10-12 servings
Bake time 28-30 minutes
You will need Two 9 by 2 inch round cake pans, greased and bottoms lined with parchment paper circles.

2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) sifted self raising flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) coco
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or flavouring
1 tablespoon red food colouring
3/4 (6 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk

For the buttercream
4 tablespoons of strong white rum
100g butter
400g icing sugar

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, coco baking powder and salt, then whisk the ingredients by hand to ensure they are all well mixed. In another small bowl, combine the oil, vanilla and food colouring. Cream the butter and sugar together medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. As you make the batter, stop the mixer frequently and scrape the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With your mixer on low speed, drizzle the oil mixture into the batter until well combined.
Blend in the eggs one at a time, adding the next one as soon as the previous one has disappeared into the batter. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with buttermilk in two parts, beginning and ending with the flour. After each addition, mix until just barely blended and stop and scrape the bowl. Stop the mixer before the last of the flour has been incorporated and complete the blending by hand with a rubber spatula to ensure you do not over beat the batter.
Divide the batter  evenly in prepared tins and smooth the tins. Place the tins in the middle of the oven and bake until the centres of the cake spring back when lightly touched, 28-30 minutes. Cool on a rack for 30 minutes, before removing the pans.

To make the rum buttercream, whisk the butter until light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar and white rum, then place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up. To assemble the cake, place one of the layers, top side up, on a serving plate. Using a metal spatula, spread half of the frosting over the top of the cake, spreading it slightly over the edge of the cake. Place the next layer cake (top side up again) on top of the frosted later. Spread the remainder of the frosting over the top of the cake.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Welsh Bara Brith

I've been longing to try new regional bakes and explore different baking recipes, as my usual sponge and buttercream combination can be a bit "yawn" at time. As mid Wales is only an hour away from me, I thought I would start exploring regional bakes with the famous Welsh "Bara Brith" (meaning speckled bread). Surprsingly not many of my baking books cover this recipe, but many cover a variation of some form of tea bread. I was actually quite surprised that this is considered to be a bread and not a cake, as there is no kneading involved - but who am I to debate, the recipe is found in the bread section in The Great British Book of Baking!
I certainly was not dissapointed. I found the loaf cake, super easy to make. I soaked the fruits over night in black tea and the following day combined the remaining ingredients together, placed in a loaf tin and baked for an hour. After an hour the most moist, sweet, and flavoursome tea bread was created: I've fallen in love with the Bara Brith.
I enjoyed my Bara Brith with a cup of tea, and this was the perfect tea time treat.
Bara Brith with cups of tea.
Baked Bara Brith

I first started by soaking the dried fruits in black tea - It was only after I realised that the sugar should have been added, but it still tasted amazing. I left to soak overnight.
The following day I added the egg and stirred in the mixture, and then combined the remainding ingredients and placed in a loaf tin.
Soaked fruits

Soaked fruits with egg

Bara Brith mixture

Bara Brith mixture.
I then left to bake for a hour.

Recipe for Welsh Bara Brith.
250g mixed dried fruits
100g dark brown muscavodo sugar
22ml strong black tea (no milk)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 large free-range egg, beaten
250g self-raising flour

You will need a 450g loaf tin, greased with butter and lined with a long strip of greaseproof paper to cover the bas and 2 short sides.

Put the dried fruit and sugar into a large-heatproof mixing bowl. Pour over the hot tea and stir well. Cover the bowl with a clean dry tea towel and leave to soak for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Add the cinamon, nutmeg and beaten egg to the soaked fruit and tea, and stir well with a wooden spoon. Mix in the flour, then transfer the mixture into the prepared tin and spread even;y. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand the tin on a wire cooling rack and leave for about 15 minutes to firm up before turning out. leave to cool completely.

I am entering this "bread" recipe to a few blogging challenges. Firstly Calendar Cakes, hosted by Laura Love Cakes and Dolly Bakes has a monthly blogging challenge and this month the theme is bread.

I am entering this to Bake Your Own bread challenge hosted byGirl in Chief. The theme is also bread - any type of bread and I think my Welsh bread meets the criteria.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Marshmellow cupcakes.

I purchased two bags of mini marshmallows for 50p a packet from Aldi a few months ago and was set to make some Weight Watchers Rocky roads, but never actually got round to making this. I have been trying to practise my cupcake making skills and thought a marshmallow cupcake would give me another perfect opportunity to use my marshmallows and practise my cupcake decorating skills.
Despite having over 50 cookbooks, I haven't got a recipe specifically for marshmallows cupcakes, so had to use my own initiative I simply followed a recipe for a Victoria Sandwich cake from The Great British Baking book, but I melted 50g marshmallow's in the microwave and Incorporated this into the cake mixture. I think next time I will simply place 3 mini marshmallows in the mixture as working with melted marshmallow's was quite difficult as it was very sticky.
Here is how my marshmallows cupcakes turned out:
marshmallow cupcakes

I made these cakes for a church social, and they went down a treat.
marshmallow cupcakes in box

I first started by creaming the butter, then the sugar, eggs, self-raising flour and vanilla flavouring together.
Victoria sponge mixture

I then melted 50g marshmallows in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Melted marshmallows
I mixed the marshmallows in the cake mixture and put into the cupcake cases.
Cupcakes pre bake
After 20 minutes they were bakes, although the did look a bit odd. But not to worry, a thick layer of pink butter cream would cover up any imperfections.
Baked cupcakes
I usually stick to my favourite butter cream recipe, also from The Great British Book of Baking and I'm sure you have your favourite butter cream recipe that could be used.

Recipe for marshmallow cupcakes.
175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
175g self-raising flour
1 tablespoon milk, at room temperature.

For the Bertram
125g unsalted butter
400g icing sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
pink food colouring
around 48 mini marshmallows

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Put the softened butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric whisk or mixer, or wooden spoon, until very light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time with a rubber spatula.
Beat the eggs and vanilla with a fork until well mixed, then gradually add to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour on to the mixture, add the milk and carefully fold in with a large metal spoon.
Divide the mixture into 12 cupcake cases and spread evenly. Bake in the heated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cupcakes are a light golden brown and spring back when gently pressed. Leave to cool.

For the butter cream
Put the soft butter into a mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon, or an electric whisk or mixer until very creamy in colour and texture. Stir the icing sugar into a bowl. Ad the milk and the vanilla until very smooth and thick. Add the pink food colouring and combine.
The icing can be spooned into a piping bag fitted with a star tube an piped in swirls or rosettes. Place the mini marshmallows on top and sprinkle with pink glitter.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Nutty flapjacks

The Great British Bake Off is back on our tv screen and I have been extremely impressed by some of the bakes that I have seen in week 1 and 2. Victoria's pie shaped hidden design cake was breath taking, Paul's technical challenge of the 8 plaited loaf was delightful and Peter's union jack cake was impressive. The new GBBO book is out in supermarkets and book stores, and boy have I been tempted to buy it. I've flicked through the cake section, proceeded to look at the bread recipes and finished of with the pie section.
But before I splurge out on yet another cookbook, I made a promise with myself that I will only by the third GBBO if I manage to bake 5 recipes from the first GBBO book. I brought the first GBBO titled "The Great British Book of Baking" in March this year when it was on sale in WH Smith for £6. So far, out of the 100 recipes I have only baked Jaswinder's passion fruit cake and a coffee and walnut cake. If I am to fulfil my promise to myself to bake 5 recipes from this book, I would have to attempt to bake a third quick and easy recipe.
To make my life easy I thought of making the Sticky Nutty flapjacks (p.61). I love anything sweet and can't actually remember when I last made flapjacks, so this seemed the perfect recipe. I was lucky enough to have all the ingredients at home, so did not have to venture to the shop.

Butter, syrup and sugar mixture.
The recipe started of with the basics, a mixture of butter, golden syrup and sugar.
Butter, syrup and sugar mixture melted.
I then heated the mixture slowly until everything was melted. I then added the "nutty" element to this flapjack and combined chocolate drops, flaked almonds and mixed fruits totalling 75g to the mixture.
I added the oats, the core ingredient, mixed everything together and placed in my lovely Spode baking tin.
Flapjacks pre bake.
I did have a picture of the flapjacks cooling, but have accidentally deleted this - woops!. I did manage to take a picture of the finished product.
Sticky nutty flapjacks.
The flapjacks tasted delicious, the flaked almonds really came through as did the mixed dried fruit. This is a simple and easy bake, one that adults and children can do (with supervision). I thoroughly enjoyed this as a tea time treat.

So three recipes baked, two more to go before I can purchase the latest Great British Bake of Book: Showstoppers.

Recipe for Sticky Nutty flapjacks.
125g unsalted butter
125g light brown muscavado sugar
2 tablespoon of golden syrup
a good pinch of salt
75g unsalted mixed nuts (almonds, Brazils, hazelnuts, roughly chopped - I used mixed dried fruit, flaked almonds and chocolate drops)

a 20 cm square tin, greased with butter.

Heat the oven to 150 C/ 300 F/ Gas 2

Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients. Heat gently, stirring from time to time, until the butter has melted. Remove from pan from the heat and stir in the oats and salt. Add roughly the chopped nuts. When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread it out evenly. Use the back of a spoon to gently press the mixture.

Bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the flapjack, then score into 12. Leave to cool before cutting the bars.

Store in an airtight container.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Birthday cakes- Rocky road cake and coffee and walnut.

It was my 25th birthday last weekend and thought I would make not one, but two birthday cakes. Becoming quite a collector of cookbooks, I initially found it quite difficult to chose a recipe to bake. I finally decided on baking a rocky road cake from Lorraine Pascale's home cooking made easy. Although Ms Pascale describes the cake as "a very naughty rocky road cake", there was actually no pictures on how this cake should look. However, I was aware most rocky road cakes/tray bakes would contain lots of naughty ingredients like marshmellows and chocolate drops. I did substitute some of the recommended ingredients such as digestive biscuits for a mars bar- very random but I forgot about the biscuits and had my eye on a mars bar so I used that instead.
Here is how my very naughty rocky road cake turned out:

It was very over the top, lots of excess of naughty ingredients and very rich - I loved this cake! I would strongly advise making this cake for children as it contains lots of sweet treats.

My second birthday cake I made myself was a coffee and walnut cake from the first series of the Great British bake off. The book for series one is called The Great British Book of Baking, and is currently available from WH Smith online for £6. Coffee and walnut cake is my second favourite cake after chocolate cake, and I decided to use another recipe besides my blueprint from Nigella's Kitchen book. I'm glad I took a chance as I prefer how the cake turned out, and have to admit it is slightly better than Nigella's version. I used my heart shape tins again and liked the way my coffee and walnut cake turned out.

Recipe for rocky road cake
Oil, for oiling
125g butter, sofetened
50g mascarpone
5 eggs
165g self-raising flour
40g coco powder
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g mini marshmallows, plus extra 10g to decorate
60g maltesers, plus extra 20g to deocrate
60g digestive biscuits or rich tea crushed
60g white chocolate chips, plus extra 20g to deocrate
2-3 tbsp milk or water

200g butter
400g icing sugar
3tbsp milk
100g dark chocolate
60g creme fraiche

2*20 cm round sandwich tin.

Preheat the oven to 180c, Gas Mark 4. Oil the base of the tins with a little oil and line with grease proof paper or baking parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the mascarpone and stir through a little, then add half the flour and beat well for a couple of minutes until well combined. Fold in the marshmallows, maltesers, crushed biscuits and chocolate chips. If the mixture looks a little stiff, add the milk or water and mix together.

Divide the cake mixture between the tins and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes are cooked and spongy to the touch when pressed lightly with a finger.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Put the butter in a large bowl and beat very well, then add the icing sugar and milk and mix well. Gradually add the melted chocolate, stirring all the time, then fold in the creme fraiche until well combined. Set aside.

Once the cakes are ready, take the tins out the oven and leave to cool. When completely cool, take them out of the tins. Put a blob of the icing onto a serving plate and place the cake on top of the icing. Now spread some icing over the cake and place the other sponge on top. Spread the rest of the icing over the whole cake to cover. Scatter the extra marshmallows, malted chocolate balls and chocolate chips over the top and sides of the cake and serve.

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