Search my blog...

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Raspberry Ripple Cake

This is a cake adapted from a recipe from Edd Kimber, winner of the first series of the 'Great British Bake Off'.  I say adapted...its actually not his sponge cake mix, just the frosting and decoration that I have copied.  I have attempted to make the cake in this book 'The boy who bakes' twice and each time the sponge has failed me.  Each time it is dense and underbaked.  The first time I made it I followed the directions and it didn't work, I tried again a few weeks later, this time leaving the cake to bake longer.  Both times it looked great but on cutting each layer was dense and almost raw!  Yuck!  I even tweeted Edd and asked for advice, showing him the picture, he mentioned oven temperature may be the problem and to invest in an oven thermometer - I did - however the second attempt still failed.  Oh well, can't win them all!

The frosting however is perfect and I have used his recipe a number of times for topping of other cakes, cupcakes etc.  The recipe for the vanilla sponge is from Anna Olson and is the same recipe I used a few weeks back for my salted caramel vanilla cake.  I have only included the assembly instructions and ingredients for the frosting below.  Find the vanilla cake recipe here.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Belgian Liege Waffles

Recently I have moved jobs...well schools...and as my leaving present from my old school I requested a waffle iron.  I fondly remember being in Spain during my early teens and on my walk down to the Yacht Club I always used to pass a lady on the road side cooking fresh waffles.  Often I would treat myself to one and have is smothered in chocolate sauce and 'present' whipped cream.  They were amazing!  Soft on the inside, slightly chewy and they always have a crisp outside.  Amazing!  The only waffles I had ever really known were those potato ones you got from the freezer.  Later on I discovered that you could make what I call 'American Style' waffles that consisted basically of a pancake mix baked in a waffle iron.  I have tired these and they are much easier to make than the Belgian version above however, in my opinion, they go soggy quickly and just don't really have much to them.

Researching around the net I came across a number of recipes for 'Belgian Liege' waffles.  The pictures I looked at reminded me of the waffles from Spain.  Basically the dough you create is the same as brioche - that being eggs and butter.  The only issue I had was sourcing pearl sugar.   This type of sugar is basically little nibs that you mix in to the dough before cooking and as they cook they melt, caramelise and give the waffles their perfect crunch.  A number of websites suggested using sugar cubes that you whack with a rolling pin to create bits.  I tried this, and although not perfect, it seems to work.  The recipe below uses sugar cubes but if you can get them  feel free to use pearl sugar.

Of course you need a waffle iron to bake these.  I have a fancy electric one (thank you old school) but you could get a cheaper cast iron one that you hold over a heat sauce to bake.  They only take about 2 minutes to cook and I have found that you can keep the dough in the fridge for a few days to bake as needed OR you can part bake in the waffle iron and then freeze, later to reheat and finish off in a toaster.  The recipe makes about 12 waffles.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Salted Caramel Vanilla Cake

It has been a while since my last post.  However this one is a showstopper so hopefully makes up for it.  I have slightly adapted this cake by Anna Olson to include salt, thus making it a salted caramel vanilla cake, instead of the basic caramel Anna created.  Those that don't know Anna Olson should watch her shows on ' FOOD NETWORK' (in the uk).  She has a number of shows but my favourite has to be 'Bake, with Anna Olson'.  The format is simple, each week she demonstrates a key ingredient, starting with the basics and building in complexity.  This cake is considered the most complex in the show and it comes from the 'Pastry Cream' episode.  Starting with how to create a perfect pastry cream, Anna then demonstrates strawberry tarts and finally this show cake.  

I won't pretent and say that this cake is quick and easy to isn't!  You have to make the pastry cream, then make a caramel, then bake the cakes, make the frosting and finally put it all together.  The good part however, you can make each element at a time and over a few days therefore this cake is actually quite easy to make.  I say easy lightly however, the first time I made this cake I noticed the pastry cream was too thin and when I spread it in the middle of the cake and sandwiched it together I had to constantly stop it leaking out from around the sides while I attempted to cover it in frosting.  My second attempt was much better (and why you will see the cake board change form round to square half way through my photos) however it still did not look the same as Anna's on the TV show.  When she sliced in to her you could see each layer well.  Both cakes I made tasted great and everyone loved it, but I wished it would have looked more stable like Annas. is how I did it...

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Cake, Cakes and more Cake!

During the past two months I have been busy with the normal work related things...the joy of being a teacher and all that!   However, I have managed to bake a few different cakes for various events.  

Here are three...

Friday, 13 March 2015

Portuguese Custard Tarts

It's been a while since I last posted, as always life gets in the way.  This recipe is taken from this months BBC Good Food magazine (March 2015) and isn't a recipe I thought about trying.  I have always loved custard tarts and often when I have been in Nandos I have spotted the Portuguese variety.  In have never actually tried on and still to this day I have not - but you may be thinking "you have just wrote a blog post about them, you have pictures of the finished product..."  Well, there was a problem and I was not happy about it.  Ten minutes in to cooking this tarts my oven made a loud popping sound, I quickly opened the door to see a bright orange glow at the back as the fan slowed down and all the lights went oven blew up!  This has happened before, a few years ago, and I needed to buy a replacement element, so for the time being I do not have an oven.   

The pastry for these tarts is a cross between puff and flakey.  It takes a bit of time to make but isn't as time consuming as true puff pastry.  You do have to grate the butter over the pastry, fold and Roll out again and then sprinkle more butter over the top and repeat the process. After 30 minutes in the fridge to chill the pastry is ready to roll out. However this is where it slightly differs from normal pastry,  to make Portuguese tarts you have to go all out the pastry into a log and chop it into 12 equal size pieces and then flatten each one out so you have a flat spiral shaped piece of time. You then carefully place them in to the muffin tins and pour in the custard before baking.

At this point I can not truly tell you what they are suppose to look out of the oven, or even taste like.  The image above is 'borrowed' from another website, although all the  photographs in the recipe are my own.  

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Salted Caramel Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and butter pudding was never my favourite of desserts, I think it was mainly due to the currents and the fact it was made from slices of white buttered bread.  After baking it looked like slices of white buttered bread with black specks all over it.  Only recently has it become a pudding I really love and that is due to the number of different ways of making it - with currents, with chocolate and recently I saw a raspberry and whiskey Burns Night version.

I decided to bake this pudding after I was left with almost a whole loaf of Brioche.  I had brought it to make Eggs Benedict but only required two slices.  After a bit of searching around the net I was able to piece together my own version of 'salted caramel bread pudding'.   It is very easy to make the caramel with the added salt gives it that savoury yet sweet taste.  

When you assemble the pudding and bake it you will find molten caramel inside and the top turns crumbly/crunchy.  It will rise when you bake it so make sure you leave enough space in the oven but as soon as you take it out it will start to settle and sink back in to the dish.  Crunchy on top, soft and smooth inside.

Serve with ice cream.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Chocolate Brownie Pudding

Second post of the year and actually something I made way back in December but just didn't have the time to write about.  It is made using an electric stand mixer but a handheld would work just fine, I don't think I would try it without mechanical help due to the amount of whisking required.

This chocolate pudding is really easy to make and does not actually require you to buy any chocolate.  Instead it uses cocoa powder to make a rich molten pudding that is perfect with ice cream.  Baked in a water bath the end product has a cooked crust which hides a soft centre.  

This recipe is taken from an Ina Garten cookbook (Back to Basics) and it is something I have made a number of times due to the absence of ingredients that normally require a trip to the shops because they are not the sort of thing you have in all the time.  It may take an hour to bake but its pretty quick to throw together.  It is also very nice cold and turns in to more of a sticky brownie.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Lemon and Blueberry Madeleines

Long time no see, happy new year!  December seems to have come and gone so quickly and now we are in to 2015.  It was always my intention to post during Christmas, it is of course the best time of year to bake.  However, I simply did not have the time or will to do it.  I did bake a number of things and I also took photographs ready to write blog posts about but I just never got round to it.  Hopefully I will get some time to write them up and post this month.

For Christmas I received the brand new DROP kitchen scales.  These scales connect via bluetooth to my iPad and using the app allow me to create a number of dishes using their cool app.  Basically the app will give you a recipe and then allow you to adjust the number you want to cook - all the ingredients are scaled down or up depending on your quaintly.   It gets more geeky still - a feature not yet included, but coming soon, is the ability to click on any ingredient from the recipe and swap it for a substitute suggested by the app.  For example, you might not have sour cream, instead the app will offer other suggestions that you may have.  The app also allows you to scale ingredients based on how much of one you may have.  Lets say the recipe calls for 500g of flour, but when you tip in all you have left you find you only have 350g...well these clever scales will scale back all the other ingredients (and quantity) to allow you to continue baking without having the run out to the shops and buy more flour.  

As you bake with these scales they automatically update the method...for example, it will say 'place bowl on scales', you do and it will move on to the next step 'add flour' you do and once you have added enough it will then move on to the next, and so on... When its time to bake a timer automatically appears and starts counting down.  Its very clever and I can't wait for them to bring out more features.

This blog recipe was created on my DROP scales.  I decided to give the lemon madeleines ago and see how well it works.  I scaled back the recipe to make 12 and also added some blueberries since I had them in the fridge.  You will have to forgive the funny amount of egg, I think it was simply because I scaled back the amount to 12 instead of 24.  They turned out perfectly anyway and where great to eat, warm from the oven, with a cup of tea.