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Showing posts from April, 2012

Ginger and Treacle Spiced Traybake for the Weekly Bake Off

This week's challenge for the Weekly Bake Off , set by the lovely Amy, was the Ginger and Treacle Spiced Traybake. The Bake Off is Amy's idea to bake her way through the recipes contained in Mary Berry's 100 Cakes and Bakes . This is a fantastically handy little book, featuring many of the recipes drawn from her other books, such as the Ultimate Cake Book, or Baking Bible, which is also amazing value at under £4, so that's 4p per recipe! I was really happy with this challenge, as I love ginger. This recipe uses stem ginger in syrup, and ingredient that I had not actually used before, but which was very easy to handle. Doses of allspice and mixed spice help to give a lovely warmth to the cake. The cake mix is  easy to put together, as it's a question of simply measuring out the ingredients into a bowl and then beating it so that it comes together into a smooth mix. I was a bit disappointed though, as I had a total senior moment and misread the oven temperatur

My Baking Cupboard

The lovely Jo at What Do You Make of My Cake had a fantastic idea this week. She decided that, as fashion blogs are always full of 'inside my wardrobe' posts, that baking addicts may well be interested in an 'inside my baking cupboard' post. I have to say, that as I frequently indulge in a bit of what I call ' Kitchen P*rn (c'mon, please ! I meant  compulsive purchasing of 'Beautiful Kitchens' magazine and regular reading of other kitchenware catalogues such as Lakeland), my nosiness in terms of Other People's Kitchens sadly knows no bounds. It's the ideas it generates, you see, in terms of decor and equipment for the room that is, for me, very much the heart of the home. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I see a kitchen that is lovely, but more importantly, clearly loved and used well by its owner. Aaanyways, I don't know if you're interested, so I hope this won't bore you, but in case you are as obsessed (and nosy) as I am,

Toasted Hazelnut Macarons with a Capuccino Ganache

For the first time in quite a while last week, I had a quiet day all to myself. Sam was at nursery on a long day for the first time, and with no one else around I had the luxury of being able to spend hours in the kitchen on a baking session. I really wanted to give macarons a second attempt, after the success of the Pistachio and Dark Chocolate ones the other week. Don't get me wrong, my first time macs were in no way perfect, but I was still pretty pleased with them. I must admit, though, I was pretty nervous. What if the second time turned out to be a disaster? What if I couldn't recreate the magical alchemy?  Well. As you can see, these didn't turn out too badly. Although there were some differences. I used toasted hazelnuts to replace the pistachios in the pistachio-almond mix. I thought that using toasted hazelnuts would give a more intense hazelnut flavour, and it did work well. In trying to find something that would pair with the hazelnut, I was inspired

Anticipating Summer - Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

Nothing screams summer in Britain like strawberries. I know it's not yet summer, but with the lovely warm sunny spell we recently had, it was easy to imagine it had arrived early. And so I simply couldn't resist these gorgeous berries from my local supermarket. I do try and buy fruit and veg in season, and local if I can. Marked 'early season', they were at least British, and not too far from Cardiff (as the crow flies), being grown in Somerset.  I must admit though, they had me at 'hellooo ... I'm a beautiful, luscious, red strawberry and I taste divine'. No more, no less. Now I know that some would say it's a crime to eat these any other way than au naturel. But I have always wanted to make fresh strawberry cupcakes. While I've tried some perfectly adequate supermarket ones recently, I thought home made would be miles better. With that firmly in mind, they found their way into my trolley. I adapted Mary Berry's cupcake recipe from 100 C

'Cause That's Just How I Roll - 'Ultimate' Chocolate Roulade for the Weekly Bake Off

When Amy announced this week's challenge for the Weekly Bake Off , I felt conflicted. Great - it contained chocolate. Not so great - it was the roulade! Featuring on last year's Great British Bake Off as one of the technical challenges, it's utterly delicious, but can be tricky to make the sponge and then roll it to form the roulade shape. And I've never made one before! There was another reason I had nerves though. The recipe (which can be found here on the BBC Food website) calls for the separation of 6 eggs, and the beating of yolks and sugar until light and creamy. You then add melted chocolate to this mix, before folding in the egg whites which you have whisked to stiff peaks. Now this never goes quite right for me, whatever recipe this step is in (eg chocolate mousse). Its the adding chocolate to the egg yolks and sugar - it always seems to just congeal in a grainy mess. I then panic as I'm folding the egg whites in, as the mix never seems smooth and I

Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sooo, it's still the school holidays in Cardiff this week, and the spectacle of two ravenous teenagers rampaging around the house foraging is a fairly regular occurence. In an effort to stave off hunger, and boredom, Ben and I decided to revisit one of his favourite - and easy peasy - recipes for chocolate chip cookies. It's taken from a cookery book I bought him when he was about 7, and first starting to want to help Mummy in the kitchen. These have seen many, many outings over the years, and Ben and I have made them together every time (admittedly, quite often with me fighting my kitchen control freakery, but I am trying to mellow, honest). One memorable version of these invoved Ben wanting to use pink food dye. The resulting pink cookies with brown spots were fairly reminiscent, for those of you who remember, of Mr Blobby. Eating one felt, on one level, so wrong, yet on another, so right. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, don't wo

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins

I'm on a bit of a muffin kick at the moment, and as the last few bakes I've done have not involved chocolate, the plea from the boys was for something very much chocolatey. I thought I'd be a bit daring with these, though, as there is a cheesecake layer which is swirled into the muffin batter (I didn't tell the boys as they are cheesecake averse - no idea where they've got that from!). With melted chocolate in the mix, the result is quite a fudgy muffin, fluffy sponge with the cheesecake layer - especially on the top of the muffin - giving a bit of a fudgy contrast. The recipe I based these on calls for plain cream cheese, but as I had bought some of the new Cadbury Chocolate Philadelphia, I had to give it a go. Consequently, these are double chocolate (never a bad thing in my book!). Double Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins (adapted from Muffins Galore  by Catherine Atkinson) Makes 12 150g plain flour 175g caster  sugar 35g unsweetened  cocoa powder