Archive for Baking

Saturday’s cake

Well since making a cut and come again cake last Saturday, the Handy Husband has been dropping heavy hints about having another “Saturday cake” and “wouldn’t it be good it you made one every Saturday, so that you could write about it…” He can be very persuasive. Plus I do rather like having a cake on the kitchen counter just incase friends pop round.

So today I made another loaf cake from my fav cook book of the moment – Cake Days by the Hummingbird Bakery. Blueberry Crumble Loaf.

ingredients

Ingredients sponge: 190g soft butter, 190g plain flour, 190g caster sugar, 3 eggs, 1tsp baking powder, half tsp ground cinnamon, 25ml milk, 100g fresh or defrosted blueberries, 50g chopped pecans.

For the crumble topping: 25g plain flour, 10g butter, 15g soft brown sugar, 20g pecans chopped, quarter tsp cinnamon.

Make the crumble mix firstly by rubbing the butter and flour together until it forms crumbs then add in the sugar and pecans. Another reason to make this cake was I got to use my new nut chopping squirrel that I got for Christmas from my girlie. How exciting… and it worked a treat.

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You just put the nuts inside his body, then turn his tail and voila chopped nuts!

Next mix the sponge. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time incorporating them well, scraping down the sides of the bowl so as not to miss any bits. Then add in the dry ingredients in two batches with the milk in the middle. Don’t over mix. Lastly add in the blueberries and the slightly chopped pecans by hand. Put the mix into a buttered, floured loaf tin. Sprinkle the crumble mix directly onto the top of the cake batter and bake at 170C for about an hour (keep checking your loaf from about 50 minutes)

blueberrycrumbleloaf

The Handy Husband said it was “Very nice”. I think we will have to go for a long walk tomorrow!

Emma x

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Saturday in sunny Portsmouth

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The sun is shining! It is SO nice to see it after so much rain in past few weeks. The handy husband suggested that we go for a bike ride along Southsea seafront and into Old Portsmouth. So with bikes on the roof we headed off.

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We had a nice lunch in The Belle Isle cafe/bistro at 39 Osbourne Road. That’s what is so great about cycling, you get to see interesting places, can stop without the hassle of a finding a car park space. Amy and I had one of the best hot chocolates ever there, it was so good (and we were quite hungry) that I only just managed to snap a photo in the nick of time.!!

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On the way home we all decided that some cake was in order, so my go-to easy-peasy cut and come again cake is lemon and thyme loaf from the Cake Days Hummingbird Bakery book.

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Of course, being me I don’t normally have all ingredients. So instead of sour cream I put in Greek yogurt with honey. Luckily I did have lemons, although they weren’t the freshest and for the fist time I had thyme in the fridge!!

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So here it is. Coffee and cake and cup of earl grey and jasmine tea. Perfect Saturday afternoon.

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I hope y’all had some time outside in the sunshine today.
Emma x

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Blackberry Ice Cream

So I was round at mom’s the other day and she dug out her cupboard an ice cream maker. It used to belong to my auntie who is a dessert maker extraordinaire. So my girlie and I were very excited by the possibilities. So far we have made vanilla ice cream with various additives. Oreos, cookie dough and so on.

blackberries

On a recent bike ride with my girlie I couldn’t help noticing how many blackberries there are at the moment. I can remember picking blackberries with my grannie (Vóvó) when she came over from Brasil. So we decided to make some blackberry ice cream, partly in honour of my grannie and also my lovely auntie and her ice cream machine.

I decided to branch out with my recipe, so far we have just used cream and sugar (and very nice it is too!) but ever adventurous I went for an egg based recipe below. It turned out quite well with a nice blackberry flavour, but I think next time I would add the sugar in at the end, as it is quite sweet… personal preference.

blackberryicecream

Recipe:

  • 375ml milk
  • 300g sugar (you may need less – I think it may be good to add it in at the end when you know how sour/sweet your blackberries are)
  • 375ml double cream
  • 4 large egg yolkes
  • half teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 480ml blackberry puree. (After blitzing the berries in a blender I passed them through a sieve to remove the seeds)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  1. Heat the milk till it is just scalding, the whisk the milk into the lightly beaten egg yolks. Return the egg and milk mix to the pan and heat until it coats the back of a spoon (basically making a custard).
  2. Pour this through a sieve into the cream, stir in the puree and lemon juice and then add the sugar to taste. Make sure the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Chill and churn in your ice cream maker as per it’s instructions.

With the left over egg whites I made meringues, of course! The perfect partner to ice cream!

I’d love to hear if you have any nice ice cream recipes I should try.

Emma x

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Rainbow cupcakes

Just look at this beautiful creation by my girlie! Rainbow cupcakes – how wonderful!

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She got the idea from this website and you can see the instructions here. Amy used my tried and trusted cake mix, and a simple buttercream icing, and then the fun started. And she made them all by herself. I shall have to start employing her more often! Here are some others she made too, experimenting with different ways of piping the icing.

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And they taste wonderful!

Emma x

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Beat the heat with Pink Lemonade

Well summer has arrived and what better excuse to sit and enjoy it with a lovely glass of something pink?

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Pink lemonade!

Now you can get pink lemonade in the shops… but it tastes sooo much better when you make it yourself.

So here is my recipe:

55g raspberries

190g sugar

160ml Water

Put all the above in a small pan and heat until the sugar has melted. Boil for a minute then turn the heat down to a gently simmer and cook until the raspberries just start to fall apart. This takes about 5 minutes or so.

Pour this through a fine sieve into a bowl, press through the pulp of the raspberries with the back of a spoon and discard the seeds. Cool this beautiful pink mixture in the fridge.

Juice 6 lemons to make 240ml or 1 cup (It’s not an exact science – just pink lemonade – so don’t worry about the exactness) Then add in 1.4 litres of cold water (or 6 cups).

When the raspberry sugar syrup has cooled combine the two liquids, garnish with slices of lemon, raspberries and of course lots of ice. Sit back in that sun lounger and enjoy.

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Emma x

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Mermaid Cake – Swishy!

Well tomorrow is the day, the big day, when my little girlie turns 10!

She is, as you may know, quite into mermaids, so asked if she could have a mermaid cake. Always up for the challenge I made this.

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And put it onto this…

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It tuned out quite well.

Have a lovely weekend.

Emma x

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Rhubarb crumble

Well the weather has improved and I spent the weekend out in my garden, digging over the soil, weeding and putting in the ground various plants that have been given to me over the last few months. So patient they have been waiting for the sun to shine and the ground to warm up. I also checked on the rhubarb that I planted late last year in my lovely new raised beds. I think with all the rain we have had and the amount of horse manure I put on the beds, the rhubarb is looking very healthy. So I decided to make the Handy Husband one of his favourite puddings – Rhubarb Crumble.

It was a delight to pull the first stems off my plants, they give a very satisfying squeak when you turn and pull from the bottom of the stem, and reveals the pale flesh against the beautiful pink outside of the stalk. So pretty.

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For the crumble I decided to break away from my usual recipe in the hope that the Handy Husband would be even more delighted with the result. Although it is always a risky business when altering a favourite as he is of the opinion that you shouldn’t mess with perfection! But I just couldn’t resist…

So I added some chopped up preserved ginger (it had been lurking in the fridge begging to be used in something)  and a little ground ginger to the brown sugar and rhubarb, just to give it a little warmth and kick. I always feel ginger and rhubarb are a match made in heaven.

For the crumble mix, instead of my regular 4,4,3,3 mix (4oz plain flour, 4oz rolled oats, 3oz sugar, 3 oz butter) I went for 2oz ground almonds, 2 oz flour and the rest the same. I think the result was a great success and the Handy Husband said he liked the additions. Phew!

Emma x

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Easter Marshmallows

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I love to make marshmallows, they are so simple, but SO much better than the bought ones, plus you can flavour them with anything you like.

So I thought that I would make some Easter marshmallow pops for my girlie to give to her teachers and school friends at the end of term. Below is the method for making marshmallows, which I have taken from Carol Hilker’s book mmm…marshmallows. A very nice little book which has some stunning marshmallow recipes – I have tried many and had some very complementary comments.

The pop tags are downloadable here. marshmallowtags

  • 180g icing sugar and 60g cornflour put in a large plastic bag.
  • vegetable oil for greasing
  • 240ml cold water
  • 3 tablespoons powdered gelatine
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 162g golden syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Oil sparingly with kitchen roll the sides and bottom of a square pan 33 x 22 x 5cm pan (or there abouts) and dust liberally with the cornflour and icing sugar mixture.

Pour half the cold water into your mixer bowl and add to it the powdered gelatine. Leave it to stand while you make the rest.

Warm the sugar, golden syrup and other half of the water in a pan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up the heat and let it boil until it is at 116C / 240F. (Soft ball stage) Remove from the heat and pour carefully into your gelatine. Stir with a spoon until the gelatine has dissolved. I like pink marshmallows so I add in my colour paste at this point.

Start the mixer and beat on high until the mix has become three times the size and is shiny and glossy. Add in along the way the vanilla extract.

Finally pour the mixture into your prepared tin as quickly as possible. It sets quickly! Sift some of the icing sugar on to the top and let it stand at room temperature for about 4 hours until set.

Ease the set marshmallow out of the pan by running a butter knife around the edge and then your fingers. Cut them with a large knife. I find keeping the knife clean helps to ease it through the marshmallow.

Finally put the squares into the plastic bag with the rest of the icing and cornflour mix and dust them to stop any sticking. They will keep up to a week (especially if you put them in a dark cupboard and forget about where they are!)

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We just had to dip the tops into chocolate, such a lovely combination, crunchy chocolate and pillowy marshmallow, heaven.

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Hope this inspires you.

Emma x

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Goal!

footballcupcakes

I used to make LOTS of cupcakes, but I think I over did it and just got bored, but a very good friend asked me to make some for her son’s 10th Birthday. Well he is a complete football fanatic and a big Saints supporter. Naturally the players had to have red shirts and even though the footballs are slightly out of scale, I think they turned out quite well.

I used my classic chocolate chip cupcake recipe, see below, it’s tried and tested and still remains a firm favourite.

Ingredients:

Makes 24. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

  • 350g Butter softenend
  • 350g Caster sugar
  • 6 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g Self raising flour
  • 60g coco powder
  • 4 tbs milk
  • 2 bags chocolate chips (200g)

Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time beating well  until they are incorporated.

Add in the flour, coco powder and milk and mix until well blended, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure you get all the little bits. Then add in the chocolate chips and fold in by hand to distribute them evenly.

Bake in cases for about 18-20 minutes, or until the top of them just crack. Test one with a knife to see if it comes out clean.

Once cooled you can decorate them and eat.! I have quite a thing for warm cake…. there’s nothing quite like it.

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I bought the edible glitter from make a wish cake shop. A fab place to order your cupcake and baking supplies from. The footballers and baking cases came from The Craft Company and the chocolate footballs were from Chocolate Buttons.

Happy Birthday Joseph!

Emma x

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Mama’s un-birthday cake

It was my Mama’s un-birthday yesterday (so very Alice in Wonderland) So what better excuse do I need to make a cake? I recently went to have coffee with my mama in John Lewis and had a slice of their almond and orange cake. It was divine and happens to be my mama’s favourite. So always up for the challenge, I tried to recreate said cake.

There are many orange and almond cakes on the net, but I chose a spanish version as it seemed quite simple.

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So the ingredients are:

2 oranges, about 280 g (10 oz) in total, scrubbed and roughly chopped (with skin)
5 eggs, separated
200 g (7 oz) caster sugar
225 g (8 oz) ground almonds

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4).

almondcakemethod

  1. Place the chopped oranges in a saucepan, discarding any pips. Add 1 tbsp water, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes or until the oranges are soft and excess liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Line the bottom and sides of a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin with baking parchment. (I used two 6in tins as I wanted to layer my cake and didn’t actually line the sides of the tins, just the bottoms!) Finely chop the oranges in a food processor or blender.
  3. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in 100g caster sugar, then whisk for 1 minute.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar in another bowl until pale and quite thick. Whisk in the finely chopped oranges, then carefully fold in the ground almonds.
  5. Stir in 3 spoonfuls of the whisked egg white to loosen the mixture, then gently fold in the remaining whites with a large metal spoon. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the top.
  6. Bake in the oven for up to 50 minutes, but check every 20 minutes to see if they are cooked. Skewer the centre until it comes out clean. If the top is browning too much cover with foil.
  7. Once cooked, leave to cool in the tin for a short while and then turn out onto a wire rack.

Now the fun can begin.

I made a basic buttercream icing, simply because I did’t have much else in the cupboard, but I did flavour it with orange juice and zest and a bit of lemon juice to add a bit of sharpness. So that is basically 250g soft butter, 800g icing sugar and about 4 table spoons of liquid.
You can see in the photos below the method I used to create the marigold effect on the top of the cake. It is very simple, and you don’t even need a piping nozzle, you could just cut the corner off a bag and use that.
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It was a very nice cake, even if I do say so myself, and I would make the cake again as a plain cut and come again cake.
Emma x
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