Category Archives: baking

30th Classic Car Birthday Cake

In the 10 years I’ve been with him, I’ve never known Hubs to have a proper birthday cake. He’s one of the lucky or unlucky people (depending on your viewpoint) who arrived on this earth just in time to interrupt Christmas Dinner. As this year was a significant birthday I wanted to make him a special cake. I subtly asked him many months ago as to what his dream cake was and set about making it. His brief was:

Victoria sponge and chocolate sponge with buttercream and topped with sugarpaste

Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Stollen

I’ve made various stollens over the years but always come back to this recipe as it’s the stollen I recognise. I spent some of my childhood growing up in Berlin and remember the Christmases there with fond memories. Nothing compares to their Weihnachtsmarkts of which there is over 50 spread all over the city. The smell of the glühwein, gingerbread, bratwurts and kartoffelpuffer intermingled with the crisp, cold winter air and, if you were lucky, the odd fleck of snow.

There are two ways of making stollen; with yeast or without yeast. This version doesn’t contain yeast and is the type I prefer. Read the rest of this entry

The Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cake Project

This project started a couple of months ago when I promised one of my evening classes I would teach them how to decorate Christmas cakes. Today I finally finished decorating them. I really enjoyed this project and plan to given them away as presents, but right now don’t know which one I’m going to keep for us as I love them all for different reasons.

I have so many other decorating ideas, but only made 6 cakes so the other techniques will have to wait. They may be small cakes, but they still take a while to decorate. The four cakes covered in sugarpaste all use the covering method you can find on The Pink Whisk’s blog. I also brush the cake lightly with freshly boiled water to help the icing adhere. Usually I cover the board then cover the cake, this is personal preference. You don’t have to cover the boards at all, but I find it looks neater and I have a particular aversion to the Christmas themed foil boards. To stick the sugarpaste/sugar florist paste decorations to the cake I use either gin or vodka as it’s quick drying, less likely to stain and sticks well. You can also use water, but I find gin/vodka works better. All of these designs are simple and can be easily replicated. No special equipment needed apart from maybe the odd length of ribbon and a piping bag. The cakes were made using one of my favourite recipes, steeped in Sloe Gin, then covered in marzipan over a week ago.

Christmas Present Cake

This is probably my favourite cake. It is simply covered in red sugarpaste then decorated with a bow made from sugar florist paste. This is a type of modelling icing that has a finer, stretchier texture and allows you to roll it a great deal thinner than sugarpaste. It also sets very hard. Icing flowers you see for sale are made from this and while yes it is edible it’s used more for decoration. I love working with sugar florist paste. Unless you are going to be using a lot just buy white florist paste and colour your own.

Read the rest of this entry

Creatures & Flowers Cupcake Class with Holly Bell

For those of you who watched the second series of Great British Bake Off will be familiar with finalist Holly Bell. I was a fan of hers from the first episode because she’s local to me, has a similar obsession with Bakewells and (according to insistent family & friends) we are very similar look wise and mannerisms. Yes, I’ve also been known to get the tape measure out while baking, don’t judge me. I’m a perfectionist.

Holly has recently started cupcake and bread making courses at the lovely Bridge 67 Cookery School in Smeeton Westerby near Market Harborough. She invited me along to try the course. The cookery school is based in cute little house on the farm with the kitchen downstairs and the dining room upstairs. It almost felt like we were in someone’s house. I liked that the ovens were (rather nice) domestic ovens proving if you could cook it there we would be able to cook it at home.

Read the rest of this entry

How to marzipan baked bean tin Christmas cakes

Your baked bean tin cakes should be nicely fed now so it’s time to get covering them in marzipan. You need to leave at least 24 hours between covering the cake marzipan and icing to allow the marzipan tp dry and stop the oils from the marzipan leaching and spoiling the white icing. One of the reasons for covering a fruit cake in marzipan is to act as a foundation for the icing. It’ll help to hide the major lumps and bumps of the cake beneath. Read the rest of this entry

Speculoos

I’ve always loved these biscuits be it when they are called speculoos, speculaas or spekulatius. They are dark, highly spiced biscuits with a caramalised sugar taste. Traditionally they are baked in some parts of the continent for St Nicholas Eve (5th December). St Nicholas Eve is the night where, as a child, you leave your shoes by the fireplace. If you’ve been good all year you’ll wake in the morning to find a shoefull sweet treats. If you’ve been less than angelic you’ll find some sticks.

Read the rest of this entry

Red Velvet Cakes

Today Hubs leaves a company he’s been with since he graduated and is heading to the big smoke of Derby to be a big, bossy, managerial engineer kind of thing. His current workmates have been testers for my baking experiments over the years from the Beetle Cakes (that left some horrified) to not so successful bakes that, because they are blokes, were still politely inhaled.

As part of his leaving day I promised to bake anything they requested and that meant Red Velvet and Lardy Cake. Two bakes that I’ve never made, let alone tasted. While Red Velvet cake is a big trend at the moment it’s yet to hit the rolling hills of Derbyshire. The Lardy Cake disturbed me. During baking stage the lard, of which I hate the smell of in the first place, leeches out of the bread and essentially fries the bottom of the bread. Then when it’s cooling in the tin the bread soaks it back up again. Read the rest of this entry

When baking goes bad

Every once in a while things go wrong in the kitchen. Grand ideas turn into unmitigated disasters. As requested by twitter here is the blog to prove that sometimes baking does go wrong, but it doesn’t matter. It’s a learning experience and sometimes the ugliest baking tastes the best.

We won’t talk about the breadmaking class ran few weeks ago where thanks to getting distracted by chatting to the students and answering questions I managed to overknead the dough. This then turned into a lesson on what happens when you over knead dough and showed that while the dough would no longer be good for a loaf of bread, it would certainly be acceptable for pizza dough. Then there was the time I baked a banana bread as a present for a friend, I was busy and made a silly ingredient substitute leading it to cook much faster in the over, hence burnt cake. Many problems with baking can be solved with a reliable cooker, or at least using a thermometer so you know what temperature your oven is but there are times when it can be a problem with ingredients.

Read the rest of this entry

Quick Cheese & Onion Rolls

As some of you know I teach cookery. In one of my roles I’m an Adult Education Tutor at evening classes of which I thoroughly enjoy. The women in one particular group have helped to shape what they would like to learn this term. They all mentioned how they wanted to master bread. Unfortunately in the 2 hour time frame it isn’t easy to make good bread from start to finish due to the rising time needed. So a few weeks ago we made Calzone as an introduction to yeasted bread making then this week we are making non-yeasted cheese & onion rolls to accompany the soup we are also making in class.

Read the rest of this entry

Baked Bean Tin Christmas Cake – pt 1

Before I get chastised for writing a C*&^%$£~s post in October the organised amongst you will be beginning to prep for festive baking time. While Stir-up Sunday, when you traditionally make Christmas Pudding, isn’t until 20thNovember, now is the time to start on the cake to give it sufficient feeding time. A Christmas Cake that hasn’t been stuffed to the gills with alcohol is deemed as substandard in this house. This is the recipe I’ve used for years, and after many request to stop keeping the recipe close to my chest here it is. It’s from a 2005 edition of Prima magazine and produces a lovely moist fruit cake. Read the rest of this entry

%d bloggers like this: