Back to baking…….

Apologies for my baking blog being interrupted by cycling thoughts but I’m back on track now. Two posts in one day but I’ve got some baking to catch up on

After today’s epic (failed) battle to beat the hill I went back to the kitchen to relax.

Inspired by Friday after work drinks with the girls I thought about Apple Mojito cupcakes…….lime, apple, mint combination

Using the basic cupcake recipe…….
250g unsalted butter and 250g caster sugar blended together
Then add 250g self raising flour and 3 eggs and continue to mix/whisk

I then added the zest of 3 limes and the juice of 2 limes, finished mixing together and popped into cupcake cases and into the fan oven at 160 for 15mins

When they were done (just slightly browned) I took them out of the oven and made a little hole in each cake whilst still warm. I have a brilliant apple corer which has a serrated edge and it is perfect for this.

20140309-151606.jpg

I then filled the hole with apple sauce (here I have to admit to not stewing my own apples and using a jar of supermarket apple sauce, sorry) which I then topped with the remaining lime zest (5limes in total!)

20140309-151818.jpg

I then left them to cool and made a cream cheese and lime buttercream frosting which I piped on the top.

20140309-151932.jpg

Pretty little gems!!

Next time however I need to remember to add the mint element which I was going to incorporate into the icing but forgot!!!

Advertisements

Mixed Fruit Cupcakes….

Mixed Fruit Cupcakes....

These beautiful little gems were better than I expected. I wanted something ‘healthy’ after all the chocolate bits I’d been making so though that sponge and fruit might make a good combination. And of course, anything with fruit is healthy so you can eat lots of them!!! I had also bought too may apples of the ‘wrong’ type that were not being eaten so had to find something quick and simple to do with them. The light brown sugar added to the colour as well as the flavour. I topped them with cream cheese icing and a few dried cranberries, sultanas and raisins.

INGREDIENTS

250g self raising flour
250g soft butter
250g soft light brown sugar
4 eggs
200g mixed dried cranberries and raisins
4 small apples, cored and chopped into small pieces

METHOD

Cream together butter and sugar

Break eggs and put into a small bowl/jug and mix well together

Add 1/3 eggs and a third of the flour into the sugar and butter. Mix gently. Add the second egg and third of the flour and mix again gently. Add the last of the egg and flour mixture in to the butter and sugar.

Add the dried and fresh fruit and again mix gently

Spoon into cupcake cases (once again I used ‘fairy’ sized cases) and bake in the oven for 15 mins (fan oven 170)

These were unbelievably yummy, very light and moist. Even surprised myself!! 😃

Black Forest Cupcakes

Black Forest Cupcakes

Somewhere I saw a recipe for Cherry Cupcakes which started me thinking about Black Forest Cupcakes.
Whilst wandering around Tesco last weekend (before the jet wash/black eye incident) I saw a jar of Opies Black Cherries in Kirsch!!!!
The theory was a chocolate sponge cupcake, with a cherry plonked delicately in the middle and topped with a cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cocoa powder………….and it worked!!

Black Forest cup cakes

6oz/170g unsalted butter, softed, not melted
6oz /170g caster sugar
4oz/115g self-raising flour or plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder
3 large eggs
2oz/ 55g cocoa powder, not drinking chocolate
pinch of salt
1 390g jar Opies Black Cherries with Kirsch – drained but keep the juice!!

Frosting Ingredients

300g icing sugar , sifted
50g unsalted butter , at room temperature
125g cream cheese, cold

Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan or gas mark 5.

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix until creamy and lighter in colour.

Sieve the cocoa, flour and salt into a bowl and crack one of the eggs into a cup or ramekin. Stiring all the time, add the egg and a third of the flour mixture into the sugar and butter, add the second egg and third of the flour and add the last egg and flour mixture in to the butter and sugar. You should have a smooth thick batter. If your batter is stiff, add a splash of milk (or some of the Kirsch from the drained cherries) and stir.

Put into paper cases (I used ‘Fairy’ sized cases) and bake for 15 mins

To make the frosting:

Beat the icing sugar and butter together

Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until it is completely mixed. Do not overbeat, as it can quickly become runny.

Beer Bread (no, not Beer and bread but Beer Bread)

Beer Bread (no, not Beer and bread but Beer Bread)

Courtesy of Gordon Ramsay

I just happened to turn the tv on yesterday afternoon and caught 5 minutes of Gordon Ramsay making Beer Bread to go with a Ploughmans Salad. I have to say that I wasn’t convinced it would be that easy. My abiding memory of bread making stems from when I was at school and the bread rolls that I made weren’t even fit for the birds!!!!!

So, I thought I’d give it a try. Well it gave me an excuse to pop to Lakeland in my lunch break as well…….

BEER BREAD (courtesy of Gordon Ramsay)

MAKES 8 MINI LOAVES

butter, for greasing
175g (6oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
75g (3oz) wholemeal self-raising flour. (Struggled to find this so used Tesco Strong Brown Flour)
1⁄2 tbsp flaked sea salt, eg Maldon
250ml (9fl oz) beer or lager
1–2 tbsp milk

❶ Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Gordon says to ‘Grease 8 mini loaf tins measuring 4.5cm x 7.5cm x 3cm (approx 13⁄4 in x 3in x 11⁄4 in), then dust with flour and shake out any excess’. I used a 1lb loaf tin and a round pie dish and an oval pie dish in the name of experimentation!!

❷ Sift the flours into a mixing bowl and add the salt. Pour in the beer, mixing as you do so, until the mixture is free of lumps. The batter will appear unusually runny for a bread mix.

❸ Divide the batter between the prepared tins, filling them three-quarters full. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Brush the tops with a little milk and a light dusting of flour (to help the tops colour nicely) and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.

❹ Remove the loaves from the tins and cool on a wire rack. They can be eaten warm or cold and will keep for a couple of days in an airtight container.

And I’m rather impressed. The whole process took less than an hour from start to finish, the bread is tasty and, for the times when you run out of bread (on a Sunday night and have no bread for sandwiches on Monday!!!!!) it’s a really easy and useful standby……..or possibly to go with soup on a weekend lunchtime??

My black eye…..

My black eye.....

I can’t recall ever having a black eye before (thankfully) but a moment of lost concentration whilst washing the car with a jet wash means a now have a very delicate right eye brow, beautiful colours and rather sore. Hopefully it will have gone down before work on Monday!!

So, my morning was rather busy (and painful). Gym, Hairdresser, Butcher, Post Office, weekly shop, wash car and laundry which left me with my afternoon to do as I please.

Winter afternoons are make for baking, knitting and watching rugby. If I had a log fire it would be perfect. Wales have just beaten Italy and now England need to beat the French

I found this recipe on Tesco’s website and it’s a very moist but light cake

APPLE AND CINNAMON LOAF CAKE

175g unsalted butter, softened
175g golden caster sugar
225g self-raising flour, sifted
1tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp ground cinnamon
50ml Greek yoghurt (I used goats yoghurt)
2 eating apples, cored and roughly chopped
1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting (I used Demerara sugar as you can see from the pictures)

The recipe says to Pre-heat the oven to 180° C but I have a fan oven and took it to 160

Grease and line a 2lb straight-sided loaf tin with baking parchment

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions.

Fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and yoghurt until incorporated, then add the chunks of apple, mixing well.

Spoon into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 70-80 minutes; it is ready when a cake tester comes out clean from the centre of the loaf cake. Remove and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and finally dust with the icing sugar once cool.

After the pleasure…….

 

of last nights chocolate mousse I felt it was time to go back to the gym after several weeks (well months actually) off. Not just because of the vast amount of chocolate mousse I ate last night but there is a rumour of a re-run of the charity bike ride that I completed last year and I will need to be fitter just to be able to think about it.

Its the pleasure/pain (first the pleasure, then the pain) principle followed by the ‘no pain, no gain’ principle. So, down to the gym for a half hour session (always start slow, you can always do more another time!!) and then home to bake and knit!!

Baking

I wanted to make mini cupcakes but had no mini cupcake cases so had to make big ones! Thinking along the lines of Black Forest Gateau I’ve made dark chocolate sponge cupcakes with a cherry popped inside. I’ve not topped them yet but I’m thinking either a simple piped whipped cream with a sprinkle of chocolate on the top or a piped cream cheese frosting…….will decide on this tomorrow.

This is them before the oven.

image

RECIPE

250g unsalted butter (room temperature)

250g caster sugar

250g self raising flour

5 eggs

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

glace cherries

 

Whisk together the butter and sugar

Add 2 eggs and mix again

Add half the flour and mix again

Add 2 more eggs and beat well together (electric whisk used for all of this)

Add the rest of the flour and mix well again

Mix the cocoa powder with a few desert spoons of water to create a paste-add water until you have a smooth paste

Add the chocolate paste to the cake batter and add the final egg

Pipe the mix into cup cake/muffin cases but only fill to about one third

Cut glacé cherries in half and pop on the top and gently push halfway into the mix

Fan oven: 160-cupcakes 12 minutes, muffins 15 minutes

Remove from oven, cool and top  (see above for topping comments!)

 

KNITTING

Well, I’ve now made 3 knitted beanie hats for the man who keeps complaining that he cant find a hat big enough in the shops, so he has NO excuse for a cold head!!

So, what to knit next…….

Having had a glass or two of wine last night (another reason for the gym) I decided to K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid) so, after some internet search decided on egg cosies. Well, how difficult can this be????

image

Ok, so it’s only one so far but I reckon by the end of the week I will have a family of egg cosies……if only I ate boiled eggs!!!!

For those who want to knit; it was a cast on of 15 stitches, very simple garter (knit) stitch, knit for about 18 cm (sorry, I lost count of the rows). Cast off and stitch up 2 sides, and there you have it; an egg cozy! Very simple and strangely satisfying.

Christmas Tree Cake…..

image

 

Ok, so I know that Christmas has been and gone but for those of us that didn’t have a traditional UK Christmas I’m celebrating late. I made the sponge for this before we went away for Christmas and popped it into the freezer as I knew I would want to take a cake to work first week of the New Year.

It so happened that we had a training session this afternoon and, bearing in mind the topic, a sugar hit was essential!  As it happened the training session didn’t take place for technical reasons but we still ate cake!!

To be honest it was waaaaaay to sugary for my liking but that didn’t stop me having three slices over the day!! Diet starts next week…….

The recipe was my basic sponge recipe but I swapped vanilla for almond essence which gave it a bit of a marzipan taste. I also added a layer of strawberry jam for the middle so it was almost a Bakewell tart flavour.