Archive | August, 2010

BakeIt! Club Entry – Toffee Pecan Ring

30 Aug

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This is my entry for Amy Lane’s BakeIt! Club on her blog Cooking, Cakes and Children.  I must admit I have played with the original recipe as I had quite a lot of apples in and I wanted to try something apple-y.  I hope it is still ok to put the link across as I have not played strictly by the rules!  If at all (sorry!).  

Have a look at Amy’s recipe and you will see that the ring is made up from slices of rolled up dough in which has been layered with chocolate, rolos, and pecans, and arranged in a circle.  Lush.  Mine is slightly less indulgent (boo!) and is layered with a mixture of stewed apple, sugar, almond essence and ground almonds.  I bunged the almonds in to try and soak up and excess moisture.  I drizzled white chocolate over the top to finish.  I have used a bundt pan which has created quite a lot of height to the ring.  I’ve seen a couple of the other rings on the C,C and C blog and it is amazing how different they look even with only minor changes to the recipe.

It is very difficult to decide whether the end result is cake or scone as the texture is definitely bang in the middle.  I think the others have said that it would be nice with a cup of coffee and I agree.  I would (with some confidence) presume that this apple version is not as sweet.  More for your morning coffee. 

Yum…Apple Pie for Tea!

29 Aug

This was a bit of a team effort between me, Chief Tester and Little Tester.  I was on prep duty and Chief Tester and Little Tester were on assembly duty.  This worked well as I realised that all the flour-y mess created by me and Little Tester baking alone is not attributable only to having a three year old in the kitchen.  Chief Tester is a little bit more restrained than me when dusting the surfaces with flour.  It seems it doesn’t actually need to be shaken all around the room.

I’d bought bramleys on special offer in good old Sainsburys but also been given some apples from ma and pas apple tree, so some of these went in too, together with a bit of soft brown sugar and a very little bit of cinnamon.  

The end result has an interesting lumpy effect as you can see (due to the apple slices), but it tasted great.  Adding egg to pastry dough has been a revelation to me as it handles so well.  I am still working on making pastry shorter (hopefully in time for mince pie season) but was reasonably satisfied with the texture for the time being.  Great with a scoop of ice-cream and toffee sauce.  

Competition Results

29 Aug

Thank you so much for all the entries to my August competition!  Excuse the pun but they have given me much food for thought.  I think fish cakes might have already been done though. I am not sure where I could go with that :-). 

I love them all but after much pondering I have finally picked a winner…*drum roll*…the low fat Carrot Cake (entered by Tracy).  

The random one out of the mixing bowl was the rose and violet creams themed cake (entered by Rachel).

I will be in touch with the winners directly about delivery etc.

Thank you everyone for joining in.

Now I am off to research what I can do…

x

Carrot and Apple Muffins

26 Aug

Right, time for a slight departure from cupcakes (still ‘mini-cakes’ though –
you can’t beat them!). These are probably healthier too, with fruit and veg and
also featuring Carotino Oil. This is a blend of red palm and canola oil and
reportedly a source of omega 3 and 6. A good change from butter. I seem to
recall the bottle saying you could use 40ml to replace 50g butter, but don’t
hold me to that.

This is a super easy recipe and the ingredients are as follows…

8oz plain flour
2tsp baking powder
3oz caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

8floz milk
3floz Carotino Oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 dessert apple, chopped small (quarter then cut each quarter three times
lengthwise and six times widthwise)
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (doesn’t need to be finely grated)
1oz sultanas

Preheat the oven to gas 6/200 degrees and line a twelve hole muffin tin. (I
always put a bowl of water in the oven but perhaps it is not so critical with
this as the fruit and veg adds moisture.)

Prep the apple and carrot and put to one side.

Then sift together the dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl whisk
together the wet ingredients. Then combine the two (large spoon – not a whisk),
together with the apple, carrot and sultanas. Mix until just combined – fear
not if it is a bit lumpy – but make sure the fruit and veg is evenly
distributed.

Divide between the muffin pan holes. I found this was one and a bit ice-cream
scoops each. Bake for around 20 to 25 minutes. Check after 18 minutes. They
should be golden on top and the skewer should come out clean-ish. The
ingredients make the muffins very moist so the timing isn’t too crucial if they
are a little overdone.

These are particularly lovely enjoyed whilst still warm. (After sharing these
with my guinea pigs, I have renamed one of them Meg.) The muffins are really
moist with a gentle spice. They were still good on the second day too, and
would be fabulous reheated for a few seconds in the microwave and served with
custard. If you are feeling really virtuous or you want to serve these to
children you could reduce the sugar to 2oz. Just a warning that they then might
be a little bland for sugar addicts like me.

It’s Pimms O’Clock

20 Aug
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Mmmnn – Pimms cupcakes. I know. More cupcakes. I will do something else
soon, I promise! I think what I like about these mini-cakes is that you can
really experiment with flavour combinations because each mouthful can include
both cake and frosting. You can really layer flavours and textures.

Anyway, for these, I made a traditional Victoria Sponge recipe for the cakes but
mixed in finely chopped strawberries, a little vanilla extract and a dash of
Pimms. I usually use one strawberry for each cupcake I anticipate making, plus
I bung a few extra in for luck. The frosting is your bog standard butter-cream
but with Pimms added to taste (many tastes – hic). If it starts to taste as
strong as brandy butter you have gone too far and it’s best to start baking
mince pies.

Pretty simple but a little bit special. A little bit of sunshine for a pretty
miserable Summer. I garnished them with sprigs of mint and little bits of
cucumber but you could also continue the theme with little bits of orange or
maybe apple.

It’s Competition Time

17 Aug

It’s been a couple of weeks since the last competition so it’s time for another one for all More Cake Please Facebook Like-Clickers!

This time I want your ideas for cake flavours/themes.  Hopefully a bit of fun for all of us.  

What would you like to see in a cake?  A favourite pudding from your childhood…a chocolate bar…a dessert classic…a cocktail…something inspired by your favourite pick’n’mix?  It could be one flavour or a combination of two or three.  

There will be two winners.  I will pick out my favourite as one winner.  I will put all the other suggestions in a hat and pick one out as the other winner.  Bit scared of that one.  

The winners will receive the results of my efforts.  There might have to be a little adaptation depending on delivery method, but I will do my best.

Closing Date is Saturday 28 August 2010. 

Get thinking.  Give me a challenge!  

Eek.

My Kind of Baked Potato

17 Aug

Victoria Sponge…

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…loaded with creamy buttercream and strawberry jam and served with Sunday Sunshine to match (a rare thing in Leyland at the moment).  This is based on a recipe from Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet Chocolate Heartbreak.  The secret vegetable ingredient in this one is grated white potato.  As with most of the recipes in this book, it also happens to be gluten free.  

I fiddled with the cake mix a bit as I am trying to find my own ‘signature blend’ for vanilla flavour so I tried out a vanilla/almond extract blend.  I also experimented by substituting some of the rice flour with a spoonful of tapioca flour.  I’ve had this tapioca flour lingering in the cupboard for a while.  I understand it is meant to add some chewiness to gluten free recipes.  Probably more for bread recipes but I just can’t help myself.

I must admit that I lacked a little confidence at the slop going into the tin, blaming it on my tapioca intervention.  On reflection I think that it was always going to be sloppy with the finely grated potato clinging to itself and the beaters.  The end result was quite a robust sponge and maybe even a little chewy.  Very moist and tasty considering there is no added fat.  This recipe is also dairy-free until you add a great big wedge of buttercream in the middle.  Of course it would be just fine too with ‘white buttercream’ or maybe jam flying solo.  

And no, it doesn’t taste of potato.