29 June 2011

Raspberry Cake

My parents went to Henley Regatta today and wanted to take a cake for their picnic so Mum asked me to make the Hummingbird blueberry cake again but as I'm getting fed up of making the same things all the time I swapped the blueberries for raspberries to be more fun....

Mum iced it in the morning because the weathers been so warm and topped it with freshly picked raspberries from Dad's vegetable patch.

350g unsalted butter
350g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
450g plain flour
2 tbsp + 2tsp baking powder
280ml soured cream
225g fresh raspberries (the blueberry cake asks for 250g but as raspberries are a moister fruit I used slightly less for fear of making the mixture too wet)
cream cheese frosting to finish

1) prehear the oven to 170C and grease the tin and dust it with flour; I use a 25cm ring mould and fill it 3/4 full which leaves enough mix to make 6 muffins as well)
2) cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
3) add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
4) add the vanilla extract and beat well
5) add the baking powder and flour and beat to combine (I beat the mixture as little as possible once I've added the flour because I don't want it to get heavy and dry)
6) add the soured cream and beat again to combine
7) add the fruit and carefully stir with a large metal spoon

Bake it for around 35 minutes until the sponge is golden brown; leave to cool and ice!
I find keeping the icing in the fridge until I'm ready to use it helps it keep its shape and despite many (failed) attempts to use low-fat cream cheese, full-fat cream cheese makes the best icing.  Cakes aren't meant to be that healthy anyway...

28 June 2011

Rasperry cake leftovers...

As the ring cake I made for mum had so much mixture left I added chopped up milkybar to the batter and popped it in a 1lb loaf tin in the oven for around 45 minutes at 150C (there was a LOT of leftover batter).

Lets call it an 'experimental' tea loaf because it looks a bit like one if you turn it upside down so you can't see the sunken bit in the middle of the cake.....it looks quite pretty though with its' chocolate glace icing!

Muesli Bars

Giles is working for the charity Practical Action at the moment and I'm going to see him this evening so, obviously, I've made something for him!  The team are out going door-to-door for hours at a time so I thought it would be nice to make something that could be wrapped up and put in your pocket as a snack without suffering the fate of the poor squashed muffins.

The recipe came from the Hummingbird Bakery book but, me being me, I forgot to buy half the ingredients so just upped the quantities and missed some bits out...

320g unsalted butter
240ml golden syrup
250g lift soft brown sugar
250g rolled oats
200g dessicated coconut
125g dried apricots (forgot these...)
60g dried dates (..and these...)
125g cornflakes (...so put in loads more of these..)
125g sunflower seeds
60g dried cranberries
125g shelled walnuts, chopped
125g raisins (..and extra raisins too...)

1) Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup together over a low heat until melted and smooth
2) Combine the dry ingredients together (in a REALLY big bowl) and mix
3) Add the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until everything is combined
4) Press this into a prepared tray (33x23x5-cm lined with greaseproof paper) and press with the back of a spoon to flatten it.
4) Cover with more greasproof paper and place in the fridge with heavy things on top to flatten and cool overnight (Delia Smith's complete illustrated cookery guide did a good job...).

It took some persuading to get them to come out of the tray but when they did they held together perfectly and were quite easy to cut.

All packaged up and ready to go, except it was a tight squeeze in the box so one was sacrificed even though they aren't really vegan friendly....whoops

19 June 2011

Father's Day

My daddy loves crunchies and food so when he said 'a crunchie' would be a good present I thought it would be more fun to bake with them instead and made crunchie brownies.

Charity Dog Show

This weekend I was asked to bake for a charity dog show held in our village to raise money for the local primary school and the Church roof fund.  The weather managed to hold out most of the day and only spat with rain for half an hour or so and the sun did try to shine; loads of people came with their dogs for the fun classes and my mum's ancient spaniel won the 'Best older dog' class!

Mum, Sue and I ran the stall together and Sue baked a chocolate cake which went really fast (classic); some friends of Charlotte's (the organiser) brought some cakes along too which was great and by the end of the day everything had sold out.

I baked a selection of brownies, double chocolate cookies and oat and raisin cookies

As well as some pretty cupcakes for the children who came with their dogs

and some 'grown-up' cakes; my favourite coffee & walnut and a lemon loaf which was bought as a whole and I was very pleased with! (thats Sue's chocolate cake in the background)

I took the opportunity to advertise for myself a little bit so got some friends to help me make some personalised 'Mariposa Cakes' labels for my goods as well as some business cards which I gave to people buying my things, I'm interested to see if anything comes of it.

16 June 2011

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is my favourite icing to use on cupcakes; its less sweet than American traditional buttercreams and more grown-up tasting plus it pipes really well when you flavour it!

This recipe makes enough buttercream to pipe onto 12 large cupcakes:
           250g unsalted butter
           120g caster sugar
           2 egg whites
           1 tsp vanilla extract
- whisk egg whites and sugar over heat until no longer grainy to touch (longer than 5 minutes)
- remove from heat and whisk until cool and thick
- add butter in small amounts and keep whisking
- once all the butter has been added keep whisking until the buttercream comes together (it looks dodgy for a while but it will be fine)
- once its all mixed up you can add flavouring or colours and mix it in but adding too much liquid will make the buttercream to runny to pipe with.

14 June 2011

How not to travel muffins...

Whilst feeling very clever from the success of the muffins I took to the Polo Nationals I decided it would be good planning to bake a second batch of muffins for Giles to have for breakfast during ourcycle trip (Oxford to Padstow in 4 days, casual...) so did some baking the night before we left and made some dried fruit, lemon and oat muffins.

I adapted the standard muffin recipe I like to use: 200 g self-raising flour
                                                                                100 g oats whizzed in the food processer
                                                                                1/2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                1 medium egg
                                                                                175ml milk
                                                                                125ml vegetable oil
                                                                                pinch salt
                                                                                150g sugar
- sieve flours and add sugar and salt
- mix egg, milk and oil together and add to the dry ingredients
- mix until just combined and add flavouring; I used the grated rind of 1 lemon and some raisins
Bake at 180 C for 20 mintues

But what I failed to plan was how they would travel; wrapping them in silver foil and popping them into a bag with 2 jars of peanut butter and a sleeping bag didn't suit them very well.


I did make some energy bars that did travel well and did get eaten before I took a photo of them which were adapted from the basic flapjack recipe I like.
2 oz butter (I used margarine so I could eat them)
2 oz peanut butter
2 oz demerara sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp treacle
6 oz oats
- melt the butter, peanut butter, syrups and sugar and add the dry ingredients
- I added 2 mashed bananas into the mix before pressing it into the 8" square tin.
Bake at 180 C for 20 mintues.

Blueberry Cake

I made this cake for the Nationals but it was so beautiful (and the process so ridiculous) that I had to give it its' own post.  The first attempt saw me make a rookie error and totally ignore the guidance in the book to 'only fill the tin 3/4 full' and just kept pouring the batter in.....obviously the cake exploded in the oven and overflowed so didn't cook properly in the middle so I drove it to Giles' flat, scooped it out with a big spoon and left the boys eating it with spoons from bowls.

Second time round I made 6 muffins with the leftover batter and produced a beautiful cake!

Summer Nationals Baking

I've finally finished the taught part of my Masters so I've got a bit more time on ym hands now (except that I still have ym dissertation to write but I keep forgetting about that...) plus I got my laptop back today from Dell so I've actually got a computer I can work on without having to squint or use a magnifying glass to look at...

Last weekend we went to the SUPA Summer Polo Nationals at Offchurch Bury polo club so I obviously had to make something to take after having made so many flapjacks at the Winters.  But I didn't want to make anything I've made before again because thats boring so I tried some new recipes...

These honey and granola flapjacks acted as replacements for my flappy j's and went down nicely, they were so sugary that Giles ate the leftovers when we were cycling and he got tired.

7oz butter
7oz demerara sugar
7oz honey
14 oz granola

-melt the butter, sugar and honey together then stir in the dry ingredients.
- bake in a 7" square tin at 180 C for 25-30 minutes.

I had a bit of a balls up making the (badly photographed) coconut and lime loaf; the recipe said 45 minutes so I popped out to force feed some exploded cake to Giles, Rich and Rich and got back to a kitchen full of smoke.  The little cake survived though so I covered it in limey sugary drizzle and dessicated coconut and boxed it up to go.

In an attempt to be clcver I made some muffins for breakfast; banana and cinnamon for the other campers and vegan banana and cinnamon for me (recipe in a later post) so I didn't feel too left out! It was a Hummingbird recipe and I don't really trust them all that much but they turned out nicely, lasted well given how I stored them and all got eaten!