Friday, 20 January 2012


The other day I was really in the mood for chocolate but not just a chocolate bar it had to be a cake and I just new it had to be a sachertorte. Half way through making this I was wondering why I never brought a whisk, seriously whisking 5 egg whites by hand is hard work but it was worth it.. So now I am looking around comparing prices and putting money aside each week to buy a decent whisk. Not that it will get a lot of use as I still think that cakes made by hand taste so much better BUT when I have my children to look after (11 month, 3 yr old and 4 yr old) I can not be sat or stood whisking egg whites especially when it take nearly 10 minutes. You would think I would have muscles in my arms from whisking by hand for so long but I hate to disappoint but it has not happened.

What you need:
5 oz plain chocolate
5 oz butter
4 oz caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 eggs separated
3 oz ground Almonds
40g plain flour
3 heaped tbsp Apricot Jam
5 oz plain chocolate
7 fl oz double cream
1oz milk chocolate

What you do:
Preheat your oven to 160 o'C and grease and line your cake tin.
Place a bowl on top of a pan of boiling water and melt the chocolate. Once it has melted put to one side and cool. 
In a large bowl cream your butter until soft. 
Gradually beat in your sugar until light and fluffy
Mix in the cooled chocolate and vanilla extract
 Beat in your egg yolks making sure you beat well between each addition
Fold in the ground almonds and flour. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl so that it is all combined.
Put this to one side and in a separate bowl whisk your egg whites until they form soft peaks. Do not do it until it is dry like would a meringue you need it soft and just starting to form stiff peaks.
Add about 1/3 of your egg whites to your chocolate mix and beat this in. This is to loosen up your mix. 
Once the mix is loose add the rest of your egg white and using a spatula GENTLY and I mean gently fold in your egg white mix until it is fully combined.
Gently pour the mixture into your prepared tin a gently level it
Place in your oven on the middle shelf and bake for 45 minutes until well risen and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove from the tin and remove the grease proof paper and leave on a wire rack to cool completely

Once you cake is completely cool heat up your apricot jam in a small pan then brush evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Leave this to set

To make the chocolate icing place a bowl over a pan of boiling water and place your plain chocolate (broken up) in the bowl with the cream 
and stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted.
Leave this to cool to room temp and then place in the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes or until it is thick. Make sure you stir it a couple of times while chilling so that you do not get a skin on it. Once your chocolate icing is thick and creamy pour it onto your cake and level it off making sure you do the top and the sides. To make sure you do not get the chocolate every where place leave your cake on a the wire rack and place this on top of a baking tray.
With the milk chocolate place in a bowl and heat gently in the microwave this only takes seconds so keep a eye on it. Place the melted chocolate in to either a piping bag or a sandwich bag. If you are using a sandwich bag make sure you push all the chocolate down in to one corner then snip the corner off. Pipe Sacher across   your cake. Leave your cake to set then transfer to either a cake board, plate or serving plate. 

Happy Baking 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

My dad's Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my dear OLD dad's birthday. So normally I would buy him a card and a little present but I thought I would do him some thing different. Instead I did a cake, I thought I would top it with some home made figure. I used fondant, I have only ever made a frog , bee, caterpillar and a couple of flowers and my dad is a huge golfer he is there no matter what the weather and recently won a trophy for a game he played. So I thought I would take the mic a bit with the cake. So I made a man lying down (don't ask me how as I am not sure I sat down and got on with it, I will admit it is not perfect as I do not own any proper tools for making characters)
Then I made a gold bag with golf clubs, balls, a flag and a small patch of green. I covered the cake in green butter cream and then placed all the decorations.
My dad was very pleased when he saw the cake. I know that next time I make it it will be better as I will practice and buy some books to help me learn how to make things like this.
This cake mix is enough for 1 large tin or two small ones. I normally do two small ones and put lemon curd in the centre then top with butter cream.

What you need:
9 oz soft butter
9 oz caster sugar
3 eggs
1/4 pint milk
10 oz self raising flour sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon juice
zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
5 oz mixed dried fruit

What you do:
Preheat your oven and grease your tin.
In a large bowl cream your butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy.
Beat in your eggs one at a time until fully incorporated, do not worry if it splits as when the flour is added and the cake is baked it will  be look and taste good.
 Mix in your milk and lemon juice then fold in your shifted flour and baking powder
Mix in your zest and mixed dried fruit
Empty into your tin and bake on the middle shelf for 25 to 30 minutes or until the skewer inserted come out clear

leave to cool in your tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled decorate as you please.

This is how I did mine

Basic Butter cream flavoured with lemon then decorated with fondant.

As you can see I still need a lot of practice but I am happy with the results as I think it is not to bad for a first attempt.

Happy Baking

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Mango Pickle Naan Bread

This recipe was inspired by Paul Hollywood's curried naan bread. But since I didn't have every thing I used what what I had. Now not being a fan of hot spicy things I have not tasted this but my Step son Gavin and his dad did/ They both said it was good. So with that I hope when you try it that you like it.
I have used hot curry powder as my boys like it the hotter the better.

What you need:
500g strong white flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 oz curry powder (use what ever strength you like)
2 sachets of 7g easy bake yeast
300ml water
3 tbsp mango pickle

What you do:
Line a baking tray with grease proof paper
In a large bowl put the flour, salt, oil, curry powder, yeast and water and using your hand mix together.
When your mix is just starting to come together

 place your dough onto a  work top and knead until smooth and pliable. this should only take about 5 minutes.

Place the dough back in the bowl. Cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Place dough onto a lightly floured work top and knead in the mango pickle.
Divide your dough into 7 pieces place these onto the baking tray cover with a tea towel and leave to rest for a hour.
(the 7th one was still on the counter when the photo was taken)
Once the hour is up put your dough one at a time onto a lightly floured work top and roll out. They need to be thin. I am going to do them thinner than what I did on the photo below just to see what happens.

place them back onto the baking tray and cover again with a tea towel and leave for about 5 minutes.
Very lightly grease a frying pan with some oil, I used a piece of kitchen towel with olive oil on it then wipe it on to the pan, fry the dough on at a time on each side for a few minutes until browned. Set aside onto a wire rack with a baking tray underneath, just in case oil drips, and leave to cool slightly before eating.

Happy baking

Friday, 6 January 2012

Cheese Scones

Scones are the one of the easiest and hardest things to make. I say hardest because some times they don't double in size and do not always rise properly. there are three tips I am going to give you
1. Try not to handle the dough to much
2. Only egg wash the top do not do the sides as this prevents rising.
3. Once you have cut the and given them an egg wash put them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes ( I admit I don't always do and they don't rise properly)
When it came to cutting the dough I use a 2 1/4 in round cutter and got 14 1/2. I also rolled the dough out to just under 4cm thick.

What you need:
500g strong white flour
1 oz caster sugar
1 oz  baking powder
3 oz soft butter
2 eggs beaten
8 fl oz milk
4 0z grated cheddar cheese
1 egg beaten for glaze
1 oz finely grated cheddar cheese for the topping

What you do:
Line 3 baking trays with grease proof paper.
Put the flour, sugar, butter, baking powder, 2 eggs and the milk into a large bowl
 and using your hand gently squeeze it to bring it together.

Leave to sit for a few minutes. I leave it long enough for me to grate the cheese.
Add the cheese

And slowly using your hand combine it to your dough. Once this is done VERY lightly flour your work top and place your dough and this and knead  VERY gently for about 2 minutes until smooth. Roll out your dough, you need to be very light handed when doing this and cut out your shapes. Place your rounds onto your baking tray
You will need to re-roll the dough a couple of time but be careful and do not add to much flour.
Once you have all you rounds on your baking trays lightly egg wash the tops. Place these in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and no longer than an hour. Near the end of this resting time you need to put your oven on to 190 o'C.
Again only egg wash the tops of your scones and sprinkle the cheese onto the tops as well.
Place them one baking tray at a time in the oven on the second from bottom shelf for 10 to 15 minutes or until a nice golden brown.
remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Happy Baking

Alpen Muffins

This morning I woke up fancying some Alpen and muffin so I thought I would combine the two and see what happens and I am happy with the results.

What you need:
6 oz plain flour sifted
1 tbsp baking powder sifted
1 tsp cinnamon
12 oz Alpen
4 oz dark brown sugar
a large hand ful of dried fruit (it up to you what you use, I used mixed fruit as that is what I had in the house)
2 eggs beaten
9 fl oz milk
6 tbsp sunflower oil

What you do:
Preheat your oven to 200 o'C and line your muffin tin with cases.
Put you shifted flour and baking powder in a large bowl and mix in the sugar cinnamon and then the alpen and dried fruit.

Measure out your milk in a jug and whisk in the beaten egg, then whisk in the oil. Add this to your dry mixture trying not to over mix. Mix until combined.

Divide between muffin cases ( I got 24 but I had to use some fairy cake cases as I ran out of muffin cases)

Place your trays on the second from bottom shelf and bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until Golden brown.
Remove from oven and leave in the trays to cool slightly. Once slightly cooled transfer to a wire rack or eat.

Happy baking

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

what's in season

Since I fell over the children's toys and hurt my wrist I am not baking for a few days, as it hurts to whisk, seriuosly needs to see about buying an electric whisk especially when I start making macaroons, so I thought I would let you all know what is in season during the seasons.

 If I have missed anything out please let me know.



Bay Leaves
Brussels Sprouts
Curly Kale
Red Cabbage





Curly Kale
Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Savoy Cabbage
Spring Greens
Spring Onion





Broad Beans
Fresh Peas
Green Beans
Lettuce & Salad Leaves
New potatoes
Runner Beans
Salad Onions


Currants – black, white and red
Elderflower berries



Field Mushrooms



Happy Baking