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25 Apr 2009

Urgh

Just a quick post to let you know I won't be participating in this weeks Sweet Melissa Sundays bakeathon. I've been super snowed under putting the finishing touches on my dissertation I haven't had a second to myself! Boooo!

Good luck and I look forward to seeing everyone's cookies :)

19 Apr 2009

Caramel Apple Turnovers with Sweet Ricotta Filling

Wowsers! This really is something I would never have picked out of this book if left to my own devices but I sure am glad someone else had the amazing sense too. That someone is Tracy of the fabulous blog Tracy's Culinary Adventures . I love these turnovers, they were so unbelievably simple to make and they make for a killer breakfast!!


Like the recipe stated, I drained the ricotta 24 hours in advance but when I awoke the following morning, there was no excess moisture in the bowl. How odd, I thought, so proceeded to squeeze my cheese cloth till a little of the water dribbled out. I left the bowl a satisfied woman. The apples were also super easy, I've never made caramel before but found it quite an easy process, even leaving it to catch a little bit of Scrubs on TV. I had to force myself to leave the caramelized apples alone at one point, it looks so delicious I was itching for a little spoon full.


They browned a little more than I would have liked but that's all down to my vanity and wanting to be washed and dried for my boy coming home from work. They toasted up a little while I was soaping myself in the bath, ooops. Although I really enjoyed these turnovers I think I'd prefer something in place of the ricotta, maybe a mascarpone based filling would be nice. I just think it needs to be a little creamier, maybe that's just me.


I will definitely make these again, so easy, so tasty, so satisfying. Check out the Sweet Melissa Sunday blogroll for everyone else's attempts :)

12 Apr 2009

Brooklyn Brownout Cake

This weeks task is brought to us by Elyse of Confectionary Creations, in perfect Easter spirit she chose the most chocolaty treat in the whole book, the Brooklyn Brownout Cake. Not only did we have to make a devils food chocolate cake for this recipe, but we also had to whip up a batch of brownies for the filling. How decadent! This one really is one for the sweet toothed among us.


Rather than make the brownies from the cookbook like the recipe asked, I decided to leave them for a future week and use the super sugary recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. To say I had trouble keeping 4 aside for the chocolate filling is an understatement. I pretty much had to keep Kris' fingers off them by swinging a flaming torch whilst screaming 'BACK, BACK I TELLS YOU!'

I didn't have any 7" baking pans handy so I threw the mixture in my 20cm tin and took up residence in front on the oven with a cup of tea, making sure there was no burnage going on. Saying that, I did set fire to my nice oven glove while the brownies were baking, ooops! I don't know whether it was the fault of the bigger tins or I took the cakes out before they were ready but they turned out rather crumby, much like two giant brownies. I had quite a bit of trouble handling them and in some instances had to glue bits together with chocolate ganache. I think next time I'll make sure I have the right sized tins.

And now, my cake and I are off to my mums house for a lovely Easter lunch. Ta ta for now :)

Check out the Sweet Melissa Sunday bakers to see what everyone else came up with.

10 Apr 2009

Mothers, who'd have them?

A few days ago I rang my mother to tell her I was making the Sundays With Melissa's Brooklyn Brownout Cake for Easter desert and not to bother buying anything. Rather than the 'oooh, how wonderful, thank you!' I was expecting she decided that she no longer likes chocolate cakes and couldn't I make a nice Simnel cake instead. Sigh!

Rather than bake a whole cake just to pacify my mum I decided to try a recipe featured in this months Asda magazine. I was amused by their novel approach to the simnel and I was dying to try it out, rather than baking one large cake in a tin they used 4 200g baked bean tins, empty of course. I rose early this morning, with this in mind, and whipped up a full english to surprise my slumbering man. He was over the moon that I'd gone to all the trouble of preparing his breakfast while I allowed him an extra hour in bed, little did he know I just needed the baked bean tins ;)



I started out with the full intention of making my own marzipan before reading I'd have to chill the dough for 24 hours before use. Luckily I bought a pack ready made for those 'just in case' moments I tend to have.

One thing I have to say about the tin can method is be careful when lining the tins!! I must have sliced my hands open about ten times, I'm covered in unicorn plasters and resemble Amy Winehouse after a fight with Blake. Ouch!



For fun and games I'll be entering my wee cakes into Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie's Easter Cake Bake. I can't wait to see what everyone else has cooked up :)




Recipe:

115g unsalted butter
115g caster sugar plus extra for rolling-out
2 large free range eggs
125g self raising flour
125g Mixed dried fruit
75 glace cherries, quartered
550g pack of marzipan
4tbs no bits apricot jam
cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat the oven to 150/130 fan. Line the base and side of 4 baked bean tins with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, if the mixture begins to curdle add a tbs of flour. Stir in the rest of the flour and all of the fruit.

Sprinkle a little caster sugar on your work surface and roll the marzipan to around 5mm thick. Cut out 4 rounds using an upturned bean tin. Divide half the cake mixture between the tins and place the marzipan rounds on top before covering with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 1hr 5 mins or untill a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean (min took about 10 minutes longer) Leave to cool in the tins for 15 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Trim the cakes with a sharp knife to level the tops. Cut 4 more marzipan rounds to fit the top of the cakes. Heat the jam and brush onto the top of each cake. Cover with the marzipan.

Make 44 mini balls with the remaining marzipan and put 11 balls, secured with apricot glaze, around the edge of each cake then dust with cocoa powder.

7 Apr 2009

Americana!

The one thing I loved most about America were the supermarkets, aisles and aisles of fat containing, diabetes inducing, sugary foods. Everything was made for the soul purpose of expanding your waistline. And I loved it! My very favorite things were the Hostess cream pies, little chocolate cupcakes filled with a delicious cream centre. One was more than enough, but boy were they good! I'd been wanting to recreate the awesomeness of those cupcakes for two years now, but never got around to it.

Then, on a random browse through Tastespotting I noticed the thing I've been searching for all these years, a cream filled cupcake using fluff! I love fluff, really love, romantically love! The day I discovered my local Fenwicks Food Hall stocked Fluff I bought like, a years supply! I want some now....anyway I decided to whip up a batch for my cake tasting Sunday session using the Oreo Cupcake base I love so much.



So, I baked the cupcakes, filled them with cream then piped a beautiful swirl of chocolate butter cream upon each treat. I stood back to admire my batch of pretty cuppies only to be rudely startled by a braying belly laugh coming from the living room. Kris was staring at my cake, laughing so hard I thought he'd throw up. Then I realised why. My star icing nozzle was dirty and they only other to hand was my large circular version. Can you guess what they looked like? That's right, comedy poos, like the kind you buy in the joke shop. Sure I saw the funny side, texted a few photos to a few friends, laughed some more then set about them with a pallet knife. No poo cakes in my house, no way Jose!



If you'd like to give these cakes a go, sans poo icing, the recipe for the cream filling can be found here. Just use any cupcake/frosting recipe you feel comfortable with :)

5 Apr 2009

Coffee frog recommends the biscotti

Whenever I think of biscotti one image always springs to mind.

So cute!

I'd like to welcome you all to a brand new baking group, Sweet Melissa Sundays. Every Sunday we will be baking a different recipe from the wonderful Sweet Melissa Baking Book, the best part is we get to pick the treats, I'm so excited for my choice in 6 weeks time. For our very first endeavor together Lorelei from Mermaid Sweets has chosen the Honey Beescotti. Being a biscotti virgin I was a bit thrown by the lack of a picture detailing the finished product, but I guess that just makes us more creative now, doesn't it? The whole process was pretty long but rather enjoyable and I didn't half love the almondy scent the dough gave off every time I touched it. Yum!


My one problem was totally self inflicted. I have a terrible habit, when rushed I tend to be a little hap hazard in my pre heating of the oven where I just spin the knob half way (usually around 180-190). Stupidly I forgot to re set it according to the instructions and my dough ended up rather crispy on the outside while still a bit loose inside. Luckily I caught it before it burned and saved the day. Phew!

I thought the orange peal gave the biscotti quite an overpowering taste (I think I added a little more than instructed) so I tried to balance it out by adding a drizzle of dark chocolate. I mean, who here doesn't love a Terry's Chocolate Orange?!

I had a lot of fun with this recipe and I can't wait till next weeks Brooklyn Brownout Cake. I just hope it's as divine as the name makes it sound.

Please check out the Sweet Melissa Sundays blog roll for everyone else's creations, I bet theirs are prettier than mine ;)

3 Apr 2009

Belated Mothers Day Post

I know, I know. I'm a few weeks late, but it's been a very busy few weeks. Working through my dissertation for university and trying to be good emotional support for my very best friend who is due to be wed in the morning all while attempting to juggle a hectic social life. I thrive on stress, what can I say!

This year Kris and I were a little impoverished (opening a business can be a big drain on your resources) so we thought it would be a nice idea to make our dear mothers something sweet. Kris opted for a lovely carrot cake from the Hummingbird book while I decided upon a huge passion cake filled with walnuts, pineapple and carrot!


We were both delighted with how our cakes turned out and they were certainly received well. It felt so much nicer to give my mam something I'd spent a lot time and effort upon, much better than the usual bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates. Although, she got a pretty bunch of flowers with the cake, as well as a lovely picture of my brothers and myself taken by my wonderfully talented boyfriend in Bigface Studio. ;)

You can find the recipe for the passion cake right here. I baked mine in a 22" tin before covering the cake in a vanilla cream cheese frosting and adding a layer of chopped nuts.

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