Archive | February, 2012

Bara Brith 8/52

23 Feb

Yummy tea cake this week 🙂 

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My favourite part of this recipe is soaking the dried fruit in Earl Grey tea and dark brown sugar. Why? Smells amazing. Looks like the most unctuous brown goo you have ever seen. I know that the juicy plump fruit will be sweet and bergamot scented and will explode with flavour when I eat a slice slathered with salty butter!

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I first made this cake when I worked for the wonderful Sheelin Davies at her Deli about 7 years ago. It was a really good seller and introduced me the delights of cake that you eat with butter (the savoury ambrosia as I like to think of it)!

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So once my fruit was soaked (raisins and figs,  none of the devil food peel) this was simples. Just add eggs, flour, oil and beat till smooth. Cook the batter inappropriate loaf tin for about an hour at 150C.

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Turn out, cool. Serve with a brew and some butter. Keeps really well and is a less stick to your teeth version of malt loaf!

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I also managed to squeeze in the making of some baby girl cupcakes for the latest arrival in the gorgeous Neale family. Mini cupcakes to celebrate my Mum’s house move also went down well!

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Peanut butter cookies 7/52

19 Feb

Gooey, salty, nutty, choc chip heaven. These are my favourite cookies and so simple. Another Hummingbird Bakery classic which I love to make.

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Butter is creamed with 2 types of sugar (muscavado and caster) until light and fluffy. A generous few dollops of chunky peanut butter and some vanilla essence are beaten in with an egg. Bicarbonate and some flour finish the essential mixture (chocolate is apparently an optional ingredient in some parallel universe!)

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Dollops of mix were spooned onto baking trays and then baked for 10 minutes at 170C.

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It’s important with cookies that you allow lots of space for spreading and that you cook them for as long as the recipe says. They will be gooey when you take time out of the oven. This is important to keep the central gooeyness which is integral to an A grade cookie! As the cool. The butter in them solidifies, giving them a crunch and goo all at the same time! Happy days.

These were yummy, but I knew they would be as it’s a recipe I have made quite a lot! Opted for something simple this week as we have been in DIY chaos!

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Maybe Bara Brith next week 🙂

Rhubarb and custard cupcakes 6/52

11 Feb

My favourite bake so far 🙂 These were inspired by the cover recipe of this month’s Sainsburys magazine and my love of rhubarb!

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As we were a visiting Devon Mr M’s Dad kindly provided us some yummy forced rhubarb free of charge 🙂  I love the story of how forced Rhubarb is grown in big sheds by candlelight, creaking as it grows so quickly! Our garden rhubarb has just started to peak through the ground and whilst it does taste delicious its not the candy pink of the forced stuff! I digress…

Ingredients (eggs, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla essence, rhubarb, icing sugar and custard) were assembled, bagged and travelled with me to Nottingham to visit lil sis. As she lives in a student house baking trays and hand whisk also got a holiday North!

Butter, sugar and flour were beaten until a fine sand was formed. Eggs, vanilla and some milk were added to make the batter. Small chunks of rhubarb were mixed in. The mix was baked for half an hour.

The next day more than a little hungover after a night out with uni mates I completed the recipe 🙂 A birthday was the excuse for some pretty pink cupcakes which I also made this week.

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6 small sliced of rhubarb were boiled in a sugar syrup until soft. The rhubarb was then removed and baked in a hot oven to make decorative slivers. The syrup was used to flavour standard buttercream. The buttercream was halved and one portion coloured pink.  A small cone was removed from the top of each cake and custard spooned into the gap. Cake was stuffed back in! These were then iced with pink and cream swirls and decorated with a slice of rhubarb.

“Yummy” was the verdict of Mr M and lil sister. I concur! These were moist, rhubarb flavoured and sweet. They look super cute as well! Definitely one to make again 🙂  Next time I shall aim to pipe the icing and have firmer slices of rhubarb.

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Marmalade cake 5/52

10 Feb

This week I have Sheila and Sam to thank for the Marmalade cake I made. Sheila provided a jar of homemade thick cut Marmalade and Sam gave me the wonderful Great British Bake Off book, which supplied the recipe.

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Again this was essentially a creamed sponge mix. 3 tablespoons of marmalade were added to the batter for flavour. 45 minutes in the oven and a light golden cake emerged.

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The cake was glazed with Marmalade whilst still warm. Once cooled thick white icing was drizzled on. Slices of peel peeked through appealingly, this looked like a rather nice tea cake.

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So the verdict? I have been told that it tastes lovely. I agree the sponge is delicious, but I am sadly not the biggest Marmalade fan. Instead this cake went to a worthy cause; our next door neighbour Mandy.

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More baking took place in Devon where a delicious sponge filled with cream and strawberries was created with the lovely Mrs M snr. It was beautifully decorated with a Moshi Monster by Mr M for his nephew’s 8th birthday.

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Next week back to something more predictable for me. Rhubarb and custard cupcakes. And probably some pink birthday cakes 🙂