Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Belgian Spiced Cookie Bars (Janhagels)

I made these as a quick bite to go with a cup of tea round at a friends house & they were very moreish.  We thought they were a bit like mince pies but without the mincemeat!! This  is due to the spices that are in the mix, that nice cinnamon, nutmeg etc blend.  You could leave the flaked almonds off the top if you wished but do sprinkle the sugar over the top as it gives a nice crunch.

It is a spice shortbread and the recipe comes from the Hairy Bikers.  They are a traditional Christmas treat in Holland but I see no reason why you can't have them at any time of the year.

Do try them as they are very quick to whip up and taste yum!!

From The Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking

300g plain flour
200g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
200g cold butter cut into cubes
1 medium egg, beaten

50g rough cut demerara or white sugar cubes (or just sugar)
50g flaked almonds

Oven - 180°C or 170°C fan, Gas 4

You can do this by hand or in a mixer....I chose my mixer because its easier!

Pre-heat the oven to one of the temperatures above & grease a rectangular brownie tin.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon & spice in a large bowl and add the cubes of cold butter and rub with your fingers until it resembles wet sand. (I just put everything in the mixer & set it going).

Stir in the beaten egg and bring together with a wooden spoon until it forms a dough.  Mix / knead until you have a smooth ball of dough.

Break into 6 or so pieces and put in the tin. Flatten together so they all join up with either the back of a spoon or your hand.

Pound the sugar cubes (if using) in a pestle & mortar and mix with the almonds and then spread all over the base & press it firmly into the dough.

Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for around 30 minutes or until firm and light golden in colour.  Leave in the tin for 2 - 3 minutes when you take it out and then cut into squares or rectangles and transfer to a wire rack.

Nice eaten slightly warm or cold

Monday, 21 May 2012

Roary the Racing Car

Initially this cake was meant to be Thomas The Tank Engine but after a quick change of mind, Roary was the result!  I had doubts about be able to do it at first but it turned out better than I thought.

After my cake decorating supplies lady didn't have any green icing I spent most of Friday night hand colouring the green for the cake! = aching thumbs!!

Still, I think Jack was pleased with his cake and that's all that matters!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Example Cakes

I have in the pipeline a couple of orders.....maybe.....not sure!!  Well, one is for sure, a christening but I wanted to show different examples of toppers & to help them decide which flavour they wanted, so I decided to make some 'examples' mainly for the flavours etc.  These are chocolate, vanilla and lemon & chocolate orange.

Hopefully they will lead to something!

Hen Do

I was really very pleased with these when I had them finished, they look really good! 12 lemon and 12 chocolate.  I hand made all the toppers.

Hope the Hens (and the Bride to Be) enjoy!!

Arty shots....(ha ha!! - I just love Instagram!!)

Jack-A-Roo is 3!

Little Jack is 3 and these were done to take in to his nursery for his birthday.  His main cake comes at the weekend..........when I've made it!!

Little fairy cakes with alternative red & white stars & 3's

Strawberry & Rose Scented Cream Filled Sponge

Bit of an experiment with the filling on this one, but it was really nice.  Just a basic Victoria sponge recipe but filled with cream whipped with a little icing sugar, chopped strawberries & some rose scented water (about 3 tsp to get a nice rose flavour).  Dusted icing sugar on top and then sliced strawberries around the outside.

Lovely with a cup of tea!!

Red Velvet Cake

For my birthday I got the Ed Kimber recipe book (The Boy Who Bakes - winner of the Great British Bake-off).  Oh how I LOVE my new book!!!!  He has has some fab recipes in it and first off the mark was his version of Red Velvet cake.  The recipe varies slightly from the one I usually use (Hummingbird Bakery), but boy was it didn't last long at all......barely a day in fact!

Here's the fact have a look at his website as he posts some of recipes on there as or go get his book, it really is great!  Anyway, the recipe......

225g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 tbsp red gel food colouring (try not to use the liquid food colourings as they are not very strong but Dr Oetker is the best if you can't get hold of a gel / paste food colouring - Morrisons have started selling gel type colourings I noticed)
40g cocoa powder
250ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
350g caster sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting
250g unsalted butter, again at room temperature
500g icing sugar
400g full-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 170°C / 160°C fan / gas 3.

Lightly grease 3 x 20cm round cake tins, line the bases with baking parchment, then grease these too. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.

 In a small bowl, mix together the boiling water, food colouring, cocoa powder and buttermilk until fully combined, and set aside.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until fully combined; mix in the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to low and add a third of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat, then add the final third of flour mixture. Stir in the vinegar.

Divide equally between the cake tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.

For the frosting:

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until light and smooth, about 5 minutes. Slowly beat in the icing sugar until combined (I always put a clean tea towel over the bowl when doing this so that the icing dust doesn’t go everywhere), then increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy.

Beat in the cream cheese and the vanilla extract until just combined. DO NOT over-beat at this stage or it will be to thin. 

To assemble, put a layer of cake on a serving plate. Spread a layer of frosting onto the top of the cake and put the second cake layer on top, then repeat. Put the final layer of cake on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with a very light dusting of cocoa powder to finish or a bit of red edible glitter.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

50th Gym Cake

This was a cake for Chief Taster's step-dad whose 50th Birthday is this week.  Her mum was a little vague on what she wanted but it had to include the Apple symbol (he likes his Apple gadgets) and gym stuff but she pretty much gave me free license to be 'creative'!!!

So this is what I did!  I incorporated the Apple symbol on the gym mat and put a towel at the bottom of it along with a little water bottle, some skipping ropes and some weights and a sweatband with the number 50 on it.  Everything is edible being made out of sugarpaste; I was quite pleased with the weights (a candy cane painted with edible silver paint & grey sugarpaste discs dusted with silver lustre dust).

Hope he likes it!!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Chocolate Orange Blossom Cupcakes

I made some chocolate orange blossom cupcakes last night for someone in OH's office.  There were a few left over from the batch & it would have been rude not to try them (quality control etc!!).  I have to say, even if I do say so myself.....they were lush!!!  Just a nice hint of orange running through both the chocolate sponge and the frosting.  Shame they were for other people, I could quite of easily eaten a few more!!