Toffee Apple Bakewell Tart

25 September 2016

Does anyone else feel like this has been the longest September? And there's still another week left in it.. I mean come on! Let's be done with you already. Maybe it's because I am nursing this stupid cold for the last two weeks that's making me cranky.. but I just want October to get here so we can be in full autumn swing and start thinking about Halloween bakes!

Apple season however is here and my trees have been laden down with yummy apples. I decided to pick some, make a rough jam and use that as my filling for my technical bake with the GBBObloggers.

And it turned out so lovely.. well.. that I am told. Because I can't actually taste the friggin' thing. But it was given to discerning connoisseurs who's impeccable taste described it as "sweet, cinnamon right? Mmmm..." and "Appley, yeah appley but I like it".  I can taste texture though and I know the pastry over baked a little, the jam is chunky enough to soften it out, so that's a strong balance and the bakewell filling is light and spongy.

A good go, if you'll accept my biased opinion!





Toffee Apple Jam

500g cooking apples chopped up roughly
100g soft brown sugar
15g butter
2 tsps cinnamon or to taste

Put all the ingredienst nto a pot and over a low heat, simmer down to a complete mush. You'll know it's right when is breaks up easy with a fork, if not pulse it for a couple of seconds with a hand held blitzer.

Leave aside, off the heat to cool in the pot until ready to use.

Shortcrust Pastry

240g plain flour
50g icing sugar
150g diced cold butter (+ a little extra for greasing)
1 large egg

Put the flour, butter and icing sugar into a food processor and blitz until looks like breadcrumbs.
Crack in the egg and bring together until a soft ball forms.
Wrap in clingfilm, pat down and leave in fridge for 30 mins.

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4.
Grease up a 8 inch round loose bottom pie tin with butter.
After 30 minutes in the fridge, take it out and roll it out thin, to fit your tin.


Blind bake your pastry case bottom, using pastry beads for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Make the almond filling, while you are blind baking your pastry.


Almond Filling

125g softened butter
125g caster sugar
125g ground almonds
50g self raising flour
2 large eggs
1 tsp mixed spice

Cream together the butter and the sugar.
Dry mix the almonds and the self raising flour and add to the mix.
Add the eggs and mix thoroughly until all of the ingredients have been combined.

Once the pastry has blind baked, tip the jam filling into the pastry case and smooth out. Follow with the almond filling and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and when touched lightly, springs back.

I decorated the top with some pecan, these are totally optional at this point but do add a nice nutty flavour to the top.

Allow the tart to cool completely in the tin before trying to remove it.





Super Mom Jenny, over at MummyMishaps is again hosting this fine crowd of bloggers, baking along with the Great British Bakeoff. It's bee super fun so far but next week, next week see's a new week, based on botanicals and nature and I have to say I am more than a little excited! I for sure, feel a showstopper coming on!!


The Farmer's Daughter's Cake

20 September 2016



September with  The CakeSlice Bakers is always a meh... kind of month. The new book is just around the corner and having baked some really great recipes from our current book already, it's hard to pick out entertaining and challenging bakes. This month there seemed to be a lot of choices using egg whites. Now, regulars round these parts will know I hate waste and just the thoughts of having more egg yolks to use up sent me in the farmer's daughter direction.

It is hands down, the best cake I have baked from Maida Heatters Cakes. It is so simple, so plain, so utterly delicious that my pictures really don't do it justice. The crumb is so light and tender and has this creamy, not buttery, texture. In fact there's no butter in the cake at all. The crusting frosting firms up on the outside, but one bite in and it melts in your mouth. Truly scrumptious. 

I don't say this lightly, this cake has beaten all the intricate concoctions, they fancy-schmancy flavours, arduous directions and exhaustive ingredients list of CakeSlice bakes gone by.

A store cupboard staple, this cake will be a firm favourite here for a long time to come. I had to change the frosting recipe to my own, as I wasn't making anything that didn't use a whole egg. My frosting, still on old fashioned favourite, mirrors the books icing. And I'll throw in makes it better, for modesty's sake! haha!

But I have agree with Maida on one thing, a cake so easy to put together, it's hard to believe any one would buy cake from a store at all!




The Farmer's Daughter's Cake
adapted from Maida Heatter's Cake pg. 47

280g self raising flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large free range, room temperature eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g granulated sugar
240ml double cream

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or gas mark 4. Line the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment and spray the sides with a quick release spray, or grease with some butter.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar until light and paler in colour, Add the cream and mix until just incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, until just smooth.

Pour the mix into the prepared pan and bake on the middle shelf for 30-35 minutes. It'll be done when the top is golden, the sides are coming away slightly from the edge of the pan and a skewer/toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If the cake rises in the middle during baking, as soon as you take it out and using a clean tea towel GENTLY press the top of the cake back down flat with the palm of your hand. Softly does this though, don't be rough.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, before turning out onto a wire tray and allowing to cool completely before frosting.


Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting

100g butter
80ml of milk
35g coco powder
350g icing sugar

Melt the butter in a pot over a medium heat. Whisk in the coco and the milk and bring the whole thing to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and bit by bit, blend in the icing sugar until you have the consistency you want.

If it gets too thick, and a drop of milk at a time to loosen it out!

Smear this too good to be true stuff all over the top of your cake and allow to set for a few minutes. Serve as soon as you are ready to share.







And there you go. A super simple, super tasty, please don't buy cake ever again store cupboard staple! Would I steer you in the wrong direction? NO WAY!


An InLinkz Link-up

Oreo Churros

18 September 2016


"But are there any oreos left after you made the poo's Momma?" Poo references a plenty folks, because there was no escaping it. It is what it is. The first line pretty much sums up my entire Batter Week experience.

Spanish Churros was the Great British Bake Off showstopper challenge for week 4 and thinking I could pull it off with a little razzmatazz thrown in, is how I approached it.

Now I don't know if it was the raz or the matazz but something went wrong along the way. Like really wrong. The batter looked like poo, but tasted like oreos, which conflicted all of us. The oil I think, was too hot when I tried to fry them, so kept burning them. Then I tried to bake them and they held their shape and genuinely baked up nicely but they tasted like nothing, even with the oreo cream dip. Nothing. Nada.

No bueno.

Maybe we had convinced ourselves they'd be poo, because that's all we could think during and after the bake. I don't know. My Spanish delicacy frying skills are clearly left to be desired.

Maybe you will have better luck.





The fried version... 

Piped lines for baking...

Oreo Churros

60g butter
350ml water
150g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2 packets of Oreos
oil for frying
sugar and salt for coating

Separate the Oreos into two bowls by spliting each Oreo in half, scraping the creamy centre into one bowl and the pop chocolate biscuits into the other.
Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb.

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil and add the butter until melted. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and half the Oreo crumbs and beat quickly until all is combined. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated, then set aside to cool slightly.

Bring a large saucepan of oil to the boil. Or preheat the oven to at 180C/350F or gas Mark 4.

On a baking tray or in a shallow dish, mix together the rest of your biscuit crumbs with 1 tablespoon caster sugar & 1 teaspoon salt.

Transfer your dough to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle, pipe strips of the dough into the oil and fry until they are crisp and float to the top, remove with a strainer spoon and toss in the crumb/sugar mix. Alternatively pipe lines on to a baking tray and pop into the oven for 20 minutes. When out, allow to cool slightly, dip in some melted butter and then into the Oreo crumb mix.

Microwave your leftover Oreo filling for about 30 seconds until melted and dip in your coated churros.

The baked version...


I sincerely hope the other bakers joining in the Great Bloggers Bake Off, faired out better in their choices than I did! Be sure to check out what went down over at Jenny's blog MummyMishaps!

Have a great week folks!


Mummy Mishaps

Pecan, Chocolate and Orange Bread

10 September 2016


Bread week is my nemesis.

I am no good at making bread.. actual yeasted bread that needs to prove and rise and do scientific things with reactions and what not. Bread week was the worst week for me in the tent, not helped by having had that major panic attack and all that, but the bread I have posted here, is a version of what I made in the tent. I haven't attempted or even looked at this recipe in over two years and still got the heebee-jeebies when I started it.

Stupid Bread Week.. grumble.. grumble..

Seeing as Bread Week's signature was chocolate themed, I changed the filling of my original bake (a cinnamon breakfast bread) to keep it more inline with Mary and Paul's requirements. This pecan, chocolate, and orange loaf turned out really lovely. I would have liked a little more of a rise on the proof but then it is super soft and super tasty so I won't complain too much!

By the time I was finished.. I was glad I had made it again. And I feel it's better than my attempt in the tent.. even though our Irish Paul gave the original the thumbs up. I am also glad bread week is over. No more nightmares! Haha!

Bring on the pastry.. I am super excited for next week already!




Bread Dough

400g strong bread flour
7g easy-blend yeast
30g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
25g melted butter
100ml milk
175-200ml of warm water
Zest of one large orange



Make the dough by putting the flour into a mixing bowl. Add in the yeast, sugar and salt and dry whisk the whole thing.

Pour in the melted butter and zest then add the milk and enough of the water to mix into a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead well for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. 

Return to dough to your bowl, cover with some cling-film and leave it in a warm place to rise. This should take about one hour. If you are having trouble here… turn your oven on to really low (I go for about 30C) and pop the bowl in at the very bottom for the same amount of time.


Chocolate Paste and Pecan Filling

50g pecans blitzed to tiny pieces
60g dark chocolate
60g butter
25g icing sugar

15g coco powder

Make the Chocolate Paste by adding the chocolate and butter into a microwaveable bowl. Melt until combined and then stir in the sugar and coco powder until fully incorporated. Set to one side until you need it.

Prepare and two pound loaf pan with some parchment and leave to one side. 





When the dough has risen, punch the dough back a little and roll it out onto a floured surface. Cut off strips to make it rectangular.

Coat all pieces of the dough with the chocolate paste and sprinkle with the pecan bits. Roll each stripped piece into a rosette roll and leave to one side. Roll the large rectangular piece, starting on the short side, towards you.

Turn the dough vertical. Take a sharp knife, and starting about 2cm from the top, cut the dough in half. Spread the two dough sections apart and insert a rolled dough rose. Twist the dough sections in alternate directions, intersecting with the dough rose until you reach the end.  Tuck the join in under itself at the bottom.

As carefully as possible, pop the dough into a prepared 2 pound loaf pan and cover loosely with a tea towel.

Leave in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190C/170Cfan/375F or Gas Mark 5. 

Orange Syrup Glaze

60g Caster Sugar
80ml orange juice (the juice of one large orange)

Make the orange syrup glaze by adding the juice and caster sugar to a pot and bring it to a gentle simmer on the hob. Leave to one side to cool.

Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. The bread should sound hollow when you tap the bottom. Brush with the orange syrup while it is still hot and leave the whole thing in the pan for about 15 minutes before removing and eating. 





Look good right? It is very fluffy and soft and the chocolate, orange zest combo marry perfectly. The pecans add a lovely nutty crunch to each bite. Perfect to balance out the soft, doughy texture of the bread itself.

Be sure to fire yourself over to our lovely host Jenny from MummyMishaps, to see what the other GBBObloggers made. There was loads to choose from this week. You will be spoiled for choice!


Mummy Mishaps

For those of you asking after my shortlisted nomination, I didn't make the final cut! But that's ok, it was a huge honour to be shortlisted in the first place!! If you would like to see who did make it to the final list, you can hop over here and a take a little looksie. Best of luck to all the finalists... Well deserved!

Lemon and Lavender Shortbread

04 September 2016


I figured I would run with the signature bake with this weeks Bake Off bake-along. I didn't fancy anything made out of gingerbread this side of Halloween and Viennese Whirls in the technical just don't float my boat.

I opted for a tried and true shortbread but jazzed these little ladies up with a punch of Lavender.. iced the top, for the iced component, with a soft set lemon icing and painted.... with the the least amount of artistic talent pretty 'lavender sprigs' on top. Just in case you were wondering what they were.

I actually felt really anxious about posting these as I'm not enamored with the painting. Husband, being the ever supportive so and so that he is.. convinced me otherwise. So... My hand painted lavender sprigs need some work, I know... but if you squint a little they kinda look like they might be related to a lavender sprig! Hah! Let's move on...

I haven't picked my favourite bakers in the tent yet either.. you? I am being very lazy about it this year. I was really wrong last year, but this year I am not so sure who I like the best. The minute I like them though, they'll be gone. It's like the Game of Thrones of the baking world. Like them... GONE!



Lemon and Lavender Shortbread

225g soft salted butter
225g plain flour
125g cornflour
85g caster sugar
2 tablespoons of lavender
Pinch of salt
500g icing sugar
4-6 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 150C/300F or Gas Mark 2
Dry whisk the flour, cornflour, salt, sugar and lavender until fully mixed.
Work in the butter a little at a time until it forms soft bread crumbs and pressing gently with your hands, you could form a dough ball.

On floured work surface, roll out the dough and cut out 12-16 biscuits, depending on your biscuit thickness. 
Place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and just starting to colour.
Allow to cool on tray completely then transfer to a wire rack.




Make the lemon glaze by mixing the 500g of icing sugar in with the lemon juice. Dip the biscuits into the glaze, allow to set before serving or before painting random things with food colouring on the top!

The glaze is super runny so I advise letting them drip dry on a wire rack, over a baking pan. Save your counters for some other mess.







What do you think? If you make anything, try the shortbread. It's really delicious. And a great little basic crumbly cookie recipe also. Omit the the lavender, add a teaspoon of vanilla and you are all set for a yummy treat!

If you want to see what the other bakers baked, be sure to hop on over to Jenny at MummyMishaps and wander through the linky!



I also have to acknowledge how very special today is... my Dolly, my baby girl turns 15. My teeny, tiny baby girl who this day all those years ago, changed my world in every conceivable way. 

We get the "but you look like sisters" a lot. Much to my Dolly's absolute dismay. I'm her Momma. The old lady who makes sure she's brushed her teeth, nags her about homework and laundry and chores. I'm also the one who introduced her to Harry Potter, bought her her first set of crayons, showed her how to thread a bobbin and braid her hair. She's my artist. My day dreamer. My fairy.

She's showed me how to hand-stand against the wall. Look for animal tracks in the forest, name plants and do science experiments with most of my baking arsenal! She showed me how to do renaming in maths and paint my nails in colours other than red. 

She's taught me that time spent watching Gilmore Girls on the couch, under a blanket eating popcorn and chocolate until our stomachs ache, is one of the best ways to spend an evening. Or how reading stories in the lamp light, over and over, until we can both recite the pages of the book before we even turn it over, is what being a Momma is all about.

She's my daughter. One of my best friend's and obviously the best big sister a little brother could ask for.

Dolly's taught me so much about myself. Our world. Our little family that I really don't see how I would have got as far as I have without her.

She is mine. My proudest achievement to date. Happy Birthday Doll! 

Every year for as long as I have been baking,, the same birthday cake gets made. Chocolate fudge, chocolate frosting with all the trimmings. This year was no exception... Chocolate fudge cake with chocolate frosting dressed in homemade cookies and baked donuts. I have three photos... THREE, just below!

Teenagers eat cake really fast. I should have taken it out for a photo shoot when I had made it, but no I was just super excited for the party... I'll know for next year!



 
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