Autumn Apple Pie

17 October 2016

Tudor week on the Great British Bake Off seems like a distant memory at this stage, it feels that long ago. The plan was to bake a savoury but with limited time in the evenings for dinner, I opted to bake a pie just for me. My style and my flavours.

Using up the last of my apples was the perfect excuse for this pie. Husband had bought me a new food processor, as congratulations on doing so well in my Masters so I was eager to try it out. It was perfect and dare I say it, the best pastry I have ever made! Soooo happy with my new toy.

Anyway... the pie does not fill the brief exactly nor do I know how it fits in with the Tudor theme, but it looks pretty and tasted pretty damn good so I'm going to offer it up as fodder for the linky!

It's also another baking on a budget success with all my ingredients coming from Aldi again. The victuals were delicious!

All Butter Short Crust

***Double the recipe if you want all the leaves on the top***

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

Preheat your oven to 180C, 350F or gas mark 4.
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.
Grease up a 9/10 inch round pie dish.
When it comes out of the fridge, split into two balls, one slightly larger than the other and roll out. 

Pop the larger circle into your pie dish and then if you are so inclined blind bake the pastry case bottom using pastry beads in a pre-heated oven for about 10- 15 minutes. Cut out, using cookie cutters, all the leaf shapes you can with the leftover pastry.  Leave to one side.

Start peeling and slicing your apples.

Apple Pie Mix

3-4 large Cooking apples. 

Skin the apples completely and then just chop them into however you feel... I like to do a rough slice and just keep slicing through the apple until I reach the inner core. Pop them in a bowl adding...

120g brown sugar (I used demerara)
1 tsp pumpkin spice or to taste

Set to one side... Once you have blind baked your pastry case, fill with the apples and top with the remaining pastry or the leaf cut outs.

Bake for about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven and minding the top doesn't get too brown. Allow to cool slightly on a wire tray upon taking it out of the oven and before removing it form the tin.

So a treat for me, from me to you! Be sure to hop by the linky on Jenny's Blog to see what the other GBBObloggers baked up for Tudor week.

A feast for thine eyes to be sure.

Double Chocolate Swiss Roll (Gluten Free)

12 October 2016

Where to even start.. last week,this week I have no idea but lets just say this wasn't the first bake I made for dessert week... it was the second. My baking shame of a mousse cake will never grace your screens, nor be spoken about here on after.

This Chocolate Swiss Roll however, yum!! This bad boy was on point! Gluten free too to boot! Now in all truthfulness, I didn't actually get a chance to catch up on Week 7 of the Great British Bake Off, but I know it was a good one from what I read online! I slowly made way through my kitchen and opted to make this cake in honour of last weeks bakes. I missed the linky over at Jenny's and the GBBObloggers bakealong but I didn't want to miss out on baking along entirely.

Hence my late post and my scattered meanderings. It's been a long week... and yes I know it's only Wednesday.

Chocolate Swiss Roll

6 eggs separated
110g caster sugar
170g dark chocolate (above 60%)
3 tbsp soft butter
60ml cold coffee
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
250ml single cream
Chocolate Ganache

Preheat your oven to 180C/350 F or Gas Mark 4. Line and spray/grease a shallow baking tray, swiss roll tin with parchment. Spray the parchment. Leave to one side.

Separate the eggs, white in a mixing bowl, yolks in another.
Put the chocolate, butter and coffee into a microwaveable bowl and melt the contents on a low setting, until fully melted and smooth, being careful not to burn the chocolate (alternatively use the double boiler method on the hob). Add the yolks two at a time and mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Leave to one side to cool.
In the whites bowl, whisk to soft peaks and add the sugar in a steady stream. Whisk to stable, but not stiff peaks.
Add about 1/4 of the egg whites to the chocolate mix to loosen it up and transfer this back into the rest of the egg whites. Fold through until just combined.

Pour out into a prepared baking tray, smooth to the corners and cook in your preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back at you when lightly pressed.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Make the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

200g semisweet dark chocolate 
200ml Double Cream

Put the chocolate into a heat resistant bowl.
Heat the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the cream begins to simmer, quickly remove from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Swirl the bowl to ensure all the chocolate is coated in the hot cream.
Cover the bowl to trap the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and slowly whisk the mixture until you have a smooth glossy ganache.
Leave to cool before using as a filling cake.

Whip the 250ml of single cream from above, fold a couple of spoonfuls of ganache into the cream and leave to one side until you are read to use it!

Putting it all Together

When the cake comes out of the oven, leave it in the pan to cool for about 10 minutes. Using the parchment to help you, roll up the cake and remove it from the pan. In it's rolled up state, leave it to cool completely on the wire rack.

Once cold, unroll the cake and fill it with the ganache, followed by the cream and then roll it back up slowly and smoothly. Having cooled curled, you shouldn't get any cracks. Trim off the edges, place on your serving tray join side down and dust in icing sugar. 

This cake is best served on the day you make it, but it does hold when wrapped up in the fridge for about three days. I will hopefully be baking sooner, rather than later with my attempts at Tudor Week, I have no idea what to even expect here! Be sure to pop by Jenny's and the other GBBObloggers bakes to get your Bake Off  fill!

Citrus "Botanical Week" Showstopper

03 October 2016

So here we are at Botanical week. another new one for GBBO 2016 and I have to say I loved it. I was very drawn to the Signature this week.. A Citrus Meringue Pie! I smiled at this because for my own time in the tent, I made a lemon/lime meringue pie and it went down a treat..The rest of that week didn't, but I got good feedback on that bake. Focus on the positives right?

Not to be one to shy away from a challenge I decide to take on the three tier Flower Showstopper. What was I thinking? You know the way there are 24 hours in a day.. Loads of time sure! Yeah but but the time you factor in everything else that happens in life and actual cake orders that you need to get out, the decision to make a three tier cake, basically became "for the craic"!!

I decided on a theme. A citrus theme. It wasn't a massive cake either, I hate waste so there was no way I was making a giant cake with no one to eat it!

From bottom the top you have a Lemon and Raspberry, lemon curd and vanilla frosting filled 8 inch. On top of that is a 6 inch orange and almond buttermilk cake with an orange blossom honey buttercream filling. Then the third layer is a teeny tiny 4 inch, coconut sandwich cake, filled with a lime curd and coconut buttercream. (I wasn't happy with the coconut cake so have omitted the recipe until I Goldilock's the crap out if it!). I wrapped the whole thing in a basic high-crusting buttercream, left it semi naked because I am lazy and decorated with daisies and thyme.

I am also very glad that Tesco sent me a lovely voucher to help me buy everything  needed for this bake. I was also incredibly lucky to be able to spend the voucher on products that Tesco have sourced in Ireland and made a conscious decision to buy the Tesco own brand products, that helped Irish farmers and producers!

I have given you the measurements for 8 inch cakes, should you choose to bake them. I haven't downsized as I figured, no one really needs three tiers of cake at any one sitting.. save for wedding and birthdays so you won't have to worry about changing anything. Fire away as is.

Lemon and Raspberry Cake 

125g salted butter
225g caster sugar
275g self raising flour
2 large eggs
250ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest and juice of one lemon
Small punnet of raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C or Gas mark 4. Line and grease two 8 inch pans.
Cream your butter, zest and sugar until light and fluffy and pale, I usually leave my mixer on for about 5 minutes. 
Add in an egg, one at a time until the yolks have been disappeared.
Dry whisk or sieve your flour and baking powder together.

Add half your dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mix and then half the buttermilk. Follow with the lemon juice. Mix until combined and repeat the half and half step.

Be careful not to over mix the batter here as you want the cake to stay light and fluffy. The buttermilk helps with that too. Just make sure all the ingredients have been mixed together.

Fill your cake pans and bake in a preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Adjust your baking time to suit your oven. You'll know when they are done as the top is golden, has a slight spring in it when you gently push down on the top or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear!

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pans and cool fully before assembly.

Orange and Almond Cake

125g softened salted butter
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
2 large eggs
zest and juice of 2 oranges
125ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180C, 350F or Gas mark 4. Grease and line two 8 inch pans. 

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and pale.
Add in an egg, one at a time until the yolks have been disappeared.
Dry whisk or sieve your flour, ground almonds and baking powder together.
Add the vanilla to the egg/sugar/butter combination.
Add half your dry ingredients to the butter combo and then half the buttermilk. Mix until combined and repeat. Just make sure all the ingredients have been mixed together.

Fold in the zest and juice.

Transfer the batter into a prepared tins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, depending on you oven. You'll know it's done as the top will be golden, have a slight spring in them when you gently push down on the top or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear!

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pans and cool fully before assembly.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

225g soft, room temperature, unsalted butter
500g sifted icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or 1 vanilla pod
up to 60ml cream/whole milk

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. (TIP: pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds until very soft.)

Add in the icing sugar a few cups at a time.
If the buttercream is very thick, add a tablespoon of cream or milk in until the desired texture has been reached. 
Add the vanilla bean or paste.

Mix the holy moly out of it until light and fluffy. The faster and longer you mix this, the lighter and fluffier it will be. 

Putting it All Together

Once the cake is cool add the first layer, top side down. The underneath part is flattest. Fill with a layer of buttercream and your filling. I used Tesco Lemon Curd in the Lemon and Raspberry cake an Orange Blossom Honey to flavour my buttercream in the Orange and almond cake. 

Add the next cake layer, again top side down. Fill in any gaps and smooth out your buttercream. Pop the cake in the fridge/freezer for a few moments, to harden the buttercream and make the cake more stable to work with.

Remove the cake from the fridge and add the buttercream to the top and sides and smooth out. I have left this semi-naked because a) I'm a tad lazy and b) that's how I like cakes to look. 


I reckon I fit the brief.. I will post some photos of the inside as soon as it's cut open and I have the day light back... I hate photographing at night, I really am no good it!

For more GBBO inspiration, head to Jenny's Blog and spy the other goodies the bakers whipped up.

And just to keep you all in the loop about things going on... The results of my Masters are back.... drum rooooollllll... I will be graduating in three weeks with a First Class Honours. Which is pretty damn special. Blowing my own trumpet here.. TOoT!! 

My bakewell tart from last week also earned me STARBAKER. So double win... TOoT ToOT!!

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!

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