Monday 30 July 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Strawberry Blueberry Cake

It's time for the Secret Recipe Club Group D Reveal day again. This is one of my favourite challenges as I get assigned a different blog each month and I get to choose a recipe to make from that blog.  All of my secret recipe club recipes have been huge successes so far and this is no exception. In fact, this is one of my favourites so far.

I made this for a BBQ on our hot and unexpectedly sunny week last week and this cake literally disappeared off the table! The only complaint I got was that there wasn't enough to go round. Looks like I'll be making this again and again this summer... well whilst it's still summer! :)

My assigned blog this month is Shockingly Delicious. Dorothy freelances as a food and financial writer and has 25 years of food writing and recipe developing under her belt. In her own words, "I specialize in scrumptious, simple-to-prepare, tried and true recipes, tips and coaching to make YOU a fabulous home cook. These are “scary good” recipes with big flavors, so don’t blame me if you need a 12-step program to wean yourself from your addiction to some of them! You’ve been warned!" I totally agree as this was simple and scarily good!!

If you've never visited her site before, I urge you to click on over - I promise you won't regret it. I spent hours looking through all the different recipes when I was choosing one to make for reveal day. In the end, I settled on her strawberry-blackberry cake as I love berries and her opening line was "Some things are of-the-moment perfect" Say no more :)

 I used blueberries instead of blackberries as I prefer them personally 

 This post is not sponsored by Nielsen-Massey! 

 Cake batter 

 top with fresh strawberries 

 Add blueberries and more strawberries on top 

 sprinkle generously with caster sugar 

 fresh from the oven 

 look at that lovely berry goodness :) 

 who wants a slice? 

85g butter
150g caster sugar + 2 Tablespoons for topping 
1 egg
125mls cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon orange water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
187g plain flour
350g fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
170g fresh blueberries, washed 

  • Preheat the oven to 175C. 
  • Cream butter and sugar (150g) until pale and fluffy.
  • Add in the egg, buttermilk, vanilla and orange extract.
  • Beat in the salt, baking powder and flour.
  • Scrape the batter into a round cake tin. 
  • Arrange cut strawberries on top, cut sides down as close as possible.
  • Sprinkle the blueberries on top and if you have extra strawberries like I did - add them on top.
  • Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar on top of the fruit - don't reduce this amount as it helps to make the fruit 'jammy' 
  • Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 160C. 
  • Bake for another hour until the cake is golden brown and firm to the touch. 

Sunday 29 July 2012

Olympic Ring Mini Cake Doughnuts

The Olympics are finally here!! After all the anticipation and excitement the opening ceremony was amazing. I feel so proud and happy to be in London :) Of course I couldn't let the opportunity to bake something pass me by for such a momentous occasion so I present to you olympic ring mini cake doughnuts! These are baked doughnuts which are healthier for you and taste more cake like. They don't have a crust like a fried doughnut but they taste pretty good!

I am entering this to Calendar Cakes hosted by Laura from Laura Loves Cakes and Rachel from Dolly Bakes.  The theme for July is Olympics. I can't wait to see the round up!

I am also entering them to Sporting Snacks on Fabulicious Food hosted by Ren as these are quick and easy to make and would be perfect to munch on whilst watching the games. They would also look good at an Olympic game themed party.

 I got to use my new Wilton Mini Doughnut Pan I bought from America earlier in the year. 

 Adding fresh vanilla seed to the batter 

 I recommend using a piping bag to fill these otherwise it gets really messy!!

 five bowls of vanilla glaze icing and food colouring 

 I didn't have any black food colouring so had to use a writing tube in black 

 Baked mini doughnuts ready to be iced 

 Olympic style 

 Looks much better with some flags on! 

 multi coloured with sprinkles

 Tower bridge at night 

Recipe from Wilton (provided with pan) 

The only adaptation I made was to add fresh vanilla seeds from 1 vanilla pod
Recipe says makes 24 mini doughnuts - I made a double recipe which yielded 80 mini doughnuts so I can only assume that 1 recipe given below will actually yield 40 mini doughnuts!! 

Vanilla cake doughnut

155g plain flour
100g sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
20g butter, melted
1 vanilla pod

Preheat the oven to 220C
Sift the dry ingredients.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
Add in the seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or use vanilla essence or paste)
Pour the batter into a piping bag and snip the end off the bag.
Fill the doughnut pan approximately 1/2 full.
Bake for 4-6 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.
Allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing. 
Finish with glaze and or sprinkles.

Vanilla Glaze 

125g icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. 
Use immediately to glaze doughnuts.
You can add colouring if required. 

Dsiclaimer: These were baked for personal consumption only. They were not sold or distributed publicly.  I have no affiliation or association with the Olympic association. 

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Chocolate Marshmallows with Blackcurrant Jam filling

Sneaking in just under the wire with my not so successful attempt for we should cocoa. Choclette who is the host this month chose blackcurrants as the special ingredient and I really had to scratch my head to come up with an idea. As this was a last minute creation, I couldn't find any fresh blackcurrants so had to settle for blackcurrant jam instead. I've seen lots of creative entries this month but wanted to try something different. Buoyed by my recent success at making my own marshmallows I decided to make chocolate marshmallows with a blackcurrant jam filling. Sadly, it didn't turn out as expected and the lack of contrast in colours makes it even more difficult to photograph! It tastes delicious though and reminds me more of a jelly than a marshmallow! So perhaps I'll call this a chocolate jam/jelly/mallow!!

I'm entering this to We Should Cocoa which is hosted by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and Chele from Chocolate Teapot. Each month a special ingredient is chosen and the recipe has to incorporate the chosen ingredient and chocolate in any form.

 ingredients required - gelatine, golden syrup (or corn syrup), blackcurrant jam, cocoa powder 

 making the sugar syrup

 boiling to the correct temperature  

 I tried using one of my fancy moulds but unfortunately these didn't set and I don't have any photos of them. Basically you half-fill the mould with marshmallow mixture, pipe a blob of jam then cover with more marshmallow mixture and allow it to set for at least 4 hours. (The marshmallow mixture should be firmer than this but I'm not too sure where I went wrong!) 

 It's hard to see but I promise you there is jam in the middle! It honestly tastes better than it looks! :)

I've not had time to email the author for permission to publish the recipe. The recipe is from Marshmallow Madness by Shauna Sever.  I combined 2 of her recipes to make these but I may have missed a step as they didn't quite turn out!! Entirely my fault - it's a great book!

Sunday 22 July 2012

My Cookbook Collection

This month's random recipes challenge set by Dom from Belleau Kitchen is something a little different. How different? Well, there's no baking involved! So no recipes or bakes today but a little sneak peek at my cookbook collection. My place is extremely messy and I mean Messy with a capital M so this is most of my collection but not all as I have books (and other stuff) lying around everywhere.  I seem to have a slight cookbook addiction at the moment and my collection is rapidly expanding. If I enter random recipes often enough, I may actually get round to using all of them by 2030!! ;-)

 My main bookshelf - there are a few other books on the bottom shelf but I think you get the idea...and yes that is the Harry Potter collection :)

 A closer look 

 The 'cupcakey' end of the shelf

 The spiral bound book is a collection of recipes my colleagues gave me as a leaving present.. Ros's own cookbook! 

 I also have a huge stack of magazines on my floor and chair - this is just a random selection from the pile 

 This is a glimpse of my extremely messy table. There's books/magazines/papers/bills/stationery/cake boxes/cake boards ... I'll let you use your imagination as I'm too embarrassed to show you my whole table!! 

Thursday 19 July 2012

Popcorn Rocks

Ruth from Makey-Cakey decided to host a birthday surprise ingredient swap to distract from her 30th birthday this year. The idea is simple - bloggers get randomly paired up and we each have to post an ingredient of a cakey nature, bake then blog about it. She will be doing a round up on her birthday which is on the 23rd July 2012. Happy Birthday Ruth!

I was paired with  Lou from Please Do Not Feed The Animals. We exchanged a few emails to discuss allergies etc and she very kindly sent me my ingredient promptly as I wanted to make it before I left for my holidays. I got a lovely parcel in the post which had this beautiful card and my surprise ingredient - popping corn.

I LOVE this card!! How cute is that? Thank you so much Lou!!! :)

My surprise ingredient - popping corn

I've never actually popped fresh corn so I was quite excited to give it a try. I looked at a few recipes and in the end decided on a popcorn mix as it was quick and simple and I had all the ingredients to hand. It turned out to be reminiscent of Christmas as it had white chocolate, cranberry, pecans and cinnamon! I don't see why I can't celebrate Christmas in July! :) Ruth I hope you'll forgive me as this is not strictly a bake but I thought it was the best way to feature my surprise ingredient.

The first kernels popping!

 I've included a little video if you want to watch the corn popping process - I felt like a little kid, I was mesmerized!!

Freshly popped corn - smells amazing!

Add in nuts and dried cranberries

And a sprinkling of cinnamon

Melt some white chocolate with a few mini marshmallows thrown in for extra "stickiness"

Leave to set in a muffin tray
'Christmassy' Popcorn Rocks!

I bought this ribbon which says "With Love" from Hobbycraft.
Happy Birthday Ruth!