Thursday, 10 April 2014

A Yummy Pretty Chocolate cake

Hi Guys
My internet has been down hence the no posts for a while...but the techy guy came today and all is well with my laptop again...horray!
I have a chocolate cake to show that I made when my nieces and nephew were coming around for a visit. I wanted to make them a cake...and it had to be chocolate so feast your eyes on the end product. I used a bbc good food chocolate cake recipe but used sour cream instead of the suggested buttermilk/yoghurt. As I had used this recipe before with yoghurt and remember thinking it had a lighter chocolate flavour due to the yoghurt.

I didn't want to cover the whole cake in chocolate as the kids would have probably been as high as kites. So to make it pretty I piped some roses around the edge of top layer. FYI the middle part looks like I was trying to hide something because.....I  was trying to hide something. I tried to pipe roses in the middle but it got a bit wonky then I started to run out of buttercream so I just removed the middle roses and got out some handy chocy sprinkles!

This went down really well, they couldn't wait to get their hands on it.... so much so that while i was upstaris they licked the roses of the top! when I came back there was three roses left! A cheeky smile and some chocolate fingers led me to the culprit rather quickly.... I suspect she had an accomplice though. I really liked the chocolate sponge it was nice and chocolaty with a lovely texture. The buttercream was perhaps a bit thick....I think I should have used more buttercream on the cake as it was quite big. The cake to buttercream ratio was a bit off.

Sorry but I cant remember the measurements I used for the buttercream....I did use cocoa powder instead of melted choc though. So behold this has been the first proper cake I've posted on here ...GASP and this a baking blog, A wrong has now been righted. See ya :)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Blondies

This weekend  I had my first ever go at a Blondie. For sometime time now I  had been achying to bake something with Peanut Butter in it, so after some thinking I decided to make Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Blondie. I was really looking forward to what they would be like as I'd never tasted one before.
I found a really simple Rachel Allen recipe online and got on with the experiment.

I found this was easier to judge...i took it out when the edges had crisped up but the middle was soft...not wobbly just soft. I let it sit a while to firm up before i cut it....I wish my choc brownies cut this nice and neat! The Blondies definitely tasted better the longer they sat. The flavour seem to come to together better and you got a stronger taste of the Blondie part of it.... if that makes sense. They were dense..I  imagine this is down to the Peanut Butter in there. I didn't use as much sugar as the recipe recommended as I was scared of it being too sweet. I ended up drizzling some choc over the top which helped give you more of a chocolate hit as well as looking pretty of course.
I wished I'd put in more choc chips it was really nice when you bit in to one. The PB flavour is really strong...I wish I'd used smooth Peanut Butter...sometimes it was too chunky.The edges were nice and crisp with the slightly softer middle. At times it reminded me of  big chocolate chip cookie..the textures in the two were quite similar. I really quite liked this! It shan't be the last Blondie I make as I really like the texture and idea of a Blondie.
ps just saw Rachel has a Banoffee Blondie recipe! twin has put in a request for an Almond and Cherry one. Have you guys got any fav Blondies?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

A Lush Apple and Caramel Cake

 Dear Carnation Caramel,where o where have you been all my baking life?! I'm sorry I've never used you before..not sure what was wrong with me. From this day forth  I solemnly swear to bake with you lots.
Today's bake is a beautifully simple but seriously delicious cake, bringing together the lovely flavours of Apple and Caramel. The awesomeness of baking with caramel was only realized when I used it in my Salted Caramel Brownies,from then on I knew it was gonna be a baking staple in my cupboard. I adapted Jo Wheatley's Apple+Blackberry loaf recipe to make this delicious little treat.

Self-Raising Flour 170g
Sugar 130g
Butter 170g
Bramley Apples 2 peeled + chopped
Half a tin of Carnation caramel.
3 Eggs

This cake was an all in one method which was fab literally chucked everything in apart from the Apples and Caramel, mixed it until everything was combined. I cut up the Apples in to chunks then mixed them in some of the Caramel and gently folded that in to the cake mixture. I poured everything in to my lined square cake tin alternating cake mixture with the remaining caramel.Simple. It baked for about 40 mins I think... at Gas Mark 4.

This cake smelled amazing and tasted even better everyone loved it! It was beautifully moist and the Apples still had a bit of crunch to them. The Caramel added a delicious flavour to everything it was fab I was so happy with it. It tastes even better once its had time to cool and sat a while as the Caramel flavour gets stronger. The two flavours worked amazing well together and had a lovely familiar taste that we still can't place! It was like getting a big cake hug by the beautifully comforting flavors. Can't get over the Caramel flavour...... ..I miss it so much.....sniff sniff.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Spiced Orange Rolls


So after making my Almond Cherry Couronne I've been bitten by the bread making bug and wanted to have ago at some rolls. I've been trying to use  my Jo wheatley Passion for Baking book more, so I was flicking through it looking at all the lovely i often do  when these Orange Spiced rolls caught my eye.

I started making these quite early in the day which is necessary because of the time which you need to dedicate to them proving twice. It was relatively straight forward and rather similar to the Couronne. I still think I need to work on my kneading methods but I think what I was doing got the job done. This time after the first proving the dough did double in size which didn't happen with the Couronne.Unfortunately for some reason this time,when I was rolling it out the dough was really tough and I struggled to get it the rectangle shape which was required. I'm not sure why it was so tough...should I have kneaded more to get it soft and stretchy before rolling it out?! I was quite thrown by this as it didn't happen the last time. Anyway I soldiered on and rolled it out sprinkled the Cinnamon, Demerara Sugar, Pecans, Orange zest and Mixed Spiced over the dough and started rolling up.

After I rolled and cut them up I had to leave it prove for a second time for 40 mins or until doubled in size. Then you can whack them in the oven. The smells coming from the oven where gorgeous! Beautifully Cinnamon + Citrusy scents, I left the kitchen door open so it could go all around the house! I was quite apprehensive about tasting these I was worried about the dough being so wasn't normal....and sadly I was proven right, these rolls were tough and chewy. They tasted of all the lovely flavours which were in them but they were so tough we had to dip them in our tea for 30 seconds to help soften them before eating them. Seriously.

I so disappointed about it...the whole process was going relatively well. I was wondering if any of you bread experts know why the dough ended up so tough? Please let me know, or any ideas of what can do to avoid it happening again I'm baffled. Maybe I under kneaded? Or maybe this recipe called for different ingredients so it was going to be different to the Couronne. Maybe rolls like these are meant to be a chewy?  I don’t know!! Some advice please for this bread novice. 

Monday, 24 February 2014

Chocolate Viennese biscuits sandwiched with chocolate Ganache

This week we have these pretty little Viennese Biscuits sandwiched with a luscious chocolate Ganache.
They sit there all dainty and innocent but making them to begin with was infuriating! I used Jo Wheatley's Melting Mousse Moments  for this recipe, I didn't fancy the raw egg in her Choc mousse filling so I opted for a safe yummy Ganache instead.

So what was hard about making these pretty little things? Well as all they contain is dry ingredients so combining them was beyond frustrating. The mixture nearly got stuck in my electric mixer- I thought it was gonna break! So after that I turned to a trusty wooden spoon, but the mixture was so stiff  it wouldn't reach the mixture at the bottom of the bowl and to top it of the bowl kept trying to run away from me. It was a pain in the butt! Got me well and truly annoyed so i chucked it in the fridge and left it till the morning when I was seeing something other than the colour red.

So, the next morning brought round 2  with the mixture, as there was no pointing even contemplating trying to pipe them on to the baking tray as you normally would I decided to roll and cut them like your average biscuit. They took about 12-15 minutes in my oven I took them out when  the tops were firm to touch but still had a bit of a give. Let them cool before moving them they are delicate little things.

Right, having baked them all I was on much better terms with these biscuits. Once assembled I tasted..... they were seriously  delicious! Lovely and crumbly not too buttery which is something I  found last time I made Viennese bics. Seriously chocolaty,which was beautifully complemented by the fluffy light chocolaty Ganache filling. Once you bit in to it you got intense crumbly chocolaty biscuits followed by lovely sweet fluffy Ganache YUM! They were truly forgiven!!!

I was really happy with these and think I will like to try more biscuits filled with yummy things, especially as I  think I'm getting the hang of not over baking a biscuit. Gone are the days I would wait till they were really coloured to take them out which meant when I got round to tasting they were seriously hard. I'm thinking something with lemon curd maybe......
Have you guys made any yummy biscuits with an even yummier fillings lately? Any suggestions on what should next fill my biscuit tin?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies

Hey, so sometimes I like to take my sweet time trying out a particular baking trend. Sometime I'll think about it for while...daydream about what I could do with it then finally one day I stop thinking and starting doing. Which is how you come to see this little Salted Caramel beauty in front of you. This was my first time EVER trying anything Salted Caramel so I'm not quite sure if this is how its meant to be or this is just how I've made it. Not a clue guys but nevertheless it was awesome! 

I liked the idea of having lovely little pools of golden caramel hiding in and around a lovely dark rich Brownie. I had some Carnation Caramel (yeah I'm too scared to try caramel from scratch!) in the cupboard to which I added some Sea Salt. Bit by bit as didn't want to go overboard and have it overly salty...that would be typical me. I liked that the salt took away some of the sweetness from the Caramel. For the Brownie I adapted a Jo wheatley's Brazil Nut Brownie recipe....I remember changing lots of elements around so can't quite remember what quantities went in at the end! 

I put half of the brownie mixture in to my tin, smoothed it out and pushed it in to the corners. Then I poured the Salted Caramel on top, I used about half of a small tin,  pushed that in to the corners smoothed it out. Finally topped that with the remaining Brownie mixture, making sure the Caramel was safely tucked away inside not peeking out any where.

Right, as you might be able to see I took them out  when they were still quite gooey...I waited and waited afterwards for it to set like a good little baker but it just wasn't getting stable! Hence the roughly cut portion you see above. I think maybe the hot caramel inside wasn't allowing it to firm up and set completely. The top would be quite hard and then I would plunge the knife in thinking I'm gonna cut some pretty slices to photograph and then it would just squirt out the sides. It wasn't playing ball.....but when something tasted that GOOD it can do whatever it liked!! and oh boy did this taste amazing guys. It was beautifully chocolately and fudgey then you would get the salted Caramel coming out to say hello which you gave you gorgeous Caramel hit. It was amazing people!! 
I'm not mentioning the slight anaemic colour to my brownie...just like I'm not mentioning that the fact that it was my twin who forgot to put the Cocoa powder in......totally NOT mentioning that.

I really need to make brownies more often!!! I used to be scared of having them too underdone but if a gooey fondant didn't hurt me then why would a little gorgeous gooeyness inside my brownie. I shall be a lot braver with Brownies from now on...I will aim to have them a tad firmer so next so I can actually pick it up...I ate most of this baby with a spoon :) 

PS So how is salted caramel supposed to taste like?! Should you be able to taste the salt?!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Lemon+Blueberry Yoghurt muffins....disappointed/PICKY baker :(

So I had this lovely idea of making some yummy refreshing Lemony muffins.....alas my idea didn't quite come to fruition. Once this was what I had decided upon I went  looking for a recipe and after a while settled on this Hairy Bikers one. The making part went down fine.....but then I tasted it..... how can I describe my feelings errm....disappointment at first bite would be rather accurate.

The point of baking is that at the end of it you get a sugar kick, that was what hurt the most! I'm such a sugar nut, if something I bake doesn't deliver on that then its dead to I'm being a tad dramatic but it had like no sugar seriously I was well annoyed. Then to make it worse the texture wasn't great it was a bit dry.  I thought having the yoghurt in there would help make it moist- well I wrong about that. Plus it had like no lemon flavour at all, turns out zest of one lemon  was NOT enough lads.

So my way of rectifying the no sweetness came in the form of slathering some left over chocolate Buttercream from the fridge in the middle. That certainly fixed the sugar element and eating with it a cup of tea fixed the texture dilemma, after that it was nice enough.
I feel like I'm being harsh they were nice enough but I've come to expect certain things before I've even baked something and unfortunately these muffins didn't deliver on those things for me so they were disappointing.

Have you guys been disappointed with a bake recently? I'm not over reacting am I?
See u next week with something chocolaty x