30 March 2010

Week 11 - Easter Nests

Easter Greetings Chooky Eggs!

So it's almost the Easter weekend & if you're like me, you'll be looking forward to a few days off? Now I thought the start of BST signals the start of spring, light nights, sunny evenings in the pub & a feeling of renewal, what with all the daffodillies & lammie mares! But we live in the UK, so lets not get carried away...what we've actually got is a severe weather warning for sleet & gale force winds hell bent on destroying the sturdiest of brollies! Hoary! Bring on the chocolate!

As well as
baking this week, I thought I'd go a bit arts & crafts & have a crack at decorating an egg. I haven't done this since my triumphant victory in the Alnwick Egg Competition in 1986 (aged 8) with my eggy Adam Ant! (Mum, why did you not take a picture?) Now it would seem my creativity when it comes to egg decorating has faded in the last 24 years. But I'm quite chuffed with my little egg, I've called her Henrietta!

So this weeks recipe is also Easter themed, although it's so easy to make I feel a bit of a fraud calling it baking...

150g milk chocolate
50g butter
3 shredded wheat
Mini eggs to decorate

1. Melt the butter & chocolate together in a large bowl & mix well. Crush the shredded wheat into the bowl & mix well, you might need to squish it together with the back of a spoon to get it all to combine

2. Spoon a generous dollop of the mixture into a paper case & press down gently, then add a couple of mini eggs to finish off

3. Let them set, you can either leave them in paper cases, but I like to take them out so you can get the full effect of the nest!

See told you it was simple! Hope you can take some time to make these over the long weekend & if anyone has a go at egg decorating, I'd love to see piccies. This weeks batch of goodies are going to a good cause, we're having a charity cake sale today at work, I'll let you know how much we raise next week. Enjoy the break, back next week, Rebecca

24 March 2010

Week 10 - Pina Colada Cake

Yipppppeeee! Sorry my little cupcakes, you've got an over excited Rebecca this week! Today I found out that I've won a competition I entered at the Vitality Show. Courtesy of the lovely people at Oakley, I'm off to Cornwall in the summer to learn to surf! It'll be amazing, can't wait, always thought I'd be good as a surfer chick...now's my chance! In the meantime there's still cake to bake, so back to the matter in hand.

Last week I mentioned I was writing a manifesto for cake, it was inspired by a crisis of confidence a couple of weeks ago, brought on by a copy of Olive mag. Don't get me wrong I love the mag & read it every month, but their cakes make mine look like mutants quiet frankly! So, after giving myself a talking to I started to think about why I bake & decided to celebrate it, this is the result...

1. My cakes are real cakes! They do not have their own stylist or make up artist & they may not be as pretty as the cakes in magazines. Yes, my cakes may be lopsided, uneven & roughly iced but as the saying goes, it's what's on the inside that counts, my cakes are delicious & yummy even if they are not supermodels!

2. Baking is my therapy & cakes are easy to make, all it takes is some flour, butter, sugar & eggs. Cake mix should not come out of a box or contain e numbers & things I can't even pronounce. I'll keep my cakes natural.

3. Not everything I bake will work or taste right, nothing is perfect! I'll accept the mis-adventures, pick up the spatula & try again.

So this is my new mantra, to be repeated often to avoid another cakey confidence crisis!

Back to this weeks recipe & the it's the second of my cocktail inspired cakes, Pina Colada Cake. This one really was an experiment & if I'm honest I've actually come to the conclusion I don't much like coconut so I'm not sure I can make an objective decision on whether it's a success or not? Referring back to item 3 above...here goes!

300g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g desiccated coconut
50g butter
1 egg
300g canned pineapple chunks (keep the juice)
100ml pineapple juice

for the frosting

250g marscapone
40g icing sugar
50g desiccated coconut

1. Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl, add the egg & pineapple juice & beat together lightly

2. Add the pineapple chunks & mix well, then add the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb & desiccated coconut & fold together until all the ingredients are combined

3. Pour the mixture into a tin, I made my cake in a loaf tin, then bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 30-40 minutes until well risen & the top is browned, just starting to crack. Leave to rest in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on a rack to cool

4. To make the frosting beat the icing sugar into the marscapone & pop back in the fridge until needed. Spread the desiccated coconut on a small baking sheet & pop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes until it starts to toast & turn a lovely golden colour

5. When the cake is completely cooled, spread the marscapone mixture all over the top, then sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top

So the result? It smells great & the pineapple chunks & juice gives the cake a really lovely soft gooey texture, I just need some coconut fans to test it out for me. See you next week, when I have a feeling we might just get a visit from the Easter Bunny! Rebecca x

17 March 2010

Week 9 - Butterfly Cakes

How are we all this week? Hope you were all nice to your Mummies on Sunday, did anyone bake a cake? I decided to create a Greek inspired feast from the April issue of Olive magazine for my Mum. It started with a halloumi & fennel salad, with roast lamb, spinach, potatoes & butter beans for main course. Dessert was a orangey doughnut type thing with Greek yogurt, slices of orange, honey & walnuts. It was a big success, although there was enough garlic in it to ward off a pack of vampires! I'd recommend checking it out, especially if you are entertaining over Easter? The same issue of Olive magazine also inspired me to start writing my manifesto for cake, but more about that next week!

So, I promised a retro treat this week & here they are, Butterfly cakes! They remind me of parties I used to go to when I was a kid in the 80's, so I have to say I felt a little nostalgic making these, I had a strange urge to create a cheese & pineapple hedgehog to go with them. These are dead simple to make but look so pretty & make the perfect treat for afternoon tea.

100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
Few drops vanilla essence
100g self raising flour

For the filling
85g icing sugar
35g butter
Dash of milk
Strawberry jam

1. Cream together the butter & sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg & vanilla essence. Finally fold in the flour

2. Place 8 paper cases into a bun tin & divide the mixture evenly between them. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for around 15-20 minutes until well risen & just turning golden brown

3. To make the butter cream filling cream together the butter & icing sugar, add a dash of milk to help it combine

4. When the cakes are cooled, take a sharp knife & cut a circle out of the top of the cake. Use the knife on an angle so you cut out a cone shape, cut this piece in half & place to one side.

5. Fill the hole with a small scoop of jam, then a dollop of butter cream. Finally arrange the pieces on top to make the wings. Finish them off with a dusting of icing sugar.

For the full 80's experience I think butterfly cakes are best enjoyed with some retro fizzy pop, cherryade is my particular favourite! Now I'm off to dig out my NOW tapes, 'I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky...' Till next week...Rebecca

p.s. Rebecca Bakes Cakes now has a Facebook fan page, just search Rebecca Bakes Cakes!

7 March 2010

Week 8 - Chocolate Ginger Cookies

I'm feeling a little delicate this week, so be nice cake mates. Training was completed as planned, but with hindsight, going out dancing in 4 inch heels the same day as completing a mammoth 11 mile walk was probably not my best decision ever! Now I have been known to abandon my shoes when out dancing, but on Saturday, for the first time ever, I was asked by security to put my shoes back on. Apparently dancing barefoot poses a health & safety risk! I would argue that me, slightly squiffy, dancing on 4 inch heels presents more of a risk than barefoot, but who am I to argue with a security professional? Needless to say my legs are a bit sore, although some treatment from my fab physio, Zdena on Monday means I should get out training again tomorrow. As my Mum would say, those mile won't walk themselves!

So, this weeks recipe is definitely one for chocolate lovers, sorry I realise this really isn't helping those of you who have given it up for Lent! I love Green & Blacks chocolate, so I've decided to create a series of recipes using some of their fab choccie bars. The first one uses the Dark Chocolate with Ginger, which is probably my favourite of the lot. The result is a really intense chocolate cookie that's lovely & chewy in the middle, perfect with a big mug of coffee!

100g butter
140g light brown sugar
1 egg
140g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
100g bar Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate with Ginger

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, then beat in the egg until you get a smooth mixture

2. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb & ginger, then give it a good mix until it is all combined. You'll end up with quite a thick cookie dough

3. Next roughly chop the chocolate so you have small chunks, stir these in the the dough until they are fairly evenly spread

4. Spoon small dollops of the dough onto a baking sheet, they will spread, so give them some room, I got around 20 cookies out of my batch. Bake them in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 10 minutes until they have lightly risen & the tops just start to crack

5. Leave to rest for a few minutes once out of the oven, then transfer to a wire rack. They might seem a little soft still, but will firm up once completely cooled

I think the next G&B recipe will use my second favourite bar, Milk Chocolate with Butterscotch. After that I'm just not sure, there's too many to choose from! If anyone has any requests, let me know. Next week, get your leg warmers & double denim at the ready, we're going back to the 80's with retro party cakes. Have a good week cookie monsters! Rebecca

2 March 2010

Week 7 - Banoffie Pie

Hello baking buddies! So we're 7 weeks in now & it's been a lot of fun so far, there's only one drawback, my weekly calorie intake has gone up as a result of all this baking! So I thought I'd tell you about the other challenge I've taken on for 2010 which hopefully should balance out all the cake I'm consuming. On 15th May 2010 I will be taking part in my first Playtex Moonwalk for the Walk the Walk organisation, supporting breast cancer charities & organisations all over the country. We set off from Hyde Park at midnight on Saturday & will walk through the night covering 26.2 miles...yikes! Training is well underway, the only bit I'm not sure about is the tradition that you walk the event in a decorated bra!


Lots of cake + walking marathon in bra = 1 bodycon, slightly nervous Rebecca!

If you would like to you can sponsor me at
Your support will be most appreciated x


So, back to the cake & when I chose this weeks recipe I was oblivious to the fact that this week is actually British Pie Week http://www.britishpieweek.co.uk/ The debate is if it actually counts as a pie seeing as there's no pastry involved, but it's a pie by name, so I think it counts! This is the first time I've ever made a Banoffie Pie & I must admit my previous encounters were with frozen versions that looked a bit too perfect. My pie is gloriously haphazard & as we say up north, a bit of a mullock, (for my Southern friends, that means it looks a mess!) But I think that's how it should be, the rich caramel oozes over the biscuit base, the squidgy nanas sink into the caramel & the whole thing is topped off with swirls & swirls of whipped cream, (sorry have been watching Nigella re-runs!)


200g digestive biscuits
50g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 can Carnation Caramel (you can find it with evaporated & condensed milk in the supermarket)
3 ripe bananas
300ml double cream
Cocoa powder to finish

1. Crush the digestive biscuits, either pop them in a bag & bash them with a wooden spoon, or blitz them in the food processor. Melt together the butter & golden syrup, then stir in biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture into a lose bottom tin & chill in the fridge for around 20 minutes.

2. Once chilled, spread the caramel all over the biscuit base. Next, slice the bananas & arrange them to cover over the caramel.

3. Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks. I used a piping bag & nozzle to add swirly cream to the top, but you could just as easily spread it with a spatula or knife. Finally add a dusting of cocoa powder to finish.

This is so simple to make but delicious to eat. It's best if you keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve as it is very gooey. Hope you like it! It's back on with the trainers for me, I've got 20 miles to cover this week! Enjoy, Rebecca

30 March 2010

Week 11 - Easter Nests

Easter Greetings Chooky Eggs!

So it's almost the Easter weekend & if you're like me, you'll be looking forward to a few days off? Now I thought the start of BST signals the start of spring, light nights, sunny evenings in the pub & a feeling of renewal, what with all the daffodillies & lammie mares! But we live in the UK, so lets not get carried away...what we've actually got is a severe weather warning for sleet & gale force winds hell bent on destroying the sturdiest of brollies! Hoary! Bring on the chocolate!

As well as
baking this week, I thought I'd go a bit arts & crafts & have a crack at decorating an egg. I haven't done this since my triumphant victory in the Alnwick Egg Competition in 1986 (aged 8) with my eggy Adam Ant! (Mum, why did you not take a picture?) Now it would seem my creativity when it comes to egg decorating has faded in the last 24 years. But I'm quite chuffed with my little egg, I've called her Henrietta!

So this weeks recipe is also Easter themed, although it's so easy to make I feel a bit of a fraud calling it baking...

150g milk chocolate
50g butter
3 shredded wheat
Mini eggs to decorate

1. Melt the butter & chocolate together in a large bowl & mix well. Crush the shredded wheat into the bowl & mix well, you might need to squish it together with the back of a spoon to get it all to combine

2. Spoon a generous dollop of the mixture into a paper case & press down gently, then add a couple of mini eggs to finish off

3. Let them set, you can either leave them in paper cases, but I like to take them out so you can get the full effect of the nest!

See told you it was simple! Hope you can take some time to make these over the long weekend & if anyone has a go at egg decorating, I'd love to see piccies. This weeks batch of goodies are going to a good cause, we're having a charity cake sale today at work, I'll let you know how much we raise next week. Enjoy the break, back next week, Rebecca

24 March 2010

Week 10 - Pina Colada Cake

Yipppppeeee! Sorry my little cupcakes, you've got an over excited Rebecca this week! Today I found out that I've won a competition I entered at the Vitality Show. Courtesy of the lovely people at Oakley, I'm off to Cornwall in the summer to learn to surf! It'll be amazing, can't wait, always thought I'd be good as a surfer chick...now's my chance! In the meantime there's still cake to bake, so back to the matter in hand.

Last week I mentioned I was writing a manifesto for cake, it was inspired by a crisis of confidence a couple of weeks ago, brought on by a copy of Olive mag. Don't get me wrong I love the mag & read it every month, but their cakes make mine look like mutants quiet frankly! So, after giving myself a talking to I started to think about why I bake & decided to celebrate it, this is the result...

1. My cakes are real cakes! They do not have their own stylist or make up artist & they may not be as pretty as the cakes in magazines. Yes, my cakes may be lopsided, uneven & roughly iced but as the saying goes, it's what's on the inside that counts, my cakes are delicious & yummy even if they are not supermodels!

2. Baking is my therapy & cakes are easy to make, all it takes is some flour, butter, sugar & eggs. Cake mix should not come out of a box or contain e numbers & things I can't even pronounce. I'll keep my cakes natural.

3. Not everything I bake will work or taste right, nothing is perfect! I'll accept the mis-adventures, pick up the spatula & try again.

So this is my new mantra, to be repeated often to avoid another cakey confidence crisis!

Back to this weeks recipe & the it's the second of my cocktail inspired cakes, Pina Colada Cake. This one really was an experiment & if I'm honest I've actually come to the conclusion I don't much like coconut so I'm not sure I can make an objective decision on whether it's a success or not? Referring back to item 3 above...here goes!

300g plain flour
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
50g desiccated coconut
50g butter
1 egg
300g canned pineapple chunks (keep the juice)
100ml pineapple juice

for the frosting

250g marscapone
40g icing sugar
50g desiccated coconut

1. Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl, add the egg & pineapple juice & beat together lightly

2. Add the pineapple chunks & mix well, then add the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb & desiccated coconut & fold together until all the ingredients are combined

3. Pour the mixture into a tin, I made my cake in a loaf tin, then bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 30-40 minutes until well risen & the top is browned, just starting to crack. Leave to rest in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on a rack to cool

4. To make the frosting beat the icing sugar into the marscapone & pop back in the fridge until needed. Spread the desiccated coconut on a small baking sheet & pop it in the oven for 5-10 minutes until it starts to toast & turn a lovely golden colour

5. When the cake is completely cooled, spread the marscapone mixture all over the top, then sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top

So the result? It smells great & the pineapple chunks & juice gives the cake a really lovely soft gooey texture, I just need some coconut fans to test it out for me. See you next week, when I have a feeling we might just get a visit from the Easter Bunny! Rebecca x

17 March 2010

Week 9 - Butterfly Cakes

How are we all this week? Hope you were all nice to your Mummies on Sunday, did anyone bake a cake? I decided to create a Greek inspired feast from the April issue of Olive magazine for my Mum. It started with a halloumi & fennel salad, with roast lamb, spinach, potatoes & butter beans for main course. Dessert was a orangey doughnut type thing with Greek yogurt, slices of orange, honey & walnuts. It was a big success, although there was enough garlic in it to ward off a pack of vampires! I'd recommend checking it out, especially if you are entertaining over Easter? The same issue of Olive magazine also inspired me to start writing my manifesto for cake, but more about that next week!

So, I promised a retro treat this week & here they are, Butterfly cakes! They remind me of parties I used to go to when I was a kid in the 80's, so I have to say I felt a little nostalgic making these, I had a strange urge to create a cheese & pineapple hedgehog to go with them. These are dead simple to make but look so pretty & make the perfect treat for afternoon tea.

100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
Few drops vanilla essence
100g self raising flour

For the filling
85g icing sugar
35g butter
Dash of milk
Strawberry jam

1. Cream together the butter & sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg & vanilla essence. Finally fold in the flour

2. Place 8 paper cases into a bun tin & divide the mixture evenly between them. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for around 15-20 minutes until well risen & just turning golden brown

3. To make the butter cream filling cream together the butter & icing sugar, add a dash of milk to help it combine

4. When the cakes are cooled, take a sharp knife & cut a circle out of the top of the cake. Use the knife on an angle so you cut out a cone shape, cut this piece in half & place to one side.

5. Fill the hole with a small scoop of jam, then a dollop of butter cream. Finally arrange the pieces on top to make the wings. Finish them off with a dusting of icing sugar.

For the full 80's experience I think butterfly cakes are best enjoyed with some retro fizzy pop, cherryade is my particular favourite! Now I'm off to dig out my NOW tapes, 'I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky...' Till next week...Rebecca

p.s. Rebecca Bakes Cakes now has a Facebook fan page, just search Rebecca Bakes Cakes!

7 March 2010

Week 8 - Chocolate Ginger Cookies

I'm feeling a little delicate this week, so be nice cake mates. Training was completed as planned, but with hindsight, going out dancing in 4 inch heels the same day as completing a mammoth 11 mile walk was probably not my best decision ever! Now I have been known to abandon my shoes when out dancing, but on Saturday, for the first time ever, I was asked by security to put my shoes back on. Apparently dancing barefoot poses a health & safety risk! I would argue that me, slightly squiffy, dancing on 4 inch heels presents more of a risk than barefoot, but who am I to argue with a security professional? Needless to say my legs are a bit sore, although some treatment from my fab physio, Zdena on Monday means I should get out training again tomorrow. As my Mum would say, those mile won't walk themselves!

So, this weeks recipe is definitely one for chocolate lovers, sorry I realise this really isn't helping those of you who have given it up for Lent! I love Green & Blacks chocolate, so I've decided to create a series of recipes using some of their fab choccie bars. The first one uses the Dark Chocolate with Ginger, which is probably my favourite of the lot. The result is a really intense chocolate cookie that's lovely & chewy in the middle, perfect with a big mug of coffee!

100g butter
140g light brown sugar
1 egg
140g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
100g bar Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate with Ginger

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, then beat in the egg until you get a smooth mixture

2. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb & ginger, then give it a good mix until it is all combined. You'll end up with quite a thick cookie dough

3. Next roughly chop the chocolate so you have small chunks, stir these in the the dough until they are fairly evenly spread

4. Spoon small dollops of the dough onto a baking sheet, they will spread, so give them some room, I got around 20 cookies out of my batch. Bake them in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 10 minutes until they have lightly risen & the tops just start to crack

5. Leave to rest for a few minutes once out of the oven, then transfer to a wire rack. They might seem a little soft still, but will firm up once completely cooled

I think the next G&B recipe will use my second favourite bar, Milk Chocolate with Butterscotch. After that I'm just not sure, there's too many to choose from! If anyone has any requests, let me know. Next week, get your leg warmers & double denim at the ready, we're going back to the 80's with retro party cakes. Have a good week cookie monsters! Rebecca

2 March 2010

Week 7 - Banoffie Pie

Hello baking buddies! So we're 7 weeks in now & it's been a lot of fun so far, there's only one drawback, my weekly calorie intake has gone up as a result of all this baking! So I thought I'd tell you about the other challenge I've taken on for 2010 which hopefully should balance out all the cake I'm consuming. On 15th May 2010 I will be taking part in my first Playtex Moonwalk for the Walk the Walk organisation, supporting breast cancer charities & organisations all over the country. We set off from Hyde Park at midnight on Saturday & will walk through the night covering 26.2 miles...yikes! Training is well underway, the only bit I'm not sure about is the tradition that you walk the event in a decorated bra!


Lots of cake + walking marathon in bra = 1 bodycon, slightly nervous Rebecca!

If you would like to you can sponsor me at
Your support will be most appreciated x


So, back to the cake & when I chose this weeks recipe I was oblivious to the fact that this week is actually British Pie Week http://www.britishpieweek.co.uk/ The debate is if it actually counts as a pie seeing as there's no pastry involved, but it's a pie by name, so I think it counts! This is the first time I've ever made a Banoffie Pie & I must admit my previous encounters were with frozen versions that looked a bit too perfect. My pie is gloriously haphazard & as we say up north, a bit of a mullock, (for my Southern friends, that means it looks a mess!) But I think that's how it should be, the rich caramel oozes over the biscuit base, the squidgy nanas sink into the caramel & the whole thing is topped off with swirls & swirls of whipped cream, (sorry have been watching Nigella re-runs!)


200g digestive biscuits
50g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 can Carnation Caramel (you can find it with evaporated & condensed milk in the supermarket)
3 ripe bananas
300ml double cream
Cocoa powder to finish

1. Crush the digestive biscuits, either pop them in a bag & bash them with a wooden spoon, or blitz them in the food processor. Melt together the butter & golden syrup, then stir in biscuit crumbs. Press the mixture into a lose bottom tin & chill in the fridge for around 20 minutes.

2. Once chilled, spread the caramel all over the biscuit base. Next, slice the bananas & arrange them to cover over the caramel.

3. Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks. I used a piping bag & nozzle to add swirly cream to the top, but you could just as easily spread it with a spatula or knife. Finally add a dusting of cocoa powder to finish.

This is so simple to make but delicious to eat. It's best if you keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve as it is very gooey. Hope you like it! It's back on with the trainers for me, I've got 20 miles to cover this week! Enjoy, Rebecca
 

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