24 August 2010

Week 32 - Banana Cinnamon Cupcakes

Hey there! So last weeks recipe...it created quite a bit of debate & I'll be honest it's probably the first week in my baking marathon that I've found it difficult to share the cake! Lets put it down to experience & not mention it again :-)

Have you been bitten by the Great British Bake Off bug yet? I've been watching it, going green with envy, not just about all the fab challenges they get to tackle, but also the rainbow selection of Kitchen Aid mixers in their baking tent! I am still yearning after a red one, but haven't yet plucked up the courage to invest that amount of money in a mixer. Do you use one? If you do I'd love to know what you think & if it's worth it, thanks! I think I've already picked my favourite contestant to win, but I'm keeping that to myself for now. By way of consolation, I've signed myself up for the Great Brownie Bake Off, it's being organised by The Chocolate Consultancy & will take place in London at Look Mum No Hands on October 9th. They are encouraging homebakers to get involved & share their best brownie recipe. Click here for more info, I'll let you know how my Brownie recipe comes along, given I set fire to the last batch I made, I think I need some practise!

On to this weeks recipe & it's a request from my boyf who celebrates his birthday this week, I don't much like banana in cake, but he does so here goes! They're fairly hearty cupcakes so imagine they would be really good for breakfast. I know not everyone likes frosting so I only decorated about half of them. p.s. do you like the new cake stand?

For the cakes
300g plain flour
100g soft brown sugar
50g butter
1 egg
3 ripe bananas
70g fromage frais
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cinnamon
Dash of milk

For the frosting
70g butter
170g icing sugar
Few drops vanilla essence
Dash of milk

1. Melt the butter, stir in the sugar, then beat in the egg. Mash the banana together with the fromage frais & cinnamon, then stir it in to the buttery mixture.

2. Sift in the flour, baking powder & bicarbonate of soda, mix until combined, adding a little dash of milk if it's a bit dry.

3. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cases & spoon in the mixture. A batch should make 18 cupcakes. Bake them in the oven at 190c/GM5 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown & well risen, lift out & leave to cool completely

4. To make the frosting, cream together the butter & icing sugar, adding a few drops of vanilla & a little dash of milk to help it along. Top the cupcakes with the frosting, I added a banana chip to the top for decoration.

So Happy Birthday M, hope you enjoy your alternative birthday cakes! Don't forget there's still time to enter my blog giveaway for the chance to win a Senseo coffee machine worth £149.99! See you next week, Rebecca x

16 August 2010

Week 31 - Courgette Cake

I know you've probably read the title of this weeks post & thought I've taken leave of my senses, bear with me on this one & I'll come back to the cake in a bit...

So this week it's my birthday & I got talking to my mum about the birthday cakes she'd created for me when I was a kid & I think this could be a contributing factor to my love of baking! We dug through the Hodgson photo albums & managed to find a few pictures which I thought I'd share with you. Sorry they're a bit grainy, but they are *ahem* years old! My favourite is the chocolate finger house, the recipe came from a promotional Cadbury cookbook, I think I loved it so much it was made for 2 birthdays! The Garfield was made for a birthday BBQ party I had, I think all my friends went home bouncing off the walls, how much food colouring went into that!? The other two were a treasure chest complete with sweetie jewellery & a buttercream covered butterfly. I hope you'll agree she's quite creative! Mum's adamant she's not baking one this year as I'm generating quite enough myself, probably just as well :-)


So to celebrate I thought it would be a good opportunity to offer something back to you readers! I'm launching my first blog giveaway, where you have the chance to win a Senseo coffee machine worth £149.99! Click here, or follow the link at the top of the page for more details. Good luck, you have until 27th August to enter!

Back to this weeks recipe & this definitely was an experiment. I was sent it by a lady I work with, who developed it to deal with the mass of courgettes being grown on her allotment. My honest opinion is that I'm really not sure what I think of it? I don't love it, but I don't hate it either! The courgettes do give it a moist texture (a bit like carrot cake), but like courgettes, it doesn't taste of much, other than a rich, not too sweet sponge cake. I do really like the filling however & would use that again.

For the cake
250g courgettes, grated
2 eggs
125ml sunflower oil
150g caster sugar
225g SR flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the filling
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
Juice of a lime

1. Beat together the eggs, oil & sugar until fluffy. Then sieve in the flour, baking powder & bicarb & mix well. Finally stir in the grated courgettes. Divide the mixture between 2 sandwich tins & bake in the oven at 200c/GM6 for around 25 minutes, leave to cool completely in the tins before tipping out.

2. To make the filling, mix together the cream cheese & icing sugar, finally stir in the lime juice. Use this mixture to sandwich the 2 cakes together.

So there you have it, courgette cake. Not as green as I was expecting (I was thinking it might come out Hulk coloured!), but for me the jury is out on the final verdict. If anyone tries it, I'd be interested to hear what you think? Have a good week, don't forget to enter the giveaway & feel free to forward the link on. Ta ta, Rebecca x

10 August 2010

Week 30 - Lemon Meringue Cake

Hello! It doesn't seem 5 minutes since my last post, but I'm back on schedule & this weeks recipe is another request but more about that in a bit...

So, after 30 solid weeks of baking it has been proving a little tricky for me to maintain at least some level of will power not just to scoff the lot myself! It was ok whilst I was training for the marathon, but I've decided if I want to keep eating cake, I need to take assertive action. Wait for it, I've only gone & joined a gym! This is a big deal for me who has spent the last 3 years doing everything possible to avoid the gym (I even signed up for a belly dancing course for alternative exercise!) Thankfully this is a different type of gym, it's based around circuits & a workout only lasts 30 minutes...I think even I can manage that. I'll let you know how I get on, but don't worry, there will be no danger of me turning into a health freak gym bunny. Sweet indulgence will continue to week 52!

This weeks recipe was a request from my friend Jo, who is leaving work this week to have a baby. Honestly there's something in the water at our place, we girls are a bit nervous to touch the coffee machine just in case! She told me she's been craving lemon meringue so I thought I'd make this cake from Nigella's Feast cookbook. I've made it once before & it went down a storm, it looks really impressive, but it's actually quite easy (definitely easier to construct than the Black Forest Gateaux I made in week 21) I hope she enjoys it & it satisfies the craving!

125g unsalted butter
4 eggs separated
300g caster sugar
100g plain flour
25g cornflour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
Zest of 1 lemon
4tsps lemon juice
2tsps milk
1/2tsp cream of tartar
150ml whipping cream, whipped!
150g lemon curd

1. Cream together the butter & 100g of the sugar, then beat in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb & lemon zest, finally add the lemon juice & milk. Divide the mixture between 2 sandwich tins, there will just be enough to cover the base of the tin.

2. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Divide the mixture between the 2 tins, making sure you completely cover the cake mixture. Make the top of 1 tin smooth, peak the other one with a spoon & sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the oven at 200c/GM6 for around 20 minutes. You need to watch it quite carefully to make sure the meringue doesn't over brown. Lift out & leave to cool completely in the tins.

3. To construct the cake, tip out the cake with the smooth top & place it on a plate meringue side down. Spread the lemon curd over the cake, then smooth over the whipped cream. Place the other cake on top, so the peaked meringue is on top.

I think it's best to keep it in the fridge until you are ready to serve, if it lasts that long!? Now don't tell anyone, but it's my birthday next week. To celebrate I'm hoping to launch the first ever Rebecca Bakes Cakes blog giveaway with a fab prize that will provide you with the perfect accompaniment to cake! Until the, Rebecca x

6 August 2010

Week 29 - Creme Catalan

Ola! Sorry this weeks post is much later than usual, but I've been on a well needed break & have just got back from a fab trip to Barcelona. It's definitely my type of city, it's so focused around a foodie lifestyle that to say I've over indulged would be a bit of an understatement! We were lucky enough that our hotel was next door to Mercat La Bouqueria, a produce market that can be traced as far back as the early 1700's. It was unlike any other market I've ever seen, the care & creativity that went into the displays was incredible. There was the most amazing selection of fresh fruit & vegetables, some of which I'd never seen before! There was also stalls selling cured meats, cheeses & general groceries, alongside good old fashioned butchers & fishmongers. If I lived there I don't think I'd ever set foot inside a supermarket again if I could help it!

Catalans have such a relaxed attitude to food (well to everything really not just food!), I'm pretty sure you could sit & eat tapas all day & no one would bat an eyelid. My particular favourites were Manchago cheese, Iberian ham & tomato bread, as the name would suggest it's toasted bread, spread with fresh tomato paste & drizzled with olive oil...mmm, making myself hungry again. Here are a few of my favourite foodie photos of our trip.



So as you've probably guessed, this weeks recipe is inspired by the trip to Barcelona & is a traditional Catalan dessert. It's really simple to make & involves no baking (sorry feel a bit of a cheat this week!) It would be a great dinner party dessert as you can make it well in advance & just flash it under the grill when ready to serve.

60g sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tbsp cornflour
250ml double cream
Zest of 1 lemon
Cinnamon stick

1. Beat together the egg yolks & sugar in a small pan, gradually add the cream, then the lemon zest & cornflour. Whisk in the cornflour, quite vigorously to avoid lumps! Finally add the cinnamon stick.

2. Heat gently, stirring all the time until you start to feel the mixture thicken. As soon as you see even 1 bubble, remove it from the heat, scoop out the cinnamon stick & give it another good whisk before dividing it between 2 ramekins.

3. Pop into the fridge to chill for a couple of hours, then when ready to serve sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top & put under a hot grill until the sugar bubbles.

The lemon & cinnamon are really subtle flavours, but somehow, despite the richness of the cream, give it a fresh light taste. I never seem to have much luck browning things under my grill, so if you have a cooks blow torch, I'd recommend using that instead. I've added one onto my objects of desire list!

Hope you enjoy, I'm off to see if I can rustle up a Sangria from the contents of my fridge/wine rack. See you next week for another recipe request. Have a great weekend amigos! Rebecca x

24 August 2010

Week 32 - Banana Cinnamon Cupcakes

Hey there! So last weeks recipe...it created quite a bit of debate & I'll be honest it's probably the first week in my baking marathon that I've found it difficult to share the cake! Lets put it down to experience & not mention it again :-)

Have you been bitten by the Great British Bake Off bug yet? I've been watching it, going green with envy, not just about all the fab challenges they get to tackle, but also the rainbow selection of Kitchen Aid mixers in their baking tent! I am still yearning after a red one, but haven't yet plucked up the courage to invest that amount of money in a mixer. Do you use one? If you do I'd love to know what you think & if it's worth it, thanks! I think I've already picked my favourite contestant to win, but I'm keeping that to myself for now. By way of consolation, I've signed myself up for the Great Brownie Bake Off, it's being organised by The Chocolate Consultancy & will take place in London at Look Mum No Hands on October 9th. They are encouraging homebakers to get involved & share their best brownie recipe. Click here for more info, I'll let you know how my Brownie recipe comes along, given I set fire to the last batch I made, I think I need some practise!

On to this weeks recipe & it's a request from my boyf who celebrates his birthday this week, I don't much like banana in cake, but he does so here goes! They're fairly hearty cupcakes so imagine they would be really good for breakfast. I know not everyone likes frosting so I only decorated about half of them. p.s. do you like the new cake stand?

For the cakes
300g plain flour
100g soft brown sugar
50g butter
1 egg
3 ripe bananas
70g fromage frais
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp cinnamon
Dash of milk

For the frosting
70g butter
170g icing sugar
Few drops vanilla essence
Dash of milk

1. Melt the butter, stir in the sugar, then beat in the egg. Mash the banana together with the fromage frais & cinnamon, then stir it in to the buttery mixture.

2. Sift in the flour, baking powder & bicarbonate of soda, mix until combined, adding a little dash of milk if it's a bit dry.

3. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cases & spoon in the mixture. A batch should make 18 cupcakes. Bake them in the oven at 190c/GM5 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown & well risen, lift out & leave to cool completely

4. To make the frosting, cream together the butter & icing sugar, adding a few drops of vanilla & a little dash of milk to help it along. Top the cupcakes with the frosting, I added a banana chip to the top for decoration.

So Happy Birthday M, hope you enjoy your alternative birthday cakes! Don't forget there's still time to enter my blog giveaway for the chance to win a Senseo coffee machine worth £149.99! See you next week, Rebecca x

16 August 2010

Week 31 - Courgette Cake

I know you've probably read the title of this weeks post & thought I've taken leave of my senses, bear with me on this one & I'll come back to the cake in a bit...

So this week it's my birthday & I got talking to my mum about the birthday cakes she'd created for me when I was a kid & I think this could be a contributing factor to my love of baking! We dug through the Hodgson photo albums & managed to find a few pictures which I thought I'd share with you. Sorry they're a bit grainy, but they are *ahem* years old! My favourite is the chocolate finger house, the recipe came from a promotional Cadbury cookbook, I think I loved it so much it was made for 2 birthdays! The Garfield was made for a birthday BBQ party I had, I think all my friends went home bouncing off the walls, how much food colouring went into that!? The other two were a treasure chest complete with sweetie jewellery & a buttercream covered butterfly. I hope you'll agree she's quite creative! Mum's adamant she's not baking one this year as I'm generating quite enough myself, probably just as well :-)


So to celebrate I thought it would be a good opportunity to offer something back to you readers! I'm launching my first blog giveaway, where you have the chance to win a Senseo coffee machine worth £149.99! Click here, or follow the link at the top of the page for more details. Good luck, you have until 27th August to enter!

Back to this weeks recipe & this definitely was an experiment. I was sent it by a lady I work with, who developed it to deal with the mass of courgettes being grown on her allotment. My honest opinion is that I'm really not sure what I think of it? I don't love it, but I don't hate it either! The courgettes do give it a moist texture (a bit like carrot cake), but like courgettes, it doesn't taste of much, other than a rich, not too sweet sponge cake. I do really like the filling however & would use that again.

For the cake
250g courgettes, grated
2 eggs
125ml sunflower oil
150g caster sugar
225g SR flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the filling
200g cream cheese
100g icing sugar
Juice of a lime

1. Beat together the eggs, oil & sugar until fluffy. Then sieve in the flour, baking powder & bicarb & mix well. Finally stir in the grated courgettes. Divide the mixture between 2 sandwich tins & bake in the oven at 200c/GM6 for around 25 minutes, leave to cool completely in the tins before tipping out.

2. To make the filling, mix together the cream cheese & icing sugar, finally stir in the lime juice. Use this mixture to sandwich the 2 cakes together.

So there you have it, courgette cake. Not as green as I was expecting (I was thinking it might come out Hulk coloured!), but for me the jury is out on the final verdict. If anyone tries it, I'd be interested to hear what you think? Have a good week, don't forget to enter the giveaway & feel free to forward the link on. Ta ta, Rebecca x

10 August 2010

Week 30 - Lemon Meringue Cake

Hello! It doesn't seem 5 minutes since my last post, but I'm back on schedule & this weeks recipe is another request but more about that in a bit...

So, after 30 solid weeks of baking it has been proving a little tricky for me to maintain at least some level of will power not just to scoff the lot myself! It was ok whilst I was training for the marathon, but I've decided if I want to keep eating cake, I need to take assertive action. Wait for it, I've only gone & joined a gym! This is a big deal for me who has spent the last 3 years doing everything possible to avoid the gym (I even signed up for a belly dancing course for alternative exercise!) Thankfully this is a different type of gym, it's based around circuits & a workout only lasts 30 minutes...I think even I can manage that. I'll let you know how I get on, but don't worry, there will be no danger of me turning into a health freak gym bunny. Sweet indulgence will continue to week 52!

This weeks recipe was a request from my friend Jo, who is leaving work this week to have a baby. Honestly there's something in the water at our place, we girls are a bit nervous to touch the coffee machine just in case! She told me she's been craving lemon meringue so I thought I'd make this cake from Nigella's Feast cookbook. I've made it once before & it went down a storm, it looks really impressive, but it's actually quite easy (definitely easier to construct than the Black Forest Gateaux I made in week 21) I hope she enjoys it & it satisfies the craving!

125g unsalted butter
4 eggs separated
300g caster sugar
100g plain flour
25g cornflour
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
Zest of 1 lemon
4tsps lemon juice
2tsps milk
1/2tsp cream of tartar
150ml whipping cream, whipped!
150g lemon curd

1. Cream together the butter & 100g of the sugar, then beat in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb & lemon zest, finally add the lemon juice & milk. Divide the mixture between 2 sandwich tins, there will just be enough to cover the base of the tin.

2. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the sugar. Divide the mixture between the 2 tins, making sure you completely cover the cake mixture. Make the top of 1 tin smooth, peak the other one with a spoon & sprinkle with sugar. Bake in the oven at 200c/GM6 for around 20 minutes. You need to watch it quite carefully to make sure the meringue doesn't over brown. Lift out & leave to cool completely in the tins.

3. To construct the cake, tip out the cake with the smooth top & place it on a plate meringue side down. Spread the lemon curd over the cake, then smooth over the whipped cream. Place the other cake on top, so the peaked meringue is on top.

I think it's best to keep it in the fridge until you are ready to serve, if it lasts that long!? Now don't tell anyone, but it's my birthday next week. To celebrate I'm hoping to launch the first ever Rebecca Bakes Cakes blog giveaway with a fab prize that will provide you with the perfect accompaniment to cake! Until the, Rebecca x

6 August 2010

Week 29 - Creme Catalan

Ola! Sorry this weeks post is much later than usual, but I've been on a well needed break & have just got back from a fab trip to Barcelona. It's definitely my type of city, it's so focused around a foodie lifestyle that to say I've over indulged would be a bit of an understatement! We were lucky enough that our hotel was next door to Mercat La Bouqueria, a produce market that can be traced as far back as the early 1700's. It was unlike any other market I've ever seen, the care & creativity that went into the displays was incredible. There was the most amazing selection of fresh fruit & vegetables, some of which I'd never seen before! There was also stalls selling cured meats, cheeses & general groceries, alongside good old fashioned butchers & fishmongers. If I lived there I don't think I'd ever set foot inside a supermarket again if I could help it!

Catalans have such a relaxed attitude to food (well to everything really not just food!), I'm pretty sure you could sit & eat tapas all day & no one would bat an eyelid. My particular favourites were Manchago cheese, Iberian ham & tomato bread, as the name would suggest it's toasted bread, spread with fresh tomato paste & drizzled with olive oil...mmm, making myself hungry again. Here are a few of my favourite foodie photos of our trip.



So as you've probably guessed, this weeks recipe is inspired by the trip to Barcelona & is a traditional Catalan dessert. It's really simple to make & involves no baking (sorry feel a bit of a cheat this week!) It would be a great dinner party dessert as you can make it well in advance & just flash it under the grill when ready to serve.

60g sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tbsp cornflour
250ml double cream
Zest of 1 lemon
Cinnamon stick

1. Beat together the egg yolks & sugar in a small pan, gradually add the cream, then the lemon zest & cornflour. Whisk in the cornflour, quite vigorously to avoid lumps! Finally add the cinnamon stick.

2. Heat gently, stirring all the time until you start to feel the mixture thicken. As soon as you see even 1 bubble, remove it from the heat, scoop out the cinnamon stick & give it another good whisk before dividing it between 2 ramekins.

3. Pop into the fridge to chill for a couple of hours, then when ready to serve sprinkle a little brown sugar on the top & put under a hot grill until the sugar bubbles.

The lemon & cinnamon are really subtle flavours, but somehow, despite the richness of the cream, give it a fresh light taste. I never seem to have much luck browning things under my grill, so if you have a cooks blow torch, I'd recommend using that instead. I've added one onto my objects of desire list!

Hope you enjoy, I'm off to see if I can rustle up a Sangria from the contents of my fridge/wine rack. See you next week for another recipe request. Have a great weekend amigos! Rebecca x
 

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