29 September 2010

Week 37 - Victoria Sponge (attempt 1!)

Hello! I'm so excited, after weeks of procrastinating & deliberating over colours I am now the proud owner of a shiny new Kitchen Aid mixer! It's an absolute lump of a thing, but it's soooo pretty. I think it's going to take a bit of trial & error to get the best out of it, it's a bit different from my battered old food processor. I love having such an icon in my kitchen, makes me feel like a proper grown up! The next big decision was what to make this week to christen it? I settled on a classic Victoria Sponge cake which to be honest I've never had much success with in the past. I thought I'd see if the Kitchen Aid helped me any, short answer...it didn't!

I'm not really quite sure where I'm going wrong? The mixture did seem a little lumpy, but it rose quite well (but dropped back just as quickly!) The texture is moist, but it was a little on the heavy side. If anyone has any tips on making the perfect Victoria Sponge I'd love to hear them. I will be practising, I want to get to the ultimate cake by week 52! Don't worry it won't just be the same recipe for the next 15 weeks, that would get a bit boring eh? But I'll keep you updated on my progress.

For the cake
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour

For the filling
75g butter
175g icing sugar
3tbsp strawberry jam

1. Cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Finally fold in the flour.

2. Grease a cake pan & pour in the mixture, spreading it evenly. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for around 20 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack.

3. Cream together the butter & icing sugar to make the butter cream filling. Using a bread knife, cut the cake through the middle, then sandwich the two halves together with the butter cream & jam.

I think I could have split the mixture between 2 tins, maybe I'll try that next time? Granted it's not the most attractive looking cake (not as pretty as the Kitchen Aid!!), but I have to say it tasted good. Just need to improve on the light & fluffiness!

You may have noticed a new feature on the blog, a poll for you dear readers! I'd like you to choose next weeks recipe for me, I've chosen 3 recipes that I haven't yet got round to baking, just vote for your favourite & that's what I'll make next week, simples! Enjoy, Rebecca x


My new baby!

22 September 2010

Week 36 - Fruit Bread

Phew, I'm back from my European tour of the Douwe Egberts offices! It's been an interesting month, I've learnt far more than I ever thought I would about coffee, however I'm really looking forward to having some more time to concentrate on my baking. Apologies, I feel like I've neglected you over the last few weeks & I don't think things have been up to my usual standard. That's probably because I've taken to baking at all hours & I've realised 1am is not my finest hour for creating recipes!

Did you watch the final of the Great British Bake off last night? I don't know how they came to a decision between the final 3, they were so close! I would have been happy whoever won, I kept changing my mind every time they presented another delicious baked goodie. I think my favourite from the final was Ruth's Mint, Ginger & Blackberry cakes, they looked so gorgeous. Just reinforced the fact that I need to go on a cake decorating course to make mine look a little prettier! There's talk of another series for next year...hmm, maybe?? In the meantime I've signed up for the Great Brownie Bake Off that's being hosted by The Chocolate Consultancy on October 9th, so I'll be spending the next 3 weeks perfecting my brownies!

This week, having more time, I decided to have a go at making bread. I've always cheated & used my bread maker, but thats now been banished to the back of the cupboard to make space in my kitchen for my new coffee machine. It was pretty simple to make actually, you just need patience, checking the airing cupboard every 10 minutes to see how it's doing is probably not ideal! I decided to go for a rich fruit bread that I could either eat for breakfast or afternoon tea.

250g strong white bread flour
35g butter melted
35g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
7g sachet dried yeast
1 egg beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
35g sultanas
30g mixed peel
75ml milk mixed with 75ml water
Zest of 1 orange & 1 lemon (plus a little squeeze of lemon juice

1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter & egg into a large bowl. Add the liquid a little at a time, once it's all combined, stir for at least 3 minutes. Tip out the dough onto a surface dusted with flour & knead for a further 5 minutes. Add a little more flour if needed to get a smooth elastic dough. Pop it back in the bowl & leave to rise for 1.5 hours.


2. Mix the fruit, spice & zest together in a bowl. Tip out the dough back onto the board & combine the fruit mixture into the dough. Shape it into a sausage & place it on a baking tray lined with parchment. Leave to rise for another hour.


3. Bake in the oven at 220c/GM7 for 20 minutes until golden brown. Lift out & leave to cool on a rack.

I'm so chuffed with my first from scratch loaf of bread. It's delicious sliced, toasted & smothered in butter, I can highly recommend it! Have a good week everyone, see you next week, Rebecca x

p.s. has anyone else made their Christmas cake yet? I'm starting to stress it's nearly October & I haven't made mine yet...I'm losing valuable alcohol soaking time!!

15 September 2010

Week 35 - Mars Bar Cupcakes

Evening! I'm back from Belgium just long enough to rustle up this weeks recipe. I also bring good news! You may remember a while back I created a recipe for Malteser Cookies for a competition that was being run by MyDish. Well sadly I didn't win, so no shiny new Kitchen Aid mixer for me, but I was a runner up! That means I have a parcel of chocolate goodies heading my way...as if I didn't have enough calories to deal with every week :-) Here's the link to the original post, it's a dead simple recipe to make, so why not have a go yourself?


You may have noticed that this week is National Cupcake Week (it's also Scottish Food Fortnight & Organic Food Fortnight!), so it only seemed right to make some sort of cupcake. Sweeties have often been a source of inspiration for recipes so this week I'm paying homage to the good old Mars Bar. I found them great to bake with, the nougat bit stays soft, but the caramel turns into lovely chewy toffee. Yum!


For the cakes
60g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg
Few drops of vanilla essence
300g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100-150ml milk
2 Mars Bar Duo's chopped into small chunks

For the topping
80g plain chocolate
2tbsp icing sugar
Dash of milk
1 bag Mars Planets

1. Melt the butter, stir in the sugar, then beat in the egg. Fold in the flour, then add the milk a little at a time until you get a dropping consistency. Finally stir in the chopped up Mars Bars.

2. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cases & spoon in the mixture. I made 18 cakes, so had to bake 2 batches. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 10-12 minutes. Lift out, leave to cool for a minute, then transfer to a rack.

3. To make the topping melt the chocolate, then stir in the icing sugar adding a little milk to make it smooth. Drizzle over the top of each cake, then top it off with a Mars Planet sweet.

Hope you enjoy what's left of National Cupcake Week, it's a good excuse to eat cake I guess! I'm off to Holland again next week & will be on a mission to get a traditional recipe for Dutch Apple Cake from one of my colleagues. Till next week, Happy Baking, Rebecca x

7 September 2010

Week 34 - Rhubarb & Orange Crumble Cake

Hello! Sorry this is going to be a bit of a short post this week. I'm on a bit of a European tour with work this month & as much as I could ramble on about coffee & my numerous trips to Belgium & Holland, I'm going to just keep it all about the cake!

So last week I mentioned that my good friend had been inspired to bake up a feast over the bank holiday weekend. One of the cakes she made was so delicious, I promised I would make it this week. The recipe came from an old Good Housekeeping recipe book & is made with rhubarb from her own garden (which I think makes it taste even better!) Anne gave me a good tip for preparing the rhubarb so it keeps its shape & doesn't go too mushy. Wash it & cut it into chunks, place it on a baking tray, add a little water, then pop it in the oven on 180c/GM4 for around 15 minutes. Lift it out & leave it cool, then drain off the excess water. Then it's ready to use.

For the cake
125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
2 eggs
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
200g rhubarb (prepared as above)

For the crumble
60g butter
125g plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, gradually beat in the eggs until light & fluffy. Fold in the flour & orange rind. Pour the mixture into a loose bottom cake tin, then spread the prepared rhubarb over the top.

2. To make the crumble rub together the butter & flour until you have something that looks like fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar & cinnamon. Spread the crumble over the top of the rhubarb.

3. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for around 45-50 minutes until the crumble has just started to brown. Lift out & leave to cool before lifting out of the tin.

I served this as a dessert, warm, with a good dollop of cream. It would probably work just as well with custard, or cold with a cup of tea! It's hard to believe I've only got 18 weeks left to go in my baking challenge, the weeks are whizzing by! I hope you're still enjoying all the cakes? Thanks for all your comments, I love hearing from you! Have a good week, I'm off to unpack, then pack again. Take care, Rebecca x

1 September 2010

Week 33 - Oaty Cookies

Hello cookie monsters, here we are for another week of cakiness from the house of Rebecca Bakes Cakes. I hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, slightly upsetting to think that's it for holidays until Christmas :-( I had a cake filled weekend (even more so than usual!) I went to Cake Britain at The Futures gallery in London, it was organised by the Mad Artist Tea Party & featured an amazing collection of sculptures made entirely out of cake! I've put a few piccies of my favourites at the bottom of the post. It's also made me realise that it's time I prettied my cakes up a bit, so I've been inspired to sign up to a cake decorating class. Need to start researching, but if anyone can recommend one in the Berkshire area, let me know.

The second part of my cake weekend involved an afternoon invite over to my best friends house, with the instruction 'make sure you have an appetite!' I arrived to find Anne had been baking like a mad women, making millionaires shortbread, spiced apple cake & a.n. other cake, that I'm keeping under wraps as I'm going to make it next week! They were all delicious & I must admit it was really nice to be the one being baked for for a change. So just goes to prove, there's a domestic goddess in all of us, just need to find a way to let her out. Good work Anne, you've set your standards high! x

So this weeks recipe is one of my favourites & I've always called them Oaty Cookies, but I took some round to my mum & she described them as rock cakey thingies! I suppose they are a bit like rock cakes, a bit like a flapjack & crispy on the edges so a bit like a cookie. Essentially they don't know what they are really, I think I've created my first cake with an identity crisis! Well whatever they are, they taste delicious...

125g butter
200g caster sugar or demerera sugar for extra crunch!
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
100g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g oats
80g sultanas or raisins

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, then beat in the egg & vanilla. Stir in the flour, bicarb & baking powder. Finally stir in the oats & fruit.

2. Place small dollops of mixture onto a baking tray, leaving space for them to spread. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 8 - 10 minutes until golden brown. Leave on the tray to set for a few minutes then transfer to a rack to cool.

Hope you enjoy them! Final thing from me this week is to announce the winner of my blog giveaway, the random number generator selected

The Mad House

as my lucky winner, so congratulations, I hope you enjoy the coffee! Thanks to everyone who entered, I loved reading about your favourite cakes, given me a bit of inspiration for weeks to come. Hopefully I'll be able to run another giveaway soon, need to sweet talk another colleague into donating a prize! Enjoy your week, I'm off to Holland for a few days so bring on the waffles...or is that Belgium? Oh I don't know....ta ta, Rebecca x

29 September 2010

Week 37 - Victoria Sponge (attempt 1!)

Hello! I'm so excited, after weeks of procrastinating & deliberating over colours I am now the proud owner of a shiny new Kitchen Aid mixer! It's an absolute lump of a thing, but it's soooo pretty. I think it's going to take a bit of trial & error to get the best out of it, it's a bit different from my battered old food processor. I love having such an icon in my kitchen, makes me feel like a proper grown up! The next big decision was what to make this week to christen it? I settled on a classic Victoria Sponge cake which to be honest I've never had much success with in the past. I thought I'd see if the Kitchen Aid helped me any, short answer...it didn't!

I'm not really quite sure where I'm going wrong? The mixture did seem a little lumpy, but it rose quite well (but dropped back just as quickly!) The texture is moist, but it was a little on the heavy side. If anyone has any tips on making the perfect Victoria Sponge I'd love to hear them. I will be practising, I want to get to the ultimate cake by week 52! Don't worry it won't just be the same recipe for the next 15 weeks, that would get a bit boring eh? But I'll keep you updated on my progress.

For the cake
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour

For the filling
75g butter
175g icing sugar
3tbsp strawberry jam

1. Cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Finally fold in the flour.

2. Grease a cake pan & pour in the mixture, spreading it evenly. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for around 20 minutes. Leave to cool on a rack.

3. Cream together the butter & icing sugar to make the butter cream filling. Using a bread knife, cut the cake through the middle, then sandwich the two halves together with the butter cream & jam.

I think I could have split the mixture between 2 tins, maybe I'll try that next time? Granted it's not the most attractive looking cake (not as pretty as the Kitchen Aid!!), but I have to say it tasted good. Just need to improve on the light & fluffiness!

You may have noticed a new feature on the blog, a poll for you dear readers! I'd like you to choose next weeks recipe for me, I've chosen 3 recipes that I haven't yet got round to baking, just vote for your favourite & that's what I'll make next week, simples! Enjoy, Rebecca x


My new baby!

22 September 2010

Week 36 - Fruit Bread

Phew, I'm back from my European tour of the Douwe Egberts offices! It's been an interesting month, I've learnt far more than I ever thought I would about coffee, however I'm really looking forward to having some more time to concentrate on my baking. Apologies, I feel like I've neglected you over the last few weeks & I don't think things have been up to my usual standard. That's probably because I've taken to baking at all hours & I've realised 1am is not my finest hour for creating recipes!

Did you watch the final of the Great British Bake off last night? I don't know how they came to a decision between the final 3, they were so close! I would have been happy whoever won, I kept changing my mind every time they presented another delicious baked goodie. I think my favourite from the final was Ruth's Mint, Ginger & Blackberry cakes, they looked so gorgeous. Just reinforced the fact that I need to go on a cake decorating course to make mine look a little prettier! There's talk of another series for next year...hmm, maybe?? In the meantime I've signed up for the Great Brownie Bake Off that's being hosted by The Chocolate Consultancy on October 9th, so I'll be spending the next 3 weeks perfecting my brownies!

This week, having more time, I decided to have a go at making bread. I've always cheated & used my bread maker, but thats now been banished to the back of the cupboard to make space in my kitchen for my new coffee machine. It was pretty simple to make actually, you just need patience, checking the airing cupboard every 10 minutes to see how it's doing is probably not ideal! I decided to go for a rich fruit bread that I could either eat for breakfast or afternoon tea.

250g strong white bread flour
35g butter melted
35g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
7g sachet dried yeast
1 egg beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
35g sultanas
30g mixed peel
75ml milk mixed with 75ml water
Zest of 1 orange & 1 lemon (plus a little squeeze of lemon juice

1. Put the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, butter & egg into a large bowl. Add the liquid a little at a time, once it's all combined, stir for at least 3 minutes. Tip out the dough onto a surface dusted with flour & knead for a further 5 minutes. Add a little more flour if needed to get a smooth elastic dough. Pop it back in the bowl & leave to rise for 1.5 hours.


2. Mix the fruit, spice & zest together in a bowl. Tip out the dough back onto the board & combine the fruit mixture into the dough. Shape it into a sausage & place it on a baking tray lined with parchment. Leave to rise for another hour.


3. Bake in the oven at 220c/GM7 for 20 minutes until golden brown. Lift out & leave to cool on a rack.

I'm so chuffed with my first from scratch loaf of bread. It's delicious sliced, toasted & smothered in butter, I can highly recommend it! Have a good week everyone, see you next week, Rebecca x

p.s. has anyone else made their Christmas cake yet? I'm starting to stress it's nearly October & I haven't made mine yet...I'm losing valuable alcohol soaking time!!

15 September 2010

Week 35 - Mars Bar Cupcakes

Evening! I'm back from Belgium just long enough to rustle up this weeks recipe. I also bring good news! You may remember a while back I created a recipe for Malteser Cookies for a competition that was being run by MyDish. Well sadly I didn't win, so no shiny new Kitchen Aid mixer for me, but I was a runner up! That means I have a parcel of chocolate goodies heading my way...as if I didn't have enough calories to deal with every week :-) Here's the link to the original post, it's a dead simple recipe to make, so why not have a go yourself?


You may have noticed that this week is National Cupcake Week (it's also Scottish Food Fortnight & Organic Food Fortnight!), so it only seemed right to make some sort of cupcake. Sweeties have often been a source of inspiration for recipes so this week I'm paying homage to the good old Mars Bar. I found them great to bake with, the nougat bit stays soft, but the caramel turns into lovely chewy toffee. Yum!


For the cakes
60g butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg
Few drops of vanilla essence
300g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
100-150ml milk
2 Mars Bar Duo's chopped into small chunks

For the topping
80g plain chocolate
2tbsp icing sugar
Dash of milk
1 bag Mars Planets

1. Melt the butter, stir in the sugar, then beat in the egg. Fold in the flour, then add the milk a little at a time until you get a dropping consistency. Finally stir in the chopped up Mars Bars.

2. Line a 12 hole bun tin with paper cases & spoon in the mixture. I made 18 cakes, so had to bake 2 batches. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 10-12 minutes. Lift out, leave to cool for a minute, then transfer to a rack.

3. To make the topping melt the chocolate, then stir in the icing sugar adding a little milk to make it smooth. Drizzle over the top of each cake, then top it off with a Mars Planet sweet.

Hope you enjoy what's left of National Cupcake Week, it's a good excuse to eat cake I guess! I'm off to Holland again next week & will be on a mission to get a traditional recipe for Dutch Apple Cake from one of my colleagues. Till next week, Happy Baking, Rebecca x

7 September 2010

Week 34 - Rhubarb & Orange Crumble Cake

Hello! Sorry this is going to be a bit of a short post this week. I'm on a bit of a European tour with work this month & as much as I could ramble on about coffee & my numerous trips to Belgium & Holland, I'm going to just keep it all about the cake!

So last week I mentioned that my good friend had been inspired to bake up a feast over the bank holiday weekend. One of the cakes she made was so delicious, I promised I would make it this week. The recipe came from an old Good Housekeeping recipe book & is made with rhubarb from her own garden (which I think makes it taste even better!) Anne gave me a good tip for preparing the rhubarb so it keeps its shape & doesn't go too mushy. Wash it & cut it into chunks, place it on a baking tray, add a little water, then pop it in the oven on 180c/GM4 for around 15 minutes. Lift it out & leave it cool, then drain off the excess water. Then it's ready to use.

For the cake
125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
2 eggs
Finely grated rind of 1 orange
200g rhubarb (prepared as above)

For the crumble
60g butter
125g plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, gradually beat in the eggs until light & fluffy. Fold in the flour & orange rind. Pour the mixture into a loose bottom cake tin, then spread the prepared rhubarb over the top.

2. To make the crumble rub together the butter & flour until you have something that looks like fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar & cinnamon. Spread the crumble over the top of the rhubarb.

3. Bake in the oven at 190c/GM5 for around 45-50 minutes until the crumble has just started to brown. Lift out & leave to cool before lifting out of the tin.

I served this as a dessert, warm, with a good dollop of cream. It would probably work just as well with custard, or cold with a cup of tea! It's hard to believe I've only got 18 weeks left to go in my baking challenge, the weeks are whizzing by! I hope you're still enjoying all the cakes? Thanks for all your comments, I love hearing from you! Have a good week, I'm off to unpack, then pack again. Take care, Rebecca x

1 September 2010

Week 33 - Oaty Cookies

Hello cookie monsters, here we are for another week of cakiness from the house of Rebecca Bakes Cakes. I hope you all enjoyed the bank holiday weekend, slightly upsetting to think that's it for holidays until Christmas :-( I had a cake filled weekend (even more so than usual!) I went to Cake Britain at The Futures gallery in London, it was organised by the Mad Artist Tea Party & featured an amazing collection of sculptures made entirely out of cake! I've put a few piccies of my favourites at the bottom of the post. It's also made me realise that it's time I prettied my cakes up a bit, so I've been inspired to sign up to a cake decorating class. Need to start researching, but if anyone can recommend one in the Berkshire area, let me know.

The second part of my cake weekend involved an afternoon invite over to my best friends house, with the instruction 'make sure you have an appetite!' I arrived to find Anne had been baking like a mad women, making millionaires shortbread, spiced apple cake & a.n. other cake, that I'm keeping under wraps as I'm going to make it next week! They were all delicious & I must admit it was really nice to be the one being baked for for a change. So just goes to prove, there's a domestic goddess in all of us, just need to find a way to let her out. Good work Anne, you've set your standards high! x

So this weeks recipe is one of my favourites & I've always called them Oaty Cookies, but I took some round to my mum & she described them as rock cakey thingies! I suppose they are a bit like rock cakes, a bit like a flapjack & crispy on the edges so a bit like a cookie. Essentially they don't know what they are really, I think I've created my first cake with an identity crisis! Well whatever they are, they taste delicious...

125g butter
200g caster sugar or demerera sugar for extra crunch!
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
100g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g oats
80g sultanas or raisins

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, then beat in the egg & vanilla. Stir in the flour, bicarb & baking powder. Finally stir in the oats & fruit.

2. Place small dollops of mixture onto a baking tray, leaving space for them to spread. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM5 for around 8 - 10 minutes until golden brown. Leave on the tray to set for a few minutes then transfer to a rack to cool.

Hope you enjoy them! Final thing from me this week is to announce the winner of my blog giveaway, the random number generator selected

The Mad House

as my lucky winner, so congratulations, I hope you enjoy the coffee! Thanks to everyone who entered, I loved reading about your favourite cakes, given me a bit of inspiration for weeks to come. Hopefully I'll be able to run another giveaway soon, need to sweet talk another colleague into donating a prize! Enjoy your week, I'm off to Holland for a few days so bring on the waffles...or is that Belgium? Oh I don't know....ta ta, Rebecca x

 

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