28 October 2010

Week 41 - Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Hello, how are we all this week? I can't believe how quickly the weeks are whizzing by & to be honest I've been so busy with the day job there's nothing much exciting been happening! So this week I've decided to stay true to the cake & just share this weeks recipe with you. Oh & by way of a public service announcement, don't forget the clocks go back this Sunday, an extra hour in bed...yey!!

125g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
35g cocoa powder
250ml greek yoghurt
100g raspberries (fresh or frozen)

1. Melt the butter, beat in the sugar then the eggs, finally stir in the yoghurt.

2. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb & cocoa powder & fold the ingredients together.

3. Line a bun tin with paper cases & spoon in the mixture. Finally sprinkle the raspberries over the top of each muffin & bake in the oven at 180c/GM4 for around 20 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then lift out onto a rack.

I think these are delicious, the sharp raspberries really balance the sweet chocolate & the yoghurt gives them a lovely soft texture. Hope you enjoy them! Don't spook yourselves too much this halloween & I'll see you next week with a bonfire night treat, not strictly cake, but something I've always wanted to have a go at making! Until then, Rebecca x

20 October 2010

Week 40 - Apple Cider Cake

I have to start this weeks post with a confession & apology! Last week I mentioned I would be making something for my best friends birthday & it would be a bit of a challenge for me...I wasn't wrong there. As a result I had to turn up to my BF's birthday dinner, sans cake! Dear readers, my experience last weekend has just confirmed that I really can't do pastry. At the request of my BF I attempted to make Profiteroles, my mum had said she'd made them years ago & thought they were pretty straight forward, how hard can it be I thought...silly Rebecca! Here's a picture & yes I am a little embarrassed to call myself a home baker after this...


Needless to say I didn't bother filling them with cream & topping them with chocolate. Mum was suitably confused as to what went wrong & as she was stuck in the house poorly, decided to have a go herself. This is what she produced...
All I can say is good work Mum! I also got to taste one & they were delicious, maybe I should hand over the reins to Mum, could always change the blog to Val Bakes Cakes!

Anyway onto more successful cakes & this weeks recipe. This week is National Baking Week & Thursday is also Apple Day. Apple Day was founded in 1990 by Common Ground to celebrate apples, orchards & local distinctiveness, what better excuse for an apple cider cake? This recipe is one I've had in my scrap book for a number of years, I think it originally came from BBC Good Food magazine.

For the cake
330ml cider
150g unsalted butter
300g plain flour
2tsps bicarbonate of soda
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground cinnamon
4 apples, peeled & grated
150g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
200g sultanas or raisins

For the topping
250g marscapone
1tsp cinnamon

1. Put the cider into a pan & simmer it until it reduces by about two thirds. Place to one side to cool a little.

2. Melt the butter, then stir in the grated apple & sugar. Stir in the eggs & sultanas, then finally sift in the flour & spice & fold together.

3. Pour the mixture into a buttered springform tin & bake in the oven at 180c/GM4 for 45-60 minutes. You need to keep an eye on it, the top of mine over browned a little! It's done when a skewer stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

4. Beat the marscapone with the cinnamon until soft, spread it all over the top of the cake when it's completely cold.

I love this cake, the apples & cider give it a really moist texture. Hope you enjoy it & if anyone else is inspired by National Baking Week I'd love to hear what you create. See you next week, Rebecca x

13 October 2010

Week 39 - Christmas Cake

Hello, how are we all? So bad news out of the way first, I didn't win the Brownie Bake Off :-( Lets get straight on to happier news from cake towers!!

You may remember a couple of months back I told you I'd joined a gym to try & counteract all the cake I was scoffing as a result of this challenge. Well it was a 6 week trial & in true me style I got bored & have decided not to join up full time, so that leaves a big exercise shaped hole in my week. You might not know this, but as well as being an amateur baker & fluffy marketer, I'm also a tap dancer & go to a class once a week! Inspired by Strictly starting again I decided I'd have a go at a new dance class. I say dance, it's aerobics really, but takes it's moves from a number of different dance styles & it's the new 'thing' to do apparently. It's ZUMBA & quite honestly it's bonkers! You really have to leave your self consciousness at the door & are encouraged to shake what your Mama gave you as much as possible (sadly mine shakes in different directions at the same time!) It's a brilliant work out & a lot of fun, I've never laughed so much through a class before, I'll definitely be going back. I hope I won't get bored of it, I'm starting to run short of exercise options!

Now you may look at the title of this weeks post & think, give over, it's only October I can't possibly think about Christmas yet? But it's exactly the right time to make the cake, especially if you're like me & want it to marinade in brandy for the next 10 weeks. This is a bit of a tradition in the Hodgson household & usually comes with a ABV rating!  The recipe is taken from an old Good Housekeeping cook book that has been in the family for years.
225g currants
225g sultanas
225g raisins
100g mixed peel
100g glace cherries chopped
50g flaked almonds
225g plain flour
1tsp mixed spice
225g butter
225g soft brown sugar
Grated rind of a lemon
4 eggs, beaten
2tbsps brandy

1. Cream the butter, sugar & lemon rind until light & fluffy, then add the eggs a little at a time, beating as you go. Fold in flour, spice & brandy, finally mix in the fruit & nuts.

2. Cut out a piece of baking paper to line the bottom of the tin, then cut another piece that will fit around the inside of the tin. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin & bake in the oven at 150c/GM3 for 3 3/4 - 4 hours. To stop the top over browning I cover it with a piece of baking paper after about an hour and a half.

3. When cooked, lift it out & leave to cool completely in the tin. I leave mine in the baking paper & store it in an airtight tin. About a week later, poke holes in the top of the cake using a skewer, then drizzle a tablespoon of brandy over the top. Repeat once a week (or as often as you like!) until Christmas.

I usually decorate my cake the week before Christmas, so I'll keep you posted about my decoration of choice this year. Enjoy your week, I'll be back with a treat I'm creating for my best friends birthday...it's set to be a challenge for me! Till then, Rebecca x

6 October 2010

Week 38 - Lemon Drizzle Cake

Evening! It's been a busy week this week with lots to tell you, but first I'd like to say thanks to those of you who shared your Victoria Sponge secrets. It really was the most pathetic excuse for a cake, but I think I've picked up a good few tips & will be testing them out in the coming weeks. I'll let you know how I get on...

So as well as the weekly recipe, I've also been practising for the Great Brownie Bake Off this Saturday. I've just about perfected the recipe so bring on the competition! You can find more details about the event here If you're in the area come along, it looks like a great line up of demonstrations from various bakers as well as appearance by Edd, winner of the Great British Bake Off. Fingers crossed, results next week.

Thanks to everyone who voted in my poll last week, it was a bit of a contest between Peanut Butter Cookies & Lemon Drizzle Cake, poor old Carrot Cake didn't seem to get a look in! Lemon Drizzle won, so here's my take on the tea time classic. This week I was kindly sent a selection of products from Total Greek Yoghurt to experiment with in my baking. I have used yoghurt before in muffins & it really does give a delicious soft texture. So I thought I'd try adding it to a Lemon Drizzle Cake, it's the perfect addition to ensure a squidgy, gooey cake...for me, exactly what Lemon Drizzle should be!

300g plain flour
200g caster sugar
170g butter melted
250ml Total Greek Yoghurt
2 eggs
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 lemons zested & juiced
100g granulated sugar

1. Beat together the sugar & eggs, add the melted butter, yoghurt & lemon zest. Finally stir in the flour, baking powder & bicarb.

2. Pour into a baking tin & bake at 180c/GM5 for around 45-55 minutes until well risen & golden on the top. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then lift out onto a rack.

3. To make the drizzle, mix together the lemon juice & granulated sugar. Once cooled, using a skewer poke small holes into the top of the cake, then pour over the drizzle. This doesn't have to be exact as it will all seep through the cake. Leave it to set & you should have a gorgeous sugar crust on the top!

So there you have it, delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake & as its got yoghurt in it, we can kid ourselves it's healthy. I'll be trying out a few other things with the yoghurt including a dessert my Kiwi colleague recommended called Ambrosia (no not custard), which looks like a variation on an Eton Mess! Enjoy, till next week, Rebecca x

28 October 2010

Week 41 - Chocolate Raspberry Muffins

Hello, how are we all this week? I can't believe how quickly the weeks are whizzing by & to be honest I've been so busy with the day job there's nothing much exciting been happening! So this week I've decided to stay true to the cake & just share this weeks recipe with you. Oh & by way of a public service announcement, don't forget the clocks go back this Sunday, an extra hour in bed...yey!!

125g butter
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
175g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
35g cocoa powder
250ml greek yoghurt
100g raspberries (fresh or frozen)

1. Melt the butter, beat in the sugar then the eggs, finally stir in the yoghurt.

2. Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb & cocoa powder & fold the ingredients together.

3. Line a bun tin with paper cases & spoon in the mixture. Finally sprinkle the raspberries over the top of each muffin & bake in the oven at 180c/GM4 for around 20 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then lift out onto a rack.

I think these are delicious, the sharp raspberries really balance the sweet chocolate & the yoghurt gives them a lovely soft texture. Hope you enjoy them! Don't spook yourselves too much this halloween & I'll see you next week with a bonfire night treat, not strictly cake, but something I've always wanted to have a go at making! Until then, Rebecca x

20 October 2010

Week 40 - Apple Cider Cake

I have to start this weeks post with a confession & apology! Last week I mentioned I would be making something for my best friends birthday & it would be a bit of a challenge for me...I wasn't wrong there. As a result I had to turn up to my BF's birthday dinner, sans cake! Dear readers, my experience last weekend has just confirmed that I really can't do pastry. At the request of my BF I attempted to make Profiteroles, my mum had said she'd made them years ago & thought they were pretty straight forward, how hard can it be I thought...silly Rebecca! Here's a picture & yes I am a little embarrassed to call myself a home baker after this...


Needless to say I didn't bother filling them with cream & topping them with chocolate. Mum was suitably confused as to what went wrong & as she was stuck in the house poorly, decided to have a go herself. This is what she produced...
All I can say is good work Mum! I also got to taste one & they were delicious, maybe I should hand over the reins to Mum, could always change the blog to Val Bakes Cakes!

Anyway onto more successful cakes & this weeks recipe. This week is National Baking Week & Thursday is also Apple Day. Apple Day was founded in 1990 by Common Ground to celebrate apples, orchards & local distinctiveness, what better excuse for an apple cider cake? This recipe is one I've had in my scrap book for a number of years, I think it originally came from BBC Good Food magazine.

For the cake
330ml cider
150g unsalted butter
300g plain flour
2tsps bicarbonate of soda
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground cinnamon
4 apples, peeled & grated
150g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
200g sultanas or raisins

For the topping
250g marscapone
1tsp cinnamon

1. Put the cider into a pan & simmer it until it reduces by about two thirds. Place to one side to cool a little.

2. Melt the butter, then stir in the grated apple & sugar. Stir in the eggs & sultanas, then finally sift in the flour & spice & fold together.

3. Pour the mixture into a buttered springform tin & bake in the oven at 180c/GM4 for 45-60 minutes. You need to keep an eye on it, the top of mine over browned a little! It's done when a skewer stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

4. Beat the marscapone with the cinnamon until soft, spread it all over the top of the cake when it's completely cold.

I love this cake, the apples & cider give it a really moist texture. Hope you enjoy it & if anyone else is inspired by National Baking Week I'd love to hear what you create. See you next week, Rebecca x

13 October 2010

Week 39 - Christmas Cake

Hello, how are we all? So bad news out of the way first, I didn't win the Brownie Bake Off :-( Lets get straight on to happier news from cake towers!!

You may remember a couple of months back I told you I'd joined a gym to try & counteract all the cake I was scoffing as a result of this challenge. Well it was a 6 week trial & in true me style I got bored & have decided not to join up full time, so that leaves a big exercise shaped hole in my week. You might not know this, but as well as being an amateur baker & fluffy marketer, I'm also a tap dancer & go to a class once a week! Inspired by Strictly starting again I decided I'd have a go at a new dance class. I say dance, it's aerobics really, but takes it's moves from a number of different dance styles & it's the new 'thing' to do apparently. It's ZUMBA & quite honestly it's bonkers! You really have to leave your self consciousness at the door & are encouraged to shake what your Mama gave you as much as possible (sadly mine shakes in different directions at the same time!) It's a brilliant work out & a lot of fun, I've never laughed so much through a class before, I'll definitely be going back. I hope I won't get bored of it, I'm starting to run short of exercise options!

Now you may look at the title of this weeks post & think, give over, it's only October I can't possibly think about Christmas yet? But it's exactly the right time to make the cake, especially if you're like me & want it to marinade in brandy for the next 10 weeks. This is a bit of a tradition in the Hodgson household & usually comes with a ABV rating!  The recipe is taken from an old Good Housekeeping cook book that has been in the family for years.
225g currants
225g sultanas
225g raisins
100g mixed peel
100g glace cherries chopped
50g flaked almonds
225g plain flour
1tsp mixed spice
225g butter
225g soft brown sugar
Grated rind of a lemon
4 eggs, beaten
2tbsps brandy

1. Cream the butter, sugar & lemon rind until light & fluffy, then add the eggs a little at a time, beating as you go. Fold in flour, spice & brandy, finally mix in the fruit & nuts.

2. Cut out a piece of baking paper to line the bottom of the tin, then cut another piece that will fit around the inside of the tin. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin & bake in the oven at 150c/GM3 for 3 3/4 - 4 hours. To stop the top over browning I cover it with a piece of baking paper after about an hour and a half.

3. When cooked, lift it out & leave to cool completely in the tin. I leave mine in the baking paper & store it in an airtight tin. About a week later, poke holes in the top of the cake using a skewer, then drizzle a tablespoon of brandy over the top. Repeat once a week (or as often as you like!) until Christmas.

I usually decorate my cake the week before Christmas, so I'll keep you posted about my decoration of choice this year. Enjoy your week, I'll be back with a treat I'm creating for my best friends birthday...it's set to be a challenge for me! Till then, Rebecca x

6 October 2010

Week 38 - Lemon Drizzle Cake

Evening! It's been a busy week this week with lots to tell you, but first I'd like to say thanks to those of you who shared your Victoria Sponge secrets. It really was the most pathetic excuse for a cake, but I think I've picked up a good few tips & will be testing them out in the coming weeks. I'll let you know how I get on...

So as well as the weekly recipe, I've also been practising for the Great Brownie Bake Off this Saturday. I've just about perfected the recipe so bring on the competition! You can find more details about the event here If you're in the area come along, it looks like a great line up of demonstrations from various bakers as well as appearance by Edd, winner of the Great British Bake Off. Fingers crossed, results next week.

Thanks to everyone who voted in my poll last week, it was a bit of a contest between Peanut Butter Cookies & Lemon Drizzle Cake, poor old Carrot Cake didn't seem to get a look in! Lemon Drizzle won, so here's my take on the tea time classic. This week I was kindly sent a selection of products from Total Greek Yoghurt to experiment with in my baking. I have used yoghurt before in muffins & it really does give a delicious soft texture. So I thought I'd try adding it to a Lemon Drizzle Cake, it's the perfect addition to ensure a squidgy, gooey cake...for me, exactly what Lemon Drizzle should be!

300g plain flour
200g caster sugar
170g butter melted
250ml Total Greek Yoghurt
2 eggs
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 lemons zested & juiced
100g granulated sugar

1. Beat together the sugar & eggs, add the melted butter, yoghurt & lemon zest. Finally stir in the flour, baking powder & bicarb.

2. Pour into a baking tin & bake at 180c/GM5 for around 45-55 minutes until well risen & golden on the top. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then lift out onto a rack.

3. To make the drizzle, mix together the lemon juice & granulated sugar. Once cooled, using a skewer poke small holes into the top of the cake, then pour over the drizzle. This doesn't have to be exact as it will all seep through the cake. Leave it to set & you should have a gorgeous sugar crust on the top!

So there you have it, delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake & as its got yoghurt in it, we can kid ourselves it's healthy. I'll be trying out a few other things with the yoghurt including a dessert my Kiwi colleague recommended called Ambrosia (no not custard), which looks like a variation on an Eton Mess! Enjoy, till next week, Rebecca x
 

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