23 November 2010

Week 45 - Cherry Upside Down Cake

Evening everyone! Hope you're all well? I'm trying to relax (with a glass of red!) after a rather stressful day at work. I had a minor meltdown when I thought I'd lost my 3 year marketing plan presentation I'd been working on for weeks, with only an hour to go before I was due to present it to the whole company...arrgghhh! I was dealing with it quite calmly, but panic quickly set in & my poor colleague who I share an office had to deal with tears which could have quickly descended into a full on tantrum! Turns out our delightful IT system had saved it in a completely random place (to be honest that could have been me, it was late when I left the office last night!) & the presentation was safe & sound. Big sigh of relief, but man alive today has been a long day.

Anyway enough about work, can you believe it's only 31 days until Christmas? I have finally given in & made a start on my Christmas shopping at the weekend. To say thank you for the blog support I've had over the last year, I bought an extra gift which I'm giving away this week. Click here for details. The other thing I need to start planning is how I'm going to decorate the Christmas cake. I think it's ready, there's enough brandy in it, I realised the other day it's been fed the best part of half a bottle! I did say it usually comes with an ABV rating.

So this weeks recipe is my alternative take on a pineapple upside down cake. I love cherries & think they work really well in cakes. I've used my latest find, frozen sweet dark cherries, which I bought from Sainsburys. They are delicious & I've taken to adding them to desserts, yoghurt, as a garnish...anything really.

100g butter
225g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
175g frozen cherries
1 beaten egg
1/2tsp vanilla essence
75-150ml milk

1. Rub in the flour & butter until you get fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then the egg & vanilla & enough milk until you get a soft dropping consistency.

2. Grease a loose bottomed cake tin & spread the cherries over the base of the tin. Pour over the cake batter & spread our evenly. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM4 for 1hour - 1hour15 until golden brown & firm to touch. (I'd recommend putting a baking tray on the shelf below in case the cherry juice leaks out!)

3. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out carefully onto a rack to cool.

The cherries sink into the cake mix, producing a delicious gooey topping & the cake itself is quite dense & rich. It goes really well with a cup of tea, but it would work equally as well as a dessert served warm with either a good lashing of custard or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream! Hope you enjoy, have a good week & don't forget to enter the giveaway, Rebecca x

17 November 2010

Week 44 - Crumpets

Hello! Welcome to week 44 of Rebecca Bakes Cakes & this week I've decided to try & make it a full on multimedia experience, so I'm going to attempt to include not only pictures, but video into the post! Hold onto your hats, I'm not the most technically minded so anything could happen, apologies I've recorded the video on my HTC phone so it's not going to be the best quality. But before we get to this weeks baking, I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has voted so far in the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards. If you haven't already voted & would like to, just follow the link on the right or click here...

So as you can probably tell from the picture, or there in lack of, the crumpets weren't exactly a success! Some of my recipes have been far from perfect, but I've somehow managed to salvage them into something that at least tastes good even if it looks a bit iffy. These were beyond recovery...but rather than try & explain it, I'll tell you the story through the medium of video! Scroll down after the recipe...

450g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp sugar
7g sachet of fast action yeast
300ml water
300ml milk
As many plain round pastry cutters as you can fit in your frying pan!

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, stir in the salt, sugar & yeast. Make a well in the centre & add the liquids, beat well until you have a smooth batter. Cover with a tea towel & leave in a warm place for an hour to rise.


So far so good...the batter rose really well!

2. Give it a good stir to knock it back then pour it into a jug to make it easier to pour into the pan.

3. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, then grease the insides of the pastry cutters with a little oil & place them in the pan to warm up.

4. Pour in enough mixture to half fill the mould & leave to cook for about 8 minutes until lots of little wholes appear on the surface. Pop them out of the moulds & flip them over to cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Lift out & leave to cool on a rack - start the process over again!

Crumpets Take 1, here goes....
video

Want to see what happened?
video
So not exactly a resounding success! I think the pastry cutters weren't helping, so I thought I'd try a slight variation on the crumpet theme...

video
Take 2 managed to produce some bubbles, so the piklets were an improvement on the crumpets, but to be honest they ended up with a consistency somewhat resembling those rubber powerballs I used to have as a kid. After 3 attempts, I cut my losses, gave up & put the kettle on instead! I had heard that crumpets were dead simple to make, so I think I must be missing something? So although there's not really anything to show for this week, I hope the videos of my crumpet incompetence at least gave you a giggle! Onwards & upwards for next week, Rebecca x

10 November 2010

Week 43 - Viennese Biscuits

Afternoon folks, I've had a day off today so I'm feeling all relaxed & am writing this with a cup of tea & one of this weeks biccies! Can you believe that I'm in to the final 10 weeks of my blogging challenge. It's gone so fast, but I'm wondering what to do with all the recipes I've tried over the year? A book maybe? :-) For now I have to concentrate on the final 9 recipes, if anyone has any suggestions please let me know...

This week I had some good news, the blog has been nominated in the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards! It's a monthly award & voting takes place throughout November. So if you like my blog & enjoy reading then please vote & spread the word. You could also be in with a chance of winning a delicious Dorset Cereals goodie bag too! Click here to vote or follow the link on the right, thank you x

I thought we'd go all continental like this week with a Viennese Biscuit, they were meant to be Viennese Fingers but it didn't quite go to plan! These were really easy to make, they're pretty much a very short shortbread & this recipe came from my vintage Be-Ro book. Once you've made the mixture, you are meant to put it into a piping bag with a rosette nozzle & pipe 6cm strips of mixture onto a baking tray. Well I have a piping gun & could not for the life of me squeeze anything out of it as the mixture was so stiff, so I popped it in the microwave for 10 seconds! That seemed to do the trick, but rather than keep their traditional spiky shape, as soon as I put them in the oven they flopped into a splat!

150g butter
50g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
Few drops vanilla essence
100g plain chocolate

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, make sure it's really well beaten & soft.

2. Stir in the flour & vanilla. Scoop it into a piping bag or gun & pipe 6cm strips onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 160c/GM3 for 15 minutes until just golden.

3. Leave to cool & crisp up, then melt the chocolate & dip one end of each biscuit.

So they may not have the shape of the shop bought ones, but they are delicious none the less. Let me know if or how you managed to get yours to keep their shape! Have a good week, don't forget to vote, Rebecca x

3 November 2010

Week 42 - Toffee Apples

Evening everyone, how are you adjusting to the clocks going back? I'm not liking the dark evenings, it feels like I'm leaving work in the middle of the night! Never mind only what, 6 months until we're back on BST?!

So it's Guy Fawkes Night this Friday & I thought I'd mark the occasion with a Bonfire Night treat. I'm not quite sure why I associate toffee apples with this time of year, but I do remember as a kid nagging Mum to buy one for me (I also liked the chocolate ones that were covered in sprinkles!) Growing up in a small town in Northumberland, Bonfire Night was a big deal, it started with a candle lit procession through town up to the bonfire, then a fireworks display that was sure to bring out the oohs & aahs! The event was usually newsworthy for the local paper & yours truly even got her picture in the paper one year. We've dug it out of the Hodgson archive & here it is. Yes I do look like the Michelin man, Northumberland in November is a very cold place!

So question of the week...you probably know the start of the rhyme, but do you know how it finishes?

Remember remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason & plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.


Useless information of the week over, back to the baking...Now I know these aren't strictly cake, but I'm exercising creative licence & I have made the toffee from scratch, so there was some element of cooking involved :-) This recipe came from my traditional 1970's Good Housekeeping cookbook, can't go wrong!

450g demerera sugar
50g butter
10ml vinegar
15ml golden syrup
150ml water
6-8 apples & lolly sticks

1. Put all the ingredients (except the apples!) into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat gently until the butter & sugar have dissolved, then turn up the heat & boil it rapidly for 5-8 minutes. The recipe said to use a sugar thermometer, but I don't have one. I tested it by dropping a small dollop into a glass of cold water, if it holds together & set immediately then it's ready to use.

2. Stick the lolly stick into the apple, then dunk it in the toffee, be very careful, hot sugar can be lethal! Lift it out & keep twirling it to even out the toffee, then dunk it in a bowl of cold water for 10 seconds, still twirling. Place it onto a piece of baking parchment to set completely. If your toffee sets in the pan before you can coat all the apples, simply put it back on the heat & bring it up to the boil again.

Do you know these almost didn't happen, there wasn't a lolly stick to be found in my local area, I ended up having to buy ice lollies just to get the sticks! It was either that or spearing them with a plastic fork. I hope you enjoy them & sorry but I can't be held responsible if the toffee causes havoc with your fillings! Have a fun Bonfire Night & please remember the fireworks code (that's the public service announcement for this week!) Take care, Rebecca x

23 November 2010

Week 45 - Cherry Upside Down Cake

Evening everyone! Hope you're all well? I'm trying to relax (with a glass of red!) after a rather stressful day at work. I had a minor meltdown when I thought I'd lost my 3 year marketing plan presentation I'd been working on for weeks, with only an hour to go before I was due to present it to the whole company...arrgghhh! I was dealing with it quite calmly, but panic quickly set in & my poor colleague who I share an office had to deal with tears which could have quickly descended into a full on tantrum! Turns out our delightful IT system had saved it in a completely random place (to be honest that could have been me, it was late when I left the office last night!) & the presentation was safe & sound. Big sigh of relief, but man alive today has been a long day.

Anyway enough about work, can you believe it's only 31 days until Christmas? I have finally given in & made a start on my Christmas shopping at the weekend. To say thank you for the blog support I've had over the last year, I bought an extra gift which I'm giving away this week. Click here for details. The other thing I need to start planning is how I'm going to decorate the Christmas cake. I think it's ready, there's enough brandy in it, I realised the other day it's been fed the best part of half a bottle! I did say it usually comes with an ABV rating.

So this weeks recipe is my alternative take on a pineapple upside down cake. I love cherries & think they work really well in cakes. I've used my latest find, frozen sweet dark cherries, which I bought from Sainsburys. They are delicious & I've taken to adding them to desserts, yoghurt, as a garnish...anything really.

100g butter
225g self raising flour
100g caster sugar
175g frozen cherries
1 beaten egg
1/2tsp vanilla essence
75-150ml milk

1. Rub in the flour & butter until you get fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then the egg & vanilla & enough milk until you get a soft dropping consistency.

2. Grease a loose bottomed cake tin & spread the cherries over the base of the tin. Pour over the cake batter & spread our evenly. Bake in the oven at 180c/GM4 for 1hour - 1hour15 until golden brown & firm to touch. (I'd recommend putting a baking tray on the shelf below in case the cherry juice leaks out!)

3. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out carefully onto a rack to cool.

The cherries sink into the cake mix, producing a delicious gooey topping & the cake itself is quite dense & rich. It goes really well with a cup of tea, but it would work equally as well as a dessert served warm with either a good lashing of custard or a scoop of vanilla ice-cream! Hope you enjoy, have a good week & don't forget to enter the giveaway, Rebecca x

17 November 2010

Week 44 - Crumpets

Hello! Welcome to week 44 of Rebecca Bakes Cakes & this week I've decided to try & make it a full on multimedia experience, so I'm going to attempt to include not only pictures, but video into the post! Hold onto your hats, I'm not the most technically minded so anything could happen, apologies I've recorded the video on my HTC phone so it's not going to be the best quality. But before we get to this weeks baking, I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has voted so far in the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards. If you haven't already voted & would like to, just follow the link on the right or click here...

So as you can probably tell from the picture, or there in lack of, the crumpets weren't exactly a success! Some of my recipes have been far from perfect, but I've somehow managed to salvage them into something that at least tastes good even if it looks a bit iffy. These were beyond recovery...but rather than try & explain it, I'll tell you the story through the medium of video! Scroll down after the recipe...

450g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp sugar
7g sachet of fast action yeast
300ml water
300ml milk
As many plain round pastry cutters as you can fit in your frying pan!

1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, stir in the salt, sugar & yeast. Make a well in the centre & add the liquids, beat well until you have a smooth batter. Cover with a tea towel & leave in a warm place for an hour to rise.


So far so good...the batter rose really well!

2. Give it a good stir to knock it back then pour it into a jug to make it easier to pour into the pan.

3. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, then grease the insides of the pastry cutters with a little oil & place them in the pan to warm up.

4. Pour in enough mixture to half fill the mould & leave to cook for about 8 minutes until lots of little wholes appear on the surface. Pop them out of the moulds & flip them over to cook on the other side for 2 minutes. Lift out & leave to cool on a rack - start the process over again!

Crumpets Take 1, here goes....
video

Want to see what happened?
video
So not exactly a resounding success! I think the pastry cutters weren't helping, so I thought I'd try a slight variation on the crumpet theme...

video
Take 2 managed to produce some bubbles, so the piklets were an improvement on the crumpets, but to be honest they ended up with a consistency somewhat resembling those rubber powerballs I used to have as a kid. After 3 attempts, I cut my losses, gave up & put the kettle on instead! I had heard that crumpets were dead simple to make, so I think I must be missing something? So although there's not really anything to show for this week, I hope the videos of my crumpet incompetence at least gave you a giggle! Onwards & upwards for next week, Rebecca x

10 November 2010

Week 43 - Viennese Biscuits

Afternoon folks, I've had a day off today so I'm feeling all relaxed & am writing this with a cup of tea & one of this weeks biccies! Can you believe that I'm in to the final 10 weeks of my blogging challenge. It's gone so fast, but I'm wondering what to do with all the recipes I've tried over the year? A book maybe? :-) For now I have to concentrate on the final 9 recipes, if anyone has any suggestions please let me know...

This week I had some good news, the blog has been nominated in the Dorset Cereals Little Blog Awards! It's a monthly award & voting takes place throughout November. So if you like my blog & enjoy reading then please vote & spread the word. You could also be in with a chance of winning a delicious Dorset Cereals goodie bag too! Click here to vote or follow the link on the right, thank you x

I thought we'd go all continental like this week with a Viennese Biscuit, they were meant to be Viennese Fingers but it didn't quite go to plan! These were really easy to make, they're pretty much a very short shortbread & this recipe came from my vintage Be-Ro book. Once you've made the mixture, you are meant to put it into a piping bag with a rosette nozzle & pipe 6cm strips of mixture onto a baking tray. Well I have a piping gun & could not for the life of me squeeze anything out of it as the mixture was so stiff, so I popped it in the microwave for 10 seconds! That seemed to do the trick, but rather than keep their traditional spiky shape, as soon as I put them in the oven they flopped into a splat!

150g butter
50g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
Few drops vanilla essence
100g plain chocolate

1. Cream together the butter & sugar, make sure it's really well beaten & soft.

2. Stir in the flour & vanilla. Scoop it into a piping bag or gun & pipe 6cm strips onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in the oven at 160c/GM3 for 15 minutes until just golden.

3. Leave to cool & crisp up, then melt the chocolate & dip one end of each biscuit.

So they may not have the shape of the shop bought ones, but they are delicious none the less. Let me know if or how you managed to get yours to keep their shape! Have a good week, don't forget to vote, Rebecca x

3 November 2010

Week 42 - Toffee Apples

Evening everyone, how are you adjusting to the clocks going back? I'm not liking the dark evenings, it feels like I'm leaving work in the middle of the night! Never mind only what, 6 months until we're back on BST?!

So it's Guy Fawkes Night this Friday & I thought I'd mark the occasion with a Bonfire Night treat. I'm not quite sure why I associate toffee apples with this time of year, but I do remember as a kid nagging Mum to buy one for me (I also liked the chocolate ones that were covered in sprinkles!) Growing up in a small town in Northumberland, Bonfire Night was a big deal, it started with a candle lit procession through town up to the bonfire, then a fireworks display that was sure to bring out the oohs & aahs! The event was usually newsworthy for the local paper & yours truly even got her picture in the paper one year. We've dug it out of the Hodgson archive & here it is. Yes I do look like the Michelin man, Northumberland in November is a very cold place!

So question of the week...you probably know the start of the rhyme, but do you know how it finishes?

Remember remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason & plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.


Useless information of the week over, back to the baking...Now I know these aren't strictly cake, but I'm exercising creative licence & I have made the toffee from scratch, so there was some element of cooking involved :-) This recipe came from my traditional 1970's Good Housekeeping cookbook, can't go wrong!

450g demerera sugar
50g butter
10ml vinegar
15ml golden syrup
150ml water
6-8 apples & lolly sticks

1. Put all the ingredients (except the apples!) into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat gently until the butter & sugar have dissolved, then turn up the heat & boil it rapidly for 5-8 minutes. The recipe said to use a sugar thermometer, but I don't have one. I tested it by dropping a small dollop into a glass of cold water, if it holds together & set immediately then it's ready to use.

2. Stick the lolly stick into the apple, then dunk it in the toffee, be very careful, hot sugar can be lethal! Lift it out & keep twirling it to even out the toffee, then dunk it in a bowl of cold water for 10 seconds, still twirling. Place it onto a piece of baking parchment to set completely. If your toffee sets in the pan before you can coat all the apples, simply put it back on the heat & bring it up to the boil again.

Do you know these almost didn't happen, there wasn't a lolly stick to be found in my local area, I ended up having to buy ice lollies just to get the sticks! It was either that or spearing them with a plastic fork. I hope you enjoy them & sorry but I can't be held responsible if the toffee causes havoc with your fillings! Have a fun Bonfire Night & please remember the fireworks code (that's the public service announcement for this week!) Take care, Rebecca x
 

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