MacMillan Bakeathon

I never need an excuse to hone my technical skills so this the MacMillan Coffee Morning was a great opportunity to practice and develop my baking skill. As I was away on the Coffee Morning I decided to bake twice a week leading up the worlds biggest coffee morning.

The first offering was a classic Victoria Sponge, which turned out better than I expected for a first attempt.

I did the all in one method using

225g self raising flour

225g Stork

225g golden caster sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

I was unsure as of my bake mixture  and in my panic and added an extra egg yolk.

It was layered with fresh strawberries and a white chocolate topping.

First Victoria Sponge with a twist
First Victoria Sponge with a twist

However I would say there is no other jam to use than the delicious Tip Tree Raspberry Seedless Jam.

With just jam
Victoria Sponge

So the next Victoria Sponge was baked and this time ensured all the ingredients weighed 225g  using only Tip Tree as a filling.  It still was good but personally I think the extra egg in the first bake really stole the show – others thought not.

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As I had chocolate icing left over I made fairy buns to use this up. I loved these little sponges I just wished I’d put some jam into the centre.

Fairy Cakes
Fairy’s

Next two bakes were my signature bake Banana, chocolate & Pecan Loaf, with my twist of adding Maple Syrup, I usually add 2 tablespoons this time I added 4 of Clark’s Maple Syrup.

Banana loaf with Lindt Chocolate
Victoria Sponge

Over two weeks and four bakes we raised fifty pounds sterling, and probably added a few to our waistlines but I’m sure all who contributed feel good for donated to MacMillian.

This also helped me decided that from now on when baking is taken into the office I will ask for a donation with every slice

Thank you for all your support and if you like my blog or just love looking at food you can follow me on Twitter #EatBakeBlog or Instagram.

Louise

NB : Funds are registered under number  32734220

 

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The Great British Bake Off is back and I can’t stop baking

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It started last week when my countdown was at 7 days.  First to be baked was Lemon Drizzle which was a first.  Little did I know Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood were about to set the same challenge.   Not content with my first attempt at Lemon Drizzle I baked it again, this time making the drizzle a thicker consistency, achieving this by using smaller lemons which of course gave less juice and giving me a great crunchy zesty topping.

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Lemon Drizzle –

Then I spotted the #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong run by The Baking Nana and Robert Allen and that just got me inspired further.    The first challenge was a Victoria Sponge – a cake I had not baked since 2009; so I was a little bit rusty.   The timing for this was great, as Linda my colleague had baked a recipe that I had been threatening to copy it for weeks.  I dusted off (well not literally) my cake tins and warmed up the oven.

The cakes went in and I waited impatiently starring into my oven waiting for that moment they looked that beautiful golden colour.

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Victoria sponge in the making

The baking part was easy but the icing was tougher.  It was a white chocolate icing which despite following the recipe to the gram was too runny.

I added more icing sugar and reached a consistency I was happy with and hey presto.  This cake was sold at work slice-by-slice to raise money for MacMillan’s Coffee Morning which I plan to bake for every week until the 30th.

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So what next, well I had white chocolate icing left so on Monday evening I decided to make some Fairy Cakes and top these off with the leftover icing.

My only regret is that I didn’t cut out and insert some strawberry jam.  These little cakes went down well at work and helped top up the funds.

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Fairy cakes – bargain at 50 pence

Wednesday came and it was GBBO day I thought enough baking I will just enjoy watching but its difficult when you’ve come home to find some less than pert bananas.

Oven on, Kenwood out and banana’s mashed I added some Coconut Flour to my usual recipe.

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Coconut Flour added to my Banana Loaf

I loved this new combination and will definitely be experimenting further with coconut and try and make a gluten free cake at some point.

To really push myself I am going to try and make a drizzle loafs as a tribute to a Bounty Bar if you see the standard on #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong you understand why I need to start pushing myself harder.

If you like my blog you can follow me on twitter

Thanks for reading and please leave any comments below – happy baking.

Louise


 

#EatBakeBlog Seeking Brownie perfection

Ever since I dined at the Saddleroom in beautiful Coverdale over a year ago I have been trying to recreate this brownie which was a little piece of heaven.

20160120 Perfect Brownie

Ingredients used:

  • Pack of unsalted butter (250g)
  • 250g golden Caster Sugar
  • 225g dark muscovado sugar
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 4 large eggs (whisked)
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • 85g Blanched Chopped Hazelnuts
  • 4 Tablespoons of dark rum (or leave out)

Equipment you will need : scales, large glass bowl (about 20cms in diameter), pan to sit the bowl on, good heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, fork or whisk, baking parchment (greaseproof paper) and a square bake tin (21cms or 22cms).

The method. I  writing this bullet pointed as I think it makes it easier to follow, but first heat your oven to 180C or if a fan 160C (equivalent Gas mark 4) and lightly grease a square non-stick baking tin and line it with baking parchment /greaseproof paper.

  1. Weigh out your ingredients first and beat the eggs – this makes the process easier, leaving you to focus on baking rather than weighing (I lay them out in order of use it helps me when I am doing new recipes it keeps me focused on where I am)
  2. Put a pan of water (about a 1/4 full) on to simmer and place the glass bowl that sits neatly on top making sure the water is not too high that it is touching the bottom of the glass bowl.
  3. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and place in the bowl
  4. Add both sugars and the cocoa and stir regularly so it doesn’t stick until the sugar is dissolved and you have a rich chocolate mix.
    EatBakeBlog Butter Sugar and Cocoa mix
  5.  Take the bowl off the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes
  6. Add the beaten eggs bit-by-bit into the mix until you have a smooth and glossy mix.
  7. Stir in the self raising flour and chopped hazelnuts and the rum and mix until you cannot see any flour (really scrap down into the bottom of that glass bowl).
    Eatbakeblog Chopped Hazelnuts
  8. Pour the mixture into your lined tin.
    EatBakeBlog Ready to bake
  9. Place in the oven on a middle shelf and bake for 35 minute or longer if needed (check by putting a skewer (or a sharp knife) into the mix our looking for a slightly clean blade.
  10. Remove and leave to cool in the tin – this is really important; your brownie is still cooking and developing its flavour.

Turn out only once it is cool. I turn it out onto a board so I have the base upwards it makes cutting it easier as the top should be crunchy and it will crumble.

Your Brownies should keep in an airtight (I use an old biscuit tin lined with greaseproof paper) for about 3 days and we are sure it tastes better on day 2. This is still the best  brownie I have made but I am still seeking the chewy perfection.

 

Eatbakeblog Hazelnut Brownie
Hazelnut Brownie by EatBakeBlog

Thanks for reading my blog and if you like this then please show your support and comment below or share on social media.

 

Louise x

#EatBakeBlog

#EatBakeBlog won’t jack on Flapjacks

It has been a while since I made these sticky oaty bars and in my efforts to use up the sugar in the house and continue with my attempt to remove it from my daily life it seemed like a good use of  our cupboard staples.

Why I am doing this today after stepping on the scales since before Christmas is beyond me, as the news was as grimmer than I’d expected. Not since ten days in Vegas back in 2010 have the scales creaked as much.

This time I used this recipe from my recently purchased book Mary Berry’s Baking Bible see page 191 for her Fast Flapjacks.   I made same minor tweaks as I had no demerara sugar so I used the following ingredients:

  • 225g / 8 oz Butter (unsalted)
  • 100g /  3.5 oz   Caster Sugar
  • 125g / 4.4 oz  Soft brown sugar
  • 275g/ 10 oz  Porridge oats (organic)
  • 100g (3.5oz) Sultanas

With the butter and sugars melted, the oven hot and ready to go, I mixed in the oats and sultana’s into the greased tin, flattened and popped this sticky buttery mix it into the oven.

Now our favourite baker tells us to cook for about 35 minutes, so knowing our furnace of an oven (which would incinerate you, as soon as look at you) and I took them out at 30.  But alas it was too late –  the Flapjacks are beyond what I call golden (think the dress – we all have our own colour charts)

Now, I know David will tell me they are perfect (he is too kind plus I am sure worries if he critiques I may give up)  but I know better so next time it will be 25 minutes and I will invest in a thermometer to try and seek a more golden offering.

Flapjack by EatBakeBlog
Flapjack by EatBakeBlog

Thank you for reading if you like my blog then please follow me on twitter @LouiseWinder

Louise x

#EatBakeBlog

 

 

Arctic Roll Show Stoppers (The Great British Bake Off – Week 5)

I look forward to this show even on fasting days (5:2 diet) and I cannot imagine how the competitors cope using a kitchen that is not their own.  I need my space with my tools in the place I expect to find them in as when it comes to baking I need all the help I can get!

I have never made ice cream let alone without diary and to then insert it into a sponge.  I have to say this is long forgotten childhood favourite, as often our deserts were fruit orientated (Apple Pie, Rhubarb Crumble to name a few).

artic rollNone of tonight’s diary free ice cream rolls looked anything like the iconic Artic Roll, and I would like to think that this will inspire me to have a go but without a sunbathing beauty or swaying palm tree.

Bake off round 3

For the third time we are going into Bake Off mode at work. This time I’ve decided to make a Chocolate Cake complete with a ganache topping. I’m pleased to say it was a victory. Moist, tasty and rich enough not to require any cream to complete or dilute it’s decadence.
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I was so impressed and excited I decided to bake a Brownie (to the left) and below.
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The Brownie is not my preferred recipe (it contains mayonnaise) but I do love the texture it produces.

The result was as follows for the Ganache.

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