All posts filed under: children

Cookies and Cream for my boy

Some people call this Hump Day; others, Wednesday. But for me, it’s like Friday. It’s my last paid working day of the week working as a teacher. But I figured that some of you who work all the way through to Friday could do with a little cheer, so I thought I’d write up the recipe for this Cookies and Cream cake quickly. I made it for my son’s 9th birthday on Monday. He asked for a Cookies and Cream Cake (I think because he loves that flavour of ice-cream), so I googled a few recipes, but, in the end, I went with our family favourite: Nigella Lawson’s Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake as the cake base and decided to come up with the icing myself. (I used half of her chocolate icing to sandwich the two cakes together, but you could easily make more of the cookies and cream icing and use that if you prefer). Cookies and Cream Buttercream Icing 300g of Soft Butter 300g of Icing Sugar 80g of White Chocolate, melted 2 Tablespoons of …

Blueberry and Orange Breakfast Bread

I have been desperately trying to find the time to make this recipe for a few months now. I had the idea after my son saw a similar tear and share bread in a book, but I wanted to come up with my own recipe using Gilchester’s Organic Unbleached Flour. But we have been busy with school holidays and the important business of getting to know our new puppy, Florence. The first time I attempted it, I made far to much, and the rolled up dough didn’t come close to fitting in a 10″ tin. So, I reduced the quantities and tweaked the ratios and came up with this. I really hope you like it. Ingredients 250g of Bread Flour 125g of Milk  1/2 Teaspoon of Orange Blossom 8g of Dried Instant Yeast (by all means use fresh if you have it but I know many people can’t get hold of it easily) 30g of Caster Sugar 25g of Softened Butter 5g of Salt 1 Large Egg, beaten. Plus an beaten extra egg to glaze the dough. For …

Pistachio and Chocolate Cake

I have a confession to make. Well, not so  much a confession but a disclaimer. This recipe isn’t entirely original and mine. To be honest, I am fed up of seeing people posting their alleged “new recipes” when they have clearly been reworked from someone else’s and have not given them credit. So, I want to be clear, that this cake is a re-working and scaling of other people’s recipes, with a minor element being mine. The sponges that make up this cake are a scaling up of Annie Bell’s Chocolate and Pistachio cake in her Baking Bible.  I have long been a fan of hers since I picked up a very reduced copy of her Gorgeous Cakes in a discount book shop. To this day I have no idea why she isn’t a household name: the woman knows her stuff and her recipes are great. I opted to make my own filling of Pistachio Buttercream, mainly because I had some leftover. But I think it really works and adds to the pistachio flavour. The chocolate …

Fresh Summer Berry Cake

Now that I am back in the blog writing saddle, as it were, it feels good to write this post and share the recipe that I created for this summery cake. It is a Blueberry and Lime cake, flavoured with a Lime and Mint sugar syrup, and I created it for the birthday of my partner’s youngest daughter. I have been musing over a blueberry and lemon cake for a while. I have seen several recipes online but they all seem overly complicated. I also really wanted to use lime instead of lemon. And then I remembered the lime and mint sugar syrup that I made for my friends’ naked wedding cake two years ago. It’s such a wonderful and refreshing combination: the mint makes the berries zing. I just needed an excuse to experiment. I usually make a cake for my partner’s children’s birthdays. We try to get together for a big blended family dinner with cake and candles. His youngest didn’t have a preference for what kind of cake she wanted, so I …

Well, hello there. It’s been a while.

I’ve not written a blog post in weeks and weeks. And it’s not because I haven’t been baking: in fact, I was very busy baking in May and June. Then we went on holiday (smashing, thanks for asking) and now we have a new puppy in the house. So, although I have a couple of bigger celebration cake blogs posts in me, I thought I would ease myself in with one of my favourite recipes. It’s based on a BBC Good Food biscuit recipe and I have adapted and played with it over the years. I thought I’d document and share my favourite version. I’ve said it countless times: these are such easy and quick biscuits. They are egg free and a great recipe to make with your kids, even toddlers. Pistachio & Chocolate Oaties (makes between 25 and 30) 250g of Butter, soft 150g of Light Brown Sugar 150g of Self Raising Flour 225g of Oats 80g of Pistachios, chopped 100g of Dark Chocolate chips (or a chopped up bar of chocolate) Cream the …

A Coffee Cake with a kick

Good morning and a Happy Easter to you. This isn’t an Easter cake, though it does contain chocolate, nor was it made recently. But I was asked for the recipe from someone over on Instagram, so I felt I should cobble together a blog post with details of how I made this cake (which was in the Autumn of last year). The cake itself is a simple coffee Victoria Sponge, but it is soaked in a Tia Maria sugar syrup, then filled with an Espresso and Mascarpone cream, then covered completely in a good old fashioned chocolate buttercream. It is finished off with a chocolate glaze drizzle, chocolate bark and various other decorative edibles. You should start by making the chocolate bark the day before you need it to ensure it is firm enough to handle, especially if it is warm. Chocolate Bark 150G of Dark Chocolate A handful of Coffee Beans Gold Sugar, sprinkles, bronze honeycomb chunks (Marks and Spencer) or any other pretty gold or bronze decorations you can find that will tone …

Carrot Gold

This isn’t a post in which I share a new recipe; but one in which I share an idea of how to decorate a Carrot Cake for a special occasion. As I was saying to my friend earlier, Carrot Cake *is* beautiful with swirls of Cream Cheese Frosting and some sprinkled nuts on top, but sometimes you want one of your favourite, everyday cakes to be a bit more celebratory. I wanted to show that it is possible to do that without training to be a pastry chef first. Firstly, let me explain that I don’t use walnuts in my carrot cake, but prefer pecans. I immediately thought about how I could use the pecans on the top of the finished cake by dusting them with gold and bronze lustre and adding small pieces of edible gold leaf to others. The cake also contains desiccated coconut, so I felt that using larger shavings of coconut on top would hint at the ingredients inside and add a different texture. After that, it was a case of …

Blame it on the Brownie

Brownies are a very emotive subject for me. They are my favourite “cake” and they would be the dessert in my Death Row dinner (and it would be roasted Duck Breast with a red wine and cherry sauce, Dauphinoise Potatoes and Garlic Greens for main, if you are interested). I have very strong feelings about Brownies: they have to have squidge. They should not be hard or dry or cakey: they should be soft, melting, moist and squidge.   I finally found my Brownie nirvana a few years ago with Nigel Slater’s recipe but have tinkered with it a little since. I usually substitute the 50g of chopped dark chocolate for white, for example. I tried various respected food writer’s recipes, including ones from Nigella Lawson and Tamsin Day-Lewis, but Nigel’s recipe gives the exact amount of oozing chocolate richness that I want in a Brownie. Last year I made BBC Good Food’s Salted Caramel Brownies and though delicious and a contender for Nigel’s ultimate recipe, I still preferred his.   Off the back of that I came up …

A Good Sport

If you ask me to go for a run with you or join in with a game of Rounders I would politely decline. I am not very sporty. I am not sporty at all, in fact. That doesn’t mean, however, that I am not a good sport. If you were to ask me to help with your charity event I would do what I could. If you asked me to bake a cake for your charity event, then I would probably be planning it in my head before I had even come to the end of, “Yes, I’d be delighted to.” When my colleague asked if I would bake a cake to be raffled off as part of the school’s fundraising for this year’s Sport Relief I was more than happy to help out. For Comic Relief  last year I made a Red Velvet Cake as I felt the colour tied in with the charity’s logo. This year I stepped away from chocolate and went fruity instead. I decided to use one of my favourite recipes from Ruth Clemens, behind The …

So, am I a baker now?

I don’t know how many times I have tried to write a blog post about bread. Not a specific bread that I have experimented with, like this week’s Pretzels or last year’s Brioche Feuilletée, but one simply about my journey of discovery baking bread. I know that sounds a bit New Age but it *has* been quite a journey of discovery and an igniting of passion. Over the years I baked the odd white loaf and a few Irish Soda Breads, but I didn’t really think about what I was doing. Then, about three or four years ago, I started to experiment, using a well know celebrity baker’s recipes. All was good, and I started to get more adventurous, baking laminated doughs for family breakfasts; savoury, flavoured bread recipes to accompany dinner; and differently shaped and plaited breads. But I knew I was missing something. I knew I was missing a technical knowledge and understanding of what I was actually doing and why certain things worked and others didn’t. My baking friend, Lisa, had been on …