Archive | February, 2012

Two-ti Fruiti

28 Feb

Lemon Yogurt Cake

First of all, possibly the least photogenic cake I have ever witnessed. Mary Berry’s Lemon Yogurt Cake, from her Baking bible. I mean, look at it Mary! Had I been baking to impress on first sight, this just wouldn’t cut the mustard. This is not a bake-off winner. Luckily, it tasted good and was fairly easy to make – a saving grace. As it has yogurt as a major ingredient, Mary suggests you keep the cake refrigerated – fat chance, Mary! I scoffed it all pretty quick.

Slice Lemon Yogurt Cake

I even processed these photos to make them look more classy, using the “Italian” setting on my camerabag app.  Hmph.

You can find the recipe and another incarnation of the cake (looking just as un-inspiring, albeit with a little sugary lemon decoration) on A Kiss of Cookies blog

And now for something a lot more beauteous, a creation from Samalamadingdong, Cover Girl extraordinaire! Look at this beaut – a blueberry crumble CAKE! It’s cake AND its crumble. Woah there…

Blueberry Muffin Cake

What you need to know about Sam is that her cooking is A-MAZING for a start. Mostly this is because she is very creative, and makes the most delicious meals every time I’ve been round her house – and seems to do it all so effortlessly. Oh yeah, I’m just throwing in some doo-dah wotsits into this. I’ve never done it before, lets just see what happens.  She says. And it always works. Every ruddy time!

So, thankyou Sam for sharing this recipe  – which can be found here on Allrecipes. Hang on a minute though. You didn’t think Sam followed the recipe to the letter did you? Where would the fun be in that? Here’s what the crafty madam had to say…

I didn’t have ground cinnamon to add to the crumble so I added about a teaspoon of French almond extract – is yummy! Also I cooked for an extra 10-15 mins but oven was on at 150 (as have fan oven so dropped the temp a bit). Think it’d make nice warm pud with ice cream! Num num.

Num num indeed Sam, when do you want me?

Sam's Blueberry crumble cake

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Hoy Hoy!

18 Feb

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Yesterday Mr Bakes and I had a very different Friday. It started with a run to the lido at 9.30am for an usually quiet swim before running home to a spot of poached eggs on toast. Then we travelled to the Olympic Park to watch the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, and somehow had seats right on the finish line 3 rows from the front. Pretty, pretty good!

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See how close we were? Although track cycling events are usually very good for spectators, as you can get out your seat and walk around, get right up to the track to see what’s going on and no-one really minds or tells you to get back to your seat.

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Here are Pendleton and Varnish about to whoop ass in the team sprint, before winning gold later on in the day. We also were witness to the first ever world record in the velodrome, which Pendleton & Varnish went on to smash too! We did see Chris Hoy and his team sprint chums. And yes, he’s still massive.

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Afterwards we had a look round Westfield, just because it was there. On the plus side, we got a pinkberry.

Now, I wonder what type of muesli bars these cyclists like to eat?

Sweet! Corn relish

14 Feb

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This is the third instalment from the kitchen of big sis Cakes. She’s been a busy bee over the last few weeks making preserves. I asked her to fill 80 jars for me, so far we’ve got Damson chutney, marmalade, rhubarb and strawberry jam. And now! Sweetcorn relish. I’m dreaming of home-made burgers to put this on. I could eat one RIGHT NOW please. Doesn’t it look good?

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What would you eat it with?

I ♥ Cake Pops

14 Feb

Valentines pops

Happy Valentines y’all. As promised – red velvet cake pops to look at. I first came across the cake pop concept via Rhubarb and Rose (I was actually looking for a bunting tutorial…and got sidetracked by cake, strange that!) Check out the cake pops tutorial from this fantastic blog.

They’re quite simple really. Just bake a bright red cake and then go against all your instincts and turn it into crumbs and mix it with some frosting. This will feel strange. We’ve evolved to protect our cakes, not mash them up. Fight the urge! It’s worth it.

red velvet cake

Roll into balls, or shape into hearts and chill for a couple of hours in the fridge (the pops, not you)

balls and hearts

Then put on lollipop sticks,

balls on sticks

and cover in chocolate and sprinkle with decorations.

valentines cake pops

or just cover with chocolate

heart cake pops

And, if you don’t think you have enough for everyone (you lucky people coming to the CoMA London rehearsal tonight), make some cupcakes and ice with bright red buttercream. YUM!

red cupcakes

Here are my top tips for cake popperage…

1. As a rule of thumb 300g and 100g frosting seems to give a good consistency for your cake base.
2. Get creative with your cake innards. At Christmas I used some Christmas Cake offcuts to make some christmas pudding cake pops and christmas tree cake pops, they were pretty good!
2. Wilton’s candy melts have a good flavour, good colour and coat well. You can get them from Jane Asher’s Sugarcraft Shop. Other brands are available. They don’t taste as good!
3. Put your chocolate coating once melted into a small cup to dip your pops in. This will ensure a smooth even coating of chocolate. I’ve tried it other ways, it doesn’t work. Check out what Rhubarb and Rose have to say about dipping
4. Have a go! They’re ruddy good fun, look flippin fantastic and taste great too.

P.S. I’m already thinking ahead to next year, when this fella might have to make an appearance…

Hidden heart cake
If you fancy having a go, I found this Heart Cake on the beautiful i am baker blog.

Hoxton cross buns

12 Feb

Urban cake tins

Whoa there! Look at these bad boys. Witty cake tins, I need must have them! Please… although the Shoreditch Bakes kitchen will have to get substantially larger to accommodate all the baking paraphernalia out there I need covet.

These tins are by “My London” and are available from Amazon, John Lewis, and Lakeland. They have a whole range of tableware. Oxtail circus mug anyone? Do you think if I write to them suggesting a Hoxton Cross Bun apron they’ll take it up and then give me the full range of their goodies. Maybe not, but it was the best pun I could come up with. Have you got any good uns?

This afternoon I’ll be working on some Valentines Cake Pops, come back on the 14th to see the results!

Roobarb and Strawbs

6 Feb

rhubarb and strawberry jam

She’s been at it again, that sister o’mine. Preserving I mean – this time Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam, c/o Jam, Jelly & Relish by Ghillie James.  I can tell it’s going to be a fantastic combination, strawberry-rhubarb pie is all the rage over the pond so why not here?  One day soon I’m going to force myself to try this one by baking goddess Smitten Kitchen. And did you know, if you add a couple of tablespoons of strawberry jam to your rhubarb tart, it’ll taste like pineapple? (according to the Flavour Thesaurus)  You could just make a pineapple tart, but where is the fun in that?

How do you do this rhubarb and strawberry jam then?

Strawberries for jam

Chop up your strawbs

Rhubarb for jam

and your rhubarb, and guess what next?

strawberry rhubarb mascerate

MASCERATE!!!!! (we learnt this word last week in the marmalade session)

strawberry rhubarb jam boiling

boil boil boil….

test for jam setting point

Chill a plate, put some jam on it, test for setting point by seeing if it will wrinkle when you squish it. And look at the zebra! Nice plate sis. Then put into you sterilised jars, or straight on your freshly baked scones like Louise did. Nom nom nom. Can’t wait to try some myself.

Snow Sports

5 Feb

London Fields Lido

The last 24 hours have been pretty interesting. Snow had been forecast – lots of snow. Lots of snow for London anyway. Still, Mr Cakes and I, and a couple of East-side friends ventured over the river to a housewarming party in Sarf London. It’ll be fine, I said, we’ll totally be able to get home, no problem! This is London, right? Except it also just so happened that all trains to our destination were cancelled due to engineering works. Come 11pm it was time to call a cab (rock n roll I know, but there were swimming lessons for 3 of us the following morning and a doggy to get home to aswell) Yeah fine, we’ll send you a cab. It’ll be about 20 minutes, okay? You know how this goes, 30 minutes later – no cab. Then we look out the window at the 5 inches of snow on the ground and wonder what on earth will happen next. Let’s give it another 15 minutes, and then think about plan B. And that’s when our saviour turned up, in what can only be described as a monster truck. There is no photographic evidence of what happened next, you just have to believe me….

And so we were driven home in a bright red, Mercedes G-class 9 seater truck which our taxi driver (and truck owner) reliably informed us was used by the Nazis as a tank in the war – although not this particular one, obviously. He tuned the radio to Smooth FM, cranked it up, us girls in the back had a good old sing along to Abba and Micheal Jackson while taxi-man told Mr Cakes he reminded him of someone….who is it…? Oh yes, an older Chris Evans! And said he was a sharp guy! As one of our number put it he was a snow super hero – ‘the sweeper’

There is a baking point to this story. I couldn’t go empty-handed to the party, and dutifully baked some housewarming fruity nutty cookies.

I got the recipe for the fruity (and nutty) cookies from the bbcgoodfood website. Believe it or not these chunky, crispy on the outside chewy in the middle morsels contain marmalade! Perfect if you’ve just made a batch just like big sis did earlier this week. The Lady Marmalade post is here if you missed it.

They also contain most of the same ingredients as the energy bars I’ve been trying to perfect over the last few months, which got me thinking – what about energy biscuits instead of energy bars? I think these would be perfect – not too crumbly, not too gooey, full of nuts and fruit and super calorific goodness. When the snow has melted and the air temperature isn’t so flippin cold and we get out on a weekend cycle ride I’m going to road test a couple of these bad boys for their energy credentials. And besides, Kraft are now flogging biscuits as a healthy breakfast option, so they must be okay for triathletes, right?

Don’t believe me? Try ’em. Although next time I’m going to decrease the ginger and increase the cinnamon. Just a personal thing.

After all that we did make it to our swimming class this morning, we ran through the snowy streets to the Lido where snow lined the edges of the pool, and mist rose from the water obscuring the view as you swam. It was almost magical!

What happened to Herman?

2 Feb

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Last week I promised to keep you up to date with Herman the Friendship cake. Well, our chum Herman lived with us for ten days. Spluttering and growing and demanding to be fed every now and then. After he’d been playing all day he looked a bit like this

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At which point he demanded some attention, and a quick stir later he looked more like this

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After ten days it was time to share Herman with the chosen few, and bake the rest into a rather tasty, yeasty, fruity cake. And yes, Mr Cakes and I did eat him with some custard for pudding. We like doing that, see. It helps us swim faster the next morning!

Here is the recipe for the Herman cake, if he should ever come knocking on your door.

Add the following to your Herman mix…
1 cup sugar
half tsp salt
2 cups plain flour
2/3 cup of cooking oil
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cooking apples cut into chunks
1 cup raisins
2 heaped tsp cinnamon
2 heaped tsp baking powder.

Mix everything together and put into a large greased cake tin.

Sprinkle with a quarter of a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of a cup of melted butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Eat with custard, ice cream, cream, with a cup of tea etc etc. Thanks Herman, nice to see you. Come back soon!

Lady Marmalade

1 Feb

Oranges and Lemons

I’m not the only one in the Cakes dynasty with a gift for the sweet stuff. My big sis, Louise Cakes is a dab hand in the kitchen too. Believe me, you should taste her Pavlova – to die for! So, imagine my delight when she was totally and utterly up for making a me 1, or 2, or 80 jars of preserves.

Yesterday, the marmalade making began. It all started with a text…

“Just about to start macerating the oranges to make Seville marmalade 2moro, never done it before so wish me luck!” Errrr mascer-what-ing now? Goodness me. “Good luck!” I replied, after asking what on earth mascerating means.  If you really must know, it means softening or breaking into pieces using a liquid. So now you know!

So yesterday, the mascerating began, and looked like this…

mascerating

This is step one – squeeze out all the juice from your oranges, then chop up the peel. Use a food processor if you’re clever like big sis! Soak the peel & juice together with some water overnight.

mascerated

The following morning you should wake up to a bowl full of mascerated goodness! Boil this lot up for a couple of hours til the peel is tender, then add loads and loads and loads of sugar, and a wee bit of lemon juice

sugar and lemon

Stir until your sugar dissolves and then boil rapidly until your marmalade reaches the holy grail – setting point.

boiling marmalade

To check put some marmalade on a chilled plate and squish it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. Beware though…molten hot sugar and fingies don’t alway like one another….

setting point

When it’s ready, pour into sterilised jars….

marmalade jars

And put a lid on quick sharpish!

finished marmalade

Et voila! Perfect Seville orange marmalade. It’s been given the seal of approval by Big Bro in Law, and fellow blogger Dave of Dave Johnson’s Photography, so it must be good.

By now you must have noticed that I have a bit of a soft spot for Hugh Fearnley-Whttingstall (actually I prefer his 3 hungry boys at the moment, but that’s between me and you…) Here’s his version of Seville orange marmalade. It’s Seville orange season, so get out there and get some and get making some marmalade. Yum! Thanks sis.