Strawberry cake

Just found this post sitting in my drafts folder from a few weeks ago and thought it was about time I posted it ……oops x

I made this at the same time as I made my Lemon meringue cupcakes for the Itsgood2eatcake2 event and have some how forgotten to schedule it…..haha x

But here it is now, better late than never x 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing tins
  • 4 large eggs
  • 225g fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g fresh strawberries hulled, to decorate

For the filling

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 600g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • pink food colouring
  • 3-4 tbsp strawberry jam
  • A few fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

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Method

Buttercream

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla. Blend in the sugar, a quarter at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the food colouring and mix thoroughly.
  4. Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.

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Sponges and construction

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the base of each tin with baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour, cornflour, sugar and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until evenly mixed. Add the butter, eggs, strawberries and vanilla extract and process briefly until well combined, but not overly processed.
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 cake tins and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of one of the cakes comes out clean.
  4. Leave the cakes to cool slightly in their tins for 10 minutes and turn out on to wire racks.
  5. When the cakes are completely cool, remove the baking paper circles from their bases. Place 1 cake on a plate and spread with a thin layer of strawberry jam.
  6. Then place a thin layer of sliced strawberries on top of the jam.
  7. Hold the second cake and ice the underside of it with a 1cm thick layer of vanilla buttercream.
  8. Carefully place on top of the first cake, iced side down. Once the cakes are sandwiched together, ice the top with the remaining buttercream and top with the fresh strawberries.

This cake is best served immediately, as the fresh strawberries do have a tendency to soften and bleed their juice into the the icing quite quickly.

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Parma violet macarons

Well here we go again, a large absence on my part……..oops x I think I just have to accept that I am not going to blog as much over the summer period. Lots of very exciting things going on to keep me distracted. But I will try to put up the odd post here and there x

Today is a good one, I’ve been working on this macaron recipe for a while now to get it right and I’m pleased to finally be sharing it with you all now.

Parma violets are a firm favourite from my childhood and I could smell them all day, the smell is so amazing!! So I had to find a way to incorporate them in to a recipe!! I hope you like these as much as I do!! 🙂 x

Parma violet macarons

Ingredients: Shells

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 80ml water
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 x 80g egg whites (approximately the egg whites of 4 large eggs)
  • 1tsp violet flavouring
  • food colouring
  • Crystallised violet petals

Filling:

  • 200ml Double cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Parma violet macarons

Method:

  1. Mix the icing sugar and ground almonds together thoroughly until you have a fine, even powder. Sieve and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the water and the caster sugar to the boil. Use a thermometer to ensure that the temperature of the syrup does not exceed 110ºC. This is very important.
  3. Whisk half the egg whites until they form soft peaks, not too stiff.
  4. Decrease the speed of the whisk, then, still whisking, pour the sugar syrup over the egg whites in a thin line. Continue whisking until the mixture has almost cooled, this will take a while and will be easier in a food mixer.
  5. Mix the other half of the egg whites (unbeaten) with the sugar and almond base to get a thick paste.
  6. Add the food colouring to the almond paste, this allows the colour to be mixed in well without overworking the meringue mix (as this can sometimes have disastrous consequences). Then add the violet flavouring.
  7. Add a little of the meringue to the almond paste with a flexible spatula and stir in with regular motion from the bottom towards the top and from the edges towards the centre of the bowl. Add the rest of the meringue in one go and mix in gently. This is a crucial step: it is the art of making macarons. The consistency of the macaron mix should be smooth, even and runny.
  8. Fill a piping bag with macaron mix and pipe small even discs of mix on to a tray covered with grease proof paper. Add crystallised petals to the top of half of the shells (you may want to choose the best half for this….heehee). Lightly tap the bottom of the tray on the work surface to remove any small air bubbles. Put the tray aside for 1 hour to allow the shells to dry, then bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 145ºC (or fan assited oven 125ºC).
  9. Immediately on taking the macaron shells out of the oven, slide the greaseproof paper on to a lightly dampened surface. This will stop them over cooking and make them easier to remove from the paper.
  10. The shells should be smooth and glossy with a good colour.

Filling:

  1. Whisk the double cream and vanilla extract in a bowl until it thickens sufficiently.
  2. Fill a piping bag and squeeze a good amount on to the bottom layer shells and the sandwich the upper layer on.

Parma violet macarons

Cookies and milk x

This weeks offering is my favourite cookies and milk combination. White chocolate chip cookies and Banana milkshake, so a double recipe for your amusement x Don’t say I’m not good to you xx ;p

Today I can’t take credit for the cookies recipe, it’s taken from my new favourite recipe book, The back in the day bakery cookbook, from Cheryl & Griffith Day!! I have however made one very small change to the original by using white chocolate instead of milk or plain chocolate x But they all work well, so feel free to decide for yourself if you are following this recipe at home x

It is however my own Banana milkshake recipe (although I’m sure if I googled it, I’d find some uses the same ingredients)!!

White chocolate cookies

White chocolate chip cookies:

Ingredients: 

  • 2½ cups Plain flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ pound of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated saugar
  • 1 cup light brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups chocolate chunks
  • Fleur de sel for sprinkling

White chocolate cookies

Method:

  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 178°C/350°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and sea salt; set aside.
  3. In a bowl of a stand food mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), cream together the butter, vanilla, and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and mix for no more than a minute; the eggs will not be fully incorporated. Turn the speed down to low and add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating until just combined, 1 to 2 minutes. With the mixer running, sprinkle in the chocolate chunks, beating until just combined, about a minute.
  5. Use a large ice cream scoop or a ¼cup measuring cup to form the cookies and place on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between the cookies to allow for spreading. Lightly tap each cookie with the palm of your hand and sprinkle the cookies with fleur de sel.
  6. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time for even doneness. The cookies should be golden brown around the edges but still light in the centres. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.

White chocolate cookies

Banana Milkshake:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bananas
  • 8 generous scopes of your favourite Vanilla dairy ice cream
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 250ml of whole or semi-skimmed milk

White chocolate cookies

Method:

  1. Slice the bananas in to a food processor fitted with the liquidizer attachment, add the rest of the ingredients also.
  2. Process until think and creamy x
  3. Pour in to a tall glass with with a thick straw and serve immediately!!

And Ta da!!! Lovely cookies and milk x

Cinder toffee

Or Puff candy? Not totally sure what to call this honeycomb delight!! Cinder toffee always reminds me of the couple of years I lived in York when I was a newly wed!! There was an amazing sweet shop right by the entrance to York minster, that sold huge bags of cinder toffee and chocolate covered puff candy!! They became a regular treat for us at weekends xx

Cinder toffee

I’ve had to play around a bit to come up with a working recipe that tastes as good as the shop bought versions that I’m used too!! And I’m pretty happy with my final recipe, it’s very close in taste and texture to my memories!!

Cinder toffee

Ingredients:

  • 500g caster sugar
  • 225g golden syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 90ml water
  • 1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

Cinder toffee

Method:
1) Grease a 20x30cm tin, then line the bottom and sides with baking parchment, making sure the parchment sides are at least 5cm above the sides of the tin. Grease the parchment with a little more butter or oil.
2) Add sugar, golden syrup, vanilla and water to a deep, heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring the mixture to the boil, but do not stir. Boil until it reaches the hard crack stage (153ºC), about 10 minutes. During boiling, if there are any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan, brush the sides of the pan with a clean pastry brush dipped in water.
3) Remove from heat and working quickly, add the bicarbonate of soda, whisking to incorporate. The mixture will bubble when adding the bicarbonate of soda, so mind the hot toffee. Immediately pour into the prepared tin. Let cool and set completely before touching. Break into pieces and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Cinder toffee

Do any of you have a recipe to share with me?

Or know of any other ingredients that may be worth experimenting with to perfect my recipe?

I’d love to hear from you if you do xx

Cinder toffee

Rocky road fudge and meeting new people!

OK, So…………. I’ve taken a huge step this week in getting out in the world and living by my recent post for this to be Lucy’s year!!!

After much humming and haughing I’ve finally committed myself to attend my first cake event run by and for the Edinburgh Cake Ladies which is being held in March. I must admit it’s terrifying and exciting at the same time! Most probably because I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to join one of their evenings for over a year now. Now all I have to do is stop myself  from pulling out if I get nervous………haha x

Only a few weeks ago I met my friend Sarah and her friend for lunch in town and I realised on my way there that it was going to be the first time meeting with someone as Lucy, that had never met Paul before and that felt like a huge day, now I’m signed up to meet 18 ladies at once and I’m up for the challenge x Wow, what a brave girl I’m becoming?!?! x ;p

So this event is called Tower of Terrific Traybakes Take Two or TTTTT for short!! Each of us has to bring a different traybake for everyone to try!! So I decided I would do my Rocky Road Fudge as my contribution!! Which obviously meant I had to have a practice run to see if it would be up to scratch for this event…….heehee x

And here are the results x

Rocky road fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1.4kg caster sugar
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 150g unsalted butter, cut in to cubes
  • 75g walnuts
  • 700g dark chocolate , cut in to small pieces
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 1.5ml salt
  • 90g black cherries in syrup, sliced in half
  • 130g marshmallows, cut in to pieces, or use mini marshmallows

Rocky road 2

Method:

  1. Line a loaf tin with clingfilm so that it comes out of the tin and well over the sides.
  2. Put the sugar, milk and butter in a medium, heavy pan. Heat over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Chop the walnuts roughly and set aside.
  4. When the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted, bring the mixture to the boil. Without stirring, allow the mixture to cook at a slow rolling boil for about 10 minutes, or until it reaches the soft-ball stage (114ºC/238ºF).
  5. Stir in the chopped chocolate, vanilla extract and salt.
  6. Pour about one-third of the chocolate fudge mixture in to the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with half of the cherries, marshmallows and walnuts. Cover with another third of the chocolate fudge.
  7. Place a piece of baking parchment over the fudge and press down firmly with your hands. Set aside to cool. This could take up to 8 hours.
  8. When ready to serve, lift the fudge up out of the tin by holding the sides of the clingfilm and transfer to a chopping board. Cut 1cm slices and serve. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

I ♥ handmade marshmallow

Wow…..Is it February already???? When did that happen?? Nearly Valentines again!! OMG!!

Well here is my valentines gift to you!!………because I ♥ you all xx

I have an extra special recipe for your delight today, soft and gooey Marshmallow x

Marshmallows have been a lifelong favourite of mine, so when I came across a recipe for Vanilla Bean marshmallow, it was a no brainer really!!

And another tasty recipe to add to my arsenal, that I know I’m going to make loads of in the future x

Marshmallow

Vanilla bean Marshmallows

Ingredients:

  • vegetable oil, for greasing
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 50g cornflour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 15ml/1 tbsp glucose syrup
  • ½ vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
  • 375ml cold water
  • 60ml/4 tbsp powdered gelatine
  • 20ml/1¼ tbsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Grease a baking tray. Combine the icing sugar and cornflour in a large bowl. Pass the mixture through a sieve into another bowl positioned underneath to ensure it is well mixed. Liberally sift some of the mixture over the greased baking tray.
  2. Whisk the egg whites until they form firm peaks (preferably in a food mixer or with a powerful hand-held electric whisk). Set aside. They will separate slightly, but you can whisk them up again quickly just before you need them.
  3. Combine the caster sugar, glucose syrup, scraped vanilla pod and the seeds, and half of the water in a small pan over a low heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Bring the syrup to a boil and boil until it reaches the hard-ball stage (130°C/266°F).
  5. Meanwhile, soften the gelatine with the remaining cold water in a small pan, off the heat. Just before the sugar syrup reaches the hard-ball stage, place the gelatine mixture over a low heat and stir to dissolve.
  6. When the syrup reaches the correct temperature and the gelatine has dissolved, combine the two. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  7. Turn the electric whisk on again and whisk the egg whites constantly while pouring in the syrup and gelatine mixture in a slow, steady stream. Continue until all of the mixture has been incorporated.
  8. Whisk the mixture on a medium-high speed for at least 7 minutes, until it is almost stiff. Pour into the prepared baking tray and smooth the top with a spatula. Allow to set for about 5 hours.
  9. Dust a work surface with most of the cornflour and icing sugar, and turn the marshmallows out on to it by carefully inverting the baking tray. Cut into cubes and allow to dry out for a couple of hours.
  10. Dust with the remaining cornflour-icing sugar mixture to prevent the marshmallows from sticking together. Serve, or store in an airtight container or in cellophane bags.

Marshmallow

Melting moments

Ingredients:

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 60g icing sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 60g cornflour
  • Red food colouring (the gel type works best)
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

For the filling:

  • 125ml full-fat or semi skimmed milk
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, or less to taste
  • about 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

You will also need: 
2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper; a piping bag fitted with a star tube.

 

Method

  1. Using a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat the butter with the icing sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat for a few seconds. Sift the flour and cornflour together into the bowl and mix until smooth.
  2. Paint a straight line of red food colouring on the inside of the piping bag, from the tube to the opening of the bag. Spoon the biscuit mixture into the piping bag.
  3. Pipe into 32 swirls on the baking sheet. Each swirl should be about 5cm across and 2.5cm high. Chill in the fridge or freezer for 15 minutes to firm.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Bake the biscuits for about 12 minutes or until they are pale golden. Leave for a few minutes on the baking sheet to set slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  5. To make the filling, heat the milk with the flour in a small pan, whisking constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Whisk over very low heat for a minute to cook out the taste of the flour, then pour the mixture onto a plate. Cover closely with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming and leave until completely cold.
  6. Beat together the sugar and butter until very pale and fluffy – about 10 minutes by hand or 4 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the thickened milk mixture and beat until light, creamy and almost white. Add the vanilla.
  7. To assemble, spread a little jam on the bases of half the biscuits. Pipe small swirls of the filling onto the bases of the remaining biscuits and sandwich pairs together. Lightly dust with icing sugar.

I got this recipe from the second series of  The Great British bake off and was really straight forward to follow, oh apart from not softening the butter sufficiently and burning out my motor in my Electric hand mixer……..oops!! But the good old Kenwood chef came to the rescue in the end x