Hello everyone, I am back after a long *ahem* break! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or just enjoyed a few days off if you don’t celebrate) and had a fabulous New Years! I did stuff myself silly with plenty of roast chicken, yorkshire puds and plenty of potatoes – so I was in a bit of a food coma for about three days. Then it came to New Years. And I had the flu. Not only did I have the flu, I also managed to develop a lovely chest infection and tonsillitis along the way, so my New Year’s Eve consisted of being slumped over the doctor’s desk getting my germs everywhere as she prescribed me a lot of medication to take. So not a great start to the new year I must admit!
I visited my sister a few weeks back and she usually insists that I bake something (and I usually insist on not being forced to bake brownies for the umpteenth time) so we came to an agreement on a recipe she found on BBC Good Food for a raspberry and almond traybake.
250g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
200g butter, diced
280g golden granulated sugar
50g desiccated coconut
2 medium eggs
350-450g/12oz-1lb fresh or frozen raspberries
- I preheated my fan oven to 160°C (180°C/gas 4 for other ovens) and then greased an oblong cake tin with a little butter and then set that aside. I then added the flour, ground almonds, butter and sugar into the food processor and then blitzed until the butter was evenly distributed. (If you don’t have a food processor you can just rub the ingredients together with your hands).
- I took out 85g/3oz of the mixture and put it in a bowl and then stirred in the coconut. (I had to actually use my hands for this part as the mixture was quite tough to be able to stir in the coconut. I just simply rubs the ingredients together until they resembled breadcrumbs).
- I added the eggs to the remaining mixture in the food processor and gave it a quick whizz (again, if you don’t have a food processor you can just use a good ol’ wooden spoon to give it a mix).
- I took out the mixture from the food processor and then spread this in the base of the tin as evenly as possible before scattering half the raspberries on top, followed by the coconut mixture. I then baked it for about 45 minutes.
- I then added the remaining raspberries over the surface and sprinkled some golden granulated sugar for extra crunch and then baked for a further 15 minutes until they were firm to the touch and golden.
Once the traybake cooled, I cut it into small slices and served with tea and coffee after dinner – it was so nice that everyone had seconds (and thirds!). This is such a quick and simple recipe to try with really yummy results – so if you are ever stuck for quick dessert ideas you should give this one a go. I might try it again but using different fruits – I’m sure it will be equally delicious.
Until next time! x
Hello again! So I have decided to do another recipe from the YOU Magazine extra full of Mary Berry recipes as the last one went down well. This one is a scrumdiddlyumptious chocolate and ginger cake – perfect for this sort of weather with just a hint of spice mixed with indulgent chocolate. You can also find this recipe online if you search the recipe name (again, here it is on the Sainsbury’s website).
220g/7oz butter (room temperature and at least 70% fat) plus extra for greasing
50g/1¾ oz cocoa powder
4 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
175g/6oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
250g/9oz caster sugar
2 pieces of stem ginger (finely chopped)
Filling and Topping
225g/8oz icing sugar
115g/4oz butter (room temperature)
2 tbsp stem ginger syrup
1 tbsp full-fat or semi-skimmed milk
2 pieces of stem ginger (finely shredded)
*For this recipe make sure you have 2 loose-bottomed, round sandwich tins which are 20cm (8in) diameter and 4.5cm (1¾ in) deep*
- I started by lightly greasing the sandwich tins with a little butter and then lined the bottom of each with greaseproof paper.
- I prepared my ingredients by weighing them out and setting aside until I needed them. I made sure to pre-sift the flour and baking powder together. I also made sure to chop the ginger as finely as I possibly could, but you could also use a small food processor to do it quickly.
- I preheated the oven to 160°C for my fan oven (180°C/Gas4 for other ovens).
- In a large heatproof bowl, I sifted in the cocoa powder and then added 6 tbsp of boiling water and stirred until there were no lumps. I then added the milk and stirred until it became a smooth paste.
- I added the remaining cake ingredients and with my electric hand whisk, I mixed the ingredients for 1 -2 minutes (be careful not to over-mix the ingredients as the cake might not rise properly).
(You can see that I chopped the butter into small cubes – just to make life easier!)
- I divided the cake mixture between the cake tins and made sure to even out the tops before placing them in the oven and baked them for about 25 – 30 minutes.
(As you’re making a chocolate cake it can be a little harder to tell if the cake is cooked by just looking at it, so you can always check pressing your finger on the sponge gently to see if it feels firm and springs back or by inserting a skewer and see if it comes out clean.)
- I took the cakes out when they were done and left them to cool a little in their tins before turning them out gently and peeling off the paper and then turning them the right way round on a cooling rack.
(I actually should have left them in the tins a little longer as some of cake came off because it was still so warm and moist – but I picked up the runaway cake bits and set them aside.)
- I then started to make the filling and topping by sifting the icing sugar into a bowl and adding the butter, syrup and milk.
- I usually just mix using a wooden spoon, as using an electric whisk means that I end up covering the kitchen in icing sugar. It does involve a little more graft but I usually sit the bowl in my lap and watch TV while I mix – makes it easier!
- I transferred one of the cakes onto a serving dish and put half of the icing on top and smoothed it over evenly with a palette knife. Then I placed the second cake on top and added the the rest of the icing, and using the palette knife, I gave it a little texture.
- I then got the runaway cake bits from earlier and turned them into crumbs and sprinkled them around the edge of top of the cake before placing my shredded ginger on top for extra effect.
Look how purdy it looks!
I LOVE Mary Berry recipes, I think she has some great ones to try so you should give one of them a go! The other thing I love about her recipes is that she normally includes some great baking tips that make your life a little easier and that you can apply to other recipes. A slice of this cake goes great with a cup of tea after a hard day’s work and makes for a yummy treat this time of year as the ginger adds such a nice kick of spice and sweet in one.
What are you favourite chocolate and ginger recipes – are there any others that I should try? Leave your comments below and don’t forget to like if you enjoyed this post (and follow me via the links on the right as well).
Until next time! x
I have been meaning to do this post for a little while but I was a bit over-run with seeing my two little munchkin nephews. They are adorable little troublemakers!
My mum is a huge lover of apple-desserts so I thought I would go ahead and make this for her. The recipe is from a special YOU Magazine extra full of Mary Berry recipes, so I thought I would give it a go! You can also find this recipe online if you search the recipe name (here it is on the Sainsbury’s website).
225g/8oz butter (room temperature) plus extra for greasing
550g/1¼ lb cooking apples (such as Bramley)
Juice of ½ lemon
225g/8oz light muscovado sugar
300g/10oz self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 tbsp milk (full-fat or semi-skimmed)
icing sugar, to dust
- As my older sister, Farah was here I thought I would get her to help a little bit by asking her to start by greasing the tin with a little butter and to then line it with some greaseproof paper. After greasing the tin a little too much, I think she finally got there – doesn’t it look pretty.
(She told me I had to show a picture of her beautiful lining of the tin otherwise she would beat me up.)
- I started by coring the apples and chopping them into quarters and then slicing them finely. I then added them to a tub and added the lemon and made sure all the slices were covered.
(You may have noticed that I didn’t peel the apples first – I did actually forget to do this step, but in my defence I was distracted by small children running around everywhere…ahem.)
- I added the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, ½ a teaspoon of the cinnamon, the eggs and milk into a bowl and then whisked until all the ingredients were incorporated and the mixture was smooth.
- At this point, I preheated the oven to 160°C (as stated in the recipe for fan ovens).
- I spooned half of the mixture into the tin and using a spatula, I made sure to spread the mixture evenly. I then added half of the apple slices on top and then sprinkled over the remaining ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
- I then added the rest of the mixture to the tin, and very carefully levelled it out without disturbing the apples underneath. Finally I added the other half of the apple slices on top and made sure to gently press them into the surface.
- I put the tray into the heated oven and cooked it for about 25 – 35 minutes, or until it turns golden brown and the cake is firm but spongy to touch and the apples are soft. And as a last minute touch, I sprinkled some brown demerara sugar over the top, concentrating over the apple slices and put it back in the oven to caramelise a little.
- I left it in the tin for about 20 minutes until the cake had cooled down enough for me to take it out of the tin and place on a cooling rack.
This was a wonderfully easy and delicious recipe to make (compared to my usual recipes anyway) and it went down well with my family. It was only until I had cut the traybake into squares to serve, that Farah pointed out I hadn’t peeled the apples… OOPS! By the time we got to the dessert it had completely cooled down, so we warmed them a little in the microwave and served them with some Madagascan vanilla custard, ice cream or a little double cream depending on preference.
Have you ever tried some to bake any Mary Berry desserts, and if so, which ones have you tried? Don’t forget to comment below!
Until next time! x
So, I was actually deliberating on whether I was going to share my latest bit of baking with you lot because I was actually very disappointed by the results (as I am a bit of a perfectionist) but hey ho, here is my attempt at trying out a schichttorte (yes, that 20-layered German cake from The Great British Bake Off).
This recipe is from Paul Hollywood and can be found on the BBC – Food Website.
10 large eggs, separated
100g/3½oz unsalted butter
150g/5½oz caster sugar
1 large lemon, zest only
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150g/5½oz plain flour, sifted
65g/2¼oz cornflour, sifted
oil, for greasing
6 tbsp apricot jam
50g/1¾oz unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
75g/2½oz plain chocolate (36% cocoa solids), finely chopped
250g/9oz icing sugar
1 tbsp rum
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1-2 tbsp milk
- After I managed to separate all 10 eggs after a little bit of difficulty, I then whisked the egg yolks using a hand-held whisk on high speed until the mixture became pale, thick and creamy.
- In another bowl, I creamed together the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. I then added the zest of one lemon and 1 tsp of vanilla extract (but you can use vanilla bean paste if you have it) and mixed well.
- I added the whisked egg yolks and mixed well. I then added the flour and cornflour (which I sifted together beforehand) in installments to make it a little easier to mix.
- In yet another bowl, I whisked the egg whites until soft peaks formed.
- I stirred one-third of the egg whites into the batter to loosen it a little and then I gently folded the rest of the egg whites into the batter.
(I do have to apologise for the poor lighting in most of these pictures, it started to get dark outside when I started this and so struggled to get enough natural light in order to take nicer photos!)
- I preheated the grill to high and then greased a 20cm/8in round springform tin with a little oil and lined the base with greaseproof paper. I then spooned a little bit of the batter into the tin and spread it across the bottom evenly.
- I then placed the tin under the grill and kept a watchful eye over it for a couple of minutes until it was a light brown colour. (As you can see, it went slightly darker than I wanted it to as my high grill setting was just TOO high so I had to turn it down).
(At this point, I was knackered and boiling hot from standing in front of the grill 99% of the time and some of my timings started to slip a little – I will say however, that I had enough batter for 20 layers, HURRAH!).
- I kept this up over the next couple of hours and noting down which layer I was grilling by marking 1L, 2D, 3L, 4D etc. (L = Light; D = Dark of course!)
- After I finished grilling all my layers, I absolutely started to hate this cake but I left it for a little while to cool down before turning it out on to a wire rack.
(At this point I was wondering what the heck happened to my 20 layers).
- Nevertheless, I continued! I melted the apricot jam in a pan and then pushed it through a sieve (I actually think 6tbsp seemed a bit much so I lessened the amount). Using a pastry brush, I brushed the jam all over the top and sides of the cake.
- For the chocolate glaze, I began by melting the butter, golden syrup and vanilla extract in a pan (didn’t use any rum of course!).
- After the mixture incorporated together, I finely chopped the chocolate (I couldn’t find chocolate that was 36% cocoa solids and so went with 70%, but in hindsight, maybe I should have used milk chocolate!) and after the syrup mixture cooled a little I added the chocolate and stirred until it had melted. I then left the glaze to cool to a coating consistency.
- I made sure to place some parchment underneath the wire rack holding the cake before pouring the glaze over the cake.
- For the vanilla glaze, I started by sifting the icing sugar into the bowl to which I added the vanilla extract and milk (no rum) and began stirring until smooth. (For some reason I couldn’t get the glaze to thicken enough and in the end I was so hot, bothered and tired that I gave up and just used it.)
- I then went a bit nuts with the drizzle, and because it hadn’t thickened enough, it sort of spread a bit too much…
So, all in all I was quite disappointed by the end result, especially when I finally tasted it. IT WAS SO DRY. Oh, I wanted to cry, all that effort! No need to eat your heart out just yet Paul Hollywood! I think next time, I’ll stick to something a little less ambitious!
Have you ever tried something as ambitious as this cake and how did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time! x
As much as I love trying to bake new things, I still love going back to some old favourites. This particular favourite is something I have made since I was 18, living in a rickety house in the Mumbles in Swansea with my two cousins. The recipe is based on Antony Worrall Thompson’s Triple Chocolate Brownies found on BBC Good Food Website – Triple Chocolate Brownies.
275g/10oz plain (dark) chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
275g/10oz unsalted butter
85g/3oz milk chocolate
85g/3oz white chocolate
175g/6oz plain flour
1tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
1tsp vanilla essence
325g/12oz caster sugar
- I start by placing a bowl over a pan of water over the heat (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. I break up my dark chocolate into pieces (I used 300g of chocolate – why waste any!?) and add to the bowl to melt along with the butter which I chop up into small cubes.
- Once the chocolate and butter melted and I had stirred it through to combine, I removed the bowl from the heat (please be wary doing this, the bowl will be hot!) and added the sugar to the chocolate and stirred to combine.
- Next I lightly whisked the eggs in a jug and added the vanilla essence to the eggs.
- I then added the eggs to the mixture in installments and made sure to mix well after each addition (the mixture might start to separate whilst you’re doing this but don’t panic – it just involves a little elbow grease and continuous mixing!). After this I then lined a tin with greaseproof paper which I lightly greased with some butter and as I have a fan oven I preheated the oven to 150C (the original method says 170C).
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder and then add this to the mixture in installments. Gently fold the flour into the mixture well after each addition.
- Once all the flour has been folded into the mixture, chop up the white chocolate and milk chocolate roughly into different sized chunks (I used 100g of each – waste not want not!) and then add to the mixture and carefully fold them in. You can add nuts such as pecans like the recipe suggests but I tend to leave them out unless it’s requested.
- With the help of a spatula, I pour my mixture into the greased tin and then using the spatula I attempt to even out the mixture in the tin.
I the put the tin in the oven and leave it to bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. You want to slightly undercook the brownies so that when you take it out, the top is firm but the inside should feel soft. The residual heat from the tin will help gently cook the rest of the brownie without the use of the oven and give you a nice fudgy/gooey brownie.
- Leave the brownies aside while they cool and be sure not to cut into them straight away otherwise it will definitely fall apart.
- Serve with a good helping of vanilla ice cream or double cream – YUM.
What brownie recipe do you use? Does it have lots of chocolate in it or do you use healthy ingredients like avocado? Do you put in nuts? Let me know! As you can see, there is no photo of me enjoying a midnight brownie as I made these quite late!
Until next time! x