Thursday, 23 October 2014

Coconut, cranberry & cream cheese bundt

I do love a bundt cake. But I only have on every boring round bundt tin. Nordicware have some amazing bundt tins, I think I may have to treat myself to one soon!

I'm off to a soirée tomorrow evening and have said I'll bring cake. Any excuse to bake!

I came across this recipe the other day by one of my faves: Jo Wheatley.

It's not been tasted yet so can't comment on that but it does smell delicious and I'm hoping that the surprise middle will add a different dimension to this cake.

270g butter/margarine
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
270g self raising flour
100ml double cream
100g dessicated coconut
100g dried cranberries

200g full fat cream cheese
3 tbsp caster sugar
30g dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 170/150 fan.

Mix the butter/margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat the eggs in well, one at a time. Sift in the flour and mix then add in the cream and mix. Finally beat in the coconut and cranberries.

Half fill a well greased bundt tin and mix together the cream cheese, caster sugar and dessicated coconut. The original recipe states that you roll these ingredients together into a sausage and put into the bundt tin, but no way that was possible! It was just too runny despite the fact I used the best cream cheese so I mixed together and dolloped it in a circle like this in the middle of the batter.

Then cover with the rest of the cake batter so it encircles the cream cheese and bake for 45 minutes until the cake is cooked through.

Leave to cool in the turn then turn out and eat!

Original Recipe:

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Princess cake / doll cake

I'm volunteering again this week for Free Cakes for Kids Sheffield and this time it's a cake for a girl turning 6. The brief: she likes princesses, pink and yellow.

I chose a design I liked and needed to find a plastic crown but I couldn't find one anywhere. The shops are all stocked up for Halloween and Christmas but then I came across a cheap doll and decided to have a go at a cake I've always wanted to make : the doll cake. I'm sure you've seen plenty of these around but basically the cake element is the doll's dress with a toy doll sitting in the middle

I found an amazing tutorial on good old google. This is one of the best tutorials I've ever seen so if you fancy a bash at a cake like this, then definitely use this

I followed most of the tutorial but used my own cake recipe. I used an 8oz/8oz/8/oz/4egg recipe to fill a 7" cake tin and my Pyrex bowl. The cake took 20 minutes but because of the depth of the Pyrex bowl, that cake took about 50 minutes. After about 40 minutes I put some foil over the bowl to stop the cake browning too much.

Like in the tutorial, I split the cakes by hand and filled with pink buttercream. I didn't take many photos but here's on the assembled cake with it's crumb coat 

I also wrapped the doll in cling film like in the tutorial before putting it in the middle of the cake then piped the dress on, piping it all the way round the middle of the doll.

I added a Happy Birthday in pink fondant to the cake board and she was finished. It was so lovely to do a really girly cake. With two boys, I don't get much chance! I really hope Lexi has an amazing birthday. I was told today that it's her first ever birthday party and she's not long been back with her mother. Happy Birthday Lexi!

Sunday, 5 October 2014


The GBBO technical was baklava this week and when my friend asked me if I could make it, I wasn't likely to say no, even though I haven't actually ever made it. But today was the Free Cakes for Kids meeting so what better timing than to make some for the meeting and share out with friends and family first.

There's a fair few recipes floating around but in essence it's just filo and nuts. In the end I made my own recipe up combining the ideas of several different recipes. 

1 packet of filo pastry (250g)
300g bag whole pistachios or 150g shelled pistachios 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter

200ml water
200g caster sugar
100g honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp orange extract 

Makes 12 pieces

Preheat oven to 180/160 fan. 

Whizz up the pistachios with the cinnamon until coarsley ground. 

Melt the butter and using a pastry brush, paint a 15 x 25cm tin/ovenproof dish. Then take the filo sheets and cut in half, folding each half in half again and put into the dish one piece at a time, slathering each piece in butter as you build up the layers. Once you've used half of the sheets, tip the pistachios in and level out then continue to layer up the filo sheets with butter slicking each layer and make sure the top layer has butter on it too. 

You then need to cut the baklava before it bakes. I think tradition dictates diamonds but I just did squares (makes life much easier). Bake in the oven for an hour turning the oven down to 160/140 fan if it's browning to quickly.

In the meantime make the syrup. Add the water, sugar, honey, cinnamon and orange extract* to the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Pour into a jug and put in the fridge to cool.

*recipes tend to use rose water, orange blossom water or both. I bought what I thought was orange blossom water but turned out to be orange extract 

Once the baklava are cooked, take out of the oven and pour over the syrup. Leave to cool before demolishing!

Mine seemed to go down really well at the meeting. There are times I really do wish I could taste my baking, and this is definitely one of those times :(

Not the prettiest photos, I must learn to take some decent ones for my blog :)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Macmillan 2014

Very nervous to host this year as I got a bit stressed after last year's coffee morning. Plus there's always pressure to raise as much as in previous years. I raised £248 in 2012 and £244 in 2013.

But do you know what? I absolutely loved being back in the kitchen and doing what I love - baking! September was a month for decorated cakes, which is fun, but I'm a baker at heart and I love love love trying out different recipes. And a Macmillan coffee morning means I can bake to my heart's content.

The big issue lies in what to bake as I have literally 100s of recipes I want to bake. After several weeks (yes weeks!) I whittled it down to 12 bakes.

So here's my 2014 selection:

1. Chocolate caramel shortbread. Amazing! I love this recipe. I struggle with the caramel in these recipes and it always ends up oozing out but this one holds brilliantly (and tastes lush too). The recipe is by former GBBO contestant Ruth Clemens and I will 100% be making this again


2. Chilli chocolate cookies. I have to fess I did overcook the first batch. I wasn't sure going on colour so did end up trying a bite (yes they were overcooked so went in the bin and a fresh batch was made), but they had a lovely warmth to them. I think people were hesitant to try, or because of their position on the table but they were the last to go. The recipe is by Jo Wheatley 

3. Dulce and banana cake. Not being a fan of bananas, I had to still include a fruity cake and this one sounded nice if you like bananas. Some of my bananas slipped about but it looks fairly pretty don't you think lol?! Recipe by Lorraine Pascale

4. Lemon and lime Poppy seed loaf. You may know I'm a huge fan of loaf cakes. They're so easy!!! Another Lorraine Pascale recipe, apparently this was a hit with both my parents

5. Blueberry crumble loaf. In this situation one loaf is never enough! So more fruitiness was required and I baked this little lovely by Joanne Wheatley 

6. Carrot cake. So I totally messed up the frosting (cream cheese frosting is a bugger anyway) so I served it at the side lol. But this cake turned out super super moist. Yet another Jo Wheatley recipe.

7.  Chocolate and salted caramel bundt cake. Shhh but I have a chunk of this stashed in my freezer to try post diet. Can't wait to try it. Note to self: when Ruth Clemens says sift the icing sugar for the frosting, sift the bloody icing sugar. Woops, anyway, this one went down well!

8. Peanut butter squares. Oh I wish wish wish I could have had a piece or ten of these. Mmmmmm I love peanut butter. These will definitely be made again. Another Lorraine Pascale recipe.

9. Cinnamon roll cake. Not actually a cake, it's just a giant cinnamon roll which you slice like a cake. From an American website I use called Sally Loves Baking. Loved making this, so much fun
Ready to prove
After proving, before baking

10. Mint cupcakes. 11. Mocha cupcakes

My own recipes. And I used baking cups for the first time which I love and will def use again. Oh and I made my own chocolate buttons for the mocha cupcakes 

12. Chocolate cardamom and strawberry Swiss roll.
Erm, I have no photo. And no one saw it. And no one tried it! Because numpty here forgot to take it out of the freezer where I had placed it to cool for 5 minutes while I answered the door. Oops!!! It had a home the next day though so didn't get wasted. Just gutted I'd made it fresh that morning and it was my most impressive looking cake.

So after all this baking, I was so pleased so many people came round to support me. And I raised a grand total of £310. 

I'm super super pleased with that and looking forward to 2015. If only someone could come and tidy up afterwards!!!!