Week One Hundred & Twenty Five – Mary Berry’s Coffee & Walnut Sponge Cake & American Apple & Apricot Cake

Week 125 and my ever shrinking Mary Berry Baking Bible suggested these recipes to me to take to a friends house for a b-b-q!

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I began with the coffee & walnut sponge …which ended up being a coffee and pecan sponge- I could swear I had walnuts in the store cupboard but they turned out to be pecans- oh well, still tasted nice and my twist on Mary’s recipe. Luckily this recipe was one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in together and mix, divide between two sandwich tins and bake.

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Once the sponges are cooked and cool, mix together the buttercream and sandwich the two sponges together and put some more on the top and decorate with some more nuts!

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The second recipe was Mary’s american apple & apricot cake. This recipe used raw baking apple and dried apricots in it , a deep cake tin and a vague baking time from Mary of “between an hour and an hour and a half”… I made one cake and baked it for about an hour, tested it, not done, gave it another ten minutes, it looked done and bounced back to the touch test so I took it out of the oven, only to go back to it about half an hour later and DISASTER! It had caved in and was cooked around the edges but raw in the middle! This hit the bin- no photos allowed and I began again.

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This time I allowed the whole cooking time – an hour & a half and this time it worked – YIPPEE!! I now had two cakes to take to the b-b-q.

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It was lovely catching up with our friends and the cakes went down well. The added bonus was that one of their dogs has just had puppies and they are currently three weeks old so puppy cuddles were an added bonus – and out two hairy hoolies went mad when I got home!

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The countdown is ticking on and is now……

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Week One Hundred & Twenty – Mary Berry’s Baked Apple Lemon Sponge & Wholemeal Ginger Cake

Week 120 – phew that’s a lot of baking weeks and I delved into Mary Berry‘s ever shrinking Baking Bible and found her wholemeal ginger cake and baked apple lemon sponge- another hot pudding.

Mary’s wholemeal ginger cake was a tray bake and after melting all the liquid ingredients together with the sugar, all Mary asks you to do is to then blend the liquid with the dry ingredients and bake. She does suggest you put the tray bake tin in a roasting tin and I am glad I did as mine over-spilled and would have made a mess of my oven! I set the timer and began to read what to do on the next recipe.

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After the pinger went, i took a lovely gingery brown sponge out of the oven and let it a cool a short while before turning it out onto a rack to finish cooling. Mary then suggests you use lemon juice and icing sugar to make the icing, I decided to go with the juice from the ginger jar and cut up some ginger to decorate it with. This ginger cake has a twist in that it has some marmalade in it and you can definitely taste the orange in this cake. This was yummy and a tray bake I would be happy to repeat.

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The second recipe was Mary’s baked apple lemon sponge. This is a very rich pudding involving oodles (technical term) of cream, apple slices and lemon curd.  The next step of the recipe is to make a sponge mixture which then goes on top of the apple/lemon mix.

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The pyrex dish then goes into the oven and bakes for about 40 minutes until the sponge is golden brown. I had to give mine another ten minutes or so as mine was still pale. Then Mary asks you to cover the dish with foil and bake for another 45 minutes or so.

I took a very lemony smelling dish out of the oven and it looked okay but smelled better. Again, like last week, it very quickly sank in the middle and didn’t look much but it tasted better than it looked. Again, I am undecided as to whether i would make this pudding again….

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The countdown is now ticking loudly and has reached the heady heights of….

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As the weather has got better, my thoughts have turned to my garden and trying to get it into some kind of shape for the summer for hubby , me and the dogs to enjoy. I spent most of the day on Saturday in the garden, cutting the grass, putting in edging stones and cementing them in and laying some pieces of turf left over from the Chief Tasters garden turfing . I didn’t think I had done that much but my back is telling me otherwise….If anyone has any good tips for dealing with a sore lower back/sciatica, please tell me your secrets.

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My poor mum is seriously struggling with a severe case of sciatica at the moment and as she is a few hours away, all I can do is support her by phone . I want to dedicate this post to my mum and hope she feels better soon x

get well soon mum

Week One Hundred & Fourteen – Mary Berry’s Tarte Tatin & Sticky Gingerbread

Week 114 and I am actually blogging about this bake the day I baked it ( I won’t mention that I have only just completed the blog for last week’s bake!)shh

I dipped into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and found a lovely pudding – her Tarte Tatin and the sticky gingerbread recipe. My kitchen was going to have some lovely aromas today! I began with the Sticky Gingerbread recipe.

Mary Berry's Sticky Gingerbread

Mary asks you to put the syrups, sugar and butter in a pan and melt while weighing the other ingredients into a large bowl and mixing. Then mix all the ingredients together and pour into a traybake tin that has been lined with grease proof paper . I used my trusty Lakeland traybake foil tin and lined it with paper and popped it in the oven for about 50 minutes. The smell made our mouths water and we were delighted when the timer pinged. The difficulty was keeping everyone away from it until it was cool, cut up into squares and photographed for the blog!

Kim's sticky gingerbread

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s Tarte Tatin. Mary asks you to put the butter and sugar in a pan and melt gently, our this into the bottom of a sandwich tin or springform tin and then line with the sliced cooking apples. Top with the pastry from her recipe and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. This is where I had a slight issue with Mary’s guide to times. I checked my tart tatin after 20 minutes, the pastry was still quite raw and the oven was up to temperature because I had already baked the gingerbread. I set the timer for another 10 minutes, then another, and another. Finally the pastry was golden and crisp rather than pale and soft. Mary then asks you to pour the juices from the tin into a small pan and heat until caramelized. Turn the tart onto a plate and pour the caramelized liquid over the tart and serve warm.

Kim's Tart Tatin

This was a lovely recipe to make and smelt gorgeous but looked messy. I looked at other tart tatin’s on Google images and was relieved to see that most looked like mine so I heaved a sigh of relief.

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Today is also Mother’s Day and I would like to wish my mum and my other mum a lovely day with all my love now and always.

mothers day

Week One Hundred & Seven-Mary Berry’s Nusskuchen & Jumbles

Week 107 and yes- I know- I am late again with the blog but today I am doing both last week’s and this weeks so will catch up so you get two for one today! I will get into the swing of this blogging again! I delved into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible looking for a birthday cake for my chief taster ( dad-in-law) and saw the Nusskuchen which is a german nut cake-perfect! The other recipe I found was Mary’s jumble biscuits.

Mary Berry's Nusskuchen

I started with the Nussskuchen cake which was quite a fiddly sponge. I had to roast the hazelnuts to remove the skins and then crush them to add to the sponge which had various stages to it. I roasted the hazelnuts and then followed Mary’s instructions to roll them together in a tea towel to remove the skins. What I hadn’t mentioned was that just before Christmas while walking my hairy hoolies on a street walk, my big lad suddenly ran across in front of me and I fell- the classic fall onto both knees and both hands and grazed my nose. I dented my ego , skinned my knees and had sore hands but picked my self up and finished the walk.

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I didn’t realise how much i had hurt myself until a week or two later when i was struggling to hold things in my right hand and it really hurt when  I rotated the wrist. I had it x-rayed but no break thank goodness but strained or pulled ligaments and advised to keep the thumb/wrist strapped to help it heal. This has proved to be good except for baking and removing the skins from the hazelnuts really hurt! Mary asks you to beat the sugar and butter together, beat in the egg yolks and stir in the crushed hazelnuts. Mary then asks you to dissolve a spoonful of coffee in some warm milk and add it to the mix, then fold in the flour. Mary then asks you to whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until light and fluffy then fold this into the other mix.  Put this mix into a 20cm tin and bake.

What Mary then says is that while this cake is baking, prepare the filling. Peel , core and slice some baking apples and put them in a pan with some apricot jam, lemon juice an rind and cook slowly until the apples are soft but retain their shape. Leave to cool. At this point, all was ok and I was on track. I took the sponge out of the oven and took it out of the tin. At this point I realised I had a problem. Mary asks you to cut the sponge in half. I want to know how I can do this with such a thin sponge so i did the only thing I could think of, I made another sponge- and yes, I  had to roast more hazelnuts and then remove their skins- OUCH!!! the things I do for love!

Kim's Nusskuchen sponges

 

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Finally I had 2 sponges, I added the apple and some cream to the middle and melted some chocolate for the topping with some chocolate buttons to make it a birthday cake.PHEW!

Kim's Nusskuchen cake

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s jumbles biscuits. This was an easy dough to make, one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Mary Berry's Jumbles

Mary then asks you to divide the dough into 32 pieces.  As my hand was sore, i divided mine into 16 and made my biscuits a little larger. Mary suggests making the biscuits into the shape of the letter S. I did play with the idea of making them into various initials but stuck with the S shapes as it was easiest on my poor hand.

Kim's jumbles

When you read the blog, it must seem like we lurch from one accident, incident or operation to the next- sometimes it does seem like that!

I

Week Fifty – Mary Berry’s French Apple Tart & Devonshire Apple Cake

Week fifty -woo hoo I have nearly completed one year of this challenge and I have decided where I can to double up on Mary Berry‘s recipes from her Baking Bible otherwise it would take me two and a half years just to finish her book!
Mary Berry's French Apple Tart

As you may have noticed from last week, I have an apple tree in my garden and due to the exceptional weather this year, I have an abundance of apples and despite giving loads away, I still have loads. The first recipe was Mary’s French apple tart which I started on the Friday when I made the pastry and the apple puree for the sauce and put together on Saturday.

I got to use my little ceramic blind baking beads for the first time in the challenge to bake the base of the tart before the filling went in. Next went in the apple puree that had taken ages to make because you have to cook the apples and then push it all through a sieve..zzzzz. such an exciting time! Finally I peeled, cored and sliced the top apple and arranged it like Mary’s tart and in it went for it’s final bake. I was pleased with the results.

Kim's French Apple Tart

the second recipe was Mary’s Devonshire apple cake which used up some more of my apples! Mary asks you to make a sponge mix and cut your apples into small pieces. I used a traybake tray from Lakeland ( my favourite shop) and poured half the sponge mix in, then added the apples and topped it with the rest of the sponge mix. Mary says that this cake doesn’t look particularly attractive but tastes nice warm with cream.

Mary Berry's Devonshire Apple Cake

I topped it with some sprinkled almonds as per the recipe and set the timer. This was a long bake and I set to  a little more baking ( not Mary’s recipes) while I waited. I set the bread machine off with a white crusty loaf, made some mini apple pies and some honeycomb.

The final result of the Devonshire cake was better than I expected. I thought it looked nice. I cut it in half, put half on the freezer and sent some slices of this and a slice of the tart to hubby’s parents who are also chief tasters!

Kim's Devonshire Apple Cake

I can’t wait for the Great British Bake Off this week, I am so enjoying this series and still support Frances in her creativity, although I think Ruby is shining through now too.

Week Forty Seven – Mary Berry’s Apple & Cinnamon Cake

Week Forty Seven and I chose Mary Berry‘s Apple & Cinnamon cake as the apples on my apple tree in the garden were ready and this is a perfect recipe for them.

Mary’s recipe asks you to add all the ingredients except the apple into a bowl and mix well for two minutes. Then add half the mixture into a cake tin, this is where my spring form cake tin came in handy, then spread the grated apple over the mixture, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with the other half of the cake mix. Decorate with some walnuts and sprinkle with some brown sugar. Into the oven it went for about an hour and a quarter.Mary Berry's Apple & Cinnamon Cake

 

The smell of apple and cinnamon was mouth watering and the cake smelt lovely when it came out but doesn’t look overly attractive. Hubby has had a slice already and says it’s lovely which is high praise from him!

Kim's Apple & Cinnamon Cake

I tuned into some of The Great British Bake Off tonight, managed to watch some of it and from what I saw, I know what I will be doing every Tuesday at 8pm for a while!

Week Forty Two – Mary Berry’s Apple Strudel

Week Forty Two and boy, has it been a hot weekend. I wanted something this week to make that didn’t involve slaving over a hot stove or bending too many times down to check cakes in an oven. Mary Berry’s Baking Bible didn’t fail me, the apple strudel fitted the bill perfectly.

Mary Berry's Apple Strudel

Best of all, Mary clearly states she buys her filo pastry so I did exactly that. Mary asks you to core, peel and roughly cut the apple, add the juice of half a lemon, Demerara sugar, sultanas and cinnamon. Mix it all together and spread it between the filo pastry sheets, brushing the sheets with melted butter and folding. I managed to make 6.

The dogs loved the off cuts of the cooking apple but remember, do not give them the core as apple pips are not good for dogs ( neither is any dried fruit) The finished strudels were brushed with the remaining butter and put in the pre heated oven for about 20 minutes. When they were done, Mary asks you to glaze them with some caster sugar melted in some water and then dust with icing sugar when they are cold.

Kim's Apple Strudel

After a long hot day, with the hairy hoolies in the garden with some water and a paddling pool, the strudels, still slightly warm went down very well indeed!

The Hairy Hoolies enjoying water fun in the garden