Week One Hundred & Thirty Five- Mary Berry’s Quick Boiled Fruit Cake & Hot Chocolate Souffles

Week 135 and the end is nearly in sight now…and the puppy is getting bigger…no excuses still, I now had the last few recipes marked with book marks and dipped with some sadness into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and came out with her quick boiled fruit cake and chocolate souffles. I was in awe of the souffles as I had watched them on the Great British Bake Off and it did fill me with dread….

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Anyhow, I began with the strangely names quick boiled fruit cake. The main stay of this recipe is condensed milk which you pour into a saucepan and add the butter, fruit and cherries. Mary asks you to heat slowly until the butter has melted and then simmer well for five minutes and then set aside.Measure out the dry ingredients, add the eggs and fruit mix and stir well and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 1/2 hours and allow to cool in the tin, then tip out. This cake was quite a contrast from the rich fruit cake and was quite sweet in comparison. I must say I loved this and would make it again.

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Now for the hot chocolate souffles. I prepared my ramekin dishes and then began melting the chocolate. I added the milk then removed this from the heat.

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In another pan, I melted some butter and stirred in the flour, cooked on a low heat for a short while and then stirred in the chocolate milk, brought it to the boil until thickened and then left it to cool. Finally I beat the egg yolks into the cooled mix, added the sugar, whisked the egg whites and folded this into the mix. Finally, I poured the mix between the souffle dishes and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes. I made a quick call to the chief tasters who were present with spoons at the ready when the souffles came out of the oven.

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All I can say is thank you to the Great British Bake off, I think watching the contestants go through it before me helped and they were rather tasty!

The countdown is getting scarily low….it’s now at the head heights of….

4

almost there

The puppy is ever growing and now joins the other hairy hoolie in greeting me when I bring the shopping back but he insists then on laying on all the bags! At the rate he is growing, I guess  I know have to say 1 & 3/4 hairy hoolies at the moment!

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Week One Hundred & Thirty Four – Mary Berry’s Gateau Moka Aux Amandes & Rich Fruit Cake

Week 134 and I make no excuses for the lateness of these blogs, just blame it on having a puppy in the house! Time just flies by and I have done nothing of substance! This dip into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible brought forth Mary’s gateau moka aux amandes and her rich fruit cake.

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I began with the gateau and read Mary’s recipe through….but obviously not well enough. This is a sponge mix where Mary asks you to whisk the eggs and sugar together until it is “thick enough to leave a trail” (big clue in the recipe there) and fold in the flour. Who only knows what my brain was thinking but I mixed away, folded in the flour, put the mix in the tin and put it in to bake, expecting to see a well raised sponge when the timer went…boy was I disappointed. It was plain to see that I hadn’t spent enough time on the whisking and it looked like a pancake.

failed sponge!

I carried on and made the creme au beurre moka and cut the sponge in half….covered it and decorated it. Hubby and I sampled it …took one mouthful each and…..

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condemned it to the food recycling bin! Oh well, chalk that one up to experience.

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The second recipe, Mary’s rich fruit cake began the night before when I measured all the fruit out and chopped the apricots and cherries and soaked the mix in brandy.

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The next  day I lined my tin carefully, and measured out the dry ingredients and the soaked fruit and mixed it all together and poured it into the tin. Mary suggests you decorate the top with some blanched almonds and cherries and put it into bake. Hours later, the timer went ping and out came this beautiful cake. I let it cool in the tin and turned it out. Mary suggests then feeding the cake with  more alcohol but I thought it was rich enough. I left it in a tin for a few days and sent half to the chief tasters and “forgot” to mention the failed bake of this week!

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The countdown continues and there are now……6

bakes left.. This is a quick glimpse of the little pickle who is taking up most of my time…and yes he looks like butter wouldn’t melt..but remember, appearances can be deceptive…

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Week One Hundred & Thirty Three – Mary Berry’s American Chocolate Wedding Cake

Week 133 and this week I had to try and see if Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible would come up with a cracking recipe to suit the occasion. It was the Chief Tasters Golden Wedding Anniversary so I found the perfect recipe. Mary’s American Chocolate Wedding Cake.

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When you read this recipe, you realise this is a MONSTER of a recipe and if followed to the letter, the three tiered cake would feed over 100 people. Now I made a decision to scale this down to a realistic level. I chose the middle tier sized cake to make and split the mix between three sized tins to create the tiers. Even making this one mix, involved melting obscene amounts of chocolate ! I followed Mary’s recipe carefully and carefully separated the eggs and beat the yolks with one whole egg and the sugar, then whisked the egg whites until thick and light then added the melted chocolate and ground almonds and a taste of coffee. the mixture did not want to fold into together and it took a little while to wrestle this mix into shape! I then poured it into my tins and waited for them to bake.

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The sponges came out well and I left them to cool. I then melted yet more chocolate and butter for the covering and drenched each sponge in this, smoothed them as much as a I could with a palette knife and stacked them. I was fairly pleased with my miniature version of this enormous cake. i decorated mine with golden edible bits and gave it to the chief tasters as part of their anniversary present…as their main present is still ” in production” and yet to be dispatched. I would like to wish you both a very happy anniversary with much love x

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We enjoyed an amazing meal with them to help them celebrate.

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The 1 1/2 hairy hoolies seem to have settled into a relationship of sorts and he is such a character! He is certainly keeping us on our toes and we are certainly sleeping well at night…in exhaustion!

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The Countdown is now at the heady heights of ….

eight left to go

 

The recipes left to go are:

Mary’s Rich Fruit Cake, Quick Boiled Fruit Cake, Chocolate Mousse Cake, New Year Tipsy Cake, Gateau Saint Honore, Gateau Moka aux Amandes, hot chocolate souffles and….the “bin-gate” of the last Great British Bake Off- the BAKED ALASKA!!!!

Week One Hundred & Thirty Two – Mary Berry’s Walnut & Raisin Loaf & Cranberry & Apricot Fruit Cake

Week 132 and again apologies for the tardiness of the posting but losing our beloved hairy hoolie Bailey, dampened spirits and moral and a lot has happened since then…but more of that later. I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and surfaced after a brief browse with the last of the bread bakes, the walnut & raisin loaf and the cranberry& apricot fruit cake.

I began with the walnut & raisin loaf as this was going to take a while.I mixed together the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, water and yeast into a sticky dough and by hand too this time, back to traditional methods for this last yeast recipe. I kneaded it for a while and then put it in an oiled bowl and covered it and left it to rise. While this was doing it’s thing, I weighed out the walnuts  and began the tedious task of chopping them, then weighed out the raisins and when the dough had finished rising, I had to knock it back and add the raisins and walnuts and divide the mixture into two loaves. I placed them on a baking tray and covered them with a bag and left them for a final rise. I then sent them to the chief taster’s to bake as my other bake was in the oven for a long slow cook and these guys needed a hot quicker bake.

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The loaves arrived back hot out of the oven after about 25 minutes and finished their cooling here. I then sent one loaf back to the chief taster with half the other bake.

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The second recipe was the cranberry and apricot fruit loaf. Mary tells you at the beginning of the recipe that this cake is robust enough to pack for a picnic but could also make a great alternative to a christmas cake.  I had to begin by draining a large tin of pineapple , coarsely chopping it and drying it as much as possible which involved lots of kitchen roll. I then had to cut the apricots into pieces and chop the almonds. Finally I was ready to mix all the ingredients together and pour into a tin and level the top. I didn’t decorate the top with whole blanched almonds as suggested- I forgot!!!

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The cake baked for about 2 1/2 hours and finally was ready, I left it cool as Mary suggested before turning it out. I got great compliments from the chief tasters who thought it made a really tasty fruit cake and dropped big hints about it being nice as a christmas cake!

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I have still been following the Great British Bake Off but with a heavier heart than before , and I have been keeping a close eye on Paul, Tamal and Nadiya and would be happy to see them in the top three.

As you may have read in my last blog, we were devastated to lose our beloved Bailey so quickly. The poem, The Rainbow Bridge gives us both comfort and hope that we will be reunited with all our dogs when it’s our time.

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The day after we lost Bailey, we went to see our friends who had bred both our dogs to tell them about Bailey as they have his mum and his brother. We couldn’t tell them on the phone and there were lots of hugs, tears and tea. It’s funny how things happen. Three months before, they had another litter of puppies that we enjoyed spending time with and helping to socialise and then we waved them off to their new homes. The day we lost Bailey, they had contact from one of the new owners asking them to take back one of the puppies as they were struggling to cope with him. Our friends knew we were still raw and heartbroken about our Bailey but asked if we would consider having him. We went away and spoke lots about it. Our other hoolie was very down and quiet as she had never been an only dog and was missing him lots…as were we. We came to the decision that when they collected the puppy, that they should bring him back via us to see how the two of them got on….and he never left. We now have 1 1/2 hairy hoolies ! He is not a replacement for Bailey- Bailey can never be replaced, he will always hold a special place in our lives. However, the new young hoolie is helping with the heartache as he needs a lot of attention. He is learning about my baking challenge already and has learned that the oven gloves are fair game!

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The count down continues as is now….9 recipes left to bake!

Week One Hundred & Twenty Seven – Mary Berry’s Continental Cheesecake & Frosted Walnut Layer Cake

Week 127 and the old Mary Berry Baking Bible is now looking well used and “lived in” and there are few recipes left to choose from but I delved in with a bit more vigor than last week and came out with the last cheesecake recipe from that section and a frosted walnut layer cake.

Mary Berry's continental cheesecake

I began with the cheesecake as this a cooked cheesecake which involves several stages. I made the base first and I know Mary is quite lean on the biscuit and butter for her cheesecakes so I doubled the biscuit and butter amounts and melted the butter while crushing the biscuit for the base. I thought this gave a nice base to the cheescake with no gaps or holes. I put it in the fridge to set. Once it was set, I then set off to make the filling. This involved enormous amounts of ricotta cheese, with butter , sugar, flour, lemon and egg yolks all whisked together. Then fold in whipped cream and whisked egg whites and pour onto the biscuit base and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for a further hour. Finally remove the cheesecake from the tin and decorate with cream and summer fruits.

Kim's continental cheesecake

The recipe actually called for cooking some redcurrants, blackcurrants and blackberries in 2 tablespoons of water and sweeten to taste and then blend some arrowroot with some cold water and add the fruit and allow to thicken. I chose to keep mine simple with cream, strawberries and raspberries. We haven’t been overly keen on baked fruit cakes but this one was quite nice and would be nice possibly to do again.

Mary Berry's walnut layer cake

The second recipe was the frosted walnut layer cake. The initial sponge cake was one of Mary’s easy throw everything in a bowl and mix cakes – one of my favourites! Pour into the sandwich tins and bake. Once cooled prepare the frosting. This is where is got a little more complex!  Mary asks you to put all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and whisk over a pan of hot water – FOR 10-12 MINUTES!! My poor hand mixer was definately pushed to it’s limits of endurance, as was my wrist! Once the mix forms little peaks, sandwich the layers together with the frosting and then cover the top and sides with it, putting little peaks on the top and decorate with walnuts. Mary tells you to work quickly as the icing sets rapidly.

Kim's walnut layer cake

Leave the cake to set in a cool place and enjoy! This was a yummy cake and definately one I would make again.

The countdown has now reached another milestone now …… so near and yet……

20

Week One Hundred & Twenty Six – Mary Berry’s Boozy Fruit Cake & Sponge Christening Cake

Week 126 and my usual dive into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible saw me surface with these two recipes. A boozy fruitcake and a sponge christening cake. I am so close to finishing this challenge but found I have hit the “proverbial wall” in terms of flagging so near the finish! I gave myself a verbal “kick” and dug out the bowls, mixer and ingredients and off I
set.

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finishing line

The boozy fruitcake was an interesting recipe. I had to weigh out all the fruits and add them to the butter, syrup, milk & nuts and heat gently until the better melts. I realised to my dismay that I had run out of golden syrup so I substituted maple syrup which I think gave this cake a tasty twist. Meanwhile weigh out the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly, pour into the prepared tin and bake.

Mary Berry's boozy fruit cake

Once the timer had pinged, the cake was done, I removed it and when it was cool, I had the fun job of adding some alcohol to the cake. My alcohol of choice was some dark rum and then the cake was wrapped in parchment and put in a tin for a few days. When it was time to eat it, it was lovely and moist.

Kim's boozy fruit cake

The second cake was Mary’s sponge christening cake. I didn’t know anyone who was being christened so this became a father’s day cake for the chief taster.

Mary Berry's sponge christening cake

This was an unusual recipe to do for a sponge.  Mary asks you to melt the butter- so far, not unusual, then measure the eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk over hot water until it is pale and creamy and leaves a trail then remove from the heat and continue to whisk until cold. This was unusual and I was a little afraid that my trusty hand mixer would burn out but it managed it-just! That isn’t the end by any means- next sieve the flours into a bowl, fold half the flour into the egg mixture, then pour half the melted butter around the edge-(getting weirder). Then repeat the other half of the flour and then the butter again- this is just strange now! Finally pour into the tin and bake.The cake rose beautifully and then when cool, Mary asks you you to cut the cake in half and sandwich with a lemon cream and put this over the top and sides then cover the cake in icing and decorate.This is the way I chose to decorate it and gave it to the chief taster on father’s day.

Kim's sponge fathers day cake

Father’s day is always a bittersweet day for me since I lost my Dad on Father’s Day. This photo is from 2005, the last Father’s Day I had with my Dad before we lost him.

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Oh and the countdown……

22

Week One Hundred & Twenty Four – Mary Berry’s Lemon Griestorte & Petits Fours Aux Amandes

Week 124 and my Mary Berry Baking Bible is shrinking rapidly in terms of what recipes are left to bake! I dived into it and surfaced clutching her lemon griestorte and the petits fours aux amandes.

I began with the lemon griestorte. Mary tells you that it’s made with semolina and ground almonds instead of flour and it has a light but short texture- whatever that means!! I separated the three eggs that the recipe asks for and put the yolks and the sugar in one bowl and whisked them together, then added the lemon juice and finally the lemon rind, semolina and ground almonds. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the mixture and pour into the tin . Pop in the oven for 35 minutes and then once golden brown, allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and turn out. Once cool, cut the cake in half.Mary Berry's lemon gristorte

Whisk the cream until it holds its shape and fold in the lemon curd and sandwich the cake together with it and dust the top with icing sugar. Try to use a good quality lemon curd to give it that lovely lemon tang! I usually shop at my local Morrisons and brought their Signature Sicilian Lemon curd which is really yummy!

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The second recipe was Mary’s petits fours aux amandes. Mary says they make very special presents, I wasn’t that keen but another recipe under my belt.

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The recipe was simple enough, I had to whisk some egg whites, fold in ground almonds, sugar and almond extract and put the mix into a piping bag. Pipe rosettes onto a baking tray and top with a small piece of cherry and bake. When golden, mix some sugar and milk together and lightly brush over the petits fours.

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The countdown continues and has now reached….

26

 

One of the chief tasters brought me a little gift recently, some beautiful measuring spoons. Mine are the usual plastic ones but these are rather special, so thank you and much love xIMG_0588 IMG_0589