Week One Hundred & Twenty Three – Mary Berry’s Strawberry Dessert Cake & Crunchy Top Lemon Cake

Week 123, and my usual dip into Mary berry‘s Baking Bible proved troublesome. I decided on the recipes but divided the bake over the week so that we were not inundated with a mass of cakes that might end up stale and in the food recycling bin.

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I chose Mary’s strawberry dessert cake as my first bake . I followed Mary’s recipe carefully and mixed the sponge up carefully. I poured half the mixture into the tin and then sliced and put strawberries on to of this and then poured the rest of the mix on top and levelled the cake. I sprinkled flaked almonds on the top and then baked it for about 1 1/2 hours and then left it to cool a while before turning it out.

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Mary suggests that you serve it warm with cream and who am I to disappoint ?!

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The second recipe later in the week was Mary’s crunchy top lemon cake. Luckily this is one of Mary’s all in one cakes and so it was an easy bake to put together. I baked it in the oven and then once it was cooked, I poured the crunchy lemony sugary topping on and left it to cool.

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It seemed aged before it was cool enough to turn the cake out and the lemony smell was tantalising!Kim's crunchy top lemon cake

I have been following Mary’s new series ” Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites” , it has given me some great ideas for general cooking and some new twists on some old favourite recipes. I have also enjoyed watching her first fly fishing adventure.

The countdown continues and I have broken the 30 barrier now and it has reached…..

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Week One hundred & Twenty Two – Mary Berry’s Lavender Biscuits & Sugared Pretzels

Week 122 and the usual dip into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible is getting a little restrictive because I am on the “home straight” and have so many recipes already under my belt! After the glutony of the chocolate fest cakes, I chose two of the biscuit recipes that I had yet to do.

I started with the lavender biscuits. I had fancied doing these biscuits for a while but wanted to use fresh lavender. I had brought a small plant several weeks ago but it had not done much so one of my chief tasters kindly went and brought two plants with flowers just emerging so I could make these biscuits and I have some extra plants for the garden to boot! I followed Mary’s instructions carefully and mixed the butter and the lavender together and then added the other ingredients to form a smooth dough – this wasn’t as easy as it sounds!  Mary then asks you to divide the dough in to two halves, roll them out to form 2 sausage shapes, roll these in the sugar, wrap in baking parchment and chill until firm – this took quite a while. Once firmed, cut each roll of dough into about 10 slices and bake them.Mary Berry's Lavender Biscuits

After about 15-20 minutes, the biscuits were done. They looked unusual and the lavender had a subtle aroma. They tasted lovely too but I am not sure about “eating” lavender!

Kim's lavender biscuits

The second recipe was Mary’s Sugar Pretzels, I had no idea how these would turn out as I have lived a very sheltered life and never eaten a pretzel – sugared or otherwise.  It started with Mary’s instructions to rub the butter into the sugar- never my favourite past time! Mary then asks you to stir in the sugar and the egg and vanilla extract until the pastry comes together – and miraculously it did! I kneaded it lightly, wrapped it in cling film and  chilled it until firm. Mary then asks you to divide the dough into walnut sizes and roll out into a thin sausage and then twist into the “traditional ” pretzel shape- thankfully Mary had a picture to roughly guide me in the right direction. Bake for 8 minutes – or as Mary says until they barely change colour and then lift onto a cooling rack and dust thickly with icing sugar.

Mary Berry's Sugared Pretzels

I followed Mary’s instructions to the letter and I think they turned out okay, I thought they were a fairly bland biscuit and probably would not bake them again.

Kim's sugared pretzels

I dutifully divied the biscuits up so we had some and the chief tasters had a plate…unfortunately hubby said that the biscuits “just slid” off the plate, onto the patio when he went to deliver them and so they had quite a few less this week than they should have done- oh well, they do say my baking is expanding their waistlines so  a few less won’t harm them!

shrinking waistline

The countdown continues and I have now reached the landmark number…….

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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 & Nineteen – Mary Berry’s Coburg Buns & Hot lemon Souffle Pudding

After the gluttony of last week’s chocolate fest, I looked for something with absolutely no chocolate in when I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible. I found these unusual buns and a lemony pudding.

I began with the Coburg buns. These seem quite a plain little bun that I have never heard of, they have some all spice and ginger in them and some flaked almonds. Mary suggests you make them in mini brioche tins but can make them in a bun tin which is what I decided to do. The mix is fairly easy and Mary asks you to put some flaked almonds on the bottom of each bun tin, put the mixture on top and bake.

Mary Berry's Coburg Buns

The resulting buns rose beautifully and were a lovely golden colour . They came out of the bun tins quite easily and Mary then suggests you present them bottom up so the almond flakes can be seen. They are quite a plain bun and something I probably won’t bother with again but it’s another recipe to tick off the list.

Kim's Coburg Buns

The second recipe was a whole other story. It’s Mary’s hot lemon souffle pudding. It seemed quite a fiddly recipe. Mary asks you to beat a  small amount of butter with the sugar. Once smooth, beat in the egg yolks. Add a little flour, grated lemon zest and also the juice. Then add the milk.Mary reassures you that the mixture can look curdled. Luckily mine looked okay…so far so good… The next step was to whisk the egg whites until they reached the soft peak stage.Fold the whites into the lemony mixture and put into an ovenproof dish before placing the dish into a large roasting tin. Mary then asks you to fill the roasting tin with boiling water and place in the oven…CAREFULLY!  Mary says it should take around an hour in the oven. I checked it when the pinger went and it looked brown on top but didn’t look particularly appetizing. Mary says that this is a pudding she has successfully reheated.

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Mine hadn’t been out of the oven too long before it began to sink in the middle so I took my photo quickly and split it between us and the chief tasters. It was okay, not sure it was quite how Mary’s would have turned out but again, another recipe under my belt.

Kim's Hot Lemon Souffle Pudding

The countdown continues and with these two done and dusted, I now have…

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recipes left to go…..

Week One Hundred & Eighteen – Mary Berry’s Death By Chocolate Cake & Swiss Roll

Week 118 and when I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible this week I was looking for appropriate birthday cake for my other mum and one of my chief tasters. Death by Chocolate definitely seemed to fit the bill!

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This is a seriously chocolatey cake and the first step Mary asks you to do is grease and line 2 sandwich tins. The sponge mix has a lot of cocoa powder in it as well as golden syrup and vegetable oil. I followed the step by step instructions for mixing and poured the mix into the tins and put them in the oven. When the pinger went, I took out 2 beautiful chocolate sponges and put them on the airing racks to cool. Mary then asks you to cut each sponge in half so this cake will have 4 layers….gulp.

Next step was to tackle the icing. This is where the “death” bit comes in. Mary asks you to melt 450 g or 1 lb of dark chocolate! I have said before that I really am not a fan of dark chocolate but most of my tasters are so I compromised with 3/4 dark chocolate and 1/4 milk chocolate to try and take the bitterness of the dark chocolate away. Once the chocolate has been melted, Mary then asks you to add the 200g of butter to it and allow it to melt into the chocolate…… ( cholesterol comes to mind….lol) . Mary then asks you to sandwich each layer of the cake together with this icing and then stand the cake on a wire rack and use the rest of the icing over the top and sides of the cake! I gave it a liberal covering but still had some icing left over. Mary asks you to leave it to set then decorate with coarsely grated plain and white chocolate. I must admit I ” cheated” here by buying a pot of ready mixed chocolate curls!

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The cake went down well and I would like to take this opportunity again to wish my other mum and one of the chief tasters a happy birthday!

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The second recipe was Mary’s swiss roll recipe. I have tackled some of the swiss roll recipes before with varied success. The baking part isn’t the issue it’s the rolling!

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The sponge is a fatless sponge and easy to make. I whisked it all together and poured it into the prepared swiss roll tin. I put it in the oven for ten minutes and while it was baking put a sheet of greaseproof paper on the side with caster sugar sprinkled on it.  Soon enough the sponge was done and I tipped it onto the prepared paper. Mary asks you to allow to cool “slightly” and then spread with jam. Slight hiccup here, my jam had grown a lovely mold on it so I quickly made some buttercream and used this instead. I rolled the cake into the roll and again , it split to my dismay but not all the way through. I sprinkled it liberally with caster sugar and took the photograph!

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Well the countdown has now reached 38….. so near yet so far!

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Week One Hundred & Seventeen – Mary Berry’s Angel Sponge Cheesecake & Marmalade Cake

Week 117 and I now delve into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and flip back and forth through the pages looking for bakes I haven’t yet done which is getting smaller by the week!

I chose Mary’s Angel Sponge Cheesecake , I must say I haven’t really liked the baked cheesecakes that I have made and at least this one was not baked but is sounded different. Mary asks you to make a sponge first.  She asks you to beat the eggs and sugar together until it leaves a trail, then sift in the flour and fold in lightly. Put this mix in the prepared tin and bake.

Mary Berry's Angel Sponge Cheesecake

Once baked to a golden brown, allow to cool and then cut in half.

Kin's Angel Sponge

Please one half in the bottom of a deep cake tin, cut side up. Mary then asks you to make the cheesecake filling by beating the sugar and butter together, add the egg yolks , orange rind, orange juice and cheese and mix well. Whip the cream and fold into the cheese mixture, whisk the egg whites and fold them in- quite complicated! Spoon the mix into the tin onto the sponge and level, lay the other half of the sponge on top, cut side down. Cover with clingfilm and put in the fridge. Now Mary asks you to leave in the fridge for about 4 hours then remove from the tin and serve. Now after four hours, mine was nowhere near set and if I had tried to remove it, I would have had a puddle. At this point, I did what I usually do and looked at Rising to The Berry to see what Anneliese did and having read her blog, decided to leave mine in overnight. Even though I did this, when I turned mine out, it still sagged and when we tasted it, it was more like a mousse between two sponges.

Kim's Angel Sponge Cheesecake

The second recipe was Mary’s Marmalade Cake. I nicknamed it “Paddington Cake” as Paddington loved marmalade. I very carefully chopped washed and dried all the cherries this time and added them to all the other ingredients and mixed well, thankfully it was one of Mary’s all in one recipes.

Mary Berry's Marmalade Cake

I lined a loaf tin with one of my 99p Shop liners, poured the mix in and put it in the oven to bake. I did observe Mary’s warning that it you were heavy handed with the marmalade, the fruit would all sink to the bottom as it would slacken the mixture. Once baked, allow to cool and then remove from the tin and warm some marmalade and brush it over the top. I must say that despite the amount of marmalade in it and on top, it still tasted like a fruit cake, the orange didn’t come through too much.

Kim's Marmalade Cake

I had mentioned my blog might be a little late as indeed it is . This was because I was helping my chief tasters finish their garden by leveling the last bit ready for turfing. They brought a digger in and I had a go, it was great fun but harder than it looked. I was “chief skip leveller” – as in, when they dumped the earth into the skip, I made sure it was evenly distributed and the maximum space was used- with my trusty old Woolworths rake!

Kim's digger fun

I have now reached the heady countdown of…….forty

 

 

Mary’s Baking Bible has 19 sections to it and I have now completed all the recipes in the following sections:

“Cupcakes and Other Small Bakes”

” Traybakes and Flapjacks”

“Shortbreads and Bars”

“Baking for Children”

“Tarts and Pastries”

“Fruit Breads”

thumbs up

 

 

Week One Hundred & Sixteen – Mary Berry’s English Cherry Cake & Mississippi Mud Pie

Week 116 and strangely enough I find myself blogging about this bake on the same day that I actually tackled it! Wonders will never cease! I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and found these two recipes- her English cherry cake and Mississippi Mud pie.

I began with the Mississippi mud pie. It began with crushing digestive biscuits, combining with melted butter to create the base. I always find Mary is a bit stingy in this part so I doubled the amount of biscuits and butter and I felt it was just about enough. I pressed it into the tin and got on with the next step of the recipe.

Mary Berry's Mississippi Mud pie

Mary asks you to put the chocolate, butter and water into a pan and melt gently. In another bowl, whisk six eggs (!) with the single cream and dark sugar and add the chocolate mix when melted and cooled slightly. Whisk all together, pour onto the base and cook. One word of warning, if you fancy tackling this bake, if you are using a loose bottomed tin, then stand it on a baking tray as it may leak slightly. Once baked, Mary tells you to leave it in the tin until cool. It will recede from the edges and sink/settle slightly. Once cool, add some whipped cream to the top and serve.

Kims mississippi mud pi side view

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s English cherry cake. One of the first things Mary tells you is to quarter the cherries, wash and dry thoroughly. I did all of this and covered the cherries in a fine layer of flour.

Mary Berry's English Cherry Cake

Put all the other ingredients in a bowl andmix thoroughly, then fold in the cherries so hopefully they don’t all go to the bottom. Put the mix into a lined cake tin, I chose a square one rather than Mary’s recommendation of a circular one. Bake for the recommended time.

The cake came out well but I was disappointed to see that my cherries occupied the lower half of the cake rather than being distributed evenly- must try harder!

Kim's english cherry cake

The Easter weekend is coming up but I am going to be a little busy so the bake and the blog may be a little later than the usual weekend.

The countdown has now reached the heady heights of…

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