Week Fifty Eight – Mary Berry’s Banoffee Pie & Banana Loaf

Week fifty eight and this week was quite unusual. I went to see my mum and family this weekend and took advantage of the fact that hubby wasn’t with me to bake 2 banana based recipes- you see I can’t bake these at home as hubby is allergic to bananas and I don’t want to risk him having a serious reaction for the sake of this challenge. Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible has a few banana recipes in it and I hoped to be able to adapt the recipes or swap the ingredients where possible but these 2 recipes would not be the same without bananas.

Mary Berry's Banoffee Pie

The first recipe was banoffee pie and I was always under the impression that the banana and toffee was mixed together but in Mary’s recipe, there is no banana in the toffee layer, just sliced into the cream on the topping. The base was ginger biscuits crushed and added to melted butter to make the base. Then Mary asks you to heat the butter sugar and TWO cans of condensed milk until it thickens. I think I didn’t spend long enough on this and although I thought it had thickened enough, when I chilled it, it still remained quite gloopy and didn’t cut cleanly. I topped it with slices of banana and covered it with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles. My “volunteer” tasters didn’t look overly keen with their scoop of sloppy pie but they did assure me that it tasted better than it looked!

Kim's Banoffee Pie

The second recipe was a banana loaf. I took a loaf tin liner with me. Mary’s recipe asks you to add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well, pour into the loaf tin and bake in the over for around an hour.

Mary Berry's Banana Loaf

When it was done, there was a lovely smell in the kitchen- one that my home will never have- of a scrummy banana loaf- and the smell of bananas was strong so I was pleased I chose to bake it at my mum’s. A few slices were eaten before I left and It seemed to go down well.

Kim's Banana Loaf

The evening was capped off with an invitation to a Halloween party- and my first I have to admit. I did have fun with choosing something to wear, I went as a vampire and found the most amazing fangs to wear! I found I got into character quite quickly!

Kim the Vamp!

I have also just finished watching the last Great British Bake Off master classes and some of Mary’s recipes that she did were one’s from her book and I was pleased to see that so far, I have managed fairly well, but am sad that there is no more GBBO until next year now……sigh…..

 

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 Five – Mary Berry’s Yorkshire Gingernuts

After the gluttony of the last few weeks, I needed a bake recipe that didn’t involve sponge cake or chocolate. Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible never fails to offer an answer and Mary’s Yorkshire Gingernuts fitted the bill nicely.

I had been considering missing a week this week, I think I had hit my “wall” as you hear runners say when they reach a certain distance. I had been feeling a little despondent and had even considered giving up the challenge but after giving myself a swift kick and talking to, the challenge goes on!

Mary Berry's Yorkshire Gingernuts recipes

Mary’s recipe asks you to melt the butter and the golden syrup in a pan and then add this to all the dry ingredients. I must admit I had checked my store cupboard for all the ingredients ahead of my bake but thought I had more ginger than I actually had. Mary’s recipe asked for a tablespoon of ginger…and when I opened my pot, I had at the most a teaspoon’s worth. I found myself, at 4:45pm on a Sunday afternoon wondering where I could get some ginger. Luckily for me, I found my local Co-Op was still open and had just what I needed! The bake was still on! I added the wet mix to the dry and brought it together into a dough. Mary says to roll little balls about the size of a walnut and that the mix will make about 50 biscuits…well my version of a walnut must be different to Mary’s but I still must have made about 35 biscuits or so.

Into the oven they went and I set the timer and sat and waited. Once the time was up, I had a look and they smelt lovely and gingery. They were a lovely golden colour too. I took them out of the oven and put them on a cooling rack and put the next batch in.

Kim's Yorkshire Gingernuts

Once they were cool enough, hubby and I shared one between us and put the rest in a tin. I have taken some to work and hubby will give some to his parents soon. I must say that after a day, they had that lovely “snap” on the outside when you bite into them and a softer middle. For a “filler” recipe, I must admit that I would happily make these again!

Week Thirty Eight – Mary Berry’s Pound Cake

Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible still has an awful lot of recipes that I have yet the pleasure of covering and this week I chose her Pound Cake. I love fruit cakes– my Nan’s speciality and my dad always had a slice or two so what better tribute for Father’s Day than a cake to celebrate his memory.

Mary Berry's Pound Cake

The recipe was one of Mary’s throw it all in a bowl and mix together so no fussing or faffing to do. I lined the cake tin and poured the mixture in. The recipe states to bake the cake for 2 1/4 hours but to cover the top of the cake with baking parchment after an hour. I needed to go food shopping so hubby was instructed after an hour to place the circle of parchment on top of the cake and set the timer for another 1 1/4 hours.

When I came back from food shopping, he had happily completed his task and soon enough the timer was pinging. I checked the middle of the cake with a skewer and it came out clean so the cake was done. I left it to cool in the cake tin for half an hour as Mary suggests before tipping it onto the cooling rack and removing the parchment from it. It smelt lovely and brought back a host of memories of Nan’s kitchen when I was a little girl.

After it had cooled, I sliced into it- have to quality control the taste testing and it was lovely , light and moist. Dad, you would have loved it, Nan you would be proud.

Kim's Pound Cake

My other dad got half the cake today for Father’s Day and within minutes, he was on the phone saying how lovely it was. Happy Father’s Day to both of you.

My Dad

Week Thirty Five – Mary Berry’s Wimbledon Cake

Week thirty five and I had a good reason to make a cake this week. It was my niece‘s birthday recently and we were going down to stay with family for a few days. I sent a text to my niece to ask if she wanted a sponge and strawberry kind of cake or a chocolate kind of cake. To my surprise, she chose the sponge and strawberry kind of cake and Mary Berry‘s Wimbledon Cake fitted the bill.

Mary Berry's Wimbeldon Cake

This recipe is quite different in that the sponge mix does not use butter or the usual flour but separated eggs , both used in various stages and semolina. The sponge mix doesn’t rise much so the sponges look quite flat when they come out of the tin and as I used my mum’s fan assisted oven, they were a little browner than I would have liked them.

Kim's Wimbledon Sponges

Any way, I got the sponges baked and cooled and then whipped some cream. I then filled the centre with cream and chopped strawberries, I didn’t add the passion fruit as none of my family are keen on that. I decorate the top with half strawberry pieces and dusted it with icing sugar.

Kim's Wimbledon Cake

It was rather tasty and my niece liked it so much she had 2 pieces! The only thing I would say is that I would probably use a Victoria sponge recipe to make the sponge next time.  I would like to dedicate this blog to my niece Emily in celebration of her 16th birthday, with love x.

Week Twenty Nine – Mary Berry’s Divine Chocolate Birthday Cake

Greetings! Week twenty nine , just a little late in happening because hubby, the hairy hoolies and I managed to get away last week in our caravan for a long awaited chill out time and we stayed on a lovely site called Fairlight Woods. A beautiful small site with woods all around and doggy heaven! We were only 2 miles from the beach so I was happy too- I find the beach and the waves crashing onto the shore soooo relaxing and the dogs loved it too.

the hairy hoolies on Winchelsea Beach April 2013

Anyhow, back to the bake….as it was my other mum’s birthday, I chose the divine chocolate birthday cake recipe. I got all the ingredients and set off, thinking it would be just another twist on the usual sponge mix. How wrong I was. Mary asks for 5 eggs, 4 of them separated into yolk and white. You put the 4 yolks, a whole egg and the caster sugar in a bowl and whisk until thick and fluffy…..with me so far? Then melt the huge amounts of dark chocolate , add a spoon of hot water with a spoon of coffee granules, allow to cool slightly and add to the egg yolk mix with some ground almonds…..getting interesting isn’t it…….not a jot of flour in sight…..then whisk the egg whites until firm but not dry- an interesting phrase Mary! Then fold this into the mix and pour into the lined cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean , allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out on to the rack to cool. I can honestly say this is the most peculiar recipe I have followed to date and wondered quite what would come out at the other end- I still had time to do a supermarket run to get a birthday cake if it was a disaster!

I must say, it didn’t look too bad when it came out and when I got it out of the tin, it retained it’s shape and had a lovely chocolatey aroma.

Kim's chocolate cake fresh out the oven

The icing was a breeze in comparison, oodles more dark chocolate ( not my favourite- so I resisted a nibble!) melted, with butter added, allow  to cool to get the consistancy and then cover the cake in it and allow to set. Decorate if you like. I had some pretty icing roses I added to it.

Kim's divine chocolate birthday cake

I took the cake to the birthday takeaway with some sparkler candles- I put five on the cake, and they were so difficult to light,then burned so quickly, we laughed so much just trying to get them done and “Happy Birthday” sung!

sparkler candlesHappy birthday!