Week Ninety Nine – Mary Berry’s Orange Drop Scones & American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Week 99 – wow it’s almost 100 blogs for this Mary Berry challenge and I am still a way to go yet- I take my hat off to Anneliese who completed her “Rising to the Berry” challenge that inspired me in just 18 months! When I begin to flag or get a bit despondent, I read the original article about her and I remember what inspired me to start this path.

Any how, on this week’s dip into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, I found the orange drop scones and the American chocolate ripple cheesecake. I started at the weekend with the orange drop scones which were a breeze to make. Mary’s recipe for these is easy to follow and mix and I halved the recipe as this was just going to be brunch for hubby and I.

Mary Berry's Orange Drop Scones

 

I heated my ceramic frying pan and poured spoons of the mixture in, about three at a time. I gave each one a few minutes and flipped them over. You could smell the orange in them as they were cooking. Soon enough, Hubby and I had 5 or 6 each in the middle of a plate and we enjoyed them with some butter and maple syrup- yum!

Kim's orange drop scones

The second recipe I chose was the American chocolate ripple cheesecake which is a baked cheesecake. The recipe is a staged recipe in that you begin by putting some dark chocolate digestives in a bag and crush them, melt some butter, add the crushed digestives, mix well and press into the base of a loose bottomed tin. I always think Mary skimps on this part so as usual I topped up the base with some more crushed biscuit and butter mix. I then put this in the fridge to set.

Mary Berry's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

Mary then asks you to beat the cheese mix until soft and melt the chocolate. Put half of the cheesecake mix in blobs on the cheesecake base and add the chocolate to the other half and mix well. Add this to the base in between the white mix and then use a spoon to swirl it around so it has a rippled effect. Bake as per the recipe and don’t worry that the cheese cake cracks when it cools , Mary warns you about this. Keep the cheesecake in the fridge . It is very rich and you will only want a small slice but it is best eaten as fresh as possible.

Kim's American Chocolate Ripple Cheesecake

 

Week Ninety Eight- Mary Berry’s Carrot & Orange Loaf & Dark Indulgent Chocolate & Walnut Brownies

Week ninety eight here already and I delved with a little more enthusiasm into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and found these two recipes which inspired me. I chose Mary’s carrot & orange loaf and dark indulgent chocolate & walnut brownies. I began with the brownies with a little twist- hubby who doesn’t like walnuts asked if i could either leave out the walnuts or substitute them for pistachios and I chose to substitute the walnuts for pistachios! Mary asks you to melt a huge amount of dark chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water. While that is melting, add the other ingredients to a bowl and mix.

Mary Berry's dark indulgent chocolate & walnut brownies

When the chocolate and butter have melted, pour this into the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a lined tray bake tin and bake for about 45 minutes then test with a skewer. When cooked, allow to cool in the tin and then cut into squares. The brownies smelled mouthwateringly delicious and the substituted pistachios were a lovely addition.

Kim's dark indulgent chocolate brownies

The second recipe was an all in one recipe and easy to do. The only issue I had was that Mary says to add carrots to this mix but doesn’t actually say grate them but I figured how else would they be added?!

Mary Berry's carrot & orange loaf

I poured the mix into a liner in a loaf tin and into the oven it went for about an hour. After an hour, removed it briefly, decorate the top with thinly sliced oranges and brush liberally with clear honey and return to the oven for the final 15 minutes. Allow to cool then remove from the tin. Mary suggests keeping this loaf in the fridge wrapped in foil and it is lovely with a small amount of butter and a cuppa!

Kim's carrot & orange loaf

I have been  missing the great British Bake Off and have been watching the master classes where I can fit them in . With the nights drawing in and the clocks changing this weekend, my evenings of coming home and taking the hairy hoolies for a run in the park will be restricted to the weekends and my exercise of street walking with them steps up a gear! There are some new series that look quite interesting and I have seen an advert for “I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of here” which is something I love to watch each year- I am hoping that I will know at least some of the celebrities unlike Celebrity Big Brother where I didn’t know anyone! If that’s the case, I guess for the first year in a long time, I won’t be tuning in!

Week Ninety Four – Mary Berry’s Chocolate Swiss Roll & Dobaz Torte

Week ninety four and my bake was done in two parts this week. I delved with glee into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and found the chocolate swiss roll which I made at the weekend and then the Great British Bake Off inspired me to try May’s dobaz torte….

Firstly the chocolate swiss roll, I used my new all singing all dancing stand mixer to take up the strain of the mix and the only effort I had was to melt the chocolate over a bowl of hot water! I lined a swiss roll tin and poured the mix in. Into the oven it went and I set the timer, put the kettle on, made a cup of tea and put out a sheet of grease proof paper sprinkle with caster sugar ready for the baked sponge. Meanwhile, I read the next steps and whipped the cream ready for the next step. The timer pinged and I got the sponge out, tipped it carefully out onto the sugar coated paper and carefully peeled the lining paper off. Finally I rolled the sponge into a roll with the grease proof paper rolled up with it and left this to cool.

Mary Berry's Chocolate Swiss Roll

Finally I was able to warm thejam through- Mary suggests blackcurrant jam but I found a lovely conserve by Bonne Maman – berries and cherries conserve which was so nice with the chocolate sponge and cream. I unrolled the sponge, spread the jam and cream in it, rolled it back up and cut it in half so that the chief tasters would get their part.

Kim's Chocolate Swiss Roll

The second bake I made midweek on a day off, while having a new carpet laid in the lounge. It all sounded so easy, go to shop, order carpet, ensure room is empty…hold on, where do we put all the furniture-borrow groundsheets from chief taster, move most furniture into the garage and place on groundsheets, take up old carpet and underlay and notice that the paintwork and walls all need wiping. Spend the baking day wiping paintwork down and waiting for the call from the fitters. I read Mary’s recipe which says to mark circles on grease proof paper, make the cake mix and spread onto the circles and bake in batches.

 

Mary Berry's Dobaz Torte

This was not too difficult and I soon had 6 weirdly flat sponge circles done. Carpet fitters arrived. Next step, make butter cream- use stand mixer to soften and mix butter. Meanwhile over a pan of hot water mix the eggs and sugar with an electric hand whisk while the carpet fitters go back to the warehouse to get the right underlay! Keep whisking the mix while walking to the lounge window to ensure the fitters aren’t back yet as the mixers are noisy and I can’t hear the door bell. Finally add this mix to the butter and melt chocolate over the pan of hot water and add to the butter cream. Mix again.

Dobaz Torte sponge mix

Carpet fitters arrive- ( They make me feel really old!) and I read Mary’s instructions about making the caramel. I add the water and the sugar together in a pan and heat gently then allow to boil. When it changed colour, I poured some over one of the sponge layers and the rest on a sheet of grease proof paper. Carpet fitters seem to lay underlay and carpet super quick and I leave the cake to put together later. Vacuum lounge and begin to put room back together again- fail dismally and end up with the essentials for the night- TV and sofa!

Take a few hours off work the next day, put the cake together- sandwich the 5 sponge layers with butter cream, spread butter cream around the sides and roll in the caramel that you are supposed to crush with a rolling pin from the day before- slight problem, caramel too sticky, won’t crush. Hubby makes a batch, sets well but tastes burnt so plan C- grated chocolate. Sides suitably covered, decorate the top of the cake with the caramel covered sponge cut into slices. finish with a swirl of butter cream and give to the chief tasters for their 49th wedding anniversary! PHEW….

Kim's Dobaz Torte

The dobaz torte was a fiddly cake to make and probably not one that I would re-visit but another one ticked off the list…and the countdown now stands at 80 recipes left to bake.

Week Ninety Two – Mary Berry’s Banana & Honey Teabread & Chocolate, Brandy & Ginger Cheesecake

Week Ninety Two and this bake was being done away from home. Hubby was being watched over for me and I took the opportunity to bake the last banana recipe and another while I was visiting my mum and taking photos of my great niece. Mary Berry’s Baking Bible had one final banana recipe and I started with this.  The recipe was quite an easy mix, but mashing the bananas needed a bit of elbow grease! I lined the tin with baking parchment and put the loaf in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.

Mary Berry's Banana & Honey Teabread

The loaf needed to be covered with some foil about an hour into the bake and Mary does warn you of this in her recipe. The resulting loaf needed to cool for a short while before being brushed with warmed honey and sprinkled with sugar.

Kim's Banana & Honey Tealoaf

The second recipe proved to be a bit more of a challenge. The first part of Mary’s chocolate, brandy and ginger cheesecake wasn’t too bad, it involved crushing ginger biscuits and combining this with melted butter and sugar. Put this in the base of the tin and press down and leave to set.

Mary Berry's Chocolate, brandy & Ginger Cheesecake

After the banana loaf had baked, I set about making the cheesecake middle layer. This proved to be the challenging part. Mary asks you to melt the chocolate in a bowl over hot water- no problem there. Sprinkle the gelatine over the water and leave for 10 minutes to sponge- not so good. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cheese in a bowl. Add the soured cream and chocolate. Stir in the gelatine. Whisk the egg whites until frothy and fold in to the mixture and add the brandy and chopped ginger. At this point the mixture was very runny and I wasn’t confident that it was going to set. I poured it into the tin on top of the biscuit base and left it in my mum’s fridge. Many hours later it was still runny, with no sign of setting so I put it in her freezer for several hours. Slightly better but not properly set.

I had to leave it for my mum to whip the cream ad sprinkle chocolate over and send me a photo so I never got to taste this one but mum said when she took it out of the tin, while putting the cream on top , the chocolate cheesecake mix was beginning to sag and move so it had to be eaten quickly. All I can think of was that I didn’t do the gelatine properly but who knows? I will chalk this one up to experience.

Kim's Chocolate, Brandy & Ginger Cheesecake

I am still enjoying The Great British Bake Off and my three early favourites are still there. I learnt two things from tonight’s show. Trim your tart pastry once cooked , not before, which I had always done , it looks so much better and if making any kind of custard tart, it’s better to pour the custard into the pastry case while it’s on the oven shelf rather than struggling not to spill it while getting it back into the oven!

Week Eighty Five – Mary Berry’s Chocolate Chip Cookies & Lime Lattice Cookies

Week eighty five and I delved with my usual glee into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible – I thought that perhaps with less than 100 now to go, that my choices would be getting more limited but not yet. There are I must admit some recipes I keep passing over, yes I know I have to do them all eventually….

Any how, I decided this week would be a bit of a cookie fest and I began with Mary’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. The way Mary describes them is that they should be soft and chewy, a bit like Millie’s cookies was what came to mind. I made the dough which was simple enough and then Mary asks you to put large teaspoons of the mixture on to baking sheets, fairly well spaced apart. I managed this and placed the trays in the oven to cook and set the timer.

Mary Berry's Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Once the timer had pinged, I removed the cookies from the oven and allowed them to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring them to the cooling racks. I was pleased with how they came out and even if I do say so, they were as good as Millie’s cookies.

Kim's Chocolate Chip Cookies

the second batch of cookies were Mary’s lime lattice cookies. Mary’s recipe for this is very simple and the hardest part was finely grating two limes. Mary suggests using a skewer to create a lattice pattern on top of these cookies but I used the wires from an egg slicer instead.

Mary Berry's Lime Lattice Cookie recipe

Mary asks you to add “walnut” sized pieces of dough onto the trays, create the lattice effect on top and bake. These were zesty and tangy, a lovely contrast to the rich chocolate chip cookies.

Kim's Lime Lattice Cookies

I am avidly awaiting the new series of The Great British Bake Off which is going to be shown this summer on BBC1. There was an article in The Metro about there being a spin off series on BBC2 called An Extra Slice to show more of the footage etc so I will have more to watch-yippee!

Week Eight Three – Mary Berry’s Double Orange Cake, Chocolate Victoria Sandwich Cake & Almond & Chocolate Chip Cake!

Week eighty three and a mega bake this week. On Friday, I got home from work, all hot and bothered because of the heat and a hectic week and dove into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible for inspiration. On Saturday, hubby and I were going to see some friends who had recently moved house and thought a couple of cakes would make a nice house warming present.

So with that in mind, I chose the double orange cake which was the usual put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.When all blended well, pour into a deep round tin and bake for about half an hour until risen and golden.

Mary Berry's Double Orange Cake

Once the cake was cooked, Mary asks you to heat some apricot jam and spread over the top then mix some icing sugar with some orange juice and pour over the cake. Then finely grate some orange zest to decorate.

Kim's double orange cake

The second recipe for the house warming was Mary’s chocolate sandwich cake. Again Mary asks you to put all the ingredients together and mix well, then divide equally between 2 sandwich tins and bake.

Mary Berry's Chocolate Victoria Sandwich Cake

Once the cakes were risen and brown, allow to cool and then make Mary’s white butter cream and use this to make the filling and topping and then sprinkle with chocolate bits.

Kim's chocolate sandwich cake

Once my two house warming cakes were done, I then thought ahead to Sunday, it would be father’s day and as my chief taster is my other dad, i thought he might be upset at missing out on a cake this week so I made him the almond and chocolate chip cake.

Mary asks you to mix the ingredients together and then pour into a deep round tin. This is where i got a little creative. i had recently bought a giant cupcake tin -one of my bargain buys. I decided to use this to make this cake in and divided it equally between the two sections and baked it. Once it was baked, I put the two halves in a tin to decorate on Sunday to give it to my chief taster with his other Father’s day bits.

giant-cupcake-tin

Off we went to see our friends who had recently moved and we had a tour of the house and garden. We met these friends when we got our first hairy hoolie after losing my old girl and have been good friends since- and we got our second hairy hoolie from them a few years later. We helped our friends to take down a tree in their garden but unfortunately at the end, a rather large branch hit my wrist when it came down and a rather large egg shaped lump came up almost immediately on it and it was painful. Luckily after a trip to the Urgent Care Centre to get it looked at, it isn’t broken, just soft tissue trauma but sore!

hurt arm

Sunday came and I wasn’t sure how I was going to decorate my chief taster’s cake with such a sore wrist and it’s on my left wrist and I am left handed. I managed with the help of my lovely hubby to mix together a vanilla butter cream and put this as the filling and topping, sprinkling flaked almonds and chocolate bits on the top. I then put some coloured cellophane around the base to make it look like a cup cake case. Not quite how I wanted it to be but hopefully it looked ok.

Kim's almond & chocolate chip cake

The chief taster was pleased with his cake and we all sat on their patio with the chimnea lit and his other gift of an axe to chop his logs!

Chief Taster's father's day gift!

Happy father’s day to my other dad and as always, my thoughts are with my Dad who passed away on Father’s day eight years ago, gone but always in my thoughts.

me and dad

I know I always go on about The Great British Bake off but I was so excited to see the adverts telling me that the series is back this summer- yippee!  Oh, and I really laughed at the World Cup advert that Mary did with the rest of TGBBO team- so so funny! If you haven’t seen it, you can see it here.

Oh and the countdown? 101 left to go……

Week Seventy Five- Mary Berry’s Date & Chocolate Loaf & Iced Chocolate Tray Bake

Week seventy five and I sat on Saturday with my coffee and my well used copy of Mary Berry’s Baking Bible to see what I fancied doing this weekend. I chose Mary Berry’s date & chocolate loaf firstly as I knew that my other mum would particularly like this and what else could I give her for Mother’s Day?!

Mary Berry's Date & Chocolate Loaf

Mary asks you to soak the dates in hot water for 30 minutes. Melt the chocolate and roughly chop the brazil nuts- they pinged every where! Add the dry ingredients to a bowl and pour in the egg and milk then everything else and mix well together. Pour the mix into a lined loaf tin and sprinkle some brazil nuts and sugar on the top. Put in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours.You might need to cover the top of it towards the end of the bake to prevent over-browning.

Kim's Date & Chocolate Loaf

The second recipe was one of Mary’s tray bakes which always go down well in our house.

Mary Berry's Iced Chocolate Loaf

Apart from blending the hot water and cocoa together, it’s one of Mary’s usual throw everything in together and mix. Pour into a tin , level it and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin.

Once cool, melt some chocolate- I must admit, that Mary suggests dark chocolate but I went with galaxy for this topping! Beat in some icing sugar and pour over the cake. Mary suggests covering the top of the cake with some melted apricot jam first which I did.

Kim's Iced Chocolate Tray Bake

Once set, cut the cake into squares and serve.

So , 118 recipes to go, but there will now be a break for a week or maybe two as I go into hospital soon to have a procedure that should have been done last year. I will try and blog perhaps about the recovery and how I found it and also about my favourite bakes of the challenge so far.

Finally I would like to wish 2 special ladies a very happy mother’s day with love always. xx

Happy Mother's Day

Week Sixty Six – Mary Berry’s Chocolate Chip Brownies

Week clickedy click, oops I mean sixty six. Anyone would think I played bingo – and actually I don’t- honestly!  I chose a chocolate fest of a recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible chocolate chip brownies.

Mary’s brownie recipe was really simple, add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix- not much to go wrong here! Then pour into a tray bake tin ( one of my trusty recycled Lakeland tray bake foil tins) and level. Pop into the oven and bake!

Mary Berry's Chocolate Chip Brownies

Once baked, allow the brownies to cool in the tin, then remove and cut into squares and store in an air tight tin. The smell of these cooking was mouth watering indeed and while they were cooling, my kitchen had the most amazing chocolaty smell about it.

Kim's Chocolate Chip Brownies

My chief taster was home from his stay in hospital so I packed some into his tin for him to try and also made him some cheese scones which he loves s much to welcome him home. It was his birthday yesterday and as we weren’t sure if he would be home, I didn’t get to make him his birthday cake, so watch this space, that will be next week’s challenge recipe!

 

Week Fifty Nine – Mary Berry’s Iced Apricot Fruit Loaf & Double Chocolate Cookies

Week fifty nine and I am beginning to wonder where the time goes in between the bakes…it just seems to gallop along! I had quite a sweet tooth craving this week and decided upon Mary Berry‘s iced apricot fruit loaf first. Mary’s recipe from her Baking Bible is the usual “add everything to a bowl and mix” which is really easy when you have so much else to fit in at the weekend. I mixed it and poured it into a loaf tin and put it in the pre heated oven for an hour and ten minutes.

Mary Berry's Iced Apricot Fruit Loaf

I began to get the lovely baking aromas in the kitchen about half way through it baking and it began to make my tummy rumble. Soon enough, the timer pinged sounded and I got my trusty skewer to check it was done- yep, all done, Mary recommends you leave it to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before tipping it onto a cooling rack. It seemed to take forever to cool and be ready for the icing topping. Mary asks you to combine some water and apricot jam, heat both together to combine and then add icing sugar. It makes a tangy apricot icing. Mary then recommends finely cutting two apricots and sprinkling them down the middle. I decided to slice mine so it had more of a Mohican look!

Kim's Iced Apricot Fruit Loaf

Mary’s second recipe was double chocolate cookies. This involved melting some dark chocolate with some butter then adding a tin of condensed milk– I could see this was going to be a usual slim line Mary recipe! Once the chocolate had melted and the condensed milk added, you needed to leave the mix to cool then add to the dry ingredients. This then had to be chilled until it was easy to handle. Mary asks you to grease some baking trays and add teaspoons of the mixture in regular intervals, leaving space for expansion.

Mary Berry's Double Chocolate Cookies

The cookies only take about 10-15 minutes to bake, they are quick and easy to make and seemed to go down well with hubby which is always a bonus!

Kim's Double Chocolate Cookies

Well I have been having withdrawal symptoms from The Great British Bake Off finishing but I am bolstered this week by the 50th Anniversary episode of Dr Who – I am a true Whovian! I am also looking forward to watching the antics of the celebrities in I’m a Celebrity…….

Week Fifty Six – Mary Berry’s Bishop’s Fingers & Viennese Fingers

Week fifty six ….and this week it was all “fingers” and hopefully no thumbs! I had some work commitments on Saturday so I didn’t have a lot of time on Sunday to fit in cleaning, shopping, dog walking….and any kind of bake! A quick delve into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and I came up with these two recipes. What will I do when there is less choice and the recipe is complicated? I could see some late nights coming up!

 Mary Berry's Bishop's Fingers

Any how, I set to making Bishop‘s Fingers first. The recipe was a variation on the other shortbread recipes already done so I wasn’t daunted by that. However, Mary asks you to use a square shallow tin….slight problem and cash flow was a bit tight but then I had a revelation….my invaluable tray bake tins from Lakeland ( have I mentioned it’s my favourite shop?!). I re-use the tins where I can so I had an older one in the cupboard that I cut and shaped ( or cannibalised..) into what I hope would suit the job in hand! I had to add some almond essence (yuk) and then sprinkle the top with flaked almonds (double yuk!).  Into the oven it went and the timer set.

Kim's improvised Lakeland traybake tin

When the timer pinged, I checked the shortbread but thought it was a bit pale so I popped it back in for another five minutes or so. Finally it was done, out it came, I marked it into fingers and sprinkled it with caster sugar. I left it to cool in the tin and then cut it into the fingers as described!

Kim's Bishop's Fingers

The second recipe used my trusty mixer to make the mix, and I had to rummage under the stairs to find an icing bag and a suitable piping nozzle. I haven’t piped for a while so approached this in a slightly more nervous manner.

Mary Berry's Viennese Fingers

Mary asks you to pipe a “finger” shape about 7.5cm long- no pressure then…..I gave it a go and was quite pleased that they were mostly the same length and size, just a few wavy lines- I call them character! The fingers went in the oven and I needed to keep an eye on them as they could quickly change from a golden brown colour to ….burnt if you weren’t careful. The biscuits had to then go immediately on to a rack to cool. Then Mary asks you to melt some dark chocolate and dip each end of the biscuit into it and allow to cool. Well, by now you may have realised that I am not overly keen on dark chocolate but as the other tasters do, I compromised and did half in dark chocolate and half in milk chocolate (and a big thank you to my other mum and dad for coming to the rescue in getting some chocolate for this x).

Kim's Viennese Fingers

The biscuits look quite nice and I think the milk chocolate ones are nicer but that’s just my preference.

Oh no- it was the final of The Great British Bake Off tonight- what will I watch on a Tuesday night to keep me inspired now? I sat on tenterhooks for the whole hour and was so so pleased when Frances was announced as the winner- especially as I had been on Team Frances from day one! Well done Frances!