Week Seventy Six – Mary Berry’s Farmhouse Brown Seeded Loaf & Easter Simnel Cake

Week seventy six at last, I am back in the baking saddle but it is a tentative exploration during my recovery and I have found that the mind is willing but the body doesn’t want to stand in place for too long without moving or sitting down! So I decided to find some recipes from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible that I could manage this week.

The first being Mary’s farmhouse brown seeded loaf which I let my bread machine take the strain of as I was not up to kneading bread etc but wanted to make it so I followed Mary’s recipe but then let the machine do the proving and kneading and baking. A bit of  cheat I know but a girl can only do so much….

Mary Berry's Farmhouse Brown Seeded Loaf

The resulting bread doesn’t look as pretty as Mary’s loaf but it was light and tasty inside and it is one of Mary’s recipes that I will make again at some point.

Kim's Farmhouse Brown Seeded Loaf

The second recipe was Mary’s Easter Simnel Cake, I thought I had better make this as I am hoping that I will have completed Mary’s challenge by next Easter and it would be a bit weird making a simnel cake at any other time of year.

Mary Berry's Easter Simnel Cake

I struggled standing for the length of time needed to weigh out all the ingredients but it is one of Mary’s usual throw all the ingredients in and mix recipes and I used my electric had mixer to take up the strain of mixing it by hand. I poured half the mix into the lined cake tin, added a circle of marzipan and then the rest of the cake mix on the top.

After 2 1/2 hours the cake was done. I let it cool and then brushed the top with jam, topped it with another marzipan circle and 11 marzipan balls, brushed it with egg and then borrowed my other mum’s kitchen blowtorch to brown it all.

Kim's Easter Simnel Cake

Although I am not overly keen on marzipan, I am looking forward to having a slice of this.

I would like to take the time to thank all of you who follow this blog regularly and also to those who dip in and out as they discover it, welcome all and please feel free to pop back as often as you like. I have discovered a true love of baking through this challenge and enjoy sharing the experience on here, the good times and the disasters.

Week Twenty Eight – Mary Berry’s Bunny Rabbit Cake & Easter Biscuits

Mary Berry's Bunny Rabbit Cake

Week twenty eight and the Easter theme continues. Mary makes a bunny rabbit birthday cake in her book but I thought it would make a nice easter cake and funnily enough, in my search for a bargain, I found a silicone easter bunny cake in my local Lidl and it inspired me. Mary’s recipe for making this cake is pretty much throw it all in a bowl and mix it together until smooth, so that’s exactly what I did!

the throw it all in together mix

The fun came when pouring the mix into the silicone bunny and ensuring it went into all the nooks and crannies! Then into the oven it went and the timer went on. While it was baking, I looked at how Mary suggested decorating it. She suggests dessicated coconut, but I thought grated chocolate might be more in keeping with Easter (that’s my excuse…..!) so I grated some milk chocolate, white chocolate, pink chocolate buttons and orange chocolate buttons and made the butter icing.

Lidl's silicone bunny case

I had also decided to make some Easter biscuits so I made this dough which was easy enough, and rolled out the dough. I didn’t have any easter cutters so I used a heart cutter.

The cake came out of the oven and was left to cool a while before I took it out of the silicone shape. It came out really well and I left it to cool completely. The biscuits went into the oven at this point. My hubby likes this point as he gets to have “first dibs” on the leftovers in the bowl and if there isn’t anything in it that is harmful to the dogs, they often get the last lickings before it goes in the dishwasher!

the hoolies love the bowl

The decorating of the rabbit cake was trickier than it looked. Having to put on the butter cream and then the chocolate shavings and trying to keep any bits that fell on the floor away from the dogs- in case anyone doesn’t know, chocolate , raisins, currants etc- VERY bad for dogs, can even kill them so please don’t let them anywhere near them.

Kims Bunny Rabbit Cake

Finally the cake was finished, the tidying up of all the shavings, bowls and surfaces took forever.

Mary Berry's Easter Biscuits

The biscuits, I decided to put an icing cap on so I rolled out some fondant icing, and used the heart cutter to cut the toppings. I have some pretty cutters so I pressed these into the topping and then allowed the icing to set before using food colourings to paint them to make them look pretty.

Kim's Easter Biscuits


Week 26 – Mary Berry’s Hot Cross Buns

As promised, the Easter recipes begin here, and with hot cross buns. Yes I know it’s technically not the right time to make and eat them but any excuse for a bake! This bake has taken the longest of all my bakes so far, because it involved yeast and rising time so it took most of the day to do.

Mary Berry's Hot Cross Buns Recipe

The dough itself seemed easy enough to mix together and the 10 minutes of kneading it seemed to fly by and it’s very therapeutic taking out your frustrations on a piece of dough! I then needed to leave the dough to rise in a warm room – in our house, that’s not so easy but after looking on the internet, it recommended putting your oven on low, with the door open and rest the bowl on the open door which is what I did, and the kitchen felt cosy too. After an hour and a half, the dough had doubled in size and was ready for the next step. Mary then asks that you knead it again for several minutes then divide into 12 and place on a tray, and cover with clingfilm and leave to rise again for half an hour.Usually at this point, I find that Mary’s estimate of how many can be made out of a batch are often optimistic but on this occasion, I found that I had 16 hot cross buns!

Kim's buns final rising!

While the buns were rising again, I made the small amount of pastry needed to add the cross to the top of the buns, as I felt that just marking the top of the bun with a cross was not traditional enough. I then rolled the pastry out and cut it into strips ready to go on the buns.

the cross strips for the buns

Finally, the buns were ready to have their cross, and then into the oven they went for 15 minutes. I set the timer and five minutes before they were rady, I made the glaze by dissolving sugar into water and when the buns came out, they had a liberal coating of the glaze.

Kim's uncooked hot cross buns

For my first foray into making buns with yeast, I was quite pleased with the way they turned out!

Kim's finished hot cross buns

As you can see, my usual two baking fans were in their usual spot waiting to see if there were any left overs or anything dropped , but sorry guys, no dried fruit for you too, it’s like chocolate, very dangerous for dogs , so you can have a doggy treat instead today!

The Hairy Hoolies