Week One Hundred & Thirty – Mary Berry’s Devil’s Food Cake & Jane’s Fruit Cake

Week 130 and I apologise for the lateness of posting this blog, hubby and I have had a well earned rest and break in our caravan in South Wales and it was really needed. I did a bake just before we went away but didn’t get a chance to blog it and haven’t got the energy to bake today after the unpacking, washing etc. I have now put little bookmarks in my Mary Berry Baking Bible so that I can see at a glance where the remaining recipes are and how many are left. I had pulled out Mary’s devil’s food cake first. The sponge recipe was not quite one of Mary’s throw every thing in and mix ones but it wasn’t too complicated and once mixed, I put it into two prepared sandwich tins. Once baked, I had two lovely dark chocolate sponges. The next part was to make the American frosting and I had already made this once with one of my previous challenge recipes so I knew what I was doing……kind of!

Mary Berry's Devils food cake

I made the American frosting and then the race was on to spread it over the cake before it set and I kind of lost that battle but although it wasn’t pretty, it tasted better than it looked!

Kim's Devils Food Cake

The second recipe was Mary’s Jane’s fruit cake. I have no idea who Jane is and Mary doesn’t explain in her recipe but hey-ho! All Mary says about this recipe is that it is a good family cake that goes quite dark when baked because of the wholemeal flour. I also had to go and find some buttermilk  in the supermarket which I have never seen before. I found it in the cream section!

Mary Berry's Jane's Fruit Cake

The bonus of this recipe is that it is one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in and mix recipes. I did this and poured the mix into the prepared tin. This cake is baked long and slow- over three hours of cooking time! Once baked, I wrapped it and put it in a tin and it travelled to Wales with us and kept us fed and energised for our holiday!

Kim's Jane's fruit cake

The Great British Bake Off is now going into it’s third week and I have been avidly watching. I was pleased to see that in the first week, Mary asked the contestants to bake her frosted walnut cake which I had already done so I watched with great interest having already done this one and commenting as they made their frosting. The biscuit week was interesting, I have not hear of or made Arlette biscuits and having watched the contestants, I think I will be giving them a miss! The next episode is bread week- always a giggle!

the countdown continues and I have now reached the giddy heights of

13recipes left to bake!

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.

hitting the wall

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.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh and the countdown……

22

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…..

28

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…….

30

Week One Hundred & Twenty One – Mary Berry’s Quick Granary Rolls & Chocolate Rum Cake

Week 121 and yes I confess this post is long overdue. I will explain why a little later. I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible with my hubby’s birthday in mind. He wanted to have a b-b-q with some “exotic” meats such as buffalo and I found Mary Berry’s quick granary rolls for the burger buns and her chocolate rum cake for his birthday cake- perfect.

I began with the quick granary rolls. Mary asks you to  mix all the dry ingredients together and rub the butter in with your fingers. Mary then asks you to add the milk and water mixture in a “continuous ” stream while mixing the ingredients to a dough and she suggests using a machine with a dough hook. At this point I read and re-read the recipe, Mary definitely asks you to add 3/4 pint each of tepid milk AND water. I thought this was a lot of liquid but I thought “Mary has been doing this for years and knows what she is doing”.

Mary Berry's Quick Granary Rolls

I ended up with a gloopy mess that even with the dough hook didn’t resemble anything like a dough. I added more flour- I had been using a white spelt flour that I had been given and a granary flour and added more of both until the liquid became a dough.

Dove Spelt Flour Hovis Granary Flour

Kim's dough hook

This took a long time and an awful lot of flour to achieve this. When I had got it to the dough stage, I divided it into the roll shapes and covered them to rise. I then checked on the rising to the Berry blog to see if Anneliese had struggled with this and yes, she too had the liquid issue and had to add more flour so I am glad I was not alone in this. Once the dough had proved, I baked them and even though I had to use an awful lot more flour than the recipe said, I was pleased with how they came out and the buffalo burgers tasted very nice inside these rolls. Hubby was very cheeky though and took a photo of them and said he was pleased with his wife’s baps! This was after we were laughing at one of the search terms on the blog where someone had searched for “kim’s buns”!

Kim's quick granary rolls

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s chocolate rum cake. This was for hubby’s birthday and involved two of his favourite things- chocolate and rum!  I started by breaking up an awful lot of chocolate into a bowl. As usual, Mary asks you to use dark chocolate and I compromised with 3/4 dark chocolate and 1/4 galaxy milk chocolate.. When this has melted, let it cool and whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, then add the chocolate and rum then fold in the flour and almonds.

Mary Berry's Chocolate Rum Cake

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mix and pour into the cake tin and bake. When cooked, while it cools, make the filling/icing by breaking yet more chocolate into a bowl- same mix for me, add loads of butter and stir lots. Cut the sponge in half and use this chocolate icing to sandwich the two sponges together and ice the top.

Kim's chocolate rum cake

Once this was done and set, I then decorated it for hubby’s birthday.

Hubby's birthday cake

We had a lovely b-b-q using meat ordered from the alternative meat company and their buffalo burgers were delicious. Hubby, I hope you had a lovely birthday and this blog is dedicated to you for your birthday.

happy birthday hubby

The countdown continues and has now reached ……

32

Now finally the reason this blog is so late – not long after I baked these, I went down hard with flu/norovirus and was really knocked for six with both. I was literally in bed for five days with aching muscles, fever and upset stomach.  I lost a stone in a week and even though I went back to work probably before I should, I was not up to baking or blogging.

flu

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….

34

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 & 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…

42

Week One Hundred & Eleven- Mary Berry’s Wholemeal Sultana & Apricot Rock Cakes & Singing Hinnie

Week 111 and another late blog, think this is the theme for 2015! I delved into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and wanted to find some bakes that were fairly plain and simple and the wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes and singing hinnie certainly fitted this brief.

I began with the wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes and this was a simple Mary recipe that was a throw every ingredient in together and mix. Then use 2 teaspoons to put rock sized pieces on baking trays, sprinkle with a little sugar and bake.

Mary Berry's wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes

Mary suggests as they have wholemeal flour in , that they are eaten fairly quickly as they will dry out but I kept them under my baking dome and they lasted for several days without drying out.

Kim's wholemeal sultana & apricot rock cakes

The second recipe was Mary’s singing hinnie, a northern recipe. It is like a giant drop scone and Mary tells you that it makes a singing noise while it cooks. If it did- I couldn’t hear it!

Mary Berry's singing hinnie

I had read the Rising to the Berry blog and remember it said that this was not one of Anneliese’s favourite recipes. I must admit that it seemed to go well for me- maybe because I divided my mix into two pieces and rolled each one out into a round so it was the thickness Mary suggests and it fitted in my big frying pan as I don’t have a griddle. Mary suggests it is best eaten warm, split and buttered and put back together- she wasn’t wrong, it was delicious and certainly a recipe that I would consider doing again.

Kim's singing hinnie

The Comic Relief Great British Bake Off continues and I watched last week’s with glee. I have missed the GBBO and this certainly has been entertaining. Episode two was very entertaining. If you missed it, you can see it here. Please consider buying the recipe book to help you raise some money for your Comic Relief Bake Off.

The Great Comic Relief Bake Off

Week One Hundred & Eight – Mary Berry’s Cheese & Celery Crown Loaf & Basic White Meringues

Week 108 and I am on track this week with my blog- for a change! This week I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible with more enthusiasm and found the cheese and celery crown loaf recipe and the basic white meringues. My goal this week was being able to use what ever kitchen gadgets I have to help with my sore hand.

Mary Berry's Cheese & Celery Crown Loaf

I began with Mary Berry’s cheese & celery crown loaf and got out a large bowl. I mixed the flour and the butter together with my hand mixer. I added the pepper, the chopped celery and the garlic from my garlic roller.

Kim's garlic roller

I then added the cheese from my electric grater! I stirred these together and then added the milk and the beaten egg. I added the dough hooks to my mixer and mixed it until I had a lovely dough mix.

cheats grating

Mary suggests you either knead the dough lightly into a neat round and put on a baking tray or divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls into a greased cake tin , sprinkle with grated cheese and bake for about 40 minutes.

Prepared cake tin

This worked well for me and the finished crown loaf looked good and smelt amazing. I have managed to make a loaf without hurting my hand and this week my hand has been recovering in this brace which keeps it still so that the ligaments can heal with the occasional break for some physio so that I retain full movement.

Kim's sore hand

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s basic white meringues. I had to find some recipes this week that hubby could also eat- he had minor surgery in his mouth on his jaw and has had a liquid diet for a while. I thought the meringues with some ice cream might tempt him!

This recipe needed 3 egg whites so i used my egg separator to do this and save my hand and then my hand mixer to beat the egg white until thick and glossy.

Kim's egg separator

I then added the sugar , a little at a time , continuing to beat with the mixer until all the sugar was in. Mary then asks you to add the mix into an icing bag.One tip I have found really useful is to buy disposable icing bags, really easy to find now.

Kim's disposable icing bags

I then use a large glass to hold the bag open so that you can put the mixture into the bag really easily.

Kim's icing bag holder

I then piped small rounds as per Mary’s instructions and put the meringues in to bake for about 1 1/2 hours. I then left the oven door open while turning the oven off to allow the meringues to cool.

Kim's meringues

Hubby has yet to sample the meringues but hopefully they will be tasty with some ice cream. Hope you feel better soon hubby. xx

get well

 

The countdown continues and now there are 56 recipes left to go…..