Week One Hundred & Thirty Four – Mary Berry’s Gateau Moka Aux Amandes & Rich Fruit Cake

Week 134 and I make no excuses for the lateness of these blogs, just blame it on having a puppy in the house! Time just flies by and I have done nothing of substance! This dip into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible brought forth Mary’s gateau moka aux amandes and her rich fruit cake.

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I began with the gateau and read Mary’s recipe through….but obviously not well enough. This is a sponge mix where Mary asks you to whisk the eggs and sugar together until it is “thick enough to leave a trail” (big clue in the recipe there) and fold in the flour. Who only knows what my brain was thinking but I mixed away, folded in the flour, put the mix in the tin and put it in to bake, expecting to see a well raised sponge when the timer went…boy was I disappointed. It was plain to see that I hadn’t spent enough time on the whisking and it looked like a pancake.

failed sponge!

I carried on and made the creme au beurre moka and cut the sponge in half….covered it and decorated it. Hubby and I sampled it …took one mouthful each and…..

failed gateau moka aux amandes

condemned it to the food recycling bin! Oh well, chalk that one up to experience.

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The second recipe, Mary’s rich fruit cake began the night before when I measured all the fruit out and chopped the apricots and cherries and soaked the mix in brandy.

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The next  day I lined my tin carefully, and measured out the dry ingredients and the soaked fruit and mixed it all together and poured it into the tin. Mary suggests you decorate the top with some blanched almonds and cherries and put it into bake. Hours later, the timer went ping and out came this beautiful cake. I let it cool in the tin and turned it out. Mary suggests then feeding the cake with  more alcohol but I thought it was rich enough. I left it in a tin for a few days and sent half to the chief tasters and “forgot” to mention the failed bake of this week!

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The countdown continues and there are now……6

bakes left.. This is a quick glimpse of the little pickle who is taking up most of my time…and yes he looks like butter wouldn’t melt..but remember, appearances can be deceptive…

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Week One Hundred & Thirty Two – Mary Berry’s Walnut & Raisin Loaf & Cranberry & Apricot Fruit Cake

Week 132 and again apologies for the tardiness of the posting but losing our beloved hairy hoolie Bailey, dampened spirits and moral and a lot has happened since then…but more of that later. I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and surfaced after a brief browse with the last of the bread bakes, the walnut & raisin loaf and the cranberry& apricot fruit cake.

I began with the walnut & raisin loaf as this was going to take a while.I mixed together the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, melted butter, water and yeast into a sticky dough and by hand too this time, back to traditional methods for this last yeast recipe. I kneaded it for a while and then put it in an oiled bowl and covered it and left it to rise. While this was doing it’s thing, I weighed out the walnuts  and began the tedious task of chopping them, then weighed out the raisins and when the dough had finished rising, I had to knock it back and add the raisins and walnuts and divide the mixture into two loaves. I placed them on a baking tray and covered them with a bag and left them for a final rise. I then sent them to the chief taster’s to bake as my other bake was in the oven for a long slow cook and these guys needed a hot quicker bake.

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The loaves arrived back hot out of the oven after about 25 minutes and finished their cooling here. I then sent one loaf back to the chief taster with half the other bake.

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The second recipe was the cranberry and apricot fruit loaf. Mary tells you at the beginning of the recipe that this cake is robust enough to pack for a picnic but could also make a great alternative to a christmas cake.  I had to begin by draining a large tin of pineapple , coarsely chopping it and drying it as much as possible which involved lots of kitchen roll. I then had to cut the apricots into pieces and chop the almonds. Finally I was ready to mix all the ingredients together and pour into a tin and level the top. I didn’t decorate the top with whole blanched almonds as suggested- I forgot!!!

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The cake baked for about 2 1/2 hours and finally was ready, I left it cool as Mary suggested before turning it out. I got great compliments from the chief tasters who thought it made a really tasty fruit cake and dropped big hints about it being nice as a christmas cake!

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I have still been following the Great British Bake Off but with a heavier heart than before , and I have been keeping a close eye on Paul, Tamal and Nadiya and would be happy to see them in the top three.

As you may have read in my last blog, we were devastated to lose our beloved Bailey so quickly. The poem, The Rainbow Bridge gives us both comfort and hope that we will be reunited with all our dogs when it’s our time.

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The day after we lost Bailey, we went to see our friends who had bred both our dogs to tell them about Bailey as they have his mum and his brother. We couldn’t tell them on the phone and there were lots of hugs, tears and tea. It’s funny how things happen. Three months before, they had another litter of puppies that we enjoyed spending time with and helping to socialise and then we waved them off to their new homes. The day we lost Bailey, they had contact from one of the new owners asking them to take back one of the puppies as they were struggling to cope with him. Our friends knew we were still raw and heartbroken about our Bailey but asked if we would consider having him. We went away and spoke lots about it. Our other hoolie was very down and quiet as she had never been an only dog and was missing him lots…as were we. We came to the decision that when they collected the puppy, that they should bring him back via us to see how the two of them got on….and he never left. We now have 1 1/2 hairy hoolies ! He is not a replacement for Bailey- Bailey can never be replaced, he will always hold a special place in our lives. However, the new young hoolie is helping with the heartache as he needs a lot of attention. He is learning about my baking challenge already and has learned that the oven gloves are fair game!

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The count down continues as is now….9 recipes left to bake!

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 Eighty Eight – Mary Berry’s Come and Come Again Cake

No apologies for this late blog I am afraid other than life gets in the way and it has been a pretty bad two weeks but I don’t want to get into that now , it will distract you from the bake! We were going away in our caravan with the hairy hoolies and I wanted a bake that I could take with me so Mary Berry’s Baking Bible had this come and come again fruit cake which i decided to make.

Mary Berry's Come and Come Again cake

It’s one of Mary’s easy recipes with the directions of put all the recipes in a bowl, mix and bake! I love these! I set the timer and went off to pack all the stuff needed for our trip. I always have the plan to take minimal stuff and the car is always packed to the ceiling….sigh! The timer pinged and the cake was done. I let it cool down and then cut a quarter for my chief tasters -(after all, they are on strict diets!) and put the rest in a tin to take with us. I must say that although it was a nice fruit cake, some of her other fruit cake recipes have been nicer. It was a great bake for a van though and went down well with a cuppa once we had set the van up!

Kim's come and come again cake

I only managed one bake this week due to …umm I want to put due to our holiday but it turned into a rescue mission. Without going into too much detail, hubby dropped a kettle of boiling water over his leg, major trauma, taken to local hospital to where we were staying, there for about 8 hours, transferred to Bristol burns unit, kept in over night, I had to manage dogs and caravan and then do a 140 mile round trip to collect him the next day, pack up the van and tow home…… I felt like this:-

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But looked like this:- !

OAP Wonder Woman