Week One Hundred & Thirty Five- Mary Berry’s Quick Boiled Fruit Cake & Hot Chocolate Souffles

Week 135 and the end is nearly in sight now…and the puppy is getting bigger…no excuses still, I now had the last few recipes marked with book marks and dipped with some sadness into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and came out with her quick boiled fruit cake and chocolate souffles. I was in awe of the souffles as I had watched them on the Great British Bake Off and it did fill me with dread….

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Anyhow, I began with the strangely names quick boiled fruit cake. The main stay of this recipe is condensed milk which you pour into a saucepan and add the butter, fruit and cherries. Mary asks you to heat slowly until the butter has melted and then simmer well for five minutes and then set aside.Measure out the dry ingredients, add the eggs and fruit mix and stir well and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 1 1/2 hours and allow to cool in the tin, then tip out. This cake was quite a contrast from the rich fruit cake and was quite sweet in comparison. I must say I loved this and would make it again.

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Now for the hot chocolate souffles. I prepared my ramekin dishes and then began melting the chocolate. I added the milk then removed this from the heat.

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In another pan, I melted some butter and stirred in the flour, cooked on a low heat for a short while and then stirred in the chocolate milk, brought it to the boil until thickened and then left it to cool. Finally I beat the egg yolks into the cooled mix, added the sugar, whisked the egg whites and folded this into the mix. Finally, I poured the mix between the souffle dishes and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes. I made a quick call to the chief tasters who were present with spoons at the ready when the souffles came out of the oven.

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All I can say is thank you to the Great British Bake off, I think watching the contestants go through it before me helped and they were rather tasty!

The countdown is getting scarily low….it’s now at the head heights of….

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almost there

The puppy is ever growing and now joins the other hairy hoolie in greeting me when I bring the shopping back but he insists then on laying on all the bags! At the rate he is growing, I guess  I know have to say 1 & 3/4 hairy hoolies at the moment!

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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 – 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 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 ……

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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.

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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….

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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 & Nineteen – Mary Berry’s Coburg Buns & Hot lemon Souffle Pudding

After the gluttony of last week’s chocolate fest, I looked for something with absolutely no chocolate in when I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible. I found these unusual buns and a lemony pudding.

I began with the Coburg buns. These seem quite a plain little bun that I have never heard of, they have some all spice and ginger in them and some flaked almonds. Mary suggests you make them in mini brioche tins but can make them in a bun tin which is what I decided to do. The mix is fairly easy and Mary asks you to put some flaked almonds on the bottom of each bun tin, put the mixture on top and bake.

Mary Berry's Coburg Buns

The resulting buns rose beautifully and were a lovely golden colour . They came out of the bun tins quite easily and Mary then suggests you present them bottom up so the almond flakes can be seen. They are quite a plain bun and something I probably won’t bother with again but it’s another recipe to tick off the list.

Kim's Coburg Buns

The second recipe was a whole other story. It’s Mary’s hot lemon souffle pudding. It seemed quite a fiddly recipe. Mary asks you to beat a  small amount of butter with the sugar. Once smooth, beat in the egg yolks. Add a little flour, grated lemon zest and also the juice. Then add the milk.Mary reassures you that the mixture can look curdled. Luckily mine looked okay…so far so good… The next step was to whisk the egg whites until they reached the soft peak stage.Fold the whites into the lemony mixture and put into an ovenproof dish before placing the dish into a large roasting tin. Mary then asks you to fill the roasting tin with boiling water and place in the oven…CAREFULLY!  Mary says it should take around an hour in the oven. I checked it when the pinger went and it looked brown on top but didn’t look particularly appetizing. Mary says that this is a pudding she has successfully reheated.

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Mine hadn’t been out of the oven too long before it began to sink in the middle so I took my photo quickly and split it between us and the chief tasters. It was okay, not sure it was quite how Mary’s would have turned out but again, another recipe under my belt.

Kim's Hot Lemon Souffle Pudding

The countdown continues and with these two done and dusted, I now have…

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recipes left to go…..

Week One Hundred & Eighteen – Mary Berry’s Death By Chocolate Cake & Swiss Roll

Week 118 and when I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible this week I was looking for appropriate birthday cake for my other mum and one of my chief tasters. Death by Chocolate definitely seemed to fit the bill!

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This is a seriously chocolatey cake and the first step Mary asks you to do is grease and line 2 sandwich tins. The sponge mix has a lot of cocoa powder in it as well as golden syrup and vegetable oil. I followed the step by step instructions for mixing and poured the mix into the tins and put them in the oven. When the pinger went, I took out 2 beautiful chocolate sponges and put them on the airing racks to cool. Mary then asks you to cut each sponge in half so this cake will have 4 layers….gulp.

Next step was to tackle the icing. This is where the “death” bit comes in. Mary asks you to melt 450 g or 1 lb of dark chocolate! I have said before that I really am not a fan of dark chocolate but most of my tasters are so I compromised with 3/4 dark chocolate and 1/4 milk chocolate to try and take the bitterness of the dark chocolate away. Once the chocolate has been melted, Mary then asks you to add the 200g of butter to it and allow it to melt into the chocolate…… ( cholesterol comes to mind….lol) . Mary then asks you to sandwich each layer of the cake together with this icing and then stand the cake on a wire rack and use the rest of the icing over the top and sides of the cake! I gave it a liberal covering but still had some icing left over. Mary asks you to leave it to set then decorate with coarsely grated plain and white chocolate. I must admit I ” cheated” here by buying a pot of ready mixed chocolate curls!

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The cake went down well and I would like to take this opportunity again to wish my other mum and one of the chief tasters a happy birthday!

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The second recipe was Mary’s swiss roll recipe. I have tackled some of the swiss roll recipes before with varied success. The baking part isn’t the issue it’s the rolling!

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The sponge is a fatless sponge and easy to make. I whisked it all together and poured it into the prepared swiss roll tin. I put it in the oven for ten minutes and while it was baking put a sheet of greaseproof paper on the side with caster sugar sprinkled on it.  Soon enough the sponge was done and I tipped it onto the prepared paper. Mary asks you to allow to cool “slightly” and then spread with jam. Slight hiccup here, my jam had grown a lovely mold on it so I quickly made some buttercream and used this instead. I rolled the cake into the roll and again , it split to my dismay but not all the way through. I sprinkled it liberally with caster sugar and took the photograph!

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Well the countdown has now reached 38….. so near yet so far!

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