Week One Hundred & Twenty Seven – Mary Berry’s Continental Cheesecake & Frosted Walnut Layer Cake

Week 127 and the old Mary Berry Baking Bible is now looking well used and “lived in” and there are few recipes left to choose from but I delved in with a bit more vigor than last week and came out with the last cheesecake recipe from that section and a frosted walnut layer cake.

Mary Berry's continental cheesecake

I began with the cheesecake as this a cooked cheesecake which involves several stages. I made the base first and I know Mary is quite lean on the biscuit and butter for her cheesecakes so I doubled the biscuit and butter amounts and melted the butter while crushing the biscuit for the base. I thought this gave a nice base to the cheescake with no gaps or holes. I put it in the fridge to set. Once it was set, I then set off to make the filling. This involved enormous amounts of ricotta cheese, with butter , sugar, flour, lemon and egg yolks all whisked together. Then fold in whipped cream and whisked egg whites and pour onto the biscuit base and bake for about 1 1/2 hours. When cooked, turn the oven off but leave the cheesecake in the oven for a further hour. Finally remove the cheesecake from the tin and decorate with cream and summer fruits.

Kim's continental cheesecake

The recipe actually called for cooking some redcurrants, blackcurrants and blackberries in 2 tablespoons of water and sweeten to taste and then blend some arrowroot with some cold water and add the fruit and allow to thicken. I chose to keep mine simple with cream, strawberries and raspberries. We haven’t been overly keen on baked fruit cakes but this one was quite nice and would be nice possibly to do again.

Mary Berry's walnut layer cake

The second recipe was the frosted walnut layer cake. The initial sponge cake was one of Mary’s easy throw everything in a bowl and mix cakes – one of my favourites! Pour into the sandwich tins and bake. Once cooled prepare the frosting. This is where is got a little more complex!  Mary asks you to put all the frosting ingredients in a bowl and whisk over a pan of hot water – FOR 10-12 MINUTES!! My poor hand mixer was definately pushed to it’s limits of endurance, as was my wrist! Once the mix forms little peaks, sandwich the layers together with the frosting and then cover the top and sides with it, putting little peaks on the top and decorate with walnuts. Mary tells you to work quickly as the icing sets rapidly.

Kim's walnut layer cake

Leave the cake to set in a cool place and enjoy! This was a yummy cake and definately one I would make again.

The countdown has now reached another milestone now …… so near and yet……

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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.

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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.

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Oh and the countdown……

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Week One Hundred & Twenty Four – Mary Berry’s Lemon Griestorte & Petits Fours Aux Amandes

Week 124 and my Mary Berry Baking Bible is shrinking rapidly in terms of what recipes are left to bake! I dived into it and surfaced clutching her lemon griestorte and the petits fours aux amandes.

I began with the lemon griestorte. Mary tells you that it’s made with semolina and ground almonds instead of flour and it has a light but short texture- whatever that means!! I separated the three eggs that the recipe asks for and put the yolks and the sugar in one bowl and whisked them together, then added the lemon juice and finally the lemon rind, semolina and ground almonds. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into the mixture and pour into the tin . Pop in the oven for 35 minutes and then once golden brown, allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and turn out. Once cool, cut the cake in half.Mary Berry's lemon gristorte

Whisk the cream until it holds its shape and fold in the lemon curd and sandwich the cake together with it and dust the top with icing sugar. Try to use a good quality lemon curd to give it that lovely lemon tang! I usually shop at my local Morrisons and brought their Signature Sicilian Lemon curd which is really yummy!

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The second recipe was Mary’s petits fours aux amandes. Mary says they make very special presents, I wasn’t that keen but another recipe under my belt.

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The recipe was simple enough, I had to whisk some egg whites, fold in ground almonds, sugar and almond extract and put the mix into a piping bag. Pipe rosettes onto a baking tray and top with a small piece of cherry and bake. When golden, mix some sugar and milk together and lightly brush over the petits fours.

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The countdown continues and has now reached….

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One of the chief tasters brought me a little gift recently, some beautiful measuring spoons. Mine are the usual plastic ones but these are rather special, so thank you and much love xIMG_0588 IMG_0589

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…..

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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 Seventy Two – Mary Berry’s Apricot & Orange Cheesecake & Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake

I am still on a roll and managing to bake 2 of Mary Berry’s recipes from her Baking Bible. This week my mum came to stay and to celebrate, I decided to try one of the more difficult and lengthy cheesecake recipes. Mary Berry’s Apricot & Orange cheesecake started with melting butter and crushing digestive biscuits. Mix these together and press into a deep circular tin and chill.

Mary Berry's Apricote & Orange Cheesecake

The next part of the cheese cake involved boiling orange juice and the apricots for about five minutes, then blitz in a food processor and add the gelatine, sour cream, cream cheese, honey, and egg yolks and blitz again until smooth. Whip the egg whites with the sugar until stiff and fold into the cheesecake mix. Pour this onto the biscuit base and chill again  overnight. Finally , melt some apricot jam and pour over the top of the cheesecake. Chill again. Mark the cheesecake into 10 slices and decorate each slice with a whipped cream swirl and a ratafia biscuit. This has been the most complicated cheesecake I have ever made but it looked good and tasted even better!

Kim's Apricot & Orange Cheesecake

The second recipe was Mary’s lemon drizzle tray bake. This was one of Mary’s through all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Line a tray bake tin ( Lakeland…) and bake for about 40 minutes.

Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake

Once baked and cooled, mix granulated sugar with some lemon juice and drizzle over the top. Cut into squares.

Kim's Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake

I loved watching Mary’s show this week, with the dinner party recipes. I particularly liked the salmon mousse terrine with asparagus. I am looking forward to next week’s roast dinner recipes.