Week One Hundred & Thirty One – Mary Berry’s Buche De Noel & Old Fashioned Seed Cake

Week 131 and I apologize, I know that is has been longer than usual for either a bake or blog or both and I will explain why further at the end of this blog.

I delved into Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible with less than my usual gusto and came out the the old fashioned seed cake and the Buche de Noel. I began with te Buche de Noel which involved making the swiss roll recipe again

Buche De Noel

. Not an easy bake to make/roll and I had an issue in that I wasn’t keen on making a christmas log in August…..so I took the recipe and decided to give it a Kim twist and created a Buche D’ete or a summer log. I made a plain sponge swiss roll, filled it with lemon curd and cream.

kim's swiss roll

I covered it with freshly whipped double cream and decorated it with mini lemon and orange sweet slices. I loved how refreshing it was and I was pleased with it.

Kim's Buche d'ete

The second recipe was Mary’s old fashioned seed cake. This was a sponge cake recipe with caraway seeds and mixed peel. It was one of Mary’s all in one cakes and the caraway seeds revived memories of my Nan baking cakes with this seed and the unique smell and taste of caraway.

Mary Berry's Old Fashioned Seed Cake

Once baked, it was a light sponge with a unique taste. A bit like marmite, you will either love it or hate it, there is no in between!

Kim's old fashioned seed cake

I have been avidly watching The Great British Bake Off and have been predicting the person who leaves with good accuracy, as the numbers begin to dwindle I like to place my bet on the winner!

Now it is with a heavy heart where I need to share some sad news. I have frequently mentioned my two hairy hoolies and how they watch me bake each weekend. Well my big boy had a sudden illness that he was unable to recover from and we sadly had to say goodbye and let him cross the rainbow bridge to join Rosie, Tai and my Dad to await us to join them. We are devastated and heartbroken and all thoughts of baking went out of the window as we nursed him through his final time. Many tears have been shed as he was more than a pet- he was part of our family and leaves a  huge hole in our lives. xx

pawprints on our hearts

pooped pooch

The countdown has now reached….11

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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……

20

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 & Seven-Mary Berry’s Nusskuchen & Jumbles

Week 107 and yes- I know- I am late again with the blog but today I am doing both last week’s and this weeks so will catch up so you get two for one today! I will get into the swing of this blogging again! I delved into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible looking for a birthday cake for my chief taster ( dad-in-law) and saw the Nusskuchen which is a german nut cake-perfect! The other recipe I found was Mary’s jumble biscuits.

Mary Berry's Nusskuchen

I started with the Nussskuchen cake which was quite a fiddly sponge. I had to roast the hazelnuts to remove the skins and then crush them to add to the sponge which had various stages to it. I roasted the hazelnuts and then followed Mary’s instructions to roll them together in a tea towel to remove the skins. What I hadn’t mentioned was that just before Christmas while walking my hairy hoolies on a street walk, my big lad suddenly ran across in front of me and I fell- the classic fall onto both knees and both hands and grazed my nose. I dented my ego , skinned my knees and had sore hands but picked my self up and finished the walk.

dog walking

 

I didn’t realise how much i had hurt myself until a week or two later when i was struggling to hold things in my right hand and it really hurt when  I rotated the wrist. I had it x-rayed but no break thank goodness but strained or pulled ligaments and advised to keep the thumb/wrist strapped to help it heal. This has proved to be good except for baking and removing the skins from the hazelnuts really hurt! Mary asks you to beat the sugar and butter together, beat in the egg yolks and stir in the crushed hazelnuts. Mary then asks you to dissolve a spoonful of coffee in some warm milk and add it to the mix, then fold in the flour. Mary then asks you to whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until light and fluffy then fold this into the other mix.  Put this mix into a 20cm tin and bake.

What Mary then says is that while this cake is baking, prepare the filling. Peel , core and slice some baking apples and put them in a pan with some apricot jam, lemon juice an rind and cook slowly until the apples are soft but retain their shape. Leave to cool. At this point, all was ok and I was on track. I took the sponge out of the oven and took it out of the tin. At this point I realised I had a problem. Mary asks you to cut the sponge in half. I want to know how I can do this with such a thin sponge so i did the only thing I could think of, I made another sponge- and yes, I  had to roast more hazelnuts and then remove their skins- OUCH!!! the things I do for love!

Kim's Nusskuchen sponges

 

sore hand

Finally I had 2 sponges, I added the apple and some cream to the middle and melted some chocolate for the topping with some chocolate buttons to make it a birthday cake.PHEW!

Kim's Nusskuchen cake

The second recipe was Mary Berry’s jumbles biscuits. This was an easy dough to make, one of Mary’s throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Mary Berry's Jumbles

Mary then asks you to divide the dough into 32 pieces.  As my hand was sore, i divided mine into 16 and made my biscuits a little larger. Mary suggests making the biscuits into the shape of the letter S. I did play with the idea of making them into various initials but stuck with the S shapes as it was easiest on my poor hand.

Kim's jumbles

When you read the blog, it must seem like we lurch from one accident, incident or operation to the next- sometimes it does seem like that!

I

Week Forty Six – Mary Berry’s Coffee & Walnut Tray Bake

Week forty six and I seem to have found my “oomph” again and enjoyed sitting with a coffee and looking through Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible and ticking off what I had done already and realised there are so many more yet to do! I chose the coffee and walnut tray bake and made sure I had everything in this week so there were no mad dashes to find an ingredient late on a Sunday afternoon!

Mary Berry's Coffee & Walnut Tray Bake

As usual , Mary’s recipe encourages you to put every thing in a bowl and mix it together well. No fussing or various stages to this recipe! Then I put it in a foil tray for tray bakes from Lakeland ( one of my favourite shops!) and into the oven for the allotted time.

Forty minutes later, the timer pinged and I returned to find a lovely raised, browned sponge tray bake with a lovely coffee aroma. I set it to one side and left it to cool for a while.

Kim's Coffee & Walnut Sponge

The second step of this bake was to mix some coffee flavoured buttercream, spread it over the sponge and then put some walnuts on the top. In Mary’s photo she put the walnuts on “haphazardly”. I decided on a more methodical approach so when I cut the sponge, hopefully every slice has a walnut on it!

Kim's Coffee & Walnut Tray Bake

I have seen the adverts and now I am really excited to see that The Great British Bake Off is back on TV next week, I am so looking forward to it!  People ask if the show is something I would apply for. Definitely not! I am strictly an amateur baker, who can follow a recipe but take away the recipe instructions and I am lost! I enjoy baking and the art of putting it together and hopefully making it look pretty and edible…..

Week Thirty Five – Mary Berry’s Wimbledon Cake

Week thirty five and I had a good reason to make a cake this week. It was my niece‘s birthday recently and we were going down to stay with family for a few days. I sent a text to my niece to ask if she wanted a sponge and strawberry kind of cake or a chocolate kind of cake. To my surprise, she chose the sponge and strawberry kind of cake and Mary Berry‘s Wimbledon Cake fitted the bill.

Mary Berry's Wimbeldon Cake

This recipe is quite different in that the sponge mix does not use butter or the usual flour but separated eggs , both used in various stages and semolina. The sponge mix doesn’t rise much so the sponges look quite flat when they come out of the tin and as I used my mum’s fan assisted oven, they were a little browner than I would have liked them.

Kim's Wimbledon Sponges

Any way, I got the sponges baked and cooled and then whipped some cream. I then filled the centre with cream and chopped strawberries, I didn’t add the passion fruit as none of my family are keen on that. I decorate the top with half strawberry pieces and dusted it with icing sugar.

Kim's Wimbledon Cake

It was rather tasty and my niece liked it so much she had 2 pieces! The only thing I would say is that I would probably use a Victoria sponge recipe to make the sponge next time.  I would like to dedicate this blog to my niece Emily in celebration of her 16th birthday, with love x.

Week Thirty Two – Mary Berry’s Cappuccino Cake

Week Thirty two and a special bake this week as it was my lovely hubby’s birthday.

After the success of the victoria sandwich cake, I thought the cappuccino cake would go down well with him and reading the recipe, Mary tells you to pretty much throw all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together, but do not over mix (??!!) So, I weighed out all the ingredients, put them all in a bowl and with a quick whizz of the electric hand mixer, job done, just needed to divide the mix between two sandwich tins and into the oven for about half an hour.

Mary Berry's Cappuccino Cake

After the half hour was up and timer had gone ping, I checked the cakes but they were not quite done so another five minutes or so and out they came. They looked lovely and after a few minutes, i was able to take them out of the tins and put them on the cooling racks.

A while later I finished the cakes with quite a lot of whipped cream, and coffee. To add my own spin to it, I added a few chocolate flakes to the top, some chocolate hearts and some candles.

Kim's Cappuccino Cake

Happy Birthday to my lovely hubby, hope you enjoyed your cake! xx