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

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Week Eighty – Mary Berry’s Strawberry Meringue Nests & Rock Cakes

Week eighty already and I didn’t know what I fancied attempting this week – sweet or savoury? I dipped into Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and surfaced with strawberry meringue nests and rock cakes!

Mary Berry's Strawberry Meringue Nests

The meringue nests would make a nice pudding after the planned weekend b-b-q and so I began. Mary asks you to whisk the egg whites until frothy. Then you add the icing sugar but interestingly Mary then asks you to whisk the mix over a pan of hot water until the mixture is stiff and ready for piping. No easy feat but I had a pan of hot water on anyway boiling some eggs for a salad so I used that pan and juggled the bowl over it while whisking until I thought it was set…… then Mary asks you to put the mix into a piping bag and pipe into basket shapes. Mary estimates that the mix will make 6 baskets but mine made four- they were huge though!

Kim's Meringue Nests

My piping skills obviously need a lot of practice ! I was ok with the base but when it came to the basket sides, I wobbled all over the place! When all were piped, they had to go into the oven for about 45 minutes. Once cooked and cooled, Mary asks you to put strawberry pieces in and glaze with some melted strawberry jam. This is where Mary and I agree to disagree as I am a purist with strawberries and thought they didn’t need to be spoiled with a glaze. I also added some raspberries and served in the basket with some cream.

Kim's Strawberry Meringue Nests

The second recipe was rock cakes. The last time I made rock cakes was when I was in home economic classes at school. Mary asks you to weigh out the flour and add the butter , rubbing it in until it resembles breadcrumbs. Then add all the other ingredients and mix together.

Mary Berry's Rock Cakes

Use 2 teaspoons to put amounts of the mix into small heaps on the tray and sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 15 minutes. The finished cakes kind of resemble rocks I guess. All I can say is that they tasted good!!

Kim's Rock Cakes

Well the countdown continues with 108 recipes left to bake….

Week Thirty Seven – Mary Berry’s Strawberry Pavlova

I faced the usual dilemma this week, what to choose from the still numerous recipes from Mary Berry‘s Baking Bible that I haven’t yet covered. My decision was made when my other mum and dad invited us to Sunday lunch so I said I would provide the pudding. I had plans to do a lot of gardening on Saturday so I needed something that would be fairly quick as usual and could be put together in parts- the strawberry pavlova fitted the bill nicely.

Mary Berry's Strawberry Pavlova

Mary’s recipe wasn’t too daunting, whip the eggs whites until stiff, add the caster sugar, a little at a time and continue to mix well. The final part of the recipe had me a bit stumped, Mary asks for you to mix a little white wine vinegar and corn flour and whisk in to the meringue– if you have any idea why this is necessary, I would love to hear from you. I then drew a circle on some greaseproof paper and spread the meringue mix until it roughly filled the circle. I added the last of the mix to a disposable icing bag and swirled it around the sides to build them up. It was now ready to go into the pre-heated oven.

Kim's meringue base ready to bake

An hour later, the timer pinged and I simply turned the oven off and allowed the meringue to cool down inside the oven. Mary recommends this in her recipe to give the meringue a softer middle. The next morning, I retrieved the meringue, chose some Emlea Double Light cream to whisk – I try to cut a few calories where I can! I then sliced some strawberries and added both to the meringue and took it with us for a delicious dinner.

Kim's finished Strawberry Pavlova

The meringue went down well, especially with my other dad, he politely had his given slice, and then sat there with big puppy dog eyes, waiting to be asked if he would like some more!

Kim's Strawberry PavlovaPlease can I have some more?

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.