Week 2 – Biscuits
I had sympathy for all of the bakers in week 2. Biscuits shouldn’t be too difficult to make, however when faced with the challenge of making a sculpture from Gingerbread you can understand why there was so many disasters in the tent. Not only does the recipe for the biscuits have to be spot on, but you also have to decide on the right substance to ‘stick’ it all together that will hold the desired shape.
As I am only baking along for fun I decided against a gingerbread sculpture and went for the Viennese Whirls as they looked a little challenging, but a lot easier! I decided to super size them and only made 9, well 8 big ones and a little one for Grace to taste. For the flavour I went for Ginger whirls filled with lemon buttercream. The best tip is to have really soft butter, as when I was mixing it I made sure it was almost runny, and that left the mixture loose enough to pipe and thankfully it kept the shape. Whilst I was heating up the oven I put the biscuits in the freezer, to ensure that they didn’t melt as soon as it went into the hot oven.
These biscuits are designed to be crumbly and that is exactly how I would describe them. It was so tricky to move the biscuits to the cooling rack, you could feel the delicateness of the biscuit. To sandwich them together I made some buttercream and added some lovely lemon curd, which was carefully piped on the biscuits, and they tops slowly lowered. It was a relief to finish with a little dusting of icing sugar. I have to admit they were a little over baked as my oven is to temperamental, it doesn’t matter how low you put it, everything becomes brown quickly!!
Next Week….. Bread Week!!
Week 1 – Cake week
Week 1 – Cake Week
A nice easy week to get everyone started, well you would think that but really who would have expected to see a Mirror Glaze Showstopper cake in week 1, I certainly didn’t! I think all of the contestants did well worth the challenge but I was not brave enough to attempt this one so for the Bake Along with Alison I decided to give the technical challenge a go -the humble Jaffa Cake. Although is it a cake is a biscuit – the answer to that will remain a mystery until the end of time. I followed Queen Mary Berry’s recipe for the Jaffa cakes and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. They actually resembled Jaffa Cakes and they did smell amazing.
As always the proof is in the tasting and James did eat 2 on the day I made them. which is a tell tale sign that they are nice .
I like all of the contestants so far – I am sure that may change over the weeks.
Up Next ………. Week 2 – Biscuit Week
Baby Shower cake
A 3 tiered cake, hexagonal vanilla base, round middle and the little top was Chocolate and this was the stage for the main attraction – Barry the Bear!
This cake was for the lovely Sheelagh who was about to go on Maternity leave. As we already knew she was going to have a beautiful baby girl I was able to make the cake with a little pink. After trawling the internet I combined a few ideas as I wanted the cake to look classy, just like the mum to be whilst also being a little different. I stuck to the traditional white fondant for the base and top with a lovely pink ribbon about them but for the middle layer I wanted something a little different. I do think that piped roses really add to a cake and it makes it stand out a little more than a generic white cake.
Once the cake elements were all decorated I had to decide what exactly I was going to put on the top. Looking at all of the colours of icing I had, I did have a lovely chocolate colour so I decided that a cute little bear would be perfect. Although as I had never made one before I had to trawl the internet to find a video on how to do one. Got it right on my 1st attempt and it even resembled a little bear – I roughed it up a little to bring his fur to life and added the obligatory little patch to him, oh and named him Barry.
Was happy that the cake made it in one piece to the office – although Barry had to have his little ear stuck back on, poor little thing!!
40th Birthday cake
This cake was just a little one that I made for James’s friend as he was going to be the big 40 and loves a game of Poker so the design was a no brainer. I managed to get a playing card cutter which I thought would have been perfect, however when I decided on the cake, I realised that the cutter was a little large! But not to worry, I changed my idea to look like a poker table with some oversized cards and obviously with some poker chips. They were really easy to make, roughly measuring the size I needed for the chip I placed little white balls of fondant on the circle and lightly rolled over it with a rolling then Hey Presto we have some poker chips. Happy with the end cake, although if I have to make this theme again will definitely make the cake bigger or the cards a little smaller!
Unbelievably I am updating this with some of my bakes from January.
The Months are just flying past!!
Over the past few months my baking has took a back seat as I am trying to concentrate on getting fitter and healthier which I have to say is going well. It is not an easy thing to do when your hobby is baking but I am sure it will be worth it in the end whenever that may be. The down side being is that I am not getting to bake many things hence the lack of posts. Since my last post I haven’t made much but here is a little update of what has been made.
I made these for my chance to be able to show off my baking skills on a larger scale and they were enjoyed by all parties.
• Sticky Toffee Cake with salted caramel icing – I have made this previously so I won’t bore you with all of the details, but what I would say is that it is such a yummy cake, if anyone is looking for a special occasion cake that isn’t the generic vanilla or chocolate sponge I would highly recommend this. I did decorate this one slightly differently than the last time to show off my piping skills and I was very happy with the finished cake.
• Haggis, Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pasties – It did take me a while to come up with an idea for some kind of savoury bake, pastry is not something I have made a lot of apart from the odd quiche or sweet tart so I wanted to challenge myself to a pastry type that I hadn’t done before. I went for flaky pastry as I thought that would challenge me. I only had 2 attempts at getting both the pastry and the filling right, on the first attempt I rushed the pastry slightly and didn’t really give the pastry enough time to rest but the finished article wasn’t too bad and the filling was spot on. The roasted butternut squash gave a nice sweetness which worked so well with the spiciness of the haggis and the saltiness of the goats cheese. Two days later it was time to go for it, I got everything ready to go, filling was made and left to cool which allowed me to completely concentrate on perfecting the pastry. Tip : add some Turmeric to the pastry as it gives it a lovely golden colour! I took my time, allowing the pastry to chill out longer than needed in the fridge, and making sure I did all of the turns needed and think I did an extra turn but it did work. Once in the oven I did what any respectable baker does, I sat and watched them cook, the initial view worried me as it looked like the pastry was melting and not cooking. I had only made 6 pasties and didn’t have enough pastry left to make anymore and they were being delivered to the venue the next day so however they were going to turn out was going to have to be good enough. Making myself busy for the remaining 10 minutes I did my best to not look at the pasties whilst waiting patiently to hear those all-important beeps of my timer. BEEP BEEP BEEP!! When I brought the pasties out of the oven they looked ok, shiny, there was some lamination and the smell was amazing!
Thankfully they made it to their destination and I was complimented on my pastry especially on the lamination and the colour. At the end of the day we were lucky as we were able to take a couple home to keep us going on the drive back home. Stopping off at the service station myself and James thought we would share one, I went into the garage to pick up some water and came back to find James enjoying almost a whole pasty. After deciding that he could have the rest of it to himself and he looked as he was enjoying it,, I have one to myself. I am not being big headed at all when I say that it tasted AMAZING!! all of the flavors really came together well and the pastry was indeed perfect, just like I was told earlier that day. I will definitely be making these again – but when that will be is anyone’s guess.
Next post will be all about Barry the Bear and Baby Shower cake.
It has been a few months since I updated my baking adventures.
The months seem to be flying past this year, how can we be halfway through June already.
In all honestly I haven’t been baking as much as I would like. I started off well at the beginning of the year but for the past few months I have been really trying to lose some weight and baking yummy cakes are not really part of my healthy eating which is sad but I am sure it will be worth it, well that’s what I keep telling myself! So far so good but still a long way to go!
Since my last update I have made couple of things and aim to write these up at some point over the next few weeks. From Pasties to Baby shower cakes my baking has been a little varied and I got the chance to have a go at Flaky pastry for the 1st time ever and it was lovely even if I do say so myself! Just need to figure out a healthy version or have an excuse to try it again.
Update on the few things I have made is to follow…………………………