Souffle, harder than it looks!

I did say when I started this blog that I would put up the good, the bad and the ugly of what I baked. So far I’ve been veering clear of the less successful of my experiments because, well, why would you want to read about an almighty flop of a tart or an explosion of a muffin? But today I’ve decided to keep at least partially to my word and tell you about how not easy souffle is to make!

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I’m not talking about the making of the batter here, that’s incredibly easy. Whip up a few egg whites add flour chocolate etc. Easy peasy! (If you have an electric whisk, which I don’t.) 🙂

It’s the timing that’s the killer, you want to get them out of the oven just before the centre hardens up, which I didn’t in the ones above! And just after they get past the ‘I’m still a blob of batter in a muffin tin’ stage!

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I’m making this post a quick one so you’re not burdened with my many failings as a baker and a human being for any longer than you have to be!

So maybe you’ve learned something today, and maybe you haven’t! But at least you got to see me make a mess of a souffle! 🙂

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xxxxx

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Birthday Madness! And twix truffle brownies.

This is the first post with any non-blurry pictures on it! I’ve finally got my camera set up, and I’ve even got the lead that connects it to the computer. Aren’t I modern! And it does make a difference to the photos!

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These are very rich, perfect to go along with a light sponge or something at a party. That was the route I went down with for this party, I’ll post up the rest of the food for you soon. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but it was pretty good!

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Now these little beauties came off the blog, ‘Chef in Training’. I’ve actually never baked anything off it before so I was slightly dubious. But you can see from these pictures that there really was no need. They were spectacular!

They were actually pretty easy to make, the only slight hitch for me was that I had to make the shortbread myself. I had no problem with that at all but it took extra time for it to cool. Here’s the link to my recipe, the shortbread was great and there’s loads of information on the page that you don’t really have to read but if you’re a baking geek like me you may even find it interesting!

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2010/sep/30/how-to-make-perfect-shortbread 

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So what these beautiful creations really are are: A layer of succulent rich cocoa brownie topped by a shortbread truffle (which is crushed shortbread mixed with cram cheese and sugar), with a layer of caramel on top of that and all topped off by a layer of melted chocolate. Pop it all into the fridge and wait for it to set!

ANd here’s the link:   http://www.chef-in-training.com/2014/08/twix-truffle-brownies/

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A quick tip: For when you’re cutting them into their little squares at the end.

DON’T just come at them with a massive green knife fresh out of the drawer. It’s not a great idea, I know from experience!

DO dip the knife into a jug of hot water so that it melts the chocolate on it’s way down and makes nice clean cuts instead of shattering the chocolate into many many little shards!

And yes, I was told this by someone else after I confessed why there were three or four mangled looking lumps of chocolatey caramel hidden away in a lunchbox!

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Strawberry Strawberry Cupcakes!

Summer… Fruit… STRAWBERRIES!!!

These are the perfect summer party cupcakes. Enjoyable for people of almost any age and best heaped with sprinkles! 

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Being the amateur baker that I am I hadn’t actually iced cupcakes before. Ever. Shock horror, I know. It’s unacceptable. So please excuse the lopsidedness of the icing on my cupcakes.

You wouldn’t believe how fun it is though! I got a bit carried away and used almost EVERY single head in the the bag. The amount of wash up was absolutely humongous but 100% worth it. My hands were covered in icing, I had used up almost every single spoon in the house, there was icing on the floor, on my new leather boots (a lot of talcom powder was in order for that one) and there was even some in my hair! But by the end of my icing session those cupcakes were darn freezing! :p

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And being the food nerd that I am I of course went as far as to make little chocolate decorations for the tops of the cakes. Using a plastic bag to pipe! (We didn’t have a nozzle big enough!).image_5 (3) image_6 (3)

 

These cupcakes were sweet as icing sugar! And had the most amazing strawberry pieces scattered the whole way through the cupcake. They are possibly the moistest baked goods I have ever eaten aside from my favourite carrot cake! Which is a given, seeing as they’re from… drumroll please….. SALLY’S BAKING ADDICTION! (And just so you know, I don’t always bake off SBA. Just yesterday I made Brown Eyed Baker’s Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting. They were incredible. So incredible even that I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of a single one!)

Here’s the link: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/01/26/fresh-strawberry-cupcakes/

And my favourite part…. Wait for it…. : They are completely naturally coloured. The pink icing on the top is all freshly squeezed strawberry juice!

The recipe I used was this one:

 http://addapinch.com/cooking/2013/06/20/strawberry-buttercream-frosting-recipe/

I replaced the syrup with the strawberry juice and used normal milk, not cream. It’s fattening enough as it is!

So in conclusion. For a summer snack, tea, dessert, party or almost anything else. Bake them. Bake them I tell you!

Hope you’re enjoying the summer.

xxxxx

 

Incredible low fat Brownies. Nothing more needs be said!

Is this my first post on them? If it is, I am so sorry I haven’t gotten here sooner. You deserve more. :p
Though it is the middle of summer and I should really mention more season friendly recipes that I’ve baked, I’m getting a brownie itch today, and I just have to scratch it!

 

First of all, I have to mention, often when people see the words low and fat together they immediately scroll off to find a more taste-bud friendly recipe. DON’T. This is the densest, fudgiest and richest brownie recipe that I’ve ever tasted. And it’s also the healthiest. In the original recipe there’s no white flour, no chocolate and no butter. Have you ever heard such good news?

What these brownies do have are rolled oats, cocoa powder, yogurt and some optional peanut-butter! They’re perfect for breakfast before your morning jog, the jog being optional in this case!

I did do a few things slightly differently from the original recipe. The oats weren’t a priority for me as I don’t jog so when I baked them I used half oats and half white flour, my blender is non-existant so I had to use a smoothie maker to turn them into a flour. Not ideal! I gave up half way, why persevere?!

I also decided to omit the peanut-butter swirls on the top, calories? No… Well, maybe!

But to me, I think if I had added it I would have made them almost too rich for me to eat. I shared them out with other people as I couldn’t manage more than 2. Those 2 were worth the slight nausea!

It’s midsummer here in Ireland so I should really bake something befitting to the weather but when brownies call… So thanks for reading and here’s the link: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/06/10/skinny-peanut-butter-swirl-brownies/

Hope you enjoy!

XXXXXXX

 

 

 

 

 

My First Go at Baking in our New House!

It  was a very nerve wracking day for me. I hadn’t baked in a gas oven for over half a year! Can you believe it? I know I certainly can’t. But for those of you who’ve been converted to either one or the other for the whole of your life I’ll just verify, it’s a very different experience.

So I decided to try something very easy, scones.

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Scones for me are the constant of the baking world. They’re hearty, delicious and always remind me of my grandmother. But as they do not contain chocolate there’s always a slight reluctance in me to choose them over, let’s say, chocolate muffins. But  every time I eat them I remember why they are worshipped all over the world.                                                 They’re delicious. They’re scrumptious. They’re yum-diddly-umptious!

And what’s even better is that yesterday I happened to find an especially amazing recipe. The cookbooks aren’t yet unpacked and that includes our Avoca one within which lies my go to recipe for scones. The recipe contains cream, which always bodes well. However, yesterday, as I wasn’t about to go rummaging through boxes I resorted to the internet. BBC GoodFood to be precise. And the scones were magnificent.

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And what’s even better than all of that is that they only use basic store-cupboard ingredients. The only one I had to pop down to the shop for was a lemon, but that’s only because that’s not the kind of food you carry with you while moving.

These scones are also  very quick and easy to make, they only take about 30 minutes altogether. For me they took a bit longer than stated in the recipe but not an awful lot, about 5 or 10 minutes. They were so worth the wait though. Fresh out of the oven… Yum!

I wonder where that one went?????

I wonder where that one went????? 😀

I added raisins to the scones that you see here. I really think that they give the scones a little bit more ‘oomph’! As I call it. Just a little something extra.

These scones were the perfect texture, they were moist and soft. Not too heavy but they weren’t about to float away on you either. Especially not with the amount of Jam and cream that I bogged them down with! (Absolutely necessary in my opinion).

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These scones were polished off in a matter of hours.  As scone recipes go, this was one of the easiest and the best I’ve tried.

Here’s the link:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4622/classic-scones-with-jam-and-clotted-cream

Hope you try them,                                                                                                                                                               They’re really good.

xxxxx

 

 

Apologies, a birthday cake shortlist and also a smoothie?!?!

I’m so sorry! I just realised that I forgot to put up the link to the original recipe for the ‘Belated Mothers Day Cake! It was (of course) on Sally’s website originally. I was just so busy on Saturday between a 1500 word essay and everything else that my mind was a bit scattered!

So anyway, here’s the link:

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/02/09/lemon-blueberry-layer-cake/

And plus I want to say congrats to Sally on her TV appearance!!!!!!!!!!! You really should check out her blog.

Ooh, and also, I just made a lovely smoothie! Banana, peanut butter and natural yoghurt with a splash of vanilla essence really is the only way to start off a Monday morning.

And (I know you’re sick of hearing my ands by now but please persevere, it’s about to get interesting) today’s the big day! I’ve compiled a list of about 10 cakes 7 cakes (I edited in the process, my tastes seem to have changed significantly since yesterday) that are all possibilities for the birthday. I of course have some preferences but I can’t make a decision for my life so I’d love any help I can get. 🙂 It’s not often that I get the chance to bake a full out whatever I want cake without feeling guilty in the slightest. But here’s my chance, and I’m taking it very seriously!

So (drumroll please) cake number 1:                                                                                                                        This is SprinkleBakes Chocolate Quake Cake. It looks divine!                                                                   And yes, there is a double layer chocolate cake with frosting under all of that!

                                                        And the link:   http://www.sprinklebakes.com/2011/11/chocolate-quake-cake.html

 

Cake number 2.                                                                                                                                                                    This is a CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER TORTE. Please just sit and take that in for a minute, really absorb those words. Pretty mind blowing, right? And just wait until you see the picture. :p

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This is a Brown Eyed Baker recipe. I believe that she has the same tastes as I do!                          Link:   http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/04/15/chocolate-peanut-butter-torte/

 

Cake 3:                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a high likelihood that this will be the only non chocolate cake on this list! But it does look amazing. Brown Eyed Baker again. This woman does good cakes. 🙂

Blueberry Buckle Recipe on @browneyedbaker :: www.browneyedbaker.com

Link:     http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2013/07/15/blueberry-buckle-recipe/

 

Number 4:                                                                                                                                                                                 Holy sugar. I am positively drooling over this one. Peanut butter and chocolate in bulk in cake form, all in the one place. Have I died and gone to heaven? Hold your eyes in for this next one, they may just fall out of your head.

Peanut Butter Cup Cake

This is from Bakerella’s food blog. Look at how moist the chocolate cake is!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here’s the link to her site and the recipe:  http://www.bakerella.com/got-milk-i-hope-so%E2%80%A6/  Also, if I’m cooking this, instead of Devils food Cake mix I’m going to use the recipe from this site: http://www.food.com/recipe/the-only-chocolate-cake-recipe-youll-ever-need-devils-food-26370

 

And now for Cake Number 5:                                                                                                                                         I couldn’t not have one from Sally’s blog on my list so I chose this one, it looks so good. But because of this I have to go back on my word. It isn’t entirely chocolate. So it turns out that the the Blueberry Buckle isn’t the only non chocolate cake on this list. This is her Raspberry Chocolate Chip Layer Cake.

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Layer Cake - super moist chocolate chip cake with raspberries and creamy, velvety milk chocolate frosting. Recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com

And the link to her site: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/03/28/raspberry-chocolate-chip-layer-cake/

 

Cake Number 6:                                                                                                                                                                      This cake here is Brown Eyed Baker’s Snickers cake.

Snickers Cake

Link:  http://www.browneyedbaker.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/snickers-cake-28-600.jpg

 

And the final one, Cake Number 7.                                                                                                                             This has fudge brownie in a vanilla cheesecake on top of an Oreo crust with a chocolate coating. Need I say any more?

Link:   http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2008/10/11/brownie-mosaic-cheesecake/

 

Did you know that when I started writing this it was meant to be a 2-3 line post apologising for the lack of a link in Saturday’s post? Well, it was! But I got caught up in the addictive world of blogging and cakes and just couldn’t pull myself away. And now we’re late for the boat of course! So please have a look at these cakes if at all possible and comment if you have a preference or inclination. I’d love to know what the rest of the world thinks about these lovely cakes. I’ll let you know as soon as I do which one I’m going to bake (and then conseqentially eat)!

Have a lovely Monday (and rest of the week).

xxxxx

 

Special (belated) Mothers Day post. Blueberry Lemon 3 Tier Cake.

I know it’s about a week late but it’s been really busy around here for the last week. Moving house really does take up your entire life. Between shuttling stuff between the houses and trying to find enough boxes to pack all our stuff in (I can’t believe how much we fitted into our cottage, we’ve accumulated quite a lot) we’ve been pretty busy. Everything else has gone on the back burner. But now I’m back. And I hope you haven’t missed me too much!

This is a really special recipe. I know you must be sick of hearing about Sally by now and I promise that at some point soon I’ll cook something that’s not off her blog but I just couldn’t resist this one. I saw it and thought how perfect this would be for my mom. And guess what? It was! Lucky that Mothers Day was coming up.

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I’m not usually a fan of any cake that doesn’t have the word chocolate in the title but this one broke the streak. It was gorgeous. It was airy and light melt in your mouth icing with popping blueberries and a slight tang of lemon all mixed together with a bit of love a lot of sugar and some vanilla essence! And yes, I did say all of that in one breath. It was gone within 24 hours of being made. With a little bit of help from 4 or 5 friends of course! And then we made it again for an event the next weekend. A big hit.

The cooking process took a little longer than expected. Between the cooling time (which I never listen to unless icing is involved) and all the other minor complications by 10 ‘o clock that night me and Jay were sitting at the kitchen table darting frequent looks at the fridge and clock just waiting for those final 45 minutes to tick by. The reason for this is that I only had one cake tin of the right size. And there was no way it was going to be a 2 tier cake, because that’s just not impressive, it had to be 3 tiers (silly me). So with a 4 ‘o clock start, no electric mixer and one cake tin I began to bake.

So we now know that complication:

1. Was the cake tin conundrum

2. Was the absence of an electric mixer

And of course, as the saying goes, ‘What happens twice always happens 3 times’. So now number:

3. There weren’t enough blueberries at the shop. So we had to make do with some strawberries.

And oddly enough, these were what made the cake so nice. I’d advise you if you’re cooking it to put in half strawberries half blueberries. Their sweetness goes really well with the overall tanginess of the lemon in the cake. Plus, they look extra pretty on the top.

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I wasn’t sure how to arrange them so I had to do a first draft. This is it! However, the top of the cake wasn’t quite this big so I had to cut it a bit short.

Oh yes! How silly of me, I forgot to tell you about complication no.

4.  ( It seems that what happens twice doesn’t happen only three times, but 4!) In the recipe it tells you to toss the blueberries in tablespoon of flour before putting them in the cake to stop them from exploding. This I did. And it worked very well. I had unexploded blueberries in my cake. But when tossing them I forgot to account for the blueberries that I’d have to put on the top of the cake. Oops! So as a result of this I spent about 10 minutes hand-washing and towel (or tissue) drying every single blueberry on top of this cake. Here’s a picture of me in action:

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These were squeaky clean blueberries by the end of it.

As you can see, this became quite a hectic day. So by the time I got around to icing the cake it was already a little late. And I was already more than a little tired. So icing made I set out to begin the icing process. And hungry as I was I ate the majority of it before it went on the cake. But never mind, I made the rest of it stretch.

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I got to this point without too many hiccups. Not looking too shabby, eh? But when I got to here I paused and took a deep breath. It was time to begin icing the sides. Here’s about the point where you begin listening to the Jaws Theme Tune and looking away in fright. As you can see from my pics of the finished product it obviously didn’t turn out too badly but there was a bit of a waterfall effect. I still haven’t figured out how to stop the icing from running down the side of the cake and pooling on the plate!  Am I making the icing too thin? Is there a special utensil that’s needed to ice a cake?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  🙂 However by the end of a few minutes wrestling with the knife and icing I managed to coat the sides in an even layer of icing.

And then it had to go in the fridge.

And we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

It felt like hours.

So after 25 minutes we took it out of the fridge!

And it didn’t crumble. The first slice came out perfectly formed.

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And so did the second.

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And the third as a matter of fact.

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This was one nice cake. The perfect springtime treat.

This evening is taken up with compiling a shortlist of possibilities for………… MY BIRTHDAY CAKE! Yay! And you can be assured that this will be no lemon cake. I have a sneaky suspicion that the word chocolate might be included in the title. I don’t think that even the nicest non-chocolate cake in the world could sway my loyalty to chocolate!

I’ll post this shortlist soon.

xxx