The Missing Link: The Classic Victoria Sponge.

This has been long due. I didn’t feel that I had the right to call myself a baker (or bakress, if you’re a feminist) until I’d proved to you all that yes, I can bake a victoria sponge, and I can get it to rise!

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I made this recently for a host of guests that we had staying over. It seemed the perfect choice, who doesn’t like a victoria sponge? I thought that everybody did, that was one rule that I thought there was no exception to. Until……. I had an 8 year old boy come up to me and tell me that he didn’t like jam, he didn’t like jam! I’m still flabbergasted, sugary berryey goodness! What’s not to like? So I commissioned a special slice without cream for him. The problem was finding it once the second layer was on top!

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However, all in all, this cake went down well, scrap that, it went down amazingly! Screw modesty! So why was I polite and took the smallest slice? When I went back for seconds it was all gone. 😦

This is possibly one of the simplest recipes out there, and it’s foolproof, even if you only have one baking dish of the right size. ‘Looks down embarassedly’. Ok, I admit to it, I did have to bake the cake twice. I only have one 9 inch baking dish so I cut the recipe in half and did it again. Silly, but what could I do? (I really am in a rhetorical question mood tonight.)

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 The strawberries in the middle of the cake give it a summery zing that you just don’t get from the jam. And the buttons on the top are a kind of family tradition, my Mom’s been putting them on top of my birthday cakes since I was about 5.

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And for the leftovers.

And for the leftovers.

I’m going to write the recipe up because I’m not 100% sure where it came from, I’ve known it forever you see!

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Classic Victoria sponge Recipe:

For an incredibly moist, spongey and summery treat.

Serves 10. (8 if you want leftovers)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

300g caster sugar

300g butter

6 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

300g self-raising flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons of milk

For the filling:

250g strawberries

A tub of single cream

Berry jam

And chocolate buttons (optional but advised)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170F/ Gas mark 5.
  2. Grease 2 9 inch silicone cake tins.
  3. cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. Add in the eggs and vanilla essence and mix until well combined.
  5. Mix in the flour and baking powder, do not overmix. This will knock any air out of you cake mix and will make it less light and airy.
  6. Then stir in the milk to thin out. Your batter should be smooth and creamy.
  7. Pour into your prepared cake tins and level with a spatula. (I got a new rubber one recently)
  8. Pop into the oven bake for about 20 – 25 mins or until the cake springs back when you poke it and a knife comes out with only a few small crumbs attached.
  9. Cool on a wire rack until your cakes reach room temperature.
  10. Then spread with jam, cover with sliced strawberries and dollop your cream on before dropping your second layer of cake on top and covering with you (optional) chocolate buttons!

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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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!

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Summer, and special chocolate cookies…

The summer it is!

Alas, at last it has arrived, those long endless days and those months that seem to go on and on forever. We no longer live for the days during which the sun beats down on us as we cool ourselves off in the ocean, we are in those days!

So because of my truly contradictory nature and the fact that as I’m cycling up to 10 miles a day I decided to go for something a bit unorthodox but never unwelcome for this time of year. Chocolate!

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COOKIES!

And now you ask… ‘What’s so special about these cookies? They look pretty ordinary to me.’

And with a smile I reply ‘They are protein packed, on the cookie scale are rather healthy and are still absolutely delicious!’

Now do you see why they’re special? They taste like some sort of incredible fudge, except they’re cookies!

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The secret? No flour, lots of peanut-butter. I must admit, I was terrified when making the dough. When you find yourself scooping almost a WHOLE JAR of peanut-butter into a batch of cookies you can’t judge me for beginning to freak! But I had already gotten myself in too deep, I had to keep going. And anyways I thought, I’m giving most of the batch away.  Well, about this much of the batch!

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They’re like some funny little army getting ready to march out!!!

These cookies are full of cocoa. I added chocolate chips instead of the recommended peanut-butter chips which was perfect for me because I have a really sweet tooth and though these cookies are absolutely out of this world they would be even better suited to someone who rathers dark chocolate to milk as they had that same slightly bitter tang to them. But regardless, everyone adored them!

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They would also be perfect to fuel a morning run, I know, chocolate for breakfast is frowned upon by a lot of people but with the amount of protein packed peanuts in this recipe it would keep you fueled for hours!

And an extra bonus is that they’re gluten free!

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So here’s a link to the recipe, SBA (yes I have started abbreviating it! :)) if you’re interested. Go on, add these to your get in shape for summer (or during summer) routine!

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/06/06/flourless-peanut-butter-brownie-cookies/

Hope you enjoy!

xxxx

 

 

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!!!!!

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These completely 100% deserve those capital letters!

Chocolate chip cookies are one of the most used and loved inventions in the whole of the baking world. And because of this they are also one of the most difficult. Not difficult to bake, not difficult to bake AT ALL! They are in fact some of the easiest and most forgiving baked goods out there. What is difficult is finding the right recipe. Some people are lucky, they have their great-great-great grandmother’s recipe that has been passed down through the centuries and is usually unrivaled by any other cookie recipe! However, not all of us are that lucky. Most of us have to scour cookbooks and the internet for that recipe.

And guess what?!? I’ve found it!!!!!

I’ve tried many cookie recipes in the last while, ones that call for cooking directly from the bowl to ones that call for refrigerating for almost a full week! (Insane I know, there was barely any dough left to bake by the end of it !) And even in these cases I found that I ate more of Sally’s dough in the 1 hour period than I did in nearly a week! So of all the cookies I’ve tried so far this one has to be the best, I’ve still got a couple to try so if I find anything on a par to Sally’s one I’ll send it on out! 

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And on that note, I was thinking a couple of nights ago: ‘I cook so much off Sally’s Baking Addiction that I might as well just stop writing this blog and send you over to hers instead’, so I went to one of the many trusted recipe books on our shelf and rustled up two batches of muffins for our guests. A triple chocolate batch and a lemon and blueberry chocolate chip batch. 

The verdict: ‘Nah!’ They were dry, the lemon was overpowering, and there WASN’T ENOUGH CHOCOLATE! So, my guilty feelings appeased for the time being I went back to my trusted baking adviser and made these cookies.

And they were good. ALMOST as good as the dough. Which is saying something! They were moist and fluffy and soft and chewy with the perfect chocolate to dough ratio (though I did use chopped up chocolate chinks instead of the chips as I had none on hand).

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I do believe that they were perfect. 

As far as I’m aware it’s the cornstarch that gives them their amazing texture. This, I believe, is what seperates the men from the boys, or in this case the good cookies from the not so good!

So now that I’m done tooting these cookie’s horns I think I’ll leave you this evening with an apology for the time between this post and the last and yet another photo of these cookies!

🙂

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(And also the link) 

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/08/06/the-chocolate-chip-cookie/

 

Birthday Cake 1! Raspberry Chocolate Chip Layer

I’m back. It really has been a while. Between holidays and birthday season and family. Lots and lots of family. I just haven’yt had the time to blog about the great time that I was having! But now I’m back in school. The normal routine (nearly) back on track. And so I return to you. 🙂

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I’m not exactly going in chronological order. I’ve baked quite a lot over the last while so I’m just going to blog the second cake I baked over the holiday season. It wasn’t really a birthday cake (even if it does say it in the title), it was more a cake that was used to bring almost everybody in our entire family into the same house at the same time. Stressful, but nice to have five over 80’s on our 3 seater couch!

So I of course had to pick the right cake. Picking the wrong one would have been disasterous. I cowardly went back to my constant. Sally’s Baking Addiction. And (of course) it was perfect. 

Not too hard to make, even in my Grandmothers ancient oven. Chocolaty on the outside and spongy on the inside. Though by no means light, so that people weren’t going for monster slices and leaving those last served with next to nothing. I couldn’t have wished for a better cake. 

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I decided that as you can’t see it from the outside I’d show you this glorious picture (in terrible lighting) of the spongy perfect raspberry chocolate chippy inside of my cake.

The icing was so good. I ate it straight out of the bowl after the ordeal that came with the making of it. I won’t go into great detail about this particular trauma but all I’m going to say is that by the end of mixing the unsalted butter (unsoftened, which I believe is to blame for all of the morning’s problems) the blender was broken beyond repair and my 1 day old pair of new boots were permanently stained with a massive blob of butter. 

Needless to say I was gutted.

But this finished product was surely worth it.

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And one with the candles on:

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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