Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Showstopper

three tier round and square cake with autumn leaves flower and gold soft pearl decoration gluten free lemon drizzle recipe

So the Great British Bake Off is over for another – Wednesday nights won’t be the same again! I was really pleased that Nadiya won though, she was my favourite going into the final and really excelled with her 3 bakes. A very worth winner and so humble too. Was anyone not crying in that final scene??

I wanted to pull out all the stops for my final bake for the Great Bloggers Bake-Off, and loved the idea of a three-tiered classic British cake. I asked Rob what he’d like and lemon drizzle was the answer – can’t say no to that!

This gluten-free lemon cake really vamps up the lemon, and is deliciously easy to make and moist when done. It’s very well complemented by the lemon curd filling (keep reading), but works just as well as a standalone cake, without any filling or frosting. And it’s one of those great bakes where you can’t even tell it’s gluten free!

Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
(makes 1 each of 8 inch round, 7 inch square and 4 inch round cakes. Halve the recipe to make one 8 inch round cake)

300g butter
300g caster or granulated sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
50g ground almonds
3 medium eggs
200g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm)1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
20ml milk or warm water

Lemon Drizzle
100 ml lemon juice (approx. juice of 2 large lemons, I used bottled for this)
150g caster or granulated sugar

Method
– beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– add the almonds, and beat in the eggs, one at a time
– add the lemon juice, zest and milk and beat again until smooth
– sieve in the flour and baking powder, and gently fold in until all combined
– split between 3 greased, lined tins – a 4-inch round, a 6-inch round, and an 8-inch round
– bake at 180 degrees C until the cakes are springy to touch and starting to come away from the sides of the tine. If you’re not sure then check with an inserted skewer, which should come out clean.
Each cake will need a different amount of time. Check first after around 20 minutes to see if the first is done, if not give another 5 minutes. The middle will take around 30-35 minutes, and the larger around 45 minutes. The time is very dependent on your oven and tin so keep an eye on them! Once you’ve taken the smaller one out, check the other two at least every 10 minutes, if not more often.
– Prepare the lemon drizzle by mixing the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave for 20-30 second until all the sugar is dissolved
– Once each cake is removed from the oven, prick small holes all over the top with a skewer or cocktail stick, and generously spoon over the lemon drizzle. Leave to cool fully in the tin.

gluten free lemon cake easy recipe three tier showstopper

I took a great tip from Nadiya on the show and popped the cakes in the freezer once cool, (wrapped in baking paper) for an hour or so before slicing in half and levelling the tops. It really did make it much easier – no cracking and much less crumbs.

Whilst the cakes were cooling and freezing I made the lemon curd – as this did take quite some time to cool as well. I used Delia’s recipe as a starter – but halved it (3 jars of lemon curd seemed a bit excessive!), and upped the cornflour to give a thicker set that would hold in the cakes. Maybe a bit of a blonde moment but I’d never realised that lemon curd was made mostly of eggs! I would say though that it is really easy to make and waaay better than shop-bought stuff, I’d highly recommend trying it!

Lemon curd

Grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons
3 medium eggs
175g golden caster sugar
100g butter
20g cornflour

Method
– in a large saucepan, beat together the eggs then add the remaining ingredients
– put on a medium heat and whisk continuously for 7 – 8 minutes until it starts to thicken. At this stage cook for another minute, before transferring to a bowl to cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools as well.

homemade lemon curd easy recipe from delia for cake filling

As the curd was cooling I went onto the next step. Nadiya had made marshmallow fondant look and sound so easy (“I make it all the time…!”), so I thought I’d give it a go. Well I’ll be honest. I’d like to meet Nadiya and introduce her to ready-to-roll fondant. It’ll save hours and countless amounts of kitchen cleaning!

Needless to say my attempt was rather less than successful. The online methods I read in advance made it sound relatively easy, however completely failed to mention that it is the stickiest substance ever made by man. Seriously, super glue has nothing on this stuff!

marshmallow fondant kitchenaid disaster sticky hands

The other downside about marshmallow fondant is that it uses a lot of icing sugar. Add that to the sugar in the marshmallows and you’re practically bouncing off the walls with every bite! I’d put in as much sugar as the recipe recommended and it was still nowhere near a fondant consistency, I was struggling to see how this would ever roll out. Additionally I was starting to run out of time – it was nearing midnight and I wanted to get the cake assembled at least that night! So I improvised and turned it into a marshmallow frosting – with the simple addition of a little more water and lemon juice. The good thing about this frosting is that it keeps well (in a sealed container), and if it starts to harden up before you’ve used it all, it can easily be ‘melted’ back down again by popping in the microwave.

Another grumble about these marshmallow icings is that I found it rather tricky to locate all-white marshmallows in the UK shops. I went to a good 5 or 6 big high street retailers / supermarkets, and was just about to give up when I found what I needed in The Range. Really though, does anyone know why they come in pink and white in the first place?!

Marshmallow frosting
(sufficient to cover 3 cakes as made above)

200g (white) marshmallows
400g icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water, plus additional as needed

Method
– put the marshmallows, lemon juice and water in a large bowl. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the marshmallows are fully melted to a smooth paste
– add the icing sugar and beat well to a smooth consistency (no lumps)
– the consistency should be thin enough to spread, but thick enough to hold its shape without dripping (hold the spoon upside down over the bowl to check). If it’s too thick, add a little more water and beat again, if it’s too thin, add a little more icing sugar. Once ready use straight away, or keep in the fridge in a sealed container until you need to use. Microwave to melt back to a spreadable consistency on removing from the fridge.

With the lemon curd filling and marshmallow frosting finally ready the cakes could be assembled. I layered up with lemon curd in the centre of each tier, and marshmallow frosting between the tiers and all round the sides. After refrigerating for half an hour to set the first layer, I added a second layer of marshmallow frosting to ensure a good thick coating.

luscious lemon curd homemade generous filling inside gluten free drizzle cake spreading marshmallow frosting onto tiered showstopper cake greatbloggersbakeoff

As the weather in the UK has recently taken a turn for the chillier, I decided to theme the decorations with an autumnal twist. To go with this rustic look I dimpled the frosting all over to give a more weathered effect.

textured effect stipling on marshmallow frosting tiered lemon cake

The leaf and flower decorations I made from coloured (normal) fondant – no more marshmallow icings for me! I may be blowing my own trumpet but I love how these marbled autumn leaves turned out. They were really simple to make too – I started with some green, yellow, orange, red and brown fondant, and mixed together in varying proportions, rolling out while they were only part combined. I used a leaf plunger cutter to get the veined and pronged leaves.

ombre marbled fondant icing autumn leaves for cake decoration

The marshmallow frosting stayed quite sticky so it was easy to attach the decorations the next day. Starting with some yellow flowers (a nod to the lemony inside), I arranged the leaves in an ombre graduating colour pattern down the cake. To finish – what showstopper is complete without a little sparkle – gold soft pearls around the base, in the flower centres and amongst the leaves.

gold soft pearl edging decoration around cake base

Fondant leaves and flowers with gold soft pearls decoration on autumn showstopper cake

Despite my various doubts (and wanting to give up!) in making this cake, I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Everything came together perfectly in the end and I’ll be honest – it tasted amazing! The homemade lemon curd had such a great zing, I want to put this in all my cakes going forward 🙂 I’m less enamoured with the marshmallow frosting – it really does taste just like marshmallows, which personally I’m not a fan of on a cake. I’ll stick with buttercream and ready-to-roll fondant from now, thank-you-very-much.

gbbo lemon drizzle gluten free showstopper three tier autumn decoration cake recipe autumn leaves decoration

The inside of the cake had a perfect wow as well – not to brag but look at those layers!

gluten free lemon drizzle three tier cake with homemade curd and marshmallow frosting moist recipe

lemon layer cake three tier showstopper with flower gluten free homemade lemon curd marshmallow frosting

Although I’ve not been able to participate every week this year, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Great Bloggers Bake Off again. As always massive thanks to Jenny for being an amazing organiser. Please click the banner below to visit her blog and for more information on the bloggers bake-off.

Mummy Mishaps
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Chocanoffee Pie

chocoanoffee chocolate banoffee pie

Semi-final week in GBBO so it follows that chocolate week comes to the Great Bloggers Bake Off – how could I resist making something?!

This is a bit of a short post as I’m not sharing the recipe because I didn’t feel the one I used worked particularly well – the pastry was too crumbly and prone to holes and breakage, and the filling very nearly didn’t set at all! Still it went down very well at dinner – you can’t go far wrong with this much chocolate 🙂

The pastry was an enriched dough, with sugar, cocoa powder and an egg yolk added to the normal butter-flour-water base.

I was pleased to get it all into the tin in one piece…

chocolate pastry case great bloggers bake off 2015

… but it didn’t come out quite as in tact!

baked chocolate pastry case enriched dough

I didn’t want the filling to leak out or ruin the crispness of the pastry, so used a thin coat of melted dark chocolate over the cooled pastry to create a tight seal.

chocolate coated pastry pie case

Once this was set the filling was quite simple – a tin of Carnation caramel (much easier than making your own from a can of condensed milk), mixed with some melted dark chocolate, and layered up over some thinly sliced bananas. I think the issue with the caramel not setting was due to too much stirring to combined the chocolate. If I make this again I’ll boil it up a little with some more butter and sugar to make a thicker caramel that will set firmly.

carnation caramel chocanoffee pie bananas

banana layered chocolate caramel pie pouring chocolate caramel banana layered pie

To finish I used some simple chocolate icing (cocoa, icing sugar milk), drizzled in lines and feathered with a cocktail stick. Easy but effective!

feathered chocolate in banoffee pie

I used the same chocolate icing to pipe some swirls around the exposed edge of the pastry case, which neatened up the final look (and hid the cracks where I’d patched the pastry together!)

chocolate decoration on pastry case for chocolate banoffee pie

As I say not one of my favourite recipes but it still went down well – with that much chocolate you can’t go wrong!

You can find out more about the Great Bloggers Bake Off by clicking on the link below.

 

Mummy Mishaps

Mary Berry’s Chocolatines

mary berry chocolatines with gluten free sponge for great bloggers bake off gbbo

This week’s Great Bloggers Bake Off comes thanks to the lovely people at Stork, who sent me a voucher to try out their new Stork with butter. It’s a thank you not just for providing the butter – but also making me get into the kitchen and make something. Had I not had this review to write I would very likely have not contributed… again!

stork with butter new baking product test and review recipe

This week was patisserie week on the Great British Bake Off. I really did feel for Paul and his not knowing how to make a genoise sponge for the technical challenge, I’d have been in exactly the same boat having never made one before. And it’s not one you’d easily work out for yourself – whipped eggs and melted butter are not the normal start for a sponge!

The technical challenge was the one that took my fancy this week – however rather than the mokatines the bakers in the tent had to tackle, I opted for Mary Berry’s other recipe for these little patisserie squares – the chocolate version. The recipe is very similar and the method identical – using melted chocolate instead of coffee extract for the creme buerre (fancy buttercream to you and me) filling, and soft chocolate icing topping.

In a bit of a risky move – having never made a genoise before – I made a bit of a crazy decision to adapt it to gluten free. Low and behold, it worked perfectly! The adaptation was actually quite simple – instead of the recommend 65g of flour, I used 50g of gluten free flour and an extra 5g of cornflour. I won’t recount the full recipe but you can find it in Mary’s Baking Bible, or online in many places.

gluten free genoise sponge for mary berry chocolatines french patiesserie gbbo gluten free genoise sponge recipe gluten free genoise sponge easy recipe

The Stork with Butter was also great for using with this – it melted down to a lovely creamy texture, with a rich buttery taste. Perfect for the richness that is needed in patisserie.

melted stork with butter review and recipe for genoise sponge gluten free sponge

Once the sponge was cooled and cut into squares I actually found the two icings quite easy to make. It was the assembly and piping that was rather more of a faff!

The buttercream was quite difficult to spread on the delicate sponge, so it was more of a splodge and hope for the best. Once the two halves were pressed together it was easier to neaten up round the sides. Then just the not-so-simple task of piping tiny rosettes round the side of each square.

piping rosettes on patiesserie genoise sponge for mary berry chocolatines mary berry chocolatines piped top and filled inside chocolate buttercream

And finally – the smooth chocolate icing. I’d refrigerated the cake squares so the buttercream rosettes had chance to firm up a little – meaning they formed quite a good barrier to hold the top icing on. I also had to use a little paintbrush to ensure it got into all the corners!

chocolate smooth icing on the top of mary berry chocolatines

And with a final blast in the fridge, the chocolatines were finished!

chocolatines mary berry recipe chocolate buttercream icing and genoise sponge

Although not perfectly neat I was still really pleased with how they turned out – and they passed the Mary and Paul test of having a neat layer of filling in the middle!

layered filling in chocolatines made with gluten free genoise sponge

They had a lovely creamy, smooth richness, as any good patisserie should, and the Stork with Butter was a perfect base to use for this. I’d be more than happy to use it in my baking again.

Thanks again to Stork for supplying the ingredients and to Jenny for being as ever a great organiser for the Great Bloggers Bake Off. Click on the image below to find out more and look at what the other bakers have been up to this week.

Mummy Mishaps

Disclaimer: The Stork with Butter was provided to me for the purposes of this post. The reviews, opinions and baking however are all my own.

Gluten-, Dairy- and Sugar-Free Banana, Apricot & Almond Muffins

banana apricot and almond muffins recipe healthy breakfast or snack in assocation with tesco gluten free dairy free sugar free

Week five of 2015’s Great Bloggers Bake-Off (although only the second for me), and the lovely people at Tesco Real Food got in touch to ask if I’d bake something for free-from week if they provided the ingredients. How could I refuse! Being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance last Christmas, you’ll have noticed a steady increase in gluten-free recipes this year, and I was so pleased to see GBBO recognising that there are people out there who need to use different methods an ingredients in their baking.

This bake started out as a gluten-free snack one evening after work. Only later did I realise it’s also dairy-free and (added) sugar-free as well – ticking off all off the weeks challenges in one batch of tasty muffins!

These muffins actually border on healthy due to the high fruit and nut content, and are perfect for an on-the-go breakfast, or to curb those mid-morning munchies.

All my ingredients came from Tesco – and although they don’t make their own gluten free flour, they do stock Doves Farm which is my personal favourite, it’s a great base for so many recipes.

basket of shopping sponsored by tesco real food for muffins recipe free frim

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s so versatile – you can add or omit most things as long as you keep the basics at the same quantities – bananas, eggs, oil, milk/water and dry ingredients (flour/oats/ground almonds & bicarb). They’d very easily work as nut-free (replace the ground almonds with more gf flour and omit the ones on top); you can omit the dried mixed fruits if you’re not a fan; or add some chocolate chips for a sweeter treat!

Ingredients
2 medium ripe bananas
100g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
15g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
50g dried mixed fruit
50g gluten free flour
50g gluten free oats
50g ground almonds
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 medium eggs
75ml almond milk or similar (normal milk or even water is fine)
50ml oil – I use extra virgin olive oil
50g flakes almonds

Glaze (optional) – 25g apricot jam

Method
– In a large bowl, mix together the apricots, ginger, mixed fruit, flour, oats, almonds and bicarbonate of soda. Mix well so that all the little pieces of fruit/ginger are coated in flour, this will stop them sinking during making
– In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and beat together with the milk, oil, and eggs
– Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix until all combined
– Grease a 12-hole muffin tin. I use cake release spray – you can also get this in Tesco – but oil would work too. Use a pastry brush to make sure the sides, corners and bottom are well greased, as it’s quite a sticky mixture.
– Divide the mixture between the 12 holes and sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top
– Bake at 180 °C for 12-15 minutes, until the tops are springy to the touch and the muffins are slightly golden at the edges

free from muffin mix oats flour almonds dried fruit

gluten-free dairy-free and sugar-free banana almond and apricot muffins topped with flaked almonds recipe ready to make

freshly baked banana flaked almond apricot muffins gluten free dairy free recipe

The apricot jam glaze is entirely optional (and slightly anti the sugar-free part of the challenge), but does add a lovely finish to the tops of the muffins. Tesco do stock a reduced-sugar jam for the particularly health conscious!

reduced sugar apricot jam from tesco for healthier low sugar cakes recipe

– As soon as the muffins are removed from the oven, leave them in the tin and prick the tops all over with the very tip of a sharp knife. You want about 15-20 tiny holes per muffin
– Heat the apricot jam in the microwave or a saucepan with 25ml of water, until you have a smooth liquid (this should only take a minute or two). Drizzle the glaze over the top of each muffin a little at a time, until it’s all used up
– Leave the muffins to cool completely in the tin. Once cool, they should come out easily (if you greased the tin well enough!), if not, run a sharp knife around the edges, turn the tray upside down, and gently tap the bottom

apricot jam glaze reduced sugar topping dairy and gluten free muffins recipe healthy snack breakfast

fresh out of the oven gluten free and dairy free banana apricot and almond muffins healthy recipe

gluen and dairy free banana apricot and almond muffin recipe healthy cake

Inside the muffins are moist and oh-so-good! Keep them in an airtight container, and because of the fresh banana they should be eaten within a few days – although they certainly don’t last that long in our house.

bite taken out of banana apricot and almond muffins gluten and dairy free moist and light recipe

You can find out more about the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2015 by clicking here, and more about Tesco Real Food by clicking here.

A big thank you to Tesco for providing me with the ingredients for this bake. The opinions and recipe however are entirely my own.

Mummy Mishaps

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Pots

no bake strawberry cheesecake layered pots gbbo

One of my twitter followers thoughtfully asked last week if I was doing the Great Bloggers Bake Off this year – and sadly my answer was no, as I don’t have the time at the moment (which may be evident from the distinct slowdown in blog posts!)

However – it got me thinking, I have got some posts waiting to be uploaded that tie in with some of the GBBO weeks… so why not tie them in? Better to part-partake than not at all!

So the first of my posts is for Desserts Week. I loved last nights show – would love to have a go at a Windtorte at some point, and baked cheesecakes? Hello! Nadiya’s fizzy pop cheesecake stack was absolutely inspired.

This recipe is great for the summer as there are absolutely no ovens involved. That’s right, no overheating the kitchen when you’re already struggling to maintain a normal body temperature. And who doesn’t love their own little pot portion? Although one is never enough!

The glass ramekins you may recognise from a popular brand of rather amazing desserts, but any small bowls would be suitable. The recipe will make 6 of this size, adjust up or down if your containers are bigger/smaller.

gu glass ramekins re-use ideas easy no bake strawberry cheesecake

Ingredients

100g biscuits – digestive or anything else you fancy
150g cream cheese
125g greek yoghurt50g caster or granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 pack strawberry jelly
Strawberries – I used 2 medium ones per pot

Method

  • Crush the biscuits and press firmly into the base of the ramekins. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate while you prepare the middle layer.
  • Beat together the cream cheese, yoghurt, sugar, lemon and vanilla until well combined.
  • Remove the ramekins from the fridge and carefully spoon the cheese mixture onto the biscuit base. Try and avoid it splashing up the sides, especially if you have glass bowls/ramekins, as it will spoil the finished look.
  • Return to the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  • Make up the jelly according to the instructions on the packet, and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Remove any stalks from the strawberries and slice in half. Carefully press into on top of the cheese mixture, before pouring the jelly over the top.
  • Refrigerate until the jelly has set and serve as soon as you’re ready – I wouldn’t recommend making more than a day in advance as the layers will start to merge together and go a bit sticky.

pressing biscuit base into cheesecake ramekin individual pot dessert spooning cream cheese mixture into ramekin for cheesecake pots

cheesecake layer individual pots no bake strawberries set into cheesecake easy no bake recipe individal dessert pots hartleys strawberry jelly recipe idea cheesecake pots action shot pouring jelly topping onto strawberry cheesecake individual pots no bake recipe strawberry topping on easy no bake cheesecake great bloggers bake off layered strawberry cheesecake pots easy no bake recipe

Inside… crunchy, creamy, sweet and fruity all in one mouthful. I told you one wasn’t enough!

inside strawberry chesecake pots biscuit base cream cheese yoghurt fruit jelly easy recipe

You can find more about Great Bloggers Bake Off by clicking here – scroll down and there are weekly links to all the yumminess that has been made!

Mummy Mishaps

GBBO Pièce Montée

ferris wheel piece montee coloured spun sugarwork wheel profiterole stack

Well it has come to the final week of #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – and here is my final showstopper!

I wanted to challenge myself, as the bakers had done in the tent, so embarked on the very final challenge of the series. This was the pièce montée – a decorative celebration or centrepiece cake, featuring different baking elements, decorations, and techniques.

Well this certainly was a learning experience for me – planning shapes and sizes and doing things in the right order are just two points to note! Nevertheless, everything came together to create, kind of, my ferris wheel pièce montée (what do you mean you can’t see it!)

ferris wheel pièce montée showstopper greatbloggersbakeoff2014 sugar work macarons ombre cake biscuits choux profiteroles ferris wheel pièce montée cake profiteroles choux white chocolate biscuit macarons sugar work

The different elements I used were as follows:

– Ombre chocolate cake base (adapted from Nigella’s recipe), filled and covered with raspberry butter cream
Macarons, decorated with a light dusting of edible glitter
– Chocolate and ginger biscuits (adapted from a Christmas gingerbread house recipe)
– Profiteroles, filled with raspberry cream and decorate with white chocolate
– A golden and red sugar decoration, to represent the wheel (simply made by creating a sugar syrup in a heavy bottomed pan)

white chocolate mud cake ombre gbbo showstopper raspberry buttercream macarons on pièce montée cake raspberry buttercream finished with edible glitter raspberry cream profiteroles decorated with white chocolate biscuit and choux profiterole constuction on pièce montée cake gbbo ferris wheel spun sugar pièce montée with biscuit and profiterole supports great bloggers bake off

The individual elements I was very pleased with – the putting together a little less so! I had not filled and iced my cake early enough, so it was not set enough by the time I came to build everything up, and things started to slide a little…
I had also vastly over-estimated the size of the sugar wheel, it was too large for the cake and dwarfed the profiteroles and biscuit behind!

white

Nevertheless, everything tasted good, and pulling it to pieces and eating was definitely the most fun part 🙂

piece monte chocolate ombre cake with raspberry butter cream and edible glitter macarons inside raspberry cream profiteroles white chocolate decorations foodporn greatbloggersbakeoff chocolate and ginger biscuits decorated with white chocolate lines leaning cake in background spun sugar ferris wheel decoration Thank you to Jenny for hosting the GreatBloggersBakeOff again this year – it was great fun and I definitely learnt some new techniques, watch out for some more choux pastry coming soon!

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

Sprinkles & Checkerboard Birthday Cake

inside pastel checkerboard cake method and how to

This weekend just gone was the 3rd birthday of Derby’s Clandestine Cake Club, which I have proudly been a member for 2 years – doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

What better theme to celebrate with, than big, sticky birthday cakes. I’d been wanting to try a checkerboard cake for a while, and this was the perfect opportunity.

I started off with three different flavoured round cakes, tinted with pastel colours to match the sprinkles I wanted to use on the outside. The peach-coloured cake was flavoured with Sugar and Crumbs raspberry ripple icing sugar, the green had the juice and zest of a small lime, and the yellow a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice. I baked them in foil trays as 1) I don’t have 3 tins of the same size and 2) I wanted to minimise on washing up!

tricolour cake batter lime lemon raspberry pastel foil trays

Once cool, I scouted round the kitchen for suitable crockery to cut the circles. Posts I’d read online suggested cups, bowls, jam jars, but then had the brainwave of using my concentric circle cookie cutters. The largest and smallest were the perfect size to cut 3 even-thickness bands out of each cake.

making checkerboard cake with round biscuit cutters orange yellow and green

A quick reorganisation later and I had 3 dart-board-esque cakes:

checkerboard cake layers like target boards

Using a vanilla buttercream, I layered up the three tiers…

buttercream layering with pink palette knife checkerboard cake

… and gave the outside two good coats of icing, refrigerating in between.

butter cream on sides of checkerboard cake

After the second coat of buttercream, it was time for the sprinkles! And one of the trickier, stickier steps – rolling the sides of the cake in the bowl of hundreds and thousands. It took a bit of patching up but actually was quite effective, even if my kitchen was left covered in the sprinkles as well!

covering cake in sprinkles rolling sides in hundreds and thousands

cake covered in hundreds and thousands

The top was much simpler, a final coat of buttercream with hundreds and thousands poured and smoothed over. There were quite literally hundreds and thousands of them too – two whole packs for the entire cake!

sugar sprinkles hundreds and thousands cake topping

I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, although it does remind me a little of a giant liquorice allsort 🙂

sugar sprinkles and checkerboard birthday cake clandestine cake club derby sugar sprinkle covered cake hundreds and thousands looks like a liquorice allsort

Our cake club birthday party was a great feast of sugar and everything gooey and good, we gossiped for hours over tea and cake.

clandestine cake club derby third birthday party

And the checkerboard looked great inside!

checkerboard cake pastel layers hundreds and thousands covered outer inside checkerboard cake lemon lime and raspberry with sugar sprinkles covering birthday ideas

Or at least… what brief snaps I had time to take, before the cake-clubbers demolished the lot!

empty cake plate ccc

I’m entering this post into the #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 showstopper. This is not the last of my GBBO entries though – watch this space (and cross your fingers!) for a finale pièce montée in the next few days.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

 
This post is also part of Celebration Cakes and Bakes – click the image for more info.

CelebrationCakesAndBakes

Schichttorte

schichttorte 20 plus layers finished cake with chocolate glaze

The semi-final of Great British Bake Off and indeed #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – my kitchen will be distinctly less chaotic after the final this week.

This week I was caught up in the grilling frenzy that is the 20 layered Schichttorte. Developed from the traditional German Baumkuchen (tree cake), the cake is made by cooking thin layers of batter under the grill, to create the distinctive layered inside.

I followed the BBC recipe for my cake, although am a little dis-inclined to say that is Paul Hollywood’s as I’m certain he’s not a traditional German!

The recipe is certainly fitting for a technical challenge, starting with 10 eggs…

start of recipe for german schichttorte 10 eggs layered cake.

… and going through the stages of beating, sieving…

sieving flour into cake batter home baking

… whisking…

kitchenaid whisking egg whites soft peak stage black and silver

… and finally folding:

folding whisked egg white into cake batter schichttorte recipe greatbloggersbakeoff2014

With the batter finished it was time to start layering up. Placing the bowl on the scales I calculated each layer should have about 50 grams worth, and barely covered the surface!

schichttorte finished batter and first thin layer in tin to bake gbbo

After a couple of minutes under the grill, it came out, resembling, well, a pancake!

schichttorte first layer pancake like lightly baked

The next layer and a little darker…

grilled layers in german traditional schichttorte gbbo

.. and the cats soon got to wonder what was going on in there.

cat watching oven home baking grilling schichttorte

I must admit I lost count of the layers around the 6 mark, as I was trying to do a million other things at once. I kept going until all the batter was used up, and finally reached the top.

nearly full tin of schichttorte baked layers

A short while cooling and I was glad for it to come out in one piece, albeit looking slightly ombre…!

baked layers ombre effect of schichttorte schichttorte freshly baked layered cake gbbo

After all those layers the finishing and icing was surprisingly simple. A quick coat of apricot jam (to help the icing stick):

covering cake in warmed apricot jam for glaze to stick schichttorte recipe

And a generous coating of dark chocolate glaze:

pouring dark chocolate glaze onto jam covered cake dark chocolate glaze covered schichttorte

Finally, a finishing touch of piped white vanilla icing:

vanilla icing piped design on dark chocolate glaze schichttorte gbbo semifinal

And the cake was finished! The sides I wasn’t particularly pleased with as the chocolate and icing didn’t stick particularly smoothly.

finished iced schichttorte chocolate and vanilla layered cake

It was then rather a waiting game – I wanted the icing to set a little before slicing up, so put the cake in the fridge until it was ready to eat, and finally the moment of truth:

sliced into schichttorte 22 layers greatbloggersbakeoff

Hooray! I’m so pleased with the layers. And yes you can count them… there are in fact 22 🙂 Big slices were enjoyed and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste – a delicate light cake with a slightly lemon tang, and wonderfully complimented by the chocolate and vanilla icing.

generous slice of gbbo schichttorte layers of grilled cake

So much excitement for the final this week! Who do you think will win? And more importantly, what on earth will they be challenged to bake this week?!

Read more about #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 over on Mummy Mishaps.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

Lemon Meringue Pie Baked Doughnuts

glazed lemon meringue pie doughnuts recipe greatbloggersbakeoff2014

This week’s Great British Bake Off was Advanced Dough week – groan – when is it time for cakes! However once the doughnuts came round (no pun intended), I was positively drooling. How amazing were Luis’ cocktail ones?

We don’t own a deep-fat fryer but I found a great recipe for baked doughnuts which was seemed both healthier and easier. The dough is fat-free (unlike regular doughnuts), but still enriched with milk, egg, and a little sugar.

Lemon Meringue Doughnuts – makes 18-20

500g white bread flour
Pinch of salt
10g dried yeast
50g sugar
1 egg
150ml milk
125ml hot water

To fill and decorate
400g lemon curd – one batch, or one jar if you are buying it in
100g icing sugar
Crushed meringue pieces

– In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar
– Beat the egg and add to the dry ingredients, before mixing in the milk and hot water
– Mix to a dough consistency, and knead until smooth and silky (5-6 minutes with an electric mixer, slightly longer by hand)
– Divide into 18-20 even balls and spread evenly on greased baking sheets. The dough balls do need to be spread well apart as they’ll expand rather a lot!
– Cover and place in a warm place until risen and doubled in size, about 45 minutes
– Bake in a hot oven – 200 degrees – for 10-12 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden. Set aside and leave to cool

smooth baked doughnut dough recipe gbbo dough balls for baked doughnuts recipe and method easy low fat rising dough for baked doughnuts successful prove baked doughnuts dough balls gbbo recipe healthy fat free
– Once cool, fill each doughnut with around a teaspoon of lemon curd – a filling nozzle and piping bag worked perfectly for me
– Mix the icing sugar with a little water, and a teaspoon of lemon curd, to form a thin paste
– Lightly paint the glaze all over the doughnuts, placing on a wire rack to set. Sprinkle with the meringue pieces and leave to rest until dry.

filling baked doughnut with lemon curd using piping nozzle lemon meringue pie doughnuts toppings icing glaze and meringue pieces glazing baked doughnuts with lemon curd icing recipe glazed baked doughnut lemon meringue recipe lemon meringue pie baked doughnuts glazed and topped recipe

A quite sticky bake in the end – but well worthwhile! The doughnuts had a wonderful sugary crunch on the outer, soft and light inside, and oozing with tangy lemon curd. I’ll definitely be trying some more doughnuts – perhaps some mini ones next time – any suggestions?

baked lemon meringue pie doughnuts recipe fat free healthier dessert gooey filled lemon curd in meringue topped glazed doughnuts bake recipe

Find out more about #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 and take a look at this weeks other bakes here.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

Caramel & Chocolate Choux Pastry Eclairs

chocolate and caramel choux pastry eclairs piped icing finish

I have a confession to make. During last years bake-off, I failed at making choux pastry. 3 times. It was a Sunday afternoon and no matter what I did it wouldn’t go right!

This time, as part of the second pastry week of this year’s Great British Bake-Off and #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 , I was determined not to be beaten.

I used Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Eclair recipe to the letter to avoid going wrong again – so won’t re-write it here. It’s definitely worth reading through a couple of times before you start so you know what’s ahead.

The lovely folks at Kerrygold sent me some butter to try, so this seemed a good place to start. Maybe the lower-fat butter blend I have as standard in the fridge was to blame for last year’s failure?

kerrygold butter blogger review choux pastry testing

Being ultra-prepared, I got everything out, pre-whisked the eggs, greased the tray just like Paul said…

ingredients and equipment ready for choux pastry making paul hollywood recipe

…and set about the choux pastry!

One of the main problems I find with making choux pastry is that it really doesn’t look like anything until it’s baked. The ‘cooking a ball of flour, butter and water dough’ is both unattractive and uninspiring in my book, but, what Paul says…!

choux pastry dough ball stage heating on hob gbbo

Dough satisfactorily ball-like and shiny, I put it in a bowl and set aside to cool. Suddenly it dawned on me where I’d gone wrong last year. Those five little words, ‘leave to cool until tepid’, (or the lack of them in my reading), were entirely responsible for my downfall. Cue flashbacks to last year and trying to beat eggs in the hot saucepan only for them cook and scramble… it’s like something from an outakes show!

Cool and tepid, whisking the eggs in was happily much easier this time!

choux pastry whisking in eggs method

And a smooth shiny, paste-like dough, well seemed pretty good to me 🙂

smooth and shiny choux pastry gbbo paul hollywood recipe

All that was left was to pipe…

piping choux pastry eclair lines gbbo

…and bake:

choux pastry eclairs greatbloggersbakeoff2014

What a result! I was as pleased as punch, my first choux pastries and they were really rather marvellous 🙂

freshly baked choux pastry eclairs long thin shape crunchy texture

Next came the cream piping – rather simple but made much trickier in a warm kitchen, with the cream threatening to melt all the time. I don’t envy the bakers in that tent one bit!

filling choux pastry eclair with piped whipped cream whipped cream filled choux pastry eclairs

And to top – I used Paul’s suggested chocolate topping for half the batch:

chocolate and caramel eclairs piped swirl shiny icing gbbo

And feeling more confident, whipped up a quick caramel icing for the remaining batch:

Caramel icing
55g light brown sugar
25g butter
20ml cream or milk

– Melt together the butter and sugar
– Add the liquid and boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
– Leave to cool and use once the icing reaches a spreadable consistency. If it over-sets you can easily re-heat to liquify it again

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I finished both sets with a decorative drizzle of the other icing – chocolate on caramel, and caramel on chocolate.

homemade caramel choux pastry eclairs filled with whipped cream decorated with piped chocolate

My first batch of eclairs – and I am so delighted with the results 🙂

chocolate and caramel cream filled choux pastry eclairs piped icing finish chocolate and caramel choux pastry eclairs gbbo paul hollywood recipe cream filled

Read more about #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 here.

greatbloggersbakeoff2014

And for all the cat lovers out there – what better use of leftover cream? Chilli and Pepper have just turned 3 and are as mischievous (and ravenous) as ever!

cats eating cream chilli and pepper gbbo baking leftovers uses

 

Disclaimer: I was sent some Kerrygold butter to use in my gbbo recipes. Opinions and bakes are all my own.