Monday, 26 September 2016

Treat Petite September - Round Up

I'm really enjoying that me and Cakeyboi decided to stop theming Treat Petite as it's so great to see such a variety of yummy treats every month! I really want to also say a huge thank you to all the bloggers that join in with our little link up - you guys are awesome! I love seeing all the things you make every month. This round up is full of so many tasty looking goodies and there's a lot of GBBO baking too. Don't forget to spread the blog love and share or comment on any recipes you like. I'm hosting for October again as Cakeyboi is off on a very special holiday, so check back soon for October's link up!

Caroline Makes made these Chocolate & Merlot Red Wine Cupcakes, which are served with a shot of red wine!

The Gluten Free Alchemist linked up Gluten Free Viennese Whirls to celebrate biscuit week on The Great British Bake Off.

I also baked along to GBBO and made these Blackcurrant & Mascarpone Viennese Whirls.

Caroline Makes found a Tirimasu Cupcake recipe for people who don't like coffee, sounds right up my street!

BakingQueen 74 made Blueberry Viennese Whirls with Blackcurrant Curd, using freeze dried blueberry powder to flavour the biscuit dough.

Caroline Makes was back again with Mary Berry Lavender Shortbread Biscuits, she picked the lavender fresh from a local field.

My Treat Petite co-host Cakeyboi made Irn Bru Brownies, with the Scottish soda both in the batter and buttercream topping.

Leeks And Limoni linked up these Apple & Almond Cakes made with fruit from her fruit trees and with a lovely shiny glaze.

Green Gourmet Giraffe made Strawberry Passion Fruit Muffins which was an experimental recipe and turned out very successful.

The Crazy Kitchen also joined in with Bake Off fever and made these Rhubarb & Custard Viennese Whirls.

The Gluten Free Alchemist made these super fun Frozen Pina Colada Lolly Folk which are alcohol, diary and gluten free.

A Keen Cook went savoury with these Mature Cheddar Cheese Scones and smeared them with Chipotle Butter, yum!

Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary sent over these gorgeous looking Chocolate & Chilli Cupcakes that her kids loved.

The Gluten Free Alchemist continued baking along to GBBO with these Sweet Autumn Dessert Yorkshires with Vanilla Sauteed Pear & Walnuts and Blackberry Coulis. They are gluten and dairy free of course.

Charlotte's Lively Kitchen made these super pretty Chocolate Crunch Meringues which are decorated with yummy Digestive Nibbles.

The Gluten Free Alchemist has been busy this month! She linked up this gorgeous selection of Gluten Free Breakfast Pastries.

Charlotte's Lively Kitchen also sent over these drool worthy Millionaire's Cupcakes to celebrate the end of National Cupcake Week.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Midnight Blue Velvet Cake & Bake Box 5 Unboxing

My fifth Bake Box of the year arrived last week and in typical fashion I got rather over excited about the contents. If you've not heard of Bake Box before it's a bi-monthly subscription service for all the baking lovers out there. Once you sign up, every two months you receive a themed box filled with bakeware items, a specialist decorative item and 6 recipe cards to inspire you. You can read my other Bake Box posts here, here and here.

This month's theme was New York and inside the box was:
  • A giant cupcake mould
  • A mini donut mould
  • A whoopie pie mould 
  • Blue food colouring
  • New York themed cookie cutters
  • Chocolate decoration sheet

I had a few favourite items in this box including the mini donut pan, giant cupcake mould and the coookie cutters!

I decided to make the blue velvet cake as I thought it looked really pretty and impressive. I had a few friends coming round and I thought it would really impress them. I followed the same sponge recipe from the Bake Box but I changed the decoration and the buttercream. That's the great thing about Bake Box, it doesn't just provide items and recipes, it also inspires you to bake new things.

To make the sponge I started by sieving 400g plain flour, 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder into a bowl.

In another bowl I mixed together 400ml buttermilk, 3 eggs, 2 tsp cider vinegar and 2 tsp vanilla extract.

The blue food colouring was supplied in the Bake Box, and I also decided to use my Wilton easier layer cake pans which I lined and greased.

In a third bowl I creamed together 350g butter and 350g caster sugar. I then added 1 1/2 tbsp of the blue food colouring. I definitely added way too much as my cake turned out bluer than I wanted, so I would suggest adding 1 tbsp or even 3/4 tbsp. It will depend on how potent your food colouring is to how much you need to use.

I added the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the bowl in thirds, one at a time, and mixed between each addition.

I seperated the batter into the four greased and lined pans. I always make a hole in the middle as it stops the cakes from 'doming' too much in the middle.

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes, and they were definitely bluer than I wanted them to be! More like a midnight blue - hence the name of the cake! I left them to cool.

To make the cream cheese frosting I started by mixing together 600g icing sugar and 100g butter. Then I added 250g full fat cream cheese and 1 tsp vanilla and mixed it well with an electric mixer. I put it in the fridge to chill.

I'm not the most talented with fondant icing so I decided to decorate the cake with some blue, white and red meringues in keeping with the American theme. I followed a Meringue Girls recipe and started by heating the sugar in the oven on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes. To find out the weight of sugar to use, weigh your egg whites, then double the sugar weight.

Meanwhile I whipped up the egg whites (I had 3) with 3/4 tsp cream of tartar until stiff peaks formed.

I prepared the piping bags whilst the sugar was in the oven. I turned them upside down and painted stripes of red food colouring on one, and blue food colouring on the other.

I continued to whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer and added the warm sugar a spoonful at a time. When it was all mixed in, I kept mixing for 5 minutes until I could rub the meringue between my fingers and could not feel any grains.

I halved the meringue and put it into the prepared piping bags. I piped it out onto baking trays. It took me a few tries to get the kisses neat, and the recipe made way more than I needed for the cake, but they were so yummy it was ok with me!

I baked the meringues on 90C/200F (it's hard to convert this into Gas Mark as it's less than a half) for 40 minutes.

I trimed the edges of the sponges as needed then started to stack them, spreading the cream cheese frosting between each layer. I piped the cream cheese frosting on top for a neat finish, then sprinkled some of the crumbs from trimming the sponges on top.

Finally I decorated the top of the cake with the meringues. Both the cake and the spare meringues went down really well with my friends - despite making everyone's mouths blue! Thankfully I was told it was completely worth it. The little meringues are amazing and they just melt in the mouth, definitely a recipe I'll use again both on their own and to decorate cakes.

I'm linking this cake up with Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello.

And with The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte's Lively Kitchen, this would be a great bake for a Macmillan Coffee Morning.

And with the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary, as I used leftove egg white that I had in the freezer to make the meringues.

Disclaimer: I am sent the Bake Box free of charge, all opinions are my own.

print recipe

Midnight Blue Velvet Cake
  • 400g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 400ml Buttermilk
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 450g Butter
  • 350g Caster sugar
  • 3/4 - 1 tbsp depending on strength Blue food colouring
  • 600g Icing sugar
  • 250g Cream cheese
  • 3 Egg whites
  • Double the weight of your egg whites Caster sugar
  • Red food colouring
  • 3/4 tsp Cream of tartar
To make the sponge sieve the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a bowlIn another bowl mix together the buttermilk, eggs, cider vinegar and 2 tsp of the vanilla extractIn a third bowl cream together 350g of the butter and the caster sugar. Then add the blue food colouring, add enough for a deep blue colourAdd the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the bowl in thirds, one at a time, and mix between each addition.Seperated the batter into four greased and lined pansBake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes, then turn them out of the pans and leave them to coolTo make the cream cheese frosting mix together the icing sugar and 100g of the butter. Then add the cream cheese and 1 tsp of the vanilla. Mix well with an electric mixer then put it in the fridge to chillTo make the meringues heat the caster sugar in the oven on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 5 minutes. To find out the weight of sugar to use, weigh your egg whites, then double the sugar weightWhip up the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks formedPrepare the piping bags by turning them upside down and painting stripes of red food colouring on one, and blue food colouring on the otherWhen the sugar is done, continue to whisk the egg whites with an electric hand mixer and add the warm sugar a spoonful at a time. When it is all mixed in, keep mixing for 5 minutes until you can rub the meringue between your fingers and cannot feel any grainsHalve the meringue and put it into the prepared piping bags. Pipe it out onto lined baking traysBake the meringues on 90C/200F (it's hard to convert this into Gas Mark as it's less than a half) for 40 minutesTrim the edges of the sponges as needed then started to stack them, spreading the cream cheese frosting between each layer. Pipe the cream cheese frosting on top for a neat finish, then sprinkled some of the crumbs from trimming the sponges on topDecorate the top of the cake with the meringues

Monday, 19 September 2016

Churros with Chocolate Dip: GBBO Week #4

The Great British Bake Off has hit the headlines as the news broke that it was leaving the BBC for Channel 4, and then a further blow came when Mel & Sue announced that they would not be following the show when it moves. I've also heard rumours that there might not be a series next year, and we'll have to wait until 2018. Now we're all waiting with baited breath to find out what Mary & Paul are going to do... I am sad to see it move channels and I really hope it doesn't spell the end for the show. I read that more people watch GBBO than voted in the last election - so it's a pretty important part of our culture!

Meanwhile on week 4 of the current series, it was batter week! This is a new category for the show, and I was looking forward to seeing what they would make. The signature challenge was filled savoury Yorkshire puddings, and the judges wanted 24 identical ones. I was quite surprised they wanted identical Yorkshires, I don't think they ever can look the same unless they come out of a bag. Mary wanted well risen Yorkshires with a dip in the middle, but she admitted it was hard to get Yorkshires identical. Paul explained the egg in the batter gives the Yorkshire its rise, and said he wanted them to taste amazing.

There was a lot of variance in the amount of eggs used for the Yorkshire batters. Tom used 8 eggs, Val used 5 eggs and Andrew used 4 eggs. There was a lot of variety in the fillings too, from Candice's Beef Wellington to Rav's Tofu Curry and Andrew's Spanish Chicken. Jane said that she has always had problems making Yorkshire puddings and her mother could never understand why she couldn't make them. Tom was very brave and made his Yorkshires using chickpea flour, but sadly it didn't work out for him as they did not rise.

Candice's and Jane's Yorkshires also didn't rise enough, whereas Selasi's rose beyond expectation! Paul loved his roast pork filled Yorkshires and gave him a handshake with a mouth still full of pork crackling. Benjamina and Andrew did very well too, and Jane surprised with a filling that Paul loved. Paul also praised Rav's Tofu Curry filling despite being hesitant at first.

The technical challenge this week was to make 12 heart shaped lace pancakes, which must be intricate and beautiful. The bakers were allowed to make one test pancake, but the other 12 had to be served. The recipe instructions were typically detailed, and Candice kindly read them out to the viewers - "make pancake batter, that's it". Paul said they were taking pancake making to the next level. As pretty as they are, I personally think lace pancakes are quite pointless. I like a nice thick pancake with no gaps in it!

The bakers all debated over how to make a pancake batter and they were all unsure how much sugar to add. They all designed their own lace hearts so pencils and notepads came out for them to doodle their chosen designs. Both Rav and Andrew didn't seem sure what lace was and their designs were a heart with a criss cross pattern filling it. Selasi was obviously the only bake brave enough to flip his pancake for Sue, he's such a rebel. Rav came last, Selais 8th, Kate 7th, Val 6th, Tom 5th and Andrew 4th. Jane came third, Candice second and Benjamina was first.

The showstopper was to make 36 sweet churros, they could be filled, flavoured and served with a dipping sauce as desired. And shockingly they had to be all identical! Paul wanted a beautiful crispy exterior and a soft inside. He warned against adding too many to the fryer as the temperature would drop and they could become too oily. Mary said turning this simple street food into a showstopper would be tricky and she wanted to see the bakers do something different.

Andrew made the batter in the traditional way, which is without eggs. Other bakers added flavours to their batter; Benjamina added coconut extract and Val added orange. Tom was being experimental as usual and he added fennel to his batter, and served his churros with a saffron custard. Rav chose matcha green tea powder for his churros, served with a fruit dip, a creamy dip and chocolate dip. Candice added beer and coconut flour to her batter and dipped them in peanut butter. Selasi made churro bowls which he froze before frying - I've tried this before and it was rather disastrous so I was worried for him!

Some of the bakers cleverly piped their shaped onto baking paper and put them in the fryer still on the paper, while others piped the batter straight into the fryer. Only Val and Jane filled their churros, the judge loved the flavour of Val's filling but said it affected the dough inside. They weren't huge fans of Tom or Selasi's churros either, and they said Rav's were too fatty and had a bad flavour. Jane did very well, and Benjamina got a perfect result.

Kate left this week, her Yorkshires were irregular and didn't rise, and her churro dough was too wet so soaked up too much fat. Benjamina won star baker after producing perfect churros and winning the technical - ever since biscuit week I have thought that she will be a finalist and potentially even win it...time will tell! Next week is pastry week.

I decided to make churros this week because they are delicious. I've had them many times in Spanish and Mexican restaurants and they never disappoint. Fried dough dipped in chocolate is always going to be pretty good really isn't it?!

I started by making the dough. I sieved 250g plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder into a bowl.

I added a mixture of 350ml boiling water, 50g melted butter and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and beat it into a dough. I left it to rest for 15 minutes.

I prepared a bowl of 100g caster sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon for rolling the churros in after frying.

I piped the churros out in long stick shapes using a star shaped nozzle. You can make them in any shape you like of course. I used a tip from Bake Off and kept them on pieces of baking paper as I put them in the fryer.

I used a deep fat fryer at 180C to fry the churros until they were golden brown, I turned them over during frying. I bought this deep fat fryer from Asda for the bargain price of £14! I used 3 litres sunflower oil for frying.

I did them in batches of three so the temperature in the oil would remain the same. When they were cooked I rolled them in the cinnamon sugar.

To make the chocolate sauce I melted 100g dark chocolate with 35g butter. Use the sauce immediately once made and getting dipping!

The churros were so moreish! As predicted, the combination of fried dough, a cinnamon and sugar coating, plus chocolate dip is absolutely delectable and keeps you reaching for more, and more, and more!

I'm linking up with the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 hosted by Mummy Mishaps.

And with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

And with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

Batter recipe from BBC Good Food.

print recipe

Churros with Chocolate Dip
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 50g Butter, melted
  • 350ml Boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 35g Butter
  • 3 litres Sunflower oil
Sieve the 250g plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder into a bowlMix the boiling water, melted butter and vanilla extract together, add it to the flour and beat it into a dough. Leave it to rest for 15 minutesPrepare a bowl of the caster sugar and cinnamon mixed together for rolling the churros in after fryingPipe the churros out onto baking paper into long stick shapes using a star shaped nozzleFill your pan or deep fat fryer with the sunflower oil and heat to 180C. Check your fryer for it's maximum oil capacity and don't fill a pan more than one third full of oilCut the baking paper around the piped batter and add the churros to the oil still on the paper, it will loosen off as they fry. Fry in batches of three untill golden brown, turn them during frying to ensure an even cookTip the churros out onto kitchen paper, then roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixtureTo make the chocolate sauce melt the dark chocolate and butter together in a glass bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, followed by 10 second bursts until fully melted together, stirring in between. Use immediately