Friday, 29 November 2013

Treat Petite Round Up - November

This month's theme for Treat Petite was America. This could include anything American themed, from American ingredients, to something baked for Thanksgiving or a bake inspired by America. I was looking forward to seeing what my fellow bakers came up with for this theme!

Our first entry was these beautifully layered Nanaimo Bars from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. They are a Canadian recipe (part of North America!) made up of a coconut and nut biscuit base, a buttercream centre and a topping of rich dark chocolate.

The next entry was a gluten free bake from Kate at the Gluten Free Alchemist. She sent over (sadly only a photo!) these Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Blondies. Peanut Butter is a well known American ingredient and appears more than once in this round up!

Ros at The More Than Occassional Baker doubled up on the American ingredients with these Mini Peanut Butter Oreo Cheesecakes. She says it they are one of the best desserts she has ever made, so they must be worth making!

My Treat Petite co-host, Stuart over at Cakeyboi, submitted these Pumpkin Blueberry Scones. Pumpkin is so popular this time of year, and the Americans definitely have a lot to do with it! I love seeing it mixed with different flavours, and I think blueberry is a brilliant match!

Another fabulous pumpkin entry came from Laura at I'd Much Rather Bake Than... with these Chocolate Orange Pumpkin Muffins. This was the first time she had ever baked with pumpkin, and from the sounds of it I don't think it will be the last!

These Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies are not only America themed in flavour, but they are made by an American too! Lisa from United Cakedom submitted these super cute cookies. She also used American cup measurements, and an American keyboard to type it up. I think we have a winner for hitting the theme from all angles possible this month!

Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes sent over these Chocolate Chip Cookies that she made last year as a present for a friend. The recipe for these cookies came from an American book called 'Big, Soft, Chewy Cookies' and it definitely looks like they have delivered with this bake!

And finally I joined in the fun with these Baked Donuts. I made three varieties - Chocolate, Vanilla, and Pumpkin. I loved how light the textured of baked donuts is compared to typical deep fried ones. All the flavours were a big hit, but the pumpkin was my favourite!

If you like the look of any of this month's Treat Petite entries, head on over to the blogs involved and let them know! Look out for the announcement for the December Treat Petite theme over at Cakeyboi very soon!
The recipe for these cookies came from an American book called 'Big, soft, chewy cookies' - See more at:
The recipe for these cookies came from an American book called 'Big, soft, chewy cookies' - See more at:
The recipe for these cookies came from an American book called 'Big, soft, chewy cookies' - See more at:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The November Lust List

Hello! Apologies for the slight break in posts recently, but if you made my last recipe I'm sure you'll forgive me! It was pretty damn delicious. It also will be featuring in PicMonkey's eCookbook which goes live next week, I'm very excited about it! The end of November is upon us, and most of us will be spending lots this weekend on presents and food ready for the Christmas season. Sadly not all families can afford a big blow out at Christmas, and The Trussell Trust are highlighting this issue by holding a Three Pound Challenge. To show just how difficult it is to feed our families on limited budgets, from 15th November - 15th December, they are asking people to prepare a delicious meal for two - without exceeding an extremely tricky budget of just £3! Head to their site to find out how to enter and win some fab prizes too! In the spirit of saving some pennies, all my lust list items cost no more than £3 - they also make ideal stocking fillers!  

Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter
Mollie & Fred, £2.99
Gingerbread biscuits make a great Christmas treat, gift, or a fun activity for baking and decorating with the kids.

Cake Tester
John Lewis, £1.50
I got this fab little cake tester for Christmas last year and I use it all the time. Checking your cakes are done is such an important part of baking, and this little gadget makes it so easy. It also stops you from getting massive holes in the middle of your cakes as it's so thin!

Christmas Berry Cupcake Kit
Wilkinsons, £2.00
You can always rely on Wilkos for a bargain, and it's something I have done since I was a student. This cupcake kit is guaranteed (in my opinion!) to make your cupcakes look cute and Christmas ready.

Candy Cane Sprinkles
Planet Bake, £1.95
The tiny and super cute sprinkles, flavoured with peppermint are perfect for sprinkling on your Christmas bakes!

I'm off to the BBC Good Food Show Winter this Friday for what promises to be a day full of baking fun, can't wait! The show is on from 27th November - 1st December at the NEC Birmingham. There are still tickets available if you can come along, check out the website. Look out for my review on the day coming soon!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam Cake

This gorgeously dark spiced cake is based on a Rombauer Cake, which is a German cake made typically with blackberry or raspberry jam. The use of dark brown sugar and cinnamon makes it a perfect warming treat for this time of year, and the Rhubarb & Ginger Jam I used compliments the spices wonderfully. I also added cardamom for extra interest, toasted flaked almonds for texture and drizzled with a brown sugar icing which is so good I can't think of a word that quite covers it!

I made this recipe card for my cake using PicMonkey, which is an online photo editor. I had so much fun making it and there are literally a ton of tools, graphics and options you can play around with. How awesome would it be to make up a set of recipe cards and give them out as a Christmas gift?! If a friend or relative has been asking for a recipe or loves something you bake, you could make them a card, and it would be such a sweet and personal gift. PicMonkey is free to use, but you can pay a monthly fee for extra features. I followed this tutorial by fellow blogger Brandie to make the recipe cards. You can also use PicMonkey to edit non-baking related photos.

This is my final (sad face!) recipe using the amazing jams I got sent from Scottish preserves manufacturer Mackays. I have so far made a delicious Lemon, Blueberry & Blackberry Swirl Loaf with their Blueberry & Blackcurrant preserve, tasty Spiced Jammy Flapjacks with their Strawberry Preserve with Champagne, and gooey Chocolate & Marmalade Cheesecake Brownies with their Dundee Orange Marmalade. The final jam I had was Rhubarb & Ginger - great flavours for this time of year!

I made this cake to take along to my most recent Clandestine Cake Club meeting which took place at The Albert Club in West Didsbury. The theme was 'Classic Matches' and I thought Rhubarb & Ginger was not only a classic flavour match, but with winter here the perfect comforting and warming flavours you want right now. Here are the cakes that we had at the meeting...

Janette made this amazing Caramel & Chocolate Cake which had Daim bar sprinkled all over it. I had three pieces, and another the next day, suffice to say I liked it a lot!!

Helen made this fabulous Chocolate & Mint Cake with mint matchstick decoration.

I loved Elaine's Ginger & Lime Cake, the lime jam in the middle was particularly tasty.

Claire's Chocolate & Orange Cake was so moist and delicious with just the right amount of orange zing!

My friend Beth made a Lemon & Lime Loaf Cake. She candied the peel on top herself and the cake inside was light and moist.

Owen made a Gin & Tonic cake with a recipe he found in the Big Issue magazine, and it went down very well!

 Our organiser Avril made this delicious Lemon & Ginger Cake using a ring bundt pan.

Janice made this delicious Marmalade & Ginger Cake.

Sadly, my cake did not turn out how I wanted - it didn't rise and despite tasting really good, it was far to dense and close textured. I had a lot of kind words from my fellow cake clubbers about the flavour and there wasn't much left at the end, so that was a relief! But I couldn't leave it at that and I had to perfect the recipe. So I changed it and tried again the next day!

I started by creaming together 215g dark brown sugar and 85g butter.

I then whisked in 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3 tbsp sour cream. Folded in 195g plain flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/2 tsp ground cardamom. For instructions on how to grind cardamom pods see my post Chai Spiced Rolls. If you are not a cardamom fan, feel free to leave it out.

Finally, I added a full jar of Mackays Rhubarb & Ginger preserve and stirred until just mixed, I wanted there to still be sections of jam within the sponge once it was baked. I poured the mixture into a lined cake tin.

I baked it for 50 minutes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. It looked like a much better bake this time!

Whilst the cake was cooling I made the brown sugar icing. This stuff is probably the most delicious icing ever to have existed. I pretty much went weak at the knees when I tasted it! This would be beyond divine on pancakes. You make it by heating 80g dark brown sugar, 40g butter, 2 tbsp milk, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of salt on a medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Leave it to cool and it will thicken up noticably.

I drizzled it fairly liberally all over the cake. Then sprinkled some toasted flaked almonds on top. You could use another type of nuts if you prefer, or some candied ginger.

Finally success - a gorgeous moist cake inside! I am sorry to my fellow cake clubbers that they didn't get to try out my much improved version of this cake. It tastes great and I loved the hint of cardamom, and the jam running through the cake. This would be amazing with hot custard on a cold evening.

print recipe

Rhubarb & Ginger Jam Cake
  • 295g Dark brown sugar
  • 125g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp Sour cream
  • 195g Plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp + a pinch Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1 jar of Mackays Rhubarb & Ginger
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • A pinch of Salt
  • A handful of Toasted flaked almonds
Cream together 215g of the dark brown sugar and 85g of the butterWhisk in the eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream. Then fold in the plain flour, baking powder, the 1 tsp of cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cardamomAdd the jar of Mackays Rhubarb & Ginger preserve and stir until just mixed. Pour the mixture into a lined cake tinBake it for 50 minutes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4Whilst the cake is cooling make the brown sugar icing. Heat 80g of the dark brown sugar, 40g of the butter, milk, the pinch of cinnamon and salt on a medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Leave it to cool and it will thicken up noticablyDrizzle it all over the cake. Then sprinkle some toasted flaked almonds on top

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Baked Donuts

For my boyfriend's Halloween party last weekend I decided to make donuts to feed the hungry guests. I got a Wilton donut pan for my birthday back in July and hadn't used it yet, I was really curious about baked donuts (as opposed to deep fried donuts). I wanted to know what their texture was like, how they were made and most importantly, how they tasted! So in the spirit of finding this out, I made three different flavours: Vanilla, Pumpkin and Chocolate.

I used this recipe from Lakeland to make both the vanilla and chocolate donuts. I started with 225g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 175g caster sugar in a bowl.

In a separate bowl I mixed together 175ml milk, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

I poured the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisked until combined and smooth.

I poured the batter into my donut pan, almost filling each ring. baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. As I hadn't made them before I just used my best judgement on this. I pressed the donuts quickly with my finger and if they sprang back I knew they were done. I used a spoon to gently tip them out.

For the icing I mixed 100g icing sugar with water until a thick paste formed. You don't want it to be too runny as it will slip right off the donuts so add the water slowly. I also added some orange food colouring for that Halloween feel, but you could add some vanilla seeds or any colouring you want depending on the theme you're going for.

I dipped the donuts into the icing, and also used a spoon to smooth the icing on and neaten it. Before the icing sets, add your sprinkles! Then leave to set before serving, which doesn't take long.

For the chocolate donuts I replaced 50g of the plain flour with cocoa powder for the donut batter, and replaced 30g of the icing sugar with cocoa powder for the icing. They were very rich and chocolatey, and the most popular donuts at the party!

For my third and final lot of donuts (and my personal favourite!) I used this recipe for Pumpkin Donuts as I adore pumpkin in my baking. I mixed together 3 eggs, 1 can of pumpkin puree (I use Libby's), 270g caster sugar, 80ml vegetable oil, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger and 1 tsp mixed spice.

I then added 225g plain flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt. I mixed well then poured the batter into my greased donut pan and baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-18 minutes. The mixture made 15 donuts.

I made cinnamon icing for the donuts. Using the same method as for the other donuts, I added water to 100g icing sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. I made the cinnamon icing slightly more runny as I drizzled it over the pumpkin donuts. Wow these donuts were tasty!

Baked donuts don't resemble fried donuts at all in terms of texture. Baked donuts are very light and moist, one thing I noticed is that these donuts released a lot of sticky moisture, they stuck to the plates I put them on and even the cooling rack. I'm not sure if this is normal for baked donuts, but it certainly didn't affect the taste and I think it improved the texture. They were a huge hit with the party guests and I can guarantee I'll be making baked donuts again!

The theme for this month's Treat Petite, hosted by myself and Cakeyboi,  is 'America'. So I am entering this bake as donuts are a well known American food, and pumpkin is a popular American baking ingredient.

print recipe

Baked Donuts (Vanilla & Chocolate)
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 175g Caster sugar
  • 175ml Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 100g Icing sugar
  • 80g Cocoa powder
  • Sprinkles
Put the plain flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a bowl (replaced 50g of the plain flour with cocoa powder for the chocolate donuts)In a separate bowl mix together the milk, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extractPour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until combined and smoothPour the batter into a donut pan, almost filling each ring. Baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. Use a spoon to gently tip them out onto a cooling rackFor the icing mix 100g icing sugar with water until a thick paste forms (replaced 30g of the icing sugar with cocoa powder for the chocolate donuts)Dip the donuts into the icing, and before the icing sets, add your sprinkles! Then leave to set before serving

print recipe

Baked Donuts (Pumpkin)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 can of Pumpkin puree
  • 270g Caster sugar
  • 80ml Vegetable Oil
  • 4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 100g Icing sugar
Mixed together the eggs, pumpkin puree, caster sugar, vegetable oil, 2 tsp of the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and mixed spiceAdd the plain flour, baking powder and salt. Mix wellPour the batter into a greased donut pan and bake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15-18 minutesAdd water to the icing sugar and 2 tsp of the cinnamon. Make it runny enough to drizzle it over the pumpkin donuts