Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Baking Cakes from Mary Berry's Baking Bible

Last Sunday it was World Baking Day, so what better excuse to try a recipe from my newly acquired copy of Mary Berry's Baking Bible.  She is, after all, the Queen of Baking!

An excess of carrots made the choice of cake quite easy and I chose her Carrot Cake from the Classic Cakes chapter.  Its a really simple All-in-One cake mix, where all the ingredients for the batter are beaten thoroughly by hand or as I chose, using my Kenwood KMix.  A mix of carrots, walnuts and mashed banana make for a really tasty, moist cake.

The topping is made from full fat soft cheese, butter and icing sugar.  A first for me and helped the cake stay extra moist.  You have to keep this one in the fridge, due to the icing but it lasts a good few days. 

Yesterday, I then felt the urge to try Mary's Lemon Yoghurt Cake, also from the Classic Cakes chapter.  I had all the ingredients already, so it seemed like a good excuse to get baking.  This recipe required the sugar, butter and egg yolks to be beaten first, before adding in the yoghurt and lemon rind.  Folding in the flour is best done with a metal spoon, to cut through the mixture, thus loosing as little air as possible.  Whipped egg whites are the last to be carefully added before popping the mixture into a preheated oven  I baked mine in a 175c static oven for 52 minutes.  The recipe states 1-1 1/4 hours, but as its described as a moist cake and the knife came out clean, I didn't bake any longer.

Please excuse the ridges on the sides of my cakes, but I always cheat and use Lakeland's
cake tin liners, rather than grease and line tins.

Once cooled, a simple icing of icing sugar and lemon juice was drizzled over the top.  No doubt this would be lovely with some yoghurt and raspberries as a dessert, but is just as nice on its own.

My dilemma now, is I feel I need a new baking challenge.  Similar to my Hairy Bikers Bakeation challenge last year, to bake a recipe from each chapter of the book.  But do I choose just one book to work from (I have seen a few blogs that aim to bake every recipe from Mary Berry's Baking Bible - now that's a challenge!!) or should I pick a new recipe to try from every baking book I own.  Ohhhhh the dilemma!!

I think I need some serious coffee-drinking sessions with lots of perusing through baking books to decide!

Happy baking!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Jo Wheatley's Vanilla Birthday Cake

It seems if you want to make a very well received birthday cake in a limited amount of time, Jo Wheatley's Vanilla Birthday Cake from her 'A Passion for Baking' Book' is just the ticket!  (Currently just £5 at Sainsbury's - an absolute bargain!!)  Its similar to this one but the recipe in the book creams the sugar and softened butter first, before adding the remaining ingredients.

I baked mine in a preheated static 180c oven for 24 minutes and instead of using strawberry jam, I used lashings of blackcurrant jam to sandwich it together.  I found the blackcurrant jam helped cut into the sweetness of the butter cream icing and filling.  Ideally, make the cake the day before, as it really seems to improve in moistness and flavour.

The first time I made it was actually for Mothers Day. 

I reserved some of the butter cream and added some purple food colouring, then piped on the flowers.

The second (and by no means last!) attempt was for OH's birthday and was a real dash to make it without him knowing.  Hence the slap-dash decoration.  Still equally tasty though!
Apparently described by work colleagues as 'the best cake ever', one lady who doesn't even bake wants to give it a go.  So, go on, try it, I urge you - you won't be disappointed!
Happy baking!