Friday, 27 February 2015

NordicWare Gingerbread House Cake

So as well as getting a nice new pair of hand knit socks, my Mum had to have a birthday cake as well.  Its the law!  It had to be able to withstand quite a few hours in the car and ideally stay tasty for a few days, so we could keep tucking into it over the weekend.

One of my Xmas presents from her was this brilliant Nordicware Gingerbread House tin.  So what better to use for her birthday cake, as it needed to be christened.

How do I look from this angle?

And this is my inside, that does all the hard work in creating a masterpiece!

On the inside of the sleeve that comes with the tin, you find a recipe for each different shaped bundt tin.  Not surprisingly for a Gingerbread House, you get a great recipe for Gingerbread Cake. There are many other free recipes on the Nordicware website, all able to hold the shape of the various different tins.

Here is the UK recipe for the Gingerbread Cake, which you could use is any cake tin.
  • 345g cake flour - in the UK = Plain flour
  • 225g Castor sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 135g light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 230g butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Heat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C - static oven, gas mark 3). Grease and lightly flour tin (I used Wilton's Cake Release again); set aside. In medium bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and baking powder; set aside. In large bowl, combine Castor sugar, brown sugar and butter. Beat 3 minutes, until light and fluffy, scraping bowl often. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low. Blend flour mixture into sugar mixture, alternately with milk. Spoon batter into prepared tin, spreading batter slightly up onto the sides of the tin. 

Place tin on a baking sheet and bake for 55-66 minutes (I baked for 66 minutes as in a static oven), until toothpick (?) or skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool upright in tin for at least 10 minutes. 

Remove from tin onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

My cake then got popped in a cake tin and travelled up the M1, before getting a dusting of icing sugar.  It really makes the details pop!

The end result being a dense, but moist cake with a syrupy taste, that was just delicious.  We reckon it would be perfect with stem ginger ice cream and also a great cake to decorate with kids. Oh and I reckon, one happy recipient!

I love these Nordicware tins!

Happy baking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Hedera Socks - Look what was in my WIP's basket!

So my plans to do lots of knitting this year are coming along well.  Plus I am working though my WIP's projects (work in progress), that have been hanging around for far too long.  Obviously I'm not finishing things just for the sake of it.  That would be a terrible waste of yarn!  However, sometimes things jump out of the WIP's basket and shout 'finish me'.

I started a lovely sock pattern called Hedera by Cookie A, back in November 2013.  But for whatever reason, I started another pair of socks and the Hedera's languished in the pile.  Such a shame, as I was using gorgeous high twist yarn by Five Moons in the Blackberry Twist colourway.

When I started the socks back in 2013, I knit about 2" of the first sock and that was it.  I used 2.25mm needles and cast on 60 stitches.  My usual number for socks, but normally on 2.5mm needles.  Just a 1/4mm makes such a difference to the gauge and as I was knitting them, I realised they would be a bit snug.  Cue a well timed comment from my Mum with little feet, when she heard I was back sock knitting with a vengeance.  'Well, I could certainly do with a new pair of hand knit socks'.  Subtle she is not!  Well yesterday was her birthday and purple is her favourite colour, so I think it all came together quite well.  I managed to get them finished a couple of days before I went up for a visit. Phwew!  And they fit!

I love to knit and I love knitting socks.  Quite an apt book for me to knit from then really.  The pattern should follow down the top of the foot, but I wanted a smooth foot (except the purl, purl, ktbl detail along each side). Plus it shows off the yarn better I feel.

The yarn gave really good stitch definition.

All in all, a joy to knit and a pleasure to gift.

My Ariel Bias scarf is coming along a treat, especially as I knit some rows in the traffic jam going up north and I've decided on a new sock challenge.  Knitting two-at-a-time.  I must be mad!

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Jo Wheatley's Banana Loaf - Re-blogged!

I really, really didn't mean to bake tonight, but sometimes these things just happen.

So, I guess you know you are a keen baker when:-

A)  Your clients give you overripe bananas just as you are leaving saying 'Just in case you'd like to     bake a cake, dear'.
B)   You know exactly which recipe would do for the above said bananas and in which of your many baking books the recipe can be found.
C)   You get home and find you have all the ingredients you need (bar the bananas) in your store         cupboard.
D)   The cake is prepped and in the oven within 30 minutes of getting home!

One of my most viewed blog posts is for Jo Wheatley's Banana Loaf , from her 'A Passion for Baking' Book.  This has to be my go-to recipe for anything bananary!

I follow the recipe, using the suggested 2lb loaf tin, baking in a 170c static oven, but replace the pecans and cinnamon with 100g of dark chocolate chips in the cake batter.  You could also divide the mixture into two 1lb loaf tins and bake for 50 minutes.  Then you have one to eat and one to freeze.

Its a fab recipe to whip together in no time for instant taste gratification.

Perfect with a cup of tea and to enjoy in the garden if you are lucky enough to see some sunshine in February!

Happy baking!