Aero Mint Bundt Cake

Last Friday I decided to have a practice run at making a cake I want to take along to the next Clandestine Cake Club meeting for our local,  very friendly  and welcoming Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon group. Our event is going to be held in a fantastic venue, a cafe in the centre of Boroughbridge.

If you want to find out more about the event, then you can find out more here:

http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/ccc-events/knaresborough-and-ripon-favourite-ingredient/

As joint leader of the Harrogate, Knaresborough and Ripon group I have organised a few events now and it is always exciting to think up a theme for our events.  I love looking through my recipe books and on the Internet for inspiration.  This time we are going for a favourite ingredient slant on our cakes.  I’m intrigued to know what my other cake club friends are planning.

As a mint lover, my favourite ingredient is going to be mint chocolate in my cake.  I’ve always loved mints, whether it is Polos, Murray Mints or even mint toffees.  I think it started when I was about six and I was staying at my grandparents’ house. My Nanna Margaret bought some mint choc chip ice cream and that was it, a lifelong love affair with all things mint started!

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My giant chocolate mint bundt cake. Filled with Aero Mint bars chopped up, and topped with a runny mint chocolate glaze and finished off with mint flavour M&M’s, not to mention chopped up After Eight Mints.

I looked on the internet, through my recipe books and even asked my cakey friends on Twitter what they suggested.  I then came across Dollybakes’ fab Bundt recipes and pictures on her website.  She has a page called Build A Bundt where she gives you a basic recipe and you can adapt it in lots of different ways by changing ingredients or adding different flavours, spices, fruits, etc. I love versatile recipes like these where you have one but actually if you work out the combinations, it feels like you have a whole book’s worth!  She also has a recipe for a Snickers Bar Bundt. on her website which caught my eye immediately. Although I haven’t tried this yet, as a Snickers bar lover it is also definitely on my to bake list!

So, that was where I decided to adapt Rachel’s (aka Dollybakes) Snickers bar recipe.  I made two simple substitutions, just three standard size mint Aero Bars instead of the Snickers ones and some peppermint extract instead of the vanilla extract.  The Bundt has a chocolate glaze on the top which I chose to make with mint chocolate bars from my local supermarket.  You just have to remember they have to be the ones with crispy bits in, not the fondant centres.

Rachel has a great obsession with Bundts and has a hugely impressive collection of Bundt pans. I found out that a true Bundt cake is one that is made in a tin manufactured by Nordicware.  I would love to own more Bundt tins and have a very long wish list!  At the time of writing I only have two, including a well used giant cupcake tin bought from Lakeland about three years back! Sadly, Lakeland do not stock this pan anymore.  I’d better make room on the shelves in my garage for a few more!

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The finished Aero Mint Bundt Cake. It was a bit messy but tasted delicious.
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A piece of cake cut up. It ended up doubling up as my birthday cake and did not last long.

I will definitely be making this for the Clandestine Cake Club event but next time I will not use the cupcake pan but my other Bundt tin, which is a traditional ring shaped one.  It will also make it easier for transportation up to the venue.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Lemon Curd Layer Cake

Yesterday afternoon I enjoyed going to the York Clandestine Cake Club‘s event which was kindly sponsored by Yorkshire Tea.  It was held at Rachel’s house who is the organiser for the York CCC.  We had a lovely afternoon, lots of thirst quenching Yorkshire Tea alongside delicious Yorkshire themed cakes.

I had been wondering what to bake for this event ever since I’d signed up for it. I wanted to bake something that represented Yorkshire and the food that is produced in our wonderful county.  I had thought about using my Yorkshire Rose design on a sponge cake that I’d used on a wedding cake last year and for cupcake toppers but I just didn’t have the time. I eventually settled upon baking a teapot shaped cake using two cakes baked in a special spherical tin I had bought in Lakeland last year.  The idea came from one of Fiona Cairns’ recipe books where she features a recipe for a lemon flavoured teapot cake with white flowers on top of pale blue sugarpaste.  However, this was not to be.  As Friday is my day off from my day job where I rush round doing all the things I don’t get done during the week, I ended up with very little time and rushed the cake.  As a result the second of the two cakes stuck to the tin. Eventually it came out but I was so annoyed.  Not only that but I remembered I had no white sugarpaste spare. I normally have a packet or two in the cupboard but I had forgot to replace them. So back to the drawing board I went!

In the end my cake did not represent Yorkshire at all but I couldn’t think of anything else to make with the ingredients I had left and the limited time I had. I have enjoyed baking Delia Smith’s Lemon Layer cake in the past and wanted to try out a new version found in her latest edition of her “Cakes” book which included a different topping. This was a whipped cream topping with grated lemon zest on top.

The Lemon Layer cake has Dr Oetker edible wafer daisies on top of it, alongside some shaved lemon zest.
The Lemon Layer cake has Dr Oetker edible wafer daisies on top of it, alongside some shaved lemon zest.

The cake itself is a really simple cake to make: a lemon sponge made out of butter, caster sugar, eggs, self raising flour, lemon zest and juice. It was simply mixed together with my hand beater using the all in one method.

Delia gives the recipe to make a homemade lemon curd to accompany the cake as a filling.  I didn’t have enough lemons to do this but did have a jar of lemon curd in the cupboard. It was a good make bought from a local farm shop so it would be suitable and save time.

The cake only took 20-25 minutes to bake in the oven and was soon put on a wire rack to cool. Once cold I removed the two cakes from the sandwich tins. Delia’s recipe suggests cutting the two layers horizontally so you end up with four layers. I didn’t do this and just sandwiched the two cakes together.

Finally, I whipped up a small pot of cream and spread it on top of the cake. I didn’t have enough cream to go round the side of the cake.  To finish off the decorations I added yellow and white wafer daisies from Dr Oetker and some small lemon zest shavings.

Finished and ready to take for the Clandestine Cake Club event, my version of Delia Smith's Lemon Layer Cake.
Finished and ready to take for the Clandestine Cake Club event, my version of Delia Smith’s Lemon Layer Cake.

Halloumi Cheese and Chilli Flatbreads

I have never ever had the courage to make flatbreads. Until today, that is when I decided to take the plunge. I’ve always admired people who can bake different kinds of bread and to be honest I was rather nervous about doing it.  More and more recently, though I have been getting disappointed with shop bought bread.  It either doesn’t taste of anything or bloats me up.  I would love to bake all my own bread for my family but being as I work 3 days a week I don’t always have time to devote to it.

I had been looking through my Jo Wheatley recipe book “A Passion For Baking” which as you will know from my previous posts is a huge favourite of mine.  Jo runs a monthly competition on her blog Jo’s Blue Aga and also through her Facebook page. She chooses a recipe from A Passion For Baking and her fans are invited to bake the recipe and submit the photograph to her to be included in a competition. A couple of months ago she set the competition for her Halloumi Cheese and Chilli Flatbreads. Although I have never entered the competition as I know I wouldn’t stand a chance of winning, I thought I would love to try baking the flatbreads myself at home. However, life got in the way and I never got round to making them. The packet of Halloumi cheese stayed unopened in the fridge. Thankfully it had a very long shelf life!

Today though, I decided to try them once and for all. We were having a day catching up at home after I had been out and about yesterday. I wanted to catch up on cleaning, ironing and other tidying up jobs. As the weather hasn’t been brilliant, it didn’t matter that we were inside.  I chose not to cook a big roast but to have soup and the flatbreads for lunch, followed by chilli and jacket potatoes for tea.

Here’s how I made them:

Only six ingredients are needed to make these delicious flatbreads and no yeast in sight!
Only six ingredients are needed to make these delicious flatbreads and no yeast in sight!

Please note: I made two substitutions as I didn’t have the right ingredients in. You are meant to use Greek Yoghurt in the dough but I didn’t have this so I used half fat creme fraiche instead. It seemed to work ok. I noticed my halloumi cheese was a light version, don’t know if that made a difference or not to the recipe although it did look and feel rubbery to touch as I crumbled it up. The oil to brush on the pan was also meant to be a chilli infused one, I didn’t have any of that either so I just used ordinary olive oil.

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Only 6 ingredients went together to make these delicious flatbreads: self raising flour, baking powder, salt, creme fraiche and dried chilli flakes. They were combined together in a large bowl to form a dough and then was kneaded until smooth.
The dough was shared into 8 equal pieces.
The dough was shared into 8 equal pieces.
The halloumi cheese. To be honest it looked a bit like rubber!
The halloumi cheese. To be honest it looked a bit like rubber!
Each ball of dough was rolled out into a flatbread the size of a saucer.
Each ball of dough was rolled out into a flatbread the size of a saucer.
I then heated up my flat crepe pan and brushed it with olive oil.
I then heated up my flat crepe pan and brushed it with olive oil.
Two down, six to go!
Two down, six to go!
All ready to eat with a warming bowl of tomato soup!
All ready to eat with a warming bowl of tomato soup!

 

At first when I brought the flatbreads on a plate to the table, my daughter said “Why have you made pancakes?” but I explained to her that they were a little bit like naan breads. They went down well with all of the family and we are definitely going to make them again. We were thinking of other flavours we could add to them instead of cheese and chilli. My son said “Nutella!”  If only!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx