Sticky Toffee Pudding- #100bakes

My first bake of 2022: a Sticky Toffee Pudding baked in my Nordicware Anniversary 6 cup Bundt Pan.

Happy New Year to all my followers. Sorry for the lack of blogging on here but that’s down to being busy at work in the day job, as well as all my baking commitments.

I really hope that 2022 is a better year for everyone. This time last year I didn’t feel at all positive and I actually cried when Big Ben struck midnight. Mr S thought I was being so negative. But I tend not to get over excited about things because if I do, I get really disappointed and on a downer when things go wrong or get cancelled. This year, however we had a more enjoyable Christmas and even though both Mr S and I had Covid at the beginning of December, we are so thankful we got it mildly and have made a good recovery in time for the Christmas celebrations.

I haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions apart from that it’s my 50th birthday this year and I intend to live every day to the full and be thankful for what I’ve got. I lost two beloved family members last year and it’s made me realise how precious life is. So I’m trying to spend time doing things which make me happy and one of those is writing my blog.

My friend bought me a brilliant poster at Christmas which is from https://www.crumbsbycollette.co.uk/ Crumbs By Collette makes gifts for the home baker as well as having three different Baking Challenges which can be shared on Social Media with a hashtag. I got the #100bakes poster. The idea is that you choose one of the bakes on the poster, make it, post a photo on SM with the #100bakes hashtag and also scratch off the square above the bake, revealing a picture of that bake. There is also a Little Bakes Challenge, as well as a bread one. I thought this was a super idea as I’m always up for a new challenge.

Here is my #100bakes poster in situ on the back of my office door. I’d love to have it up in my kitchen but there’s no room!

The first challenge of 2022 just had to be a Sticky Toffee Pudding. We always have a roast dinner on New Year’s Day and I make a Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s definitely one of my go-to desserts if we ever go out for Sunday lunch in the Winter.

A perfect dessert for a Winter’s day. Thanks to my sister in law for taking the photo of me pouring the toffee sauce all over the pudding!

My Sticky Toffee Pudding does not contain dates as my children don’t like them. I put raisins in, instead. I also bake it in my 6 Cup Nordicware Anniversary Bundt Pan to make it look extra special.

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING BUNDT

If you do not have a bundt pan, you can bake your Sticky Toffee Pudding like a cake in a 20cm round, loose bottomed cake tin. Grease this before use.

Serves 8

You will need:

  • 225g raisins
  • 100ml milk
  • 100ml water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 115g butter or baking margarine, softened
  • 175g light brown Muscovado sugar
  • 2 large Free Range eggs, beaten
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Toffee Sauce:

  • 100ml double cream
  • 90g light brown Muscovado sugar
  • 30g butter

How to make your Sticky Toffee Pudding Bundt:

  • Preheat your oven to 180oC/160oC fan/ or Gas 4. I use a fan oven so I baked mine at 160oC.
  • Put the raisins into a pan along with the milk and the water. This needs to be brought to a simmer on a low heat until most of the liquid has soaked up the raisins. Take off the heat and add the spoonful of bicarbonate of soda to the pan. Great fun to watch it fizz up! When this is done, put the raisin pan to one side and let it cool down completely.
  • Now for the main part of the cake: Beat the butter or margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. I used Stork in my recipe today as I had some leftover from baking cupcakes. Gradually add the eggs. If it looks like the eggs are going to curdle the mixture, add a tablespoonful of flour to the mixture.
  • Beat in the raisin mixture as well as the spoonful of vanilla extract. Then you will need to add the remainder of the flour by carefully folding it into the mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into your preferred cake tin, ensuring it is spread out evenly.
  • Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. I actually took mine out at 42 minutes as my oven gets on the hot side so maybe check it at 40 minutes. I tested it with a skewer and it came out clean then.
  • While your cake is cooling down, make the toffee sauce. This is just made by simply heating the double cream, brown sugar and butter together in a small pan on the stove. The sauce will thicken slightly.
  • The cake can be taken out of the tin about 10 minutes after you have taken it out of the oven. Let it cool down completely or serve it straightaway, depending on your preferences. You could also serve the sauce separately in a jug. I chose to pour mine all over the cake and we ate ours about an hour after making it as I was busy getting the roast dinner ready.

This cake is perfect served hot, cold or with custard, ice cream or double cream. I have frozen the main part of the cake before (without the toffee sauce) and made that fresh when needed. Although leftovers are never around when I have made this cake. At the time of typing (Sunday 2nd in the afternoon), I am thinking I haven’t eaten lunch and knowing there’s half of the pudding cake left in the fridge. Oh dear!

1/100 of the #100bakes challenge completed. What shall I bake next?

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

My Favourite Shortbread

There’s nothing better than a piece of freshly baked shortbread with a cup of tea or coffee. I love baking shortbread. It’s a simple recipe but a delicious one. For my shortbread, you only need 4 ingredients plus any flavour additions. But the plain shortbread, liberally dusted with caster sugar is just perfect.

I bake my shortbread in a 23cm (9″) square loose bottomed tin like I use for my brownies and cookie bars, although if you prefer you can bake it in a circular tin of the same size! I cut it into 12 or 16 pieces depending on who they’re for or what occasion they are going to be used for.

My Favourite Shortbread Recipe.

Ingredients needed:

  • 250g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g rice flour or cornflour

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 150oC fan (160oC in a conventional oven)/ 325oF/ Gas 3.
  • Grease and line your tin with baking parchment.
  • Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together either in a stand mixer or with a hand held mixer until the mixture is creamy and fluffy.
  • Add in both types of flour to combine and bring together to form a dough.
  • If you are adding any flavours to your shortbread, then add them in now so they are combined well.
  • Press the dough carefully into the tin, ensuring the dough reaches all corners of the tin and that it is level. Prick the shortbread all over with a fork before putting into the pre-heated oven.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes approx. Watch out as shortbread can burn quickly!
  • When you take the shortbread out of the oven, give it 5 minutes or so to cool down and then cut it into the number of pieces you require. Keep it in the tin to cool down.
  • When completely cool, remove from the tin to a wire rack and sprinkle with lots of caster sugar.

There are lots of flavours you could add to the basic shortbread mixture to enhance it:

  • 100g chocolate chips (dark or milk) For orange chocolate shortbread, you could add the zest of an orange with the chocolate.
  • Cranberry and White Chocolate Shortbread: add 100g white chocolate chips and 75g dried cranberries
  • Stem Ginger Shortbread: add 75g chopped pieces of stem ginger and 1 tsp ground ginger.
  • Lemon Shortbread: add the grated zest of a lemon.
  • Chopping up your favourite chocolate bars such as salted Caramel Twix (I chop up two standard twin bars) These are one of my son’s favourites.
  • M&M Shortbread: use a sharing size pouch bag of the chocolate ones.

I’m sure there are lots of other shortbread flavours to discover, but these are the ones I love baking regularly. If you have any other flavour suffestions, then please do let me know.

My chocolate chip shortbread.

If you are short of time or don’t like baking yourself then we can provide Shortbread to order through our Facebook page or by contacting us via email. I know I will be sending a few boxes out in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas.

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Giant Raspberry Jam Tart

The disastrous jam tart which Mr S described as looking like “a road accident!”

October 31st 2021.

You know when you have a great plan and it goes drastically wrong? That! One Sunday afternoon I had the oven on and thought about a pudding we could have for dessert. I’d only got one egg left after all my baking orders and was just about to head out to buy more. Then I realised that pastry only needed one egg and I had loads of jam to use up. The thought of a Viennese style Linzertorte appealed to me.

I made up a batch of cinnamon and lemon infused sweet shortcrust pastry in my food processor first. Then I wrapped the ball of dough in some cling film and chilled it in the fridge. I did this for about one hour but for some reason the dough was extremely difficult to work with.

My hands were feeling incredibly hot for some reason. I blame the menopause as they never usually feel like this, Or maybe I had not chilled the dough for long enough or maybe I’d not put enough flour in the recipe. I tried rolling the dough out into a circle to line the tin but sadly it kept sticking no matter how much flour was sprinkled onto the work top or onto my rolling pin! Then the dough kept breaking as I was rolling it out. This was so frustrating, I can tell you!

Eventually, I managed to line my 20cm (8″) diameter loose bottomed flan tin. I had originally wanted to use my bigger tin but I just couldn’t roll the dough out enough without it breaking. Also the more I ended up handling the dough, the more it broke. I couldn’t start again as I needed more eggs!

Finally the flan tin had a pastry lining! I had to do a lot of patching up, in fact I felt like I was plastering a wall rather than making a tart! When I had the lining in place, I got a sharp knife and trimmed the top of the pastry. I was tempted to crack open the wine there and then but I resisted!

The cinnamon pastry burned very quickly but left the jam filling really runny in the middle of the tart.

I noticed I wouldn’t have enough jam from just one jar to fill the insides of the tart tin, so I mixed two jars of seedless raspberry jam together and then spooned it into the tart case. There was just enough.

Now for the traditional Linzertorte Lattice pattern. To achieve this I had to roll out the remaining pastry in a rectangle shape and use a fluted pastry cutter wheel to cut strips of pastry. I didn’t have a fluted wheel so I tried with a pizza cutter. This should have been straightforward but it never is when you have pastry that won’t do what it should do! As I picked up the pastry strips they kept falling apart. The lattice pattern had to be abandoned. As it was Halloween I found a small pumpkin shaped cutter in my stash. Reluctantly, I managed to get a few pumpkin shapes cut out but even those looked rank!

We couldn’t have a traditional Linzertorte lattice pattern as the pastry kept breaking. So instead we had burnt pumpkins!

I put the tart into the oven at 160oc fan but it took so much longer to cook than expected. The jam in the middle was still far too runny even after about 40 minutes baking time. Considering the amount I’d used in the filling, I was not impressed. I took it out of the oven after the 40 minutes and admitted defeat.

After giving it some time to cool down I tried to remove the tart from the tin and thankfully it came out ok. I left it on the worktop to cool down completely before I even attempted to cut it up. It was far too late to even think about using it as a dessert and besides we were full up after dinner anyway.

The filling was still a little bit runny in the middle.

Later on, I tried to cut into the tart so I could put it in the fridge in a plastic box. Mr S came into the kitchen and said the tart “looked like a road accident!” He was right but he was lucky he didn’t end up wearing it!

I did taste a morsel and it actually wasn’t that bad. But not enough to want to eat a whole slice and to serve it up for dessert.

I was so embarrassed by this bake that I definitely won’t be sharing the recipe for this one. I wouldn’t want to publish a recipe which clearly was a big baking fail! One to work on for the future!

The “road accident” jam tart in all it’s glory!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake: a wheat free/ gluten free cake which works perfectly well as a simple dessert or afternoon tea treat.

I had a packet of dried polenta sitting in the cupboard doing nothing. It’s not something I really cook with to be honest. I think I was going to cook a ragu type casserole to serve with it back in January or February and we ended up with something different.

I read somewhere that polenta is great for making gluten free cakes and goes perfectly with ground almonds. I love making gluten free cakes but it is great to try alternatives to the gluten free flour you can find out there. Hence the Lemon Polenta Cake. I had a few lemons which needed using up so this was a perfect way to add them into this simple, but scrumptious cake.

Please don’t be put off by this cake’s appearance. As cakes go, it is plain and boring to look at but appearances are deceptive. It also doesn’t rise very high or look that appealing. But I assure you as soon as you take a bite of this zesty treat, you will not be disappointed.

Not the most appealing looking cake but definitely a great tasting one.
View from the top: watch taking your cake out of the pan! Unlike me, who caught it on the side of the tin when I was in a hurry to get it out.
You could serve your cake with whipped cream, ice cream or creme fraiche.Cau
Or you could eat it straight out of the box as Mr S did yesterday when he came in from work hung

Here’s how to make the simple, yet delicious Lemon Polenta cake.

  • Serves 8
  • About 30 mins preparation time.
  • 45-50 minutes baking time.
  • Suitable for freezing (if it lasts that long!
  • Ingredients:
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar (175g for the cake, 25g for the lemon sugar syrup)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 75g dried polenta
  • 175g ground almonds
  • 2 lemons (zest and juice needed)
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • You will need a 22cm (9″) diameter round springform cake tin which has been greased and and the base lined with a baking parchment circle.
  • Preheat your oven to 150oC fan (160oC conventional/ 235oF or Gas 3). I baked my cake in a fan oven.
  • Cream the butter and 175g of the caster sugar. Keep back 25g of it to make a sugar syrup later on.
  • Add the eggs, one by one and whisk carefully after each addition.
  • Fold in the polenta and almonds using a large metal spoon.
  • Fold in the zest of the two lemons and the baking powder.
  • Spoon the mixture into your prepared tin. Smooth the surface of the cake to make it level.
  • Bake the cake for approx 45-50 minutes. As mentioned before, it doesn’t rise much but it will spring back when it’s done.
  • Leave the cake to cool down in the tin for about 10 minutes or so.
  • While the cake is cooling, you can make a syrup to drizzle on top of the cake. Put the juice from the two lemons you have already used the zest from in a saucepan, along with the remaining 25g of caster sugar. Heat this up on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Turn the cake out onto a cake rack and prick holes in the top of the cake. Gently spoon the lemon sugar syrup onto the top of the cake so it pours down the holes and soaks into the sponge.
  • Serve the cake on its own or with ice cream, cream or creme fraiche. We enjoyed it with whipped cream and it was heavenly.

If you don’t fancy making this cake with lemons, then I think that it would work well making it with other citrus fruit such as oranges or limes.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Jane’s Patisserie- Book Review.

Over the past couple of years I’ve discovered Jane’s Patisserie website with her delicious, foolproof recipes. Her cheesecake recipes are my absolute go-to, especially as cheesecakes always used to be a disaster when I made them before. Not any more. No more need for gelatine or for baking cheesecakes. I don’t need that with Jane’s recipes.

Jane’s Patisserie recipe book, published in August 2021.

Back in August, Jane brought out her recipe book with the same title as her website/ blog – Jane’s Patisserie and at first I was sceptical about buying it. After all why buy a book when the recipes are bound to be on the website. But thankfully, although there are several recipes from the website, the rest are actually specifically written for the book. A few recipes were actually created from Jane’s follower requests. I always find something I like on her website and I was pleased to say this book is no exception!

The book is split into nine main chapters: Cheesecakes, Cakes, Cupcakes and Muffins, Cookies, Breads and Doughnuts, Traybakes, Desserts, Tea Time and last but not least, Sweets. As well as the main chapters, there is a detailed introduction which is useful for novice bakers including ingredient guides and useful equipment and ingredients. At the beginning of every chapter, there is also an introduction. For example, in the Cheesecake chapter, Jane explains the ingredients she uses as a base for all her cheesecakes as well as the top tips for making the perfect one. The same goes for the other chapters in the book.

I used Jane’s online recipe to bake these Double Decker brownies to send to my son at uni. He regularly gets brownie and cookie parcels from me and shares them with his housemates.

What is in my Top Ten Recipes to bake?

  • No Bake Speculoos Cheesecake
  • Cookies and Cream Drip Cake
  • Vanilla Traybake
  • Honeycomb Cupcakes
  • S’mores Cookies
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Triple Chocolate Brownies
  • White Chocolate and Raspberry Tart
  • Malt Chocolate Fudge.
I love Jane’s cheesecake recipes and this one was for my daughter’s birthday last week. She wanted a birthday cheesecake instead of a cake. It contains Arran Gold which is a liqueur like Baileys but made with whisky from the Isle of Arran.
Last Christmas we used one of Jane’s cheesecake recipes as our Christmas pudding alternative. My kids don’t like Christmas pudding so we had a Lotus Biscoff cheesecake drizzled with chocolate sauce.

What recipes will I pass on?

  • Rhubarb Crumble Cheesecake (not that keen on rhubarb myself)
  • Brown Butter, Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cookies (sounds delicious but I can’t be bothered with browning butter!)
  • Doughnut Bites (you have to use a deep fat fryer and I don’t have one of those. I also don’t like deep frying things)
  • Rhubarb and Custard Blondies (for the same reason as above!)
Another favourite of Jane’s cheesecakes: this is a Mint cheesecake with Mint Lindt D’Or balls on top. Another Christmas favourite.

Jane’s Patisserie is one of those books where I know that I will get to use it to bake everything (apart from the four recipes above!) Jane has created a wealth of recipes using popular flavours and ingredients which are easy to obtain. No weird and strange flavour combos here and the bakes aren’t too over the top. As an experienced baker I find that her recipes are easily achievable and taste wonderful.

From the book I tested out Jane’s S’mores Cookies. They were absolutely delicious and I took them to work to share out. They contain marshmallows, chocolate chips and pieces of digestive biscuit.

I hope that there will be a follow up book in the future because judging by the huge success of Jane’s blog and her book sales so far, there will be a massive demand for it. I’m off to bake some brownies and blondies to take into work tomorrow using a couple of Jane’s recipes.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #33: The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Sunday October 24th 2021:

It was my Mum’s birthday and as she was coming up to visit for a couple of days, I thought I would bake her a birthday cake. It had to be one which would keep and she could have enough to take home and share with her friends she was meeting up with later on in the week.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m getting to struggle with being able to make some of the bakes in my Big Book Of Amazing Cakes. Not because I can’t make them but simply because of the sheer waste of ingredients or not having the occasion to bake these cakes. I can’t be baking a three tier wedding cake when I’ve not got a wedding to bake for.

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake on page 76 in the Chocolate Chapter looked like a pretty but not too over the top cake. It was baked in two layers but with both layers cut horizontally to create four. The recipe containing sour cream was also one which would keep it moist and fudgy which is what I needed as it might not get eaten straightaway.

I ended up baking the cake as three separate layers rather than two layers cut in half. I use ready made baking parchment circles for the bottom of my tins and this helped me to grease and line the tins.

Unfortunately, I was listening to a radio programme at the time so I was distracted and forgot to put in the baking powder. I only realised afterwards when the cakes were in the oven and I was putting the ingredients away, that I had forgotten it. I don’t know if it had much effect, the cake had still risen. Thank heavens for that.

I left the cakes cooling on the worktop while Mr S and I went off to walk the dog. When we came back I made up the chocolate buttercream icing. I used Callebaut dark chocolate chips, icing sugar, butter and some sour cream to make up the icing.

The three layers of chocolate sponge cooling on the racks in my kitchen. After my disaster forgetting to add the baking powder, I was expecting to have three large cookies!

The original decoration for the Ultimate Chocolate Cake was to have the sides plain but the top to be decorated like a giant rose petal. I didn’t have a petal nozzle suitable so instead I put a thin layer of buttercream on the top and sides and used a scraper to get the effect. To top the cake I piped stars around the edge and in the middle, topping each star with some edible shimmer pearl decorations from Tesco which I’d also used for my daughter’s birthday cheesecake the week before. I also found some Cake Angels Millionaire’s Sprinkles which contained gold stars and tiny fudge pieces to sprinkle all over the top of the cake.

My mum was really pleased with the cake. Although we are all trying to be healthy and eat sensibly, you have to have a treat when it’s your birthday. We had a small sliver with a cup of tea the day after Mum’s birthday as we ended up having scones on her actual day! Mum cut us a piece to enjoy the next day and then took the rest with her to share with her friends. I hope they enjoy it as much as we did.

I think this recipe is going to be my go-to chocolate cake recipe from now on. But next time I’ll remember to add the baking powder!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Amazing Cakes #31: Apple, Maple and Walnut Streusel Cake

October 17th 2021.

It’s been over a year since I set myself the challenge of working my way through the bakes in The Great British Bake Off Book Of Amazing Cakes. I’ve only managed about half of the recipes and it’s getting to the stage where there are some bakes that I might not be able to attempt. These are because they are big celebration cakes which I don’t have the occasion to make a cake like that for and baking all that cake for nothing would be a terrible waste. Over the next month or so I am going to try a couple more recipes which will be suitable and then I will start another challenge.

The Apple,Maple and Pecan Strusel Cake was a big winner.

Now it is Autumn, I am beginning to struggle a bit. I know lots of people love Autumn and Winter but I am not one of those people. I am a Spring and Summer person and dread the clocks going back. Dark nights and cold, damp weather are not my idea of fun. I struggle to get up in the mornings when it is dark. The only way I can embrace the seasonal changes, apart from trying to get out as much as possible for fresh air and exercise is to cook comfort food. I make our Sunday roast and try to make us a Sunday dessert as something to look forward to.

For our Sunday dessert last weekend, I chose to bake an Apple, Maple and Streusel Cake from the Amazing Cakes book. Featured in the Bakers’ Favourites chapter, this gorgeous and gently spiced cake was one Henry made during Series 9. This was one of Henry’s childhood favourite cakes inspired by his family holidays to Germany. I have never been to Germany myself but have tasted several Streusel cakes in the past. They are usually cakes topped with a crumble like topping with added nuts. This version uses chopped walnuts but pecans are a great alternative.

To start baking the cake, I lined and greased the bottom of a 20cm (8″) deep loose bottomed circular cake tin. I then put all the dry ingredients needed into a mixing bowl. These were self raising flour, baking powder, ground mixed spice, ground cardamom, and cinnamon. Then I rubbed cold cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until they became like breadcrumbs. Then I added brown sugar, some chopped apple pieces and some raisins. The recipe stated sultanas or blueberries but I had a load of raisins which needed using up and I didn’t want to waste all my blueberries in a cake. I wanted them for my yoghurt on my breakfast!

In another mixing bowl, I whisked eggs, double cream and vanilla together. This was then tipped into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and the fruit. When this was done, I made the Streusel topping which was quick and easy to make. I rubbed butter, flour, cinnamon and brown sugar together and then stirred in some chopped walnuts.

The cake mixture was spooned in to the prepared tin and then finally the Streusel mixture was sprinkled on top. The cake went into the oven and was baked for just over an hour.

When the cake came out of the oven, the kitchen smelled wonderful. Never mind me moaning about miserable weather, the smell of cinnamon is enough to cheer me up!

The Maple cream cheese frosting finished this cake off beautifully.
This cake was a great way to use some walnut halves I had left over from a previous bake.

I gave the cake a good hour to cool down. While it was cooling, I made up some Maple Icing. This was butter, brown sugar, Maple Syrup and full fat cream cheese mixed together. I filled a piping bag with the mixture and then piped twelve rosettes around the edge of the cake. To finish, I put a walnut half on top of each rosette.

A perfect balance of raisins, apple and nuts in this extremely moreish cake!
A piece for Mr S after work during the week. He really enjoyed it.

In the end we were so full after our main course that we left the cake and didn’t eat any! We didn’t start on it until the Tuesday and believe it or not it was still fresh. It was such a deliciously moist cake, with the aroma of the spices still lingering. I can honestly say this has been one of my favourite things to bake this year.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam. xx

A Bake For All Seasons #2: Jammy Dodgers

3rd October 2021.

I always love Biscuit Week on the Great British Bake Off. It was great to see that this year’s contestants were asked to bake Jammy Dodgers for the Technical Bake. I love making Jammy Dodgers, although mine always look boring. I so need to get a set of those Nordicware Cookie Stamps as featured in the show to get that beautiful pattern on top of the biscuits.

If you are on Twitter, you might have heard of #TwitterBakeAlong which has been running for the last 5 years or so. Jackie (aka The Baking Nanna) and Rob run weekly challenges over on Twitter. During Bake Off Season it becomes #GBBOTwitterBakeAlong and bakers can enter one of the challenges like the contestants bake and submit a photo of their bake on Twitter. As I’m busy a lot with work commitments, I don’t always get to join in but I was able to for this week with my version of Jammy Dodgers.

I used the recipe in The Great British Bake Off: A Bake For All Seasons and I must admit it was different to my standard “roll out” biscuit recipe in that there was added cornflour in the recipe. I also felt that I could have done with double the quantity of dough as to get the quantity of biscuits out of the dough, I had to roll the dough so thinly. I used my KitchenAid mixer to bring the dough together so that I didn’t overwork it.

No way was I going to make my own jam to go inside the biscuits as the original contestants had to. I hadn’t got time for making jam as well. To be different from the traditional, I found some Lemon Curd in the cupboard which needed using up as well as some Cherry Curd which I’d found in a local supermarket. The dark pink colour was so pretty that I thought I’d use it as well. Instead of a heart shape cut out in the middle I looked in my cookie cutter boxes and found a splat type cutter which I’d used on a psychedelic 1970s style cake from a few years ago. I thought it would make a change from the hearts and stars and other shapes you might find in the middle of a Jammy Dodger or those Linzer style cookies.

I took the cookies with me to work and left them in the staff room. I was a bit ashamed of the actual biscuits to be honest. Because they rolled out so thinly, they caught round the edges and baked a lot quicker than expected. But everyone enjoyed them and that was the main thing.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

A Bake For All Seasons #3: Banana and Peanut Butter Loaf.

Sunday October 10th 2021

My version of the Bake For All Seasons Banana, Tahini and Caramel Loaf- nothing like the original!!

I wanted to bake a cake for Sunday afternoon. I had been away for some of the weekend and we weren’t having a full blown Sunday roast but Mr S was going to cook his special steak with new potatoes and salad. I’ve been suffering a bit with my mental health recently. October has been a tricky month and I can’t wait for it to end. I know that baking helps lots of us who are struggling and I’m no exception. I didn’t really need any cake in the house but I needed to have that comforting ritual of baking and creating something.

A slice for Mr S to have with his afternoon cuppa.

I looked in the new Bake Off Book: A Bake For All Seasons to see if there was a simple Autumnal cake I could bake that afternoon that wasn’t too fancy or had weird ingredients I didn’t have in my cupboard. The only real contender was the Banana, Tahini and Caramel Loaf in the Autumn section of the book on page 158. I didn’t have any tahini paste in, though. The only ever time I bought it was a couple of years ago to make some hummous and the rest ended up getting chucked out as my own hummous tasted revolting! I thought what could give a similar effect that was in my cupboard and I thought maybe peanut butter would work. The top of the cake as seen in the recipe photo also shows the loaf sprinkled with caramel sesame seeds and a whole banana peeled and halved as a decoration. This did not appeal to me one bit so I left it off!

To line my loaf tin, I always use the pre-made loaf tin liners available from big supermarkets or shops like Lakeland! They save so much faff! When I had lined that, I melted some butter. When this was cooling, I whisked brown sugar and eggs together. Then this was added to the cooled butter, the peanut butter and some natural yoghurt. Finally I added some mashed bananas.

In another bowl I weighed out and mixed together some dry ingredients: self raising flour, baking powder and cinnamon then folded it carefully into the other ingredients. Finally the mixture was spooned into the the tin and then baked in the oven for around 50 minutes. This was slightly earlier than the recipe suggested but my oven seems to bake a lot quicker.

Leftovers to be cut up and put in a box for later.
I love using the ready made loaf tin liners from Lakeland.

I must admit I didn’t end up trying the banana loaf as I’ve been a bit off my food and under the weather this week. Not Covid, I hasten to add! Mr S had a piece and said it was nice although I pinched 3 of his breakfast bananas to use in the cake. By the time I felt a bit better, what was left of tthe cake had gone off and had to be binned.

I don’t think I’ll attempt to make this version of a banana loaf again unless I do have any left over tahini paste knocking around. I might buy some as Nigella has a tahini cake in one of her recipes from Cook, Eat, Repeat and it seems to be popular. I think I’ll stick to my favourite Annabel Karmel one I’ve been making since my kids were little as that always goes down well with everyone.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx