Sugar and Crumbs’ Natural Icing Sugar Winter Flavours- Creme Brulee Snowflake Bundt and Cupcakes.

I really love Sugar and Crumbs’ Natural flavoured icing sugars and was really keen to try out their new limited edition flavours brought out for this Christmas and the Winter season.  I was lucky enough to win a £25 gift voucher from them in a Great British Bake Off competition on their Facebook page. We had to predict the winner of the Bake Off for this year. My name along with another lady, won because we were drawn out of the names who predicted Candice would win. I was so happy when I heard I’d won the prize as I wanted to buy packets of the new four flavours released in time for Christmas.  Not only that but I wanted to get some more packets of my favourite flavours, like Chocolate Mint and Salted Caramel.

The four new flavours included the decadent sounding Creme Brulee.  I love Creme Brulee although I never make it at home.  It sounded like a perfect creamy vanilla flavour to enhance a Christmas themed sponge, cupcakes or fudge.

Those of you who read my blog regularly might see I’ve not been writing much recently. This is down to me working full time with a position in a nursery.  It has been very long hours and as soon as I get in on an evening, the last thing I think about is baking or blogging.  But baking is a massive part of my life, it keeps me sane and helps me relax.  I really missed it.

Before the end of last term it was going to be a Christmas tea party at the nursery I’ve been working in.  I baked some plain vanilla cupcakes with glace icing and snowflake sugarpaste shapes for the children.  I didn’t want the adults to miss out, after all in the busy lead up to Christmas you definitely need a sugar boost to get you through the day.

Plain vanilla cupcakes baked for the children to eat at their tea party.

The Snowflake Creme Brulee Bundt was a great excuse to use my Nordicware snowflake bundt pan bought back in July when on holiday in Canada.  I couldn’t believe my luck when I saw it on the shelf in Williams Sonoma in Edmonton. I made sure I greased the bundt pan carefully with cake release, then got on with baking the bundt itself.  The recipe I used is adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery’s book Life Is Sweet.  On page 28 there is a delicious recipe for a Tunnel of Fudge Bundt cake.  Here is my adaptation:

SNOWFLAKE CREME BRULEE BUNDT

INGREDIENTS:

390g unsalted, softened butter

375g caster sugar

6 large eggs

250g icing sugar (Sugar and Crumbs’ Creme Brulee natural flavour)

395g plain flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

extra icing sugar to dust 

To begin with preheat the oven to 170oC/ 325oF or Gas Mark 3.Grease the bundt pan with Cake release.

In a mixing bowl with a hand held electric mixer or a freestanding mixer, beat the softened butter and the caster sugar together until it is light and creamy.

Then add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture after each addition. Then add the icing sugar to the bowl, followed by the vanilla extract.

After that, add in the plain flour. Mix this with a metal spoon by folding in the flour until everything is incorporated.  

Spoon the mixture into the prepared bundt tin.  I found that there was some mixture left over when I use a smaller bundt pan.  I ended up having enough mixture to bake several cupcakes.  Of course this does depend on the size of your bundt pan, just make sure it is filled to three quarters full. 

Bake your bundt cake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes. I usually need to check with a skewer inserted into the cake but it is usually done when the cake starts to come away from the side of the tin.

As the snowflake bundt has so much pretty detail on it, I felt it didn’t need any icing. All it needed was a dusting of the creme brulee icing sugar on top and it was finished.

The remainder of the 500g packet of creme brulee icing sugar was turned into a simple glace icing for the top of the cupcakes.I then cut out some sugarpaste snowflake shapes with some mini plunger cutters bought from Lakeland.  They were gorgeous and looked pretty on top of the cupcakes in their sparkly foil cases.

The Creme Brulee Snowflake Bundt in all its glory.
The snowflake bundt only needed a dusting of icing sugar to show the beautiful detail off.
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Love these pretty snowflake plunger cutters from Lakeland.
Cupcakes baked with the remaining mixture which was left.  Topped with the remaining creme brulee icing and finished with sugarpaste snowflakes
Different snowflake patterns

Everything went down very well at work.  Though it’s nearly 3 weeks since I made them now, such a distant memory. But I’m determined to get myself organised and blog more in 2017.  Wonder if I’ll still be saying that next month!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Clandestine Cake Club “A Year Of Cake” December Bakealong- Nordic Spice Cake.

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I love being a member of the internationally renowned Clandestine Cake Club.  I’ve made lots of lovely friends through chatting over cake. I can honestly say that cake club has changed my life in lots of ways and I wouldn’t be without it.  I haven’t been able to get along to any events for a couple of months due to work commitments but I’m excited to be getting back to it in January!

For those who can’t always make the events and meet up with friends there are a couple of other options.  Members can join in a virtual cake event or a bakealong.  I have joined in with several of these in the past, including the CCCBook Club “A Year Of Cake” bakealong.  These events are monthly and by the end of that month those who want to take part choose to bake a cake which features in that particular chapter of the Year Of Cake book. You take photos and email this with a short description of the cake and why you baked it, etc for Lynn Hill founder of the Clandestine Cake Club to put into a write up or blog post of the event. Though sometimes I’ve forgotten to post the photos by the deadline and missed it a couple of times!

Anyway, being December it was the last of the Year Of Cake bakealongs.  There were twelve scrumptious recipes to choose from all of which I would love to have baked.  I had to go with something I know everyone would eat at home.  I decided on the Nordic Spice Cake.  It is a cake typical of the flavours in Scandinavian cooking which is shared at the time of St. Lucia’s Day (the Swedish festival of lights) Baked in a circular bundt pan it could be resplendent of an Advent wreath or a St Lucia crown.

I chose to bake my version in the Gingerbread House Bundt pan instead of a wreath shape.  This is because I’m absolutely rubbish at making gingerbread houses, they always collapse on me no matter how much icing I throw on them. So I could have a cakey version instead.  It was 8.30am on December 23rd and I had so much to do. The gingerbread house was only one of a few things I was going to bake.

First things first- to grease the gingerbread house pan.  This was a complex job as it had lots of nooks and crannies.  Lots of Cake Release needed here! Then I made sure the oven was on and preheating with the top shelf removed so I could get the tin in without knocking it.

Then for the cake itself. I creamed together butter and brown sugar until it became light and fluffy.  Next I beat eggs, natural yoghurt and the zest of a large orange together in another bowl.  Finally in another bowl I measured out sifted self raising flour and three teaspoonfuls of my friend Heidi’s special Christmas Spice.  Lynn Hill’s recipe also uses 35ml of mulled wine in the mix.  I didn’t have mulled wine so instead I added in the juice of the orange I had taken the zest off first. The aroma coming out of the kitchen smelled wonderful and I couldn’t wait to try it.  Nothing smells as nice to me as the smell of baking gingerbread.

With the gingerbread house bundt pan being an uneven shape I usually put it on a flat baking tray in the oven so it can bake flat. Nothing worse than the gingerbread house’s chimney sticking through the gap in the oven tray and the mixture all falling out on the bottom of the oven. Believe me, I’ve been there.

As luck would have it the cake baked perfectly and came out of the pan in one piece. I couldn’t decorate it straight away as I had other things to do. So the gingerbread house went into a corner of the kitchen for a few hours while I started on some fudge.

Decorated with piped glace icing and some Wilton Gingerbread house sugar shapes as well as some M&Ms the cake looked really festive.  It made a beautiful centrepiece on Christmas Eve and also tasted fantastic.  Not everyone likes fruit cake or marzipan and this was a perfect alternative.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Stem Ginger Shortbread #GBBOtwitterbakealong

When August comes around, it’s always exciting in lots of ways.  For me being a teacher the summer is my one chance to catch up.  It’s also usually when my family go on our summer holiday.  This year we went away in July instead but there has still been loads of things to enjoy.  Not only that but August means Great British Bake Off time!  This year it’s starting later (think it’s Wednesday August 24th) due to the Olympics but the excitement and the build up for GBBO fans has started already.

On Twitter I love to get involved with anything GBBO related and a few of my Twitter followers and friends are doing a bake along.  It’s called #GBBOTwitterBakealong and there’s a different theme each week. When the Bake Off is actually on, we’ll be baking something from the show like the technical bake for that week or something connected with that week’s theme.  This week on the Twitter Bake Along has been biscuits so we had to bake some biscuits and post them on Twitter.  I love any excuse to bake biscuits so I had a look at what was left in my baking cupboard and also looked at recipes I wanted to have a go at.

I looked in Mary Berry’s Foolproof Cooking and found the perfect recipe for busy weekend baking around all the other jobs I had to do.  It was her recipe for Stem Ginger Shortbread.  My whole family love it when I bake shortbread for them but aren’t so keen on the ginger.  The recipe called for five balls of stem ginger and that’s exactly what I had to use up.  It’s funny how my kids say they don’t like my ginger cookies, yet when I bake them they miraculously disappear.

Out came my well used and loved Alan Silverwood traybake tin.  It’s been bought thinking of Mary Berry and traybakes though this time, it was to make shortbread fingers.  I greased it carefully with Wilton Cake Release then started on the shortbread itself.  The stem ginger needed to be rinsed and patted dry so that the sticky syrup came off it.  This was easy enough and then I chopped the ginger into little chunks to go into the shortbread.  When I’d finished this, I then started on the shortbread itself.  I put tiny cubes of butter into a large mixing bowl and then added plain flour, rice flour and caster sugar to the mixture.  Mary’s recipe used semolina but I didn’t have any so I used some rice flour from the last time I baked shortbread. It gives the shortbread a nutty taste but works wonderfully well in the recipe.  All the ingredients were rubbed in together and then formed to make up a dry dough. At this stage, I tossed in the chopped stem ginger and then mixed it into the dough evenly.

The dough was carefully pressed into the tin with a back of a teaspoon so that it was level. To give it a crunchy topping Mary Berry suggested sprinkling on two tablespoonfuls of  Demerara sugar to the top of the shortbread.  I didn’t have any demerara sugar so I used light brown muscovado sugar instead. This was a bit clumpy though.

The shortbread baked for about 40 minutes and by this time it had turned a pale golden brown.  The smell was just heavenly and I was so tempted to scoff one there and then.  But I had to let them cool down so they could be cut up into fingers!

The shortbread fingers were divine and they went down very well.  As I type the day after, there are only 4 left! I need my jaw wiring with shortbread around! I didn’t eat them all though, please believe me!

The shortbread was cut into 12 fingers. Though one finger is never enough!
The Stem Ginger shortbread fingers were sprinkled with two types of sugar.
Stem Ginger Shortbread- from Mary Berry’s latest recipe book Foolproof Cooking.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Pimms Bundt Cake

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Pimms Bundt Cake.

A couple of weeks ago I went along to Spen Valley Clandestine Cake Club’s event in Brighouse.  The event was in a lovely cafe just out of Brighouse town centre.  Although it’s about 40 miles away from me,  I hadn’t been to cake club for ages and wanted to catch up with my cakey friends Susan and Helen. The theme for Spen Valley’s latest event was Summer and also was the group’s 4th birthday.  I got my cakey thinking cap on and thought about what I could bake which made me think of summer.  Lots of flavours make me think of summer and I did think of baking something with strawberries in.  Then I remembered we had a whole bottle of Pimms in the drinks cabinet which I’d not even opened and wasn’t likely to, either.  So a Pimms Cake it had to be, then. Not only that, but a Pimms bundt!  I looked on various websites for a Pimms cake recipe and couldn’t find what I wanted.  Then I came across exactly what I was looking for.  Lynn Hill’s very own Strawberry Pimms Cake in the June chapter of A Year Of Cake, the second Clandestine Cake Club Book.

The recipe was one of those which did not have an accompanying picture to it so I had to guess what it would look like.  The cake was also baked in a round springform cake tin and then split in half horizontally so you had two layers.  I thought I would try and bake my own version in one of my Nordicware bundt pans. Well I could but try. If it didn’t work out I could always try again.

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The ingredients needed for the Pimms syrup, this was a soaking syrup which you brushed onto the cooled cake to add to the flavour of the cake.

First of all I had to make a soaking syrup using caster sugar, a strip of lemon peel pared off the lemon with a potato peeler. I boiled this for a few minutes with some water. Then I added some Pimms and a vanilla pod. I didn’t have a vanilla pod so I added in a teaspoonful of some vanilla syrup I had.  This then cooled down and became a thick syrup.

To decorate the cake I had to melt some dark chocolate.Then I dipped some whole, but hulled strawberries into the pool of melted chocolate.  I found this very messy as I should have used a skewer or a fork to hold the strawberry into the chocolate. Instead it went all over my hands and the chocolate didn’t set smoothly.  Then again at Cake Club no one judges your cakes, it’s not like the Great British Bake Off!

I left the strawberries to set and then got on with baking the cake.  It was a Friday afternoon and I was still tired after coming back off my holiday only two days before.  I had  been food shopping and had so much to catch up on so baking a cake was a welcome distraction from it all.  I chose to use my Heritage Bundt pan which lends itself to lots of different bakes. I like how icing can trickle down in the grooves and also how there is enough space to decorate the top instead if you prefer.

The cake itself was baked with ground almonds but also contained a small amount of cornflour and plain flour.  I sifted all these ingredients together so that they were well combined.  To this I added caster sugar and eggs and they were all beaten together for a few minutes.  I suddenly remembered that the butter in this recipe needed to be melted and then cooled down. I had to quickly pop it in the microwave, then gave it a few minutes to cool down.  Finally in the butter went, followed by some more Pimms.

The Pimms Cake cooked beautifully in the bundt pan and slid out perfectly.  The cooking time for the original cake was about 45-55 minutes which was roughly the same time for the bundt. I kept trying to see if it was ok from looking through the glass on the oven door but it was difficult to tell. I had to leave it to chance and thankfully it did work this time.

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The finished Strawberry Pimms Cake. I baked it in a bundt pan.  The recipe is from A Year Of Cake, the second Clandestine Cake Club book.

When the cake had cooled a little I poked a few holes in it with a skewer and then brushed on the Pimms syrup made earlier.  The Pimms syrup smelled wonderful and if it wasn’t the middle of a busy Friday afternoon I would have made myself a glass of Pimms. Then again I didn’t have any lemonade. Oh well, I knew I had some tonic water so I could look forward to a gin and tonic at tea time!

I then made up the filling and icing for the cake which was a heavenly mix of Mascarpone, icing sugar, double cream and Pimms. Definitely not Weightwatchers friendly then!  I love icing made with Mascarpone, it gives the icing a rich, yet creamy texture.  This was doubly decadent with the double cream in it. In the original recipe Lynn Hill uses the mascarpone icing as a filling and a topping. She also adds some strawberries soaked in the remaining Pimms syrup to the filling.  Given that mine was a bundt cake I wasn’t able to give it layers and a filling, so all my decoration went on top of the cake!

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The finished Pimms Bundt Cake.  Pimms soaked sponge topped with mascarpone cream and finished off with plain and chocolate dipped strawberries.

To decorate the cake I filled a large disposable piping bag with the mascarpone cream and piped on the decoration with my large star nozzle. There was just enough to fit on the top of the cake.  I also put some strawberries in the middle hoping that there would be enough to go round.  Luckily there was.

It was a very hot day so I kept the cake in the fridge  until it was time to leave for cake club the following morning.  I was very worried it would get knocked in the back of the car but luckily it survived the journey intact!

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My cake on display at cake club.

I will definitely bake this cake again.  It looked complicated with all the little steps and bits to it. Having said that if you allow yourself a bit of time you can create an amazing showstopper of a cake perfect for any summer celebration.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 

 

 

The Hairy Dieters Fast Food- A Review

I’m a huge fan of The Hairy Bikers and love watching them on the TV. They are so friendly and down to earth. Their enthusiasm for cooking and enjoying good food always shows through and whenever a new book comes out I always want to buy it.  My favourites of their books just has to be their Hairy Dieters series which I use a lot for cooking. I’m on a permanent battle to lose weight- my own fault for loving baking too much but these Hairy Dieters books help massively with meal ideas for the whole family. Not only that but the recipes are REAL food, no fancy fad or trendy ingredients. If I see a recipe with things like chia seeds in them, then they don’t get a look in, sorry!

My family are quite difficult to cater for.  My daughter and I eat most things, though some seafood turns my stomach. We would like to cut down on our meat intake and eat more vegetarian food. My husband thinks a meal without meat isn’t a meal and my son is fussy. One week he’ll like fish pie then the next week he doesn’t and he says he’s never liked it. So when there’s something I can cook that EVERYONE will eat, I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot!

I feel like that most times I cook from the first of the Hairy Bikers’ diet books.  My son adores their chilli and can’t get enough of the curry.  But I can’t be cooking chilli and curry every night.  I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. A couple of months back the Hairy Dieters brought out book four entitled Fast Food.  As they say on the book blurb on the back cover “When you’re hungry you don’t want to wait” and all the recipes are low in calories yet take only up to half an hour to prepare. This really ticks more than one box for me, I’m usually shattered when I get in from work.  In the winter we have casseroles in my slow cooker but I needed more inspiration. The recipes were just what I needed.

Fast Food is split up into nine chapters. The first is an introduction with a few ideas and techniques which I think is very useful, as well as tips from the Hairy Bikers themselves.  I also liked the menu suggestions given for if you want to have friends round. The second chapter, Breakfast and Brunch features a few ideas for low calorie, yet filling meals.  In the past I have used the Hairy Bikers’ ideas for serving porridge and Bircher muesli. This book has ideas for smoothies and granola. I love making granola but I need a healthier version. Also my smoothie blender is broken but when I get round to replacing it I will definitely be making the  Apple and Oat Smoothie.

Over the last couple of weeks after coming back from my holiday feeling fat, bloated and lethargic from all the unhealthy food I’d been eating, I thought I’d better get my act together in the kitchen.  I got the Fast Food book out and thought we would put some of the recipes to the test.

The first recipe I tried out was the Chicken and Prawn Laksa on p124.  I have never tried Laksa before, let alone made it.  I saw John Torode making it on a programme about Malaysia and both my hubby and I said we would like to try it.  So I was keen to give it a go. Both children were out one Saturday night and it was just me and the hubster.  The recipe uses a ready made jar of Laksa paste or there were the ingredients to make up your own.  I couldn’t find all the ingredients or the ready made paste in my local Morrisons but instead I found some lemongrass paste. The rest of the ingredients were easily found.

 

All the ingredients found for Chicken and Prawn Laksa. 

We really enjoyed the Laksa. It was simple to make if you prepped the chicken and the veg beforehand.  I forgot to take a photo of it as hubby also says “I don’t want to see my dinner on bloody Facebook!” But you have to believe me, it tasted and looked wonderful.  There was too much quantity though as the recipe served 4. Definitely one to do again but not something my son would have.

The day after was a Sunday.  Usually on a Sunday lunchtime we don’t eat much if anything as we have a big meal at dinner time.  My daughter was working and it was a very hot day. I thought a salad would be perfect but wanted something more exciting and delicious than some limp lettuce and cucumber.  The Hairy Dieter’s Seven Layer Salad looked stunning on  the eye as well as sounding very tasty. It didn’t require any cooking, just lots of chopping up and either assembling as layers in a bowl or on a large serving platter.

I first had to make a tomato salsa by chopping up tomatoes, red peppers and red onions then mixing them up together in a large bowl with some chopped coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. I then squeezed some lime juice over the top of it.  This was time consuming but I wasn’t in a rush, thankfully.

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Chopped Tomato Salsa.

Two other layers just asked for opening up a tin, draining the ingredients then arranging on a plate.  A tin of sweetcorn for one and the other was a tin of black beans.  I’ve never really bought black beans before though I’ve had them in a Chinese takeaway when I’ve had Beef in Black Bean Sauce. I had some in a salad my sister in law made while visiting her and my brother in Canada recently and they tasted great.

The sweetcorn and the black bean layers arranged on my serving platter.  I’ve had this Blackberry serving plate for ages, it was part of the dinner service my husband and I got for a wedding present.

To make the chicken part of the salad I quickly cooked three chicken breasts which had been cut into tiny, bite sized pieces.  When these had cooled slightly I went on to the Avocado part of the salad, then went back to the chicken.  The chicken was then tossed in a little buttermilk, low fat mayonnaise and white wine vinegar mixture.  It was meant to have finely chopped celery added to it but only I like it mixed in with things in our family, so I’ve stopped buying it.  The Avocado part of the salad was meant to be one Avocado choppe up with a grated courgette and spring onions and then dressed with lime juice.  My family don’t like courgettes so I shredded a Cos lettuce instead and tossed the chopped spring onions and chopped avocado together with the lime juice on top.

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We were very impressed with the Seven Layer Salad and my husband had to have more cheese to satisfy his hungry appetite.  I found that there was also a portion left over for me to have in my lunchbox the following day.

Another successful meal from the Fast Food Book was the Vegetable Dhal on page 152.  This recipe is from the chapter called Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow which includes slow cooker and pressure cooker recipes.  I’ve not got a pressure cooker though I remember my mum having one in the 70’s.  My slow cooker is my lifesaver in the winter.  I chose to test out a pressure cooker recipe but just to cook it normally on the hob.  It was a simple Vegetable Dhal which my son said looked like sick! It was simple to make though, as well as being economical.

The Vegetable Dhal was meant to be cooked in a pressure cooker but I don’t have one.
There was enough Vegetable Dhal to eat with chapatis and some ready cooked chicken pieces on the side for rhe carnivores.  I thought it tasted delicious without meat and perfect to reheat the following day for lunch.

 

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Chilli and Prawn Pasta ended up turning into a Spicy Meatball Pasta Sauce.

Another success was the delicious Chilli and Prawn Pasta which ended up having the prawns substituted for something else.  I hadn’t got round to getting any more prawns in but I had a packet of Heck Chorizo sausages in the fridge. These ended up being chopped up into little pieces and treated like meatballs.  My whole family loved the pasta and even though it had a little kick to it with the chilli, no one minded.

I’ve been really impressed with the Fast Food book.  There are a few recipes I wouldn’t make, mainly because they won’t appeal to the fussy eaters in my household but there are plenty I will be trying in the future.  We’ve already had the Seven Layer Salad again but this time I used plain leftover roast chicken from the previous day’s dinner.

Love Sam xx

 

 

Almond and Coffee Cake- The Cardamom Trail.

A few weeks ago I got a copy of Chetna Makan’s new book The Cardamom Trail.  Chetna was a semi finalist in the 2014 series of The Great British Bake Off . Her bakes were unique in that she added in the spices she grew up with and then gave them a unique twist.  I love adding different flavours to recipes and some of Chetna’s creations seemed so mouthwatering.

It took me a while to get round to trying out a recipe from the book.  It was so difficult to choose which to try out first but I needed an opportunity to get the mixing bowl out.  Last Wednesday I was at home and once again the urge to bake something overcame me.  I had picked my son up from school from his GCSE exam and was trying to put off doing the ironing. As you do! My mind wandered to what I could bake.  I’m trying not to eat too much sweet stuff (famous last words) but I knew I was going to be teaching in one of my regular schools the following day and I sometimes take cake in for the staff to try out.

As I browsed through the book several recipes leapt out at me.  But one which stuck in my mind. It was for an Almond and Coffee Cake which sounded delicious. It was also one which contained ingredients I already had in my baking stash. Including a mountain of flaked almonds and ground almonds which needed using up as soon as I could.

Chetna says “I love the combination of almonds and coffee. Normally it is associated with rich desserts, such as gateau opera but in this cake the sponge is made with ground and flaked almonds which makes it light. The richness comes with the buttery chocolate icing and can be topped with yet more almonds!”  So not only will the cake taste fantastic, it will be simple to decorate with a sprinkling of almonds. 

In the gorgeous photo of the cake it is shown baked as a bundt. Though for those who don’t have a bundt pan, the cake can also be baked in a 25cm diameter circular cake tin. Me being a bundt addict and an avid collector of all things bundt I was keen to get out one of my pans. I chose my square one which was a Christmas present to bake the cake in and  made sure it was properly greased with Wilton Cake release.

First some butter and sugar was creamed together with my hand held electric whisk. Then I added three large eggs, beating them well after every addition. Then in went some self raising flour, baking powder, ground almonds, some coffee and milk. The coffee was actually 2 tablespoons of very strong coffee dissolved in boiling water. This was all mixed together and well combined. In the mixture went into the bundt pan but I was concerned as the mixture only seemed to fill half the pan. Really it should fill three quarters of the tin so maybe the tin I used was too big. I hoped the cake would rise a lot in the oven!

Baking is normally a relaxing experience for me but today I was a bit impatient to get the cake out of the oven and finished off. Looking back it was getting near tea time and I had to sort out other jobs. Why do I do it? I forgot what time the cake went in the oven and didn’t set the timer. Then with that I looked at the cake too early. 

When the cake was ready it looked like it hadn’t risen much. Maybe the bundt tin was too big. At least it was one where it didn’t matter if the top half was missing. Thankfully also the cake came out of the tin in one piece!

Then it was time to slap the icing on and I mean slap or throw it on! I made up the icing by  melting some butter in a small pan on my hob. When it was melted I took it off the heat and mixed in some icing sugar and some cocoa powder mixed into a paste with boiling water. The icing was runny  but was ideal to spread on the cake and clung to the grooves of the  bundt. The final finishing touch was to sprinkle the flaked almonds on top of the cake!

The following morning I took the cake into work. It went down well but I left the cake there so I don’t know what happened to the rest of it. I collected an empty box the next time I was in. I didn’t try any myself though. I need to try it again, would be a perfect cake to bake if you have friends round for a cuppa or to donated to a coffee morning.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

My Day At The BBC Good Food Show Harrogate 2016.

A few weeks back I was asked if I would like to join the Community Blogger team for this year’s Good Food Show in Harrogate. I jumped at the chance. It is the show’s third year running in Harrogate and to me, virtually on my doorstep living in North Yorkshire.  I have been posting about some of the wonderful local producers that were going to be exhibiting this year and was also looking forward to discovering new things.

The show this year ran from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th April but I chose to go along on the Friday and took my husband along as my guest.  He’s never been to the Good Food Show before, I’ve usually gone with friends.  I was in a hurry to get to Harrogate for 9am as I wanted to be there to see Tom Kerridge opening the show. Luckily as it was the school holidays traffic into town and along Wetherby Road was fine. Normally it’s a nightmare but parking for us in the Victoria multistorey and a walk down the road to the HIC was fine for us and we got there just in time.  Unfortunately I missed taking a photo of Tom Kerridge cutting the ribbon as I was waiting to pick up my pass. Still I managed to sneak a couple of photos of him throughout the day.

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Wandering around at 9am was much more pleasurable than fighting off the crowds later. It meant you could go up to stall holders and chat with them. I had a lovely chat with Phil and Helena who run York and Dulgent Fudge who I had discovered through my friend Sharon on her blog Humbug’s House.  I was very impressed with the fudge and bought two flavours to try out. Do look out for their Blue Cheese, Apple and Walnut Fudge, which the first time ever that I have come across a savoury fudge and it sounds funny but believe me it works!

I treated myself to two gorgeous bags of fudge and deliberately chose flavours my kids wouldn’t like so they wouldn’t be tempted to nick them! Aren’t I a mean Mum?

 By this time hubby had sloped off!  He was just answering a phone call so I told him I was going to the fudge stall.  When I went to find him, he had gone off. Typical, it’s like when my kids used to wander off in Toys R Us! I phoned him, phone went straight to voicemail saying he was on holiday. No use texting him “Where are you?”, he’d never reply. I left him a message. Then I get a phone call from one of the supply teaching agencies I work for with some work lined up. He phones back while I’m on the phone!  I thought well knowing my car mad petrol head husband he will be looking at the Lexus stand as they are the sponsors of the Good Food Show. He was, no surprise there then!

I couldn’t get my husband away from the Lexus stand.  Any show we go to and its always the cars he gravitates towards, bless him!

 I then went to stock up with my favourites in the Deliciously Yorkshire section: Gordon Rhodes and Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil.  It was lovely to chat with everyone on their stands and I came away with products I can’t always find locally.  We love the Gordon Rhodes spice rubs and I had run out. They are launching some new ones for the summer so I got some samples to try. More of that to come so watch this space.

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The lovely ladies from Gordon Rhodes.
Had a lovely chat with the guys on the Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil stand.  I loved cooking from their recipe book which was sent to me by the Good Food Show team.

 

I went a bit overboard on the Gordon Rhodes stand but I use their products all the time!

 

 We also stocked up on the flavoured Yorkshire Rapeseed Oils we love like chilli and ginger. We also got a garlic one  to try as well as another plain oil so I can use it in my baking.

Yorkshire Rapeseed Oils- both my husband and I love cooking with them.

 A new company caught my eye at the show. They are called Stoats, who are based in Edinburgh and make porridge oat products.  I will be writing a separate post later on but I was very impressed with what I saw.  I hadn’t realised that they had in fact been going for over ten years but it was the first time I had seen them.

As part of a Community Blogger perk we got a complimentary seat in the Supertheatre to watch Tom Kerridge’s demo.  I’ve seen Tom Kerridge on TV before and enjoy watching him though I’ve never made any of his recipes and I don’t have any of his books.  He was very entertaining and demonstrated how to make three dishes Turbot With Toasted Cucumber, Mushrooms and Radishes, Spiced Roast Rump Of Lamb With Celery and Feta, and also how to make Asparagus with a sauce which I cant remember the name of now but it looked delicious.  The dishes aren’t really what I’d cook at home, even for a special occasion.  I’ve never tried turbot though it was fascinating to see what happened to the cucumber when it cooked. I didn’t think you could cook cucumber.  I don’t really like lamb either and never cook it at home as the smell of it cooking makes me feel sick.  I did like the sound of the asparagus though, I love asparagus with hollandaise sauce so to have it with the sauce Tom Kerridge used would be a delcious alternative.

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A very blurred image of Tom Kerridge taken on my phone which is rubbish at taking pictures at events like this!
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Tom Kerridge in action at the BBC Good Food Show Supertheatre.

We were then met by the sales and press team and given a tour of the show showing selected stands including four very special producers who had been granted a Bursary Award, as well as various producers who were known as Good Food Champions.  I’m going to be writing a separate blog post about the Bursary Award winners but here are some highlights of what we saw as we walked around the show.

Tempting mini cakes and meringues on Flower and White’s stand.

The meringues from Flower and White just called for a close up shot of their very own.

Although it’s now a well established brand and you can buy Fentiman’s drinks everywhere I had to buy some of my favourites to take home.

My whole family love Heck sausages so I always stock up at the Good Food Show. I got our favourite four flavours which came in a freezer carry bag.

One of the Good Food Champions was Simple Simon’s Perfect PIes.  Many different flavours and all appeared to be made with a hot water crust pastry.

Again you can buy Mercers jam and conserves in many retail outlets in Yorkshire but I couldn’t resist stocking up on my favourite lemon curd, salted caramel and some onion marmalade.

I was very excited to see TasteCollectiv’s stand at the Good Food Show as I was lucky to get some free samples of their scrumptious Romesco and Pesto sauces a few days before the show.

Little Doone’s Award Winning range of flavoured Balsamic Vinegars.  I was taken with the garlic flavoured one.

I adored the Slingsby Rhubarb Gin.  Being a gin lover I will definitely be getting some of this in the future.

Aye Love Real Food which sold delicious handmade Scotch eggs as well as sausage rolls.

 All too soon it was time to head back home with my purse considerably lighter than it was when I got to the show that morning.  I had bought and seen some fantastic things.

I had a lovely day and really enjoyed taking part in the show as a Community Blogger.  All opinions and photos are my own.