Scandelicious Baking- Toscakaka.

I don’t miss baking and eating cakes when I’m on holiday in places like Spain.  I think it’s because it’s far too hot to be thinking about eating cake and I’m not in my own kitchen.  Although the villas we usually stay at have pretty impressive kitchens I’m happier getting a salad ready, cooking something with pasta or warming up croissants!  But as soon as I’m back home, that’s it.  I want to be baking again and eating comfort food.  When we left Spain on Saturday morning it was 30oC, now as I type it’s 14oC.  No wonder I’m craving carbs!  Or maybe it’s the fault of The Great British Bake Off?

Once I was back from holiday and had to get stocked up again in our local Morrisons I thought of what we could have to go after our Sunday lunch pudding.  I didn’t have one single pudding on holiday, apart from a couple of ice creams.  I got out my Scandelicious Baking book which is part of my Cooking The Books Challenge from this month and decided on the Toscakaka.  Of course when I told my kids I was making Toscakaka they started laughing about the kaka bit and said it sounded like cack , I think caca is also French for poo which made them laugh even more when I told them that.  Though in this case I think it’s either Norwegian or Swedish for cake!

Toscakaka is actually a very delicious cake and I’ve been lucky enough to eat it at a local  Scandinavian cafe, called Baltzersens in Harrogate which serves the most yummy cakes.  The sponge base is a light vanilla sponge made with buttermilk and topped with an almond praline.  It isn’t overly sweet which I thought would appeal to my husband.

We ate our dinner quite late that day as a main meal, I couldn’t be bothered with a full roast or anything like that so I made up a lasagne with some salad for our mains followed by a slice of the Toscakaka.  Here’s how it was made:

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First I whisked eggs with sugar and vanilla extract. This had to be done by hand as my hand held mixer has broken.
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All the “dry ingredients” were mixed together in another bowl. In another bowl I was meant to add some buttermilk but Morrisons didn’t have any. I used creme fraiche instead!
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Making the almond praline- by heating butter, brown sugar, flaked almonds and milk in a pan until caramelised.
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The baked cake out of the oven and cooling down on the rack. I left the cake inside the tin as you have to put it back in the oven with the praline topping on it.
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The cake with the praline topping on it, it went back into the oven for about 10 minutes to cook.
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Here is the finished cake after it was turned out onto the cooling rack. Although the sides weren’t very neat it tasted fantastic.
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The flaked almonds look a bit lighter than the ones in the recipe’s picture but I was worried about them burning!
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A slice for me! My hubby had his with a dollop of creme fraiche on the side.
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Leftovers for another day.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Blackberry Buttermilk Sponge- The Great British Bake Off Everyday

You  must all think that all I do is bake from The Great British Bake Off Everyday book.  It seems like so at the moment though I have been using other books as well.  It’s just the way things have turned out over the past month or so since the book has been published!

Last Monday I went back to work after six weeks off for the summer holidays.  I really enjoyed the summer break, we had a relaxing holiday in Spain but not only that I had a great chance to catch up on all the neglected jobs that hadn’t been done.  It was a shame that the last two weeks were shadowed a bit by my dog hurting his leg and me having a stinking cold!  By the time Monday came around I was pleased to be back.

For our training day shared lunch, alongside the Raspberry Shortbread Crumble Squares I chose to make a Blackberry Buttermilk Sponge. This is the very first recipe from the book and is deliciously moist due to the presence of buttermilk in the sponge.  I love using buttermilk in recipes and use it in my scones.

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The blackberries were rinsed and patted dry carefully on a piece of kitchen towel. Sadly I had to get these from the supermarket, the blackberries on the hedges round near me weren’t quite ripe enough at the time to pick.
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Butter and sugar being creamed together with my hand held mixer.
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Adding beaten egg to the creamed butter and sugar.
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A large spring form tin was greased and lined with a circle of baking parchment.
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The creamed mixture.

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Most of the blackberries were studded evenly into the cake. I didn’t mix them in with the mixture as I was worried they would break up and then turn the cake purple!
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The cooked cake just out of the oven!
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After about an hour I turned the cake out onto a rack by releasing the springform clip.
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To liven up the top I poked the rest of the blackberries into the top of the cake and sprinkled it with some sugar.

I was pleased with the cake and although it didn’t look that exciting, it tasted lovely.  It could be served with a scoop of ice cream or creme fraiche but I forgot to take some to school. We ate it plain and I really enjoyed it.  I will definitely bake it again and I think it would also work with raspberries or blueberries if you’re not a fan of blackberries!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 

Crunchy Bacon Soda Bread- The Great British Bake Off Everyday.

So who tuned into last night’s Great British Bake Off then? I heard it was very popular and the viewing figures were high. I can’t remember the actual figure off the top of my head but I know I am not alone in my addiction to all things baking. I was glued to the screen last night and thankfully tea was a quick salad so I could be cleaned up and ready to watch it, phone in hand to join in with the live tweeting!

When the Great British Bake Off is on, I DEMAND to be in charge of the remote control. My hubby is usually the one who has it superglued to his side, especially when Top Gear or other motor racing programmes are on. I don’t mind them now and again but I get fed up with the constant repeats on the Dave Channel! So when GBBO is on, then it’s MY time to be glued to the telly. If the phone goes then it gets ignored, sorry!

Later on this week I will be talking about Episode One- Cake week as I attempt to bake the Technical Challenge “Mary’s Angel Cake” so watch this space. I’m not sure how I’m going to get on as I don’t have a special angel cake tin and I have never made it before.

Last Saturday I baked the Crunchy Bacon Soda Bread from the new Great British Bake Off Recipe Book- The Great British Bake Off Everyday. I was keen to try another soda bread recipe as I’m not that experienced with breadmaking. Anything involving yeast sets me into panic mode. So last Saturday I had time to devote to baking the bread without constant interruptions all around. Here’s how it was made:

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First of all, my oven was heated up to 200oC (fan temperature) and I lined a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment.
Fry four rashers of chopped bacon.
Fry four rashers of chopped bacon in a frying pan without extra fat.
Finely chop a small onion or shallot.
Finely chop a small onion or shallot.
Once the bacon has started cooling, add in the onion and some chopped thyme.  I didn't have fresh thyme so I used dried instead.
Once the bacon has started cooling, add in the onion and some chopped thyme. I didn’t have fresh thyme so I used dried instead.
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Sift plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a mixing bowl.
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You then add cubes of cold butter which then needs to be rubbed into the floury mixture. This is done until it becomes like breadcrumbs.
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Make a well in the centre of the bowl. Then you add in buttermilk to bind the mixture together into a dough.
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I made a mistake here and forgot to add the bacon and onion before the buttermilk binding stage! It’s meant to go in first before it is formed into the dough. I hoped the pieces of crunchy bacon wouldn’t fall out all over the place!
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The dough is now ready to go in the oven. It was formed into a round about 3-4cm high.
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The finished loaf! It took slightly longer in the oven than mentioned in the recipe. The recipe says about 35 minutes but it was nearer 45 minutes. I tested it to see if it was cooked by tapping it underneath to see if it made a hollow sound.
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The bread went down very well with a bowl of tomato soup and with butter added. It needed to be eaten on the same day! We had a little bit left the next day but it was a bit stale so I toasted it and ate it with butter.

I will definitely bake this again in the future. It went down well with my husband and son. My son was disappointed when I explained soda bread didn’t have fizzy drinks in it like lemonade but was called that because it has bicarbonate of soda as the raising agent in it! He wasn’t impressed with the baking technical talk though!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx