Chocolate Cherry Bakewell Loaf

It’s been a couple of months at least since I’ve been to a Clandestine Cake Club event.  I’ve been working full time and I haven’t baked much recently.  The Clandestine Cake Club’s VCake Events are a fantastic idea if you can’t get to an event but you still want to bake.  I love taking part in them and I baked a cake.  But unfortunately, I forgot to email my cake photos to the Club’s founder, Lynn Hill so my cake wasn’t included in the event write up.

The  event write up is featured on the Clandestine Cake Club website and the link is here  Magazines, Leaflets and Booklets 

The idea was that many people collect or stash recipes gleaned from magazines, leaflets and booklets. I do. I buy Good Food magazine and Delicious magazine but only get chance to cook recipes out of them sometimes.  I’m always picking up recipe leaflets and booklets but never seem to get round to cooking anything from them. This event was such a good idea to get you searching through those cake recipes you wish you had had chance to bake.  Funnily enough this month’s Good Food magazine came with a free cake recipe booklet to celebrate the magazine’s 300th issue! I’ve not been buying all of those, I was only 18 when the first issue of Good Food mag came out and as a sixth former cooking was the last thing I was interested in!

There were several recipes I wanted to try in the booklet but the one that I thought my whole family would eat was the Chocolate Cherry Bakewell Loaf.  All the flavours of a bakewell tart but in a loaf form and with chocolate as well.  Bound to be a hit!

Last Sunday I chose to bake this, along with some scones.  Mr SmartCookieSam was out at a Classic Car show and my two grown up children were at work. So it was me on my lonesome! Perfect opportunity to get my apron on and the scales out, especially as the weather has been so rubbish.

Recipe as featured in Good Food Magazine.

Cuts into 8-10 slices.

Ingredients:

200g softened butter

140g fresh, stoned and halved cherries *

140g plain flour

200g golden caster sugar

3 medium eggs

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

75g ground almonds

2 tbsp milk

1 tsp each of vanilla and almond extracts

200g dark or milk chocolate, chopped.

2 tbsp toasted, flaked almonds.

  • First, heat the oven to 160oC/ 140oC fan/ Gas Mark 3.  Line a 900g loaf tin with baking parchment.  I swear by the ready made loaf tin liners readily available from shops like Lakeland.
  • Now to deal with the cherries.  If you are using fresh cherries, you need to wash, destone and half them first.  Then toss them in a tablespoonful of the flour from the quantity already weighed out.  If you are choosing to use glace cherries like I did, then thoroughly wash them to get the syrup off.  Then pat dry on a paper towel, halve them, rinse and dry again.  Then toss in a tablespoonful of flour.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.  When this is done, add the eggs one by one and mix well between each addition.
  • Fold in the rest of the flour, the baking powder and the ground almonds.
  • Stir in the milk, the two extracts and half of the chocolate.  Then add in the cherries.
  • Bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes approx or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out on to a wire rack to cool down completely.
  • When the cake has cooled down, melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave and drizzle or pipe it on top of the cake.
  • Scatter on top with toasted, flaked almonds.
  • Wait for the chocolate on top to set a bit before slicing the cake.

Now as I’m always doing things in a hurry or have a zillion things on the go at once, I was a little bit disappointed to find my chocolate and cherries had sunk to the bottom of the cake.  I’ve made cherry cakes before which have remained in the middle.  So why not this one? I thoroughly rinsed and dried the cherries as well as tossing them in flour.  Maybe it was the rest of the cake mixture.  Didn’t spoil the taste of the cake though.  I also didn’t bother with adding toasted almond flakes to the top of the cake.

I demolished a slice of this gorgeous cake with a cup of tea on that Sunday afternoon while reading a magazine.  It had the almond flavour running through it and tasted just like a cherry bakewell cake should taste with the added dimension of dark chocolate.  Cherries and chocolate work so well together.  I will definitely make this cake again as my family really enjoyed it.  The remainder froze well, although the cake apparently does keep in a cake tin for up to four days.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Salted Caramel Chocolate Traybake 

 

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Salted Caramel Traybake- a recipe adapted from a Mary Berry recipe in her new book “Foolproof Cooking,”

 Last week I was getting over a nasty chest infection and didn’t have much energy. I spent about 9 consecutive nights sleeping on the sofa as it was the only place where I could sleep propped up on the sofa. I still didn’t sleep very well though and my back was in agony. I had to take time off work which I don’t like doing.  So the last two weeks I just wasn’t myself!

Thankfully I’ve been able to recover with it being the Easter holidays and have been back in the kitchen.  My son is currently working on a media studies film project and has had friends over to help him with filming. My daughter has been on hand to help out with the make up and special effects and good old mum here has been the transport and the catering manager!

Last Friday it had been a horrible day for filming. So when they finished after filming in the mud and the rain,  I thought they deserved a chocolatey treat.  But what could I give them?
In the end I found the perfect recipe to adapt in Mary Berry’s latest book “Foolproof Cooking”. I’ve had the book since it first came out but not made anything from it. The recipe is called “Bonfire Chocolate Traybake” and it looked perfect for feeding a crowd. Although being April it’s the wrong time of year for Bonfire Night but as Mary says in the recipe introduction: “Being a traybake it cuts into squares and is so perfect for packing into a box and sharing with family and friends at an event such as Bonfire Night,” Mary’s recipe was also  plain and didn’t need any decorating or icing. I chose to add icing on mine, though.

I love baking traybakes as they are easy to bake and always feed a crowd.

The finished traybake cut up into large squares.

The  traybake was very simple to put together.  I used my trusty Alan Silverwood traybake tin which was simply greased with Cake Release. I didn’t need any baking parchment to line the tin.

Mary’s original recipe uses dark chocolate but I used two 100g bars of Lindt Salted Caramel chocolate which I melted along with some butter.  When this was done, I weighed out some caster sugar and mixed this in with the melted chocolate mixture. This was then left to cool down then I added three eggs one at a time into the bowl.  Afterwards it was time to add the dry ingredients.  To keep the cake moist the cake is flavoured with ground almonds which are added at the same time as self raising flour and baking powder.  I could imagine the addition of ground almonds would also give a lovely flavour, as well as helping the cake to keep longer.

I added my own icing to the top of the traybake to finish it off.

  A very quick mixture to make up and one which didn’t have a list as long as your arm of ingredients.  Before long it was ready to be spooned into the tin and baked.  It didn’t take long to bake at all, only about 25-30 minutes.

The traybake smelled heavenly when it came out of the oven.  I know Mary Berry said the recipe didn’t need icing but I wanted to give it a finishing touch.  So as the cake was cooling I made up a chocolate icing using a bar of melted plain chocolate and melted butter.  This was quite runny on its own so I chose to add some icing sugar to thicken it up a bit.  I had stocked up on some of my favourite Sugar and Crumbs Salted Caramel Icing Sugar so I added 60g or 4 tbsp of it to the mix.  It thickened up beautifully and spread well onto the top of the traybake.  I cut the traybake up into portions and then to finish, sprinkled it with some gold sugar crystals I had in my baking cupboard.

When my son and his friends finished their filming, they were tired and hungry so a chocolate traybake square hit the spot for them.  As the traybake kept well it got eaten over the next few days bit by bit.

A wonderful recipe that could be adapted and not just for any time of the year.  I would love to try this with different chocolate flavours. I bet a mint or a chocolate orange one would be delicious.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Lemon Griesetorte from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.

I can’t believe it is April already though to be honest I am so relieved.  As soon as the clocks go back in October, I am on countdown until they go forward again the following March.  My hubby and I were saying the other day that we should move to Australia for 6 months of the year and then return to the UK for the summer…

Anyway, being a new month means a new book in my Cooking The Books challenge.  This month’s book is Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and the first recipe I wanted to try out was the Lemon Griesetorte.  I’ve no idea what a Griesetorte is but I think it is German or Austrian in origin.  I had never baked one before although a lady brought one along to a Clandestine Cake Club event I went to.  It was absolutely delicious and the lemon flavour was a great hit with all of us.  So, I was keen to try it out myself.

As soon as I realised the cake was in the Special Cakes chapter I began to think, was it included in there because it was complicated? The cake doesn’t contain flour but a small amount of semolina and ground almonds.  It also doesn’t contain fat but you end up putting loads of lemon curd and whipped cream inside it anyway which defeats the object a bit!  But, having said that, it has been one of the most delicious cakes I have tasted and believe you, me I have tasted lots!

So, being as it is the last day of term for me before we break up for the Easter holidays I decided to bake the Griesetorte to take into work to share as an end of term treat with my work colleagues.  I don’t usually work on a Friday so on Wednesday night I was busy in the kitchen getting the cake ready for my last working day on the Thursday.

Heres how I got on:

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The Griesetorte is a whisked no fat and no flour cake so the first step was to whisk egg yolks and caster sugar together until they became light and fluffy.
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I squeezed the juice out of a large lemon into a bowl, realising there were loads of pips! So in the end I had to find my tea strainer to fish them out!

I got a bit muddled at this stage.  Mary says you also need the grated zest of a lemon but I’d already squeezed the juice out of it first.  Silly me, I should have grated the zest first. It was very difficult trying to take the zest off a squashed lemon!  Not only was it difficult to hold but the leftover juice went on my hand, stinging it!  Ooops!

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In goes the lemon zest! I’m sure there isn’t enough but I was nearly grating my fingers at this stage!
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Now in goes the semolina and the ground almonds. Not a very large amount so I hope I’d got the quantities right!
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The semolina and almonds were folded in carefully with a metal spoon.
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The egg whites which had been separated right at the beginning were whisked until they had soft peaks.
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I love clouds of egg whites!

Now the cake mix had to be transferred to a deep cake tin.  I couldn’t find my deep 8″ cake tin so I got out two sandwich tins instead and thought I’d watch them baking instead as I’d need to adjust the cooking time a bit.  I was worried they wouldn’t rise and turn out like flat pancakes.

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The mixture ready in the two sandwich tins to go into the oven.

I was trying like mad to get the cake baked before my hubby got in from work.  He had promised to call at the supermarket on the way home with some tea for us as he had forgotten to take some pork out of the freezer for me this morning.  I’d got in and panicked as there was nothing much in the fridge.  Luckily the cake was out of the oven and cooling before he arrived back so at least I could use the oven for the dinner!

The cooked cake didn’t look very appetising at all.  When I got them out of the tins onto the wire rack one of them broke in a corner and looked a right old mess.  Thankfully I could tart it up when I filled it.

Mary says as an optional filling you can add some raspberries. along with some double whipped cream and some lemon curd.  The version I tried before didn’t have raspberries but I had some in the fridge so I thought I would use them.  There was also an option to use double the amount of lemon curd and cream to put on the top of the cake.  I chose to just add the filling as I didn’t have enough cream.

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It’s great what a dredger full of caster sugar can hide!
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You can see the broken bit in the background. My son thought someone had stood on it!

I thought the cake looked a bit rustic and messy but this was due to me rushing trying to get everything done before teatime!  As the cake contained fresh cream I put it into an airtight box and it went straight into the fridge.

Well as a result of me rushing off to work this morning the cake stayed put in the fridge and I completely forgot to take it to work! Mary says in the recipe introduction that the cake keeps well, I was relieved as I knew I would have to take it up to school on the Friday on my day off after doing my children’s school run!  All I can say is I hope it tastes ok because it certainly doesn’t look that appetising!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx