I’m getting just that teensy weensy bit obsessed with collecting Nordicware Bundt pans now. I think it needs to stop or else I will need a kitchen extension! I just love the interesting shapes that the pans come in and how you can make a cake into a showstopper bake by using one of the pans. I still see pans I want and the wish list is getting longer and longer by the day!
This post is to share some of the more recent bakes I have made so far this year using my bundt pans. For recipe inspiration I can recommend the fabulous website by Rachel McGrath the Bundt Queen herself. She has lots of ideas and fantastic flavour combinations to try out. I would recommend looking at her Bundt recipe page and also adapting and creating your own ideas from her Build a Bundt recipe.
Rachel’s feature on her blog called Bundts on The Brain is a great insight into the history of the Bundt:
Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I’m doing a Cooking The Books Challenge. This started off well back at the start of the year but then as life got in the way! I logged on to update SmartCookieSam and realised it’s been well over a month since my last post. I haven’t been quiet on the baking front though. It’s mainly been trying out recipes from The Great British Bake Off Big Book Of Baking cookbook that came out to accompany the latest series.
So the idea of this post is to share with you some of the bakes I’ve made from the book. Here goes!
I love baking traybakes as a little goes a long way, especially at coffee mornings or fairs. The Golden Carrot traybake was a big success at my school’s MacMillan Coffee morning. I had to put pieces aside for the staff before they all got sold!
I also baked the Irish Brack recipe from the Bread Chapter of the book. It was very similar to the Yorkshire Tea Loaf recipe I regularly make. This went along to the MacMillan Coffee morning and about half of it sold, not as popular as carrot cake!
For one of the Sunday lunch puddings over the past few weeks I’ve been trying out various recipes from the Bake Off book. When on holiday in Normandy several years ago I loved the melt in the mouth apple tarts you could buy in the local patisseries. The tart is called Somerset Apple Tart in this recipe because it calls for Somerset Apple Brandy if you have it. Mine was Normandy Apple Tart as it had genuine Calvados in it. I love Calvados in cream to go with mince pies at Christmas but would struggle to drink any, too strong for me! Of course I would not get a job as a patisserie chef with my offering. When blind baking the pastry case I left it in the oven a bit too long and the sides burned. At least Mary Berry would be impressed that the tart didn’t have a soggy bottom though! My two kids, especially my son weren’t impressed by the tart. They said “Yuck, cooked apples!” Everyone else enjoyed it though and all the better with a splodge of whipped cream on the side.
Being a sweet toothed monster I thought it was about time I tried out some savoury recipes and I wanted to try out the cheese and mustard loaf. I thought it would be perfect on an Autumn Saturday along with a bowl of warming soup. So last Saturday I baked the loaf to have with some homemade vegetable soup. Again, my son wasn’t complimentary about my baking saying “Why do you have to put cheese in it? Why can’t you just cook some “normal” white bread?” Been there, done that, wanted to try something else! Both my hubby and I enjoyed a big slice with our soup though.
My hubby is a cheese lover and would prefer cheese and biscuits instead of a pudding if we go out anywhere. He reminds me of Wallace when he says “Got any cheese?” so the other day I bought some Harrogate BlueShepherd’s Purse Cheese and had a go at Norman’s Farthing Biscuits from the Bake Off book. I thought Norman was a lovely guy, one of my favourite contestants from this year’s series. His quote about Tiramisu “I can’t even spell it” or words to that effect makes me smile. So I was keen to try out his recipe for Farthing Biscuits although mine seemed to puff up a bit in the oven. They tasted great though and even my fussy son liked them. Thankyou Norman, will be baking these again!
Another Sunday dinner or lunch dessert. These individual puddings were made in my Alan Silverwood Pudding Moulds which I think I bought from Lakeland. They are massive though and I should have shared one with my hubby. Anyway both of us were feeling greedy and had one to ourselves. No wonder I am struggling with my weight and was up half the night afterwards with heartburn. It did taste like heaven though; white chocolate sponge topped with a chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce is plain chocolate, cream and butter heated together.
I was given some apples to use up from a neighbour so I incorporated some of them into this Sticky Apple Sponge Pudding. Very like the flavours of a Sticky Toffee Pudding but with sliced apples added to the bottom of the dish. A hit with all of the family despite the kids pulling the sliced apples off the cake. Apart from that it was scrumptious.
I love anything with ginger in it so I just had to bake the Grasmere Gingerbread recipe in the Bake Off book. I can’t get enough of Grasmere Gingerbread but the original recipe is a closely guarded secret. I bet this is as near to it as you get though. The gingerbread was going to be taken with me into work to put in the staff room but it never got there. All my family kept nibbling!
I also love anything with almonds in, so I was keen to have a go at the Morello Cherry Bakewell Tart. I’ve had a go at Bakewell tart a few times before but always used raspberry jam in it. I bought some Morello Cherry Jam in the supermarket and baked this version for another of our Sunday lunch desserts. I was surprised when my son said he liked it! I nearly passed out cold on the floor! HE ACTUALLY LIKED SOMETHING I BAKED! Well, I know it’s a winner then. Again I managed to overbake the pastry. Why is it that there’s always something else going on?
In the true spirit of the challenge I haven’t baked everything I set out to bake. I really wanted to have a go at some of the more complicated bakes such as the Princesstarta, the Kouign Amann’s and a couple of the savoury pies. But it has been so busy recently and I have really struggled to fit these bakes in around my day job and what I’d actually need them for.
Watch this space for November’s challenge: I’m going to be changing things a bit so I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve worked it all out!
For my second recipe out of Nigella’s “How To Be A Domestic Goddess” as part of my February Cooking The Books Challenge I turned to the Puddings chapter for ideas for our usual Sunday lunch dessert treat. I wanted to try out something unusual yet be something everyone would eat in our house. We had all been ill the previous week, struck down with a flu virus and no one had much appetite for dinner. Though by the time we had got to the Sunday, I was still off my food, yet my hubby and son were feeling better. My daughter was yet to go down with it!
Nigella has a recipe for Blueberry Boy Bait in her book. The title has always made me laugh,ever since I first heard of the recipe when Ruth Clemens (aka The Pink Whisk) baked a Peach and Blueberry Boy Bait in the very first series of The Great British Bake Off. Although I don’t need to be “baiting” any boys as I am already happily married, I was secretly hoping the man in my life, plus my two children would be attracted by it. The original Boy Bait recipe dates back from 1954 and was invented by a Chicago teenager for the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe and Baking Contest. It is still popular today.
Nigella says in her introduction to the recipe that she “wanted something different, something more luscious and perhaps something more English” So, her version, to me comes out more like a Blueberry Queen Of Puddings. It has a custardy breadcrumbed based sponge, topped with blueberry jam and finished with a pile of crispy meringue.
When I got the blueberries out of the fridge I noticed the big punnet I’d bought had been opened and some had been eaten already! So the blueberry jam only had two thirds of the blueberries in it!
I was a bit unimpressed by the look of the sponge layer when it came out of the oven. If this was meant to be boy bait… well we would have to see what happened. More like boy running a mile from looking at that!
The verdict? My husband tasted it and thought the base tasted a bit claggy. I agreed with him although being off my food I only had a mouthful. My son ate the meringue bit off the top and my hubby left the base part but loved the rest. My daughter did the same. Afterwards my hubby picked off the bits of overhanging crispy meringue but sadly this was definitely not boy bait here. I think I will try Ruth Clemens’ version (which is on her Pink Whisk website) another time to compare. What a shame.
About three weeks ago we had a special family Sunday meal at our house for my Dad and step-mum. After some gammon which was the smallest joint ever and had to be padded out with pigs in blankets and lots of veg, I had to think of a pudding that everyone would like.
When it’s cold, dark and miserable outside I love nothing more than Sticky Toffee Pudding. It’s simple to make yet tastes gorgeous and most people I know love eating it. I wanted to try out the Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Cake in The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook as the photo in the book looked absolutely mouthwatering. The recipe was created by Jane Edgar who is a member of the Pudsey and West Leeds Clandestine Cake Club. It also came with a separate toffee sauce which would work really well to cater for everyone’s tastes. My step mum can’t eat cream which is in the toffee sauce so this was perfect for her. She could eat the cake without the sauce and have custard if she wanted to instead.
The Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Cake really lived up to it’s name. It was delicious and everyone enjoyed their piece of cake. We also had some Kelly’s Clotted Cream Ice cream to serve with it which was perfect. There was even some left over for my hubby to eat after his tea the night after.
Definitely one I will bake again and again as it’s perfect for a Sunday lunch or a dinner party and I found it easy to bake.