Amazing Cakes #6: Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Brownies

There are a couple of Brownie recipes in The Great British Bake Off Amazing Cakes which I’ve been really keen to try out. I have my own favourite regular Brownie recipe but I must admit I’ve never made a gluten free brownie before. The Amazing Cakes book has a whole chapter dedicated to Free From Cakes and one of the Gluten Free recipes is for some Chocolate Berry Brownies. I like fruit inside cakes but I didn’t want to use up my raspberries I usually have on my cereal at breakfast time. Instead, as I wanted a chocolatey hit, I put in the equivalent amount of milk chocolate chips.

The brownies are made gluten free by using ground almonds in place of the flour and baking powder. The original recipe also shows the Brownies topped with some flaked almonds. I didn’t have any left as they’d all gone in the Florentines I’d made!

The chocolate chips were part of a lovely, belated birthday present from my friend Amy. I have tried the Guittard plain chocolate chips before but never the milk ones. I used about two thirds of the packet. Hopefully there will be some left to make choc chip cookies with another time.

To make the brownies I had to melt dark chocolate and butter first. When this was melted, I added in some light brown muscovado sugar as well as some vanilla extract.

After that, I stirred in beaten eggs, followed by cocoa powder and ground almonds. Finally the chocolate chips were folded in.

I baked the brownies at 180oC in a 22cm square loose bottomed pan for 30 minutes or so.

The brownies came out with a slightly different look to them on the top but they honestly tasted fudgy and squidgy inside, just how I enjoy eating a brownie. I needed to wait until the brownies had cooled down before I could cut them up into squares. The chocolate chips gave it an extra edge of deliciousness and I was really impressed with them. No one could tell they were gluten free.

I definitely will be baking these brownies again and again as they were so simple to bake without having to buy special gluten free flour and baking powder in. I saved two brownies for Mr S and my daughter while the rest went off to work to share around with my workmates.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

White Chocolate Pretzel Blondies

The other day I was in Leeds with my two children. Whenever we go into Trinity shopping centre I like to go into Gobstoppers, the American sweet shop as I look for things I can add to my baking. Usually I buy M&M flavours that aren’t widely available in the UK, such as the mint ones. Or I might try out something else that would look good on the top of a cupcake. This time, though I couldn’t find any different M&M flavours to ones I had already seen but I came out of the shop with a packet of Flipz. I’ve seen chocolate covered pretzels before but I found some white chocolate “birthday cake” one. I’ve found out that if sweets or cakes are labelled “birthday cake” it means they usually have sprinkles over them.

Last Sunday I wanted to bake something and to try the Flipz in a recipe. I have baked brownies with plain pretzels in before and that has worked. But this time I wanted to see what happened if I put the white Flipz in a blondie recipe. I love blondies, especially ones with peanut butter and big chunks of white chocolate in. I didn’t have any peanut butter so I had to look through my recipe books to find a blondie recipe without peanut butter in. As I had my copy of Annie Bell’s Baking Bible still out on the kitchen work top from baking muffins the other day, I looked through the book to see if there was a blondie recipe in the book. There was. Annie Bell’s version does not use peanut butter but the blondies’ sugar content comes from using a mixture of set honey and golden syrup. To the mixture I swirled in some whole and some broken Flipz as well as the remaining half a packet of white chocolate chips I had left over from some cookies in my baking stash.

The blondies were very sticky, no doubt due to the honey and syrup content but they tasted absolutely wonderful. We had one with a cup of tea on Sunday afternoon and then I put them in the rest of the freezer to keep me away from temptation.

Happy baking

Love Sam xx

Spiced Dorset Apple Traybake.

Another tried and tested favourite from Mary Berry’s “Cooks The Perfect..Step By Step” recipe book,  Mary says in the introduction: ” As well as being a good coffee or tea time cake, this makes a comforting pudding, served warm with clotted cream or creme fraiche. I often make it in Autumn when I have a glut of apples,”

This was the very reason I bake this traybake often.  I get lots of beautiful apples given to me and although we like crumbles and pies in our house, sometimes you always want to make something different.  Traybakes are great as you can use them like a pudding or a slice of cake but a little goes a long way.  I also find them so easy to make, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to bake.

My dad and step mum gave me two huge bags of apples from their tree in their garden. I’m sure they said they were Pink Lady apples.  Not only did they look really pretty on the outside, but the inside had a lovely pink hue to them too.  They always tasted delicious so I knew they would taste incredible in this bake.

I have a well used and loved Alan Silverwood traybake tin which came out of the cupboard again on this wet and cold Sunday afternoon.  It doesn’t need a lot of greasing but I used a small amount of Wilton Cake Release to stop any stubborn bits sticking to the tin.

Once all the apples were peeled, cored and cut into thin slices, I put them into a shallow dish and sprinkled them with some lemon juice to stop them going brown.

Next, I mixed together butter, light brown muscovado sugar, self raising flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, eggs and milk into a large bowl.  So easy being an all in one method and I made sure everything was well mixed.

Now this is where I lost concentration.  I got distracted and put all the apples in a layer on the bottom of the tin and then topped them with all of the sponge mix.  In the recipe you are meant  to put half the apples on the bottom, then half the cake mixture, then to repeat it. Rather like making a lasagne!  In the end my cake turned up a bit like an upside down cake and didn’t have the defined layers that Mary Berry mentions in her “Keys To Perfection” part of the recipe.  My motto is well if it tastes fine, then who cares what it looks like?

We had Toad In The Hole for Sunday lunch followed by a slice of the traybake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love the smell of apples and cinnamon as they’re cooking. Definitely an aroma of Autumn there! As the traybake was so big, the rest of it got cut up into slices and put in the freezer for my family to eat in weeks to come.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Milkshake Traybake.

Strawberry Milkshake Traybake as made for an event in my local village hall.

A couple of weeks back we had an event in my local village hall.  I was asked to bake a couple of things to take along.  I was surprised to be asked as it was an evening event.  Usually cakes and bakes are meant to be eaten during the day but not alongside wine and nibbles.  I presumed this was because there would be children there.

So with this in mind I got baking one Saturday afternoon.  I started with some flapjacks, then some Oreo Cookie Brownies and then decided to make a traybake.  Traybakes, to me are perfect for big gatherings as they take no time at all to prepare and a little goes a long way. I thought a plain vanilla sponge would go down well and thought about a suitable topping.

I went completely overboard with the heart shaped sprinkles and the purple edible glitter.
Traybakes always go down well- a little always goes a long way.
I also baked flapjacks, which go down well with people of all ages.

I use a lot of Sugar and Crumbs’ natural flavoured icing sugars and their cocoa powders.  Every now and again I get a few packets and stock up, trying out new flavours.  Or I go back and repeat buy flavours I know everyone loves. This is what happened with their Strawberry Milkshake flavour.  Last year I tried making some cupcakes with strawberry milkshake flavour buttercream. This time I decided to make up some buttercream and put it on the top of the traybake.  I also had some pastel coloured heart sprinkles and some edible glitter to finish off the decorations.

As expected the traybake went down well with the children and not so much with the adults.  After all, who wants to eat cake with wine?  I had also eaten my dinner quite late that afternoon and was still full up from then. There were a few bits left. I was still happy with the result though and will make another traybake like this another time for a coffee morning.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Raspberry Ripple Mascarpone Traybake

This bake was made over 4 weeks ago now and I’d completely forgotten about it.  I don’t know why, just I suppose I was caught up in lots of catching up at the end of term in my day job, coupled with the start of the summer holidays.

On the last morning of school before we broke up for the summer we had our Year 6 Leaver’s Mass. We go across to church and after Mass the parents are invited back to school for tea or coffee and cakes or biscuits. Mostly I end up in charge of the tea urn and serving up the coffee so I thought why not bring something in for the parents to help themselves to?  Sometimes we ask for donations towards the school building fund but I don’t mind, I love baking and seeing people  enjoy what I make.

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Raspberry Ripple Mascarpone Traybake- recipe by Ruth Clemens on her blog/ website The Pink Whisk.

I’d always wanted to have a go at Ruth Clemens’ (Great British Bake Off Series 1 finalist) Raspberry Ripple Cake . It’s on her blog The Pink Whisk, which I really enjoy looking at. I’ve seen how popular this is as I’ve seen other people bake this cake in different ways; as a bundt or as a tray bake. I chose to try out a tray bake as I could cut it up at home and get more portions out of it!  I’m sure it would work well as a muffin or cupcake mix as well.

So after school on the night before the end of term I got cracking. It was really hot as the sun shines in the back ofmy house in the afternoon where my kitchen is.  I had to have all the doors and windows wide open.  I don’t mind this as I hate being cooped up inside when it’s hot and sunny.

I personally thought I should have put more raspberries in the cake and made them more squishy so they blended in more, giving a ripple effect.

For the icing I was meant to use cream cheese but when I went to the fridge to get out my tub of Philadelphia, I noticed three quarters of it had gone!  I think my daughter, who had been at home after finishing all her exams had been eating it on toast or something!  Now I’ve learned to write on the top of my baking things with a permanent marker saying “Do Not Use!” But at the time this was really annoying but gladly I had some unused mascarpone in a tub so that went in the icing instead!

I was really pleased as the traybake slices were popular with the parents and staff.  There wasn”t any left by the end of the session and one parent said it was the best of my bakes she had tried.  I definitely will be making them again!

Now, here are some photos of the Raspberry Ripple Traybake.

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The finished raspberry ripple traybake.
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View from the top.
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I cut up the traybake into pieces beforehand so it was easier to serve.
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The raspberries in the mixture didn’t go all squishy and look rippled but they still looked fine.
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Too tempting by half!
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You could tell which was the more popular cake with the parents! The children liked the chocolate chip bundt though.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Dorset Apple Cake

I’m still catching up on all my blog posts and realised I had made this cake over three weeks ago for the Clandestine Cake Club VCake Event which was called “Regional Cakes”.  As I am originally from Nottinghamshire I wanted to find something that reflected my home county’s heritage.  This was easier said than done.  When I searched on the internet for some Nottinghamshire baking recipes I was very unlucky.  I only found one recipe, which was for Nottingham Goose Fair Gingerbread (which are rather like brandy snaps and certainly would not be allowed at the whole cake only Clandestine Cake Club!

After a good hour searching an idea came to me.  I knew that the Bramley Apple tree originated from Southwell in Nottinghamshire (pronounced Suthall, not South-well). Southwell is slap bang in the middle of the county and is a pretty town with a Minster and a racecourse.  It wasn’t far from where I grew up and I remember as an 8 year old going on a school trip to the Minster as part of a History topic on The Normans. I don’t remember much about the trip all except I bought a pen with my spending money in the Minster and I left it on the coach.  I didn’t get any sympathy from Mr Clarke, our teacher!

Anyway, I thought well I could adapt a recipe I already had using Bramley Apples from Nottinghamshire. It had been my wedding anniversary a couple of days previously and my mum (who lives in Nottingham) was up staying with us for the weekend.  I thought we could have some Apple Cake for our pudding at lunchtime served with some ice cream.  There was a gorgeous sounding recipe that I could use from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook called Dorset Apple Cake.  The original recipe was by Karen Burns Booth.  Karen said in the recipe introduction that the cake could be baked in a springform round tin or in a rectangular traybake tin.  I chose to bake my version in my Alan Silverwood traybake tin as I just couldn’t find the base of my springform one!

So, here;s how it was made:

I used three large Bramley Apples given to me!
I used three large Bramley Apples given to me!

 

They were chopped up and sliced.
They were chopped up and sliced.
Butter and sugar was then creamed together with my hand mixer.
Butter and sugar was then creamed together with my hand mixer.
The eggs were added in gradually to try and prevent curdling.
The eggs were added in gradually to try and prevent curdling.
Self raising flour was folded in to the mixture.
Self raising flour was folded in to the mixture.
A thin layer of mixture was put into the bottom of my greased  traybake tin.
A thin layer of mixture was put into the bottom of my greased traybake tin.
A layer of sliced apples dusted with cinnamon was added to the traybake.
A layer of sliced apples dusted with cinnamon was added to the traybake.
After repeating the two previous steps the cake mixture was now used up.
After repeating the two previous steps the cake mixture was now used up.
The cake was baked in the oven for just about an hour.  The apples burnt a bit on top but they had a lovely, caramelised taste to them.
The cake was baked in the oven for just about an hour. The apples burnt a bit on top but they had a lovely, caramelised taste to them.
The Dorset Apple cake was turned out onto a wire rack to cool down.
The Dorset Apple cake was turned out onto a wire rack to cool down.
One slice cut up.
One slice cut up.

The rest of the cake!The rest of the cake!

The cake was a big success with the adults in our house although my son said he didn’t like it because it had cooked apple in it.  All the more for us then!  I cut the cake up into 16 pieces which were large ones and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  There was plenty left over for me to take into work in a box the next day to share with my work colleagues.  It went down well as there was none left by the Tuesday!

If any of you reading this do know of any Nottinghamshire baking recipes then please do tell me. I would love to bake more.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Happy Baking

Lemon, Ginger and Coconut Flapjacks

A week last Saturday I took my son to take part in a fabulous Make Your Own Chocolate Bar Workshop at the York Cocoa House.  He had a fantastic time.  I treated myself to some flavoured chocolate buttons to use in my baking and came across these pretty pastel green coloured buttons delicately flavoured with lemon oil.  At first I thought they were mint flavoured but they were lemon, in fact.  I thought they would make a lovely topping to a cake and bought some to experiment with.

The day after I was at home and decided to look through my baking stash to see what flavours would go with lemon. After spending a while choosing I decided on coconut and ginger with lemon zest in a flapjack mixture which could then be topped with the chocolate buttons melted down.  My kids laughed at the colour of the chocolate buttons saying they looked like snot!

So, on went the oven at about 160oC, and I set to making the flapjacks. Here’s how they were created:

Delicate lemon flavoured chocolate buttons from York Cocoa House. They came in several other flavours. This was a 200g bag.
Delicate lemon flavoured chocolate buttons from York Cocoa House. They came in several other flavours. This was a 200g bag.
Butter, soft brown sugar and golden syrup were melted together gently in a saucepan.
Butter, soft brown sugar and golden syrup were melted together gently in a saucepan.
Desiccated coconut weighed out in a bowl ready to add to the melted ingredients.
Desiccated coconut  was weighed out in a bowl ready to add to the melted ingredients.
Porridge oats also added to the mixture.
Porridge oats were also added to the mixture.
I chopped up three balls of stem ginger into small chunks. These had been rinsed carefully previously so that all the syrup had come off.
I chopped up three balls of stem ginger into small chunks. These had been rinsed carefully previously so that all the syrup had come off.
I grated the zest of a large lemon to add to the mixture.
I grated the zest of a large lemon to add to the mixture.
The lemon, ginger and coconut was all mixed together in the bowl.
The lemon, ginger and coconut was all mixed together in the bowl.
Once all the wet and dry mixture was combined, it was spooned into a 20cm square, loose bottomed tin which was greased and lined.
Once all the wet and dry mixture was combined, it was spooned into a 20cm square, loose bottomed tin which was greased and lined.

The flapjacks baked well for roughly about 1/2 hour in the oven.  This was time for me to get the chocolate melted carefully.  As this bag of chocolate buttons was about £5 I did not want to waste them!

Once the flapjack was cooled and turned out of the tin I melted the whole bag of chocolate buttons and spread the chocolate mixture on the top of the flapjack.
Once the flapjack was cooled and turned out of the tin I melted the whole bag of chocolate buttons and spread the chocolate mixture on the top of the flapjack.
Ready to serve!
Ready to serve!

When the flapjacks had cooled, my children were asking me what was in them. When I said coconut and ginger, both of them said “Yuck, what did you have to put those in for?”  Well, how come when my back was turned, four of the flapjacks had disappeared off the plate!  I can’t blame the dog, he was asleep the whole time in his dog basket!  Wonder if I can hide broccoli or spinach in a cake?  By the following day all dozen pieces had gone. My hubby and I only had one each!

I’m already looking forward to my next trip to York Cocoa House to buy more of these delicious bags of chocolate buttons.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx