Dust Off The Old Cookbooks- Coffee Cake. 

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As my regular SmartCookieSam readers will know, I’m a member of the internationally renowned Clandestine Cake Club. Although there are plenty of events held all over the world and some very local to me in North Yorkshire, there are also virtual or VCake events for those who can’t get to an event.  Or you can join them if you want an excuse to bake!

At the end of January, Lynn Hill the founder of the Clandestine Cake Club held a virtual event where you were invited to “dust off your old cookbooks” and bake something from a recipe book you had not used for a while.

I have loads of recipe books like that and my family are sick of all the books I have all over the house.  Some are more used than others and Lynn’s event gave me the perfect excuse to search through my stash and bake something.  When my Nana Mary (my Mum’s mum) died I inherited her cookbooks.  Nana and I were so alike in lots of ways, we both loved cooking and baking, knitting and sewing and also reading books.  Sadly Nana died in 1994, just after I’d sat my teaching degree finals.  She used to collect recipes from everywhere and wrote them down from TV cookery programmes or from the radio as well as cutting recipes out of magazines.

One of Nana’s baking books was a Sainsbury’s one.  It dates from the late 1980’s and I loved looking through the recipes in it.  As I decided what to bake I came across a mouthwatering recipe for a coffee sponge. I never remember Nana baking a coffee sponge, she tended to make fruit cakes and I do remember her lemon drizzle cake.

Mr SmartCookieSam’s birthday is at the end of January so it was a perfect opportunity to bake the coffee cake for then. My husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth but he loves coffee cake.  I had a couple of goodies to make this cake even extra special: some Sugar and Crumbs Coffee flavour Natural icing sugar, some cocoa covered coffee beans bought in Costa coffee and some glittery gold and silver star candles thrown in the trolley when I was shopping in Tesco.

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My Nana Mary’s old cookery book with some special extras to turn the coffee sponge into a Birthday Cake for Mr SmartCookieSam.   

The coffee sponge was made using the whisking method.  I whisked eggs and sugar together until they became light and fluffy. Then in went some flour and baking powder, followed by a spoonful of vegetable oil and some semi skimmed milk. Also added to the mixture to give it a coffee flavour was a teaspoonful of Monin Tiramisu sugar syrup.

The cake baked for about 20-25 minutes and rose beautifully in the oven.  It smelled delicious.  When it was cooling I made up the coffee buttercream.  I also crushed up some pecan nuts to go in the middle of the cake and to sprinkle on the top of it.

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The cake was layered together with the coffee buttercream and sprinkled with chopped pecan nuts in the middle and on the top of the cake. I used a packet of cocoa covered coffee beans to decorate the top as well.

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We had a slice of birthday cake and it was delicious. What a treat to celebrate Mr SmartCookieSam’s birthday and he really enjoyed it.

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Ooops! Back on the diet tomorrow!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Mary Berry’s Classic Swiss Roll

It was Sunday lunchtime and that means a cake or a dessert in our house to follow the roast.  Once again I turned to my trusty Mary Berry’s Baking Bible to bake another recipe from my Cooking The Books Challenge.  Mary’s Swiss Roll is one of the recipes featured in her Classic Recipes chapter, along with a couple of variations.  As I have only ever made one fairly successful Swiss Roll in my life, I decided I needed a bit more practice.  When my daughter saw I was planning to bake a Swiss Roll she asked if she could do it.  As the one she made in her GCSE Catering Practical got an A* from her teacher I think she is definitely the Swiss Roll expert in our house.

So here’s how my daughter (with a tiny bit of help with one stage from me) made this utterly scrumptious bake!

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Whisking the eggs and sugar together.
The Swiss roll tray all lined and greased.
The Swiss roll tray all lined and greased.
Self raising flour was carefully folded into the whisked egg and sugar mixture.
Self raising flour was carefully folded into the whisked egg and sugar mixture.
Pouring the mixture into the prepared tin.
The mixture was spread about so that it reached all corners of the tin.
The mixture was spread about so that it reached all corners of the tin.

Once the cake had gone into the oven (my oven is a fan assisted electric one, so the temperature was 200oC) my daughter disappeared upstairs to do whatever teenagers do in the depths of their bedrooms.  As the cake was only going to be in the oven for about 10 minutes I didn’t dare leave the kitchen.  It seemed to bake very quickly.  Anyway, as soon as it was out of the oven I called my daughter and told her to come down.  She had got engrossed in something so I said I would take it out of the tin and do the trimming bits.  She could finish off the rest seeing as she wanted to do it in the first place!

Another piece of baking parchment bigger than the swiss roll was put on the worktop.  It was sprinkled liberally with caster sugar.
Another piece of baking parchment bigger than the swiss roll was put on the worktop. It was sprinkled liberally with caster sugar.
Here's the baked Swiss Roll just fresh out of the oven.
Here’s the baked Swiss Roll just fresh out of the oven.
After a little while the Swiss Roll was turned out of its tin and onto the sugared piece of baking parchment.  This would be used to help it be rolled up later!
After a little while the Swiss Roll was turned out of its tin and onto the sugared piece of baking parchment. This would be used to help it be rolled up later!
The Swiss Roll was trimmed to give it neat edges.
The Swiss Roll was trimmed to give it neat edges.
Then a scored line using a sharp knife was used about an inch from one short end of the cake.
Then a scored line using a sharp knife was used about an inch from one short end of the cake.

By this time my daughter had come back downstairs.  I wanted her to get finished with the Swiss Roll as I needed to get started on the rest of the dinner.

This was some homemade jam leftover from last week's Eton Mess which was great to go inside the Swiss Roll.
This was some homemade jam leftover from last week’s Eton Mess which was great to go inside the Swiss Roll.
My daughter spreads the jam onto the top of her Swiss Roll.
My daughter spreads the jam onto the top of her Swiss Roll.
Then, she whipped up some cream to go with the jam for the filling.
Then, she whipped up some cream to go with the jam for the filling.
Starting to spread the cream onto the top of the Swiss Roll!
Starting to spread the cream onto the top of the Swiss Roll!
Slapping it on!
Slapping it on!
My daughter expertly rolls up the Swiss Roll inside the sugared parchment.
My daughter expertly rolls up the Swiss Roll inside the sugared parchment.
Ta-dah! A very impressive, delicious and scrumptious Swiss Roll just asking to be eaten.
Ta-dah! A very impressive, delicious and scrumptious Swiss Roll just asking to be eaten.
We couldn't resist nabbing the end piece before dinner.
We couldn’t resist nabbing the end piece before dinner!!

Well I was totally amazed by this yummy bake and we were rather greedy over it.  Not only did I share the end piece with my daughter before dinner but I had another slice for pudding!  The following night my hubby finished it off.  It was just too scrumptious for words.

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