Cakery Bakery _ Excellent Cake-eating Skills

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  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

    https://cakerybakery.wordpress.com/ 1/31

    CakeryBakery

    Excellentcakeeatingskills.Nowforthebaking.

    Incaseyouwerewondering21/08/2012inUncategorized|Leaveacomment

    IdecidedthatkeepingupwithtwoblogsmeantIwasntgivingproperattentiontoeither,andnowpostCakeryBakerystuffonmymainblog,makealongstoryshort.net.Comefindusthere,andclickonfood!

    InwhichtheHummingbirdBakerytriestowinmeovertocupcakery.01/02/2012inChocolate,Muffins/Cupcakes|Tags:chocolatefondantcupcakes,frosting,hummingbirdbakery|3comments

    YouknowhowIfeelaboutcupcakes.(Doyou?Youdonthaveto,ifyoudontwant,butinshort:toomuchteethrotfornotenoughcake.)But,youknow,therearecupcakesandthenthereareHummingbirdBakerycupcakes.SoIhear.

    Mylovely,lovelycousinboughtmeaHummingbirdBakeryrecipebookforChristmaswasntthatthenicestthingever?andIvebeendribblingshamelesslyoverthephotographsallmonth.Unfortunately,Iaminabakewhenthebabysleepsphaseoflifeatthemoment,andthebabydoesntsleep.Yesterday,however,chargedwiththesolemnresponsibilityofbringingchocolatecaketoafriend,Isnuckdownstairsat7amand

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    madethese:chocolatefondantcupcakes.

    Theywonmeoverbecausetheicingisnticing,itschocolateanddoublecream.NowthereisacombinationIcangetbehind.Andactually,theywerequitestraightforward.Dryingredients(alltheusualstuff)wentinonebowl.

    Youwhiskallthattogetherwithanelectricwhisk(orafreestandingmixerifyouvegotone).Ifyouthinkyoucanwhiskflour,sugarandcocoapowdertogetherwithoutwhiskingitallthewayaroundyourkitchen,bytheway,thenthinkagain.Onceitsblendedtogetherandyouvestoppedchokingonairbornecocoa,addthewetingredients:milkandacoupleofeggs.Sofar,sostandard.Themixturegoesintoyourbakingcasesandtheyreovenboundforeighteenminutes.

    ItwasatthispointthatIrealisedtherecipespecifiedmuffincases,andIdusedsmallercakecases.Notadisaster,butitmadewhatcamelatermuchmoretricky,anditmeantIhadtwiceasmanycupcakesasintended.Istruggledquitehardtobesadaboutthis,butdidntmanageit.

    Nowforthefrosting.Finelychopsomedarkchocolateandtrynottohurtyourhandtoomuch.Itsabittricky,butthelittleshavingsyougetareoddlysatisfyingtoproduce.

    Doesntthatlookpretty?

    Thenyouheatsomecreamuntiljustboiling,andpourthecreamintothebowlofchoppedchocolate.Andit

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    doesthis.

    Itsmellsamazing.IcameoverallWillyWonka.Ilostmyheadabit.IthinkImightvecackled.Keepstirring,andyouendupwiththis.

    Oncethecakeandthefrostingarecool,herecomestheinterestingbit.Youdigachunkoutofeachcake,pourabitofthefrostinginside,trimthelidtofit,andthenputitbackon.Thentopthewholethingwithmorefrosting.Thiswasterriblyexciting,andallthemoresobecauseIgottocallmytinyspatulaintoserviceforonlythesecondtimeinitslife.

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    Therecipejustsaidtoswirlthefrostingontop,whichseemedtoassumeabitmorecupcakeknowhowthanIhad.Ihadagoatswirling,butIthinkthefrostingwasntasstiffasitshouldvebeenperhapsIshouldhaveleftittocoolforlongerandinstead,itjustslithered.Itlookedok,though.

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    Andwhatabouttheeating?Prettygood,Ithought.Thecakegoesquitestiffanddenseonceitscool,soIdontthinkthemixturewasanythingspecial.Thefrostingismorechocolateythanawhackroundtheheadwithachocolatepoker.Andthelittlepuddleofchocolateinsideisadelight.Canyouimaginehowgoodthesewouldbewarmedup?Orsteadyyourselveswithicecream?

    Deliciousness:Ilikedthemalot.IwasntsurewhetherIlikedthembecausethecupcakeitselfwasnice,orbecausetheycontainedsomuchchocolate.Probablythelatter.Buteitherway:yum.

    Complexity:Morefiddlythanyouraveragecupcake,butIratherenjoyedtheassembly.

    Washinguppile:Thirteenverymessyitems.Includingaperhapsexcessivenumberoftestingspoons.

    Casualties:Igotthechocolatechoppingbruiseonmyhandagain.Ireallyneedtolookintothatspecialchocolateknife.

    YouWantMoreFruitMuffins?WeGotMoreFruitMuffins.17/11/2011inCheesecakes,Fruit,Muffins/Cupcakes|Tags:BBCGoodFoodCakesandBakes,cutleryknife,healthfood,strawberrycheesecakemuffins|1comment

    Canwetalkaboutstrawberrycheesecakemuffinsforaminute?BecauseImadesometheotherday,andtheyturnedoutratherwell.

    Hereisasecret:Iamnot,atpresent,atmythinnest.Babieswilldothattoyou,apparently.Onewouldthinkthatthebestcureforthiswouldbetostopeatingsomuchcake,butthatisnotthekindofthinkingoutsideoftheboxImaimingfor.Mysolution,forthemoment,istooccasionallybakestuffwithfruitinit,andtoallowlogictolanguishbythewaysideuntilImgettingalittlemoresleep.Anyonewhotellsyouthatcakedoesnthelpwithdisturbednightsisatelleroffalsehoods,andthatistheendofit.

    Anyway.Strawberry.Cheesecake.Muffins.Threemarvellousthingsrolledintoonegloriouswhole.IfoundtheminmyBBCGoodFoodCakesandBakesbook,buttheyrealsohere.Themuffinmixisastandardfloursugareggsmilkbutterbakingpowderconcoction,andsincethebutterneedstobemelted,absolutelynocreamingisrequired.Therecipespecifiesthatthemixtureshouldbelooseandslightlylumpy,warningthatovermixingleadstotoughmuffins.Withasoundlikealightbulbgoingoff,Irememberedthatthescones

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    recipeIuseasksforthemixturetobecombinedwithacutleryknife.Thisissoincrediblyawkwardthatitpreventsyoumixingtooenthusiastically(thusensuringlightnessofscone).SoIgotoutaknifeforthemuffinmix,too,anditworkedjustfine.

    Knifed.

    Thenextstageismixingtogethercreamcheeseandsugarforthefilling.

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    Thencomestheassembly.First,halffillyourpapercaseswithmuffinmix.Thenaddhalfasmallstrawberry

    andablobofthecreamcheesemixture.

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    Anotherspoonfulofmuffinmixgoesoverthetoptohidethefilling.

    (Dontjudgemebythecolourofmymuffintins,bytheway.TheyreactuallyYorkshirepuddingtins,sotheydontgetwashed.ThisistheLawofYorkshirePuddingTins,andcannotbehelped.)

    Afterfifteenminutesintheoven,theyverisenafairbit.Ididntwanttoburnthemsodidntcookminequitelongenoughtheywerealittlestickyandnotverygoldenbrown.Butthemuffinwasnotatalltough(yessss,cutleryknife!)andthefillingwasamarvel.

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    Becarefultowaittilltheyvecooledalittle.Boilingstrawberryisnotsomethingyouwantonyourtongueunderanycircumstances.Wevemadethismistakebefore.

    Deliciousness:Ifindithardtogetexcitedaboutmuffins,generally,butthefillingmakesthesealittlemorespecial.Acrowdpleaserforguests,Ibet.

  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    Complexity:Dontboilyourbutterintocheese.Otherwise,veryeasy.Alittlemoreassemblythanyouraveragemuffin,butmoreenjoyableforthat.

    Washinguppile:IratherthinktheOtherHalfdidthewashingupafterthese,soIdidntcount.Usepapercasesratherthanthesiliconevarietyforasmallerpile.

    Casualties:Strawberryburnsaplenty.Learnfromoursilliness.

    Crumbleitup05/10/2011inFruit,Pudding,Seasonal|Tags:autumn,onepotdishes,pearandtoffeecrumble|1comment

    Oh,autumn.Youtricksydevil,you.

    IwassoexcitedaboutfindingmyselfinlateSeptemberlastweek.Myfriends,autumnmeansnothinglessthanPUDDINGSEASON.Crumbles,treaclesponges,applepieandanythingelsethatcanbepartneredwithcustard:thisiswhatIdreamofatnight.ButjustwhenIdgotoutmycrumbledish,allaquiverwithanticipation,theweathersuddenlyturnedtropicalforfourorfivedays.Weswelteredin28C,anditwasnotacrumbleappropriatetemperatureatall.O,butIamfortunesfool.

    Today,however,wereturnedtogrimraininess,andthebabeandIventuredouttothepostofficeundergreyandsullenskies.Crumblewasgloriouslybackonthemenu.IdecidedonapearandtoffeevarietyfromabookofonepotdishesIhaveonmyshelf.Because,well.Wouldntyou?

    Onwards,then.Steponeisthecrumbletopping.Afairlystandardcombinationofdicedbutterrubbedintoflour,thencombinedwithdemerarasugarandchoppedhazelnuts.Iendeduphavingtoaddmoreflourthaninstructed(thefirstattemptwasfartoosticky),butotherwise,thiswentwell.

    Fromthis...

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  • 8/22/2015 Cakery Bakery | Excellent cake-eating skills. Now for the baking.

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    ...Tothis.

    Idforgottentobuyhazelnuts,buthappilyfoundanancientbagoftheminthebackofmycupboard.ThebestbeforedatewasJuly2011,butonbalance,IdecidedIwasunlikelytocontractE.colifromahazelnut,andforgedaheadanyway.

    Steptwoisthetoffee.Makingtoffeesauceisthemosthappymakingthingontheplanet,Isometimesthink.Theingredientsarejoyous:goldensyrup,cream,butter,vanillaessence,sugar.Youthrowthemallinandthengentlysimmerforafewminutes.Itsmellslikeambrosiaitself.Toffeesaucecompleted.

    Stepthreeisthefilling.Peelandchopfourlargepears,fryinmorebutterforashortwhileandthenaddthetoffeesauce.OnceIddonethis,thepearshadjuicedupsomuchthatthemixturewasquitewatery,butIassumeditwouldreduceintheoven(andsoitdid).

    Thepearmixturegoesinthebottomofthedish,andthecrumbleontop.Aftertwentyminutesorsointheoven,itsdone.

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    (Isitme,ordoesitlookabitlikesick?Itshardtomakecrumblelookgoodinaphotograph.Itwasmuchmoreappealinginreallife,honest.)

    Deliciousness:Itwaslovely.LOVELY.Butitdidnttastemuchoftoffee.Thepearsoverpoweredit.Moretoffeesauceisrequired,Ithink.Also,itwouldnthurttoincludemorehazelnutsthanthespecifiedtwotablespoons.Youcouldnttastethoseeither,thoughmaybethatsbecauseminehadgoneoff.

    Complexity:Veryeasy.Pearsareabitgrosswhenyoupeelandchopthem,butatleasttheydontneedcoring.

    Washinguppile:Averyreasonablefive.

    Casualties:Majorhandcrampfromrubbingbutterintoflour.Isthereamachinethatwoulddothisforyou?Idbuyone.

    BackintheSaddle20/09/2011inCake,Fruit|Tags:fatlesssponge,Victoriasponge|Leaveacomment

    Hey,rememberwhenIusedtomakecake?Metoo.AndthenIgotallhugeandspentmyweekendshuntingdownpushchairsinthewildsofNorthLondonandthenIhadababy,sothecaketookabackseat.Well,itturnsoutthatmylittleboyisreallygoodatsleepingthroughelectricmixers,soImsureIcanjugglebakingANDchangingnappies(thoughnotatthesametime,becausethatstuffisnasty).

    Anyway,myforaybackintofloursandsugarsyesterdaytooktheformofafatlessVictoriasponge.Fatless,yousay?Yes:theresnobutter.Thecakerisesusingtheairyouvewhiskedintoeggwhites.Iwouldliketothinkthatthisturnsthecakeintohealthfood.Ifyouignoretheamountofwhippedcreamyouputinitlater.

    Youstartwithsievingplainflour,cornflourandbakingpowdertogether,then,inaseparatebowl,separatingfoureggsandwhiskingthewhitesuntilstiff.EveryrecipeIveevercomeacrossbringsoutthisoldchestnutabouteggwhitesbeingstiff,andnoonehaseverspecifiedexactlywhattheymean.SoItakeaguess:generallyIkeepgoinguntiltheeggisclingingtothewhisklikethis:

    Youaddcastersugartotheeggwhites,thenpourinthewhiskedeggyolks,thenwhiskabitmore,thenfoldintheflourmixture.Iwasntsurehowlongyouweresupposedtokeepwhiskingatthispoint,either,soleftitwhenthemixturedrippedsmoothlyoffthewhisklikethis:

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    Mostlybecausemyarmwashurting.

    Thatsaboutit,asfarasthepreparationgoes:thewholethingisdividedbetweentwo8inchcaketins(Ihadtouse7inchtins,becausethatswhatIvegot)andtheygointotheovenfor20minutes.

    Onceout,thespongesareastrange,delicate,bubblytexture.Theydonthavethesameelasticityasaregularsponge,whichunfortunatelymeanttheycameoutinaconeshape,tomatchtheslightlyslopingedgesofmytins.Usetinswithstraightedges,ifyouvegotthem.ButlightnessistobeencouragedwhenmypreviousspongeeffortshavebeendenseenoughtouseasaGradeAweapon.

    Strawberries,creamandjamareallthingsthatmakemeexceedinglyhappy,especiallyincombination,soItooktheconstructionoftheVictoriaspongeveryseriously.First,cakeno.1wentfacedownontotheplate.ThenIspreadthejamcarefullyonthetop.Thespongesaresolightthatalittlehamfistedspreadingcouldruineverything,soIstirredthejamvigorouslyfirsttomakeitmoremovable.

    ThenIwhiskedthecream.Ialways,alwaysaccidentallyoverwhiskcream,andyesterdaywasnoexception.Ihadtoblobitontopofthejamwithaspatula,andthenspreaditoutasdelicatelyaspossible.

    Thencamethestrawberries.Youneedaboutfiveorsix.

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    Andfinally,becauseyoucanneverhavetoomuchjaminagivensituation,Idrizzledsomemoreontop(havingheateditupabitinthemicrowave).

    Youalmostdontneedanothercakeontopofthis,especiallywhenitsanodd,lopsidedshapeanddoesntfitproperly,butsinceIdmadeone,andall,Idecidedtouseit.Abitoficingsugaronthetopcompletedthetask.

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    Andtherewehaveit.Clearly,thiscakewillnotbewinninganyBestinShowprizes.Itlookslikeawonkyspinningtop.ButandthisistheimportantpartYUM.Thespongeislightandfeathery,andthefillingisenoughtomakeoneweepwithjoy.

    Deliciousness:Lovely,lovely,loveliness.Nevermindthatitsnotsummeranymore.Youcannevergowrongwithabitofcreamandjam.

    Complexity:Ineedtoworkonappearances(orpossiblyjustbuysomedifferentcaketins).Butifyoucanmakethiswithasleepingfourweekoldinthebackground,youcanmakeitanywhere.Itsnothard.

    Washinguppile:Tenitems.Illdothemtomorrow,honest.

    Casualties:Armachefromproppinguptheelectricmixer.Wimp.

    BerriestotheRescue17/07/2011inFruit,Pies,Seasonal|Tags:Berrytart,easy,impressivedesserts,puffpastry,summerdesserts|2comments

    Look,Iknowwevehadtorrentialraintoday.Dontletthatdampenyourholidayspirit.WithaUVlamp,asummerydessertandasandpittorestyourfeetinorahandycatlittertrayyoucanworkallkindsofmagic.

    Heresthesummerydessertyourelookingfor,courtesyofthefranklyamazingCheekyKitchen:PlumpandPerfectBerryTart.Itisfruity,yummyandlooksallkindsofimpressive.Bestofall,itssoeasythatevenkitchendunceslikemyselfcanputittogetherinhalfanhour.Ihadtotaketwiceasmanystepbystepphotosthisweek,justtogetthispostbeyondtwoparagraphs.

    So,herewego.Startwithreadyrolledpuffpastry(youcanbuythestuffyourolloutyourself,ofcourse,butsinceyouneedtoendupwithtwoidenticalrectangles,youmightswellletamachinedotherollingforyou).Myboxunexpectedlycontainedonlyonesheetofpastry,soIcutitinhalf.Thenflourorgreaseabakingtrayandlaytherectanglesoneontopoftheotheronthetray.Thatgoesintheovenbyitselfforabout15minutes.Ibrushedminewithmilkfirst,becauseIneverpassupanopportunitytouseapastrybrush.

    Oncethepastrywasoutoftheoven,Icouldnthelpnoticingthatitwasapproximatelytwicetheheightofthetartinthephotograph.Idhaveajobbalancingfruitontopofthat,soIdidabitofcautiousproddingtolettheairout,untilthepastryhadreducedinsizeenoughtogoatitwitharollingpin.

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    Yourolldownthecentretocreatealittlepastrywell.Dontbealarmedifyouresurroundedbylittleflyingpiecesofpuffpastrydustatthispointjustdontrolltooenthusiastically.

    Ongoestheyoghurt.TherecipecallsforvanillaflavouredGreekyoghurt,mixedwithavanillabean.IusedjustplainGreekyoghurt,mostlybecauseIconfessthenaturalstuffischeaper,plusIhadntthefirstcluewheretofindavanillabeaninTesco(dotheycomeinones?Howlargearethey?Howwouldyouscanoneatthetill?Amystery).

    Thencomesthefruit.Istucktothesuggestedkiwifruit,raspberriesandblackberries,becausethelattertwoareinseasonatthemomentandareonsale.Youcouldusewhateverfruityouprefer,ofcourse.Atthemoment,Idsticktotheberries:itsbeenagoodyearforberrygrowing,andtheyreHUGE.IdidhaveasmallcrisiswhenIgotoutmytwokiwifruitandsuddenlyrealisedIhadntthefaintestideawhattodowiththem.Wevenevereatenthemathomebefore.ThelasttimeIhadthiskindofexistentialdilemma,Iwasfacedwithchoppingupaleekandcouldntrememberwhichbitsyouactuallyeat(dontjudgeme).

    Googletotherescue.

    Turnsoutyouchopofftheends,peelandthendice.Itsokforthemiddlebitstostayin.Isntitamazingwhathelpfulpeoplehaveputontheinternet?

    Finally,microwavesomeclearhoneyforafewseconds,anddrizzleoverasyouwish.BecauseIdusedunsweetenedyoghurt,Iendedupusingquitealotofhoney.Butifyoudgoneforvanillayoghurt,youprobablywouldntneedverymuch.

    Andthereitis.

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    Doesntthatlookfabulous?Youchopitupwithapizzaslicertoo,whichmakesanydessertworthhaving,inmybook.

    Deliciousness:Thecombinationoffruit,pastry,yoghurtandhoneyiswonderful.Dependingonthetypesoffruitandyoghurtyouveused,youmayneedtosweetentoagreaterorlesserextent.Butyoucouldalwayshavehoneyonthetable,sopeoplecouldhelpthemselves.Oreatitwithicecream.

    Complexity:Agreatdealeasierthanpie.Itsdoneinthirtyminutesorless,evenifyourethekindofidiotwho

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    doesntknowhowtochopupakiwifruit.

    Washinguppile:Abakingtray,arollingpin,andafewspoons.Acinch.

    Casualties:None.Ididntevenaddtomyburncollection.Awinner!

    CheesyChocolate:BetterThanItSounds03/07/2011inCheesecakes,Chocolate|Tags:bakedcheesecake,moonlightbaker,nutellalayercheesecake|Leaveacomment

    LookatwhatIfoundwhenbrowsingWordPress:theMoonlightBakersNutellaLayerCheesecakes.Doesthatnotsoundlikeheaveninalittlesquashyrectangle?Ibelieveitdoes.Apartfromdirectingme,onceagain,totheNutellaaisle,italsogavemeanopportunitytoinvestigatebakedcheesecakesforthefirsttime,somethingIvebeenpluckingupthecouragetodoforawhile.WhenIwaslittle,acheesecakemeantafrozen,sculptedcreamfrisbeewithagravellybaseandadollopofastringentberriesonthetop,whichwehadfordessertwhenpeoplecamefordinner.Afterthathorrificearlyexperience,Iwentoffcheesecakesentirely,butbakedcheesecakesarethereasonIgotbackonthestraightandnarrow.TescodoesavanillaNewYorkvarietythatIcouldeatinonesitting,butwhich,thankfully,isslightlytooexpensiveforcasualpurchases.

    ThedifficultywiththeMoonlightBakersrecipeisthatitsAmerican,whichmeantsomethingsgotlostintranslation.HavinglistenedverycarefullytotheOtherHalfsexplanationofwhatchocolategrahamcrackersare(andhowyoumustnever,neverpronouncethemgraham),Icametotheconclusionthattheyarentsoldhere.Ialsodidntknowwhatheavycreamwas,andhadtoseekadvicefromUSexpatriates.IsubstitutedOreocookiesanddoublecream,respectively,andhadtohopeitwoulddo.

    Thisisanotherfoodprocessorrecipe,butthequantitieswerejustsmallenoughthatIcouldusemysillylittlefoodmixerandfititallin.FirstyoucrumbletheOreos(onepacketwasenough)untiltheyreafinepowder,thenmixinsomemeltedbuttertohelpthecrumbssticktogether.Thisbiscuitysandisspreadoverthebottomofalinedbakingtin.

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    No,youcan'teatthemyet.

    Givethefoodmixerarinse,andthenmoveontothecheesecake.Thisiscreamcheese,sugar,eggs,doublecreamandvanillaextract,alldumpedinthemixerandpulsedtogether.Onceyouhavethemainmixture,youdecanttwothirdsofit,andaddacoupleofNutellaspoonfulstotherest.Andhere,predictably,iswherethingsstartedtogooffthebeatentrack.Lookingatthedeliciousphotoontheblog(andmygoodness,Iloveitwhensomeonereallyknowshowtotakeagoodfoodphoto),theconsistencyofthecheesecakemixissupposedtobewell,cheesy.OnceIdaddedeggstomycreamcheeseandmixeditupabit,theconsistencyofmymixturewasmorelikethickcream.IdontknowwhethermymixerisoverenthusiasticorwhethercreamcheeseisanydenserintheStates.Whateverthereason,mytwolayersofcheesecakedidntsomuchlayerasintermingle.Heighho,Ithought:amarbledcheesecakeitis.Intheovenwithyou.

    After30minutesintheoventhemixturehadrisenanddarkenedalarminglydefinitelymoreyellowthanwhite,andlookingmorecookedthanIdexpected.Icrossedmyfingersandputitinthefridgefortherecommendedthreehours,beforecuttingitintolittlesquares.

    Andtheverdict:well,youwouldnteattheseforthelooks.Themarblingjustdoesntworkaswellasthelayers,andtheyellowlooksdistinctlyeggyandoffputting(somethingwhichwouldvebeenavoidedifthevanillalayerhadbeencompletelycoveredbytheNutellalayer).

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    Erm.Yummy?

    Theyrealittlemoisteranddenserthancheesecakeshouldbe,too:morelikewhattheFrenchwouldcallflan.But,wonderofwonders,theydoactuallytastelikecheesecake.TheOreobaseworkswonderfullywiththevanilla,andtheNutellaisdistinctivewithoutbeingtoooverpowering.

    Ihaventyetworkedouthowtomakethecheesecakemixturethicker,butitmightbeworthusingsmallereggssothereslessliquid,mixingbyhandinsteadofinthefoodmixer,and/orusingextrathickcreaminsteadofdoublecream.Wellsee.Becausetheydidntlastlonginourhouseevenjustwith2.75ofuseatingthem,soIlldefinitelybetryingagainsoon.

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    Deliciousness:Tastecouldntbefaulted.Textureandappearanceleftalittletobedesired.Notyetadessertforguests,methinks.

    Complexity:Theworstpartwaswashingupthefoodmixerthreetimes.Thataside,fairlystraightforward.

    Washinguppile:Eleven,withtwomixingbowlsandthedrattedfoodmixerbeingtheworstofit.

    Casualties:Noneinourhouse,thoughIcantberesponsibleforwhattheneighboursmightvedoneafterhalfanhourofsolidfoodmixing.Itsoundslikearustypowerdrill.Attachedtoanoldcat.

    WhenisaCupcakenotaCupcake?13/06/2011inFruit,Muffins/Cupcakes|Tags:creamcheese,icingsugar,raspberrycupcakes|1comment

    Nowisaverygoodtimeforraspberries.

    Ihaventhadmuchinthewayofpregnancycravingstinnedtomatoeshavebeentheworstofit,andthankfullytheydonttendtoendupindessertsbutthisweek,raspberriesbecamethebeadedscarletberriesofthegodsthemselves,andIcouldnoteatenoughofthem.Hence,whenitcametoweekendbaking,Iwentstraighttothersectionofallofmycookbooks.

    Ichose,intheend,theerroneouslynamedraspberrycupcakes,arecipeIinheritedfromafriendafterfallinginlovewiththepale,fruitylittlecakesshebroughtinoneMondaymorning.Theyreerroneouslynamedbecause,accordingtomyownhazycakeryclassificationsystem,theyrenotreallycupcakes.Noswirlyfrosting,nonicelyroundedtop.Perhapstheyretechnicallyclosertomuffins,althoughindeferencetomynativeNortherntongue,Idjustcallthembuns.

    Whatevertheyare,theyrenothardtoputtogether.Thesurprisingelementofthisrecipeistheentirecartonoffullfatcreamcheeseyouputinatthebeginning,alongwithcastersugar,vanillaessence,eggs,milkandflour.Youresupposedtocreamalloftheingredientstogetherwithanelectricmixer.Iwassodelightedatactuallyowningthesuggestedkitchenapplianceintherecipeforonce(albeitalittlehandheldversion,notafreestandingmixer)thatIenjoyedthepreparationevenmorethanusual.

    Oncealltheingredientsareincorporated,youendupwithathick,creamycolouredmixturethatstickstothewhiskandlooksabitlikevanillacustard.

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    Theningoesfourtablespoonsofraspberryjam,plusasmanyfreshraspberriesasyourlittleheartdesires.

    Fruity.

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    Pleasingly,therecipeasksyoutofillupyourcupcakecasesusinganicecreamscoop(why?Theydontspecify,butitdoesworkwell),thentheygointheovenfor25minutesorso.Abitofsievedicingsugaronthetopfinishesthemoffnicely,thoughasusualImiscalculatedthesizeofmysieveanddrownedmycupcakesincloudsofwhitepowderbeforeIcouldstopmyself.

    Thecupcakescomeoutpaleandflattopped,speckledwithredandsunkeninplaceswheretheraspberrieshavebeen.Thecreamcheeseisthestrokeofgeniushere:itgivesthecakesadense,squishytextureandasmoothtastethatsnicelydistinctfromyouraveragesponge.Everynowandagainyoucomeacrossanexplosionoffruitinthemiddletheexplosionbeingliteralifyouretoogreedytowaittilltheyrecold,aswewerewhichwassolovelyIwishedIdputinevenmoreraspberries.

    Thedownsideisthattheyrenotespeciallypretty:aworldawayfromthebuttercreamcoveredmasterpiecesyouseeatweddings,andnotlikelytoproduceagaspofadmirationwhenyouunveilthematadinnerparty.Butthatsortofthingmatterslesswhentheytastegoodenoughtoeattenatasitting.Honest.

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    Boxo'delights.

    Deliciousness:Notonlyisthecakeitselfverymoreish,theamountoffruitineachcupcakesurelymakesthesehealthy.Abonus.

    Complexity:Nothardatall,ifyouvegotthespecifiedicecreamscoop.

    Washinguppile:Twelve.Quitealot,actually.

    Casualties:Oneburntmouthapiece.Butthatwasmoreselfinflictedthanotherwise.

    Surprise!26/05/2011inCake,Chocolate|Tags:celebration,minstrelchocolatecake,Nigella|Leaveacomment

    TheOtherHalftookhislastexam(hopefullyever,oratleastforquitealongtime)thisafternoon.

    Itookasneakyafternoonoffwithouttellinghim,spedhomeandtoTescoslikeamaniac,andwhilehewaswritingaboutModernHeuristics(urgh),Iwasmakingthis:

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    Becauseiftheresanythingthatsayscelebrationtothischap,itslargequantitiesofMinstrels.

    Thisisanoldfashionedchocolatecake,accordingtoNigellaswebsite,whichwasthefirsttoappearwhenItypedchocolatecakeintoGoogle.Personally,Ithinkthefactthatoneofthemainingredientsissourcreammakesitquiteamodernchocolatecake,butletsnotquibble.Thecakemix,unusually,containsbothbakingpowderandbicarb(stilldontreallyknowthedifferencebetweenthem),butapartfromthisandthesourcream,istheusualeggs/sugar/flour/cocoaconcoctionyoudexpect.NigellarecommendsAGAINjustputtingalltheingredientsinyourhandyfoodprocessor.ThedayIactuallyownafoodprocessor,Imgoingtowriteandtellher.Imsureshellbepleased.Anyway,Ididitthelongwayround,creamingbutter,sugarandflourandthenaddingthewhiskedcocoa,cream,vanillaandeggs.Itsalayercake,whichmeantthestressofproducingtwoidenticalhalvesagain,butasidefromleavingthemintheovenatouchtoolong(theywerealittledryaroundtheedges),theyseemedtocomeoutok.

    Theicingischocolate,butter,yetmoresourcream,vanillaandaLOTofsievedicingsugar.Doesanyoneknowwhetherinhalingicingsugarisahealthrisk?Ifeltlikeacoalminerafteraverycloudyfewminutesinthekitchen.

    Oncethecakesarecool,athirdoftheicingissandwichedbetweenthem,andtherestgoesonthetopandsides.ThisisthefirsttimeIveeverhadtocallmytinyspatulaintoservice,whichwasmostsatisfying:Iwasbeginningtothinkthepoorthingwasentirelyuseless.Iforgottoputbakingpaperunderneaththecaketocatchthedrips,bytheway,butwipedofftheexcesswithkitchenroll,soitwasntadisaster.

    AfewthousandMinstrelslater(notreally,butitfeltlikeit),itwasdone.Theystickunexpectedlywelltotheicing,whichwasarelief:theyrequiteheavy,soIthoughtperhapstheydslipoff.

    Hewaspleased,atanyrate.EspeciallywhenItoldhimIdoverboughtontheMinstrelsandtherewerelotsleft.

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    SlicingthroughMinstrelswithalargeknifemakesonefeelterriblymanly.SoI'mtold.

    Deliciousness:ThedarkchocolatemakesthisquiterichsmallerslicesworkbetterandIovercookedthecakeslightly,asIsaid.Still,thisisagoodfind:anexcellentallroundcelebrationcakethatcouldbeadaptedforallsortsofoccasions.Ifnecessary,youcouldmaketheicingfromamixtureofmilkanddarkchocolate,insteadofalldark,tomakeitmorechildfriendly.

    Complexity:Evenwithoutafoodprocessor,notdifficulttomake.Assemblyisquitetrickymakesureyouhaveatinyspatulaonhand(orthebackofatinyspoonwouldprobablydo).

    Washinguppile:IwasinsucharushIforgottocount,butseemedtogothroughabsolutelyallofmymixingbowlsquiteafeat.

    Casualties:Ihesitatetosayit,butyetanotherminorovenburn.Ineedtostartwearingovenglovespermanently,Ithink.

    ANewInvention:HomelessGuysShortbread22/05/2011inChocolate,Traybakes|Tags:butterflambe,disaster,millionaire'sshortbread|Leaveacomment

    Well,whatatravestythatwas.

    IhadastartlinglybrightideawhenIsatdowntoconsiderthisweeksbakingeffort.Howaboutmillionairesshortbread,butreplacingtheshortbreadwiththesofterbiscuitystufffromlastweekendslemonbars?IvemadeNigellasmillionairesshortbreadbefore,anditwasnttoodifficult,asIrecall,butthesoftcarameloozingbetweenlayersofhardenedshortbreadandcooledchocolatemadeitalmostimpossibletocutproperly.Thecaramelkeptdrippingoutoftheside,liketryingtosliceanoverstuffedtunamayosandwichwhenyouveputafoolishamountofemphasisonthemayo.

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    Thesolution,Ithought,wastomaketheshortbreadsofter.SoImadeupanotherbatchofthelemonbarbaseusingthesamemethodasbefore,andputitintheoven.ItsthefirsttimeIveevermixedandmatchedwhenitcomestorecipesIdontatallhaveanaturalsenseofwhatcanbesubstitutedforwhat,sosticktothebooklikeitsholywritandIfeltincrediblydaring.WhataterriblyrebelliouscookIwas.JustlikeJamesDean,onlywithlesshairgelandmorespatulas.

    Iwasntquitesurehowlongtocooktheshortbreadforthelemonbarsitsonlyintheovenforfifteenminutes,butthenitgoesbackinwiththelemontoppingforafurtherthirtyfive.Ikeptitinfor25minutes,intheend,anddecideditlookeddone.Butthenoh,thencamethecaramel.Thiswassupposedtobemyfavouritepart.CondensedmilkandIhaveaverydeeplyfeltconnection,andaddingbutterandgoldensyruptoitcouldonlyaddtotheexperience,Iwasconvinced.Nigellarecommendsmeltingthebutterfirst,andthenaddingthecondensedmilkandgoldensyrup,andboilingthewholelotforafewminutesinthemicrowave.Arelief,asthealternativeisboilingforseveralhoursinapan,andImnotsureanyonelovesmillionairesshortbreadthatmuch.

    Well,Ifollowedtheinstructions.Istirredmanicallyeveryminuteorso.Andaftersevenminuteshadgoneby,Irealisedsomethinghadgonehorriblywrong,andbysomething,Imeanthebutterhadcurdledintocheese.Justlikewithmydisastrouspecanpie,remember?ExceptthattimeIseriouslyovermeltedthebutter,andthistimeIthoughtIdbeencareful.Notcarefulenough,itseems,becauseinsteadofgloriouslythickenedtoffee,Ihadabowlfulofcheesylumps.SOB.

    Thetoffeecheeseissad.

    SinceIdidntwanttowastetheshortbread,Imeltedthechocolateanywayandspreaditontop,thinkingthatthiswasquitealotofefforttogotojusttoendupwithchocolatebiscuits.Then,onefridgespelllater,itemergedthatthishadntworkedeither.Theshortbreadwastoohard.Thechocolatelayerwastoothick.Theywouldntevensticktogetherlongenoughtocutoutasquare.Andoh,theruinationofawholetinofcondensedmilkmakesmewanttocry.Iwouldveeatenitasitwas,ifIdknown.

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    Erm.Yummy.

    Explosionofinediblecrumbs.

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    TheOtherHalf'sDIYMillionaire's,toffeecheeseinserted.

    Afterthisterribleblowtomyselfesteem,nextweekIwillbemakingsomethingImsureIcanmake.Standbyforroastdinnercake.Ohyes.

    (Thankfullynothingisevertrulyafailureinourhouse:theOtherHalf,whileadmittingthatthetoffeehadtheappealingconsistencyofWelshrarebitsoup,stilldecantedhalfofitintoicecubetraystomakesweets.Heisthreateningtohavetherestofitontoast.Youhavetoadmiretheingenuity.)

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    SERIOUSaboutleftovers.

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