Archive of ‘Baking’ category

Blueberry & Coconut Boy Bait

I’ve been hearing about boy bait for a while from smitten kitchen, domestic sluttery and some lovely twitter friends including alice of Snap Dragon Beads.

Such a cute name for a cake, I mean it is really just a cake but if you call it boy bait then everyone wants to makeit –  Especially if it has blueberries in. And then I went all out and replaced the buttermilk with some lovely coconut milk instead.

This cake is super easy to make, moist, sugary and has the best name ever.
The coconut flavour only comes through slightly, but it makes up for that by adding moistness and sweetness.
I think I’ll add a few tablespoons of desiccated coconut next time.

Blueberry & Coconut Boy Bait – adapted from Domestic Sluttery

125g of brown sugar
1/2 tbsp salt
125g unsalted butter
125g of self raising flour
2 eggs
1 150ml mini tin of coconut milk (these are readily available in most supermarkets, and very handy)
1 punnet blueberries – approx 125g

for topping:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp cinamonn
handful of blueberries

Heat oven to gas mark 4 / 350f / 180c.

Cream together the butter and the sugar, then add in your eggs one at a time, combining each time before adding the next.
Add in the flour slowly and then pour in the coconut milk. Stir to combine and then add in the blueberries and the salt.
Pour into a 9 inch round or square cake in. Top with the rest of the blueberries, cinnamon and sprinkle over the sugar generously.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.
Dust with icing sugar, slice and transfer to your mouth!

Cherry & Oat Breakfast Muffins

I have been known to eat cake for breakfast on more than one (or two, or three or four) occasions, and any other number of sweet things. I’m not great at breakfast, I like sleeping in, but I do like breakfast food. I try and make up for this on weekends with pancakes or a nice bacon sandwich. Or eggs, yummmm. See I like breakfast, I do.

I have been experimenting with cupcakes and fairy cakes for a while but one of the things on my list has been a good breakfasty muffin with lots of things packed into it, but lower on the sweetness than a normal cake.

I was a bit greedy and got a kilo of cherries from the local Pick Your Own which meant I had something of a glut, brought on entirely by my eyes being bigger than my stomach. Some of the lucky things are spending time steeping in vodka, ready for a Christmas tipple, and others have gone into a juicy summer fruit cobbler (more on that soon). I had some left and they were destined for muffins!

I like real cherries and far too often you see those awful rubbery, almost flourescent, glace cherries in cakes, a real cherry cake is something much much better. I might have to go to the pick your own one more time and make a proper sweet dessert cake too 😉

These muffins have no too much sugar in them, lots of oats and some wheatgerm, and I pepped them up with some cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cherry & Oat Breakfast Muffins
makes about 8 muffins 

100g unsalted softened butter
75g granulated or caster sugar
2 medium eggs
200g fresh cherries – pitted and halved
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
75g oats
25g wheatgerm (or substitute with more oats)
approx 50ml whole or semi skimmed milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to gas mark 6 / 400f / 200c. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases.

Cream together your butter and sugar til light and fluffy. Then add in your eggs one at a time and combine.
Fold in your cherries, then add in your flour and baking powder and stir gently to combine.
Then fold in your oats and wheatgerm, and spices. Finally add in the milk to loosen the mixture slightly. If your mixture is quite wet you may not need to add the milk.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons into the mixture, you want the muffins to be fairly substantial, leave about 1cm from the top. Sprinkle with oats. Bake for 10-15minutes in the oven until golden brown on top, and when a knife comes out clean when inserted.

Cooking – Bacon Brownies

Go with me on this one.

It is good, I promise.

And you know I wouldn’t lie to you..

This recipe has been on my list for a while, I spotted it over on 17 and Baking and it totally made sense to me. Rich dark chocolate and smoky bacon with a hint of saltiness – and we all know the food world is crazy about salt and sweet right now (salted caramel anyone?).

It is not miles away from the classic bacon and maple syrup combination, you get a nice hit of sweet and a nice hit of salt, but with the brownies you get the dense dark chocolate too.

I make brownies quite often, I have one recipe which I like to stick to but I’ve been keen to try new ones, the best thing about brownies is that there are so many great recipes out there offering something different but also still giving you that quintessential brownie – gooey and crispy.
This recipe obviously offers something completely different!

It did feel very weird putting bacon into a brownie mix but I stuck with it and I was not disappointed.Try to use the best quality streaky bacon or pancetta you can find, anything cheap will leach out too much water and your brownies won’t be good. It should also be smoked. I used good quality smoked pancetta, this crisps up well and won’t be filled with water.

Bacon Brownies
makes approx 12 brownies
4 rashers of good quality streaky bacon or pancetta
50g / 2oz dark chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
4 tablespoons good quality cocoa
100g / 40z butter2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150g caster sugar

Heat your oven to gas mark 5 / 375f / 190c.Heat up a frying pan on the hob, once hot add your strips of bacon. Fry on each side for a couple of minutes or until nice and crispy. Transfer to paper towels to crisp up further and drain the fat.
Once the bacon is cool cut or tear up into small pieces, about 1cm wide.

Put the chocolate, cocoa and butter in a heatproof glass bowl and heat gently over a pan of simmering water. Stir frequently until everything is melted and combined. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Whisk in the sugar and vanilla, then add in your eggs one by one, stir to combine.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and then stir in the bacon.

Add to a grease and lined cake tin or square cake tin (better for brownies, I need to buy one!).

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes on the middle shelf. Your brownies are done when a skewer or knife comes out clean when inserted. Remove from the pan and leave on a board or wire rack.
Let them cool completely (sneak a crispy corner if you can’t wait!) before cutting into squares.
Store in the fridge, bring back to room temperature to eat.

I had mine with a nice strong coffee, this motivated me for the rest of the afternoon!

Serve to friends (not vegetarians though!!) and don’t tell them what is inside, let them guess – I bet they won’t know!

Cooking – Lemon & Poppyseed Cake

One of my birthday gifts this year was a copy of the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, its been on my wishlist for a while along with the Magnolia Bakery book. There are so many brilliant recipes in it, it was so hard to pin one down to make first of all!

I picked this lemon poppyseed cake to make first, I’ve a soft spot for lemon cakes, lemon drizzle is my favourite kind of cake.

This one is a more complex version of a lemon drizzle cake, with a lemon syrup and a tangy lemon icing.I was suprised this cake didn’t contain any egg yolks, just whites, I was a little worried it would fall apart – but it was fine.

Lemon & Poppyseed Cake – from the Hummingbird Bakery Book

Ingredients (tweaked a little by me)

for the cake:
85g butter
245g brown sugar
zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp poppyseeds
160mls of whole milk (I didn’t have whole so I used half cream half semi skimmed)
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder2 egg whites1/2 teaspoon salt

for the lemon syrup:
juice and zest of 2 lemons
50g caster sugar
50ml water

for the lemon glaze/icing:
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
125g icing sugar

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 / 180c / 350fCream together butter, sugar, lemon zest and poppyseeds until light and fluffy. The recipe suggests using a mixer but I don’t have one (sob) so I used elbow grease and then when the mixture was well combined I pulsed it with an electric whisk (slowly) until it was fluffier.

Add the milk slowly incorporating well with the butter mixture.Sieve flour, baking powder and salt together and fold into milk and butter mixture in 3 stages.
Whisk your egg whites in a bowl until they form stiff peaks.
Carefully fold these into your cake mixture, try not to overmix.

Pour into a greased and lined cake tin. Bake for 30-40 minutes in your preheated oven til it is done (a knife should come out clean when you skewer it).Whilst your cake bakes make the lemon syrup. Add the lemon, sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer on a medium to high heat, stirring occassionally until you have a thick syrup. Remove from the heat. Pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

The recipe suggests pouring it straight into the tin, I’ve had a lot of trouble with these kinds of syrups sticking to the greaseproof paper. So I turn the cake out into a plate and pour syrup over.
Next you need to make your glaze/icing. Add lemon juice to icing sugar in a bowl, beat until it is very smooth, it needs to be thick but pourable too. Add more sugar or juice to get the right consistency.

Wait until the cake is completely cool (torture!!) before you pour the icing over. Sprinkle with poppyseeds to decorate.

Once the icing is set cut yourself a large and well deserved piece.

Cooking – No Knead Bread

I love baking bread but my loaves never tend to be as light and fluffy because of my extremely poor kneading technique. I just don’t have the muscles! I must have come across this recipe for No Knead Bread about a year ago, I have no idea why it took me such a long time to make it. It came up on a few more blogs recently and so I set aside some time this weekend to make it.

This bread is not about instant gratification, due to the first prove being 20 hours long, but it is about very very little effort.

Because of the long proving process the dough is beautifully light and airy with very little effort. Also it has a higher water content than conventional bread recipes so you get a beautiful crisp crust.

No Knead Bread
makes approx 1 1lb loaf

This recipe comes from the New York times so my measurements are in cups, apologies to those in the UK! I believe you can buy cups in John Lewis, Lakeland and some supermarkets now. I got mine on ebay for about £5.

3 cups strong white bread flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast (this will use very little of a 7g packet)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water

Put your flour in a large bowl, add in the yeast and the salt.
Then add in your water and stir until you have a soft sloppy dough, like a very thick cake batter. Add a touch more water if your mix seems a little dry.

Then all you need to do is cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm non draughty place for a minimum of 12 but up to 20 hours, I left mine for 20 hours.

After your first prove the dough will be bubbly and light like this:
Drop your dough onto a very well floured surface and form into a rough round shape with wet hands. Your hands won’t stick to the dough if they are wet.
Drop this dough into a bowl lined with a floured cotton towel. Cover with the towel and leave to prove for 1-2 hours, I left mine for 1 1/2 and it was fine. It should double in size.

Half an hour before your dough is ready heat up your pot. Set your oven to gas mark 8 / 450f / 230c. You need to use a thick strong pot, such as a casserole dish, with a lid. I used a big stoneware dish. If I had a Le Creuset it would be perfect for this!

When your dough is ready add it to your pot. The recipe I used said to line with greaseproof paper if your pot isn’t non stick, unfortunately I did this (and floured the paper) and the dough stuck! So I would recommend oiling your paper or just flouring your pot very well.

Bake your loaf for 30 minutes covered, then for another 20 minutes uncovered to crisp the crust. It should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Leave to cool for 5-10minutes afterwards, then slice into big chunks and serve with proper butter!

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