Friday, 31 January 2014

Sticky Fruit Flapjacks

Based on the Sticky Plum Flapjack Bars recipe from BBC Good Food (LINK).

I have actually made these before, and they turned out fine, if not a little juicy, most probably because I used frozen fruit.

I've been in the mood for a chewy flapjack, so decided to give this recipe another go.

Everything was fine. The bake was perhaps a little bit over at 45 minutes, but otherwise I would say it went well.

The disaster struck when I misguidedly left the flapjacks to cool completely in the tin. After turning it out, I could not slice them at all, without it breaking into misshapen unsightly pieces. I wrapped up the remaining unsliced block in foil, and it did soften a little bit after a couple of hours, but it was still not soft enough to slice adequately.

I felt that this was a waste of ingredients, so will be cautious before making this again.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Sticky Peach Cupcakes

Based on the Peaches and Cream Cupcakes recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery book.

These were fairly straightforward to make, nothing overly complicated.

I opted to not ice them as it was too soon after the Ginger Cupcakes debacle, and I couldn't face making another batch of icing. Instead I used vanillinsocker, which is essentially vanilla flavoured icing sugar, and sprinkled it over the top.

I renamed them 'Sticky Peach' cupcakes, as they did become very sticky, even before they had been dusted with the vanilla sugar; this may have been because I stowed them away into a tub when they were not completely cool (although they were pretty much cool). Also as there is no cream in the mixture, this part of the name must come from the icing, so I would have been slightly fraudulent if I had stuck with the original title.

I am personally not a fan of fruity cakes, whether the fruit is incorporated in the batter, or on the bottom/top. I like them even less when they make a layer, as there is that slightly sticky residue that occurs where the batter meets the fruit, so I was not overly impressed by these cakes, however as per usual, they were eaten by my ever willing colleagues - mainly because they were cakes, rather than that they were good.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Ginger Flapjacks

Recipe base from BBC Good Food (LINK)

I followed the advice of the comments and reduced the butter to 250g, and opted not to use the topping, so I added all the crystallised ginger and ground ginger to the base mix itself, which made them quite spicy, but not horribly so.

What I did do was bake the flapjacks in a rather large roasting tin for 20 minutes - this made them rather hard and biscuity, so should I do them again, I will use my smaller roasting tin to keep them chewy rather than crunchy.

Coconut Carrot Bites

Recipe base from BBC Good Food (LINK).

I was really looking forward to making this recipe, as I am a big fan of carrot cake. I added the remainder of my pumpkin seeds, and whilst they didn't hurt the cake, they didn't really add to it either.

The cake timings definitely need adjusting - I found the cake needed at least another 20 minutes after the topping was added, however the topping was nearly done after 10, so I needed to cover it with foil to protect it.

The resulting cake was moist yet somehow crumbly. I didn't feel it was as 'carrotty' as I would want; the predominant flavour was from the coconut topping - that could definitely have done with more butter - which was not unwelcome, however it made the carrot surplus to requirements in my mind.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Ginger Cupcakes

Ginger Cupcakes based on the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book.

The amount of ginger to use is a bit confusing as they say to use 200g and then reserve the syrup, so I think you are meant to weigh the ginger with the syrup, and then chop the ginger that is included.

I say this in retrospect, as I decided to weigh 400g of the ginger itself (I was making double the mixture), and when chopping the it, I found the process extremely tedious. Plus it looked like there was a lot of ginger. I ended up only chopping around 300g of the ginger.

The batter seemed very nice and smooth, and when I baked them (each tray was done in 21 minutes), they seemed to have had a nice consistency.

The recipe required the sugar syrup that the stem ginger came in to be mixed with water and then reduced, but this seemed unnecessary to me, so I just spooned over the gingery syrup straight from the jar.

The Icing. This is where it all went wrong. The recipe called for ginger infused milk, to which I thought I should add a bit of vanilla extract. I think this curdled the milk. In the future, when wanting to add vanilla to icing that involves milk, I will make sure I use vanillinsocker or vaniljpulver as they do not have alcohol, and are dry ingredients, so should not curdle it.

As upsetting as the icing was, I think the cakes were good - nice consistency, but I think I would prefer ginger flavour, rather than ginger pieces.

Doubling the quantities yielded 28 cupcakes (my muffin tin is slightly smaller than standard).

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Blueberry Cake

Recipe based on The Hummingbird Bakery Recipe Book.

The batter was lovely and smooth, and I thought I would make it extra special by using my precious handpicked Swedish blueberries that a colleague and I had collected, and then put into the freezer (after washing them of course).

Despite the recipe recommending that the cake go into a 25cm ring tin, I found the batter quite plentiful, and barely fitted into my 26cm ring tin.

The cake took over an hour to bake, and developed a large unsightly crack on the top (something I am becoming more accustomed to seeing when following recipes from this book), which then became oozy during its bake.

I was unhappy with the way the cake turned out; it was quite a damp one, and I've never been a fan of that type (which is probably why I don't like fruit cakes), so didn't feel it was worth my while to ice it.

Chocolate Covered Banana Cake Poops

Yes, they are Cake Poops, not Cake Pops.

One, because they looked like poops, and two, because they are - strictly speaking - not cake pops.

I was baking banana cake based on the Hummingbird Bakery book, and I could tell it wasn't quite going well; the cake looked like it was baked when it still had at least 30 minutes to go. It clearly wasn't done, so I decided to risk it and go for a run - ostensibly for 20 minutes, but as a non-runner, and indeed non-exercise-anything-person, it took a little bit longer, and I returned to a very well done and slightly sunken cake.

In its defence, it was still edible, but it looked terrible. I couldn't present that!

I decided to try and salvage the cake as I can't abide waste (have I mentioned that before?!)

I cut the well done edges off and crumbled the cake inner (which tasted very nice, by the way, it just had the appearance of a Jamaican Ginger Cake!) then mashed them into healthy sized balls (about the size of a ping pong ball), and then dipped them in dark chocolate melted with a bit of butter.

I chilled them in the fridge for just under an hour, and by which point they still kept their shine, yet were firm and cool enough to eat. They were delicious. I would definitely do something like this again, but only if the cake looked like it had been hit with the ugly stick.

When I later managed to get on-line, I then discovered that cake pops are actually crumbled cakes mixed with a bit of buttercream icing and then chilled before dipping into chocolate.

I state now that the likelihood of me ever making cake pops is minimal. Cake Poops all the way.