Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bacon and Cheese Bread

Based on a recipe from (LINK)

I omitted the beetroot, as I didn't have any, and I am trying to be a bit more practical by not buying additional ingredients, and just using what I have.

I waited around 10 minutes for some froth to appear on my yeast, water and sugar solution. It wasn't very much foam, perhaps 4 cm in diameter, however I was impatient, and unwilling to wait for much longer.

I didn't have sage, so used a teaspoon of dried oregano.

The dough seemed dry and not all of the flour had been absorbed - most likely due to the beetroot omission, so I added another 50 ml of water to compensate, and that seemed to work.

At first, the dough seemed quite fragile when kneading - it tore easily, so instead of flouring the surface (which I felt would make it quite dry), I oiled it with extra virgin olive oil. I ended up kneading the dough by hand for around 12 minutes, and it was far more elasticated by then, so the gluten in the flour must have been activated.

I proved the dough in an oiled bowl for just over an hour in the kitchen, and it had risen nicely (and adequately).

I'm not very good at rolling doughs, but managed to roll it into a sort of oval shape - far too wide, it turns out!

I decided to use a method I learnt when making swedish kanelbullar and spread the rolled out dough with butter to make it a bit more tasty. I used ordinary salted butter for this. I sprinkled my cheese (I used 90g), and bacon (6 rashers) on top. I would want to use a stronger cheese and more bacon (8 rashers), and perhaps some fresh or dried basil, to give it more of a kick.*

The baked loaf was a giant! What I will do in the future is make sure the seam of the roll is on the bottom. I didn't turn it as I had already made my artistic 'bakers cuts' on it, and they would have been adversely affected if I had. I baked the loaf for around 25 minutes at the recommended 220°C, and learning from my experience from the Essential White Loaf, I turned the loaf over, and baked it for another 5 minutes, however I turned the temperature off, and left the oven on.

Total oven time: 30 minutes.

*I have since repeated this recipe, and upped the bacon amount considerably - I think I used 12 rashers, and 150g of stronger Swedish cheese. This did make the bread far more 'self oiling' whilst it was baking, however when it was being eaten (please note that I didn't get a look-in myself), it didn't seem to need buttering, so there is that trade off.

On the inside

Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Oat and Raisin Cookies

Recipe base from Hummingbird Bakery book.

I have made this recipe several times, and only just realised with my last bake that I was meant to use dark brown sugar, rather than light brown.

I can't say that it has been hurt by the use of the light muscovado sugar.

They always seem to be a bit different when I make them, at least different to the image I have in my head! I don't think they have ever looked like they do in the picture. I would like to say that it is down to the non-use of dark muscovado sugar, however I am not convinced that this is the reason.

This time I added a little bit of cardamom, perhaps 1/5 teaspoon, however perhaps I would add a bit more next time, as I couldn't taste it at all.

They were still delicious.

I baked six to a tray at 170°C for 13 minutes, which was a minute longer than recommended. This was because despite flattening the ball shaped dough with the back of a wet fork, they didn't spread very far, and I wanted to ensure the centres were baked through.

The recipe said it would make 24 cookies; I made 35.

I would like to say that I am not making my Hummingbird Bakery cookie the 'correct' size, however the recipe also recommends just four baking trays, and to use just this, I would have to increase the cookies by approximately 50%, and I cannot see how six of that size would adequately fit on to the baking tray... unless my baking tray is small?? Nah, it's standard.

Batch made in a fan oven - 24 cookies exactly!
Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles

Recipe base from The Recipe Critic (LINK).

This recipe was sent to me by a colleague who I misguidedly believed was actually going to make them himself. After two or so weeks, I realised that the expectation was for me to bake them. So with some misgivings, I did.

'Why the misgivings?', I hear you cry, or more likely not. Well, firstly, I have never even heard of a snickerdoodle*, let alone know what one is meant to taste like. Secondly, the recipe involves Cream of Tartar (not commonly available as far as I know in Sweden), as well as caramel squares (after looking at the pictures, I think this is what I as a Brit, would refer to as fudge). Thirdly it requires browned butter, and after the last recipe that required this (see Triple Chocolate Merlot Bundt Cake), I was sceptical about going through the process for what I viewed as very little reward. Do Americans habitually brown butter for their baking?? I have only used it for one recipe, in which its unique flavour is key, and therefore is worth the trouble.

There! My three reasons for not doing them. I ploughed on, as once a recipe has piqued my interest, it will keep tickling my brain until I try it.

*I have since found out that a snickerdoodle is a biscuit (US cookie) rolled in cinnamon and sugar prior to baking.

Alterations to/Notes for recipe:

I had grand ideas of making my own fudge (yeah, right), so settled on that awful 'pick 'n' mix' fudge instead. I bought around 300g, which was more than enough for two batches. Upon reflection, I would get a better quality, or at least, softer fudge that would melt more readily to get the desired effect.
I used freshly ground salt that was at home - I do not think it was sea salt, however it seemed a smidgeon better than table salt.
All purpose flour is self-raising flour (not plain as I thought it would be) - 313g*
Butter - 227g
Dark Brown Sugar - used dark brown muscovado sugar - 250g
Granulated Sugar - 100g
Greek yoghurt - replaced with filmjölk (closer to buttermilk)
Cream of Tartar - replaced with white wine vinegar, added to the egg, egg yolk, filmjölk and vanilla extract
The batter was very soft when it came together, therefore was very easy to combine - I love recipes that require the butter to be soft (melted rather than browned).

First batch:

I refrigerated the batter for around an hour, and it was still very pliable and easy to handle.
I had cut the fudge into very small pieces, so used two or three pieces within the ball of dough.
After the first tray with six biscuits, that spread more than I expected, I reduced the number of biscuits per tray to four.
I think I made 20 biscuits, baking at 170°C for 9 minutes per tray.

Second batch:

Batter was refrigerated for around 6 hours, so was a lot stiffer. I would disregard the note to chill the batter overnight, as it would be impossible to work with.
Learning from the first batch, I cut the fudge lengthways into halves or thirds so that rather than using three cube-like pieces, I would use one or two slab-like pieces.
Four to a tray again, I made 21 biscuits, baking at 170°C for 9 minutes per tray.
Consistency next day, and day after that was still pleasantly chewy.
The browned butter definitely made a positive addition to this recipe.
I felt the 'rolling' sugar and cinnamon could have been reduced to 40g and 1.5 teaspoons respectively.

I may make these again, however I found them exceedingly sweet even with the contrasting salt sprinkling, so will not be rushing to make them again.

*correction! All purpose flour is plain flour. Not sure which information led me astray before!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe base from Hummingbird Bakery book

The batter was lovely and smooth, no complaints. I added more chocolate than was recommended, and I mixed white and dark chocolate rather than just dark.

I baked the cookies for 11 minutes each, and as with the Double Chocolate Chip cookies (see earlier post), I think this would have been alright with just 10 minutes as I found the biscuits a bit hard the next day.

The thing is I don't like homemade chocolate chip cookies, they always seem to taste a bit eggy to me, and this recipe was no different. I have been told about a Nigella Lawson recipe from her Kitchen book, that I may try, but I'm not sure I can be swayed on this.

The recipe should have produced 24 cookies; I managed to make 41.

Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Double Chocolate Cookies

Recipe base from Hummingbird Bakery book.

Once again, I committed the cardinal sin of melting butter and chocolate directly in the pan. I have to say, I doubt I will change this method; I'm impatient, and have no time to mess around with water-not-touching-the-bowl-above-which-will-overflow-anyway-as-I-don't-have-a-suitable-bowl faff.

I also knew that my laziness would mean that 'roughly chopped chocolate' would end up with ginormous chunks that wouldn't really work with the batter, so resorted to using chocolate chips instead. As I had about 100g of milk and dark chocolate each in chips, I used these rather than opening another bag of my precious dark chocolate chips, and convinced myself that it was alright as too much dark chocolate would be far too sweet. I also neglected to check my cupboard and didn't have enough light muscovado sugar, so topped up about 1/4 of the recommended amount with regular granulated (I wasn't going to use my hard-to-find caster sugar on this!).

The batter was very liquid, which I wasn't expecting - not sure why I didn't as the biscuits are mainly chocolate, and very little flour. Due to my aversion to sticky fingers (ironic, seeing as I love to bake), and also just the sheer impracticality of the attempt, I just used a dessert spoonful to mete out the cookies. The recipe said it should make 12, however I got 18 good sized cookies from the mixture; perhaps these were meant to be giant ones... the recipe didn't really state how large to make them, and any bigger would have resulted in more pans being used than the two that were recommended (I used three as I had 6 cookies per tray).

I found baking them for 12 minutes got them to the consistency and appearance that I thought was required, however in retrospect, 11 minutes would have probably been alright, especially to produce the chewiness that would be desirable in such a cookie.

I would definitely like to make these again.

Alongside Ginger and Oat Cookies

Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies

Based on the recipe from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.

The brownies came out perfectly, despite my misgivings that 125g of cream cheese was far too much.

As I regularly make blondies, with a recipe that requires self-raising flour, I found these rather flat and disappointing, although I knew that was exactly what they were meant to look like.

I commited the cardinal sin - mainly out of laziness - of melting my butter and chocolate directly in the pan over a low heat. I would never do this if I was melting chocolate alone, but I felt the fatty buffer of the butter(!) would protect the chocolate adequately.

The brownies tasted good, I managed to make 30 tiny bite sized pieces out of them, even despite surrendering what I felt would have made at least half of my bites to the baking paper. Perhaps I shouldn't also grease the baking paper.

I probably wouldn't bother making this again; to be honest, I only did them to use the cream cheese left over from the Multi-Coloured Velvet Cake debacle (see earlier post), as dear friends who know me, also know that I don't like to waste anything! 

Multi-Coloured Velvet Cake

Based on the recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book.

I decided to make a multi-coloured velvet cake to represent my school's house system by doing a layer of green, red, and blue, sandwiched and covered in yellow cream cheese icing.

That was the idea. I had grand visions of a tall cake covered in smooth yellow, with the awaiting surprise of the multi-colours within when sliced.

This cake hardly measured up.

I knew it wouldn't work out as soon as I failed to find sandwich tins (20 cm or otherwise) in my local shops (in Stockholm). After asking a few Swedes, it seems that the concept of layer cake is a bit foreign to them, at least baking the layers separately. Instead on the rare occasion that they would make a layered cake, they would make a regular/large cake, and cut it into the layers they wanted, and then reassemble. This would never do for me.

I compromised by buying disposable foil tins (23 cm diameter), and resolving to make batches as advised to produce 12 cupcakes, dye them accordingly, and then make cupcakes from the rest.

Disaster. First of all, I only added half as much red dye as needed, and only clocked that I had done so when they came out. A considerable amount of the red cake stuck to the bottom of the tin (yes, I did grease and flour it!). Then the green batter developed an unpleasant brown layer on its top and sides (as did the cupcakes). The blue was alright, but looked far more teal than the navy I was after.

Then the Lack of Cooling Racks Tragedy struck. Only having one, which was actually the removable grill part of the pan covered with baking paper, meant that the cakes didn't get the opportunity to cool properly as they were coming out of the oven - my oven is not a fan one, so I baked one cake at a time, followed by the 'residual cupcakes', and so on.

At this point, I was too far gone to even consider starting again, so tried to make the best of a bad job by cutting the discolouration off the cooled yet sweaty cakes. It wasn't so bad at this point.

Let's make the cream cheese frosting. Oh no! The ridiculously expensive weighing scales I bought merely because of the proximity of the shop and my need for them decided to give me a static electric shock, and refuse to work. I decided to freestyle with the measurements, and came out with some fairly decent icing, despite the yellow not making as much of a difference as I wanted it to.


Icing the cake. Literally, this was the icing on the cake. Trying to ice this cake with its exposed and crumby sides was a nightmare; the multi-coloured specks kept 'tainting' the icing, so I was unable to get the clean finish I was after.

The end result was a small, squat, sugary mess, that looked like I'd dropped it on the floor. I couldn't even bear to take a picture, I was so ashamed.

The cupcakes (and cake) tasted good, however looked extremely unappetising.


To improve (should I ever recover enough to return to the scene of the crime), I reckon I should make this as a pound cake, perhaps with a marbled or tiger effect. Although I have a feeling it will still not be what I want. To ice the cake, I will probably use royal icing (the stiffer one used for wedding cakes, I think) despite my aversion to icing - using and eating!

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Essential White Loaf

I based the recipe from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.

The instructions were very easy to follow, especially as I have seen bread being made many times. It was a very therapeutic process.

Based on what I remember of my mother's bread-baking, I decided to make a yeast solution, by combining the fresh yeast with 200 ml of warm water. I also decided to 'free-style' and add a teaspoon each of ground cardamom, and cinnamon to the flour.

I kneaded the dough by hand for around 20 minutes, left it to prove with a shower cap and tea-towel over the bowl for just over 2 hours, and proved it in its baking shape for around 40 minutes. I scored the top to make it appear a bit more rustic, plus I've heard that this gives the loaf a direction to prove and bake into.

The loaf seemed hollow when knocked after 36 minutes in the oven, however when cut, it was just that tiny bit doughy (see the second picture), so I think it could have been improved with perhaps 5 more minutes in the oven.

Cute, isn't she?

What I would change about the recipe is to use just 1.5 teaspoons of salt, rather than the recommended tablespoon. Nigella generally gives fantastic recipes that never need altering, however I think she likes a salty loaf; I found it a bit too much. In Nigella's defence, I have looked up bread recipes from other bakers that I also hold in high esteem, and they have also recommended around the same amount. I guess I'm just used to a less salty bread.
Slightly under baked at the bottom

All in all, I am happy with my very first attempt at making bread, and would definitely like to try it again.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Spiced Pound Cake

Based on Hummingbird Bakery Book Recipe

I couldn't find any lemon extract, so used 1/4 teaspoon of lemon essence, and 1/4 teaspoon of 'citrus powder' mixed in with the flour.

I've started a not-so-revolutionary tactic of leaving my butter out permanently (must buy a butter dish) so that it is nice and soft which works for most of my recipes.

I am happy with the way the cake turned out, the batter was lovely, velvety and smooth, and despite my cake tin being slightly bigger than recommended (26cm ring tin vs the advised 25cm), the batter filled it properly, and rose to fill the tin too.

I felt the cake was getting a bit too 'done' at 50 minutes, so put some foil over the top to prevent it from burning, and returned it to the oven for another 10 minutes.

Total cooking time: 60 minutes.

I topped it with some left over cream cheese frosting and chocolate frosting (yes, I combined them!). Not sure how this will work with the cake, however I wanted to get rid of the icing, so heigh ho!

Icing Mash Up!

Update: the second picture does not do this cake justice. The texture was perfect - baked completely, fluffy, and even.

Unflattering picture... it was truly spectacular
I have made and developed this recipe several times since, and it is definitely a go-to cake for me. I love its buttery-ness, along with its complex spices. Perfect with tea! I need to develop a single serve microwave version of this...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Coffee Cake

Base recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery book

The cake is massive! It actually require 450g apiece of sugar, butter, and flour, plus a whopping eight eggs! Once again, I misjudged my little bundt tin, and the cake was far too large. I felt it would be, and prepared a loaf tin for the excess, however still managed to overfill the bundt, and then felt it more appropriate to make 4 cupcakes with the remaining batter.

Note to self: the bundt tin should only be 2/3 full!

I used chocolate frosting (recipe from the same book), however this made far too much icing. Only half is needed. The butter wouldn't incorporate properly with the sugar, so in a desperate bid to save it, I zapped it in the microwave for 30 seconds. This made it more pliable, however I still was not happy with its consistency so I added around 15g of goats' cheese, which didn't affect the taste, but did get it closer to the desired creaminess.

The topping was meant to be finished with chocolate shavings and coffee beans - like I would bother! No; instead I sprinkled liberally with multi-coloured chocolate drops (white, milk, and dark)...before the cake had cooled properly. So they melted. I have renamed the cake 'Erupting Chocolate Coffee Cake', and put it down to artistic licence.

The centre of the cake did not bake properly, so I returned it to the oven sans tin (after its recommended 40-minute bake) for around 20 mins @ 150 deg C with foil around the outer edge and top. This helped it somewhat, but not entirely. I am hoping the icing can disguise any mishaps, however I am not convinced by my own hope!

The cupcakes are delicious, though, so the flavour is right, I just need to get the recommended 25cm ring tin. Ironically I saw it in the shop today, and decided not to buy it as I intended to bake bread tonight rather than cake.

Update: the centre was still a bit squidgy looking, and I put it down to using the bundt tin, so the entire quantity of the cake did not have an opportunity to bake properly. Edible, but I wasn't happy.

EBI: stronger coffee flavour (use 3 tablespoons of coffee for the coffee essence?)

Rating: 6/10 

Dalek on a night out?!
I'm reading this while I am updating my blog, and I am aware that I have written about this at a later point, however I am unsure whether I also mentioned that this cake is intended to be baked in a ring pan rather than a Bundt one! Well that's the case, and explains some of the issues I had with my initial attempt.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Triple Chocolate Merlot Bundt Cake

Recipe from Restless Chipotle (LINK)

Beautiful, extremely indulgent, chocolate cake

Requires around 600g of chocolate chips, and half a bottle of merlot for the cake and ganache.

I used a mix of dark and milk chocolate chips, pretty much 1:1.

The bundt tin I used was too small, so the cake rose above the edge, fortunately it didn't spill over. I felt this affected the baking time (1hr 10 minutes). I will get a larger tin for the next time I try this cake (which I will be doing)!*

My first ever Bundt

Whilst I appreciate that browned butter adds to the richness and depth of flavour, I think I will choose when to go through this process, depending on the intended consumers. My colleagues will probably not discern the difference between the flavours beyond 'chocolate', so if it is for them, I doubt I will go beyond just melting the butter.

The Cut
*I made my second attempt at this cake in March 2015, and following my notes, reduced the amount of batter in the tin. I may have been a bit too heavy handed with my reduction, as the cake that came out was pretty pitiful. I made cupcakes with the 'left over' batter, and they were pretty nice. I need to work out that happy fill point of the batter...

2nd attempt - March 2015

Monday, 25 November 2013

Pumpkin Butter and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Butter using recipe from OhSheGlows (LINK)

I used two prize 'Zumpkins' grown by a colleague. I don't have a cleaver, so had to use a lot of energy with my 'Psycho' style chef's knife to cut it into manageable pieces.

Roasted them at 170°C for around 1h and 20 minutes.

I didn't sieve the water out of them however I did leave the flesh to sit in a bowl after I scooped it out, went out to buy a hand blender, and some of the water had naturally seeped out by the time I returned, so I discarded the fluid.

I used light brown muscovado sugar instead of Sucanat or brown sugar as suggested.

The result was delicious, and indeed did taste wonderful on toast.

Butter, butter, everywhere

The seeds were another matter! Removing them from the flesh was a tedious affair, and at several points, I nearly gave up, however I could not bring myself to waste them.

I followed the recipe for roasting them from OhSheGlows yet again, and they turned out wonderfully. I roasted them at 170°C for 19 minutes, tossing them after 10 minutes, and they came out lovely and crisp; well worth it.

Good Snackin'
Should any more pumpkins come my way, I will definitely put them to use in this way again.

Stem Ginger and Oat Biscuits

Beautiful recipe based on (LINK).

Comments added as Baking Fanatic from first attempt:

Absolutely fantastic recipe! I completely agree with cookielover below; I used 1tsp of ground ginger, and half tsp of cinnamon, and it didn't hurt the recipe.
I wasn't sure what 'balls' of ginger were so I used about a fat index finger's worth - approx 2.5" - of root ginger, grated it, and squeezed the juice out through a tea strainer (not sure that clarifies anything!).

I have since looked up through the shopping list what was meant by stem ginger.

I did not bother to cube the butter seeing as it was to be melted.

Lovely chewy consistency - a much more comforting biscuit compared to the hardness and harshness of a 'regular' ginger snap. I managed to make 18 biscuits from this recipe.

Mine did not turn out as golden as the ones in the picture; perhaps my syrup was not golden enough, however I have a huge bottle to work through, so maybe I will try using some dark muscovado sugar next time to give a bit more colour... maybe replace 10 - 20g of light muscovado with dark muscovado.

Second attempt - I found Stem Ginger! Amazeballs!

The biscuits turned out lovely and chewy, however as it has been a while since the first attempt, I cannot compare the two.

They had disappeared by 9.30am in the office anyhow!

Will definitely do again.

Alongside Double Chocolate Cookies
Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Pumpkin Butter Cake

Recipe base from Baked Bree (LINK)

Substituted pecan nuts for pumpkin seeds to make the cake nut-free

Converted all cup measurements (with the exception of the pumpkin butter) to grams

2 cups of flour - 250g (used plain flour)

1/2 cup of butter - 113g (unsalted)
1 cup of sugar/1 cup of brown sugar (200g each)

I couldn't be bothered to grind my nutmeg so used 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg from the jar.

I forgot to buy baking soda, so used 4 additional teaspoons of baking powder, and omitted the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 

I used my own homemade 'Zumpkin' butter following the recipe from Oh She Glows (LINK).

I accidentally added 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin butter rather than 1 1/3, however it doesn't appear to have hurt the cake; I will update this once I have cut it tomorrow.

The batter seemed quite lumpy - mainly because I was impatient and didn't wait for my butter to become soft enough, so I couldn't cream my butter and sugar together properly. To be honest, I even if I had waited, I couldn't see how it would cream together due to the high sugar:butter ratio; I imagine it would have been more of a breadcrumb textured mixture.

The batter also seemed a lot more fluid than the picture on Bree's site, however this is probably down to the overage of pumpkin butter, plus the butter itself was a little bit fluid - I was too scared to boil it down further for fear of burning it!

I baked the cake for 50 minutes at 170°C, and it was a lovely burnished colour, however the cake tester was looking a little sweaty, so I covered the cake with foil, and returned to the oven for another 10 minutes. The cake looked done after this point, however just to rest my mind, I returned it to the oven with its foil hat with the heat off for another 10 minutes.

Total baking time: 1 hr 10 minutes.

I'm not sure why my icing wasn't as thick and white as Bree's... I'm not someone who really focuses on decoration, but one day, I will be bothered enough to find out!

As you can see the cake was a little bit moist on the inside. My oven is not fan-assisted, and most of the heat is around the edges due to the element within it, so this does not surprise me.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to alleviate this issue, please comment!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

Recipe base from Hummingbird Bakery book.

Using Pyrex cupcake tin (only good kind I could find in Stockholm so far), the recipe yielded 24 cupcakes. The recipe was meant to make 12 muffins, however this is with a larger size cup, so I was expecting 18, and was pleased to get to 24 cakes that filled their cases.

I did not mash the bananas too thoroughly, so cakes took around 26-29 minutes to cook thoroughly. I ran out of filmjölk (Swedish substitute for butter milk), so topped up with whole milk (approximately 2:1). First batter, I accidentally put the vanilla extract in with the dry ingredients, rather than the buttermilk-egg mixture, however I do not feel that it had an adverse effect on the results.

I mixed the caster sugar and ground cinnamon together (approximately 4:1) in a little bowl for an even topping. I preferred the cakes that had the topping put on just before baking as opposed to the ones that were topped and had to wait before their bake.

Ran out of cupcake cases, so made two mini loaf-lets, using 'free standing' cardboard cases. The cases were over full (perhaps 1 cm left after the batter went in), and consequently the cakes spread into a more comical rotund shape. Next time I use such cases, I will place them in a baking tin to prevent the spreading effect.

Loaf check @ 35 minutes - still far too moist, however the colour is good, so placed foil caps over them to prevent burning

Loaf check @ 45 minutes - still too moist. Returned to oven inside cake tins (along with foil caps), to give a bit more support

Loaf check @ 55 minutes - too moist

Loaf check @ 65 minutes - one loaf seems ready, the other is still not completely set. Returned both to the oven with tins and caps for 7 minutes

Loaf check @ 72 minutes - oops! Forgot to put the timer on. The skewer is not coming out completely clean, however I think that is down to the banana, plus I am tired, so I am taking it out. It will have to do. Will cool over night, and wrap in foil to take to work for fika tomorrow. It will be eaten either way!

The loaves were a disaster. There is far too much banana in there to bake properly in this format.

Muffin rating #1: 9/10

Loaf rating #1: 0/10

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

BanBan Bread

Originally based on Hummingbird Bakery Banana Loaf

I had to specify that the Banana Loaf recipe I used was on original base, but this cake has developed so much more for me.

The simple glory of the BanBan Bread
I have been making BanBan Bread fairly regularly for nearly 2 years now, and it is one of my most reliable recipes that I turn to when I have a banana surplus. It never fails. It's deceptively moist and delicated spiced that every complex mouthful is amazing. I am not a huge fan of banana cake, but I can easily put away a healthy slice of this cake, and still want more.

Only the lonely
Winter Chic
For my most recent bake of this, I dressed it up a bit with some vanilla cream cheese frosting, which gave it a surprisingly chic and wintry new look. I am always happy to eat cake without icing, but this gave a nice creamy accent.

Available at Samara's Baked Goods

Notes from original trial
Made 2 quantities, banana was probably above the recommended 200g per cake (I didn't weigh it exactly as they were frozen in bags; I think I used around 410g for the entire mixture).

Used light muscovado sugar rather than soft brown.

Batter seemed a little stiff for my liking, however I will always trust a recipe once!

Topped with brown sugar as I had a tiny bit left, but couldn't be bothered to put it back in the cupboard.

Cake Check @ 50 minutes: both cakes are baking well, lovely dark golden colour, smell good. Not leaving the skewer entirely clean but close, so covered with foil and popped back into the oven for 10 minutes.

Cake Check @ 60 minutes: both cakes pass the skewer test, however I am wary of the moistness of a banana cake so returned to the oven with their foil caps with the heat off for another 10 minutes to be sure.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

ANZAC Biscuits

Combined recipes from BBC Good Food, and

Personally, I was not pleased with the outcome, however I have to remember that both biscuits and cakes taste better when they are cool. Colleagues enjoyed them anyhow!

Comments made on BBC Good Food under samaraspuff

Rating: 6/10

Marbled Chocolate Brownies

Based on BBC Good Food Recipe: LINK

This is a good base recipe, however I feel that it needs tweaks.
The brownies went down a storm at work, despite the fact that I was a tad disappointed by the texture and consistency of them. When I have made brownies or blondies in the past, they have not been quite so indulgent and more sticky cake-esque, than moist butteriness.
I had reduced the butter to 200g, which I felt was the right amount, however should I make this again, I will change the flour to self-raising, increase the flour to 180g, adding 90g to the dark chocolate rather than 50g to even out the quantities of dark to white, and also provide more absorbency for the butter.
I found making the checkerboard effect rather tedious and messy, and found that the two different batters didn't bind together very well (perhaps because I didn't swirl them enough for the marbling), so I would probably exchange 100-120g of dark chocolate for 80-100g of milk chocolate, which may also reduce the richness of them. I was not able to get golden caster sugar here in Sweden, so mixed 150g light brown soft muscovado sugar, with 150g of white caster sugar. I may increase the white to muscovado ratio, as the latter also contributes to the richness of the brownie. To lighten the load of the arrangement of the batters, I will probably layer the batters, and then attempt some vigorous swirling for the marble effect.
The baking time and temperature definitely needs to be reassessed; after reading others' comments on the site, I checked the temperature and baking time on other successful brownie recipes that I have used and set the temperature at 180 deg C (non-fan assisted), and baked for 45 minutes. From the moistness of the brownie, it wouldn't have hurt it to be in the oven for another 5 minutes, however this temperature and time has been successful in the past. When I used a fan oven, I baked brownies at 170 deg C for 40 minutes, plus another 5 with the temperature off, but the fan on. I always cool brownies in their tin for 15 minutes before turning them out.
With this recipe I buttered and lined my tin (with light buttering on top of the paper), however I found that with the lack of 'stability' or binding-ness, the mixture stuck to the paper, and being someone who hates wasting things, I felt too much came away with the parchment.
I will probably try it again, however will have to experiment with it a couple of times before I think it is worthy of achieving an 8/10!

Rating #1: 5/10

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Based on Hummingbird Bakery book recipe.

Cakes came out rather moist, a bit too moist for my liking, although they were fully cooked.

I used vaniljpulver rather than the recommended vanilla extract due to availability, however I now have my bottle from the UK, so will use next time!

I only made 12, will definitely make more next time

Note to self:
TWO bottles of Dr Oetker's Red Food Colouring
Vanilla Paste from UK

Rating #1: 9/10

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Baking two Lemon Poppy Seed Cake based on a recipe found on (LINK).

Comments made directly on site after a first attempt at this cake; using these as a guidance on this time.

Cake Check @ 45 minutes - nice colour, however cake was far from being baked through. Covered with foil to prevent burning, and exchanged cooking shelf from a sheet to a traditional griddle style, and set timer for 15 minutes. Will check after 10 minutes.

Cake Check @ 60 minutes - Foil has done its job. One cake has passed the skewer test, however the other one is still not set. Replaced the foil and returned to the oven with the under-done loaf at the back of the shelf for another 5 minutes.

Weigh the mixtures when doing multiple cakes to ensure even amounts?

Cake Check @ 65 minutes - removed the cake that was done to cool. The other cake was setting but not there yet, so returned to the oven with its foil cap for another 10 minutes.

Cake Check @ 75 minutes - second cake has finally set. Returned to oven with foil cap for another 5 minutes.

80 minutes baking time in total.

It is late, so will take the cakes in to work whole; I am not bothered enough to slice them up.

Note to self:

Where recipe says 1.3 cups sugar for sauce, use 1/3 cup.
Use caster sugar for syrup (Strösocker Finkornigt)
Don't stir the syrup, it makes it crystallise

Rating #1: 9/10

Rating #2: 9/10 (a little bit drier than I wanted - perhaps from using the correct amount of syrup??)

a bit flatter than I'd like, but very tasty