Easy Peasy Lemon Squeasy Carrot Cake.

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We are un busy having a very lazy Sunday today. I’ve been tackling the washing and ironing pile whilst L and Mr Bake were out getting L’s latest Ju Jitsu belt (orange now) and K’s been busy singing the songs from frozen and building a mansion on The Sims.

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It’s nice to be able to potter at home, we’ve had a very busy few weeks. Yesterday L had a birthday party at ours which Mr Bake had responsibility for whilst K and I went and checked out a local vintage craft fair. I think the boys had a fun time, the noise when I got home was certainly epic!

My garden has been quite neglected recently but it doesn’t seem to have done it too much harm. The weeds are long and wild but the peas are a bumper crop and my cauliflowers have survived for the first time ever which is pretty fab

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My brother in law has also gifted us a large number of carrots (primarily for Mr Bake to juice) but I stole a few to make this quick cake for Sunday Lunch dessert. It’s a bit different due to no raisins (I’m the only person at Chateau Bake who will eat them) and the addition of lemon instead of orange. Hope you enjoy it!

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Lemony Carrot Cake

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup walnuts
1 tsp mixed spice
3/4 cup vegetable oil

200g icing sugar
60g cream cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 170c.
2. Whisk together the sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add carrots, oil, nuts, mixed spice, lemon juice and zest and combine.
3. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix with a spatula until combined. Put in greased cake tin.
4. Bake for 40 minutes.
5. Once cooled, mix icing sugar and cream cheese until smooth and top the cake.

Summer Fruits Madeleines

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My garden is currently brimming with fruit. My strawberries are fabulous if a little rustic looking and I have redcurrants on my redcurrant bush for the first time in four years! All these summer fruits, and a bit of summer sunshine has got me in a very summery mood and these madeleines fitted the bill perfectly.
Now I feel an apology is in order for how long I’ve been missing. Life is sometimes just too busy and I’ve had some big events and occasions over the last few months.
Firstly, my parents renewed their wedding vows for their 25th wedding anniversary. Not only was it a great day, I got to make my first multi tiered cake.

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I also took my beautiful daughter to her first concert (Katy Perry), made a friends daughter her Holy Communion cake, presented at the Autism Show and now I’m getting ready for the end of term. Phew, busy!

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Anyway, here is the recipe for the Summer Fruits Madeleines – I’m hoping the next few weeks will be less busy!

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Zesty Summer Fruit Madeleines with Coconut Topping

2 free range eggs
100g caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lime
100g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
100g butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup Summer fruits (any you want)

150g icing sugar mixed with water.
50g deccicated coconut

1. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and frothy.
2. Add all the other ingredients and lightly whisk.
3. Put in the fridge for at least 40 minutes and preheat the oven to 200c
4. Butter and flour your Madeleine tin. Add mixture to each Madeleine and add approximately 1 teaspoon summer fruits.
5. Turn oven down to 180c and bake for 10 mins until light brown.
6. Once cool dip the top of each Madeleine in icing then in coconut.

Eat and enjoy!

Award Nomination

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Patty Liebster

I was passed an award from Lisa at a lyttle more. Thanks Lisa! Here are the answers to your questions x

1.) If you could be anywhere in the entire world, where would you go?

I have always wanted to visit the North of Italy, so maybe there or Paris. I love Paris!

2.) If you had a super power, what power would you have and why?

To teleport where ever I want. I hate flying and public transport due to my claustrophobia so it would be great to get there independently! 

3.) If you had to pick one food to eat for the rest of your life, what is it?

Cheese on toast. I just love it.

4.) Do you prefer to be cold or hot?

Hot because I am a cold blooded person. Although I can’t cope with an extremes of temperature.

5.) Lake or Ocean? Why?

Ocean. I love the sea and it just seems more interesting than lakes.

6.) Favourite animal?

Penguins. Whats not to love?

7.) What would you do with $1 Million if you had it?

I’d give up my job to be a stay at home mum and buy a big house with a massive kitchen

8.) Do you have any pet peeves?  If so, what are they?

Rudeness and arrogance. Manners don’t cost anything!

9.) What were you like as a kid?

Studious and bookish. Quite quiet but sociable and dancing every chance I could get.

10.) What’s your favourite way to spend a Saturday?

With Mr Bake and the Juniors doing something that makes us happy.

 

I nominate:

http://theretroteapot.wordpress.com/

http://bakingwithgab.com/

http://charlottehoatherblog.com/

http://www.foodiebaker.com/

http://lovelybuns.wordpress.com/

http://passthemixingbowl.com/

http://sugarandspicebaking.com/

http://notimeforironing.wordpress.com/

And my questions for my nominees are:

  1. What one thing in your wardrobe could you not be without?
  2. What’s your best stress reliever?
  3. Spender or a saver?
  4. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say?
  5. If you could learn one random skill, what would you learn?
  6. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
  7. What’s something that amazes you?
  8. Whats your favourite colour? Why?
  9. What’s your favourite gadget?
  10. When do you find yourself singing?

Rhubarb Frangipane Tart and A Breakfast Date

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On Tuesday a very rare thing happened, Mr Bake and I were both off work and the juniors were in school so we decided a treat was in order. I didn’t tell Mr Bake where we were off to and he tried to guess for the whole 50 minutes it took us to get there (as well as complain about how hungry he was!). Our treat? Breakfast at Bettys Tearoom in Ilkley, North Yorkshire.

Bettys tearoom is a Victorian style tearoom that’s most famous for afternoon tea, but their breakfasts are pretty awesome too. I had brioche french toast with bacon and first a coffee made with chocolate syrup and cinnamon and then some china rose tea, whilst Mr Bake had kedgeree and black coffee. It was a strictly no phones environment which was lovely and meant we could have a very good chat about trying to sell our house ( which we are trying to do at the moment) and me maybe going back to university to complete my Masters Degree.

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Mr Bake bought me some macarons and we got some nice bread to have with our dinner. The passion fruit macarons were amazing! As Mr Bake paid for these he spotted a rhubarb Frangipane tartlet that he commented on and I replied that I thought I had a recipe for something similar so of course he’s nagged me since to be making it! As it was, the recipe I had was for rhubarb cheesecake so I had to cobble this together from a variety of recipes but I’m happy with how it turned out.

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Rhubarb Frangipane Tart

Pate Sucree dough

Frangipane
100g unsalted butter, soft
45g caster sugar
2 eggs
75g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
1 tsp almond extract

2 large sticks of rhubarb
100g caster sugar
1 orange zested and juiced
2 cloves of cardamon crushed
30g flaked almonds toasted

1. Line a 28cm tart tin with the Pate Sucree dough and chill for 1 hr.
2. Slice half the rhubarb thinly (I cut mine into 3 inch lengths and then sliced length wise) and lay flat in a tray. Pour over 1/2 the orange juice and zest and half the sugar.
3. Blind bake the pastry case at 180c for 15 minutes with baking beans. Remove beans and bake for 10 more minutes.
4. Whilst the pastry is baking chop the other half of the rhubarb and place in a small pan with the rest of the sugar, the cardamon and orange juice. Stew for 15-20 minutes until you have a rhubarb jam.
5. To make the Frangipane, mix together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon of flour and mix. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix to a paste.
6. Stream the rhubarb jam in the base of the pastry case. Cover with Frangipane and top with rhubarb slices.
7. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.
8. Top with toasted almond slices, remaining orange zest and a dusting of icing sugar.

Serve warm with cream or vanilla yoghurt.

Maundy Thursday & Tarte Aux Citron

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I hope you are all having a fabulous Easter break – here at Chateau Bake Maundy Thursday was especially exciting and special for us as L was lucky enough to be chosen to support the Royal Maundy Service in our local cathedral as on of the Royal Almonry Children. The day was full of pomp and circumstance and the service was very moving (seeing all the recipients of the Maundy Money so pleased and emotion was fantastic and made my eyes well up more than once.)

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As ever L took it all very much in his stride although he did at one point suggest he may try and “high 5″ Her Majesty which worried me slightly!
It certainly wasn’t a day we will forget being involved in in a hurry.

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Good Friday saw us back to normal life though and we spent the best part of the day trampling round the local nature reserve. Today has been even more reserved with a bit of tidying and then a dose of Harry Potter on the telly. This afternoon also saw my first attempt at Tarte Aux Citron and once I’d got over the number of eggs and lemons in this I went at it wholeheartedly. I think next time I attempt it I will give it 5 minutes less in my oven. I won’t replicate the recipe here as I followed the sainted Mary Berry to the letter but here is the link

Hope you all have a very blessed Easter xx

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Galette Des Rois (King Cake)

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Hello all, I didn’t mean to go away for so long. Doesn’t life get so busy?? I’m lucky enough to be enjoying the beginning of my Easter break whilst the juniors returned to school today with much huffing and puffing. The house being so quiet is strange for a holiday although I’m sure within hours of them being home from school I will be thinking something else!

It feels a little unusual to be blogging about a traditional epiphany linked dessert towards to end of lent but Mr Bake (who is also back to work today after two weeks off with the juniors) requested it especially so here it is. I must confess a weakness for nut based purees and creams within tarts and this lovely ticks all the right boxes by the inclusion of a creamy hazelnut paste hiding under the apple. I do believe it’s not a traditional Galette Des Rois as the puff pastry doesn’t cover the top of the pie plus there is an inclusion of sliced apple to give to some tart contrast to the hazelnuts.

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Galette Des Rois ( via The French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo)

1 packet ready made puff pastry ( or be clever and make your own!)

150g hazelnuts, shelled

1 apple

100g butter (plus extra for greasing tin)

75g sugar

1 egg

  1. Line the bottom of a 18cm cake tin with grease proof paper (I also added a strip to go over the sides to help lift it out) and butter the sides.
  2. Cut a piece of pastry to cover the bottom of the tin. Cut 2 strips with a zigzag pattern at the top to put in as the sides. Press down the sides to seal with the piece at the bottom.
  3. Put pastry lined tin in the fridge to chill for 30mins. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  4. Toast hazelnuts in a dry pan until brown. Blend till fine powder then add to the mixture the butter and sugar. Mix until combined then add the egg. Mix.
  5. Smooth paste into the chilled case and cover with a sliced apple.
  6. Turn the oven down to 180c and bake for 45 minutes.

 

I do Eclair I’m Back!

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Ho Ho Holy Hiatus! Hello people, how are you all? I’m not entirely sure what happened for me to take a break but I think it may have been a combination of back to school in September, a super busy time through Autumn, The Great British Bake Off (wasn’t it fab?!) a new member of the family and a general lack of time.

A new member of the family? This is Ozzy. Our lovely old cat Vampyre sadly died in September. We quickly realised we missed cat cuddles and we wanted a new friendly fur baby to join us. Mr. Bake went to the local rescue centre after hearing about some tuxedo kittens and came back with this gorgeous boy (who is a Blue Marbled Bengal!)

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He’s gorgeous and a bundle of fun but has a strong streak of naughty running through him. He’s super sociable though and loves a cuddle. As you’d expect the Juniors love him!

On the baking front I’ve been busy and will post some recipes over the next few weeks. My biggest achievement was getting to grips with choux pastry. I’m not sure why, but I’d decided that it was probably fiendishly difficult to make and was massively surprised at how easy I found it. Afternoon to spare? Give these bad boys a go!

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Ingredients

50g (1 ¾ oz) butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing

75g (2 ½ oz) plain flour

2 large eggs, beaten

300ml (10fl oz) double or whipping cream

100g (3 ½ oz) plain dark chocolate (about 40% cocoa solids) finely chopped

100ml (3 ½ fl oz) double cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan 200°C/425°/Gas 7). Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. To make the éclair mixture (choux pastry), put the butter in a heavy-based pan with 150ml (5fl oz) water and heat until the butter melts.
  3. Bring to the boil, tip in the flour, then remove from the heat. Stir vigorously.
  4. When a smooth paste develops, return the pan to the heat, stirring. The mixture will dry out a little and form a soft ball that comes away from the sides of the pan.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat again, leave the mixture to cool slightly, then gradually add the eggs, beating really well between each addition until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1cm (½ in) plain nozzle.
  7. Sprinkle the baking sheet with water (a water spray with a fine nozzle is good for this). 8. Pipe the mixture onto the baking sheet into 7.5cm (3in) lengths, leaving room between each éclair for them to spread a bit.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190°C (fan 170°C/375°F/Gas 5) and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  9. Split each éclair in half lengthways and transfer to a wire rack to cook completely.
  10. To make the icing put the chocolate and double cream in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring until smooth and shiny.
  11. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave the icing at room temperature for about 30-35 minutes, or until it is cool and thick enough to coat the éclairs without dripping off them.
  12. Once the éclairs have cooled, whip the cream and spoon or pipe it into the bottom half of the éclairs.
  13. Dip the top half of each éclair in the icing, then place on top of the whipped cream.

A minor Hiatus and a Catch-Up

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Hello all, sorry I’ve been “away”, it all started with thisd99fa0226aee252695fc9222e9c62cd8

Isn’t that crazy?! With working full time, after school clubs/activities, my gym time, extended family commitments and general boring home stuff (like housework) I just felt like my time was running away from me and this summer my holiday time is shorter than usual. I just wanted to make sure I made time for the Juniors. It meant I needed to step back a bit and taste the moment – Harry Potter on the XBox with L instead of cleaning the oven – sure. Watching K learn how handstand in the pool instead of ironing – definitely.  Helping the Juniors learn and explore and try out new things? Unrepeatable time.

Don’t worry though, I, sometimes we, have been baking. I made this cake for a local charity event (it’s so important to support community) – it’s the worlds best chocolate cake inside and I promise to come back with the recipe soon as it certainly needs its own post.Breast Cancer Cake

I practiced my icing techniques265

L and I made this amazingly gorgeous Raspberry Ripple Cake from Domestic Sluttery which is now in my top 3 cakes of all time – I beg you to bake it, it’s fantastic.

Raspberry Ripple Cake

 

And I have remembered how to crochet and been working hard on this monster of a blanket.

Yarn buster blanket
CuddlesAnd we’ve cuddles, swam, movie watched, played, laughed, redecorated bedrooms

257 and just generally been together.  Hope you have had a beautiful summer too xx

 

Raspberry Cakewell and Summer Pottering.

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raspberry cakewellHello all, hope you are enjoying summer in style – we have been super busy as ever and here is a quick catch up.

Before all that can I urge you to try this recipe. It’s from The Clandestine Cake Club Book and it’s called a Raspberry Cakewell (the first rule of cake club – any idea can be turned into a cake ….) I replicated the recipe entirely and so can’t claim it as my own but PLEASE GO GET THE BOOK AND MAKE IT DAMMIT! This cake is very definitely undoing all my recent good work at the gym..

In other news, it was L’s 8th Birthday. Am I the only mum in the world that feels sad at each birthday passing? Of course I’m glad the Juniors are growing into their own independent people, I’m just alarmed by how quickly it’s happening.

L had a fab den building party for his birthday – a proper boys outdoors adventure with smoke and stink bombs, camouflage, sticks as guns and muck – lots of muck. The kids had a great time and it was seriously low stress, a great day all round. Obviously I can’t post photos of other children on the ‘net, but here are my two enjoying the day.

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Happy holidays people xx

Summer Fruit Tart for Summer Days

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Summer fruits tart

I hope you have all been enjoying the lovely weather as much as we have. My garden has been very productive and alongside some totally delicious strawberries we have also been able to harvest some super sweet baby carrots and some “natures sweeties” aka peas.

Carrot picking OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs for the strawberries, what a bumper crop this year! We have harvested a full bowl of ruby red fruit every evening for almost two whole weeks and there are still more to come. As you can imagine, I’m starting to be a little creative about using them and as a result we had a delicious summer fruit tart for a summery dessert.

This isn’t the easiest think to make but if you wanted a cheat why not use a packet of pastry (I won’t tell!)

Summer fruit tart

Summer Fruit Tart

Sweet Pastry Crust:

  • 195 grams all purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 50 grams granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Pastry Cream:

  • 300 ml milk (whole)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 50 grams granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon liqueur (Grand Marnier, Brandy, Kirsch) (optional)

Apricot Glaze: (optional)

  • 120 grams apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Topping:
  • 3 cups (720 ml) fruit (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, kiwifruit, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, etc.)

Sweet Pastry Crust:  In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt. Place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the beaten egg, beating just until incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball. Flatten the pastry into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or just until firm (can place in freezer for about 10-15 minutes.)

Lightly butter and flour, or spray with a non-stick vegetable/flour cooking spray, an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom. Evenly pat the chilled pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 205 degrees C and place rack in center of oven. Lightly prick bottom of pastry crust with the tines of a fork (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes). Place tart pan on a larger baking pan and bake crust for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees C and continue to bake the crust for about 15 minutes or until dry and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before filling. Can be covered and stored for a few days.

Pastry Cream: In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, mix the sugar and egg yolks together. (Don’t let the mixture sit too long or you will get pieces of egg forming.) Sift the flour and corn flour together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the milk and vanilla bean just to boiling (just until milk starts to foam up.) Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. (If you get a few pieces of egg (curdling) in the mixture, pour through a strainer.) Remove vanilla bean, scrape out seeds, and add the seeds to the egg mixture. (The vanilla bean can be washed and dried and placed in your sugar bowl to give the sugar a vanilla flavor.) Then pour the egg mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly. When it boils, whisk mixture constantly for another 30 – 60 seconds until it becomes thick. Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using). (Stir in vanilla extract is using instead of a vanilla bean.) Pour into a clean bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Cool to room temperature. If not using right away refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. Beat or whisk before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.

Apricot Glaze:  Heat the apricot jam or preserves and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until liquid (melted). (Can also heat in the microwave.) Remove from heat and strain the jam through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.

To Assemble Tart: To remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan, touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down your arm. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto your platter.

Spread a thin layer of apricot glaze over the bottom and sides of the baked tart shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy. Let the glaze dry (about 20 minutes). Then spread the pastry cream onto the bottom of the tart shell. Place fruit randomly on top of cream or in concentric overlapping circles, starting at the outside edge. After arranging the fruit, rewarm the glaze, if using, and gently brush a light coat on the fruit. If not serving immediately, refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving. This fruit tart is best eaten the same day as it is assembled. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

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