Monday, 30 January 2012

C is for...'Cheese Board' Scones

C is for 'Cheese Board' Scones
Scones are another  favourite that brings back fond memories of family holidays spent in Devon when I was a child. The highlight of a day out would be a stop at a local tea shop where we would enjoy a traditional Devon cream tea....fresh baked scones filled with clotted cream and home made strawberry jam, all washed down with a pot of tea! 
This weeks baking idea was inspired by the cheese board course that I shared with friends a few weeks ago, how nice it would be to replicate the flavours of these fantastic cheeses and their accompaniments into savoury bakes. 
I made full size scones, but you could make tiny ones that could accompany your own cheeseboard...yum yum....So here we go with cheese and apple flavour!
8oz self raising flour
1.5oz butter at room temperature
3-4 oz grated cheese, I used equal quantities of strong cheddar and feta
I eating apple peeled and chopped into small pieces
1tsp baking powder
1tsp English mustard, or experiment with your favourite 
1/4pt milk  
pinch of salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 400°F/205°C/Gas 6
Grease and flour a baking sheet.
Sieve the flour into a roomy baking bowl then add the butter, baking powder, pepper and salt. Quickly rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in mustard, cheese and apple
Make a well in the centre and using a dinner knife, stir in enough milk to make a soft, pliable dough.
Turn the mixture on to a floured board and knead very lightly until just smooth then lightly roll out to 3/4" thick.
Cut rounds with a 2" cutter 
Place on the baking tray and brush with milk. Sprinkle grated cheese on top of each scone Bake near the top of the hot oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.
When cooled fill with soft cream cheese and onion jam (or your own favourite relish) 

I made lots of variations on this idea, substituting the apple with one of these ingredients to the basic cheese recipe. You can of course keep the apple goes nice with celery!
Pecans,walnuts, celery, ham, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, dried apricots or dates, onion....chopped and mixed in. The list is endless, let your imagination run wild....If you like chillies then chop a few of them up and mix in, but do warn your guests!!!
Experiment with different cheeses.
Sprinkle poppy, sesame seeds over them before baking....or pop a slice of tomato on top for added interest...ohhhh how about Pizza scones, replacing the mustard in the dough for a few pinches of dried basil, then adding a few chopped sun dried tomatoes and onions, topping with mozarella....I have not experimented with this variation but it sounds scrummy!!! Maybe I will try it tomorrow :)
Have a great week and if you make any of my cakes or bakes I would love to hear from you:) Hugs 4 smiles Maxine x

Monday, 23 January 2012

B is for.......

B is for....Battenburg celebrate the Queens Jubilee

Battenburg Cake was created in 1884 to celebrate the marriage of Queen Victoria's granddaughter Princess Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenburg. The checkerboard of sponges represents the four princes of Battenburg Louis, Alexander, Henry and Francis Joseph. 
Having researched a little of the history of this cake I decided I would do my own twist on this favourite as a celebration cake for our Queen who has her Diamond Jubilee later in the year. So red, white and blue colours combined with fruit that will be in season when he celebrations begin...Instead of traditional marzipan I have made a variation using coconut......enjoy x

Line a 7" square tin with baking parchment, making a pleat down the middle that stands about 2" high. this divides the tin so the 2 flavours can be baked at the same time
Pre heat oven  350 F, fan oven 180C, gas mark 4

To make sponge
4oz each of flour, sugar,softened butter,2 eggs, 1tsp baking powder.
Using the all in one method beat together until light and fluffy.
Divide mixture between 2 bowls. add a few drops of red food colouring and a few drops of vanilla extract to one bowl, then fold in 3oz chopped strawberries. Into the 2nd bowl add some blue food colouring and a few drops of lemon extract, then fold in 3oz whole blueberries.
Put mixture into separate sections of pan
Bake for 20/25 mins until risen. remove from oven and leave to cool.

Make a quantity of butter cream to your own recipe, I flavoured mine with vanilla extract.

To make coconut marzipan (you may prefer to use traditional white marzipan)
8oz icing sugar, 4oz dessicated coconut, lemon juice
Mix together ingredients until combined adding more lemon juice if needed.
Knead on a board dusted with icing sugar until its dough like. Cover with clingfilm so it stays workable until its needed. 

Sandwich sponges together with strawberry jam and butter cream. Cut the cake lengthwise
Spread jam and butter cream along one side of sponge and reversing other sponge join them together, so you get a chequered pattern.Trim with a sharp knife
spread a little butter cream on outside of cake and cover with rolled out coconut marzipan.
I decorated my cake with little silver balls, flags, chocolate sticks blueberries and strawberries.
...slice and eat with a nice cup of tea
Yumm yumm

With hugs 4 smiles Maxine x


Monday, 16 January 2012

A is for.......

A is for....Amazing Pina Colada Angel Cake!

When I was a little girl my Gran always provided a Sunday high tea.....We would have crumpets, that were soft and squidgy, and when you bit into them the butter would run down your chin. Sandwiches piled high, the bread would be home-made, fillings of cheese, ham, egg and salmon, all cut into neat triangles with their crusts cut off. Then the cakes.....buttered scones and jam, fairy cakes, fruit cake and my very favourite angel cake. layers of sponge in pink. yellow and cream, all sandwiched together with butter cream....memories eh

All my cakes and bakes are based on traditional recipes with my own with memories of my  Grans cake, my thoughts turned to holidays and cocktails, which always seem much nicer in the hot sunshine, but less appealing on a dull day at home. So I combined the flavours of a pina colada (without the rum) into my version of angel cake......  tropical delight indeed....Now for the recipie

Grease and line a 7" square baking tin
Oven 190 Fan assisted 180 Gas mark 4 

10oz each of flour, caster sugar, softened butter
2tsps baking powder
5 eggs 
2 tsps vanilla extract
2oz coconut
5oz fresh chopped pineapple or 5oz tinned pineapple drained and chopped
a few drops of pink and yellow food colouring

Butter cream
8oz icing sugar
4oz  softened butter 
I tsp vanilla extract
2/3 tsps  warm water

I always use the all in one method for making sponges, but you can choose to make them to your own method.

Sieve flour and baking powder together into a large bowl
Add sugar, butter and eggs and mix together slowly at first and as mixture combines turn the speed up until the mixture is light and fluffy

Divide the mixture equally between 3 bowls.
In first bowl add coconut and a few drops of pink food colour to sponge mix, fold together gently with a metal spoon
In second bowl add 1-2 tsps of vanilla essence to sponge mix, fold together gently with a metal spoon
In third bowl add pineapple and yellow food colouring, mix gently together with a metal spoon

If mixture is too thick then add a little milk. The sponge with the pineapple in needs to be thicker to hold the fruit.

Pour pink coconut mixture into tin and level off the top
bake for about 15-20 mins until risen (depending on your oven)

Bake each cake separately until risen 
Turn out on a wire rack to cool

Repeat with other 2 sponges

Butter Cream Filling
Cream all ingredients together then beat well until light and fluffy

I cut the sponges in half and put them in the freezer for another day as a full size cake is to much for us two this week. But the full size cake is lovely  for a family, or impressive for a celebration cake....You can trim the sides of the cake to reveal the then get to eat the left overs....or if you are on a diet feed the dog or birds!!! he he

Sandwich the layers together with the butter cream. Spread top with butter cream and sprinkle with coconut.  I decorated the cake with pineapple, cut up fruits on a shortened kebab stick, chocolate sticks and wafer daisies skewered on sticks. The choice is yours :) Think tropical, beach, sunshine!!!

These can also be made as cupcakes using smaller quantities of mix. Dividing mixture into 3 separate bowls (as above). Into cup cake cases spoon 2 tsps pineapple mixture in first, on top of that 2tsps coconut mixture followed by 2tsps vanilla mixture. Bake as regular cupcakes until risen, then cool on a wire rack.

Once cool top with vanilla butter cream or a frosting of or choice. Sprinkle topping with coconut and decorate with fresh fruit.  

Here I have cut the cupcake in half to show you the layers. They do tend to merge into each other....but they still taste scrummy.....

I hope you enjoy making these cakes and you can be really creative using different fruits and flavours and decoration....

If you have a go at these or devise a variation of your own I would love to hear from you. Happy baking 

Hugs 4 smiles M xxx

Friday, 13 January 2012

Cakes and Bakes from A-Z x

Hello everyone:) Hope Christmas and the New Year was Happy and Bright one for you all? Unfortunately I have been unwell since the beginning of December, missed the day itself as I slept most of it! I am still undergoing tests and hopefully it wont be long before I am to speed once again:)

Anyway having not been creative recently I have been baking when I have had the energy. I love to experiment using a bit of tweak and a twist, changing basic recipes, and making them my own. So I have decided to set myself a challenge and over the next 26 weeks I will be posting up an A-Z of my ideas for cakes and bakes. I am working on 'A' right prepare and get your whisks, spoons and bowls out!

This is a little bit like a mystery quilt idea, but you get to eat each weeks delights, and build up a cake and bake recipe collection over 26 weeks to inspire and amaze family and friends!

These are made with love and joy....have fun....'A' will be ready by Monday! Hope lots of you join in....and have fun?

Hugs 4 smiles Maxine x