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Tag Archives: baking
  • Posted on January 25, 2017

    Win a gluten-free baking bundle!

    We’re completely thrilled to be publishing a beautiful gluten-free baking book by Victoria Hall at the end of this month and are celebrating the release with a bundle giveaway in partnership with Real Foods!

    Simply answer the baking question below for your chance to win This is Gluten-Free by Victoria Hall and a selection of Real Foods ingredients needed for making Victoria’s delicious gluten-free Florentines.

    Gluten free baking bundle giveaway prize

    Selling a huge selection of naturally healthy and ethically sourced ingredients, Real Foods are one of Victoria’s favourite websites for buying gluten-free flours and other baking ingredients, such as nuts, seeds, chocolate, dried fruit and more. This brilliant baking prize bundle includes Doves Farm all-purpose gluten-free flour, Equal Exchange dark chocolate and If You Care baking parchment; as well as light brown sugar, flaked almonds, chopped walnuts, mixed peel, glacé cherries and a re-usable cotton organic bag from Real Foods with beautiful artwork by Edinburgh Sketcher.

    The competition closes on Tuesday 31st January and there will be one lucky winner. Good luck!

    Florentines

    Florentines are not quite a traditional cookie, more a suspension of nuts and fruit in a crisp but ever-so-slightly chewy caramel. Swathe the underside of these discs in dark chocolate and you have yourself a very elegant addition to your cup of tea. As robust as they are pretty-looking (thanks to being set with both caramel and chocolate), once completely cooled, they can be easily packaged up in a cellophane bag, decorated with a ribbon and given as a gift. My mum, in particular, would thank you for them.

    From start to serve: 1 hour l Prep: 10 minutes l Bake: 6–8 minutes

    Florentines

    30 g/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    75 g/ ⅓ cup soft light brown sugar

    30 g/2½ tablespoons plain/all-purpose gluten-free flour

    50 g/3 tablespoons double/heavy cream

    75 g/¾ cup flaked/slivered almonds

    25 g/3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts

    50 g/3 tablespoons mixed peel, chopped

    75 g/¾cup glacé cherries, chopped

    200 g/6½ oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate

    2 baking sheets lined with baking parchment or silicone baking sheets

    MAKES 12

     

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    In a saucepan set over a low heat, melt together the butter, sugar and flour. Add the cream to the pan, a little at a time, stirring after each addition. The mixture should be smooth and caramel in colour when you remove it from the heat.

    Stir in the almonds, chopped nuts, mixed peel and cherries until evenly distributed and everything is coated in the caramel.

    Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes; this will allow it to cool slightly and prevent over-spreading in the oven.

    Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart – they will spread to about 10 cm/4 inches in diameter. Flatten each mound slightly, then bake in the preheated oven for 6–8 minutes until golden all over and the edges begin to darken.

    Remove from the oven. Using the tip of a spoon, gently push the lacy edges of the Florentines towards the centre to create a more circular shape. Be very careful not to touch them at this stage, as the sugar will be extremely hot.

    Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.

    Once cool, melt the chocolate in a jug/pitcher in the microwave, or in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir to combine until molten and smooth and then coat the underside of each Florentine with a good layer of chocolate, setting upside down on a wire rack to cool.

    As the chocolate begins to set, use a fork to create the traditional wavy pattern on the underside of each Florentine and then allow to harden completely before serving. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

     

    This is Gluten Free by Victoria Hall

    This recipe is taken from This is Gluten-Free by Victoria Hall. Available now to pre-order.


    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, chocolate, 2017

  • Posted on November 11, 2016

    Vegan Baking!

    As November is World Vegan Month, we’ve decided that all our new recipes on this little blog will be vegan-friendly. Since, it’s cold and dark outside, we’ve also decided that we’re going to spend the weekend baking, and we don’t anyone to miss out! So, because it’s Friday and we’re feeling generous, here’s not one but two vegan recipes from our new book Brownies, Blondies & Traybakes. Enjoy!

    Cocoa Energy Bars

    Energy and protein bars are everywhere you look and it’s easy to understand why. They are the perfect snack for when you’re on the go and need to curb hunger pangs. These are made with unsweetened cocoa powder for a chocolate fix and almonds for added protein.

    75 g/½ cup sliced dried figs

    150 g/1½ cup rolled oats

    35 g/¼ cup oat flour

    25 g/⅓ cup chopped almonds

    120 g/1½ cups crisped rice cereal

    50 g/⅓ cup dark/bittersweet chocolate chips

    3 tablespoons brown sugar

    4 tablespoons cocoa powder

    50 g/¼ cup almond butter

    60 ml/¼ cup coconut oil

    115 g/⅓ cup brown rice syrup

    80 ml/⅓ cup almond milk

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    an 18 x 28-cm/7 x 11-inch baking pan, greased and lined with baking parchment

    Makes 12

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    Pulse the figs and oats together in a food processor and transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour, almonds, crisped rice cereal, chocolate chips, sugar and cocoa powder and mix well. Set aside.

    Melt the almond butter, coconut oil, rice syrup, almond milk and vanilla in a small pan set over a medium heat. Pour over the oat mixture and mix well so all the ingredients are well-coated.

    Pour the bar mixture into the prepared baking pan and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely before cutting into equal bars.

    Ginger Cashew Granola Bars

    Shortcuts are always handy when cooking around a busy schedule. Because the granola is pre-made here, this tasty tray requires only assembly, and a bit of patience while the bars stick together!

    200 g/1¾ cups plain store-bought granola

    60 g/½ cup well-chopped cashews

    40 g/¼ cup well-chopped crystallized ginger

    80 g/1 cup crisped rice cereal

    50 g/¼ cup almond butter

    115 g/⅓ cup brown rice syrup

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil

    a 20-cm/8-inch square baking pan, greased and lined with baking parchment

    Makes 12

    Mix the granola, cashews, ginger and crisped rice cereal together in a large mixing bowl. Add the almond butter, rice syrup and oil and mix well so everything is well-coated.

    Press the sticky batter into the pan and put in the refrigerator to set for at least 3 hours. Remove and cut into bars before serving.

    Variation: Candied citrus peel is a great alternative to crystallized ginger in this recipe and gives the bars a tropical burst of tangy citrus flavour.

    Brownies, Blondies & Traybakes is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with vegan, baking, chocolate, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, quick, sweet, healthy, 2016

  • Posted on October 6, 2016

    Pizza Month for all!

    October is National Pizza Month. Far be it from us to argue with a whole month dedicated to pizza, especially as we’re very excited about our new book Craft Pizza by Maxine Clarke, so we thought it was high time we shared a recipe with you. Since we’re inclusive sorts, and we don’t want anyone to miss out on cheesey pizza-y goodness, we’re sharing one of the several gluten-free recipes from the book. You’re welcome.

    Quinoa piadine with burrata, artichoke and lemon and olive tapenade

    This gluten-free quinoa dough is very versatile – make one large pizza-size or small snack-size piadine. It can even be stamped out into mini bases for cocktail nibbles. It is a great alternative to pizza dough, is more like a crisp tortilla and has a lovely nutty flavour. Quinoa flour is readily available in health food shops.

    125 g/1¼ cup quinoa flour

    125 g/1 cup buckwheat or brown rice flour

    ½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of/baking soda

    25 ml/1 ¾ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    approximately 175 ml/¾ cup warm water

    250 g/9 oz. burrata cheese, roughly chopped

    200 g/7 oz. artichokes preserved in oil (or grilled/broiled artichokes from a deli)

    LEMON AND OLIVE TAPENADE:

    50 g/2 oz. preserved lemon, skin and flesh finely chopped

    50 g/2 oz. stoned green olives, finely chopped

    25 ml/1 ¾ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or chilli oil for a fiery kick), plus extra to drizzle

    2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, plus extra to garnish

    sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    a testo, terracotta bakestone or a large, heavy baking sheet

    a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet

    Makes 2 thin piadine (25–30 cm)

    Sift the flours and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in the olive oil and a pinch of salt to taste. Gradually add the warm water mixing with clean hands until you have a soft dough. Tip out onto a floured surface and knead lightly until smooth. Divide in two, shape into balls, pop into plastic bags and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

    Put the testo, terracotta bakestone or a large, heavy baking sheet on the lower shelf of the oven. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7 for at least 30 minutes.

    To make the lemon and olive tapenade, mix the preserved lemon, olives, olive oil and basil together. Season to taste and set aside.

    Remove the dough from the bags, roll out each ball into a 25–30-cm circle on non-stick baking parchment and slide this onto the pizza peel or rimless baking sheet. Lightly spread the bases with half the tapenade. Scatter the burrata over the bases, leaving a 1-cm rim around the edge. Arrange the drained artichokes on top, brush with the remaining tapenade, then season.

    Working quickly, open the oven door and slide paper and pizza onto the hot bakestone or baking sheet. If you are brave, try to shoot the pizza into the oven so that it leaves the paper behind – this takes practice!

    Bake for 5 minutes, then carefully slide out the baking parchment. Bake the piadine for a further 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden and crisping. Remove, from the oven, scatter with extra basil and drizzle with extra olive oil. Eat immediately.

    Craft Pizza by Maxine Clark is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, Gluten-free, Pizza, 2016

  • Posted on September 29, 2016

    Tiramisu with a twist...

    Sometimes life calls for dessert, and sometimes it calls for Dessert with a Capital D. This is one such pud! Why do anything in half measures? Hannah Miles’ latest book, Layered Desserts is crammed with indulgent treats from all around the world, and each and every recipe would make a great dinner party ‘pièce de résistance’. So whether you’ve got the whole family round for Sunday lunch, or just a few friends over for an intimate supper, impress them with Hannah’s twist on an Italian classic…

    Or if peanut butter & jelly is more your thing, check out this decadent recipe tutorial on The Pantry's youtube channel.

    Toblerone Tiramisu

    While Italians will probably shudder at the thought of including Toblerone in their national dessert, I love the hints of almond and honey crunch that it adds. If you are short of time you can replace the Toblerone cupcakes with store-bought sponge fingers or trifle sponges instead for equally delicious results. I hope you enjoy my take on this classic layered dessert.

    FOR THE CUPCAKES:

    115 g/generous ½ cup caster/granulated sugar

    115 g/1 stick butter, softened

    2 UK large/US extra-large eggs

    100 g/¾ cup self-raising/self-rising flour

    30 g/⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    80 g/3 oz. Toblerone, chopped into chunks

    FOR THE CREAM:

    500 g/1 lb. 2 oz. mascarpone cheese

    500 ml/2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream

    3 tablespoons icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

    TO ASSEMBLE:

    2 tablespoons instant coffee powder

    150 ml/⅔ cup amaretto liqueur

    200 g/7 oz. Toblerone, chopped unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

    12-hole muffin pan, lined with cupcake cases

    large glass bowl

    SERVES 8–10

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    Begin by making the cupcakes. Whisk together the sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold gently to incorporate. Half fill each cupcake case with the cake mixture. Divide the chunks of Toblerone between the cupcakes, placing them in the centre of each case, and then cover with a spoonful of the remaining cake batter. Bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until the cupcakes are firm to touch and spring back when pressed with a finger. Set aside to cool, then remove the cases.

    Dissolve the instant coffee in a shallow bowl with 250 ml/1 cup boiling water. Pour in the amaretto and leave to cool. While the coffee mixture is cooling, make the cream by whisking together the mascarpone, crème fraîche and icing/confectioners’ sugar in a large mixing bowl.

    Soak half of the cupcakes in the coffee mixture. It is best to do this one at a time as the cupcakes can become soggy if they are in the liquid too long. You want them to absorb some of the liquid but still retain their shape. Place half the cakes on the bottom of the trifle dish, pressing them down with a spoon so that the cupcakes make a layer over the bottom of the dish.

    To assemble, sprinkle over half the chopped Toblerone and dust with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh sieve/strainer. Spoon half the mascarpone mixture over the top and dust with another layer of sifted cocoa powder. Soak the remaining sponges, as before, in the coffee mixture and place on top of the cocoa layer. Cover with the remaining Toblerone and dust with another cocoa layer. Spoon in the remaining mascarpone mixture and spread out in an even layer and dust with more cocoa. Chill in the fridge, preferably overnight, to enable the flavours to develop. This dessert will store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

    Layered Desserts by Hannah Miles is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, baking, Hannah Miles, coffee, chocolate, recipe for the weekend, sweet, 2016

  • Posted on September 15, 2016

    National Cupcake Week

    Next week is National Cupcake Week and we can’t wait. Make sure you’re following us on instagram where we’ll be sharing our #CupcakeoftheDay starting with this beauty from our new book, LOLA’s Cupcakes Forever. So, because we’re generous souls, and big fans of the cupcake, we suggest you start your week early and bake up a batch of these. Happy baking!

    Rainbow Swirl Cupcake

    These bright and cheerful rainbow cupcakes will bring a dose of fun to young and old alike. Our classic vanilla cupcake is transformed into a rainbow base and topped with a swirl of multi-coloured buttercream.

    200 g self-raising flour/1½ cups cake flour mixed with 3 teaspoons baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    175 g/1½ sticks butter

    250 g/1¼ cups caster/granulated sugar

    1½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste

    3 eggs

    175 ml/¾ cup sour cream

    ⅛ teaspoon each pink, blue and yellow food colouring pastes (or any other

    colours you like)

    BUTTERCREAM

    150 g/1¼ sticks butter

    1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

    350 g/3 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar

    3–4 tablespoons full-fat/whole milk

    ⅛ teaspoon each pink, blue and yellow food colouring pastes

    TO DECORATE

    Coloured sprinkles

    muffin pan lined with 12 muffin cases

    piping/pastry bag fitted with a large star nozzle/tip

    MAKES 12

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

    Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk), and beat the mixture at medium to high speed for 1–2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure that all the butter and sugar is incorporated.

    Add the vanilla bean paste and mix. Mixing at low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated.

    Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients, and mix, at low speed, until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and briefly beat at high speed until the mixture is smooth. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Do not over-mix.

    Now for the fun part! Divide the mixture evenly between 3 bowls, and add one of the food colouring pastes to each bowl. Mix them all thoroughly until well blended.

    Take a teaspoonful of one batter and place into each muffin case.

    Repeat with the other colours, until all the batters have been used up.

    Now take a cocktail stick/toothpick (or use the end of a knife) and swirl the batters together slightly in a figure of eight.

    Bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, until well risen and a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the buttercream, place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand-held electric whisk), and beat until soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix again, until combined. Sift in half of the icing/confectioners’ sugar and, mixing at low speed, mix until incorporated. Add the second half of the sugar, then beat slowly until all the sugar is incorporated. Add the milk, a tablespoonful at a time, mixing at medium speed, until the buttercream is light and fluffy. If the icing is too stiff, add a little more milk.

    Using the same technique as for the cake batter, divide the buttercream into three equal portions and colour each portion with one of the three food colouring pastes, mixing until blended.

    Spoon one of the buttercreams down one side of the piping/pastry bag leaving space near the nozzle/tip to add the other colours, if possible. Repeat with the second and third colours. You should have a full piping/pastry bag that will allow a little of each colour to be piped onto each cupcake, creating a rainbow effect.

    Pipe a swirl of buttercream onto each cupcake, and decorate with coloured sprinkles.

    LOLA's Cupcakes Foever by the LOLA's Bakers is available here. Happy Baking!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, cupcakes, recipe for the weekend, sweet, cake, LOLA's cupcakes, 2016

  • Posted on September 8, 2016

    Success Cake!

    Today is the launch of the new book from London’s Scandinavian Kitchen and it’s a cracker! Brontë Aurell has gathered together everything you need to fika and inspire hygge in one handy book, and it’s all beautifully illustrated by Pete Cassidy’s gorgeous photography. To celebrate we wanted to share an appropriately titled recipe for you to try this weekend. Enjoy!

    Suksesskake SUCCESS CAKE

    Ah, how I love the names of cakes from Norway. Suksess means success, so this cake really does talk itself up a bit and sets expectations high! It does not disappoint. You may wonder where you might have tasted something like this before – the base and topping are very similar to that of the infamous Daim tart available in many supermarkets the world over (and in those big stores that also happen to sell Swedish bookcases). Add melted Daim and extra chocolate on top, and it all falls into place. This cake is wonderfully gluten-free, too.

    200 g/2 cups whole almonds

    160 g/1½ cups icing/confectioners’ sugar

    5 egg whites

    a pinch of salt

    TOPPING:

    5 egg yolks

    100 ml/⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon whipping cream

    100 g/ ½ cup caster/granulated sugar

    150 g/1¼ sticks butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

    milk chocolate curls, to decorate

    2 x 20-cm round cake pans, greased and lined with baking parchment

    SERVES 8

    Preheat the oven to 160°C (325˚F) Gas 3.

    Roughly grind the almonds in a food processor, leaving a few chunkier pieces in there. Combine the ground almonds with the icing/confectioners’ sugar and set aside.

    In a stand mixer (or using a hand-held whisk), beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until lightly stiff. Add the ground almond mixture and gently fold in until incorporated.

    Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for around 35–40 minutes or until light brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn out carefully onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

    Meanwhile, make the topping. Put the egg yolks, whipping cream and caster sugar into a saucepan over a low heat. Bring just to the boil, whisking constantly – as soon as you see the first bubble, quickly take the pan off the heat. To check the mixture is thick enough, dip a spoon in it, then run your finger through the back of the spoon; if the line stays, the mixture is ready.

    Leave the mixture to cool to room temperature. Then slowly beat in the room-temperature butter using a hand-held electric whisk, a little at a time, until you have a nice thick, glossy topping.

    Spread ⅔ of the topping mixture onto the first almond base, add the top layer of almond cake and spread the remaining topping on the top. Decorate with chocolate curls and serve chilled and sliced.

    ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge by Brontë Aurell is available here.

     

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, chocolate, Book Launch, recipe for the weekend, sweet, Scandinavian, 2016

  • Posted on August 11, 2016

    Recipe for the Weekend

    Here at RPS Towers we love figs, and now that they're in season (late June through to early Autumn, so get ‘em now!) we’re all about imaginative ways to eat them. So we were delighted when we spotted this recipe in our new book, Cicchetti. Cicchetti are Italian small plates and appetizers, and this recipe puts a delicious trio of figs, blue cheese and rocket on adorably tiny pizzas – a perfect starter for your next dinner party.

    Fig, Blue Cheese & Rocket/Arugula Pizzette

    Figs have a natural affinity with blue cheese, and the rocket/arugula balances the sweet and the salt with a peppery kick. I like to smear the pizzette bases with a layer of Robiolino – a lovely soft, mild cheese not unlike Philadelphia but with a slightly less pronounced flavour. Choose figs that are ripe, but not too soft. My pizzette base requires a little time to make – but I promise it’s worth it!

    300 g/10.oz. Robiolino (or other buttery cream cheese)

    400 g/14 oz. Gorgonzola

    4–5 ripe fresh figs

    a generous handful of fresh rocket/arugula

    PIZZETTE DOUGH

    500 g/3¾ cups Italian ‘00’ flour

    10 g/2 teaspoons salt

    5 g/1 teaspoon fresh yeast

    250 ml/1 cup warm water

    3 large baking sheets, floured

    MAKES 8

    First, prepare the pizzette dough. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt. In a separate bowl, stir the yeast and water together until the yeast has dissolved and then mix it into the flour. Bring everything together to form a soft dough. Leave the mixture to rest for 10 minutes, then lightly knead the dough, cover and leave to rest for 1 hour, somewhere not too warm. Lightly knead the dough a second time and leave for a further 1 hour. Knead the dough a third time, then cut into 8 pieces. Roll the dough out into 20-cm/8-inch circles, making sure the bases are really thin. Lay them on the prepared baking sheets and leave for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to its highest setting, usually 230˚C (450˚F) Gas 8.

    Spread the bases with a thin layer of Robiolino. Arrange small nuggets of Gorgonzola evenly over the top and bake for 8–10 minutes, until the bases are crisp and golden. Slice or quarter the fresh figs and arrange them over the pizzette. Garnish with fresh rocket/arugula and serve immediately.

    Cicchetti by Liz Franklin is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, Pizza, 2016, fig

  • Posted on July 21, 2016

    Summer Holiday Baking

    Now that the summer holidays are finally here, we’re sure you’re looking for fun things to keep your kids occupied and our book My First Cupcake Decorating Book is packed with loads of ideas. Flicking through, we reached this particular recipe and were immediately transported to school holiday baking of our youth and we knew we had to share it! If butterfly cakes don’t take your fancy, how about these super fun Ice Cream cupcakes or Cheeky Monkey cupcakes which we shared with our MAKE youtube channel earlier this year?

    Butterfly Cakes

    A butterfly surprise! A slice of cake forms the butterfly wings and they hide a layer of gorgeous buttercream frosting.

    You will need:

    Vanilla cupcakes

    ¾ cup (175 g) unsalted butter, softened

    1 cup (175 g) superfine (caster) sugar

    3 eggs

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1¾ cup (175 g) all-purpose (plain) flour

    3 teaspoons baking powder

    3 tablespoons milk

    Buttercream frosting

    1 stick (125 g) butter, softened

    1 tablespoon milk

    3 cups (375 g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    sprinkles

    12-hole muffin pan, lined with paper cupcake cases

    Makes 12

    Ask an adult to turn the oven on to 350ºF (180ºC) Gas 4. Line the muffin pan with paper cupcake cases.

    Put the soft butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the butter is soft, creamy, and pale (if an adult is helping, you could use an electric beater).

    Break the eggs into a small bowl. Beat the eggs with a fork until the yolks have broken up and the mixture is bit frothy.

    Add a little egg to the creamed butter mixture and beat with the wooden spoon until the egg is all blended in.

    Then add a little more egg and beat again. Add a small sprinkle of flour if the mixture looks as though it is starting to separate (becoming bitty rather than smooth). Keep adding the egg until it is all used up and scrape any mixture down from the sides with a spatula.

    Add the vanilla extract and stir it into the mixture.

    Sift the flour and baking powder together into a separate bowl.

    Add the flour to the mixture in two halves. Fold the first half gently into the mixture with a big metal spoon. Don’t beat or over-stir it—gentle folding traps air into the mixture and will make the cakes lovely and light. When this is mixed in, add the second half and do the same.

    Carefully spoon the cake mixture into the paper cases in the muffin pan. Put the same amount into each one, so they are about two-thirds full.

    Ask an adult to help you put the cakes in the oven and bake them for 15–20 minutes until they are risen and golden and the cakes are springy to touch.

    Ask an adult to help you take the pan out of the oven and let it cool a little. Then lift out the cakes and put them on a wire rack to cool down. While the cakes are cooling, make your buttercream frosting.

    Put the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk.

    Measure the confectioner’s (icing) sugar into another bowl. Place a strainer (sieve) over the butter bowl and sift a little of the sugar into the bowl.

    Remove the sieve and beat the mixture together. Then sift in a little more sugar and beat again. Keep going until all the sugar has been mixed in and the frosting is light, fluffy, and smooth.

    Add the vanilla extract and stir it in evenly. If you would like to color your frosting, add a little food coloring paste or a couple of drops of liquid food coloring to the mix and stir it in well to get an even color.

    When the cakes are cool, slice a small disc off the top of each (just the top point—don’t cut right to the edge of the cake). Cut this disc in half and put the halves to one side.

    Cover the circle you have left on the cake with a blob of buttercream frosting.

    Push the two halves of cake into the frosting to form the wings of a butterfly. Decorate with sprinkles.

    Eat!

    My First Cupcake Decorating Book is available here. Don’t miss a video by subscribing to MAKE on Youtube here!

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, cupcakes, summer holidays, school holidays, kids, recipe for the weekend, my first series, sweet, cake, activities for kids, 2016

  • Posted on June 16, 2016

    Jam Tarts for National Picnic Week

    The weather doesn’t quite seem to have been on board with National Picnic Week but that doesn’t matter! A floor-picnic indoors can be just as fun and this recipe from Will Torrent’s Afternoon Tea at Home is a great addition to any picnic, rain or shine!

    Jam tarts

    One of the first things I learnt to make at school in Food Technology classes was jam tarts. I’ve used Breton pastry which is aerated so gives you a wonderfully light and rich texture and filled with them different homemade fillings; here, strawberry jam, marmalade and lemon curd – delightful.

    150 g butter, softened

    100 g caster sugar

    3 egg yolks

    200 g plain flour

    ½ teaspoon baking powder

    a pinch of salt

    zest of 1 lemon

    zest of 1 orange

    8 tablespoons good quality jams and curds of your choosing

    a 6–7-cm/2–3-inch fluted round cookie cutter

    2 x 12-hole muffin pans, greased

    Makes 24

    Combine the butter with the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until pale and light – this will take about 5 minutes.

    Gradually add the egg yolks one at a time and mix until they are thoroughly combined. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl. Add the salt and grated citrus zest and fold in using a rubber spatula or large metal spoon. The dough will be soft and buttery.

    Gather the dough together, form a ball and flatten into a disc. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours until firm.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

    Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 2 mm/1 ⁄16 inch. Using the cutter, stamp out discs from the dough and gently press into the prepared muffin pans.

    Drop a teaspoonful of jam or curd into each tart and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 12 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the jam is bubbling.

    Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely – the jam and curd needs to set before serving.

    Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent

    Afternoon Tea at Home by Will Torrent is available here.

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    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with baking, recipe for the weekend, quick, sweet, 2016

  • Posted on April 1, 2016

    National Sourdough Day

    April sees the publication of our new book by master baker Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, How To Make Sourdough, AND today is National Sourdough Day (who knew, right?!) So, in honour of this auspicious occasion, we decided we’d get baking this weekend with an unusual loaf from this beautiful book. As with all sourdoughs, you need a starter before you start baking. Emmanuel shares his recipe for making the starter in the book, but you can use your own, or perhaps you know someone who has one going already. Happy baking!

    Olive And Tomato Rye Sourdough

    Savoury rye bread is quite unusual, but the sourness of the rye, the sweetness of the tomato and the saltiness of the olives makes this a winning combination. For the best flavour and texture, eat this loaf the day after you bake it.

    TIME PLANNER

    Making the pre-ferment 8 hours

    Making and shaping the dough 15 minutes

    Final proofing 1–2 hours

    Resting in the fridge 30 minutes

    Baking 30–40 minutes

    Cooling 30 minutes

    INGREDIENTS

    100 g/¾ cup dark rye flour, plus extra for dusting and topping the loaf

    3 g/½ teaspoon salt

    50 g/scant ½ cup chopped olives (I’ve used olives stuffed with anchovies)

    100 g/1½ cups sundried tomatoes (reduce to 1 scant cup if they are packed in oil)

    100 g/100 ml/7 tablespoons hot water (just boiled)

    For the pre-ferment

    100 g/¾ cup dark rye flour

    75 g/2½ oz. rye sourdough starter

    100 g/100 ml/7 tablespoons cold water

    EQUIPMENT

    18-cm/7-inch round sandwich pan, greased with vegetable or sunflower oil

    Makes 1 x 18-cm/7-inch loaf

    To make the pre-ferment, add the dark rye flour, the rye sourdough starter and the cold water to a large mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Leave to ferment for 8 hours or overnight, covered with a small mixing bowl acting as a lid.

    The next day (or after 8 hours), prepare the dough. In a small mixing bowl, mix the dark rye flour, salt, olives and sundried tomatoes together and set aside. This is the dry mixture.

    Add the dry mixture to the bubbling pre-ferment, add the hot water and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.

    Transfer the dough to the prepared sandwich pan.

    Sprinkle some extra dark rye flour on top for decoration. Slash the loaf with a sharp serrated knife or a lamé with a design of your own choice.

    Allow to rise for 1–2 hours. Cover with a shower cap or a small mixing bowl if a skin starts to form. You will know when the dough is ready because cracks and little air holes will appear on the floured surface.

    Preheat the oven to 250°C (500°F) Gas 9. Place a deep roasting tray at the bottom of the oven.

    Place the loaf in the preheated oven. Pour a cup of water into the hot roasting tray and lower the temperature to 220°C (425°F) Gas 7.

    Bake for 30–40 minutes until golden brown.

    Turn the loaf out of the loaf pan and tap it on the bottom. If you hear a hollow sound, it is ready. If the loaf is still soft, return it to the oven for a further 10–15 minutes.

    Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack.

    How To Make Sourdough by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is available to preorder here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, bread, baking, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, tomato, Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, 2016

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