Monday, 27 August 2012

Gooey Chewy Dulce De Leche Brownies

Chocolate and dulce de leche. If there were a heaven, it would be made up of exactly these two components. Unless you're a savory fan, then aubergine it is. The great thing about these brownies was their cakey texture, but don't get me wrong I love a fudgey brownie. But I was grateful for the fluffiness this time around as it coupled perfectly with the goeey chewy caramel swirled around all and every corner and crevice this calorific devil had to offer. 
Adapted from David Lebovitz' Brownies 
The Recipe:
Quarter cup cocoa powder (60 ml)
3 large eggs
170g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
180g plain flour
150g dark chocolate (60%)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tin dulce de leche
The Method:
  • Line 1 8 inch square tin with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. 
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter on a low heat then add the chocolate. Keep stirring until all of the chocolate has melted. 
  • Take the mixture off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until this point you can either transfer the mix into a freestanding mixer or leave it be. 
  • Add one egg at a time, consistently mixing. Then the vanilla, sugar and lastly the flour. Mix till well combined. 
  • Plop half of the brownie batter into the prepared tin and spread around well. 
  • Layer half of the caramel on top of the batter and spread around evenly. Then take a knife and use it to make swirls around the raw better. 
  • Repeat the process again with the rest of the batter, so that you have swirls of caramel on top of the brownie ready for the oven.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  • Serve warm with ice cream!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Plain Madeira Cake

Any cake decorator or wedding cake maker will most probably view this is a classic staple cake, a must know in the world of baking. Reason being would boil down to it's tough and solid nature as a cake, almost like a fruit cake! It is very much a pliable cake, and especially one that tastes good. Adapted from LindysCakes - I added some coconut to a smaller version I made and unfortunately the sides crumbled away so avoid adding anything but lemon to this beauty! After all, why would you want to tamper with something as perfectly risen and well structured as this?!
The Recipe: note: doubled quantities are in italics
175/350g unsalted butter
175/350g caster sugar
175/350g self raising flour
88/350g plain flour
3/6 large eggs
The Method:
  • Preheat a fan oven to 140 degrees and line the inside and out of an 8 inch tin. Use newspaper to line the outside of the tin, preferably 5 sheets of the stuff.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a freestanding mixer for 10 minutes, until the mixture is white.
  • In a separate bowl, add the flours together and fluff up with a large spoon.
  • Add one egg, followed by a spoonful of flour to the butter mixture and continue until you run out of eggs. 
  • Fold in the remaining flour with a spatula. 
  • Plop the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 and a half hours. 
  • Leave the cake in the tin for 12 hours so that it can properly firm up. 
  • Enjoy!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Cotton & Crumbs Hat Box Cake Class

Cotton and Crumbs Hat Box Cake
On Sunday the wonderful Tracy James travelled all the way from Birmingham to London to teach at Faircake. Tracey is the founder of the original award winning boutique cake company, Cotton and Crumbs. She also teaches classes from home, and that experience showed itself prominent when she came to Faircake to teach the Hat Box Cake to a group of 8 students. Her teaching style was relaxed and comforting and Tracy made damn sure to keep the tough bits seem easy. The class also gave me the opportunity to practice my photography skills. Though, to be honest - As opposed to natural lighting, shutter speed, ISO and apparture, I definitely think the cakes do all the work here!
Tracey James' Beautiful Rose out of florist paste
Hard at work - Tracey James demonstrating 
Lastly, I'm very excited to mention that I have secured work experience at Delicious Magazine for 2013! I'm especially looking forward to it because its not just about baking, but the magazine covers the whole darn foody spectrum! 
Keep your eyes pealed for yet another class by C & C in up coming posts, and maybe even a white chocolate Victoria sponge cake!
Students finished masterpieces!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Bakery Style Cosmopolitan Cupcakes

A couple of months ago (queue right hand side-bar), I thought I'd nominate myself for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards. Having no idea what I'd even entered myself in for, a month or so later I found that my blog was short-listed! I'd like to say a BIG thank you to anyone who voted! It completely stunned me, after a few weeks - I am still not quite over it. Cosmo is where the inspiration stemmed from for the colour of these cute-sy Wilton 1m cupcakes.
 With their whipped frosting style, sugar hearts, stars, strands and pearls - these cupcakes are fit for any girl with a room that glows deep orange when the lights switched on. And that's exactly where they ended up! In the hands of Faircake's lovely accountant Debbie's daughter, it was her 8th birthday and she celebrated with these bakery style vanilla cupcakes that I made for her. They were a light vanilla sponge, topped with a rich and creamy buttercream that I tinted Americolor Fuchsia. You can find the recipe for the cupcakes here :)  
So if you'd like to vote for me, please dont hesitate in clicking here or on the top right hand side. Or if you already voted for me to be short-listed I'm going to take this small blogging space to say an absolutely grand -spanking HUUUUUUUUGE thank you, it really means the world! 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Almond, Polenta and Lemon Cake

This cake has such a texture infused flavour. The slight lemon tang gives it a moreish quality and, although the cake will naturally sink in the middle (the inevitable when it comes to flour-less treats) there is still something picture-perfect about this cake - I think its the dense crumb! Adapted from Nigella's Lemon Polenta Cake, my version has less lemon and more sweetness. Reason being is that I think it's important to notice the almond and polenta, which is difficult with the overpowering tang an added lemon brings with it.

The Recipe: 
Zest of 1 lemon
200g ground almonds
100g cornmeal/polenta
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
200g unsalted softened butter
1 and a half tsp baking powder
The Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups water

The Method:
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line an 8 inch tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a freestanding mixer until light and fluffy - 3-5 minutes. 
  • In a separate bowl mix in the all of the dry ingredients.
  • Alternately add the eggs with the dry mixture, into the creamed butter. Preferably thirds at a time. 
  • Mix until well incorporated. The mixture should resemble a normal cake butter but a bit thicker. 
  • Plop into the tin and spread around evenly.
  • Bake for 45 minutes. Do not threat, the cake will naturally sink in the middle!
  • Boil the sugar and water together and let cool.
  • When the cake is out of the oven, pour the syrup (as much as desired) into the cake while its still hot and then leave the cake to cool completely before taking it out of the tin.
  • Serve with tea!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Italian Tiramis├╣

Italian Tiramusu
Preparing a tiramisu, I say this because it's merely a case of putting a few bits together as opposed to 'baking' - there was certainly no baking involved (apologies from mbakes). Anyway preparing a tiramisu came as quite a shock for me - it was so simple and the end result - SO satisfying. After you pick up the recipe, you might find that this too becomes your 'go to' dessert after a mean meal. This is my own version of Jamie Oliver's citrus-y T-su, the next time I make it I might just add a few swigs of Brandy/Vin for that "naughty kick" he bangs on about. I am very happy that I ignored the temptation to make a standard British take on this authentic Italian dessert, it was truly worth it!  
The Recipe:
750g mascarpone
100g caster sugar
4 large eggs
210g lady fingers
50g cocoa powder
400ml sweetened black coffee

The Method 
  • First off, brew the sweetened coffee and set aside to cool in a wide jug. 
  • Start separating all of your eggs - the egg whites in a freestanding mixer and the egg yolks in a large bowl. 
  • Add the caster sugar to the yolks and whisk until the sugar granules have dissolved and the mixture is pale and puffed up - aprox 4 minutes. 
  • Chuck in all of the mascarpone cheese and continue to mix until smooth. Set aside. 
  • Using the balloon whisk on a freestanding mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. 
  • Carefully fold the egg whites into the mascarpone bit by bit until you have a gorgeously fluffy cream. Set aside. 
  • Grab a Pyrex dish (approx 30cm). Then quickly dip the lady fingers into the cooled coffee and then place into the bottom of the Pyrex dish until the bottom of the dish is covered. 
  • Plop half the mascarpone cream onto the lady fingers and spread around using a cranked spatula. 
  • Sprinkle cocoa (using a small sieve) all around the mascarpone and repeat the same layer again. 
  • Leave to set in the fridge for 2/3 hours.
  • Enjoy :) 
I have entered this Tiramisu into  #TuscanyNowCookOff Competition! Enter yours here for a chance to win a weekend away :)

Friday, 10 August 2012

Double Chocolate and Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting Border
As most daughters with a baking obsession would, I took it upon my 'humble' self to bake my old papa's birthday cake. When I asked him what he wanted, he instantly requested chocolate so I went with lots and lots of the stuff. I wanted it to be extra special so I decided to incorporate all of the intensely delicious combinations of chocolate I possibly could. So obviously I'm thinking chocolate...cream cheese... and peanut butter!
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
 I searched around for a good chocolate cream cheese frosting but in the end I decided to whip up my own concoction, and it worked very well! Below you will find the recipe I used for the frosting! For the cake, I went for the age old legend Martha Stewart's Devils Food Cake. For the peanut butter piping and center, I resided back to my Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake for the recipe. 

Each element of the cake made for a scrumptious birthday treat. It also made me realise that buttercream's are a subjective matter, as there is no initial baking (or science) involved you can literally whip to your taste's desire! What a revelation. 

Mbakes Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
The Recipe:
1 packet cream cheese (150g)
2 tbsp cocoa powder 
1 packet 60%  dark chocolate, melted (150g)
200g butter (at room temperature) 
500g icing sugar

The Method:
  • Start by mixing the butter for at least half a minute and then gradually add all of the icing sugar until completely smooth. 
  • Throw in all of the cream cheese till you have a pale frosting. 
  • Alternately add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder and mix until well combined and you have a glossy thick-ish frosting ready for icing your cake!

Mbakes x

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sini Gatmeri / Turkish Cypriot Filo Almond Swirl

I hate to make your stomachs curl with cringe, but I absolutely adore baking traditional recipes because it means I get do it with my mum. She never ever joins in, and I've recently discovered the only way that she ever will is if it involves making something nostalgic; like this filo dessert for example. As she never has the time to cook or bake anymore, It's a real treat when she does!
Traditionally, to us Turkish Cypriots, this dish is known as a 'sini gatmer', however, not short of 2000 ish miles oversea, the Turks from Turkey much prefer to call it a 'sini katmer'. Not much difference I know, but since the accents are slightly dissimilar  that one letter really does change quite a lot, even sometimes, the taste!
Anyway this dessert reeks of traditionalism, its soggy, crispy, cinnamon-y AND nutty! My family and I absolutely love it, and believe me - if you like all of those things described a second ago, you will too!

The Recipe:
1 packet ready made filo pastry
1 packet almonds (aprox 300g)
2 tins of cream* 
1 packet ricotta 
2 tbsp cinnamon (or to taste)
2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
Sugar Syrup (serebet)
4 cups (glass) water
3 cups (glass) sugar 

*If you want the Gatmer to taste perfect, you are best off buying the cream from your local Turkish Food Centre. 
The Method:
  • Start off by blitzing all of your almonds in a food processor for half a minute, or until they are nice and crumbly, a little larger than sand granules.
  • Transfer the almonds into a medium sized bowl, chuck in your sugar and cinnamon and toss around until combined. 
  • Using a tablespoon, mix the tinned cream into the almonds until a thick paste is formed. 
  • Now crumble your ricotta using a fork and mix it in. Set aside. 
  • Begin to prepare the syrup. In a large saucepan add both the sugar and water and leave on a high heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once it is ready transfer it into a bowl and set aside to cool. 
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  • Whilst the syrup is forming, lay out the filo pastry and using your hands, add a thick strip of the almond paste across the width of the pastry at the bottom. 
  • Now roll the filo around the paste like you would when forming a chocolate log cake. 
  • Continue this process until you run out of almond paste!
  • Grease a large round trey with butter or oil. 
  • Get one of your tubes of pastry and form a tight spiral in the very center of your large tray. 
  • Now connect the rest of your tubes to the first spiral until you have a large spiral and you cannot fit any more into the tray. 
  • Lightly brush the top of the pastry with an egg wash.
  • Place in the oven for 25/30 minutes or until the pastry is golden on top. 
  • Take out of the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Making sure that the syrup is cooled, pour it all over your pastry and let it soak before serving. You do not have to use all of the syrup, I only used about two thirds of the quantity provided for a less sweeter finish!
  • Enjoy :)
Sini Gatmeri
I guess you could also say that this is my one and only (for now) Olympic bake! This weekend, thanks to Neil (bf's papa) I got to go to the women's springboard semi final! It was such an experience, so I will share my experience with the rest of you in the form of case you hadn't already seen it on BBC 1/2/3/4/5/6/ or Sky...or in case it hadn't got in the way of your daily soaps.

Above (in zoom) is team China & Canada!

Mbakes x

Friday, 3 August 2012

Violet Cakes; Hackney

Violet Cakes Mini Vanilla Cupcake
In the heart of Hackney lies a small and discreetly placed bakery, Violet Cakes. With just the right amount of rustic feel, the team churns out some of the most delicious cupcakes, loaves, and coconut macarons. Not to mention the odd honey roasted belly of pork at the weekend! Whilst you sit and devour your taste buds with Violet's treats, you can enjoy a familiar view of cake baking by Violet themselves - as the kitchen is all open for you to feast your eyes on! 
Violet started out as a little stall on Broadway Market in 2005, and soon expanded to a bakery in East London, it is managed by California girl Claire, who also works as a talented food stylist on the side. An occupation that gives all of Violet's visitors an immediate certainty that they are perhaps getting the most delicious bakery style food in London. 

I have my AMAZING, slim, slender and hilarious colleague Jess to thank for reminding me about Violets! We were having our daily baking related gossip 'sesh' and she happened to pull this one out of the bag. I'm no doubt going to trust her flavour insticts, she is a pro baker/decorator after all! 
Less bum licking, more bakery licking! A bakery well worth visiting if you ever get the chance! I had a taste of the carrot cake, mini Vanilla cupcake and coconut macaroon, the latter being my most favourite. It was caramelised around the outside so that when you bit into it you had this crunchy and sweet shell, you were then presented with this soft, gooey coconut-syrupy ball of absolute p-l-e-a-s-u-r-e! Violet gets a ten out of ten from me, great job ladies!
Violet Cakes Carrot Cake - Delicious!

Violet Cakes Garden

Keep your eyes pealed for a homemade birthday cake post this week! And some possible snaps from the 2012 London Olympics Diving!

Mbakes x

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