Month: January 2013

Quick Lemon biscuits recipe

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My in-laws were popping over last weekend for a cuppa so I decided last minute to throw some biscuits together. It feels like ages since I baked a cookie or a biscuit. It’s just been cake, cake, cake and none of it has been for us!

It was a really cold and rainy weekend so the plan was to get the girls to help me out, but all they wanted to do was paint. I think my baking obsession may be boring them a little! Darcey did come along to help me roll them out at the last minute. Let’s face it. The messier the play the more likely they are to get involved.

The biscuits have a really light and crumbly texture and the flavour is light and buttery too. I’m glad we had re-enforcement’s in to help us eat them. I’d have been in trouble otherwise!

Quick Lemon biscuit ingredients

(Makes around 18)

100g (4oz) unsalted butter -at room temperature

50g (2oz) Caster sugar

150g (5oz) Sieved self-raising flour

Rind of one unwaxed lemon

A little juice from the lemon

 

How to make the Lemon biscuits

  1. Heat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan) and line a baking sheet with silicon paper.
  2. In a bowl mix the butter and sugar.
  3. Add the flour until everything is blended really well together. You can use a whisk/ food processor/ stand mixer to do this – just make sure you don’t overwork the dough or you won’t get that nice crumble.
  4. Add the grated lemon rind and mix with your hands till a soft and crumbly dough is formed. If it doesn’t hold together in a ball when you roll it add a little lemon juice at a time until it does. ½ a tea spoon should do it.
  5. Take a small amount of dough in your hands and roll gently into balls. The more you roll the less cracks will appear on your biscuits. More cracks = more crumble and the better the lightness and taste.. in my opinion – not Darcey’s who rolled them to within an inch of their lives and had perfectly smooth biscuits which she devoured in minutes!
  6. Position your balls on the baking sheet with enough space for them to spread a little. Give each one a little press in the middle then bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges start to turn a light golden brown. These biscuits will over bake very quickly so don’t take your eyes off them for a minute.
  7. Leave to cool on a wire rack and do your best not to eat them all before they get cold or your mother-in-law arrives.

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We ate these Lemon biscuits when they were still just a tiny bit warm from the oven and they were really delicious.

 

enjoy!

Chocolate Madeira Cake Recipe

 

I love Madeira cake. I mean REALLY love it. It’s part of my past. So when I was asked recently “How do you convert your Madeira cake recipe into a chocolate cake?” I thought it would be a great recipe to share with you all. I also still had the Morello Cherry and William Pear compote and Belgium chocolate ganache from Tesco’s to try out so they were a perfect fit!

 

This cake is really easy to make and is slightly firmer than my previous chocolate recipes, yet it’s still moist – making it a perfect foundation cake (as my mum would say). In other words it’s perfect for covering in sugarpaste for a celebration cake and the best thing is the fact that it doesn’t crumble like other chocolate cakes do. I do hate a crumbly cake, especially when you’re trying to get a crumb coating of buttercream on it!

Madeira cake recipe 

(Makes an 8″ cake – 1 ½” deep) 

75g butter at room temperature
75g margarine (Flora is best) at room temperature
 200g caster sugar
1 tea spoon vanilla essence
3 eggs (large) 
175 g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
 1 ½ teasp of baking powder
3 tbsp milk
 
  1. Line an 8″ cake tin with silicon paper and pre-heat your oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).
  2. Blend the butter, margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs slowly until they’re really well mixed in.
  3. In a separate bowl weigh out the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Mix them so that you have a light brown dry mixture. This will prevent you having any cocoa lumps in the mix. Sieve into the butter and sugar mix and blend.
  4. Add the vanilla essence and milk and mix well.
  5. Pour the cake mix into the tin and smooth with the back of a metal spoon.  Bake for 45 minutes in the centre of the oven. The cake is ready when you can smell that delicious chocolate cake aroma filling your kitchen. The cake will come away from the sides of the tin and a skewer will come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
  6. Leave to cool on a wire rack
  7. When completely cool cut into two halves and fill with compote/ buttercream /jam. I loved the Tesco’s compote. It would be great for making a black forest gateau.
  8. Cover the top of the cake with a dusting of icing sugar or a really decadent chocolate ganache (if you want a ganache recipe you can find mine on this post)

 

I re-heated the Tesco ganache in a saucepan and poured it all over the cake till it just dribbled down. There was a little left over which Tim said could not be wasted! He scooped it up with a spoon.   I then placed the finished cake on the kitchen table to cool. Actually, it was to bribe the girls to do their homework before the Sunday evening witching hour! No homework. No cake!

It worked!

Enjoy!

The big move!

Chocolate Madeira cake recipeSo I finally did it!

After talking about it for ages and ages, I finally switched my WordPress.com blog over to a WordPress.org one.

What does this mean to you bakers out there?

Well, hopefully nothing. Hopefully you won’t even notice the difference. You don’t need to do anything to keep following (thanks for that by the way) But for me it means that I now have a grown up blog where writing posts has become a bit more technically challenging. I now have the potential to add advertising and affiliate links (to help pay for the techy stuff!) and I’ll be able to sell the eBook I am currently writing – albeit slowly.

I’ve just written my first post on the new self hosted site and it’s gone pretty well. I’ve navigated my way around the dashboard and uploaded photos pretty much like I always have. It’s funny how something you are scared/anxious/worried about doing isn’t such a big deal once you actually just get on and do it! I’m very excited about this next phase of my blogging. Onwards and upwards.

So, it’s business as usual here at Cakes, Bakes and Cookies.com but if you see any glitches or find any links are broken, please, please let me know so I can fix them (or at least find some clever techy person to help me fix them… I’m still learning)

 

See you for some chocolate cake in about 2 minutes!

 

EmmaMT

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Time to move on

All change!

Hello Everyone,

No, I’m not going anywhere! I’m just upgrading CakesBakesAndCookies.com and I may be some time! I’ll be back posting as soon as I can, so bear with me.

Until then happy baking

EmmaMT

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How to make a Mario and Yoshie Birthday Cake

Mario cake

When my friend Nicole asked me if I would make her son Oliver a Mario and Yoshi birthday cake I of course said “yes”. Then I quickly scoured Google images to find out exactly who Yoshi was!  I’ve had a few cake requests recently for computer games I’ve never heard of ( I know who Mario is) but Yoshi? Minecraft? If it’s not Rock stars or dressing up games (both proper girly ones) the chances are I won’t have heard of it.

Nicole told me what Oliver liked about the game and I got to work doing some drawings so she could choose which design was best. She liked the giant toadstool which I have to admit was my favorite of all the styles I had in mind too.

How to make the toadstool cake

I baked two round madeira cakes – a 7″ -for the base and a 10″ for the domed top.

For the dome

Mario birthday cake

This cake (the 10″) came out of the oven very domed but for this design that was just fine! I evened out the lumps and bumps with a bread knife to create as smooth a dome as possible, then cut it in half and filled it with raspberry jam and buttercream. Give the whole cake a thin crumb coating of buttercream. Pop it in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up.

Mario and Yoshi cake

Once the crumb coating is firm add another slightly thicker buttercream coating and smooth it as much as possible. Place the cake on a thin 10″ cake board and secure in place with a small amount of royal icing.

Knead the red sugarpaste till it is nice and malleable. When ready place the cake on a tin which is smaller than the 10″ cake board so that the rolled out icing will hang over the edge.  That way you can cut off the excess and tuck the bottom bits of sugarpaste under and the cake board  won’t show at all.

To make the baseMario cake


Take the 7″ cake and cut it in half so you can add the buttercream and jam filling.  Level the top off so that is it VERY flat. Use a spirit level to check that it is otherwise you will either have a) a lopsided toadstool, b) it will fall over or c)your husband will walk in while you’re finishing off your iced cake and say “You know it’s not level, don’t you?” like Tim always does! Either way this is the time to make sure it’s really level. My cake was level – it’s just on a slanted plate! 

Give the cake a crumb coating and then a nice smooth buttercream coating before you cover it with white sugarpaste. Cut off the excess sugarpaste then get the sides as smooth as possible.

Position the base cake on your cake board, securing with some royal icing.

How to decorate the Toadstool cake mario birthday cake

To stack the dome on top of the base cake first insert some dowels. I use Plastic Cake Dowels  like these ones from Amazon. You only need around 3 to support the top cake. Before I added the dome I decorated the side of the cake so that I could do all the fiddly bits without it being in the way, like adding the blades of grass, eyes and flowers. Only then did I add a little royal icing to the top of the base cake and then positioned the dome on top.

I usually make the models when I cover the cake boards  – a week before the cake needs to be finished, but if I am completely honest I really avoided this one as I had no idea how I was going to make Mario actually look like Mario! but once I got started I was off and really enjoyed it. The little toadstools and stars were also fun to make.

The last job was to add the circles to the top of the toadstool which I did by dampening the white sugarpaste circles I had cut out.

Sugarpaste Mario and Yoshi

Yoshi, Mario and the mini toadstools were all secured in place with a little sugarpaste. Then the wording was iced and the ribbon was added to the cake board.

Mario birthday cakeThe cake was a big surprise for Oliver and I think he was chuffed to bits when Nicole presented it to him.

EmmaMT

Some seriously chocolatey cookies

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It was my sister Shelley’s birthday on Monday and I wanted to make her a little treat. Just a little one – as I know she has nearly as much chocolate left over from Christmas as we do!

I decided to make her some vanilla and chocolate cookies covered in thick milk, dark and white chocolate. You could say it was a chocolate overload.

The inspiration for decorating these cookies came when we were messing around with the sprinkles last week. Shelley had come to pick up my nephew Asher while we were mid way through decorating biscuits and she helped Beau to create this pattern on her cookies with royal icing. I haven’t done this effect for years. It’s really easy to achieve, but is a little time-consuming and pretty messy… or that might be just me.

How to make these seriously chocolatey cookies 

  1. Bake your cookies. I made Vanilla cookies from this recipe and chocolate cookies from this recipe.
  2. Melt your chocolate in a pyrex bowl over simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water though.
  3. Place a piping bag in a glass and fold the edges over the outside so you can pour your chocolate into the bag easily.
  4. Add a clip on the end to keep the melted chocolate in the piping bag and not running down your hands/arms/worktops.SHELL 1
  5. To make cleaning up a doddle. Lay some clingfilm over your work surface and position your wire rack over the top.
  6. Pour some melted chocolate over one cookie at a time.
  7. Smooth it so that every bit of the cookie is coated (there’s more yumminess that way)
  8. With your piping bag (with a different type of melted chocolate) pipe lines in one direction across the whole cookie. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t that straight. You’re going to be messing them up anyway. SHELL 2
  9. Use a toothpick to drag across the cookie. As you drag each line is pulled in that direction creating little peaks.
  10. When you have done a few lines in one direction drag the toothpick in the other direction – in between first lot of lines. (Please note that I had to turn the cookie around so I could take the picture- but in other words the first lot of dragging was done from left to right, the second was from right to left- I hope that makes sense!)
  11. Once you have finished leave them alone for at least an hour. They take a long time to fully set. After an hour move them very carefully across the wire rack  with a spatular or by giving them a gentle push with a toothpick so that they don’t permanently stick to the rack, then leave them to fully harden overnight (or for at least 6 hours). They are then ready to wrap or eat.

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Happy Birthday Shelley. Love you. xXx

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enjoy!

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