Welcome to December’s round up of Treat Petite! Christmas may be over for another year, but there are some seriously tasty ideas below that you can bookmark for next year, or even make with leftovers! Thank you to everyone who took part this month, check out Cakeyboi for January’s link up coming soon.
I started things off this month with my Syllabub Star Cups, which make a perfect sweet canape for any party.
The inspiration for this Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake came from a visit to a pub where they served something of the same name. My boyfriend adores anything cinnamon so it always catches my eye. I took him a piece home as I knew he would love it, and indeed he did. He kindly shared a bite with me and it was so yummy I knew I had to make a homemade version! I really upped the wow factor by adding cinnamon to the base as well as the streusel topping, plus a cinnamon icing drizzled over the top. I think this will be our dessert on Christmas Day!
To make the base I whizzed up 200g disgestive biscuits in a food processor. I also mixed in 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
I melted 70g butter and mixed it into the biscuit crumbs. I pressed the mixture into a lined 23″ springform tin and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
To make the cheesecake filling I mixed together 575g full fat cream cheese, 3 egg yolks,
135g caster sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract until it was smooth.
Using an electric hand mixer I beat the whites from the 3 eggs until stiff and then folded them into the cream cheese mixture.
I took the base out of the fridge and poured the cheesecake mixture on top. I put the tin onto a baking tray as sometimes I find a little butter can leak from springform tins when baking cheesecake.
I baked it for 40 minutes at 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4. Then left it to cool fully before putting it in the fridge to chill.
When it was cold, I whipped up 300ml double cream and spread it all over the top.
For the streusel topping I mixed together 110g melted butter, 190g plain flour, 100g light brown sugar, 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
I covered the cheesecake generously with the streusel topping. For a final flourish I made some icing using 70g icing sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and enough water to make it a thick consistency. I drizzled it all over the cheesecake, then dusted over some icing sugar.
The cheesecake was absolutely divine! The cinnamon flavour was just right, the cheesecake was light and fluffy, and the streusel topping was crunchy. I served it at a dinner party and everyone had two slices – the perfect review!
I really love mince pies and finding new ways to eat mincemeat is definitely high on my list of priorities in December. My favourite kind of mincemeat is the luxury versions that are laced with brandy and/or port, as they give it that intense richness. I’ve never made my own mincemeat as I really think you can buy such good quality tasting versions in the shops. If you love mincemeat as much as I do, you’ll also love my Mince Pie Cupcakes With Brandy Buttercream and my Mince Pie Bakewell Squares.
I’ve been kindly given a subscription to Vegetarian Living Magazine by PocketMags and I found this recipe for a Vegan Mincemeat Plait inside. I was immediately drawn to it, plus I had some fast action yeast to use up. I really don’t make bread enough as it can be time consuming, but this recipe is quick enough to make in an evening.
I started by putting 200g strong white bread flour, a pinch of salt and a 7g sachet of fast action yeast into a bowl. I made sure to keep the salt and yeast separate, then mixed everything together.
I warmed up 200ml almond milk in a pan with 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I only let it get hot enough so I could still hold my finger in it. I then whisked in 2 tbsp olive oil.
In a food mixer fitted with a dough hook I mixed the flour and milk mixture together for 6 minutes. I put the dough into an oiled bowl, covered it and left it to rise for 30 minutes.
I melted 2 tbsp melted margarine (dairy free if you want this recipe to be vegan) and brushed most of it all over the dough, then I sprinkled over a mixture of 1 tbsp ground cinnamon and 2 tbsp dark brown sugar all over it.
I used a luxury jar of mincemeat (make sure it’s vegetarian as mincemeat can contain suet) and spread 200g of it over the dough.
I rolled the dough into a sausage shape, cut it in half, attached it at the top then twisted the two halves together. I placed it on a lined baking tray and baked it on 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 15 minutes.
I made a glaze from 50g icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tbsp almond milk. It smelt so good!
As soon as the plait came out of the oven, I covered it in the glaze then left it to cool.
This bake was so yummy, the glaze on top sounds so simple but it’s incredibly delicious! I’m not a vegan, but it’s great to learn an easy vegan friendly recipe for the festive season that tastes amazing and will cater for friends who follow a vegan diet. Also it feels like a much healthier recipe as it doesn’t use any butter or other high fat dairy products.
Put the strong white bread flour, salt and fast action yeast into a bowl, making sure to keep the salt and yeast on separate sides of the bowl, then mix it all together
Warm the 200ml of almond milk in a pan with the light brown sugar and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract. Only let it get hot enough so you can still hold your finger in it. Then whisk in the olive oil
In a food mixer fitted with a dough hook mix the flour and milk mixtures together for 6 minutes. Then put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover it and leave it to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes
Flour your work surface and roll the dough out in a rectangular shape. In a bowl mix together the ground cinnamon and dark brown sugar
Melt the margarine and brush most of it (reserve a little) all over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon mixture all over it
Spread the mincemeat over the doughRoll the dough into a sausage shape, cut it in half, attach it at the top then twist the two halves together. Place it on a lined baking tray and bake it on 220C/200C Fan/425F/Gas Mark 7 for 15 minutes
While it's baking make a glaze from the icing sugar, 1 tsp of the vanilla extract and 1/2 tbsp of the almond milk
As soon as the plait comes out of the oven, cover it in the glaze then leave it to cool. Slice to serve
My last Bake Box of the year arrived last week and I knew it would inspire me to get baking some Christmas themed treats! I love these Syllabub Star Cups filled with a lemon cream and topped with berries, they are so easy to make and they would be a fabulous sweet canape for your Christmas parties and gatherings! If you want to know more about Bake Box check out my other posts where I made Parisian Treats, Dress Biscuits, a Cherry Traybake and a Midnight Blue Velvet Cake.
This month’s theme was Stars and Snowflakes and inside the box was:
A giant silicone star mould
Set of 5 star cookie cutters
Set of 3 snowflake icing cutters/plungers
15 silicone mini star moulds
A snowflake chocolate decorating sheet
Santa and Snowman embossed cookie cutters
Silver edible glitter
Although I loved everything in this month’s Bake Box, my favourite items were the embossed cookie cutters and the mini star silicone moulds.
There were six delicious looking recipes included with the Bake Box and I decided to make the Syllabub Star Cups as they looked so pretty and it gave me a chance to try out the silicone moulds. My boyfriend’s family were also visiting and I thought they would make a great dessert.
I started by melting 150g dark chocolate and spooning it into each mould. I used a small clean paintbrush (I have one I use for food only) to brush the chocolate up the sides of each mould.
I put the chocolate in the fridge to set, which didn’t take very long, and easily peeled off the silicone moulds.
To make the lemon syllabub filling I whipped together 2 tbsp sieved icing sugar, 200ml double cream and the zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon.
I piped the cream into each chocolate cup. I used a piping bag with the end snipped off.
I got some mint leaves, and chose several small ones. Then I tipped out some frozen berries to choose from. The recipe suggested warming up the berries and making a compote, but I decided to put the frozen ones directly on the cream then let them defrost in the fridge so I could get them out when it was time for dessert.
I put a larger berry like a raspberry, blackberry or cherry into each cup, then surrounded that with the smaller redcurrants and blackcurrants. Finally I added a mint leaf and a dusting of icing sugar. These make such a tasty and easy dessert, and any guests you have over Christmas will be sure to enjoy them! You can even easily adapt them for any dairy free guests by filling them with a coconut cream.
I’m linking these chocolate cups up with this month’s Treat Petite, hosted by me this month, and Cakeyboi on alternate months.
Melt the dark chocolate and spoon it into each mould. Use a small clean paintbrush to brush the chocolate up the sides of each mould
Put the chocolate in the fridge to set, then peel off the silicone moulds
To make the lemon syllabub filling whip together the 2 tbsp of icing sugar, double cream and the lemon
Pipe the cream into each chocolate cup using a piping bag with the end snipped off
Put a larger berry like a raspberry, blackberry or cherry into each cup, then surrounded that with smaller berries like redcurrants and blackcurrants. Finally add a mint leaf and a dusting of icing sugar
As Treat Petite is now themeless, this month once again Anything Goes! So you can enter anything you like, just remember the Treat Petite rules below…
Treat Petite is for all of those delicious bites, which can be individually portioned. Tray bakes are fine, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, macarons and so on. No cakes, puddings, whole loaves – you get the idea… here are those all-important rules:
1. Add your petite treat to the Linky Tool at the bottom of the current month’s post by the 25th of the month, midnight at the latest
It’s been a foodie filled month for me with The Cake & Bake Show a couple of weeks ago and then this weekend I headed to Birmingham for the BBC Good Food Show Winter. This place is foodie paradise with stalls filled with every type of food and drink you can think of, thankfully the show lasts for three days so you are rich with time to explore every inch and every food sample! There’s also lots of celebrity chef demos with the likes of Mary Berry, The Hairy Bikers and Michael Roux Jr. to name a few. I spent a Saturday there with my friend Sophie and this is what we got up to…
We got straight onto the gin when we arrived and Edinburgh Gin is a brand I’m familiar with as I’ve purchased their Raspberry Liquor for my boyfriend before so I wanted Sophie to try their wares as she is a gin lover. She was certainly impressed and left with a bottle of their Christmas Gin.
Next we spotted Seeds of Change‘s stand where they were giving out sample pots of their spinach pasta with tomato and basil sauce, it was really yummy and they gave me some vouchers to get money off my next purchase of their organic food. I also got a couple of packets of basil seeds from them which I am looking forward to growing!
Bahlsen make my favourite biscuits – Choco Leibniz – but I didn’t know about all of the other products they make such as Lebkuchen, the classic German Christmas biscuits which I’m also a huge fan of.
We must’ve walked past the Jazz Apples stand at least three times and couldn’t resist grabbing a slice of juicy crisp apple each time. On our final visit we finally bought some apples!
One of the great things about the BBC Good Food Show is all of the show bargains on offer. For example Wyke Farms were selling 4 different blocks of cheese along with a block of butter, and either the mug or the bag pictured, for only £10! Such a bargain considering one block of cheese is around £3 in the supermarket.
I love sweet potato crisps but I’ve only ever seen salted ones in the shops, so I was excited to see that Glen of Antrim have created mutiple flavours including the irish whiskey and salt & vinegar flavours pictured. They also had cheese & onion and chilli.
I tried some Salted Caramel Vodka from I Heart Vodka and it was deliciously sweet. Certainly one for any fellow sweet tooths out there!
Frobishers had some delicious cordials which they’ve just recently added to their range. I tried the Sloe & Raspberry and the Lemon & Mint and really enjoyed them both. They are available in Waitrose.
We went to watched Mary Berry do a Q&A on the Lakeland Good Food Stage. She was interviewed all about her Christmas food plans and she revealed that she is going to do a TV programme next year where she goes to stately homes around the country to look behind the scenes and meet the families that live there, I can’t wait to watch it!
Mary Berry has a new range of kitchenware which is absolutely gorgeous, I love the pastel colours and grey details. This is definitely going on my Christmas list!
We headed to the Super Theatre to watch Paul Hollywood do a demo of a dessert called kransekage, which is a tower of marzipan rings sandwiched together with chocolate. He was chatty and open with the audience about The Great British Bake Off and his other plans for TV shows next year.
An audience member got up on stage wearing this apron and the camera man wore one too! It was very funny but Paul was not impressed!
This was the final product!
The Renshaw Academy were also on site at the show holding classes to teach you how to work with sugarpaste and maybe even make a masterpiece like this one day!
I adore maple syrup and I grabbed two bottles of Pure Maple which is absolutely delicious as well as being completely pure and not mixed with anything else like some other maple syrups are.
We watched Lisa Faulkner, who is an actress that won Celebrity Masterchef in 2010, she made a strawberry milkshake cake and her latest book focuses on family recipes.
We ended the day watching John Whaite, the winner of The Great British Bake Off 2012, demo two recipes from his new book – Perfect Plates In 5 Ingredients. He made a Sweet Potato, Gruyere & Pecan Gratin and a Orange Self Saucing Pudding. Both recipes looked delicious and John really entertained the crowd, everyone was in fits of laughter including myself! We had a great day at The BBC Good Food Show and I’m already looking forward to next year! In the meantime there are the summer shows, check out the BBC Good Food Show website for dates and tickets.
I’m looking forward to Christmas more than usual this year as it is looking quite likely that I’ll be celebrating it in our very own home! I’ve been renting since I left my parents at 18 and more years later than I’d like to count, I’m finally buying my own home with my boyfriend. I can’t wait to put the Christmas tree up, make the place our own and most of all get baking in our new kitchen! All going well, we will be in there in 2 weeks time, keep your fingers crossed for us!
I recently received the first issue of Baking Heaven, which is a monthly magazine subcription from Magazine.co.uk. It is packed full of sweet and savoury recipes and it certainly lives up to it’s name! When I flicked through the magazine to decide what to make I was immediately drawn to this Chocolate, Salted Caramel & Chestnut Yule Log. With it’s combination of salted caramel, chocolate and chestnuts it sounded like festive perfection. It is taken from Gizzi Erskine’s new book Season’s Eatings and is something a bit different from the traditional Yule Log.
I started by greasing a lining a lipped baking tray, the recipe recommends using a 33x23cm tin, but as mine was larger I increased the sponge recipe by a third to make up for this. I’ll only put the ingredients for the recipe as stated though.
I whisked up 3 large free-range eggs with 75g caster sugar in my food mixer for 8 minutes until it had trebled in size.
I sieved out 50g plain flour and 25g cocoa powder into a bowl and then folded it into the egg mixture.
I poured the batter into the tin and tipped it to spread the mixture out into each corner.
I baked it on 190C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 3 for 12 minutes. I immediately tipped it out onto another sheet of baking paper and rolled it up, rolling the fresh sheet of baking paper with it. The recipe didn’t suggest to do this, but having made many swiss rolls in the past, I thought this was the best thing to do and I do recommend it. I left it to cool fully
I then made the chocolate icing by putting 150ml double cream, 30g butter and 150g dark chocolate in a pan and gently heating it until it all melted together. I then put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling I started by making a caramel, I put 100g caster sugar into a frying pan and left it without stirring it until it was golden and bubbling.
I added 80g butter, 50ml double cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 3/4 tsp salt and quickly mixed them in.
I then poured the caramel into a bowl, added 180g chestnuts (the recipe said 200g but the pack I got in the shops was 180g) and whizzed it up into a smooth paste using a hand blender. Let it cool to room temperature.
I whipped up 150ml double cream with 3 tbsp icing sugar, then folded it into the cooled caramel and chestnut mixture.
I unrolled the sponger and spread the caramel filling all over it evenly.
I rolled the sponge back up carefully.
I took the icing out of the fridge and spread it all over the roll. I did it quite roughly as the roll was meant to look like a log.
I bashed up 1 flake bar and sprinkled it all over the wet icing. I put it back in the fridge to set.
I finished the Yule Log by adding some redcurrants and dusting it with icing sugar. I’ve never actually eaten redcurrants before, they look very pretty and taste very inoffensive, however they are quite full of seeds despite their small size. You can choose to decorate the roll with anything you like, I suggest a sprig of holly, edible gold glitter or a liberal dusting of icing sugar!
This was the perfect taster of Christmas treats to come, the filling had a salty caramel flavour, the sponge was light and soft, and the dark chocolate icing was melt in the mouth divine. I really enjoyed every bite!
Whisk up the eggs with 75g of the caster sugar in an electric food mixer for 8 minutes until it has trebled in size
Sieve the plain flour and cocoa powder into a bowl and then fold it into the egg mixture
Poured the batter into the lined tray and tip it to spread the mixture out into each corner
Bake it on 190C/170C Fan/Gas Mark 3 for 12 minutes. Immediately tip it out onto a clean sheet of baking paper and roll it up, rolling the clean sheet of baking paper with it. Leave it to cool fully
Make the chocolate icing by putting 150ml of the double cream, 30g of the butter and dark chocolate in a pan and gently heating it until it all melts together. Put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes
For the filling start by making a caramel. Put 100g of the caster sugar into a frying pan and leave it without stirring until it is golden and bubbling
Then add 80g of the butter, 50ml of the double cream, the vanilla extract and the salt and quickly mix them in using a whisk
Pour the caramel into a bowl, added the chestnuts and whiz it up into a smooth paste using a hand blender. Let it cool to room temperature
Whip up 150ml of the double cream with the icing sugar, then folded it into the cooled caramel and chestnut mixture
Unroll the sponger and spread the caramel filling all over it evenly, then roll the sponge back up carefully
Take the chocolate icing out of the fridge and spread it all over the roll. You want this to be quite rough as the roll is meant to look like a log
Bash up 1 flake bar and sprinkled it all over the wet icing. Put it back in the fridge to set
Finish the Yule Log by adding some redcurrants and dusting it with icing sugar
I recently went to The Cake & Bake Show in association with Argos at Event City in Manchester. It’s the show’s second year at Event City, and also it’s second year of extending it’s run from 3 to 4 days. Last year after a change in event organisers, the show was much smaller and I was a bit disappointed with it. I was very glad to see they have upped their game this year! The place was packed with exhibitors, demo stages and gorgeous cake displays.
I attended the show with my friend Beth and we started our day watching Benjamina demo a Pistachio, Lemon and Cardamom cake on the super theatre stage. I was really excited to see her as she is one of my favourite contestants from this year’s Great British Bake Off. I loved how pretty she made all of her bakes look throughout the show and even working quickly on the demo stage she still pulled off a gorgeous bake!
Benjamina also talked about how she’d love to release a book one day – and I hope she does! She told the crowd how her and the other bakers from this year all have a Whatsapp group and they talk to each other almost every day.
And this was the gorgeous cake that she produced, the recipe for a loaf version of this cake is available on the BBC Food website. To jazz it up like she did, double the recipe, bake it in sandwich tins, and decorate with cream cheese frosting, edible flowers and edible glitter.
We went for a wander round the exhibitor stands. I was really impressed with Mr D’s Pie Machine, how awesome is their stand?! It really stood out and had such a unique look.
The Sunday Girl’s gorgeous retro aprons really caught my eye, plus they even do kids versions – so cute!
I couldn’t miss the gigantic potato rostis and potato cakes being sold by the Piece of Cake Bakery, I’m regretting not going back to buy some of these amazing treats!
These impeccable cupcakes were on offer from Candy’s Cupcakes and I thought they looked gorgeous.
The Gorgeous Ventures taught me what puff puffs are, and my waistline is not going to thank me! They are an African snack made by deep frying balls of cake dough flavoured with ginger or banana and damn are they good!
I adore Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and their stand was selling packs of 2 half pound cups for only £5! Such a bargain considering I saw them on another stall for £13. They are a limited edition for Christmas and would surely make any Reese’s fan very happy on Christmas day!
I bumped into the lovely Benjamina and had to grab a photo! I was so nervous, but she was lovely and so nice. She is a fellow blogger too, check out her blog Carrot & Crumb.
We wandered over into the Ideal Home Show, which is connected to The Cake & Bake Show and you can access it with the same ticket. We grabbed some lunch from La Raclette, above is Beth’s cheese smothered potatoes with gherkins.
Then we grabbed a warm apple strudel drink from this fab red bus bar. It was a mixture of Malibu, apple juice and cinnamon, and it was delicious. Christmas was in full swing at the Ideal Home Show with twinkling Christmas trees dotted all around.
Back at The Cake & Bake Show super theatre we checked out GBBO 2015 winner Nadia as she made za’tar and lemon palmiers, and coconut macarons. She was very chatty and friendly to the crowd and talked a lot about her children. She also admitted to using ready made puff pastry, which I thought was great as it really is such a time saver.
And the famous Nadia facial expressions were in full swing!
I did a bit of shopping and grabbed these cute gingerbread sprinkles, and some pump action glitter spray from The Cake Decorating Company. I discovered this glitter spray at John Whaite’s Kitchen Cookery School recently and I wanted some straight away. I got it in all three colours (gold, silver and red) as it was 3 for £12!
There was a stunning display of Beatrix Potter characters made from sugarcraft to look at. It was made by The Sugar Chronicles to celebrate 150 years since Beatrix Potter was born.
It really brought back memories from my childhood of reading the books. The Tale of Benjamin Bunny was one of my favourite stories.
The characters were all stunningly recreated in sugar craft and the detail was superb, from the eyelashes on the rabbits, to the tiny woodlice and rocks in the grass around them.
I introduced Beth to Sugar & Crumbs amazing flower nozzles that create the stunning designs above so easily. We watched a demonstration and her mind was blown!
I got some fudge from The Kilted Fudge Company last year and I was back for more this year as their fudge is fantastic! Honestly the best fudge I’ve ever tasted.
There was some amazing competition cakes on display that we gazed in awe at. The theme was fairytales and I also saw several mermaid themed cakes.
The detail on these cakes is so beautiful!
And the day ended with watching Rosemary Schrager and sitting behind these fab four – Val, Rav, Benjamina and Louise from The Great British Bake Off. They are holding my friend Beth’s baby in the above photo! I had such a fun day at the show and it was great to see it back on form after last year’s hiccup. I’m looking forward to next year already!
John Whaite is the winner of the third series of The Great British Bake Off, which aired back in 2012. Since then he’s released three cookery books, trained at Le Cordon Bleu, was a resident chef on Lorraine, a guest chef on Sunday Brunch, presented Chopping Block with Rosemary Shrager, and opened a cookery school. Suffice to say, he’s been busy! I’ve been lucky enough to meet him briefly a couple of times at events like The Cake & Bake Show, and I cooked with him at a Neff & ao.com event a couple of years ago.
I was invited by ao.com to attend a baking class at John’s cookery school – John Whaite’s Kitchen – which is located in Wrightington, just north of Wigan and about a 40 minute drive from central Manchester. I found it easily and parked up. I was greeted by John and the AO team and handed a warm cup of mulled cider which was desperately needed as it was a very chilly evening! John was chatty and friendly and I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered meeting me at the Neff event back in 2014. After all, he must meet so many new people all the time.
The cookery school was beautifully decorated and the shelves lined with mixers, cake tins and ingredients were a baker’s dream!
Once everyone arrived we set about making a Gingerbread Latte Swiss Roll under John’s instruction. He certainly knew his stuff when it came to the technical aspects of baking, he explained all about the protein structures of egg and how they change when they are whisked up. The roll was made using a genoise sponge which involved whisking eggs and sugar in a Kitchen Aid mixer on a high speed for around 7 minutes to create volume, as the sponge contains no raising agent.
The filling of the sponge was supposed to be whipped cream, mascarpone cheese and coffee extract. As I’m not a coffee fan, John suggested adding a couple of tablespoons of Biscoff spread instead, which was a fantastic idea!
I felt quite confident baking the roll as I’ve made things like it several times before, but several of the other bloggers were not as confident and John made sure that everyone had his time to ask questions, check on their mixture and make sure they were following the steps correctly. Even if you are not a confident baker, you’d have no problems producing a gorgeous bake with John’s assistance.
We stopped for a break and ate some delicious butternut squash soup, while John gave us a demonstration on tempering chocolate. It was very memorising to watch!
We then tucked into this awesome cheeseboard!
To decorate the rolls John helped each of us pour over a mirror glaze, then we added chocolate shards, chocolate coffee beans, cacao nibs and some gold shimmer spray. They looked absolutely gorgeous! Everyone put their own spin on the decoration and each roll looked slightly different. We were also very kindly provided with swiss roll carriers by the AO team to take our goodies home with us.
And this was the finished product! It looked stunning and had such a professional finish. Of course I had to get a photo with me and my creation in front of the logo!
I had a brilliant time at John Whaite’s Kitchen Cookery School, I loved every moment. Baking is one of my favourite things to do, and learning from someone so accomplished as John was a great opportunity. He is also such an entertaining presence and cracked lots of genuinely funny jokes throughout the session. The AO team did an amazing job by organising the whole event and they are such a friendly bunch. It was also great to meet some fellow bloggers, and see some again that I’ve met before.
John also kindly had photos with us all and we were all given a new copy of his book – Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients – which he signed for me, as well as some Joseph Joseph baking tools. I’m really looking forward to making some recipes from his book as many of them look divine. With only 5 ingredients each, they will no doubt be fuss free and easy to make too. John also has a new range of crockery out (the navy bowls and jug with gold trim in the photo at the top) which looks absolutely gorgeous and is going on my Christmas list!
When I cut into the swiss roll I was very pleased to see such a fab swirl! I loved the whole thing, it was very delicious and this would be an amazing centrepiece for a Christmas meal or party. I’ve included the recipe below if you’d like to make this at home.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Grease and line a large baking tray (43x28cm)
For the cake, put the eggs, caster sugar and golden syrup into a KitchenAid fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture triples in volume and reaches the ribbon stage
Sift the dry ingredients together onto a piece of baking paper, then add to the mixing bowl and whisk briefly until incorporated
Pour the batter onto the greased and lined tray, smooth out with a small crank handled palette knife and tap the tray on the worktop three or four times to expel any large air bubbles
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the sponge springs back when gently prodded
Prepare a clean, damp tea towel on the worktop and place onto that a piece of baking paper. As soon as the sponge is baked, invert it onto the baking paper. Roll the sponge up tightly inside the paper, starting from one of the shorter ends. Then roll that up inside the towel. Allow to cool completely
For the filling, whisk the cream with the icing sugar to soft, floppy peaks. Whisk in the marscapone and coffee extract until combined and thick
Unroll the cooled cake and spread the filling over it as evenly as possible. Re-roll the cake and freeze until almost solid
Set the frozen cake onto a wired rack and pour over the warmed mirror glaze. Allow the glaze to set then decorate with the chocolate shards, gold leaf, edible glitter, cacao nibs and chocolate coffee beans
The Great British Bake Off series 7 came to an end last week, and it really was the end of an era as it was the last time the show will be aired on the BBC. Of course, none of the bakers or presenters knew that at the time of filming. Our three finalists were Candice, Andrew and Jane. Candice has been well known throughout this series for making elaborate bakes themed around her family, she’s won star baker three times and is this year’s lipstick queen! Jane won star baker on week one, and has had quite a few ups and downs since then. Andrew has been known for his technical approach to baking, and has won star baker twice.
The theme of the final was royal and the signature challenge was to make a three layered filled meringue crown, family sized and decorated. Paul said the bakers have struggled with meringue in the past so he wanted to see how they did again. Jane’s meringue crown was filled with blueberry compote, raspberry and strawberry compote and nectarines. It had quite a simple appearance, and Paul said it had to be perfect because of this. Apart from her blueberry compote being slightly runny, her bake went well. Mary gave it plenty of praise while Paul stayed quiet as he was happily eating it all! He gave her a double Hollywood handshake!
Andrew used muscavado sugar in his meringue, which meant there was a higher risk of his meringue cracking. He made it in the shape of the Queen’s jubilee crown and filled it with pecan praline, layered it with blackberry fool and made cassis jelly ‘jewels’. He struggled with his pecan praline as it stuck to his baking paper, but he had a good bake. The judges felt that his praline was too sweet and overpowered the meringue, and that the fool wasn’t tart enough. They enjoyed his meringue and cassis jelly.
Candice made two different types of meringue, one with caster sugar and one with golden caster sugar. Her crown was filled with prosecco soaked strawberries, mango curd, and glittered fruit and nuts. One top was a tiny tiara style crown. The judges thought it looked impressive and that it had great texture and flavour, she got a Hollywood handshake too!
This week’s technical gave the bakers nowhere to hide. It was to make a Victoria Sponge, but without a recipe. They also had to make the buttercream and jam for the filling, again without a recipe. This is pretty straightforward for people who bake a lot, but the bakers were really feeling the pressure so were bound to make mistakes. I did think it was a little simple, and they could have challenged them more.
Jane made the mistake of weighing her eggs in the shells, so she had far
too much mixture. Both Jane and Candice made their sponge with the all
in one method, while Andrew used the creaming method. Candice made the raspberry jame seedless, which Mary didn’t like. Jane came third due to using too much mixture, Candice was second as her buttercream was grainy, and Andrew won the technical!
The showstopper challenge was to make a picnic fit for a Queen, this had to include: 1 chocolate celebration cake, 12 puff pastry sausage rolls, 12 mini quiches, 12 savoury scones and 12 fruit and custard tarts – 49 items in total! Mary said that even though the bakers had 5 hours to make everything, they still needed good time management. Paul wanted every item to be suitable to serve to the Queen herself.
Candice made a chocolate, orange & cardamom cake, bacon, mushroom & black pudding sausage rolls, manchego & olive scones, salmon & asparagus quiches and rhubarb & custard tarts. The pastry on her tarts did catch, but they still looked good and she avoided a soggy bottom! She also made cute pig faces on her sausage rolls which was a nice touch, and her puff pastry was well cooked. Her quiches were crispy and full of salmon. Her scones didn’t taste of cheese as the olives overtook the flavour. Paul loved her chocolate cake, and Mary thought it was a great cake for a picnic.
Andrew made smoked cheddar & paprika scones, sausage & chorizo rolls, sweet potato, goats cheese & caramelised onion quiches, strawberry & pistachio tarts and a chocolate cake featuring chocolate shards. He had an extremely detailed Excel spreadsheet which had every 5 minutes of the challenge planned to keep him on track. He also used family recipes to ensure success. Andrew added a sugar glaze to his fruit tarts which unfortunately soaked through and made the pastry soggy. His sausage rolls tasted good but he had raw pastry. Mary loved the apperance of his scones, but couldn’t taste any cheese. His quiches were crispy and tasted delicious according to Paul. His chocolate cake looked great and Paul felt the same about the taste of it.
Jane made red fruit and elderflower tarts, butternut squash & parmesan scones, apple & thyme rolls, salmon & prawn quiches and a chocolate cake decorated with a chocolate collar. Jane was flapping quite a lot as she seemed unorganised. Her chocolate collar did not set so she had to cover her cake in buttercream and glitter instead. Her sausage roll had raw pastry, but tasted good. Mary really enjoyed her quiches and fruit tarts. Neither Mary or Paul could taste the butternutsquash in her scones. The judges did enjoy her chocolate cake and said it was light and soft, and loved the cherry and cream surprise in the middle.
And the winner was… Candice! She certainly deserved it as her bakes were the best in this episode. She was who I wanted to win as I felt she deserved it overall from the quality of her bakes throughout the series, even though the judges don’t take that into account on the final day. It was quite emotional as she talked about what winning meant to her. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next!
I started by greasing and lining three 9 inch sandwich tins.
I creamed together 520g caster sugar and 520g butter.
I added 9 eggs, mixing them in two at a time.
I then mixed in 400g self raising flour, 120g cocoa powder and 2 tbsp milk.
I divided the mixture into the tins, I always make a hole in the middle of the batter to try and stop it from doming too much in the middle.
I baked it on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes, then left to cool fully.
I made the nutella buttercream by mixing together 150g butter and 300g icing sugar, then I added 200g Nutella, 3 tbsp double cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. I mixed it until it was smooth.
I made the cream filling by whipping up 250ml double cream, then mixing in 250g mascarpone cheese
I started stacking up the cakes. I spread half of the cream mixture onto the first layer.
Then I spread half a jar of cherry jam on top.
I stacked up the next layer of cake, then spread the rest of the cream layer on, followed by the rest of the cherry jam.
I then added the last sponge and spread a layer of the Nutella buttercream over the top using a palette knife.
I put the rest of the Nutella buttercream in a piping bag and piped two rows of rosettes around the edge of the cake. I used a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip for this effect. I filled the middle with some Dr Oetker chocolate strand sprinkles.
I took 10 cherries out of a jar of kirsch soaked cherries and put them on some kitchen towel to soak away as much moisture from them as I could. I then rolled half of each cherry in edible gold glitter and arrange them around the cake.
The cake was ready for a celebration! I took it along to my friend’s 30th birthday party for the guests to enjoy.
The cake was so yummy and if I do say so myself it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made! The sponge was lovely and moist, and the fresh cream and cheese filling was the perfect balance against the sweet chocolate and Nutella buttercream. I adore kirsch soaked cherries so they were a tasty bonus for me.
Cream together the caster sugar and 520g of the butter
Add the eggs, mixing them in two at a time
Mix in the self raising flour, cocoa powder and milk
Divide the mixture into the tins and bake it on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes, then leave to cool fully
Make the nutella buttercream by mixing together 150g of the butter and the icing sugar, then add the Nutella, the 3 tbsp double cream and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth
Make the cream filling by whipping up the 250ml of double cream, then mixing in the mascarpone cheese
Start stacking up the cakes. Spread half of the cream filling onto the first layer, followed by half a jar of the cherry jam on top. Do the same with the second layer of cake
Add the last sponge and spread a layer of the Nutella buttercream over the top using a palette knife
Put the rest of the Nutella buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a Wilton Number 6B Open Star Tip and pipe two rows of rosettes around the edge of the cake. Fill the middle with the chocolate strand sprinkles
Take 10 cherries out of a jar of kirsch soaked cherries and put them on some kitchen towel to soak away as much moisture as possible. Then roll half of each cherry in edible gold glitter and arrange them evenly around the cake