Unicorn Millionaire’s Shortbread

Unicorn Millionaire’s Shortbread

I’ve seen unicorn themed food everywhere over the past few months and it inspired me to make this Unicorn Millionaire’s Shortbread. As well as cakes and cupcakes featuring golden horns and glittering manes to look like the mythical creatures themselves, food decorated with candy pastel colours is also part of the trend. I’ve used pastel coloured candy melts and chocolate stars to give this delicious shortbread a magical appearance!

I started by making the shortbread layer. I mixed together 300g plain flour, butter and 150g caster sugar then pressed it into the bottom of a lined traybake tin until it was compact.

Then I baked it on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes until it was golden brown. I left it in the tin and put it on a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the caramel layer I put 100g butter, 100g light brown sugar and a can of Carnation condensed milk (397g) into a pan on a low heat. Once the sugar had dissolved I turned the heat up and let the caramel bubble for 5 minutes whilst I stirred constantly.

I poured the caramel on top of the shortbread and put it in the fridge to set.

For the chocolate topping I melted 400g white chocolate, 70g pink candy melts, 70g blue candy melts and 70g yellow candy melts.

First I poured the white chocolate over the caramel and smoothed it out, then I added blobs of the candy melts all over and used cocktails sticks to swirl them around. I also added some white chocolate stars for an extra magical touch!

After the chocolate had set, to slice up the bars I ran a knife under hot water to heat the blade. I gently pressed it onto the chocolate so it melted it and cut through without cracking the chocolate.

The shortbread base is buttery and melt in the mouth, the caramel is rich and gooey and the white chocolate is sweet and creamy. I cut some of the pieces in half again, but my partner was happy with a big slice as he loves white chocolate! This shortbread would be great for a children’s birthday party.

                 

I’m linking up with Treat Petite this month, hosted by me, We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme, Cook Blog Share hosted by Hijacked By Twins, and Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello.

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5 from 1 vote
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Unicorn Millionaire's Shortbread

Servings 12

Ingredients

Shortbread

  • 300 g Plain flour
  • 265 g Butter
  • 150 g Caster sugar

Caramel

  • 100 g Butter
  • 100 g Light brown sugar
  • 397 g Carnation condensed milk

Chocolate

  • 400 g White Chocolate
  • 70 g Pink candy melts
  • 70 g Blue candy melts
  • 70 g Yellow candy melts
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Mix together the plain flour, butter and caster sugar for the shortbread and press it into the bottom of a lined traybake tin until it is compact
  2. Bake it on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 35 minutes until golden brown. Leave it in the tin and put it on a cooling rack to cool completely
  3. To make the caramel put the ingredients into a pan on a low heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up and let the caramel bubble for 5 minutes whilst stirring constantly. Do be careful as the caramel gets extremely hot
  4. Pour the caramel on top of the shortbread and put it in the fridge to set
  5. Melt the chocolate and candy melts in separate bowls. Add 1 tsp of the vegetable oil to each candy melt bowl to make the mixtures smoother and easier to work with
  6. Pour the white chocolate over the caramel and smoothed it out, then add blobs of the candy melts all over and use cocktails sticks to swirl them around. Add white chocolate stars or other sprinkles of your choice
  7. To slice up the shortbread, remove from the tin and place onto a chopping board. Run a sharp knife under hot water then gently press it onto the chocolate, it will melt through without cracking the chocolate. Please take care as the metal blades can get very hot
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Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

I reviewed a recipe book recently called Lola’s A Cake Journey Around The World and as part of my review I made an Amarula Cake from the book. I really enjoyed it as it contained some of my favourite flavours – chocolate, caramel and whipped cream. I also have a new love for Amarula! It’s similar to Baileys in that it’s a cream liquor, but it’s made with a fruit from South Africa called the marula fruit. I really wanted to make the cake again but I wanted to amp it up and really make it indulgent and special, so this Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake was created!

I started by mixing 120g cocoa powder with 250ml boiling water, then left it to cool. I whisked up 6 eggs, 440g caster sugar and 120ml vegetable oil with an electric hand whisk until it was frothy. I added the cocoa powder mixture and whisked it in.

Then I added 500g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 2 tbsp Amarula and folded it in. I separated the mixture into three 22cm cake tins and baked on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

I made a buttercream by mixing together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar. I stacked up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some buttercream.

I covered the sponge in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to set.

I took it out and covered it again with the rest of the buttercream and I smoothed it out as best I could.

To decorate the cake I carefully piped blobs of the caramel on the edge of the cake, then covered the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel. I whipped up 200ml double cream, 3 tbsp Amarula and 2 tbsp icing sugar and piped it around the edges. I added bronze sprinkles and white chocolate stars in the centre, then cut some chocolate squares I got from The Chocolate Trading Co into triangles and stuck them into the cream. Finally a spritz of gold glitter finished it off!

This cake was everything I had dreamed of! Rich chocolate sponge, sticky caramel drizzle and sweet buttercream with Amarula flavour. It would make a fabulous cake for a celebration, or the ultimate way to treat yourself!

I’m linking these cake up with some blogger link ups this month. Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins, and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

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Amarula, Chocolate & Caramel Cake

Servings 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 120 g Cocoa powder
  • 250 ml Boiling water
  • 6 Eggs
  • 440 g Caster sugar
  • 120 ml Vegetable Oil
  • 500 g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 12 tbsp Amarula
  • About 1/3 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 900 g + 2 tbsp Icing sugar
  • 450 g Baking spread
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • Sprinkles of your choice
  • 10 Chocolate Duo Panels
  • Gold Edible Glitter

Instructions

  1. Mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water and leave to cool

  2. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric or hand whisk to mix the eggs, caster sugar and vegetable oil until frothy. Then, add the cocoa powder mixture and whisk it in
  3. Gently fold in the self raising flour, baking powder, salt and 2 tbsp of the Amarula
  4. Separate the mixture into three greased and lined 22cm cake tins and bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes (check they are done by inserting a skewer or thin knife into the centre, it should come out clean). Leave them on cooling racks to cool completely

  5. To make the buttercream mix together 450g baking spread, 4 tbsp Amarula and 900g icing sugar until smooth
  6. Stack up the sponges, drizzling 1 tbsp Amarula on each sponge before spreading them with some of the buttercream
  7. Cover the cake in a base coat of buttercream and put it in the fridge for 1 hour to set
  8. Cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream and smooth it out as best you can using a palette knife or scraper
  9. Put the Carnation Caramel into a piping bag and carefully pipe blobs on the edge of the cake so it drips down. Then cover the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel
  10. Whip up the double cream along with 3 tbsp of the Amarula and the 2 tbsp of icing sugar, pipe it around the edges of the cake
  11. Add sprinkles in the centre of the cake, then cut the chocolate duo panels into triangles and stick them into the cream. Finally spritz with gold edible glitter

 

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Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes

Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes
Easter is one of my favourite celebrations as it’s such a lovely time of year. Seeing spring flowers popping up all over the place brings a smile to my face every time. And it’s nice not to feel that cold bite in the air anymore. Plus there’s a ton of chocolate and an extra two days off work which never hurts! I’m especially looking forward to Easter weekend this year as we’ve been so busy decorating our new house and we’ll finally have some time to relax and see friends and family over the Easter weekend. I hope you all have lovely and relaxing Easter weekends planned!

To make the chocolate sponge I first creamed together 170g baking spread and 170g caster sugar.

I added 3 eggs and mixed them in.

Then I mixed in 140g self raising flour, 30g cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp baking powder.

I divided the cupcakes into cases (I used some brown ones and some gold foil ones as I wasn’t sure which would look best!)

I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

When they were cool I used a cupcake corer to remove a section from the middle.

I filled each hole with some Carnation caramel.

I made a buttercream by mixing together 150g baking spread, 300g icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I then added 75g melted Galaxy chocolate and mixed until smooth.

I piped the buttercream onto each cupcake to resemble a nest, then placed 3 Golden Galaxy Eggs into the middle.

These cupcakes are so decadent and indulgent! The sponge is light, the caramel is rich and the buttercream has that hint of chocolate flavour that is fully satisfied by the shimmering golden eggs. And if you don’t tell your friends and family about the caramel inside, they will get a yummy surprise when they dig in!

I’m linking these cupcakes up with a few blogger link ups this month. Treat Petite hosted by myself this month (and Cakeyboi on alternate months), and Desert Island Dish hosted by Good Egg Foodie.

Also linking up to Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins, and We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

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Chocolate & Caramel Golden Egg Cupcakes

Servings 12
Author thebakingexplorer

Ingredients

  • 320 g Baking spread
  • 170 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 140 g Self raising flour
  • 30 g Cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • About 1/3 can of Carnation Caramel
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 packs of Golden Galaxy Eggs
  • 75 g Galaxy chocolate melted

Instructions

  1. To make the chocolate sponge cream together 170g of the butter and the caster sugar

  2. Add the eggs and mix them in
  3. Mix in the self raising flour, cocoa powder and baking powder
  4. Divide the cupcakes into 12 muffin cases and bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes
  5. When they are cool use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove a section from the middle of each cupcake
  6. Fill each hole with some of the Carnation caramel
  7. Made a buttercream by mixing together 150g of the baking spread, the icing sugar and the vanilla extract. Then add the melted Galaxy chocolate and mix until smooth
  8. Pipe the buttercream onto each cupcake to resemble a nest, then place 3 Golden Galaxy Eggs into the middle
 
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Biscoff & Banana Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Biscoff & Banana Cake with Caramel Drizzle

I think I severely underestimated how much time moving into a new house takes up even after you move. I’ve been so busy recently doing very grown up things like going to the tip on Saturdays, spending scary amounts of money on furniture and attempting to pick paint colours. I had some bananas that were slowly going brown in the fruit bowl and I decided that it was the perfect excuse to fit in some baking. My boyfriend is obsessed with Lotus biscoff spread and he loves it on sandwiches with banana. He’s been working so hard recently that I wanted to combine those flavours into a cake for him to enjoy and this is what I created!

To make the sponge I started by mixing together 360g butter, 150g golden caster sugar and 150g light brown sugar.

I then added 3 eggs and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and whisked in, then I mixed in 4 mashed up bananas. Finally I folded in 450g self raising flour and 1 1/2 tsp baking powder.

I seperated the batter into three 8″ sandwich tins, and baked on 160C for 25 minutes. I left them to cool completely.

For the biscoff buttercream I started by mixing together 300g butter with 600g icing sugar. I then added 540g Lotus biscoff spread and 6 tbsp double cream and mixed it well until smooth.

I put the first sponge on my turntable to start decorating, I spread on a layer of buttercream and smoothed it over.

Then I sprinkled on some crushed Lotus biscuits for extra crunch between the layers, I then did the same for the next layer and then topped it with the final sponge.

I covered the whole cake in a layer of the buttercream, then put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

I took it out of the fridge and smoothed on a final layer of the buttercream, I used a palette knife to make it as smooth as I could all over. I refrigerated it again for 30 mins.

I was going to make my own caramel, but I had a bit of a disaster as I burnt the sugar. My new house has gas hobs rather than the electric hobs I’ve been used to for the past 5 or 6 years living in flats, so I’m still getting used to how hot they can get so fast! Luckily I had some Carnation caramel in the cupboard. I tipped about half the jar into a bowl and stirred it to smooth it out. I added 1 tsp salt to give it a salty kick, then put it in a piping bag.

This the first time I’ve made a ‘drip’ cake so I carefully piped blobs of the caramel on the edge of the cake, I was quite stingy with the amount as I knew it would carry on dripping more than I would realise. I then covered the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel. I put it back in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up the caramel.

I put the rest of the biscoff buttercream in a piping bag and piped rosettes around the edge using my Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip. I then crushed up some more Lotus biscuits and filled the middle of the cake with crumbs. Finally I chopped some pieces of dairy fudge in half and placed them neatly on top of the buttercream.

And the cake was done! I was pretty pleased with my first ‘drip’ effect cake, as I think it does give a really professional finish. You just have to be as stingy as possible with the amount of caramel, so it doesn’t flood the cake. The cake was a huge hit at work, I had some lovely comments from my happy colleagues on both it’s looks and taste. The banana cake was super moist and full of banana flavour, the crunch between the layers gave the cake some added texture, and the buttercream was pure biscoff heaven!

I’m linking this recipe up with Cook Blog Share hosted this month by Hijacked By Twins.

And with The No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary as I was making use of 4 ripe bananas languishing in the fruit bowl, and the fudge pieces were also left over from a previous cake decorating session.

And with Recipe Of The Week hosted by A Mummy Too.

 

And with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

And with Dessert Island Dish hosted by Good Egg Foodie.

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Biscoff & Banana Cake with Caramel Drizzle

Ingredients

  • 660 g Baking spread
  • 150 g Golden caster sugar
  • 150 g Light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 4 Ripe bananas mashed
  • 450g Self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 600 g Icing sugar
  • 540 g Lotus biscoff spread
  • 6 tbsp Double cream
  • 10 Lotus biscuits crushed
  • 175 g Carnation caramel
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 pieces of Dairy fudge

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line three 8" sandwich tins

  2. To make the sponge mix together 360g of the butter, the golden caster sugar and the light brown sugar

  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing between each addition, then add the vanilla extract and whisked it in

  4. Mix in the bananas, then fold in the self raising flour and baking powder

  5. Separate the batter into the tins, and bake for 25 minutes or until a thin skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Turn out onto cooling racks and leave to cool completely

  6. For the biscoff buttercream mix together 300g of the butter with the icing sugar. Then added the Lotus biscoff spread and double cream and mix it well until smooth

  7. To decorate, put the first sponge on a turntable and spread on a layer of buttercream and smoothed it over

  8. Sprinkle some crushed Lotus biscuits over the buttercream layer, then add the second sponge and do the same, then top it with the final sponge

  9. Cover the whole cake in a layer of the buttercream, using a palette knife to smooth it out, put it in the fridge for 30 minutes

  10. Remove from the fridge and smooth on a final layer of the buttercream, again using a palette knife to make it smooth all over. Refridgerated again for 30 mins

  11. Tip the Carnation caramel into a bowl and stir it to smooth it out. Add 1 tsp salt and put it in a piping bag

  12. Carefully pipe blobs of the caramel around the edge of the cake so it drips down the sides, use less than you think as it will drip more than you expect and you can always add more. Then cover the whole top of the cake with a thin layer of the caramel and put it back in the fridge for 15 minutes

  13. Put the rest of the biscoff buttercream in a piping bag and pipe rosettes around the edge using a Wilton Number 6B Open Star tip

  14. Tip the remaining crushed Lotus biscuits into the middle of the cakeFinally, chop the dairy fudge in half and place them neatly on top of the buttercream

 
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Chocolate & Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies (Vegan)

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies (Vegan)

I don’t know why, but telling someone that a brownie is vegan can really put them off. I’m not sure why this is as nowadays you can bake so many delicious treats without using any animal products. I took these Chocolate & Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies into work (without mentioning the ‘v’ word) and my colleagues happily scoffed the lot, especially when I told them they contained no butter and were made with coconut sugar as this immediately removed any January diet-related hesitation over whether to indulge or not. They are rich, sweet and super moist. If you’ve never tried vegan baking before, this is a great place to start!

I started by making the caramel. In a pan I warmed 160ml coconut cream with 70g light brown sugar. I let it bubble for 5 minutes whilst constantly stirring.

I took the caramel off the heat and added a mixture of 4 tbsp maple syrup, 6 tbsp peanut butter (I used Meridian Smooth Peanut Butter with no palm oil), 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tsp salt. I poured it into a bowl and put it in the fridge to cool.

For the brownie batter I put 250g plain flour, 200g golden caster sugar, 150g coconut sugar, 90g cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and stirred it together.

I then added 250ml almond milk, 2 flax eggs, 250ml vegetable oil and 1 tsp vanilla extract and whisked it all together.

I poured the batter into a lined baking tray, then added blobs of the peanut butter caramel all over and swirled it all together with a knife.

I baked it on 180C/160C Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 45 minutes.

The brownies were so fudgey and gooey, and the peanut butter caramel is to die for. I personally would add more peanut butter next time for a stronger taste, but it depends how much you love peanut butter. If you don’t like it, you could use another nut butter or omit the caramel entirely and just make some yummy chocolate brownies.

I’m linking this recipe up to Treat Petite, hosted by me this month, and Cakeyboi on alternate months.

And to Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Rock My Vegan Socks.

And with Recipe Of The Week hosted by A Mummy Too.

And with We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme.

Recipe adapted from the Telegraph.

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Chocolate & Peanut Butter Caramel Brownies (Vegan)

Ingredients

  • 160 ml Coconut cream
  • 70 g Light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp Peanut butter
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 250 g Plain flour
  • 200 g Golden caster sugar
  • 150 g Coconut sugar
  • 90 g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 250 ml Almond milk
  • 2 Flax eggs see note
  • 250 ml Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. To make flax eggs: 2 tbsp linseeds, ideally ground up in a food processor or spice grinder, soaked in 4 tbsp water for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.

  2. Start by making the caramel. In a pan warm the coconut cream with the light brown sugar. Let it bubble for 5 minutes whilst constantly stirring, then take off the heat and pour in a bowl

  3. Mix together the maple syrup, peanut butter, 1 tsp of the vanilla extract and 1 tsp of the salt, add it to the caramel and put it in the fridge to cool

  4. In a bowl mix together the plain flour, golden caster sugar, coconut sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and 1 tsp of the salt

  5. In another bowl whisk together the almond milk, flax eggs, vegetable oil and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract, then add it to the dry ingredients and mix together

  6. Pour the batter into a lined baking tray, then add blobs of the peanut butter caramel all over and swirl it all together with a knife

  7. Bake on 180C/160C Fan/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 45 minutes

  8. Allow to cool then cut into squares

 
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Apple Pie Fondant Fancies: GBBO Week #9

Apple Pie Fondant Fancies: GBBO Week #9

I didn’t post a bake along last week as I’ve been on holiday, I feel like I lucked out as Tudor Week looked tough! I’m still not over Benjamina’s shock exit either… This week was patisserie week and also the semi finals! As usual Bake Off is coming to an end far too fast. All of the bakers were very nervous this week, even Selasi!

The signature challenge was to make two styles of 24 savoury palmiers, using only puff pastry (no rough puff allowed!) Paul and Mary were looking for layers in the pastry, and a small amount of filling but with a lot of flavour. There were some debate amongst the bakers over whether they were using strong bread flour or plain flour for the puff pastry dough, with most of them using a mixture of the two. Andrew was the only one who used only plain flour and he had to re-start his puff pastry as it was too crumbly.

There were lots of different palmier shapes from the bakers. Jane made flowers, Andrew did musical notes, Selasi made butterflies and Candice made hearts. The judges thought Jane’s pesto and sundried tomato palmiers were not fully baked, they loved the flavour of her tapanade palmiers but again they were not quite baked. Candice’s pastry was well baked and the judges enjoyed the flavours, however they felt the palmiers were too big and thick. Selasi’s palmiers were also underbaked. Despite Andrew having to redo his pastry, his palmiers were crispy and Paul loved them.

This week’s technical challenge was to make a Savarin, this is basically a large rum baba. It’s a yeasted cake which is soaked in an orange liquor syrup and decorated with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Paul warned the bakers may not prove the cake correctly, and he also wanted to see the cake evenly soaked with the liquor. Jane knew what it was, but the others were unsure.

Jane struggled with the caramel shards, I lost count of how many times she attempted to make them! All of the bakers had very neat piping skills when they made the chocolate label for the cake. It was a hot day in the tent so they all struggled with getting the cake to cool so they could add the whipped cream decoration. Paul actually gave the bakers some grace for this! Selasi came last as his savarin was over baked and his orange segments still had membrane on, Candice’s was also over baked and under proved which meant she got third place. Andrew’s was also slightly over baked so he came second, and Jane won despite not being successful with the caramel decoration.

The showstopper was to make 36 fondant fancies, two different types, all made with genoise sponge, and all made from scratch. They had 4 and a half hours to complete the challenge, Mary admitted that you’d make the sponge the day before usually which would make it more difficult for the bakers, but of course she still wanted them to be perfect. Paul wanted to see shop standard fancies with flat sides.

I liked Jane’s tip to use a potato masher to dip the fancies into the fondant. Mary made a comment about Selasi not sifting his flour, so he immediately re-made his sponge again! All of the fancies had to be covered in buttercream to ensure smooth sides, but Jane was the only baker who decided against doing this as it is a time consuming element to the bake. It was a very tense time in the tent as they all struggled to complete the challenge on time.

Mary and Paul both loved Candice’s praline fancies and cherry bakewell fancies, they thought the overall apperance was a bit messy but the flavours and fillings were what won them over. As Jane did not use buttercream to cover her fancies, the side were very messy and the judges noticed this immediately. Andrew’s fancies looked fantastic, I loved the way he presented them, it was such a clever idea.The judges agreed and called the presentation ‘stunning’.

Selasi left this week, he came last in the technical and the judges thought his white chocolate fancies were overly sweet. It was very close between him and Jane I thought, and I was surprised they chose him. Next week is the final and we get to find out who the winner is!

This week I decided to make the fondant fancies. I find making puff pastry from scratch quite boring (too much turning and folding) and I don’t have the right tin to make a Savarin in. Making these gave me so much sympathy towards the GBBO bakers! They are very time consuming due to all the different stages, but ultimately worth giving a go at least once as they taste so good and look really impressive!

I started with the cake. I made a genoise sponge and whisked up 5 eggs with 150g golden caster sugar for about 7 minutes until it was thick.

I then sieved in a mixture of 150g plain flour and 2 tsp cinnamon in three stages, and gently folded them in each time. I then added 75g melted butter which I poured around the edge of the bowl and folded in. I poured it into a lined baking tin.

I baked it on 180C/160C fan/Gas 4 for 25 minutes. I let it cool then wrapped it up and put it in the freezer for an hour.

While the cake was baking I made the apple filling. I heated up 1 chopped cooking apple, 1 tsp cinnamon and 25g light brown sugar on a low heat for 15 minutes until the apples were soft. I let the mixture cool, then whizzed it up using a hand blender.

 

I took the cake out of the freezer and brushed a thin layer of apricot jam over the top.

I then rolled out a 250g pack of orange fondant and covered the cake with it.

I trimmed the edges of the cake then using a ruler I cut it into 1.5″ squares.

Then I cut each square into half.

I spread the apple filling onto the bottom half and sandwiched them all back together.

I made a caramel butter cream by mixing 150g butter, 300g golden icing sugar and 1 tsp caramel extract.

I used a palette knife to coat the sides of each cake. This was quite fiddly to get 100% neat. I put them in the fridge for an hour for the buttercream to set.

I made a pourable fondant by mixing up 1kg ready to roll fondant with 115ml water and some orange food colouring. I set up a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath and using it to place the cakes on before the pouring the fondant over the top.

I melted 100g white chocolate, put it into a piping bag and piped a zig zag pattern on top. I then added some bronze sprinkles.

I didn’t expect the fancies to be as neat as professional ones, but I thought they came out alright in the end. The sides could have been neater, but the top were lovely and smooth. My fondant didn’t fully set, even after being in the fridge overnight, so they were quite messy when eating them!

And the best bit, they tasted just like apple pie! The cinnamon, apple and caramel all came together in a way I wasn’t expecting, and produced a delicious apple pie flavour. This wasn’t my original intention, but it really made the whole experience of making these worthwhile.

   

I’m linking up with the Great Bloggers Bake Off 2016 hosted by Mummy Mishaps, with Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular, and with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

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Apple Pie Fondant Fancies

Ingredients

  • 5 Eggs
  • 150 g Golden caster sugar
  • 150 g Plain flour
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 75 g Melted butter
  • 1 Chopped cooking apple
  • 25 g Light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Apricot jam
  • 1.25 kg Orange or white ready to roll fondant
  • 150 g Butter
  • 300 g Golden icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Caramel extract
  • 100 g White chocolate
  • Bronze sprinkles
  • (If using white fondant) Orange food colouring

Instructions

  1. To make the genoise sponge whisk the eggs with the golden caster sugar in a stand mixer for about 7 minutes until thick and trebled in size

  2. Sieve in the plain flour and 2 tsp of the cinnamon in three stages, and gently fold them in each time. Add the melted butter by pouring it around the edge of the bowl and folding it in. Pour the batter into a lined baking tin

  3. Bake it on 180C/160C fan/Gas 4 for 25 minutes. Let it cool then wrap it up and put it in the freezer for an hour

  4. To make the apple filling heat up the chopped cooking apple with 1 tsp of the cinnamon and the light brown sugar on a low heat for 15 minutes until the apples are soft. Let the mixture cool, then whizz it up using a hand blender

  5. Take the cake out of the freezer and brush a thin layer of apricot jam over the top

  6. If you are using white fondant, knead some orange food colouring into it first until you get the desired shade. Rolled out 250g of the fondant and cover the cake with it

  7. Trim the edges of the cake then using a ruler cut it into 1.5" squares. Then cut each square into half horizontally

  8. Spread the apple filling onto the bottom half of the cake and sandwich them all back together

  9. Make a caramel buttercream by mixing the butter, golden icing sugar and caramel extract together. Use a palette knife to coat the sides of each cake with the buttercream, then put them in the fridge for an hour for the buttercream to set

  10. Make a pourable fondant by mixing up 1kg of the ready to roll fondant with 115ml water. Set up a cooling rack with a baking tray underneath and using it to place the cakes on before the pouring the fondant over the top

  11. Melt 100g white chocolate, put it into a piping bag and piped a zig zag pattern on top. Add some bronze sprinkles

 
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Making 100 Butterbeer Wedding Cupcakes

Making 100 Butterbeer Wedding Cupcakes
 I don’t make cakes for a living, but when one of my best friends, who I’ve known for 13 years, asked me to make her wedding cupcakes I didn’t hesitate to agree! Her wedding was Harry Potter themed so butterbeer flavoured cakes were requested. If you have seen the Harry Potter films you will know of the drink butterbeer enjoyed by the characters when visiting pubs and taverns. I wanted to share with you how I got on making 100 cupcakes, plus a large cake, and also the recipe for the butterbeer cupcakes if you would like to make them yourself!

 

 

So I’ll start with the flavour. Butterbeer, is described as “a bit like less-sickly butterscotch” and does have an mild alcoholic content in the Harry Potter stories. However, the butterbeer served at Harry Potter World in Florida contains no alcohol (presumably so adults and children alike can enjoy the beverage!). In order to flavour the icing, the bride-to-be obtained a few bottle of the above pictured butter extract from America. You can get it online from Amazon, and there are other brands that make it too. I also suggested filling the cupcakes with caramel, as butterscotch is essentially a caramel flavour, and to make them extra special.

 

 

It was very important to trial the cupcakes for the happy couple, so I made a small batch of about 6 cupcakes for them to taste. Suffice to say they were happy with the flavour! They have both visited Harry Potter World and tasted butterbeer itself so they were able to confirm the flavour matched. They were also huge fans of the caramel inside. For the decoration, a simple swirl of buttercream was requested, along with a sprinkling of gold glitter. The large cake would be filled with strawberry jam and covered in the butterbeer buttercream with a ‘spiky’ effect all over.

 

 

The process of making the sponge was quite straightforward. I started with the large cake, making the two layers on separate evenings, wrapping them up in cling film once fully cooled and freezing them. I then spent the week before the wedding making a batch of 24 cupcakes every evening until I had enough. I also wrapped up and froze these too. Although 100 were requested, I ended up making around 110. It’s always good to have a few extra!

 

 

Two days before the wedding I made the caramel filling and buttercream. I slightly overestimated to make sure I had enough. I used 3kg of butter and 6kg of icing sugar for the buttercream! I used an electric hand mixer and a flour sifter (to sift the icing sugar) to make the process as easy and fast as possible. As usually I just mix buttercream by hand if it’s a small batch.

 

 

All the cupcakes and the large cake were also taken out of the freezer by this point and I stored them in cupcake boxes for ease of transport, and also so I wouldn’t have to worry about collecting my own tupperware from the wedding venue. They could just dispose of the boxes, or they could be used by guests for taking cake home.

 

 

The day before the wedding I decorated and filled the cupcakes at the venue. I started by coring them all using a cupcake corer. Again this made the process easier, and also the holes are much neater than using a knife.

 

 
I used a piping bag to fill each hole with the caramel.

 

 

Then I piped the buttercream onto each cupcake and sprinkled half of them with glitter. The bride decided that half would have glitter sprinkled on top, and they would be place in cream cupcake wraps. Then the other half would have no glitter, and be placed in glittery cupcake wraps. I also covered the cake at this time. I gave it one base coat of buttercream, then placed it in the fridge, which the venue kindly let me use.

 

 
On the morning of the wedding I finished the large cake with a second layer of buttercream and a ‘spiky’ effect which I used the back of a spoon to create. I also (with help from some friends) put each cupcake into a wrapper and arranged them on the display table, with the large cake in the middle. If you like the cupcake wrappers and heart shaped toppers you can get them from Ginger Ray. If you like the large cake topper you can get it from Better Off Wed.

 

 

This is me with the happy couple! I was so pleased with the whole cake display and how it all looked. They loved it too, which was the biggest thing for me as all I wanted was for them to like it. It is a lot of pressure to make something like this for such an important day in a couple’s life so I really wanted it to be everything they had imagined.

 

 

After the cake was cut I had to emotionally ‘let go’. If you are a baker like me, you will understand what I mean by this! Basically when I make something and I put so much time, effort and love into it, seeing it go to waste or not get eaten can be difficult for me. So at this point of the day I just said to myself that I’d achieved what I wanted, and if some didn’t get eaten or had to be thrown away it was ok.

 

 
Thankfully, I saw a constant stream of wedding guests eating cupcakes all evening long! I saw couples having fun with them by pushing the buttercream into each others faces, and people nodding in satisfaction as they tucked in. It was a great feeling!

 

 

I tucked in to a cupcake and really enjoyed the flavour. The caramel is to die for!

 

 

So that’s my story and I hope that you enjoyed reading it, and if you are asked to do anything like this for a friend, or as a business opportunity, I hope it’s given you some helpful tips. If you just came for the Butterbeer Cupcake recipe, then find it below! I’ve provided quantities for 24 cupcakes.

I’m linking up with Brilliant Blog Posts hosted by Honest Mum.

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Butterbeer Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 547 g Butter
  • 165 g Dark brown sugar
  • 175 ml Double cream
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 5 Eggs
  • 290 g Caster sugar
  • 290 g Self raising flour
  • 4 tsp Butter flavour extract
  • 400 g Icing sugar
  • Gold edible glitter

Instructions

  1. Start by making the caramel filling. In a pan melt 57g of the butter. Once melted add the dark brown sugar and double cream. Bring it to a boil then let the sauce bubble for 5 minutes. Keep stirring it the whole time. Then take it off the heat and mix in the vanilla extract. Pour it into a bowl and cool it fully in the fridge, it will take a couple of hours and will thicken up noticeably
  2. To make the sponge cream together 290g of the butter and the caster sugar
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing between each addition. Also add 2 tsp of the butter extract flavouring
  4. Add the self raising flour and mix in. Divide the mixture between 24 cupcake cases
  5. Bake on 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack to cool fully
  6. To make the icing mix together 200g of the butter and the icing sugar, then add 2 tsp of the butter extract flavouring and mix in
  7. Use a cupcake corer to make a hole in the middle of each cupcake. Fill the holes with the caramel using a piping bag with the end snipped off, or a teaspoon
  8. Put the icing into a piping bag with a star or rose nozzle. Swirl the icing onto the cupcakes then sprinkle gold glitter all over

 

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Banana & Coconut No Churn Ice Cream

Banana & Coconut No Churn Ice Cream
 Delicious magazine is the last of three magazine subscriptions I’ve received from Magazine.co.uk. It’s packed full of a huge variety of recipes, from cheese toasties to fish pie, and rhubarb tarts to curries. I really was drooling when flicking through it! I think I am becoming a bit of a foodie magazine addict. I absolutely love it when they arrive and I’ve made so many recipes, both sweet and savoury, out the magazines I’ve received so far (the other two I have subscriptions for are Olive and Veggie).

I chose to make this banana ice cream as the weather has been warm and sunny recently, so I thought it would be the perfect refresher. It’s also a bit healthier than regular ice cream which is full of double cream, sugar and egg yolks. This ice cream is simply made with bananas, coconut, some condensed milk and Lotus biscuits. It’s so easy to make, and you knock up a batch of this in no time, freeze it overnight, and the next day you’ll have a tasty treat waiting for you. It’s great for kids, and the caramel sauce adds extra indulgence for grown ups too!

To make the ice cream I mixed 4 mashed up ripe bananas, 400ml coconut milk, 160ml coconut cream and a 397g condensed milk with an electric hand mixer until frothy.

I then broke up 150g Lotus biscuits (or you could also use gingernuts if you can’t find them) and stirred them into the banana mixture.

I poured the mixture into a 3 litre tub and put it in the freezer. I left it in there overnight to set.

For the brandy caramel sauce, I put 225g light brown sugar, 50ml brandy, 100g butter and 250ml double cream into a pan. I heated it gently until it all melted together, then I brought it to a simmer and let it bubble for 10 minutes, stirring all the time. I put it into a jug for easy pouring. The sauce thickened up a lot when I left overnight in the fridge, but you can warm it up again and make it more runny by heating it gently in a pan.

The next day I scooped out some ice cream, drizzled on some sauce, and added a sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes. The ice cream looked amazing with the biscuit pieces running through it! Despite no added sugar, the ice cream is as sweet as you’d expect from regular ice cream and the banana and coconut flavours come through strongly. The brandy caramel sauce is to die for – just give me a bowl of that and a spoon! I loved the extra crunch of the toasted coconut flakes on top too, definitely a must for the true package.

I’m entering this recipe into Simple and in Season hosted by Feeding Boys, as it’s certainly the season for ice cream!

And into Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Honest Mum.


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Banana & Coconut No Churn Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 4 Bananas mashed
  • 400 ml Coconut milk
  • 160 ml Coconut cream
  • 397 g Condensed milk
  • 150 g Lotus biscuits
  • 225 g Light brown sugar
  • 50 ml Brandy
  • 100 g Butter
  • 250 ml Double cream
  • A handful of Toasted coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. To make the ice cream mix the bananas, coconut milk, coconut cream and condensed milk with an electric hand mixer until frothy
  2. Break up Lotus biscuits (or you could also use gingernuts if you can't find them) and stir them into the banana mixture
  3. Pour the mixture into a 3 litre tub and put it in the freezer overnight or for at least 4 hours
  4. For the brandy caramel sauce, put the light brown sugar, brandy, butter and double cream into a pan. Heat it gently until it all melts together, then bring it to a simmer and let it bubble for 10 minutes, stirring all the time. Put it into a jug for easy pouring. The sauce will thicken up a lot when left in the fridge, but you can warm it up again and make it more runny by heating it gently in a pan
  5. Scoop the ice cream into a bowl, drizzle over the sauce and sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes on top to serve

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Millionaire’s Chocolate Tart: GBBO Week #9

Millionaire’s Chocolate Tart: GBBO Week #9
The Great British Bake Off changed up it’s episode theming again for week eight with chocolate based challenges. This week was also the semi finals, which meant all of the bakers were fighting for a place in the final. The first signature challenge was to make a chocolate tart, using chocolate pastry and chocolate filling. Basically a full on chocolate fest, or as Sue called it ‘cocoa loco’! Paul said that there was no room for error this week if they wanted to get through to the finals, and Mary explained that although this challenge sounded simple, she was expecting an immaculate result.

Ian made a chocolate and bay leaf infused salted caramel tart, it had a beautiful shiny glaze that really impressed the judges (and made Flora jealous!) They weren’t big fans of his flavours though, and didn’t appreciate his addition of bay leaf. Flora included a passion fruit curd and milk chocolate mousse in her chocolate tart which she topped with macarons. She didn’t get a good shine on her glaze, but decorated it beautifully. Unfortunately her passion fruit curd had split and Paul said her macarons were ‘not good’ as they were overbaked and dry.

Nadiya’s tart combined a layer of salted caramel, a layer of chocolate mousse, some homemade peanut butter and chocolate truffles. She was the only baker to make a rectangular tart, and she certainly impressed the judges. Paul Hollywood gave her his famously rare handshake! Tamal made an American themed chocolate tart with raspberry coulis and a pecan praline. The judges praised his thin pastry, and they loved the contrast between the chocolate and raspberry.

For the technical challenge this week we had something entirely different happen. The bakers start times were staggered as they had to make a chocolate souffle, which have to be served straight out of the oven. This is a really difficult challenge as the bakers had to perfectly make a chocolate creme patt and meringue at the same time, then mix the two together. Also the recipe just said ‘make a meringue’ and ‘make a creme patt’… helpful as always!

Flora got stuck in straight away, but Ian struggled to remember how to make a creme patt. Tamal and Nadiya had never made a souffle either, but got on with the challenge. Once each souffle was ready, Sue took it over to Paul and Mary who were sat at the front of the tent with their backs to the bakers. Nadiya came last as she had too many lumps of unmixed meringue in her souffle, Ian came third as his souffle didn’t rise very well, and Tamal came second as his rose well but there were some smaller lumps of unmixed meringue. Flora won the challenge as she had a great rise to her souffle and the texture was lovely according to Mary.

The chocolate finale showstopper was to create a 3D chocolate centrepiece, which must include biscuits and white chocolate. The judges were looking for attention to detail, and a spectacular finish. Tamal made a 3 tiered bell tower with 3 different types of biscuit. Mary thought it looked impressive from afar, but not as much close up. Paul noticed that some of the detail had been rushed and wasn’t as neat as it could have been. Thankfully they enjoyed the flavours of the biscuits and chocolate.

Flora went for a cocoa carousel, which included shortbread, a puffed rice roof, and a chocolate cake base. She also made a horse shaped biscuit mould herself for the carousel horses! None of her chocolate had a glossy shine, and the whole carousel was a bit wonky. The judges like most of her flavours, but noticed that there was too much raising agent in her cake and that her puffed rice was quite bitter.

Nadiya sculpted a peacock from marshmallow puffed rice and modelling chocolate, with biscuit peacock eggs in a chocolate nest. Paul and Mary thought it looked beautiful, was very detailed and they called it a work of art. They said it tasted good too. Ian chose to make a chocolate well, which actually worked and brought up a white chocolate drink from the bottom of the well. It was extremely clever from a engineering point of view, and the judges thought it was very original with a contemporary style. They really enjoyed his biscuits and flavour, but wanted to see more detail and examples of his chocolate work.

Flora left this week as her tart and showstopper both had issues. Nadiya won the star baker accolade – her third time. The next episode is the final!

As much as I love chocolate, I’m not a huge fan of having both chocolate pastry and a chocolate filling, it’s too overpowering for me. So I decided to theme my tart on millionaire’s shortbread and make a plain shortcrust pastry with caramel and chocolate fillings. I also gave home made honeycomb a go for the first time!

I started with the honeycomb. In a pan I melted 200g caster sugar and 125g golden syrup on a low heat until the sugar was no longer grainy. I turned up the heat and let it bubble for a few minutes.

I took it off the heat and stirred in 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda. It will bubble and froth a lot!

I poured it straight into a lined 20cm x 20cm square tin and left it to cool.

When it was set I took it out of the tin. This was my first time making honeycomb and I think I’ve gone wrong somewhere as it was a bit softer than I was expecting. If you have any tips, let me know!

I still managed to smash it up into pieces and it tasted really good!

I always make my shortcrust pastry from scratch because I have a go-to recipe that always works for me and it’s so quick to make at home, unlike a lot of other pastries. I started by rubbing 170g butter into 350g plain flour.

I added 2 eggs and brought the mixture together into a pastry dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it for 30 minutes in the fridge.

I rolled the pastry out onto cling film, this makes it so much easier to lift over the tin.

I lined my 28cm tart tin with the pastry and pricked the bottom all over with a fork.

I covered the pastry with baking paper then added baking beans. I baked the pastry on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes.

I removed the paper and beans and baked again at the same temperature for 10 minutes until it was golden brown and the bottom was fully cooked through.

I was a bit lazy and used a ready made caramel, Carnation Caramel, to cover the bottom of the tart. I’ve made my own caramel before with success, so I felt ok with doing this!

To make the chocolate filling I heated up 250ml double cream on a medium heat, when it started to bubble I took it off the heat and tipped 255g dark chocolate into the pan. I left it for a couple of minutes then stirred it in.

In a separate bowl I whisked up 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp salt.

I whisked the egg mixture into the chocolate bit by bit.

I poured the chocolate mixture into the tart tin over the caramel.

I baked the tart on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes. I put it on a rack to cool fully.

To make the glaze I heated up 2 tbsp double cream, when it bubbled I took it off the heat and added 50g dark chocolate. I mixed the chocolate in along with 1 tsp (7g) golden syrup and 1 tbsp warm water.

I poured the glaze over the chocolate filling and smooth it over the whole tart with a spatula. Finally I added crumbled up honeycomb all around the edge of the tart.

I was really pleased with how shiny my glaze was! It really gave the tart a professional finish. This tart disappeared SO fast when I took it into work, it was all gone by 10:30am! That’s what I like to see. The chocolate filling was so smooth and rich, I was really pleased I stuck to plain pastry as chocolate pastry would’ve been too overpowering. The honeycomb was really good too, ever though it went a bit chewy, it tasted really nice.

I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

Honeycomb recipe from BBC Good Food, chocolate filling and glaze recipe from Epicurious.

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Millionaire's Chocolate Tart

Ingredients

  • 200 g Caster sugar
  • 125g + 1 tsp Golden syrup
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 170 g Butter
  • 350 g Plain flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tin Carnation Caramel (397g)
  • 250ml + 2 tbsp Double cream
  • 275 g Dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Warm water

Instructions

  1. To make the honeycomb melt the caster sugar and the golden syrup in a pan on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn up the heat and let it boil to 300F/149CTake it off the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda
  2. Pour it into a lined 20cm x 20cm square tin and leave it to cool. Put it aside to set, once set, smash into pieces
  3. For the pastry, rub the butter and plain flour together. Add 2 of the eggs and bring the mixture together into a ball. Wrap it in cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge
  4. Roll the pastry out onto cling film. Line a 28cm tart tin with the pastry and prick the bottom all over with a fork
  5. Cover the pastry with baking paper then add baking beans. Bake the pastry on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes
  6. Remove the paper and beans and bake again at the same temperature for 10 minutes until golden brown and the bottom is fully cooked through
  7. Spread the Carnation Caramel over the bottom of the tart
  8. To make the chocolate filling, heat up the 250ml of double cream on a medium heat, when it starts to bubble, take it off the heat and tip 225g of the dark chocolate into the pan. Leave it for a couple of minutes to melt, then stir together
  9. In a bowl whisk up 2 of the eggs, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk the mixture into the chocolate a little at a time
  10. Pour the chocolate mixture into the tart tin over the caramel. Bake the tart on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 25 minutes. Put it on a rack to cool fully
  11. To make the glaze, heat up the 2 tbsp double cream, when it bubbles take off the heat and add 50g of the dark chocolate. Then mix in the 1 tsp golden syrup and warm water
  12. Pour the glaze over the chocolate filling and smooth it over the with a spatula. Finally add the crumbled up honeycomb all around the edge of the tart
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Peanut Butter & Caramel Eclairs: GBBO Week #8

Peanut Butter & Caramel Eclairs: GBBO Week #8
The first challenge of patisserie week was cream horns, which are spirals of pastry filled with cream and sometimes jam or creme patisserie too. The judges wanted two different flavours of cream horns, 12 of each flavour. The bakers could use ruff, puff or flaky pastry. Paul thought puff pastry was the way to go, while Mary was more concerned about the cream horn being filled all the way to the bottom. Baker Paul, Ian and Nadiya all went for ruff puff pastry while Flora and Tamal chose to make full puff pastry.

Flora chose peach, lemon and thyme, and butterscotch and smoked almond for her flavours. She topped the cream horns with caramel wafers and tuille cigars which she spent way too much time concentrating on making, rather than focusing on the main event. She also  presented her cream horns upright, but as they were not sealed at the bottom her lemon curd and chocolate fillings dripped out completely so there was none left for the judges to taste. Ian was the only baker to do a second flavour of pastry. He added cocoa to his pastry to make a stripy cream horn with a Black Forest Gateau inspired filling. Unfortunately his different pastries did not bond together and were partly raw inside.

Nadiya made rose and pistachio, and mocha hazelnut cream horns. She seemed quite nervous while her pastry was baking, but it baked beautifully and she calmed down once they were done. She got the usual warnings from the judges about not using too much rose flavour, but after tasting them Paul said it was a very delicate flavour. The judges agreed they looked very good and were uniform with nicely baked pastry.

Tamal went for lime and mascarpone, and malt cream horns. His pastry was crispy and well layered, and the judges were very impressed with his flavours. Baker Paul made coffee and vanilla, and banana cream horns. His pastry was well baked, but judge Paul did not think the banana flavour was strong enough. For his coffee ones, his creme patt was too thick and he hadn’t piped it all the way to the bottom – cue a disapointed Mary!

Mokatines were the technical challenge this week. A recipe from Mary Berry’s baking bible itself. Mary’s fear inducing comment to the bakers before they started was that they should be “sheer perfection”. No pressure then Mary! They are squares of genoise sponge filled with coffee buttercream and covered in chopped nuts and coffee icing.

Nadiya had heard of the recipe before but never made it. Paul struggled the most as he had never made a genoise sponge before, and the recipe had no instructions on how to do so. He made two normal sponges but they did not rise enough. This resulted in him coming last, Tamal came 4th, Flora 3rd, Ian 2nd, and Nadiya won the challenge!

This week’s showstopper was to make a Religieuse a L’anncienne, which is a tower of eclairs separated with biscuits. Think of it as the eclair version of a croquembouche. The judges requested three tiers of eclairs with no help from dowling as support. It also must be decorated with buttercream. Paul was insistent that the flavours come through, and Mary warned that the eclairs must be strong and fully baked as if they aren’t and they bend it could create ‘ghastly’ results. Once the eclair towers were completed, the bakers had to go on a 2 hour lunch break before they were judged to prove they could remain standing.

 

Tamal made passionfruit & mango, and pistachio & raspberry eclairs for his tower. Both he and Ian used very strong flour for their choux pastry and it certainly paid off as neither collapsed. Tamal and Ian also used a star nozzle to pipe out the eclairs to give them more structure and strength. Tamal’s held up, and although his piping was a bit messy, the judges enjoyed his flavours. Ian made cardamom & coffee, and passionfruit eclairs. This really was a perfect challenge for Ian as he is very good at baking engineering. They loved his flavour mix and were impressed by his technique.

Flora used half regular and half strong flour, but still suffered a collapse. She chose coconut & vanilla, and lime and basil for her flavours, but the judges couldn’t taste any of her flavours.

Nadiya and Paul did not use any strong flour for their eclairs which was definitely a mistake as they both suffered structural issues. Nadiya’s flavours were peppermint and bubblegum. I’m not really sure what bubblegum tastes like, isn’t it just sugar? Nadiya’s did collapse, and the judges liked her flavours (well, Mary wasn’t so sure) but thought they were far too strong. Paul’s flavours were vanilla & banana, and raspberry & basil. He added artifical banana extract because he was concerned about it not coming through enough. The judges praised his icing technique and also the bake on his eclairs, although as they were underdone this probably lead to the collapse of his tower.

Paul left us this week. He came last in the technical, Paul wasn’t impressed with his cream horns and his eclair tower collapsed. Star baker was Nadiya as she did so well in the first two challenges. Next episode is all about chocolate!

I was going to make cream horns this week and I did give them a try but it didn’t get past the pastry stage! Firstly the ice cream cones I bought to use as moulds were all smashed in the packet, so I only had two to work with. Then my pastry split apart in the oven, so I gave up on it. I also had problems making the eclairs too. I was feeling stressed after the cream horn disaster and my first batch of eclairs were a soggy mess. I had a break and calmed down, then took more time and got it right second time round. I’m so glad I persisted as they were damn delicious!!

To make the choux pastry I started by putting 200ml cold water and 75g butter in a pan. I heated it until the mixture came to boil.

I removed it from the heat and tipped 125g plain flour into the pan. I beat it with a wooden spoon until it was mixed in. I put it back on a medium heat and beat it in the pan for a few minutes.

I then poured the mixture into a bowl and beat it for a few minutes until it was luke warm instead of hot. I slowly added 3 beaten eggs, bit by bit, and whisked in thoroughly between each addition.

I put the mixture into a piping bag with a round nozzle. I piped out 4 inch long lengths of the pastry onto a lined baking tray. I used a sharp wet knife to stop the flow of batter. They are slightly misplaced in the above photo as I messed one up!

I baked the eclairs on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes, then reduced the temperature to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for a further 20 minutes. This made sure they were really dried out. To make sure they were dry inside I broke one open as a test. If it’s still wet inside just poke holes in the other eclairs and give them another 5 minutes in the oven. They weren’t as straight as I wanted (I think the fan in the oven blew them over a bit!!) I stored them in tupperware box overnight as I didn’t have time to fill them the same day.

I melted some dark chocolate, about 200g, and dipped each eclair in it to coat the tops.

I then melted 40g peanut butter candy melts and piped a zig zag pattern over the dark chocolate once it was set.

I made the filling by mixing 90g peanut butter, 300ml double cream, 200g icing sugar, 2 tsp Dr Oetker caramel flavouring and 1 1/2 tsp salt.

I filled the eclairs with the mixture using a piping bag and a star nozzle, and tucked in! They were super sweet, salty and nutty – such a good combination! You need to eat the eclairs straight away, or at least the same day. If you don’t fill them they will last a couple of days in an airtight container. They are also really good filled with plain whipped cream!

I am entering these eclairs into Baking Queen’s challenge Perfecting Patisserie, there is no specific theme this month.

I’m entering this into the Bake Off Bake Along hosted by Rhyme & Ribbons and This Particular.

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Peanut Butter & Caramel Eclairs

Ingredients

  • 75 g Butter
  • 200 ml Cold water
  • 125 g Plain flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 200 g Dark chocolate
  • 40 g Peanut butter candy melts
  • 90 g Peanut butter
  • 300 ml Double cream
  • 200 g Icing sugar
  • 2 tsp Caramel extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt

Instructions

  1. To make the choux pastry put the cold water and butter in a pan and heat until it comes to a boil
  2. Remove from the heat and tip the plain flour into the pan. Beat it with a wooden spoon until it's mixed in. Put it back on a medium heat and beat it in the pan for a few minutes
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and beat it for a few minutes until it is luke warm instead of hot. Slowly add the eggs, bit by bit, and whisk in thoroughly between each addition
  4. Put the mixture into a piping bag with a round nozzle. Pipe out 4 inch long lengths of the pastry onto a lined baking tray. Use a sharp wet knife to stop the flow of batter
  5. Bake the éclairs on 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for a further 20 minutes. Poke small holes into the ends of each éclair and bake for a further 5 minutes
  6. Melt the dark chocolate and dip each éclair in it to coat the tops. Leave the chocolate to set
  7. Then melt the peanut butter candy melts and pipe a zig zag pattern over the dark chocolate
  8. Make the filling by whisking together the peanut butter, double cream, icing sugar, caramel extract and salt. Fill the éclairs with the mixture using a piping bag and a star nozzle
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