Traditional Czech Kolaces

Traditional Czech Kolaces

I absolutely love traditional recipes that have been passed from one generation to the next. They truely survive the test of time and you can guarantee they will be absolutely delicious! Czech Kolaces are one such recipe. The base is an enriched dough and they can be filled with a variety of sweet things such as fruit or jam. They can also be small or large, which is another thing about traditional recipes, every family has a different version. So why not find your favourite! As kolaces originated as desserts at Czech weddings, their perfect pairing is with a drink of course. Budweiser Budvar lager is brewed in the Czech Republic using 700 year old traditional methods and local ingredients. If you want to steep yourself in Czech tradition, then crack open a Budvar and learn how to make these delicious treats – you won’t regret it!

To learn more about the kolaces watch this beautiful video that Budvar have made! Or you can read the story by clicking here.

To make the dough I started by warming up the milk in a pan until it was luke warm. I added the yeast and caster sugar, then covered it with cling film and left it for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes I uncovered it and added the egg yolks and melted butter and whisked it all together.

In a bowl I stirred the flour together with the salt. I poured the milk mixture into the flour and mixed until a dough formed. I covered it with cling film and left it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

Whilst it was doing that I made the cheesecake filling by whisking the cream cheese, caster sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk together. I whisked it until it was thick then I folded in the whipped egg white.

Once the dough was proved, I cut the dough in half. With one half I made little kolaces by rolling it out then cutting out rounds with a cookie cutter.

I used the bottom of a glass to make indentations in the dough.

I filled them with the cheesecake mixture, then added a few blueberries too. I also glazed them around the edges with beaten egg.

They baked on 180C Fan for 20 minutes. I kept re-rolling the dough until it was all gone.

I also made some with blackcurrant jam in the middle instead and a sprinkling of the crumble on top.

With the other half of the dough, I rolled it into a rectangle and spread it out on a lined baking tray.

I sprinkled breadcrumbs on top, followed by blueberries and rum soaked cherries, then finally sprinkled the crumble all over. I also glazed the edge with beaten egg.

I baked it for between 20-25 minutes on 180C Fan until it was golden brown.

I made the kolaces whilst I was round at my friend’s house and they went down an absolute treat. It was so relaxing to chat and bake with a few Budvars, then enjoy the kolaces warm from the oven! I shared the beer out with my boyfriend and friends too. They really enjoyed drinking it with the kolaces, and I heard several poorly pronounced shouts of “Na zdraví!” – which is cheers in Czech!

The kolaces filled with jam were my favourite and they’re also the easiest to make. I really liked the big traybake version too as it’s less time consuming than cutting out rounds. However, the little rounds would be perfect for a party! The bread was soft and light, and the fillings sweet and fruity

      

I’m linking this recipe up with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, Cook Blog Share hosted by Everyday Healthy Recipes, Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice, and Fiesta Fridays hosted by Food For The Soul and The Not So Creative Cook.

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5 from 3 votes
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Small Czech Kolaces with Blueberries & Cheesecake or Jam

Servings 20

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g Plain flour
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 75 g Butter melted
  • 250 ml Whole or semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 7 g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Lemon zest only

For the cheesecake filling

  • 250 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 60 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 Egg white whipped
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Lemon zest only

Other toppings

  • 50 g Blueberries
  • Jam

For glazing

  • 1 Egg beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the dough warm up the milk in a pan until it is luke warm

  2. Add the yeast and caster sugar, then cover it with cling film and leave it for 10 minutes

  3. After the 10 minutes uncover it and add the egg yolks and melted butter, and whisk it all together

  4. In a bowl stir the flour together with the salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until a dough forms. Cover it with cling film and leave it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour

  5. While it's proving, make the cheesecake filling,

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

  7. Once the dough is proved, flour your work surface and roll it out to 4-5mm thick. Cut out rounds using a cookie cutter

  8. Use the bottom of a glass to make indentations in the dough

  9. Fill the indentations with the cheesecake mixture (or jam if using), then add a few blueberries too. Glaze them around the edges with the beaten egg

  10. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown

  11. Allow to cool, then serve with a cold Budvar!

5 from 3 votes
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Large Czech Kolac with Blueberries & Cherries

Servings 12

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g Plain flour
  • 7 g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 75 g Butter melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250 ml Whole or semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Lemon zest only

For the kolace crumble

  • 40 g Butter
  • 40 g Caster sugar
  • 70 g Plain flour

For the topping

  • 25 g Breadcrumbs
  • 300 g Blueberries
  • 12 Kirsch soaked cherries

For glazing

  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the dough warm up the milk in a pan until it is luke warm

  2. Add the yeast and caster sugar, then cover it with cling film and leave it for 10 minutes

  3. After the 10 minutes uncover it and add the egg yolks and melted butter, and whisk it all together

  4. In a bowl stir the flour together with the salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until a dough forms. Cover it with cling film and leave it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour

  5. While it's proving, make the kolace crumble. Put the butter, caster sugar and plain flour in a bowl and rub it all together until it resembles breadcrumbs

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

  7. Once the dough is proved, flour your work surface and roll it into a rectangle, then spread it out on a lined baking tray

  8. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, then the blueberries and the kirsch soaked cherries, then finally sprinkled the crumble all over. Brush the edges with the beaten egg

  9. Bake it for between 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown

  10. Allow to cool, then slice and serve with a cold Budvar!

NB. This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

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Cherry & Nutella Chocolate Cake: GBBO The Final!

Cherry & Nutella Chocolate Cake: GBBO The Final!

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.

   

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, with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation, with Bake of the Week hosted by Casa Costello, and Cook Blog Share hosted by Sneaky Veg.

Nutella buttercream recipe from What Jess Baked Next

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Cherry & Nutella Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 670 g Butter
  • 520 g Caster sugar
  • 9 Eggs
  • 400 g Self raising flour
  • 120 g Cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 200 g Nutella
  • 250 ml + 3 tbsp Double cream
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 250 g Mascarpone
  • 1 jar of Cherry Jam
  • 10 Kirsch soaked cherries
  • Gold edible glitter
  • Dr Oetker chocolate strand sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Grease and line three 9 inch sandwich tins

  2. Cream together the caster sugar and 520g of the butter

  3. Add the eggs, mixing them in two at a time

  4. Mix in the self raising flour, cocoa powder and milk

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Make the cream filling by whipping up the 250ml of double cream, then mixing in the mascarpone cheese

  8. 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

  9. Add the last sponge and spread a layer of the Nutella buttercream over the top using a palette knife

  10. 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

  11. 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

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Cherry Traybake & Bake Box 4 Unboxing

Cherry Traybake & Bake Box 4 Unboxing

Bake Box 4 arrived last week and as usual I was very excited to find out what was inside! If you’ve not heard of Bake Box before it’s a bi-monthly subscription service for all the baking lovers out there. Once you sign up, every two months you receive a themed box filled with bakeware items, a specialist decorative item and 6 recipe cards to inspire you. You can read my other Bake Box posts here and here.

This month’s theme was Teddy Bear’s Picnic and inside the box was:

  • A teddy bear shaped cake mould
  • A lattice pastry roller
  • Toadstool and owl shaped and embossed cookie cutters
  • 3 stencils
  • 3 Cherry shaped icing cutters
  • Yellow food colouring

The item I liked the most was definitely the lattice roller. I’ve seen them on TV, but always thought it was a bit of a frivalous item to buy, so getting one as part of the box was perfect! The cookie cutters were also really cute and I loved their woodland design.

The recipe cards were a gorgeous looking selection of picnic treats and stunning bakes. I decided to make the cherry traybake as I love cherries! It also looked like an easy recipe to pack up for a picnic whilst still looking really pretty.

I started by making the sponge. I creamed together 225g butter and 225g golden caster sugar. Then I whisked in 3 eggs and 3 tbsp milk. Finally I folded in 275g self raising flour, 3/4 tsp baking powder and 65g ground almonds.

I tossed 200g glace cherries in flour then added them to the mixture. I added more than the recipe suggested as the pot of cherries I had was 200g so I thought I may as well use it all up.

I poured the batter into a lined traybake tin and smoothed it out.

I baked it on 160C Fan/ 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes.

To make the cherries I decided to use 250g marzipan as I had it in the cupboard already and I thought the almond flavour would go well with the cherry sponge. I split the marzipan in half and kneaded green and red food colouring into each half. I then dusted my work surface with icing sugar and rolled them out into strips and connected them by rolling the edges together.

I used the cherry plunger from Bake Box to cut out the cherry decorations. I lay them on some baking paper to set.

When the sponge was cool I brushed it all over with 2 tbsp jam. I used strawberry as I had some in the fridge, but of course cherry would be ideal.

I rolled out 1kg of white ready to roll icing.

I covered the sponge with the white icing, trimmed the edges, then cut the traybake into squares – 4 by 6.

I brushed water onto the back of the cherry decorations and stuck them down onto each square.

I thought the traybake looked so pretty! The cherry design from the plunger looked so fun and colourful. The sponge was delicious too, it was really light and perfectly punctuated by the sweet cherries throughout.

      

I am linking these up with Treat Petite, hosted by Cakeyboi this month, with Cook Blog Share hosted by Sneaky Veg Blog, and with the Sunday Fitness & Food Link Up hosted by Ilka’s Blog and Marathons & Motivation.

Disclaimer: I am sent the Bake Box free of charge, all opinions are my own.

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Cherry Traybake

Ingredients

  • 225 g Butter
  • 225 g Golden caster sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • 275 g Self raising flour
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 65 g Ground almonds
  • 250 g Marzipan
  • 1 kg White icing
  • 2 tbsp Jam
  • Red food colouring
  • Green food colouring
  • 200 g Glace Cherries

Instructions

  1. To make the sponge cream together the butter and golden caster sugar. Then whisk in the eggs and milk. Finally fold in the self raising flour, baking powder and ground almonds
  2. Toss the glace cherries in some flour to coat them then add them to the mixture
  3. Pour the batter into a lined 12" x 9" traybake tin and smooth it out

  4. Bake it on 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes
  5. Split the marzipan in half and knead green food colouring into one half and red food colouring into the other half. Dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll them out into strips, connect them by rolling the edges together
  6. Use the cherry plunger from Bake Box to cut out the cherry decorations. Lay them on some baking paper to set
  7. When the sponge is cool, brush it all over with the jam
  8. Roll out the white icing, either onto cling film or onto a icing sugar dusted work surface
  9. Cover the sponge with the white icing, trim the edges, then cut the traybake into squares - 4 by 6Brush water onto the back of the cherry decorations and stick them down onto each square
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Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies
It’s cherry season and I am going through my yearly obsession with those delicious dark red berries. I even bought a cherry pitter to make eating them a swifter and more satisfying process. Best purchase ever! It also makes preparing cherries for baking with a much easier task. Which leads me onto these gorgeous Cherry Cheesecake Brownies… packed with white chocolate and fresh cherries, and topped with cheesecake and cherry jam, get ready for some fruity gooey goodness!

To make the brownie sponge I started by melting 170g butter.

In a bowl I whisked up 200g caster sugar, 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Then I whisked in the melted butter.

I added in 200g plain flour, 30g cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking powder.

Then I folded in 100g chopped white chocolate and 110g cherries, pitted and chopped in half.

For the cheesecake top I whisked up 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 120g full fat cream cheese, 40g butter and 30g caster sugar.

I poured the brownie mix into a lined tray, then poured over the cheesecake top.

I added blobs of a jar of cherry jam all over the top, then swirled them around with the cheesecake mixture using a knife. I used a whole jar of Tesco’s Finest Morello Cherry Jam.

I baked it on 200C/180C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutes.

After letting the brownies cool fully, I refrigerated them for a couple of hours before slicing into squares and tucking in!

The brownies were so gooey and delicious! These are pure cherry heaven with both the sweet jam on top and juicy fresh cherries inside. They got eaten up pretty fast, I even caught my boyfriend eating one for breakfast!

              

     

I am linking these up to Treat Petite hosted by myself and Cakeyboi, to We Should Cocoa hosted by Tin & Thyme, into The Food Calendar hosted by Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen for National Cherry Day on 16th July, with Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Honest Mum and finally Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too.

Recipe is adapted from Delicious Magazine.

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Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

Ingredients

  • 210 g Butter
  • 230 g Caster sugar
  • 3 Free range large eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200 g Plain flour
  • 30 g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 100 g White chocolate chopped
  • 110 g Cherries pitted and sliced in half
  • 120 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 1 jar of Tesco Finest Morello Cherry Jam

Instructions

  1. To make the brownie sponge start by melting 170g of the butter on a low heat, then let it cool for 5 minutes
  2. In a bowl whisk up 200g of the caster sugar, 2 of the eggs and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract. Then whisk in the melted butter
  3. Add in the plain flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder, and mix it all together
  4. Then fold in the chopped white chocolate and prepared cherries
  5. For the cheesecake top use an electric whisk to mix up 1 of the eggs, 1 tsp of the vanilla extract, the full fat cream cheese, 40g of the butter and 30g of the caster sugar until smooth
  6. Pour the brownie mix into a lined 12" x 9" traybake tin, then pour over the cheesecake top

  7. Add blobs of the jar of cherry jam all over the top, then swirl them around with the cheesecake mixture using a knife
  8. Bake it on 200C/180C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 25 minutesLet the brownies cool fully, then refrigerated them for a couple of hours before slicing into squares and tucking in!
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Mini Black Forest Cakes: GBBO Season Six Begins!

Mini Black Forest Cakes: GBBO Season Six Begins!
My favourite baking show was back on TV last week and I was excited as always to see who the new bakers were and what challenges they would be faced with. I actually applied for GBBO this year, but when they called me I turned into a bit of a bumbling idiot and rushed my answers. I think the excitement and nerves got to me! If I decide to apply again next year, I will definitely be remembering to calm down and take my time.

There is a real variety amongst the bakers this year in terms of backgrounds and experience, we’ve got a prison officer that likes to make sugarcraft flowers, an anaesthetist that likes to inject his cakes, and a body building Lithuanian woman. I think this year is going to be a lot of fun!

For the first challenge the bakers were asked to make a Madeira Cake. A very simple cake, of which Mary is a huge fan. She wanted to see a dome on the cake with a crack in the middle, and didn’t want the bakers to stray too far from the classic flavours as it can’t be beaten in her eyes.

Madeira Cake is traditionally flavoured with lemon and a lot of the bakers opted for citrus fruits for flavouring, as well as making candied peel to decorate. Ugne paired lemon with thyme, Nadia paired orange with cardamom, and Ian paired lime with rum and ginger – all with varying results! Paul and Mary were not pulling any punches with their judging in the first round.

For the technical bake the bakers were asked to make Mary’s classic Walnut Cake. For me this was horrifying as I can’t stand walnuts! It was also pretty complicated for a first time technical. They had to make sure the walnut pieces were evenly distributed throughout the sponge, that the frosting was spread in an even layer all over the cake, and they had to caramelise sugar to dip walnuts in for the decoration. Caramelising sugar can be tricky, my first time doing it was a disaster!

Alvin and Stu both had a lot of trouble making caramel, Nadia didn’t ice her whole cake, and several of the bakers had problems with grainy frosting. Stu and Nadia came bottom, Marie came third, Alvin second and Ugne first.

The final showstopper challenge was a Black Forest Gateau. Mary wanted to see something special which included chocolate work. Paul wanted a light sponge, chocolate in particular.

Stu got a bit controversial by using beetroot in his sponge. Ian decided to show off his macaron skills. Tamal made a tempered chocolate collar for his cake and several of the bakers made chocolate tree decorations. I was really impressed by everyone’s skills and creativity. If this is the standard already, I’m excited to see what else they come up with as the series progresses.

Dorret had a disaster with her chocolate mousse as it did not set, she was very upset but Sue did an excellent job of comforting her. I bet the camera crew had a great time devouring all 12 cakes once filming finished! Marie won star baker this week. I’ve heard some ‘controversy’ recently about her having professional training, however upon further research I found out she did one pastry course back in 1984… So I think we can let her off with that!

The first baker to leave us was Stu. I felt really bad for him as he is clearly a very talented baker who just had a bit of bad luck. He was perhaps a bit too alternative for Mary and Paul! Check out his blog The Alternative Kitchen. Next week is biscuit week!

I decided to make Mini Black Forest Cakes this week for my bake along, however I miniaturised them! I’ve never made anything Black Forest before and I really don’t know why not. I mean, chocolate, alcohol, cream and cherries – bliss!

I headed to Aldi to get my ingredients for this bake as they contacted me recently to let me know about their selection of baking ingredients. I used to shop there a lot in the past, but I don’t get the chance much these days. Which is something I need to remedy as their baking ingredients are great quality and such a bargain! I particularly like the cupcake cases.

I started by whisking together 5 eggs and 140g caster sugar with my Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer.

I whisked for 5 minutes until the mixture grew in size and was pale and thick.

I gently folded in 100g self raising flour and 25g cocoa powder that I sieved first with a metal spoon. Finally I folded in 25g melted butter.

I poured the mixture into a lined tray, any baking tray with a lip will work, but a Swiss Roll tray would be perfect.

I baked the sponge on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes. I turned it out onto a cooling rack to cool down completely.

Once fully cool I cut out discs using a 7cm diameter cutter. I got enough for 7 mini cakes.

I brushed kirsch over the cake half that would be the bottom layer, which is cherry liquor, and I found this bottle in Tesco. I used about 1 tsp per cake.

I whipped up a 200ml pot of double cream and piped it onto the bottom half of the cakes. I cut out an extra half for a baker’s snack!!

I sliced some cherries in half and put three halves onto each cream topped cake.

I brushed the underside of the top layer of cake with a bit more kirsch (why not?!) then placed it on top. I piped on more cream, sprinkled over some grated dark chocolate and placed a cherry in the middle.

I was really impressed with the final look of the cakes! I took them along to a family meal and everyone loved them and commented on how professional they looked. I devoured mine and could’ve eaten another easily! The sponge is so light and the cherries, which were from Aldi, were gorgeously juicy. I had a few problems with some of the cakes being a bit wonky, I think extra cream on top of the cherries in the middle would’ve helped the sponge stick to it more. I’ll also add more kirsch next time as I think it could’ve been stronger, but that depends on personal taste.

I am entering these cakes into myself and Cakeyboi’s challenge Treat Petite. This month the theme is The Great British Bake Off.

I am also entering this into this month’s We Should Cocoa, hosted by Tin & Thyme and this month’s theme is Anything Goes.

NB. Aldi supplied me with the ingredients for this post, but all opinions are my own. Recipe from BBC Good Food

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Mini Black Forest Cakes

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 5 Eggs
  • 140 g Caster sugar
  • 100 g Self raising flour
  • 25 g Cocoa powder
  • 25 g Butter melted
  • 50 ml Kirsch
  • 200 ml Double cream
  • 21 Fresh cherries
  • 6 blocks of Dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the eggs and caster sugar with an electric hand mixer, whisk for 5 minutes until the mixture grows in size and is pale and thick
  2. Sieve the self raising flour and cocoa powder then gently fold it in. Then fold in the melted butter
  3. Pour the mixture into a baking tray with a lip or a Swiss Roll tray
  4. Bake the sponge on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 12 minutes. Turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool down completely
  5. Once fully cool, cut out discs using a 7cm diameter cutter. Brush the kirsch over the cakes
  6. Whip up the double cream and pipe it onto the bottom half of the cakes
  7. Slice the cherries in half and put three halves onto each cream topped cake
  8. Put the other pieces of cake on top. Pipe on more cream, sprinkle over some grated dark chocolate and place a cherry in the middle
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Petit Fours: GBBO Week #3

Week 3 on The Great British Bake Off was dessert week, or ‘stressed’ week! The first challenge was to make a trifle, and in typical style, Mary and Paul had a lot more in mind than some instant jelly and custard with a bit of whipped cream whacked on top. They specified a need for defined layers in the trifle, flavours that were compatible and to add texture, such as biscuits, on top.

 

This challenge was not just about baking, it was also about time management and multi tasking. The bakers made sponges like ladyfingers, swiss rolls and ginger cake for the bases. Jams, jellys and curds all from scratch for the filling. Creme anglaise, aka custard, by the ton. And some exicting topping’s such as macarons (Ali), ginger biscuits (Beca) and Amaretti biscuits and honeycomb (Kimberley). It was a lot to deal with in just 3 hours!

 

 
 
 
 
 

Ruby, Kimberley and Christine all did well with praise for good flavours and layer definition. A few bakers trifles looked good, but a ‘slack’ custard or oversoaking of the sponge letting them down. The biggest disaster was Deborah’s accidental pilfering of Howard’s custard! It was such an awful situation, poor Deborah obviously felt terrible about it. The judges took the mistake in their stride and judged the trifles and custards seperately so all was fair.

 

The technical challenge this week was Île Flottante (Floating Islands). Which are light and fluffy poached meringues in a sea of creme anglaise, topped with spun sugar. Wow this was a tall order! I had never heard of them before watching this episode, and frankly they didn’t look that appetising to me. Even Mary admitted it was a difficult technical bake and expected the bakers to struggle with cooking the meringues – probably because pan size, temperature and cooking duration had all been omitted from the recipe!!
 
 
Only a couple of bakers did well on all counts here. Those that were good at custard from the trifle, did well again. Glenn won the challenge, he had made them before which is always a lucky advantage with technical bakes. Rob came in second, and Ruby third. Mark and Beca took the last two spots, with Deborah in at ninth.
 
 

 

 

For the showstopper the judges requested 24 petit fours, 12 to be sponge based and 12 to be biscuit based. I was really impressed with the baker’s creativity and flavour combination in this challenge. Petit Fours are small dainty french desserts, usually served at the end of a meal. I love these tiny cute creations! Hence lots of photos…!
 
 
Beca, Ruby, Rob, Christine and Frances all shone on this challenge. I loved the tiny macarons Beca made for the top of her Limoncello & Blueberry Bursts! Rob didn’t get much screen time in this episode, but Mary labelled his petit fours as ‘remarkabley professional’. Frances did it again with perfect theming, styling and baking for her Nutcracker petit fours. There were a few disasters, poor Deborah’s cakes stuck in her mould which affected the apperance, Mark didn’t rest his macarons for long enough resulting in an ugly finish, and Ali’s petit fours were bland and too simple according to Paul and Mary.

 

 

Leaving us this week was Deborah and Mark. I think it was Mark’s time to go without a doubt, and I was surprised he made it through this far as none of his bakes were of the expected GBBO high standard. I thought Deborah had a lot more potential, and she is definitely talented, but unfortunately a couple of mistakes and unfortunate mishaps could not be ignored. Next week is pie week!

I decided to make petit fours this week. It took me a while to come up with ideas, mostly for the practical reasons that I don’t have any miniature bakeware and didn’t want to buy any just for this one bake.

Luckily I remembered I had this adorable tiny cupcake cases tucked away in my baking box. I bought them from Ikea a couple of Christmases ago, but have never used them. Finally they got an outing! I wanted to stick to the GBBO remit of 12 sponge based petit fours and 12 biscuits based petit fours. Except for the part where I made about double that amount!

I started with the mini lime cupcakes. Lime is my ultimate favourite citrus fruit, I love it and it’s great in cakes. I creamed together 100g caster sugar and 100g butter.

I added the juice and zest of half a lime, as well as 1 egg and whisked in.

Finally I folded in 100g self raising flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder.

 

I use my big cupcake tin to make these in as I didn’t know what else to do! It was very diffcult to figure out how much mixture to put in the cases. I did varied amounts to see what would happen. The mixture made 24 mini cupcakes.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes then left to cool. As you can see they were a little irregular size wise, and because of the tin they were in, the cakes went outwards instead of upwards if the case was over filled. Had I been competing on GBBO I probably would’ve measured them all exactly (and had a mini cupcake tin!), but the people that were going to eat these would not notice the imperfections I do!

To decorate I made some chocolate decorations by melting about 100g dark chocolate and piping these ‘zig zag squiggles’ as I like to call them, onto baking paper. Once the chocolate sets they can be easily peeled off the paper.

I also made a lime buttercream with 50g butter, the juice and zest of half a lime, 175g icing sugar, and a tiny amount of mint green Sugarflair food colouring.

 
 

Once the cakes were cool, I piped a little swirl of buttercream on top, added a fresh raspberry and placed the chocolate decoration on. I was really happy with the look of these, especially the chocolate decoration as it was a last minute addition! The sponge definitely wasn’t limey enough, so I’d recommend doubling the amount of lime. Luckily the buttercream made up for it!
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Mini Lime Cupcakes with Lime Buttercream, Fresh Raspberry & Chocolate Decoration
 
 
Ingredients
  • 150g Butter
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Limes
  • 100g Self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 100g Dark chocolate
  • 24 Fresh raspberries
  • 175g Icing sugar
  • Green food colouring
 
Instructions
Cream together the caster sugar and 100g of the butterAdd the juice of half a lime, and the zest of one lime, as well as the egg and whisk inFold in the self raising flour and baking powder, then fill cupcake casesBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes then leave to coolTo make the chocolate decorations, melt the dark chocolate and pipe squiggles onto baking paper. Once the chocolate sets, peel it off the paperTo make the lime buttercream mix 50g of the butter, the juice and zest of half a lime, the icing sugar, and enough green food colouring to get a pastel green colourOnce the cakes are cool, pipe a swirl of buttercream on top, add a fresh raspberry and place a chocolate decoration on
 

For my biscuit based petit fours I decided on a Viennese whirl biscuit. I used a Hairy Biker’s recipe to make the biscuits and I changed the name very slightly, to Viennese Swirl Biscuits

In a large bowl I mixed together 250g butter, 250g plain flour, 50g icing sugar, 50g cornflour and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract until it combined. The texture was like very stiff buttercream.

I put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. You could use a flower nozzle if you like too for a different effect, as long as it is a large nozzle you will be able to pipe it without any problems.

I piped little swirls onto a baking tray, I filled three trays before the mixture ran out. This will make approximately 25 biscuits once sandwiched together.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.

I made an almond buttercream with 50g butter, 1/2 tsp almond extract, and 150g icing sugar. I wanted it to be quite stiff and not seep out of the biscuits. I piped buttercream onto half of the biscuits, and smoothed cherry jam onto the other halves. Then I sandwiched them together. I tried to match flatter halves of biscuit, with less flatter halves, so that the biscuits would sit nicely upright.

These biscuits were absolute stars and described by one of my colleagues as the best Viennese biscuits he’d ever had! I’d have to agree as they were delicious, had just the right amount of crumble to them, and melted perfectly in your mouth. I was very pleased with them! Plus they were really easy to make – I highly recommend trying these. You can use any jam and buttercream you like to fill them, be creative! However, cherry and almond really is a tasty combo!

Cherry & Almond Viennese Swirl Biscuits
 
 
Ingredients
  • 300g Butter
  • 250g Plain flour
  • 200g Icing sugar
  • 50g Cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp Almond extract
  • 1 jar of Cherry jam
 
Instructions
In a large bowl mix together 250g of the butter, plain flour, 50g of the icing sugar, cornflour and vanilla extract until combinedPut the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzlePipe little swirls onto lined baking trays until the mixture runs outBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool fullyMake the almond buttercream by mixing 50g of the butter, almond extract, and 150g of the icing sugar. Pipe the buttercream onto half of the biscuits, and smooth cherry jam onto the other halves. Then sandwich them together
 

I’m also entering these tasty treats into myself and Cakeyboi‘s new baking, blogging challenge – Treat Petite. The challenge is for all small bakes that are individually portioned, and what could be more a treat petite than petit fours! The theme this month is ‘No Theme’ –  so anything goes!

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