First attempt at Roast Chicken!

SAM_6822This was my first ever attempt at cooking a whole chicken! I know, I know its crazy that I’ve got to 32 without cooking a whole chicken but to be honest cooking big pieces of meat has always freaked me out for a couple (or five) reasons

1) I don’t eat a lot of meat, never have and there are some meats I just will not eat such as venison, lamb, some cuts of beef ( I’ll eat mince, but not steak… go figure!).

2) As I don’t eat them, I don’t cook them and so don’t know how

3) I feel uncomfortable cooking big cuts as I’m worried I’ll poison people!

4) I can’t stand the smell of some meat cooking such as Lamb to the point that I can’t even be in the kitchen when hubbie cooks this. He loves lamb! In fact there is not a meat, he dislikes!

5) Touching some raw meat is just icky! Sorry I’m 32 going on 5 in this respect.

However, recently  I have been getting more and more confident in the Kitchen and have even cooked large pieces of pork and ham, which have turned out well. This time I thought I’d cook a whole chicken. I do like chicken and often cook thighs, wings, fillets, legs so a whole chicken was the next logical step.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken with giblets removed- I always buy Scottish meat and carefully read the label for country of origin or check for the Scottish flag, but buy what ever you prefer. I try and buy Scottish meat, butter, milk veg etc as far as possible to support Scottish farmers.

100 grams or so of Softened Butter, 2-3  lemons, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, dried thyme and oregano ( or any other herbs you have), salt and pepper,2 cloves of garlic.

My measurements, aren’t really measurements as I didn’t really measure, but just guessed. Very scientific! Also as this was my first go I just used what I had available in the house and came up with this.

Preheat oven to 220°C

Line a roasting tin with tinfoil ( makes it easier to clean!)

Grate the zest of two lemons. Get the softened butter about 100 grams or so ( should be enough to cover the chicken, but add more if you also want to add butter mix on top and under the skin). Chop the butter into cubes and place in a bowl along with the lemon zest. Add some thyme and oregano ( or whatever dried herbs you have to hand). I used about 1/2 teaspoon of each. Well it was probably more like a heaping 1/2 teaspoon- 1 teaspoon! Add some salt and pepper then mix it all together until combined or use a fork to mash as I had to due to the butter not being as soft as it should be.

SAM_6819

Cut the 2 lemons in half and place in microwave for 40 seconds.

Place the chicken into the roasting tin. Then place the lemons halves in the cavity of the chicken, along with the garlic which you should crush with a knife beforehand. Pour any juice that came out of the lemons whilst in the micro into the cavity too.

Rub the butter mixture all over the chicken ( and under the skin if you want, however I didn’t do this see reason 5 above… maybe I’ll get the courage next time!). It helps at this point if the butter is really soft as it will stick to the chicken and make it easier to rub all over.  In my photo below you can see, from the clumbs of butter is wasn’t as soft as it should be! I even ended up placing some of the butter into a micro for 10 seconds.

Place the springs of rosemary into the chicken cavity. I used rosemary from my garden however as we don’t have a huge amount growing at the moment and what we have has been eaten by Rabbits I only used two springs, but you could use more or even chop up a sprig or two and add to the butter mixture before rubbing on chicken.

I had a extra lemon lying about so squeezed half over the top of the chicken then sprinkled some salt and pepper over the top.

SAM_6820

Turn down the oven to 190°C and then place the chicken in the oven. I cooked the chicken for about 1 hour and 35 minutes, until the juices ran clear. I also used a meat thermometer to check too, helping me to avoid reason 3!

SAM_6821

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Update Farmhouse Fruit cake**

 

Hubby asked if I would make this cake for him again. Last time I made this cake the fruit, disappointedly, sank to the bottom ( first photo) and even though it still tasted good I vowed that when I made this cake again I would get the fruit perfectly distributed through out.

The original recipe advised to use 450 grams of self raising flour and to use two tablespoons from this amount to toss the fruit in. However, this time I added the whole amount of 450 grams of flour to the batter. I then used an extra 2 heaping tablespoons of flour to cover the fruit in.

Once I had made up the batter, I mixed in some of the dried fruit, but keep a few handfuls back. I added some of the batter to the bottom of the cake tin, then added a layer of dried fruit, then added the rest of the batter on top and then added the remaining fruit on top. I then used the back of a spoon to carefully press down on the fruit so that it was submerged slightly into the batter.

The photo above left shows the previous attempt and the photo on the right shows the attempt with the above changes. So much better this time around, lovely fruit all dotted about the cake. It looks so pretty now as well!

 

 

 

Chocolate Orange Cake and Sunday Shenanigans

SAM_6755
How gorgeous is this location !

I dragged my hubbie to watch the horse trials at Floors Castle on Sunday, and according to him ” they were all guilty”. Groan……. him and his naff jokes. He says this one every time about horse trials.

 

He isn’t overly enamoured with horses ( to be honest most farmers/ agric’s I’ve met aren’t and he often refers to them as hay burners! ) so to appease him whilst there I treated him to a hog roast, which he said wasn’t as good as mine! Awww hubbie is a sweetie. I was very pleased with that compliment. He also got ice cream, which keep him quiet for all of 10 seconds.

Once home, I also decided to make him a cake to thank him for spending the whole day surrounded by horses. Cake is definitely the way we show love in our house! He loves chocolate oranges and chocolate orange flavoured desserts so I decided to make Chocolate Orange Cake. It is also a cake that I always have the ingredients for and its so simple to whip up that I don’t actually need to look at a written recipe,however due to this I’m not entirely sure were it originally came from. I have a feeling it could be a Nigella recipe but from which book or show I’m not sure! Also apart from the 50 mins cooking time, it really takes no time at all to make.

Now if you don’t like orange or marmalade then this is not the cake for you unless you substitute the marmalade for another kind of preserve or jam. Although I haven’t yet done this so not sure which flavours would work best,maybe raspberry or strawberry would work well with the dark chocolate or even substituting the dark choc for white choc along with the raspberry jam would add a whole new dynamic. Plenty ways to jazz this one up to suit individual tastes.

Ingredients

150 grams of butter, 100 grams of dark chocolate, 2 beaten eggs, 150 grams of caster sugar, pinch of salt, 300 grams of thick cut marmalade ( I prefer thick cut so you get lovely bits of yummy marmalade dotted throughout the cake) , 150 grams of self raising flour, tablespoon of icing sugar- see, very easy to remember!

Pre-heat  oven to 180°C and grease a 8 inch cake tin.

In a saucepan start to melt the butter, then once nearly melted add the chocolate. Take off the heat and stir until the chocolate is melted. Then add the beaten eggs, sugar, salt and marmalade and mix until well combined. The mixture does appear quite lumpy at this point but that’s just the marmalade, no need to worry. Then add the flour in small amounts to the mixture and whisk until combined. See, very simple recipe!

Once combined add the mixture to your cake tin and bake for between 40-50 mins.

SAM_6775

Remove from oven, leave to cool and remove from cake tin. Using a sieve give the top of the cake a dusting with icing sugar. Then serve with a cuppa and enjoy.

SAM_6780

 

 

Creative Blogger Award Nomination

Wow, I’ve been so busy recently that I’ve not been able to properly thank Kristy from Palatable Adventures for the lovely nomination for Creative Blogger. So big THANK YOU Kristy!!!

When I started blogging I didn’t think any one would read my blog, so I’m over the moon that not only have I been meeting lots of lovely new people but that you guys have been following and enjoying my blog too.

I am really enjoying Kristy’s blog, and finding out about her life in Texas. Her love of her family really comes across in her posts. She has great recipes and is setting herself the challenge of teaching herself and her girls new recipes. What a great Mum! Oh and she’s not afraid to put up her wedding photo on her blog!

Five Facts  ( not very interesting ones!) about me

  1. I love horse riding.
  2. I practically mainline coffee.
  3. I am terrified of flying!
  4. I’ve stayed in a Yurt.
  5. I wear my mums engagement ring on my right hand.

Nominations- this was the difficult bit as there are so many great blogs that I follow!

I don’t know if you guys take part in nominations and if you can’t or don’t want to that’s cool.  I must admit I wasn’t too sure about doing nominations/ Award thingies as there is an element of chain letters about them ( remember those??) and I didn’t generally do those. I do remember some chains would threaten bad luck if you broke the chain! Eck!!!

However, I would imagine that the spirit behind nominations and these awards are to encourage bloggers and show others how much you enjoy their blog. Its a acknowledgement of all the hard work that goes into blogging, and it’s brill that other bloggers have taken the time to tell you ( me) this, so I decided to give it a go.

Also I am using it as an opportunity to let you guys know that I think your blogs are fab. Keep up the good work everyone!

  1. Frugalhausfrau– She comes up with great, mouth watering recipes. I’ve tried a few of her recipes and loved the results.
  2. Lynzrealcooking– Her writing captures her emotions and paints the events in her life so vividly. She is one brave woman.Not too mention her recipes are awesome.
  3. A Texans view of upstate New York– Great blog about the life and adventures of an musical army wife.
  4. Life in mud splattered boots– Anne lives in the country too, but at the opposite end of the country from me. I love reading about she gets up to on her farm and her recipes. Photos are great and captures the lovely countryside she lives in well.
  5. Pennys food blog– Every post looks so so yummy and the recipes are varied and easy to follow. Have book marked many of her recipes and hope to get around to making some soon.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  2. Share five facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate 5 bloggers and add their links.
  4. Notify the bloggers you included.
  5. Keep the rules in your post.

 

No Churn Crunchie Ice Cream and No Scottish Summer!

SAM_6517

I was very premature in thinking a couple of sunny days meant Summer had arrived and of course Summer meant eating ice lollys and ice cream to cool down with. Unfortuntely Scottish Summer lasted all of about 5 seconds and in the same day we had wind, rain and snow! It reeks havoc with my wardrobe decisions I tell ya!

However, while the sun was in the sky I did manage to whip up some home made no churn ice cream. I’m also fortunate that my hubbie will eat ice cream come sun, rain or snow. He has even been known to get an ice cream cone from the local ice cream shop on a Winters day and go for a walk eating his ice cream. According to him its the best time to eat ice cream because the temperature is so cold, it doesn’t melt and drip all over your hand before you’ve had a chance to eat it all! There is crazy logic there somewhere which has me thinking  ( and not for the first time) that hubbie is either an evil genius or slightly mad or,  since in most movies the evil genius that trys to take over the word is mad, both.

This is a great recipe if, like me, you don’t own an ice cream maker ( I stay in Scotland, so refer back to first paragraph for the reason why I don’t own one!).

Ingredients

600ml Double cream

200 grams of condensed milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla

3 crunchie bars ( chocolate covered honeycomb)

Combine the cream, condensed milk and vanilla in the mixing bowl on your stand mixer and mix until thick.

Place the crunchies in a sandwich bag and use a rolling pin to bash into chunks, a mix of big bits and small bits. Fold the crunchie bits into the cream/milk mixture.

Pour the mix into a container that you can put in the freezer. If you have crunchies left ( I didn’t) you could sprinkle some over the top before covering container with cling film and with the container lid. I usually place in the Freezer overnight.

The cream and condensed milk is your basic recipe, which you can add anything to, to make different flavours of ice cream such as the variations below:

Coffee: Make up some coffee and add a tablespoon or so ( dependant on your tastes and kind of coffee) to the cream and milk and mix together well until thick.

Chocolate: Add some cocoa powder, about 3/4 cup to the cream ( add more to taste depending on how rich you like your chocolate ice cream), condensed milk and vanilla, then mix well until thick. Fold in chopped chips.

Rocky Road: Make the chocolate ice cream. Fold in some chopped chips and/ or chopped nuts and bashed digestives to the mix along with mini marshmallows

Mint Choc Chip: Replace the vanilla with some peppermint extract and also add some green food colouring to the cream/ milk and mix well. Fold in some chopped chocolate or chocolate chips.

Caramel: Add some caramel sauce to the already mixed cream/milk mixture and fold well. You could add some salt too to make Salted Caramel.

Oreo: Fold in some bashed up Oreos to the basic ice cream mix.

Or just add your favourite sweetie or candy!

SAM_6640

 

Good Gingerbread

SAM_6671
Some of my cookery books, can you spot two books that are clearly not cookery books?? Not sure how they found their way onto that shelf!

 

Forgive me fellow bloggers, its been 15 days since my last blog post! Life has been hectic recently and the days and hours seem to be running away from me. Not enough time in the day, I need more than 24 hours to function in my crazy life. I also apologise if I’ve not responded to comments or tags, major catching up to do!

Despite being incommunicado, I have still managed to whip up a few recipes to share with you. I have also found some new ( well new to me) cookbooks to add to my ever expanding collection.

I have found that, along with cooking and baking, my new hobby also involves browsing for and collecting cookery books. I have always loved reading and books, hence why my Masters is in Library studies, but I have also started to comb charity shops and secondhand books shops for interesting cookbooks to add to my collection as well as still searching for history books, classic literature and the odd Jackie Collins or Jilly Cooper book ( don’t judge me!).

My recent finds include Delia Smiths, Book of Cakes, 3rd Edition ( 1991) for the bargain price of 1p and Mrs Beatons Everyday cookery for £1.99 ( 1977). I love finding old cookbooks and whilst some of the recipes I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, such as Fried Cows Heal ( my hubbie would probably eat that!), there are still alot of good and classic recipes and they are great for developing cookery skills.

I do also love that these older books as they often have scribbles from their former owners,such as recipes, handwritten dedications  and even signatures from the author themselves. Delia’s book was obviously originally gifted as the scribble in the front indicates.

SAM_6675

Whilst picking up these books I also managed to get a sweet denim jacket by FCUK for £4.99, Bargain!

From Mrs Beetons Cookbook, I decided to make, “Good Gingerbread“and it is aptly named ‘cos this stuff was goooooddd, even with substitutions I made.

SAM_6681The recipe calls for 8oz of plain flour, however I had run out of plain so I used 8oz of self raising flour and omitted the barcarbonate of soda, 2 level teaspoons of ground cinnamon,1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 level teaspoons of mixed spice, 2 level teaspoons of ground ginger. The original recipe used crystallized ginger however as I didn’t have any I added another 1/2 teaspoon of ginger , 2 oz of raisins, 2 0z ground almonds ( the recipe calls for blanched and chopped, but ground was all I had), 4 oz margarine or butter, 4 oz of treacle, 4 oz of sugar and 2 eggs.

Grease and line a 7inch round tin. Preheat oven to about 160C.

Mix the flour, salt, spices, raisins, almonds together in a bowl.

Melt the margarine, treacle and sugar together in a saucepan then add to the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and also add to the dry ingredients. Mix together well. If the recipe is stiff, then you can add some warm milk to get a more dropping consistency, however I didn’t require to do this.

I love the vivid yellow of the eggs against the black of the treacle!

Pour mix into the prepared tin and place in the oven.

SAM_6692
I could eat this now, spoonful by spoonful!

 

The recipe stated it would bake for 1 3/4 – 2 hours! However, when baking using old recipes always take the times with a pinch of salt, as modern ovens are much more efficient so recipes usually require less time.

I checked the cake at 58 mins and it was still wet, I checked 15 mins later and it was slightly over done. The top sides of the cake were slightly blackened and some the inside of the cake towards the edges were dry. In hindsight I should have checked the cake again after 5 minutes, then if it still wasn’t not ready then checked again after another 5 mins. So between 1 hour 5 mins- 10 mins probably would have been adequate time for this cake ( well in my oven anyway!)

Despite this, the cake had a really lovely flavour to it, and a wee drop of butter spread on top sorted out any dryness!

By the time I got around to taking a picture of the cake, hubbie had attacked it and this was what remained……

SAM_6697

 

Snickerdoodles

SAM_6580.JPG

Well, its been a busy week, with riding lessons, nurse and hospital appointments,meeting up with friends, parents visiting, friends visiting and watching rugger ( what else!) oh and the dreaded thesis work continues albeit at a very slow pace.

A very close old school friend was visiting relatives nearby, so we took the opportunity of only being 40 minutes away from each other, as opposed to 3 1/2 hours away, to meet up for a gossip, lunch and a wee spot of shopping. We had agreed I would pick her up and have a coffee  ( or a fly cup) with her lovely Granddad, who I haven’t seen for about 18 years, his partner and my friends daughter, before heading out for the day.

Oh, how times have changed, as our get togethers used to consist of copious amounts of alcohol ( some unidentifiable), singing loudly and out of tune , losing a purse or contents of a bag, then heading to the latest opening local pub for the most awesome cheese toasties in the world!

Anyhoo, given that I was invited for a cuppa I thought it would be nice to bring along some home baking, and I thought Snickerdoodles would be a good choice.

Snickerdoodles are not a common biscuit ( or cookie or whatever you call them) in Scotland, with most people I have made these for having never even heard of them, let alone tasted them. Despite this, everyone I have made them for, has loved them, both adults and children.

The good thing about Snickerdoodles is that they are so simple to make and the ingredients are ones that you will have on hand in your store cupboard already.  The dough does need to chill for an hour, so overall they do take about 1 hour and 40 mins to make, but its not an excessive amount of time by any stretch of the imagination.

Also the name Snickerdoodle… is it just the child in me that thinks this name is funny? What does this name even mean?

This is my go to snickerdoodle recipe . I’m not sure where it came from, it simply appeared in my recipe book scribbled in pink ink and covered with the remnants of snickerdoodle ingredients.

Ingredients- (makes about 12 Snickerdoodles).

Cookie: 113 grams of butter ( only Scottish Organic butter will do for me!), 112 grams of granulated sugar, 55 grams of brown sugar, 1 egg ( organic or when I can’t get this I use local), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 210 grams of plain flour ( Scottish farm milled), 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar.

Topping: 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Cream the butter and both the brown and granulated sugars together ( but not the 2 tablespoons of sugar indicated in the topping section of the ingredients). Then add the egg and the vanilla and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar and mix. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Gather the dough into a ball, cover in cellophane or wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

At this point for me it was 7:30am, and I was still in my jammies, so my hour was spent showering, drying and straightening hair, applying make up, eventually deciding what to wear and dressing…. funny how an hour goes by so quickly! Maybe you can spend your hour doing something more exciting.

SAM_6575

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

Combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a separate bowl.

Pinch about 2 tablespoons of dough from the ball of dough and roll into a small ball. Then roll the ball into the sugar/ cinnamon mix to cover and place on a lined baking tray.

Bake for between 14- 18 minutes or until golden brown. In my oven it takes the whole 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes and then move to a cooling rack.

 

 

 

Farmhouse Fruit Cake

I recently purchased a couple of new ( well new to me, they were actually described as used, hence the cheap price I got them for) cookbooks. One of which was the “Yeo Valleys Great British Farmhouse” cookbook by Sarah Mayor which contains traditional recipes made as she was growing up on the family farm as well as recipes made today in their staff / conference venue restaurant.

SAM_6533
How cute is this cover with the cartoon cow and carrots!

 

I noted there was a recipe for Farmhouse Fruit cake, and given that I love fruit cake/loaf, and so does my hubby, I knew I had to give this recipe a go.

Ingredients

550 grams of mixed fruit ( I used a mixture of raisins, sultanas, cranberries, mixed peel, dates and apricots, but you could use whatever you had one hand), 120ml of boiling water, 450 grams of Self Raising flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of mixed spice, a large pinch of salt, 300 grams of soft butter, 300 grams of caster sugar, 4 medium eggs, 200mls of whole milk and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar ( although the recipe states demerara however I didn’t have any).

Add the mixed fruit to a bowl and add the hot water. Stir together and leave for 1 hour, going back and stirring occasionally.  After 1 hour, place the fruit onto a tea towel and dry. Beware it will cover your towel with a gunky brown mess!  Photo evidence below.

Then add the fruit to a dry bowl and add two tablespoons from the 450 grams of flour and stir to combine.

Preheat your oven to 150° C and grease and line a 9 inch cake tin. My lining has a funny fold as I didn’t quite get the size of the tin right and cut the length too short, so had to add another piece to fill the gap! The recipe also advised to fold a few sheets of newspaper to create a thick band and wrap around the outside of the tin. Tie in place with some string. This is to protect the cake sides from being overly browned or burnt especially with being in the oven for a long time.

SAM_6468

Sift the remaining flour and the mixed spice into a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time and mix well after each one, however add a tablespoon of flour with each of the last two eggs.  The add half the remaining flour, half the milk, then the rest of the flour and then the rest of the milk, mixing well after each addition.

 

 

Then fold the fruit into the mix,  pour into the cake tin and sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Place in the oven.

SAM_6496

The recipe states to cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes, however I cooked mine for 1 hour and 30 minutes in a fan assisted oven and it was ready when I tested with a cocktail stick ( it came out clean). I would recommend keeping an eye on it but not opening the oven door too early. Never open the oven door until the cake is 3/4 of the way through the cooking time given. Opening the door early will mean the temperature will drop and the cake could collapse. Thanks Queen Delia for this brill tip!

Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes or so and remove the side of the cake tin. I left the bottom of the tin and the grease proof paper on until the cake was completely cool , then removed them.

I found that my fruit sank to the bottom despite covering them in flour. In the future I would add more flour to the mixture to see if I could make this cake mix less liquid in order to stop the fruit sinking.

This recipe makes quite a big cake, so would recommend making if you are having a lot of people over or you love fruit cake. Hubbie comes in for his lunch every day with his colleague and they both enjoy a fancy piece* or two with their cuppa tea so this will get devoured pretty quickly in our house! Or you could half the recipe and use a smaller cake tin.

*A ” fancy piece” means a cake in Scotland, actually its usually just in the North East ( Aberdeen/ Aberdeenshire) that I have found this term used and there its pronounced ” Funcee”.  However a “piece or pieces” simply means sandwiches, although I find myself dropping the ” fancy” and simply using “piece” for cake…. just to confuse you more!

Sorry for the impromptu Scots language lesson!

 

 

 

 

Fake Dan Cake

SAM_6422

This weekend was a busy and varied one with alot of driving and rushing about, but also a lot of fun.  On the Saturday, hubbie had a rugger game to play and we also had his cousins 21st Birthday party in the evening. On the Sunday we visited hubbie’s gran, saw some newborn lambs at his Uncles farm, as well as going to visit friends and their lovely wee baby girl.

Whilst hubbie was away at rugger on the Saturday, I had just had enough time to whip up a wee cake for our Sunday visit to friends.

Now, I wanted to make a Dan cake. Not sure why its called a Dan cake but this was a cake that our friend, who had been my hubbie’s flatmate at University, used to devour, not by the slice, but by the cake. As I recall it was basically a lemon madeira cake, in a half moon shape with thick icing on the top with a chocolate swirly pattern on top.  I have never been able to buy it in the shops since we left Uni , so I had a difficult time remembering how it actually tasted.

As I was unable to find a recipe I decided to use the basic madeira cake recipe from Nigella but added slightly more lemon juice and lemon zest and made up a basic icing topping, to make a ” Fake Dan Cake”.

Madeira cake is my dads favourite cake and I always make it, when he comes to visit or I  visit him, using this Nigella recipe. It is a really good, simple and easy recipe and I have found the cake turns out perfect each time (Oops think I just jinxed this now!).

Ingredients

240 grams of softened butter, 200 grams of caster sugar ( original recipe also states to have some extra sugar to sprinkle on top prior to going in oven, but I skipped this step as I was going to cover the top with icing), grated zest and juice of 2 lemons ( original recipe is 1 ), 3 large eggs, 210 grams of self raising flour and 90 grams of plain flour.

Topping: 125 grams of icing sugar and some cold water ( packet instructions)

Preheat oven to 170 °C. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.

 

Add the grated lemon zest

SAM_6404.

Add the eggs one at a time and with each egg add a tablespoon of flour and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour and the lemon juice and mix well.

 

Spoon into a loaf pan ( I still used a loaf pan even though the original cake was in a half moon shape). Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.

Leave for about 5 minutes then remove from the loaf pan and place on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, make up some icing according to packet instructions and then drizzle on top from side to side.  So it actually looked nothing like the original Dan Cake, as it was not in a half moon shape nor did it have a thick icing layer on top and I couldn’t be 100% sure that it actually tasted like a Dan cake, but I went down very well.

Given the travelling we had to do on the Saturday, once the cake was ready I placed it in a cake carrier and strapped it into the back of my messy and dirty car and headed to pick up hubby from rugby.

 

Included a wee fuzzy photo of me and hubby at 21st party , smiles and red faces says it all!

Weekend. DONE!

Strawberry Shortcake (cake)

SAM_6354.JPG

The Easter Dinner saga continues…..

I struggled to narrow down the dessert for Easter Dinner as there are so many new recipes that I’ve found, in recipe books and from other bloggers, that I really really want to try. I now have a list of      ” Things I have to bake “ unfortunately ( or fortunately ‘cos they all look amazing and I will taste them all eventually ) the list keeps getting longer and longer!

At the end of the day, if a recipe has all good things in it then it can only taste good ( I think it was Mary Berry who said something along those lines) so really it didn’t matter which recipe was chosen for dessert as any of them would have tasted good in the end.

I ended up making Pioneer Woman’s Strawberry Shortcake cake ( although hubbie steadfastly refused to use the extra cake in the title deeming it to be redundant).

Does anyone else remember or did you also have a Strawberry Shortcake doll? This childhood toy/ memory in no way influenced my decision to make this cake!

Ingredients

Cake: 113 grams of softened butter,  1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons of sugar, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of corn flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

Filling: 460 grams of British ( if in season) Strawberries, but to be honest I would use more next time to get a good thick layer in between cake layer, 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Frosting/icing: 226 grams of cream cheese, 226 grams of margarine or butter, 680 grams of icing/ powdered sugar, sifted, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

*** Please excuse my mixture of measurements and the fact I’m breaking one of the baking commandments. I use metal measuring cups and measuring spoons as I find these quick and easy, but for some things like butter, fruit, shortening I still prefer to use my old fashioned scales and use grams. ***

Preheat oven to 180° C and grease a 9 inch springform deep cake tin.

In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.  Add the sour cream but don’t drop the actual metal cup measurement device into the batter like I did and doing it with a girly scream which brought hubby running through thinking I had had a horrific baking accident. So just add the sour cream and then add the vanilla and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cornflour, salt and baking soda. Then add this dry mixture into the stand mixer bowl and mix until just combined. Pour the luscious batter into the cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until knife or cocktail stick comes out clean. The recipe says 45- 5o, but mine was ready at 45 so the time will vary depending on your oven.

Remove the cake from the cake tin and leave to cool. However, given how hot it was I waited a little longer to remove the bottom of the cake tin.  Once cooled, cut the cake through the middle to give two layers. As you can see from the photo below, I didn’t get the knife all the way through with my first go around,so I had to go around again and it caused the funny ridge bit in the middle. However this was being covered anyway, so I wasn’t really that concerned!

Place the strawberries onto an tray and mash, then cover with the sugar, toss and leave for a  few minutes.

Then cover each cake layer with the strawberries and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

 

In the meantime make up the frosting………….

Sift the icing sugar in a large bowl and be prepared for a cloud of icing powder to cover you and your work surface. Add the icing sugar, margarine, cream cheese, vanilla and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Make sure to add your mixer guard/shield thing ( not sure its proper name ) so you avoid another icing cloud. Mix until light and fluffy. My frosting had a yellow tinge to it, I think because I used margarine, oh well it’s a pretty spring colour.

Remove the cake layers from the freezer and place one layer on a plate, then cover with the frosting, using about 1/3 of the mixture. Place the other layer on top and cover with the frosting. Then start to cover the sides of the cake with remaining frosting. I arranged a few strawberries on the top of the cake for decoration.

I must admit my cake did not look like Pioneer Woman’s cake. From the photos you can see that some of the cake and strawberries were still showing and my frosting didn’t really seem to meld well onto the side of the cake and it wasn’t very prettily done either! Oh and it was a light yellow instead of white colour. Then I decided it didn’t matter, the cake was individualistic and it tasted really good.

 As you can we made quite a dent in the cake!