Class 31, Lemon Drizzle Loaf

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Refreshing lemon drizzle loaf basking in the sun!

Euro 2016 has started, although not in our household as we are a football free zone. We aren’t big football fans ( you probably know from past posts that we are all about the rugby) and Scotland failed to make the cut anyway, so no footie is being watched by us.

Instead preparation is under way for the local agricultural show which takes place in a few weeks. No, we are not entering any sheep, cattle or horses into any of the livestock/ showing classes but I am entering some preserves and baked goods into the Produce classes. Some of the recipes I’ve not made before, so I need to practice to ensure I can actually make them and also to get the timings of each recipe right. I want to be super organised the day before the show down to even having a timetable written out to keep me on track!  Hopefully I will catch any issues during the practices rather than be faced with a horror the day before the show.

I will be also be making Strawberry Jam, but I’ve made this a few times before so I can make a batch a week before the show. In addition to the lemon drizzle loaf and jam, I will be making  brownies ( still have not decided out of the 101 recipes I have for brownies which one to go for!), Nanaimo bars and Lemonade.

I entered 3 classes last year, but I’m entering 5 different classes this year, which I think is all I can handle at this stage!

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Awards from last years show.

 

 

Class 31, Lemon Drizzle loaf ( 1lb tin) 

Surprisingly I have never made Lemon Drizzle loaf before unless a madeira cake with extra lemon in it counts?! I know there are countless recipes for this, and you probably don’t need me adding to them therefore I decided to use Mary Berry’s recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake.  Her Banana loaf recipe won me first prize at last years show so hoping this recipe will be equally as successful. Thank you, Queen of Baking!

This lemon drizzle cake recipe is really simple to make, however I felt there was not enough cake batter, even for a 1lb loaf, as the cake batter barely came up to the half way point of the tin and the cake only rose about an inch. I would prefer to double the quantities in order to pour enough of the batter into the tin to fill until about 1 inch/ 1.5 inches from the top. Obviously this will affect the baking time, so I will try this recipe out one more time before the show to gauge this.

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Ingredients

1 and 1/2 large eggs or in my case I used two medium eggs, 87.5 grams of self raising flour, 87.5 grams of Caster sugar, 87.5 grams of softened butter, 3/4 level teaspoon of baking powder, finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of half a lemon. The original recipe only used zest from 1/2 lemon and no lemon juice at all however I felt that this would not give the cake enough of a zesty lemon flavour. I like to be able to taste the lemon in Lemon flavoured cakes!

Topping– juice of 1/2 lemon and 50 grams of sugar.

Preheat oven to 180° C. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin.

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Simply beat the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, lemon zest and juice in a mixer until well combined and smooth. When the lemon juice comes into contact with the baking powder it starts to fizz and bubble, which delighted me very much! Science in action.

Pour the cake batter to the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and springy when touched.

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Mix the juice of 1/2 lemon and the sugar to make the topping and pour over the top of the still warm cake. Once cooled remove from the tin.

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Sun, Sea, Sand, Running and Champagne Cake

SAM_6844So every year since about 2009, the last weekend in May we go to the Mull of Kintyre and every year ( apart from 2011) my hubby runs the half marathon along with friends of ours. It’s the only half marathon he does and he runs it simply due to the fact that every year he gets forced into by our friends, although secretly I think he enjoys it! In the evening there is a Ceilidh where previously exhausted runners take to the floor for the Dashing White Sergeant, The Gay Gordons,  Orcadian Strip the Willow , Canadian Barn Dance, the Highland Schottische…..

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Hubby in the white top and black shorts running to the finish!

This year we got beautiful sunny weather, whilst lovely it caused hubby and a few of the other runners problems. Some of us Scots don’t tolerate hot weather very much and  definitely not running in it as we are simply not used to it!

The weather was so unexpected that I had no summer clothes packed, no shorts or vests or swim wear instead I had about 5 thick jumpers and long sleeved and long legged flannel PJ’s! Its normally still cold in May, hence the sunbathing in jeans in pic above! Any way this year I managed to get sunburn on my feet and some of my friends actually decided to take a very refreshing ( read extremely freezing) dip in the Irish Sea, I, on the account of having no swimwear (fortunately) declined to go in the sea.

Every year we also celebrate one of our friends birthdays as this falls around the same time. This year I decided to make a cake for her and immediately thought of a champagne cake. However, I have never made a champagne cake before so searching the internet I came across the perfect recipe, Pink Champagne cake from Joanne at Joanne Eats Well with others.  Although, if you take a look at her page you will see I did not decorate mine as prettily as Joannes, however this recipe turned out really well and was straightforward to make, very pleased with the results and would definitely use this recipe again. You can really taste the champers in the cake and frosting, very yummy.

I have detailed the ingredients, methods and how I got on with the recipe, but you could also click on the page link above to get the recipe direct from Joanne Eats Well with Other page.

Ingredients

85 grams of softened organic Scottish butter, 400 grams of sugar, 360 grams of cake flour…… erm what?  Cake flour is not available in shops near me , actually I’m not 100% sure if its available in the UK, so this confused me slightly as I had never seen this before! However, by the powers of google I found a substitution. I used plain flour but for every cup of plain flour I took our 2 tablespoons of the flour and replaced them with two tablespoons of Corn flour…. voila Cake Flour!

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Never turn your back on a woman who had flour covered hands! Hee Hee

 

Any way more ingredients were………1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda ( although I questioned the need to use this given there was baking powder in the recipe but dutifully followed the instructions), 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 6 egg whites ( I kept the yolks and added some to a quiche I made as I really hate when they go to waste), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 500mls of champagne, well I used Asti Spumante instead which is more of a sparkling wine and cheaper at £6.00 rather than £30.00 a bottle!

I didn’t get photos of the baking process as I had 101 things to do and was running very late to get everything done in time for leaving to go the Mull of Kintyre.

Anyway, Preheat your oven to 180° C and grease and line the bottom of two 8 inch cake tins. I always take the bottom out of the tin and place on the greaseproof paper and draw around the bottom.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl, the cake flour, baking power, baking soda and salt.

Slowly add the egg whites to the butter/sugar mixture, then add the vanilla.

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the mixer then once incorporated add 250 mls of the champagne, then 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 250 mls of champagne, then the remaining dry ingredients until all combined.

Split the batter between the two cake pans.  To do this I used a ladle to ensure each pan had the same amount as one of my pans was deeper than the other being a springform pan so it was more difficult just to eye ball.  Place in the oven and cook for between 35 -45 minutes or until cake tester or cocktail stick or knife comes out clean. One of the cakes took 35 minutes however the other pan took nearly 45 minutes until a cocktail stick came out clean, so just keep a careful watch on the cakes. Remove from the oven and wait till cooler then remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

Once cooled remove the greaseproof paper. I then used a knife to level off the cakes.

Frosting ingredients– 370 grams of softened and cubed butter. For me this meant leaving the butter out overnight to get it soft! 480 grams of icing sugar, 65mls of champagne, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract , pinch salt and red food colouring.

In a mixer add the butter and mix until creamy. Then add the icing sugar , champagne and salt and mix until light and fluffy. Add a few drops of red food colouring to the desired colour and mix until combined.

I placed one of the cakes on a plate then added some of the frosting on top of this, then added the remaining cake on top and added the rest of the frosting. However, you may want to cover the whole cake with frosting including the sides or try something fancier. I still had a reasonable amount of frosting remaining, even with slapping a fair amount on top and in between, so in future I would reduce the amount of frosting I make .I also added some edible daisy flowers I had left over.

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Fake Dan Cake

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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

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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!

Pretty little lemon and blueberry cake

I made this cake as I was supposed to be going into work today ( or my soon to be ex work) to say bye to my colleagues and pack up my locker and desk, however due to it being Easter Weekend tomorrow some of my colleagues took extra days off work to have an even longer holiday, so at the last minute it was decided that I would re-schedule my visit. My colleagues had demanded I bring cake  ( man, they looooovvvvveeeee cake) on my visit, so the cake was already baked and iced.   Oh well, what a pity there will be more cake for me and hubby! Score!!

I found this recipe for Lemon and blueberry drizzle cake on the Goodtoknow website and immediately decided I had to make it. Not just because lemon and blueberry is one of my favourite flavour ( try saying that 3 times fast) combos but because it looked so pretty with the pink icing and flowers scattered on top. I’m such a girl and this is definitely a girly cake, in fact it could be the ASOS of desserts.

Ingredients

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Oops forgot the butter, the lemon and the edible wafer daisies. Use your imagination and pretend they are in the photo!

 

Loaf: 125 grams butter, 125 grams caster sugar, 3 medium eggs ( I only had two large eggs left so only used two) , 175g self raising flour, an additional 1 tablespoon of flour, zest of 1 lemon, 100 grams blueberries.

Syrup: 50 grams caster sugar, 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Icing: 125 grams icing sugar ( powdered sugar), 1 teaspoon of blueberry converse, edible wafer daisies.

Preheat oven to 170° C. Grease and line a 2lb loaf pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and zest and mix until combined and light. Before folding in the blueberries, toss them in the additional 1 tablespoon of flour. This will help to prevent them moving to the bottom of the mixture whilst in the loaf pan ( or it should do however from the photo of a slice of the cake you can see some still sank !). Spoon the mix into the loaf pan ( and you will need to spoon as the mix isn’t that runny so you can’t pour it in). Smooth the top of the mix, make sure its evenly dispersed then cover with tinfoil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Then uncover and cook for a further 20 minutes  or until a cocktail stick or cake tester comes out clean and the loaf is golden and springy. Please note I checked the cake after 10 minutes and it was still wet inside, so my cake did need the 20 minutes, however ovens will differ, so you may want to check after 10 minutes to be sure.

Whilst the cake is baking combine the ingredients for the syrup in a pan, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, then take off the heat. The sugar should be dissolved.

Once the cake is out the oven, spoon over the syrup and leave to cool for 30 minutes.  Then remove the cake from the tin and at this point I removed the sides of the baking paper or grease proof paper but did not remove the paper from the bottom as the cake was really quite soft. Leave to cool completely, then remove the remaining paper.

Placed the loaf on a cooling tray, but with a baking tray underneath to capture the icing.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then place a teaspoon of the blueberry conserve into a sieve and press/ rub the conserve through the sieve and scrape the underside of the sieve so that the conserve drops into the icing sugar. Add a few drops of water to the icing sugar and mix . You don’t want the icing sugar to be too runny but you want it to be able to flow off the sides of the loaf slightly. Spoon the mixture over the top of the loaf and then add the edible wafer daisies to decorate. Leave to set.

After the icing had set, I attempted to move the loaf from the rack onto a plate and the movement created some creases in the icing, as you can probably see from the photo at the top of the page in comparison with the photo above on the right.Oh well, I think it still looks pretty and I love that you can see the speckles of the blueberry converse in the icing too. Hubby told me I definitely had to make this cake again, so it must mean it was good!

This was such as easy recipe to make and a lovely variation on the classic lemon drizzle cake. It would definitely make a lovely addition to an Easter meal or just a cake to have on hand for visitors who will pop in for a cuppa over the weekend.  You could also vary the decoration on top, adding your own creative flare or even adding real edible flowers. The original recipe used violas brushed in egg whites and dipped with caster sugar or you could use any leftover blueberries or lemon zest sprinkled on top.

Enjoy and Happy Easter!

What will you be you be making over Easter weekend? Feel free to comment or email me your recipes or Easter cooking ideas or menus at weebluemixer@gmail.com

St Patricks Day Shenanigans

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Mini Guinness Cake and Peppermint Shortbread slices

 

I’m not Irish myself, but hubbies family have vague Irish roots, with his great grandfather ( he thinks, he can’t remember how any Greats!)  migrating to Scotland back in the day. Although, not much is known about the family history in Ireland or even about possible existing family members on the old Emerald Isle. Doesn’t stop him being the brunt of my Irish jokes though!

Its always fun to celebrate this day, the Irish certainly know how to party and in my younger University days we would head to the nearest Irish pub for some drink, music, dancing and overall good craic. I would often come home with green glasses, leprechaun hats and Shamrock headpieces. Nowadays its more sedate, with baking or cooking an Irish dish or Irish inspired dish.

I made Guinness Cake not that long ago, however hubby wanted this again as he loves this cake, could have something to do with the alcohol!  Definitely Irish in his blood, well to be honest that could also be the Scottish part of him too!  Instead of making a 9 inch cake  I poured the batter into muffin cases to make wee Guinness cakes/ muffins. In a preheated oven (180 C ) bake for 18 minutes or until skewer came out clean. I also used fairy cake cases , which were smaller than the muffin cases and took 15 minutes to bake.  Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tins then remove and place on cooling rack. Once completely cool, use the same recipe for frosting a 9 inch Guinness cake.

Apparently 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed today, wonder how many Guinness cakes will be eaten?

 

I also decided to make some Peppermint Shortbread Slices, purely because of the gorgeous green colour, which I thought was very appropriate for St Patricks day.

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Gooey-ooey ness!

 

Ingredients

Base Layer– 125 grams softened butter, 175 grams self raising flour, 50 grams caster sugar- this is the base I use for millionaire shortbread.

Mint Layer-114 grams margarine or softened butter, 300 grams powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk or water or even cream, 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and couple of drops of green food colouring ( will depend of what shade of green you are going for). I like a thick gooey mint layer, but if you don’t then you could reduce the recipe measurements.

Topping– 60 grams of butter and 100 grams of milk cooking chocolate ( more or less depending on your love of chocolate, as long as it covers the mix). Dark chocolate is also delicious with the mint.

For the base, preheat oven to 190° C. Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and then mix into the butter/ sugar. Press this into a greased baking tray (I used a 10 x 7 tray) and place in oven for 12 minutes until golden. Leave to cool.

Please ignore my tiny yet scary hand!

Alternatively, you could use a digestive or graham cracker and butter base, like you would for cheese cake. Or crushed cornflakes with self raising flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar and melted butter mixed together and baked in the oven. This is apparently the traditional Scottish way of making peppermint slices, not really sure they is anything traditional about it! A brownie base would work well too.

For the Mint frosting layer, I use Margarine as I cannot get the butter soft enough so when mixed with icing sugar it actually becomes smooth. I always end up with butter lumps! #bakingproblems #Firstworldproblems #toooldtoohashtag

However,you can use butter if this is your preference, just make sure its softened. Mix the Margarine, powdered sugar, milk or water or cream ( what ever you are using), peppermint extract and food colouring together until smooth and consistent colour. Scrape down the edges of the bowl as you go to make sure all combined.

Pour the gloriously green mint mixture over the top of your base, smooth and then place in fridge to set. It is imperative to ” test” the green mint mixture, cos nothing that colour could taste good, so scrape the mixing bowl clean to satisfy yourself that is fit for human consumption! Nom, nom , nom, nom……….

Melt the butter and the chocolate over a bain-marie. Pour over the top of the mint mixture and leave to set. When pouring over, work quick to smooth the chocolate evenly as the mint layer is cold so the chocolate will start to harden quicker.  Once set, cut into squares. The base crumbled slightly when cut from the tin. In the future, I would line the tin with grease proof paper to see if this helped. The slices are best kept in the fridge, as you can probably see from the photos they are a bit gooey. It’s not the most perfect cake, it’s gooey, crumbly and you will require a plate, but it tastes delicious.

Happy St Patricks Day and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

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The New and Less Talented Mary Berry

I received ‘The Great British Bake Off Celebrations’ cookbook for my Christmas from one of my very good friends, Rosie. Although,  I must admit I have never actually watched the programme….. sorry I feel really un-British saying that, haters don’t hate please! Anyway I decided to give some of the recipes a go and given that in my store cupboard I had Whisky, dried fruit, whisky, nuts, whisky and eggs I settled on the  Whisky, Fruit and Nut Cake.

I’m a messy baker so to prevent any more of my cookbooks getting covered with flour, sugar and egg gunk I use this lovely vintage style recipe holder. It also serves to pretty up the kitchen.

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Here are the ingredients, minus the butter as that is currently sat softening on the window ledge (I always forget to take this out the fridge in advance!). The recipe called for caster sugar, however I only had granulated sugar. The nuts I used were pecans and walnuts and I used raisins, sultanas and craisins ( cranberries and raisins mix.) I used cinnamon in this however the recipe called for Mace but ISAM_5551.JPG had none available.

I raided our alcohol cupboard (also the laundry room) and decided to use Balvenie Caribbean Cask Whisky …. But Shhhh DO NOT TELL my husband, as last time I used this whisky in my BBQ sauce he went “ off his nut” ( as he would say) and rambled about how it’s his good whisky, not for cooking with and it tastes better from a glass than in food. Hence, why I also used Yamazaki Japanese whisky.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/ 350°F.

I put the 225g of butter ( once it was kinda of softened, I should probably have waited longer but I was impatient) into my wee blue mixer and mixed until creamy. Then I added 225g sugar until the mixture of light and fluffy. Then I beat 4 eggs along with 1 tablespoon of Balvenie Whisky and 2 tablespoons of Yamazaki Whisky in a separate bowl/jug   I then added this slowly to the butter mixture, beating well.  Mary Berry advises to keep 2 tablespoons of flour (out of the total amount of 225g self-raising) and add these two tablespoons with the last two tablespoons of egg to prevent curdling.

Well Mary……. This doesn’t look like it didn’t curdle… does it?

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Anyhow forging on, in a separate bowl I combined the dried fruit (total of about 95g of raisins, craisins and sultanas depending on how heavy handed you are whilst measuring) with the chopped walnuts and pecans (about total of 100g) and I covered with a tablespoon of flour ( again from the total flour measured out).

I sifted the remaining flour with a ¼ teaspoon of Nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon of Cinnamon, then folded this into the butter/egg mixture. I then added the fruit and nuts, combined and then poured into a silicone loaf tin (2lb) and popped into the oven.

Now the recipe stated to cook for between 40 to 45 minutes, however when I looked at it at the 40 min mark, it wasn’t ready. I left it for another 5 minutes, however it still wasn’t ready so I put this in for another 5 minutes then my husband came in for this lunch and then I gave it another 5 mins. In my oven it took 55 minutes (although I am not convinced my oven is working properly)

I didn’t manage to cool this cake down before serving as about 5 minutes after it came out the Oven my husband wanted a bit with his cuppa tea. Hence the photo with the chunk out of the end!

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