Thursday, 17 April 2014

April's Calendar Cakes Challenge - Easter Bakes

April's Calendar Cakes Challenge - Easter Bakes
Easter baking rules. Pretty pastels, hot cross buns, fruit cakes, biscuits, chocolate... the list goes on my sweet-toothed tribe of bakers. I love the Easter break, not only do we get two Bank Holidays, but the weather is usually improving too. This is the perfect time to whip up some sweet treats for your nearest and dearest.

So then, show me your buns... I want spice, flavour, garish fluffy chicks and terrifying bunnies - the whole shebang!

Entry Guidelines: 
    April's Calendar Cakes Challenge - Easter Bakes
  • Post your entry on your blog and include the ‘Calendar Cakes’ logo
  • Add a link on your post to your host DollyBakes. Laura is having a break from blogging for a bit, but will hopefully be back soon!
  • Link to your blog from here using the Linky tool below. It's dead easy...
  • If you don’t have a blog you can still join in, just share the picture online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr etc), right hand click on it and copy image URL or link address. Add this to the Linky et voila! 
  • If you're on Twitter, tweet me a link to your post @dollybakes.

Calendar Cakes Challenge Rules:
  1. You can enter as many times as you like. Bake to your little heart's content.
  2. It can be your own recipe or one you found elsewhere (please just state where you found it).
  3. You can use old posts as long as you update them with the 'Calendar Cakes' logo and link back (see above).
  4. If you want to enter your bake into other challenges too then please feel free.
  5. You must submit by the last day of each month.
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Hot Cross Bundt

Hot Cross Bundt
When I was a nipper, Easter was all about overindulgence; chocolate eggs, buffets and thanks to my dad, lots of cake. As I've got older, I've binned off the chocolate eggs in favour of big, spiced cakes decorated in accordance with the season. Oh yes, and they often sport a garish fluffy chick - got to have a fluffy chick.

Last year I made my Easter Simnel Bundt. I am my father's daughter alright. It seemed only fitting that this year I make something similar, but with a slightly different theme. I went back to the drawing board. What's my favourite thing about Easter? That's right - hot cross buns. They're spicy, fruity, juicy and sticky, perfect toasted or just buttered, ideal for breakfast, a mid-morning snack or a sweet treat in the evening. Winners eat hot cross buns. You heard it here first.
Hot Cross Bundt
I've been toying with this idea for a couple of years, but I finally got my act together and did it. The name is begging to be used... Hot Cross Bundt. There - I said it. Today was my last day in work before the Easter break, so I took in some goodies for my team. I supplied enough hot cross buns to feed a small army, a bowl full of chocolates and this huge bundt cake!

I replicated the wonderful sticky glaze with a bit of jam, and made those iconic cross marks out of natural coloured marzipan. Its dazzlingly shiny exterior was the source of many oohs and ahhs, and made for a deliciously chewy crust, hiding a soft, moist centre. We all loved this one!

Ingredients:
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A few drops of sweet orange extract (or the rind of half an orange)
  • 350g plain flour
  • 200g of sultanas
  • 25g candied peel (optional)
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250ml natural yoghurt yogurt
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam
  • Natural coloured marzipan 

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Grease and flour a regular sized bundt tin (2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch)
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. On a slow speed add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. Mix in the vanilla and orange extracts.
  6. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  7. Mix the sultanas and peel into the flour mix and stir. 
  8. Sift in a third of the flour mix (yes, the fruit will get 'trapped' in the sieve!) followed by half of the yogurt. Repeat until all the flour and yogurt is used up.
  9. Stir in the dried fruit, which will now be covered in flour - this stops it sinking...
  10. Give a quick mix on a medium speed for about 10 seconds.
  11. Pour the mix into a greased and floured tin. 
  12. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and it is shrinking from the tin slightly. 
  13. Leave it to cool in the tin for ten minutes then turn out.
  14. Allow to cool fully.
  15. Warm your apricot jam ever so slightly in the microwave.
  16. Using a pastry brush, cover your cake. 
  17. Roll out about 1/4 pack of marzipan, and cut 4 strips for your cross. 
  18. Place on the cake, trim the edges, and away you go!

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Bloggers: Please respect the fact I am sharing my own ideas and basic recipe. Blood, sweat and many tears have gone into getting this right, so you may enjoy a perfect bundt. If you wish to re-blog a recipe from these variations, please credit my blog and link to this original post rather than pasting the recipe on your own page.
Please see my Creative Commons Copyright information for more details. Thank you.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Giveaway - Organic Chocolate Making with Virgin Experience Days

Virgin Experience Days
Have you ever fancied making your own chocolates? Perhaps as gifts for family and friends, or just to fuel your own cravings (we've all been there)? I've teamed up with Virgin Experience Days (see here) to give away an organic chocolate making experience to one lucky follower. You can even pick whether you go to Brighton, London or Manchester.

Organic Chocolate MakingBy the end of the workshop you will have learned a bit about the history of chocolate from bean to bar, partaken in some essential taste testing, and more importantly you will make and decorate some truffles of your very own. You don't even have to share them with anyone - perhaps just forget to tell people you're going...?

Fancy getting your truffle shuffle on? Entering is easy, just nip over to the Virgin Experience Days Competition page and follow the instructions. Good luck!




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