Wednesday, 8 February 2017

We Bake - The Bake Brighter Days Community Challenge

It's nearly Valentine's Day folks! Whether you're into it or not, let's face it, it's a great excuse to get baking. Who doesn't love a bit of indulgence; whether it be for your beloved, you pals, or just for yourself to enjoy with a cuppa. This Valentine's Day, the wonderful folk at We Bake want to see your creations in all their loved up glory.

What is We Bake?

We Bake is the community that rewards you for baking. It’s the first baking social media, where you can share recipes, get inspiration, enter competitions and even share your cake fails (moral support heals even the worst cake wreck). The community is there to coach you through mishaps with their hints and tips, and give you the motivation to try something new. Recipes are split by level, so you're not going to find yourself biting off more than you can chew, with the ingredients and method set out in an easy to read format.

How to get started

It's really easy. You set up your profile which can be linked to your Facebook account or can be done with an email, then you can start following other bakers from all over the country, win prizes in the challenges, and get access to exclusive events. It's a bit like all the best bits of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, but tailored towards those of us who love to bake.

The Bake Brighter Days Community Challenge

Chocolate Indulgence Bundt Cake
Chocolate Indulgence Bundt Cake
I'll be entering my Chocolate Indulgence Bundt Cake for this year's Valentine's Day Bake Brighter Days community challenge. I designed this recipe with my friends in mind. I regularly bake for my pals at work, but it's usually to use them as guinea pigs for my weird and wonderful cake creations, or when a bit of bundt alchemy has been going on in the kitchen. However, their favourites are always the chocolate themed cakes. You guys like chocolate? You'll get all of it...

When asked what was in this cake, I simply replied 'all the chocolate'. It includes Dr. Oetker Fine Dark Cocoa Powder, grated milk chocolate, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, it's covered in white chocolate, and then filled with Aero Bubbles. I wasn't joking. The resulting cake is a hearty yet ultra moist chocolate cake, which will have them fighting over the last piece (true story). I urge you to try this.

We Bake are giving away £50 Red Letter Days vouchers every day, so there are loads of chances to win if you enter. I've just posted my recipe on my We Bake profile so you can have a go yourself. Check it out here, become a We Bake member and let me know how you get on.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Apple and Bourbon Bundt Cake

Apple and Bourbon Bundt Cake
So still on a birthday vibe, New Year's Eve is Paddy's birthday, so you guessed it, it means a bundt! My brief was 'something I can have with custard'. He loved the Apple Pie Bundt I did at Easter, and asked for something of a similar ilk. I never make the same cake twice, so I was always going to come up with something new. Then came the wonderful moment of realisation, that I had a nice bottle of apple bourbon. Yes lad. 

Seeing as his birthday is on New Year's Eve, this had to be something suitably glitzy and party-worthy too. The obvious choice is to lace it with booze, but I also chose to make it in the elegant Crown Bundt tin, and cover it with all things glam; simple glacĂ© icing topped with demerara sugar and a dusting of glitter. Job done with the ultimate simplicity. 

The taste of the bourbon really infuses the cake, but the sweet fruit takes any harshness away. Slices of apple soaked in bourbon and cinnamon make this cake ridiculously moist, but it's still firm enough to keep its shape in the tin beautifully. We did indeed eat ours with warm vanilla custard, just after midnight. Thankfully, no-one turned into a pumpkin, and I came home with both shoes. 


Ingredients:

Apples:
  • 1 medium Bramley apple
  • 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Apple Bourbon (standard will do)
Cake:
  • 225g butter
  • 400g golden caster sugar (plus a little more for dusting the apples later)
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g plain flour
  • 3 tsp cinnamon (plus a little more for dusting the apples later)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 250ml toffee apple yoghurt (I used Yeo Valley) - Muller do a toffee one too. 
  • 2 tbsp apple sauce
  • 4 tbsp Apple Bourbon 
Topping:
  • 300g icing sugar
  • More bourbon
  • Demerara sugar to sprinkle
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Gold glitter (optional)

Method:
    Apple Pie Bundt Cake
  1. At least an hiour before baking, peel the apple and cut into thin slices. 
  2. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and bourbon together, and pour over the apples. 
  3. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  4. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with Cake Release spray and dust with flour.
  5. Cream the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  7. Add the extract.
  8. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sultanas.
  9. Pour the yoghurt into a jug and add the apple sauce and bourbon.
  10. Sift a third of the flour mix into the main bowl, followed by half the yoghurt mix. Repeat this until everything is combined.
  11. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  12. Pour 3/4 of the mix into your prepared tin. 
  13. Poke your apples in, in a clock formation - see pic.
  14. Cover with the rest of the mix.
  15. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  16. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  17. To make the topping, mix the icing sugar with enough bourbon to make a runny icing. You can use a bit of water here if you don't want it too boozy!
  18. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and dust with gold glitter. 
  19. Grate over some fresh nutmeg, and you're ready for the ball!

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.

Single Malt and Orange Bundt Cake

Single Malt and Orange Bundt Cake
In my world, birthdays mean cake. You've seen me in action on this front before. This one was properly covert, and not a word was said about it beforehand. My homie Phil's birthday is on Christmas Eve; a time where you naturally find yourself short of sugary goods about the house... Ah well... I couldn't let the occasion pass without his own bespoke bundt.

I wanted something 'of the season', but with a grown up twist. I had some really nice single malt whisky lying dormant, and had clapped eyes on an orange version of those lovely Lindor chocolate balls. Yes, an idea was born.

Unfortunately, he had to keep this one away from his nephews for fear of social services getting involved, as I put so much booze in it that I was likely to have given a positive breath test from just sniffing the icing. Felt a bit tight...

Cake:
  • 225g butter
  • 450g golden caster sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 350g Homepride plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 250ml plain low fat yoghurt 
  • Zest of one orange
  • 100ml decent whisky

Topping:
  • 300g icing sugar
  • More whisky 
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Lindor chocolate orange balls
  • Gold cake glitter (optional)

Method:
  1. Preheat the oven to gas 3/160 c
  2. Prepare a regular sized bundt tin - 2.4l, 10 cup, 10 inch with melted butter and dust with flour.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  5. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger.
  6. Pour the yoghurt into a jug, and add the whisky, vanilla extract and orange zest.
  7. Sift in a third of the flour mix followed by half the yoghurt. Repeat this until everything is combined. 
  8. Give everything a quick mix on a low speed for about 10 seconds.
  9. Pour the mix into your prepared tin. 
  10. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  11. Leave the cake to cool for ten minutes before removing from the tin.
  12. When completely cool, add the orange juice to the icing sugar, and mix with enough whisky to make a runny icing. You can use a bit of water if you like.
  13. Tip it over your cake and let it drip down. 
  14. Decorate with Lindor chocolate orange balls and a smattering of gold glitter if it pleases you.  

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.

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