Red Velvet Cake

Hello to my lovely readers! It has CERTAINLY been a while! I’m so sorry for the huge gap in time since my last post. I have still been baking when I can, however things have been rather busy recently with the addition of our new Jackapoo puppy – Maggie! She is only 4 months old and has been full on since the get go! I’m talking night time toilet training, teaching commands and mastering the art of ‘fetch’! But she is so lovely and I’ve been moaning about wanting a dog for the last 6/7 years so it’s about time 🙂

So I have finally gotten round to sitting down at my computer and blogging a few of the recipes I have managed to find the time to cook 🙂 And the return of the Great British Bake Off is enough to get anyone back into the swing of things 🙂

The first is a 4 tiered red velvet cake that I recently baked for my lovely Granny’s 90th birthday party. It was the first time I had made a red velvet cake and I have to say I was surprised at how easy it was. The only issue I had was fitting in Maggie’s walk and icing the 4 tiers all before 1pm (taking into account baking and cooling time of the cakes!)

We had an afternoon tea round at my mum and dad’s house to celebrate and ate lots of cakes, sandwiches and drank Pimms whilst listened to Scottish music in the garden – wonderful!

The cake was so huge that I had to take it in to work the next day and fed it to my youth theatre (without telling them about the secret ingredient – BEETROOT!!) They ate up the cake happily whilst trying to guess the mystery ingredient, one lad even called his Nan for a clue as to what it was. Once they found out – they suddenly seemed suspicious of the giant red coloured cake and weren’t sure if they really did enjoy it after all…

Why not give it a try and see what you think!?…You won’t regret it 🙂

Ingredients:

For the Sponges:

  • 250g Butter
  • 200g Dark Chocolate (broken into pieces)
  • 500g Plain Flour
  • 500g Golden caster sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g Natural yogurt
  • 400g cooked beetroot (in its own juices, not vinegar)
  • x2 28ml red food colouring

For the Frosting:

  • 200g Full fat cream cheese
  • 250g Butter (softened)
  • 40g Icing Sugar
  • x2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Make the first batch of sponges by greasing and lining 2 x 20cm round tins. Gently melt half the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan. Mix half the flour, sugar, cocoa, bicarb and ¼ tsp salt in a large mixing bowl. Whizz one egg and half the yogurt and beetroot in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth. Put the kettle on.
  2. Tip the beetroot mix into the dry ingredients along with the melted chocolate mixture and 150ml boiling water, then stir to combine. Stir in half the food colouring, if using, and divide the mixture between the tins. Bake for 25 mins until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cakes on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to make 2 more sponges or if you’re lucky enough to have 4 x 20cm sandwich tins you can bake in a big batch all at once.
  4. To make the frosting, briefly beat together the soft cheese and butter, then beat in the icing sugar and vanilla. Use a little to sandwich the cooled cakes together, then swirl the rest all over the sandwiched cakes and decorate with sweets, if you like. Sit the cake somewhere cool (not the fridge) to set a little before serving.

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know what you think 🙂

Holly xx

 

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Apple Frangipane

I didn’t think I could possibly be SO behind on my GBBO challenges – but here we are – I’m only just posting this recipe which was made on the show roughly 6 weeks ago! (maybe even more) and to make things worse I still haven’t seen the final! But I know who wins thankfully.

So a big apology for being so rubbish at keeping up with my challenge – I blame the re-decoration of my house which took over my life for around 4 weeks – But I don’t feel too bad as I now have lovely carpets and painted walls 🙂

Anyway, enough chit chat – here’s my take on apple frangipane!

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200g soft butter, plus extra for greasing
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
  • 2 large eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • 4 eating apples
  • 1 tbsp smooth apricot jam

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl and dice 100g butter into it. Add the salt. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in 1-3 tbsp cold water until the dough seems to want to cling together. Knead lightly to make a ball, dusting with flour if it seems wet. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4.
  3. Generously butter a 24cm-diameter flan tin with a removable base and dust with flour. This makes the tin non-stick. Roll out the pastry, line the tin, and trim the edges. Cover with foil and half-fill with dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for 5 minutes more.
  4. Meanwhile, beat together 100g butter and 100g sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time. Fold in the almonds and lemon zest and tip into the pastry case. Halve and peel the apples, carefully cutting out the cores. Place flat side down and slice thinly across the width. ‘Plant’ the apples in the tart and spread out the slices slightly. Melt a knob of butter, paint the apple halves with it and dredge with caster sugar. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the frangipane is puffy and golden and the apples just cooked. Paint the apples with the apricot jam, and leave in the warm, switched-off oven, with the door ajar, for 15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Crème Brule

I am VERY behind with my GBBO challenges – so this goes back a few weeks. I still have a bag of apples in my kitchen ready to be made into a frangipane. So here goes – here’s my take on Crème Brule – the recipe is taken from the BBC Good Food website. The only thing I cheated on was I used my jazzy blow torch for the toppings, which they weren’t allowed to do in the tent (but I think that’s more to do with the fact that it would be a lot of naked flames in a giant tent rather than a culinary challenge!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons double cream, 1 large (284ml) plus 1 small (142ml)
  • 100ml full-fat milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 50g golden caster sugar, plus extra for the topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Sit four 175ml ramekins in a deep roasting tin at least 7.5cm deep (or a large deep cake tin), one that will enable a baking tray to sit well above the ramekins when laid across the top of the tin. Pour the two cartons of cream into a medium pan with the milk. Lay the vanilla pod on a board and slice lengthways through the middle with a sharp knife to split it in two. Use the tip of the knife to scrape out all the tiny seeds into the cream mixture. Drop the vanilla pod in as well, and set aside.
  2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk for 1 minute with an electric hand whisk until paler in colour and a bit fluffy. Put the pan with the cream on a medium heat and bring almost to the boil. As soon as you see bubbles appear round the edge, take the pan off the heat.
  3. Pour the hot cream into the beaten egg yolks, stirring with a wire whisk as you do so, and scraping out the seeds from the pan. Set a fine sieve over a large wide jug or bowl and pour the hot ixture through to strain it, encouraging any stray vanilla seeds through at the end. Using a big spoon, scoop off all the pale foam that is sitting on the top of the liquid (this will be several spoonfuls) and discard. Give the mixture a stir.
  4. Pour in enough hot water (from the tap is fine) into the roasting tin to come about 1.5cm up the sides of the ramekins. Pour the hot cream into the ramekins so you fill them up right to the top – it’s easier to spoon in the last little bit. Put them in the oven and lay a baking sheet over the top of the tin so it sits well above the ramekins and completely covers them, but not the whole tin, leaving a small gap at one side to allow air to circulate. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the mixture is softly set. To check, gently sway the roasting tin and if the crème brûlées are ready, they will wobble a bit like a jelly in the middle. Don’t let them get too firm.
  5. Lift the ramekins out of the roasting tin with oven gloves and set them on a wire rack to cool for a couple of minutes only, then put in the fridge to cool completely. This can be done overnight without affecting the texture.
  6. When ready to serve, wipe round the top edge of the dishes, sprinkle 1½ tsp of caster sugar over each ramekin and spread it out with the back of a spoon to completely cover (Anne Willan’s tip for an even layer). Spray with a little water using a fine spray (the sort you buy in a craft shop) to just dampen the sugar – then use a blow torch to caramelise it. Hold the flame just above the sugar and keep moving it round and round until caramelised. Serve when the brûlée is firm, or within an hour or two.