Meet Baked & Delicious Editors, Nikki Mohan and Wendy Sweetser, who’ll be keeping you up to date with Baked news and cooking up some great hints and tips!
Let's all eat cake
posted 09 April 2013 at 10:56:10
LET’S ALL EAT CAKE!
Here we are, April already, and whilst most years by now we’d be looking forward to summer, this time round we’re still waiting for spring to put in an appearance. I’m sure you’ll all agree that the only thing to lift our spirits on these Arctic days is to treat ourselves to a large slice of home-baked cake so, to cheer everyone up, in this issue of Baked & Delicious we’ve got some stunning cakes for every occasion.
If you’ve a favourite girl friend with a birthday coming up, our beautiful rose scroll cake would make the perfect present. Its pretty piped decorations might look like the sort of complicated sugarcraft work only a professional cake maker would attempt but, using the unique press set we’ve had specially designed for you, it couldn’t be easier. Just select the design you’d like for your cake and mark the pattern by pressing the set into the sugarpaste while it’s still soft. Once you’ve done that, all that’s left is to pipe over the design you’ve marked in royal icing. Before you start creating your pattern, work out where the centre of your cake is by placing a greaseproof paper template on top and marking it with a pin. By doing this first, when you come to press on your design the scrolls will be nice and evenly spaced rather than lopsidedly curling off to one side. Believe me, it’s one of the easiest and most eye-catching celebration cakes we’ve created for you as you’ll discover when you follow our step-by-step instructions.
A chocolate cake with a difference is our darkly delicious chocolate stout cake made with a goodly draught of dark ale stirred into the sponge. In honour of our Irish readers we decided to top the cake with a creamy head of soft white butter icing so it looks just like a pint of their favourite tipple - albeit one you eat on a plate with a fork!
All the family will enjoy our apricot cake with chocolate chips that can be put together in minutes from ingredients you’ve most likely already got in your store cupboard and fridge. If you’ve run out of dried apricots or they’re not to your taste, substitute any other dried fruit you wish. Sultanas, raisins, currants or chopped glacé cherries would all work equally well. A useful tip that’s worth remembering when you add glacé cherries to a sponge cake – tip the cherries out of their pot into a sieve and run warm water over them to wash off the sticky syrup they’re coated with then pat them dry with kitchen paper before adding them to the mix. Washing off the syrup makes the cherries lighter so they don’t sink to the bottom of the cake when it bakes. Some cooks recommend dusting the cherries with a little bit of the measured flour before you stir them in but I prefer the rinsing trick as it also makes the cherries less sickly sweet.
With raspberries in our supermarkets all year round, if you’re looking for a dessert that tastes even better than it looks, our raspberry and white chocolate tart definitely has the ‘wow’ factor. The pastry case is filled with a luscious mix of crème fraîche, double cream, vanilla and white chocolate and has lots of soft, vibrant berries piled on top. We made it in your rectangular silicone tart pan but if you prefer, use a round silicone tart pan instead.
If you’ve been watching that gorgeous hunk of a baker Paul Hollywood on TV recently showing us how to make his amazing breads, do put your kneading and proving skills to the test by baking a batch of our thyme and sesame flatbreads. Fragrant with aromatic herbs and seeds, they’re just made for sharing. Serve them warm torn into strips for dipping into Middle Eastern dishes like hoummus, tabbouleh or baba ganoush or as an accompaniment to a chicken or lamb tagine if you’re not a fan of couscous.
Our other savoury special in this issue is a parsley and onion tart that I was going to suggest you made to take on a picnic but having just turned up the central heating another few degrees, maybe that’s not such a great idea! It does make a good lunch or supper dish though served with potato salad or cherry tomatoes tossed in a tangy vinaigrette. You can serve it straight from the oven or cold as part of a buffet spread as you prefer.
So, let get into the kitchen and start baking – if only to keep warm!
BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE….
posted 04 February 2013 at 10:25:08
BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE….
2013 has certainly come in like a lion so I can’t think of a better way to escape the ice and snow than to get into the kitchen and bake something totally mouth watering. Not only will it make you feel good, it will cheer up your family and friends and keep those nasty winter chills at bay.
One look at this latest issue of Baked & Delicious and you’ll see we’ve included lots of gorgeous recipes to brighten up these gloomy days. There’s nothing quite like afternoon tea with everyone gathered around a roaring log fire and no English tea is complete without a special cake.
Our Cinnamon, Apple and Pecan Cake combines sweet spice with tangy apple and crunchy pecans and is the perfect pick-me-up, so serve a generous slice of it with a steaming cup of your favourite brew.
Another great British favourite that we’ve included in this issue is a batch of traditional old-fashioned teacakes. Split them open and toast the cut sides before spreading with them butter, leaving the teacakes just long enough for the butter to start melting – they’re unbelievably good!
As well as these British favourites we’ve also given a classic French loaf a modern makeover. Our Mini Chocolate and Orange Brioche – made in the special mini brioche silicone pan you’ll receive with this issue – have a hidden secret as you’ll discover when you bite into one. Tucked in the centre of each light sweet loaf is a melting nugget of dark chocolate. These little brioche make a satisfying start to the day or why not take one with you to work to enjoy with your morning coffee?
If you’re planning a winter party, hand round a platter of our melt-in-the-mouth puff pastry nibbles and watch them disappear in minutes. Crisp, flaky and totally irresistible, your guests will quickly decide it’s no time to be thinking of those New Year resolutions they made to shed a few pounds.
To stock up the biscuit tin we’ve come up with some unusual Afghan cookies. Despite their name – and nobody seems entirely sure how they acquired it – the cookies actually hale from Down Under, where they’re very popular. The dough is unlike a traditional cookie dough in that it has cornflakes and chocolate mixed into it. The cornflakes add an interesting crunchy texture and chocolate, either as cocoa powder or chunks, never fail to turn a plain cookie into a treat. Topped with walnuts that develop a rich toasted aroma in the oven, you’ll soon discover why our Aussie cousins love Afghan cookies so much.
Two recipes in this issue that definitely have the ‘wow’ factor are our celebration Chocolate Strawberry Gateau, a sumptuous chocolate sponge layered with fresh cream and strawberries and covered in a thick milk chocolate frosting, and an exotic Mango and Papaya Pavlova. The chocolate gateau would make the perfect birthday present for a special friend and, if you know they like deep, dark flavours, you could replace half or all of the milk chocolate in the frosting with bitter, plain chocolate.
What can I say about the Pavlova, except that one of the world’s favourite desserts is always going to make any party spread memorable. Both fresh mangoes and papayas are available in our supermarkets at the moment and become deliciously sweet if left to ripen in the fruit bowl until fragrant and mellow. The Pavlova is a true taste of sunshine in these dark wintry months.
So, let’s put the winter blues behind us and bake lots of delicious things to lift our spirits and keep out the cold!
Christmas is nearly here! Bake up some treats with issue 47
posted 13 December 2012 at 09:43:43
IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!
Here we are, mid December, and Christmas is almost upon us again – gosh doesn’t it come round quickly? It seems only yesterday that I was showing you all how to make the prettiest gingerbread house ever in last year’s festive special and now we’re all back at the stove baking mince pies, tree biscuits and chocolate yule logs all over again.
Although this new issue isn’t devoted to Christmas recipes, there are lots of delicious ideas that would be perfect for the holiday period. If you’re having friends in for drinks and buffet food, our pear and red onion tarts or wedges of pepperoni calzone taste as good as they look and will help keep out the winter chills.
If your family is one of the many who turn their noses up at traditional plum pudding, we’ve two spectacular desserts that would make a memorable finale to the Christmas meal. The apple stacks offer a neat twist on a classic apple pie, as the sweet shortcrust pastry is baked separately and then wafer thin slices of apple and apple purée are layered on top. Each stack is then dusted with sugar and caramelised under a hot grill or with one of those gas guns that TV chefs love so much. Or, you might prefer our marzipan tart with blueberries that can be served with whipped cream, Greek yoghurt or even brandy butter. Chopped marzipan is spread over the pastry case before you spoon in the vanilla custard filling and this is then topped with fresh blueberries, which add a refreshing contrast to the sweet marzipan and custard, plus flaked almonds for a nice crunchy top.
I always think if you can’t indulge a little at Christmas time when can you, so, if you normally keep the biscuit tin well hidden to avoid temptation, now is the time to fill it with a batch of our iced pepper nut biscuits. Based on a traditional recipe from Silesia in Central Europe, where spices are regularly added to cakes and cookies, these melt-in-the-mouth biscuits are sweetened with honey and a spiced with a heart-warming blend of cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and black pepper. Topped with a snowy layer of glacé icing, they’re perfect for nibbling as you enjoy that well-deserved glass of mulled wine.
The nicest – and most appreciated – Christmas gifts are always those you’ve made yourself. This year, to delight your family and dearest friends, we’ve created some totally stunning cupcakes. We were so proud of them we just had to put them on the cover of the magazine and we think you’ll agree that they really are the most beautiful cupcakes ever. We opted for warm shades of lilac and blue to ice our cakes but you might prefer festive shades or red, white and green. As the cupcakes are quite time-consuming to make and if time is in short supply but you still want to give a homemade gift, why not bake a batch of our pecan and chocolate squares? They’re quick and easy to make and packed in a pretty box tied with a ribbon, they’ll be an irresistible present for someone special.
Merry Christmas everyone and happy baking in 2013!
Issue 46 brings you a Teddy Bears Picnic!
posted 03 December 2012 at 13:08:26
LET’S HAVE A TEDDY BEAR’S PICNIC!
If you have small children – or children of any age, for that matter – the chances are they’ll love the extra special cake you’ll find on the cover of this week’s issue. Not only is he the most adorable teddy bear you’ve ever seen but he’s also really quick and easy to make in your exclusive silicone pan. We decorated our teddy – that we christened Simon after the photographer who took his picture – with piped rosettes of buttercream but you can cover him with sugarpaste if you prefer.
Baking the cake in your silicone pan isn’t difficult but, having experimented first by trying several different mixes, we found that a fairly firm chocolate sponge, similar to a Madeira cake, worked the best. We also suggest you grease the pan lightly by brushing it with sunflower or vegetable oil before you spoon the cake batter into it. Greasing the pan is not normally necessary with silicone but, as the teddy bear has an uneven shape with indentations for legs, arms, ears and facial features, it’s trickier to turn out the baked cake than if you were using a plain round or square pan. Another tip that we found worked well was to spread the mixture right to the edges of the pan and fill the areas for the legs, arms and ears completely so teddy had sturdy limbs when he was turned out.
You’ll be pleased to hear we haven’t forgotten the grown-ups in this issue and our Ham and Chilli Pepper Tarts should prove a popular lunch dish served hot with jacket potatoes in this cold weather, or salad if you prefer something lighter. As many of you will no doubt have discovered to your cost, the size of a chilli is no indication of how hot it will be. Chilli fire power decreases the larger the chilli grows so those tiny, innocuous-looking ones you see in neat little bags in supermarkets, pack a serious blast of heat. Unless you like things really hot it’s a good idea to remove the seeds from chillies before you slice or chop them as it’s the membranes holding the seeds in place that give a chilli most of its heat.
There’s nothing like a good nursery pud to keep out the winter chills and our Plum and Pear Crumbles will certain do that. The crumble topping has crunchy demerara sugar and toasted, chopped hazelnuts added to it and the plum and pear filling is spiked with not just red wine but a splash of balsamic vinegar as well. Don’t worry if you prefer not to use red wine and the idea of vinegar in a crumble doesn’t appeal, you can replace the wine with red grape juice and the vinegar with orange juice. But, if you’re feeling adventurous, do give our recipe a try as it’s delicious.
We always feel guilty if we don’t include a really gorgeous, gooey chocolate cake in an issue as we know so many of you can’t resist them – and we have to admit, we can’t either! This time we have a recipe for a layer cake that combines two classic flavours, chocolate and orange. Filled with whipped cream and frosted with chocolate ganache, it’s one of our favourites and is simple enough for tea with family or friends but special enough to decorate with sugar flowers and candles for a birthday celebration.
So, without further ado, let’s get baking!
Issue 43 takes you to CHOCOLATE HEAVEN!
posted 23 October 2012 at 10:32:09
If your favourite dessert is one that contains more than its fair share of chocolate, we’ve got a real treat in store for you in this issue. We were wracking our brains to try and come up with a new and original idea for baking something special in your mini savarin pans and we really think we’ve hit the jackpot with our gorgeous chocolate and coffee rings. Hopefully you’ll love the recipe as much as we do as these small coffee sponges, coated in a generous layer of the glossiest dark chocolate icing you’ve ever seen, filled with whipped cream and strawberries and topped with elegant chocolate shapes, don’t just look wonderful they taste wonderful too. The sponges for the rings couldn’t be easier to make so next time you want a dessert that has the wow factor in spades, look no further than Baked & Delicious!
Staying with chocolate – and we don’t need much persuading to do that – we’ve devised our own variation of biscotti, those little biscuits you often find perched on the saucer alongside your cup of espresso or cappuccino in an Italian restaurant or coffee bar. These nutty little cookies owe their crisp and dry texture to being twice-baked, once to cook the biscuits and the second time to dry the them out, and to make them totally irresistible to chocolate lovers we’ve added a big spoonful of cocoa powder along with the pecan nuts.
Even we great British bakers (and there are lots of us out there!) have to admit that the French do make some marvellous cakes and pastries and one of their most popular creations has to be millefeuille. There’s nothing quite like digging your fork into those flaky puff pastry layers and waiting for the deliciously creamy filling to ooze gently out. As well as cream, we’ve added spoonfuls of lemon curd to our filling to give it a nice citrusy tang. Once assembled we dusted a liberal coating of icing sugar over the top of each millefeuille and then added a final flourish by marking the icing sugar with a red hot skewer in an eye-catching lattice design. A word of warning though: make sure you protect your hand with an oven glove when you’re heating up the skewer as it does need to get very hot to scorch the sugar and you could burn yourself.
If you fancy something savoury after all these sweet treats, we think our filo pie filled with tangy Gorgonzola blue cheese, leeks and walnuts will soon be added to your recipe list of family favourites. The richness of the Gorgonzola contrasts beautifully with the light, paper-thin filo pastry and the walnuts add a pleasing crunch. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, you could substitute another cheese such as crumbled Feta or goat’s cheese, chopped Brie or even a hard cheese like Cheddar or Gruyère, diced or coarsely grated. The glug of red wine we’ve added to the filling does make it quite dark so if you prefer to see more of the pale cheese and green leeks, substitute dry white wine instead.
But, enough from me, let’s get into the kitchen and start baking!