Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Daring Bakers' July 2014 Challenge: Surprise! Cakes

It's back to Daring Bakers' posting time - and another month when I've failed to post anything between Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers. Which is disappointing, since what with multiple birthdays and celebrations, there has been plenty of baking and cooking going on.

However that means there are a few more exciting cake posts in the pipeline, once the stars align and there are simultaneously a few extra hours in the day, and my wrist stops objecting quite so much to extra-curricular typing.

But one cake at a time… and this time it is a Daring Bakers cake - there's not been one of them or a while!

Bearded Commonwealth Lego athlete stakes Scottish claim on planted Tunnock - obviously
Blog Checking Lines:
For the July Daring Bakers' Challenge, Ruth from the Crafts of Mommyhood challenged us to bake a cake. But not just any cake; she asked us to add in a special surprise for our eyes as well as our taste buds!

One of the advantages (disadvantages?) of posting towards the end of the day on the 27th means you can see what all the other DB-ers around the world have been making. And let me tell you, my effort is paltry in comparison to some of the masterpieces that have been created.

However, it was fun to bake and decorate - and made me smile whilst whisking, stirring, spreading etc.

Now, as you may be aware the Commonwealth Games are currently on in Glasgow, Scotland, and whilst it's a whole different city and typically an "arch rival" of Edinburgh, in global terms it's just along the road. One of the undoubted hits from the opening ceremony amongst the Scots watching it were the dancing Tunnocks Tea Cakes, and the Forth Rail Bridge supported by Irn Bur. They're both true Scottish  icons, so I decided to incorporate them into my cake, to get into the Commonwealth Games spirit a little.

I'm not claiming this is the food of athletes - for the record - although the perhaps food colouring and sugar could go a fairly long way to powering someone around the marathon!

Irn-Bru colours on the inside
I made a zebra cake in orange and blue - the 'Irn Bru' colours (It's a lurid orange Scottish fizzy drink, with a slightly spicy taste, for the uninitiated out there!). I iced it with 'Irn Bru' icing by creating my own concentrate to use to flavour and colour the icing. Then I topped it with a Tunnocks tea cake (a chocolate coated mallow biscuit) and did my best to come up with a Scottish Commonwealth baton bearer from our lego collection.

I'm not posting the recipe for the cake here - it was just a regular Victoria sponge, divided and with food colouring added to each half. I then alternated dropping spoonfuls into the middle of the cake tin to create the effect.

Before baking - just as subtle...
Irn Bru Buttercream Icing (enough for the top and sides of a 7inch round cake, or top only of a larger cake)

  • 250ml Irn Bru (not diet)
  • 50g margarine or butter (dairy free marge works fine)
  • Around 200g icing sugar

Pour the Irn Bru into a small pan and simmer over a very low heat for around an hour. Don't boil it or you'll end up with toffee. If you are very patient you will end up with an intensely orange, Irn Bru flavoured sticky concentrate. I reduced mine right down to about 2 tbsp.
Beat the Irn Bru concentrate with the margarine until well combined, then gradually sieve and beat in the icing sugar until you get your preferred icing consistency. Add a little splash of milk or un-concentrated Irn Bru if you need to loosen it up.

All ready for Irn Bru icing
This really does taste of Irn Bru - and it coloured it orange without having to add any extra colouring.

Thanks for another fun challenge.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Daring Cook's July 2014 Challenge: A Trip to South Korea

Late posting this. Again.

Moving on…….

The July Daring Cooks' Challenge took us to Korea, where Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado taught us how to make bibimbap. This colourful rice dish can be customised to meet any taste, and is as much fun to eat as it is to say!

I definitely went more for following the general concept than the recipe (which, incidentally, you can find here) through a combination of not having the right ingredients, time, and wanting it not to be too spicy for Mini-M.

It was really fun though - and tasty. Mini-M liked being able to arranger her ingredients artfully in her bowl, trying to create a sunshine picture. The rest of us went slightly more abstract, with varying degrees of artistry.

I'm not going to share my recipe as such - since it was not really by design, but I'll give you a quick run through of my deviations from the actual recipe:
  • no chilli paste - in fact no actual Korean ingredients at all
  • sushi rice - it was the only sticky rice I could fine
  • red pepper and celery sauce, rather than spicy sauce
  • a bag of mixed spinach, rocket and watercress instead of greens
Lots of fun - and lots of bowls for washing up afterwards!

Thanks for a very tasty challenge :-)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Bake it in the bonfire!

I'm trying out some new technology tonight to allow me to write blog posts without typing - I'm spending a lot of keyboard time at work at the moment, which is tough on my poor wrists! The last thing I want is to just inflict more of the same when I get home, so I'm trying out some voice recognition software and hopefully I can soon get caught up on my blogging backlog! We'll see how it copes with my Scottish accent...
We were camping with friends at the weekend and one of the things we cooked on our campfire (as well as the obvious sausages) was a twist on the usual baked bananas: still chocolatey but a little bit more sophisticated, and it entertained junior and senior campers alike. So without further adieu here's my recipe for hot chocolate orange sponges, baked in the bonfire!
Admittedly I didn't take the most appetising of photos...
Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cakes (Serves 8)
  • 8 large oranges
  •  1 box of chocolate chip muffin mix 
  • 1 egg 
  • Tinfoil 
Carefully slice the top third off each orange.
 Scoop the orange pulp and juice out of the bottom section saving the lids. It is really important to keep the orange shell intact.
Read the instructions on your chocolate muffin mix and replace the volume of milk with orange juice, drained from the scooped out pulp. 
Mix together the muffin mix, orange juice and egg then use this mixture to fill the hollowed out shells.
Place the lids back on each orange and wrap in a double layer of in tin foil.
Don't forget which way is up otherwise the mixture of will leak out.
Place the oranges in the embers of the fire (they don't need to be covered over completely, just nestled) and leave to cook for around 15 to 20 minutes.
When they're done the outside of the oranges may be charred, however when you open them up (very carefully - hot steam will escape) you should find a lovely gooey chocolate orange-y centre. Delicious!
Mr E - chief orange preparer - complete with plastic plat and penknife
This would work well with any flavour of cake mix, or a mixture made from scratch if you're feeling very adventurous in your camp fire cookery.
First moment of "ooh it works!" excitement


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