Saturday, 19 May 2012

Pimms O' Clock contd

So I have made it back from today's amazing cake club well fed and truly amazed by all of the fabulous cakes everyone has made and brought with them. There was everything from a Lavender Victoria Sponge to a beautiful raspberry and white chocolate cake decorated with icing bunting. Gorgeous!
There was even a gorgeous lemon cake with meringue icing called a meringue-atan cake!! I have asked for the recipe ( it was devine!) and will share it as soon as I get it!

The thing that astounds me everytime is that there never seems to be the same cake made twice at each event. People's perceptions and interpretations of the themes are always so different and you always learn something new, whether that be a way of decorating a cake or combinations of flavours, like the beet root and chocolate cake (who knew it would be so delicious?) simply decorated with icing and red edible glitter. Stunning!

I get so much pleasure from this club and cannot explain to you how fabulous it really is. You should all find a local group, or start one and go. You won't be disappointed.

Pimms o'clock darling!

As I type this, I am getting ready to attend another cake club and the theme is "Great British Fete". We have to be there in an hour, but I am app excited about my cake that I had to do this before I left!!

The whole idea about cake club for me is that is allows me to push myself, both in skill and imagination. Not for
one minute is the club competitive, or does anyone actually judge anyone else. It is just like minded people meeting up for a slice (or ten!) of cake and a chat about all things cakey. Heaven!

However, I like to push myself and think that there are so many different things you can do with baking, that it would be a waste of my brain to just keep baking the same few cakes that my family know and love. So I relish the challenge of trying to come up with something a bit different when we get the themes through from our club organiser.

This time I went through all sorts of ideas but finally came upon 2 that I have not made before and sounded a bit different. A Lancashire honey cake and a Pimms Cake. I tried both and the Pimms cake won.

The recipe was just a basic sponge mix with the addition of Pimms and lemon juice in place of the milk.

Pimms Cake with Strawberry, Blueberry and Pimms Cream Cheese Frosting.

175g butter
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
175g self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
60 ml Pimms
Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Pre heat the oven to 180C and grease and line a cake tin - I used a round 9" cake tin
Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one and beat for about 5 mins.
Add the sieved flour and baking powder and lemon zest and mix.
Add the Pimms and lemon juice and mix.
Place into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about 30mins.
This makes 1 x 9" cake.

190g cream cheese
40g butter
3 - 4 tbsp icing sugar
3 cap fulls Pimms
Handful blueberries and strawberries blended.

Beat the cheese and butter together.
Add the Pimms and mix.
Add the icing sugar and mix.
Add some of the blended fruit and mix for a min of 5mins until light and fluffy.

I made two layers and spread some of the frosting between layers and topped with some chopped strawberries. Then I laid the top layer on top and piled the top of the cake with some more of the frosting and decorated with a couple
of strawberries.

To me this is heaven on a plate. Light and fluffy with a refreshing frosting. Delicious!!

I have to go now as cake club awaits. I'll fill you in later as to how it went and what people thought of the cake.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

I can't believe I have just made butter!!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been working on a little project, ready for June, so any additional baking has been put onto a bit of a back burner. As a result, there have been a few ingredients quietly losing their best in the old fridge. Included in this was a large quantity of double cream. Now there are many different ways to cook with cream, but as I have not had much time to cook at all, I needed something that would help to preserve it. My first thoughts were freezing it, but there is no room in the freezer due to the amount of cake and bread that is currently residing there! So after chatting with a friend, I decided to try and make my own butter.

The end result was very tasty (if I do say so myself!) and was incredibly easy to make. It is really one of those things that sounds like a complete faff to make and people always seem to be incredibly impressed when you tell them that you have made it, but trust me, it is really worth doing!

First of all you put the cream into a bowl and mix it in a mixer or with a whisk until it starts to turn into a thick creamy mxture. It will go from being cream to an almost curdled, butter like substance, after a few minutes of whisking. Drain off the buttermilk and place the mixture into a muslin cloth inside of a dish.                                                                                                                                                     

Then squeeze the mixture out by wringing the mixture out inside the muslin as tightly as you can, until you have managed to squeeze out as much of the buttermilk as possible. Then decant into a butter dish or into a container and enjoy!! (If you want salted butter, add the salt into the cream mixture before you start whisking, in whatever quantity you like). Super easy and super tasty. You have to try it!