Sunday, 19 May 2013

It's Time To Bake Brave - Chocolate Dragon Cake






After months and months of preparations World Baking Day is finally here and I’ve baked a cake I’ve had my eye on for months. Ever since I first saw him I’ve been in love, he’s everything I’m looking for; tall, dark, handsome with a friendly face and he tastes delicious.

I’m talking about Level 93 from the World Baking Day website of course, the Dragon Cake.
This was definitely some brave baking, the method for making the chocolate sponge was unlike any other cake I have made before but I followed the instructions obediently and was rewarded with a dense chocolate cake which will not crumble when shaped into a dragon.

I brushed off any crumbs before covering him in chocolate spread which had been warmed in the oven to make it a good smothering consistency. I made his eyes from fondant rather than marzipan as personally I prefer it, you could also use chocolate buttons.

I’m a bit disappointed with the sweets I used for fire, I think I could have found something better.

I’ve named him Duncan and I think I am in love.



Saturday, 18 May 2013

#BakeBrave for World Baking Day - Rustic Nut Tart




I've been looking forward to World Baking Day for months so I couldn't restrict myself to baking only on Sunday 19th May and only one of the 100 recipes, I have baked many of the recipes over the last few weeks.

One of my favourite bakes has been the Rustic Nut Tart which is a recipe from an amateur baker in South Africa, Monique Davies. This was brave for me as it was my first ever tart and I am not confident baking pastry. It was also my first time toasting nuts, normally I would just skip that step but never again as they were so much more delicious.

As often happens in baking, the thing I thought would be difficult turned out to be relatively simple. I found the pastry quick and easy to make. I do however recommend that you are careful when baking the pastry, the sides started to brown in the blind bake so I covered them with foil to stop them from burning.

I didn't have any bourbon in the house so skipped that step, I'm not a big fan of boozy baking and I think the final tart was delicious enough without it.

Why not have a go at baking it yourself and see what you think? You can find the recipe on the World Baking Day website.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Spiced Apple Cake


I only discovered apple cake in recent years and I love it. What I like most is the contrast between the texture of the apple and the light sponge. The first time I tried apple cake it was at my friend Becca's house. I asked her for the recipe but she just shrugged and said she just made it up as she went along.

Now I am not one of these people who can just make up recipes as I go along, I like to follow the instructions to the letter to ensure I get the best results and I have been wanting to find the perfect apple cake recipe for a long time now and I pleased to say I have found it.

This Spiced Apple Cake is one of the World Baking Day recipes available at www.worldbakingday.com. It's ranked at Level 64 which means it is relatively challenging for someone who doesn't bake much. I am working my way up the levels and hope to bake  something from Level 90+ and above by the time we get to Sunday 19th May.

If you like the flavour combination of cinnamon and apple you will enjoy this cake, and if you are brave enough to experiment a bit with the recipe I'd recommend adding some sultanas.

Not only do you get a delicious cake but your home will be filled with the most amazing smell. They say if you are trying to sell your house you should bake bread to make the house smell appealing. Forget bread and make this cake!

For the full recipe visit the World Baking Day website. This recipe is from Cheryl who blogs at http://madhousefamilyreviews.blogspot.co.uk/.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Baking Braver Biscuits


One of my new years resolutions was to get better at baking biscuits, another one was to blog more often. I haven't done too well at the latter but I haven't done too badly on the biscuits.

I've become a lot more confident baking biscuits and cookies than I used to be. I've also had a lot of help from the food processor I got for Christmas which can whiz up a great cookie batter in about 5 minutes.

I've also been lucky enough to work on the marketing campaign for World Baking Day this year which falls on Sunday 19th May. On www.worldbakingday.com there are 100 different recipes from around the world, each recipe has been donated by someone who loves to bake including bloggers, chefs and patisserie owners. The recipes have been ranked in terms of difficulty from super simple at number 1 to the treacherous and tricky number 100. 

On World Baking Day everyone needs to Bake Brave by challenging themselves to bake something which pushes their baking skills to the next level.

In advance of the day I have been trying out quite a few of the recipes. When it comes to cakes I feel confident choosing some of the more tricky recipes but for the biscuits I am slowly building my confidence.

The first biscuits I tried were cinnamon and chocolate biscuits. These are ranked at Level 13 so relatively easy (in theory).



I was really pleased with how mine turned out. I made them pretty big so I only managed to make 5 but that was fine for me. They were really tasty and I learnt some new decorating techniques.



You can find the full recipe here.

After the success of these biscuits I was ready to push it up a level and attempt Level 32 - Iced Vanilla Bunny Biscuits


The biscuits themselves were really easy to make and the dough was really easy to work with. I think the complexity in this recipe comes from the decoration. Instead of bunnies I made butterflies and instead of plain fondant / sugar paste I used some chocolate ready to roll icing.



The decoration was easier than I had expected and they look quite impressive. The ready to roll icing was easy to work with, you just cut out the shapes using the same cookie cutter you used for the biscuits and then put a bit of the water on the back to make it stick to the biscuit.

I then decorated mine with mini choco beans.

I'm going to continue to challenge myself with new biscuit recipes but for now, here's some more of the biscuits I've baked so far this year.


Vanilla cookies



Homemade Jammie Dodgers


Afghan Biscuits
(see my blog about these here