Bread and Better

Bread and Better

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Carrot and Orange Cake and Coffee and Walnut Cake

One of my mum's work friends is having a family get-together and she kindly asked if I would make these two classic cakes for her.
    Carrot cake is defiantly one of my all time favourites, although I never seem to enjoy the ones I have made as much as other ones I've had!
    Both recipes I have used here come from the Primrose Bakery book ( As I have probably said before, the Primrose Bakery is one of my favourite cake shops and I always try and pop in when I am in London. The last treat I had from there was a carrot cake muffin (so it probably was made from the same recipe I have used here) and it was delicious.
    Normally I would decorate the carrot cake with mini white chocolate carrots. However, I didn't have any so I decided to sprinkle over some left over orange zest as I had used it in both the icing and the cake (and its always good to remind people of flavours you have used in the cake).
   I just hope my mum's friend enjoys them!
   Happy Baking.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

'Free from' baking isn't something I have ventured into much, but as one of my friends has recently become intolerant to cows milk I decided to try out this Nigella Lawson recipe to take to hers for a spot of afternoon tea.
    I found making this cake wasn't that different to making any other chocolate cake, its just that you use olive oil instead of butter. I was worried that the oil would be too overpowering and I wasn't sure how it would taste. However, because the cake was so chocolaty you only got a hint of olive oil.
    I assume olive oil was used, as opposed to a flavourless oil, to add to the overall taste of the cake. I am not sure that it was something that I personally enjoyed too much, although everyone else said it was very nice. I think if I were to try it again I would replace the olive oil with maybe a vegetable oil and see if it made a difference to the taste and texture.

Seeded Loaf

At the moment, I am trying to make all my own bread and as my first sourdough wont be ready for a couple of days yet, I decided to make a seeded wholemeal loaf to get me through (I can't really go a day without bread, I am a bit obsessed).
    I got some malt flour samples from a company called The Flour Bin ( but hadn't got a chance to try them out yet. They say that you only have to add about a tablespoon to your breads or biscuits to bring out a lovely malty flavour. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but added a spoonful of the medium flavour malt anyway, just to give it a go. I have to say, the results were really tasty and this has to be one of the best loaves I have made so far.
    I would defiantly recommend giving malt flours a try. I can't wait to add them to other loaves.
    To make the loaf I mixed 250g seeded wholemeal flour, 250g strong white flour, 7g of yeast, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of medium malt flour and about 350ml of water (amount of water depends on your bread flour) then kneaded for about 15 minutes. I then left it for about an hour next to the oven, put it in a loaf tin, left for another hour and then baked at 230 degrees for 20 minutes.
    Happy baking!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Chocolate and Salted Butter Caramel Cake

Salted caramels seem to be everywhere these days, and as a fan of anything with salt on, this is one food trend I am not going to complain about.
   I saw Eric Lanlard make this cake at the cake and bake show. It was one of those things that I knew I wanted to try and make as soon as I got the chance, it just looked so amazingly delicious.
   I am not usually a massive fan of chocolate cakes, as I find some chocolate sponges don't taste as richly chocolaty as I would like, but instead of coco powder,  this recipe uses melted chocolate which tends to create more of an indulgent taste.
   For this cake you make the caramel first and then freeze it, so that when the cake is baked it stays quite firm. This is supposed to create amazing layers when you cut into the cake, but as I was quite impatient and didn't let it cool properly, my layers of caramel sort of merged into each other. I can't say I cared to much though as it still tasted good!
Happy baking

Sourdough Starter

I love sourdough bread and for ages I have kept meaning to make it, but as it takes a while to create the starter culture I have only just gotten around to doing it.
    Three days ago I mixed 50g of spelt flour (although you can use any flour you like) with 50ml of water and left it in a sealed jar on the windowsill (I think you can leave it anywhere, but leaving it on the windowsill means its out of the way). I have repeated this process everyday and will carry on until I have been doing it for ten days. After that my culture will be ready for me get baking!
    I am hoping to get to the point where I can be enjoying a fresh sourdough loaf ever couple of days, although you can leave your starter untouched in the fridge for up to two weeks.
    I have started to see some bubbles already on the surface of the starter, which apparently is a good sign. I just hope I keep remembering to feed it everyday!
Happy baking!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Banana and White Chocolate Muffins with a Caramel Icing

There were a lot of bananas in my house that needed using up, so I decided to treat my work colleagues to some banana and white chocolate muffins. The chocolate and bananas combine together to create a wonderful moist and creamy cake mixture. Whilst I call these muffins, they are probably more like cupcakes, its just that 'banana cupcakes' don't really have the same ring to them as 'banana muffins'.
    I made these by combining 3 large bananas (or 4 small ones) and 100g of white chocolate chips to my usual sponge cake mix. The sponge cake recipe I tend to use (for cakes that I am going to add fruit to anyway) is a doubled up version Delia Smith's 'All In One Sponge' (which is 220g of butter, 220g of caster sugar, 220g of self raising flour, 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of baking powder all mixed together).
    I have made these muffins quite a few times, as they keep really well, and I would usually decorate them with a white chocolate buttercream. This time though, I decided to try something new and decorate them with a caramel buttercream from one of the Primrose Bakery's books.
    I made the buttercream by placing butter, milk and brown sugar in a pan over a high heat and bringing to the boil for one minute. I then removed from the heat and added the icing sugar. I found that the taste of the buttercream reminded me a lot of a fudge I like to make (I suppose because most of the same ingredients are used). I found I had to beat this buttercream a lot in-between decorating the cakes as started to set quite fast. It was very tasty though and I would defiantly use it again.
Happy baking!


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Rosemary and Sea Salt Spelt Rolls

On Saturday I went to the Cake and Bake show in Manchester. It was so inspiring I couldn't wait to get home so I could do some baking!
I usually take some home made bread to work to have for lunch with my soup, so I decided to put some of the new skills I learnt at the bake show to the test and make some rolls.
I started baking with Spelt flour a while ago ( as it is used in one of my favourite banana bread recipes) but have only recently started using it in bread doughs. It adds a subtle nutty flavour which is really yummy.
Rosemary and sea salt is one of my most used flavour combinations for savoury baking. I know salt isn't all that good for you, but surely a little bit doesn't matter and it tastes good!
To make the rolls I combined 400g of white bread flour with 100g of spelt flour. I then added 7g of dried yeast, a teaspoon of salt (put the salt and yeast opposite sides of the bowl as the salt can stop the yeast from doing its job as well) and about 400ml of water (the amount of water depends on your bread flour). I kneaded this for about 15 minutes by hand, left it for an hour next to the oven, shaped it, left it for another hour, added the seasoning on top and then baked them for about 20 minutes.
I had one with some cheese and it was delicious!
Happy Baking.


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Chocolate Lava Cake

As Easter is over and I have been left with A LOT of chocolate (not that I am complaining), I decided to make one of my favourite desserts, chocolate lava cake.
  Its such an easy dessert to make, and takes less than five minutes to prepare! All you have to do is combine melted chocolate and butter to eggs flour and sugar and decant into prepared ramekins (butter and coco powder will stop them sticking). The problem is you have to leave them in the fridge for at least two hours to chill so that the centre of the cake stays all gooey and yummy.
    The last couple of times I made this I prepared them in the morning so they were ready by the time I got home from work. They also keep for a week in the fridge (cover the tops with clingfilm) which means you can have a homemade dessert in under twenty minutes.
    Once they have chilled, cook them for fifteen minutes at 180. The middles should still be gooey when you take them out.
    I am going to enjoy mine with some ice cream, yum.