Sunday, 24 June 2012

Coffee Eclairs Challenge.....Apologies to Ruth

I love a challenge. So when my friend the mince pie maker set me the task of chocolate eclairs with a coffee creme patisserie there was no way I was going to refuse. I've never made choux pastry before, although I vividly recall my Mum making amazing profiteroles and chocolate sauce throughout my childhood. We had a different name for them, but it's probably not appropriate to share that in this forum.

I have to admit that it was Dan Lepard to the rescue again. He covers sweet choux pastry, water icing AND creme patisserie in his amazing book. We all agree that they taste pretty good. The gorgeous husband (who is obviously now fulfilling a new role as my creative director of baking) said they were a "little on the large side". How can cakes be too big I ask? I will make them smaller next time, but only so that I can eat two without appearing greedy.

These are all that are now left. Despite the cat's obvious indifference I don't think they are going to last very long.......

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Cuppa Tea and A Biscuit

I really must stop trying out all the recipes in Dan Lepard's book Short and Sweet sometime very soon. This afternoon I found myself inexplicably (and indeed inextricably) drawn to his Tollhouse Yo-Yos.

It may be that after all the cakes I have consumed made I felt the need for a something a little crunchy. I should have opted for a carrot stick, or an apple, or possibly a stick of celery. But no, once spotted, I had to make this recipe. Apparently the recipe makes more than the 13 or 14 biscuits I made. But then I feel my yo-yos are slightly on the large size, and I did nibble on a large fair teeny tiny bit of dough. Just for quality control you understand. It was more than acceptable, but I will obviously be sampling the finished product just to make sure.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Cake Cake Cake

I love cake. That is a known fact. I love chocolate too. And chocolate cake. And especially chocolate brownies. But sometimes you need to think a little healthier, especially when you eat make as much cake as me. So I've been testing some slightly healthier recipes. Admittedly they are still cake, and not altogether meant for every meal but they do contain a little less sugar and fat. I think. They taste pretty good regardless. Another slice?

The first recipe I tried was Dan Lepard's Alchemist's Chocolate Cake from his book Short and Sweet which is simply amazing. You need tinned pears in juice. I had tinned pears in syrup, but it still worked well. I sliced this cake in half and sandwiched it with a dark chocolate and creme fraiche filling. Basically I melted 100g dark chocolate and stirred in 100g creme fraiche. OK, that and the syrup from the pears, made it not so healthy but it was delicious in my humble opinion.

Next up was the need to deal with some very manky over-ripe bananas. Out came my Hummingbird Bakery cookbook for their Banana Loaf. Except that I added cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips. Because I felt like it really. I also had some buttercream frosting left over from making a cake with amazing son number 2 (more on that in a bit), so I mixed more cocoa powder into this and iced the top of the loaf. I am clearly incapable of keeping my recipes as healthy as they are intended to be. No complaints from the gorgeous husband or the amazing sons though.

And finally, a not so healthy variety of cake. Amazing son number 2 had to make a cake for a Jubilee Cake Competition at his school. We were a little ambitious but having seen this recipe how could we not give it a go? Yes it was fiddly and time consuming. Yes there is quite a bit of blue food colouring/buttercream/icing thrown in. But it was fun to make, and even tasted pretty nice. Although I did find the colour a little off-putting to eat. Maybe blue cake is the way to stop me eating so much of it?

Incidentally, amazing son number 2 won the competition for his year group. Award-winning cake seemed to taste even better when he brought it home. Blue or not.