Category: Ask the Expert

Flipping Nora, it’s pancake day tomorrow!

Flipping Nora, it’s pancake day tomorrow!

Pancake recipe with Spelt flour Is it really pancake day already? I love a pancake. Any type, American, crepe, big, small, they all work for me. I’m a batter girl. Give me anything made with batter – or covered in it for that matter and I’ll love it.

Last week I picked up a copy of The Sainsburys magazine. Have you seen it? As you would expect it’s jam packed full of amazing recipes and foodie ideas but boy is the photography good – even Tim mentioned how good the recipes looked. This month the Ed’s letter explains how they plan, test and re-test each recipe before shooting it which really took me back to the taste test days at Woman & Home magazine. And who should be included in that front page letter? My lovely friend Mitzie whom I met while at W&H. Mitzie is amazing. Her recipes have appeared in so many magazines I couldn’t even start to list them all, so when I got to the page with a pic of her above her Spelt flour pancakes recipe I knew I had to give them a go.

So what is Spelt flour?

Spelt isn’t something I’ve tried before. It’s a bit more clumpy than regular flour but feels the same when you sieve it.  It comes from a cereal grain similar to wheat and has some great nutritional qualities. It holds onto protein better but it’s still not suitable for people with a gluten free diet (sorry you guys!) You can use it instead of regular flour but recipes do tend to rise up a little more so watch for baking times with cakes.

Mitzie's Spelt flour pancakes

Mitzie's Spelt flour pancakes

  • 100g white spelt (or plain) flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 x 170g pot 0% Greek yogurt
  • 40g butter, melted
  • 1 tsp honey
  1. Put the flour in a medium bowl with a pinch of salt and add the egg and about a third of the milk. Whisk until smooth and lump free, then gradually whisk in the remaining milk, 1 tablespoon of the yogurt, the melted butter and honey.
  2. Heat a 16cm nonstick frying pan, and when hot, add about 2 tablespoons of the pancake mixture to the pan and swirl it around until the mixture thinly coats the pan. Cook for 2 minutes or until golden and brown underneath. Flip over and cook the other side for 1-2 minutes, until golden. As they are made, put the pancakes onto a plate, cover them with foil and keep them warm in a low oven while making the rest.
  3. To serve, top the warm pancakes with a spoonful of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey and a few berries – add a wedge of lemon on the side to squeeze over, too.
http://cakesbakesandcookies.com/2016/02/08/flipping-nora-its-pancake-day/

I made a batch of Mitzie’s Spelt pancakes for myself and Beau for lunch on Saturday. We filled them with cream cheese then rolled them up and put them back in the pan to melt the cheese a little more. We ate them all! Darcey was due home soon after so I made a whole other batch which she ate with maple syrup, lemon and sugar and a touch of cream – serious sweet tooth going on there- I have no idea where she gets it from!  She ate the whole batch in one go. By herself! So you can see – they’re really good!

Top tip for pancake day

The pancakes can be made and stored for later. I have done this loads with deep American pancakes. All you need to do is place a piece of baking paper between each pancake to stop them sticking. Re-heat in the pan or microwave or if you’re Darcey just eat them cold.

This recipe calls for melted butter in the batter so you don’t need to oil the pan. This worked so well I’m wondering if it would work with other pancake recipes too! I’m going to try it next time. Let me know how you guys get on with the added butter if you give it a try. Just leave a comment below.

Darcey enjoying her Spelt flour

Enjoy!

EmmaMT x

Disclaimer: Thanks to Sainsburys for the pancake hamper that was waiting for me when I got home from work last week. It’s been yummy! Thanks too for giving me permission to share Mitzie’s Spelt pancake recipe. All thoughts and ramblings are my own.

FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

FAQ: How to use Sugar Syrup on Cakes?

Sugar Syrup

Ahhh Sugar Syrup. My new and most amazing discovery! It’s the small things that seem to make the biggest difference in my baking. I hadn’t even heard of sugar syrup until I went to the Peggy Porschen sugar roses class last year. I mean I had heard of it but I just thought it was something people added to give a cake more taste – like with lemon cakes and the like, but no. I was wrong.

What sugar syrup does

One of the ladies at the sugar roses class had also been to one of the Peggy Porschen cake baking classes and she mentioned how sugar syrup had completely changed her cakes. They’re now super moist. The trick – as she told me, is to brush sugar syrup directly onto a warm cake once it comes out of the oven. This basically stops the cake from continuing to bake in it’s very hot tin once it’s removed from the oven – preventing it from drying out. The added water keeps the cake super moist.

So armed with this information I gave it a go and do you know what? It’s worked on every single cake I’ve made so far! Madeira cake, chocolate cake, Victoria sponge cake and even cupcakes – actually especially cupcakes!

The Ingredients

I’ve tried out a few different recipes but the general rule of thumb is to use the same amount in grams of sugar as millilitres in water then add a dash of flavour. The following quantity is suitable for an 8″ cake. You will have some left over though. Don’t be tempted to use it all.

  • 100g sugar – granulated/ caster/ golden – anything goes
  • 100ml water
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence / lemon juice / almond/ orange essence
  1. In a saucepan heat the water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes then add the flavour and leave to cool. I make my sugar syrup when the cake goes into the oven.
  2. Once your cake is removed from the oven let it sit for 5 minutes then use a pastry brush to brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. You only need to cover each area of the cake once and avoid soaking the cake or you will end up with a big soggy mess not a nice moist cake. Make sure you get the edges of the cake covered as they tend to dry out the most.
  3. Leave for a further 10 minutes before turning your cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

Top tip: I use a bristle brush as it is easier to control the sugar syrup than with a silicon one. It also stops you adding too much in one go.

SUGAR SYRUP recipe

Another sugar syrup tip.

Another time I saw sugar syrup being used was at the Squires Kitchen cake show. During her workshop Helen Mansey brushed her cake (which was baked the day before) with sugar syrup when she was stacking the layers. She added a light coating of syrup to the top of each cake using a pastry brush in exactly the same way as described above before she covered each cake layer with chocolate ganache. I’ve never seen that done before but she said that it keeps the cake moist as she bakes a cake on a Monday and decorates it ready for delivery on Friday/Saturday. She said the cake would still be okay to eat a week after the wedding. I’m not sure cake would last that long in my house but it’s good to know.

So, do you use sugar syrup? What flavours do you use? I’d love to know. Just leave a comment below and share your tried and tested recipes with the whole baking gang.

EmmaMT

x


Win tickets to Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015,

Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015,

It’s competition time here at CakesBakesAndCookies.com and the prize is a pair of tickets to one of my favorite cake decorating shows of the year.

Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015

The Squires show was actually the first ever cake decorating show I went to and I’ve been coming back year after year. Some shows are all about the stands selling tons of gadgets and goodies – which I know we all love, but this show is more about the bakers and decorators than just the shoppers. You come away with a ton of new tips and techniques as well as new tools. The stands have so many experts showing you how to use tappits/ make model heads and flowers / use porcelain paste- that you actually feel like you’ve been to one big cake decorating workshop! There are plenty of free tutorials with the Squires experts. Last year I took mum with me and we watched Mark Tiling do his thing with chocolate. Very inspiring.

For mum and I the highlight of the show is always seeing the amazing creations in the cake competitions. Hundreds of wedding cakes, cupcakes and painted cakes and more all made by bakers like you and me are on display and they’re just breathtaking. Some people are so talented. You can see some of the designs from the post I wrote about the show last year.

Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015, competiton

Tickets are £12.95 per person and visitors can enjoy up to 36 theatre demonstrations, 105 hours rolling demonstrations, hundreds of display pieces and much more over the weekend.

For more information on the show and to buy tickets, visit www.squires-exhibition.com or call 084561 71 810 or +44 (0)1252 260 260.

Ticket prices:Adult £12.95, Bring a friend tickets: 2 adults £22, Bring a friend tickets: 3 adults £30

Please note that this is a ticket-only event.

How to enter

Squires Kitchen have offered Cakesbakesandcookies.com one pair of free one day tickets to Squires Kitchen Cake Decorating and Sugarcraft Exhibition 2015! The show will be held at the Farnham Maltings in Surrey from 13th–15th March. Please note that the prize doesn’t include transport and is for UK entrants only. You will be able to select which one day is most suitable for you.

To win simply share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and leave a comment below with your sharing link. A random number generator will be used to select one of the comments as the winner. The closing date for this competition is midnight Saturday 14th February 2015. Winners will be notified by email.

So good luck bakers What are you waiting for? Get sharing!

EmmaMT

Disclaimer: Thanks to Squires Kitchen for providing this prize. I have not been paid for this post but I have been given tickets to the show- yippeee! See you there!

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p.s. Just in case you weren’t sure… to share your link in the comments simply copy the web address on whichever social media site you choose and paste it in the comments below. I (and only I) will be able to see your email address and will be able to contact you.

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Peggy Porschen’s New Wedding cake collection

Okay, so it’s no secret that I’m a Peggy Porschen fan, but if you don’t live in the world of cakes- or within a 5 miles radius of me! Then you may not know who Peggy is. To keep this from being the longest post in the world let’s just say that she’s a cake decorator to the stars (Kate Moss, Stella Stella McCartney and Elton John to name but a few!) I mean she’s so tallented her cakes are highly recommended buy London’s foremost wedding venues including the Savoy, Claridge’s, The Ritz, The Dorchester and The Mandarin Oriental. She also has a beautiful cake boutique in Belgravia  where you can sit and eat cake or go and take one of her classes in the Peggy Porschen Academy. She’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

2013_01_30 Peggy Porschen_Floral wedding cake collection_Group13435
photo: Georgia Glynn Smith

Last month I was lucky enough to be invited to the Peggy Porschen Floral wedding cake collection  launch (as seen above). It was a really amazing event at The Mandarin Oriental and I have to say I was bowled over by the cakes. There were quite a few non-cakey people at the event and they couldn’t believe that the flowers on the cakes weren’t either real or silk. They were all made with sugar or modelling paste and were incredibly realistic – not to mention beautiful.

The cakes were really big. Wild at Heart provided the flowers for inspiration behind the cakes when they were initially being developed and they also decorated the tables with some beautiful blooms on the launch night.

I did take a load of shots of the cakes but they aren’t a patch on the ones taken by Georgia Glynn Smith for Peggy Porschen so here are some of her fab shots to show you just how AMAZING the cakes are!

2013_01_30 Peggy Porschen_Floral wedding cake collection_Rosie12916
photo: Georgia Glynn Smith
2013_01_30 Peggy Porschen_Floral wedding cake collection_Purple sweet peas12988
photo: Georgia Glynn Smith

xcvxcvxc

photo: Georgia Glynn Smith
photo: Georgia Glynn Smith
2013_01_30 Peggy Porschen_Floral wedding cake collection_Peony13195
photo: Georgia Glynn Smith
2013_01_30 Peggy Porschen_Floral wedding cake collection_Peony13135
photo: Georgia Glynn Smith

There was also a table with a selection of the cakes that appear in Peggy’s new book out next month Cakes in Bloom: Exquisite Sugarcraft Flowers for All Occasions. As you can see these shots are by me! (see what I mean about the ‘not so professional shots?)

Did I taste any cake? What do you think? I started with a slice of the salted caramel cake – on the far end of the table. Had salted caramel for main and for pudding I had salted caramel! I don’t even like caramel but I could not leave this cake alone. It was so light and the flavours are just out of this world. Peggy has layers of cake and buttercream and then a layer of chocolate ganache coating the outter edge of the cake before the sugarpaste layer. What a fantastic combination. To die for! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book for the recipes. Just so you know…. I’ll be reviewing it here next month so you can see how fab it is!

tasting tableWhen it came to chatting with Peggy I was completely blown away. I did one of her classes about 4 years ago for work and I’ve met her at a couple of press launches but not for ages. She not only remembered me but knew I had two daughters. I was seriously flattered as I think my big smile shows! Me and Peggy Porschen

 

So, what do you think? I think I wish I was getting married all over again so I could have one of these cakes. They’re just beautiful.

 

EmmaMT

 

Meet the expert: Jane Curran, Editor of Feel Good Food

Jane curran FEELGOODPICJane Curran is the Editor of Feel Good Food Magazine and the Food Editor on Woman and Home. I’ve known Jane for about 10 years now. I can’t believe it’s that long but it’s true. She came to work at Woman and Home while I was on maternity leave with Beau. I was lucky enough to sit opposite her at the magazine’s offices and let me tell you as a baker sitting opposite the food editor is a GOOD thing! Apart from the fact that she would need dishes to be ‘taste tested’, she is a font of all knowledge and I used to grill her all the time! I was lucky enough to be able to interview Jane at this busy time of year.

 

How did you get into cooking and baking? 

Because my Mum could burn water and was an atrocious cook! Then I went to France when I was ten and fell in love with great food.

Who inspires you most in the cooking arena and why?

Probably Simon Hopkinson whose accuracy, attention to detail and sheer brilliance as a (former) chef and writer makes me think I can achieve anything. He also rekindles my love of classic French food. But I also admire Yotam Ottolenghi for his fabulous flavour combinations.

What’s your favorite cook/ baking book?

There are many but I love Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries  I and II. Great cook books are as much for me about the writing as they are about the food.

How did you come to be at Woman & Home / Feel Good Food ?

I had worked for the Editorial Director years before as her food editor, so when the vacancy came up she gave me a ring! We launched FGF together 6 years ago.

How long have you worked at FGF?

We launched it as a one-off magazine for Christmas 2006 and it did so well we just kept going! Now we produce six a year.

What does your job entail?

The whole package from recipe development, design concepts, photography, content and commissioning extra features such as table inspiration or gadgets. And being my own PR and marketing machine!

What’s the best part of your job?

Working as a small team to bring out the best and most beautiful magazine we can.

What’s the worst part of your job?

Anything which involves admin!

What recipe should we be making from the latest issue of FGF?

Make the cover recipe – it’s super simple, delicious and looks great – how food should be. (EmmaMT here- this recipe is will be in the very next post! Check it out)

Have you had any big baking disasters?

I did “lose” a rich and sticky chocolate cake which slid off its base to the floor on the way to the table. And failed 3 times to make a simple Victoria sponge in the test kitchen until I finally realised that a freelancer had put plain flour in the self-raising flour container…Oh and I tried to make macaroons on a boiling hot day – the humidity just made them collapse when they came out of the oven!

Will you be cooking this Christmas?

We are 12 this year and are round at my sister’s house – she has a huge table. I am doing the starter (gravadlax with home made rye soda bread), the cheese (actually that’s Harry, my husband’s job as he is the expert) and pudding (traditional Christmas pud plus a frozen chocolate and mocha parfait with salted praline). I am leaving the turkey to her!

Where’s your favorite place to go out to eat?

This does change on a regular basis but as a treat, it’s currently Trullo in Highbury which is the most fantastic Italian restaurant. We have never had a bad meal there, the staff and service are faultless – their food is what Italian food should be; the simplest but the best ingredients put together with care and love.

What kitchen gadget could you not live without and why?

I would have to say my Santoku knife – without a great knife I just can’t chop!

What’s your favorite dinner party meal and dessert?

Hard question for such a greedy person, but possibly spaghetti alla vongole for a starter or main and a classic lemon tart with raspberries and passion fruit cream.

What’s your guilty food pleasure? 

Heinz tomato soup with loads of grated Cheddar in it – my poorly comfort food!

Are you a Tea or coffee drinker? 

Both. I am a Nespresso addict in the morning then my addiction moves on to Twining’s Earl Grey tea after 11am.

Check out Jane’s White Chocolate cheesecake recipe in the next blog post. It’s perfect for Christmas as she says!

Feel Good Food: White chocolate cheesecake recipe

 Feel Good Food Cheesecake recipe

After interviewing Jane Curran she kindly gave me permission to share with you her delicious recipe for White chocolate cheese cake taken from the Christmas issue of Feel Good Food. A winner on any Christmas table I’m sure! Over to Jane…..

White chocolate cheesecake

Looks rich and decadent but it’s as light as a feather, and so very simple to make! Add the glam touch with white chocolate curls and gold dragees, and that ultimate Christmas sparkle – edible gold glitter! 
 

Preparation time: 25 minutes,plus chilling
serves 10
easy/prepare ahead

Ingredients 

for the crust

  • 165g (5½oz) digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 65g (2½oz) butter, melted

for the filling

  • 6 leaves gelatine
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) half-fat crème fraîche
  • 100g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g (4oz) white chocolate, chopped
  • 250g (9oz) ricotta cheese
  • chocolate curls, gold dragees and edible glitter, to decorate (from cake decorating specialists)
  • you will need
  • 18cm (7in) springform cake tin,
  • lightly oiled

Method

1 Mix together the biscuits and butter, then press into the base of the tin. Pop into the freezer while you make the filling.
Soak the gelatine in cold water until really soft – around 5 minutes. Heat the crème fraîche and sugar really gently in
a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Keep stirring! Now add the softened gelatine and the vanilla and stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Leave it to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in
a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whizz up the ricotta in a food processor until smooth, then add the melted chocolate and the cream mixture. Pour over the crumb base and place in the fridge to set, preferably overnight.
Carefully remove it from the tin – a hot cloth around the edge of the cake tin will help it to loosen easily – then place on
a cake stand and decorate. It will keep perfectly well decorated in the fridge
for 24 hours.
Per serving: 342 calories, 22.5g fat
(14g saturated), 29g carbohydrate

 

Special thanks to Jane for her time and allowing me to share one of her amazing recipes with you all.

EmmaMT

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