Category: Best for Baking

Best for baking: Oxo Silicone spatulas

Oxo Spatula Best for baking: Oxo Silicone spatulas

I may have mentioned my mild obsession with spatulas before. Sainsburys were always my favourite and I had 5 at one point – just in case they stopped selling them. And guess what? They stopped selling them!!!! The reason I liked them so much was that they were really strong, very flexible at the tip. You can use them up to really hot temperatures and they come up like new in the dishwasher.

The new best spatula

In comes an email from the Oxo Good Grips press office about their new gizmos and gadgets and what should be there but a spanking new spatula! It’s fate. I’m currently down to three. They have new ones. It’s a match made in heaven. Three days later I received a large and small spatula in the post and you would have thought Christmas had come early from the over excited squeals coming from me. I really do need to get out more often if I get this excited about a spatula! But it was the fact that I expected one to be a good size but the second one was so tall and thin. Perfect I thought. I couldn’t wait to give them a good testing.

The testing

So, what can they do? Well, whether you’re baking or cooking they are so, so useful. As the head is made from silicone you can use it on any cook/bakeware. You can leave it sitting in a saucepan of simmering Bolognese if you want and the handle will be cool to the touch and the base will be ready to stir it all up. Let’s face it with a heat resistance of 600ºF/315ºC you can use it anywhere in the kitchen without it scratching, melting or damaging anything.

Oxo Spatula wipes cleanThe larger one is perfect for baking. You can scrape out every spec of cake mix from a bowl without a drop of licking the spoon (but that’s no fun!) The smaller ‘jar spatula is just that. Great for scooping out every morsel from any jam jar. I used it for that hard to get at bottom of the jar mayonnaise and it worked a treat.

OXO Good Grips Silicone Medium Spatula, Raspberry, £7, Amazon.co.uk

OXO Good Grips Silicone Jar Spatula, White, £13

 So the verdict? I love them, but I knew I would. I love it that the jar spatula one has such a long reaching neck that fits into any jam jar and can get into the tightest corner at the top of a jar. I love it that the ends are so flexible and that they’re both so versatile. They’re a baking kit must in this bakers opinion.

EmmaMT

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Disclaimer: The product in this post was provided by Oxo Good Grips for review. All thoughts and opinions and entirely my own.

Everyone’s gone Baking Mad!

Cheese scones recipe from Baking Mad

No, I’m not talking about The Great British Bake off (which everyone still seems to be talking about). I’m talking about those crazy bakers over at the Baking Mad website. They contacted me last month to see if I would like to link up with them and after a little persuasion (I was knee deep in a Spring/ Summer 2014 shoot – yep Christmas appears to finally be over) I said yes.

When I first went freelance I knew one of the writers at Baking Mad and she asked me if I had any cakes they could feature. I had only just started CakesBakesAndCookies.com back then so I am sure you can imagine I was thrilled to be asked. The cakes they chose to be featured were my Spiderman cake (which was the first ever cake I made for a non-friend/family member), the 40th Wedding Anniversary cake I made for my mum to take to her quilting class – all pretty with flowers and a  two tier christening cake which if you follow me over on Facebook you will have seen a few times already!

So what was I going to do with the food colouring/ decorating and flavourings they sent me to play with? In a word nothing. “And why not?” I hear you cry. Well, because after flicking through the cute little recipe booklet that accompanied the goodies I spotted this cheese and mustard scone recipe and I knew I  had to bake and eat a lot of them. I also had to share it with you guys too. (I’ll be playing with the delivery another day.. I promise)

I totally love scones so it was a no brainer for me. Who can resist a cheese and mustard scone? I mean really? I think a cheese scone is my favorite type of scone. So here it is….

 

The Baking Mad Cheese and mustard scone recipe

Cheese scones recipe from Baking MadIngredients

(makes 12)

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 1 tspBaking Powder
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter chilled and diced
  • 1 tbsp Thyme Leaves (I used dried herby ones)
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Powder ( I used real mustard)
  • pinch of Salt and pepper
  • 50g Cheddar Cheese extra mature, grated
  • 25g Parmesan grated ( I didn’t have any so I put a bit extra cheddar in there)
  • 3 tbsp Buttermilk plus a little extra to glaze
  • 2 Eggs medium, free range

 How to make cheese and mustard scones

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c fan oven 160c gas 4.
  2. Place the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You could also do this in a food processor.
  3. Add the thyme, mustard, seasoning and the grated cheddar and three quarters of the parmesan and mix lightly.
  4. Add the eggs and buttermilk and using a round blade knife mix gently until all the mixture is combined into a dough, but do not overwork the mix.
  5. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and lightly roll or pat the dough to a thickness of 2-3cm. Cut the scones using a 5cm round cutter and place onto a baking sheet. Lightly brush the scones with a little buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and black pepper.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Let the scones cool slightly, serve warm with an extra wedge of British cheese and chutney.

So, what’s your favorite scone recipe? I bet you’ll find it over on BakingMad.com. They have everything over there!

 

EmmaMT

 

P.S. If you are a certain friend who lives up the road to me and you happen to be reading this – I know that I owe you a batch of these and a cuppa! 

 

Cake International 2013

Yesterday I went to the second ever Cake International show at Excel in London. I have it on good authority that the show has had a 70% increase on last years attendance proving that the baking bug is still alive and strong. And as you walk around the show you can see why.

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood opened the show and when my mum and I arrived they were busy doing demonstrations and a Q and A session in the Bakery theatre. Mary looked her lovely self and Paul had a constant cheeky grin on his face. He does make me laugh. Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry open Cake International at Excel, London

 

 

 

The show has over 80 exhibitors offering all the latest in sugarcraft, cake decorating and baking supplies, but it’s the very talented cake decorators on these stalls showing how to get different techniques that makes this such a valuable show to attend.  I loved how this decorator showed us ruffles. She also had some cakes entered into the competitions. She’s one talented lady! Cake International 2013

 

 

The first area we headed for were the competition cakes. The judges were all in action- as it was the first day and the tables were sectioned off which meant we couldn’t get too close to all the cakes.  There are loads of categories and the criteria is very seriously looked at. If you do one thing incorrectly you can get disqualified. Some must be made of all edible ingredients – no supports or ‘props’, some are allowed to be fake cakes as the judging is on the sugarcrafting talent. The bakers dozen cupcakes are cut open and tasted and judged on that as well as how they look. One judge told us that the children’s cakes are looked at with a sympathetic eye. If a cake made by someone under 12 has a little crack in the sugarpaste “we might turn a blind eye”. To be honest these kids cakes were amazing! I mean they are under 12!!

Cake International 2013
The judges in action

 

While we were looking at some of the novelty cakes a full size head from a Terminator cake came toppling off it’s shoulders. Someone must have knocked the table it was on to get a closer look. Mum and I have never been so pleased to have been so far away that we knew it wasn’t us who wobbled that table!  A judge had to come over and pick the head up off the floor. Poor Arnie’s sugarpaste nose was all squashed in and dented. We felt so bad for the cake decorator. It must have been devastating to see that your cake had been damaged before it had even been judged.

Cake International 2013
One of the under 12’s cakes

 

The Cupcakes

The cupcakes in the competition were beautiful and displayed in the most amazing ways.

Cake International 2013

This is the cupcake entry by the ruffle cake decorator lady (I wish I got her name!) She incorporated her cupcakes into this face design which she told us only took 6 hours to do the day before! Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Mmmmm maggots in your cupcake!

 

Cake International 2013

The display for this Magic Roundabout cupcake entry was brilliant, but why did the judges have to cut poor Dougal in half to taste test… especially with that jam filling in the centre!

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

These tiny models on these cupcakes were amazingly intricate

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Cake International 2013

We loved the birds and flowers on these cupcakesCake International 2013

 

Novelty cakes

The novelty cakes were just amazing. The details that people can achieve is just awe inspiring.

Cake International 2013

I would love to be able to do airbrushing like this!Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

I love the simplicity on the side of this cake.Cake International 2013

Beau asked if this Rocking horse cake actually rocked. It looked so real I almost think it could!

Cake International 2013

That apple is sugarpaste! Amazing!Cake International 2013

 

 

Cake International 2013

The detail in this house was outstanding. Just look at the bottles in the room below. Not only is this an amazing thing to make, but the fact that it could be transported without getting broken – like so many others is a feat in itself!

 

Cake International 2013

 

 

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

 

Tiered cakes

The tiered cakes were really beautiful. Some had such simple designs that were so effective, some had really garish colour combinations but in all they were fantastic. 

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

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Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

Cake International 2013

 

 

So, in all it is a pretty great show with tons of interactive workshops, demonstration theatres and lots to buy! The show is on till Sunday 14th April. Visit www.cakeinternational.co.ukfor more information.

Cake International – The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show

ExCeL, London
12-14 April 2013


Ticket Prices:
Adult £14.00
Senior £13.00
Children free if accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket, otherwise £5.00

EmmaMT

Easy Almond Biscuits – a.k.a my mum’s fabulous Kirchals.

Almond cookie recipeMy mum has a famous Kichal recipe- well, it’s famous in our family anyway. Whenever she needs to make some biscuits to take to someones house these are what she takes. She cuts them in a crinkly circle and adds either a slither of chopped almond or a tiny piece of cherry on the top and she keeps them nice and thin. That’s the secret. To bake them long enough to be cooked right through but not so long as they go too brown. If truth be told I am the first to eat the ‘burnt’ ones as they are just as tasty- they’re just the wrong colour! Then she piles them high. They never last very long!

When my mum gave me this recipe I wrote it on the inside cover of the red book. The back cover has a pancake recipe on it. (I have had this book for a very long time!) I was talking to my sister about it and it turns out she has mum’s recipe written inside her red book too. I think I feel a family tradition coming on!

Almond biscuit recipe

 

Almond biscuit recipe

Makes around 50 biscuits

  • 226g (1 cup or 2 sticks)  butter at room temperature
  • 460g (3 ½ cups)  Self raising Flour
  • 226g (1 ¼ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tea spoon almond essence/ extract

How to make Almond biscuits

  1. Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature- especially the butter and eggs.
  2. Pre- heat your oven to 160ºC (140ºC Fan) and line your baking sheet with silicon paper
  3. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until it forms a ball of dough. You can use a food processor or stand mixer but the best way to mix is with your hands as their warmth will combine the ingredients in a way that makes them taste the best. I’ve tried it all ways and by hand always wins- hands down!
  4. This makes quite a lot of dough so I will often knead two balls and freeze one. It will defrost in about 30 mins and it’s always great to have some ready to go. Whether you want to chill or freeze, wrap the dough in clingfilm. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
  5. Once you are ready to roll out, lightly dust your surface and knead the dough. If it’s really sticky add just a little flour. The dough will soften quickly as you handle it so handle it as little as possible.
  6. For really thin biscuits roll out the dough to a depth of around the size of a coin then cut out your shapes and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes then turn the baking sheet around inside the oven so the biscuits bake evenly. Bake for a further 5 minutes. You know they are done when the edges start to brown ever so slightly. Watch them like a hawk if you don’t want them to burn.
  7. Place the cookies on a cooling rack and try to resist eating them hot!

Almond biscuit

 enjoy!

 

 

Be bold and bright or pale and pastel with new food colours

Dr Oetker food colour

Have you seen these Dr Oetker gel food colours on the supermarket shelves yet? They’re available in these really handy squeezy tubes. Nice and neat and easy to use and what’s more they don’t make your icing go all runny. Each 10g tube of gel can be used to colour enough icing to cover 24 cupcakes in a really bright neon colour or a whopping 200 pastel coloured ones.

Dr Oetker

The range is available in Bright red, Sky Blue, Sunshine Yellow, Lime Green, Hot Pink, Ultra Violet, Neon Orange and Jet Black and is perfect for wet icing. It’s a bit too runny to colour sugarpaste as it makes it super sticky but it’s perfect for colouring royal icing whether for writing or flooding cookies. I wanted to give the tubes a test run and my two little helpers wanted to play too.  We mixed up some icing sugar and I let them colour it. Let’s just say that we started with four colours then they created their own mix match colours and both added every colour gel we had into one bowl. The end result wasn’t quite what I expected. Usually when you add black colouring you end up with a dark gloomy colour but both Beau and Darcey created khaki green colours.

Dr Oetker food colour

We had been out to a farm on the day we did the colouring and it was freezing outside. When we got home they both shot upstairs and came down in their onsies. I can’t seem to get them out of them if they are at home!

kids colouring

The icing was used to first put together this gingerbread house from Christmas (which has made the whole kitchen smell divine). For this they used lots of pretty coloured icing which is mainly on the inside. Then the fun really began. Beau grabbed our Friday night sweets, put them all in separate bowls and started piling them on with the khaki coloured icing. Let’s just say they brushed their teeth REALLY well that night!

Gingerbread house

And here’s the mess that the girls made with this little gingerbread house. I turned my back for two minutes! I don’t think we had any small bowls left in the cupboard!Gingerbread house mess

Dr Oetker Gel Food colours are available from major supermarkets from £1.29 for a 10g tube. For more information and some lovely recipes check out the website www.oetker.co.uk

The RG’s breakfast pancake recipe. Sugar free and delicious

 

Breakfast pancake recipeYou may remember me talking about my brother and his wife having the same RG initials and subsequently calling each other “RG”, well this is their recipe for breakfast pancakes.

The first time I tried one of these was on our family camping trip to Hastings last summer. Family camping is always good fun and to make it even more enjoyable we had 5 kids with us, Beau,9, Darcey,5, Asher,4, Sara,2 and Lital 10 months (Yes you read that right 10 MONTHS old!) We love a group outing as I am sure you can imagine.

On the first morning my mum and Dad brought out their little gas stove and Mrs RG brought out her pancake ingredients and frying pan (or was that mums?). This is a pretty ingenious way for a 10 month old baby to feed herself as the pancakes are nice and thick, so there’s plenty to hold onto. They are naturally sweet – so you don’t have to add nutella/cream/sugar / honey etc. They are filling and DEEELISHHHHH. Needless to say they couldn’t be made quick enough for us all!

My sister made a batch just last week and I just so happened to pop round as they were cooling on her worktop. Lucky for me Shell got a phone call and while her back was turned I wolfed down 5. I’d like to say that they were small. But they weren’t!

Rg’s pancake ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas – this is a great way to use up brown bananas as they are the sweetest ones. 
  • 100g raisins or sultanas ( I soak mine in boiled water for 30 minutes so they are fat and juicy- which is how Darcey likes them best)
  • 3 eggs – at room temperature
  • 75g oats (you can add more if you want)
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 200ml milk

My sister soaks the oats in the milk so they are really soft but I just blitz all the ingredients with a food blender adding the sultanas at the end.

Heat a frying pan with a little oil. Add a small amount of pancake mix. Don’t touch it or try to turn it over until little bubble holes start to appear throughout the pancake, then gently lift and flip it over. Heat them until they are golden brown on each side.

 

As with most pancakes anything goes. Last week I had some cherries left over from a Black Forrest Gateau cake and I popped them in. They made the pancakes amazing. I had to squish down any larger pieces of fruit so they would cook properly. Next I’m going to try with raspberries.

 

 

RG pancakes

enjoy!

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