Monday 31 December 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 13

I've done a lot of baking over the last week or so, not that I mind.  On Christmas morning, before taking Milo for a 4 mile run, I made a Lemon Meringue Pie to take with us for Christmas dinner.  It was a very simple recipe and came out really well although I don't think it would last very long (not that it got the chance).
Later in the week I made an Italian Currant Cake which came out very nicely, even if all the currants sank to the bottom.  

There are still many recipes left to try out in 2019! 


Lemon Meringue Pie:  Very nice and easier than some recipes I've tried.  Does need to be eaten on the day as it doesn't last very well.

Italian Currant Cake:  Really tasty, even with all the currants sunk to the bottom.  'im outdoors said its one of the best fruit cakes he's had.

Thursday 27 December 2018

Crochet Christmas Angels

You know how it is, Christmas is nearly here and you accidentally see a cute crochet angel pattern which you know would go down really well with your mum and mother-in-law and so end up crocheting angels when you should have been doing other stuff!
In the end I made 4 of Priscilla's Crochet Granny Square Angels and they came out really well. They were very simple to make except the crochet arms and halos which I needed some help with from my mate Lou - once she'd pointed me in the right direction it was easy.
I hung them on our tree while I waited to give them - I didn't know how else to keep them safe - they are happiest hanging.
And I think they went down well too - my sister even hung her's straight on her tree although it didn't match the other ornaments! Happy Christmas!

Sunday 23 December 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 12

This week I made a Chocolate Chestnut Log and had another go at the Orange Marzipan Cake.  As you can see the orange marzipan cake turned out much better this time, mostly due to lining the sides of the cake tin as well as the bottom - something I don't normally bother doing.  However it still had a hollow center.

The chocolate chestnut log was weird to make - no cooking involved.  It's more of a mousee than a cake, much to 'im outdoors disappointment. ("there's no cake in this cake!")
Still it came out well.  I'll be interested to see how it lasts the week.


Chocolate Chestnut Log: This wasn't very nice and no one wanted to eat it.  It ended up in the bin.

Orange Marzipan Cake: This is a very nice cake and I will be making it again.

Sunday 16 December 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 11

I didn't have very much time this week so I only made the one cake, a French and Flourless Chocolate Cake.  It was pretty straight forward to make but burnt a bit on top - must remember to move the oven shelf down a little when making big cakes like this.
Once it was out of the oven it sank but this was expected, then melted chocolate was poured over it.
It was quite like a chocolate brownie with that gooey middle and crisp outer.  Not sure if this will change over the week. 
Back to festive cakes next week! 

French and Flourless Chocolate Cake: This was so good and lasted the week really well.  Still as gooey and nice at the end of the week as at the beginning.  I'll defiantly be making this one again.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 10

This week I made a Christmas Cake and some Date Madeleines.  The date madelines aren't in the festive section but I wanted something a little lighter to go with the cake.  I could have made mince pies, but making gluten free pastry is hard and although I've got a very good GF recipe the whole point of mince pies is the pastry and they would just be disappointing.

They were both pretty simple to make and came out well, although the christmas cake did stick to the wire cooling rack and I thought it was going to break up when I tried to move it.  So far 'im outdoors seems happy, lets see what he thinks at the end of the week.

Christmas Cake: Much like a Christmas cake really.  Lasted the week well and 'im outdoors liked it.  A bit too heavy for me. 

Date Madeleines: Think I prefer madeleines without the dates.  Still tasted nice but didn't last very well.  'im outdoors didn't mind finishing them off.

Saturday 8 December 2018

A Little Leather Jewellery Bag

I've started working in Bournemouth now, which means I tend to drive down there and then go for a run, meaning I miss some of the traffic later on.  It also means I have a shower at the office.  The only problem I've found with this is how to take my jewellery with me?

It's very easy to loose a pair of ear rings or necklace if you are not super careful so I decided to make myself a little bag that everything can go in and travel safely to work with me.  In the end I used an off cut of chamois leather which is beautifully soft on the inside but pretty tough.  And I made a little pocket so necklace can go one side and ear rings the other.
The only problem so far is that Milo things it smells divine and keeps trying to steal it to chew.

Sunday 2 December 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 9

This week I started the Festive Baking section by attempted to make an Orange Marzipan Cake and Cranberry-mince Shortcake.  While the Shortcake came out very well and is tasty if a little soft, the Marzipan Cake didn't go so well.  
I thought it was cooked ok and bought it out to cool.  Once cooled I tried to turn it out, however it had over ideas and the soft middle which was still pretty warm pored out and the rest of it stayed in the tin.
Part of the problem was that the biscuity base and marzipan had welded themselves to the tin and I had to chip them out with a knife! 
So I ended up with a hollow sponge piece and then a chewy bottom.  It actually tastes really nice so its a shame it didn't come out right.  I guess next time I could butter the tin better or actually line the sides with paper. 
Considering how many cakes I make, I can't really be upset when one goes this wrong - it doesn't happen very often.

Orange Marzipan Cake: This was so nice, just the wrong shape.  Think I will have to attempt this again to see what it's like in correct cake form.  Didn't last the week because 'im outdoors ate it all!

Cranberry-mince Shortcake: Ok, but a bit soft. Couldn't be eaten without a plate.  Lasted the week ok.

Sunday 25 November 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 8

This week I made some Coconut Cubes and a Chocolate Sensation.  I've made something similar to the Coconut Cubes before although not out of this book.  They came out well and taste real good.  I have to admit mine are more coconut slices than cubes - if I cut them that small 'im outdoors would just eat 2 of them anyway.

The Chocolate Sensation started off very similar to the bonfire cake, but without the red colouring and with a different filling and topping.  'im outdoors said it was the least chocolate chocolate cakes he's ever had, but apparently it's still ok (I haven't had a chance to try it yet).

Next week I'll be starting the section 'Festive Baking' although it is skipping ahead a bit.

Coconut Cubes: These get a big thumbs up and a 'Please make again' from 'im outdoors.  Tasty and light and lasted the week very well.

Chocolate Sensation:  I think this grew on him.  Its not his favorite chocolate cake but he said it was quite nice.  I think the outside icing was pretty strong flavor wise.  Better when eaten at room temperature (rather than straight out of the fridge)

Sunday 18 November 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 7

This week I made a Layered Espresso Walnut Loaf and Angel Mint Cakes.  'im outdoors doesn't really like nuts so the espresso loaf is without walnuts, but I have to say it is still very nice.  I am less sure about the mint cakes.  I can deal with mint chocolates but other types of mint 'things' are just a bit weird.

I'm also not sure how the mint cakes will hold out.  They already feel a little soft! 
But I was very impressed with how well the loaf rose.  So much so the top caught a little!  Nothing a little icing can't hide. 

Layered Espresso Walnut Loaf: This was pretty good.  'im outdoors said it was in his top three.  Lasted the week well.

Angel Mint Cakes: Dreadful. Mint cake is weird anyway but by day 2 it was gone slimy. 

Sunday 11 November 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 6

This week I created 3 different cakes.  Iced Lemon Loaf, Mini Chocolate Mousse Cakes and White Chocolate Butterfly Cakes.
The lemon loaf was supposed to have crystallised rose petals to decorate it but I really don't have time for that, and I don't know where I'd get rose petals in the first place - it's not really the right time of year. However the cake seems fine without them so I'm not too worried.

The Mini Chocolate Mousse Cakes were created for pudding as my parents came over for dinner.  I might have cooked them for a little bit too long so instead of being mousse they were more like brownies, but still tasted great. (served with creme fraiche) 

And lastly I created White Chocolate Butterfly Cakes.  For someone who'd really not into decorating cakes these were way more involved than I would normally bother with.  Not all of them came out this well!  I think there is a little too much going on with these cakes - orange in the sponge, vanilla cream filling and then the white chocolate on top.
Have to see what 'im outdoors things. 

Iced Lemon Loaf: Pretty good.  A little dry but I can just add a bit more liquid next time.  Lasted the week well.

Mini Chocolate Mousse Cakes: Tasty but cook less next time.  'im outdoors microwaved a spare one and had it with ice cream and was very happy.

White Chocolate Butterfly Cakes: Dreadful. Difficult to make and didn't last well.  Very wet after only a couple of days.  Too many flavors too.

Sunday 4 November 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 5

This week I made some Cappuccino Cupcakes and, as its Guy Fawkes Night on Monday, a Red Velvet Bonfire Cake.  The cupcakes were pretty simple to create and came out well.  However as the 'icing' is whipped cream I decided to only 'ice' them as needed so the topping can be kept in the fridge and the cupcakes in a tin.

I've not made a red velvet cake before and it was pretty straight forward, but wow it tastes amazing!  Think this is my favorite so far.  As you want a cone shaped cake you have to cut a bit off to get the right shape.  She suggests saving the trimmings for trifle but they didn't last that long. It's then covered in a cream cheese icing and matchmakers.  I'm interested to know how it lasts the week.


Cappuccino Cupcakes: These were ok, but the sponges got a little dense towards the end of the week.  The cream topping lasted well in the fridge.

Red Velvet Bonfire Cake:  This was really tasty but I didn't want too much.  Seemed to last well in the fridge although it dried a little.

Saturday 3 November 2018

Split Back Snowflake Hat

At the beginning of the year I had a go at making the Split Back Snowflake Hat. However I had real problems getting it to work and after two attempts gave up and went on to something else.  
Also this year I knitted a jumper.  This was knitted in the round, like the hat, and although I still think it's a little tight, it came out really well. 
As I was knitting the jumper it suddenly occurred to me what the problem might be with the hat.  You see the first part of the hat, the cable, is knitted flat and then joined to make the split at the back.  When I joined it I had the cables on the outside but when I was knitting my jumper it was inside out!  

So I gave it a go and it worked!  The rest of the hat took me a matter of weeks to finish but from start to finish its taken nearly a year!
The best bit was trying out knitting with two colours.  My friend Katie had suggested I try knitting with one colour in each hand as this gives a better tension, so after a bit of YouTubing I had a go.  And it came out really well and I want to do some more!  It was so satisfying to do and looks grand!  I love it. 

Once again something that looks like it might be super complicated it not exactly easy but really not that hard once you have a go.  If I think about where my knitting was a couple of years ago, or even at the beginning of this year, I've come so far! 
There are so many patterns I want to work on right now, but I just don't have the time.  Once again I will have to list all the things I want to do out and prioritise them to make sure the really important things get done and I don't get distracted by something shiny!

Sunday 28 October 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 4

This week I made Vanilla Cupcakes and a Marble Cake with Butterscotch Cream.
Both came out very well although my 'blue' icing seemed to come out more green.
The cupcakes are decorated with Dolly Mixture, so I had a bit of a mission early in the week to find some that were gluten free.  I ended up using Monmore Confectionery who have a selection of gluten free sweets.  I love the look on 'im outdoors face when he finds something nice that its safe to eat and tastes like the original.

The marble cake should have been cooked in a ring tin, but as I don't have one I made two sponges then stuck them together with butterscotch cream and drizzled melted chocolate over it.
I'm very pleased with how they came out, lets see how they last the week.


Vanilla Cupcakes: These were ok and lasted the week well although the dolly mixture started to go a bit weird.  Nothing that special.

Marble Cake with Butterscotch Cream: 'im outdoors said this was his favorite and it wasn't big enough.  Got a little dry towards the end of the week but otherwise lasted well.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Georgous Cakes - part 3

This week I made Truffle Cupcakes and Birthday Angel Smartie Cake.  The angel cake does mean I'm skipping through the book, but my food delivery sent me two pots of mascarpone last week so I needed a cake to use the extra one up. (the first one was mixed with the lemon curd to make the filling for last weeks lemon cake.)

My cupcakes once again rose well, but they're a bit too chocolaty for my taste.  'im outdoors seems very happy.  Hopefully they will both last the week well, although the smarties are already starting to loose their colour into the frosting.


Truffle cupcakes - a bit too chocolatey for me, but 'im outdoors loved them and they lasted the week very well.

Birthday angel smartie cake - Had to be kept in the fridge and the smarties went weird, but tasted really good and lasted the week really well. 

Saturday 20 October 2018

The Loch Ness Marathon - part 4

Look what arrived today!  A package from the Salisbury District Hospital Stars Appeal team, which included a certificate, a letter and a lapel pin.  
Having run the Loch Ness Marathon to raise money for their Burns Unit a couple of weeks ago, I'd sort of put it to the back of my mind, so it was a massive surprise.

It was so nice to hear how much their appreciated the time and effort I'd put in and I include the letter here as I think everyone who sponsored me deserves their thanks as well.
The certificate will sit in my study where I can see it to remind me of what I've accomplished.  The pin is already on my bag, the perfect reminder.

Sunday 14 October 2018

Gorgeous Cakes - part 2

This week it was my mum's birthday which seems the perfect excuse to make a Towering Alaska from my Gorgeous Cakes cook book.  But I also made a Rich Lemon Curd Sponge for 'im outdoor's lunchbox's and Banoffee Cupcakes.

I made the lemon cake as two separate sponges again to make sure they would rise - which they did perfectly.  The lemon curd filling is so good he's been eating the spare on toast! 

The cupcakes came out well too.  And I had to make 2 batches as there was too much mix!  She recommends decorating them with a 'chocolate heart' but I just cut up a bunch of Curly Wurlys and used them instead, which seems to have gone down well.

The Towering Alaska was amazing and my mum loved it, but it is the kind of cake that has to be eaten as soon as it's made.  Within an hour of putting it together the jam was sinking into the sponge and the meringues were dissolving into the cream.  However it tasted amazing and no one cared that it looked like a right mess.  'im outdoors finished it off for super, as always, happy to help tidy up.

Towering Alaska: Very tasty but needs to be eaten as soon as its put together.

Rich lemon curd sponge: Very tasty. Had to be kept in the fridge but kept very well over the week.
Banoffee cupcakes: Not very bananay, and dried out well before the end of the week.  Bit disappointing.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Another Laptop Sock

Last year my sister asked me to knit her a cover for her work laptop.  It came out well and she was very pleased.  However she's just got herself a new job and her new laptop is much bigger than the one she had and now the cover doesn't fit.  'Could I make her a new one?' she asked.

With some of the King Cole Glitz Chunky in platinum wool left over from last time I made a start.  This time I knitted it in the round and as it was a bit bigger I decided to add a little decoration - some cables down the front.  It took a few goes to get the pattern right, but I'm very pleased with the end result.  I think she was too, lets just hope it fits.

Note:  I've just been sent a photo and its a perfect fit! Hooray!

Saturday 6 October 2018

Gorgeous Cakes - part 1

Look how faded the edges are from being on the window sill!
I love to bake and 'im outdoors loves to eat cakes so this all works out pretty well.
I have quite a few cook books but seem to always end up cooking the same old stuff, so with no more Saturday runs (unless I want to) I've decided to work my way through one of my favorite books - Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell.

Today I made a classic victoria sponge with whisked white chocolate buttercream for 'im outdoors lunchbox this week, and some lemon cupcakes for snacking on when he gets in from work. 
As he's a coeliac it does mean I have to tweak the recipes a little so I use gluten free flour and I tend to add xanthum gum which means I have to add a little extra liquid, normal in the form of milk, too.  And instead of cooking the victoria sponge as one big cake I made two smaller cakes as I know a big one won't rise as well.  I might have also ignored the call for sugared flowers to decorate the cupcakes.

I haven't made either of these before - I normally stick to Mary Berry's victoria sponge recipe, but they both came out really well, which was a nice surprise as my cupcakes don't normally rise.
But of course the proof really is in the eating and 'im outdoors will get the final say at the end of the week.  Did they transport to work OK? Did they still taste good a week later?  Should I make them again?    

Lemon cupcakes: They tasted like lemon french fancies.  Lasted quite well but a little damp by the end of the week.

Victoria sponge with whisked white chocolate buttercream: Quite nice, but the buttercream didn't really stand out.  Lasted the week well.