Pancake Stack with Lemon Sugar Syrup

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Today is a very important day…..very important!!

Last week, on February 14th, I saw a Facebook status from one of my good friends saying “forget Valentines Day, this time next week it’s Pancake Day!!” and here it is!!

For readers in America, you’re probably thinking, so what, we have pancakes every day for breakfast. Well here in England, we save our pancakes for a very special day, and today is it – Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, where tradition (and the Christian religion) states you abstain for Lent, which is the 47 days until Easter Sunday. Over the years I have given up many things for Lent: Sweets, Alcohol (which wasn’t hard as I’m not much of a drinker), Chocolate (which I failed at) and caffeine. This year I’ve thought of going the sweets route again, but we’ll see how good my will power is tomorrow. What will…

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Chocolate Filled, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you ever have a good old clear out of your Kitchen Cupboards?……no me either, well not very often anyway. BUT yesterday I couldn’t squeeze anything else in my baking cupboard. I’d been shopping to restock the basics; sugar, flour, baking powder, that kind of thing, and they just wouldn’t fit!!

So time for an impromptu clear out. I pulled everything out and found some real little ingredient gems that I’d totally forgotten. It was like Christmas had come early – like pulling an old handbag from your wardrobe and finding a fiver in the bottom. I just love it when that happens, which sadly isn’t very often.

Anyway, at the back of my cupboard, amongst the dates, raisins, chocolate chips, vanilla essence etc, was a jar of Chocolate Spread…….unopened!!!!!! Seriously? Who has unopened chocolate spread in their cupboard? Me, apparently.

After having a 1 or 2 (or 4) crumpets with it slathered over, I set about baking.

These are really easy peasy. You need to pop your Chocolate Spread in the fridge for an hour or 2 before starting as it makes it firm and easier to roll into the middle of your cookie. You could also use Peanut Butter, but sadly I didn’t find any of that in my cupboard.

Chocolate Filled, Chocolate Chop Cookies

Makes 10-12

100gms Butter at room temp, or chilled Baking Spread

75gms Light Brown Sugar

100gms Caster Sugar

1 Beaten Free Range Egg

1tspn Vanilla Extract

250gms Plain Flour

.5tspn Bicarbonate of Soda

.5tspn salt

100gms Chocolate Chips – I used milk, but use whatever you fancy.

Approx Quarter of a jar of Chocolate Spread – I used the popular hazelnut one, but you can use any you have

In a bowl cream together the butter and both types of sugar, until thick and creamy

Add the egg and vanilla and mix through until fully combined

Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and add to the other ingredients.

Mix together, I found a wooden spoon best, until you have a thick dough.

Mix through the chocolate chips

Take a spoonful of the mix and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball in the palm of you hand and put a teaspoon of Chocolate Spread in the middle.

Bring up the sides of the ball until the Chocolate Spread is covered, and again roll into a ball.

I got 10 out of the mix, however, I may have got more if I hadn’t eaten so much (I have a weakness for cookie dough – don’t try this at home though as it contains raw egg – it’s a risk I’m willing to take).

Pop all the balls on a baking sheet and refridgerate for at least an hour. This allows the butter and Chocolate Spread to set-up.

Pre-heat your oven to 175c fan, 180c, 350f or gas Mark 4

Lay your cookie dough balls onto 2 baking sheet, making sure there is at least 2 inches between them as they will Spread when they bake

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the sides just start to turn golden

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Don’t try to move them straight away as they need time to firm up as they cool down

Transfer to a cooling rack, or into your waiting mouth.

These will last up to 5 days if kept in an airtight container.

A Very British Tea Cake

Tea Cakes mean different things to different people, depending on where you come from. In Britain it’s even more confusing, because there are 2 different types; one with a shortbread base, topped with a marshmallow dome and covered in a thin layer of chocolate, which are more than an ickle bit scrummy. But they are quite tricky to make, and are best left to the amazing people at Tunnocks to do them justice (other Tea Cake manufacturers are available, but Tunnocks Teacakes are just awesome!).

So, that leaves the Tea Cakes that are made from a yeast based dough, are best sliced in half, toasted and slathered with butter. Some people call them fruit Tea Cakes due to the dried fruit in them.

I just call them delicious.

They remind me of Saturday mornings, when I was young, after Mum had been to the local bakery, and enjoying one for breakfast. In fact, I swear my Mum seems to have a Tea Cake radar, because if they are ever being made in the bakery she ‘happens’ to pop in just in time for one fresh from the oven….maybe its the smell of the spices she gets a whiff of and drives the 10 miles to enjoy one.

Tea Cakes may appear to be a bit of effort to bake, but don’t be fooled. Actual hands on time is no more than 15 minutes, but allowing the yeast to do it’s magic and rise (or prove) takes time……my advise – set a timer and go off and do something else, it’s really not that much bother.

Tea Cakes – Makes 8

150ml Milk, full cream or semi-skimmed is best

50gms Butter or Baking Spread

370gms Strong Bread Flour

1/2tspn Salt

7gms Fast Acting Yeast (1 sachet)

1tspn Cinnamon

1tspn Mixed Spice

zest of 1 Lemon

1 Beaten Free Range Egg

125gms of Mixed Fruit, I use half and half of raisins and sultanas, but use whatever you have or you like best.

 

In a saucepan warm the milk and butter until the butter is melted. Do not boil the milk, you just want it warmed through.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, salt and sugar. Add the yeast and lemon zest. Mix all together.

Make a well (or small dip) in the centre and pour in your warm milk and butter.

Add the beaten egg and using a wooden spoon mix all the ingredients together until you get a thick sticky dough.

Add the dried fruit, and using your (clean) hands mix it through until fully incorporated.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 5 minutes.

(Tip: If you have a stand mixer, put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, make a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients. Using the dough hook mix on low for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the dried fruit and mix until fully incorporated)

The dough should now should be stretchy with a silky appearance to the surface. Place back into your bowl and cover with cling film, rubbed with vegetable or sunflower oil to stop it from sticking. Leave somewhere warm (an airing cupboard is good) for about 1 and a half hours, or until its doubled in size.

A good way to tell if your dough has proved enough is to press it lightly with a finger. If the dent bounces back, you should be fine.

Lightly press the dough to get some of the air our – this is called ‘knocking back’. Turn the dough out and divide into 8 equal parts. I usually weigh it and divide by 8, but you don’t have to be that pedantic.

Roll each part into a neat ball and flatten (either with your hand or a rolling pin) to about half an inch thick

Place on a baking sheet and again cover with your cling film. Leave to prove for a further 45 minutes. After about 35 minutes heat your oven to 200c (180c fan), 400f or gas mark 5.

Bake your Tea Cakes in the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until well risen, nutty brown on top, and when tapped on the bottom the middle sounds hollow.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack.

These are great served fresh from the oven, but wait until they’re cooled, slice in half, toast  and cover them in butter which melts in for truly authentic Tea Cake experience.

These are best eaten within a couple of days, but can be frozen. Just defrost for 30 seconds in the microwave before slicing and toasting.

 

Tottenham Cake….

….just like Percy Ingles makes. To many people, well actually most people, Tottenham Cake and Percy Ingles means nothing, but work or live in the Eastend of London and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

I worked in Hackney, in London’s East end for over 10 years, and was lucky to regularly enjoy delights from Percy Ingles Bakery, from ‘down the Roman Road’….and wow did they have some yummy delights. Percy Ingles is a household name in Hackney, but step away from the Capital and few people will know what you’re talking about. It is a family bakery with over 50 shops in London and makes a great classic Tottenham Cake.

But what about Tottenham Cake – what is it, and why have you not heard of it? It even made an appearance on The Great British Bake Off, but still few people know what it is. I remember the first time I was bought a slice and it reminded me of cakes I used to eat as a child. It’s light, sweet sponge covered in bright pink glacé icing.

Delve a bit deeper, and it has real history. It was first made in the late 1800’s by a Baker called Henry Chalkley, who was a Quaker. He baked it in long trays and cut it into cubes which were sold for 1 penny a slice – off cuts and dodgy looking slices were sold for half a penny. As a Quaker, Henry kept the cake simple but tasty. The pink icing was reportedly made from Mulberries that grew in the garden of The Tottenham Friends Meeting House.

In 1901 Tottenham Hotspur’s won the FA Cup, and to celebrate children in the area were given a cube of cake for free…..now that’s my kind of celebration! Sadly Mulberries aren’t quite as easy to come by, and most of todays icing is made pink by colouring. But made well, it’s a cake that you just can’t resist….it’ll take you back to being 7 years old again.

Since living in Hampshire, I haven’t been able to find any, so have had to go about making some of my own. I’ve done my research and found a few historic recipes. I’ve combined and tweaked them, to make what I hope is a great, classic Tottenham Cake.  It’s slightly denser than a normal sponge, and is sweet and moist from the syrup that’s poured on it while warm. I used a high-concentrate, low sugar Summer Berry Squash for the icing, which gives it an extra fruity zing.

Tottenham Cake

170gms Softened Butter or Baking Spread

170gms Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

230gms Plain Flour

1.5tspn Baking Powder

1tspn Vanilla

50ml Cold water

2 tbspn Icing Sugar

 

For the Icing/Glaze

200gms Icing Sugar

1-2tbspn Mixed Berry Squash (not diluted)

 

Preheat Oven to 180c, (160c fan), 350f, Gas 3

Prepare a baking tin (approx 7″ square) by greasing and lining with parchment or grease-proof paper.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy

Add the vanilla and one egg at a time and whisk until its thick and smooth.

Sift together the flour and baking powder, and fold into the wet ingredients.

Pour into the baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes (until a cocktail stick stuck into the middle comes out clean)

Remove from the oven and set to one side. Mix together the icing sugar and water, until all the icing sugar has dissolved. Before removing the cake from the tin, use a spoon the drizzle the icing sugar syrup all over the top of the warm cake.

Carefully remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled, mix 1tbspn of the fruit squash and all icing sugar to make a thick glace icing. You want a thick pourable consistency, if it’s too thin it’ll run right off your cake, however if its too thick and doesn’t pour at all, add a little extra liquid until it does.

Pour the icing onto the centre of the cake, and with a knife smooth to the sides. Allow to set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Chocolate Lovers Fudge Topped Brownie

It’s getting cold! Summer is very much over, but that’s no reason to be down, oh no……I have something easy and yummy to make you forget about the cold weather and shorter days. Warm and comforting baking is a great way to forget the outside and makes your kitchen smell amazingly scrummy in the process.

This bake is both a comforting Brownie, and decadent easy peasy fudge. Both can be made separately, but hey? Why do that when you can just put both together?  This bake does need a little time to set, so be prepared to wait before you can enjoy the full magic.

Fudge Topped Brownie

Brownie:

150gms Dark Chocolate

200gms Caster Sugar

397gm Can Condensed Milk (Use 100gms only for Brownie)

75gms Butter (or baking spread)

130gms Plain Flour

.5 tspn Baking Powder

2 Eggs

 

Fudge:

300gms Dark Chocolate

Rest of Can of Condensed Milk (Left from Brownie)

 

Preheat Oven to 180c, (160c fan), 350f, Gas 3

Prepare a Brownie tin by greasing and lining with parchment or grease-proof paper.

For the Brownie, break the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl, add the sugar, 100gms Condensed Milk and Butter. Heat in the microwave on full for 30 seconds bursts until fully melted and mix together.

Add the plain flour and baking powder and combine

Add one egg at a time and mix thoroughly

Pour the mix into your tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Its always a little tricky to tell if a Brownie is baked or not, as the usual ‘sticking a skewer to see if it comes out clean’ trick doesn’t always work. If you have a baking thermometer I recommend the inside temperature of your Brownie should be about 195-200f. But if it is a little underbaked, don’t panic, it’ll just make your Brownie a little more ooey-gooey (mmmmmmm).

When your Brownie is baked, remove from the oven, but don’t remove it from the tin.

Now, it’s time to make the fudge…..

Break the chocolate into a microwave proof bowl and add the Condensed Milk. Heat in the microwave on full power for 30 second bursts until all the chocolate is melted. Mix it all together and pour on top of the cooling Brownie.

Allow to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge for about 1 hour (or until you can resist no more).

When fully set, remove it from the tin, slice and indulge.

 

Why buy a Daisy Cake?


So what makes a Daisy Cake cake different to other shop bought cakes, and even some cake shop cakes? Well funny you should ask….

1. All of our cakes are baked from scratch, by humans, with fresh, raw ingredients. No box mixes, no preservatives, just handbaked goodness. 

2. As many of our ingredients as possible come from within 10 miles of the bakery – eggs collected directly from the farm, from chickens that are so free range you sometimes have to swerve to avoid running them over. Flour milled from wheat grown on the Leckford Estate, Jam from foraged local fruit made into yummy preserves by Naked Jam, fruit either picked from our gardens or bought from the market just 100yrds from the bakery.


3. All other ingredients we use are of the finest quality, with as many as possible British – British Milk, Cornish Butter, British Cream….you get the picture. 

4. When we say Buttercream, we mean icing made with butter – not marg or a substitute – fresh whipped Buttercream made with butter.


5. All cakes are designed especially for you, baked freshly for you, and decorated by hand by one of our experienced cake artists. No 2 cakes are ever the same, when they’re this handmade, they can’t be!

We are proud to be members of Hampshire Fare, and are proud to serve a great community. We strive to find new and exciting cake designs, but above all believe a Cake should ALWAYS taste as good as it looks.

We take the time to produce pieces of art, from the finest local ingredients, designed to be memories of the future. 

Midsummer Photoshoot

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We were delighted to be invited to take part in 2 styled shoots by Jennifer Sinclair, at the elegant Froyle Park in Hampshire.

With so many options for brides, it’s always great to be able to show just what is possible with 2 of the most on trend styles today.

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Midsummer, was an elegant, colourful shoot with Boho Vintage Chic. Froyle Park has the most stunning outside area for a ceremony, with a swing, domed gazebo and rolling fields in the distance.image

Judith Searles created floral displays with succulents, and ribbons which were carried in the summer wind.image

Sass and Grace chose the perfect gown for model Georgina Harding to wear, which floated in the summer breeze, and was teamed perfectly with Judith Searles’ flower crown, styled by Gemma Needham Hair and Make-up.

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The finer  details were provided by the talented Laura at Lulabee.

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With all this inspiration, it was easy to design the perfect, elegant 4 tier cake, with tiers of varying heights.

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The top teal tier was adorned with a sugar bow and shimmered with pearl lustre. The next, deep, white tier was decorated with rich bunting in peach and teal.

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The third, peach tier, featured edible, hand painted plaques, and the deep bottom tier was panelled with teal and white, and was highlighted by a stunning, handmade white David Austen rose with dusted teal highlights.

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The second ‘Elegance and Lace’ theme will be featured in our next blog post.