2015: Week 3: Fairy Cakes and Scary Cakes.

So I had an interview this week. I had to create and present a presentation on teaching a skill, so given my baking resolution, I decided that I would do mine on baking fairy cakes 101, so that I could take some cakes with me to demonstrate the finished product. Excellent idea, no?cakes1

After scouring the internet, the recipe I decided on came from a Nigella Lawson recipe for basic cupcakes. The first batch I tried threw me into a blind panic.

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The batter curdled. I have no idea why. I realised it looked a but unusual before i put in in the cupcake cases, but I plodded on, thinking because I hadn’t tried the recipe before, it may be normal. I took them out of the oven and they were golden brown, smelling delicious…. And flat as a pancake.

At this point I start shrieking about how this is the baking version of pathetic fallacy, and what if my presentation falls as flat as these cakes?!

Breathe.

Mix up the batter round two. Follow the instructions to a tee. Combine the ingredients in the order specified on the website. Don’t just slam it all it and hope for the best. Beat well. Don’t be lazy.

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Pour a glass of wine and drink with relief and gusto.

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Make that gin. Pour a glass of gin and drink with relief and gusto.

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The sponges turned out beautifully…. The second time. The icing, not so well. I made buttercream, form memory, which I was told a few days later wasn’t very nice. A few days after the interview in which I had force fed it to the interviewers. I attempted to create something that you would see on tumblr, but I hadn’t researched it and just went with my instinct, and i will not be doing that again in a hurry.

In case you’re wondering – I got the job, kind of. I’m on the waiting list for a space to open up!

2015: Week 2: Victoria Sandwich

I bought my fiance a Jamie Oliver mug featuring some quip about being tall dark and handsome like his coffee, and as he opened it a Victoria Sponge recipe from Jamie magazine fell out. A sign from the heavens, and I believe Victoria Sandwich to be the cake to end all cake.

Rather than typing the recipe and method out, I’ve managed to find it here, on the Jamie Magazine website.

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I made a few adjustments. First, I didn’t bother reading the order in which to mix them, I just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mushed them together with a fork. I also misread the recipe and put in 2 tsp instead of 2 tbsp of rose water. Turned out to be a blessing though, because it was verging on overpowering with just that.

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I made two because some people wanted fresh raspberries in them, some just wanted raspberry jam. I opted for vanilla pod extract instead of vanilla pods, and skipped the rosewater in the cream.

I’ve had nothing but good feedback (and it was surprisingly simple)! and I’m already wondering what to do next!

Top tip: do not sample the neat rose water. It is not. good.

2015: Week 1: The Great Shortbread Shortfall

When my friend Nia heard I was in the midst of a baking obsession, she urged me to make shortbread. “It’s so easy!” she said. “You’ll love it!” she said. Well, my friends. I managed to screw it up. I managed to screw up a recipe that calls for three ingredients. I mean, really.

I got the recipe from the old trusty BBC Food website. Sugar, butter, flour. Roll. Chill. Bake. Enjoy. I got to roll, and that’s where it all… Went wrong.

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What went wrong was threefold: I accidentally liquidised the butter (no really, don’t ask) before adding it, rolled it out too thin, and neglected to chill it and just put it straight in the oven.

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While baking they all kind of… Expanded into little puddles. The edges caught, but the middles still seemed squidgy.

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They taste good. but they are slightly thin and overcooked. I have learned many things, and I will be giving them another go, later on in the year.

2014 – Cheese Scones

So this was a practice run more than anything, a way of easing my self into my new baking hobby. Before this, the only savory thing I have ever bakes was a chicken and mushroom pie, and there wasn’t even that much pastry on it so I don’t think it counts.

I used a recipe I found on BBC Good Food – it’s an absolute haven for the rookie baker! I was genuinely surprised by how easy it was; 5 ingredients, 5 step method, done.

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Don’t mind the awful quality – I was using my iPad.

I used a mini cutter so I got more out of the mix – about 16 rather than the 8-12. I should have rolled the mix out a little thicker though I think. There wasn’t any possible way to cut the scone open to add butter or any filling.

They tasted incredible, we ate the entire batch on the same day. I can’t wait to try them again, and maybe add some bacon or Marmite into the mix!