I decided at 9pm tonight that I would make some biscuits. Almond biscuits. Because… I’m not entirely sure why it had to be almond, to be honest. I baked the sponge for a birthday cake earlier today and decided to have biscuits to accompany it and just settled on almonds. But no recipe to use. That’s as much thought that I’m capable of this week – the baby has just cut his first tooth (see Havekidswillrun, my running blog for this week’s RUN FAIL) and I am shattered.
Time was slipping away so I just googled almond biscuit recipes. Came up with one and started to bake. But I didn’t agree with the recipe. It called for approximately a thimble full of flour, handful of ground almonds and a sack of sugar. And two egg whites. And some butter. (Amounts approximated for effect). Only I couldn’t be bothered to separate out the egg and it was only a matter of time before the baby woke so I just bunged in two full eggs. And ended up with a runny recipe.
So I added things. Like much, much more flour. And a lot more ground almonds. And some icing sugar. Then more flour and almonds. Until the mixture stopped being runny and started looking like biscuit dough.
i then spooned little heaps out and stuck a whole almond in the middle
And now for my close up….
The original recipe called for 8-10 minutes in a 160* fan oven. I ended up with peelly-wally biscuits. So whacked it up to 175* and kept them in till they started to turn golden at the edges.
Some more golden than others….
but do you know what? They taste lovely. I got 19 biscuits out of this Frankenstein recipe and the baby didn’t wake up (much). I call that a BAKE WIN in my books.
It’s my annual birthday baking bonanza post. Hooray! My birthday means I get to bake what I want. As long as I can do it in between nap time, snack time, playing with toys and cooking tea, that is… And this is a short blog as the baby is currently bellowing at me from his Daddy’s arm. So I’m choking down a cup of (decaf) coffee and blogging at the same time. Go me.
first up – lime yoghurt cake. Used Mary Berry’s Lemon Yoghurt Cake recipe but with lime instead. Is YUM but unfortunately is a bit thin… Too big a tin I think…
(Lime is for show, not actual decoration)
second – Norwegian cinnamon bun things from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. GORGEOUS recipe
Dont be alarmed by the burnt bits, is totally edible. Burny bits are actually the egg wash glaze on top. This smells beautiful. And with a metric tonne or there abouts of butter and lots of cinnamon, it should do!
I promised my mum I would make the cake for my dad’s birthday. Easy peasy – I’d do a madeira cake. But I wanted to decorate it. And asked the 4 year old what she thought it should look like.
“BLUE! fFor a boy. And a plane.”
Fair enough. Sounds simple. I had no fondant icing but surely buttercream will be fine. So we made the cake and baked it and once it was cool I set about cutting it. With no real plan as to whst i was doing…
I thought that the simplest way to make a plane would be to cut so there was one middle piece, then slice the two “sides” to form two wings and a tail. And it would probably work out very well indeed. Ahem.
To be fair, it was looking alright here. Looks vaguely like a plane and a lot like a cake. I did end up with a wedge of cake that I didn’t really know what to do with. A problem I never thought I would have – extra cake. No matter! I stuck the wings and tails to the main part of the plane with some jam. I wasn’t sure if this was the right thing to do but, hey, cake + jam = tasty.
the point I struggled with was the icing. I really struggle with icing, especially with buttercream because I get crumbs everywhere and it drives me mad. I googled a bit and read about doing a crumb coating, so prepared some buttercream and thinned it down a bit with milk and slapped it on the cake. Crumbs everywhere. Oh dear. I let it all settle down a bit and mixed up some more buttercream but this time with the blue icing. And when I say blue, I mean BLUE.
Like I said, it seemed like a good idea at the time…
and then to overcome the crumb issue, I found my piping bag and decided to just pipe everything everywhere with the blue icing. And then, to make it a bit more… Aeroplaneish… I stuck on baubles and things. Because… Well… It was late and the blue was really BLUE. So the baubles went on to break up that colour a bit.
I still had no idea what to do with that extra wedge so I just iced it too. Blue. Obviously.
I promised baking in the blurb of my blog, but I rarely blog about it. It’s normally because I either forget to take a photo or the baking doesn’t last long enough to be photographed!
but first thing this morning, while the baby was being entertained by his dad and his sister, I went into overdrive and made some fruit scones and a round of soda bread. And they look delicious!
I used the Mary Berry Best Ever Scones recipe similar to this one although I used only one egg and I also added sultanas and cut 20 scones out of the dough. I love this recipe – it’s easy and the scones are so light. Glorious.
I could easily eat eight of them right now….
i use Rachel Allen’s soda bread recipe from her Bake cook book. It’s super easy, and I modify it slightly. I use the standard 225g of plain flour, 225g whole meal flour, 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda. I use a tiny finger scoop of soft butter rather than 25g and I use one carton of buttermilk (about 290ml) mixed with 1 egg rather than the amount she specifies in the recipe as I find it too wet otherwise. Sometimes i substitute plain white yoghurt for the buttermilk. She also says bake in 225* oven for 15 minutes first but I only got for 10 as my oven runs at its own speed, but I do leave in at 200*
There have been a few birthdays, family visits and days which deserved an “ah, what the heck, i’m going to bake”. Sadly, i’ve not that many photos, but i did have a lot of fun baking and eating.
First things first, I can share a picture or two of the Birthday Cake made for the child’s second birthday. Yes, she is two. TWO! you’d hardly believe it’s been (just over) a year since one of the first posts written on the blog. I decided that seeing as last year’s square cake worked out well when it came to cutting equal chunks for people, i would replicate it with a tiny little twist. A bit of pink food colouring in the cake batter, swirled around a bit (but not too much) added a little bit of interest into an otherwise standard plain vanilla sponge cake. So, here it is:
And, cut open to see the slight marbling effect:
In addition to this cake (which tasted lovely), i’ve also been baking:
1. Mary Berry’s pinwheel biscuits. One layer of vanilla biscuit, one layer of chocolate biscuit, rolled up and then cut into slices = pinwheel biscuits. These are quite complicated to construct. Well, when i say complicated i mean “it takes ages”. The recipe itself is simple and they taste marvellous. However, there’s quite a bit of dough-chilling required, plus rolling out the two layers to the same size and rolling together takes a bit more dexterity than i have. It’s worth it though, they look really cool!
2. Plain vanilla biscuits. Bit of a standard recipe here, butter, plain flour, egg, sugar, vanilla and a bit of elbow grease. huzzah.
3. Vanilla fairy cakes with butter cream icing. It’s just as well i didn’t take a photo of these – the icing was hideous! i just cannot for the life of me figure out how to pipe properly. i may just resort to slathering buttercream on with a palette knife instead now.
I baked everything a few times and each time they tasted a tiny bit better. Hooray! Huzzah!