Posts Tagged With: custard creams

A Year in Cake – 2016

As I’m currently tucked up in bed with a rotten cold on New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d do another blog post like I did this time last year looking at my top bakes of 2016.

I won’t bore you with the details but this year has been the worst one for a long time for many reasons and has left me a bit emotionally battered to say the least. I’m hoping with all my strength that 2017 is an improvement and that the changes I’m desperate to make in my life will come about.

Still, baking is a part of my life come rain or shine and I’ve managed quite a few successful bakes this year, including several celebration cakes which I was really pleased with. My creations will never be up there in the showstopper stakes, but I think my presentation skills have improved and I’ve been a bit more daring with decoration.

One new thing I’ve tried this year is meringues. I’d always been a bit nervous to try them as I got the impression they’d be very temperamental and difficult to pull off, but happily I was wrong. My piping skills are still as dire as ever, but they were surprisingly easy to make and tasted absolutely delicious – crispy on the outside with a gooey marshmallow-like interior. And so SO much better than the brittle, chalky shop-bought ones. I was hoping to make a chocolate or cappuccino pavlova for NYE dessert and unfortunately being ill has put paid to that, but I’m keen to make something meringuey again soon! Like an idiot I forgot to include the fruits of my labour in the collage below so here’s a snap of my cute little ghost meringues from Halloween:

screenshot_2016-12-31-15-49-49-1

I’ve decided to make on culinary resolution this year, and I’m sure I’ve made it before. I would really like to have a go at making proper bread, i.e. using yeast (not soda bread!) I’m a very impatient cook which is what’s put me off trying this previously but the effort would be worth it in order to create a nice big tear-and-share centrepiece, either a delicious chocolatey monkey bread or a mouth-watering sundried tomato and cheese number. I also fancy having a go at brioche, which is my all-time favourite bread, with its indulgent melt-in-the-mouth buttery sweetness and cloud-like texture. Watch this space!

So anyway, here’s a wee compilation of my personal favourite bakes from 2016:

collage-2

  1. Chocolate Orange Bonfire Cake (recipe here)
  2. Spiced Tea & Chocolate Cake with Cinnamon Ganache Icing (recipe here)
  3. Banana, Peanut Butter & Caramac Loaf (recipe here)
  4. Honeycomb & Chocolate Flapjacks with Marzipan Bees (recipe here)
  5. Raisin Spice Christmas Cake with Fondant Sealies (base recipe from the 1000 Cakes & Bakes cookbook)
  6. Moomin Lebkuchen (base recipe from the Bake Off Christmas cookbook)
  7. Lady Baltimore Cake (recipe here)
  8. Ducky Custard Cream Cake (base recipe here)
  9. Cheese & Sundried Tomato Quiche (recipe here)

I’ll sign off now by wishing everyone in the Bakeosphere a very happy and healthy 2017! 🙂

Cloud9.1 x

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Custard Creams & Strawberry Milkshake Creams

Originally posted 20/10/2013

Although I try, as a rule I’m not one for aesthetic neatness and elegance when baking. Despite numerous attempts, my piping is never up to scratch and my cookies are always sloppy and uneven (in fact, this is the primary reason I have still not yet plucked up the courage to have a go at posh French macarons despite having bought a packet of ground almonds for this purpose over a month ago). But I impressed myself with these lovely little biscuits which were a bit of a labour of love. The secret of their prettiness is that the dough barely puffs up at all during baking which means the biscuits keep their beautiful even shape.

Although it took me a while to lovingly craft each button using a round scone cutter, a tiny espresso cup and a straw, these colourful treats certainly aren’t complicated to make. And they were certainly worth the extra time as they received an abundance of compliments on both taste and appearance – in fact, Edd Kimber himself (whose recipe I used for the custard creams) saw them on Twitter and said they were fantastic! Praise indeed 🙂

The pink strawberry milkshake creams were an original invention of mine – I simply followed the same recipe as I did for the custard creams but substituted the custard powder and vanilla extract for strawberry milkshake powder and strawberry extract respectively. The result was utterly delicious and I will definitely be making them again!

If you don’t have the time or patience to make buttons, just use your favourite cookie cutters like I did for the mini stars and hearts below. To make a Bourbon cream-esque variation, you could substitute the custard/strawberry milkshake powder for chocolate milkshake powder or cocoa.

The yellow custard creams were made using Edd Kimber’s fab recipe which can be found here – http://theboywhobakes.co.uk/2011/06/custard-creams/ – so I’m just going to post the recipe for my strawberry milkshake cream version.

Strawberry Milkshake Creams

INGREDIENTS – yield depends on the size and shape of cookie cutter used but the below quantities resulted in the number of pink biscuits seen in the photo above

For the biscuits:

  • 225g/8 oz plain flour
  • 50g/2 oz icing sugar
  • 50g/2 oz strawberry milkshake powder (I used Hello Kitty brand but any will do!)
  • 180g/6 oz margarine/butter
  • 1 tsp strawberry extract
  • Splash of red food colouring+ cookies cutters of your choice or a round cutter, an espresso cup & a plastic straw if you want to make buttons like in the photo

For the filling:

  • 100g/3.5 oz icing sugar
  • 25g/1 oz butter (unsalted if preferred)
  • 1.5 tbsp strawberry milkshake powder
  • Splash of milk
  • 0.5 tsp strawberry extract
  • Drop of red food colouring

METHOD

For the biscuits:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line two large rectangular baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Place the flour, icing sugar and strawberry milkshake powder into a large mixing bowl then add the margarine/butter and strawberry extract.
  3. Rub the fat into the dry ingredients so that crumbs form and then squish together into a large ball of dough. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add a little milk.
  4. Add the red food colouring, a tiny splash at a time, and knead the dough in the bowl until it turns your desired shade of pink.
  5. Take the dough out of the bowl, wrap tightly in clingfilm and leave in the fridge to chill for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle flour over your work surface to prevent sticking then roll the dough out until it’s roughly 1cm in thickness (remember you’ll be sandwiching them together two at a time so you don’t want them too thick or they won’t be pleasant to eat unless you have an extremely massive gob!)
  7. Cut out as many circles as possible using the round cookie cutter and stamp each circle with the espresso cup, firmly enough that it makes a definite indent but not so hard that it cuts through the dough. Then use the end of a plastic straw to stamp out four tiny circles in the middle of each biscuit to make a button, transferring each one onto the baking trays as you go.
  8. Squish all the off-cuts together then re-roll the dough and repeat the process. If you’re lazy like me, cut out other small simple shapes such as hearts or stars once you’ve made 20 buttons.
  9. Pop in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottoms have started to colour very slightly at the edges, then transfer onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

For the filling:

  1. Place the butter and strawberry extract into a bowl then add the icing sugar and strawberry milkshake powder gradually while stirring/whisking. Add a splash of milk and continue to stir/whisk until a smooth, spreadable mixture has formed.
  2. Add the red food colouring a tiny drop at a time and stir until the mixture turns your desired shade of pink (you’ll only need a very tiny bit).
  3. Spread a small blob of the icing onto the back of one of the pink biscuits using a palette knife then sandwich together with another biscuit of the same shape and repeat until they’ve all been paired up.

Edit: I also used Edd’s custard cream recipe to make these cute jammy heart biscuits – just make imprints in the dough with your thumb then fill with raspberry or strawberry jam 🙂

And I also used the button cutting technique on pink fondant icing to make cupcake toppers for my friend’s baby shower!

IMG_0570a

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