Sunday, 29 July 2012

Cherry Cake with Vanilla Drizzle (Made with Fresh Cherries)

After so much rain, we've been enjoying some sunshine this past week or two, which prompted an afternoon picnic today in the park with friends. Oliver was excited about having some play time with his friend Murray.... and I suggested we bake a cake today using some of the fresh cherries I brought back from my trip to Sussex on Friday.

I don't often cook with cherries - they are such a delight to eat fresh and rather expensive to buy. 

However, on my way back from the cake course I took in Sussex, there were many stands by the road sides selling fresh, locally grown cherries. I stopped to see as cherries have to be my no 1 favourite fruit and wasn't disappointed. Beautiful, shiny, sweet black cherries. As far as cherries go, they were very good value too ! I came back with 1.5kg just two days ago and already they are all gone :-(

Some time ago, I bought a cherry and olive pitter. We had not had an excuse to use it until now, and I set Oliver to task with a pound of cherries and the pitter. Basically, you put the cherry in the socket and pull the handle. It works like a little gun and pops out the pit. Once he got the hang of it, Oliver was entertained for quite some time and did a very good job with pitting the cherries !

Hmm - he did eat a few... the cherry juice stain round his mouth was a bit of a giveaway.

The boy's had a good time playing ... and arguing !

Murray's little brother Aiden got really excited to find I'd brought tomatoes

After a couple of hours, the weather changed to this....

So it was time for a rapid pack up and head home !

There were quite a number of very loud  thunder cracks. I took some time out just snuggled up with Oliver who needed to nap but was a bit anxious with the thunder. It's not often we get sleepy snuggles now, so had to make the most of it.

Here is a photo of the cake I made on Friday on the course I took. I wanted some practise in "big" cakes and was rather pleased with the results :-)

Here is the recipe we used for our cherry cake :

1.1/2 cups of plain cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of plain yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
125ml olive oil
2 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and halved (around 400g)

for the drizzle 

60ml water (1/4 cup)
60ml sugar (1/4 cup) 
1/2 a vanilla pod

Prepare a 2lb silicone loaf mould or metal loaf pan. Grease (I always use butter) and flour or use Cake Release.

Don't panic - this mould fills our 2lb silicone loaf pan mould near to the top. It's a dense cake, so although it rises - does not get very high.

I also put a strip of grease proof paper just along the base and up the sides. This was simply to aid me in removing and transporting a hot cake to a picnic when I knew we didn't have time for it to cool before leaving !

Sift the dry ingredients together. Combine the wet and mix the two together until there are no lumps.

Toss the cherries in some flour and then stir into the batter.

Bake in a pre heated fan oven at 180deg C for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

For the drizzle .....

Just before the end of cooking time, put the sugar for the drizzle, water and vanilla pod in a small pan and bring to the boil. Boil until reduced by  half - about 5mins.

When the cake is ready,  pierce holes in the top with a skewer and pour on the vanilla syrup. Allow to cool before serving.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - Silicone Bakeware Specialists

Friday, 20 July 2012

Awesome Slow Cooked Belly Pork With Jerk Sauce

Well - this is a pretty awful photo, taken on my phone - but I simply had to log down the recipe for this sauce!

I found a recipe that looked good in this month's Waitrose magazine - and then promptly changed a few ingredients to put my own twist on it.

Dinner was rather late tonight. I need to learn to either keep slow cooked things for the weekend or the slow cooker ...

There wasn't much to the meat really - it was a piece of belly pork (approx 1kg) with the rib removed from underneath and the skin well scored. I rubbed in a little oil, followed by about 4 > 5 generous teaspoons of Sainsbury's Jerk seasoning.

I then cooked the meat at 220deg C fan with skin side down for 30 mins. Turn over and cook at 150deg C for 80 minutes. Turn over again and do a final 20 mins or so at 220deg C to get the cracking good and crispy.

I cooked the rice in my electric pressure cooker, at pressure for 7 minutes.

 1 cup of washed rice, 1 cup of water and 3/4 cup of coconut milk. When ready, I stirred in 1 cup of cooked garden peas.

The sauce was the exciting thing. I just poured a little over the top. It's thick and rich and would work amazingly well as a dipping sauce or in sandwiches or wraps. Due to the ingredients, it should easily keep for a couple of months in the refrigerator. I'll definitely be making and bottling some of this for presents this Christmas.

The recipe below makes a good amount. Enough to serve with the meat and about half let over :-)


250g tomato ketchup (I used Heinz)
2 generous tablespoons of honey
2 generous table spoons of black treacle
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp garlic granules
TWO (just two) drops of Dave's Insanity Sauce  - darn hot chilli sauce !

If you don't have Insanity Sauce, use tabasco to taste.

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan. Add approx 100ml of water and stir well. Bring to a simmer for about 5 mins until thickened. 

Either use hot on pulled pork or similar - or refrigerate and use as you would tomato sauce.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Blueberry Financiers - Pretty Little French Almond Teacakes

If you have never before eaten a financier, you don't know what you are missing !

These are actually quite simple to make. They have a shocking amount of butter, which when browned, makes them very luxurious with a rich nutty taste. Highly calorific too I'm afraid .... that's the bad bit.

For these financiers, I used our 12 cell sponge finger silicone bakeware mould.

I sprayed the inside with a little cake release spray and rubbed it in to the corners before pouring in the batter


70g ground almonds
105g icing sugar
35g flour
92g of salted butter - that way I needn't bother adding salt !
92g of egg whites (that worked out exactly on 3 eggs)
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
small double handful of fresh blueberries

Preheat fan oven to 230deg C

Brown the butter to a nut brown.

Sift the dry ingredients together and mix in the egg whites and vanilla. I used an electric hand held mixer. Add the hot butter, mixing in quickly followed by the blueberries in the last few strokes.

Cook in the oven for 5 mins, then turn down the heat to 200deg C. Cook for a further 5 mins. Turn the oven off and leave for 4 mins more before removing from the oven.

I dusted the tops with some icing sugar as soon as they came out the oven for some nice sugary tops.

Allow to cool until about hand hot before releasing from the moulds.

These are actually best served the next day. They seem to mature when left overnight

Happy Baking !

Sarah-Jane Nash - July 2012 - - silicone bakeware molds / moulds

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Butterfly Cupcakes in Edible Wrappers (Using Chocolate Transfers)

I've not done much baking recently and the blog has got rather out of date. The weather has been really humid and it's been too hot to want to bake out of choice even in the evenings. Saying that, I've still got some backlogged things that were photographed a few weeks ago yet to go on the blog !

This week, we've got a nice selection of chocolate transfer sheets come into stock and of course, I HAD to play with some. The range we have available will be extended in the next couple of months.

You can find them here.
Chocolate transfer sheets are such good fun :-)

I decided to make some cupcake wrappers using chocolate transfer sheets.  Chocolate transfer sheets are basically an edible buttercream coating on a plastic backing sheet. Simply spread on your tempered chocolate (see blog post here about tempering)

I used a cupcake wrapper as a template, taped on to a transfer sheet and cut the transfer sheet to size, leaving a few mm extra as an overlap. If you don't have any, use google - stack of printable templates out there.

Have some cupcake wrappers made up ready - as if to accept a cake.Spread your chocolate over the cut out chocolate transfer sheet. As soon as the chocolate is starting to crystalise  - but still soft and flexible - (taking on a slightly matt finish), carefully lift the transfer piece and pop it inside a cupcake wrapper. The cupcake wrapper will hold it in position until it sets. Pop in the fridge for about 15 minutes to properly harden.

When ready to use, remove the plastic backing film. The transfer will now be on the chocolate wrapper. Pop a freshly baked and totally cooled cupcake (without paper case on !) inside your chocolate wrapper, then frost as normal with buttercream.

These chocolate cakes shown are made using my FAVOURITE chocolate cake recipe and you can find it here

The chocolate butterflies were made by piping tempered chocolate over a hand drawn butterfly pattern. I did each wing separate. Once hardened, prop up one wing against the other and join by piping a couple of lines of chocolate between the two. 

Easy and quick decorations that taste great too :-)

Spent a lovely afternoon with my friend Victoria today doing some chocolate making whilst out kids had great fun playing and dressing up and then demolishing what we made.

Here is Emma dressed as a mermaid and Oliver as a ballerina popstar doctor !

The terrible twosome checking the fridge to see if the chocolate dinosaurs are ready yet.....

Did I say DINOSAURS ? Yes - we've got a whole new collection of silicone chocolate moulds about to launch in the next two weeks which have been designed by yours truly. Look out for my next blog entry for some sneak previews.

Have a great weekend

Sarah-Jane Nash,   7th July 2012

Sunday, 1 July 2012

White Chocolate and Lemon Layer Cake - Clandestine Cake Club

Last night (25th June) was my first Clandestine Cake Club meeting. It's been highly publicised in the UK over the last few months. The club was founded by Lynn Hill in 2010 and there are now clubs in several countries.

 Basically, it's a cake club where members meet at a location only disclosed just before the date to share bountiful amounts of cake. Each member takes a cake to share - it can't be cupcakes, or brownies, pies or tarts. It has to be a "proper" cake. What's left, everyone shares to take home.

I made the white chocolate and lemon layer cake pictured above That meant that last night it was cake for dinner. JUST CAKE. I think I managed about 3 pieces !

All in, there were around 18 cakes on the table and about 25 people (members and guests) present. I got quite a number of photos - but unfortunately not photos of everything. Quite and achievement by Beccy the new area organiser.

What cake is left over, gets divided up, shared out and taken home. 

Oliver had cake for breakfast. During the day at work for cake there was lunch too. Oops ! I think my brain is in cake over-ride. There was STILL cake left over and it got passed on to another company near by..

By the time I show you the photos I do have, I think this could be a really long post !

The theme was Jubilee - something traditional, something sparkly or something red, white and blue.

Lucy made this lovely maple and pecan cake. I'd love her recipe. Just the right amount of nuts and the classic maple hit without being too overpowering.

Frances made a Victoria Sponge, topped with a flag of berries. Can you BELIEVE that this is the first cake she's ever baked ? Very well done.

Penmy made this enormous meringue cake. It was massive and very impressive to look at. The outside was meringue, inside was cake. I'm sad to say - I don't think I tried this one.

Beccy's Raspberry Ripple Layer Cake .

I brought a bit of that back. Richard in the office ate it. Looked yummy !

They all looked scrummy- was impossible to get round for a close look at everything ! This photo is the other end of the table. I can see (clockwise) carrot cake top left, followed by raspberry ripple, cherry and coconut, layer cake of some description that was red, white and blue inside, something with raspberries, blueberries and cream cheese frosting and mine...

This was a sponge cake made a bit like a Battenburg, but so that it sliced like a Union Jack flag inside. Looked really tricky to assemble. Sliced it looked really fancy ! Oliver was right to the box in the fridge this am and picked this out for breakfast. I'd brought home a full width slice of this AND the flag.

Ssssh - don't tell. I know cake isn't meant for breakfast - but as a one off occasion, why not.

This is the other end of the table... and there photos were whilst people and cakes were still arriving ! Nothing had been cut at this point.

I can spot lemon drizzle cake at 11 o'clock and I think that's banana cake top right. Somewhere, there was a chocolate cola cake too.


I used the same recipe as I did in October for Oliver's rainbow cake, but instead split it into 3 layers rather than 6 layers.

225g salted butter
400g caster sugar
5 egg whites
2tsp vanilla extract
400g self raising flour (sifted)
30g cornflour
350g luke warm milk

Weigh your mixing bowl.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg whites followed by some of the flours, then some milk, more flour, more milk and vanilla until all incorporated.

Divide the mix equally into 3 bowls. 

Add a lots of gel paste food colouring to each until a very vibrant colour is achieved. I used yellow for two layers and left one layer white.

When you are finished, allow a little helper to scrape out the bowl !

Butter and flour (or grease and line) an 8" diameter silicone baking mould or standard tin for each bowl of mix. I made two cakes at a time. These cooked at 170deg C fan for about 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the filling, I made up some buttercream from salted butter, icing sugar and homemade lemon curd, with a couple of tablespoons of boiling water. Sorry - I didn't weigh it out !

This was mine with the layers stacked, filled and in the process of being buttercream coated.. Still had a bit of smoothing out to do.

The band round the cake is made from white chocolate on chocolate transfer sheets - pretty and 100% edible.

The chocolate transfer comes on an acetate sheet - about A4 size. Cut it to the size you require. I needed a really long band to go right round my cake, so had to match up the design and tape the join on the reverse with sticky tape.

You'll see there was a little bit of damage to this chocolate sheet which is why I had never got round to using it previously. It WAS just a tiny bit at the bottom though, and was so minor that it really wasn't noticable at the bottom of the cake. Unfortunately, I did not have enough sheeting to be able to discard that bit entirely...

The good news is that we'll be stocking chocolate transfer sheets in the very near future - in a variety of designs !

Turn your sheet so that the smooth side is down / textured side with the print on is facing up.

Spread over tempered chocolate. When you've smoothed it out and are happy with it, slide a knife blade underneath it and carefully move the transfer to a clear and clean piece of workspace. This gets rid of all the excess chocolate that is over the sides of the sheet. Wait a couple / few minutes until it is just beginning to set / turn matt finish and whilst still soft but not wet, wrap it round your cake.

I'll warn you - the bigger the piece, the more awkward to work with !

Pop the cake into the fridge for about 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to fully harden. When you remove it, peel off the acetate sheet to leave the chocolate with printed design.

I decorated mine on top with white chocolate shavings and handmade white chocolate roses.

Happy Baking !