Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Shortbread


This recipe for shortbread (hardly a recipe, it's so simple) is my kids absolute favourite. I make it week in, week out and they devour it. They prefer it plain but you can add so many different flavourings to the mix. I like chopped nuts and a bit of cinnamon.
The children love rolling out the mix and cutting their favourite shapes. I really enjoy watching their little faces full of concentration and glee at each shape they produce. Some of the dough never makes the oven, it gets pulled, squished and thrown about, but that's all part of their fun!

Plain Shortbread:

125g cold butter cubed (I'm a big fan of Sainsbury's Unsalted English Butter at the moment)
55g caster sugar
180g plain flour
pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 170oc, 150oc fan oven.

Throw all the ingredients in the food processor and let your machine do the hard work. When the dough has come together into a ball you are ready to roll.

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface until it is about 1.5/2cms thick and then cut out whatever shapes you like.

Place the shapes on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 5-10 mins depending on your oven. The biscuits should be just turning golden around the edges.

Leave to cool for a few minutes on their trays and then carefully remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake


A friend of mine gave me this recipe and I had to make it purely out of curiosity. My little girl is a mayonnaise-aholic, very much like myself so the idea of a mayonnaise cake was certainly appealing.
The cake does have a different texture to any other that I have made, and to me it's best served like a pudding with some cream or icecream.

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake:

250 g self-raising flour
50 g cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
200 g golden caster sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
150 ml water
200 g mayonnaise
1 medium egg

Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4, butter and flour a 24 cm springform tin.

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl., then stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Add the vanilla, 150ml cold water, the mayo and egg. Mix until smooth.

Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Serve warm with berries and cream/crème fraîche for pudding, or allow the cake to cool completely and ice with fudge frosting and serve with tea.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Red Velvet Cupcakes


My husband bought me Jamie Oliver's America as a valentine's gift this year after listening to me ooing and ahhing over the tv series. I love the book, it's beautiful to look at without being over dressed which I love. The food is honest and beautiful in it's own rustic way.
I've always wanted to make red velvet cake so was really happy to see these cupcakes included in the book. The recipe is a very different way of making cakes to my norm and the method had me intrigued. They worked beautifully and I was struck by how light and airy the sponge was once baked.
My daughter decorated them with the frosting and coloured balls and she loved the colour of the sponge.
I'm going to have to graduate to a full size cake. Rachel Allen has included one in Bake or I might go searching the net for different recipes. I've been bitten by the velvet cake bug!
There's something really exciting about making recipes that are staples from a different country. Like dressing up, it's fun to try out a new style and even more fun when it suits you!