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Hello!

Hey, welcome to my blog!

I have, somewhat spontaneously, started this blog on the suggestion of a friend. In 2021, I started baking on a weekly basis, and uploading pictures of the finished products to my Instagram story, so that I had a record of what I’d made.

Now I’m taking it a step further, with this little blog! I’m not sure what I will use it for just yet, but it will involve documenting my bakes, perhaps my thoughts on where they’ve gone wrong (as they normally do!), and how I could adapt/improve them in the future.

For now, I’ll be sticking pretty religiously to pre-existing recipes, but will quote where I have found these from.

I hope you enjoy reading about my bakes.

Jo x

Berry and white chocolate sandwich cookies

I saw these on the BBC good food social media feeds, and the day after made them!

Another really simple recipe- a basic chocolate chip cookie dough, although I used dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate.

I made these in a bit of a rush, so they cookies weren’t identical or round! In future, I’ll weigh the dough to ensure they are equal, and maybe use a spoon to ensure they are round.

Once the cookies are cool, I sandwiched them together. The filling is raspberry jam with a load of grated white chocolate, but somehow is not too sweet! The tart raspberries really cut through, although I’d like to find a way to make this more prominent.

My colleagues loved these! They were absolutely giant, but deserved after a particularly busy Monday. I’m hoping to make again very soon, when I’ve got a bit more time, so that they look a bit more refined.

Chocolate orange cupcakes

I found a cupcake recipe book which I bought years ago, and had a flick through. I’ve actually not made many of the cakes from the book so gave these chocolate orange ones a go!

I didn’t have brown sugar as the revipe called for, but just used white caster.

The orange flavour comes from the zest of an orange and 160ml of juice – I got most of this from the orange itself but had to top up with some carton juice. There was also melted dark chocolate and cocoa powder in the batter. The orange flavour is fairly subtle – I perhaps needed more zest.

The top is just a round of fondant stuck on with marmalade, which I’ve never done before even though it’s very simple! I had some fondant left over from Christmas cake decorating so I could use that. The recipe called for blue food colouring but I only had yellow, so I decided to die the icing a pale yellow.

The cakes are lovely and moist, and the flavours are balanced. Definitely a recipe to repeat – I’d like to try it with buttercream instead of fondant!

Bread

I entertained some friends last night as a low key late birthday celebration. I’d gone and done a big shop and the supermarket had no fresh bread!

I got home and decided to make my own, as I’d got all the ingredients. I have made bread before, so it didn’t phase me, but I hadn’t done it for a while and I’ve had a few failures with bread in the past!

I just followed a basic recipe, but switched about 100g of the white bread flour for wholemeal which had been sat in the back of the cupboard. I think it worked quite well, adding a bit of extra flavour.

My knife wasn’t really sharp enough to do the scores properly on the top, which was a shame.

I got some really nice comments from my friends, so overall I think it was a resounding success.

Banana and tahini traybake

I had a load of bananas left over from last week, and a jar of tahini that has been sitting in my fridge for quite a while! So I found this lovely recipe on BBC Good Food.

It was a very easy batter to make, although I did forget to add sesame seeds to it before baking – forgetting an ingredient is a theme with me! However, there was tahini in the batter, so the sesame taste was still enough.

The buttercream was a standard buttercream, with a couple of tablespoons of tahini mixed in. I was so pleased with the buttercream, as I often have issues ensuring it is the right consistency! I trialled beating the butter first, before adding the icing sugar, which I think worked well. It was very easy to spread over the cake. Clearly the appearance isn’t the greatest, so I should maybe have piped it, but I needed to finish it in a hurry!

Instead of chocolate chips (I didn’t have any), I added some dark chocolate shavings. I needed to add more, as you couldn’t really taste it.

The texture and taste were lovely. It was really balanced with the sweetness and the sesame taste, so nothing was too overpowering.

Bake off chocolate cake

Happy birthday to me!

I celebrated my birthday this week, and was given a couple of 20cm round cake tins. I’d been planning on making a birthday cake to share with my colleagues on Monday anyway, but I knew I had no excuse with the tins!

I had a look in the Bake off book ‘Love to Bake’ and found the chocolate cake recipe inspired by the opening credits. It looked fairly simple, and didn’t require loads of ingredients. Since I started watching Bake Off, I’ve always wanted to have a go at making the cake, so I went for it!

The cake batter worked liked any other cake batter, apart from mixing the cocoa powder with boiled water and adding this in at the end of the process. A few hours later I realised I’d actually forgotten to add whole milk to the batter like the recipe asked for, but the cakes still looked okay when I took them out the oven.

I was pleased that the cakes had risen, as a few weeks ago I made a similar size cake which didn’t rise at all. I think I was just more careful throughout the process, and took my time.

The cake is sandwiched and covered by a chocolate ganache, but I’ve also added a layer of raspberry jam, to pair with the raspberries which will go on the top.

I’m really happy with the way the decoration turned out! I was a bit nervous about making the ganache the right consistency and ensuring it didn’t look a mess, but I’m pleased with my efforts. I don’t have a palette knife or cake lifter, so I had to ice straight onto the bottom of the tin I will use to carry the cake (hence the smears of ganache round the side). I could have used more fresh fruit to top, but as it isn’t in season it is quite expensive at the minute. I decided to add blackberries too, just for some variety.

Let’s see what my colleagues think about this tomorrow – they are chocoholics so hopefully they like it!

St Clement’s Squares

I received the latest book from the Great British Bake Off for Christmas, and naturally had to use it for my first bakes of 2022. Titled ‘A bake for all seasons’, I turned straight to the winter chapter, and found what appeared to be a fairly straightforward bake.

It was a very simple bake – blitz up some shortbread, bake, whisk eggs and citrus zest together, top the shortbread and bake again.

The bake had to cool completely and then set in the fridge before cutting. I think mine needed a few extra minutes in the oven, and a bit more time in the fridge as they were messy and tricky to cut neatly.

The taste was nice, although the citrus topping was quite bitter (even thought it had a LOT of sugar in!!). But, when eaten together with the shortbread base, the bitterness balanced out.

Let’s see what my colleagues think of this when they try it this week!

I am fully aware that presentation skills need work – hoping that as I continue to bake this year, I will be able to refine the finished products.

If I were to repeat, I might replace one of the lemons with an extra orange to reduce the bitterness. It would also be interesting to experiment with blood orange. I would also zest the fruit more finely, to avoid the large strips of peel that I ended up with.