Hello blog! I have had that horrible feeling that something is missing for quite some time, and something has been missing, new blog posts! I can only apologise, baking unfortunately has to give way to university, jobs and moving flats, which all seemed to happen at the same time in the last month. So here’s a bit of a roundup of what’s been going on recently…(there’s quite a lot, stick with me!)
Like a lot of hobby bakers, I follow the big bakery companies on Facebook/Twitter/Websites, and as I was browsing/procrastinating I saw that some of them were hiring staff but needed several years experience. With the end of the academic year coming up I thought “why not have a look for other bakery jobs?” and I stumbled upon one which said they were looking for people with an interest in architecture or design. I didn’t think it could be any more perfect, so I sent in a bit of CV with some photos of some cakes, and a few weeks later I’m working in a bakery in Pimlico!
It’s a great little place, which has just opened and sells about 25 varieties of breads, the biggest croissants I’ve ever seen and a whole load of sweets and treats to tempt me. What’s more, they make and bake everything on site, and have amazing coffee too. Pretty much my first job on my first day was to put together these beautiful little rose meringues with whipped cream and crystallised rose petals for a special order. No pressure then! If anyone is in the area, it’s called Quartiers Bakery on Warwick Way, Pimlico. It’s open pretty much everyday from about 7 or 8 in the morning until 7 in the evening. www.quartiersbakery.com
Next up, moving flat! We are now all settled in our amazing “Friends style” flat. No one can quite get over how big our living room is and our bedrooms are equally spacious, win. The kitchenaid now has a new home!
The first thing I made in the new flat? Cookies! A “I just really feel like cookies” moment. They were based on a recipe for macadamia nut cookies, but we didn’t have any macadamias so used flaked almonds instead, and substituted glace ginger for mixed peel. Probably nothing like what was originally intended but really moreishly yummy!Makes about 30 cookies 125g butter or pure spread 2 tbsp golden syrup ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 tbsp boiling water 90g rolled oats 150g firmly packed brown sugar 65g flaked almonds, crushed 50g mixed peel
Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°c fan assisted. Grease two baking trays and line with greaseproof paper (optional, we didn’t have any so just greased them well.)
Combine butter and golden syrup in a medium saucepan, stir over a low heat until smooth.
Mix together soda and water and stir into butter. Mix in remaining ingredients.
Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place about 5cm apart on baking trays, flatten slightly. Bake about 15 minutes. Cool on trays.
And finally, when fellow flat mates say “(Cakey) Kate, can you make a cake please?” a coffee and chocolate loaf ticks a lot of boxes. You probably have these ingredients in the cupboard and it’s pretty easy to make. I made mine with Pure sunflower spread as I don’t have any Trex at the moment, I was a little worried about beating eggs into it and it did curdle a little, but don’t worry just put a spoonful of flour in the mix and turn the mixer up high. When things look like they’re curdling, just keep mixing. It will eventually come together and look less like baby sick and more like cake batter.
This one is straight out of Hummingbird’s Cake Days, with dairy free alternatives substituted:
Makes one loaf, enough for 8-10. 190g butter or pure spread 130g plain flour 190g soft light brown sugar 3 large eggs (although I used medium and seems to be ok) 60g cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking powder 20ml whole milk or dairy free substitute (I used almond milk) 1 tbsp strong coffee, cooled
Preheat oven to 170°C, 150°C fan assisted. Grease loaf tin and dust with flour.
Cream butter/spread with sugar in a mixer or with a handheld electric whisk until pale and fluffy. I would be cautious with spread as it is likely to split with lots of beating because of the water content in it, leave it mixing for a good few minutes but probably not as long as you would with butter. Add the eggs one at a time, or mix them together in a jug and add in a slow stream, and beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowls regularly.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together. Pour milk and the coffee into a jug and mix. Add the dry ingredients to the cake batter in two batches, alternating with the coffee milk. Mix well on a low speed and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Once all the ingredients are incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium until you get a smooth and even batter, then pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.
Place in oven and bake for approximately one hour or until the sponge is firm and a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, with no cake batter sticking to it. Allow it too cool in the tin for a while before turning it out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.
I’m not sure I cooked mine for long enough, as it deflated quite a lot once I took it out of the oven, and I forgot to move the shelf above it so it has some interesting lines on the top!