The Crazy Kitchen: August 2013

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Friday 30 August 2013

Gin & Elderflower Muffins

Last week I had a bit of addiction according to my daughter "you used to be addicted to making muffins, and then it was cookies and then it was Hello Fresh and now back to muffins", and then she sighed like only a 10 year old girl can.

I don't think she was complaining about my muffin making addiction though as the batches of muffins disappeared from the tins before I could even make myself a cuppa. I knew there was only one thing for it, make muffins that the kids won't eat. There's not a lot that my kids won't eat but things with alcohol in is one of them - they can even tell if there's a hint of red wine in a casserole. I was sent some supplies to make cocktails and two of the ingredients were gin and elderflower cordial, a marriage made in heaven so I thought I would pair them up in a muffin and see how they tasted. I was really pleased how they turned out but unfortunately the husband was too and he was making the most of his sugar levels being in the normal range. If you prefer the taste of elderflower more than the gin I would recommend that you switch the quantities as they were quite strong!

gin and elderflower muffins

Gin & Elderflower Muffins - makes 8

125g Plain flour
50g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
50ml vegetable oil
1 egg
50ml gin
25ml Elderflower cordial

  • Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together
  • Beat the egg with the oil, gin & elderflower cordial
  • Mix the dry ingredients quickly into the wet until just mixed
  • Spoon into muffin cases
  • Bake in a 180 C oven for approx 20 minutes
  • For a syrupy topping mix equal parts gin, elderflower and sugar together & spoon over the muffins as soon as they come out of the oven
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack

Thursday 29 August 2013

Chocolate & Lime Cheesecake

What do you do when you drop a carton of cream cheese out of the fridge and it splits?
Make cheesecake of course.

I had also just made a litre of natural yoghurt so it was a perfect way to combine the 2 in a dessert for the weekend. I strained the yoghurt through a sieve lined with kitchen paper to remove any of the excess juice beforehand but you could use a thick set yoghurt or double cream instead.

    Chocolate & Lime Cheesecake

Chocolate & Lime Cheesecake

1 litre of natural yoghurt (or use 600ml lightly whipped double cream)
250g Digestive biscuits
25g Cocoa powder
85g butter, melted
1 block of Lime jelly
300g full fat cream cheese
100ml boiling water
  • Strain the excess liquid from the yoghurt as mentioned above & discard the liquid
  • In the meantime crush the biscuits until they are a fine crumb
  • Stir in the cocoa powder and melted butter and mix well
  • Press into the base of a loose bottomed or springform cake tin & refrigerate
  • Stir the block of jelly into the boiling water until dissolved & allow to cool
  • Beat the cream cheese gradually into the yoghurt & stir in the cooled jelly
  • Pour onto the base and place in the fridge for around 4 hours until set
  • Decorate with cocoa powder or melted chocolate

Wednesday 28 August 2013

The Great Bloggers Bake Off - Week 2 - Brioche

Week 2 of the Great British Bake Off is here and the theme is bread. The smell of freshly baked bread is one of the best smells. the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns is even better. I've made quite a lot of bread myself, mostly in a breadmaker but more recently I've been using my Kitchen Aid mixer to knead the dough and have made bloomers and french sticks using Mr Hollywood's recipes from his 'Bread' book. The main thing to remember when making bread is that it can't be rushed. If you become impatient and don't leave to prove for long enough the bread won't be soft and light. Often you need to prove the dough twice and recipes can take as long as 7 or 8 hours to make from start to finish.

I spotted a recipe for brioche in the book a while ago so thought I would give it a try this week as I've never made it before. I did expect it to be similar to making other bread and was surprised that the mixture resembled cake batter at one point. I thought it had gone wrong and read the recipe over and over to make sure I'd added the correct quantities and very almost added some extra flour. I carried on though, and I'm glad I did as it turned out just fine in the end - you just need a little patience. If you do try this recipe don't be put off by the consistency of the mixture, it will be fine in the end.

It's actually a very simple recipe that doesn't involve all the usual kneading that comes with making other breads and you can make the dough one day and leave overnight to prove and bake the next if you're short of time.

Chocolate Orange Brioche

Chocolate and Orange Brioche

250g strong white bread flour
3g salt
30g caster sugar
5g dried yeast
80ml tepid milk
2 eggs, at room temperature
grated zest of 1 orange
juice of half an orange
130g butter, at room temperature
100g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
egg beaten with a little milk for the glaze

  • Put the flour in a food mixer fitted with a dough hook
  • Add the salt and sugar to one side & the yeast to the other
  • Add the milk, eggs, zest and juice and mix on a slow speed until fully combined
  • Turn up to a medium speed and mix for 4 minutes
  • Add the softened butter a little at a time and keep mixing for another 4 minutes
  • Add the chocolate and mix briefly

  • Tip the dough into a greased bowl, cover & chill for at least 5 hours
  • Once the dough has chilled tip it onto a floured surface and form into a sausage & cut into 8 pieces
  • Lightly roll the pieces into balls and place in a greased loaf tin,place in a large plastic bag and leave to prove for around 2 hours until the dough has risen above the rim of the tin
chocolate orange brioche

  • Brush the brioche lightly with the egg wash glaze and place in a 200C preheated oven for around 20-25 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean)
  • Leave in the tin for 5 minutes to cool before removing and leaving on a wire rack to cool
  • serve warm or cold

If you want to join in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off please take the time to read the rules below, link up your own recipe and show some comment love on the other entrants.

  • all recipes must be a new post and not an old one linked up
  • all recipes must fit the themes set by that week’s Great British Bake Off episode
  • all entries must carry the GBBO badge (designed by Annie – thank you)
  • all entries must also carry these links to Jenny and myself please  and
  • all entries must be linked up on either mine or Jenny Berry’s blog by 8pm each Sunday night (click on our GBBO badges to find the linky posts)
  • please tweet myself @jessies_kitchen and/or @JennyPaulin using the hashtag #GreatBloggersBakeOff and we will RT all entries that we see
Grab our button
and join in

We can't wait to see what you've baked!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

The Great Bloggers Bake Off - Week 1 Round-up

It's been a great first week of our challenge on the theme of CAKE, we've been overwhelmed with the support we've had and are truly grateful to everyone that has joined in and baked as well as tweeted, commented and shared posts.

First up was virgin baker Lianne aka GHD Queen with her luscious looking Strawberry & Vanilla Sandwich. Well done on your first bake Lianne, keep up the good work!

 photo GHDQueen_zps442051b1.jpg

Next we have another sandwich cake from Sarah at The Watts Family Begins, this time with raspberries added into the batter and elderflower and mascarpone into the cream and white chocolate fingers around the edge - look how fresh those raspberries are.

 photo RaspberryampElderflowerSpongeCake_zpsb761c999.jpg

If you like mint chocolate you will love the next entry from Munchies and Munchkins as it is another sandwich cake, this time infused with mint from the garden in the cake, buttercream filling and icing, and then decorated with chocolate leaves - very indulgent.

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The first Angel food cake linked up came from Cat at Yellow Days, and it was definitely a good one and would put some of the GBBO entrants to shame. Cat added orange & lemon juice to the cake and decorated it with fresh cream and home made orange curd to use up some of those yolks.

 photo orangeangelfoodcake_zps76ff3c89.jpg

The second Angel Food Cake comes from Aimee, Wallflower Girl, who has made a delicious looking cake, this time with the addition of poppy seeds and topped with a lemon icing.

Lemon Poppyseed Angel Food Cake

Jo from Jo's Kitchen made a delicious sounding rhubarb and custard sandwich cake, topped with pink & green icing which she also used on 'gender reveal cupcakes' - you'll have to visit her sister blog to find out whether it's a boy or a girl though!

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Gill from Pigling Bland has made, in her words, a very retro looking angel food cake. Like myself she topped hers off with lemon curd, but unlike me she made her own!

 photo AngelFoodCakewithLemonCurd_zpsfeea944a.jpg

Next up we have another sandwich cake from Chloe at Vanilla Stitches, this time it's decorated with very impressive looking pink and white piped roses as well as a very clever hidden marzipan heart through the middle of the cake. 

 photo RoseHeartCake_zps2f5dd157.jpg

Now I do love these mini sandwich cakes from Blue at Bluebirdsunshine, filled with Delia's passionfruit sponge filling - I wonder if I could fit one of those in my mouth whole!


Another lemon & poppyseed cake comes from Mary at Keynko, this time a sandwich cake and gluten free too! It looks delicious and I would never know that it was gluten free.

gluten free lemon and poppyseed

Our second chocolate cake this week comes from Emma at Helvetia. Emma describes the cake as a little messy looking. In my opinion there is absolutely nothing messy looking about a cake sitting in a sea of chocolate - apart from my face after I've devoured it!

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Another delicious looking white chocolate and raspberry combination came in the form of a Raspberry Ripple sandwich cake with white chocolate ganache from Mummy Makes Cakes, very luxurious looking.

 photo Raspberryripplesandwichcakeampwhitechocolateganache_zps0ab29da0.jpg

The further I get down this post the hungrier I get and this is one cake I wouldn't mind a slice of right now with it's delicious mascarpone, cream & blueberry filling courtesy of Denise from Snaffle's Mummy.

 photo BlueberryampAlmondCake_zps2f23fa22.jpg

Next up, from my old mate Julia, a wannabe foodie , is a sandwich cake / angel food cake kind of combination - with light (butter free) sponge sandwiched with lemon syrup and curd and slathered in meringue - delicious!

Lemon Meringue (Sandwich) cake

Another rose infused cake is from Helen at The Good Life Mum, but this time it's an Angel Food Cake, and decorated with beautiful white chocolate ganache swirls and rose petals.

 photo ElderflowerAngelcakewithRoseinfusedwhiteganachecream_zps4be07a4e.jpg

Another delicious chocolate sandwich cake was made by Emma at Cakes and Scribbles, sandwiched with both chocolate icing and chocolate cream. Emma says it's one of the best cakes she's ever made - we hope she's got the baking bug now!

Chocolate Cream Sandwich Cake

Andrea from All you need is love & cake jumped in at the deep end in this first week and made an Angel Food cake topped with white chocolate cream and summer berries. If this is only half of Mary Berry's recipe it's hard to imagine how big the 10 egg version would be!

 photo AngelFoodCakewithSummerBerries_zps754d8444.jpg

After watching The Great British Bake Off with her mum, 10 year old Miss Frugal from The Diary of a Frugal Family made this very impressive looking chocolate sandwich cake topped with chocolate chips. Well done Miss Frugal.

 photo chocolateVictoriaSponge_zpsf4e1505c.png

Jennifer from Jennifer's Little World took on the challenge with her children, and for their Summer theme day made a very colourful underwater Victoria sponge with fondant fish.
 photo UndertheSeaVictoriaSponge_zpsb88457de.jpg

Plans for a chocolate show stopper didn't quite go to plan for Debs from Super Busy Mum when she realised that she hadn't added the cocoa powder to her sponges..she didn't let that stop her though and instead made a delicious Victoria sponge with raspberry jam and whipped cream.
 photo Victoriasponge_zps5fded1b2.png

Nikki from Stressy Mummy would describe her Lemon Meringue sponge cake as 'a little messy', but I would have to disagree - the sponge layers are very neat and that is the biggest meringue I have ever seen on top of a cake! 

 photo LemonMeringueSpongeCake_zpsb6155441.png

I love nuts in cakes so this Walnut Buttermilk Blueberry cake from Multi Layer Mummy really appealed to me. Combined with whipped cream and blueberries it sounds like heaven on a plate.

 photo WalnutButtermilkBlueberryCake_zps777da718.jpg

Leanne from Little Life of Scrap was going to make a bannoffee sandwich cake but as it was her birthday her husband took over and made an impressive looking chocolate peanut butter chess cake for her, and it was only his 4th baking attempt ever - well done Mr Little Life of Scrap!

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Debbie from Johnson Babies was determined to try something other than her usual victoria sponge cake and made her husband drive her around looking for an Angel Food Cake tin. Alas she could only find Bundt tins and despite having a little trouble getting it out of the tin it turned out great, and she even made her own lemon curd!

 photo AngelFoodCakejohnsons_zpsdab8a603.jpg

Karin from Cafe Bebe is a Coeliac and therefore needs to follow a gluten free diet, which can made cake baking a bit of a challenge. Her Muddy Flourless chocolate cake looks & sounds delicious though and was a big hit with her daughter.

 photo MuddyFlourlessChocolateCake_zpsd7264ec8.jpg

Talented cake maker Angie from Cakes Photos Life  decided on a chocolate show stopper  for this week's challenge and it really is a show stopper covered in chocolate paste and topped with white chocolate buttercream and decorations made from more chocolate paste. 

 photo ChocolateTruffleCake_zpsc0a37e66.jpg

Sarah from Sarah's Wacky World had never made a Victoria sponge before and made an excellent job, with some great looking sponges!

 photo VictoriaSandwichsarah_zpsba0484aa.jpg

If you're watching your waistline then Rebecca from Here Come The Girls has the perfect cake for you..calorie free sponge cake...made from actual sponge, yes the kind that you have in your bath!

 photo SpongeCakemadeofsponge_zps3aa18ad5.jpg

Bryony from Love Bryony has made one deliciously moist looking orange sponge cake sandwiched and covered in a white chocolate & creme fraiche frosting

 photo orangeandwhitechocolatecake_zpscd7db365.jpg

The final victoria sponge of the week comes from Mrs C (Being Mrs C) who may possibly have used jam that was just too posh for her perfect sponges making the filling slide out - but we donb't cake about formalities like that - it all goes down the same way. 

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An extremely impressive looking chocolate show stopper was provided by Nickki at Cookies Cakes & Bakes, with a lace chocolate collar and topped with some popular chocolates.

 photo httpcookiescakesandbakeswordpresscom20130825chocolate-overload-cake_zps4c48abd1.jpg

The last, but by no means least, Angel Food Cake, is from Lindsay at Baking, Making & Crafting, who will admit to having a little crumb in her cream, personally I don't see any problem with that, it all goes down the same way.

 photo MARYrsquoSANGELFOODCAKE_zps74f56ab2.jpg

Something a little different was made by Emma at Crazy With Twins who made cupcakes inspired by a Victoria Sponge, and filled the centres with buttercream and jam.

 photo Victoriaspongeinspiredcupcakes_zpse6c4873b.jpg

There may have been a few more entries but unfortunately myself and Jenny aren't allowed to enter the linky challenge, but please don't let that stop you looking!

Anyway, the important part of the proceedings has arrived and myself and Jenny have had much difficulty deciding who would be our very first Star Baker.

We have been overwhelmed by all the entries, especially by those that have never baked a cake before and those that have never made an Angel Food Cake before, and especially 10 year old Miss Frugal and Leanne's husband who made her a fab birthday cake.

After much deliberation we have decided that Helen from The Goodlife Mum would be our Star Baker for week 1 with her elderflower and rose infused angel food cake, topped with gorgeous piped white chocolate roses.

Well done Helen, we will send you a special Star Baker badge to wear with pride on your blog!

Please go and show our #GreatBloggersBakeOff bakers some comment love, I'm sure they will appreciate it.

The next theme is bread and you will find the linky on here and my partner in crime Jenny Berry's blog which you will find here. The linky will open tomorrow and close at 8pm on Sunday and the round up will be on next Tuesday over on Jenny's blog.

Saturday 24 August 2013

Rhubarb and Custard Sandwich Cake

We've had loads of support over the last few days with mine and Jenny's Great Bloggers Bake Off and there are some fabulous entries so far. You can find them all on our Pinterest board:

The last of our Angel food cake was eaten yesterday and as my brother and sister in law are visiting tomorrow I thought it would be nice to bake a cake to enjoy with a cuppa. I had made some rhubarb jam earlier in the week for a rhubarb cake that I was going to make after Great British Bake Off, but I opted for the angel food cake instead. I still really wanted to make the rhubarb and custard cake so this was a good excuse.

It's probably best to make the jam in advance and allow to chill in the fridge at least overnight.

I decided to try out one of the most popular victoria sandwich recipes so far in the challenge - 200g butter, 200g sugar, 200g flour & 4 eggs and added some ground almonds into the flour. Unfortunately (for my brother) the cake was very good so there may only be half of it left for our visitors, whoops!

rhubarb and custard sandwich cake

Rhubarb and Custard Sandwich Cake

200g Stork for baking
200g Caster sugar
4 Eggs
175g self raising flour
25g Ground almonds

250g Rhubarb, sliced into 2cm pieces
100g Caster sugar
vanilla pod

100g Butter, softened
75g pack of instant custard
125g Icing sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Place all the jam ingredients in a pan and bring slowly to the boil
  • Simmer for around 20 minutes until thickened
  • Pour into a sterilised jar until ready to use- you can leave the vanilla pod in
  • Beat the Stork (or butter) and sugar together until pale & creamy
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time
  • Fold in the flour and almonds
  • Divide between 2 sandwich tins greased & lined with baking paper
  • Bake in a 180 C oven for 20 minutes
  • Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out & cooling on a wire rack
  • Make the buttercream by beating all of the ingredients together until pale, smooth and creamy
  • Sandwich the cakes together with the jam (as much or as little as you want - make sure you save some to go on your crumpets!) and buttercream

rhubarb and custard sandwich cake rhubarb and custard sandwich cake


Wednesday 21 August 2013

The Great Bloggers Bake Off - Week 1 - Angel Food Cake

So now we've all seen how to do it, or rather  how not to do it (make sure you know your salt from your sugar), it's time to grab your pinny and get baking.

You have 3 options this week :

  • Sandwich Cake
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Chocolate Show Stopper
There are plenty of cakes that will fit into these categories and we're hoping to see some fabulous creations. If you're not used to baking I would suggest starting with a simple Victoria Sponge - I have a recipe here, and Jenny has a slightly different one here.

You can add different flavours to either the cake or the filling. You can go with the traditional jam and cream or try a buttercream. Whichever way you choose to make it remember that this challenge is all about having a bit of fun as well as maybe picking up a few tips along the way - and possibly learning from our mistakes.

We can't all be perfect on our first attempt, or even 2nd, third or fourth, and I know I've had plenty of sunken cakes in my time - one of my best sunken cakes was this Triple Layer Chocolate Fudge Caramel Cake. I never cried and collapsed into a heap when it sank, I used it as an opportunity to fill the cavity with extra caramel sauce and Rolos. I can assure you that nobody noticed the dip in the cake once they were tucking in.  I believe that if you can follow instructions and you have the right equipment you can bake a cake - although there are some of you that would beg to differ (you know who you are!).

The Great Bloggers Bake Off can also be used to challenge ourselves and try out something that we've never tried before. We are all here to help each other and share our tips of what worked and what didn't.

I was going to make another Victoria Sandwich with different flavours but at the last minute decided that I would attempt an Angel Food Cake as I've never made one before. After watching the show I was a little apprehensive to say the least but I don't think having full instructions helped the contestants in any way, and actually it's a lot easier than it looked. I used a recipe found on the goodtoknow website & adjusted quantities slightly. It takes time and a little patience so make sure you have plenty of both.

Angel Food Cake

So why not challenge yourself and bake something new. You don't need to join in every week, but if you join in a minimum of 6 of the challenges you will be in with a chance of winning some great prizes at the end in our draw - more details on that to come soon. 

Although it's all for a bit of fun we do have to have a few rules which you can find at the bottom of this post along with the linky to link up your own recipes. The linky can also be found on my co-host's blog - the lovely Jenny Berry (I'm Helen Hollywood due to the blue eyes and because I'm the younger one *cough*).

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake

115g Plain flour
75g Icing sugar
6 Egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
185g Caster sugar


335g granulated sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
2 egg whites

Tin : I used a 9" springform pan with a ring insert - you could use a bundt tin or a ring tin

  • Sift the flour and icing sugar together & make sure they are well mixed.
  • Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff
  • Whisk in the caster sugar gradually, a spoonful at a time.
  • Gradually sift in the flour & sugar mixture, folding in between each addition using a large metal spoon.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tin (I greased the tin very lightly on the bottom, not the sides)
  • Bake in a 180 C oven for 30 minutes (if you increase the quantities you will need to increase the cooking time) until the cake is firm to the touch
  • Remove the cake from the oven and invert the tin onto a wire rack & leave to cool completely
  • Once cool slide a knife around the sides of the tin & ease the cake out
  • To make the frosting pour 200ml of water into a saucepan
  • Add the sugar & cream of tartar
  • Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved & then increase the heat & boil rapidly for around 10 minutes, until the temperature reaches 114 C (I used a meat thermometer!)
  • Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff
  • Pour the syrup slowly into the egg whites with the motor of the mixer still running until it has all been added and the frosting forms stiff peaks
  • Decorate the cake as desired - I added fresh strawberries and lemon curd thinned with a little water
    Angel Food Cake Angel Food Cake

Now for the boring part....

  • all recipes must be a new post and not an old one linked up
  • all recipes must fit the themes set by that week’s Great British Bake Off episode
  • all entries must carry the GBBO badge (designed by Annie – thank you)
  • all entries must also carry these links to Jenny and myself please  and
  • all entries must be linked up on either mine or Jenny Berry’s blog by 8pm each Sunday night (click on our GBBO badges to find the linky posts)
  • please tweet myself @jessies_kitchen and/or @JennyPaulin using the hashtag #GreatBloggersBakeOff and we will RT all entries that we see
Grab our button
and join in

We can't wait to see what you've baked!

Monday 19 August 2013

Great Bloggers Bake Off and a Victoria Sponge

Anyone that is a lover of cakes, pastries, bread and other baked goods would probably know that The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens tomorrow night (Tuesday). As a bit of fun, myself and my lovely cake twin Jenny at Mummy Mishaps are hosting a Great Bloggers Bake Off (all credit to Jenny as it was her genius idea) throughout the series.

The plan is for anyone that wants to join in to blog a recipe that fits in with the challenges set in that week's show. A linky will be opened up on a Wednesday for you to enter your post before it closes on Sunday evening. Each week we will post a round up of all the valid entries and choose a winner who will get to wear a prestigious badge on their blog, whoop whoop!

Word on the street is that this week's bakes will include a sandwich sponge, Angel cake and chocolate so to celebrate the start of our Great Bloggers Bake Off I've made a Victoria Sponge.

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge

175g Butter (I use Stork for baking)
175g Caster sugar
3 Eggs
175g Self Raising flour

100g Butter, softened
200g Icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
Jam - I used my favourite Bonne Maman raspberry conserve

  • Beat the butter and sugar until it's light & creamy
  • Beat the eggs in one at a time
  • Fold in the flour
  • Divide the mixture between two 8" greased sandwich tins lined with a piece of baking paper at the bottom
  • Bake in a preheated 180 C oven for 20 minutes, until the top is springy
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely
  • In the meantime make the icing by beating the butter, milk and half the icing sugar together until pale and creamy
  • Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat again - the advantage of using a stand mixer is that you can get the buttercream to be very pale and creamy without any effort
  • Sandwich the 2 cakes together with the buttercream and jam - for a neater finish I like to pipe my buttercream on

Victoria Sponge
Victoria Sponge Victoria Sponge

Don't forget to go over and visit Jenny on Wednesday and get baking and link up - there may even be a prize at the end of the series!


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