About MissCakeBaker

I spend the week running in heels and the weekends in my apron.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Vanilla Heirloom Sugar Cookies




I was sent a copy of Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever to review. I love vanilla - vanilla ice-cream, a candle I have which contains bourbon vanilla, the smell on opening a jar of vanilla sugar..... - so I was pleased to have the chance to try out a recipe from a book dedicated to the black pod. 

The book covers everything from breakfasts to drinks with the expected cakes and cookies in between. It is an American book so the measures are in cups, although I find this a lot easier than having to get the scales out. Some of the breakfast recipes were a little too on the sweet side for me so I went for these cookies, which are an old family recipe of the author's grandma. They are the type of slightly plain but very moreish biscuits it's nice to have in a tin for lazy days like today.

Heirloom Vanilla Sugar Cookies

2.5 cups plain flour
1/2 tspn bicarb of soda
1/2 ten cream of tartar
1/4 tpsn salt
1/2  cup veg oil
1 large egg, at room temp
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tpsns vanilla extract
1/4 cup vanilla sugar

Preheat oven 180c F. Line 2 baking sheets with paper.

Large bowl - whisk flour, bicarb, cream of tartar and salt. Med bowl whisk oils and eggs.

In mixer, cream butter sugar, icing sugar and vanilla extract until fluffy and pale.  Reduce sped to low and grad beat in oil-egg mix till smooth. Slowly add dry ings until smooth. Makes a soft dough.

Roll dough into balls - about 2 tbspns each - and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Pour vanilla sugar onto a plate. dip a flat bottom drinking glass into vanilla sugar to coat and press into each ball to flatten to about 1/4 inch thick.

Bake 10-12 mins, rotating sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through, until pale golden and just beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before storing or serving.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Mallorcan Almond Cake


I spent  a week in a Mallorcan mountain village in July which was completely idyllic.  There was an abundance of local produce from the sweetest oranges I've ever had to almonds harvested a few months earlier.  The village had a lovely bakery to which we made regular visits. My favourite purchase was definitely this local cake.  

A search of the internet has brought up this recipe for Mallorcan Almond Cake. I think my version used grated orange as opposed to lemon zest. This is the perfect cake to have with a cup of tea to remind me of the sunny days of summer holidays.

The Recipe

Unsalted butter and plain flour or preparing cake tin
8 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 cups coarsely ground almonds


1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Butter an 11-inch round cake pan with 2-inch sides and then dust it with flour, shaking out any excess.

2. In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar an whisk together until smooth and foamy. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla, if using, and mix well. Add the ground almonds a little at a time, mixing well after each addition to incorporate fully.

3. Using a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Scoop about one-third of the whites onto the egg yolk mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold them in to lighten the mixture. Then add the remaining whites and fold them in gently but thoroughly, deflating the batter as little as possible.
4. Transfer the batter to the prepared tin Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and, holding the cake pan 6 inches above a countertop, drop the tin onto the counter. This simple dropping action shocks the cake, making it easier to remove from the pan.
5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan until warm. Run a knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake sides and then invert the cacke onto the rack and lift off the pan. Place the cake upright on a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream, if desired.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Southern Chocolate Mud Pie




I don't know where time has gone. I blame the Jubilee, Olympics, holidays, weekends away and myself for losing my baking mojo a little over the last few weeks. Anyway, in an attempt to redeem my lack of posts I thought I'd make something new and indulgent. Eric Lanlard's Southern Chocolate Mud Pie from his book 'Tart it Up' fits the bill nicely and is the perfect afternoon treat for this dreary drizzly South London Sunday.

This pie is delicious - oh so dense and moreish - perfect with a dollop of creme fraiche to counteract the sweetness.  It was the first time I'd make chocolate pastry and it was relatively easy and quick to do.  Eric has kindly let me reproduce his recipe here along with his photo of the finished article. As you can see my version wasn't quite as elegant but its taste more than made up for its looks. 

The Recipe


200g (7oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
175g (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
350g (11½oz) dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
4 tbsp pure cocoa powder
400ml (14fl oz) double cream
2 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
1 x blind-baked chocolate
shortcrust pastry case in a 25cm (10in) diameter, 6cm (2½in)
deep tart tin or ovenproof dish
500ml (17fl oz) whipping cream
3 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tsp finely grated dark chocolate

1. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.  Put to one side to cool.
2.  Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan 140°C)/325°F/gas mark 3. Cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy using an electric hand whisk or a freestanding mixer. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time on a low speed. Sift the cocoa powder and stir in, along with the cooled melted chocolate. Stir in the double cream and the chocolate extract, if using.  Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case and bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until just set. Leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.
3.  Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Whip the whipping cream and vanilla sugar to soft peaks. Pile on the top of the pie and sprinkle with the grated chocolate.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies




I think most people who baked as a child have a fond memory of licking the bowl clean after a cake had been made. This was of course in the days before Edwina Currie put paid to any raw egg antics and spoilt all the fun.


When I was recently asked if I would like to review The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis I was rather intrigued. A whole cookbook based on raw cookie dough - how does that work? Lindsay has basically taken the concept that, like me, most people enjoy the raw cake/cookie mix as much as the finished product and encorporated said raw mix (albeit egg free and thus Edwina friendly) into a whole host of recipes from cookies and cakes to truffles and French toast. In fact she pretty much covers the whole baking spectrum, all presented in a very user friendly bound book. 


I gave the Peanut Butter & Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies a go as I've been wanting to find a good recipe for them. This recipe is basically a peanut butter cookie base with a chocolate cookie dough topping. All measurements in the book are given in US cups - fine by me as cups measurers are so quick.  The cookie base was pretty straightforward.  It called for rolling the dough in sugar before baking but I didn't do this and don't think it ruined the cookies in any way.  The cookie dough topping also included some chocolate chips but I felt that the mixture was rich enough so left them out. 


The cookies turned out really well and are delicious. The cookie dough topping does make for an indulgent creation but I quite liked it. It is definitely a bit strange biting into the combination of cooked and uncooked dough but good nonetheless. While there are some recipes in the book which don't appeal to me personally (Cookie Dough Bread Pudding) there are plenty that do.  I plan on making the Cookie Dough Ice Cream and I think the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles would make a good alternative to the usual Christmas ones. 


The Recipe (as made by me)


For the cookies:
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Whole Earth)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tspn salt


For the cookie dough:
2 tbspns smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tspn salt
1 tbspn double cream
1 tspn vanilla extract


For topping:
Dark chocolate, melted


1. Preheat the oven to 180c.  Beat together the peanut butter, butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Slowly add the flour and bicarb and mix until the ingredients are incorporated and the dough comes together (I found it quite crumbly but it worked fine when I made it into balls for baking).


2.  Roll dough by the tablespoon into 1 inch balls.  Arrange on parchment lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Lightly press down the cookies using the back of a teaspoon or your thumb, slightly flattening the cookies and creating a small indentation. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until set.  Let cool for 1 minute, then further define the indentation in the centre of each cookie with the back of a teaspoon. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


3.  To prepare the filling, beat together the peanut butter, butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  Mix in flour, cocoa powder and salt on low speed.  Add cream and vanilla and beat until incorporated.  


4. Place 1 tspn of dough on each cooled cookie.  Drizzle with melted chocolate, if wished.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Bacon, Leek & New Potato Tart



I was trying to use up a mish mash of ingredients in the fridge and this tart was the result.  I love bacon and leeks together and I put in the anya potatoes as I didn't want them to go to waste. It was lovely warm with a watercress salad and zingy dressing.

The Recipe

1 quantity of spelt pastry
a few anya pototaes, cooked for about 5 minutes then sliced
1 leek sliced
a few rathers of bacon, sliced and fried or grilled
1 small tub of double cream
1 egg
a good handful of freshly grated parmesan
about 1/2 a log of goats cheese (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 175c.   Make up a quantity of spelt pastry and line a rectangular or circular tart tin (with removable base).

2. Place the potatoes, leek and bacon over the base of the tart.  Beat together the cream and egg and mix over the parmesan.  Pour over the other ingredients in the tart.  Crumble over the goats cheese and season with pepper.

3. Bake for around 20 minutes until the filling is firm and slightly browned.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Honey, Sultana & Cinnamon Cookies



Cookies are a bit like the no 52 bus to Victoria for me - you wait for ages for one then several come along at once. Well that's certainly what my cookie, or I should say biscuit, making is like.  They're just not something I make very often but I've made quite a few over the last few weeks. 


I saw the recipe for these super easy cookies on the back of a Doves Farm Spelt Flour packet.  I added in the sultanas as I have a half used bag in the bottom of the cupboard and I do prefer my healthier style cookies with a bit of fruit in them. The recipe can be found here - just throw a couple of handfuls of sultanas as you go.

They were lovely, soft cookies and felt reasonably healthy to boot.  This is my entry to this month's Alpha Bakes Challenge hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes, whose letter this month is 'H'.

Monday, 21 May 2012

A Triple Chocolate Cookie Challenge

When I received an email asking me if I'd like to review Domino's Triple Chocolate Cookies I'm not going to lie, I was more than a bit sceptical. It's one thing to get a takeaway pizza but takeaway cookies?  They did however suggest that I compare their cookies to my homemade version. At that point I thought why not and rather liked the challenge they'd set. I do have to admit at this point that I've never actually made triple chocolate cookies before but it was a good excuse to try out a new recipe.


I found said recipe on epicurious.com and it can be found here. I made the cookies before I ordered in the ones from Domino's. I went down the all American cookie route and made mine big and bold.  It was a pretty easy recipe and they tasted chocolately yet quite light.


Later that evening, I took the opportunity of Mr CB being away for the night to order in a rather nice pizza and cookie feast.  My verdict on the cookies? They were a lot smaller than I thought they would be but were pretty damn good.  They had a denser brownie like texture on breaking into them and had lovely gooey milk and white chocolate chips. What surprised me most was that they weren't too sweet.  I don't think I would go down the route of ordering in cookies but let's face it not everyone likes baking as much as I do.  If you are among the latter group then I would say go for it as you won't be disappointed.

My Triple Chocolate Cookies.....


Domino's Triple Chocolate Cookies.....