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Thursday, 28 April 2011

'That' Wedding Cupcakes!

Royal Wedding Crown Cupcakes 1842 R

Love it or loath it, there's no getting away from it. At least some of us got the day off! Cupcakes anyone?

Royal Wedding Crown cupcake 1883 R

Union Jack bunting 1857 R

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Ultimate Hot Cross Buns!

baked hot cross buns 1749 R

Hot cross buns are spiced, sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses, and are traditionally served on Good Friday.

hot cross buns proving 1741 R
Ready for baking

Even though I didn't like them as a child, I still loved the excitement of having them on Good Friday. Hot cross buns were something very special, with their beautiful spicy smell and sticky shiny top. I always had one, and laboriously picked out the raisins and pieces of mixed peel!

My version has dried cranberries and I've done something a bit clever with the mixed peel. Grinding it finely with the sugar gives the subtle flavour of the peel, but none of the ghastly lumpy bits that I hated. Add some lemon rind and a little spice, top with a sticky marmalade glaze and you'll have a glorious bun, worthy of a place on your Good Friday breakfast table!

split hot cross buns 1772 R

Hot Cross Buns with Dried Cranberries and Lemon

I make the dough in my bread machine, but you can use a mixer with a dough attachment, or do the kneading by hand. Only add enough milk to make a soft dough.

Bun dough
2 teaspoons dried yeast
400g strong white bread flour
25g unsalted butter
1 level teaspoon salt
1 large egg
Approximately 220ml semi skimmed milk (you may need slightly more or less)
100g dried cranberries - or use any dried fruit of your choice
Zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
25g cut mixed peel,
50g granulated sugar

1 egg for glazing, optional

For the crosses
1 tablespoon strong white bread flour
1-3 tablespoons water

For the sticky glaze
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon shredless marmalade (no peel)

In a grinder or blender, pulse the mixed peel with the sugar until it becomes fairly fine. this is optional, you can leave the peel finely chopped instead.

Put all the ingredients (not the second egg which is for glazing) into the bread machine, in the correct order for your machine. My machine has a raisin dispenser, but you can add the fruit on the final kneading if your machine doesn't have one.
When it comes to the milk, you may need slightly more or less, keep an eye on it and add as necessary to make a smooth, soft dough. I like to weigh the egg and then add the milk to come roughly to 270-280ml in total.

When dough is ready, divide it into 8 equal pieces and shape them into buns. Place onto a greased baking tray and leave to rise until doubled in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Brush the buns with a little beaten egg. For the crosses, mix the flour with a little water, adding more until you have a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a cross on each bun.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

While the buns are baking, put the sugar, water and marmalade into a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring until the marmalade has melted and you have a sticky syrup.

When the buns come out of the oven, remove them from the baking tray and place onto a wire cooling rack. Brush them with the warm syrup.

Serve warm or toasted with lots of butter.

hot cross bun, split 1760 R
Slather with butter while hot

I'm submitting this to YeastSpotting, which is a weekly showcase of yeasted baked goods and dishes with bread as a main ingredient. If you love baking with yeast, check out the beautiful breads and other yeast recipes here.

baked hot cross buns 1755 R

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Dr. Oetker Decorating Products

If you are as hopeless as me when it comes to decorating your cakes and biscuits, it might be time to check out the new decorating products from Dr. Oetker.

Dr Oetker baking supplies 1517 R

A few weeks ago I was sent some of the products to try and I was quite impressed with the range. From mini marshmallows to chocolate flavour writing icing in a tube, there are lots of new items to give your baked goods a bit of pizazz.

I adorned my cupcakes, baked in some very colourful fun baking cases, with the cute wafer daisies, They come in lovely subtle pale colours and would be great for decorating an Easter cake.

Mini flower cupcakes & cases 1704 R

You can't go wrong with chocolate hearts, the packets contain white and milk chocolate hearts and you just pop them out of the case to use.

chocolate hearts 1615 R 1 cake with chocolate hearts 1627 R

Icing in a pouch? Very clever, I'd not seen that before. The pouch comes with 4 different nozzles that screw onto the end of the bag, just squeeze and pipe. These are absolutely perfect for kids to use and have fun with, no mess and so easy! Not for very delicate piping though.

Dr. Oetker icing 1695 R

There are plenty more ideas including colourings, mixes, cute candles, icings & marzipans, plus baking ingredients on the Dr. Oetker website. There is also a Dr. Oetker Facebook page where you can upload your own baking creations and share decorating ideas.

Iced Easter egg biscuits 1689 R

With thanks to Sarah at Brando for Dr. Oetker

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fairy Hobmother Strikes Again! + Chocolate Meringue Cream Slice

Chocolate Meringue Cream Slice 1667 R

Oh yes! The appliance fairy has been seen flitting about the blogosphere recently granting all sorts of wishes, and now I've been lucky enough to get a visit!

After commenting on Helen's post at Fuss Free Flavours, I received an email from the Fairy Hobmother granting my wish, which was for a hand held electric mixer as mine was broken, and here it is!

Kenwook electric hand mixer 1639 R
Gorgeous eh?

Just in case you were wondering, I can reveal that the fairy can also be found at Appliances Online, who sell cookers and all kinds of other white goods.

The Fairy Hobmother could visit you too! As well as Helen who received a mixer, I have also seen granted wishes at Kavey Eats (pasta attachment) and Single Dad (washing machine). Your wishes don't have to be things that Appliances Online sell, they could be an appliance like my mixer!

Just leave a comment telling me what you would like and why, and your wish could be granted. If you are a tweeter, you can also tweet your wish, you must include these three twitter ID's in your tweet @cherrapeno @AppOnline @Ian_Goodall.

Good Luck!

And here's the dessert made with my new toy.

Chocolate Meringue Cream Slice1678 R

Chocolate Meringue Cream Slice
Adapted from Sainsbury's Cream Cakes & Gateaux.

Serves 8-10

125g/4 oz unsalted butter, softened
250g/8 oz caster sugar, divided
2 large eggs separated
75g/3 oz plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2½ tablespoons cocoa powder
90ml/3 fl oz milk
100g/4 oz flaked almonds
284ml/10 fl oz whipped double cream
50g/2 oz plain chocolate, melted

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF).

Cream the butter and half the sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa together and stir into the creamed mixture with the milk.

Mix thoroughly and spread thinly in a 20 x 30 cm (8" x 12") Swiss roll tin that has been lined with non-stick baking parchment.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whisk in the remaining sugar. Spread this meringue over the cake mixture and sprinkle with the almonds.

Bake for about 20 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool. Carefully remove from the tin and cut in half lengthways. I found it easier to cut right through the baking parchment. Take one half and turn it over onto a serving plate, the meringue should be on the bottom of the plate. Peel off the paper and spread with the whipped double cream.

Top with the remaining cake. This can be a bit tricky, I turned the cake over onto another piece of parchment and peeled off the paper. Then I lifted it up and quickly turned it back over, placing it onto the cream layer. The meringue should be on top.

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the meringue and serve.

whipped cream 1654 R Chocolate Meringue Cake cooling 1644 R

With thanks to Ian at Appliances Online.

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.