Monday, 28 July 2014

SRC: Butterscotch Brownies

Welcome to July's Secret Recipe Club Group D Reveal day! I love the Secret Recipe Club and look forward to reveal day every month. The concept is simple - each blog is assigned another blog in secret and the idea is that you choose a recipe to make from your secret blog and reveal it on the same day. It's a great way to discover new blogs and exciting recipes. 

This month, my assignment is Bewitching Kitchen written by Sally. She was born and raised in Brazil but now resides in Manhattan working as a biochemist. Her approach to cooking reflects the timeless advice of Julia Child, using a famous quote by Harvey Steiman: “Everything in moderation, including moderation…”

She writes a beautiful blog full of lovely recipes and tales from her life. I strongly encourage you to visit her blog and to see for yourself. There's certainly never a dull moment in the Bewitching Kitchen!

As always, it was difficult to pick just one recipe to make but my eyes were immediately drawn to these Butterscotch Brownies. I love brownies and the simplicity of this recipe appealed to me. I've never made a brownie recipe with only 1 egg or less than a block of butter! As Sally mentions on her blog, the recipe only makes a very small batch so I ended up using my loaf tin instead of my square tin. The brownies were deliciously fudgey and gooey as a brownie should be. You can clearly taste the walnuts and chocolate especially since I put more than the suggested amount in! 

Other recipes that I've bookmarked to try are Chocolate Bread, Lemon Shortbread Bars, Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Tuxedo Cake

 butterscotch base - melted butter and brown sugar 

 adding the nuts and chocolate chunks

 ready to go in the oven 

 packed full of walnuts and chocolate chunks! 

Recipe adapted slightly from Bewitching Kitchen

75g flour
1 tsp baking powder
65g unsalted butter
180g brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g chopped walnuts (OR omit the walnuts, and double the choc chips amount)
100g chocolate chips
(I would recommend 50g walnuts + 50g chocolate chips)
  • Preheat the oven to 175C.
  • Grease and line a small loaf tin.
  • Melt the butter and then stir in the brown sugar. 
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Stir in the flour followed by the walnuts and chocolate chunks. 
  • Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is set and the middle is still slightly wobbly.
  • Allow to cool completely before slicing. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Rhubarb and Redcurrant Cheesecake

Hi everyone. Apologies for the long silence on my blog. I've been away on holidays and had family visiting. It's been a hectic few weeks and I've not had a chance to bake at all. Plus the weather has been so hot, it's really hard to motivate myself to get in the kitchen. Turning the oven on makes the kitchen feel like an oven! However, I couldn't miss making an AlphaBake entry particularly as I am hosting this month.

This is a really quick no bake recipe and perfect for the hot summer weather. The inspiration is from the Opies website which I adapted slightly to suit my requirements. Opies sent me a lovely selection of goodies to review which includes this Rhubarb & Redcurrant compote. It has a tart taste of rhubarb and is a gorgeous deep red colour. It worked really well in a cheesecake as it complemented the sweet, soft cheese and crunchy biscuit base. 

As mentioned, I am entering this to AlphaBakes which I am hosting this month. My co host is Caroline from Caroline Makes. The letter this month is R for Rhubarb and Redcurrant. 

As rhubarb is currently in season, I'm also sending it to Simple and in Season guest hosted by Sally from My Custard Pie this month for Ren.

Four Seasons Food goes Al Fresco this month and this cheesecake is perfect for an outdoor party or picnic. It's really quick and easy to throw together and will definitely be a cooling and refreshing dessert for everyone. This lovely challenge is hosted by Louisa fromEat Your Veg and Anneli from Delicieux

Finally to a new challenge this month called The Vegetable Palette hosted by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table. This month's challenge is Summer Reds which is perfect for rhubarb and redcurrants.


Recipe adapted from Opies website

16 digestive biscuits, crushed
50g butter, melted
250g mascarpone cheese
200g cream cheese
50g icing sugar
1 x 400g jar of Rhubarb and redcurrant compote

  • Blitz the digestive biscuits in a food processor or place in a seal bag and bash it with a rolling pin.
  • Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave.
  • Pour melted butter into the biscuit mixture and mix. 
  • Place a layer of the biscuit on serving dish and place in the fridge to set.
  • Place the mascarpone cheese and cream cheese in a large bowl.
  • Sift over the icing sugar and mix well.
  • Spoon the sweetened cheese mixture on top of the biscuit base.
  • Pour over a jar of rhubarb & redcurrant compote.
  • Chill before serving. 
Disclaimer: I was sent a jar of Rhubarb & Redcurrant compote from Opies for review purposes. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a paid post. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

AlphaBakes July 2014

Welcome to another round of AlphaBakes. We are well into the summer months now which is perfect for the letter that was randomly chosen for this month. I do hope that you will be able to join in as it's quite an easy letter and there are some seasonal ingredients that fit the bill. Before I tell you what letter it is, do make sure you check out Caroline's blog for last month's 'D' round up. 

There is a special prize for 1 lucky entrant chosen at random from all eligible entries this month. You have to have a valid UK address to be eligible for the prize - please let me know in your email if it's not clear where you are based on your blog. The prize is kindly sponsored by Quarto Publishing. It's a copy of Perfecting Pattiserie by Tim Kinnaird. Tim is a pastry chef and owner of Macarons & More, which in July 2012 was awarded a Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Award. Tim launched the company after reaching the finals of BBC 1’s MasterChef 2010.

So without further ado, the letter for this month is 'R'.
Please remember to email your entries to by 25th July 2014. A quick reminder of the rules...

1. Post your recipe on your blog and link it to The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes, stating the relevant month's host. If you do not have a blog, email us a picture and a brief description of your entry which we will include in the round-up at the end of the month.

2. You can use your own recipe or someone else's recipe. The recipe can be sweet, savoury or a mixture! Anything goes as long as the random letter is predominantly featured in the recipe as one of the main ingredients or flavours or in the name of the bake itself (i .e . not as a garnish , or using 'flour' for the letter F!) You can also republish old posts/recipes but you must include the information for this challenge as stated in these rules.

3. Add the logo to your post and add 'alphabakes' as a label to your post.

4. Email your entries to by midnight (GMT) 25th of each month. Please include:
  • Your name (that you want included in the round up or we will use the name of your blog)
  • Your blog post URL
  • Recipe title
  • Photo of recipe (to be included in the round up)5. You can submit as many entries as you like.
5. You can submit as many entries as you like.

6. You do not have to participate every month to join in.

7. You may submit your entry to other challenges as long as it complies with their rules.

8. If you use twitter, please use the tag #alphabakes and mention @bakingaddict and @Caroline_Makes. We will retweet all those that we see.

9. Have fun! :)

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Browned butter, Yuzu and blueberry madeleines

Yuzu is a citrus fruit originating in East Asia. It is commonly used in Japan and has a tart citrus flavour similar to a grapefruit. I've tried yuzu sorbet previously in Japanese restaurants and really liked it. I've never tried cooking or baking with it so when Yutaka asked if I wanted to review their Yuzu citrus seasoning I thought why not?

I looked online for recipe inspirations and there were lots to choose from. It's commonly used to make sorbets, creme brulee and cakes and also as a salad dressing or in savoury dishes. I shortlisted a few recipes and then decided to create my own. The inspiration came from my favourite combination of lemon and blueberry. I spotted my madeleine tin under the table which has been neglected for a while hence these yuzu and blueberry madeleines. I remember attending a French glace cherries masterclass where we used browned butter to make financiers which I thought would work well with these so I gave it a go. The results were surprisingly good. The browned butter added lovely flecks of browned butter to the madeleines and gave a nice, slightly nutty flavour. The yuzu complemented the blueberries well and the madeleines tasted light and refreshing.

It's almost impossible to get fresh yuzu fruit in the UK so this yuzu seasoning is a great alternative. It has a lovely aroma to it and is beautifully presented in a little bottle. It comes with a little recipe booklet and there are a few other recipes on their website. 


 browned butter 

 you can see the flecks from the browned butter 

 add 4 bluberries per madeleine 

 dust with icing sugar before serving 


An original recipe by bakingaddict

Makes 20

2 eggs
100g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100g caster sugar
100g butter
2 tablespoons yuzu seasoning
80 blueberries

  • Preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Place the butter in a saucepan and heat gently until brown.
  • Leave to cool slightly.
  • In a bowl, mix the eggs, flour, baking powder and caster sugar until smooth.
  • Stir in the yuzu seasoning (you can add more to taste).
  • Finally add in the browned butter.
  • Fill a madeleine tray about 2/3 full with the batter.
  • Place 4 blueberries in each madeleine.
  • Bake for about 8-10 minutes until it's golden brown. 
  • Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • Dust with icing sugar before serving. 

Disclaimer: I was sent a bottle of yuzu citrus seasoning for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own. This is not a paid post. 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show

I love BBC Good Food magazine. It's one of my favourite magazines and recipe website. I've tried countless BBC Good Food recipes and it's never failed.  The BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show, sponsored by Lexus, launches at the beautiful Business Design Centre in Islington, London from 25-27 October 2014. The show will be packed with baking, bread-making and cake-crafting demonstrations, free master classes, and hundreds of products to get you baking like a pro. 

Every full day adult ticket includes a seat for the Bakes & Cakes Theatre, where you can watch your favourite baking stars in LIVE demos. It's a great line up of familiar faces - who are you most excited about watching?  I definitely can't wait to see Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood again as well as John Whaite and Tim Kinnaird. 

Mary Berry  Mary Berry will be appearing every day! On Saturday she will be joined on stage by her assistant of over 20 years Lucy Young, and for the first time ever on Monday she will be joined by her daughter Annabel Hunnings.

John Whaite John Whaite - John will be sharing the secrets of his success on the Bakes & Cakes Theatre on Saturday, and visiting the show on Sunday and Monday too.

lisa-faulkner Lisa Faulkner - Lisa will be hosting the Bakes & Cakes Theatre on all three days, plus she will be doing her own demonstration on Saturday.

Paul Hollywood Paul Hollywood - Paul is going to be showing off his baking skills on the Bakes & Cakes Theatre on Sunday and Monday!

Jo Wheatley Jo Wheatley - See Jo at the show every day as she demos and hosts.

Mich Turner Mich Turner - Catch Mich Turner on the Bakes & Cakes Theatre and Interview Stage on Saturday!

phil-vickery Phil Vickery - Phil will be on the Interview Stage and will be doing book signings on Monday.

tim-kinnaird Tim Kinnaird - Tim will be doing a step by step masterclass on macaroons and will also be appearing on the Interview Stage.

So what are you waiting for? Tickets are now on sale and I have a special offer for my readers allowing you to save 25% off tickets.  Just quote EBPAR1 when purchasing to receive 25% off tickets before 30th June 2014.  I hope to see you there!

Disclaimer: Images and some of the text are from BBC Good Food Bakes and Cakes Show. I was offered press passes in exchange for this promotional post. This is not a paid post. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

SRC: Cranberry Cornbread

It's the fourth Monday of the month which means that it's Secret Recipe Club Group D Reveal day! I love the Secret Recipe Club and look forward to reveal day every month. The concept is simple each blog is assigned another blog in secret and the idea is that you choose a recipe to make from your secret blog and reveal it on the same day. 

My assignment this month is Fried Ice and Donut Holes written by Melissa who is a teacher by profession. She loves to cook and bake and started her blog back in 2009. The story behind the name of her blog comes from her grandpa telling them to behave or they would have fried ice and donut holes aka nothing for dinner! 

She has a lovely blog full of wonderful recipes so do head on over to say hi and to check them out. I shortlisted a few recipes to make including Citrus Kissed Honey Buttons, Peanut Butter Bars, Salted Caramel Cashew Bark and Irish Coffee Cupcakes. In the end I decided on this Cranberry Cornbread as it sounded really interesting and look really tasty. 

It's a really simple recipe and the results were amazing. I love the coarse texture of the polenta and the sweetness of the cranberries. I usually think of cornbread as savoury so it was good to try a sweet version. Everyone at work really enjoyed it as it was different to normal cake and it felt quite healthy to eat! 

 buttermilk, sugar, flour, polenta, dried cranberries, eggs, butter 

 wet ingredients and dry ingredients 

 stir in dried cranberries

 ready to bake 

 love the golden colour 

Recipe from Fried Ice and Donut Holes

70g butter, melted
250mls (1 cup) buttermilk
225g polenta or cornmeal
85g flour
110g sugar
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
170g dried cranberries
  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Whisk the butter, eggs and buttermilk in a bowl. 
  • Mix the polenta, flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in another bowl.
  • Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
  • Stir in the dried cranberries. 
  • Pour into a cake tin (I used a 23cm round cake tin but you can also use a square tin) and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

Friday, 20 June 2014

White chocolate and cardamom cake with rose, strawberry and yoghurt filling and a giveaway

One day I had the urge to bake a layer cake. I've been baking a lot of biscuits and small treats recently and I was craving cake. Proper cake. I was sent some spice drops from Holy Lama to review and I started thinking about how I could incorporate them in a cake. I chose flavours that I knew would pair well and came up with this recipe for white chocolate and cardamom cake with a rose, strawberry and yoghurt filling. I used my usual 'weigh your eggs' sponge method and added in cardamom spice drops, sour cream for extra lightness and chopped white chocolate as I was too lazy to melt the white chocolate. Plus it adds a different texture to the cake and everyone enjoyed the white chocolate bits.  I was initially going to fill the cake with a cream and mascarpone cheese filling but decided to use low fat greek yoghurt instead to cut back on the calories and preparation time. 

The spice drops come in a lovely box which clearly labels the spice. The spice drops themselves are easy to use as it has a pipette and it's easy to measure drop by drop. The cardamom flavour was strong in smell, taste and intensity. The box said that 1 drop ~ 1 cardamom pod so I used 10 drops. The rose spice drops smelt absolutely amazing and I used 5 drops for my filling which in hindsight was perhaps a little too much. These are a great alternative to grinding up spices and it's so easy to use. I can't wait to try the other flavours! 

The cake itself was very well received. The flavours worked really well together and visually it looked beautiful. The sponge was light and you can clearly taste the cardamom. The rose and strawberry filling was light and fragrant and helped cut through the 3 layers of cake. I'm glad I chose a yoghurt filling as a cream filling might have been too heavy but would definitely be indulgent. 

I'm sending this to Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Jane from The Hedge Combers. The theme this month is Floral so I hope the rose extract counts. 

As strawberries are in season, I'm also sending this to Simple and in Season hosted by Ren from RenBehan

This also fits in nicely with Celebration Cakes & Bakes hosted by Jenny from Mummy Makes Cakes.

I'm also sending it to Four Seasons Food guest hosted by Tina from the Spicy Pear this month. The challenge is usually run by Anneli from Delicieux and Louisa from Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is The Colour Red and there's a lot of red strawberries in this cake! The rose extract is colourless but roses make me think red too. 

It's also my entry to the Rix Aga Inspired Recipe competition where the theme is strawberries. 

I have a Baker's Spice Drop Kit to giveaway to 1 lucky reader which contains 
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon extract
  • Cardamom extract
  • Ginger extract
  • Nutmeg extract
Terms and Conditions

Entry is via the rafflecopter widget below. 
This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a postal address in the UK.
Closing date is 14th July 2014 at 12 midnight GMT.
The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter and will be contacted by email.
I am running this competition on behalf of Holy Lama Spice Drops who will be sending out the prize directly. By entering you are giving me permission to pass your email address on to them so they can contact you for delivery of the prize.
All entries will be checked and verified.

 white chocolate, self raising flour, caster sugar, cardamom spice drops, rose spice drops, eggs, fat free greek yoghurt, sour cream, strawberries 

 adding in the sour cream and cardamom spice drops (dark green) 

 adding in chopped white chocolate 

 For the filling - fat free greek yoghurt mixed with strawberry jam and rose extract 

 adding in the strawberry jam to the yoghurt 

 spread filling on top of the cake  

 add a layer of strawberries - I used the ends and smaller strawberries for this, reserving the rest for the top layer decoration 

 repeat with the next 2 layers 

 decorate with fresh strawberries on top 

 add a sprinkling of icing sugar 

 The cake held it's shape after a slice had been cut 

 delicious 3 layer cake 

An original recipe by bakingaddict

For the cake
weigh your eggs in their shells and use the same amount of butter, sugar, flour. My eggs weighed 265g (4 eggs) so my recipe is

265g butter
265g caster sugar
265g self raising flour
4 eggs weighing 265g in their shells
200g white chocolate, chopped
10 drops of cardamom spice drops (you can use 10 cardamom pods) 
150mls sour cream 

For the filling
500g fat free greek yoghurt
3 - 4 tablespoons strawberry jam (adjust to taste) 
5 drops of rose spice drops (you may want to use less - adjust to taste)

For the decoration
Fresh strawberries
Icing sugar for dusting 

  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Grease and line 3 x 20cm sandwich tins.
  • Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  • Stir in sour cream and cardamom spice drops.
  • Add chopped white chocolate.
  • Divide batter evenly into 3 cake tins (I weigh mine to make sure they are the same size)
  • Bake for approximately 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before decorating. 
  • To make the filling, stir the yoghurt in a bowl.
  • Add in strawberry jam and rose extract and swirl it gently.
  • Spread between the cake layers, adding a layer of fresh strawberries on top.
  • Decorate the top with more strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar. 
Disclaimer: I was sent the spice drops for review. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a paid post. 

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