The best tray bake ever?

Yesterday I tasted something awesome.  I was at playgroup with my youngest, and one of the grandmas had decided to celebrate her last day there (she has been going for ten years) by bringing in cake.  She may have been celebrating but I was crying in the corner as I will miss her loads – Jean is one of my baking inspirations, plus she always has the best sprinkles.  She had brought in some adorable cupcakes and mini-cupcakes but I was drawn to the toffee chocolate covered cake bites.  I took one nibble and immediately rang my sister and told her if she was passing playgroup this morning it was worth popping in for a taste. Which she did.  We then pestered Jean for her recipe, and made her repeat it about 8 times til we had it committed to memory so here it is.

 

Jean’s toffee bars

 Image

½ lb brown sugar (I used soft dark brown sugar)

½ lb butter

½ lb plain flour

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract (I used a tsp of vanilla bean paste)

 Chocolate for the top.

 

Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan oven)

 Cream the softened butter and sugar then stir in the egg yolk, flour and vanilla.

Press the mixture into a tin and bake for about thirty minutes.  Don’t be concerned if you peep through the oven door half way through and see pools of buttery oiliness on the surface of the bake – it’s all as it should be.

 When you take it out of the oven, whilst it is still hot, decorate the top with some chocolate buttons or any of your favourite tasting chocolate or candy melts. Jean had used some toffee flavoured discs from Renshaws so I got some of these (http://www.design-a-cake.co.uk/View/details.asp?pi=9626) from my favourite cake decorating shop.  I used half the bag.  My little helper than insisted we add some chocolate crispie sprinkles too – so we did.

 Image

Let it cool before cutting into bite sized chunks or long fingers, or whatever takes your fancy.

 Image

I think this would also make an absolutely gorgeous base for a cheesecake, or as a base for my friend Kathryn’s legendary baileys cake.  You can get her recipe at http://theyummycookeryclub.com/

 

I think this is one of the best tray bakes I’ve ever tasted – I actually prefer it to brownies and flapjack. What do you think?  What is your favourite tray bake?

Bakeylicious Creme Egg Brownies

I do love a good food craze and it would seem that the virtual world has gone Cadbury creme egg crazy of late, with pictures of creme egg cupcakes and brownies popping up all over my facebook, twitter and pinterest feeds.

So here I am, stuck in the house with two poorly boys who are LOVING their naps so what is a girl to do…

Firstly I thought I’d just research a few brownie recipes.  This has not done my slimming world journey any good.  There is nothing like looking at pages and pictures of mouthwatering brownie recipes to weaken an already wobbling dieting resolution.  It would seem that today I am going to ‘go flexible’ as they say in my Slimming World group*.

Secondly I thought I’d better just check what ingredients I had to hand.  I knew I had the vital stuff – I’d already picked up some chocolate and cocoa from BakeyA’s house, and the mini creme eggs had been burning a hole in my handbag since before the afore mentioned SW group yesterday.  I soon realized that I only had three eggs in the house and I knew I couldn’t use them all because it is the law in this house that poorly boys like eggy bread for tea.  It’s magic food that makes the world a better place.  So after a bit more research I found this recipe here.  http://www.unegaminedanslacuisine.com/2013/03/cadbury-creme-egg-brownies.html .  Which I adapted a bit, to make it even more chocolatey.  And here it is:

Bakeylicious Creme Egg Brownies.

photo 1

Ingredients

100g sugar

100g dark chocolate

113g unsalted butter

1 egg

120g plain flour

15g cocoa powder

½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

12 mini Cadbury’s creme eggs

 

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C if a fan oven)

First I melted the chocolate.  I did this in the microwave, 20 seconds at a time to make sure it didn’t burn.  I put this to one side while I creamed the sugar and butter together. I used 50g light muscavado sugar and 50g of vanilla caster sugar because I love brown sugar A LOT but I only had 50g in the house.  I would have happily used 100g of a soft brown sugar if I had it.  I make my vanilla sugar by storing my vanilla pods in the packet of caster sugar.

When the mixture was all light and fluffy I mixed in the egg, then the melted chocolate.  I folded in the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and spooned the mixture into a greased baking tin.  I used a silicone 6” square tin I had.  At this point I was a bit concerned that I was heading for something more cake-bar like than brownie but from the smell of the mixture I knew it was going to taste yummy so decided not to worry about it.

To finish off I placed the mini creme eggs into the mixture so they were sitting in a three by four grid.  I did think about making some more mixture to spoon over to completely cover the crème eggs but decided not to risk it as I didn’t know how long nap time would last.  I baked it for 30 minutes.  When it had cooled I cut it into 12 pieces.

photo 2

I ended up with a lovely chocolatey gooey brownie that was quite cakey on the top and sides but melty inside.  Some of the creme eggs separated and some leaked into the brownie mix but it all added to the yumminess.  Bakeylicious!

photo 3

What ingredient has got you reaching for the mixer this month?

 

*For those who are interested these little babies come in at 14 syns each.

Two days to go. Eeeek.

Very exciting times in the Bakeylicious kitchens.  We shall be opening for business on Friday 1st February and you’ve heard it here first.

We’ve been ever so busy, and still have a few little things to do – like sorting out the invoicing and finalising the Valentine Day collection and sorting out our opening offers but we have tomorrow to do that don’t we.

One of the things we have been busy with these last few days is choosing a logo.  We wanted something that was fun but could be elegant.  Something that reminds us how we started and spurs us on to be more creative every time we bake.  Something that we can play around with but will always be all about the cake.  We like it.

cakestand bakeylicious colour boopee photo

Hopefully you’ll be seeing it soon on some packaging near you.

Happy Christmas from the Bakeylicious kitchen

The Secret to a Bakeylicious Christmas Eve…

bakeyliciousxmaseve

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house

Children were trying to sleep.

They tossed and turned but could not settle.

Excitement was making them leap.

But Santa won’t come if children are up.

They need to be snug in their beds.

They need to have their eyes shut tight

With Christmas dreams in their heads.

To make this happen what can you do?

Warm up a pint of milk,

Stir in this powder and whisk it up

Until it’s smooth as silk.

Let it cool and share it out

And sprinkle with softness and stars.

If they drink it up and say goodnight

Their dreams will not be far.

When they wake up in the morning

Santa will have been.

He will have filled their sacks or stockings.

He will have done it while they dream.

He will then go back to his home

And there, what do you think?

He will want to go to sleep.

He will make this magic drink.

He will whisk it up and pour it out

And take it off to bed

Where dreams of happy children

Will drift into his head.

 

The magic powder is Jamie Oliver’s epic hot chocolate mix.  The recipe can be found at http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipe-print.php?url=epic-hot-chocolate.  The softness and stars are marshmallows and milkyway magic stars.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that a nice cup of warm hot choc will send the bakeylicious babies off to sleep.  A shot of baileys in it may just do the job for me too later on.

So “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night” (hopefully).

When the red red robin comes bob-bob-bobbin’ along…

20121203205425648

For the two bakeylicious girls robins are a sign of Christmas.  “Why robins?” I hear you ponder.  Well every year at the beginning of December a robin would visit our garden reminding us that Christmas was coming.  My mam loved seeing that bird.  It always made her think of her mam and she would smile.  The year my mam died we were visited by a pair of robins in the run up to her favourite time of year.

Christmas is a time of family togetherness but for many people there are holes in that togetherness – people are missing – there are gaps that can never be filled.  But sometimes you may see something, hear something, feel something, that brings those people to mind, holds them close, makes them there with you.  For us it’s a robin or two because when we see them we remember our mam and our gran.

And it makes us smile.

What is your sign that Christmas is coming?  What makes you smile at Christmas time?

Christmas Kitchen Memories

Christmas is the most bakeylicious time of the year. 

The house smells of cinnamon and excitement and whatever alcohol the dried fruit is soaking in.  And each smell triggers a memory.  Smells do that. 

My Christmas kitchen memory is of my mam making her Christmas cake.  It was a family recipe packed so full of fruit that each slice must have counted for at least 3 of your five-a-day, and stirring it was shoulder-wrenching work but it was worth it because everyone who had a stir also got to have a wish.  I’m not a great lover of fruit cake – I much prefer a light sponge – but Christmas isn’t Christmas unless I’ve had a glass of sherry and a slice of my mam’s cake, baked by my sister and wished upon by at least five members of the family, including me.

For those of you that like a smaller taste of Christmas than a traditional 8-inch round, I discovered the perfect idea last year – the ultimate Christmas cupcake…Christmas cake in a cup from The Pink Whisk. I loved making and decorating these with my two year old last year and am looking forward to doing it again this year, making a Christmas kitchen memory of our own that also makes me think of my mam and smile.

What is your favourite Christmas kitchen memory?

Coming soon…

Giving birth to a business isn’t anything like giving birth to a baby, but I suppose there are some parallels that can be drawn.
Conception – having the idea and deciding to go for it.
The first trimester – thinking about it, planning for it, contemplating saying goodbye to one way of life and hello to another. Worrying constantly that you’ve done the right thing. Will it work? Will everything be okay?
The second trimester – the idea is well established, you’ve seen it’s heartbeat. You start telling people. You’re thinking of names and researching what you’ll need to do. You may even buy something. Some tool or piece of equipment that makes it real.
The third trimester – you really can’t hide it anymore. You are bursting with it. You’re making to do lists and counting down to the big day. Gathering everything you need, worrying, anticipating, wishing you could speed time up yet also wanting to freeze it when you remember something else that needs to be done.

I think we are at that border between the second and third trimester. (That stage when you don’t want to think about the actual birth yet.)

So *drum roll please* we’re having a cakey business. And it’s going to be called Bakeylicious.