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

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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.

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

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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?

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.

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.