Author Archives: BakingMad.com

How to make spun sugar

Hi everyone,

If you’ve been watching the Great British Bake Off recently you will have seen all the bakers creating spun sugar. We’ve created a simple tutorial in four easy steps so you can try it yourself at home!

Ingredients

250g white caster sugar

225ml water

1. Place the sugar and water in a medium heavy based saucepan and heat to dissolve the sugar.

2. Bring the sugar syrup to a simmer, but don’t stir as this will cause the syrup to crystallise. Using a sugar thermometer heat the syrup until it reaches 155°C or the ‘Hard Crack’ stage. Remove from the heat and plunge into a basin of cold water.

3. Use a fork to dip into the sugar and flick the fork back and forth over a rolling pin to create lots of long hair-like strands

4. Finally gather the strands of spun sugar and mould into a ball. Repeat this to make more decorations if needed.

And there you have it! A perfect way to snazz up any of your cakes, cupcakes or desserts.

A guest blog post from Roger Pizey

To all the Baking Mad readers,

I am so excited to have been invited to write this guest post. BakingMad.com is such a great resource for any one with a love of baking and the enormous variety of recipes from the simplest to the more unusual and complex is truly inspiring.

You are exactly the kind of bakers I wanted to inspire whilst writing my new book “Worlds Best Cakes” and I hope you enjoy the selection of recipes I have chosen to appear here.

I found my love of baking many years ago when I worked at Le Gavroche for Albert Roux and it has never gone away. When I was asked to write “World’s Best Cakes”, despite the enormous challenges involved, it was a joy to be able to indulge my passion for baking.

There are so many wonderful cakes in the book it would be impossible to choose a favourite. I have enjoyed baking each and every one of them. It has been an inspiring and enjoyable experience to visit so many different countries through their cuisine. The cakes from the Middle East were a particular pleasure to discover with their assault on the senses – their delicate perfumes of orange flower and rose water, their wonderful almond textures and the vibrant green pistachios.  Of course we are lucky these days to be able to source all the ingredients from our local supermarket making international baking so much easier.

Whether you feel like making a small cake, a sponge cake or a show stopping cake just enjoy. A cake made with a smile is definitely the best kind of cake!

Roger Pizey

Enter the competition to win a copy of ‘World’s Best Cakes’ here! And check out a selection of the recipes from the book we’ve put on BakingMad.com:

Mandarin, polenta and macadamia cake

Sandkaka

Sonhos

Tarta de Santiago

Danish Layer Cake

Check out the new Whisk widget!

 

Hi everyone,

You may have noticed recently that we have a cool new feature on the recipes pages on BakingMad.com. It’s a nifty little widget called Whisk and it appears under all the recipe ingredients.

 

Simply click on ‘Create a shopping list with Whisk’ and a screen will slide in from the right, displaying all the recipe ingredients in a basket.

You will then have the choice the change the supermarket or the ingredients including the portion size, and the total cost will be displayed at the bottom. When you click on ‘send to basket’ it will take you through to your chosen supermarket website where your shopping basket ingredients will be added and then purchased. You can also sign up to the Whisk widget which will allow you to save more than one recipe to the shopping list at a time.

So now it’s so easy to purchase ingredients straight from the recipe you’re viewing! And more ingredients means lots more baking!

Please feel free to give us any feedback on the widget and we hope you enjoy using it.

BakingMad.com

 

Bag yourself a Billington’s Cake Tin!

Christmas has come early from our lovely friends at Billington’s Natural Unrefined Cane Sugars with these beautifully embossed ‘I’ve Been Baking’ Cake Tins.  They’re perfect for storing anything delicious – from brilliant brownies to classic Christmas cakes.

All you have to do is purchase 2 promotional packs of Light Muscovado, Dark Muscovado or Molasses 500g packs.  You will be able to find promotional packs of Billington’s sugar in all main retailers including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose and Aldi from September.

Not only do the packs contain a unique code for you to claim your tin (don’t forget you need 2!) they also contain 3 of the most scrumptious festive recipes for you to try this Christmas.

For full terms and conditions and details on how to claim your tin click here.

Make sure you show us what sweet treats you have been storing in your tin by posting a picture on our Facebook page!

How to make Salted Caramel Ring Doughnuts

Some people think making doughnuts is too difficult, but our simple four step ‘how to’ will show you how!

 

You will need for these for the doughnuts:

500g self raising flour (we recommend Allinson)

1 tsp baking powder

90g golden caster sugar (we recommend Billington’s)

2 medium free range eggs

2 tbsp sunflower oil

200ml whole milk

 

You will need these for the topping:

110g Dark Muscovado sugar (we recommend Billington’s)

110g salted butter

1/2 tsp sea salt

175ml double cream

plus sea salt to decorate

 

1. To make the caramel sauce: Place the sugar, butter and salt in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has melted then add the cream and stir through. Bring this to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes until thick. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

2. Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Beat together the eggs, oil and milk then add to the dry ingredients. Mix together until a smooth dough forms.

3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1cm thickness. Cut circles out of the dough using a floured cutter, then use a smaller cutter to cut out the centres.

4. In a deep saucepan heat some vegetable oil to about 170°C then fry the doughnuts 2-3 at a time by carefully placing in the oil for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown on the bottom. Then turn them over and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden in colour and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper. Finish the doughnuts by pouring over the caramel sauce and sprinkle over some flakes a sea salt.

These beauties are absolutely delicious warm, or you can keep them in an airtight container and eat within 1-2 days.

Enjoy!

 

Sam’s Sourdough Loaf

Following a recent move to my new home, I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to begin a new sourdough starter. Using the BakingMad.com starter recipe, I filled a large 1litre kilner jar with 70g flour and 70ml water, giving it a good whisk together with a mini whisk until all the lumps of flour had been dispersed. I left the sourdough in pride position in my warm kitchen and set my phone as a reminder to feed again the same time next day.

The following day I repeated the process, and perhaps due to the extreme warm weather, the starter was bubbling and increasing in size in no time. I found that due to the sealed lid on my kilner jar I felt the need to open it and let out some of the air pressure when I passed by it in the kitchen, as I had heard tales of monstrous sourdough starters that had built up excess C02 pressure and burst open!

By day 3 of feeding my sourdough it had begun to develop a rather unsavoury smell, which whilst perfectly normal for a starter, does make you want to reach for the air freshener! I took it as a sign that the starter was doing its sweet merry little thing and bubbles continue to produce following each feed.

Day 4/5 I noticed that the sourdough had appeared to separate with a liquid layer on the top. Some sources suggest that you pour away this top liquid and others say to mix back in with the starter. I must say that I tried both methods and both seemed to keep my sourdough starter ticking away nicely.

By day 6 the kilner jar was beginning to fill up near the top – in hindsight I think I probably needed a bigger jar than expected (perhaps a 1.5/2 litre). There was an unfortunate incident on this day when the starter decided to make an escape from the jar and run all over my new kitchen surfaces! That was the day the starter was nicknamed by the family as ‘The Beast’.

Day 7 and I couldn’t wait any longer to bake my first sourdough loaf . Before baking, I would recommend that you have a whole day spare, as unlike a standard loaf, sourdough takes an age to prove – but it is totally worth the wait believe me!

Over 6 hours later the dough was ready to be baked, so I scored the top with a knife and baked in two batches in the oven. Although the loaves were only small on this occasion, they certainly made up for it in flavour and the second loaf was given away to family members as a dinner gift.

I fed the starter again the next day to top it up a little and have stored it in the fridge now, with a view to feeding it once a week. I plan to bake another loaf next weekend before experimenting with other sourdough style recipes.

Whilst the sourdough starter can seem a bit high maintenance to begin with, it’s certainly worth the wait so give it a try!

Click here for our sourdough starter recipe

Click here for our Sourdough bread recipe


 

 

Make the most of Molasses

Molasses is a dark brown type of sugar made from sugar cane. It has a deep, strong flavour is attained through it’s high content of natural cane molasses.

Molasses is perfect to use in marinadeschutneys and pickles along with rich fruit cakesmincemeat and gingerbread. It adds a distinct deep and rich flavour to your baking that no other ingredient can match.

We recommend using unrefined natural cane molasses such as Billington’s. Unrefined sugar cane retains a natural locked in flavour and colour which refined brown sugar loses in the refining process. You can find Billington’s molasses in all major supermarkets.

Why not try the following recipes which include Molasses sugar and discover the incredible flavour for yourself?

Molasses is a great ingredient in sticky sauces and marinades.

Discover the depth it can add to your fruit cakes.

If you’d like any more tips and advice on using molasses simply leave your question below!

Happy Baking!

How to make No-Churn Pistachio Ice Cream

Have you ever wanted to make ice cream but thought it might be too difficult or take too much time? Well here’s a top ‘how to’ on making the most straightforward and delicious ice cream ever! You don’t even need an ice cream maker and you can make any flavour variation you like. Here is our no-churn pistachio ice cream in four easy steps.

You will need:

  • 397ml can condensed milk
  • 600ml double cream
  • 80g shelled pistachio nuts

1) Place 40g of the pistachio nuts into a blender or food processor and blend until fine and roughly chop the remaining pistachio nuts.

2) Pour the condensed milk and double cream with the finely ground pistachio nuts into a large bowl and whisk until thick and quite stiff.

3) Fold in the chopped pistachio nuts, then pour into a freezer proof container and cover.

4) Place in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight.

And there you have it! Delicious no-churn ice cream.

 

Why not try out some other flavour combinations:

For vanilla flavoured ice cream add 1 tsp of vanilla extract.

For coffee flavoured ice cream add 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

For strawberry flavoured ice cream add 150ml strawberry purée

 

Or check out all our other ice cream recipes!

 

Perfect weather for strawberry picking!

Strawberries are everywhere right now! And as English strawberries are of course the tastiest,  the Baking Mad team recently decided to take a trip to a local strawberry picking farm – ‘Hill Farm‘ in Chesterton, so we could pick some for ourselves.

Thankfully it was a beautiful day as we set off, and driving up to the farm we saw that we could also grab ourselves some gooseberries while we were here, and come back again for some delicious blackcurrant and blackberries later in July.

Hill Farm

Blackberries

The strawberry fields were huge and the little signs showed us which strawberry varieties were planted there. ‘Christine‘ is apparently a strawberry type from the Fragria Ananassa species which is highly resistant to Verticillium wilt and powdery mildew, not that we’re exactly sure what that means!

Christine

There were tons of juicy ripe strawberries ready to pick, it was tempting not to eat them there and then although some of us did have a nibble.

Strawberry field

Strawberry

A top strawberry tip is to pick firm, ripe and red looking berries. Strawberries will not ripen any more once they are picked, so go for the biggest. Strawberries are also jam packed full of vitamin C, so you can eat as many as you want!

strawberries

A tub like this came to a total of £4 and would be sure to last you a while.

Weighing strawberries

About 1kg of strawberries could make some delicious strawberry jam to go in some tasty strawberry tarts. Or why not try some pretty strawberry tarts with elderflower cream or any of our other strawberry recipes.

Why not see if there is a local strawberry farm near you? Enjoy!

Save 20% off tickets at the London Cake and Bake Show

Here at BakingMad.com we like to offer our members exclusive discounts and here’s our latest one…

If you haven’t already bought your tickets for The Cake & Bake Show London 2013, make sure you quote code “BM20″ when you are booking and you will get a fantastic 20% off of your tickets.

Click here to buy tickets

Event details:

  • 13th-15th September
  • Earls Court London SW5 9TA
  • Friday open 11am-6pm
  • Saturday open 10am-6pm
  • Sunday 10am – 5pm

We are looking forward to seeing you at the show!!