Category Archives: Baking Mad News

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!!

 

World Baking Day sponsored by Stork

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since its launch in 1920, Stork has established itself as one of the most trusted names in home baking.

Whether you’re baking cupcakes for tea with the girls, a light and fluffy Victoria sponge for a picnic or rustling up some delicious cookies, Stork contains just the right fat content for baking many types of cakes, biscuits, crumbles, puddings and pastries.

This month we are asking you to conquer a cake you’ve never baked before, for World Baking Day 2013, which takes place on Sunday 19th May.
The global event is sponsored by Stork and the theme for 2013 is to ‘Bake Brave’. From novice to master baker, food blogger to food celebrity, World Baking Day has been introduced to inspire people to step out of their baking comfort zone.

World Baking Day has collected 100 Bake Brave recipes (www.worldbakingday.co.uk) ranging in difficulty from ambassadors around the world; from Level 1 for a complete novice, up to Level 100 for a master baker. Check out the website or try your hand at some of our delicious Stork recipes. You could even win a Stork baking hamper packed full of baking goodies, just click here to enter!

 

WIN £150 cash PLUS a masterclass with Eric Lanlard

BakingMad.com is sponsoring the Cake and Bake Show this year, and YOU have a chance to WIN £150 cash PLUS a masterclass with Eric Lanlard!   

Here’s how:

Gingerbread fans across the country are being invited to reserve a plot in the Tastiest Gingerbread Village at the Manchester Cake & Bake Show in April.

Competitors can enter their plans for their unique gingerbread structure online, and the organisers will select the most promising entrants to bring their creation to the show to form part of the gingerbread village display.

Winners will be selected by a judging panel including master patissiere Eric Lanlard, and prizes will be awarded in both adult and junior categories.

The judges will be looking for originality, creativity, build structure, innovative design and of course taste.

Billington’s unrefined sugars are the perfect ingredient for your gingerbread recipe. Locking in, rather than refining out, the natural molasses of the sugar cane this process ensures Billington’s has a unqiue richness and taste which will transform your home baking.

The organisers are keen not to restrict your imagination and so the only real limitations are the size of the plot – 12 x 12 inches, with entrants free to create any structure from gingerbread, not just houses, with landscaping and gardens etc encouraged. So be inspired by your childhood memories of the edible creations in Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Hansel and Gretel and send in your ideas for your candy-clad constructions today via www.thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk/competitions

Prizes

There are just two categories – adults and juniors – so it’s a competition open to all – and with £150 cash PLUS a masterclass with master patissiere Eric Lanlard (worth £195!) on offer as the first prize in the adult category, as well as £100 cash for the runner up, why not enter? Junior winners will receive £100 cash and a Billington’s goody bag, with £50 cash for the runner up.

Inspiration

For design inspiration visit the Cake & Bake Shows’ pinterest board for the competition – http://pinterest.com/cakeandbakeshow/billington-s-gingerbread-village-manchester-inspir/

And for the tastiest gingerbread ingredients, visit www.billingtons.co.uk

Good luck!

Vanilla Amnesty at the Cake and Bake Show

Swap your Vanilla Essence for Extract!

The get the best results in your baking, using the best ingredients is key.  This includes vanilla.

If you are guilty of having Vanilla Essence in your cupboard and not Vanilla Extract, we will swop your bottle for a 60ml Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract absolutely free of charge at the BakingMad.com stand.

Nielsen-Massey has crafted the world’s finest vanillas and flavour extracts since 1907. Hand-picked for perfection, their vanilla beans go through an exclusive cold extraction process that slowly and gently draws out the delicate, natural flavours.

Be quick though as we only have 2,500 bottles to give away!

Your baking questions – answered!

The lovely Eric Lanlard recently held an online web chat in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Check out the transcript below for some fantastic baking tips and other questions for Eric.

If you were decorating a special cake, what decoration would you choose?

I am a great fan of edible glitter and gold leaf. It’s a glamorous touch!

Is it ok to buy pastry pre-made? I’m not talking about short crust, obviously, but the more tricky ones?

Yes absolutely – if you do have the time and are a confident baker I would suggest making your own puff pastry – but for those of you short on time buying good quality puff pastry or filo pastry is absolutely fine.

We all know you are amazing at making sweet treats, but this year we’re thinking of making something savoury for our World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. What are your favourite savoury bites?

My current favourite is fig, lardon and dolcelatte tart. I’m a big fan of savoury bakes because I don’t actually have a sweet tooth.

I have seen your gypsy tart recipe in the Little Book of Treats. Are there any tips for me to make it perfect? Also, what goes well with a gypsy tart?

A top tip is to make sure that you put the tin of condensed milk in the fridge overnight so that it is really cold. To serve, try a dollop of mascarpone cheese with grated lemon zest to cut through the sweetness. Happy baking!

Which do you prefer to use: Italian, Swiss or French meringue?

It depends on what you are making. I love Italian meringue to decorate cupcakes and desserts. For dry meringues, I prefer the French. I’ve never really been a fan of Swiss meringue.

What was the first cake you ever remember baking?

I made some chocolate éclairs aged 6 and it was a disaster!

What’s your ultimate dessert recipe book? Is there one that you use all the time that never fails?

The Roux Brothers book – On Patisserie – a lot of classic and great basic recipes.

When making basic sponge, should I use cold eggs or room temp? I have heard mixed messages.

Always have all of your ingredients at room temperature for best results.

Do you have any favourite gluten-free or vegan cake recipes or tips?

There are some delicious recipes only using ground almonds as a substitute for flour but gluten-free flours are very good these days. For vegan recipes I would suggest that you search dedicated/specialist websites or books. I hope that helps.

I have had quite a few disastrous attempts at baking macaroons. Are there any recipes you recommend using, or tips on how to get the consistency right?

A good macaroon should be a little bit chewy. It might be worth trying a different technique or recipe to improve results.

I’m baking a chocolate cake this weekend for my friend’s birthday, however I’m not the best cake decorator! Do you of know of any good decorating kits which I can use?

I love using the Silverspoon Creates range – perfect for everyday cake decorating and they are available in most supermarkets.

If you really, really wanted to impress someone, what would you bake them? What’s your most show-stopping cake?

I would bake a mini croquembouche to share – it’s a traditional French celebration cake. A tower of profiteroles filled with crème patissier. It’s very impressive.

Are there any plans for more series of Baking Mad? I really love that programme.

Not as yet but working on a bigger project – watch this space! I’m glad that you like the series.

What a tease! Please give us a clue!

My lips are sealed!

I really love your recipe in the Little Book of Treats. Why have you chosen to support Macmillan and their coffee morning this year?

I am supporting the Macmillan Coffee morning because it’s an important cause – Macmillan do an amazing job and it’s a fantastic charity and resource. Baking is a great way for people to get involved and have fun and support a very worth cause.

I’m holding a coffee morning at work this year. I love baking and am really looking forward to rustling up some treats for everyone in the office. My question for you is how do I transport all my baked goodies without ruining them?

There are some fantastic cake and cupcake carriers online – have a Google. Good luck with your coffee morning.

I wonder if you could recommend a cake I could bake especially for my Mum? She will be chief guest at my coffee morning. Mum loves fruit, if that helps.

If your mum loves fruit, I would recommend my upside-down berry cake – perfect for the end of the summer season.

Can you recommend any recipe with salted caramel in it? I’m a bit obsessed!

I would recommend my salted butter caramel mousse with mini pears – the recipe can be found in my book Home Bake.

I’m killing Google these days but no luck. Have you posted somewhere the recipe for that energy-packed apple pie you made for the wheelchair rugby club? Unfortunately the video is not available in my country so I can’t watch it again! Thanks. Croatia loves you.

That recipe for the Wheelchair Rugby Club will be on the Bakingmad.com website. It was from series 1 of Baking Mad. I love Croatia!

Does anyone know how I can get involved with the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning?

It’s great that you want to get involved – find out more on the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning site.

I’m away the weekend of the 28th September. Can I still hold a Coffee Morning? I’ve held one for the last two years, and everyone always really enjoys them!

It’s fine to hold one on a different day – thanks so much for wanting to get involved.

If you could eat any dessert in the world what would it be?

A piping hot pear tatin with crème fraiche.

My dad’s diabetic but loves cheesecake – is there any other way to make him one apart from using a sweetener instead of sugar?

I would suggest using an alternative to sugar like Truvia.

I take it that would work in other types of cakes for diabetics, too?

Yes, but it’s also worth experimenting and visit the website for recipe ideas.

What’s the most amount of cake you’ve ever baked in one day? It feels like it takes me all day to bake and ice a cake.

The most I have baked in one day was 5000 cupcakes in one day for a very glamorous event!

Are there any other events coming up where you will be sharing your expertise?

I am going to be at the Cake and Bake Show on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September, Earls Court. I hope to see you there!

How can I stop the biscuit base on an uncooked cheesecake from going soggy, before I have cut it?

I like to toast my base in a hot oven for a few minutes to enhance the flavour and to keep it crisp before putting the filling on top.

Whenever I bake cupcakes they are always crispy on the outside but soft in the middle. Do you know why that is?

It could be your oven temperature – have you checked it using an oven thermometer?

Are you doing the local hero competition again this year? I’ve got someone I’d like to nominate.

I am supporting Silver Spoon’s Local Little Hero Award in aid of Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. We’re encourage more people to get baking and also select a little local hero to win an extra special cake baked by me and be crowned a local hero.

Eric Lanlard answers all your baking questions

Calling all Baking Mad fans!

In advance of the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning we’ve teamed up with Macmillan Cancer Support to bring you a live web chat with Eric Lanlard on Macmillan’s Online Community (www.macmillan.org.uk/onlinecommunity).

Grab your diary and add in 14th September from 12 – 1pm to join Eric who will be on hand to answer all your baking questions.

Whether you want to produce the perfect pastry, master the art of the soufflé or if you’re simply in need of some inspiration, join in and put Eric to the test.

Don’t miss the opportunity to ask all those baking questions that have been tickling your taste buds.

To find out more, or to join our online chat, please click here to visit the Macmillan online community!

Silver Spoon’s Local Little Hero Awards

Do you know a little hero with a sweet tooth?

Eric Lanlard will be baking our Local Little Hero 2012 a delicious cake.

Our friends at Silver Spoon have teamed up with Macmillan Cancer Support to launch the Silver Spoon Local Little Hero Awards 2012. They are scouring the country for local heroes under the age of 18 who have done something truly special. Your local little hero could have looked after their little sister when they were ill, gone to great lengths to make Mother’s Day very special, or done something fantastic to raise money for charity.

If you know someone under 18 in your local area who you think would be a worthy winner, simply tell us in 100 words who you are nominating, why and what cake you would like to bake them to say thank you. 10 lucky runners up will also bag themselves a Silver Spoon baking hamper packed full of exciting treats. The competition closes on 20th September so get your nominations in now.

It’s the perfect chance to say thank you to your little hero so nominate today to make your hero’s day.

Click here www.macmillan.org.uk/littlehero to enter.

Nielsen Massey Vanilla Workshop

Recently Baking Mad attended a fabulous workshop hosted by pure vanilla experts Nielsen-Massey, educating people about the history of vanilla and the importance of quality vanilla in baking.

Nielsen-Massey ambassador Eric Lanlard hosted the event at his shop ‘Cake Boy’ in London, where members of the media and food bloggers assembled to enjoy a selection of vanilla inspired canapes and mini desserts along with a few glasses of champagne.

Eric discussed the production of vanilla and about how the world’s finest vanilla is grown in the warm, moist, tropical climates of Madagascar. He explained that vanilla pods, or beans as they are commonly called, are the fruit of an orchid, and that of the thousands of varieties of orchid, the vanilla plant is the only one known to produce an edible fruit. The flower of the vanilla orchid opens for only part of one day and if not pollinated on this day pods will not be produced.  This is why Nielsen-Massey hand pollinate each and every flower, over the two to three month flowering period to ensure a plentiful crop.

Nielsen-Massey use an exclusive cold extraction process to slowly and gently draw the delicate and distinctive flavour from the vanilla beans.  This process differs from all other processes as it doesn’t use heat or pressure when extracting.  The vanilla is extracted under precise temperature control at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, using a specially constructed stainless steel extractor, after the beans are loaded into the extractor, an alcohol and water solution is pumped continuously over and through the beans.  It can be a lengthy process, taking three to five weeks to complete depending on the batch type being produced.  The finished vanilla is then filtered into a holding tank ready for bottling.

We were invited to observe three small dishes in front of us containing vanilla essence, vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. Eric highlighted the difference between the three, with the vanilla paste and extract having a denser texture and a much more poignant vanilla smell. The vanilla essence was more fluid and clear with a synthetic smell, and Eric explained that synthetic vanilla essence is shockingly what 98% of the world still use as a flavour and fragrance. It’s obvious to see that the Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Paste would bring a stronger, more amazing flavour to your baking.

Eric demonstrated his favourite vanilla recipe, a Nielsen-Massey Fraisier. Using copious amounts of Nielsen-Massey extract and bean paste he assembled this strawberry delight, topping it with toasted marzipan and hand decorating it with chocolate. Fabulous!

Every attendee received a lovely Nielsen-Massey goody bag containing Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste, Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Extract, a Nielsen-Massey branded apron and an individually wrapped Cake Boy vanilla cupcake using Nielsen-Massey and topped with a golden vanilla pod.

Thank you to everyone who attended on the day I think we all had a fantastic time. We hope you enjoy using Nielsen Massey vanilla products forevermore to make your baking totally delicious.

Baking Mad.com brings you British Baking in 2012

Baking Mad fans, have we got news for you!Best of British Baking Recipe Book

We’ve just launched our very own  recipe book and it’s available to buy now!

The cookery book, entitled British Baking in 2012, celebrates the nation’s favourite recipes from the ultimate Victoria Sponge cake to Sticky Toffee Cupcakes and Sausage and Chuntney Rolls. And of course, as you’d expect from Baking Mad.com there’s plenty of top tips and advice to help you achieve your baking best too.

So if we’ve wet your appetite for some Great British baking why not pick up a copy of our new book to add to your collection. Available from Sainsbury’s supermarkets, our book costs just £2.99 and can also be bought as part of a 3 for 2 promotion along with some of our favourite baking brands such as Billington’s and Nielsen Massey. Go, on treat yourself! What are you waiting for?