Category Archives: Uncategorized

Grow Your Own Ingredients – Rhubarb

My first experience of rhubarb was when I was a child and came in the form of rhubarb crumble, warm, straight from the oven and served alongside my Nan’s homemade vanilla custard, with milk from the cows, eggs from the chickens and rhubarb grown straight outside her kitchen window. Now I am a thirty-something living in a suburban housing estate, I don’t have the luxury of a wealth of crops and livestock directly outside my back door but with the carefree nature of rhubarb it’s easy to still have some home grown goodness when baking a trip down memory lane.

Rhubarb and raspberry crumble - web

Rhubarb and raspberry crumble

Now Rhubarb season is upon us, what would be better than making your tasty creations using Rhubarb picked fresh from your own garden? Here is our handy guide to tell you all you need to know.

Very few crops are as easy to grow as rhubarb. Plants almost seem to take care of themselves, hiding away in garden corners producing a crop year after year. With how easy it is, it really is a plant that all kitchen gardeners should clear a space in their garden for.

Rhubarb is a long stalky Plant that varies from light pink to dark red in colour. Hard wearing and un-fussy, it will perform best in well-drained, fertile soil and preferably in full sunlight. A young plant can be planted at any time of the year but for best results early spring and autumn are the best times, whilst roots are still dormant and before the plants begin to grow and leaf out.

For the first year only harvest lightly, to allow th e plant to establish properly. After the first year, stalks can be harvested from April till July. When harvesting always leave half a dozen stalks intact so as to not weaken the plant. To harvest, hold stalk at base and pull whilst slightly twisting. Most recipes then call for the cleaned stems to be cut into bite-sized pieces. Freshly harvested rhubarb can be stored unwashed, in the refrigerator, for up to one week.

On no account eat the leaves. Only the stalks are edible; the leaves are toxic.

Richard Burr- Rhubard & Ginger Tart

 

Rhubarb and ginger bakewell tart

Although Rhubarb is a vegetable, when cooking with it, it must be treated like a fruit and stalks sweetened before eaten due to the naturally sharp flavour.

The classic way to cook rhubarb is by gently stewing it in sweetened liquid for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and cooked, but still holds its shape.

Vanilla is the classic accompaniment, usually in the form of:

Easy Vanilla Custard by Nielsen-Massey

Vanilla custard to use WEB

or

Nielsen-Massey vanilla ice cream

vanilla icecream

 

but spices such as cinnamon and ginger work well too. The tart tangy nature of the rhubarb flavor needs a sweetness to balance it out, but if you don’t want to consume too much added sugar then honey, maple syrup or orange juice could also be ideal alternatives. It also pairs well with sweet fruits such as apples, lemons, mangoes, pears and strawberries.

Rhubarb fool - Web

Rhubarb fool

This rhubarb fool is so simple and tastes yummy but most classic bakes such as crumbles, pies, tarts and cakes can all be adapted to feature this in season ingredient. For inspiration view all our rhubarb recipes here

What’s your favourite?

Pancakes, the Ultimate Guide

With Pancake Day fast approaching, it’s time to stock up on flour, eggs and milk. Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast day in February or March before the start of lent on Ash Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients! We’ve looked for pancake inspiration across the world and brought you some simple recipes to follow – so why not mix it up this pancake day with these tried and tested favourites.

Basic pancakes

Basic Pancakes

English

Using just 3 core ingredients, it’s easy to see why so many people love this basic pancake recipe.

Top Tip: Don’t over mix the batter. When you mix the wet and dry ingredients together, gluten starts to develop. Overworked batter means you end up with chewy tough pancakes instead of light and fluffy ones.

 

 

American style pancakes

American Pancakes

American

Once you’ve mastered the basics, the sky is really the limit. Let’s head over the pond to our friends in America. With a few more ingredients, these pancakes are as fluffy and light as clouds. To achieve the ultimate American pancake dream, stack these high and pour some maple or golden syrup on top.

Don’t forget! It’s important to let your pancake batter rest. This allows pancakes to be softer and more tender.

 

Crepe Suzette

Crepe Suzette

French

If you prefer a thinner style pancake, then try making crepes. These originated in France and are usually served as a dessert. If you’re feeling brave, flambé these with some brandy for the ultimate in pancake showstopper.

Remember: High heat doesn’t make pancakes cook faster, it cooks them unevenly and makes them more likely to burn whist the inside remains raw. Keep the heat to medium so they turn golden brown on the outside and they’re cooked on the inside

 

 

 

Dutch Baby 2 (web)

Dutch Baby

Dutch/German

A Dutch baby pancake is sometimes called a German pancake. It’s normally served for breakfast and is seasoned with vanilla and nutmeg/cinnamon. It looks like a cross between a Yorkshire pudding and a pancake and it is baked in a metal or cast iron pan in the oven. You can serve it with freshly squeezed lemon, icing sugar, topped with fruit or syrup.

 

 

Smoked Salmon Blini

Smoked Salmon Blini

Russian

Celebrating their 1000th birthday – these delectable small pancakes originated in Russia. Traditionally served with jam or honey you will now see them classically served with sour cream and smoked salmon at dinner parties, but they don’t need to be saved for special occasions. Try whipping up a batch for a well deserved brunch.

 

 

 

 

Scotch Pancakes with Raspberries and Chocoalte

Scotch Pancakes with Raspberries and Chocolate

 

Scotch

Also known as drop scones, these pancakes are smaller than their American or English counterparts. They are served with Jam and cream traditionally, but we just adore it with raspberries and chocolate sauce – pure indulgence!

 

 

Whichever pancakes you choose to make, why not share your images with us on Facebook? You could be in with a chance of winning Baker of the Month!

Everything you need to know about icing

If you’re limited on space, the best icing for you to buy would be icing sugar. This is one of the most versatile ingredients you can buy when it comes to cake decorating and flavour.

What is icing sugar? It’s a powdered sugar made from finely milling normal granulated sugar into a powdered form. It’s so fine that we think it’s the best type of sugar for making any type of cake icing. We’re going to talk through some of our favourite icings and give you some top tips along the way.

Buttercream Icing

Buttercream is one of the most versatile toppings for cakes and is extremely popular spread between cakes too. Buttercream is made of 2 main ingredients; butter and icing sugar. Once you have these two mixed, you can add wide varieties of flavours or cobuttercreamlours to really bring it to life. The nation’s favourite flavour is vanilla – and using high quality vanilla is important as it makes such an incredible difference to the taste – why not try adding some Nielsen Massey vanilla extract – you’re sure to notice the difference.

 

Buttercream Icing Recipe

If you want to make it a chocolatey affair, try our chocolate buttercream made with melted chocolate in it.

chocolate-yule-log-web

Chocolate Yule Log Recipe

Buttercream can be piped into different textures to form some really dramatic results. If you don’t have a piping bag, start off with a sandwich bag. Simply fill the bag with the icing, squeezing it down to one of the bottom corners and snip the bottom corner off – and this is where you’ll pipe from! The size of the cut is up to you – we recommend you start small and keep getting bigger – much easier than trying to decant the mixture to another bag if you cut too big!

 

 

https://www.bakingmad.com/howtos/decorate-cake-buttercream-effecglace-icingts/

 

Glacé icing

This is probably the simplest of icings to make and children love it – simply mix your icing sugar with a small amount of water. You can use other liquids too – why not try adding flavoured juices such as orange to really make it pop. It can be applied thickly like a syrup (use less liquid if this is the result you want) or as a drizzle (simply add more water). Whether you opt for a syrup of a drizzle, make sure you work relatively quickly, as the glace sits, it starts to thicken slightly, making it more difficult to decorate.

Glace Icing Recipe

Cream cheese frosting

One of our favouritecream-cheeses here at BakingMad – Cream cheese frosting is a tasty combination of icing sugar and cream cheese. You tend to find this on the top of a carrot cake, or red velvet cupcakes. The only tricky thing with this particular icing is that it has a tendency to go really runny if it’s overmixed, and by overmixed, we mean any more than just mixed – so proceed with caution! We always make it using full fat cream cheese, as itl adds to a better flavour and texture.

 

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Royal Icing
royal-icing

This mixture of egg whites, icing sugar, and often a touch of lemon has a consistency that can be piped, but it dries hard for a smooth surface and is often used to create ornate cookie decorations. It can also be used to pre-make flowers or other cake decorations to be used at a later date, and it’s also what you use to make homemade sprinkles.

If that seems like too much bother, why not try Silver Spoon ‘Royal Icing Sugar’ – it’s is perfect for a traditional hard royal icing finish and there’s no need to get the eggs out – simply add water and beat.

The hardest bit is to cover a cake. Watch this video to see how it’s done:

Royal Icing Recipe

How to cover a cake in Royal icing

Fondant Icingfondant-icing

Fondant icing is different to icing sugar because it includes dried glucose syrup. This gives you a smooth, glossy, soft iced finish which is perfect for icing cupcakes, sponges or bakewell tarts. You can even use it to create edible cake decorations. You make it by mixing icing sugar, water and cream of tartar or liquid glucose. Our friends at Silver Spoon have kindly taken the difficulty out of this task by offering fondant icing sugar! Just like the royal icing, simply add water.

(please For allergen information please refer to the icing sugar packs for details- please note that these products may contain traces of egg.

Fondant Icing Recipe

What’s your favourite icing? We’d love to know  – Why not share your icing creations on our Facebook page? We’d love to see what you’re up to in the kitchen.

nadiya hussain blog image

Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain, current title holder of the 2015 Great British Bake Off and the nation’s sweetheart will be headlining the Cake and Bake Show from 7-9 October at ExCeL London and 10-13 November  at EventCity Manchester

We take time to ask her a  few questions…

  • How old were you when you first started to bake? And what inspires you?

I started to bake properly at the age of 21 when I bought my first house with my husband Abdal.  He is obsessed with eating cake and turns out I’m obsessed with baking them. I take inspiration from most things around me when I’m baking. But my children and husband help me to create new flavours and help me test them too.

  • What’s your go to bake?

It has to be carrot cake. It’s the one thing I can bake for everyone where nobody will complain. My kids are not usually fussy but it’s all the extended family that can be tricky to please.

  • If you could only bake 1 thing what would it be?

Chocolate cake. It’s everyone’s favourite and so versatile. Paired with other flavours. Eaten with fruit, custard or ice cream. Eaten hot or cold.

nadiya h What’s your favourite ingredient?

At the moment my favourite ingredient to bake with is matcha green tea powder. It’s earthy, vibrant and aromatic. It’s also versatile.

  • After winning GBBO and all the media attention, do you still find passion in baking?

Absolutely it’s the one thing that helps me relax. Even though now I’m always making notes and typing in between it is given me a new appreciation for all the things I do and document in the kitchen.

  • Do you have any advice for the GBBO finalists?

Have fun !!! It’s a tough being in that tent but once you walk out there’s no coming back for enjoy and revel in every second.

  • nadiya cupcakeWhat do you find the most challenging baking technique?

I think meringues are very tricky as they can fail depend on external factors like weather and humidity. But practice makes perfect.

  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt filming your new TV show?

I’ve learnt that I can travel alone even though it’s petrifying at times and that otters can be trained!

  • Who would you invite to your ultimate dinner party and what would you make for dessert?

I would invite David Attenborough and make him a mango and parsley pavlova

  • Out of Mary and Paul which one gives the most difficult challenges?

Who did you want to impress the most? The challenges were equally difficult but I think when Paul does a technical with bread making he is the one to impress. He only has to look at bread to know whether it’s good or an utter disaster.

  • What you are most looking forward to about the Cake & Bake Show?

I was at the C&B after winning bake off and it’s safe to say I was nervous and not sure about what I was doing. I can’t wait to come back and do demos, something that I have really come to love. Looking forward to meeting all the cake mad bakers out there too.

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Please quote BAKINGM and visit www.thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk  or call the hotline on 0844 854 1364.

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jam low res

How to Make Jams and Preserves

If you’re at home surrounded by a seasonal glut of fruit which will soon peak, you might want to start thinking about how to preserve the rich and sweet taste of your summer bounty. What better way is there than making your own delicious home made jams and preserves? We’ve got the know how, top tips and recipes to help you on your way.

First things first. Ever wondered why you’ve lost colour or flavour when making jam previously? It’s probably all down to your pectins. Depending the level of pectin in your fruits will depend on which sugar type is best to use to get the optimum flavour for your preserves. Sound confusing? Silver Spoon have taken the stress out and developed 2 key sugars especially.

silver-spoon-preserving-sugar-5x1kg_4805722Silver Spoon Preserving Sugar is perfect for making marmalade, jams and preserves using fruits that are naturally high in pectin.

The large sugar crystals dissolve slowly and reduce the risk of burning or the need for stirring and skimming. Silver Spoon Preserving Sugar also produces less froth, which helps create a clearer preserve.

Use with fruits such as plums, redcurrants, blackcurrants, gooseberries, greengages, damsons and Seville oranges.

 silver spoon jamFor soft fruit containing lower levels of pectin, Silver Spoon Jam Sugar helps ensure these jams and jellies set successfully every time.

Containing the right amount of natural pectin that certain fruits lack, it helps ensure the jam or jelly sets quickly and retains its fresh fruity flavour and natural colour.
Use with fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apricots, blueberries, cherries, pears, peaches, rhubarb and loganberries.

Here are 3 of our most popular recipes, all rated 5 stars:

Raspberry jam. With raspberries in season from June to October. Get yourselves outside and foraging for big juicy berries.

Raspberry jam

Tinned fruit?  This Crushed peach preserve recipe uses tinned peaches, which are available all year round and great value for money.

Crushed peach preserve

Blackcurrants are usually quite sharp in taste, making it the perfect base for a jam.

Blackcurrant jam

You’ve got your recipe, you have the ideal sugar, now for some top tips to guide you through the making process;
TIPS

  • If you’re wondering how to tell when your jam is close to it’s setting point; You can spot the change in the rolling boil (Rolling boil? check out out FAQs where we explain further: https://www.bakingmad.com/faqs/category/jam-2) The bubbles which will turn to a slower pace. The surface of the jam will look shiny and feel thicker when you stir it. The air bubbles will go as the jam thickens and forces the air out. The temperature should read 105’c. Be careful not to overdo it. If you over cook the jam, the process cannot be reversed.
  • Choose your jar. If you’re going for something with a twist metal lid, you do not need to use waxed discs. Make sure you sterilize your jars to keep the contents as fresh as possible
  • When you come to jarring your jam, make sure you fill to the brim when the temperature of the jam is still over 85’c.

Want to know more? Head to our Frequently Asked Questions where we have lots of jam related answers:

https://www.bakingmad.com/faqs/category/jam-2/

Simple chocolate cookies WEB

Our Top 10 Child Friendly Recipes

It’s the summer holidays and you’re at home entertaining the kids. The question is, how to keep them entertained without resorting to game consoles and TV?

Don’t worry, we have your back! We’ve tried and tested our recipes and have narrowed it down to our Top 10 Recipes you can involve the children with.Allinson Pizza dough STAMP

  1. Start with our easy Allinson Flour Pizza Dough recipe, this one takes the longest because of the proving time. What’s feels better than the squidge of dough between your hands? Make sure you apron the kids first! Flour will be guaranteed to get everywhere.

Pizza dough by Allinson

Rainbow Meringues WEB

 

 

 

2. Rainbow meringues. Not as difficult as you think. These colourful individual meringues will ensure your children don’t over indulge. Try mixing colours together for a fun science experiment. Perfect for the up-and-coming scientists in the family.

Rainbow meringues

Cake balls

 

 

3. Cake balls! These are easy to make. If your kids can’t agree which flavour to choose, not a problem, separate the ingredients and add whatever flavour you like before rolling into balls. We personally love the Nielson Massey Rose water extract.

Cake balls

 

Chocolate pancakes with banana WEB

4. One of our quickest and most popular recipe to make with children is pancakes! Try our chocolate pancakes with banana. These are delicious. Fussy eaters won’t eat bananas? Substitute with strawberries. These are sure to be a hit in the kitchen.

Chocolate pancakes with bananas

 

 

Fantastic fairy cakes WEB

5. Fairy friendly cake recipe. We promise no fairies were harmed during the recipe creation! This simple batter recipe will bake in 15 minutes. Not too long to wait, but can they wait long enough to ice them? That’s the tricky bit!

Fantastic fairy cakes

 

 

Simple chocolate cookies WEB

6. Close the back door when you’re making this one, you don’t want the cookie monster to turn up. This recipe makes 16 cookies. Perfect for sleepovers!

Simple chocolate cookies

 

 

Hot Dog Rolls WEBjpg

 

 

7. There’s nothing better than the idea of a barbecue. These Allinson bread rolls are easy to make and are the perfect accompaniment to hot dogs. With a 20 minute baking time, it would be rude not to.

Hot dog rolls by Allinson

8. Chocolate Dipped ApplesChocolate dipped apples. One of your 5 a day! No ovens involved, these are a great idea for all ages. Really simple and quick to make

 

 

Chocolate dipped apples

No bake chocolate cake

 

9. No bake chocolate cake. These bars are great. It’s easy to make substitutions if the fussy eaters don’t want things like glace cherries.

No bake chocolate cake

 

 

10. Lemonade WEBAfter all this hard work, you’ll all be quite thirsty. Just like the old days, you can reminisce with your children about how freshly homemade lemonade was the ultimate thirst quencher and how it still is now!

Cloudy lemonade

This will take no more than 10 minutes to make and involves no baking. Perfect for the younger ones who want to be involved.

 

 

 

 

 

10 BEST LOCATIONSFOR A

Baked in the USA

Whichever side of the Atlantic you’re on, we can all appreciate what the USA has to offer us in terms of bakes. With a whole host of American cakes on our website, we’re counting down from 5 so join us for some lip smacking American favourites.

New York baked cheesecake WEB

5- New York Baked Cheesecake

Recipes vary, but the key ingredient to this dessert is no surprise: cheese. Our New York version uses cream cheese with Allinson plain white flour, Billington’s Unrefined golden caster sugar and Nielsen Massey Vanilla bean paste amongst many other ingredients. Other types of cheesecake are topped with or contain fruits, chocolate, or pretty much any other decadent ingredient that you can imagine.

New York baked cheesecake

Chocolate Pretzel cupcakes WEB4- Chocolate cupcakes with pretzel decorations 

If you’re looking for a dessert fix but don’t want an entire cake. This is the perfect solution. Thanks to the American love affair, the cupcake has grown in popularity both sides of the pond. Surprisingly, we found pretzels and cupcakes make a delicious marriage in crunch and sweetness. Try making our Chocolate cupcakes with pretzel decorations.

Chocolate pretzel cupcake

 

Simple Key lime pie WEB

3- Simple Key Lime Pie

Head south to the Florida Keys. This is where the key lime pie originated. We’ve whipped up a miniature American classic using a much simpler recipe which only takes 20 minutes to prepare.

Simple key lime pie

Smores AMENDED WEB

2-S’mores

The campfire hit! Don’t worry, you don’t need to wait for a campfire to make these little beauties. Wondering what a s’more is? Essentially a marshmallow and chocolate sandwiched between 2 biscuits. What’s not to love?

S’Mores

Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes WEB

1- Peanut butter and jelly cupcakes

Jelly or Jello? That is the question. Jelly in America refers to jam, and jello- is what us Brits call jelly. These cupcakes feature a spot of jam. If you’re feeling like an accomplished baker, why not make the jam as well?

 

 

For a tasty raspberry jam, try this:

Raspberry jam

Raspberry Jam WEB

 

How to plan a BIY (Bake it yourself) Wedding

There are many reasons you may opt to plan a BIY wedding. Perhaps you want to showcase your hobby and make truly delicious treats for all your guests. Maybe you want to keep yourself occupied and banish any over-thinking ‘did I sit my Aunty and her sister together? They really don’t get along!’

Here are some ideas and advice for you.
naked cake

Keep it Simple:

Don’t think that just because it’s your wedding you need to create something elaborate. If you’re not an accomplished baker, sometimes it’s best to keep it simple. Maybe you want to go for a classic 3 tiered shape or a trendy naked cake – it’s easier that you think! Watch this step by step tutorial video by Juliet Sear for everything you need to know.

In Advance:

Don’t leave shopping for your ingredients to the day of the bake, have as much as possible prepped in advance. Even if your chosen recipe is tried and tested, if you’ve never made it in such a large quantity, make sure you do at least one trial run.

wedding cakeDecoration:

If you’re nervous that your cake (or anything else you’re planning on making) will look amateur, remember that the key is in the decoration. Once you’ve added your final touches, it will look the part. If you make a mistake, remember decoration can hide a multitude of sins! Try making these sugar roses, our simple video tutorial will help you create them.

Three tier sponge wedding cake recipe

salted caramel doughnut Dessert:

What can you make to keep everyone happy? Something that doesn’t conflict with the cake they’ll have later? Why not try this?

Customise your own doughnuts with a variety of toppings, you can cater even for the fussy eaters.

Follow this simple salted caramel doughnut recipe for the ultimate tasty dessert.

wedding biscuits Wedding Favours:

Go for something like fruit cakes, biscuits or fudge. These can often last longer so you can bake these several days before your wedding.

Why not try these delicious wedding biscuit favours

Wedding cake biscuits

The most important piece of advice we could give to you, is don’t panic! Only take on as much as you realistically have time to accomplish – baking should be fun not a chore. Remember to take time to relax and enjoy the build up to your wedding.