Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cranberry Brioche for Random (internet) Recipes

I’ve wanted to try making brioche for a while now. I love the stuff. Eggy, sweet bread, light and fluffy and almost wispy when you tear it apart. It’s good to eat on it’s own or with a spread of butter.

Now, my friend Dom, from the fantastic site Belleau Kitchen, has a monthly challenge called Random Recipes. You may have heard of it. Each month you are invited to reach for a random recipe from a cookbook, make the recipe and blog about it.

And to my shame, I have only entered a couple of times. I am a bit of a control freak and I like to plan my posts way, way in advance and the random element scares me somewhat. But Dom, this month, has opted for a random internet search recipe – with the caveat 'Something Sweet', so, perfect I thought! Let’s Google brioche recipes and see what comes up. And I can actually enter Random Recipes.

The first recipe that came up belonged to the 'male judge' and as he is a complete master baker, I decided to go with that one. But, I did decide to change things a little and add some dried cranberries as I thought this would be a nice seasonal twist. Americans would love it for Thanksgiving bread.

The process was quite easy as I bunged the ingredients in my stand-mixer and let it do it’s thing. But as there is tons of soft butter in brioche, it has to be left for hours (or overnight) to chill, so the dough can be firm enough to work with.

To be honest, it still was very sticky after all night in the fridge, so rather than anything too fancy, I split the dough in two and placed it in a couple of greased cake tins.

The baked result was a couple of nice cob loaf shapes. I took one of my loaves along to my friend Claire, whom I was visiting for dinner and her family loved it. The bread was as light and fluffy as I am usually familiar with and the cranberries added an extra pop of sweetness.

Here’s the recipe!

Yield: 2 loaves

500 grams strong white bread flour
7 grams salt
50 grams caster sugar (I used golden)
10 grams instant yeast
140 ml warmed full-fat milk
5 medium eggs
250 grams unsalted butter, very soft
100 grams sweetened dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
Adapted from Paul Hollywood.Com

Place the flour in the bowl of a stand-mixer and place the salt at one side of the flour and the yeast and sugar at the other side. Don’t let the salt and yeast come into contact at this stage.
Add the warmed milk and eggs and with the dough hook attached mix on the lowest speed for a couple of minutes. After that crank it up to medium speed for about 7 minutes. It will become shiny and stringy as the glutens from the flour will start developing.
Add the butter a bit at a time after the 7 minutes and continue to mix for 5 minutes, scraping the bowl to make sure the butter is incorporated into the dough.

Tip the dough into a plastic bowl, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for a minimum of 7 hours, or overnight.

After this time tip the flour onto a floured work surface and work it to get rid of excess air. Add the cranberries at this point and mix them through as you gently work the dough around.

At this point I split the dough into two and placed it into two 9” greased cake tins. I covered them with a tea towel and let them prove for a couple of hours at room temp.
Preheat the oven to 190C and after the two hours, wash the top of the dough with some milk, and place into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. A skewer will come out clean from the centre, when it is ready.

Remove from the tins immediately and let them cool on a wire rack.

The bread is lovely sliced,  eaten slightly warm and with lashings of tea.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Ghostly Instant Brownie Pots

Imagine a fresh brownie, ready for you in just a minute? Hot and piping and gooey – mmmmm.

But if you can wait for it to cool down a little, how about topped with fluffy marshmallow frosting?

Well, I thought I would try this and in the spirit of all things ghostly, make them as a perfect treat for Halloween.

Mug cakes have been around for a while. You know the ones, whipped together in a cup, microwaved for a minute, ready to scoff. I have tried various ones, but this gooey brownie version was a hit in the Cakeyboi kitchen so, I thought I’d share it with you.

I made mine in Halloween paper cups, but you could of course use a proper microwavable ceramic mug. The recipe below is perfect for 2 mugs or 4 paper cups. I made it in a jug so I could spoon it in the cups.

As for the frosting it’s my favourite mallow frosting, piped on top once the cups have cooled a little. I added ghostly eyes, but that is entirely up to you.

The microwave setting is for 800w so adjust accordingly depending on your wattage.

And remember not to eat it straight from the microwave as it will be scalding HOT!

print recipe

Ghosty Instant Brownie Cups
Quick brownies topped with fluffy marshmallow
adapted from Mug Cakes by Mima Sinclair
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or cocoa)
  • 2 medium egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 60 grams self-raising flour
  • 25 grams white chocolate chips
In a jug, melt the butter in the microwave, about 30 seconds.Add the sugars and cacao powder to the butter and stir until combined. Add the vanilla, milk and egg yolks and stir until combined. Add the flour and stir until incorporated. Spoon the mix equally into 4 paper cups. Sprinkle each cup with some white choc chips, Microwave each cup for 1 minute. Allow to cool before digging in. If frosting, pipe marshmallow on top. Eat with a spoon.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 paper cups

Saturday, 25 October 2014

That's What I Call New #2!

A couple of months ago I had a new feature here on Cakeyboi, designed to showcase a few new products that I have been sent to try or have picked up on my travels. 'That’s What I call New' is back featuring a new line-up of goodies for you to drool over…


Firstly I was sent a new drink from a company called Nomadic. The drink is a thick and creamy yoghurt based mango lassi. It was to tie in with Diwali which occurred last Thursday, but I missed the boat on that one!

Still didn’t stop me enjoying the drink though. It’s very filling and perfect for lunch or when you want a snack. The mango lassi from Nomadic retails at £1.49 for a 330ml bottle.


Secondly, I was sent a jar of Robertson's Golden Shred marmalade. ‘That’s not new’ you may be thinking, and you’d be right. Golden Shred has been around for a long time. But, to tie in with the launch of the new Paddington bearmovie this November, the little bear on the jars has been updated to show the new CGI version of Paddington. 

courtesy of
To me though, Paddington will always be the little bear from the 70’s programme voiced by Sir Michael Hordern. I’m still willing to give the new movie a try and scoff marmalade sandwiches whilst I ‘m doing it.

Independent Cambridge-based chocolatiers Chocolat Chocolat, also contacted me to announce they have also expanded their business online selling the likes of chocolate bouquets, French specialities and gift-boxes. You can also create your own chocolate bar, topped with up to three toppings of your choice from a selection of dozens. I was offered three bars to try, to I ordered Apple, Cinnamon and Shortcake Crumble on dark chocolate, meringue, coconut and strawberry on milk chocolate and mint fragments, earl grey tea and lemon peel on white chocolate. 

The bars, which arrived within a couple of weeks, were of a very high quality. My only criticism, and some may say it’s a good thing, is that the chocolate is a bit too thick for me. At about 1cm thick, the flavourings got a bit lost with the amount of chocolate. A thinner bar would have worked better for me. But, like I say, some of you may prefer that! 1 bar starts at £5.95 up to 3 bars for £14.95.  A great idea for Christmas gifts.

At the BBC Good Food Show last week in Glasgow one of the exhibitors was a company called Stur. Stur is a natural fruit flavour water enhancer. Sweetened with stevia extract, it has no sugar, no calories and 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. I received 6 flavours to try – Cranberry Pomegranate, Lemon Tea, Peach Tea, Blackcurrant Apple, Orange Mango and Green Apple. I tried it in a bottle of water I had picked up in the supermarket and loved it. So much better than those new concentrates on the market, which are full of sugar. You can purchase 6 bottles for £19.98. Each bottle of Stur contains enough for 30 bottles of water, so not bad at all when you do the maths!

I also stumbled upon a company called The Collective Dairy. They are a New Zealand company by origin who started up in the UK and sell the most delicious yoghurts you’ve ever tasted. I picked up one of their ‘suckies’ a suckable bag of yoghurt. Two small pots, one of blackcurrant and beetroot and one passion fruit. But my absolute favourite was a limited edition flavour – Spiced Pumpkin. 

They are really creative with their flavours, which is what I love. Available in lots of UK shops such as Boots, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op to name a few. I highly recommend trying The Collective Dairy’s range.

Disclosure Statement: I received some of the items free to review. Other items I purchased myself. I have not been paid for this post. Any opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

BBC Good Food Show Scotland 2014 starring - Cakeyboi!

If you are a regular visitor to Cakeyboi, you may remember my trips to the BBC Good Food Show Scotland over the past couple of years.

Year one of Cakeyboi, I visited and sampled the delights of what Scotland had to offer. Then last year I was lucky enough to be a Good Food Show official blogger. This meant I got to meet and interview James Martin and get front row seats to his show in the ‘Supertheatre’.

This year’s visit was a little bit different for me however. Earlier in the summer, I was contacted by the lovely Katy Truss who organises the Good Food Show and has a fab blog (Fabulous Food Finds). Katy asked if I would like to be involved in the show again this year and would I like to be interviewed on stage about my blog?

My initial thought was ‘has she asked the wrong person?’ then ‘I hate speaking in public’, but I thought more about it and realised what a great opportunity it could be. So, I agreed, although filled with a bit of trepidation.

Then, my picture appeared on the ‘Chefs and Experts’ page of the show’s official website alongside, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, John Torode, James Martin et al. Very, very surreal!

So, the months passed and before I knew it the BBC Good Food Show had arrived in Glasgow. Sadly, due to work commitments, I couldn’t attend the first day of the show. Such a shame as there were fellow bloggers there who had a great time, had their picture taken with Paul Hollywood and got to see the grand opening of the show. Read all about the opening day over at Janice's blog 'Farmergirl Kitchen'.

But Saturday was the day I was asked to appear on the Interview Stage. Disneyboi and I got up at the crack of dawn and made our way through to Glasgow. I was set to be on stage at 2pm. I admit I was nervous. I had never been interviewed before on a stage, but I comforted myself with the thought that hardly anyone would want to come and see me talk about my wee baking adventures!

We got to the SECC in Glasgow and settled ourselves into the PR area of the show. I was then introduced to the lovely Lotte Duncan whom I have been a fan of for years on the Food Network and other TV cooking programmes, and who would be interviewing me! She was lovely and we chatted a little about what the interview would involve.

Disneyboi and I then had a wander around the show, got our bearings before heading to our first Supertheatre session. We watched as John Torode made a lovely steak then a pineapple upside down tart and chatted to the audience about his cooking.

We then had another wander and purchased a few bits and bobs (which I will be mentioning a couple of soon) before heading back to the Supertheatre to see Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry ‘do lunch’! The audience had a chance to decide what dish would be made – Paul’s Shepherds Pie or Mary’s Spinach, mushroom and chicken dish. Of course, the audience wanted to see Mary’s! The pair are so funny together and you can see what a great connection they have.

They also made some cookies and a lemon posset. It all looked divine. But I wasn’t feeling too hungry at this point as I knew my turn on the Interview Stage was occurring very soon.

Disneyboi and I headed over there just before 2pm and met up with Lotte again. Then the music started and Lotte was introduced first. She then brought me up on stage and what happened next I can’t really remember very well!

All I do know, is that it went very quickly. The interview was so relaxed, chatting about my love of baking, the Clandestine Cake Club Dundee, everything from American Froot Loops, my lack of knowledge about Arbroath Smokies and Mary Berry being made a Dame (or should be!). Lotte put me at so much ease (a nip of limoncello also helped!) and I forgot I was chatting in front of an audience.

And remember I thought no one would want to come and see little old me? I was wrong! The audience was huge and I was very surprised and touched that people would want to come and see Cakeyboi!

People kindly queued up to meet me after the interview and I handed out a few of my cards and I even signed an autograph!!

We then had another meander around the stalls before we packed up our buys and made our way over to the exit, heading for the train back to the centre of Glasgow.

It had been such a brilliant, nervous, adrenalin-rush of an experience. And one I won’t forget. Who would have thought that just a couple of years ago, when writing about my experiences in baking, I would end up on stage at the BBC Good Food Show?  – certainly not I!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Trick or Treat Bags with Gruesome Green Popcorn

popcorn covered with candy melts for halloween in fun trick or treat bags

Apologies as this is an ultra-quick post today as I have had a very busy weekend!

Getting in the Halloween spirit, I came up with these trick or treat bags which I found in my local Home Bargains.

They are made by Wilton, purveyors of all things baking, American wise. But I reckon, if you can’t get hold of these, any paper bag would do. The fun part is using stickers to decorate them with scary eyes and ghoulish mouths.

popcorn covered with candy melts for halloween in fun trick or treat bags

To fill the bags up, I made some fresh popcorn. I was going to leave it plain, but then I remembered I had a bag of green candy melts in the cupboard. They are also by Wilton (I swear I have not been paid by them for this post!) but I have seen many different makes now in shops like The Range and Hobbycraft.

popcorn covered with candy melts for halloween in fun trick or treat bags

I melted the melts, but they were still quite thick, so I added 3 to 4 teaspoons of vegetable oil to loosen the mix up. It was then the perfect consistency to coat the popcorn with. Don’t get me wrong, the popcorn is not smothered in green candy, merely tinged. It looks quite effective and is perfect for stuffing those bags. It dries hard, so doesn’t make a mess. Not fancy green? Then grab any colour you like.

popcorn covered with candy melts for halloween in fun trick or treat bags

Lastly I took some strawberry laces and other fizzy gummy sweets and added these into the bag, to sort of look like spooky hair.

And that is it! I said it was quick – and not so much a recipe, more of a craft today.

So, get popping, Halloween will be here before you know it!

I am entering these bags of popcorn and treats into this month's Treat Petite, hosted alternately by myself - and this month Kat at the Baking Explorer. The them this month is Trick or Treat.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Portugal Holiday Snaps

As you may know, I am appearing on the interview stage at the BBC Good Food Show in Glasgow today. So, as I am absent, I decided today share with you some photos from our recent holiday in the Algarve.

I often take random snaps. Things that amuse me, things I think are pretty cool, that sort of thing. So here are just a few snaps…please excuse my puerile sense of humour by the way…

The cockerel is the unofficial symbol of Portugal and is everywhere. It's better known as the Galo de Barcelos.

Another famous bird is this parrot which has been outside a bar in Albufeira forever! Capt. Jack Harkness seems to have teamed up with him now.

Sand sculptures are a big thing in the Algarve and in Old Town this year was an impressive Pirates of the Caribbean ship and crew.

Just up the road from the sculpture is a wine shop which stocks vino from Cliff Richard's Portuguese vineyard. Cliff is popular there and even had a street named after him.

Further past the Old Town in Albufeira is a shopping centre and one store there is this lingerie shop. Always makes me laugh! And this year made me think of the brilliant blog - Keep Calm and Fanny On.

Into the supermarket and I love the names for foreign products and how they translate in Engligh! Bimbo bread is a classic.

These biscuits reminded me of actress Minnie Driver!

This mosquito repellant makes me laugh too.

And Jamie's cookbook did make me giggle (see, I said puerile!)

No idea either..

When we go abroad I always try and sneak in a McFlurry from MaccyD's. My Canadian blogger friend Steph at Kitchen Frolic and I always tweet each other what random flavour they have going on. This time it was a Lemon Cornetto McFlurry - delicious!

A blast from my past - C&A is still all the rage in Europe.

And why on earth would you call your sports shoe store 'The Athlete's Foot'. I guess it gets people talking!

As I said, just a few random snaps, some of which hopefully made you chuckle a bit!

Back with more recipes soon...