Sunday, 19 June 2011

Nutella brownie bites

My mum wanted to bake some cakes to take in for work colleagues who sadly are being made redundant. Nutella is a firm favourite in our household although its been ages since I've actually had some. I came across this quick and easy recipe on numerous recipes including here. The recipe made 6 medium size bites whereas the original recipes seemed to be based on mini versions.
The recipes was quick and easy but the only problem was we didn't want to taste any so we'd have a batch to give away, so we ended up sharing one which didn't disappoint.

Makes 6 regular or 12 mini brownies

175g Nutella
1 egg
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
chocolate chips or chopped chocolate ( can also substitute dried fruit or whatever you fancy!)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line 6 muffin holes with paper liners .
2. Whisk the Nutella and eggs together in a bowl. Once smooth and well-blended, add the flour, cinnamon and chocolate chips. Continue whisking until well blended.
3. Spoon the mixture into the muffin liners, filling them about ¾ full. Bake for 12 mins (7-8 mins for the mini ones) and cool on a wire rack . Top with dusted icing sugar or cocoa.

These also proved me with another chance to try out some food photos. I'm reading lots online about food photography and realising its not an easy task getting great shots with so much to consider - lighting, props etc. I might need to invest some more money, time in props and think I'll purchase a reflector to help with lighting issues, but in the meantime I think this image is a slight improvements.


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Birthday cake and updates

It was my dear Gran's 90th Birthday and wanting to do something special I decided to make her a cake. I based this on a traditional fruit cake, but left out the marzipan layer and just put some ready rolled icing on the top. I was quite impressed with my attempts at decorating and the fact the icing went on relatively flat. I cut out some flower shapes from the icing and stuck them to the cake with some marmalade (again we don't like the traditionally used apricot jam). Not bad for a first attempt I think, as the cake tasted great and I had a lot of nice comments from my gran and my work colleagues who were grateful for the fact my gran wanted me to share it round!

Makes 1 x 20cm cake

150g plain flour, sifted
50g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1tsp nutmeg
100g ground almonds
3 medium eggs lightly beaten

Fruit mix
mixed bag - seedless raisins, sultanas, mixed cut peel 500g
200g ready to eat stones dates chopped
150g - 175g butter chopped
200g dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp golden syrup
100ml orange juice or alcohol - brandy. whisky etc

Marmalade warmed
Ready rolled fondant icing - 1 pack

1. Preheat oven to 150, fan 130.
2. For the fruit mix put all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently, stirring occassionally until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Increase te heat, bring to the boil , then set aside to cool for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and line a 20cm round cake tin with non stick baking paper.
3. Put the flours, spices and ground almonds in a large bowl and stir in the cooled fruit mixture and eggs until combined. Tap the tin to remove any bubbles.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours or until golden and firm to the touch. To check if it's cooked insert a skewer to the centre. ( I found my cake took about 2 hours 25 minutes keeping a carefully eye on it!)
5. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely before removing from tin.
6. At this stage you can ice/ decorate when the cake is completely cool or I left it till the following day.
7. Heat some marmalade and spread lightly over cake. I actually slightly levelled the cake to give a smooth finish.
8. Unroll the ready rolled icing and roll to about 1/4 inch thick . Place over cake and smooth down with your hands. (This may take a few attempts).
9. Cut off excess icing, - these can then be used to make shapes / decoration for the top mixed with a little food colouring.
10. Decorate as desired and enjoy - keeps well in greaseproof paper or a tin for about a week.

In other updates, I hope to start blogging more and showing some of the images I've been taking whilst doing my photography course which I'm really enjoying. I think my food photography is still leaving a lot to be desired, but hopefully with practise ! (I'm very envious of professional looking food photos and blogs! - it's something I aspire to!)
I'm also trying to play about with photoshop and making my blog and website more attractive in the weeks to come.
I welcome any comments along the way and would love to become more involved in the blogging community :)