Sunday, 30 June 2013

AlphaBakes "R" round up

It's been a busy month for AlphaBakes with lots of lovely seasonal ingredients and some unusual "R" recipes as well. Thank you to everyone who participated this month. A lucky entrant has been chosen at random for the prize of a giant cupcake mould sponsored by findmeagift. Find out who the lucky winner is at the end of this post.

First up is Caroline from Cake, Crumbs and Cooking with seasonal Rhubarb Cupcakes. There's stewed rhubarb in the cupcake mixture and some white chocolate in the buttercream (to stabilise the fat/sugar emulsion). There's also a natural hint of pale pink in the buttercream which also contains rhubarb syrup.

Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families also made something with rhubarb and aptly named her cake Yet Another Rhubarb Cake as she has an abundance of rhubarb from her allotment and was asked by her family to bake a cake with rhubarb. She experimented a little and decided to put rhubarb on top instead of in the middle or dotted through the cake. Needless to say, everyone enjoyed the cake!

Moving away from rhubarb for now are some delicious Chelsea Buns by Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes. She wanted to bake brave for World Baking Day and decided to step outside her comfort zone. It's also much cheaper to make these at home and her homemade buns passed the stickiness test! The R ingredient in case you are wondering is raisins.

Choclette from Chocolate Log blog made some stunning Mini Chocolate & Rhubarb Pavlovas. There's a chocolate pavlova base, topped with rhubarb & elderflower curd, clotted cream and roasted rhubarb. It would make the perfect summer dessert!

Angela from Garden, Tea, Cake and Me delights us with pretty, floral Rose Water Glazed Cakes. They are really easy to make and look very appealing. They are little fairy cakes topped with a rose water glaze and dried rose petal sprinkles.

My AlphaBakes co-host Caroline from Caroline Makes sent in this stunning Cardamom Layer Cake with Raspberry and Rose Mascarpone. She made it as a birthday cake for her mum. It has cardamom in the cake, rose-infused cream, raspberry mascarpone and candied rose petals on top! 

Keeping it in the family, Caroline's mum, Jacqueline sent in some delicious looking raspberry scones which have crushed raspberries in the mix. 

Next is my own entry with Raspberry and Pistachio Financiers. It's my first time making financiers and definitely won't be my last as they are tasty little treats. The raspberries and pistachio flavours complemented each other well.

Laura from Laura Loves Cakes made a Cinnamon and Raisin Marble Loaf Cake.  It's a lovely bake with cinnamon, raisins and sour cream. I particularly like the marble effect on the cake!

Fiona from Let them Eat Cake! has a few entries for us this month. Firstly, Raspberry Frangipane Tart. It was actually an unplanned entry to AlphaBakes as she wanted to eat frangipane! Lucky for us, she used raspberries and could share this lovely bake with us. She cut them into bite sized pieces and needless to say, they didn't last long! 

Helene from I Cook with Butter has a double R entry for us this month - Rocky Road Cupcakes. She made it for a team member's birthday at work and also gave some to her boyfriend's parents and were told they were "sheer heaven". The cake is a marble chocolate & vanilla cake covered with chocolate buttercream, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Next is an entry from my mum. She made a chocolate ricotta tart which has a homemade pastry base and a dark chocolate and ricotta filling. 

Jenny from Mummy Makes Cakes made this gorgeous Rose Tinted Layer Cake for her daughter's birthday. The cake is a rose coloured vanilla sponge and there is a gradient of colours from dark to light. You can see a sliced cake on her blog. The filling is vanilla frosting and the top is covered with white chocolate. She also made her own roses and leaves!

Caroline's mum, Jacqueline is back with raspberry shortbread. It's normal shortbread with crushed raspberries in the mix. 

She also made popcorn and yellow rose petal cupcakes with cream cheese butter icing on top. 

My mum is back with a savoury ricotta and spinach pie. The family thought this was better than the chocolate ricotta tart. It has a breadcrumb base mixed with some olive oil and the filling is spinach, garlic, onion, pancetta, ricotta and parmesan. 

Suelle from Mainly Baking sent in an Oatbake with Rhubarb. It's a recipe from the Nordic Bakery Cookbook. The cake is made by the unusual method of soaking oats in hot milk before mixing them into the cake batter. The result is a dense, moist, not too sweet loaf which is definitely more suitable as a dessert than as a tea-time cake. 

Welcome to Jennifer from What Jenny Baked who made some Roasted Blueberry Cupcakes for Father's Day. As the name suggests, the blueberries are roasted before baking giving the cakes a lovely purple colour and blueberry flavour. It's topped with a cream cheese frosting and fresh blueberries. 

Another entry from me with a Rhubarb Custard Crumble Cake. It's a sponge cake with a layer of homemade custard, rhubarb and crumble. It was absolutely delicious and would work well with other fruits. 

Moving on to a different R entry, we have a Baked Reuben Sandwich by Elizabeth from The Law Student's Cookbook.  A reuben is a sandwich on rye with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing. She made a few changes and used pastrami instead of corned beef. 

Next we have a Banana & Rum Loaf by Mel from Sharky Oven Gloves. It has spiced rum, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and can make you a little tipsy if you eat too many slices! 

Katharine from Leeks and Limoni made a Raspberry Bakewell Tart.  This recipe is based loosely on a Nigella recipe and has almonds in the frangipane filling and the pastry and raspberry jam and fresh raspberries. As Katharine says "The result is wonderful - light, crisp pastry; rich, buttery frangipane; sweet, tangy raspberry. Pudding perfection."

Eira from Cookbooks Galore wanted to make something with her eldest grandson. They had to have chocolate of course so she decided to make Rocky Road Cupcakes. It's a chocolate chip cupcake with melted chocolate, marshmallows and pecan nuts on top. 

Yet another entry from me but a savoury bake this time with Rosemary and Walnut Biscuits. This is a really simple recipe from BBC Good Food with great results! It's a lovely buttery shortbread with the taste and aroma or rosemary and crunch and nuttiness of walnuts. 

Next is Laura from How to Cook Good Food with Raspberry Chocolate & Almond Tartlets. It's an almond pastry filled with chocolate creme pattisserie and fresh raspberries. 

Caroline's sister Clare has also joined in AlphaBakes this month with a Raspberry and White Chocolate Brownie Cake. 

Susie from Fold in the Flour sent in a Classic Victoria Sponge with Rhubarb and Custard. It's a classic sponge cake with a rhubarb, whipped cream and custard filling. Sounds absolutely delicious! 

Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog is back again with Raspberry and White Chocolate Tarts. It's a buttery wholemeal spelt tart filled with white chocolate Chantilly cream and topped with fresh Cornish raspberries. 

Welcome to Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen who made a stunning Vegan Raspberry and Chocolate Cake for her first AlphaBakes entry. It's a bundt cake topped with fresh raspberries which looks really tasty! 

My co-host Caroline from Caroline Makes is back again with Raspberry Macarons. She made the macarons from a packet mix but made her own filling with fresh raspberries. 

Fiona from Let Them Eat Cake! is back with another delicious entry in the form of a Raspberry Ricotta Buckle. The ricotta replaces most of the butter in the cake which is then topped with raspberries and a streusel topping. 

Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes is also back with Pomegranate & Rose Iced Muffins. The muffins contain pomegranate yoghurt, fresh pomegranate and hazelnut milk.  The icing contains pomegranate juice and rose extract and fresh pomegranate seeds. 

Continuing with the rose theme, we have Rose Lemonade Scones from Karen from Lavender and Lovage. The scones are made with Rose Lemonade, flour, salt, sugar, creme fraiche and milk. If you can't source rose lemonade, you can use regular lemonade and add some rose water or essence. 

Another newcomer to AlphaBakes this month is Raewyn who I met on my tour to Jordan. She made Gooey Raspberry Nutella Cakes using a recipe from What Katie Ate. In her own words, "these were gorgeous little cakes with a soft chocolatey inside stuffed full of summery raspberries and Nutella, complete with more raspberries on top". 

Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen is in a bread making phase and made this Rustic French Bread which contains rye flour (and wholemeal and white flour). The bread is remarkably light for the combination of flours used. 

Next we have an unusual R entry from Claire from Under the Blue Gum Tree. She made Rooibos and Brown Sugar Pots de Creme. If you're not already aware, Rooibos is a South African tea also known as red bush tea. It is subtler in flavour compared to English tea and has notes of honey and caramel. The rooibos and brown sugar sound like a delicious combination and are served with cute heart shaped shortbread. 

Another double R entry comes from Stephanie from Riverside Baking with Raspberry and Rose Cupcakes.  It's been over seven months since she last made cupcakes and I'd say these were well worth the wait! The cupcakes and icing contain raspberry and rose cordial. 

Fiona from Let them Eat Cake! is back with a really interesting recipe which is a Mallorcan dessert. They are called Robiols and are traditionally eaten at Christmas and Easter. It's a filled biscuit and Fiona has used nutella for hers. 

Next we have one of my favourite treats - Rice Crispy Treats from Cakestall. This is based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen who browns the butter first thus enhancing the flavour.  Cal added in some chopped chocolate but also made plain ones with and without strawberry sprinkles. 

A savoury entry for a change comes from Lucie from Big Cook...Tiny Kitchen. She made a delicious looking  
Ratatouille Cobbler with a Buttermilk and Chive Top. It's quite easy to put together but you do have to set aside at least an hour to make. 

And another savoury entry from Gill from Tales of Pigling Bland with Roasted Spicy Chickpeas. She made these as a take to work snack and essentially involves roasting chickpeas in oil and spices. 

I'm sure there was another entry on twitter so I've had a quick look and lo and behold it's Dom from Belleau Kitchen with a Rhubarb, Olive Oil and Spelt Cake. He had a very busy day demo-cooking at the Lincolnshire Show but managed to whip up this gorgeous cake using ingredients to hand (and a quick forage into the neighbour's garden for rhubarb). 

And that's the end of the "R" AlphaBakes roundup. The lucky winner of the giant cupcake mould is...... Lucie from Big Cook... Tiny Kitchen - Congratulations!! 

Remember to check out Caroline's blog tomorrow to find out what letter we are baking with in July. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Chocolate Mint Pattie Brownie

This month has really flown past and I only got round to making my We Should Cocoa entry late last night. I do apologise for the lack of decent photos as it was well past midnight by the time I finished baking and brought it with me to work today so I didn't have time to get a good picture of the brownies. 

We Should Cocoa is hosted by Victoria from A Kick At The Pantry Door. This challenge was created by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and Chele from Chocolate Teapot.  She chose the special ingredient of mint this month. I love mint and chocolate combinations and had lots of ideas but unfortunately ran out of time. As I'd been promising my colleagues brownies for ages, I decided to make a mint chocolate brownie and I'm so glad I did as they were delicious!  

I used my fail safe fudgy brownie recipe and incorporated some mint patties that I bought from America. I wasn't sure if it would work as the patties are sweet and sticky. In the process of baking, it melted and caramelised at the edges but the brownies were still moist and the mint flavour was present but not overpowering. Personally, I prefer this with mint oreos but I'll have to wait to get a new supply. 

 mint patties from America

 adding it to the brownie mix 

 ready to go in the oven 

 The 'burnt' edges is the caramelised mint pattie which melted and oozed out during baking 

 some of them remained intact! 

200g butter, chopped into smallish cubes
345g sugar
170g chocolate, roughly chopped
165g flour
80g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
30 mint patties, quartered
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • In a medium sized pan, melt the butter and chocolate.
  • Then whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla extract. 
  • Continue mixing until you get a smooth mixture then remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes.
  • Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then the flour and cocoa powder until you get a fudgy mixture 
  • Stir in the chopped mint patties and mix. 
  • Pour the mixture into a square baking pan and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until the top is crisp and the edges are cooked. 
  • Allow to cool in the pan. 
  • Slice and enjoy!