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Tag Archives: baking disasters

How Not To Make Fudge

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The first in my series of self help guides, which also includes How To Commit Social Suicide (give up facebook for lent) and How To Park Cars Without Crashing (turn off ignition, get out, let someone else park the car).

I used this recipe, but changed the 450g demerera sugar to 450g castor sugar. Because it was snowing outside so I took my chances with what I actually had. Also, I didn’t have a sugar thermometer. And I definitely didn’t beat it for 10 minutes whilst cooling because Baby Bear needed the toilet. And a drink. And rescuing from Big Bears Bunk bed.

And what I definitely don’t have is fudge. But what I do have is an amazing fudge sauce to use on icecream. Oh, and a supersweet bloggers award from Paula at All About the Bake. (Yes, I am diverting the topic away from my awful not-really-baking disaster. Clever huh?!)

Super Sweet Bloggers

The rules of the award are:

1 Visit and thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.

2 Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.

3 Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.

4 Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13) blogs for the award, add a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.

Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

So, the Super Sweet Questions (and answers) are:

1. Cookies or Cake? Both.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla. Unless there is lemon. And then it’s lemon.

3. What is your favourite sweet treat? Everything. I’m not fussy. Except salted caramel.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? When I’m awake. And sometimes in my dreams.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Muffin… at least then it would be factually accurate.

My nominees are (in no particular order):

We’re calling Shenanigans

The Baking Fever

Add More Butter!

Pennywisemummy

The Greedy Frog

Bitch, Stitch and Bake

Pud Bakes

White rabbits and hungry habits

A young foodie

make me cakey

Handmade or the Highway

Confessions of a cake addict

HappyLittleBaker

See… now you’ve forgotten all about the hideous attempt at fudge. Genius!

Mummy Bear x

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Beauty is only skin deep

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Beauty is only skin deep

If this cake was a person, you’d say they had a face for radio. It’s so ugly, I had to photograph it with the recipe book just to prove that the Sticky Lemon Cake is SUPPOSED to look like this.

However do not be fooled, because bake #7 of the Comic Relief Bake Off Challenge is delicious, and every thing you would possibly want in a lemon cake. And I followed the recipe exactly, except for the part where I bashed the cake against the side of the oven and created a huge sunken part in the middle. And that I’m claiming as a stroke of planned genius because it meant the syrup didn’t run off the side of the cake!

Mummy Bear x

Double whammy

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I had a minor panic yesterday in realising that it was in fact, already March, and I was only 4 bakes into the Great Comic Relief Bake off Challenge. It’s not going too well.

March 1st was also Granny Bear’s Birthday, and I had promised her cake. See where I’m going with this?! I do LOVE being efficient.

So, to kill a couple of birds with one stone and feel better about it aleady being March, we baked two of the recipes. Although, I didn’t intend to bake two for Granny Bear initally. More about that later.

First up are the Carrot Cake Muffins. I thought I was being clever in buying some ridiculously expensive Wilton tulip muffin cases in contrasting royal blue to make the orange-ness of the carrot cake stand out. However, they did not live up to their promise and just look grease stained and awful. I feel thoroughly cheated and will never impulse buy cake cases again.

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This carrot cake recipe is very different to the one I usually follow, I won’t post it because I’m all for raising the money for charity, but I will say it used shredded bran, and called for a flavoured cream cheese centre.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for new ideas. But preferably ones that work. It’s like a Carrot cake with a cheesecake centre. Which I guess it ok if you like baked cheesecake, but I think I’ll stick to using cream cheese in frosting. And the Primrose Carrot cake recipe.

Which is why I decided to try another recipe as well (and it also ticked bake #6 off the Comic Relief Bake Off Challenge)

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This is the Mocha Marble Loaf cake. Except, as you can see, it is not a loaf cake. Loaf cakes take a LONG time to bake. And Baby Bear is nowhere near patient enough to wait 90 minutes for cake. And Mummy Bear has no loaf shaped cake box. And besides, as I’ve said before: (Almost) everything is better in miniature.

So they are in Bear-y cake form, and it’s safe to say the marbled chocolate coffee sponge with white chocolate frosting far FAR better that the Carrot cake muffins. And no silly greasy tulip cases in sight.

We halved the recipe and it made 12 Bear-y cakes….. just remember to also halve the amount of cocoa powder and vanilla essence first time round. Unlike Mummy Bear.

So all that is left to say is: Happy Birthday Granny Bear!

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Mummy Bear x

Love is in the air. Or rather, the acrid smell of burnt sugar is.

Daddy Bear and I don’t ‘do’ Valentines day. His argument is that he doesn’t need to have an overly commercialised day to remind him to buy flowers and tell me that he loves me. Which would be fine, if I got flowers on other days.

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But having discovered the amazing idea from ‘Stockpiling Moms’ of melting candy canes to make hearts, I decided I was going to bake him some bear-y cakes this year. However, (and I am ridiculously embarrassed to admit this) STUPIDLY I never considered the 250 degrees could mean Fahrenheit, and set my oven to 220 Celsius for ten minutes. This is what my candy canes looked like after 120 seconds:

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FAIL. Much anger ensued, and after peeling the candy canes off the baking tray, they looked like this.

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I did feel much better having beaten the life out of them with a pestle. Nevertheless, I was determined to make SOME sort of bear-y cake for Daddy Bear, if only to stop him from laughing at the hideous baking disaster that was the candy canes. This is what he ended up with:

Image They are vanilla bear-y cakes, topped with the crushed candy canes and then a white chocolate and peppermint two tone butter cream (in a vain attempt to still have some recognisable form of candy cane on the cake!).

The butter cream was definitely the BEST part of cake.

180g unsalted butter,

100g melted white chocolate,

300g of icing sugar

1 tsp pepper mint essence.

Beat in a bowl with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Paint a stripe of red gel food colouring down the inside of a disposable piping bag with a large round nozzle in, and then fill up with buttercream. Pipe in swirls on top of your cake.

So there you are Daddy Bear, this is from me to you, on nearly valentines day, from the bottom of my arse. I would say heart, but my arse is much bigger.

Mummy Bear x

A long time ago in Bethlehem…

A long time ago in Bethlehem...

….There was a ginger bread stable.

Sans ginger. Because we went to bake the gingerbread and realised we had no brown sugar. Or baking soda . Or indeed ginger.

So just a…. stable. With turkish delight roof tiles.

Mummy Bear x

Biting off more than I can chew?

Hands up, I confess, I am a bit of a perfectionist, and a lot of a control freak. (Don’t tell Daddy Bear I admitted it!) Especially when it comes to baking and blogging about baking. It would take a lot of wine or hideous computer error for me to post true baking disasters. But I am also one not to resist a challenge, and when a fellow baker challenged me to attempt – for the first time ever – a swiss roll, I could not resist it. However the catch was however it turned out looking, I had to post a photograph on Facebook. I may have bitten off more than I could chew. (Or bake).

The result:

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The control freak in me went into over drive – note the mug hiding the end of the roll, and the fact that I cringe about the looseness every time I look at the photograph. But a deal is a deal!

The recipe I followed is the one shared by my fellow baker, and having never made a swiss roll before I followed it almost to the letter.

Traditional swiss roll

Vegetable oil for greasing

3 large eggs (ideally at room temperature)

125g golden caster sugar

125g plain flour

1 tablespoon warm water

Half a jar of raspberry or strawberry jam, about 200g

Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 180 C fan / Gas 6. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the base of the tin you are using (I used a large roasting tin as I hand no swiss roll tin) approx 30x25cm. Grease the bottom of the tin, then put in the paper and grease that too, and dust with caster sugar and a little flour.
Beat the eggs and caster sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk for about ten minutes. The mixture will almost triple in volume and become paler in colour, it will be thick enough so that when you lift the whisk out of the mixture it will leave a visible trail on the surface (you will notice this more prominently if you leave the mixture to stand for a minute or so). Sift in the flour in three parts, very gently folding it in until the flour is blended in completely, it is important to go slowly and not to be too vigorous or you will lose some of the air in the sponge. Fold in a tablespoon of warm water.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it out evenly to the edges. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until lightly golden and just firm to the touch. Put the jam in a bowl and stir it so it is spreadable (heat it up a little in the microwave if necessary).
Lay out a clean damp tea towel on your work surface – this is to stop the paper slipping when you roll the cake. Place a large piece of greaseproof paper that’s at least 5cm bigger than the Swiss roll on top of the towel. Dust the paper with caster sugar.
Loosen the sponge with a butter knife and then turn it out quickly onto the dusted paper (topside down). You may need to support the sponge with your hand as your turn it out. Peel the paper off the sponge. Trim the edges with a knife so you have a tidy rectangle.
Using a spoon, spread the jam evenly onto the sponge, leaving about 2cm clear around the edges as the jam will spread when rolling. Make a little incision at the edge of the sponge (not all the way through) about  1 cm in from the edge. This just helps to get the roll tighter to start with. You tend to roll the shorter side inwards.
Use the paper to help you start rolling, and roll it as tightly and as quickly as you can. Leave the roll with the seam side down to cool then dust with a little icing sugar and serve, cut then ends off to hide any raggedness, and serve!
It was absolutely delicious, very sweet and very light, but it also disappeared inside the Little Bears’ tummies within 20 minutes of me making it, so entirely sure it was worth the hard work. Although it may have taught me to be a little less concerned about achieving perfection first time around!
Mummy Bear x

Chocolate mousse battles and domestic bliss

When Daddy Bear decides to cook, it generally involves a recipe from a famous chef, a very expensive trip to Tesco for brand new equipment and finest ingredients, copious amounts of cream and a lot of mess for me to clear up afterwards. Also he has this amazing knack of choosing to bake things which are far too grown up for Baby Bear’s taste buds (Like almond biscotti!) And I’m not just exaggerating or making grand sweeping statements, I have proof!

Exhibit number 1:

Daddy Bear saw this recipe in a Raymond Blanc book, immediately went to Tesco to buy all the ingredients AND new ramekins because our usual ones clearly were unsuitable and would have a negative impact on his culinary creations. Everyone knows the shape of a pot will change the taste. FACT. And not only did he end up with chocolate mousses which although had an amazing texture, were incredibly bitter and disliked by both Little Bears, but he had TEN egg yolks left on the side. TEN. Honestly, what can you do with that ridiculous amount of egg yolks?! (Well, as it turns out you can make seriously delicious crème brulees, but that is entirely beside the point!)

So Daddy Bear’s pride was a little hard hit, and he sat and stewed it over for a couple of months. Until last Saturday, whilst trying to convince Baby Bear to tidy up the trains in the living room again, Nigella’s new show came on. (And that is important – any other chef and he would have continued the never ending task of trying to educate Baby Bear on the virtues of tidying.) Nigella, in his eyes, is a Demi- God. Like In the Night Garden has some bizarre hypnotic power over Baby Bear, Nigella has the same over Daddy Bear. And Nigella was making chocolate mousse.

Cue another impromptu visit to Tesco to buy a ridiculous amount of expensive chocolate (But thankfully, no ramekins this time.) Now, I do grudgingly give Daddy Bear and Nigella some credit, because they turned out pretty damn awesome, and the Little Bears loved them. There was nothing what so ever that I could mock him for. I was gutted. Clearly though, that was down to my tub of marshmallow fluff Daddy Bear used instead of the actual marshmallows Nigella suggests in her recipe!

So the lesson learnt here is: Cocktail glasses are far superior to ramekins, they make everything taste wonderful.

(And sometimes Daddy Bear gets it right)

Mummy Bear x

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