I had been coveting the Lakeland 12 hole mini baking tray for some time and was delighted when I received it as a gift. It was a good solid product with loose discs in the bases and a few spares too, in case of loss.
Before jumping straight in as I would normally do, I read all the reviews on the website and took note of the fact that some people had experienced problems with the tiny sponges sticking.
To avoid falling into the same trap, I was particularly careful whilst greasing each indentation.
For the batter, I used their own recipe on the website for Mini Lemon Curd Sponge Cakes but I created my own grapefruit and lime curd (recipe below). I made sure not to overfill each one, stopping at three-quarters, however, I found that there was too much mixture for the twelve cases.
Once the first batch were baked I fill another 4 and baked again. The second lot came out looking like big top tents!
I needn’t have worried as the sponges didn’t stick at all, in fact they all came away from the sides and popped out really easily.
I was a bit surprised at them, as they looked more like pork pies than sponges and they were very small. At first I was rather disappointed, but that didn’t last long as when I sliced them in half and filled them with curd and buttercream, they looked magnificent and tasted fantastic, light as a feather, with the zestiness of the curd, cutting through the sweet buttercream.
At the beginning of the week the news was full of weather warnings and indeed, England did seem to be suffering with vast amounts of rainfall resulting in flooding.
The forecast said that it was heading our way and would be accompanied by gale force winds with gusts up to 72mph.
On Monday night it was getting a bit breezy so Himself ventured outside to batten down the hatches and Tuesday morning arrived with a blast. Some guttering blew down but we didn’t suffer any real damage. The sheds stood up to it and thank goodness we no longer have tiles on the steading roof to get blown away.
One thing that did concern me was the apple trees, some of which had been laden with fruit.
This morning I pulled on my waterproof trousers, as it’s the only safe way to walk through the fruit garden with all those killer stinging nettles, donned some gauntlets up to my elbows and ventured out there to collect the windfalls.
I was stunned to find all the apples still firmly attached to the trees, especially since they were directly in the path of the gales. They obviously can’t be ripe just yet. Rather than retrieving them from the ground, I picked a few from the tree and came inside to make this week’s cake for the Weekly Bake Off. Taken from Mary Berry’s 100 Cakes and Bakes. it was the American Apple and Apricot cake (the recipe can be found here) or as I’ve decided to call it, the Triple A Cake.
I had a problem with the loose bottomed cake tin as some of the mixture leaked out all over the oven. Perhaps I should invest in some better baking tins but overall the cake turned out nicely. Maybe it was the slightly unripe apples but it wasn’t a very sweet cake.
And now for the verdict from Himself. As soon as he cut into it and spotted fruit, he was immediately on the lookout for stodge but in fact it was a good bake, although the top was rather uneven so it scored only 8/10.
I love Lakeland. Our nearest store is in Aberdeen and one day we drove all the way there, me filled with excitement and Himself with trepidation, only to find it was closed for refurbishment. I know I can shop online but sometimes you just need to see and feel the things in real life.
I was browsing a little while ago and I came across the Silverwood Victoria Surprise Cake Tin. I desperately wanted it but with a cupboard full of cake tins, I couldn’t really justify the cost. The fact that you could also bake sponge flan cases as well as cakes, made me want it all the more. However, after examining the pictures carefully I rummaged around and pulled out a couple of stainless steel bowls, the kind you use to feed dogs (I would just like to point out that I haven’t used these bowls for dog feeding). I put the smaller one upside down inside the other, made a fatless sponge and managed to turn out a flan case of my own. It was a bit on the deep side but I filled it with orange roasted rhubarb, poured over a fruit jelly and left it to set. It was quite pleasant served up with some goat’s milk ice cream.
I mentioned my experimental baking to my mother and within a few days, a parcel from Lakeland turned up on my doorstep. Inside was the Silverwood Cake Tin. I was thrilled and wanted to get started on my cake immediately but unusually for me, I had no sugar.
A few days later, with bags of sugar at the ready, I milked Lily and ran it through the separator hoping for a big jug of cream. For some reason the milk only produced a few ml so I had to think of something else for the filling.
I had studied all the reviews on the website and I knew I had to grease and line the inserts to prevent sticking so I didn’t stint on my prep. I made the batter according to the recipe on the leaflet that came with the tins – see recipe below.
In the oven the cakes had to sit on different shelves but both rose beautifully, although rather unevenly but that is the fault of my Rayburn.
When both were done I left them to cool for 10 minutes on a rack before turning them out. I was delighted when they slid out easily until I discovered that the inserts had been baked into the sponge. For some reason the cake mix had managed to get in between them and the base. I had to cut them out. It rather ruined the look of the sponges which was a great shame.
With the minuscule amount of goat cream, I made a vanilla buttercream filling for one half and in the other half I put leftover lemon and ginger that I saved and preserved in sugar syrup, from my recent ginger beer brewing. Getting the two halves together was a bit tricky and I did think the top sponge was going to break up as I plonked it on top of the bottom, but it survived.
It sealed up quite well, hid the uneven bake and the filling and with a quick sprinkle of icing sugar, actually looked quite spectacular.
I left it overnight in the cool utility room and the following day served it up after lunch. As we excitedly cut into the cake, I warned Himself that since it was stuffed full of the rich buttercream, he may only want a small slice but that didn’t stop him. Despite it’s unevenness, it still looked pretty impressive, but the sponge did look a bit stodgy.
Overall when you got the mix of sharp lemon and tangy ginger plus the sweet vanilla cream and sponge it tasted superb. The only thing that let it down was that when it came to eating the edge, you got more sponge than filling and it was a bit bland. If I can overcome the problem of the inserts, it should be capable of producing a superb cake.
It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve entered the Weekly Bake Off from Mary Berry’s 100 Cakes and Bakes. The challenge was a Chocolate and vanilla marble loaf and the recipe and instructions can be found HERE. I’ve been out of synch with my cake making but this week it just so happened that we were in need of cake and I had the correct ingredients.
It’s an easy enough cake to make although I did end up smothered in cake mix probably the result of having two separate bowls of the stuff. I have to say the chocolate batter was absolutely delicious raw and it reminded me of when I was a child, baking with my mother. I always wanted to eat the uncooked chocolate cake mix but of course I wasn’t allowed. I vowed that when I grew up I would make the mix and eat it straight from the bowl. Can’t say I’ve ever done it but I was tempted by this one.
When the cake rose in the oven it looked like the rocky mountains and just when I thought it was cooked, it erupted like Vesuvius and ended up more uneven. I tried slicing the top before icing but settled for hiding the worst of it under a chocolate layer.
The first batch of white chocolate I tried to melt for the decoration went thick and lumpy so I had to start that again but in the end it didn’t look too bad, although I wouldn’t enter it in any competitions, except this one of course where I have the option of selective photography!
When I cut into it, I was quite pleased with the two-tone effect – not quite up to Mary’s perfect horseshoes but not bad.
And now for the verdict. Himself gave it 8/10. I was expecting gasps when I revealed the chocolate and vanilla marbling but he seemed underwhelmed by it. Said it was a nice bake although bordering on the dry side but it hasn’t stopped him eating it even though dark chocolate is not his favourite.