Baking News!

Baking News (10.03.14)

* I think Spring has arrived a little early here in our part of UK, we’ve had some beautiful days filled with warm sunshine we even saw a butterfly in our garden yesterday, you’d think we were headed for Summer and not Spring! I’m loving the warm air so I hope it stay’s around. The day’s are getting longer too, I love the extra hours of light.

* At our farmers market we spied some beautiful tulips that we couldn’t resist buying. We’d just bought a new vase and were on the hunt for some seasonal flowers to fill it and these glorious flowers were perfect. I can’t stop taking photo’s of them. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll of seen them already. We bought three bunches, a light pink bunch, a peachy yellow bunch and a pinky orange bunch. All the stunning shades blend perfectly together.

* It’s a special someone’s birthday at the end of the month and his birthday treat of choice is a cheesecake. I’ve never made cheesecake before. I tried a sticky toffee baked cheesecake the other week and it was a disaster. It tasted horrible and it wouldn’t budge out of it’s tin, then when it did finally break free it collapsed in my hands! We could only stand there and laugh. So cheesecake two was the total opposite. Pure cheesecake heaven!! It tasted amazing! Totally amazing! My partner told me to put it in the freezer and oh my, frozen cheesecake is a must, it’s like ice cream but cheesecake ice cream. I need to make a cheesecake themed ice cream I think. We had to throw it away to avoid eating the whole thing in one go, it’s that good! Best cheesecake ever. I’ll share the recipe with you guy’s when I make it next. It’s need multiple re-makes just to soothe my new found cheesecake addiction!

* I’ve finally started my Easter baking with two themed treats being made this past weekend. Both were a big success, I really can’t wait to share them with you.

* Has anyone else been baking Spring inspired treats yet?

* Sweet and Savoury Sunday Link Party #51 reached over 100 link ups! How great is that?! I hope you all link your projects, I love reading your posts and seeing what you’ve all been up to. So what are you waiting for, link up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday Link Party #52 now!!

* I hope everyone has a great start to there week :)

Here are two minty themed treats that I can’t wait to try when the warmer weather makes an appearance.

- Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Wallflower Girl - My favourite ice cream flavour just got healthier, love it!

- Mint Limeade from One Sweet Appetite - This year will be the year that I make homemade lemonade and I’m going to start with this one!

Don’t forget, you can follow me on Bloglovin, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

January 2014 Instagram Challenge

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At the beginning of the year I thought it would be fun joining a photo-a-day challenge on Instagram. I plan on doing it every day, each month for the whole of 2014 then at the end of the year I can look back and reminisce.

There are many of these floating around the internet but I have chosen to go with The Idea Room’s photo a day challenge. So kicking of the year is of course January and here are my photos and the story behind them.

Join me in this fun challenge or follow me every day by following me here over on Instagram.

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Day 1 – A Goal - I have many goals this year I wish to achieve within my baking and these books are helping me along the way.

Day 2 – Organise – Not even half my cookbook collection, they need sorting out!

Day 3 – Relax – Kicking back with a book I received as a Christmas gift and a nice hot drink.

Day 4 – Fresh – From the oven, some candied lemons I used for my Lemon-Vanilla Tart

Day 5 – On The Counter – A nutritious way to start the day, Special K red berries and unsweeted almond milk.

Day 6 – Outdoors – My local fruit and vegetable market stall.

Day 7 – In Between – There are hundred of delicious recipes in between the pages of books that I can’t wait to try.

Day 8 – Looking Up – At an old church I pass by daily.

Day 9 – Delicate – New pair of earings {photo was deleted by accident} but here it is

Day  9 - Delicate

Day 10 – Dark – This Blood Orange Pound Cake was baking in the oven at this moment.

Day 11 – Open - Recipe bookmarked, it’s these Chocolate Chip Cookies (BHG Baking Version)

Day 12 – Artwork – Love the covers of food magazines.

Day 13 – A Building – Wembley Stadium, where we saw the San Francisco 49ers play last October.

Day 14 – Everyday I – Treat my sweet tooth, life’s to short to deny yourself a little something tasty.

Day 15 – Shiny – Chocolate coin from Christmas.

Day 16 – Bundle – Three huge stalks of rhubarb I bought from the local market.

Day 17 – Glass – A juicer, a housewarming gift from my parents.

Day 18 – Black and White – A simple by divine Rhubarb and Vanilla cake.

Day 19 – Entertainment – Catching up with reading my magazine, my kind of entertainment.

Day 20 – A Noise – At sunset the fog was coming down, it was eerily silent.

Day 21 – Accessory – I love lip balm, I have a vast collection. This lip smaker lip balm in sugar plum party is the one I’m currently using.

Day 22 – On My Plate – Avocado, I try to eat half one each day.

Day 23 - In My Town – A beautiful river I walk by every day, so pretty.

Day 24 – Making – These AMAZING Mars Bar Stuffed Salted Caramel Blondies… so so good!!

Day 25 - Laugh – Recently discovered the national lampoon films.

Day 26 – Salty – Homemade salted caramel sauce.

Day 27 – Broken – Clouds clearing to reveal the sun.

Day 28 – Something On Me – Got my trainers on and ready to hit the gym, this happens 5/7 days per week!

Day 29 – Together – Forever <3

Day 30 – A Game – My partners atari games console.

Day 31 - Icy – An iced treat that will make it’s debut this month on the blog.

Rhubarb and Vanilla Cake

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Light as a cloud, ethereally light, light as a feather even, there aren’t enough words to describe how light this cake is. It’s SO LIGHT!!!

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Smooth and creamy on the inside with hidden magenta nuggets of rhubarb and little speckles of vanilla bean streak the crumb, this combination is a match made in heaven! I wanted something different to go with my left over stalk of rhubarb I had from making these jumbo Rhubarb and Ginger Crumble Muffins.

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I was drawn to the complex flavour of vanilla. Vanilla is a staple in our everyday baking, a little splash here and there to give an extra level of flavour but I wanted vanilla to be one of the main things in this cake. By using the seeds from one Vanilla Pod your guaranteed to be greeted with a plethora of all that this popular ingredient has to offer.

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Creamy, sweet, comforting and aromatic is a few of the ways to describe vanilla. In this simple but stunning cake it doesn’t drown out the tartness of the rhubarb but instead enhances it by balancing out the bitterness that the blush red vegetable often imparts.

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When pulling the cake from the oven don’t be disappointed by its appearance, it may look plain and simple but it’s what’s in the inside that matters. We are all told not to judge a book by its cover now aren’t we?!

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Now let’s have a look in the cake shall we? The recipe I based the cake on is an Almond-Rhubarb Snacking Cake from Baking For All Occasions – Flo Braker . All I wanted in my cake was rhubarb and vanilla so I removed all the almond components and imparted my plumptious vanilla pod. The cake also had a topping but I didn’t want any fuss on top of my cake so I left mine bare.

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The lightness of crumb is down to cake flour. Cake flour hasn’t got a high protein content which mean’s that not as much gluten develops during baking, leaving a tender and light crumb to your cake. Buttermilk also lends a hand in making this cake as moist as it is. Other ingredients in the cake are leavening agents, eggs, pure vanilla extract, vanilla pod and eggs. Make sure you cut your rhubarb into small pieces as if they are to big they’ll sink to the bottom and we don’t want that.

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The method to this cake is a common process. Sift the dry ingredients Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add your vanilla extract and seeds to the batter. Then the eggs go in and the rest is alternating the dry ingredients with the wet. The rhubarb goes in last getting stirred through gently.

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See how simplistic this cake is, you won’t get a simple cake though, you’ll be rewarded with a feather light cake bursting with flavour. It goes very well with a cup of tea and just about any time of day too!

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This cake isn’t a sugary overload, it’s a satisfying simple cake with a great depth to it. Make it soon to see for yourself!

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Yields – One 9-inch round cake

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (1 3/4 cups) Cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of Maldon salt
  • Pinch of Baking powder
  • 113 grams (1 stick) Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 200 grams (1 cup) Caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Vanilla pod, seeds scraped
  • 2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) Buttermilk
  • 130 grams (4 1/2 ounces) Rhubarb, sliced thinly

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175C,165C(fan),350F and butter the bottom and sides of round 9 inch springform cake tin. Line with parchment paper and butter this too. Set aside
  2. Sift the cake flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and baking powder into a medium bowl, set aside whilst you make the batter.
  3. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment set to high cream together the butter and sugar until you have a light, smooth and creamy mixture. Scrape down the sides of your bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and the seeds from the vanilla pod and mix for 20 seconds. On low-speed add the eggs in a steady stream and mix until fully incorporated. Scrape down your bowl again with your spatula.
  5. Starting with the dry ingredients add a 1/3 on low-speed until it just disappears then and half the buttermilk and mix until that just  disappears too. Repeat until everything has been added and thoroughly mixed in and scrape down your bowl again using your spatula.
  6. Stir in the rhubarb then scrape the batter into your pre-paired tin and smooth the surface over. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Leave the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes then remove from the tin and leave to cool on the wire rack completely.

Notes

* Recipe adapted from Baking For All Occasions – Flo Braker

* This cake will last for up to 3 days stored in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid.

* Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.